Day Two: Outdoor Events & Activities Canceled, Fields & Parks Closed Due To Air Quality Concerns For the second consecutive day, concerns over air quality have led local officials to cancel outdoor activities and events, and close playing fields. For the second consecutive day, concerns over air quality have led local officials to cancel outdoor activities and events, and close playing fields.The Town of Newtown issued the alert early Thursday afternoon. The closures are in effect for the remainder of the day.According to the notice, “In response to our current air quality, many organizations that serve our community, with a particular focus on our most vulnerable — children, elderly and those who may be more susceptible due to their health status — a decision has been made to limit outdoor exposure especially involving increased exertion (running, biking, play).“It certainly is voluntary on an individual basis, but with an abundance of caution, activities that involve bringing groups together without knowing individual risk are being canceled or postponed,” the statement continued.All outdoor sports, Eichler's Cove Beach, Treadwell pool, and Parks & Recreation activities are canceled/closed this afternoon, according to the notice.CT DEEP’s Air Quality Index went from Moderate-Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on Tuesday to Unhealthy as of Wednesday. It remains Unhealthy as of 1 pm today.CT DEEP's Air Quality Index link can be found here: portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Air/Forecasting/AQI/Air-Quality-IndexSmoke from Canada’s wildfires has been moving into the United States since last month. The most recent fires near Quebec have been burning for at least several days. The Quebec-area fires are big and relatively close, about 500 to 600 miles (roughly 800 to 970 kilometers) away from Rhode Island.Smoke from the fires has wafted through northeast US states for weeks, but it’s only recently been noticeable in most places. The US Environmental Protection Agency said hazy skies, reduced visibility and the odor of burning wood are likely, and that the smoke will linger for a few days in northern states.Local officials issued a similar cancellations announcement yesterday, marking the first time weeks of wildfires have had a direct effect locally.
For the second consecutive day, concerns over air quality have led local officials to cancel outdoor activities and events, and close playing fields.
Town Fields Closed, Outdoor Activities & Events Cancelled; Bike Playground Opening PostponedNewtown Parks & Recreation has canceled outdoor events and activities, and closed Town fields, in response to the current air quality concerns brought on by massive wildfires to the north of this country. Newtown Parks & Recreation has canceled outdoor events and activities, and closed Town fields, in response to the current air quality.In an email blast received around midday, the department noted that due to the “many organizations that serve our community, with a particular focus on our most vulnerable — children, elderly and those who may be more susceptible due to their health status — a decision has been made to limit outdoor exposure especially involving increased exertion (running, biking, play).“It certainly is voluntary on an individual basis, but with an abundance of caution, activities that involve bringing groups together without knowing individual risk are being canceled or postponed.”All outdoor sports and related events have been canceled. This afternoon’s Bicycle Playground Opening special event has been postponed to Thursday, June 22, at 5 pm.Eichler's Cove beach and Treadwell Pool and Park are closed for the remainder of the day.CT DEEP’s Air Quality Index went from Moderate-Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on Tuesday to Unhealthy today.The state’s Air Quality Index link can be monitored here: portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Air/Forecasting/AQI/Air-Quality-IndexThe Associated Press has been reporting on the intense Canadian wildfires, which “are blanketing the northeastern US in a dystopian haze, turning the air acrid, the sky yellowish gray and prompting warnings for vulnerable populations to stay inside.”The effects of hundreds of wildfires burning across the western provinces to Quebec could be felt as far away as New York City and New England, blotting out skylines and irritating throats.US authorities have issued air quality alerts. Hazy conditions and smoke from the wildfires are being reported across the Great Lakes region from Cleveland to Buffalo.Smoke from Canada’s wildfires has been moving into the United States since last month. The most recent fires near Quebec have been burning for at least several days. The Quebec-area fires are big and relatively close, about 500 to 600 miles (roughly 800 to 970 kilometers) away from Rhode Island.Smoke from the fires has wafted through northeast US states for weeks, but it’s only recently been noticeable in most places. The US Environmental Protection Agency said hazy skies, reduced visibility and the odor of burning wood are likely, and that the smoke will linger for a few days in northern states.Also today, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has postponed state lacrosse and tennis tournament games due to the air quality concerns.The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is forecasting unhealthy levels for the entire state because of the fires.What Can Be Done Now?It’s a good time to put off that yard work and outdoor exercise. If going outside, consider wearing an N95 mask to reduce exposure to pollutants, the AP suggests.Stay inside, keeping your doors, windows and fireplaces shut. It’s recommended that you run the air conditioning on a recirculation setting.Dr David Hill, a pulmonologist in Waterbury and a member of the American Lung Association’s National Board of Directors, told the AP now is a good time to check HVAC filters.“If you have filters on your home HVAC system, you should make sure they’re up-to-date and high quality,” Hill said. “Some people, particularly those with underlying lung disease, or heart disease, should consider investing in air purifiers for their homes.”=====Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.WEB town fields closed, events canceled, bike park postponed due to wildfir Shannon Hicks
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Town Administrator Work Group To Begin Readying Recommendation
