Way We Were


Way We Were, for the week ending April 5, 2019

Published: April 04, 2019 at 04:00 pm

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April 15, 1994

About 250 gallons of fuel leaked from a home heating oil tank on Queen Street Early Thursday and made its way into the Pootatuck River before it was discovered about three miles away at the bridge in Sandy Hook Center. Fire Marshal George Lockwood said that a 275-gallon tank at the house owned by Christopher and Andrea Kerin at 66 Queen Street had just been filled on Wednesday by a home heating oil company, Genetty Oil of Bridgeport. “It’s an old tank and it rotted through the bottom,” Mr Lockwood said. “We estimated that about 250 gallons spilled out and went into a floor drain and travelled under Queen Street through a culvert into the river.” Mr Lockwood discovered the spill about 6:40 am when he stopped at his son’s deli in Sandy Hook Center. “I could smell diesel fuel,” he said. “I looked around the buildings, didn’t see anything, then walked over to the bridge and was shocked to see oil in the river.” He called the fire department and began to look for the source of the spill. About 15 firefighters from the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, under the direction of Chief William Halstead, worked their way upstream to locate to source of the leak. Firefighters put booms into the river to stop the oil from traveling downstream. The state Department of Environmental Protection was notified, and it sent field inspector John Aceto from New Haven to oversee the cleanup.

***

Lou Villamana, principal at Newtown Middle School for the past 19 years, is taking an early retirement, effective June 30. He announced this decision at a faculty meeting Monday. Mr Villamana explained that after 36 years in education, he wanted to take a break and vacation with his family. After taking at least several months off, he said he will possibly decide to take another part-time position, which could be in or out of the field of education. “I think it’s important to make changes,” he said. Asked if it was difficult to give up his position, which he has held since 1975, Mr Villamana said, “It is and isn’t. What’s kept me going is obviously the kids.” But he said he is tired of some other aspects of the job, such as doing all the state-required paperwork, which he called “unbelievable.” The 58-year-old principal’s early retirement was accepted by the school board Tuesday night, with the provision that he will receive the early retirement incentive of $8,000 annually for six years, as specified in the school administrator’s contract. “I am sad to see Lou go,” said Isabelle Murray. “I think he will be missed by the staff, the parents, and the teachers.”

***

A bill to fund a state equestrian center died in the finance, bonding, and revenue committee on April 11. The $21 million request was not placed on the committee’s agenda, and consequently, never came to a vote. “It was not unexpected,” said Kurt Schneider, a Newtown resident and major proponent of the horse park. “Even if they appropriated the money, nothing will be decided on the use of Fairfield Hills until 1995.” State Rep John Mordasky (D-Stafford Springs), who introduced the funding initiative, requested that $251 million earmarked to build a professional football stadium be released and some of the money used for a state equestrian center. The deal to lure the New England Patriots to Hartford fell through last year, but the money still remained approved for bonding. The chairman of the committee, however, refused to release the funds. “It was the right decision,” said Mr Mordasky. “A lot of people would have wanted part of the money. By saying no to me, he said no to everybody.”

***

As the new tag sale season starts, the town’s zoning enforcement officer reminds residents that a permit is required to conduct a tag sale. Permits are available at the Planning and Zoning office in Town Hall South from 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday according to Zoning Enforcement Officer William Nicholson. The fee for the permit is $5. A security deposit of $25 is also required. Both fees must be paid in cash. A tag sale permit covers a period of nine consecutive days, which allows a tag sale to span two consecutive weekends. No more than two tag sales can be held at a single location per year. The sales must be held six months apart. At least 10 off-street parking spaces are required to hold a tag sale. The parking need not be paved. A main reason for required permits is to control the use of signs that are used to advertise the events. “While most people have good intentions, the reality is that many people place signs on telephone poles or trees all over town and leave the signs there long after the sale has taken place,” Mr Nicholson said.

***

BEER INCIDENT: Police say they spotted a youth in a motor vehicle at Currituck Road near Signal Post Road at about 1:30 am on April 9. Police said an investigation revealed that the vehicle’s occupant, Aaron Hoffman, 18, of Stratford, had beer in the vehicle. Police said they issued Mr Hoffman a warning alleging possession of liquor in a motor vehicle by a minor.

April 11, 1969

Cans, bottles, and other assorted junk, beware! The Newtown High School Student Council is organizing a Clean-Up Day for April 26. Students will tour the town, cleaning up those eye-sore public areas which thoughtless people, alas, have created. The town is contributing a truck and driver and private cars and trucks will complete the fleet. Newtowners can call 426-4418 to report any public, not private, areas that need attention. And it’s first call, first served — clean-up will be done in the order of calls received.

***

LAND OF THE HEATHEN: One snow storm does not make a winter. But so it seems in the minds of many people who are still talking about the heavy snow of February 9 and 10, which they have decided made last winter a very tough season. Now, with spring in the air, the arduous tasks of snow removal are forgotten, and the removal of winter’s accumulation of debris has taken over as the impelling task at hand. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, Newtown right now might be described as the land of the heathens. But our plight is not quite that desperate, it only seems so in the spring.

