2018-02-08 / Island History


The superintendent of schools expects a surplus of $350,000 when the fiscal years ends, including $102,000 “won in contract negotiations” during tuition discussions with North Kingstown, The Jamestown Press reported Feb. 12, 2004.

Katherine Sipala also reported saving $51,000 in salaries because of positions not filled at the middle school, $28,000 in leftover legal fees, $52,000 from cutting a preschool bus route, and a $40,000 balance for Medicare fees.

“This is an example of how funds get into the unreserved account,” she said.

100 years ago — Feb. 14, 1918 (Newport Mercury)

There are 397 German aliens registered in Rhode Island, according to U.S. Marshal John Richards, although he is still waiting for 15 towns and cities to report.

That total includes 22 residents of Newport, Middletown and Jamestown. Richards estimates another 100 Germans from the remaining municipalities. Once all 39 reports are tallied, he will begin searching for Germans who failed to obey the registration.

75 years ago — Feb. 12, 1943 (Newport Mercury)

The town councilors have directed the health officer to strictly enforce quarantine laws because scarlet fever is spreading among schoolchildren.

The council is worried about infected students being allowed to associate with healthy classmates. Closing the schools, however, will not prevent the epidemic because it will provide children with more time to mingle with one another. The only practical solution, the council agreed, was for residents to adhere to the quarantine ordinance.

50 years ago — Feb. 13, 1968 (Newport Daily News)

The U.S. Navy has cleaned oil from Narragansett Bay after the tanker Severn grounded off Beavertail, spilling a small amount of the 3.7 million gallons onboard.

After the Severn struck Newton Rock about 300 yards off Jamestown’s coast, a floating Styrofoam line was used to encircle the oil. Workers then used a vacuum device to remove the black liquid from the water.

25 years ago — Feb. 11, 1993 (The Jamestown Press)

State environmental officials are advising townspeople to keep away from wild animals following a positive test of canine distemper.

The warning comes after a raccoon, which had its brain tested, reportedly was in a fight with two dogs in the north end. Although humans cannot catch canine distemper and cats are immune, the disease can be fatal to dogs without inoculations.

Residents should report any lethargic or sickly raccoons, gray foxes or skunks to the police department.

10 years ago — Feb. 14, 2008 (The Jamestown Press)

A contingency of North Kingstown preservationists made a PowerPoint presentation to the town councilors about the risks of building a fishing pier at the western foot of the old Jamestown Bridge.

The presentation outlined the “critical dangers” to the neighboring Verrazzano span. It alleged storm surges amplified by the bay’s shallow water from the proposed pier would transform the new trestle structure into “a battering ram.” Pointing to images from Hurricane Katrina, the opponents said Rhode Island and its vulnerable coastline were “living on borrowed time.”

Julio DiGiando, council president, said he understood North Kingstown’s worries. His constituents, however, might have a different viewpoint.

“We need to look at it from a Jamestown perspective,” he said.

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