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Jan 20 1905
Seizes the Maddened Animal Just In Time to Save a Crowd of Tourists From Injury

In a desperate attempt to prevent a runaway horse from dashing Into a crowd of shoppers at Fourth and South Spring streets yesterday afternoon, Patrolman "Billy" Matuskiwiz, officer of the crossing at that corner, risked his life in bringing the crazed animal to a standstill.

The hour was shortly after midday and the street crossings were thronged with business men and women returning from lunch. Many shoppers were on the streets and a number of people were awaiting cars at Fourth and Spring streets. The horse, a powerful bay, attached to a light runabout, became frightened at a passing car at the corner of Seventh and Figueroa streets and ran away. The animal was not checked until it approached Fourth and Spring streets.

Officer Matuskiwiz was standing at the corner assisting pedestrians to dodge cars when he heard shouts of warning and saw the animal approaching. The officer stepped to the middle of the street and waited. When within a dozen yards of the officer the horse swerved and dashed straight toward a crowd of tourists, congregated in front of the Angelus hotel. As the officer leaped to catch the horse, he found that it had neither bridle nor halter and he was forced to throw his arms around the animal’s neck and choke it to submission. The officer was dragged half a block before bringing the horse to a standstill.

As Officer Matuskiwiz started to lead the animal away the tourists and pedestrians in front of the Angelus hotel, whose lives had been saved by the rescue, greeted Matuskiwiz with hearty applause.

The officer has the record among patrolmen for stopping runaways and during his service on the force has stopped more than twenty animals, without having sustained an injury.

The horse was the property of the National Ice company and was called for by its owner at the police station.

May 16 1910
In Seventeen Years’ Service William Matuskiwiz Has Made a Remarkable Record

Believes in Prison Reform and Declares for Humane Treatment of Criminals

Los Angeles has "a handsomest man" on its police force who in his seventeen years of service bears the enviable record of having saved a human life for every year of service. He is William Matuzkiwiz, who holds down a night beat on Spring and Main streets between Sixth and Seventh streets. Matuzkiwiz is a blunt, plain spoken man and a poor politician, he wears no seargeant’s stripes on his sleeve and despite the years of faithful service in the interest of the city he is still just a plain patrolman with no ax to grind in the politics of the police department.

This policeman, unlike many of his fellows, is in full sympathy with the prison reform movement. He believes that kind treatment of prisoners and a recognition of their rights bring the best results. Ten years ago he thought differently and was a firm believer in the iron hand for the man in the shadow of the law. The incident that changed his opinion is best told in his own words.

"I was taking Juan Silvos, a young Mexican charged with a heinous crime, to San Quentin. Silvos had ten years at hard labor staring him in the face. I kept him handcuffed to me on the train. At San Francisco we missed our boat by a margin of several minutes. It would be an hour before the next one would leave. My prisoner complained of being hungry, and somewhat in the fame frame of mind myself, we started across Market street in the direction of a little restaurant. Silvos was handcuffed and I held him by a small chain.

When we reached the center of the street I heard a woman’s piercing scream and looking back saw a little child some four or five years old toddling from its mother into the path of a runaway team. The horses were within several feet of the child. I forgot all about the prisoner in the child’s danger, and springing forward almost before I realized what I was doing, had snatched the little girl from under the horses’ feet. In the meantime the mother had fainted and in the excitement of the gathering crowd I ran to her side with her daughter and lifted the mother to her feet. The woman recovered and wanted to know who I was. Her question brought to my mind the fact that a ten-year prisoner was in my charge. Silvos in the meantime had had plenty of time to escape, but turning around I found him at my side quietly looking on. I asked him why he had not attempted to escape. He told me that I had thought of him when he was hungry.

Instead of taking him to San Quentin on the next boat I immediately took the handcuffs from his wrists and showed him the town. We took in everything that was doing, had several good dinners and caught the night boat to the prison. I told the warden of how he had acted and the chief promised to take his good behaviour into consideration.

Silvos was released less than a year and a half after he had been confined. I meet him on the streets occasionally and he is profuse in his thanks. That little experience changed my whole idea of criminology. From that time on I became a firm believer in giving the prisoners a show and treating them like human beings."

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The Seven Dials area first came into being when, in 1690, William III granted Thomas Neal freehold of the land (then known as "Marshland" or "Cock and Pye Fields" after a pub on the site). This kind of thing didn’t come cheap! Neale was required to purchase the remainder of the lease for £4000 and pay rent of £800 per annum additionally.

To cope with this financial burden he designed a street system based on a six-pointed star (the seventh was added later), which dramatically increased the amount of housing he could build and rent. At the centre of the star he had an enormous sundial erected.

However, over the next hundred years, the area declined in affluence – from the homes of well-to-do merchants and lawyers to one of the most notorious slums in London. In 1773 the sundial was demolished in an attempt to stop gatherings of ne’er do wells who, quite rightly, thought it was the best place in the area to meet. Further attempts to clear the slum came in 1889 when Shaftesbury Avenue was driven through the heart of the area.

At this point Covent Garden Market moved in and little changed for several decades until, in the early 70’s Covent Garden Market moved out. By 1974 Seven Dials was declared a conservation area and, since then, great and sympathetic efforts have been made to restore the area to its former glories.

Happily, that point has now been reached and Seven Dials is, once again, an oasis in the centre of London – packed with small, independent shops and leasing floor space to many small businesses. The curse of the conglomerate has been forcibly kept from the area.

In short, a real attempt has been made to preserve the village feel (you can tell by the well-tended window boxes alone) that characterised many of the London boroughs before the capital contrived to swallow them up.

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