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The Way We Were

April 1, 1988

Newtown Police and several interested others engaged in an ostrich chase on Thursday morning. The initial call came over the police radio at 7:30 am: “Ostrich sighted on Dayton Street.” Several minutes later, commuters on Church Hill Road were startled out of their weekday morning routine by the sight of the powerful long-legged bird speeding through the center of town. In pursuit were a couple of young men. One of those young men, out of breath, was Terry Shortt, owner of the ostrich. The chase continued on foot and in vehicles to Edmond Road, where the ostrich followed the route of the railroad tracks, easily outdistancing its pursuers. Later, it was learned that the ostrich was hit by a car on I-84. According to a veterinary technician at Mt Pleasant Hospital for Animals, the ostrich was brought in, still alive but suffering from a ruptured lung. It died shortly afterwards. The ostrich was scared from Mr Shortt’s property by a person walking a dog.

 

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Richard Crafts has been held in jail for nearly 15 months, charged with the gruesome murder of his missing wife, Helle, a 39-year-old Danish citizen and the mother of three. His trial is finally set to begin on April 4, amidst new questions about the chronology of events, the key to the prosecution’s case against the 50-year-old Newtown resident. The state claims on November 18, 1986, Mr Crafts killed his wife and disposed of her body using a woodchipper hauled by a rented U-Haul truck in the early morning hours of November 19, along the shores of Lake Zoar in Southbury. In investigating this charge, The Bee has found witnesses and receipts that indicate that Mr Crafts did not have possession of the woodchipper or the rented U-Haul truck until November 19.

 

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Frank Bachman has never suffered from asthma, but he knows firsthand about the suffering the disease can cause. He watched his father suffer daily from asthma and die of complications. His sister, Judy, has a severe case. This summer, Mr Bachman will make a trip that few, if any, asthma sufferers could hope to complete: he’ll bicycle 3,425 mile across the country to benefit the American Lung Association. The seven-week-long TransAmerica Bike Trek will involve 300 cyclists from around the United States who will attempt to raise $2 million for ALA.

 

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Now that the School Site Selection Committee has targeted land in the southeast quadrant of town as best suited for a new elementary school, members plan to directly solicit property from landowners next week. The property in question borders Great Quarter, Great Ring and Toddy Hill roads, among others. The committee decided upon that area because a lot of residential subdivisions are coming in there, which should beef up enrollments. Also, there is no school in that area now.

 

April 5, 1963

The general population in Newtown is getting younger. This increased youthfulness is due both to an increase in the number of children relative to the number of adults and to an increase in the number of young couples moving to Newtown. This increase would imply that more people are moving to Newtown to raise families, rather than primarily for retirement.

 

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After inquiry from The Bee concerning the use and effectiveness of the measles vaccine, local doctors gave the following consensus. It is not something that should be given on a community wide basis, like the Polio or Diphtheria vaccines. The vaccine only offers an opportunity to get a mild form of measles at a convenient time. It should not be given unless some specific medical reason exists, before the age of one. Children between one and ten ordinarily have minimal complications with the disease and may be allowed to develop normal immunity.

 

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Starting this Thursday, Connecticut telephone users will be able to call anywhere in the 48 mainland states for $1 or less, plus 10 per cent tax, after 9 pm. Station-to-station rates for calls within Connecticut, which were reduced last year, remain unchanged. Present evening rates, ranging up to $1.75 for calls to the Pacific Coast, will still apply between 6 and 9 pm, weekdays, and Sundays until 9 pm.

 

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A small summer cottage, located in Pootatuck Park, Sandy Hook, was destroyed by fire Sunday night. The cottage was owned by John Kelleher of Bridgeport and was unoccupied at the time. The building was enveloped in flames when the firemen arrived and they concentrated on keeping the flames from spreading to woods that surrounded the cottage. Approximately 22 firemen were on the scene.

 

April 1, 1938

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” will be the feature attraction at the Edmond Theater on Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2. This picture is a triumph of marvelous entertainment and one of the finest things that has ever been done. In black and white it would be a great picture. In Technicolor, it is superb. Some of the shots are breathtakingly magnificent, especially those where Tom and Becky are lost in the cave. It is said to be the first time a cavern with its stalactites and stalagmites has been shown in natural color.

 

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Mrs H.M. Bowdoin of Dodgingtown and Mrs Morgan P. Brooks of Redding, returned last week on the steamship Queen Mary, from a trip to Europe. They were fortunate in leaving Vienna just one week before the recent trouble started there. While abroad, many lovely articles were purchased for the Little Gallery, which will open very soon for the season.

 

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The Newtown Orchestral Society ran into hard sledding last week. Nobody seemed able to negotiate the intricate measures of the Symphony and the conductor tore his hair and the music and air about him. It was one of those bad nights about midway to a concert. The omen is not an evil one, and it is being whispered about that some of the members are practicing harder this week.

 

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Bids have been called for by Robert A. Hurley, Commissioner of Public Works, for the construction of two buildings for the Fairfield State Hospital, one for continued treatment building for males and one for continued treatment of females. The estimated cost of theses buildings is in the neighborhood of $1,200,000, and will care for, when completed, about 850 additional patients.

 

April 4, 1913

H.I. Stevens of New York has bought the Bradley place in Hanover and will make extensive repairs and alterations upon it. This was recently occupied by Harry Peck and was formerly owned by H.N. Tiemann, Sr.

 

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George Mayers has sold his farm in Hattertown to Simon Liska of Elizabeth, N.J. Mr Liska surely has made a good purchase, and expects to move there in the near future. Papers were passed, this week, by which the residence of David C. Peck in Newtown Street became the property of Mrs Arabella Beers. This is the place formerly known as the Morgan property.

 

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At a regular meeting of the Sandy Hook band, Monday night, Arthur Beard, the leader, was presented with a $20 gold piece, as appreciation of his services, Charles G. Meeker making a felicitous speech of presentation. The band proposes to give a concert at the Town hall some time in May.

 

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At a meeting of the selectmen, Tuesday night, it was decided to divide the roads of the town into four sections and put a team on to each section steady. By this method they expect to get better results and work the roads more economically.

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