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I’ve heard of bean counters, but there are some expert jelly bean counters in town. Lawrence Card joined forces with his sons, 16-year-old Alexandyr, 6-year-old William, and 5-year-old Nathaniel, to come up with the winning number of jellybeans in the jar at Reed Intermediate School. The jellybean guessing contest was sponsored by one of the Odyssey of the Mind teams at the school recently, mom Gia Card tells me. The Cards guessed 2,592 beans, and there were actually only 18 more than that. “As a family, we place great importance on the learning and understanding of math,” says Gia. The family looks for real world examples of math problems and how to solve them, so they saw the jellybean contest as a great math challenge. Alexandyr and his dad came up with an equation evaluating the cubic inches of the jar and guessed at the size of the jellybeans. “We then explained to William and Nathaniel how we did it and what the guess was,” Gia says, and let the two younger boys come up with their own guesses. Winning was “a great reinforcement to our lessons that math is truly all around us,” she adds. Reinforcing another lesson that the Cards try to impress upon their children, “When a good thing happens to you, you spread the love and pass it on,” the jar of jellybeans is being donated to the Sandy Hook School office.

Five-year-old Derek Schnee lost his first tooth during a community dinner and benefit held April 6 at Newtown Congregational Church, and was not about to let his excitement go unnoticed. Resident Mary Gaudet quickly got Derek and his newly gapped grin in front of a camera.

I sure hope the Tooth Fairy has found Derek by now! (I hear she uses GPS, so all should be good.)

As announced on the Newtown High School Blog, http://dumais.us/newtown/blog/, the NHS Liaocheng Study Tour arrived in Liaocheng, in the Shandong Province of China, on April 12, after traveling for roughly 19 hours. The 24 students and three teachers on the tour then spent part of this week participating in classes and cultural experiences. The teachers on the tour are Katherine Matz, Timothy DeJulio, and Robert Gendreau. The group also climbed the Great Wall of China, visited Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, the Summer Palace, a pearl factory, a jade factory, and participated in a traditional tea ceremony. What a way to spend a spring break!

Mark your calendars for Saturday evening, April 27, when the Newtown Choral Society will present its spring concert “The Joy of…”, at 7:30 pm, in the Meeting House. Directed by Mary Andreotta and accompanied by Susan Anthony-Klein, the choral group will present a variety of songs that express the theme of joy. Tickets are $10 ($8 for seniors and students) at the door. Seems like a great way to greet the season.

Greet the planting season by giving your gardens a feast. Trot on over to The Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard barn for Annual Compost Days. Bring a pail, tub, or a truck Saturday, April 20, or Saturday, April 27, between 9 am and noon, to pick up your spring garden compost. The Second Horse Governor’s Horse Guard is at 4 Wildlife Drive (opposite Reed Intermediate School on Trades Lane). The manure is free, but donations are gratefully accepted by the Friends of 2GHG, Inc, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Road (Route 72), Bristol, has set aside Sunday, April 21, as Newtown Day, with free admission for Newtowners. A Stein & Goldstein carousel horse was recently named “Sandy” by the museum’s executive director, to honor not only those we lost on 12/14, but those who went through last fall’s storm of the same name. For information, call 860-585-5411 or visit TheCarouselMuseum.org.

Reed Intermediate School teacher Karen King shared news with me this week. The New Sight Eye Center in Liberia, which has earned local support over the last few years, has applied for a Canadian grant called Grand Challenges Canada. Part of the application process required the creation of a two-minute video with a brief summary of the project. The videos from all of the grant applicants were then posted online to earn votes. Ms King says it is unknown what the impact of the votes will be on the judges for the grant, but everyone is being asked to vote daily until May 31. “We hope to develop a basic quality monitoring and improvement model for non-physician cataract surgeons using New Sight Eye Center as the test case,” according to an e-mail from Ms King. “At best, it could make us a model to be replicated in other developing countries. At least it will ensure that we are taking the best possible care of our patients in Liberia, who so desperately need our services. To vote and learn more about the project go to http://applications.grandchallenges.ca/en/viewVideo/28735E6AA6E83AB225D7.... Sometimes seeing is believing!

Blanca O’Leary in Aspen, Colo., wants Newtown to know that Aspen has not forgotten Columbine, Aurora, and the more than 3,000 victims of gun violence since 12/14. Blanca sent me a note and photo of more than 70 people who showed up for a community photo for gun reform at Aspen’s Paepcke Park this past Saturday. Among the people in the photo is E.J. Weldon of Newtown, to the right of the big sign in the front, she pointed out. “We urged our congressman and US Senators to vote Yes on gun reform legislation,” Blanc says.

A harbinger of spring has popped up on lawns around town this week. If “You’ve Been Flocked!” you know what I’m talking about. The brightly colored bird cutouts appear overnight on lawns by special request, bringing good cheer. I don’t know who is responsible this time around for the flocking, but sources tell me that an Odyssey of the Mind group is a likely suspect. It doesn’t matter to me, although a flock of live birds delivered to my doorstep would be more to my liking…

Be sure to make a point to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle on Monday (and every day), in celebration of Earth Day. Be nice to Mother Earth.

There’s no recycling the news, though, so I promise to keep you up to date next week if you… Read me again.

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