Way We Were


Way We Were, for the week ending April 26, 2019

Published: April 25, 2019 at 03:00 pm

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May 6, 1994

The death of an elderly woman in a pedestrian-truck accident has spurred local officials to renew efforts to solve the traffic problems on Main Street. But, as in the past, there isn’t a consensus on what should be done. “Studies haven’t gotten us anywhere,” said First Selectman Bob Cascella. Police Chief Michael DeJoseph and Selectman Gary Fetzer both contend that until the state extends the Route 25 limited access expressway from Trumbull to I-84, traffic and speed on Main Street will remain a problem. “I think the ultimate solution is the Route 25 bypass,” Mr Fetzer said. “We have to get through traffic off Main Street.” Mr Cascella disagreed, noting that the State Department of Transportation last year dropped all plans for the extension because of fiscal and environmental concerns. “The answer isn’t ‘we need expressway to Trumbull,’ because the DOT is not going to do it,” he said. Instead, the speed limit should be reduced and strictly enforced, he said, calling it a simple solution that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

***

Calling it “an idea whose time has come,” George Hoti has decided to make his restaurant smoke-free. George’s Pizza and Family Restaurant on Route 302 eliminated its smoking section and went smoke-free on Sunday, May 1. A no-smoking sign has been prominently posted on the front door with the notation, “We care about you.” “We took out all the ashtrays,” Mr Hoti said. “The cigarette machine also will be going. We have to give the distributor time to remove. It has been here about 35 years.” He had been thinking about going smoke-free for some time. “It’s very difficult to have smoking and no-smoking in the same restaurant,” he said. “Where do you draw the line? No matter what you do, the smoke travels. A lot of customers don’t like it.”

***

Newtown will host athletes from Austria when the ninth Special Olympics World Summer Games are held in Connecticut for nine days next year. More than 6,500 athletes from 120 countries will get a taste of Connecticut by spending three days in host towns before the games begin on July 1, 1995. Newtown, Redding, and Ridgefield will host 100 people from Austria. To launch the plans locally, an organizing committee of the Knights of Columbus met with First Selectman Bob Cascella to present him with the national flag of Austria. Jud Doyle, the Newtown Host Town chairman had asked Mr Cascella to fly the flag to raise awareness about the country and the event. Newtown is expected to host about 40 Austrians, including athletes, coaches, and delegates. The Rotary Club is in charge of finding host homes for the three days prior to the opening of the games.

***

Police report a first-degree escape by an inmate at Fairfield Hills on the evening of April 28. Police said that Walter E. Fendley, 31, of Winsted, escaped at about 7:24 pm and was found the next morning at about 6:40 am by Fairfield Hills police at a nearby commercial garage. The Fairfield Hills police turned Mr Fendley over to state police. Mr Fendley was arraigned on the charge in Danbury Superior Court on April 29, police said.

***

The selectmen are seeking ways to eliminate commercial eyesores, including the possible removal of the White Birch Inn, a fire-damaged vacant former bar at the intersection of Queen Street and Church Hill Road. In an April 29 letter to Borough Zoning Commission Chairman Robert Connor, First Selectman Robert Cascella writes, “As you are aware, the Board of Selectmen has formed a committee on eyesores… One of the committee’s goals is to remove or clean up vacant buildings such as the White Birch. We are aware that a year or so ago Borough Zoning Official Jean St. Jean convinced Rich Weil to paint the White Birch, which was an improvement,” Mr Cascella said. “The Board of Selectmen feel an even greater improvement would be its removal. Jean St. Jean has discussed with Mr Weil the selectmen’s desire to have the building removed at no expense to Mr Weil, and it is our opinion that the following amendment to borough zoning regulations would facilitate this process,” Mr Cascella writes. Such an amendment would liberalize zoning regulations on non-conforming land used by extending the time limit within which a property owner could remove an existing and non-conforming land use and replace it with another non-conforming use.

