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January 15, 1993
Last Saturday afternoon Barbara Kasbarian, Parks and Recreation Director, got a knock on her door. She opened it and found two firemen from Newtown Hook & Ladder standing there. “We just filled up the ice skating rink with water,” they said in good-deed voices. She looked at them in amazement. She hadn’t asked them to fill up anything. The firemen explained that a woman had called Hook & Ladder and requested that they top off the rink at Dickinson Park. Not only did the firemen add water, but they fixed a small leak too. “They did a good job,” Ms Kasbarian said. The rink is put up each year under the pavilion by the parks crew and usually is filled with a garden hose. The incident got Ms Kasbarian thinking of a phone call she got last week. An anonymous caller had complained that the ice in the rink was too bumpy. She suggested that to smooth it out Parks & Rec should buy a Zamboni. Ms Kasbarian said she did not think the Parks & Rec budget could handle such a purchase and that the Zamboni might be too big for the little rink. Ms Kasbarian is not sure the incidents are related, but she did find them humorous.
Two Southbury men are leading a new organization that seeks equal rights for divorced fathers in custody cases. The group, which is applying to the Secretary of the State’s office for nonprofit status, is named Fathers Protecting Children Inc. President Glenn Cooper and Vice President Edward Multari said that in seeking to end discrimination against fathers in such cases, their goal is not to help divorced fathers, but to protect children. The two men said there are good mothers and there are “unfit” mothers, just as there are good or unfit fathers. They believe that in custody cases, the rights of mothers and fathers should be considered equally. But they said their organization would emphasize the need for equal treatment in cases when children are not safe with unfit mothers.
At the town meeting Tuesday, January 19, voters will decide whether the town should accept 45 acres from the state Department of Public Works. Voters will also decide if the town should give this property to Newtown Housing for the Elderly, Inc. for its planned expansions of Nunnawauk Meadows, its apartment complex for persons who are elderly or who have physical handicaps.
Declines in school enrollment, common in recent years, have ceased. Ken Freeston, assistant superintendent of schools, predicted that by the year 2000 the high school population, now at 922, will increase by about 200 students. In that light, the school board has put in place a high school space needs study committee. Mr Freeston said he expects an increased enrollment in the elementary schools next year of about 50 students. By the year 2000, he said, the state has predicted an enrollment of 963 at the Middle School, up from the current 836.
from the CORNER BOOTH column: The lottery for “Two’s Company” went very well. Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations to those whose names were pulled. On Saturday, January 23, at 2 pm, Storyteller Joyce Rayno will be at the library doing a 45-minute program for children ages three and up. Joyce enjoys doing family programs, so parents are urged to attend with their children. The nursery school visit continues at the library. The four- and five-year-olds from the Newtown Congregational Cooperative Nursery School visited on Monday. On Thursday the three-year-olds from Trinity Day School will be here. January is proving to be a busy month at the library!
January 26, 1968
An investment group of New York business partners has jointly contracted to purchase Bickford Farms in Newtown, one of the largest contiguous pieces of land in Fairfield County. The property, owned by the family of Harold Bickford of Greenwich and New York for many years, consists of over 300 acres of land along Poverty Hollow Road in southern Newtown, adjoining the Redding town line. In addition to 320 acres, the property includes a traditional 16-room, early American farm house, four other homes, and a complete dairy farm complex. The Aspetuck River flows through the property.
A petition bearing more than 170 signatures was presented at the Board of Selectmen meeting January 23, asking a town meeting to discuss the use of town equipment to clear snow from private roads. The question had been debated with considerable heat at a January 9 selectmen’s meeting. In past years the town crew has cleared private roads after completing town roads, so emergency equipment could enter if needed. This year the selectmen approved a resolution saying that the town felt no responsibility for maintaining private property, including snow removal. First Selectman Francis J. Hiney had said, “We feel we are open to a taxpayers’ suit if we use town equipment on private roads.” The town would no longer do this except in cases of emergency. In answer to the petition, the town meeting has been called for Friday, February 2.
Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 has purchased from the town of Fairfield an American LaFrance aerial ladder truck, which consists of a 65-foot power-raised extension ladder, and 210 feet of ground ladders. This truck has a booster pump, with a 125-gallon water tank. The ladder is for use in all building fires in the Hook &v Ladder district, and for all other building-fires in town if requested by other companies. This unit will be picked up on January 27 by Chief Lee Glover, Engineer Lou Lewis, and a crew of company members. Hook & Ladder purchased this truck for the cost of $4,000, from funds contributed to the company from the people of Newtown.
