Newtown news of 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago, from the files of The Newtown Bee. ...Read Full Article
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May 22, 1992
On a clear day: Earlier this week, some people in town saw black smoke in the center of town, and wondered whether there was a fire. As it turned out, the smoke was coming from Fairfield Hills Hospital, which was switching over its boilers, as it has done twice a year for the past 40 years. An FHH spokesman said the black smoke resulted from carbon buildup; she said the Department of Environmental Protection monitored the process.
Western Substance Abuse Treatment Unit Director David May’s perfect record of no escapes since he took charge in February was broken late Tuesday night, May 19, when two inmates were found missing. Reportedly, Jaymes Fox, 27, of Bethany, and Scott Conkey, 26, of Washington D.C., were discovered missing at the 11 pm bed check. They were last seen at 9 pm. According to State Police Trooper Deilemans, the pairs’ method of escape is unknown. The last two escapes occurred February 21, the day after the former WSATU head, Richard Kociszewski, met with residents at Nunnawauk Meadows and just two minutes from the center of town.
Peggy Gross of the Newtown Historical Society is available in June at the Matthew Curtiss House to collect information regarding the inventory of Colonial homes in Newtown. Ms Gross has initiated the project of recording the inventory of Colonial homes for the Historical Society. The record will be for the homeowners and townspeople alike, she said. She will be available Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 21, from 2 to 5 pm. She is interested in speaking to people who own Newtown homes that date back to 1826 or earlier.
It was a case of making something good a whole lot better. By taking care of the repair, fitting and distribution of uniforms, fundraising, and handling travel arrangements, the NHS Band Parents organization has freed the band director to concentrate on teaching music. But the organization’s public relations work may have its greatest effect on the school’s music department in particular and education in general. The Band Parents organization, one of the strongest and most visible groups at the high school, started when a small group of parents offered to help make travel and housing arrangements for a trip to Newtown, Penn., in 1974. Bob and Pat Moser, who no longer live in Newtown, are credited with starting the group when they said, “If you need help, let us know,” according to Music Director Joe Grasso. Band parents have been helping ever since.
Batten down the hatches and bring in the reinforcements. The Foreign Soccer Legion is about to invade from points near (Connecticut), south (New Jersey, Long Island), north (upstate New York, Massachusetts ) and east (Rhode Island). There’ll be so many jerseys around this Saturday–Monday for the tenth annual kickoff (Youth Soccer) Tournament, that you’ll swear Newtown’s become a World Cup site. With a record 1,800 players 106 teams — 24 more than last year — you’ll see more shine guards than anywhere this side of the town Big Ben.
May 26, 1967
The mortal remains of Reverend James McCartan, St Rose Pastor from 1873 until his death in 1889, were gently lifted from the grave at the entrance of the church and reinterred in St Rose Cemetery in Sandy Hook on Monday morning. Removal of Father McCartan’s grave was a first step in plans for a new St Rose Church. Contrary to earlier reports that structural reinforcements of the 85-year-old wooden St Rose Church would make it safe for the congregation’s use, it has been determined that the old church must be demolished. According to Monsignor Walter Conroy, the selection of an architect and plans for a new church will be announced in the near future.
With the purchase of two acres of land down Route 34 at Checkerberry lane near the lower end of Chestnut Hill Road, the Sandy Hook Fire Company is on the way to establishing a substation, to extend services in the area. The land is completely paid for and Chief Herb Lewis says that the firemen plan to finance the proposed three-bay substation through their own and their friends’ efforts, without town funds. The land was formerly owned by Miss Ruth Craig.
HONOR WHERE DUE This is a “thank you” to an unknown young man, the driver of an elderly car, from Mr and Mrs Arthur Ransome of Sandy Hook. Last Sunday they heard the squeal of brakes. An elderly car backed up, a young man jumped out, disappearing from view, and returned and drove away. It was not until they found their American flag neatly rolled and standing in the corner of their garage that they pieced out what had happened. The flag, which the Ransomes customarily display from the picket fence by the road, must have blown out of its holder. Seeing it on the ground, the young man could not drive by without paying it the honor due. The Ransomes say thank you for the act, and the spirit behind it.
Memorial Day, 1967, finds fresh graves of American soldiers to be decorated. In warfare that is not a declared war, our men in uniform are giving their lives in Viet Nam for a cause which still beggars definition. And yet they die as gloriously and unselfishly as those who made the supreme sacrifice in any of the actual wars in which this country has been engaged. As if the threat of World War III in Viet Nam were not enough, the abrupt crisis which has developed between Israel and Egypt in the Middle East has alarmed the entire world. The need for international action is imperative, and especially so since the United States and the Soviet Union find themselves taking opposite sides in the dispute over free passage of ships through the Gulf of Aqaba. In a world so full of uncertainty, it is heartening to note that, on the local scene, a majority of towns in the area are making plans for parades and other appropriate patriotic observances of Memorial Day.
