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The Way We Were, for the week ending September 22, 2017

Published: September 28, 2017

September 25, 1992

Officials are investigating a fire which caused more than $100,000 in damage, closed Newtown High School early, and canceled Parents’ Night on September 22. “The thing that’s really upsetting is kids were attending classes in the hallway at the time,” Newtown Police Sergeant Henry Stormer said. “With the fire’s toxic fumes and noxious gases, there was a high potential of injury.” Although no one was hurt by breathing the fumes, 17-year-old Peter Barresi, a Sandy Hook firefighter, suffered heat exhaustion. According to Sgt Stormer and Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead, the fire started in a plastic paper towel dispenser in the boys bathroom on the second floor. Fire melted the dispenser, causing it to fall off the wall and damage a heater. It also burned the walls and blackened mirrors and covered sinks and stalls with soot. The fire made its way through the school’s ventilation system and made its way to the auditorium, damaging the ceiling tiles.

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In light of Housatonic Railroad Company’s pending deal to purchase the Conrail line running through Newtown, Housatonic may fulfill plans to raise the railroad bridge over Church Hill Road. According to Vice President Peter Lynch, the railroad company expects the deal with Conrail to be consummated this fall and plans to fulfill Conrail’s agreement with DOT to raise the bridge. “We’ll do everything we can to work with the town and DOT to make this happen,” he said. An agreement to raise the bridge is a direct result of all the tractor trailers colliding with the low bridge.

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A plaster cast of a four-inch-wide paw print was made Sunday afternoon, September 20, at the Reeher residence off Sand Hill Road. The print was made by what John Reeher and his family believe to be an Eastern mountain lion. According to Mr Reeher, his 16-year-old son Ben heard it howling Thursday night, September 18, and discovered the prints the next day in a muddy creek near the foot of a rocky hillside behind their house. Being a knowledgeable hunter, Mr Reeher made casts of the prints before rain could wash them away. “I know the difference between a dog’s prints and a mountain lion’s. And that was no dog!” The startling news of a mountain lion in Sandy Hook came to light when Ernie Satmary Jr spotted and filmed what he believed to be the mountain lion Wednesday morning, March 25. Experts had mixed opinions, however, of whether the video showed a lion or a house cat. A second spotting occurred on the morning of July 18, when Mike Osborne of Zoar Road spotted a large cat-like animal on his family’s property and discovered it had killed a 100-pound ram.

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Gary Fetzer spoke with Bill Clinton during the Presidential candidate’s recent visit to Connecticut. Mr Fetzer is the Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 28th district, which includes Newtown. The two met in East Haven and briefly discussed solutions to the health care crisis.

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On Monday night we succumbed to the sheer force of hype and turned on the television to watch Murphy Brown. It was only the second time we had seen an episode. Dan Quayle’s entanglement with this fictional character has become one of the more bizarre aspects of this year’s presidential campaign. He had criticized her for being a poor role model in choosing to raise a child in what would be a fatherless family. Murphy Brown, a fictional television character totally dependent on peculiar exigencies of the fall programming schedule of CBS, couldn’t respond until this week. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t as funny as we wanted it to be, and Murphy’s long-awaited reply to Quayle lacked the political resonance we craved, like so much else associated with this year’s Presidential campaign.

 

October 6, 1967

On Saturday, October 21, Newtown Cub Scout Pack 70 and their fathers will hold the annual scrap drive, collecting newspapers, magazines, and returnable bottles. Collections will be made within the Hawley School district. Other residents are encouraged to bring their donations to the rear parking lot of the Edmond Town Hall. Anyone with loads of 500 pounds or more, may have them picked up by truck by calling Mr Whippie or Mr Colby.

***

About 75 persons attended a 3½-hour Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Wednesday, and all but a handful were concerned solely with Newtown Water Company’s proposed 80-foot water storage tank on Brushy Hill Road. While there was some comment favoring improvement in water service in the town, notably from the south center district industry representatives, the overwhelming sentiment was strong opposition to erecting a tank. Substantial opposition came from Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Arthur Spector, who went on record for the board opposing the tower. The board does not oppose buried tanks with pumping stations, both silent and screened, he said. “If the Newtown Water Company cannot afford to install this type of facility, they should sell the company,” he said.

***

Much of the groundwork for the addition to the Hook and Ladder Fire House has been accomplished over the last few weeks as the result of work programs held by the company. Heavy equipment owned and operated by Richard Liska has enabled the crew to put in a drive, which will be used for access to the lower bays, and the installation of 70 feet of drain tile. Many trees have also been cleared, making room for the dogwood, which is already there and for additional trees which will be set out. At present, the company is awaiting construction bids and plans call for the completion of the building’s lower half before winter. This part can then be used for equipment and storage, with the top bays to be finished in the spring.

