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Redding Pilot News 1966-1992  

Quick Links: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992

The following is a chronological listing of events in Redding since The Redding Pilot was started in 1966. The list includes some important news, some not so important items, but all things which say a little about Redding life over the past 25 years (1966-1992). Information from the 1992 Redding Pilot "A Quarter Century" Supplement.


The Redding Board of Education in October, following a burglary at John Read Middle School and several vandalism incidents, considered posting guard dogs at Redding schools.

The town's population had grown 43% and its child population grown 64% since the 1960 census, according to the state Register and Manual, which was published in November. And in the manual, Redding's population was 4,800 as of July 1, 1966; 1,848 were children. In 1960, there were 3,360 residents, 1,129 children.

The town started its open space drive in November with a unanimous vote to buy a swamp. "Without a murmur of opposition on Friday, Redding for the first time officially voted to reclaim, for preservation as open space, land which once was part of the happy hunting ground of Indians," The Pilot's page one story read, "A special town meeting approved the appropriation of $14,000 to acquire and develop nearly seven and one half acres of swampland... on Lonetown Road, Route 107, across from the Redding School. (At today's rate of exchange, $14,000 would be a lot of wampum.)
"The swamp has been acquired as part of Redding's developing program to retain the rural atmosphere of the town so that it does not become a solely bedroom for the people of nearby communities nor, indeed, a densely-populated suburb of a metropolitan area inhabited primarily by commuters."
A conservation agent earlier told the town the swamp contained a wide variety of wildlife and was part bog, but denied the existence of quicksand on the property.

The Redding Land Trust received several inquires about setting up land trusts as a result of a November Newsweek magazine article entitled Keeping Suburbia Green. One of the letters came from College, Alaska: "Even we here in Alaska might have to take recourse to such land trust for the same purposes at least within and around the larger settlement and the sooner it can be done the better."

And The Pilot in December announced it would become a subscription paper in 1967: "Beginning next week, Wednesday, Jan.4, 1967, the paper will cost $5 a year by mail subscriptions, or 10 cents per copy on newsstands."


Scope, a John Read Middle School student newspaper, made its first appearance with speculations on "superskunk" the mysterious creature seen by many around town (and which some suspected was actually a badger.)

Redding discovered in February it was spending more per pupil for education than all but two other Connecticut towns.

Camera men in March used the Redding Center Town Green, with the Congregational Church as a backdrop, to film a scene for the film Valley of the Dolls.

The death in action March 25 of Marine Corporal Warren Vought, Jr. brought to three the number of Georgetown men killed in fighting in Vietnam in the last five months-more than were killed from that community than during all of World War II, residents said.

Spring-cleaning in a big way, scouts from Georgetown's Troop 108 cleared several truckloads of debris from Gilbert and Bennett Pond in April. Among the clutter were a television set, a baby carriage, and over 60 tires. The Lions did their part, making the pond's beach ready for summer swimmers, and the Putnam Park staff prepared for the onslaught of thousands of visitors.

Everett A. Landin in May decided to resign as superintendent of schools because of overwork. The school boards eventually chose Carl Robinson as its new superintendent.

Burglars found nothing to steal in May during their third break-in in two years at Joel Barlow High School.

Redding's bicentennial dominated the news all August. And when it was over, Redding was quite ready to wait another 50 years. The Pilot reported the celebration was a "flopless masterpiece," beginning with an art show, a garden tour, and Know Your Town Night. A field day featured fire companies warring with rope across a stream of water. A huge afternoon barbecue drew 1,000 people and was followed by the parade, featuring different modes of transportation used in Redding during its two-century existence. The second weekend ended the ceremonies with the "Living Newspaper." A final burst of enthusiasm, the fireworks display, was rained out and had to wait another week.

An audacious but abortive burglary at the Spinning Wheel Inn followed by a wild cops-and-robbers chase through the underbrush and clear to New York highlighted the Labor Day weekend. The suspect was caught and hospitalized with three bullet wounds inflicted by his intended victim.