The Town Administrator Workgroup is close to moving on to the next phase of its work, coming up with a final recommendation.For the past five months, a Town Administrator Workgroup has been laying the foundation of its work by extensive research, including interviews with more than a dozen town officials from around the state.At its May 30 meeting, the group alluded that it would be doing two more meetings where appointees would continue to interview town officials; then, starting in July, the four members would begin formulating a draft of recommendation to the town.The group began review of an outline drawn up by member Ned Simpson, with member Pat Llodra noting that a list of “changes” in the outline were just “descriptions of Newtown’s current structure.” Llodra suggested that the outline start by describing current conditions, then move on to why the group is doing the work, referencing a charge the group received from First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, and then move into the three models the group is considering.The models are no change — to leave the town in the current model of government; a town manager form of government that would require a change to the Town Charter; and hiring a town administrator that would work under the current first selectman.Llodra recommended that Simpson write the section of the recommendation on the group’s research as he has a “very linear sense of order” and can “lay it all out in a detailed, responsive way.”Simpson recommended that Chairman Maureen Crick Owen write a section of “common themes” in the group’s research — little details that match between how different towns have approached similar changes to what Newtown is considering.The group also looked over a list of areas of concern for why a change may need to take place.The first was that longevity in the role of first selectman may not be relied upon. While Newtown has had a string of first selectmen that have stayed in the role over multiple terms, the position is elected every two years and future candidates may not stay in the role as long as previous first selectmen.Another concern was that compensation for the position is less than similar positions in the private sector.A third was that the knowledge and skills demanded of the role have continued to expand. Crick Owen noted that the work that goes into some items that come before the Board of Selectmen is immense even before it gets to them.Social media was a fourth concern, as workgroup members felt it creates an expectation from the public that the first selectman is aware of issues and responsive at all times. Llodra was concerned about the toxicity that can exist online, and Simpson was concerned that social media can create echo chambers where incorrect information can circulate.The demands of day-to-day items often get in the way of other things that might be expected of a first selectman, such as long-term planning. Lastly, they made reference to “challenging attributes embedded in the position.”At its June 12 meeting, the workgroup will interview South Windsor’s town manager, Michael Mariscalco, and Clinton’s town manager, Karl Kilduff.Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Town Administrator Work Group Finishing Interviews Soon, To Begin Formulati Jim Taylor
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Finance Board Approves Grants, Possible HVAC Schematic DrawingsGrants for Housatonic Rail Trail and Newtown Community Center's summer programs were approved recently by the Board of Finance.The Board of Finance accepted two grants during its meeting on May 25, one for the Rail Trail and the other for the Newtown Community Center’s summer programs.The Jeniam Foundation has given the town a $6,500 grant, which will be used to build a “more official entry area” at the Newtown/Monroe border along the Housatonic Rail Trail, and will include a small extension of the Newtown entrance trail.First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said the area right now is a “pile of dirt” and that the grant will make the area “more official looking.” Rosenthal said the Monroe rail trail comes to the line, and there’s a stretch in Botsford near the Batchelder clean-up site where it “just ends.”“This will make the area identify the ending and let people know what’s coming in the future,” said Rosenthal.At a May 15 Board of Selectmen meeting, Land Use Director Rob Sibley explained that the trail ends at the Monroe border; on the Newtown side there is about 1,200 linear feet of 10-foot wide rail trail. There was a Boy Scout project in the area approximately ten years ago but now the area is getting overgrown.The mound of dirt used to end the trail is meant to discourage those walking the trail from entering the Batchelder property.Sibley said the grant will be used for a pair of benches with a plaque explaining where the funding came from, and a sign stating something along the lines of, “we’re sorry we can’t invite you in further, but we are working hard to have a future trail to access into Newtown.”A grant letter from Hugh Killin III, executive director of the Jeniam Foundation, put the following restrictions on the grant: It must be used on the design, planning, and construction of an “entry rest area,” per the proposal from the town, an interim report is due August 31, and a final report is due December 15.“We hope this small grant helps kick off the next stage of connecting the Housatonic Rail Trail to Fairfield Hills,” stated Killin.The town does have to work with the town of Monroe, as currently the only way to access the area with the necessary equipment is through Monroe, Sibley said, but added that Monroe officials were excited because they are also doing some work on the Monroe side of the trail.The other grant — $50,000 — is a Summer Enrichment Grant for summer 2023 and $50,000 for summer 2024 at the Newtown Community Center, received from the Connecticut State Department of Education. The grant is “consistent with grants the town has received before,” said Rosenthal, and the town started to receive the grants during the pandemic.The grant will be used to supplement and expand the community center’s summer programming.Hawley HVAC IssueIn other Board of Finance news, following the rejection of the town’s application for grant assistance for the Hawley HVAC project, for what Rosenthal described as “stupid bureaucratic reasons,” the finance board approved two resolutions to prepare schematic drawings and outline specifications for HVAC projects at Newtown High School and Newtown Middle School.The resolutions will provide schematic drawings, as lack thereof was the reason for the rejection of the Hawley grant application. While there is no grant available currently, having the resolutions in place will make sure the town is properly prepared if grant money does come available.“The thought is by making these resolutions, it doesn’t change anything but puts on the record that these authorizations are there,” said Rosenthal. “We’re just adding another thing to the file. If no money comes forward, then there’s no harm, no foul from doing this, the projects will still move forward on the taxpayer dime.”=====Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at email@example.com.Finance Board Approves Grants, Possible HVAC Schematic Drawings Jim Taylor
