The Top of the Mountain

It’s October and that makes me think about Halloween on Main Street (black cats, of course), witches — and pumpkins. And pumpkins make me think about McKenzie Page’s Third Annual Great Pumpkin Challenge. The NHS sophomore invites people once again to carve or decorate a jack-o-lantern, drop it off at her 14 Main Street home, and hopefully drop $5 in the donation jar there. The money she collects each year goes to charity to fight cancer. This year, McKenzie is collecting for the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp, which serves children dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses. Last year, McKenzie had 93 donated pumpkins on display (after hiding them from Superstorm Sandy) and raised $3,500. If you want to get in on this year’s fun, keep an eye on the Great Pumpkin Challenge of Newtown Facebook page, or visit www.greatpumpkinchallenge.org. I think a nice Cheshire Cat face would be a good design… if only I could hold a carving knife.

I’d take part if it was a “Yowl at the Moon Contest,” but I have to defer to those who prefer to “Howl at the Moon.” That’s one of the events included in the Friday, October 18, kickoff for MouthPeace Arts Center, at the teen center Garage (57 Church Hill Road), at 7 pm. MouthPeace hopes to be a venue for high school students to express creativity, and I guess howling at the full moon that night is its own special form of creativity. Or at least a fun means of inspiration!

When I got a sneak preview of this week’s Snapshot, I had to beg a picture of Sue Kassirer’s kitty. How could I resist a cat named Bee? Just as I suspected. She is a BEE-utiful cat. Sue might profess that her cat is not named for our paper; but is it a coincidence she moves to the hometown of The Bee? I think not.

You may have noticed different bylines in the paper in recent weeks. Alissa Silber and Adam Israel have joined our staff as interns. Adam is a junior at NHS and sports editor for the school newspaper, The Hawkeye. He is working under the direction of Bee sports editor Andy Hutchison. Bee education reporter Eliza Hallabeck has taken Alissa under her wing. Alissa is a 2011 Newtown High School graduate and a current student at Western Connecticut State University, where she is the editor of the university’s newspaper, The Echo. She served as The Echo’s arts and entertainment editor last school year. Being the official greeter of interns, I welcome Alissa and Adam. I’m sure it will be a win-win situation for all.

 Congratulations to Newtown Police Department Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele. After receiving a Community Partner Award in 2012 from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families for his tireless work and advocacy on behalf of Newtown’s children and families, Lt Vanghele will be honored by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence as one of the “First 100 Plus Men Who Make a Difference.” He will be inducted into the First 100 Plus Class of 2013 on Tuesday, November 19, during a morning ceremony in Cromwell along with several dozen other members of the state’s law enforcement community.

Work From Home Newtown CT, the networking and socializing group formed by resident Greg Pategas, will have its first breakfast event next week. Remote workers, home-based business owners, sole proprietors, job-seekers, stay-at-home parents, retirees, et al, are invited to join Greg next Friday morning, October 18, at My Place Restaurant, at 8 Queen Street. The group will meet at 9 am, and all are welcome. For additional information give Greg a call at 914-414-5163.

First Light Power Resources, the utility company that generates electricity at Stevenson Dam and Shepaug Dam, has announced this season’s drawdown dates for Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah. According to a spokesman from the company, Lake Zoar’s lowering will begin October 19 and should last until October 27. The lake will be lowered by about five feet. Lake Lillinonah’s drawdown will be October 30 until about November 17, and that section of the Housatonic will go down by about 8½ feet. Lillinonah usually goes down only about five feet, but First Light is doing work this year at the Bridgewater boat ramp, which necessitates the need for a lower lake level than usual. Homeowners along either section can take advantage of these drawdowns to do their annual maintenance or other work during these times.

Just when I was wondering if anyone was ever going to nominate a Good Egg again, Michelle Kolert sent a note. Michelle, who has been helping a 90-year-old resident lately, tried to set up an exam and rabies shot for the woman’s beagle. But the woman, on a limited income, was worried about being able to pay for her dog’s medical care. Michelle tried to make arrangements with the usual veterinarian, but it wasn’t working out. So she gave Mt Pleasant Animal Hospital a call, for some suggestions. “Without skipping a beat, they told me they would help us, doing the shot and exam for half the price they usually charge,” says Michelle. “I can’t believe this. They were so kind, so helpful. Pets are so important to people, especially elderly people. This was too nice to not tell you about,” says Michelle. And this is too nice for me not to hand out my Good Egg Award to Dr Vali and his staff at Mt Pleasant Animal Hospital. You are Good Eggs!

You can always count on the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library — especially for helping clean out the bookshelves. If you have books, CDs, DVDs, LPs, puzzles, or computer games you no longer need, the Friends would welcome your donation to support the annual Book Sale. A special Donation Day is scheduled for Sunday, October 20, from noon to 5 pm, in the rear parking lot of the library. (Do I need to tell you it is located at 25 Main Street?) Volunteers will be on hand to accept your donations, to assist you in carrying items, and to provide tax receipts upon request. Call 203-270-4537 with any questions, or if you need to schedule a pickup of a large donation.

Some Sandy Hook moms are moving forward toward healing through a walk that lets them give back, too. Aimee Tabor, Audra Barth, and 14 other mothers from Sandy Hook (aka the Sole Sisters) are joining with the Sole Ryeders, a group of women from Rye, N.Y. The 70 women from Rye and Sandy Hook will take part in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a two-day, 39-mile walk, on October 19 and 20, in New York City. The women have been training since June, I hear, and are ready to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Go Sole Sisters!

I not only have to walk the walk, but eavesdrop on the talk in order to get the goods for next week’s column. I hope you’ll reward my efforts and… read me again.

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