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50 Years Ago January, 1968

By Jim Ignasher

Fifteen ladies from Smithfield were named as captains in the 1968 March of Dimes fundraising campaign. The March of Dimes is an organization dedicated to preventing birth defects. Those named were: Mrs. Albert A. Apshaga, Mrs. Francis R. Beaudry, Mrs. John K. Boyle, Mrs. George J. Chasse, Mrs. Charles V. Day, Mrs. John J. Dolan, Mrs. Bernard J. Ferro, Mrs. Norman W. Hawkins, Mrs. Henry N. McCutcheon, Mrs. Robert E. Reall, Mrs. Roland Robenhymer, Mrs. Robert O, Sparling, Mrs. Allen B. Schwartz, Mrs. William J. Walker, Mrs. Frank N. Zangari.

On January 7, the price of mailing a letter went from five cents to six cents.

Some of the newest citizen-volunteer government groups in town included the Township Preservation and Development Council, dedicated to improving the appearance of Smithfield and preserving its heritage.

A group calling themselves The Citizens for the Preservation of Smithfield was formed to fight a zoning change which would allow an apartment complex to be constructed on Rt. 44 near Maplecrest Drive.

The Smithfield Tax League consisted of citizens concerned about the town’s rapid growth rate, and future need for more services which would equate to higher taxes.

On January 12, the American Telephone and Telegraph Co., (AT&T), announced plans to begin instituting what we’ve come to know as the 9-1-1 emergency call system. It was estimated that the cost would be 50 million dollars, and the installation of routing equipment around the country would take several years.

On January 13, a thick column of black smoke visible for miles was seen rising from the Sparling Mills on Austin Ave. The Greenville Fire Department responded and discovered the cause to be the intentional burning of spools and other debris.

Army Staff Sergeant Clifford W. Silvia died in Vietnam on July 17, 1967 from combat wounds received a few days earlier. In January of 1968 he was awarded the following medals posthumously: the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Honorable Service Award. The medals were presented to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Silvia, at a special ceremony.

Airman 1/C Terrance M. McCaffrey of Greenville participated in an emergency airlift operation to drop bales of hay to sheep and cows stranded in heavy snow on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona. His Air Force unit flew 161 sorties and dropped 858 tons of hay.

Marine Corps Corporal Hawkins W. Hibbs Jr. of Greenville reported for duty at the Marine Aerial Refueling Transport Squadron 252 at Cherry Point, N. C.

Walter G. Bouchard, U.S. Navy, was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. He was serving aboard the U.S.S. White Plains, AFS-4.

Boy Scout Troop 1 of Esmond, under the leadership of Scout Master Roland Robenhymer, participated in “Operation Freeze Out”, and spent a weekend camping at Camp Yawgoog.

Participating scouts included: Mark Kocon, Paul St. Jean, John Bateman, Alan and Kenneth Lemieux, Joe Robenhymer, Brian Millard, and Paul Lambarde.

The Mothers of Twins Club held a meeting on January 18.

A “Snowflake Dance”, sponsored by the Smithfield Recreation Department, was held on the 19th at Anna McCabe School.

Speaking of schools, how many remember the “Bombardier”? It was a mini tractor-bulldozer that the town used to clear sidewalks of snow within a one-mile radius of the schools so kids didn’t have to walk in the streets.

A contest was held by the Greenville Library to see which student(s) could read the most books between October 1st and December 30th. The winners were announced in January. First place went to Priscilla Albrechit, who read 156 books. Other winners included: Linda Sachuk, 102 books; Lori Pagnozzi, 101; Paula Mackinlay, 90; and Mark Adams, 69.

Specifications for a new post office building in Greenville were approved. The new building would be twice as large as the old one, but a site had yet to be chosen.

In January of 1968 a proposal was put forth to build a large ski resort in the Buck Hill Management Area of Burrillville. Smithfield Senator F. Monroe Allen announced he was in favor of the plan, for even though it wouldn’t be in Smithfield, it would certainly benefit local residents who enjoyed winter activities. Unfortunately, the resort was never built.