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The members of Christ the King Lutheran Church had many reasons to celebrate during the Christmas season. One unplanned gift developed once the congregation’s budget was found to be in such good standing: the majority of the church’s Christmas offering was donated to tornado recovery in the southern states. According to Pastor Rob Morris, the church’s Council approved sending some of the offering directly to LCMS Mid-South District, as is standard. The rest of the generous offering, with a partial matching grant, resulted in $9,000 being sent to Samaritan’s Purse for those recovery efforts.

I learned this week that the United States Postal Service (USPS) accepted more than 13.2 billion mailpieces and packages this holiday season, and the average delivery time for those packages was three days. According to the USPS mail and package volume has increased year over year, and its operational improvements and strategic investments under a 10-year plan boosted daily processing capacity by 13 million packages. It also announced 2.8 billion mailpieces and packages were shipped the week after Thanksgiving.

Maureen McLaughlin and dog Jack take daily strolls in town on School House Hill Road, The Boulevard, and Wendover Road. She is not sure if it happened on a walk or a trip to Big Y, but Maureen recently lost her gold family signature pinky ring with the McLaughlin name and crest on it. If any fellow pooch taking a walk around town finds the ring, please drop it off at The Newtown Bee office, at 5 Church Hill Road, and we will make sure it finds its way safely back to its owner.

The Friends of the C.H. Booth Library reminds everyone that although its popular Holiday Book and Gift Boutique is now closed, shoppers can continue to find high-quality, well-priced books, games, puzzles, gift items, and more at the Friends’ Little Book Store, located near the main circulation desk on the second floor of the C.H. Booth Library. Friends’ volunteers restock the shelves regularly, so shop often!

Anna and Dan Wiedemann may have recently moved out of town, but they’re still keeping up with news and announcements from Newtown. In addition to actively staying busy with friends and organizations here, the Wiedemanns had their The Newtown Bee subscription forwarded to their new home. We were thrilled to receive this photo last week of a new generation of Bee readers, one of the couple’s grandchildren. Anna says not only does this grandson pick up and look at the paper, but he also “reads” it to her.

Speaking of the new generation, is your child celebrating a birthday soon? Don’t forget to e-mail a birthday announcement to Education Reporter Eliza Hallabeck for the Birthday Wishes printed weekly in our Education pages. Each week we publish photos and a birthday announcement for children with upcoming birthdays. One lucky winner is then drawn from the submissions to receive a basic vanilla/chocolate ice cream cake compliments of Ferris Acres Creamery. The submission deadline is Tuesdays at noon. To include your child’s name in “Birthday Wishes,” send name, address, phone number, age, and birthday, along with an original head and shoulders photo to Birthday Wishes, The Newtown Bee, 5 Church Hill Road, Newtown CT 06470, or e-mail information and a JPG photo to eliza@thebee.com. Please send the photo as an attachment to the e-mail. Birth dates must be within one month of submission.

Congratulations to former The Newtown Bee intern Sarah Scinto! I learned this week that Scinto, who completed her internship here in 2012, recently joined the WVIA-FM public radio station, the National Public Radio (NPR) member station for Northeastern Pennsylvania, team. We know WVIA-FM listeners will hear top-notch stories from her, and we are thrilled for Scinto. Once a Bee, always a Bee. Keep buzzing, Scinto!

This month’s Hearts of Hope-Newtown event is going to be a virtual undertaking. This is a change of plans for the local group, but it makes sense considering the continued rise of COVID-19 cases. To participate on January 19, preorder painting kits ($10 each, or $7 if you use the coupon code virtual) and then pick them up at Newtown Community Center by January 18. Kristen Angell, the associate director of advocacy for The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) — and another former Bee, we proudly note — will be the evening’s guest speaker. See the press release on page A-10 this week for full details or send a note to newtown@ourheartsofhope.org.

Ingersoll Auto of Danbury is offering another free weekend of movies. Not only has the auto business been offering these special weekends at least once each month since January 2013, but this month they’re also giving us two weekends in a row! Last weekend it was for screenings of Dune. This weekend, film buffs of all ages are invited to enjoy a screening of Encanta, the animated Disney film released in November featuring the vocal talents of Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, and John Leguizamo, among others. See page A-2 for calendar listings and Edmond Town Hall’s ad, or visit our online calendar (NewtownBee.com/calendar) for screening listings.

St Rose Bingo organizers are playing it safe this month. In light of recent concerns about the COVID-19 Omicron variant, this month’s Friday Bingo Night, scheduled for January 21, has been canceled. Mark your calendar for February 11, however. That’s when the Bingo team is hoping to host its next evening of fun for all ages. We’ll keep you posted, of course.

Nancy Rhodes is looking for volunteers to help with the continuing COVID-19 vaccination clinics she has been organizing in town since last summer. Volunteers need to be kind, flexible, and committed to the project for at least four months, according to Nancy. They will need to undergo a background check and provide a copy of their CV if they are a health professional. Retired EMTs, MDs, NPs and RNs would be great, she said. This week’s clinic is set, but there are at least five already on the calendar (January 21 and 28, then February 7, 11 and 17). Interested? Great! Give Nancy a call for all the details. She can be reached at 845-641-7277.

C.H. Booth Library has an Armchair Travel Reading Challenge for Adults: It’s a year-long reading challenge to “travel” the world. According to one of its recent announcements, “You can enter to win the year-end raffle! It’s easy — here’s how to get started: Pick up a reading log at the Circulation or Reference Desk, print one out online, or request one via curbside and commit to reading one book related to the destination of the month. (Audiobooks, e-books & DVDs count too!). Your challenge for January: Read any book that takes place in Southern Europe. Once you have finished, bring your log in to the library and get your ‘passport’ stamped! Check our list of suggested titles below (online at chboothlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/January-RC-2022.pdf).”

I’ll be thrilled if you “travel” throughout Newtown with me next week when you ... Read me again.

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