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Midnight Ride: A Road to Ruin?

--The historians are coming, and the citizens of Concord, Mass., are up in arms along the road where Paul Revere was captured by British troops retreating from their first Revolutionary War battle with the Minutemen in 1775. History buffs who want to return 5 miles of Battle Road to Colonial appearance have support from retired House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Jr. and Thomas Boylston Adams, a descendant of the family that included revolutionary Samuel Adams and two presidents. A National Park Service plan to be publicized Friday calls for traffic to be rerouted and for pavement to be removed to leave a dirt road. Trees would be eliminated to restore pastures and colonists’ crumbled stone walls would be rebuilt. But the idea inspires no patriotic fervor in many residents along the road. More than 100 buildings have been razed since Minuteman National Historical Park was created in 1959, and leases on the several dozen still occupied specify state ownership after 25 years or when elderly owners die. Some fear that the road project would force them to leave land they have held for decades. “We’re history too,” said Kathleen Cook, whose farm was begun by her husband’s grandfather. Lou Snay, head chef at Willow Pond Kitchen--the only business still on the road--said: “I don’t consider this progress and most people here agree with me. You call turning a paved road into dirt progress?”

--New York City’s Sanitation Department has a message for motorists whose cars are blocking street sweepers. Mayor Edward I. Koch’s taped voice will blare from loudspeakers on the sweeper trucks: “The Sanitation Department has to clean this street. We can’t because of your illegally parked car. Please get it outta here.” Asked if he will actually ride any of the sweepers, Koch said “it hasn’t occurred to me, but maybe.”

--In a new book, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky recalls forcing KGB agents out of a building by threatening to call police. In excerpts in U.S. News & World Report he says that on Nov. 7, 1974, three agents followed him to work at the Institute for Oil and Gas, “but because no outsiders were allowed in our building, they had to remain in the car.” A building security guard told him the three were warming up in the lobby, but the KGB thought he was a prankster when he called to complain. So he instructed the guard to tell the men that their KGB boss did not want them there and that Sharansky would call police if they stayed. They went back to their car. “I always treasured that moment, that wonderful feeling of having the KGB obey me,” Sharansky says.


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