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The Top of the Mountain

I have my tail tucked between my legs, and that is not something a cat is apt to do. Last week’s column failed to mention a very important day celebrating some very important people: fathers. A humble and belated Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads who are, were, or will be!

The original whale oil lamps within the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey were first lit on Monday, June 11, 1764. That means the lighthouse — the fifth one built in the United States and the oldest to survive — celebrated its 250th anniversary last week. Happy belated birthday to what could be our town’s “sister lighthouse.” Want to see what it looks like from inside the lantern room? The National Park Service, which has owned the country’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse since 1974, launched “Sandy Cam.” Live streams from the lighthouse offer visitors a view of New York Harbor, to the north-northeast of the lighthouse; a view toward New York City, to the north; a look at The Fort at Sandy Hook, within Gateway National Recreation Area (home of the lighthouse); and even a view from the ground looking at the lighthouse. Visit www.earthcam.com to learn more about the historic lighthouse, and to enjoy any of the new technology.

It wasn’t 76 trombones, but Newtown resident Roger Ball  — who co-founded the multiple-Grammy-nominated Average White Band, and co-wrote its biggest hit, “Pick Up The Pieces”  — who was serenaded by around 76 friends who gathered recent;y for his 70th birthday at Lauretano’s in Bethel. Using the June 15 gathering as an opportunity to debut an album’s worth of all new and original material with a fabulous septet of musicians, Mr Ball’s guests quietly circulated toy saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet-shaped kazoos during his set — and on cue, all raised their “instruments” paying tribute to their guest of honor with a honking rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Suffice to say, Mr Ball was noticeably touched by the musical gesture and thanked everyone in attendance for their fine performance.

Congratulations to Attorney Monte Frank. The Newtown resident, who serves as a town attorney, was elected vice president of the Connecticut Bar Association this week. In 2008, Mr Frank was elected to the Board of Governors and the House of Delegates of the Connecticut Bar Association, and last year he became a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. An avid cyclist, he represented the United States at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games, and founded and led Newtown’s Team 26, which inspired the nation with the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington.

If there seems to be a flurry of activity in the book sorting room at C.H. Booth Library, it is because final preparations are underway for the 39th Annual Book Sale, which takes place Saturday, July 12 through Wednesday, July 16, at the air-conditioned Reed Intermediate School. Hours are scheduled for 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, when the more than 120,000 books, CDs, DVDs, LPs, games and puzzles are full price; Monday, 9 am to 7 pm, half-price day; Tuesday, 9 am to 7 pm, $5 a bag day; and Wednesday, 9 am to noon, free day. There is a $5 admission, Saturday only. Book Sale organizers tell me that they have added categories on the open floor of the school, creating 90 categories that make it even that much easier to find a book at the super-organized event. There is an unusually large selection of books in German for children and adults, too, as well as many books on crafts, woodworking, and gardening that were donated by a publisher. Go crazy!

Author-illustrator Barbara McClintock shared a catty secret with some Hawley School students during her June 6 visit. She showed them photos of her own two cats, but warned them not to let the cats’ adorable demeanors trick them. The cats love to sleep on her work, scratch it up, and eat the corners. “But they’re so cute,” exclaimed one unconvinced student. There you have it: cuteness is the way we felines get away with causing trouble.

Newtown may not have been revolutionary enough last year, but here’s another chance: Connecticut has launched its second annual, award-winning Connecticut “Still Revolutionary Fan-Favorite Town” program. “The Connecticut Still Revolutionary Fan-Favorite Town program allows us to celebrate and promote the incredible breadth of experiences and unique towns that the state has to offer — from seaside escapes to bustling cities and scenic trails,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. Participants are encouraged to vote every day on the Visit Connecticut Facebook page, through July 25. Each vote counts as a chance to win the ZIP to ZEN getaway to Niantic — last year’s winner — which will offer the grand-prize winner the opportunity to find their ZEN with a four-night stay at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina and a $100 gift card to Grace boutique, as well as time to ZIP around town and explore neighboring Waterford, courtesy of Niantic Bay Bicycles. Towns and destinations with the most votes will be announced on a weekly basis. The winning town and destination will receive bragging rights for all of 2014, along with promotional support from Connecticut’s Office of Tourism.

A big tree and lots of loose limbs around C.H. Booth Library have been felled this past week by the Yacko Bros Tree Service, making passage in and out and all about the public library much safer. With the official hurricane season under way, it’s good to know that at least those trees won’t be flinging limbs hither and yon, should we bear the wrath of any storms this summer.

Wallace, rescued by Danbury firefighters and Kitten Associates, and pictured in last week’s column, is now a thriving kitten, says KA Founder Robin Olson. She is seeking some help, though, in creating much needed “Kits” for fire and rescue squads. Volunteers are needed to get the Kitten Rescue Kits off the ground “for at least the local fire stations, and hopefully well beyond that to the rest of the state, or even the nation,” Robin says. “We were graced with a donation to ‘seed’ the program, but we really need help doing research and reaching out to the fire stations so we can create a worthwhile kit for them. We need people to help us develop program materials, so folks who are comfortable as writers and doing research would help,” she adds. The work can be done from home. Info@kittenassociates.org is the contact or call 203-744-9228.

I count on readers to rescue me from oblivion, so I hope that next week you’ll take time to… Read me again.

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