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The Way We Were, from the issue dated March 22, 2013

March 25, 1988

First Selectman Rod Mac Kenzie last week read a proclamation which proclaimed the week of March 13–20 as “Camp Fire Birthday Week,” in honor the organization’s 78th birthday. This youth group is dedicated to preserving the environment, applying democratic standards, and adapting to social change.

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It was a magical night indeed when the Harlem Magicians took over the NHS gym, spoofing their way through another of their popular quasi-basketball games to the delight of a full house. Although the score may not have been to the liking of the home team, the score at the box office was. Ticket sales netted about $600. 

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A fire possibly caused by an electrical malfunction, damaged a barn on Botsford Hill Road on the night of Monday, March 21. Steve Belair, chief of the United Fire Company of Botsford, said nobody was at home when the fire was reported by a neighbor. As the barn was burning, Sally Hastings quickly took several horses, being kept near the barn, to a safe place. The fire — partly due to all the heat and water — also destroyed quite a bit of old machinery and furniture in what was once the Newtown Cabinet Shop. 

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A jury has been selected and most of the pre-trial motions have been heard, as the trial of Richard Crafts moves toward hearing evidence on April 4 in the New London Superior Court. The case of Mr Crafts, 50, a pilot from Newtown, was moved to New London from Danbury due to the extensive publicity surrounding the case. Over the past two weeks in New London, a full 12-man jury and three alternates were picked from fewer than 60 individuals. Many of the jurors had not heard of the highly publicized case in which Mr Crafts is accused of murdering his missing wife, Helle, 39, a flight attendant, and disposing of the body with a woodchipper in November 1986.

 

March 29, 1963

At 9 o’clock last Sunday morning, a combined drill by Newtown Hook and Ladder Company and Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company took place behind the Hook and Ladder Fire House, with 35 firemen participating. Firemen utilized a residue from a chemical manufacturer to create intense burning fires, which simulate the types of fires created by many normal fuels and several of the fuels currently transported over our highways for aircraft and missal propellants. 

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The zoning map of the Town of Newtown has recently been redrawn and brought up to date. Since 1957-58, the original zoning map of the town has been reproduced from the original several times over. This new form utilizes a different style for identifying the various zoning districts throughout the town. By using a two-color identification system separating the roads and boundary lines from the area identifications themselves, the variously zoned areas now stand out in crisp detail. 

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L.E. Pelletier, chairman of the Newtown Board of Fire Commissioners, sought support for the program for modernization and improvement of the town’s firefighting facilities at the meeting of the Rotary Club at the Yankee Drover Inn, Monday evening.  Noting that “This is a most important period in the life of your fire protection service,” Mr Pelletier said there are two important factors to consider: What is best for all of Newtown, and What is best for the Fire Department as a whole? Mr Pelletier said the program has been projected for the present and for the next ten of 15 years. 

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The Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company has announced the recent purchase of a parcel of land behind the firehouse from Robert Benjamin. The land of a little more than an acre was secured to extend the present parking facilities and to create a drill area.

 

March 25, 1938

Linden Crouch had the good fortune to win the 25 chicks in the weight-guessing contest, held at R.H. Holcomb’s store last week. The total weight of the one-week-old chicks was 52 ounces. Crouch’s guess was 50 ounces. The 25 chicks were donated by the New England Hatchery. Linden is apparently is not such a bad guesser! 

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Ten health rules that any man over 40 might well observe have recently been compiled by the Health Officers Digest, Rockefeller Center, in New York City and are as follows: 1) Eat less meat and more vegetables. 2) Smoke a little less. 3) Take fewer highballs. 4) Cut down a little on your nights at the club with the boys. 5) Let your family doctor be your official worrier and visit him twice a year for a physical examination. 6) Cut down on those unimportant banquets. 7) Eat more meals at home. 8) Exercise a little more. 9) Use the automobile less and walk more. 10) Play more golf instead of going on those all-day fishing trips. 

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Five suit bridge is attracting more and more attention the country over, so that it will be of particular interest locally to know that the inventor of Castle Bridge is at presently a property owner in Newtown, expecting to build here soon. This distinction falls to Ammiel F. Decker, who with Mrs Decker, stared experimenting with five suit bridge back in 1933. Since then, Mr Decker has invented and copyrighted Castle Bridge, on which game a book has just been published. Mr and Mrs Decker, whose home is in Pelham, N.Y., own sightly property in Taunton District. Castle Bridge, copyrighted in 1934 by Ammiel F. Decker, will be published Tuesday by Parker Brothers. 

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Three armed bandits attempted a hold-up on Sunday evening on the Danbury-Newtown road in the Mt Pleasant section, when they forced the car driven by Ray Selvaggi of Dover street, Bridgeport, off the state road into a ditch. One of the men covered him with a gun while a second man searched him for money; unable to find any, the bandits let the air out of a rear tire and then slashed it with a knife and drove away toward Newtown.

 

March 28, 1913

The weekly prayer meeting of Taunton District is always full of interest and helpfulness to those attending and a cordial invitation is extended to all to attend. The meetings were started in the Taunton schoolhouse about 10 years ago by Miss May B. Lord, the well known evangelist. The average attendance for the last two years has been 18. 

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The bay window in Mrs John S. Peck’s residence at Obtuse is full of plants in full bloom, and is a beautiful sight and attracts the attention of passersby. 

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Miss Marion Snider, little daughter of Mr and Mrs LaFayette Snider of Obtuse had a narrow escape from being drowned, one day last week, while at school at the Lake George District school. She went to get a drink of water in a nearby spring and in some way lost her balance and fell head first into the spring and could not get herself out. Two of her schoolmates, Miss Helen Derling and Julia Jackson, who were nearby, saw her fall and ran to her rescue and pulled her head out of the water and got her safely on her feet again. She escaped with only a good wetting about the head and shoulders. 

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The appalling disaster by flood in the West has touched the hearts of all people. President Wilson has issued a nationwide appeal for assistance for the sufferers. Any local parties desiring to help can leave their contribution with the Newtown Savings Bank, which will be forwarded to the National Red Cross society.

Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook, with The Newtown Bee readers. Images can be e-mailed to Nancy@thebee.com, or bring photographs to the office at 5 Church Hill Road to be scanned. When submitting photographs, please identify as many people in photo as possible, the location, and an approximate date.

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