This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of March 29

2024-03-29 TWIR Image-Mowbray-Clarke

March 28, 1874 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

       On Wednesday of this week, while Freddie, the only child of Daniel B. Van Houten, was riding on a heavily loaded wagon, on Broadway, near Sturtevant’s Piano Factory, he fell off, and both wheels of the vehicle passed over his body. Dr. Polhemus was called in and rendered all the assistance in his power, and we are happy to say that the lad is doing well after being flattened out by at least fifteen hundred pounds.

March 28, 1934 90 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal-News

TO PRESERVE BEAUTY SPOTS IN ROCKLAND — Supervisors Name Mrs. Mowbray-Clarke to Assist County Engineer Allison in Work
[Image: Mary Helena Bothwell Mowbray-Clarke (née Horgan). Pastel portrait by William Bruckner. HSRC Collection.]
       Mrs. Mary Mowbray-Clarke of South Mountain road, New City, was yesterday appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the office of landscape consultant to County Engineer Allison. Her salary has not been fixed pending developments in the reorganization of the relief bureau that is to take over work projects on April first now carried on under Civil Works.
       Mrs. Clarke’s appointment to the office was made after she had presented a comprehensive report of her work as a C[ivil] W[orks] A[dministration] employe in making a preliminary inspection and survey of the landscaping possibilities along the county’s highways and the development of a park and Dutch gardens to the rear of the courthouse. Mrs. Clarke supplemented her report with a collection of maps and pictures she made with her study of the problems during the past eleven weeks. Her report so impressed the supervisors that Republicans and Democrats alike in the board were quick to suggest that her work be continued, which later led to her appointment to the office.
       Mrs. Clarke disclosed that a speech on roadside protection and beautification which she made December 8 before the Rockland County Good Roads Association is being published by the conservation chairman of the Garden Club of America for use of roadside committees all over the country. Following this presentation to the good roads body Mrs. Clarke was asked by County Engineer Allison to take a CWA job in his office and begin the collection of material helpful in preserving all the natural beauties while necessary road work was being done.
       Mrs. Clarke said Mr. Allison was familiar with the type of work she desired to suggest, having followed with interest the development of it in all states adjoining New York and in Westchester County.
       Briefly, Mrs. Clarke outlined that she has studied the county road map and the county soil map with a view to getting the fundamental forms and shapes of the roads and the kinds of vegetation characteristic of special parts. She enumerated nine different studies that she had hoped to do or as much of it as could be done under the unusual conditions of the Winter,  “uncertain availability of labor, un-accustomedness of the ideas on the part of the road bosses and her own uncertain tenure of the job.”       Mrs. Clarke said she drove slowly over all roads to be changed in any way to study new rights of way. Her plan she outlined as follows:
       “On the jobs themselves, watch over all removal of the precious top-soil and all plant-material and rocks useful in restoring the banks after grading. See that old stone walls were not destroyed, trees or shrubs cut, fires burned in the wrong places, etc.
       “Study the outward views from all open points and the unfolding pictures in front so that the tree framing would be of the best possible.
       “Trimming trees properly and removing dead ones, removing all posters on trees, fences and stones along the right of way, covering dumps with the less useful fill, getting people to straighten up their mail boxes and remove old shacks along the road, abandoned road-stands, etc.
       “Try to have old pieces of abandoned road bed torn up and retreated with soil and plantings.
       “Seeing that direction signs are as good looking as possible and not placed badly in relation to scenic objects as they so often are.
       “Influencing wherever possible gas station and roadstand owners to clean up and plant their places with shrubs and flowers instead of signs.
       “Cleaning up old cemeteries wherever they are a roadside feature, restoring them to dignity and neatness as part of our inherited landscape.”

March 28, 1974 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       Scores of Rockland residents who live in all-electric homes plan to picket and burn their electric bills outside a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed rate increase for Orange and Rockland Utilities.
       The electric customers, whose bills have skyrocketed to as high as $250 monthly, say they will refuse to pay their present bills even if it means Orange and Rockland shuts their power off.
       The decision to picket and burn the bills came Tuesday at a meeting among unit owners at the New City Condominiums 1 and 2, where the countywide effort is being spearheaded.
       According to an Orange and Rockland spokesman, the largest number of all-electric units are the New City Condominiums, a “substantial” portion of the Mountainview Condominiums, and Pomona Park.
       Orange and Rockland services between 3,200 and 3,500 units which are all electric, but this includes those in both Orange County and North Bergen County, as well as Rockland.
       Mrs. Carole Hausman, one of the leaders of the movement, at the New City Condominiums, said she expects “several hundred” picketers at the 10 a.m. hearing at the Clarkstown Town Hall.
       Tuesday’s meeting, she said, marked the breakdown of the “system faction” of those at the condominiums —-those who had wanted to work “within the system” to achieve their goals of blocking the rate hike and insuring lower electric bills.
       “We worked within the system as far as we could,” Mrs. Hausman said, “even to the point where I was accused of being bought by O&R.“
       The “militant” faction among the irate electric customers prevailed Tuesday, she said, and now everybody is on the “same track.”
       “We’re being killed by these fuel charges,” Mrs. Hausman said.
       Some residents of the condominiums pay more each month for electricity than they do on their mortgages, she said.
       Mrs. Hausman said that a meeting will be held tonight at the county legislature in New City to “coordinate” activities with other civic and condominium associations for Tuesday’s protest.
       A delegation of the customers plans to speak at the hearing while others picket outside, she said.
       Meanwhile, residents of another housing complex, Prel Park in Orangeburg, plan to meet tonight at the home of John D’Andrea, 8 Henry St., to discuss measures they can take against the proposed rate increase and to achieve lower bills.
       Residents of about 15 homes in the housing development which are all-electric, are expected to attend the meeting, D’Andrea said.
       “I’m willing to pay what I consider to be a fair bill,” he said, “but these bills are hitting at the lifeblood of people, the very basic root of human survival.”
       Bills among the 15 homeowners have averaged nearly $225 in recent months, he said.
       “Any increase of our rates at this time would be an inhumane burden on us,” he said.
Referring to O&R’s campaign advertising all-electric housing, D’Andrea said, “Don’t they bear some part of the moral responsibility for their actions?”
       Members of both groups railed at the power company’s recent letter to customers suggesting an alternate payment plan for those who wished to spread their bills out over the year, paying less now and more during the summer.
       “That’s not a solution.” D’Andrea said. “That’s just spreading the unhappiness evenly.”
       Hugo Robus, Jr., general manager for consumer service at O&R, said Wednesday that customers were “justified” in their complaints, that the company “sympathizes” with them but that “there’s darn little we’ve been able to do for them.”
       Explaining the company’s request for a rate hike, Robus said, “Any corporation has to remain an attractive investment in order to attract money.”
       The proposed increase represents “the figure needed to keep us competitive,” he said.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. © 2024 by The Historical Society of Rockland County. #FBF Flashback Friday may be reprinted only with written permission from the HSRC. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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