It was a different kind of father-daughter road trip, when Dr Steven Landin and his daughter Melissa set out March 21 for Bradley International Airport and a long day’s journey to Honduras.
Dr Landin and Melissa were part of a 32-member dental mission team to Comayagua, Honduras, from the University of Connecticut, where Melissa is a junior in the dental program.
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked Honduras for a place to go,” admitted Dr Landin, a general dentist with a practice on Main Street in Newtown. “I was a little nervous. Honduras is the Wild West, and US travel advisories tell you ‘Don’t go out alone. Don’t go out at night. Travel in groups.’ Kidnappings of Americans are on the rise, so you have to be very careful. But Melissa selected the mission and asked me to be a part of it,” he said. Realizing that dental need is great in Honduras, Dr Landin agreed to go.
“Hunger is in everyone’s backyard,” including Newtown, said Allysa De Wolf, the assistant minister at Newtown Congregational Church. Two food pantries, FAITH in the basement of St John’s Episcopal Church on Washington Avenue, and the Salvation Army food pantry in Town Hall South, serve residents year round, and the number of people who make use of the pantries has increased in recent years. Hunger and homelessness need to be talked about, she said, and with that in mind, Ms De Wolf has organized a special program, “The Face of Poverty and Homelessness.” The program, sponsored by the Newtown Congregational Church Human Service Committee, will take place Tuesday evening, May 13, from 7 to 9 pm, in the lower level library of Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street, and is open to the public.
Morning rain soaked the start to Newtown’s seventh annual Earth Day Festival, but did not hold back a late-day crowd Saturday, April 26. “Yes, it was a great day,” said Connie Widmann, who helped organize this year’s event. Despite Despite the day’s wet start, she said, “It was a wonderful turnout. As for the number of attendees, we felt that this was a great turn out for the weather at the start of the day.” As in the past, proceeds will benefit Newtown Scholarship Association (NSA), to which the Newtown Earth Day Committee has contributed $5,000 over the last three years. As a result, the NSA has been able to provide a graduating high school senior an award of $2,000 in 2013 and $1,000 in 2012. They will be awarding a scholarship of $2,000 again this year. The event attracted visitors of all ages to Newtown Middle School, where booths filled the entire front lawn, a music tent sent tunes out over the crowd all day, and organizers must have let out a sigh of relief as the afternoon turned sunny and warmer than the morning had dawned.
Newtown residents have reported multiple sightings — and hearings— of coyotes and coyote packs to The Newtown Bee in recent weeks. With recent news reports of dogs in Southington attacked by coyotes as their owner walked them on a trail, some people are anxious. Dr Debra Weisman, co-founder and chief medical officer of Newtown Veterinary Specialists, cautioned residents recently. Animal Control Officer Carolee Mason has not received a lot of calls about coyote packs yet this spring, but she is not surprised that more than one concerned resident has contacted The Bee about coyote presence in town. She believes the local coyote presence is greater this year than it has been in previous years.
When Marcia Taylor sits at the pottery wheel in her home studio, her view from the large windows overlooks a wooded cliff, where trees and shrubs spill downhill and birds flit from birdhouses to branches. The sounds and sights of nature, from which the Hawleyville artist has always drawn inspiration, surround her. On the wall above the wheel, whether the wheel is spinning or Ms Taylor is seated at her worktable hand crafting and sculpting detail work for her pottery, hangs a sign that reads “Play Dirty.” Pottery is the means through which Ms Taylor “plays dirty,” and visitors to Art & Frame of Danbury, in the Route 6 Plaza at 60 Newtown Road, can view the results of her dirty play until June 7. Ms Taylor is one of three women featured in “State Of Wonder.” The exhibition also offers paintings by Nancy Moore and fiber art by Ellen Schiffman.
Philip King’s "See How They Run," written in the 1940s, was considered a farce because its plot requires the frequent use of four doors, a chest, and mistaken identities. What makes it different from the French style of farce which inspired many other British entertainments, its characters are not up to any kind of hanky panky — that is, they are not practicing, nor attempting to practice, adultery, or trying to pull a fast one on the government by making false claims for welfare benefits. Instead, "See How They Run" features a cast of characters reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Saint Mary’s Mead (minus the sharp-eyed insights of Miss Marple). The work is in production at The Sherman Playhouse until May 18, and it is a pleasant, amusing show with good performances by the local cast.
Every now and then the Town Players of Newtown mount a production that is as fine as any regional theater in the area, and as good as any of the professional companies in Hartford or New Haven. Such is the case with their current production of Tennessee Williams’s "The Glass Menagerie," which has been chosen to open the 2014 season at The Little Theatre. Director Marla Manning is getting bravura performances from a top notch cast in this play which, when it was first staged in 1944, established Williams as a major voice in American theater. By all means go to see this one. It’s local, it’s cheap, and it’s really really good!