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The Way We Were

July 7, 1989

A week before building begins, Newtown has filed suit against the state in an effort to delay construction of a $52 million jail here, and plans another in hopes of forcing the state to relocate. A state official overseeing plans for the 400-cell jail said Thursday, however, that the town’s lawsuit is based on incomplete and incorrect information. A successful lawsuit may delay work at the site anywhere from 60 days to six months or a year. 

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The Emergency E-911 issue remains a controversy as town officials chose their own interpretations of a clause in the state statutes. Members of the police commission voted on what they believed was best for the town — a two dispatch system in Town Hall South. “It’s the position of this board that we stand with the fire board for the two dispatch system,” Police Chief Michael DeJoseph said. Chief DeJoseph said that the single dispatch center allows for non-criminal justice system employees to have access to criminal records; it is an administrative nightmare; and it was rejected by residents in a Town meeting. However, the First Selectman Rod Mac Kenzie and Legislative Council members and Ambulance Corps Volunteer Alice Ramsey maintain that their boards favor the single center option because it could handle calls simultaneously, there would be better coordination between the dispatchers, and it would be cost effective. If Newtown does not take action by a certain date on the E-911 center, “then the state will put it where they want,” Selectman Michael Snyder said.

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George Mattegat, dog warden, warned residents Wednesday, that he is cracking down on infractions regarding dog laws. Mr Mattegat is issuing $40 fines to an owner whose dog does not have a license, whose dog is found roaming, barking for more than a few minutes at a time, or hit on the road. 

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In the first year of Newtown’s switch from Senior League to Babe Ruth League, the town set up a post season tournament with the Brookfield organization. Matt Daly and his dancing knuckleball were the stars of the show in the first game of the Newtown/Brookfield tournament, which was played on Friday night, June 30. “This kid’s incredible,” was one of many comments coming from the Brookfield side of the field and referring to pitcher Matt Daly. On the night, Daly whiffed 12 Brookfield hitters with his killer knuckle ball, while allowing only two base hits.

 

July 10, 1964

Robert E. Ehrhardt of Southbury will retire as treasurer of the Fabric Fire Hose Company on July 15, after completing 50 years with the firm. Mr Ehrhardt commented that, in looking back over the years with Fabric Fire Hose Company, he can find only happy ones. 

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The Newtown Board of Education, with all members present, handled a variety of matters Tuesday evening. There was a discussion of the Newtown High School dropout rate and some possible steps to improve the situation. The board approved minutes of previous meetings, and accepted a long list of reports: cafeterias, budget balances, paid bills, transportation costs, health department, high school librarian, guidance department, enrollment, attendance, and the CABE annual convention to be held September 17 and 18. 

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On Tuesday evening, fire destroyed a boathouse on the property of Mrs George A. McLachlan Sr on The Boulevard. The blaze in the 12 by 12 foot structure by the swimming ponds was discovered about seven o’clock. At this time the fire had gained so much headway that the roof was in danger of collapsing. No definite cause has been established, though there were a number of possibilities. The Newtown Hook and Ladder Company responded with 20 firemen. 

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Newtown shoppers now have a new major appliance store on their doorstep. Mel Hart Appliances, long located in Bridgeport, has opened a branch fully stocked with “Name” brands at 127 South Main Street, Route 25. The new store will have available the same fleet of fully-equipped service trucks and factory-trained service people.

 

July 7, 1939

The automobile of Dr John J. George of Sandy Hook, which was parked in front of his residence, was struck by an automobile operated by William Krohne of New Rochelle, N.Y., about 4 o’clock Sunday morning. After hitting the car, the driver left it almost in the middle of the street and continued on his way. Dr George was later notified by a passerby that his machine was in danger of causing an accident. He immediately removed his car, and later drove into Sandy Hook where he found Krohne’s damaged machine in the yard of Richard Brophy. Both the driver of the machine and the passengers had been considerably shaken up, and it was necessary for Dr George to give Mr Krohne medical treatment before he could return to his home in New Rochelle. 

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H.G. Warner has installed at his store in Sandy Hook a new show case, for the display of meats and everything that goes with the meat business. This makes a great improvement at Mr Warner’s store and he is to be complimented. He has also installed a new three-inch maple cutting block, which goes with the new show case very nicely. Mr Clark, head of the meat department, may well feel proud of the new appointments. 

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Last Friday afternoon, a visit was made at the offices of the State Highway Department in Hartford, to confer with them on the matter of staking out the proposed sidewalk between Newtown’s Main street and the center of Sandy Hook. This work the Highway Department had previously agreed to do, at no charge to the town, thus indicating by stakes along the side of the road and on blueprints just where the Highway Department would recommend that the proposed walk be laid. As a result of Friday’s visit, the officials at Hartford agreed to proceed with the work during the week of July 10. It is expected the matter will be presented to the townspeople for action. 

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Negotiations are now being contemplated by officials to bring together the Newtown A.C. and the Country Club in a softball game at the close of the A.C.’s regular season of hard ball. It is rumored that Captain “Pete” Lawson of the Club team thinks his charges can take the measure of the young hard ball artists, provided they can be persuaded to tackle the old men at their “soft” game.

 

July 10, 1914

There was a fine display of fireworks on the grounds of Dr and Mrs C.H. Peck on the night of the Fourth, to which their neighbors were courteously invited. They also served ice cream and cake. 

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That the patriotic spirit is not dormant in Newtown was shown at the fine turnout at the flag-raising, Fourth of July morning, in Newtown Street, about 250 people being present. The exercises took place at 9 o’clock in the square near the new flag pole erected under the auspices of the Men’s Club. The occasion was enlivened by the presence of the Sandy Hook Band. 

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A bunch of well-meaning Newtown and Sandy Hook young men, in an effort to work off their patriotic feelings committed what seems to many a grave act of vandalism in breaking a window, forcing a door and entering Trinity church to ring the bell on the evening of the Fourth. The Congregational church society’s committee did not wish the church entered without authority, as they had just expended several thousands of dollars in redecorating and recarpeting, and they did not wish a crowd of midnight prowlers to throw matches about and leave cigarette and cigar stubs, as in years gone by. P.H. Gannon was put in charge. When the young men charged on the rear door, Mr Gannon promptly told them what the consequences would be. John W. Ray was placed in charge at Trinity. When the crowd began to try to force an entrance, Mr Ray called for help. Seeing he could not stand against them, he discreetly withdrew. The invaders used language in the church that is unprintable.

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Corbett & Crowe have bought of Birdsey Parson, the business block they occupy at Sandy Hook, for their drug store and grocery business. This block was built by Levi C. Morris, an uncle of the Newtown merchant of the same name, about 1864. He was associated with George A. Beers and carried on merchandizing under the firm name of Morris & Beers.

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