Celtics Get Webster Ayes  
Thursday, January 22, 2009

SO I'VE HEARD

By Ed Patenaude


There was a time when Webster's Heller brothers, Hyman, a physician, and Abraham and Samuel, both lawyers, were known for sportsmanship and finesse on a basketball court. They played with a professional flair, earning college tuition money by barnstorming about, mostly winning wherever competition took them. The Connecticut natives became a favorite with Webster-area crowds, so much so that they settled here after completing graduate studies and they contributed to the town for decades. Dr. Heller provided care and compassion, and the two lawyers provided counsel and guidance. While their athletic talents served them well as young men, their commitments as citizens and professional leaders are what they're mostly remembered for today.

Still, the family's basketball sense took another bounce to the medical side.

According to Mrs. Abraham (Rose) Heller, Dr. Michael H. Goldstein, co-director of The New England Eye Center, is married to her niece, Webster native Elaine "Lanie" Heller, daughter of Mrs. Evelyn Heller and the late Dr. Hyman Heller.

The New England Eye Center is affiliated with Tufts University and is the official eye care provider for the Boston Celtics. Dr. Goldstein treated Celtics star Ray Allen when he suffered an eye injury last year and the Celts subsequently raised another championship banner, said Rose Heller.

Municipalities are trying to line up shovel-ready works projects in hopes of getting some of the stimulus dollars President Barack Obama has been talking about.

Webster might have an excellent proposal, the mandated upgrades of the wastewater treatment plant, which also serves Dudley. The Webster Conservation Commission has given the proposal a green light, according to town records.

The commission had to look at the project because the plant is adjacent to the French River. The irony in this is that the treatment plant promotes water quality in the river. A town meeting rejected the latest proposal because it called for a garage and other ancillary things. A few modifications were allowed and officials pressing the mandates got their way.

Cost estimates are still in the $17 million range, and construction bids could be invited next month. Adding this kind of money to the municipal debt structure could be more than some wastewater plant-users can bear. It's time to line up in President Obama's works-stimulus parade, even though its future isn't certain.

Like others with no-pay avocations, OldeWebster.com editor Carla Manzi had to catch up on submissions after the year-end holidays, entering material from different sources, including the most recent Bartlett High School Sports Hall of Fame induction. "They're all in there now," she said on a recent morning, meaning all of the installations held since Bartlett formed its Sports Hall.

Carla's cousin, Gino Manzi, was one of the 2008 inductees, selected for his contributions in a couple of sports. She sent a note to the former Southbridge High and Shepherd Hill Regional basketball coach: "You know you're old when you've made it to OldeWebster."

Incidentally, recollections of Francis J. "Frank" Steutermann's Point Pleasant Store have been entered of late, mostly by people who remembered it from their early years as a candy store. Frank had a line of candies and novelty ice cream products, but the store served developments along the Thompson Road side of Webster Lake, meaning bread, milk and other items that a summer visitor might need. He took over the business around 1930.

Mr. Steutermann's personal recollections included the Stanley Steamer, which shoe manufacturer A.J. Bates kept in the boiler room of his Park Street plant. Frank's dad was the stationary engineer at the factory and doubled as Mr. Bates' chauffer. Frank got to ride alongside his father when he drove to the Bates homestead to pick up the boss. This was in about 1907 when Frank was 5 years old, he said in a long-ago interview.

Jessie Hughes of Lower Gore Road, Webster, celebrated her 83rd birthday Jan. 10 and all 41 of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and their guests, turned out for a dinner at Brian's Restaurant in Northbridge, according to Paul Hughes, who identified himself as the oldest of Jessie's 10 children.

It was a grand time, says Paul. The family was especially pleased because Brian's management "did a real good job for us." Mrs. Hughes has to be a special person because those in her family that I know express great love for her.
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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