Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, observation posts were set up all over the East Coast by the First Fighter Command Observer Corps, manned 24 hours a day by volunteers in each town. Their duty was to report all aircraft seen or heard to First Fighter Command in New York.
Wallingford’s observation post was on the rooftop of the Choate School science building. There was a small shed with two chairs, a phone and binoculars. Light was not allowed. These were serious times.
Wallingford had over 146 volunteers. Frances W. Carrol was sub-district director. I was sent to Aircraft Recognition School in New York for a week to learn aircraft recognition methods. Air Spotters volunteered from one- to three-hour shifts in all kinds of weather!
Bob Heilman and his partner, Nancy Young, served from 4 to 6 a.m. Nancy went home for breakfast, picked up her books, and then went off to Larson Junior College in New Haven. (Bob later married Nancy.) Father and daughter team, Harry Hausen and Winifred, served in the wee hours of the morning. John Ferraro once saw 10 B-25 Bombers fly low over Wallingford.
One Air Spotter sighted a fire in the southeastern part of Wallingford and reported it to our local fire department. Our spotters were honored in a program held in Lyman Hall High School auditorium where they were presented wings for their active service.
Patriotism was at a high! Brigadier Gen. Willis Taylor lated voiced the fact that “Air Spotters were essential as an instrument of air defense.” Air defense has come a long way since then, but Wallingford people stepped up to protect our town, our country. Many are no longer with us, may they rest in peace for a job well done.
God bless America.
June DeBaise, Wallingford
Whose back room?
Wallingford Town Councilor Fishbein did not do his image any good with his “it’s so unfair, I should be vice chairman” letter to the editor (R-J, 12/19/13), nor with remarks quoted in R-J news articles published on 12/24 and 12/27. He is smart and well prepared, as is Councilor Laffin. But putting down a fellow councilor as being somehow less qualified does not project maturity or an ability to “play well with others.” This is the same Councilor Fishbein who refused to take his council seat at a budget hearing because he took issue with a decision of the chairman (R-J, 04/12/13). This begs the question: Would such conduct be appropriate for someone in a leadership position?
Here’s another question: Isn’t the new council chairman entitled to have the vice chairman of his choosing, someone who is qualified and with whom he feels he can communicate and work cooperatively? The ultimate selection should not have to fall on the Democratic councilors, and Councilor Fishbein does not appear to have had a problem with the long-standing process until it affected his own desire to be vice chairman.
Finally, isn’t it interesting that Councilor Fishbein condemns what he calls “shadowy backroom politics” (which this process is not)? Selective memory is a wonderful thing. He appears to have forgotten all about that shadowy backroom letter that he and two former councilors wrote to the state, intended to derail the town’s application for a grant to improve the Simpson Court parking lot. Not everybody has forgotten.
Patricia J. Kohl, Wallingford
Look to Florida
The city of Miami, Fla. has a 4.4-mile rail system called The Metromover. They also have a trolley system with seven routes to various parts of the city. These lines are offered to residents and visitors at no cost. Many other cities in Florida also offer free transportation.
The state of Florida has a sales tax of 6 percent to 8 percent, it has no income tax. Meanwhile, the state of Connecticut has an income tax and a sales tax of 6.35 percent. Is it any wonder that many businesses and taxpayers are leaving this state. Gov. Malloy should visit the state of Florida, review their operations and hopefully return with some great ideas. Perhaps we the taxpayers can start in another area. The state of Florida has 19,500 people in an area of 53,624 square miles and has 160 state legislators. The state of Connecticut has 3,590,500 people in an area of 4,842 square miles and 187 state legislators.
Perhaps if the state of Connecticut reduced their number of legislators, there would be fewer of them to consider programs that increase taxes. Connecticut taxpayers should demand changes that reduce government and lower taxes.