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Way We Were

Way We Were, for the week ending February 8, 2019



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February 11, 1994

THE PRESS IS ROLLING AT NEW PRINTING FACILITY: Every detail had been planned for months, and with due credit to everyone involved, the Newtown Bee’s printing press and binding/mailing equipment moved on schedule last Wednesday, February 2, from 5 Church Hill Road to a recently constructed building at 17 Commerce Road. Everything was up and running by Monday morning, February 7. Antiques and The Arts Weekly, which is printed the first two days of every week, rolled off the Goss Community press and went through the binding and mailing process. And this issue of The Newtown Bee is the first of many that will be printed there for years to come.


First Selectman Robert Cascella has proclaimed Saturday, March 5, “Read-In Day” at the Cyrenius H. Booth Library. Librarian Janet Woycik in cooperation with Literacy Volunteers Darlene Jackson and Ellen Parrella is planning a celebration of the joy of reading. The public is invited. This year’s theme is “A Community of Readers,” and will feature the first selectman together with other prominent citizens of the community in a new play written for the occasion. Authors will read from their books and literacy volunteers, their students, and many librarians will read beloved stories to the children and their parents. The event is one of the major fundraisers for Literacy Volunteers of America. Four other area towns (Danbury, Ridgefield, Redding, and New Milford) will be holding Read-Ins at their libraries on the same day. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for one of the upcoming training workshops to learn how to become either a basic reading instructor or an English-as-a-second-language tutor.


Fire raged through the Route 172 building that housed the South Britain Post Office late on the night of February 3, destroying the old wood frame structure. Besides Southbury firefighters who responded to the blaze just before midnight, firefighters from Newtown, Woodbury, and Roxbury helped quell the flames in subfreezing temperatures. Icing conditions hampered firefighters as they worked to extinguish the smoky fire. The compact building, which also housed a consignment shop known as The Exchange, was totally destroyed and later condemned to demolition. Workers on February 4 removed mail deposit boxes stationed outside the former post office. South Britain and Purchase section residents will be picking up their mail at the main Southbury post office on Main Street South until further notice. Firefighters’ efforts to protect the building’s contents resulted in virtually all mail there being saved.


State police report an untimely death at Garner Correctional Institution. State police said inmate William A. Smith, 51, was discovered in his cell unconscious at about 9:30 pm on February 1. Prison medical staff treated Mr Smith, state police said. He later was transported to Danbury Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Mr Smith suffered an apparent heart attack. Foul play is not suspected, state police said.


Town Tree Warden John S. Mead has determined which trees to be cut down to allow the widening of Dug Hill Road for a residential development. Mr Mead made the determination after a February 5 public hearing held at Dug Hill Road, near Brushy Hill Road. About a half dozen Dug Hill Road residents attended, he said. Mr Mead estimated that 30-40 trees would need to be removed from either side of Dug Hill to make way for road improvements. The trees to be cut are mature and mostly ash and maple with some wild cherry and hickory. Mr Mead had initially tagged about 80 trees for removal. Review of the site resulted in the number being reduced. Mr Mead also decided that the weeping flowering cherry in front of Rachel Miller’s house can be removed if the developers are willing to replace it with two young weeping flowering cherry trees and plant them away from the road on Mrs Miller’s property. If the developers are unwilling to do this, the tree must remain in place and the developers’ planned road improvements must be altered accordingly, Mr Mead said.

February 14, 1969

Snow was the big news in Newtown and the rest of New England over last weekend when a northeaster with winds up to 50 miles per hour dumped 18 inches of the white stuff over the area in a period of 24 hours. In some areas of the state, unofficial snowfall estimates ranged as high as 35 inches. Driven by howling winds on Monday after the snowfall had stopped, drifts built from four to ten feet, refilling roads already plowed and packing blowing snow into areas road crews had not been able to reach. Town road crews, under the direction of First Selectman Timothy Treadwell, worked around the clock beginning at 3:30 Sunday morning, continuing throughout the storm and all day and night Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Newtown, along with neighboring towns, found that existing equipment was just not rugged enough to deal with the heavy snow, packed by gale force winds into high drifts. All available equipment, public and private, was pressed into service and by late Wednesday afternoon town roads were 90 percent open.


COMPLIMENT: “Your news rates are more than fair; the ad was good; your paper is superb — no other complaints.” These words from a Trumbull advertiser set us to thinking how rarely one bothers to say a good word when there are “no complaints” regarding goods or services. The Bee is deeply grateful for such plaudits and strives constantly to merit the deep down “no complaints” satisfaction of readers and advertisers alike.


Klaus Obendorf, Newtown’s American Field Service student, delighted the Laurel Homemakers at its regular monthly meeting Thursday, February 6, with his observations of life in Newtown, compared to his hometown in Germany. His thoughtful comments, sparked with humor, covered the area of parent-child and teacher-student relationships, as well as education, economics, politics, and life in general. He showed slides of his home and family, the small town in which he lives, and the city where he goes to school. Many husbands and guests of club members also enjoyed the program and talking with this remarkable young man. Klaus’ appearance was arranged through the courtesy of Mr and Mrs Robert Helsel, co-president of the Newtown Chapter AFS.