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Top Of The MountainNewtown news and notes as told from the point of view of a cat named Mountain.Managing Editor Shannon Hicks received quite the email on Monday. “I was just home, having been away for the weekend, doing those post-travel chores — laundry, dinner prep, the usual,” she shared. “Then I turned on a rebroadcast of the National Memorial Day Concert — which was wonderful, by the way — and started checking work email. A few minutes into that, a note arrived from a woman named Renee, who told me she’d had a POW bracelet when she was much younger. The name on Renee’s POW bracelet was William Metzger — as in the man we just featured in a story about a copper POW bracelet that belonged to Paul Arneth, and now his son Gavin!” Renee shared that she found herself thinking about her bracelet on Memorial Day, and the man behind that name. She had written to Bill years ago, soon after his release in March 1973, and heard back from him, she said. Her hope was to contact him once more, and to thank him again for his service. When she Googled his name Monday afternoon, hoping to find an address for him, she tripped upon our story. So Renee reached out to Shannon to see if she could put Renee in touch with Bill again after all these years, and also shared a photo of her bracelet. Within 24 hours, Shannon had heard back from Bill, who said he would be pleased to hear from Renee again, so his email address was on its way to Renee. The magic of the Internet!A reminder this week that presale tickets are still available for the 2023 Sandy Hook LobsterFest, which returns to Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue’s main station on Friday and Saturday, June 9-10. Hours are 5-9 on Friday, and 4-9 on Saturday. Steak or lobster dinners are $33 in advance, and hamburger or hot dog dinners are $10 (advance and at the door). Those advance prices are good until noon Friday, and you can purchase tickets from most company members, at my office at 5 Church Hill Road; and at the Office of the Town Clerk and Office of the Fire Marshal, both within Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street. Live music will begin each night with sets by my Editor, John Voket, who will be returning to the dinner tent for early sets. He’ll be followed on Friday by The Dirt Road Pickers, and on Saturday by ReBoot. It’s an all ages event, but not a pet-friendly one. Service animals will be the only ones allowed inside the gate. For additional details, visit SandyHookFire.com or visit the company’s Facebook page.Speaking of Sandy Hook VFR, we heard from the granddaughter of a former typesetter over the weekend. Ali Richardson Slater, firstborn granddaughter of Judi Richardson, spent many hours of her youth visiting 5 Church Hill Road to see her grandmother. Even after Judi retired, we saw Ali — and then younger sisters Briana and Kari — when they came in for regular visits with Judi, who was also a longtime member of SHVFR’s Ladies Auxiliary. We lost Judi a few years ago, but her family remains in touch through multiple friendships. Imagine my joy last weekend to find this photo of Casey Slater waiting for me. Casey — second child of Ali and husband Andrew — would have been Judi’s great-grandson. That onesie is the bee’s knees! I have no doubt Judi would approve.Congratulations Peggy Postero, who came up with the winning name of the recent Newtown Senior Center Name Our Garden Contest hosted by Newtown Senior Center. Peggy’s suggestion of Blooming Buckets was the top pick when senior center members were invited to rename the 8 Simpson Street garden, which is set up within buckets on sturdy racks. Seems perfectly fitting to this cat.Father’s Day is fast approaching and I’m still seeking Bad Dad Jokes. Not jokes about bad fathers, of course. I’m looking for the silly little jokes that dads tell repeatedly, make most people groan at the punchlines, but Dad will laugh at repeatedly. Send your favorite(s) to Managing Editor Shannon Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll share the best of the worst in a few weeks.We’re also collecting donations for FAITH Food Pantry for another week. Thank you to the readers who have already responded to the notice in last week’s paper, requesting nonperishable food, beverages, pet food and supplies, and personal hygiene necessities. We had a few people stop in Tuesday morning, the first morning of the collection, in honor of all service men and women. The donations box is just inside our front door at 5 Church Hill Road. The special collection continues to Friday, June 9.Also in line with reminders this week, a reminder that EverWonder Children’s Museum has closed its Peck’s Lane location, ahead of a move into its forever home at 11 Mile Hill Road. The museum will be expanding from 6,500 square feet to 10,000 square feet. Staff is hoping to open the new doors on or before June 23. In a recent email blast the museum offered best wishes to its supporters and visitors. “While we will miss seeing your faces during our brief closure, we look forward to opening our doors again in a newer, bigger, brighter EverWonder. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy all those end-of-school activities & find some STEAM fun at home. Thank you for your understanding while we move and adjust to EverWonder 2.0,” the cheery note concluded.Late word arrived last week about something particularly interesting happening at Westport Country Playhouse this weekend: the presentation of a new musical adventure,The Magic School Bus:Lost in the Solar System. We’re tickled about this show because it’s of course based on the book of the same name released 30+ (!!!) years ago by our friends Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. Joanna crafted the stories in that series, and Bruce illustrated them. While most authors and illustrators never meet, these two not only met — both lived in town for many years — but also became good friends. Joanna died in 2020, and Bruce honored her and their successful collaboration with the release last year of the final book in the Magic School Bus series. The Westport event is produced by TheaterWorksUSA and as mentioned, harkens back to one of the early MSB titles complete with silly Ms Frizzle and her students. Music and lyrics for the new show are by Matthew Lee Robinson, with book by Marshall Pailet, original direction and choreography by Connor Gallagher, scenic design by Jason Sherwood, and costume design by Sarah Cubbage. Performances are planned for Sunday, June 4, at 1 and 4 pm. Each is approximately 60 minutes long and appropriate for grades K-5. Tickets are $25 each and available, along with additional information, at westportplayhouse.org.The Ingersoll Auto of Danbury free movie titles have been announced for the next two months. Edmond Town Hall has screenings planned June 9-11 of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, and then The Super Mario Bros movie will be offered July 14-16. For those who didn’t already see the connection (like me…), it might be neat to note that Chris Pratt is the featured actor for both films. Tickets are free, and can be reserved in advance. See our Community Calendar, in print and online, for additional details.I’m going to curl up and contemplate Chris Pratt and crustaceans, two of my favorite things. I hope I’m among your favorites, and that you’ll remember to ... read me again.Top of the Mountain Story Top Of The MountainTop of the Mountain_345FeaturesNone
