Way We Were


Way We Were, for the week ending July 12, 2019

Published: July 12, 2019 at 04:00 pm

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July 29, 1994

Emergency service workers quickly responded to a chemical problem July 22 at the Treadwell Park swimming pool, an incident which saw more than 20 children transported to Danbury Hospital for medical check-ups as a precaution. All children were released after being checked, according to Sandy Hook Fire Chief William Halstead. An amount of toxic hydrochloride gas was released when Parks and Recreation Department staff inadvertently mixed two incompatible chemicals in the wading pool’s chlorinator. Due to weather conditions at the time, there were no children in the pool when the incident occurred... most children at the park were evacuated to different locations.

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The selectmen’s public safety committee has suggested a range of steps that may be taken to improve traffic safety in the town center, including consideration of a traffic light at the Main Street flagpole. In a letter to First Selectman Robert Cascella, James M. Mooney, who heads the safety panel, writes that placing a traffic signal at the flagpole is a hot topic. Placing signals at the flagpole is the single step that would have the most impact on overall traffic safety in the town center, he adds. The safety committee also suggested installing a crosswalk on Main Street in front of the Booth Library. Committee members decided that Mr Cascella’s suggestion of a crosswalk on Main Street in front of Newtown Savings Bank would result in a crosswalk too close to the existing one near the driveway of Edmond Town Hall. Committee members also suggested traffic signs saying, “Congested Area,” and “Speed Limit Strictly Enforced,” be posted on Main Street.

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The day after the state Supreme Court struck down death sentences for serial killer Michael Ross, Democratic-endorsed gubernatorial candidate John B. Larson on Tuesday sought to inject the issue into the campaign. In letters sent by fax to the other Democrat in the race, William E. Curry Jr., and independent candidate Eunice S. Groark, Mr Larson urged both to support a “workable” death penalty. The Supreme Court decision, which ordered a new sentencing hearing for Mr Ross, “graphically illustrates the futility of our current law,” Mr Larson wrote in the letter. Mr Ross, 34, was sentenced in July 1987 to six different death sentences for killing two girls and two women from eastern Connecticut. The court upheld Mr Ross’s convictions on all six counts of capital felony but overturned the sentences because of errors by the trial judge. Under current state law, if the jury finds a single mitigating factor, such as an emotional defect, the death penalty cannot be imposed. Connecticut is the only state where a defendant avoids execution if one mitigating factor exists.

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The lightning storm on the afternoon of July 23 resulted in several reported strikes in town including one in the Mount Pleasant Road area. Six-hundred-fifty-nine customers lost power. A Northeastern Utilities spokesman said customers lost power at 1:27 pm and most had it restored by 6:45 pm. At approximately the same time as the power outages, wires went down at the intersection of Route 25 and Blackman Road. Firefighters from the local companies were kept busy throughout the afternoon, responding to that call; to reports of lightning strikes on Blue Spruce Drive, Diamond Drive, Sand Hill Road, and Jeremiah Road; and to alarms at Sandy Hook School, Newtown High School, Church Hill Road, Mount Pleasant Road, and Great Ring Road.

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Republican Margot Hall, probate judge since 1990, is unopposed for reelection in November. Mrs Hall was nominated by the Newtown GOP on Tuesday to run for a second four-year term. GOP Chairman Stephen Adams said that even though the Democrats did not field a candidate to oppose her, Mrs Hall nonetheless intended to campaign door-to-door as a way of acquainting voters with the probate system.

July 18, 1969

Warrant Officer Eric G. Blantin has won the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in action on May 27, 1969 in Viet Nam. Eric graduated from Newtown High School in 1968 and has been a Newtown resident all his life. The Citation is dated June 21, 1969. It reads: for heroism while participating in aerial flight, as evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Viet Nam Warrant Officer Blantin distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on May 27 while serving as a pilot with company A, 9th aviation battalion on a rescue mission north of My Tho. “The night utility aircraft was scrambled to secure a friendly vehicle and its two wounded occupants. The ship made a straight approach from one mile out and rescued the casualties after a short hovering search. Blantin’s outstanding flying ability and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.”

***

All town offices in Newtown will be closed Monday, July 21, in line with Governor John Dempsey’s proclamation of a day of celebration in honor of the Apollo 11 Astronauts. The police and other emergency services will be on duty.

***

The annual picnic of Newtown Little League will be Saturday, July 26 at the ICC field on Route 34, Sandy Hook. This year the entire ICC pavilion has been engaged for the event, which means good cover in case of a very sunny day or inclement weather, and full use of the facility, including the swimming pool. All members of the League, parents and friends are invited to attend. At 10 am will be a ball game between a selected Major team and the Minor All-Stars. Following the game, the usual awards will be made. Dinner will be served in the pavilion.

***

Newtown will welcome Jeffrey Busby from North Caulfield, Victoria Australia. Jeff, 17, will be a senior at Newtown High School. His Newtown family will be the Pitmans of Hundred Acres Road. The Pitmans have three children, Wally, 17; Ginny, 12; and Bruce, 10. Jeff has completed his high school education, but like many AFS students, he is most anxious to undertake another senior year in the United States.

