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Smithfield, RI Weather

50 Years Ago February, 1968

By Jim Ignasher

Between Saturday, February 10, and Wednesday, February 14, four un-named residents of the Greenville area reported sighting unidentified flying objects, (U.F.O.’s), over the Hawkins Pond – Slacks Reservoir area off Greenville Avenue. The objects were said to be saucer shaped, about forty feet in diameter, with pulsating lights similar to a theatre marquee around the edges, and making a noise like “a refrigerator about to break down.” The objects hovered in place not far above tree-top level, before shooting off at a high rate of speed.

One man reported that a UFO hovered over his car after he’d stopped on Winsor Avenue for a better look, and remained motionless for about a minute before moving away.

One possible explanation put forth was that Navy helicopters from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station were practicing night maneuvers – but this was unconfirmed.

U.S. Army Private First Class Edward G. DiPanni, Jr., of Greenville, was awarded The Purple Heart medal for serious combat wounds received in Vietnam. PFC DiPanni was serving with the 4th Engineer battalion, 4th Army Division when he was wounded at Duc Pho. It was reported he would be at a military hospital for several months recuperating.

Airman Roger N. Mowry of Douglas Pike graduated as a medical specialist from Air Force Technical School.

A double full-page ad in a local newspaper announced that land located at the corner of Farnum Pike and Washington Highway would be soon be developed into a large resort-recreational area known as Green Valley. The project would include a professional sized hockey rink that would be one of the largest in New England, as well as a ski area, dance hall, and parking lot large enough to accommodate “thousands” of automobiles. The ad predicted that one-third of the project would be completed by December 1, 1968.

Of course, no such resort was ever built, and the land it was to be constructed on is still undeveloped. And it happens to be for sale.

On February 9, the Redwood Witches 4-H Club held a meeting at Redwood Farm on Austin Avenue, and the following officers were elected;

President; Paula DeMeo, Vice President; Dianne McLaren, Secretary; Robin McQuiddy, Treasurer; Kristy Rylander, News Reporter; Cathy Carroll, and Refreshments Coordinator; Erin McQuiddy.

1968 was the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and members of Smithfield Lodge 2359 on Farnum Pike took part in the nationwide centennial celebration activities. At the time, the Smithfield Lodge was the newest in the state with 250 members.

The Cranford Club, a local civic organization, held a meeting at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church hall in Greenville. The guest speaker was Oscar Rathier, the assistant administrator of Zambarano Hospital in Burrillville, who spoke of new programs developed to help disabled children. The club donated $100.

Reverend Philip Shear was installed as the new pastor of the Greenville Baptist Church on February 28.

Fuel oil was for sale from a local vendor at 28 cents a gallon, plus tax.

The Village Pharmacy, once located on Putnam Pike in Greenville center was advertising Valentines Day candy specials.

The Reverend W. Stanley Pratt of the Greenville Baptist Church was offering classes on handwriting analysis, also known as Graphoanalysis.

Applications were being accepted for the Town & Country Swimming Club, located on Farnum Pike across from the Elks Lodge. Amenities included an Olympic sized pool, tennis courts, golf nets, an exercise room, handball court, two saunas, and a dinning room and lounge.

An ice skating party held for Smithfield adults was held at a rink in Burrillville. Afterwards, a social gathering was held at the Smithfield Sportsman’s Club.

Junior Girl Scout Troop 757 of Greenville held a rededication ceremony at the Greenville Baptist Church. Awards were presented to Debbie Patt, Kathleen Martin, Melanie Adkins, Susan Catlow, Paula Mollo, Lisa Neri, Sheila Ingham, Lainie McQuiddy, Lynn Jordin, Claire Shawcross, Barbara Shealey, Cynthia Santangini, and Catherine Bilson.

Members of Brownie Troop 922 were invited guests.