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The Evening Guild of St John’s Episcopal Church, Sandy Hook, will have another rummage, white elephant and food sale in the undercroft on Saturday, October 7, from 9 am to 1 pm. So many boxes of merchandise came in too late to be unpacked at last week’s sale, the ladies decided to have another sale this Saturday. There will again be homemade bread, cakes and pies, first come, first served.

***

Michael Hoffman, a junior at Newtown High School, has been selected as a member of the 1968 National Association of Student Councils European Tour for International Understanding. The tentative itinerary states that the group will fly by chartered jet from Washington D.C. to London on July 9, 1968. The return trip will be made from Amsterdam to New York on August 24. Mike is currently vice president of the high school Student Council and along with several other students attended a Leadership Training Workshop this past summer.

 

October 2, 1942

Sunday’s heavy rain storm, in addition to disrupting a good many telephones, and scattering leaves and branches in profusion, was responsible for the postponement of the finals in the Honegger Cup tennis tournament, which were scheduled for Sunday afternoon on the court of H.C. Honegger of Walnut Tree Hill. Finals were then set for the following Sunday afternoon, October 4, but word has come that T.H. Milner will be unable to play that day, so the match is postponed again to another date.

***

Time passes swiftly, so much so that October 1, 1942, marks the fiftieth anniversary of Arthur J. Smith’s association with The Bee. Because of this long period of newspaper publishing, The Bee, with help of its many friends and advertisers, has prepared this special issue as tribute to Mr Smith’s long years in newspaper work. Founded and first published on June 28, 1877, with John Pearce of Bethel as the first editor, The Bee was purchased by Reuben H. Smith in April 1881, who conducted it until October 1892. Controlling interest in the Bee Publishing Company property and business was then sold by Reuben Smith to his brothers Allison P. Smith and Arthur J. Smith. The paper was first published in the room over Daniel Camp’s Plumbing shop, which stood at the rear of the present Atchison block on Main Street. When the Smith brothers took control, the paper was printed in the old post office building, which stood on the site of the present Edmond Town Hall. Henry Smith entered the business in 1898.

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I wish to convey my appreciation and good wishes to Gov Hurley, Mayor McLeavy, and all other good wishers and subscribers and advertisers, for their generous support during the 50 years that I have been associated with The Newtown Bee. It has been a pleasure to have been connected for so long and I hope that our pleasant relationship can continue.   —ARTHUR JUDD SMITH, President.

***

GEMS OF THOUGHT What men want is not talent: it is purpose; in other words, not the power to achieve, but the will to labor. —Bulwer-Lytton. When a young man vainly boasted, “I am wise, for I have conversed with many wise men,” Epictetus made answer, “And I with many rich men, but I am not rich.” The richest blessings are obtained by labor. —Mary Baker Eddy.

***

Due to the resignation of Mrs Helen Stagg McKin as captain if the newly organized Motor Corps in Newtown, Miss Sarah Farrell was appointed as her successor and Miss Harriet Rice as adjutant. A lieutenant will be appointed from the ranks. The first official meeting is scheduled for October 7, at Lovell’s Garage.

 

September 28, 1917

On Saturday afternoon two Botsford boys, Sammie Block and Paul Morrow Jr, developed a new kind of juvenile rascality. Stationing themselves behind a billboard, they began stoning automobiles. One of the stones struck Mrs Dusing and injured her severely. She was riding in the car of J.J. Jorgenson. They also hit Mrs E.W. Dunning of Bridgeport, who was injured on the wrist and face. She was taken to the office of Dr Edwards M. Smith. Writs have been very properly issued for the young scamps and they will tell their story on Friday before Justice McCarthy.

***

The mysterious auto, owned by A.E. Clark, which had been in the custody of “Jack” O’Neil for two weeks, was taken back to Danbury by its owner Saturday night. Mr Clark was very grateful to Mr O’Neil, as there were no charges made.

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Benjamin Maynard is out with a new Ford touring car, bought through the hustling Ford man, James B. Nichols.

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George Conger has received a photograph of his brother, William Conger in uniform, who is now a member of the national army at Camp Devens, Ayer, Mass.

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James S. Hawley, son of Homer A. Hawley, is now in France engaged in railroad work somewhere near the front. He is first lieutenant of the 14 regiment of engineers, New York, and was one of the 5,000 soldiers who marched through the streets of London.

Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook with readers. Images can be e-mailed to kendra@thebee.com, 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.

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