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The Way We Were, for the week ending December 8, 2017

Published: December 7, 2017

The Newtown Bee

December 11, 1992

At least three prison guards were hurt, with two of them receiving hospital treatment, after a fight Tuesday night between prisoners and guards at Garner Correctional Institution. Spokesman for the state Department of Corrections Bill Wheeler said on Thursday that at about 9:25 pm on Tuesday one inmate attacked a guard with a broom handle in the “B Unit” housing area. Another guard stepped in to break up the attack, but not before three other inmates had joined the fight, he said. The four inmates involved in the fracas were sent to isolation cells in Garner’s prisoner segregation. Prison guards Mark Kennedy and Lance Morris were taken by ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury for treatment, after which they were released. Mr Kennedy received bruises on his back and shoulders and Mr Morris received a broken left hand and cuts to his head and nose.

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After running into opposition from the Board of Selectmen on December 7, resident Wendy Beres has dropped her plans to establish a citizen’s advisory board for the state’s corrections facilities in town. Selectmen told Ms Beres they were not interested in participating in planned meetings of her proposed board, as she had invited them to do. First Selectman Zita McMahon implied that in addition to the selectmen not participating in these meetings, she also would not let town officials participate. Mrs McNahon told Ms Beres that although she could “invite” the police chief and other officials, that “As the CEO…” “You can invite him not to go,” interjected Ms Beres. “Yes,” said Mrs McMahon. She said that if residents have a problem with a corrections facility in town, they can speak out at selectmen’s meetings, or contact her, or Selectman Gary Fetzer, or Selectman Michael Snyder, or the police commission, or other town boards.

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NONSENSE FROM A SOAPBOX: This country prides itself on giving everyone a soapbox from which to make a fool of himself. Inherent in the right of free speech, however, is the right of listeners to walk away, to turn their attention elsewhere, and to let bad ideas die of neglect. Unfortunately, some of the fools on soapboxes are part of our government, and their effect on our lives doesn’t end when we tune out their nonsense. We are thinking specifically of US Agricultural Secretary Edward Madigan who in demonstrating his commitment to saving $90 million through closing offices of his Department’s Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, singled out the Fairfield County ASCS in Bethel from all such offices in the land as the only office he could personally guarantee would be closed. Obviously, Secretary Madigan had read the Wall Street Journal headline about one Fairfield County project: “Your Tax Dollars Help The Horsey Set Dispose of Manure.” The implication, of course, was that the project subsidized wealthy equestrians. In fact, the project was designed to keep pollution out of Long Island Sound. The Secretary neglected to mention that the benefits of the relatively inexpensive $3,500 project at Ox Ridge Hunt Club in Darien did not accrue to the “horsey set” but to the public and to countless businesses that rely on The Sound as an environmental and economic resource. Connecticut’s 4,000 farms provide fresh produce, and also critical tracts of open space. Agricultural activities account for 14,000 jobs and $638 million in sales.

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From “Over The Back Fence” by Jean Loveland: The past week produced a flurry of activity when a brief snowstorm “frosted” the trees and countryside. Shoppers caught the Christmas spirit and hurried out to do errands as time permitted. Christmas fairs, bazaars and sales did a brisk business. Ginni Garis and I went to Monroe where the Historical Society had its boutique in the old 1790s schoolhouse. I got some baked goods for the freezer and visited with the workers. We then went up to the green and stopped at the Congregational Church fair. It was nice to meet up with some long-time friends and other shoppers. Ginni and I ended up at the new indoor flea market in Woodbury late that afternoon.

December 22, 1967

The Board of Finance held two meetings in one, last Monday, when it unanimously adopted a previously prepared resolution recommending the sum of $995,000 for building and equipping an addition to Newtown High School on Queen Street in just five minutes. The meeting adjourned at 8:05 pm. A second meeting immediately convened to discuss other matters, primarily the printing of the annual town report. After some general comment about the cost exceeding the sum appropriated for this purpose, it was resolved to appoint W.W. Holcombe and Dr Frederick Bird as a committee to obtain additional bids for printing and to consider the possibility of further editing the material to reduce the number of pages.

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In a report from Mr Claus, received at The Bee, he said how very glad he was to see all the young Newtowners and that he would have answered each letter if only he’d had the address. For all who forgot to sign a complete name and address, here is a real letter from Santa Claus: To all my dear friends: I surely appreciate your sweet letters. You know there are millions of nice children all over the World and my helpers and I try to visit them all. Sometimes we can’t quite make it, but we do our very best. Lots of my little friends are hungry or cold or without enough clothes so I try to make them as comfortable and warm as you are. So — maybe I can’t bring you everything or exactly what you want. But I know you’ll love whatever I leave for you. Have the happiest Christmas ever and I’ll see you next year — if you stay good!!!! Ho Ho Ho!! Santa, North Pole, Christmas, 1967.

