Looking Back: Stolen sundial, legalizing bingo

“The good news is the sundial stolen recently from the Ballard Park’s perennial gardens was recovered Friday and returned … The bad news is the sundial did not make it through the night — it was stolen again.”

The sundial was first found hanging from a tree limb about 15 feet above the ground.

The park double heist led to the beginnings of a malicious blame game — namely blaming local high schoolers that liked to hang out in that area of the park.

One sophomore said, “I would not take the time and trouble to climb up a tree and put it up there.”

Capt. Richard Ligi said the police would investigate, but would not tolerate blame games. “Anybody can make an unfounded accusation,” he said.

The construction of the new Route 7 expressway was presented with another road block as the 1990 Clean Air Act “further complicate[d] an already complicated situation,” Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Michael Saunders said.

“Because of its proximity to New York City, Fairfield County has the worst ozone nonattainment in the state,” meaning that in order to get federal funding to build the road, the state would have to prove that it would not increase carbon monoxide and fumes that enter the atmosphere, a hard thing to fully prove, or even argue.

A letter to the editor lamented the continued assault on her flowers by local deer.

“Once again I am writing about the deer problem … Is the time coming when I will have to plant artificial flowers in my gardens, as one resident did? Heaven forbid!

“When is the town going to consider the deer problem seriously?”

50 years ago

A petition had been brought to the Board of Selectmen asking for the game bingo to be made legal once again. Yes, bingo. The petition asked for bingo to be approved for one year after Sept. 15, and voted on again the following year. Should it be approved twice, bingo would be permanently authorized.

“Until a year ago last October, bingo could be played. But in order to discourage racketeers, Section 7-169 was passed making it necessary for the governing body of a town to vote on whether bingo could be played … Vincent Smith believes that every person who works at bingo and the organization running the game must have special identification cards and be licensed.”

A lightning strike had frightening effects on the home of George H. Johnson. Although there was no evidence of a fire, the house did not escape unscathed.

When the lightning struck the ground near the house, it left a “14-inch-wide hole in the lawn, severed the drainpipe from the gutters, travelled up the drainpipe and into the house” where it “travelled through the interior walls with such force that it pushed many nails out of the sheetrock.”

The Coleman Murray family had grown in the past two years, with six foster children, between the ages of six and 17, joining the ranks.

“The children needed a home,” Murray said, and that is exactly what she provided.

“The younger children were brought to the Murray’s without any clothing… the children were used to eating about twice a week and at first were afraid of the water and bathtub.”

The oldest, Paul, was about to enter his senior year at the high school as president of his class and with plans for his future.

“The Murrays are the best people I’ve ever known,” he said.

He sometimes hears kids grumbling about their parents — but, he said, “They don’t know what it is to not have any.”