Bethel police in January launched a campaign to discourage loitering by Redding teenagers. The effort resulted in the arrest of one Redding teen and again highlighted what the Redding Pilot reported was an old problem: no place for teenagers to gather in Redding.

The Redding Land Trust in January was given 32 acres of land. The town continued to vote for purchases of open space in meetings throughout 1967-1968.

Redding's police force expanded: by the end of '68 it included two resident troopers and two patrolmen.

The new Redding-Easton Intertown Council in March set up a recruitment meeting to explain its plans; one high priority was to eliminate tolls for phone calls between Redding and Easton.

Schools, town officials, and some businesses were closed and an ecumenical memorial service was conducted at the First Church of Christ Congregational following the April 4 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

In May, Redding voters approved the $1,813,117 town budget and 25 Easton and Redding voters ok'ed the regional district school budget of $903,815.00

Alvin Goodfield, Redding school principal retired in June, as did Marie T. Golder, Redding's first public kindergarten teacher. Robert Bernstein became the new elementary school principal in July.

A lack of litter baskets combined with lack of visitors to make an unattractive mess at Falls Hole in July. Members of the Conservation Commission were also concerned with swimming and fishing at Falls Hole because of its proximity to the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company's reservoir system.

An October holdup at the Georgetown branch of the Fairfield Trust Company netted about $40,000 for robbers who had not yet been apprehended as of late December. When the stolen getaway car was discovered on Wayside Lane, the body of the car owner's son was found in the truck. An autopsy revealed the murder had occurred before the holdup.

The State Park and Forest Commission announced in October that the Redding Fire Tower, which had been manned (or womaned, as The Pilot reported), would be replaced by airplane surveillance and would be used only in emergencies.


The Region 9 Board of Education in January approved students' request for permission to wear blue jeans in school.

A February snowstorm didn't qualify as a blizzard because temperatures were too high, but the 18 to 22 inches of snow closed Redding schools for a week. One Georgetown resident died in the storm when he suffered a heart attack trying to get his car through deep snow.

The issue of sex education was on residents' minds in June as 125 turned out to see some films on the subject at a meeting sponsored by the West Redding Chapter of the Movement to Restore Decency.

" 'Just Fantastic... Wonderful' Redding Reacts to Moon Walk" was the Pilot's headline the week of astronaut Neil Armstrong's first walk on the moon in July.

Anna Hyatt Huntington's equestrian statue of General Israel Putnam was dedicated at Putnam Park on a sunny September Sunday. A large crowd attended the dedication ceremony, as did the 93-year old Mrs. Huntington.

Much of the Pilot in 1969 was taken up with the issue of PA 490 which allowed lower assessments to open space lands. The interpretation of the act led to a lawsuit, but even that didn't leave the question resolved.

In October, voters, by a nearly 4-1 margin, approved a $3.2 million Joel Barlow High School addition, which was expected to be completed by September, 1971.

Sen. Eugene McCarthy came to Redding in October and spoke of "public unhappiness." He predicted a new political party before the next presidential election.

The Redding Grange in October took a blue ribbon for its exhibit at the Danbury State Fair and winning recognition for being the only grange with a 10-year exhibition record.

In the November election, Jesse P. Sanford won the first selectman's race, Selectman Leslie Favreau won re-election and Mary Anne Guitar became Redding's first woman selectman. Jesse Sanford succeeded his cousin, J. Barlett Sanford, Jr., who had announced in June that he would retire at the end of his term.

Joel Barlow, The Pilot reported in December, "lost mini skirts (some of them, anyway) when the regional board approved slacks for girls during the winter months."


Connecticut Light and Power surveyors, who first refused to say who they were working for, began scouring the town in March, checking out a path for electric power lines. CL&P revealed in December that the 345,000 volt lines would be suspended on poles 65 to 115 feet high and would run through open space across the south of Redding. CL&P withdrew its proposal in 1971.

