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The Way We Were

July 8, 1988

A fire of unknown origin on the night of July 5 destroyed the office building of the Charles Batchelder company. The company had initiated bankruptcy proceedings in April 1987, several months after it ceased all operations. Firefighters responded from all five fire companies in town; in addition, the Stevenson and Monroe companies sent tankers, and the Bethel company was on standby. Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to the plant, where the company smelted aluminum for many years. The fires was reported by Joseph Cavanaugh, a deputy fire marshal who, with Botsford fireman Steve Tozser, was driving on High Bridge Road when Mr Tozser notice smoke coming from the Batchelder site, located on Swamp Road.

 

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In the past week brush fires burned nearly out of control in several areas of the state, and on Wednesday local firefighter found out how difficult it is to put out such fires after one flared up off New Lebbon Road due to a downed power line. The driest conditions in Connecticut since the early 1900s caused Gov William O’Neill to issue an open-air fire ban this week. So until the drought eases, we remind adults and youngsters to be especially careful in the use of fire and to keep an eye open for smoke in our woodlands and meadows.

 

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Responding to concerns of Alberts Hill Road citizens, the Police Commission voted Tuesday to recommend that the town take action to curb a problem with teenagers parking on the road, creating noise, and polluting the area. The police said the problem could be solved in a number of ways, including placing large boulders on the wide sections or extending an already existing guardrail to the problem section, so that at least one lane where cars park would be blocked off.

 

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Seven Newtown police officers have received letters of commendation from Police Chief Michael DeJoseph for their apprehension in May of a fugitive from California who had kidnapped his daughter and brought her to her brother’s house in Newtown. The letters were sent to Lt Michael Fekete, Lt Owen Carney, Sgt Robert Tvardzik, Sgt Jack Qubick, Det Harry Noroian, and Officers Michael Kehoe and Lance Carlson.

 

July 12, 1963

James F. Hinckley, Newtown’s superintendent of schools since July 1, 1959, has resigned this post, effective as of June 30, 1984, and this surprise announcement was made by the Board of Education following an executive session in the high school this Tuesday. Members of the board and Mr Hinckley have declined to make any further statements at this time on this important matter.

 

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The bell in the one-room school in Taunton District rang forth for four minutes at two o’clock on the Fourth of July, as so many bells did throughout the country in the movement of bell-ringing which spread across the whole nation as a salute to Independence Day and American freedom. Ralph Knibloe, who now owns the Taunton schoolhouse and keeps it as a symbol of the town’s early educational system, rang the bell.

 

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Dr John Cassity, president of Little league, is issuing a call to all parents and townspeople to be at the Little League field Saturday morning at 10 am with large garden and carpentry tools to help prepare the field for the opening game of district play next Thursday. Lunch will be served to all workers.

 

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Considerable progress is being made in the construction of the new club house of the Newtown Country Club. This new Newtown Country Club facility will be modern in every detail. Food service will include anything from a snack to a complete dinner. The main floor lounge will adjoin the main dining room. The second floor will be devoted to locker rooms and shower rooms for men and women. An enclosed porch will run the entire length of the building.

 

July 8, 1938

Arthur Carmody, Sandy Hook’s popular postmaster, recently completed the installation of new mail boxes at the post office in Sandy Hook. The new boxes are all equipped with keys and are much larger than the old boxes, affording greater convenience to the patrons.

The inhabitants of Sandy Hook are now in the process of organizing a Volunteer Fire Department and at a meeting held Tuesday evening, Hiram Hanlon was named temporary chief; Birdsey Parsons, first assistant chief, and Doctor M.D. Corrigan, secretary. The barn at the rear of Doctor Corrigan’s residence is being renovated and will be used as the headquarters for this newly formed department.

 

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A handsome electric clock has been donated to the Newtown Country Club by Mrs Bentley in memory of her husband, William B. Bentley, and has been placed on the mantel over the fireplace. The clock is appropriately engraved and serves not only as a most useful and ornamental addition to the club’s furnishings, but also as a fitting reminder of one of the club’s most loyal and enthusiastic member.

 

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Lieutenant Leo Carroll and Officer Harry Tucker of the Ridgefield Barracks, assisted by Constables Stanton and Blake, are continuing their investigation into the death of John Doktor, employed as a farm hand at the farm of Mrs John Stillman in Hawleyville. Doktor was found in the yard shortly after 10 o’clock on Wednesday morning of last week in an unconscious condition . He was taken to the Danbury hospital where he died. Dr Frank H. Moore of Bethel said that death was due to a fracture of the skull. Just how Doktor received this fracture is unknown.

 

July 11, 1913

B.A. Farnham, New Haven, was a caller at the Bee office. Mr Farnham was returning from a trip to Fishkill Village, N.Y., on a searching trip for a pair of mules, which were stolen by one Ralph Bennig, a Polish citizen. Bennig took the mules last Monday, passing through Sandy Hook Monday afternoon. B.A Farnham, with a detective, started after him Tuesday. Wednesday night they gave up the chase and returned to New Haven. Thursday morning Mr Farnham started out in his auto, following the trail of the man to Fishkill Village, where he was arrested. Bennig had been in the employ of Farnham and had lately been driving this team. The mules were attached to a heavy farm wagon.

 

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Everett H. Marcy, who bought the George Reid place, the past spring, was the victim of a frightful accident, Tuesday, having one leg partly cut off by a mowing machine. Mr Morey was holding the limb of a tree up in an orchard so that Mr Liebold could drive under it with the machine and stepped forward, one leg coming in reach of the swiftly moving machine knives. It appears that one of the bones in the leg was cut. Mr Marcy is well known in Newtown. He has served as one of the stewards of the Sandy Hook Methodist church. Some years ago, he was the victim of another accident, by which he last a part of one hand.

 

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Owing to the critical illness of Mrs J.H. Blackman and of one other lady near the center of Sandy Hook, Dr Kiernan requested the church bells be kept from ringing on the night before the Fourth. E.J. Hall took upon himself the task of seeing the Methodist bell was not run, and to his credit, he succeeded, although the church was surrounded by some young men who fired revolvers and guns, and threw stones and the church and behaved in an unseemly and disgraceful manner. Threats being made that the bell would be rung the following night brought the protection of the High Sheriff. We are sorry enough that the young men interested have no higher motives in life.

 

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The M. Steinert & Sons Co., New England’s greatest piano house, is to have an exhibition and sale of pianos and player pianos beginning Monday, July 14, at the Grand Central Hotel, Newtown. Having instruments of such character brought to our door is quite an innovation and should prove of interest to people who are contemplating purchasing.

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