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The Way We Were

June 2, 1989

A Sandy Hook man was severely bludgeoned in his home early Tuesday morning, and has remained unconscious and in critical condition at Danbury Hospital since the attack. Police were called to the home of Salim Shaham, 33, who lives on the section of Route 34 east of Toddy Hill Road, Tuesday, by his wife, Naeemeh. Police said Mr Shaham had been struck several times in the head with a “chopping type instrument,” but they did not specify whether it was an ax or something else. Mr Shaham was critically wounded on December 30, 1987, when he was shot in the stomach with a shotgun. When police arrived at the scene that morning, Mr Shaham informed them that an unknown person had come into the house and shot him. But his wife later confessed to the crime shortly after, and was arrested. Lt Carney would not comment on whether she is suspected in the latest attack.

 

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Town officials this week authorized legal counsel to sue the state over its plans to build a 400-cell jail here, a process that could coincide with a ground-breaking slated for June 29. A unanimous selectmen’s vote and fractured council approval of 11-5 gave trial attorney John King of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy the go-ahead on the nondescript legal fight. Townspeople will not know the precise content of litigation until the town files sometime during the next month or two. “The inadequacies in the state’s environmental impact evaluation would definitely be part of any lawsuit,” Mr King said.

 

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Funspace Unlimited of Newtown (FUN) is relying on a giant volunteer force to build the new playground at Dickinson Park next Wednesday through Sunday, June 7–11. The five days of construction, which FUN calls Construction Week, will resemble an old-fashioned barn raising in scope and community cooperation. FUN raised over $60,000 to pay for the elaborate wooden playground, which was designed by Robert Leathers, an architect from Ithaca, N.Y.

 

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A 20x30-foot American flag was hung at half staff last Saturday to honor the nation’s war dead, and was put to full staff at 12 noon on Memorial Day. The large flag, which will flay all summer until Labor Day, is a Newtown tradition started last year. The new flag was put up by the flagpole caretaker Dave Lydem, with the assistance of Tim Gies, David Ober, and Mike McCarthy of Newtown Hook & Ladder. The flag was purchased with funds donated in memory of Lee Davenson, who passed away last year.

 

June 5, 1964

Charles E. Gehring, Jr has been appointed general chairman of the 1964 Progressive Festival by First Selectman Charles W. Terrell, Jr. It is now planned that this year’s festival will be held once again over the Labor Day week-end, September 5 to September 7. The general purpose of this year’s festival is to provide a week-end of entertainment at home for the entire family and keep Newtown residents off the busy highways over the long week-end.

 

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Patrolman H. Kenneth Couch, 67, New Milford’s veteran uniformed patrolman, lost his life Wednesday shortly after noon at the former Bleachery Dam in Lake Lillinonah. Patrolman Theodore Adams, driving the power boat that overturned, swam to shore. The patrolman said that he does not know how he did it. The two men were answering a call received at police headquarters that there might be a man and boy in the water.

 

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With the opening of the newest branch of the Graham Wagensell Travel service on Main Street, in the quarters previously occupied by Ed Pitzschler, Newtown residents now have the advantage of the services of a well established and experienced travel agency at their doorstep. William Fitzpatrick of Walnut Tree Hill Road, Newtown, has managed the Danbury office for eight years and will be in charge of the Newtown branch.

 

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Indications of the growth of the town are seen in the request in the 1964-65 town budget made by the Registrars of Voters and Town Clerk. The requests include $7,640 for six new voting machines. The town now has four 33-year-old machines considered obsolete. State law requires one voting machine for each 900 or fraction of registered voters. The machines to be purchased are the very latest type.

 

June 2, 1939

Numerous people from surrounding towns as far away as Norwalk, Waterbury and New Haven have stated their intentions of attending what promises to be one of the most outstanding musical events that has taken place in Newtown in many seasons. The occasion is the introduction of Wotan Zoellner, brilliant young American violinist to Connecticut music lovers at a special evening service, at Trinity church, this Sunday evening, June 4, at 8 o’clock. The Mobile Rotary Club, in 1922, recognizing his genius, sent him to New York, where he won the highest award given by the Julliard Foundation Scholarship for two succeeding years. The great talent shown in his youth has been more than fulfilled in his present work.

 

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Members of the choir of the Congregational church, as well as a number of church members, gathered last Thursday evening in the social rooms of the church to show their appreciation to H. Carlton Hubbell, who terminated his duties as organist at last Sunday morning’s service. Mr Hubbell has acted as organist at the church for twenty years, a term during the unusual length of which his music at the organ has been much enjoyed.

 

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One of the largest gatherings ever assembled in Newtown, approximately 2,500, grouped itself around the War Memorial Monument on Memorial Day to witness its formal dedication by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and to get a look at the visiting celebrities. With Milton Hull as master of ceremonies, the exercises were opened. At the close of this short address, Mr Hull introduced Mr and Mrs Valentin Parera and Mr and Mrs Frank Chapman, who so kindly consented to attend. Mrs Parera, together with Mr and Mrs Chapman, then led the assemblage in the singing of “America” Or, as it turned out, this famous trio (Gladys Swarthout and Grace Moore of the Metropolitan Opera Society with Frank Chapman of the Concert Stage) did all the singing, the crowd not having the desire to break in. The remainder of the program, including the principal speaker and the real dedication of the monument by the Veterans came as a bit of an anti-climax.

 

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A new development has been opened in town by Frank H. Strasburger on his property on lower Main street. The entire plot has been surveyed and has been cut into 26 lots. Two roads have already been cut through the property. One has been named Elizabeth street and runs from Main street to Queen street, the other street will be known as Meadow Lane and starts off Glover avenue and runs to the south end of the plot. The location is most desirable and it is expected that there will be considerable demand, with several houses to be erected in the near future.

June 5, 1914

A wedding of more than usual interest was solemnized at the Congregational church, Wednesday afternoon, at 5:30 o’clock. The happy couple was Miss Lillian Beers, daughter of Mr and Mrs George Beach Beers, and Herman Newell Tiemann, Jr, son of Mr and Mrs Herman N. Tiemann, Sr. A screen of laurel was placed across the front of the pulpit platform, brightened with beautiful bouquets of snow-balls, and a background of evergreen trees. The bridal party entered the church to the strains of the wedding march “Tannhauser” by Wagner, and as they left the church the notes of the wedding march by Mendelssohn pealed forth.

 

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The High School Committee have received from Gov Simeon E. Baldwin an acceptance of their invitation to him to give an address at the commencement exercises to be held Wednesday evening, June 17, at the Town hall. The committee and the members of the graduating class feel significantly honored, as this will be the first time a Governor has ever spoken in our Town hall.

 

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The silo attached to the barn on Archibold McArthur’s place in Palestine blew down in the young tornado which passed over Newtown, last Wednesday afternoon.

 

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Robert Bradley, the new postmaster at Newtown, entered upon his new duties, Monday. Mr Bradley is a son of Registrar of Voters T.F. Bradley, and has the distinction of being the youngest person who has ever served in Newtown in this office. Wilson M. Reynolds, the retiring postmaster, has served eight years and has made an excellent record for efficiency in his conduct of the public business.

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