Looking Back: Simple machines, Carroll retires

An semi-automatic bed-maker — hey, why don’t we have one of those things yet? — was deemed “proof that necessity is the mother of invention” following a simple machines fair at Farmingville Elementary School.

Fifth grader Nicholas Barber wasn’t the only young inventor quoted on the front page of that week’s Press — fellow Farmingville student Kip Jones demonstrated his Kipper Crack Me Up, a walnut cracker, while Erica Fabrizio showed how police could use her improved Red and Green Light Gloves to direct traffic at night.

Of course, Barber’s bed-maker stole the show: His invention used pulleys at the corners of the headboard and a rope attached to the corner of the sheet and blankets to draw them up straight and set them neatly onto the bed, The Press reported.

The fun at Farmingville was proof that the school board was wise to adopt the 1992-93 proposed budget, which added back programs that had been cut.

“We’re at that edge,” said Joan Plock, chairwoman of the Board of Education. “Programs are what come out next.”

Fortunately, the proposed 4.93% increase from Superintendent Jerry Marcus was adopted on an 8-1 to vote with Joseph Sweeney being the lone dissenting voter.

The bottom line — $28,439,972 — didn’t come easy. The board had to whittle $385,844 from 21 different line items, including equipment and paper supplies, just to have enough to restore programs.

Education wasn’t just for the kids that week.

A local “Readathon” was announced to help celebrate literacy around town. The Press said that the event, scheduled to take place in March 1992, would feature stories, plays, poems, jokes, and trivia.

Away from the schoolyards and the pages of books, the town’s Charter Revision Commission struggled with the issue of creating a separate agency to oversee the town’s two sewer systems.

“Commissioners, in their deliberations, have found the creation of the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), independent of the Board of Selectmen, to be not only a complicated matter, but a potential political football,” The Press reported.

Speaking of the selectmen, they approved a transfer of $185,000 to help two town facilities: the golf course and the library.

The golf course received $10,000 to help pay hourly help. “Business at the course was so good this season,” William Morris Jr., of the golf committee, told the selectmen.

“When we’re open more,” he said, “this account goes up.”

50 Years Ago

Robert A. Kane of Catoonah Street, who was associated with his father in the William C. Kane Funeral Home in Ridgefield, received the town Jaycees’ 1967 Distinguished Service Award Thursday, Feb. 23.

The Press reported that Kane received the third annual award at a dinner at the Ridge Bowl.

It wasn’t all smiles and handshakes that week, though.

Danbury Hospital sought $12,000 from Ridgefield as part of a $200,000 grant, because townspeople represented 6% of the hospital’s business.

Also on the front page, First Selectman Leo F. Carroll confirmed March 2, 1967, that he would not be a candidate for another term as the town’s chief executive.

He said he had advised the Republican Town Committee of his decision in a letter dated Feb. 11.

Carroll was first elected in 1957, succeeding Harry E. Hull — a Democrat.