Newtown news of 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago, from the files of The Newtown Bee....Read Full Article
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July 24, 1992
Local and state officials contained a fuel spill on Lake Zoar off Great Quarter Road in Newtown on Sunday afternoon, July 19. Authorities believe, but are not certain, the slick was cause by a person who pumped out the bilge on their boat. Although the spill had spread over a “good-sized area,” Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead says that the spill was breaking up when he was called to the scene shortly after 2 pm. “We could have boomed it off, but there was such a small area we did not feel it was necessary,” he said. According to the fire chief, his men used absorbent pads to pick up the spill for identification purposes. “It smelled like gas,” he said. At first officials had reportedly received information that a boat had sunk, so the Sandy Hook Fire Department Dive Team searched the area. Later, however, it was determined that the boat had been pulled from the water, and was being used the next day, so officials dismissed that idea that it had caused the spill. Subsequently, Chief Halstead found out that someone had pumped out the bilge on their boat. “That would have caused it,” he said.
Newtown has sent 60 raccoons to the state laboratory since January 1 to be tested for rabies. As of July 22, an estimated 33 raccoons have come back testing positive, while 18 came back negative, and 9 have yet to be confirmed. “The only ones tested are those that attack pets or people,” Newtown police spokesman Detective Harry Noroian said. Parents should have their children refrain from touching animals or bringing them home, he warned. On July 7, Newtown had its first rabid woodchuck. After attempting to attack a local man the woodchuck tried to attack Animal Control Officer George Mattegat. Needless to say Mr Mattegat destroyed the animal and had it sent to the state lab where it was confirmed to have the disease.
T-shirts relating to the town’s Labor Day Parade remain on sale at Booth Library, General Store, and Dr Gellert’s office. They were designed by Bruce Deegan, a Newtown illustrator and author. The cost is $7 for children’s shirts, and $9 for adults. Profits will benefit the parade planning committee.
Trumpeter Bucky Milam will join Music from the Heart in an evening of entertainment Saturday, July 25, from 9 to midnight, in the Lounge at the Fireside Inn on South Main Street in Newtown. The group’s featured vocalist is Al Grammatico. Ethal Kaufman is the pianist and Stan Schoonmaker will play percussion. They will perform popular 20th Century American song and dance music.
Dorothy St Pierre, of Chester N.Y., and Florence Denzel of Newtown, went for a balloon ride from Brookfield Center on July 18. They are the mothers of Blanche and Bob Denzel of Newtown, who gave them this Balloon Hollow trip. It was Florence’s 80 birthday present, and Dorothy went along for the ride.
July 28, 1967
Dr Thomas Draper, health officer, reports that water in the pond at Dickinson Memorial Park has been tested by the state and is safe for swimming. He wishes to reassure townspeople that a respiratory illness prevalent in town, accompanied by fever and headache, is not related to swimming at the park pond. This is a virus infection and unfortunately can be expected to continue for the next few weeks.
It has been a hot, humid summer so far, but thinking people know full well that the race riots breaking out in cities from coast to coast are not caused primarily by the weather. The widespread feeling of unrest, especially among the Negro population in our larger cities, is very difficult to pinpoint. In fact, no one seems able to define it accurately. Certainly equality does not exist on a practical day-to-day basis between Americans of light and dark complexions. The process of integration, despite far-reaching legislation and the efforts of very many people, cannot be accomplished as quickly as desired. There are innumerable obstacles in the path to harmony among races, which only persistent effort and the slow passage of time will accomplish.
A well is now being dug and land clearing operations are in full swing at the corner of Checkerberry Lane and Route 34 for the substation being planned for the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company. This building, 2½ bays large, will be operated by the company and is being built in part from funds just collected during the recent drive. Present plans call for the building to house one tanker with room for expansion as more equipment is acquired, and the storage of 1,000 gallons of water in the top of the structure, since hydrants are not available to the company the water will give the advantage of a fast refill in the time of an emergency.
“Sometimes, we have to work with only three pieces — the piano, the player, and the stool — but this is great,” remarked Don Rondo during his performance in Summer Spectacular last Thursday evening at the Edmond Town Hall. The greatness he was referring to was the 15-piece band behind him which was assembled and directed by Harry Wells. Before going on with the show, mention should be made for the reason for this event. It all came about through the town hall Board of Managers in an effort to bring good live entertainment to town and to fill some of the empty Thursday nights in the theatre during the summer.
Henry Schnakenberg was discharged firm Danbury Hospital on Monday, July 24, and is now recuperating at his Taunton Road home. Visitors are still limited but he enjoys talking with his friends on the phone.
