Just Say (yawn) No

FI-Looking-Back-Tom-BeloteVery few people showed up for “Just Say No Day,” prompting the organizers to question the general attitude of residents concerning drug and alcohol abuse in town, the April 21, 1988 Press reported.

Controversy over the design high school seniors wanted on their class T-shirts was brewing at the high school. The design the seniors chose for their shirt included an illustration that bore a resemblance to a Budweiser beer can, with the slogan, “Class of ‘88 — King of Classes” — similar to Budweiser’s “king of beers”.

“We can’t have the Ridgefield High School name associated with a product endorsement — especially an alcoholic product,” said Principal Elaine Bessette. However, when the seniors decided to stick with the design Bessette said that the T-shirts would not be permitted to be worn in the school and that the class should wait to distribute them after they graduated and were no longer associated with RHS.

Regarding the ban, senior class president Amy Nitzos said, “I think it seems kind of ridiculous that they’re trying to control what we wear.”

With the town and the police still at an impasse over a new contract, the union agreed to take their differences to binding arbitration. First Selectman Sue Manning said that both sides would present their “last best” offers to a state arbitration panel.

The Board of Finance took decisive action on the 1988-89 budget, unanimously slashing $360,000 from the proposed school budget, and $250,000 from the town budget. The total budget was further reduced by the board’s decision to cut $70,000 from debt service. “None of us are happy with the increase in the mill rate or the decrease in the budget, but it is the best compromise that can be reached for the benefit of the entire town,” said board Chairman Paul Rosa. Superintendent of Schools David Larson said the Board of Education would accept the financier’s recommended cut. Even with the cut, the total school budget was $24.1 million, or a 9.4% increase over the previous budget. “We accept the cut. We had hoped we wouldn’t receive as deep a cut as it is, but we understand that it is a difficult year for the community,” said Dr. Larson.

Jerome Mugavero of Branchville died at 83. Mr. Mugavero had been a resident for 47 years and was a charter member of the Branchville Civic Association. He was past president of the Italian-American Mutual Aid Society and had served on the Board of Assessors and the Veterans Park School Building Committee. Mr. Mugavero and his brother, Vincent, opened the Ridgefield Tonsorial parlor on Main Street in 1930. In 1950 he opened Jerry Barber Shop on the first floor of the Masonic Lodge building. The business was later taken over by his son-in-law, Michael Pontello.

Gas stations and other commercial establishments were scrambling to meet a Nov. 1 state deadline requiring the replacement of all commercial and municipal fuel tanks that were over 20 years old. Some businesses decided that replacement was not worth the cost. Owners of some Route 7 service stations saw problems with insurance availability and cost because the Norwalk River was so close to the tanks. Kenny Polverari, owner of Ace Tire Co., explained that he did not replace the four gas tanks he had taken out. “We can’t afford the liability,” said Mr. Polverari referring to the cost for insurance. “With all the environmental laws, I don’t think you can get it.”

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