An Easter snowstorm in March dropped 10 inches of snow on Redding.

Georgetown added another armed robbery to its list in April, but this time it was not a bank. Two well-dressed men carrying attaché cases took jewelry and money totaling $51,000 from a Georgetown homeowner, who the robbers left handcuffed to his guests.

May's events included a Teach in on Asia, local students response to the Kent State University (Ohio) killing of four college students who had been protesting the war in Southeast Asia.

Gypsy moths denuded Redding trees, as well as trees across Fairfield County, leading to an area conference that divided the towns into pro-sprayers and anti-sprayers. At quiet times, The Pilot reported, "you could hear the caterpillars crushing away on the leaves."

With such things becoming common, there was still some excitement when two armed robbers in August hit the Georgetown bank for the second time in less than two years. The two robbers were soon in police custody.

Was a green flag bearing the U.S. flag's stars and bars design a desecration? Residents never really found out during August, but in September, the owner of one such flag in Georgetown was arrested and charged with desecrating the flag. Opinions were still mixed by the end of the year.

A Planning Commission survey in October indicated the typical reason a homeowner moved to Redding was its "country atmosphere." Most residents indicated they wanted to preserve that "atmosphere" in any way possible.

A bus accident involving Joel Barlow students, the second during 1970, took place in Easton during November. Two buses collided on Black Rock Turnpike, injuring 10 students. An investigation blamed faulty brakes.


Redding Open Lands, Inc.suggested a plan for purchases of the 412-acre Steichen property. The town would buy 270 acres, ROLI would buy the rest and develop enough of it to cover its costs. After two votes in 1970 (first to buy the land, then to rescind the purchase), town voters approved spending $682,000 for the land on Jan. 30 by a 1,052 to 902 vote.

The Zoning Commission in February were pondering the implications of Governor Thomas Meskill's proposed 7% sales tax. It was a long time before the question was settled, and for a time later in the year, an income tax was the chosen means for raising funds.

"Spray we must," said First Selectman Jesse P. Sanford. So the town in May sprayed the insecticide Sevin along town roads-only on properties whose homeowners had not requested exemption- to prevent another gypsy moth infestation.

Earth day, April 17, was celebrated in Redding with a round of environmental oriented activities in one of the biggest town gatherings of 1971.

The regional school board in May came to a 3-3 tie in its first vote on establishing a smoking policy for the high school. It came up again later in the year, when the board approved a policy allowing Barlow students an outdoor smoking area but no indoor smoking privileges.

Joel Barlow in September added new courses, with titles like Youth and Rebellion, Advertising Propaganda and Mass Media, The Black Experience, and The Dawn of Modern Times.

Redding and Easton voters strongly indicated their preference for separate school systems by voting down- by an eight to one margin- a plan for regionalization in October. The plan would have a combined system beginning with kindergarten instead of only at the high school level.

The school boards appointed Lawrence Miller superintendent of schools in November.

The Citizens Action Council protested blacktopping in December. It requested the town consider residents' wishes and the character of the neighborhood when planning to surface any of the town's dirt roads.


Property owners in January rejected the Historic District Study Committee's idea of a 183-acre Redding Center Historic District.

The Zoning Commission in January considered creating an architectural review board to help prevent the possibility that "McDonalds's-type golden arches" might be built in Redding.

A wire service story about Redding brought newspaper clippings from Reddingites far and wide. The story was about Anna Hyatt Huntington's donation of money for a new ambulance to the Bethel fire department, which had transported her to the hospital for tests.

A Redding landmark, the house in which Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain's biographer, had lived, burned in an early morning fire in February. No one was hurt in the fire. The two-century old home had been the subject of a book, Dwellers in Arcady, by Paine.

The Georgetown A&P opened in March, as did the Nearly New Shop.

Two Joel Barlow students presented a report on area recycling efforts to the selectman in March. The report prompted the selectman to start Redding's first glass collection, which took place in August.

