Retiree's Old Home to be Fixed Up  
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ed Patenaude

Plans to rehabilitate the retail-apartments building on Main at High Street crept into the dialogue on Mother’s Day, when we sat to the back side of a restaurant booth occupied by Thomas Valentinetti and a comely young lady he proudly introduced as “my granddaughter.”

Mr. Valentinetti, 91, a retired Oxford High School department head and still a resident in that town, lived in the High Street end of the Webster building as a young person. His father ran an umbrella repair shop. The business was at ground level and the Valentinetti family lived on the second floor, with attic space to boot. He was just a kid, but Tommy says the rent was about $10 a month, store included.

Mr. Valentinetti also remembers when the adjacent Music Hall, a vaudeville and movies venue, burned down Feb. 2, 1922. It took a long time, maybe 30 years, but the lot for the onetime entertainment place fell into town hands, probably through a tax taking. The location is now a town-owned parking area.

Richard B. Lavine, an antitrust lawyer in New York and Washington for many years and now retired, has published his first novel, “The Condo Papers.”

The alert comes from Millie and Bill Franklin of Webster. The book is about senior citizens at an upscale condominium in Washington, D.C., who get involved in extortion, assault, murder and sex.

A former resident of Webster, Mr. Lavine is a graduate of Bartlett High School, Clark University in Worcester, and Georgetown Law School. Mr. Lavine became a successful jazz and classical musician, playing clarinet and saxophone, according to Mrs. Franklin.

The book is available through,, or with the author’s autograph at 4978 Sentinel Drive, Apt. 406, Bethesda, MD 20816. That’s where Richard and Eileen Lavine live. Prices are posted on the dot-com sites. Amazon says readers rate the book 5 stars. The Lavines have two grown children, both of New York City. “Dick is working on his second novel, ‘Perfect Pitch,’ ” reports Millie Franklin.

Author Lavine is the son of the late Philip and Jennie Lavine. “Phil ran a shoe store on lower Main Street for a long time,” says Bill Franklin.

To offer my take on the Webster 2006 town election, returns were pathetic. Several offices were without candidates, so write-ins walked off with credentials.

This isn’t to say anything about the people elected, but our newest member of the school board that runs Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School has a 14-vote mandate; a Finance Committee member garnered 36 votes, a library trustee tallied 24 votes; and a Board of Health member pulled seven. Then, there was a 4-4 tie for Redevelopment Authority.

Four offices were filled by a grand total of 81 votes. Maybe Selectman Irene A. Martel had it right all those years ago when she opposed a legislative petition to end partisan town elections. Political town committees generally filled slates, even if they had to endorse someone from the opposing camp as a last resort.

Walter Biadasz, once resident manager at the former Ethan Allen Co. plant in Dudley and now of Florida, says he read last week’s segment about the 57th anniversary of Eddie’s Greenhouse with great interest.

“Thought you might like to know that my parents, Albert and Julia Biadasz, built the house and outbuildings on the Lyndale Avenue property in 1924,” said Mr. Biadasz, adding, “I was born in that house.”

An accident in 1934 claimed the life of his older brother, Anthony, and “my mother could no longer live in that house, so they sold it to Eddie Wasielewski’s parents in 1936.”

Mr. Biadasz was a corporate officer at Ethan Allen headquarters in Danbury, Conn., when he retired.

C-SPAN had an interesting segment May 14, “Inside the Kennedy Administration,” taped in April at the John F. Kennedy Library & M
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