Newtown artists and sculptors will display their works to enhance the pleasure of theatergoers before and after performances and during intermission at the Town Players presentation of The Irregular Verb To Love, opening Friday, May 26. The Players are particularly glad to begin their season with several new members, both on stage and back stage, who have jumped right in, and in true Player custom, have done anything any time, and looked as though they liked it.
May 22, 1942
Prized Possessions! And a smile for everyone. These uncertain days in which we live have bright spots, in spite of themselves. A humorous touch often serves as nothing else can, to lighten the war clouds and bring a smile to otherwise gloomy countenances. On this account we think special mention is due a news item received this week from Mrs W.H. Worden of Sherman, who reports: Ernest Gustafson, five-year-old son of Mr and Mrs Verner Gustafson, is the proud owner of three kittens, which he prizes so highly that he named them Rubber Tire, Sugar, and Gasoline. Good for you Ernest! And may your kittens grow in size for all of us!
Having talked to the chairmen of several local rationing boards, it is quite obvious that these boards are administering their duties to the best of their abilities. They received certain rules and regulations which are to be followed in the rationing of gasoline, tires, and sugar, and they are following them. That should be understood by the average motorist, in particular, who is certainly very much out of order when he berates a board member or loses his temper when declined a concession of the rules in his own selfish case. The amount of gasoline in the country as a whole has nothing to do with it, and we commend the rationing boards for their patience they are showing in handling unreasonable requests.
Palestine district is the scene of a new industry, which to people of Newtown may seem sort of a Ripley believe-it-or-not story. Yet the fact remains that the Heise-Bourdon Tube Co., Inc., started operation on Monday morning under the direction of Otto Heise, on a small plant which has been built on his property. The firm has moved here from Bridgeport and is engaged in the manufacture of precision gauges. It is planned to increase production 100 percent, all work at present time for war orders. Thus, the war gets closer to Newtown, or Newtown closer to the war.
A statewide plan to dovetail farmers’ activities and veterinarians in the nation’s “Food for Freedom” campaign, and to furnish needed veterinary personnel for the armed forces, has been launched by the Connecticut Veterinary Preparedness Committee. The needs of each farming community in the state are being surveyed by the committee to make sure that there are adequate veterinary facilities to aid farmers in keeping down livestock disease losses.
First shopwalker: “Poor old Perkins has completely lost his hearing. I’m afraid he’ll lose his job.”
Second Shopwalker: “Nonsense. He’s to be transferred to the complaint department.”
May 25, 1917
All male persons (native or alien) between the ages of 21 and 30 (that means every one who has not attained his 31st birthday), must register on June 5, 1917, between 7 o’clock am and 9 o’clock pm at the town clerk’s office in the first voting district and at St Mary’s Hall in Sandy Hook, for the second district. Failure to register is punished by heavy penalty. Parents with sons living out of town will do well to notify such sons to procure a registration card and send same to town clerk. Understand every person above age must register, even cripples, insane, or sick.
The case of the state vs John Downs and Charles Pinder, charged with assault and breach of the peace upon Thomas Dring, March 29, came up before Justice P.H. McCarthy and a jury of six, last Saturday. The case attracted considerable attention, owing to the fact that Downs and Pinder first had Dring arrested, charged with assault upon them. In this case the jury disagreed, standing five for acquittal and one for conviction. The case grew out of an attempt on the parts of Downs and Pinder to dig fish bait on land claimed by Dring as belonging to him. The jury returned with a verdict of not guilty. Justice McCarthy called Dring before the Court and found him not guilty. This was done in accordance with the majority of the jury and to avoid the expense of another trial.
On Saturday in the market of Morris D. Beers will be offered veal, beef, lamb, pork and a general run of vegetables.
Dear Sir: Your most remarkable article in last week’s Bee in regard to my duties as committee to Lake George District has been called to my attention and I am at a great loss to understand why you have so bitterly attacked me publicly. I can think of two reasons: an utter ignorance on your part of the laws governing the committee’s duties, or second, willful and malicious intent to injure me. In charity to you I am disposed to believe the first and am sending you for your information section of the laws of Connecticut regarding schools. First, the law regarding the U.S. flag on the schoolhouse does not put one single particle of responsibility on the district or district committee, but on the selectmen of the town, and even fining them if they fail to act. Now, Mr Editor, do you not think you owe me an apology for having (not to say lied about me) but falsely accused me? I think you do and should publish the same in as prominent a place in your paper as you gave to the false accusation.
E.N. Sipperley, Sr., the artesian well man of Westport, has finished a well for the Taunton Farm House, and will put down wells for E.B. Camp and H.B. Coger.
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.