The Top of the Mountain

Instead of the usual NBC “Bugler’s Dream” trumpet blast that has been greeting my ears during the 2014 broadcasts of the Winter Olympics, I perked up at one point when I recognized the Connecticut-produced “Nothing More” song. “Nothing More” was composed by Tim Warren of the band Alternate Routes, to support Newtown Kindness, an organization founded by the family of Charlotte Bacon, who died 12/14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Tim and other band members joined with the Reed Intermediate School chorus to perform the piece at the RIS Winter Concert.) To watch the NBC broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics that features “Nothing More,” go to www.thealternateroutes.com.

Cans of soup, and other food items, were collected by the Middle Gate Elementary School community and delivered to the Food Pantry at Social Services at Town Hall South, Monday, February 10, for the school’s “Souper Bowl” food drive. The drive is a yearly event at the school, coinciding roughly with the timing of the Super Bowl. In case you are inspired by the doings over at Middle Gate, the Social Services food pantry is located at Town Hall South, and is happy to accept donations, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.

If you’re feeling the love this week, thanks to Valentine’s Day, maybe you can extend that feeling through the next few weeks. Caraluzzi’s Market, 5 Queen Street, will host The Animal Center’s Feed A Stray for a Day cat food drive from February 22 through March 8. The Animal Center is most in need of regular and large cans of Friskies cat food but all donations are greatly appreciated. Bins will be located in the store by both exits.

Happy first anniversary to Ben’s Bells Newtown! Based out of studio space at 17 Church Hill Road, the local chapter of Ben’s Bells — working with permission of the Tuscon-based Ben’s Bells — has hung more than 1,500 bells during the past year, spreading its own kindness, one act at a time in Connecticut and New York. BBN has worked out of the space donated by Landmark Homes, Inc of Fairfield, and has not had to pay utility fees thanks to William Pitt Sotheby’s, who has covered those costs for the studio. The volunteer-driven BBN has interacted with at least 5,200 people this past year, and has established nearly 50 Kind Kids School projects. The studio is regularly open each Wednesday from 10 am to 3 pm and 6 to 9 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 4 pm. Special studio hours have been set up for Friday, February 14, from 1 to 5 pm; and Monday, February 17, from 10 am to 4 pm. Reservations are not needed. There is no formal charge to visit the studio and create beads or Kindness Coins, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person. Also, a Girls Night Out FUNraiser will be held at the studio on Saturday, February 22, from 8 to 11 pm. Reservations for that evening, which will include light refreshments (BYOB) and raffle prizes, are requested and a suggested donation of $10. Visit feb22gno.eventbrite.com for reservations and additional information.

I hope all of the runners out there have been keeping in shape through this cold and snowy winter, because there is a 5K coming up next month, for a good cause. The Sandy Ground Project playground to honor James Mattioli, a first grader who died 12/14, will be built mid-March on the site of the old Milford Academy, in Milford. Friends and family of James’ are planning a Sandy Ground Project 5K for March 22, just prior to the ribbon cutting for the new playground there. Look for more information on this event, coming soon.

Happy Lupercalia Day! It just doesn’t have the ring that “Happy Valentine’s Day” does, right? But some historians believe that the celebration of Valentine’s Day arose from the ancient Roman fertility festival that occurred around this same date, Lupercalia. Named in honor of the she-wolf that raised Rome’s founders, Romulus and Remus, Lupercalia was quite the festival, including nude runners whacking women with strips of goatskin as they passed through the city streets, to ensure fertility. I think I prefer to think that the day honors the memory of St Valentinus, who was executed by the Roman Empire for his ministrations to Christians. By the Middle Ages, the day had come to be one of romantic love, and eventually it evolved into the card and candy-driven holiday we know today. (Not to say that there is anything wrong with setting aside a day to do and say all the things we mean to the rest of the year, for those we love.) At any rate, I hope that February 14 brings a twinkle to your eye and a smile to your heart. Me? I’m just hoping for an extra serving of cream in my bowl.

Originally begun to honor the birthday of the first US president, George Washington, and celebrated on February 22, Presidents’ Day now pays homage to all presidents, past and present. No doubt, like me, you’ll be up late baking birthday cupcakes to share this coming Monday, when Presidents’ Day is celebrated. Happy Birthday, George and company!

Don’t think that a little (or a lot) of snow and ice will keep me from finding out what makes the town tick, next week. Be sure to… Read me again.

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