Post Office Excavation Explosion  
Friday, November 23, 2001
Edward Patenaude/ So I've Heard Column


There was an explosion in the partially built Webster Post Office about 1 p.m. Nov. 22, 1963, around the time President John F. Kennedy's death was confirmed.
Arthur "Archie" LaPlante recalled the blast recently. The long time general contractor was removing ledge in the cellar to the new post office on that fatal date as I sat nearby in my car monitoring radio bulletins.
The shooting, the franctic rush to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, known facts were being reviewed when the president's death was confirmed. The downtown explosion seemed immediate.
I made my way to the construction site. Mr. LaPlante was surveying his effort. A boulder had to be removed, he said. I mentioned the assassination and the moment.
"You remember that?" Mr. LaPlante asked while installing a walk near the Webster Veterans Home. "You said, 'Did you just blast something,' and I answered 'yes.'" This was 38 years ago yesterday. LaPlante Bros. Co. had torn down the old post office and Mr. LaPlante was excavating the cellar for the new one. "There was a boulder in there almost as big as an automobile," he recalled.
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"History was probably made...after voters elected Raymond Valente to serve on the School Committee with his father, Cosmo Valente." So read a recent story datelined Marlboro.
You don't have to go back too far in time, or travel too many miles from Marlboro to come up with a previous father-son school board team. Webster may have set the precedent.
Jason Borski was elected to the Webster School Committee in 1994. His father, Joseph A. Borski Jr., previously a lomg time committee member, returned to office a year later. So, for 24 months, father and son cast two of the five issue votes recorded at Webster School Committee meetings.
It might have been three out of five if another Borski heir, Justin, had been successful in his 1996 School Committee outing. Justin Borski's candidacy was probably damaged when it was discovered that a special meeting posting could be required if Janice A. and Joseph A. Borski, Jr., invited their sons to dinner. A majority of school committee members would have been at the family table.
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Let me repeat a few quotes from my post 9/11 interview with James Theodores, a Dudley native, who served as chief of missions for the World Bank in Afghanistan from 1977 to 1980. Now retired, and living in Newport, R.I., Mr. Theodores followed developments in Afghanistan through intermediaries and others.
Among other things, he said: "Afghan support for the Taliban is not overwhelming...Women have been denied every right under the sun...At the first opportunity, these people are going to rise. If the Aghans get a chance and get arms, they want to get their country back. The Northern Alliance, with control over a pocket still being contested, has been fighting the Taliban for years, and they could be a major (U.S.) ally."
Mr. Theodores provided insight before America's first air strike against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.
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Questions about the holy portrait of Our Lady of Czestochowa, developed during a coffee shop discussion with Connie V. (Karabash) Czechowski, were resolved after she sent me copies from a series published in the St. Joseph Basilica bulletin.
Ms. Czechowski suggested a credit when we crossed paths again last week. "I didn't think you'd use that," she smiled. "Terry (Theresa J. Miller), the parish secretary, researched all of that information. You said yourself 'it's truly a comprehensive study.' I think she did a wonderful job." I seconded Ms. Czechowski's motion.
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The Friday after Thanksgiving is said to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, the start of Christmas gift buying.
I don't want to tell anyone what to buy, but there's a holiday gift alternative for area residents. The second printing of "The Early History of Webster
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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