Townspeople in April rejected an appropriation for spraying against Gypsy Moths. Opponents said the moths' eggs has been mostly destroyed by a parasite. Very few of the leaf eaters appeared this year.

Heavy rains at the beginning of summer caused the overflow of the Ridgefield sewage treatment plant. The Gilbert and Bennett Pond in Georgetown was closed to swimming due to high coliform counts.

Redding police were busy with their first ever "mobile radar" unit, a gift from Anna Hyatt Huntington in October.

A number of residents in December proposed banning to limiting hunting in town. Proponents of the ban argued that careless hunters were endangering property and people. Hunters said the problem would be solved by enforcement of hunting laws, not a ban.

Redding's beaver population continued to be the subject of debate in December, as various methods of accommodating a beaver family were discussed.


A January town meeting voted to buy the Congregational Church hall in Redding Center for use as a police station.

Roaming dogs attacked two sheep on a Limkiln Road property in February, calling dramatic attention to the public of dogs running loose in town. The sheep survived.

A town meeting on March 9 approved the town wetlands ordinance authorizing the Conservation Commission to establish wetlands regulations.

The Redding Historical Society voted to acquire the former Burritt house and turn it into a museum in March. It was renamed the Lonetown Farm Museum.

Edward Steichen, "the man who transformed photography into an art form," died at his Redding home on March 25, two days before his 94th birthday.

Supermarkets in Redding and Georgetown reported in April that shoppers were participating in the national meat boycott, organized to protest the skyrocketing cost of meat.

In May, Walt Haring's gas station on Route 58 was one of the first gas station's in the area to have to close temporarily for lack of fuel. "Out of gas" signs at service stations became common by mid-1971.

Redding's first town-owned beach at Topstone Park opened June 30.

A mammoth last minute cleanup got the new Redding Elementary School addition ready for the opening of the school year on Sept. 5.

A September Pilot reported that "Police shot a snake of mysterious type, which snake when thought to have expired, started to eat a broom. The police then shot its head off for real. It turned out to have been a python, an escaped pet."

Anna Hyatt Huntington, renowned sculptress and philanthropist, died in October at her home at the age of 97. Most of her estate became a state park.

Fire Marshall Lawrence Ford in November warned residents against improper gasoline storage in attempting to avert a shortage during the fuel crisis.

Three Reddingites and one former resident turned up on a list of White House "enemies," made public in December's Watergate hearings by White House counsel John Dean.


The owner of the Stormfield property, once the home of Mark Twain, offered to sell the property to the town in January for $750,000. Although agreement couldn't be reached on that proposed option, the town in August approved an arrangement to buy some of the estate land through a complicated 10-year plan.

And in January opponents of a Sport Hill Road subdivision bought the land instead.

Some Redding girls asked to play on boys Little League teams in April. The Boys' Club declined to approve such an arrangement but allowed the girls to form their own team and use the club's facilities.

The Region 9 Board of Education in May and district voters in September approved an agreement with the owner of a 76-acre property next to the school site. The board hoped to use it for athletic facilities.

Filming of The Stepford Wives began on Redding Ridge-prompting debate about jurisdiction over allowing such filming in a residential zone. As filming continued in July, the Zoning Commission ruled that filming did not constitute a commercial use.

A crew of young archaeologists, led by University of Connecticut graduate students, was hard at work at a dig in Putnam Park in July, looking to find indications of Revolutionary War logistics in the leavings of soldiers who camped at the park during the winter of 1778-79.

Residents in July voiced their opposition to a proposed 610-acre hunting preserve in Redding, Easton and Newtown which the state would lease from Bridgeport Hydraulic Company.

Residents in August stayed glued to their television sets for the historic Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings. President Nixon resigned Aug. 9.

Some 2,000 people attended Redding's Ives Centennial Committee Aug. 18 musical town meeting in a natural amphitheater on property once owned by composer Charles Ives and heard Paul Winter and fellow musicians prove that Ives music is certainly alive.

