This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of March 24

2023-03-24 TWIR Image-Protest

March 22, 1873 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       The post-office at Sparkill was entered by burglars on Tuesday night, and segars [cigars] to the value of about one hundred dollars carried off. The thieves do not seem to have interfered with the mail matter, neither with any of the miscellaneous fancy goods kept for sale by Mr. Spencer.
       We hope that the burglars may be overtaken before they have time to dispose of their plunder, and made to suffer the penalties of the law. This is the second or third robbery which has taken place at Sparkill lately, and the inhabitants thereabout don’t like being “interviewed” too often by these wandering gentry.

    We don’t take any especial interest in the matter ourselves, but we would like to be informed as to the kind of material used in illuminating our village. We supposed that it was kerosene oil, but we were told this week that two candles had to be placed in one of the lanterns, so that pedestrians might not mistake the sickly glimmer of the lamp for a June bug.

March 24, 1923 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Times

       Brickmakers are commencing the active use of automobile trucks and tractors. Staten Island brickmakers are installing tractors to haul their clay carts, and local brickmakers are using Fordson trucks with dump bodies for trucking. Two trucks of the Fowler-Washburn Company Saturday succeeding in delivering the contents of a big gondola of egg coal to be used in brick burning. The car of coal was unloaded from the Allison & VerValen Westside Avenue yard.

March 22, 1973 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

[Image: Baseball hopeful Fern Heinig (foot on bumper) and supporters. Photograph by Art Sarno.]
       Like many other normal, healthy 14-year-olds, Fern Heinig of Spring Valley likes to play baseball. And William Darden, the baseball coach at Pomona Junior High School, where Fern is an eighth grade student, is all for it.
       “If girls are willing to meet the same fitness standards as boys, and if they are willing to assume the same risks of being injured,” says Darden, “then I’m for giving them the opportunity to play on the team. The name of the game is winning, and if a particular young lady would be an asset to the school’s team, then why shouldn’t she contribute?”
       Fern would like very much to contribute, but she hasn’t even been given the chance to find out whether or not she would be an asset to the team. Tryouts for the school’s baseball team started earlier this week, but Fern was barred from them because of a regulation by the New York State Department of Education’s Athletic Division, which excludes girls from participating in contact sports with boys.
       ‘‘It’s a ridiculous regulation,” argues Fern. “It’s based on the completely unfounded contention that girls are more fragile than boys and the questionable definition of baseball as a contact sport.” Fern has engaged the legal counsel of Ann Glickman of the Legal Aid Society, and with the support of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Heinig, she has begun her campaign to change the regulation.
       About 40 of Fern’s classmates and members of the Rockland County feminist organization demonstrated at Pomona Junior High School after school yesterday.
       “Fern wants to try out for the boys’ team,” protests school principal Dr. William Anderson. “We would clearly be violating the state’s athletic department rules and regulations if we let her go through with her plans. The regulation was designed for the benefit of the girls, in recognition of the physiological differences between boys and girls. It is intended to protect girls from injury.”
       “The team,” Fern points out, “is the school team, not the boys’ team. And as for the question of fitness and avoidance of injuries, the regulation doesn’t make sense. Girls are allowed to participate in contact sports with other girls, so they’re saying that a ball thrown by a girl is less likely to injure a teammate than one thrown by a boy, and I think they’re wrong.
       “There are some girls who may not be strong enough to play on a really tough ball team, but there are also many boys who don’t make the team, and they at least have the chance to try out.”
       “Boys do throw balls harder than girls, and boys move faster than girls. Their anatomical structure is different,” says Dr. Gerald Hase, supervisor of the State Education Department’s Division of Health, Recreation and Physical Education in Albany. “A girl’s chest area renders her more vulnerable to blows, and therefore, the State has set up certain guidelines and regulations to protect her.”
       “I suppose it’s a lot cheaper for the State to provide the girls with a regulation to protect their ‘vulnerable area,’ than it would be to provide them with the same athletic equipment such as the padding, etc. that protects a male student’s ‘vulnerable area,’“ one local feminist supporter of Fern’s drive points out.
       “But the parents of female students pay the same taxes and support the same athletic programs in the school systems as the parents of males,” she adds, “and I think that their daughters are entitled to the same extensive physical education programs, athletic scholarship opportunities, training courses and athletic equipment that is made available to the boys.”
       Dr. Joel Manuel, spokesman for the Rockland County Medical Society and chairman of the Society’s committee on sports medicine, conjectured that the state’s prohibitive regulation must be based on studies dealing with the psychological competitiveness and emphasis on physical prowess that is instilled in boys in this society, and not in girls.
       “Physiologically though,” he explains, “there’s no difference. With the proper training and preparation girls could be just as physically capable as boys.”
       To help Fern win the right to try out for the team, Ann Glickman of the Legal Aid Society has advised her parents to write to Dr. Anderson, Fern’s principal, officially informing him of the fact that they would like to see the regulation changed.
       “My parents have really backed me up 100 per cent on this,” confirms Fern, “and so have a surprising number of girls in my school.
       “The girls’ softball games that the athletic department planned last season were a dismal failure,” Fern explains. “We were supposed to play six games, but the only one that was ever actually organized was rained out after the second inning. Once interscholastic sports and competitions are opened up to girls as well as boys, I think more and more girls will find out how much they’ve been missing, and how much fun sports like baseball can be.”

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC”s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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