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Top of the Mountain

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    Looking for a couple of good causes to help? Among the local organizations hoping for support and a chance at an addition prize is the Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation (CMAK). CMAK will compete for prize money up to $25,000 as part of Fairfield County Giving Day.

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    Instagram user @chanecullens has been keeping The Newtown Bee’s Instagram photos at newtownbee.com full of photos of birds in the last few weeks. She has uploaded three beautiful pictures of birds since the end of January, but this week is my favorite: a cat. According to the post, the cat was out prowling for mice in the snow. You can see for yourself that this brave feline was certainly claw deep.

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    Under the tutelage of creative writing instructor Chris Belden, inmates of Garner Correctional Institute have published three editions of a literary magazine, Sentences. Issue number 4 is ready to be printed, with more original prose and poetry, Chris says, but funding is needed. “If just 30 people donate $10 each we will be able to print enough copies to distribute to the inmates,” he tells me, and anyone who donates $10 will receive a copy.

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    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.

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    There has been a change of venue for Friday night’s family ice skating party. Instead of the temporary rink at Fairfield Hills, the February 7 event has been moved to the Dickinson Park pavilion rink... weather permitting (it’s been one of those weeks, after all.) There is still time to sign up for the event, which will run from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. DJ Kevin Koschel will provide the music, and there will be a small bonfire. There is no charge, but reservations are requested so that organizers know how much hot chocolate will be needed.

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    Here’s one good thing about the Arctic temperatures we’ve been enduring. The temporary ice skating rink at Fairfield Hills has been set up for the season, and I have noticed people are taking time to visit it again. The rink will have a formal event next weekend, when Newtown Parks & Recreation hosts a family ice skating party on Friday, February 7. DJ Kevin Koschel will provide music for the event, which will run from 6:30 until 9:30 pm. Hot chocolate and hot coffee will be served, and a small bonfire will help keep some guests warm.

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    In fictional animal news... Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg, author and illustrator, respectively, of the recently published Snowflakes Fall, both visited Sandy Hook School last week. I understand that while speaking to one group of students Mr Kellogg, a former Sandy Hook resident, shared a fun fact. Did you know his former canine Pinkerton, who inspired his Pinkerton books (like A Rose for Pinkerton), is hidden in some of the illustrations for some of his other books?

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    For those of you watching the premiere of this season’s American Idol on Wednesday, January 15, you might have recognized Sandy Hook resident Hayley Pettinato. She was shown briefly, but earned a “golden ticket” to continue on to Hollywood, where the show continues. Seventeen-year-old Hayley is one of three Connecticut residents chosen by the judges for this season. “Getting that golden ticket was honestly like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It was so surreal.

  • The Top of the Mountain

    Letters from Sandy Hook — Newtown to the World, compiled and edited by Sandy Hook resident Suzanne Davenport, has been released. The book is available at The Newtown Bee office, C.H. Booth Library, and Everything Newtown. The cost of the book is $30 and when purchased at any of the abovementioned locations, all of the proceeds will be donated directly to the Newtown Memorial Fund. The book is available on Amazon, but the foundation gets only three percent of the proceeds in that case.

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    Calling Newtown’s lords, ladies, and house servants. The C.H. Booth Library has a “Downton Abbey Tea” set for Saturday, January 4, from 3 pm to 4 pm, to celebrate the January 5 return of the popular BBC Channel Downton Abbey program. People attending the tea party at the library are asked to come in costume. Register for the proper tea party at www.chboothlibrary.org, under the events calendar link.