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The Top of the Mountain

Does Newtown have the most polite drivers? We’ll soon find out. NHS Principal Charles Dumais announced this week that the high school will be running a “traffic experiment” the mornings of November 25, November 26, and November 27. The school has coordinated the experiment with the Newtown Police Department, Newtown High School Security, and All-Star Transportation, according to Mr Dumais. During those mornings there will be NO traffic control officer in place. Instead, they are relying on the goodwill of other drivers to allow buses to travel into the school’s driveway. “In other words, please help the buses keep moving and, when necessary, please let the other person go,” he wrote on the high school’s blog, dumais.us/newtown/blog. If the traffic experiment does not work, expect to see the traffic control officer back in place.

The Connecticut Clay Artists Third Annual “ARTique” craft show runs this Thursday, November 21, through Saturday, November 23, from 10 am to 5 pm, and features art of Newtown artists Ros Liljengren, Cathy Swanson, Roberta Ahuja, Pat Martin, and Karen Pinto. This year, the Clay Artists are joined by nine other artists, working in other media. The show takes place in the North Hall of St Stephen’s Church, 351 Main Street, Ridgefield, and you’ll find sculpture, jewelry, iron works, wood art, and much more — including pottery, of course.

Time Magazine has named the 11 “Most Influential Animals of 2013,” and among them are the dogs from K-9 Comfort Dogs that spent time in Newtown this past winter, offering a fuzzy and calming presence. They join several other dogs, the underwhelming influx of cicadas, a Brooklyn dolphin, pandas, a piglet — and the million-dollar Grumpy Cat of Internet fame.

The time to gobble some turkey is coming up on us, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lots of tips for making Thanksgiving a safe, as well as tasty, holiday. Find out at www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime about thawing, preparing, stuffing, roasting, and serving your turkey so that the only groaning you hear after dinner is that the festivities are over.

I’m sure that all that feasting is going to follow up your run through the center of town. Rumor has it that the 1,000 places for the annual Turkey Trot are going fast, so if you haven’t registered for the 5K Thanksgiving Day race sponsored by Newtown Savings Bank to support our library, now is the time to do so. (You can opt for the calorie-burning walk if jogging over hill and dale is not for you.) Go to www.newtownturkeytrot.com for details and to register.

The Ben’s Bells Newtown studio at 17 Church Hill Road has a snazzy new sign for everyone to make note of. The vertical white sign with the BBN logo is eye-catching, and will now remind everyone, every day, that Newtown is among the only permanent Ben’s Bells studios outside of the main studio in Tucson, Ariz. Also, in addition to the studio’s regular hours (10 am to 3 pm and 6 to 9 pm each Wednesday, and noon to 4 pm on Saturdays), BBN organizers have announced a few special timeslots. The studio will be open Friday, December 6, from 1 to 5 pm; and Monday, December 23, from 10 am to 4 pm. As previously announced, the studio will also be open for very extended hours on Saturday, December 14, from 9 am until 9 pm.

You’ll barely be done digesting Thanksgiving dinner  — not to mention celebrating Hanukkah, which falls on Thanksgiving Day this year, and is most likely a once in a lifetime experience — when it will be time for the Newtown Savings Bank Holiday Festival to benefit Newtown Youth & Family Services, Sunday, December 1. So many favorites from years past return — the Victorian Tea, the Festival of the Trees, the Gingerbread House Contest — and you can look forward to trolley rides narrated by Town Historian Dan Cruson this year. Tickets for the event can be purchased at Everything Newtown, 61 Church Hill Road; C.H. Booth Library; and Newtown Savings Bank’s branches in Newtown at 39 Main Street and in Sand Hill Plaza; 68 Stony Hill Road in Bethel; and 99 Federal Road in Brookfield. Tickets are $10 each or $20 for a family of four. The festival begins at 11 am and runs until 4 pm.

That ought to put you in the spirit for the next weekend, December 6, 7, and 8. Friday night, the Ram Pasture Tree lighting gets under way at 6:30 pm with music and songs, and the lighting of the two trees near Hawley Pond at 7 pm. Organizers caution that while the luminarias lining Main Street and Glover Avenue and ringing the pond are beautiful, they don’t throw off much light. Be sure to bring a flashlight to help you find your way down darkened side streets, as you walk to and from the celebration. Reflective (and warm) clothing is a good idea, to help motorists see you and your loved ones. The Rotary Pancake Breakfast gets you going Saturday morning at 8 am, until 1 pm, in Edmond Town Hall, and somewhere in there, you’ll want to hustle down to the Meeting House for the Garden Club of Newtown’s Greens Sale. The hand decorated wreaths and other beautiful holiday decorations disappear quickly, so don’t tarry along the way! The Sandy Hook and Hawleyville tree lightings take place that weekend, as well, so keep your ears perked up for updates.

On Saturday, December 7, from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, December 8, noon to 5 pm, Friends of the C.H. Booth Library presents its Holiday Gift Sale in the lower level of the C.H. Booth Library. Gift quality books for all ages, DVDs, CDs, and many other gift items will be offered for sale, all priced to make your pocketbook smile.

So many other events — Trinity’s Lessons and Carols, and the Newtown Choral Society Concert, both on Sunday, December 8 — can quickly fill up the weekend. Check The Newtown Bee calendar online at www.newtownbee.com, and start filling up your calendar.

No doubt if I position myself near any supermarket this week, I’ll eavesdrop on a wealth of conversation as everybody hustles shopping carts about, in preparation of whichever holiday or combination of holidays they are celebrating. If your carts are filling up at Big Y on Queen Street or Stop & Shop in the Sand Hill Plaza this Saturday, November 23, you’ll notice the Fill The Fire Truck campaign underway between 9 am and 2 pm. All donated food, hygiene, and cleaning products will be delivered to FAITH Food Pantry, located beneath St John’s Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook.

So, have a Happy Thanksgivvukkah, and I will certainly be thankful if you choose to… Read me again.

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