Community Center Awarded Substantial Summer Enrichment Grant Newtown Community Center Director Matt Ariniello, his staff, and board are celebrating news this week that the organization has received a hefty grant to help support summer enrichment activities for youths.Newtown Community Center Director Matt Ariniello, his staff, and board are celebrating news this week that the organization has received a hefty grant to help support summer enrichment activities for youths in the community and region.On May 23, Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker announced that NCC was among 110 organizations in Connecticut that are being awarded more than $13 million in grants to provide learning opportunities to children during the summers of 2023 and 2024 as part of the latest round of funding under the Connecticut Summer Enrichment Program.NCC is the only Newtown organization that is part of this 2023 grant round, and will receive $50,000.“The Community Center is very grateful for the support from the Connecticut State Department of Education,” Ariniello told The Newtown Bee. “This grant will allow the community center to expand our summer programming and allow for additional campers this summer.”Ariniello said funds this summer will be designated to creating additional camp scholarships for low income families, provide additional on-site field trips, and enrichment activities for children of all ages.“These funds have once again allowed us to expand our camp to allow more participants and especially youth that might not be able to attend due to financial constraints,” the NCC director said. “Due to the learning loss from the pandemic, expanding enrichment programming and activities through summer programming is beneficial to our youth and supports our district’s work.”Established by Lamont in 2021 in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education, the program was created in an effort to connect K-12 students whose education may have been negatively impacted by the pandemic with low- or no-cost, high-quality enrichment opportunities when they are out of school during the summer months.This includes at summer camps, childcare centers, and other similar programs, with a priority for those in communities that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.With the release of this funding for 2023 and 2024, the state will have dedicated a total of $33 million for the program since its creation. These resources come from federal COVID-19 relief dollars the state received to support its response to the pandemic, including from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.This 2023 and 2024 cohort of grantees is expected to serve more than 66,000 students across both summers.“Since we created this program a couple of years ago, these grants have expanded access to summertime learning opportunities for thousands of Connecticut students who otherwise may not have been able to enroll in this kind of high-quality programming,” Lamont said.“Summer camps are a valuable experience for children when they are out of school — not only for supporting their overall education, but also when it comes to strengthening their social skills and emotional well-being,” the governor added. “Continuing this program has been an important priority for our administration, and I’m glad that we are able to provide funding for it for another two summers.”“We are looking forward to partnering with a number of Connecticut’s summer enrichment programs over the next two years to provide quality summer programming to our students,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “These significant investments place a strong focus on social-emotional, physical, and mental health; academic acceleration, intellectual growth, and exploration; and student-peer relationships during the summer months, so that when students return to school in the fall after a restorative summer they are prepared to learn.”Of the 110 organizations awarded funding as part of this 2023 and 2024 cohort, 96 received Expansion Grants of up to $50,000 in funding per year, and 14 received Innovation Grants of up to $150,000 in funding per year. More than 50 percent of the programs (62 total) are based in 20 of the state’s 36 Alliance Districts or public school districts that serve a disproportionately higher share of low-income and high-needs students.A majority of camps (83 total) have dedicated $7.6 million in grant funding to provide scholarships to students to defray or eliminate the cost of attending, while the remaining 27 will offer camp services at no charge. In part due to this funding, summer enrichment grantees expect to open programming to an additional 14,500 students.An independent evaluation of the 2021 program concluded that the initiative successfully connected more than 108,000 Connecticut students with summertime enrichment opportunities that year. A similar evaluation of the 2022 program is expected to be released soon.Families seeking to enroll their children in the participating programs for the summer of 2023 can find a list of available opportunities online by visiting summerct.org.Camps will run as early as the first week of June through the end of August. Ariniello invites local families to reach out to NCC directly for more information.“The community center looks forward to partnering with many community organizations and agencies in providing these services,” Ariniello said. “Once again, our Summer of Fun family fun nights will be supported through this grant. More information will be released June 1st on the community center website: newtowncommunitycenter.org.Community Center Awarded Substantial Summer Enrichment Grant John Voket
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Top of the Mountain
Newtown news and notes as told from the point of view of a cat named Mountain.American Legion Post 202 has again collaborated with local organizations to plan a service of remembrance this Memorial Day weekend. The brief event will again take place around The Liberty & Peace Monument at 66 Main Street. It’s a nice service, and an important time to remember any late veterans we know — as well as every person we don’t know who made the decision to honor and serve this country — by taking just a few minutes for this important national holiday. The Service of Remembrance is planned for 5 pm Saturday, with “Taps” to be played along Main Street to guide attendees to the monument. