Looking Back: TV technique saves life

Summer tragedy was averted when ten-year-old Mary Extance saved an eight-year-old boy from drowning in Rainbow Lake this week in 1992. After realizing there was no adult around able to help the boy, Mary dove in herself, using a lifeguarding technique she had seen on TV to swim the boy to the dock and to safety, no doubt saving his life.

“Mary said she wishes she could spend her whole summer swimming. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Mary replied emphatically, ‘a lifeguard,’ and made it quite clear that this desire predates her life-saving experience. ‘I always wanted to be a lifeguard.’”

Ridgefield Police Officer Ruth McAllister returned to work after being denied unpaid leave to take care of her new child. As 30 supporters gathered outside the station to protest the denial, Ruth handed the young Miranda off to her husband, John, coming off the midnight to morning shift at the department.

“The protesters carried a variety of homemade signs, including, ‘Wake up, it’s not just a man’s world,’ … ‘Chief Rotunda, did you have to choose between a family and a career?’, and ‘Where are the Ridgefield Department’s family values?’”

A scathing commentary was written by William Allen about the Ridgefield Water Company.

“It is obvious that the Ridgefield Water Company should be investigated … [On West Mountain], one [standpipe] sprung a leak from old age and they tore it down! Why didn’t they replace it?...

Why did the water smell and taste so bad (tasted like dirt and muck)? Could it be we were drinking muck, silt and algae from the bottom of the standpipe?...

We, the users, are paying the price of greed — filthy water, no water, swamp water, and water that smells so bad you can’t drink it. They say it is perfectly healthy to drink. Tell that to the people drinking bottled water for the last five weeks.”

Ads for the Ridgefield Sidewalk Sales took up nearly four full pages of space, advertising everything from various hats, alcohol, and flea and tick control for pets, to lawn furniture, dancewear, and specialized bird nests and feeders. The Sidewalk Sales were Wild West- themed, with singing and dancing acts planned to perform throughout the three-day event.

Ridgefield’s own Curt Onalfo was preparing to play soccer on the U.S. Olympic team in the summer Olympic games in Barcelona.

“My role is really leadership, that’s a big part for me. I’ve been captain for some of the time, (it rotates throughout the pre-Olympic schedule), and another key part is to organize and anchor the defense,” he said. “I think I may have even earned a starting spot on the team in the past few weeks.”

His draw to the game of soccer started young. “I was born on the day Pele scored his one- thousandth goal, in Brazil. I was even given a soccer ball on that day,” he laughed.

With the height of summer rolling in, one article reminded pet owners of the dangers of leaving pets in cars for even 10 or 15 minutes in the heat.

“[It] can cause serious illness, brain damage, or even death… Even on an 85-degree day, the temperature in a car — even with the windows open a crack — can get to 106 degrees in just 10 minutes. ‘It’s just like an oven,’ says Donald McGee of the Connecticut Humane Society.”

The Ridgefield Press does not have the archive of this week 50 years ago, in 1967.