Commerce Adds to Land Bank  
Thursday, November 29, 2001
So I've Heard Column


Commerce Insurance Croup has a new lawn in front of an open parcel near the Webster DPW garage on Cudworth Road. The insurance company purchased the acreage from the town some time ago for a records center and/or office building.
The project was scrapped after Commerce bought the former Burris Foods building, originally the B/W Footwear Co. factory on Sutton Road, for a reported $4.5 million. Site work had started on the former town parcel when space requirements were satisfied through the Burris acquisition.
While construction plans were shelved, the insurer is holding the Cudworth Road lot in its land bank, Commerce Group President Arthur J. Remillard Jr. said some weeks ago. Making it look presentable by loaming and hydroseeding may be the head start to a future project for the state's leading automobiles insurer.
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A 1932 photo of "St. Louis Buddies," a new entry in the oldewebster.com archives, was probably taken by the late Fran Groblewski.
This follows because Fran's brother and business partner, Jim Groblewski is pictured with Courtland Borus, John King, Clarence Kiley, Doc Prince, and Cy Canty.
While Fran was an accomplished photographer, as evidenced by his military assignments, lens work was never more than a sideline. The Groblewski brothers ran Taylorcraft, a dry cleaning and tailoring shop for decades. Crafts were part of the business early on, accounting for the company name. Their shop was last located on Cody Street in Webster.
Jim gave several photos to oldewebster editor Carla Manzi shortly before he died in September. I copied the "Buddies" shot off my computer screen and mailed it to long-time friend Bob Prince, who lives in Quinebaug. Doc was his older brother. Bob Prince, also a St. Louis graduate, remembered Jim Groblewski for another reason. "He wrote the lyrics to the school song."
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Dudley native John E. Stanick, of Greensboro, N.C., says he regularly reads this column off the internet.
Mutual friends Kippy and Ray Brodeur of Holyoke provided Worcester Telegram site information, he said. I once mentioned an old beer bottle marked "John Stanick," he said. "That would have been my father who had some kind of business that involved alcohol," said Mr. Stanick.
Mr. Stanick lived on West Main Street as a young person. The Malser, Groh, Stafford, and Dumas families were neighbors. Dudley Selectman Anthony B. DiDonato was a childhood chum, he said. "Perhaps when we were 4 or 5 years old, and I read about him with interest."
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Ramona Kelly of the Webster Towm Accountant's staff, bought an old photograph of a town Fire Department officer recently through eBay.
"It's a nice photograph, and it was taken by a Webster photographer, but I haven't any idea who it is," Ms. Kelly said last week.
I have a 1899 Webster Fire Department souvenir booklet with photos of the then board of fire engineers. James Newman was one of the engineers.
The Newman photo matched to the one purchased by Ms. Kelly. Both are from the same pose. "I got it through a place in Florida," Ms. Kelly said of her purchase. She termed the photo identification "exciting."
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There are some new wall hangings in Sandi's Restaurant on Main Street in Webster, reproductions of old Massachusetts and Connecticut maps.
Joanne and Mark Fontanella, owners of the business, came across the maps in a Charleston, S.C., outlet during a recent visit to that city. "There we were, far from home and we found something that pertained to home," said Mr. Fontanella.
They bought illustrations of both states because their restaurant is in Webster, and they live in Wilsonville, Conn., just over the state line from Webster.
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I've known about Alden Fish for maybe 15 years, ever since I got into a discussion about the former Webster Academy with John Hoye, a graduate of the school. Mr. Fish, and Edward F. Lesse were the other<
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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