Features


Way We Were, for the week ending December 28, 2018

Published: December 27, 2018 at 04:00 pm

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December 31, 1993

A furiously-burning fire in Sandy Hook on December 27 destroyed a two-story house off Valley Field Road and caused at least $300,000 in damage, according to Fire Chief William Halstead. Destroyed in the blaze was the home of John Moretti at 16 Valley Field Road. No one was home at the time of the fire. Two pet doves were lost in the blaze, however. Firefighters laid 800 feet of hose to the house in the subfreezing conditions. Observers spotted smoke long before the blaze was reported, but didn’t report their observations, thinking that the smoke rose from a large smokestack at Fairfield Hills Hospital, or came from brush being burned. Two unnamed firefighters were injured. One received a gash on his forehead when equipment slipped, and another received a thumb injury. Firefighters from all of the town's companies responded to the inferno.

***

To plow and sand town roads, the Newtown Highway Department crews were called out on overtime at 4:30 pm on December 29 and were going to remain on duty until 11 am, December 30, according to Director of Highways Joe Tani. On the morning of December 30 Mr Tani said the department’s employees had gone off duty as scheduled at 3:30 pm on December 29 before being called back for overtime; and that they were scheduled to leave at 11 am on December 30 because of the holiday. Mr Tani said the roads were “pretty slippery” Wednesday night, but were mostly plowed and sanded by the morning rush hour. He said snow started at about 3 pm Wednesday and stopped around 1 am Thursday.

***

On weeknights beginning the week of January 3, people in the community are invited to use computers in the computer rooms of the town’s four elementary schools. Different schools will be open different nights, but the hours will always be 6:30–8:30 pm. On Mondays, adults can use computers at Middle Gate School. Adults, and children accompanied by adults, can use computers at Hawley School on Tuesdays, at Head O’ Meadow on Wednesdays, and at Sandy Hook School on Thursdays.

***

Polly Brody kept her eye to the sky on December 18 to spot birds for the national Audubon Christmas count. The regional leader for the local participating group, The Western Connecticut Bird Club, noted some changes from previous years. “We saw a continued increase in Red-bellied Woodpeckers,” said Mrs Brody, who has been helping to count birds for 19 years. “They were rare in New England eight or nine years ago. Now there are several pairs breeding here in Newtown.” She said there has been a decrease in the number of blue birds sighted. The drop is noteworthy only because “every year before this, our town has had the highest count in the East.” When the Newtown group went “owling,” they only heard The Great Horned Owl. In the larger Woodbury/Roxbury area three types were heard: the Screech, Great Horned, and Saw-whet owls.

January 3, 1969

The Bee is indebted to two local artists for appropriate drawings for the front pages of its Christmas and New Year’s issues. Harrie Wood pictured two angels, most authentically drawn, as they appeared in the sky, on each side of Newtown’s famous flagpole, singing, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.” The pole itself stood ablaze with a brightly shining star, and across the bottom of the wash drawing stood Newtown’s Main Street. Paul Webb pictured his World-Famous Mountain Boys with a “Happy New Year” sign, waking Paw from his slumber. They brought startling news of a rumor that “were gettin’ a new president soon…Truman must’ve quit.” If humor makes the world go round, Mr Webb can always be counted on for a big push. A grateful thank you to both artists.—Paul Smith, Editor.

***

LET IT BEE KNOWN THAT... A belated Happy New Year, and if your head is still big, do not read this out loud. A fresh coat of paint on our flagpole is long overdue. Just because the singing Sergeant Kenneth Shaw came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, he didn’t have to wear bright red pajamas. But he did and it made the Shaw household all the brighter for the holidays. Dave Bennett is now making it about with crutches, and his brother Fred almost took over where he left off. It seems he was brushing up some turns on the skis and now plans to get in more practice after the aches and pains go away.

