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Board of Ed under fire

In the face of criticism from some angry residents and a scathing editorial in The Press, the Board of Education defended the two raises granted to Superintendent of Schools David Larsen in the preceding nine months, the July 21, 1988 Press reported.

Residents said the 18% increase granted to Dr. Larson was unacceptable in the wake of the large budget reductions that year. The raises brought Dr. Larson’s salary to $90,000, which board members said was comparable to the level of other school superintendents in lower Fairfield County.

“An 18.4% raise over nine months in a tight budget year is absolutely irresponsible,” said Michael Hagan of the tax watchdog group, The Friends of Ridgefield.

To make the budget cuts that year the board had to eliminate nearly seven teaching positions, cut a number of aides, a custodian and a social worker as well as equipment and textbooks.

Chip Dean, a graduate of Ridgefield High School and Arizona State University, won an Emmy award in sports directing for his opening direction of ESPN’s NCAA basketball coverage. It was the first Emmy for the sports cable television network.

John Frey, vice chairman of the Republican Town Committee, was named campaign chairman by Tim Klvana, GOP candidate for state representative. Mr. Klvana was to face incumbent Rep. Barbara Ireland in the fall. Mr. Klvana also named former first selectman Liz Leonard as his campaign treasurer.

The State Bond Commission approved a $256,000 allocation to the Keeler Tavern Preservation Society for restoration and improvements to the Main Street landmark. The project entailed the construction of an underground structure between the tavern and its garden house.

Deno Bellagamba, former chief of the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department and founder of the Bellagamba Oil Burner Service, died at 72 after a brief illness. Besides his wife, Florence, he was survived by his son, Richard, captain of the Ridgefield Police Department; a brother Louis; two sisters, Olga Cohen and Laura Carboni, and four grandchildren.

Peter Walters, a former pianist at Stonehenge Inn and the Ridgefield Inn, died at 74. Mr. Walters, a graduate of the New England Conservatory, began his career playing piano at restaurants and night clubs along the East Coast. He recorded two albums for Decca Records and performed as a soloist with the Boston Pops under the direction of Arthur Fiedler.

Reno Carboni, former proprietor of “Bones’ ” restaurant and deli at the corner of Prospect Street and Bailey Avenue, celebrated his 75th birthday at a picnic at his home on Hillside Avenue. Among those in attendance were his brothers, Tabby, Lynce, and Octavius; his sister, Mary Mitchell; his sons, Don, Ron, Mikey and Jim; Deno and Florence Bellagamba; Mr. and Mrs. Albert Girolmetti, Geno Baldaserini and family and Donald Torcellini.

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