Excerpts from the no-longer existent Whitsend.org feature called The Odyssey Times.
Heavy snowfall Friday led to the first cancellation of a school day in Odyssey in nearly ten years. Many local businesses, including Finneman’s Market, Whit’s End, and the Electric Palace. City government offices remained open.
Statewide, more than half the public schools were closed Friday. Governor O. High Owens said that he would consider mandating school cancellation on Monday if the predicted weekend snow accumulates heavily. “If it’s dangerous on the roads, then our children shouldn’t be out there.” No major accidents were reported in the schools that remained open on Friday.
Odyssey children used the day to play in the record accumulation of snow. Snowmen, forts, and sculptures popped up around Odyssey and local police closed the Chatwick Hill Road to allow sled riding, while others sledded at the famous Gumper’s Hill.
A protest against Novacom Broadcasting and their programming rapidly turned violent Thursday when demonstrators began throwing rocks, bottles, and even Novacom merchandise. Police arrived before any serious injuries resulted, but a few people sustained minor cuts and bruises. Among them was John Avery Whittaker, owner of Whit’s End, who suffered a small gash above his right eye. Whittaker has spoken out against Novacom programming on the radio and in newspaper articles and was publicized as sponsoring the event. “I had nothing to do with organizing the protest and I don’t think that breaking the law or using violence is the answer to our concerns with Novacom,” says Whittaker. “Mr. Rathbone used my picture and my words to publicize the protest with my permission.”
Rathbone, who was fined for creating a public safety hazard and trespassing, said he saw no problem with using Whittaker’s image to promote the protest. “Those Novacommies are driving this town down the drain. We have to do whatever is necessary to rid the town of them and their kind,” said Rathbone. Rathbone went on to explain that he was inspired to stage the protest when his son Rodney was suspended from school for the third time this year. “Before Novastines came to town, he never would have been suspended three times in one year,” said Rathbone. Rathbone denied that the protest had anything to do with Novacom’s refusal to carry his show idea, “What’s Wrong? Hosted by Bart Rathbone.”
Damage at Novacom was very limited according to Arthur Dent, general manager. “We had a few broken windows and some damage to the front lawn, but we’re thankful that the damage wasn’t any worse and that there were no serious injuries.” Dent said he was very sorry that Odyssey citizens felt they had to protest rather than talking civilly. “We want to know what the town thinks, but violence is not the answer,” he said. “I strongly encourage anyone who has a problem with our programming to talk to us. Any member of our audience is important to us.” Dent declined comment on Whittaker’s role in the protest.