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The Way We Were

December 16, 1988

Flurries were predicted. But by the time Tuesday’s snowstorm ended, there were eight inches of snow. Although there were no major problems reported during the storm, numerous minor accidents occurred in the afternoon and evening. Tuesday’s snowstorm canceled school on Wednesday, and that meant the sledding season was open for youngsters.

 

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Donald Studley, president of the Heritage Preservation Trust, encouraged about 40 residents at a December 8 town meeting to transfer ownership of the former Newtown Congregational Church to the town, and lease it to the trust. The trust will manage the building and bring it up to state codes. Mr Studley said the church will be used mainly for meetings of diverse groups, and that steady use by any interested religious group will be considered.

 

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Arguments to drop murder charges against Richard Crafts will begin next week in Superior Court, after the judge granted defense attorneys a one week continuance on December 12. Mr Crafts, the 51-year-old Newtown resident appeared in court for the brief session. The former Eastern Airlines pilot was arrested in January for the murder of this missing wife, Helle. After nearly four months of testimony and jury deliberations, the first trial ended in  a mistrial in July when one juror refused to continue deliberations. The most significant piece of evidence expected next week is the results of a poll conducted by the University of Connecticut’s Institute of Social Inquiry. The poll is expected to be used by the defense to show that state residents know so much about the case that Mr Crafts would be unable to get a fair trial anywhere in the state. Mr Crafts has been held on $750,000 bond since his arrest.

 

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James Benson is the sixth town employee to resign a key post in the past nine months, and the first to attribute some of his reasons for leaving to differences with the administration. “I don’t think this administration’s environmental concerns and mine are the same,” said the conservation director. He characterized the conflicts as “philosophical,” involving a difference in priorities. “That’s news to me,” First Selectman Rod Mac Kenzie said of Mr Benson’s dissatisfaction. Mr Benson worked under the administration of former First Selectman Jack Rosenthal for 8½ years, and under Mr Mac Kenzie’s administration for one year.

 

December 20, 1963

The children of members of the Newtown Country Club enjoyed a visit from Santa Claus last Sunday afternoon at the clubhouse. Santa arrived by plane, buzzing the ninth green several times before appearing in person. During his stay, he talked with all the youngsters, giving each a present, and promising a return visit next year if all turned in good behavior records.

 

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By Christmas morning the rush is over — except at telephone offices. There, full forces of operators will spend Christmas Day helping connect customers’ calls to points all over the world. Miss Caroline A. Seifert, chief operator for the Southern New England Telephone Company, says, “From our experience on previous Christmases it’s possible not everyone will get his call through to its destination on Christmas Day. But many more could, if they would plan their calls ahead. If you can, it will help to make your calls to distant points before Christmas.”

 

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Albert H. Nichols, postmaster at Newtown, said Thursday morning he felt the local post office had passed the peak of outgoing mail on Monday, which was the heaviest day to that date. The postmaster arranged for extra express trips, both outgoing and incoming, to prevent mail delays.

 

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Among others from the area attending the official opening of Interstate 84 on Tuesday, December 17, was Joseph L. Bennitt of Hanover Road, Newtown. Before his retirement in July of this year, Mr Bennitt was project engineer in full and responsible charge of the entire Interstate 84 from Newtown to Southington.

December 16, 1938

H.G. Warner, Sandy Hook merchant, has purchased from the Danbury Commercial Refrigerator Sales and Service Company, a new refrigerator and ammonia unit. The new refrigerator is twice the size of the old one and is very nice, with a separate compartment for butter and milk.

 

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The Hutchinson Estate in Taunton district entered its handsome German Shepherd dog, “Cornerstone Viking,” in the Bronx County Kennel Club shoe in New York on Sunday, December 11, and won a blue ribbon, competing against a large field of dogs. This ribbon was particularly pleasing to Roy Everett, superintendent of the Hutchinson Estate, who has been showing the dog with increasing success in every show. He has great confidence in “Bingo,” as he calls the dog.

 

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A handsome Christmas tree has been placed on the lawn in front of the Edmond Town Hall by Manager Arthur J. Smith, Jr. The tree is nicely decorated with colored bulbs and during the holiday season will be lighted every evening.

 

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The Young People’s Club will go on their 10th annual trip to Francestown, N.H., early Tuesday morning, December 27. Great sorrow is felt because the Bixby Inn has gone out of business and will no longer serve as headquarters. However, the people of the town have made arrangements to have the young people stay at the Congregational parsonage and eat their meals at the Town Hall. During the day, the time will be spent out in the open, having the noon day spent either on some mountain side or in Mr Cullens’ camp.

 

December 19, 1913

Recently a man representing himself as an agent for McCall’s Magazine canvassed Newtown and vicinity for subscriptions, claiming to give two years subscriptions for the price of one. The magazine have failed to come and parties interested have written to the publishers who say “We are led to believe that you have paid your money to a fraudulent agent, because we have no agent authorized to offer our magazine on terms quoted to you. This magazine cannot be sold for less than 50 cents a year.” The magazine also offers to give a free subscription for a year to those who were fooled.

 

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Contractor Thomas F. Brew has been newly roofing the Houlihan house, now owned by the New York & New Haven road. He erected yesterday a new platform on the creamery building of the Borden’s Condensed Milk Co, at the Newtown station.

 

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In Justice McCarthy’s court, Tuesday, John Craplicher, aged 18 years; Cerial Repka, aged 16; Michael Maskell, aged 16; Reginald Woodhead, aged 17; and Thomas Dillon, all of Shelton, were fined $30 and costs for riding railroad trains, and invading railroad property. It appears that a group of these boys took a hand-car, ran down to Monroe station, where they broke into another section house and took torpedoes. Then they proceeded on their wild ride towards Shelton. They finally stopped and rolled the hand-car into the ditch. Railroad detectives are making a general raid on the train riders throughout the country.

 

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James Lynch, a boy employed by Contractor Kellogg on the work near the depot, was knocked down by an automobile. He went under the machine and was dragged some distance. It was regarded as a miracle that he escaped unhurt.

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