The spirit of the American Revolution came alive as historic brigade units from throughout the state participated Aug. 18 and 19th in a Putnam Park event.

Two armed robbers made off with $4,340 from the West Redding branch of the Ridgefield Savings Bank.


Concern about rising taxes and a depressed economy resulted in an unprecedented battle over the annual town budget in the spring. Before the budget was adopted at a town meeting June 23, voters had defeated it twice in referendums. Property owners received their tax bills a little later than usual.

In 1975 labor violence occurred in Redding for the first time in recent memory when striking workers at the Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Company in Georgetown tried to block shipments from the wire mill. Police were called, and, in a hand-to hand confrontation with strikers, seven people were arrested.

The Georgetown Community Association in February prompted the introduction of a bill in the General Assembly aimed at establishing Georgetown as a separate town. Some Georgetowners, feeling shortchanged by Redding, Ridgefield, Wilton, and Weston, wanted to go it alone or at least have some municipal powers. But the effort was dropped.

Bridgeport Hydraulic Company in February announced plans to sell its surplus land, although it indicated it had no intention of selling any of its 2,800 acres in Redding. But concern aroused by the announcement prompted legislation restricting such land sales-in turn leading to a lawsuit by the company, naming Redding and other towns as defendants, charging that it is being deprived of its property rights.


Theodore Sorenson spoke in Redding in April. President Jimmy Carter would nominate him head of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1977. President Carter's nomination of Sorenson, a New York attorney and former aide to President Kennedy, to head the CIA never made it to a Senate vote. Among the objections: Sorenson's lack of credentials on intelligence operations, his conscientious objector status during World War II, his use of classified information from the Kennedy White House to write a book, his law firm's representation of foreign governments. Carter withdrew the nomination.

District voters approved a $2.3 million Region 9 budget in April. By a 14-vote margin, townspeople approved a $4.7 million town budget at a May 20 referendum.

A black bear which had been reported wandering around Fairfield County was seen in Redding in June.

Joel Barlow Prinicipal Roy Briggs left in December and Frank Surpless became the school's new principal.

The first week in July was festive in Redding. The town celebrated the nation's 200th birthday by ringing all the church bells and sponsoring a fireworks display at Joel Barlow.

Solid waste was a big issue in 1976. Residents, saying the Saugatuck River would be polluted, opposed a proposed transfer station in the Starrs Plain area.


The big issue in January was what kind of bridge would be built to replace the 1909 wooden and steel structure over the railroad tracks on Simpaug Turnpike. After the original bridge design caused residents to cry "overkill" at the size of the proposed span, proponents of a smaller bridge won a May referendum 784 to 387.

Redding was becoming a very popular place to live. Local builders experienced a "terrific take off" in 1976 based on a jump in building permits, Building Inspector Theodore Dachenhausen said in February.

Tennis buffs won the day in April as a proposal to build four new tennis courts on land near the Redding Elementary School was approved in a referendum by an 883-497 vote.

Mary Anne Guitar ended 44 years of Republican rule in November when she was elected the first women first selectman of Redding. First Selectman Jesse P. Sanford had announced in January he would not run again.

The week before Christmas about 120 Joel Barlow High School students staged a sit-down strike in the school because one of the smoking areas had been closed. Superintendent of Schools Lawrence Miller responded by suspending the students and closing school for a half day.


The Zoning Commission in July approved regulations which allowed apartment units up to 600 square feet in existing dwellings. The commission had heard a report some months before that revealed there were more than 300 apartments in Redding, many of them operating illegally.

On Friday, Oct. 13, voters by a 475-395 count rejected the proposed town purchase of the Alexander property in West Redding as a site for town built housing for the elderly. Neighbors said that septic failure on the proposed development site could pollute the huge underground aquifer beneath the property and threaten the area water supply.