***

The first public sale of paintings and articles made by Fairfield Hills patients in their occupational therapy workshop will be in Plymouth Hall on May 3 from 12:30 to 4 pm. Appropriately, the sale is on during the National Mental Health Week, and annual observance where communities have always been invited to visit their local mental hospitals. In previous years during this week, Fairfield Hills has always invited the public to an open house and top the patients’ arts and crafts exhibit. Visitors quite often express the desire to purchase some of the paintings and articles. This year it was decided that the exhibit would be on sale. Aside from paintings, the sale will include braided and hooked rugs, needle work of all kinds, leathercraft, woodwork, ceramics and baked goods.

***

This year it’s the Democrats who “put the show on the road” with a trailer for campaign headquarters set up in the A & P Parking lot. Although rain cut the attendance at opening ceremonies last Saturday, Jack Rosenthal, Democratic Town Committee Chair, took the opportunity to make a campaign statement. It is the Democrats’ duty, he said, to question the status quo. They hope to raise issues and create alternatives. Two-thirds of Newtowners’ taxes go to federal government, his statement continues. Half of the remaining third goes to the state, and only one-sixth to Newtown. The town is not getting its share of money which goes to Washington, he charged. Not enough effort is being made for federal grants for Newtown. If elected, he will make every effort to get back more of the money Newtowners pay in taxes. The town needs more realistic, mature leadership than it is getting, he claimed. He praised the energy and hard work of the current first selectman, but added, “What we need is a man who can delegate the work to the right people.”

***

FIVE GALLON MARK: Joel Zeisler of Shady Rest, Sandy Hook, reached the five-gallon mark last week with the donation of a pint of blood at Fairfield Hills Hospital. This distinction rates a special certificate and pin, presented by Mrs Louis di Nova, blood bank chairman.

***

Sausage ‘N Stuff, a new delicatessen, will open April 19. Located on Route 34 next to Teddy’s Shell Station, Sandy Hook, the new delicatessen run by Joe and Mary Notarnicola will offer home-made Italian sausage, a variety of cold cuts and specialties on order. Famous among his friends for his home-made sausage, Mr Notarnicola’s long-time interest in meats and cooking began when, as a boy, he worked in his father’s butcher shop in Bridgeport. The shop will be open only on the weekends, but Mr Notarnicola will take orders all week. He expects to be at the shop on Friday evenings, but during the week he will continue as assistant service manager at Bird Volkswagen. Mr and Mrs Notarnicola and their six children live on Serenity Lane.

April 14, 1944

The Women’s Federation of the Newtown Congregational Church announced that they will hold a food sale at the church on Saturday, April 22, from 2–5 o’clock. The committee in charge is headed by Mrs George Canfield, who will be assisted by Mrs Fred Mayer, Mrs Louie Lovell and Mrs Clark Walker. A tempting variety of food will be on sale, and the committee recommends that you circle in red the date, April 22, so as to be on hand to purchase some of the homemade food on sale that afternoon.

***

Newtown’s gratitude to its hard-working War Fund Chairman Frank Strasburger, is well expressed in the following letter to him from Judge Paul V. Cavanaugh, local Red Cross Chairman: April 1, 1944. Dear Frank, I wonder if you realize that in ten days you have accomplished a feat never before attempted in the history of the campaign for funds in the town of Newtown. In that short space of time, through your efforts, our quota of $7200 was raised. At the present moment I understand that you have $8500, which proves you have expended lots of energy and good judgement. You certainly had a fine group of workers to back you up, and I know everyone appreciates the fine work they did. All in all, I can say that the success of our 1944 Drive will be reflected in the great service that will be rendered by the American Red Cross to our boys all over the world. I wish for them to know the part that Frank Strasburger played in its success. Sincerely, Paul Cavanaugh.

***

The Newtown Bowling League will hold its banquet and annual meeting at the Newtown Log Cabin on Tuesday, April 17, at 7 o’clock. Awards will be made for the past season and officials elected for next year. George Clark Sr., president, will preside.

***

Dr Augusta K Sutton of Danbury State Teachers College will be the guest speaker at the third in a series of talks on current events being held at Stratford House at Fairfield Hills State Hospital on Tuesday evening, April 18 at 8 o’clock. Dr Sutton’s topic will be, “The Political Background of the News.” The public is cordially invited.

***

Our rooms offer a haven of comfort. Our meals are an appetizing relief to all who are bothered with rationing and food shortages. Reasonable rates for regular boarders. Parker House. Closed each Tuesday to all transient guests. Telephone 183, Newtown Conn.

***

The chimney swift has been clocked at more than 100 miles an hour. Excepting the duck hawk, he is the swiftest bird that flies. And the unique thing about this speedster is that his wings beet alternately, rather than in unison. It has been estimated that individuals cover a thousand miles in a single day in search of food. —Our Dumb Animals

April 14, 1919

Microfilm for the January 17 through April 18, 1919 issues of The Newtown Bee are not available. It is unclear why New England Micrographics, Inc in 2000 was not able to produce film for these dates. Based on the poor quality of the early January issues, the film for which reveals torn and damaged originals, the newspapers for these dates may have been destroyed.

 

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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