July 21, 1944

One of Sandy Hook’s best known and highly respected citizens passed away with the death of Hobart Glover Warner on Monday evening at his home in the Berkshire District. Mr Warner was stricken suddenly at his store on Friday, and death followed a brief illness of only four days. Hobart Glover Warner was born in Sandy Hook, his early home now known as the Fredericka House, on December 24, 1878, a son of James Hobart and Flora J. (Beers) Warner. He received his early education in the schools of town, later attending high school in Chicago, Illinois, where he lived for a short time with his brother, Paul B. Warner. He returned to Newtown upon the illness and death of his father, and took over management of the “Brick Store” which has been in operation since 1831. The store, one of the remaining general merchandise stores of its kind in the vicinity is a well-known landmark of this locality and has been under the management of Mr Warner for the past 40 years.

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Plans for the garden party, silver tea, and food sale, sponsored by the Woman’s Auxiliary of Trinity Church for the afternoon of Wednesday, July 26, from 3 – 5 o’clock on the lawn of Mrs William S. Strong, Main Street at Church Hill, have been completed. Tea, coffee, and punch will be served. There will be tables at which to sit, and many comfortable chairs. The food sale is always a notable event. There will be cakes, cookies and pies and bread prepared by the cooks of our hometown. A very attractive Victory Garden table will invitingly display the generous contributions of neighboring gardeners who may deliver their vegetables, fruits, and berries at the Strong residence on Wednesday morning.

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Mrs William Hanlon of Zoar district is in receipt of two medal delivered to her posthumously as the result of bravery demonstrated by her grandson, Sergeant William Hanlon, whose death occurred in the Italian campaign. Sergeant “Bill” Hanlon will be remembered as a young man with exceptional civic pride. The townspeople share in the great pride of his grandmother who raised him from a little boy to sturdy manhood. He earned the Silver Star medal inscribed for “gallantry in action,” and the other to Sergeant William Hanlon for military merit and for wounds received in action resulting in his death, May 26, 1944. The citations were signed by The President.

***

Charles G. Morris, president of Zoar Cemetery Association, wishes to be understood that at the meeting of the Association to be held on Saturday, July 29, all those having relatives buried in the cemetery will be welcome at the meeting and will be expected to attend.

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Miss Evelyn Heglund, 7-year-old daughter of Mrs Grace Heglund of Riverside Road, and granddaughter of Mr and Mrs B.J. Ferris of Berkshire district, is in fair condition at the Bridgeport Hospital where she underwent an appendectomy on July 15.

July 18, 1919

The barn of John Kuscera in Zoar was struck by lightning about 6 o’clock Sunday morning, and quickly burned to the ground. The house was struck first, and two people visiting Mr Kuscera from Passaic , N.J. were badly shocked by lightning. Mr Kuscera lost about four tons of hay, a ton of bedding, a double harness, a single harness, a lot of farming tools and one pig. With great difficulty he got his horses out. Mr Kuscera said he thought at one time he would be burned to death himself. A small insurance of only $200 was on the property. Mr Kuscera is a hard-working man and the loss is a severe one for him.

***

The price of water is rather high in Newtown. Last Saturday evening a gentleman from Bridgeport was having a good deal of trouble with his car, caused by a leaky radiator. He stopped at a house at the lower end of the street and asked for the use of a pail to get water. After filling his radiator and thanking the “hospitable party,” he was informed that it would cost a quarter of a dollar and he could place the pail where he found it. The gentleman’s reply was “All right, sir.” He paid the quarter and put the pail in the proper place.

***

One of the most attractive residences in the Zoar district is that of William H. Shepard and his daughter, Mrs W.H. Finley of Chicago. From the piazza of Mr Shepard’s home he can look into seven towns, Redding, Monroe, Brookfield, New Milford, and Sherman. Mr Shepard can sit on his Piazza and smoke his 15c cigar and see what his neighbors are doing. The house was built over four years ago from plans made by his granddaughter, Miss Jeanette Finley of Chicago, Ill. who is now with him for a time. At the foot of the hill is Warner’s Pond and Warner’s Mill now owned by attorney C.G. Morris. Mr Shepard’s father Lockwood Shepard owned the mill before Charles Warner, who operated it many years. Lockwood lived in what is now the homestead of Fred Beemis. Mr Shepard’s grandfather, Isaac Shepard, resided in Taunton, and his great-grandfather, James Shepard, lived in the place now owned by Elizabeth Shepard, south of the William N. Northrop residence. Mr Shepard secured water for his place by erecting and 80-foot wind mill, which pumps water up to a tank on the hill. This gives him ample water for his bath room and other purposes on the place.

***

A dance will be held at Sear’s Hall, Huntingtown, this Saturday night, July 12. A good orchestra will furnish the music. Come and enjoy yourself.

 

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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