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I hope everyone had fun Saturday night in Sandy Hook at the tree lighting — and truly, at all events presented in town last weekend — yet here’s the thing: How old does everyone need to be to remember that littering is not polite? While there were crowds of people in Sandy Hook Center last weekend, and most did carry out their own trash, why did Sunday morning need to look like the morning after the Labor Day Parade or Halloween? Meaning why did so many people feel it was OK to leave coffee cups and other debris on sidewalks, stone walls, and other locations when they were finished with them? Let’s do better, please. Two more tree lightings are coming up this weekend, not to mention plenty of other special events. Leave No Trace Behind should apply to all litter, every day.

It’s a fun time for the Ferris family these days, and not only thanks to the holiday season. If you were to see a pair of matching light blue balloons near Terry and Charlie Ferris’s home recently, it would certainly be appropriate to ask about the twin balloons. Meanwhile, Crystal and Charlie Ferris had their own blue balloons posted last Sunday afternoon, when they were joined by generations of family and friends to celebrate their son’s first birthday.

I know we’ve left that big holiday in November behind, but FUN Co-Founder Linda Jones is still so happy over the outcome of Families United in Newtown’s Thanksgiving Turkey Fry. It was the first time the group did the event, and calling it a success doesn’t seem like a strong enough noun. “Our amazing volunteers coordinated and served food for 95 participants,” according to Linda. “Craig Shaw was our Master Turkey Fryer — Real Men Do Fry Turkeys! — serving two golden brown delicious fried turkeys with Rich Ruggiero, plus an oven-baked turkey and a beautiful ham. We also had lots of sides and a whole lot of fun including musical entertainment with Joe Proc. We are so grateful for our program and the families with special needs children that we serve,” she added.

Congratulations to Adriana Fiori, who received a grant from The Dewar Foundation Fund for Internship Support to help defray the expenses of her internship at Otsego County Family Court during the current fall semester. The Newtown resident is studying Sociology/Pre-Law at SUNY Oneonta. Adriani’s award was part of nearly $20,000 in grant funding from the school to support students pursuing internships this semester. The program aims to make internship experiences more accessible by helping to defray costs such as transportation, living expenses, technology, and more. Adriana is also a member of Chi Alpha Sigma, a national honor society that recognizes student athlete success in both the classroom and athletic competition, so we know she is already doing great things.

The past few years have seen a decline in donations for the Salvation Army, which the organization is hoping to remedy. Most kettle stands now have a “tiptap” sign that allows donors to make a donation using their credit or debit card or through their cell phone. This makes it easier to donate, especially for those who do not carry cash any longer, as well as for those who are hurrying between stops. In addition, there is also a way to donate online. The new option rolled out two years ago, and is reaching Newtown this holiday season. Tiptap and online donations done within town will be credited to the Salvation Army-Newtown Unit, which continues to keep 90 percent of all funds received in town.

Ready to help? Great. The sounds of Christmas bells will be in the air locally the weekends of December 8-9 and 15-16 when volunteer Salvation Army bell ringers set up at locations around town to conduct the 2023 Red Kettle Campaign. This year the Red Kettles will be at Bagel Delight, 30 Church Hill Road; Dunkin’ Donuts, 6 Queen Street; Newtown General Store, 43 Main Street; Stop & Shop, 228 South Main Street; Yankee Wine & Liquor, 6 Queen Street; and Walgreens, 49 South Main Street.

Speaking of all things holidays, we have a new Febu-Tree in The Bee’s Production Department. Years ago we had a full-size artificial Christmas tree that was decorated year-round with collections of ornaments — most handmade and just silly — that celebrated everything from Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Independence Day to Thanksgiving/Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas (naturally…) and even Back To School. The Febu-Tree was active for years, until we began having trouble with a few visiting dogs that didn’t understand that it was not a real tree. The visiting dogs did what many dogs do on real trees, if you catch my drift. That led to the sad retirement of our Febu-Tree.

Now we have Bruce the Spruce! A few months ago, Susie Leniart began decorating the 3-foot tall handsome year-round evergreen that had been loitering on the cabinet since December 2022. In June 2023, he woke up with a smirk and a set of alluring googly eyes. After sprucing him up with a red, white and blue bow for Independence Day, Susie christened him Bruce the Spruce. Soon after, he donned a bow tie for National Bow Tie Day. He then bewitched us in October with a pointed black hat with purple netting, matching purple gloves, and a pointed green nose. In November, Bruce waltzed in on skinny legs with knobby knees and sprouted an impressive display of tail feathers, a large orange beak and waddle. This week he became Bruce the Christmas Spruce, complete with Santa hat and a white beard that grew overnight, bushy white eyebrows, and multi-colored lights. We love his festive garb and can’t wait to see how he transitions into the new year!

As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure not only the social networking between this town’s senior citizen population but also their safety, Friends of Newtown Seniors has made available complimentary File Of Life refrigerator magnets. These are the files that go into clear pouches and are posted on a refrigerator so that first responders have medical and important contact information available if you cannot provide that information yourself. Readers who don’t already have these important items can visit the front desk of Newtown Senior Center or Newtown Community Center — both at 8 Simpson Street, just inside from different entrances. Just ask for one, and staff will provide a File of Life while supplies last.

The Senior Center has a new special event coming up this month. Just announced is a Magical Afternoon of Carol Singing planned for Monday, December 18, beginning at noon. Singer-songwriter Pat Kearns will lead the singing, and all are invited. Whether you’re a member of NSC or not, registration is requested and easy: just call 203-270-4310 and tell them you’d like to be part of the fun. Light refreshments will be served.

2024 Newtown Bee calendars are available at our front office. We had a lovely lady stop in this past Monday, who told us that seeing those calendars each year “is such a comfort.” We love hearing nice things about those calendars, and know that many readers look forward to seeing them. The calendars are in the same traditional style we’ve used for years: nice big numbers for the dates, with the previous and next months offered along the bottom of each page, all stapled to a sturdy piece of cardboard, which reminds you all year that your friends at The Newtown Bee provided the calendar, once more, free of charge. Visit our office, at 5 Church Hill Road, weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm (earlier and later by chance) if you’d like one for yourself.

The Friends of the C.H. Booth Library reminds shoppers who missed the two-day Holiday Sale last weekend that they can still shop a wide assortment of reasonably-priced books, games, puzzles and other gift items at The Little Book Store, located on the main floor of the library. The store is open during regular hours at 25 Main Street, and holiday items will remain on sale through the end of the month.

I feel like I should be granted a rest after sharing all these tidbits. I hope you’ll enjoy the next week, and remember to come back next week to … read me again.

Meet Bruce the Christmas Spruce! —Bee Photo, Hicks
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