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Happy New Year!

The December 20, 2013 print edition of The Newtown Bee featured artwork by local artist Kim Proctor, who has gone above and beyond in producing a beautiful depiction of Sandy Hook Center, of an old lamplighter plying his trade in the new streetscape. Her rendering includes the new Christmas tree at the corner of Washington Avenue and Riverside Road, and if you have been thinking how lovely it would look framed, here’s a chance to get a perfect copy of the cover. The Bee Publishing Co is offering for sale prints of the front cover of the December 20, 2013, issue. Prints will be 16 by 20 inches, black and white, at a cost of $15 each. Orders can be placed by contacting Sherri Baggett at 203-426-3141 or Sherri@thebee.com, or stopping by our office at 5 Church Hill Road, by January 10. Any request received after that date will be honored while supply lasts. The prints are expected to be available by approximately January 17.

I heard about a sweet ending to the year. Colleen Thornberg and her fiancé Brendan Martin, both NHS grads, were cozied up enjoying dinner at The Villa the weekend before Christmas. “We were celebrating our anniversary at the same restaurant we had our first date, six years prior,” says Colleen. Much to their surprise, their dinner was paid for anonymously. Colleen and Brendan want to thank that generous family, and adds that they were “so touched by their act of kindness on such a special night for us.” Colleen and Brendan are both teachers, and are to be married this summer, right in their hometown.

Looks like Boy Scout Troop 270 is going to be busy the next three weekends. They will start their annual Christmas Tree Pick Up this Saturday. A minimum $10 check is requested, attached to the tree or placed on the front door, and the scouts will whisk away your Christmas tree. Contact Scoutmaster Coleman at troop270@charter.net to arrange pickup of your tree, wreath, or other greens. He will confirm each request. (If you’ve hidden a pickle in the branches, make sure someone has found it, or rescue it before putting the tree curbside.)

Small pets around the Jordan Hill Road area of Sandy Hook might want to stick close to home. Angela Chiaravalle sends me this picture she took last Sunday morning of a wily coyote near the Sandy Hook Fire substation on Berkshire Road. This coyote looks hungry and fit enough to run down his lunch pretty easily. Angela tells me that the coyote was laying down on the rock at the top of a hill staring at her house. He must be picture shy, though, as he turned tail after Angela took the photo, and headed back into the woods.

Feeling like you’ve got a good arm and a good aim? The Knights of Columbus will run its annual Free Throw Competition, sponsored by Newtown Council No. 185, on Sunday, January 5, at 2 pm, in the St Rose School gym/gathering hall. There are ten categories of competition, for boys and girls, ages 10–14. There is no entry fee, and registration is at the door. Every participant receives a certificate of participation and a patch. The winners get plaques and a chance to compete at the division level, and possibly state level. The entire event is expected to last about one hour. Swoop! For more information, contact Joe Rahtelli at Rahtelli@aol.com.

For those who are feeling particularly energetic as the New Year rolls out, the Second Annual Sandy Hook Victim Relief Fundraiser takes place at CrossFit RedZone, 31 Pecks Lane, this Saturday, January 4. The workout, to be completed with a partner, is a 10-minute CrossFit Workout Of the Day, and will be run from 9 am until 6 pm. All proceeds this year support the UConn Sandy Hook Memorial Scholarship Fund — last year this club topped $100,000 in donations, so see what you can do to help top that, this time around. A minimum donation, including the registration fee, is $60 per team. Registration is open at www.SandyHookFundraiser.eventbrite.com. For additional information call 203-383-9793.

Newtown Action Alliance has shared with me the wish that in this new year more will promise to Honor With Action, and resolve to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence in America. “It is hard to believe that one short year ago, many of us did not know one another. Thanks to supporters like you, bridges are bring built between as many rural and urban victims and communities that have and continue to be impacted by gun violence as possible... We are very grateful to have met so many new friends and partners in 2013. As the book begins to close on an otherwise difficult year, our thoughts turn to goals and resolutions to start anew. Please join us in resolving to Honor With Action in 2014. Spread kindness daily. Thank a first responder, teacher or caregiver. Write op-eds and letters to editors. Visit www.newtownaction.org or www.newtownfoundation.org and donate to help us increase the momentum on the change that is coming. Contact lawmakers frequently... repeatedly. Demand that they get on the right side of history and put the safety of our children before gun industry profits.” One hundred percent of any donations go to help build bridges between urban and rural victims of gun violence, to help survivors and families tell their stories, and to continue the effort to end gun violence.” 

Fans of indie folk rock band Brown Bird will be glad to know that Dave Lamb, one half of the duo along with Newtown native MorganEve Swain, has recently reached the 100 day post-transplant mark for treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia. Dave was diagnosed unexpectedly this past summer, but says in an e-mail that “Recovery is slow but smooth, and with so much help from fans, friends, family, and supporters like you, we’ve been able to focus not only on the healing process but also on creating more music to put out into the world.” Here’s hoping it won’t be much longer before Brown Bird is flying high and on the road again.

There is always something going on in this town, and if you look closely, you might see me there. That’s why you’ll certainly want to pick up The Bee next week and… Read me again.

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