In November 2004, Paul S. Lux, a longtime Newtown resident, sent a Letter to the Editor to The Newtown Bee containing his suggestions of the best things to do in town. “I originally sent in the list for people in town to add on to,” Mr Lux said recently. The list is uniquely Newtown. It includes activities and locations people may look past in the hustle and bustle of the daily routine. And they are experiences other towns simply cannot offer: marching in the Labor Day Parade (the only parade in the state on that holiday); walking through natural gems including the shore of the Lower Paugussett State Forest or Orchard Hill Nature Preserve; eat a sandwich on the front porch of Newtown General Store; swim at the town pool and beach; feed the geese and ducks at Ram Pasture in the warm weather, and return to ice skate in cold weather; or visit Edmond Town Hall to appreciate the murals by former resident David Merrill, among other suggestions. Did Mr Lux forget anything? Readers are encouraged to share their "must do" Newtown experiences.
Heidi Schreck’s "The Consultant," currently receiving its world premiere at New Haven’s Long Wharf, is billed as a comedy. That feels slightly misleading. Similar to "Nurse Jackie," the Showtime series for which Schreck served as a scriptwriter, "The Consultant" has moments of humor buried in some very serious discussions. The play is about a handful of millennials caught in the crunch of the great economic downturn of 2008-09. It is filled with snappy patter delivered by over-educated young people trapped in a world where their jobs are demeaning, even as they are haunted by the shadow of looming unemployment. It offers a lot of questions but very few answers.
A fashion and interior designer for her entire adult life, Newtown resident Beth Kellar Uniacke has turned to fashioning words. Her debut young readers’ book, "Sara the Desk Traveler," was released last month. “I actually started writing this story 17 years ago,” Ms Uniacke said Monday, January 20. “I was inspired by a desk we really own. I saw the desk at an antique fair, fell in love with it, and bought it for my daughter, Kristie, when she was just 8 years old,” Ms Uniacke said. As she sat at the 100-year old desk that first day, cleaning it, “I was mesmerized by it. I couldn’t help wondering about its past owners. The desk just took me to another place,” she said. Although she had no writing background, she felt compelled to tell the story she saw in her mind.
Music For Newtown will hold its second online auction January 22-29. Numerous artists, including Lorde, Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears, Black Sabbath and many others have donated special limited edition items to the online auction. Bidding opens at 3 pm EST today, and will continue until 9 pm EST Wednesday, January 29. All of the proceeds will benefit The Resiliency Center of Newtown which offers long-term healing to those impacted by 12/14 to help these individuals reach their full potential. The center is a program of Tuesday’s Children, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Beth Bogdan founded Music For Newtown early last year to unite the music community to provide support to those affected in her former hometown. The NHS graduate presented the first auction, which was held in March 2013 and raised $35,545.26 for The Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
A new year of counted cross, lazy daisy, and cable stitching began on Thursday, January 9, at Christ the King Lutheran Church. Founded in the early 1980s, the Friends of Counted Embroidery group have been meeting for more than 30 years, bringing newcomers, as well as keeping the longtime regulars. “We used to have over 125 people in the 80s. We even had a waiting list,” said Lynn Harrison, who serves as treasurer for the local group. Though their guest list has dwindled to about 30 regulars, spirits certainly have not. Later she added, “We’re just a group that is really eager to let people know these talents still exist,” said Ms Harrison.
The late author Rachel Carson is often credited with awakening Americans to the hazards of DDT contamination in the food chain. But eight years before Rachel Carson cautioned the world about the dangers of the pesticide in her 1962 book, "Silent Spring," another voice was was calling in the wilderness. Newtown resident Garry Ober recently brought to the attention of The Newtown Bee a letter published in the paper in April 1954. His son-in-law, Ethan Mannon, pursuing his doctorate at Penn State University, traveled to Ohio in the fall to study the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, a 20th Century conservationist. Tucked in among the writer’s notes were two clippings, one published in The Newtown Bee, and another letter to the paper that appears not to have made it into print. Both were written by a man identified as Alfred Nelson, a resident of Newtown. The content revealed an early cautioning statement regarding upcoming DDT spraying in Newtown and surrounding communities.
Birds are amazing, says Garden Club of Newtown President Holly Kocet. Birds will stay busy at feeders year round, Ms Kocet has noticed, and it isn't difficult to keep them healthy with the right offerings. Fat and water are important in the winter, when berries and seeds diminish. Margaret Robbins, of Wild Birds Unlimited in Brookfield, agrees. “Backyard feeding becomes critical when it’s frigid or there is snow cover and they can’t get at food," she said. "At times like that their chances of survival are better with feeders.” The energy to stay warm can cost a bird as much as ten percent of its bodyweight in a day, she said. In addition to food for energy, birds will also accept help when it comes to finding a home for the winter. Roosting boxes or winterized birdhouses can help birds stay warm during this coldest time of the year.