Many police and dozens of volunteers combed the countryside in the northern section of town in December, looking for what was supposed to have been a plane that had crashed. The search party didn't find anything, however, and it was later learned that a meteor shower had taken place during that time.


The Redding Taxpayers Association sought "Proposition 13" type controls on town spending. The association in January proposed town ordinances tying budget increases to growth in the grand list. Voters in March rejected the ordinance by a 684-573 vote.

The Region 9 Board of Education in June hired Nelson W. Quinby as Joel Barlow High School's new principal.

The consensus of gas station owners and employees in Redding and Georgetown was that the odd-even gasoline rationing system has reduced the number of cars waiting for gas. A rationing system went into effect June 20 when Gov. Ella Grasso declared an "energy emergency" in the state.

A rash of vandalism hit all four corners of town and caused more than $1,000 worth of damage, police reported in August. Vandals broke windows at the Redding Boys' Club as well as on cars in West Redding Railroad Station parking lot and in homes in Georgetown and on Redding Ridge.


Joel Barlow High School in October engaged Redding Ridge douser Viola Dudek to help find water on the property where it planned to build athletic fields. It did not help. Eventually the project was redesigned so fewer wells would suffice.

After years of controversy, the renovated and restored Simpaug Turnpike bridge over the railroad tracks was reopened in December.


Cannondale Corporation, a sporting goods company, announced plans in February to move its headquarters to Georgetown.

The first selectmen of Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding and the mayors of Danbury and Norwalk in April all urged the state to make immediate improvements to the existing Route 7. State officials later in the year said Super 7 was decades away because the state did not have the money to build it.

The home of a Redding family served as the "deprogramming" location for a resident who, his mother said, had been brainwashed by the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Yung Moon.

State utility regulators in July voted to award the contract for Redding's cable television franchise to Cablevision of Connecticut.

"Redding looks rural but it's not," a planning consultant told the Planning Commission in July, when it began revising the Town Plan of Development.

A group of Georgetown businessmen in September said they were fed up with the way Redding was treating Georgetown and wanted the community to secede and form its own municipality. The business group didn't get too far, though the issue became a hot political topic in Redding's November municipal elections, won by First Selectman Mary Anne Guitar by only 25 votes over former Town Clerk Emerson Burritt.

James Houghtaling in December became the first Joel Barlow graduate (he was a member of the school's first graduating class) to serve on the Region 9 Board of Education, which oversees Barlow.


A January fire at the Canine College on Marchant Road killed 37 dogs, including several belonging to the college's owner.

The Glendenning corporation sold the Gilbert Hill property to Perkin-Elmer for $4.95 million in March.

About 30 residents formed Redding Citizens for a Nuclear Freeze, which held meetings, staged other activities and prompted much debate about nuclear weapons throughout the year.

A Route 53 man over a Saugatuck River waterfall and drowned in June. His body was recovered in the Saugatuck Reservoir several days later.


Perkin-Elmer began work on a corporate headquarters on the Gilbert Hill property after it agreed to meet the Conservation Commission's 41 conditions of approval.

Attempts to rezone the property where the Bachelor's II bar was located and build a "Mark Twain Center" shopping area failed in January and August.

A New Haven consulting firm in July recommended the town build a small sewer treatment  plant, which it estimated would cost $300,000 to $400,000, for the Georgetown area.

A logging company in February was denied permission by the Conservation Commission to remove downed timber from a lot because the lumber would have to be hauled across a stream.

Two men in ski masks, one armed with a shotgun, burst into the West Redding branch of the Ridgefield Savings Bank one April day and made off with $8,000.00

A New York pilot walked away from the crash of his plane after it ran out of gas and he made an emergency landing, nose-first into a thicket, on a Lonetown Road field in July. The plane was "wrecked beyond reasonable repair," the pilot said.


The League of Women Voters in March proposed the creation of a Youth Commission.

