Looking Back: Rabies spreads; planning rejected

“Rabies Still a Threat,” warned a page one headline 25 years ago.

“It has been 10 months since the state’s first case of a rabies in a raccoon was found in Ridgefield, and rabies continues to spread,” said the story in the Jan. 30, 1992, Ridgefield Press. “The number of cases tallies to 226 statewide. Ridgefield has had 27 confirmed cases of rabid animals, said Town Sanitarian Ed Briggs.”

The property that’s still Ridgefield’s largest retail center was headed for foreclosure.

Copps Hill Plaza Shopping Associates, owners of the shopping center on Danbury Road that is anchored today by Stop & Shop, had the start of foreclosure proceedings against them announced by a New York mortgage firm, RPS Realty Trust, The Press reported. RPS Realty had a $9.6-million mortgage on the property. The owners being foreclosed on had bought Copps Hill Plaza from Joseph Klein in 1986.

“The complex is fully occupied, except for a vacancy left by I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! which recently went out of business,” the page one story said.

Tax Assessor AL Garzi thought the financial problems must stem from other properties the group owned.

“If there’s a problem, it’s not associated with that site,” he said.

School Superintendent Jerry Marcus presented a budget that increased spending almost 5% while cutting six jobs.

“Dr. Marcus admitted that his staff cuts ‘continue the retrenchment and deterioration of education programs’ that have been occurring in the budget battles of recent years,” The Press reported.

Don’t hear that kind of talk out of school superintendents these days.

Five Ridgefield restaurants — Gail’s Station House, Hay Day Cafe, Stonehenge, The Inn at Ridgefield, and Kismet — were listed as among the state’s best eating establishments in Connecticut’s Best Dining 1992 by Patricia Brooks, restaurant and food critic for The New York Times Connecticut Section.

50 Years Ago

“Ridgefield voters made it abundantly clear that they don’t want the town to join the proposed Housatonic Valley Regional Planning Agency,” the Feb. 2 ,1967, Press reported. “By a vote of 394 to 164, a ratio of two and a half to one, they rejected regional planning at a town meeting.”

Ridgefield, though, eventually did cave in and join regional planning. It is today a member of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, a successor to the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials.

The proprietors of King Neptune Restaurant, Fred Orrico and Joseph Chelednik, were planning “a hospital fund dinner to help Adrian Pongetti, Ridgefield fireman, meet the expenses of a broken leg suffered while answering an alarm of a fire at their restaurant.”

“Talk fest with teens doesn’t solve problem,” said a page one headline on a story of teens seeking a place to gather.

The teens who met with town officials included Missy Miner, Barbara Sill, Heidi Herman, Michael Kelly (president of the Student Council), Sue Ball, Thomas Buch, Andrew Gaeta, and James Mulvaney.

“The teenagers feel that, after being in school all day, they would like a place to get together and linger, without causing a disturbance,” the story said.

A missing doll was in the news.

“A replica of a 130-year-old doll named Miss Bangwell Putt which was exhibited at the Keeler Tavern during the toy show in early January mysteriously disappeared at the close of the show, tavern officials report,” The Press reported.