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, Newtown High School musicians will be among those performing, and Newtown Woman’s Club will have the property lined with American flags ahead of the weekend. Luminaria will also be set up for the weekend, and volunteers plan to light them Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings.Belated congratulations this week to Joe Rahtelli, who I understand was recently elected State Deputy of the Knights of Columbus. Joe was among those elected during the annual meeting of the Connecticut State Council on May 6. His two-year term will begin July 1.Continued congratulations also to Gary Peters, who received a volunteer appreciation award last month from Bridgeport Rescue Mission (BRM) for his dedication, commitment, and extraordinary volunteerism. A member of Newtown Congregational Church, Gary in recent years has led a strong effort for fellow NCC members to join him in supporting the work of the mission. He has organized a Thanksgiving turkey drive, delivered tons (literally) of donations from NCC Cornerstone, and regularly volunteers on-site at BRM.Louise Zierzow shared this sweet photo of a lovely shrub outside the Commerce Road USPS post office. “Every time I stop at the PO, I notice this shrub, hoping it will soon get its spring haircut,” she said in her note. “Voilà! Done!” Well done, I’d say.Melanie Mattegat and her family and business associates are working together to coordinate a special event for friend Erica Lafferty, who is battling two forms of cancer. Melanie, the owner of Julie Allen Bridal, and fellow business owners have coordinated Laffs For Lafferty — because we know laughter is indeed often the best medicine! — for Wednesday, May 31, at Aquila’s Nest Vineyard in Sandy Hook. Tickets for the 21+ event are $50 and include one complimentary glass of wine and pizza courtesy of Newtown Pizza Palace. The event will feature a performance by Annie Powell (who is battling her own cancer), and a silent auction and raffles featuring a multitude of items donated by local businesses. Mel’s daughter Jacey sent the finalized list of silent auction and raffle items, and it’s pretty impressive: two gift certificates for a manicure and pedicure from Newtown Nail Spa; a gift basket from The Toy Tree; a $50 gift certificate to MarketPlace; a sterling silver necklace from Julie Allen Bridals; an inflatable hot tub; a Coach bag; a flat screen television; furnace cleaning/AC tune-up from Steven Ash; a $100 gift certificate to Sweet Dee’s Salon; one family session from a local photographer; a one-hour massage from Zensitivity; a five-class pass from Journey Yoga & Wellness; two $50 gift cards for DBPress Photography; a $50 gift card to Nostranos in Newtown; three necklaces from Erica Koesler; a one-hour massage from Mind, Body, Spirit; and a pergola experience from Aquila’s Nest Vineyard. Give Melanie a call at 203-426-4378 if you want to get in on the fun.Bev Bennett Schaedler is still raving about a special job taken care of earlier this month by Joshua Bent and Anthony Alves. Among many hats she wears, Bev is the coordinator of Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) Chore Services. Bev heard from someone a few months ago, she said, about an elderly man in town whose home experienced a fire, which led to the man’s temporary displacement. “He was so very concerned because his yard was not kept up, and he was worried [repairs] couldn’t be done because of that,” shared Bev. She admitted she was afraid she and her team wouldn’t be able to find someone to help. “I couldn’t promise anything because we are still seeking volunteers for projects like this. Well, the next day Joshua, of JB Landscaping, called!” It seems Joshua had helped Bev and her team create a Christmas miracle last year, and he was hoping to help someone else this year. Between snow, then rain and cold weather, the work couldn’t be done until May 6. As I said, though, Bev is still over the moon happy at the work done by Joshua and Anthony. “A happy homeowner is now worry-free thanks to them,” she said. Joshua and Anthony, we thank you for helping a stranger. This week’s Good Egg Award is in your honor.Travelers within and through Newtown this weekend will have an opportunity to visit the BSA Troop 370 Coffee Stop, a Memorial Day weekend tradition three-plus decades old. The coffee stop will open at 6 pm Friday, and then remain open straight through to 6 pm Monday, May 29. The troop’s nearly two dozen active members will be teaming up with Troop 370 alumni to make sure anyone who stops by for a break at the community service station will have hot coffee and light refreshments available. The station will be set up in the upper parking lot of Newtown Hardware store, 61 Church Hill Road. Donations will be gratefully accepted.The National Weather Service this week issued a reminder that we often hear from local first responders in NUSAR: Wearing a life jacket (or Personal Floatation Devices/PFDs) is a simple life-saving strategy when out on a boat. Boaters are required by the Coast Guard to have at least one approved life jacket per passenger on board every vessel. Before heading out, remember to Grab a Life Jacket and Wear It! More resources are available at safeboatingcampaign.com. Additionally, NUSAR continues to offer a Life Jacket Loaner Program that allows any family that realizes they do not have enough properly fitting PFDs for each child on board to simply call for one. Contact NUSAR at 203-270-4390 and check out a jacket for a day or weekend.The approaching weekend may mark the unofficial start to summer, but some folks are ready to begin planning for the unofficial end of the season. The Newtown Labor Day Parade Committee has confirmed it will present the town’s annual march down Main Street (and Glover Avenue and Queen Street) on Monday, September 4. Help is always needed, and a planning meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31. It will begin at 6 pm in the lower offices of Newtown Savings Bank’s 35 Main Street location. If you can’t make that meeting but want to volunteer, or just want additional information ahead of next week, send an email to email@example.com.Ping-pong and axe throwing are reportedly two good ways to improve one’s mental health, according to a recently published study. Maybe not at the same time, but a British medical expert last week said those two activities can do good things in the pursuit of boosting the well-being of players. Dr Zoe Williams said it’s the generally friendly competition between ping-pong players that can have a positive influence. Her research revealed that four in ten people who use sports or games to destress believe that focusing on a single task helps them tune out other concerns. Williams also offered five tips for well-being: get active, take breaks from technology, create meaningful connections, get into the competitive spirit, and be kind to yourself.I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be kind to myself by finding a nice sunny spot to curl up and nap in. I hope you’ll do something nice for yourself, but don’t forget to return next week to … read me again.Top of the Mountain Story Top of the MountainTop of the Mountain_344FeaturesNone