FAIRFIELD HILLS: One of the highly anticipated patient activities is the mid-winter annual dance for which the patients make preparations weeks in advance. This year, the dance theme was “Winter Carnival” and was held in Bridgeport Hall this week. Decorations of snowflakes, huge snowballs and snowmen, all made by members of the patients’ art classes, decorated the hall. As has become the custom, a king and queen and members of their court WEre chosen by popular vote during the evening. Highlight of the dance is the crowning of the royal couple during an appropriate ceremony. Dancing was to the music of Johnnie Wanzer and his orchestra of Danbury who performed through the cooperation of the American Federation of Musicians Local 87.


Mrs Henry Johnson of Alpine Drive, Sandy Hook, called The Bee Thursday morning. She had been ill and had no heat in the house, for the big gas truck couldn’t get up the road without sand. A call to First Selectman Timothy Treadwell brought a sander within 15 minutes. She had high praise for the job he and the road crews have been doing throughout the town, not only for her. “In an emergency, everybody turns out,” she said, “instead of crabbing.”

February 18, 1944

A delightful afternoon was enjoyed by some sixty townswomen who attended the Dessert Bridge Party, sponsored by the Women’s Federation of the Congregational church, which was held at the home of Mrs Frederic H. Duncombe on Monday afternoon. The affair proved to be a decided success, with more than $50 realized. Prizes were awarded at each of the 15 tables in play and later in the afternoon dainty refreshments were served the guests by Mrs Walter Reynolds and her committee.


LANE FAMILY HAS FATHER AND FOUR SONS IN SERVICE: During the showing of the moving picture Corvette K225, which was featured at Edmond Town Hall over the weekend, friends were surprised and pleased to see Richard C. Lane, stoker 1/c, a local lad, in several scenes. He is the son of Sgt and Mrs Richard E. Lane of Sandy Hook, and is now stationed at Calgary, Alberta, Canada with the Canadian Royal Navy. There are four Lane sons in service, three are in the United States forces, and one with the Canadian Navy. Their father, Sgt Richard E. Lane, who served in World War I, is also in the Canadian service, stationed at the headquarters of Cameron Highlanders at Ottawa, Canada. Richard’s three brothers in service are Pvt Wallace E. Lane of the Army; Donald Lane, having recently completed his boot training at the Naval Training Station, Sampson, N.Y.; and Stuart Lane, who is assigned to the Naval Hospital at Bethesda Maryland.


“Breads and Desserts” will be the title of each of three demonstrations offered in Fairfield County by Miss Pauline Girard, of the Wheat Flour Institute, February 23-25 inclusive. Desserts are often a problem, especially during the days of rationed fats and sugar. Sweet breads take a minimum of both yet satisfy the desire for a sweet. The demonstrations have been arranged by the Fairfield County Farm Bureau in cooperation with three lighting companies who have been most generous in allowing the use of their demonstration kitchens and auditoriums. The schedule has been so arranged that it is hoped that every woman in the county who is interested can attend without too much travel. Plan now to attend one of these meetings and take home some new ideas for your family. Wednesday, February 23, Connecticut Light and Power, Wall Street, Norwalk. Thursday, February 24, Danbury Bethel Gas & Electric, Main Street, Danbury. Friday, February 25, Bridgeport Gas Light Company, Main Street, Bridgeport.


Robert Hilston of Lower Main Street remains in critical condition and on the danger list at St Vincent’s Hospital, where he was admitted Tuesday morning following an automobile accident on Reservoir Avenue in Bridgeport. Elliot B. Katz, also of Lower Main Street, Newtown, driver of the car, stated that his auto skidded when he struck a rise in the road and he lost control of the machine. Mr Katz escaped injury.


Firemen were called to the residence of Ellis Bates on the Stevenson Road on Saturday, to battle a blaze caused by the explosion of an oil burner. Mr Bates, who was doing some repair work on his house at the time, rushed to the kitchen following the explosion, and in an attempt to extinguish the fire which was spreading rapidly, was burned about the face and hands. When local firemen arrived, the house was a mass of complete flames and the building and most of the contents are a complete loss. Among the local responding firemen were Seaman 1-c Albert Knapp, chief of the local department who is on furlough from the Navy; assistant chief George Trull; chief engineer Basil Bartram, and assistant engineer Al Boyson.

February 14, 1919

Microfilm for the January 17 through April 18, 1919 issues of The Newtown Bee are not available. It is unclear why New England Micrographics, Inc in 2000 was not able to produce film for these dates. Based on the poor quality of the early January issues, the film for which reveals torn and damaged originals, the newspapers for these dates may have been destroyed.

Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook with The Newtown Bee 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.

A March 30, 1979, Newtown Bee photo headed “Marathoners,” shows Valerie McCann and Jay Mattegat, both of Newtown, among the many young people participating in the Newtown High School Key Club dance marathon to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. The two are practicing disco steps outlined by instructor Shirley Lake, according to the photo caption. —photo courtesy Jay Mattegat
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