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The Beaver Kill and Willowemoc Creek, which wind through the Catskill Mountains, are perhaps the most legendary of American trout streams. A fair chunk of both of them is in danger of becoming mere memory.
The New York State Department of Public Works wants to run a seven-mile stretch of four-lane highway along the banks of the Willowemoc and another 16-mile stretch along the Beaver Kill. Here and there the state also plans to build a dozen bridges to span the streams. The completed road would help link an express highway between New York City and Binghamton, N.Y.
The people who live in the area, particularly in the town of Roscoe, where the Willowemoc joins the Beaver Kill, have long wanted a four-lane road. The only trouble is that many of them do not want the one proposed by the state. Harry Darbee, the celebrated flytier and a native of Roscoe, says the bridges would be especially damaging to the streams because they would force water to scour the bottom and fill in the pools. A number of Roscoe businessmen say stream-route construction would wipe out part of the town's small business section. Darbee has proposed that the state run the road higher up in the hills, where a natural bench could be used.
But Public Works Superintendent J. Burch McMorran is unmoved. Although McMorran promised to meet with Darbee and a local committee before deciding on final plans, he recently announced that the road and bridges would go in as proposed and that contracts would soon be let. He dismissed the bench route as "utterly impractical" and said a meeting was "pointless."
Darbee, local businessmen, Trout, Unlimited and others are preparing for battle. Among other things, Darbee plans to ask the Federal Government, which is supposed to foot half the bill for the road, to send in river-basin experts. "I feel angry because I don't think it's necessary to do business this way," he says. "And I feel depressed when I think of how we're being robbed of our streams by highwaymen. It may be easier to build this way, but it is very expensive for the American people."
ONE OF OUR PLANES IS MISSING
A young man named Jim Jacobs is a most remarkable athlete. Now 32, he set all sorts of track, basketball and football records as a high school boy in Los Angeles. He has won 16 national handball titles. He is also remarkably astute. Since the age of 14, he has been collecting fight films, and he now boasts the largest collection in the world: 13,000 films dating from the Corbett-Fitzsimmons melee in 1897. In recent years, Jacobs has turned his collection to business use. For instance, in association with The Big Fights, Inc., a company owned by Bill Cayton, a New York ad man, he co-produced a turn-of-the-century fight spectacular for CBS. Now Jacobs and Cayton have produced another fascinating program, The Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay Special, a preview of the February 25 bloodletting in Miami Beach, which they will show to TV officials this week.
The Liston-Clay special is interesting not only for what the contestants have to say about each other (Clay appears more outrageous than ever, even to the point of adding sound effects), but also for what is shown of them in fights past. Here, for example, is Clay getting off the floor to knock out his rival for a berth on the 1960 Olympic team. Here is Clay trouncing George Logan, a tough pro, in his first test, and here is Cassius beating Archie Moore. Pictures can be deceptive, but so can Clay. He is a clever boxer with, as Jacobs points out, 203 amateur fights behind him.