Newtown Author A Finalist In 2023 Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden AwardsNewtown resident Sherry Peterson has been honored for the second consecutive year by Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden Awards.Shoreline Arts Alliance has announced the finalists and award winners for the 23rd Annual Tassy Walden Awards for New Voices in Children’s Literature. This program is unique in Connecticut, rewarding unpublished Connecticut-based writers and illustrators for their hard work and dedication to their craft.Newtown resident Sherry Peterson was a finalist in Picture Book Text for Baby Truck Takes a Bath.This marks the second consecutive year for Peterson to be honored by SAA. In 2022 she received an honorable mention I the Picture Book Text category for her manuscript, Is There Something In My Teeth?Peterson began writing Baby Truck, she shared with The Newtown Bee, after a visit to a park.“I saw a little boy running toward the parking lot and heard his mother shout ‘red light!’ He immediately stopped. The moment really stuck with me,” Peterson said. “It occurred to me that kids and trucks have a lot in common. They both get dirty and need a bath. They run around until their tank gets low and need to ‘fuel up.’ And at night, they get tucked away to rest their engines.”That realization led to the creation of Baby Truck, “a little truck whose day is filled with activities that are familiar to kids,” she continued. “A truck character who, like them, is learning how to behave at the park or while out to eat with their family.”Additional 2023 Tassy Walden Awards included Karen Fox of Fairfield, first place winner Picture Book Text for Mishmash Garden.Additional finalists in that category were Victoria Reed of Southington (Farm Pride) and Claudia Wolen of Trumbull (A Library for You).A panel of professional judges also selected the following winners, honorees and finalists for 2023.Illustrated Picture Book Writer-Illustrator: Honorable Mention — Ed Chicoine of Guilford, for Otto the Oyster.Middle Grade Novel: Winner — Kelly Kandra Hughes of Norfolk, for Bird on a Wire; Honorable Mention — Stephanie Lim of Guilford (Etta Mouse Sings Again); and Finalists —John Hastings of Durham (The Adventures of Ronny Starlight and Lucy Blue), Bethany Jensen of Ledyard (Blue Earth) and Diana Sussman of Westport (The Neighbor’s Secret).Young Adult Novel: Winner — Ginger Merante of Northford for Flying Horses; and Honorable Mention — Patricia M. Carey of East Lyme (The Swan Maiden).Illustrator Portfolio: Winner — Hollie Michaels of Wilton; and Finalist — Marcus Fort of Branford.Peterson was pleased, of course, to see her name among the list of winners this month. “The Tassies are known for their rigorous judging process, led by industry professionals," she said. "I am honored that two of my manuscripts have received recognition through this competition.”Newtown author Sherry Peterson among 2023 SAA Tassy Award winners Story Newtown Author A Finalist In 2023 Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden AwardsNewtown author Sherry Peterson among 2023 SAA Tassy Award winnersCultural Events, FeaturesNone
Business Buzz: Lucia’s Salumeria Lucia's Salumeria is bringing Italian delicatessan food to Newtown.Business name: Lucia’s SalumeriaAddress: 22 Church Hill Road, NewtownOwners: Lucia Rose St LorenzoWhat is the owner’s business background? According to her father, Antonio St Lorenzo, Lucia has been cooking since she was 10. They were talking about how there were no Italian delis in Newtown, and Lucia wanted real Italian bread. She said, “Dad, I want to open a deli.” Antonio has lived in Newtown for 20 years, and Lucia has lived in town all her life.What is the business’ focus? The two wanted to bring the taste of Italy to Newtown.What is something important that readers know about the business? The deli brings breads from Brooklyn and the Bronx, imported meats from Italy, only the best ingredients. It’s more of a family style delicatessen, very family- and community-oriented.Are there any upcoming events? Each year for 17 years, the two have catered a BBQ event for the West Haven Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. They take the veterans out, throw them a BBQ, with music by live bands. Those veterans who cannot come out, they bring food in for them. This year it will be on July 1. Antonio said it is important to give back.Hours: 7 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday.Website: lucias.infoPhone: 203-304-1890E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgBusiness Buzz: Lucia's Salumeria Story Lucia’s SalumeriaBusiness Buzz: Lucia's SalumeriaBusiness, Features, NewsNone
Softball Team Wins To Reach State SemifinalsNighthawks blank Cheshire and will take on Fairfield Ludlowe with spot in championship game on the line.UPDATE: The state semifinal game will take place at neutral site West Haven High on Tuesday, June 6, at 4 pm.Newtown High School's softball team, the No. 3 team in the Class LL State Tournament, defeated visiting and No. 6 Cheshire 4-0 in the quarterfinals on June 2.Pitcher Sydney Adolfson tossed another shutout as the Hawks won their second 4-0 decision in as many state playoff games; NHS defeated No. 14 Enfield two days earlier.Sophia Caruso and Addison Cordova delivered clutch doubles to drive in runs during Newtown's four-run sixth inning against Cheshire.Newtown advances to the semis and will take on No. 2 Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday, June 6 at West Haven High. first pitch is 4 pm. The winner will face either No. 1 Southington or No. 4 Ridgefield in the championship at the University of Connecticut on Saturday, June 10 (time to be determined).
Newtown PD Getting Ready To Run With SOCT TorchThe 37th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) is underway, and Newtown is just a few hours out from receiving and carrying the torch. Law enforcement personnel, joined in some towns by SOCT athletes, have been carrying Special Olympics Torches across the state since Wednesday morning. During the Torch Run, law enforcement officers run through their towns and cities carrying the Special Olympics Torch, with its “Flame of Hope,” passing to neighboring officers at each town line.More than 1,500 officers are expected to participate in this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run. Among them will be officers from municipal departments and correction facilities, as well as military police and federal employees, Connecticut State Police and college and university public safety officers. Special Olympics athletes will run alongside them in select towns.Newtown Police Department Sergeant William Chapman confirmed with The Newtown Bee the local portion of the Law Enforcement Torch Run will be taking place on June 2.“We anticipate an 11:30 start,” he said. Officers will be running the usual route, picking up the torch from a group arriving from Bethel at the town line on Dodgingtown Road/Route 302.The route will take the torch along Route 302, where the road becomes Sugar Street, to that road’s intersection with Route 25. Participants will cross Route 25, to Queen Street, and follow that road to its intersection with Church Hill Road. Runners will then bear right, traveling east to 66 Church Hill Road, concluding in the parking lot of Blue Colony Diner.“The highlight of the run, for the officers, is being joined by our Newtown High School Unified Sports athletes for the final sprint,” Chapman said. “It is a joy to connect with them and get to see the kids who directly benefit from the funds raised.”The public is encouraged to cheer for the runners along any section of the route.Donations to SOCT are welcome, and can be dropped at Newtown Police Department, 191 South Main Street, or mailed to that address. Either way, donations should be sent to the attention of Sgt Chapman/SOCT.Checks should be payable to Special Olympics Connecticut with “Newtown Police” in the memo line.The Torch Run aims to promote awareness and understanding of Special Olympics, raise funds to support its athletes of all abilities, and build excitement around its annual Summer Games, which will kick off on June 3. Competitions will be taking place June 3-4 and 10-11 at locations in Fairfield, New Haven, Orange, and West Haven.To find out more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut, visit soct.org and follow Special Olympics Connecticut and the Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.MUST Newtown PD will again host SOCT Torch Run leg Story Newtown PD Getting Ready To Run With SOCT TorchMUST Newtown PD will again host SOCT Torch Run legNews, SportsNone
