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.
A chorus of voices spilled from The Alexandria Room Tuesday afternoon as various outreach and community-based groups networked at Edmond Town Hall. Representatives from groups such as HealingNewtown, Cullens Youth Association, Kevin’s Community Center, Newtown Memorial Fund, Newtown Youth & Family Services, and Sandy Hook Promise — representing foundations that had long been established as well those formed in the wake of 12/14 — and more gathered on January 14 for the first-of-its-kind event, bringing together the charities, service providers, community groups, and support foundations. Greeting guests was Elizabeth Rallo of GE, which initiated the event. The banquet hall quickly filled with guests displaying their group’s information to share with the others.
Garrett William Hydeck, Jr, edged out his closest competitor for the title of Newtown’s First Baby 2014 by less than 12 hours. Garrett, the son of Stephanie Masciola and Garrett Hydeck, Sr, was born on Thursday, January 2, at 8:45 am, at Yale Children’s Hospital. The Bee also heard from Kadri and Anthony Graffeo, whose son Thomas was born at 8:24 pm January 2. All other “competitors” were born January 3 or later. The winner of the 54th annual First Baby title from The Newtown Bee, Garrett was born within the time frame his parents and doctor had calculated, although his weight was a little higher than his mother had expected. “The contractions started right after midnight,” Stephanie said January 15. “There was about 30 minutes of pushing that started around 8:15, and then he came right out. That was a surprise.” As has long been tradition for this contest, Garrett Hydeck, Jr, not only has earned an honorary title that is his for the rest of his life, he and his parents have also been awarded a large collection of prizes.