July 24, 1942
Newtown’s younger generation showed some fine spirit on two occasions Sunday afternoon, and The Bee points to them with pride in our local boys. Older people in so many instances could use just such spirit — if they had it in like proportion. We refer specifically in the will-to-win which took the Sandy Hook baseball team through 17 innings of hard played ball before they finally lost the game, 2 to 1, to the Naugatuck Bluebirlds. Behind the first-rate pitching of George Wiemann, who worked the limit to fan 21 men, his mates forgot the excessive heat to support him to the best of their ability. To them we say no team ever need feel ashamed of losing a 17-inning ball game. And again, the town should feel pride in its Pine Tree Patrol of Boy Scouts who started, in Sunday’s broiling midafternoon sun, to pedal their way to Kent as the first lap of a two-weeks’ bicycle trip through New Hampshire.
Miss Juanita Smith reported a bit of alarming news to The Bee office on Tuesday morning, when she had found a half dozen Japanese beetles in her garden. However, it was very thoughtful of her to give this information to The Bee, so that others will be on the watch for these devastating insects, which it is hoped will not infest this area any more than the Japanese themselves will be permitted to infest the world
The local War Price and Rationing Board has received several hundred applications for supplemental gasoline rations and these are being acted upon as rapidly as the limited facilities permit. If you have filed an application, please do not call the office about it; you will be notified of the board’s actions as soon as possible. There seems to be a general ignorance of the new gas rationing operation especially in regard to the “preferred mileage.” If you drive over 470 miles a month in pursuit of your occupation, your work must come within one of the 14 categories listed on page 4 of the supplemental application. Anyone not falling within these categories may not receive more than 470 miles per month.
Twenty members of the Auxiliary Police Unit of the local Defense organization enjoyed an outing on Sunday at Hanover Springs. A grilled steak dinner was served at noon, and later in the day horse-shoe pitching, softball, and a shooting match were enjoyed. “Bud” Jacobsen and Fred Wetmore tied for first place in the shooting match. In the shoot-off, Mr Jacobsen won the prize, a carton of cigarettes, donated by Mr Henry Rogers.
Editor’s note: The Editor of The Bee, liking baseball, softball, golf, tennis, both as a form of personal exercise and most especially as an accepted means of excellent physical training and schooling in good sportsmanship for all who participate, realizes that with so many people he may be inconsistent in favoring them and at the same time disapproving Sunday movies in Newtown. But to him there is a big difference between amateur, even though played on Sunday, and a commercial moving picture enterprise conducted by and for the town of Newtown, especially when a majority of patrons come from out of town.
July 27, 1917
Lightning struck the town hall at Watertown Wednesday night during the electric storm, snapping off the flagpole, breaking the roof slate and some of the stonework. Many telephones were put out of service and the lighting system was demoralized for a time.
Considerable enthusiasm among the young men in our town has manifested in the last few days. Monday two auto loads left for New Haven to be examined — and the following were accepted: Ezra Wood, Howard Oviatt, Mills Couch, Joe D’Anna, Ray Kinney, W. Teaters. The above have enlisted in the Second Connecticut Infantry and are to appear Wednesday in New Haven and will leave in about a week’s time for South Carolina.
Those who have only a moderate amount of time at their disposal or take their vacation on the “day-at-a-time” plan, it is a foregone conclusion that a trip across the Sound on the Steamer Park City, on any week day or Sunday afternoon, is full of satisfaction. The sail is enjoyable and just long enough. The steamer leaves the wharf at the foot of Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport at 1:30 p.m. It takes just one hour and thirty minutes to cross the Sound each way. The time allowed at Port Jefferson is ample to view this old ship-building town
There is something repulsive and sad about a neglected cemetery or God’s Acre. The Bee is sorry to say that two of the worst examples of neglect and lack of care exist in Newtown, and both in Flat Swamp district. The two plots are a short distance from the schoolhouse. The westerly plot covers perhaps an acre and a half and occupies a sand knoll. According to historian, the late E.L. Johnson, this plot was given by Philo Toucey about the year 1800. Some of the plots have chain fences around them. One has wooden fence, which is rotted and lying on the ground. A large number of monuments have fallen form their bases and lie covered in weeds. The cemetery is hidden from the road by a great hedge of trees. After looking through this ground we unhitched our horse and started home, when it was our good fortune to meet with Mr. A.E. Bevans. Telling him of our errand, he asked the scribe if he had visited the far older cemetery just east. Tying our horse to the telephone pole, the editor accompanied Mr Bevens to the triangular plot. The entire plot was covered with hazelnut brush, and alders higher than one’s head. By looking through the brush we could locate some stones. With Mr Bevan’s assistance we secured the inscription on every monument located.
The Sandy Hook Band, which has been putting in hard work and is now in excellent shape, will give a concert under the direction of Mr Barrill on Friday night, August 3, on the square in Sandy Hook. A silver collection will be taken for the band training and The Bee expects it will be a generous one.
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.