It could be an idyllic family scene from any one of many homes in Newtown: three older children clustered about a baby in a bouncy seat, while the fire in the fireplace crackles behind them and the adults chat amicably nearby. This family picture, though, is a special blend of children and adults. One of the adults is Hazel Ricardel-Alquilos, a native of Cebu in the Philippines. The “baby” is her son, Bezalel, such a wisp of a 2-year-old, at just 15 pounds, that it seems one puff of wind outside the door could send his frail form tumbling.
Newtown Kindness honored children for embodying its mission “think kindly, act boldly” during this year’s Annual Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Awards ceremony, held at Edmond Town Hall during the evening of Saturday, February 21. Despite the snowy weather, many attended the event, which was also provided through a live-stream program for viewers to watch. honorees received gifts ranging from tickets to see a Broadway musical to attending a major sports game and a chance to meet their favorite player, along with a donation to a charity of the recipient’s choice, to further support the efforts and programs the honorees believe in.
An unusually extended period of very cold weather has put pressure on plumbing in the area — the kind of pressure that comes from water freezing in pipes. It has been a horrible winter for heating and water systems, said Newtown plumber Pete Wlasuk of Pete’s Plumbing. He has received many more emergency calls regarding frozen pipes this winter than in previous years.
It is one thing to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is another thing to be an unwilling participant in this winter’s version of that charity challenge, when frozen pipes break and send a deluge of icy water over household possessions. The unusually cold weather that has refused to lift itself off of New England since January has increased the threat of pipes freezing and bursting. Even thoughtful preparation does not always guarantee that homeowners will avoid an unpleasant winter weather experience.
Riley Trask, 10, climbed toward a small yellow lab sitting on the hill. Waiting, tail wagging, the dog watched Riley lean down and pack a snowball between thick mittens. As eager as the little lab, Riley turned and tossed the snow twin sister Dylann played with the handful of dogs at Newtown’s Park and Bark dog park Sunday, February 22, slipping through snow softening under unusually warm temperatures. Despite Saturday evening’s snowfall that added more than 4 inches to the snowcover lingering this month, Sunday afternoon saw the thermometers reach nearly 40 degrees.
In 25 years as a librarian at C.H. Booth Library, Beryl Harrison has served in numerous and valuable capacities. She has seen the library grow — and shrink, as digital options become equally preferred to hard copy volumes. She has worked side by side with a staff that she calls “wonderful.” She has also endeared herself to patrons and fellow staff members, through her dedication to her career. Library Director Brenda McKinley calls her “one of the kindest people I know. “She is also very intelligent and tenacious when it comes to being a reference librarian,” Ms McKinley added. “She will always go the extra mile, and beyond, for a patron with a question or problem.” The staff will honor Ms Harrison’s 25 years of service to the public on Friday, February 20, she said, during its regular staff meeting.
Batter sizzled on a hot griddle. Minutes later Erica Knapp flipped pancakes, filling plates during the 58th annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at St John’s Episcopal Church, 5 Washington Avenue. Erica’s mother Janet Knapp took the fresh plates, added a side of apple sauce, and passed the waiting dishes to Mary Fellows or Melanie Mattegat, who were among servers welcoming guests to the church’s downstairs hall. Between 5 and 7 pm on Tuesday, February 17, despite the cold weather, residents filled the church stairwell, waiting to purchase their dinner tickets. Erica kept up a steady pace of mixing and baking pancakes, which her mother and volunteer Lisa Ryan assisted with in the kitchen. Wearing a batter-specked green apron and smiling was Stephanie Schneiderman, who also helped serve and clear tables where guests, including Cindy and Bob Mitchell, enjoyed a fresh coffee and pancake supper.