“Carl Chipman” and the watermelons…


A little funny story, as told by a witness…

One late evening in the summer of 1978, riding home after a ball game in Rosendale, Rodney – one of the boys – told his friends, Jimmy Abbott and Vinny Nigro:

“Today at the Firehouse, I asked Jack Schoonmaker if I could buy a few watermelons from him. Jack said just go to the field and take them.”

Jimmy and Vinny knew that Rodney was a rookie firefighter volunteer, so the story sounded believable. Jimmy drove to the Schoonmaker’s field in Accord, where he and Rodney started loading watermelons…

Kenny Ballard, the owner of the nearby auto shop, saw movement in the fields and called Jack Schoonmaker. Jack and his sons arrived on the double and – at the end of shotguns – held the watermelons thieves for the State Troopers.

The troopers loaded Rodney and Vinny in their car, and asked Jimmy to follow in his car on the way to the barracks…

Rodney Arnold and Jimmy Abbott – being adults – ended up with police records.
Vinny Nigro, only 15 years old, got away as a juvenile.

From left to right: Rodney Arnold, Jimmy Abbott, Lil’ Cousin, Vinny Nigro.

Why is this story worth telling? Simple! Rodney Arnold eventually changed his name to Carl Chipman and grew up to serve 10 years as Town of Rochester Supervisor.

As we all know, character is built by lying to friends and stealing watermelons…

On March 7, 2017 Carl Chipman announced on his Facebook page:

“Effective yesterday I have changed my political party affiliation from the Republican Party to the Working Families Party. I believe the 2-party system has failed us and both the Republican and Democrat Parties kowtow to special interests which line their coffers with cash.”

May we ask what the hell was he doing three months later voting at the Rochester Republican Caucus on June 14, 2017?

– Jon Dogar-Marinesco

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