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Throwing Cold Water On A Winter Tradition



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Throwing Cold Water

On A Winter Tradition

To the Editor:

On Sunday, the Grinch closed Hawley Pond. Just after I had stepped onto the ice to find nearly 200 people enjoying a nice winter’s day, a friendly police officer arrived to evict all of us. Unbeknownst to me, and probably most citizens of Newtown, the adjacent cemetery association owns the Ram Pasture. Someone from the association had deemed the ice too thin, and had posted a hardly noticeable sign stating “No Skaters.” The collective judgment of the numerous skaters using the pond was apparently insufficient assurance for the association’s liability concerns. Skating on Hawley Pond is a Newtown tradition and one of the many things that give Newtown its Norman Rockwell-esqe charm (as the picture of the two young boys skating on Hawley Pond from last week’s Bee attests).

Arguably, the association’s decision to close Hawley Pond puts it at greater risk to be successfully sued. If a sign is posted to warn of dangerous conditions, skaters may assume the absence of a sign means the ice is safe. When a sign is absent and a skater falls through the ice, the skater will have a much stronger case for the association’s negligence. If the association chooses to permanently shut Hawley Pond to skating that is an unnecessary shame. People understand and assume the risk of skating on a frozen pond. If the association doesn’t want the liability, they should offer the Ram Pasture to the town at a nominal price.


Russell Anderson

91 Great Ring Road, Sandy Hook                            January 28, 2008

Comments are open. Be civil.

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