The Battle of the Bands will take place this Saturday, January 27, beginning at 7 pm at the Congregational Church House. Junior PF members and invited guests will hear three groups, the Apricot Toothpicks, the Royal Citations, and Eight Miles High. Tickets at 50 cents may be obtained only through PF members.
SCHOOLBOY HURT: Last Tuesday afternoon at 3 pm John Liller and two schoolboy friends were walking west along Church Hill Road, when John allegedly darted into the path of a station wagon. He was taken to Danbury Hospital by Newtown Ambulance, where his condition Wednesday morning was listed as fair. His injuries included a compound fracture of the right leg above the knee. He expected to remain in the hospital for about two weeks.
January 22, 1943
The early part of this week brought one of Mother Nature’s best demonstrations of her own artistry. Every twig was coated with a thin layer of ice, which bent limbs nearly to the breaking point, until the temperature rose a bit and in the face of a slight breeze, the ice particles showered down like rain. We were spared a lot of damage to our trees, Mother Nature changing her mind just in time. She had, however, made the traveling precarious, both afoot and awheel. But at least for a while we lived in a world of crystal brightness.
During the past week five more users of fuel in Newtown have responded to the government order calling for the conversion to coal on the part of commercial establishments and public buildings. The savings in oil represented by the conversions is considerable. As further evidence of the tightening oil situation, the local War Price and Rationing Board has been instructed to call in the coupons of all commercial users who cannot convert for a further reduction of 25 per cent. Cards have been mailed to these users calling for the return of these coupons within five days.
John Murphy of Glen Road, Sandy Hook, who has been the patient at Danbury Hospital for the past ten weeks recovering from injuries sustained when hit by a falling tree while working in the woods, continues to show improvement.
Mr and Mrs Peter Brazee of Sandy Hook recently received word that their son Robert, who is a member of the Navy Seabees and stationed at an unknown location, has been promoted to a first class machinist.
A team of Old Timers is challenging the local Town Team in a basketball game at the Edmond Town Hall gym next Monday night. There will be a charge of 25c to all the players to cover the cost of the hall. Such famous players as Bill and Bob Leahy, Bob Gannon, Tom Biglin, Johnnie Ray, and several lesser lights as substitutes, who will play after the stars of yesterday have lost their second wind. The game starts at 8 o’clock. The Old Timers are asked not to come early for practice, as they will need all their energy to play their quarter of the game. Any spectators who may wander in are welcome without charge.
January 18, 1918
Many Newtown residents and many throughout The Bee’s territory will be interested in an account of the great fire at the Connecticut Hospital for the insane at Middletown, on Friday morning last. Four patients were burned to death in the fire which destroyed a 200 foot wing. The blaze started at 4:30 o’clock on the top floor, and its origin is a mystery. Some are inclined to blame faulty electrical wiring. In light of the fact that there have been several incendiary fires at the institution recently, the theory of incendiarism is held by many as plausible. As the wind in that section picked up, 400 women were ordered removed, while patients were also ordered out of the main cottage. The work of evacuation was facilitated by the fact that all are connected to the main dining hall by concrete bridges, so that it was unnecessary to go out of doors in order to leave the buildings. The patients in these buildings are only mildly insane and there was little disorder. The office and apartments are in the center, the north wing for female patients and the south wing for the males, to which the blaze was confined. Most of the patients slept in separate rooms, although each ward had a common dormitory where about a dozen patients slept. It was in one of these dormitories where bodies of two men were found in their beds, evidently overlooked in the earlier confusion. Both were burned to a crisp.
W. Coggswell, the hustling real estate man, left last week on the Colonial Express for Southland. He expects to be gone about two months and will not be back until the robins and blue birds can be heard. His destination is Bellview, Fla., where he has a cottage. Bellview is in a part of the country where they never have frost and where many Danbury and Bridgeport people have their winter homes. When he comes back he will have many a story to tell about Florida, as he is a great fisherman. The fish will have to look out for themselves.
Congressman Merritt, how about a post office building for Newtown? It is said that many towns throughout the South no larger than Newtown are provided with government buildings. Newtown is one of the best towns in the state and we should like to see Postmaster Bradley provided larger and more convenient quarters.
Edward Olmstead is driving a new horse, bought of Edward T. Andrews, mayor of North Newtown.
The first on a series of whists to benefit the Newtown Library will be held at the Library Hall, Saturday, January 19. Everyone is invited to attend and assist in making it a success. After the game there will be a five-cent auction.
Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook with readers. Images can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or brought to the office at 5 Church Hill Road to be scanned. When submitting photographs, please identify as many people as possible, the location, and the approximate date.
An old postcard titled “The Tunnel” shows a railroad track in Newtown slipping into a carved out area at the bottom of a hillside.