Boys’ Volleyball Team Concludes Season Nighthawk volleyball team capped off the campaign with some tough matches both at home and on the road.Newtown High School’s boys’ volleyball team concluded the season with a trio of setbacks in mid May — 3-1 (25-17, 26-24, 19-25, 27-25) to Daniel Hand of Madison on May 17, and in a pair of road matches, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-21) on May 18, and 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-16) to Pomperaug of Southbury on May 20.Against Hand, the Nighthawks were led by senior right side hitter Ben Davis (3 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace, and a 100 percent serve receive percentage), senior outside hitter Nico Diaz (7 kills, 6 aces, 1 solo block, and 5 digs), and senior setter Braden Hazard (11 assists, 2 digs, and 1 ace).Against Cheshire, Newtown was led by senior outside hitter Nico Diaz (8 kills, 13 digs, 1 ace, and 3 total blocks), sophomore right side hitter Nate Twitchell (2 kills and 7 total blocks), and junior outside hitter Charlie Hanson (3 kills, 11 digs, and 3 aces). The Rams were led by senior setter Matt Irizarry (26 assists, 1 kills, and 2 aces) and senior middle hitter Andrew Norcross (7 kills and 2 solo blocks).In the Pomperaug match, the Nighthawks were led by senior outside hitter Nico Diaz (4 kills, 2 aces, 5 digs, and a 100 percent serve receive percentage), sophomore right side hitter Nate Twitchell (7 kills and 3 solo blocks), and senior setter Lucas Gomes (7 assists and 1 ace). The Panthers were led by senior setter Zack Farren and junior outside hitter Jack Mirabilio.After a Panther-dominated first set, the Nighthawks captured a 10-5 lead in the second set thanks to strong serving by junior setter Matt Tomaj. Pomperaug fought back and flipped the lead in its favor, taking a 12-10 advantage. Both teams went back and forth until Pomperaug pulled away thanks to an ace by Ryan Ordway. Pomperaug closed out the match in the third set despite multiple kills by Diaz and Hanson.The Nighthawks end the season at 4-15 (4-8 in the South-West Conference).“The team would like to thank their seniors Ben Davis, Nico Diaz, Braden Hazard, Lucas Gomes, Kyle Malin, and Connor Adams for all they have done for the programs and wishes them the best of luck in their futures,” Newtown Coach Dan Nyitrai said.NHS Boys Volleyball Story Boys’ Volleyball Team Concludes SeasonNHS Boys Volleyball_35SportsNone
Softball Team Advances, Baseball And Lacrosse FallNewtown High's softball team moved onto the next round with a shutout win, and two other Nighthawk teams were beaten in state playoff action.UPDATE: NHS softball will host Cheshire Friday, June 2 at 4:15 pm.Newtown High School's softball team, the No. 3 team in the Class LL State Tournament, defeated No. 14 Enfield 4-0 at home in the second round on May 31. With the win, the Nighthawks advance to the quarterfinals and will host No. 6 Cheshire Friday, June 2, at 4:15 pm.Pitcher Sydney Adolfson allowed just one hit, struck out 14, and did not walk a batter. At the plate, Adolfson went 2-for-4 with a run scored.Brianna Pellicone was 3-for-4, including a double, with an RBI, and stole home. Maddie Thoesen delivered an RBI triple in the first inning. On the baseball diamond in Class LL action, No 14 Newtown fell 5-0 at No. 3 Staples of Westport. Reid Burns boomed a double off the left field wall for the only Nighthawk hit. In Class L boys' lacrosse play, No. 1 Fairfield Prep defeated visiting and No. 17 Newtown 19-2 in the first round. Colby Harrell netted both Nighthawk goals.Read more about all of this action in the June 9 print edition of The Bee.
Hawks Sluggers Come Through In A Pinch, Earn Thrilling Walk-Off Victory Exciting finish as pinch hitter Logan Akbas plates the decisive run in extra innings.Down to their final couple of outs, Newtown High School’s baseball team came through in the clutch with a run to tie the game and force extra innings. Then came a two-out rally; single, walk, pinch-hit single. Ballgame.The Nighthawks got a walk-off single up the middle off the bat of Logan Akbas for a dramatic, thrilling 5-4 win over visiting Ridgefield in a back-and-forth Class LL State Tournament opening-round game in Newtown on May 30.With the win, the No. 14 Nighthawks (13-7 this regular season) earned a trip to No. 3 Staples of Westport in the second round on Wednesday, May 31, at 4 pm; the No. 19 Ridgefield Tigers (11-9 during the regular slate) saw their season come to a bit of stunning end.Newtown used small ball to get the offense going early; the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Dhilan Amin bunted his way on and later scored on a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of Josh Rosen. The Hawks executed a double steal and Danny Leyva swiped home for the second run.Ridgefield got a run back in the top of the second, but Nighthawk pitcher Will Burns escaped a bases-loaded jam to limit the damage, inducing a groundout to short stop to end the frame. The Tigers, however, loaded the bases again in the third and capitalized on an error to score two runs before Burns shook that off to strike out the side and keep the Hawks within a run.A two-out, two-strike single by Jamie Piccuillo in the bottom of the third drove in Sammy D’Aprile who singled to start the frame. D’Aprile stole second and advanced to third on a pitch in the dirt before Piccuillo drove him in. A hit-and-run double down left field line by Evan Nikolos put two runners in scoring position but the Tigers escaped further trouble.Burns worked a one-two-three top of the fourth. Newtown went down in order in the bottom half, and Burns worked around a one-out single with a pair of strikeouts and a pop fly to keep things tied heading to the last of the fifth.Solid Ridgefield defense in the fifth kept the score deadlocked. D’Aprile was robbed of a hit. Leyva ripped a first-pitch single to left, but a double play ended the frame.In the sixth, an error set the table for the Tigers to take the lead. A diving play by second baseman Jonathan Moseman robbed the Tigers of a hit, but a two-out RBI single gave the visitors a 4-3 lead and ended Burns’ outing. Finn Geissler relieved and got a quick pop fly to retire the side.Newtown missed a golden opportunity to tie the game in the sixth. Piccuillo skied