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The Top of the Mountain

Has Newtown got enough fresh air, cool lake water, and sunshine to share? Add to that the generosity of welcoming a child from New York City to visit town and pet a horse for the first time, or stand at the top of a hiking trail and listen to the waterfall at Orchard Hill Nature Center. Maybe an inner-city child would love to feel sand underfoot, then the splash of fresh water while taking a swim at Eichler’s Cove. Visit Ferris Acres Creamery for ice cream while watching the cows graze, walk through Fairfield Hills, or play alongside the rushing Pootatuck River from the park at 3 Glen Road. Share this all with a child through the Fresh Air Fund, which is seeking host families this summer. Contact Marie Athans at 203-426-7137 or visit www.freshair.org.

Midday on Tuesday, who should walk into the police station to visit Police Chief Michael Kehoe, but Richard “Fuzzy” Simon. A two-term Police Commission member in Newtown before leaving for Florida in 2007, he is also the husband to Cynthia Simon, who for many years served as Newtown’s town clerk. Fuzzy had ridden up to Newtown from his Florida home on his Harley motorcycle to visit his old friends who live here. Hope you enjoy your visit, Fuzzy, and have a safe ride back to Florida.

How can I ignore a plea from a place with a name like Sunny Brook? Sunny Brook Farm, 165 Brushy Hill Road, is collecting new items for the Connecticut Children’s Hospital. Items sought include, but are not limited to, toys, books, and card games. “We have approximately 140 stuffed animals and are looking for any new, small items to be collected for the children,” says Mary Ann Rudolph, owner of Sunny Brook Farm. The final date of collection will be this Sunday, June 8. If you would like to donate items or find out more information, contact Mary Ann at 203-364-0884.

There have already been a lot of college graduation ceremonies, but I’m congratulating Sandy Hook author Sophfronia Scott on her upcoming July graduation from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sophfronia will receive her master of fine arts, creative writing, at ceremonies on July 5, in Montpelier. Write on, Sophfronia!

In case you’re still recovering from scratches received on June 4, International Hug Your Cat Day, I recommend trying again. Maybe your kitty just wasn’t in the right mood on Wednesday — we all have our good days and our bad days. It might be a painful process, in some instances, but Fluffy could become accustomed to a regular hug, if you keep it up. PURR-sonally, I prefer a scritch on the head or under the chin, but I don’t know when International Scritch Your Cat On The Head Day is.

In case you didn’t know, it is “Time to Taco ‘Bout Jazz,” or actually this Saturday will be… The Newtown High School Gold Jazz Band, which has recently won awards when competing at the University of New Hampshire and at York University in Toronto, is set to host a fundraiser June 7, from 6 to 9 pm in the high school’s cafetorium. One student, Bethany Dubois, says tacos and other foods from Mexicali Rose will be offered during the event, and tickets are $15 at the door, or $5 for 5-year-olds and younger. All the proceeds from the event will go to creating a professionally recorded CD by the Gold Jazz Band.

Here’s something else to “taco ‘bout.” I’m talking about the wonderful response to the collection for items to send to troops overseas. The box set up in the Bee lobby through the end of May was overflowing with donations, all of which were delivered to the VFW for shipping. Thank you to all who took the time to shop and drop off items that are very much needed by those serving our country.

Anthony Salvatore, who retired this year as assistant principal at Newtown Middle School, Tom Kuroski, and Liesl Fressola will attend the National Teachers Hall of Fame dedication ceremony for a Memorial to Fallen Educators, Thursday, June 12, at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan. Dr Salvatore will represent local administrators and the national union, at the request of American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) President Diann Woodard. Mr Kuroski and Ms Fressola represent the Newtown Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers. They have been asked to read the names of the six adults from Sandy Hook whose names are on the memorial, according to Dr Salvatore. Dr Salvatore will also present a $5,000 donation from Newtown’s 17 administrators to support the memorial. The memorial is dedicated to all fallen educators, as far back as 1764, when schoolmaster Enoch Brown lost his life during a Lenape Indian attack in Pennsylvania. “The Memorial to Fallen Educators” video, posted by The National Teachers Hall of Fame can be viewed on YouTube.

Speaking of inspiring educators… the Board of Education honored Marilyn Aylward, Eileen Cullen, Claudia Mitchell, Doris Papp, Angela Pennucci, Jo-Ann Peters-Edmondson, Dr Salvatore, Vicki Sheskin, Sue Ward, Gary Wilkinson, Wendy Bowen, Cathy Cincogrono, Diane Dutchick, B.J. Liberty, and Tom Swetts at its meeting on Tuesday, June 3. All are retiring at the end of this school year, which is fast approaching. Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi Jr couldn’t help himself — he calculated that combined, the educators have offered 344 years of teaching.

I have no plans to retire in the coming days, so be sure next week to… Read me again.

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