For-hundred Georgetowners in May signed a petition protesting the realignment of mail service in the area. The Postal Service had announced that it would close the Georgetown Post Office and Georgetowners would receive mail service from post offices in the municipalities in which they lived. Eventually, the Postal Service went for another idea:build a new Georgetown Post Office and offer post office box service.

Regulation Road's mane sparked a lively debate in the fall. Developer Costa Stegue had named the road several years earlier, but not with the Planning Commission's approval. Mr. Stergue said the regulation requiring the commission's approval hadn't gone into effect. The commission decided the name could stay.

After receiving a call about an injured dog, Redding's canine control officer found the animal, dead from an accident, was a coyote instead.

Police arrested nine persons on various drug charges in a raid of a Georgetown home Dec. 7.


The town in January began debating whether to have an emergency 911 center in town  (considering a step towards creating an independent town police force) or join a regional 911 center based in Southbury. Voters in November favored the Redding location by a 443-222 vote.

The town made worldwide headlines when Major Arthur Nicholson, Jr. formerly of Redding, was shot and killed by a Soviet sentry in East Germany. The Soviet Union claimed he was spying on a Soviet military installation and was shot trying to flee after a warning shot had been fired despite the fact that, as The New York Times wrote, "both sides have long accepted what amounts to sanctioned espionage in the two Germanys."

With a rousing evening of remembrance, Ben Deming in April kicked off a series of celebrations of the Year of Twain to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mark Twain. Mr. Deming recalled the opening of the Mark Twain Library in 1910 and when he sat on the lap of Redding's most famous resident who moved to Redding in 1908 and died here in 1910.

Hurricane Gloria in September felled trees and knocked out power, leaving some residents without electricity for three days. After the storm some residents raised questions about the town's preparedness for such emergencies.

Stuart Chase, an author, nationally prominent economist, and Redding leader, died at the age of 97 in November.


The Country Emporium, a West Redding restaurant and general store and Redding landmark for many years, was severely damaged by fire in March.

Redding and Easton voters approved the $5.6 million Region 9 Board of Education budget in May, when Redding voters defeated the town budget 288-205. Voters in June approved an altered $11 million town budget.

Voters in October, in one of the largest referendum turnouts in memory, overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to build an indoor swimming pool, for an estimated $1.4 million, at the Redding Elementary School.

Voters in august packed a hot, humid, elementary school and overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to form a separate Mark Twain historic district study committee. The town had approved creation of a committee to study all Redding's possible districts earlier in the year.


The Connecticut Historic Commission announced in May that the Georgetown Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the federal government's official list of historic properties worthy of preservation.

Two votes. That was the margin of victory in November (out of more than 2,600 cast) for First Selectman Mary Anne Guitar, who won re-election to her sixth term over Kate Rook. Mrs. Rook won election to the Board of Selectman.

The town hall green got a new gazebo, dedicated to the town's veterans in November. The gazebo effort, spearheaded by Katie Rook and the Republican Women's Club, had generated some controversy in 1986 before it got approval.


Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Company in January announced plans to convert its 51-acre wire mill property into a village of homes, shops and offices.

In a disheartening blow to senior housing advocates, the Fairfield County Council of the Boys Scouts of America in February voted not to sell its land to the town. Redding officials had pinned their hopes on the property, where they hoped to build municipal housing for the elderly.

Every 10 years, Redding's assessments have been revaluated. And every 10 years there has been controversy. But the town had seen nothing like what started in April, 1987. The uproar led to a vote to rescind the revaluation, though town officials said the result was "non-binding." The controversy in June focused on Board of Tax Review meetings which were held in violation of Freedom of Information laws, and led to the resignation of all three members of the Board of Assessors in December. The board was soon afterwards abolished.

Nancy Burton's stream of legal actions against the town (which included in 1987 at least two complaints which the Freedom of Information Commission decided were justified) led to skyrocketing legal costs in 1988. Town officials laid the blame for the $66,000 bill on Ms. Burton, who said the fault was with town officials for acting "outside the law" and not getting good legal advice.