a towering double to right-center leading off. Yarema Stasyshyn successfully bunted the runner to third, but a pair of strikeouts on pitches in the dirt got the Tigers out of the jam.Amin took the mound in the seventh and got around an error to keep the Hawks within a run. Moseman started the bottom of the seventh with a two-strike single to left center. Amin bunted the runner into scoring position, and D’Aprile came through with a game-tying run batted in. D’Aprile smacked a hard grounder the opposite way; the ball kicked off first base and sailed into shallow right field for single. With two outs, D’Aprile stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw, but was left on third and the game went to extras.In the top of the eighth, after a grounder back to Amin on the hill and a diving catch by Nikolis in right field, the Tigers had consecutive two-out singles before a lineout to left ended the threat.Facing pitcher Myles Gythfeldt, in relief of Jacob Voellmieke, Newtown made two outs before the bats awakened in the eighth inning. Nikolis bounced a single up the middle, and catcher Hayden Conklin worked the count full before walking to set up Akbas for the decisive pinch hit, a clean single to center which — when pinch runner Tighe Zavatsky slid across home plate ahead of the tag — sparked a wild celebration as Nighthawk players poured out of the dugout and onto the infield to congratulate Akbas and other teammates.“Everybody picks each other up,” Newtown Coach Ian Thoesen said. “We battle every single inning.”This was Newtown’s 12th game that was decided by a single run this spring; the Hawks are 7-5 in these close ones.Thoesen noted that Akbas, a senior, has come through in a variety of spots — be it pitching, hitting, fielding — when called upon. Rosen, also a senior, was fighting through an injury but gutted it out and provided a hit and RBI.Newtown’s coach was happy to see his Hawks come through with some timely hits and was especially pleased with how well the team did with bunting in this one.“It was good — we executed. We worked a lot on bunting this year and everybody got their bunts down,” Thoesen said.Burns battled for 5.2 innings, allowing an earned run, four hits, and two walks. He struck out seven. Geissler faced just the one batter and did his job, and Amin went two frames, allowing three hits, but no walks or runs. He fanned one batter and picked up the win.Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com.NHS Baseaball State Playoff Opener Andy Hutchison
Story Hawks Sluggers Come Through In A Pinch, Earn Thrilling Walk-Off VictoryNHS Baseaball State Playoff OpenerSportsNone
The Newtown Municipal Center Art Gallery, 3 Primrose Street
Two concurrent exhibitions featuring work by Bonnie Burke, the first abstract works inspired by a painting trip to Mexico, and the second a collection of representational paintings taken from her surroundings, her travels, and photos of friends’ travels, weekdays to June 16.
Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, be at least 17 years old, and in generally good health, appointments strongly encouraged, COVID-19 protocols followed, appointments available; 800-733-2767, redcrossblood.org.
Learn about “embrace,” the award-winning memory care program at Church Hill Village through a tour with stops at Brain Health Activity Stations, then take home to-go dinner for two featuring items from CHV’s Thymeless menu, reservations requested; 203-872-2017.
Presentation by WCSU Professor of Biology Dr Mitch Wagener covering the fact that the mining and burning of fossil fuels has not stopped nor even slowed, despit agreement among nations that it needs to, registration required; 203-426-4533, chboothlibrary.org.
Newtown Senior Center, 8 Simpson Street and via Zoom
Members will be competing in “Long Exposure” and “Umbrella” themes, and regular Color and Monochrome categories, nonmembers welcome to view entries and listen to discussion/critiques; FlagpolePhotographers.com.
Bruce, not a single member of the BOE (including GOP members, who I sense you are focused on here) initiated the action to have these books reviewed. It was a parent in town. So to insinuate that a political party (GOP) was guiding the hand of the BOE just isn't based in facts. I would counter that such an assertion is indicative of someone who is being hyper-partisan themselves.
Not to be overlooked, not a single member of the BOE, from either party, motioned to have the books removed. In fact, it was the GOP members who made motions seeking compromise to address the concerns of parents both in favor and against the books (i.e., keep the books but allow parents to opt-out of having them checked out by their children). That sure doesn't sound like national partisanship to me.
Emotionally charged is a good way to describe it. And if you’re in a public facing role as a volunteer, you need to develop a thicker skin. The majority of people in attendance at this meeting were incensed at the fact that four members were completely ignoring expert opinion, students, and a large contingent of their community. Were some people a little over the top, I think yes — but a very small minority in attendance. You and I saw the same thing but take away different views. Fine. I’ll respect your view. But I’ll agree to disagree.
Respectfully, I am sorry to hear what your child and family had to go through. But that is in no way an excuse for adults to bully other adults. Where do our children learn a bulk of their behaviors from? Adults. If adults act like bullies don’t you think that will influence some children to act like bullies?
And I would love to focus more on bullying in our schools - and force the school system to do more - but my comment, this article, and this whole controversy are not about bullying in school. I am simply calling out poor public behavior I see from my fellow adult neighbors.
mkmurphyphd: Vile is an overstatement for May 16; though the behaviors were definitely disrespectful. If you want a true display of “vile” behavior I IMPLORE you to watch the recording at the June 1 meeting. Watch 33:20-43:20.
This doesn't pass the smell test. Let's assume that the 2 of them were really on this quest for the children. If they had the votes, which they would have if the 4 voted together, then it would have been a shame for them to leave the day before the vote essentially sabotaging their own chances after working so hard for a desired outcome. Would it have really made a difference for them to wait one more day, get the vote they want, then step down? And if there was a credible threat, the police would be involved.
The way it looked to me is that the 2 remaining GOP board members were enthusiastic to vote for the final motion--not resigned to do so, or disappointed, or reluctant. They could have abstained in protest. But they didn't. It tells me that Larkin & Kuzma knew the vote wasn't going to go their way (probably because they became a liability after all those screenshots of ethics violations) and thought it best to move on.
Nice try though. I would guess someone going by the name "qstorm" would know a thing or 2 about mobs.