***

Six pieces of equipment and about 25 men responded to a fire call last Thursday when a dwelling at 138 South Main Street left one person homeless. The call came in at 3:10 pm, December 26, and Hook & Ladder Company under Chief Lee Glover responded. Arriving at the dwelling located opposite Peck’s Lane on Route 25, Chief Glover summoned Botsford Fire Company. Engine One, Tanker One, a Hook & Ladder pumper, and two Botsford pumpers were on the scene. The dwelling, a cottage owned by Mrs J.J. Weir and accupied by Mrs Helen Brod, was gutted. The Danbury Chapter of the American Red Cross, through Newtown disaster Chairman Lou Pelletier, located a place for Mrs Brod to spend the night and set about finding a permanent place for her to stay. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

***

Newtown friends of William Fitzpatrick will be interested to know that in a note to The Bee, he sends, “best wishes from the most beautiful island in the West Indies.” Mr Fitzpatrick, who was associated with the Graham Wagenseil Travel Service, and Mrs Fitzpatrick left Newtown in 1967 to make their home on the island of St Vincent.

***

Miss Mary Lucas of 55 Main Street, who served as a historian for the town, will speak on “History of Newtown” at the January meeting of the Newtown Welcome Wagon at noon, January 9, at the Stony Hill Inn, Bethel. All newcomers to town are cordially invited to attend. Reservations must be made with Mrs Gerald Frawley of Taunton Lake Road, 426-9912, by Monday evening, January 6.

January 7, 1944

The calendar has a way of moving on, whether we like it or not. At this particular season, the churches hereabouts are in the midst of their annual meetings. Reports are heard, officers elected, and in many cases, deservedly reelected, and the parish turns its face toward another year. There is more than passing importance in these annual church gatherings in the assurance that the stewardship of our houses of worship is being put in proper shape for the coming days. We urge those who belittle the church and take no part in it, to visualize, if they can, the kind of towns we would have if there were no longer any churches. The picture is one of a degraded community with steadily lowered moral values. A community in which service to God and fellow men means nothing would soon become neither a happy or healthy place. The inference is obvious. We all owe much to our churches. Perhaps it is overoptimistic, but we foresee in 1944 a better year for our churches. It will come because of the war. May it be more than a transitory awakening and may we all take part in it together.

***

Because of road conditions, it was necessary to postpone the Farm Machinery Repair course on Monday to Thursday evening, January 6. The meeting will be held at Lovell’s Garage at 8 o’clock with Louie Lovell and Vincent P. Gaffney in charge. Several individuals have signified their intentions of taking advantage of the opportunity to get their machinery in shape. For the first meeting, it is expected to have a side-delivery rake, a wheel-harrow, and a seeder to go over and put back to useful condition.

***

Over one hundred and fifty persons, most of them young folk, were present at the New Year’s Eve Dance in the Edmond Town Hall. There was never any question but that they were having a thoroughly good time from the time the orchestra began right on through the grand march, which was led by Mrs Roger Newland and “Hub” Beers, to the final polka and at the end the national anthem sung with a vigor that echoed the four hours of gaiety preceding. The King Street Pioneers played with all their old-time vim, in spite of the fact that two members of the orchestra and several substitutes are now in the armed services. The thanks of the committee have already been expressed to the sponsors, to the donors of food for an excellent supper, and to many other helpers.

***

Mrs Richard W. Hyde, who returned recently from the West coast where she spent some time with her husband, Lieut Hyde, left for New York City Wednesday, after spending the holiday at the Budd residence on Main Street.

***

Herbert K. Grothe of West Street suffered a fractured left leg on Monday morning, when a large tree which he was chopping down in the woods near the Benjamin Bernstein property in Huntingtown district fell on him, pinning him against a rock. Frederick Kaechele, who was with Mr Grothe at the time, was able to release him from beneath the tree and then rush him to the Huntingtown General Store to summon the Newtown ambulance, which removed him to Danbury Hospital where he is now recovering from his injury.

January 3, 1919

Mr and Mrs W.G. Carlson have been confined to the house for several days with an attack of influenza. Dr W.H. Kiernan has attended them.

***

Andrew Elko, a member of the National Army and stationed at Camp Zachary Taylor in Kentucky, has passed a few days in town, the guest of E.S. Lovell.

***

The public schools of the town, high and elementary will open, Monday, January 6, for the winter term. The results of the stocking campaign will be published in next week’s Bee.

***

A pleasant feature of Christmas week in Botsford was a presentation by the ladies of the Red Cross of two pyrox baking dishes to their chairman, Mrs Herbert Coger.

***

Miss Ruth Clarkson has resigned her government position in Waterbury and has accepted a position with S. Curtis and Son.

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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When do you purchase calendars?

As early as possible.
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November
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Early December
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