 

May 2, 1969

Applause is due the high school students, Girl Scouts, and other young people who took to the highways and byways on Saturday to collect discarded pop bottles, beer cans, and the winter’s accumulation of nondescript material which is always so evident in the spring. It was a commendable civic project and the town now looks better and is grateful for it. By proclamation from the Governor’s office, the month of May is declared “Anti-Litter Month.” In expressing his continued interest in ant-litter activities, Governor Dempset reminds residents that “our State has long enjoyed renown for its great scenic beauty. We, as citizens of a state so favored by nature, have an obligation to preserve its attractiveness.”

***

There will be a meeting of the North Newtown Homeowners Association on May 9 at 8 pm at the Hawleyville Fire House. The meeting has been called by concerned members in connection with the proposed construction by the state of a boat landing at the mouth of Pond Brook. Any interested homeowner is invited to attend.

***

Last Sunday’s sunshine almost turned to darkness for the James H. Martin family of Beechwood Drive, Sandy Hook. Four-year-old Todd Martin might not have been here to pose for the picture above were it not for his neighbors and friends, Tommy Bruno, 6, and Jeffrey Strickland, 5. The three were playing near one of their favorite spots near a small natural pond when Todd tumbled into a most unnatural ditch filled with water over his head. Jeff ran to Todd’s home for help while Tommy held Todd above water and was able to pull him out in the few moments before Mrs Martin arrived. A call to the home of the first selectman brought men and equipment to remove the danger from the property where tests were being made for a proposed development.

***

A wig and hat demonstration by Genung’s Department Store will be the main attraction at the Newtown Welcome Wagon’s monthly luncheon meeting. It will be at the Danbury Motor Inn on Thursday, May 8 at 12:45. Club members modeling the wigs will include Mrs Gerald Frawley, Mrs John Kreider, Mrs Ruben Friel, Mrs Samuel Fuller, and Mrs James Kalley. Girls will be chosen at the business meeting to model the hats.

***

Over 200 people attended the first seminar on narcotics, last Thursday evening at the Newtown High School. Chairman of the Concerned Citizens on Narcotics presided and introduced the speaker, Edmond Malewaik, agent in the narcotics division of Connecticut Department of Health. He explained the origins, use, and results various drugs. A film, “18 Year Journey To Hell,” was shown, depicting how a teen-age girl fell into the use of drugs. Lack of parental supervision was the major contributing factor, plus the availability of drugs. Literature was distributed explaining the general symptoms of drug use and manifestations of specific drug use, such as glue sniffing, marijuana smoking, taking LSD, barbiturates, amphetamines, metherine, heroin, demorol – morphine was described. “Awareness” was stressed.

 

May 5, 1944

A number of townspeople have expressed concern of late that, in the shadow of events to come, there is no concerted effort being made in Newtown to do a little post war planning. And it would seem that the concern is well justified. Not that the way of life in Newtown will suddenly be changed after the war. That is not the fear of those local citizens who have been giving thought to the days to come. Rather — that need which has always existed for careful community planning is felt to be more acute now and for the future. There are a number of particular fields in which Newtown should take pains to direct itself, instead of being pushed about by the whims of circumstance. Is the town anxious to attract new industry, and what can be done to bring them here? If the population trend continues upward, can we not hasten the enlargement of our schools? Are our needs for police protection going to increase? What should the Board of Fire Commissioners be doing to meet obvious needs for fire protection? These are only a few of the problems a planning board could well consider.

***

The high school baseball team played its first game in the Housatonic Valley League series in Bethel last Friday afternoon, losing to Bethel high school by the lopsided score of 33–2. Several of the regular Newtown players were absent because of a trip to the University of Connecticut, which took place that day. The team’s second game will be played this Friday at the close of school, when the Newtown boys will meet the team from Washington high school on Taylor field. A much closer game is expected.

***

The judges, Jerome Jackson, Mrs R.S. Watkins, Carl LeGrow and Paul S. Smith, have been given the essays entered from Hawley School in the ninth annual national essay contest sponsored by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. This year’s subject is “Unity for Peace,” with five local entries. The winner will be announced in next week’s Bee by Mrs Henry Detlefs, patriotic instructress for the local Auxiliary. A prize of $5 in war stamps is offered by the Charles Howard Peck Auxiliary to the local winner, whose essay will be entered on the state level.