"Now I can get the Disney channel." That's what a wire service quoted a West Redding man as saying after police arrested him for sneaking onto a neighbor's property and using a chain saw to cut down a 50-foot oak tree in an effort to improve his television reception. He told the Pilot he never said such a thing.


The Redding Land Trust and Great Ledge Committee in January celebrated the acquisition of The Great Ledge, a natural landmark near Devil's Den.

Friends of a Redding native gathered at the First Church of Christ Congregation in February to remember one of the town's first victims of AIDS.

May 7 was Ebba Anderson Day. Redding honored the Umpawaug Road historian for her successful efforts to get the Umpawaug Schoolhouse on the National Register of Historic Places.

Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Company on Aug. 1 ended nearly two centuries of wire making in Georgetown. The company moved its manufacturing operations to other G&B factories in Georgia and other states.

Former Redding Board of Education Chairman Hank Bielawa won election as first selectman in November, bringing to an end a seesaw battle with Selectman Katie Rook. Mrs. Rook had lost a July Republican caucus to Mr. Bielawa by one vote, then won a September GOP primary. But Mr. Bielawa petitioned to run for first selectman as an independent (as did Elizabeth Varcoe, for the fifth time). He succeeded Mary Anne Guitar, who, after 12 years in office, decided not to run for re-election again.

The town's 911 emergency phone system began operating in November.

Underground tanks at the Town Garage leaked gasoline into a nearby stream, leading to an expensive, long-running clean-up.

The U.S. Department of Education in December recognized Joel Barlow High School by naming it one of 218 schools in the country to receive an excellence in education award.


R.K. Health Services, Inc. announced in February it planned to build a 300-unit luxury "life care center" on the 135-acre Perkin-Elmer property, which it had agreed to buy.

Guy Levine was arrested and charged with the February murders of his parents at their Wayside Lane home.

The town became starstruck as Gilbert and Bennett's wire mill was used in November as a site for filming of some scenes for the Hollywood movie Other People's Money, starring Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck.

Redding in December started mandatory recycling, a month before state law required residents to recycle.


Families of soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War expressed support for American involvement while local churches held virgils to pray for peace as the Jan. 15 deadline approached for Iraq to pull its forces out of Kuwait. A February cease fire brought relief to soldiers' parents. Five Redding veterans were home in time to be honored at the town's Memorial Day parade in May.

Redding resident and rock and roll musician Meat Loaf offered to give the proceeds from a concert to Joel Barlow High School to preserve the music department, which had been threatened by proposed budget cuts.

Rabies reached Redding as police officers shot and killed several raccoons with the disease in spring and summer.

Lawrence Miller, superintendent of schools for 20 years, announced he planned to resign.

The Conservation Commission in May and the Zoning Commission in July approved the Gilbert Hill life care center, a luxury retirement community with 299-units and a nursing home. Construction won't start until late 1992 at the earliest, developers said.

It's big, it's ugly and it's here to stay. The new West Redding train station was also the target of a steady stream of criticism beginning in October. Town officials by December were coming up with plans to make the "monstrosity" less big and less ugly.

The Pilot marked its 25th anniversary in October and announced plans to publish a silver anniversary supplement later during its 25th year.

A 300-pound black bear was struck and killed by a Chevy Blazer traveling on Route 53 on Dec. 7. The driver and a passenger, both of Redding, were not injured in the accident, said to be the first between a bear and a motor vehicle reported in Connecticut.

Redding's population grew 9% in the 80's, one of the smallest increases the town has seen in the last century, according to the 1990 U.S. Census, which said the town had 7,927 residents.


A year after the Persian Gulf war, parents of Redding veterans said they and their children felt the war was left unfinished.

G.Richard Couillard became superintendent of schools Feb.1.

The April issue of Redbook magazine named Joel Barlow High School one of the top public schools in the nation and the best high school in Connecticut.


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