Looking Back: ‘Baby Storm,’ lost Press

Movie plan cut.

That was the top headline of The Ridgefield Press on Dec. 17, 1992.

A proposed three-screen movie theater got the axe from developer Steve Zemo — now a member of the Board of Selectmen, and still very much a developer — who was planning a commercial-residential project on 3.1 acres at 100 Danbury Road (what is today the Union Savings Bank building).

“For a variety of reason, it’s not going to happen as of a few days ago. I can’t get it past my lender,” Zemo told the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“The good news is that we still have a live (movie theater) operator who is interested in moving into our community,” Zemo said. “The bad news for me is that it’s not going to be with me.”

It’s hard to pick up that week’s Press and not read about Karen and Clifford Heidinger’s new baby, Clifford Storm.

Interesting middle name, right? Well, there’s a story: Baby Clifford arrived as an early “Christmas present” to the Heidingers during the height of a big snowstorm that previous week.

“We’re going to call him Storm,” the proud mother told the newspaper, clinging her newborn close to her.

“This is the best Christmas present we could ever have,” Dr. Heidinger added.

50 years ago

Ridgefield Public Schools were without an assistant superintendent, this time five decades ago.

The Dec. 14, 1967, edition of The Press reported that Dr. Louis Formica, the right-hand man to Superintendent Dr. David Weingast, had resigned from his post to take a similar position on Long Island.

Formica, who was the district’s acting superintendent during the 1966-67 school year, told The Press that he would be working in a school system of nearly 5,000 students, and that he had been offered three different positions since September.

“Before joining the Ridgefield schools, Dr. Formica had been a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator in the public schools of Hartford, Greenwich and Norwalk,” The Press reported. “He and his family have been living in Norwalk.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission had its hands full that week, too.

The Board of Selectmen issued a resolution to enact a regulation that governed the number of liquor stores and gas stations in town at its Dec. 7 meeting.

“The resolution to the commission recommended that regulations governing new liquor outlets or gas stations include a requirement that these businesses be located a certain distance apart,” The Press reported.

At the time, there were 13 package stores in town, plus several grocery stores that sold beer.

“Gas stations — about 20 in all — are located on Route 7 or Danbury Road,” the newspaper said.

Have you ever had a problem getting a copy of The Ridgefield Press? Try waiting two and a half years for it!

A headline in the Dec. 14, 1967, paper read, “Reader gets paper later than usual.” That might have been the understatement of the century — or at least the year.

“In April 1965, the Press mailing boys tied the Grand Central Terminal bundle and put it in the mail bag,” the newspaper reported. “One of the paper was addressed to Miss Charlotte J. Wakeman at 185 Old Broadway, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. It was delivered to her on Dec. 1, 1967.”

Wakeman, the town’s first superintendent of schools, was a longtime reader of The Press.

“She wrote us about the long, delayed delivery, saying the paper was ‘dirty and bedraggled,’” the article stated. “Her other comment was, ‘Where it had been all this time, I do not know.’”