***

The Newtown Fire Company was called to Sandy Hook last Friday afternoon to extinguish a grass fire which burned over about 15 acres on the properties of Josiah Tilson and Miss Susan Cribbens. The firemen were assisted by the local forest fire unit, and Sandy Hook firemen and boys from Sandy Hook school. On Saturday afternoon firemen were called to The Boulevard to extinguish a grass fire which had burned over a portion of the McNeil and Budd properties And on Sunday afternoon firemen were called to the Riverside section to help fight a fire that burned over a considerable territory before it could be extinguished. A second fire last Friday afternoon was near the Pines Inn in Botsford district.

***

Although there was not a large number at the card party Friday evening, given by the St Peter’s Women’s Auxiliary at Rectory Hall, a fine time was enjoyed, nevertheless. All the players enjoyed Pinochle. Refreshments were served. Another party will be held this Friday evening. The public is invited to attend.

 

May 2, 1919

A verdict of $1,102.23 was returned by a jury in District Court in Waterbury in the famous “Southbury Case,” Friday morning after deliberating for one hour and 45 minutes. The verdict was in favor of the plaintiff, Frank E. Adams, and against John Pierce of Hawleyville and Southbury. The case has taken up some considerable time and some rather startling developments were brought out during the trial. The amount of the judgement corresponds identically with the amount claimed by Attorney F.B. O’Neill in his closing argument to the jury. The final arguments of Attorney O’Neill for the plaintiff, and Attorney James E. Russell for the defendant in this case, which was brought as a suit for $3,000 were heard before adjournment Friday afternoon, and Deputy Judge Walter D. Makepeace made his charge to the jury Friday morning, at the opening of court.

The suit was instituted by Adams who came to Southbury for the purpose of running the Pierce farm on a 50–50 basis, Adams being ejected from the farm after he and the owner had some disagreement, bringing suit to recover profits claimed as due from the work and products of running the farm for the time that he was on it. Pierce, however, claimed that the alleged profit had been eaten up by the depreciation of the value of cattle during the time the plaintiff was in charge. There were some hot shots exchanged between Attorneys O’Neill and Russell during the trial. Attorney O’Neill stated that he was never in doubt as to the verdict that the jury would bring in as there was not a clause in his argument that could be called unjust to either party. Nevertheless, Attorney Russell announced, Friday afternoon, that he was preparing to enter an appeal, as his client refused to settle the case with a judgement of the nature brought in by the jury. The costs of the case amount to something considerable when the costs of the court (estimated at $150), sheriff fees ($350) and the care of the cattle ($300) were added.

***

If a few of the superintendents or operating officials of the New York & New Haven road could be put in jail when trains on their division were unnecessarily behind time, The Bee believes the schedule would be more nearly lived up to than it is today. The unfortunate thing about present conditions with the railroad is that train service in Connecticut is not as good as it used to be. A while ago they were laying the blame on Mr Mellen. Now some of the railroad people, notably Mr Buckland, are trying to lay the blame on the Governor.

***

Constable Frank Banks, a genial Sandy Hook young man, has leased the old Augur market of E.W. Troy and opened up Monday afternoon. Mr Banks will carry a good line of fresh and salt meats and vegetables. Frank has a host of friends who are confident he will receive the success he so well deserves. Mr Banks was for a year or more in the employ of Morris D. Beers and comes to the business with experience to help him.

***

Walter W. Latham, who purchased a large barn recently of the Benner estate, was unfortunate enough to have it burn down the day after he bought it and had no insurance on it.

***

The Country Club has taken on quite a little life after a long sleep during the winter. Several new members also have been added and the links are in good condition. The returning soldiers of Newtown also have been made members for the year of 1919. It has been decided to hold a whist during the month of May. On every Monday evening at 8 o’clock a whist tournament will be in progress and the winning player gets the prize. The first meeting will be held on Monday, May 5. Be sure and all come for we want to make this tournament a success.

Please consider sharing your old photographs of people and places from Newtown or Sandy Hook with The Newtown Bee 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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