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The Way We Were, for the week ending December 22, 2017

Published: December 22, 2017 at 12:00 am

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Printed on the back of this undated photo are the words "Ashlar," and "Community Players." Clearly a holiday presentation - any thoughts on who and when?
Printed on the back of this undated photo are the words "Ashlar," and "Community Players." Clearly a holiday presentation - any thoughts on who and when?

December 25, 1992


A student charged with setting a fire that damaged Newtown High School in September will be making $10,000 in restitution to the school system in the form of work and monetary payments, according to his lawyer. Attorney Richard Arconti said this week his client's third degree arson case in Danbury Superior Court has concluded. His client received youthful offender status, Mr Arconti said. In youthful offender cases, legal proceedings are closed to the public, and the disposition is sealed. In such cases, the person charged, in effect, has no criminal record stemming from the court's action. School officials said Mr Arconti's client would not be allowed to complete his high school education unless he provided $10,000 to the school system in the form of work or payment. The $10,000 is the deductible amount on the school's fire insurance policy. Officials estimate the blaze resulted in $100,000 in damages and clean up and repair costs.


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The railroad bridge on Buttonball Road was reopened to traffic on December 18, according to Public Works Director Fred Hurley. The bridge had been closed to traffic since the spring, when work began on the bridge replacement project, funded by the state Department of Transportation. Mr Hurley said the project took a long time because a subcontractor filed for bankruptcy, which delayed receiving certain materials for the bridge.


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A tug-of-war is developing between Mike Osborne, Board of Education chairman, and Representative Julia Wasserman. The issues are: who should participate in a committee that will make recommendations to the state regarding the future use of the state-owned Fairfield Hills property; and to which state agency should the committee be making its recommendations? A mission statement for the committee is being drafted. The 13-member group has been meeting since July, when Mrs Wasserman, a Republican, formed the committee. Mr Osborne, a Democrat, brought up the matter at a recent school board meeting, sharply criticizing Mrs Wasserman for refusing to allow school officials to sit on the committee. She has maintained that she was worried that school might upset what she called the delicate balance she has tried to maintain while working with the state. Because school officials have already approached the state, she said, they have prejudiced themselves and should not be part of the committee.


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Tom Lanza has a simple theory about the wonderful way that things work out during the Newtown Fund's "Depot Day" every year. "It seems as if the response always rises to reach the need," he said. On this day people and groups from the community brought gifts. They were then boxed and delivered to 124 families, comprising 400 persons. Persons are placed on a recipients' list by Sheila Knox, the town's social services director, and by Karen Hoyt, the agent for elderly persons. To get things such as groceries, holiday meals, toys, and clothing, various groups and people "adopt" families.


 

January 5, 1968


In six months the farming operation at Fairfield Hills Hospital is scheduled to be discontinued. July 1 is the date set when dairy and vegetable farming will come to a halt on the 683 acres of this well-run mental institution, which have been put to that use since the hospital first opened its doors in 1933. As the public becomes generally aware of this drastic change in operation, frequent comments reach us, questioning the reason behind this major move and the wisdom of it. We wonder too, and speak for others as well as ourselves, in wanting to know whether healing power can no longer be found in working the soil, and if so, why should it be discontinued because it represents a deficit figure on the hospital's profit and loss statement. To be sure the number of farms in the state continually shrinks while the enrollment in mental facilities steadily grows, and a large number of patients come from urban centers. Perhaps that is evidence enough to show that farm life can be more healthy than city dwelling, and the way to restore mental stability would be a widespread return to the soil.


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On January 3 at about 3:30 pm a car owned by Walter A. Knott of 93 Dry Hill Road, Norwalk, was taken from Mile Hill Road. Mr Knott reported his vehicle as missing and a missing car teletype was sent out immediately. The vehicle was seen on Route 25 in Monroe by Officer John Wrable, with the Monroe Police Department. It had run off the road into a ditch. The driver of the stolen vehicle was found to be Dion Torres, 18, of Stamford. He was arrested by Resident State Trooper James Costello, taken to Danbury Jail, and held under $500 bond for auto theft. He is to appear in Newtown Circuit Court in February.


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L. Birdsey Parsons of Sandy Hook is still very ill in Waterbury Hospital. His daughter, Mrs Ellen Strong of Southbury, reports that he has enjoyed the messages from friends which she has read to him.


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Miss Alice Chile Hamilton of Newtown, a junior at Northfield school, has been elected to the art staff of "Echo," the school newspaper, for the 1967-68 school year. She is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Francis Hamilton of Currituck Road.


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Dear Mr Smith, You may know my family and may remember me as a past employee of yours. I am now a Quartermaster Seaman in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Cacapon. At our last mail call I received over 25 Christmas cards from various people throughout Newtown. Many of these people I don't even know. I would like for you to extend a hearty "Thank You" to all these fine people via The Newtown Bee. They have given me a very happy holiday by showing they care. I would like to answer each one personally, but unfortunately, I have only a few addresses. I would appreciate this very much. Thank You and Happy New Year. Sincerely, Jim Lewis, South China Seas, December 25, 1967.