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NEWTOWN RESIDENT WINS 3-WEEK TRIP TO EUROPE: Richard A. Hirst of Sycamore Drive, Newtown, representative for Miller Printing Machinery Company, Pittsburg, Pa., has been judged winner in a national sales contest involving the sale of their M.A.N. line of German off-set printing presses during 1967. The prize is a three-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Europe for Mr Hirst and his wife Ruth. They plan to visit Maschinenfabrik, Augsburg–Nurnberg, manufacturer of their presses, as well as other points of interest in Germany and adjacent countries.

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COMMITTEES WORKING ON FOOD AND FINANCING: The Holiday Ball, that annual gala for the younger set, will take place this year on Friday, December 29, from 8 pm till midnight, in the Knights of Columbus Hall, Route 7. Ed Kane’s orchestra will play danceable music and the food promises to be delicious. Committees are busy planning for this event. The refreshments committee met last Friday night at the home of Mrs Archie La Forte to set the holiday menu of comestibles.

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Pfc Paul G Kershaw, 18, son of Mr and Mrs John W. Kershaw, 12 Lincoln Road, re-enlisted for four years in the regular Army on December 6 while serving with the 10 Aviation Group, Ft Benning, Ga. The private is a flight operations clerk with the group’s 132d Aviation Company. Home on 30-day leave, Pvt Kershaw will return to Ft Benning.

December 18, 1942

SCHOOLS OUT AT 2 O’CLOCK; BUS TRANSPORTATION PROVIDED: A free motion picture program, including Dickens’s Christmas Carol has been arranged by the Newtown Chamber of Commerce for all of the school children of the town, together with their younger brothers and sisters, and parents if they wish to attend. It will be held on Tuesday afternoon, December 22, at the Edmond Town Hall theater at 2:30 o’clock. Following the picture program, which will last about one hour, refreshments will be served in the gymnasium. This Christmas event for the younger folks of the town is being arranged by the Chamber in place of the annual Christmas banquet, it seeming to the members to be a much more suitable type of activity under the existing war conditions. The Board of Education has generously arranged that school sessions in all four schools will close at 2 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, allowing plenty of time to get to the theater.

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As the season of Christmas draws nigh, The Bee takes pride in printing in the issue just before Christmas that famous bit of newspaper writing: the reply which Francis Pharcellus gave to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, printed in the New York Sun in 1879, in answer to her query “Is There A Santa Claus?” Dear Editor, I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no SANTA CLAUS. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me, is there a SANTA CLAUS.” Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge. Yes Virginia, there is a SANTA CLAUS. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists, and you know that they give your life the highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no SANTA CLAUS! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

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Mrs J. B. Werner is a patient at the Danbury hospital, where she is undergoing treatment for a fractured arm, sustained when she fell Sunday morning on the slippery road near the residence of William Strong on Main Street. She was taken to Danbury hospital on Monday in the Newtown ambulance.

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Members of the Pohtatuck Grange will hold their annual Christmas party in the gymnasium of Edmond town hall Tuesday, December 22. The lecturer has arranged an interesting program, appropriate for the season, and it is planned to have a guest speaker. Each member is requested to bring a gift for the grab bag. Following the meeting, refreshments will be served by the Home Economics committee.

The fourth in a series of turkey shoots will take place on Sunday afternoon, December 20, at 2 o’clock, on the  grounds of The Pines Inn, Botsford. Besides the usual turkeys offered as prizes, the committee in charge is to have a mystery shoot. The prize will be an exceptional one, and the winner will be made known immediately following the shoot.

December 14, 1917

GOOD WORK OF HARRY GARDER: Harry Garder kindly offered his services in the interest of the YMCA funds to be raised in this town, and collected solely from our Jewish people $17 — certainly a fine offering. The money was given to attorney A.J. Hull, who had charge of the YMCA collections in Monroe.

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Judge William C. Johnson, H.C. Coburn and Ely Greenblatt were in New York, Saturday evening, and were among the speakers at the annual convention of the Jewish Farmer’s association. Some 1,500 men and women were present.

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WEATHER IN FRANCE IS WRETCHED: Tidings From John J. Duffy, a brother of Mrs D.W. Parker of the Newtown Inn. “Somewhere in France,” Nov. 17, 1917. Dear Sir: Just a few lines to let you know that I arrived all right and am getting along good. We had a fine trip over here and arrived in good health; could tell you lots of interesting news about it, but are not allowed to give any military information. The weather here is wretched. It is raining the greater part of the time and the boys are bothered by colds a good deal. I miss my American tobacco as you can’t get any here.

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Due to the weather last Sunday, there was a very small attendance at Sunday school. Therefore, the school children are asked to meet Miss Scudder at the church, Saturday, at 2:30 pm, to plan the Christmas entertainment and receive their parts in it. The entertainment will be December 23. The offering will be for the starving orphans of America and Syria.

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Mayor Charles G .Peck will leave early in January for a two-month stay in balmy Florida.

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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