Looking Back: Smoke detectors, new high school

Checking to see if your smoke detector is working is as valuable as checking if your door is locked before going to bed.

That was the opinion given by fire Chief Richard Nagle in the Dec. 30, 1992, edition of The Press.

The fire chief had recently completed a smoke detector inspection program and reported that 19% of the town’s detectors were not working.

“That’s a very high percentage,” he told The Press.

“Nationally, one-third of the smoke detectors in homes don’t work.”

The inspection program, which cost the town nothing, reached 1,463 homes in the Ridgebury area and in Casagmo and Fox Hill — about 25% of the town, Nagle said — in September and October 1992.

What did the firefighters do to fix the smoke detectors that weren’t working?

“‘Almost all the smoke detectors were given batteries and worked when the inspectors left the house,’” Nagle said.

“The fire department will try to inspect the rest of the town during the spring and summer months,” The Press reported.

50 years ago

What does a high school with 1,800 students need?

That was the question the Senior High School Building Committee was tasked to answer in the Dec. 28, 1967, edition of The Ridgefield Press.

That week’s front page actually had two stories regarding plans for the new high school.

The first discussed an 89-page preliminary report on education specifications for the proposed high school.

“The report, prepared by the administration, contains suggested physical requirements to meet the educational needs of Ridgefield students during the 1970s,” The Press reported. “The school is planned to be opened in September 1970.”

With a scheduled opening in three years, the town didn’t waste any time hiring an architecture firm to design the building.

“Town Picks Bridgeport Architect” read the second headline pertaining to the new high school.

The Building Committee had selected Fletcher Thompson Inc. during an executive session on Dec. 27, The Press reported.

“The company, which designed the Catoonah Street firehouse addition, also designed the recently completed Cloonan Junior High School in Stamford,” the newspaper said. “Most members of the building committee have visited that school and were impressed by its design.”

The vote was unanimous, The Press reported. It wasn’t an easy choice, of course, with 25 different architectural firms applying for the job.

“This number was narrowed down to five from which the committee chose the Bridgeport firm,” The Press said.

It wasn’t all hard news that week.

The Wadsworth R. Lewis Trust reported an income of $28,177 that year, and announced it would be distributing funds to 19 charitable organizations.  

“The income this year is the highest it has ever been,” The Press reported, “about $2,000 more than for 1966.”

After a recommendation from the trust’s advisory committee, money was distributed to several local organizations, including the Ridgefield Library and Historical Society, Ridgefield Little League Baseball, the Keeler Tavern, and the Ridgefield Conservation Commission.