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The Way We Were

March 31, 1989

In recommending the town reorganize its Highway Department and revamp its system of taking care of town roads, a study of the department also suggests that Percy Ferris be replaced as the person in charge of the department. For the long term, the report recommends the town consider the creation of a public works department. The report states that the increased complexity of the department’s operations “will require a leadership capacity not matched by current management personnel.”

 

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The Stamford Superior Court judge assigned to preside over the second murder trial of Richard Crafts said this week that proceedings may begin on May 2. Richard Crafts, the 51-year-old airline pilot from Newtown who is accused of murdering his wife and disposing of her body using a wood-chipper, has remained in Jail on $750,000 bond since January of 1987, when he was arrested. His first trial ended in July in a mistrial when, after 15 weeks of testimony and 17 days of jury deliberations, one juror refused to continue. The defense is still contending that Mr Crafts cannot receive a fair trial anywhere in Connecticut.

 

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The Newtown Lions Club celebrated 40 years of service to the community with a dinner-dance and silent auction at Fireside Inn, March 25. There were 177 members and friends in attendance and dancing was to the music of the Berkshire Big Band. The Newtown Lions Club was chartered in January of 1949 by a group of community-minded men who saw the need for bettering the community and took action.

 

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About 75 friends crowded the Senior Center to line up and say goodbye to Audrey Gaffney at a party in her honor, March 26. Mrs Gaffney, coordinator of programs at the Senior Center and assistant to Marvi Fast, director, has decided to retire after 11½ years of service to the town. A resident of Newtown for 50 years, Mrs Gaffney is well-known for her volunteer efforts, but it was in tribute to her special, quiet way of helping out individuals in need that was especially recognized at the party.

 

April 3, 1964

Six hundred children and several hundred parents turned out at Dickinson Memorial Park last Saturday afternoon for the Jaycee Easter Egg Hunt. Well over a thousand assorted eggs and chocolate bunnies had been hidden in the picnic and tennis court areas in preparation, and shortly after 2 o’clock, the first of four groups was started. 240 bags of candy and 350 tickets to the Saturday, April 4 matinee at Edmond Town Hall were distributed.

 

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The Public Building Committee of the Town of Newtown at a meeting on Tuesday evening, March 31, awarded the contract to build the new school on Cold Spring Road to P. Francini and Company, Inc, of Derby, which made the low bid among nine sealed bids opened March 17 at Edmond Town Hall. The contract price is $614,550, which will include terrazzo floors in the new school in the Middle Gate District, in the southern part of Newtown.

 

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Fairfield Hills: Members of the Garden Club of Newtown recently conducted a workshop for patients at which artificial flowers were potted in containers. The gay and bright colored flower pots were then distributed throughout the hospital. The Thomaston-Plymouth Mental Health Committee sponsored a game night party for patients in the gymnasium of Plymouth Hall.

 

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It will be an evening of fun this Saturday night in the high school gymnasium, when a three-ring faculty-student production takes the floor to benefit the Newtown Scholarship Fund. The program will include volley ball, a faculty basketball game with the Bethel staff, and music by the Faculty Haymakers. The event marks the 27th year of scholarship activity by the Association, which last year awarded $3,900 to college-bound Newtown graduates.

 

 

March 31, 1939

A hearing was held in Hartford on Wednesday, before the Public Utilities Commission, on the application of the Danbury-Bridgeport Bus Company for discontinuance of their present motor coach operation between Newtown and Sandy Hook. During the hearing it was brought out that there was considerable interest in adequate bus service to Sandy Hook. H.D. Sperry of the bus company stated he did not know that there was so much community interest in the present service being offered, or the change would not have been requested. It was agreed by the bus company to continue the service to Sandy Hook.

 

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Plans are underway for the development of Taylor Field at the rear of the Hawley High school, for a general athletic field, through the efforts of John T. McCarthy of Main street. The sum of $9,770 is being secured through a WPA grant. The town’s share of expense in the project is estimated, will amount to about $1,500. The late Cornelius B. Taylor gave Taylor field to the town some years ago and while much of the field has been drained, the field has never been completed to the extent of practical use.

 

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On Tuesday evening of this week, prospective local baseball players and other persons interested in developing a baseball team in town met at the Edmond Town Hall and drew up plans for the coming season. Close to twenty were present and took part in the informal discussion. The fact the “Jack” McCarthy, former baseball star in Bridgeport and Newtown, will coach the boys in their endeavor towards better ball and sportsmanship, was met with much enthusiasm.

 

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Fire which was thought to have started from an overheated kitchen stove, completely destroyed on Saturday, the century old Colonial home of the estate of Lucerna McLaughlin located in the Hanover Springs district. Before the local firemen arrived with the fire apparatus, the flames had gained such headway that it was impossible to save the building. Part of the furniture on the first floor was saved, while everything on the second floor was completely destroyed. While running the pumper, the engine of the Hawleyville apparatus broke down and it was necessary to tow it to town for repairs. The loss of property is estimated at about $20,000.

 

April 3, 1914

Borden’s Bridgewater milk team has been using four horses to pull their heavy wagon of milk the past week. For several years this team has been a familiar sight to Newtowners and it will be missed by the people who have been awakened on cold winter mornings between five and six as it rumbled along the frozen ground, going north.

 

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The matter of electric lighting for the local residences, churches and places of business will soon be taken up by local citizens. It is the general opinion that light in the streets makes it safer for the public. It is the usual practice in the cities and towns where there are a number of shade trees to install what is known as the incandescent series tungsten system. The reason is because for the same expense as would be charged for an art lamp, four and five incandescent lamps can be installed. Incandescent lights can be spaced much closer together, thereby distributing the light. Arc lamps are usually higher and therefore, depending upon the closeness of shade trees, such trees would prevent the light from reaching distant points. The rates propose are one dollar a horsepower for month. If less than one horsepower, one dollar a month. There will be a minimum rate of $1 a month.

 

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The barn of Jesse A. James at Hawleyville was burned to the ground, Wednesday, about 8 pm. How the fire originated was a mystery, but it evidently started in the hay mow. Several carriages, harnesses, and garden tools were destroyed. Mr James’ automobile was in Washington in the paint shop, so it escaped destruction.

 

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A certain poultry fancier near the Street has a flock of 22 hens that laid during March 447 eggs, an average of 15–16 per day for the month, or 20 eggs for each hen. That’s picking some “hen fruit.”

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