 

January 1, 1943


As we stand at the threshold of another year, there comes the clear clarion call for Americans, everywhere, to do all in their power to live their lives as true Americans should. Particularly are we in New England admonished by our own consciences to abide by those rugged New England virtues which over the years have shown us their true worth. May 1943 be a successful year in returning to an upset world a state of permanent peace and happiness for our children and our children's children. The Bee, realizing the small yet effective part it can play in its own territory, expresses thanks for past support and hopes for the coming year the same cooperation and friendship. Our best wishes for 1943. Paul Smith, editor, and the staff of The Newtown Bee.


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Because of the shortage of fuel oil, it has been found necessary to shorten the hours during which the Cyrenius H. Booth Library will be open to the public. The schedule for the week of January 4 is as follows: Sunday, closed; Monday, 1-6 pm; Tuesday, 1-8 pm; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 1-6 pm; Saturday, 10 am-6 pm. Beginning January 11, the library will be closed every Monday until further notice.


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The Parent-Teacher Association Executive Committee at a board meeting held Wednesday at the home of president, Mrs Paul Smith, regretfully voted to postpone the establishment of a hot lunch program in Sandy Hook until next fall. The Hot Lunch Committee, under the fine leadership of Mrs Roger Howson, had the program well organized to open January 11 in the basement of St. John's church, but the uncertainties of heating oil and canned goods made it advisable to postpone this much-needed service until the fall term.


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The editor of The Bee has received a cheery letter from the unusually cheerful Hawley Warner, who has been stationed for some little time at Jolon, Calif. He expects soon to be in Colorado. He writes that he and his Mountain Infantry outfit missed a "white Xmas" because they were not high enough in the Rockies as they had hoped to be. Tacoma, Wash., where he was previously stationed, gets less snow that Washington D.C. "They very seldom get snow to stay over one day. It is usually rained out," writes Hawley. And he adds, by the way of postscript, "I see where the town spent $1000 on an observation post. That's O.K., but why in - don't they save a couple of hundred dollars by having the town elections bi-annually? If someone can tell me a good reason for that annual expense, let them write."


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Despite the lack of outdoor Christmas lighting, a number of residents decorated their homes with wreaths and greens to give an appropriate daytime effect for the holiday season. One of the prettiest houses is that of Mr and Mrs F.H. Sorenson of South Main Street, with a large V made of greens on the door and red balls arranged on the V in the symbolic three dots and a dash. Each window has a red ribbon, harmonizing with the doorway.


 

December 28, 1917


The Litchfield branch of the New York and New Haven railroad, formerly known as the Shepaug, Litchfield & Northern, held the center stage for news Christmas morning. The branch boasts two trains each day between Litchfield and Danbury. The train furnishing the excitement was No. 1501, due to arrive in Roxbury at 9:04 am. When at a point three quarters of a mile away from the station, the rear coach left the rail and rolled down the bank on its side. There were 18 or 20 people on the car when it took its tumble, 14 or 15 of whom were cut and bruised. A special train from Danbury arrived at the scene having on board Drs Brown, Brownlee, Bronson, Mullins, and Smith of Danbury, Drs Kiernan and Gale of Newtown, and Dr F.E. King of New Milford. Dr Wersebe of Washington arrived soon after. The accident evidently was caused by a broken rail. Dr Gale said it looked like a fresh break. This is the first serious accident to a passenger train that has ever taken place on the glorious old Shepaug.


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From Pvt. A.W. Fairchild in France. December 1, 1917, Dear Mother and Dad: Received your letter bearing the date October 22, yesterday, and was so glad to hear from you that I am hastening to answer right away. I think of you very often. It's the first letter I have had from you though some nine letters have come through from Marguerite in which she informed me of most of the news, about Bob's going, etc. It must be lonesome with Bob gone and I really hope Mary comes home to cheer you up. I know what it means to her to give up her work, but we all have to sacrifice something, you know, at a time like this. But it's really not so bad, after all. I'm just as well off over here as at home. It is only a matter of time before we all come home to stay. Of course, I know you worry, but don't let it get a hold on you. Just keep along until we all get back to help you out and start over again.


***


By Rev W.C. Cravner: Not long ago we saw a drunken man on Newtown street, singing lustily and merrily; but I'm sure he was not happy. Happiness does not depend on external conditions. Again, we have been in a room of pain, a little lady had broken one of her bones; it was not easy, but I'm sure she was happy, for happiness is not to be driven away by misfortune. And so regardless of hilariousness and regardless of the groans and regardless of complainings of rich and poor, we are led by experience to believe that happiness depends upon what is in the heart and not upon circumstances. By and By my soul returned to me and whispered, "I myself am heaven and hell." Men make their own world.


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Since Tax Collector R.P. Shepard took hold of the books, something over $1,000 has been paid in on personal taxes. Grand Juror Gannon desires The Bee to say that after January 1, the names of all delinquent personal taxpayers shall be placed in a hat. A disinterested man shall draw out the names and the first five drawn out will be prosecuted, and so on each week a drawing will take place until the list is cleared up. Get in line and save yourself a bill of expense.


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While walking out in the yard adjacent to her residence, Mrs Charles Hawley fell on the ice, cracking a rib. Dr F.J. Gale was summoned and attended to her injury. She was confined to the bed for several days.


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Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook with readers. Images can be e-mailed to kendra@thebee.com, or brought to the office at 5 Church Hill Road to be scanned. When submitting photographs, please identify as many people as possible, the location, and the approximate date.

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