The first Light The Night for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in Newtown took place at Newtown High School in the fall of 2009, organized by Sandy Hook Resident Ginny Chion with the help of Newtown High School Athletic Director Gregg Simon. While it was the first appearance in her hometown of the annual findraiser for LLS, 2009 marked the seventh year Ms Chion had been involved in organizing teams to walk to support the mission of LLS, to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Four years later, Ms Chion continues working to bring awareness about blood cancers through Newtown Light The Night efforts.
Families were out in full force to pile on the sweet toppings and participate in activities at the many booths set up behind Trinity Episcopal Church during an ice cream social hosted by Ben’s Lighthouse on August 31. Ferris Acres Creamery provided ice cream, a portion of which it donated, and the scoops were served by town officials, teachers, coaches, emergency responders, and clergy. There were smiles all around as children engaged in fun-filled therapeutic activities through a variety of vehicles, such as art, music, juggling, petting Pet Partners Therapy Dogs and, of course, eating ice cream.
Riverside Road resident Brian Haag gave up on vegetable gardening when “everything got eaten,” he said, and instead planted a sunflower patch two years ago.
“I never grew them before and they look pretty,” he said of a patch he planted again this year. “Everyone going by seems to enjoy them.” He planted them from seed during the first week of June, a slight delay since “we still had some cold nights in May.”
Unlike two years ago when the hurricane “took them down,” this year’s batch, he said, ranges from taller to shorter, and from pale yellows to deep rust colors.
In lieu of gifts, Claire Fiordelisi asked for donations to the Sandy Hook Family Memorial fund for her tenth birthday on August 14. The fund, started by residents Christine and Kevin Yacko and their son Thomas, is raising money for a memorial that will serve “as a quiet place to go or where we can share thoughts,” Kevin Yacko said this week. Claire met with the Yackos this week to present her $95 donation for their efforts. The couple, in return, shared a computer rendering of the stone memorial and small sitting area they have envisioned.
What's a little rain - when it stays up in the air, that is. Preparing for a predicted rainfall, parade goers for the 52nd Annual Newtown Labor Day Parade, Monday, September 2, set up not only chairs along the parade route, but a number of portable tents, as well. Raincoats and umbrellas were stashed nearby, just in case the rumble of marchers turned into the rumble of thunder.
But Mother Nature took mercy on the hundreds of friends and families lining the parade route from the top of Main Street to its finish on Queen Street, holding off her downpour until the final moments of the parade. A brief mid-parade shower had umbrellas blossooming like flowers, only to be quickly put away when the sun decided to play hide-n-seek.
Prior to the 10 am start of the parade, feelings along the parade route ran from exuberant to tentative. "It's a community feel," was a common sentiment voiced, with one gentleman saying he thought more people were turning out to support the town as much as to watch the parade.