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The Top Of The Mountain



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While she prefers to remain anonymous, a Milford resident recently found a waterproof packet washed up on the beach in Milford. In the “message in a bottle” was a note with three names in a childlike script: what looks like Ella, Owen, and Samantha. Having once worked as a reporter, the finder did some impressive sleuthing (with the help of Google) and unearthed there may be a connection to the Leahy family in Newtown, that of Richard Leahy whose 2013 obituary indicated that among his great-grandchildren are Ella, Owen, and Samantha... It’s a curious mystery. When did this bottle get sent on its voyage? Any answers out there? Contact editor@thebee.com!

We hear from the National Wildlife Federation, “The once-common monarch butterfly has suffered steep population declines across North America in the last few decades. Both the eastern and western populations of these migratory butterflies are in real trouble.” The Xerces Society’s western monarch count shows no population growth in the last year. It is not just the western monarch population, but our own here in the east that is suffering. NWF has some tips for helping monarchs, be they from the east or the west: plant milkweed; provide nectar sources such as native blooming wildflowers, trees, and shrubs; don’t use pesticides: insecticides and herbicides kill caterpillars and the adult monarchs; and reduce the amount of lawn you have — lawns provide no habitat, pesticides used on them kill the butterflies, and lawns demand copious amounts of water. Plant beds of native blooming plants instead of lawn. Newtown’s Protect Our Pollinators group (propollinators.org) has lots of information on planting for pollinators, and that is exactly what the monarch butterfly is.

Walking with her pal Joan Cominski at Fairfield Hills recently, Kathy Ronan came across something quite lovely. “I spotted a heart in the pavement on the sidewalk in front of the ambulance garage that had been created by melting snow and ice,” she tells us. Posting the photo to her social media site, Kathy realized a special significance: “The Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps is serviced by volunteers who dedicate their time and lives to saving others’ lives! During the past year of the pandemic, while walking by the garage, I’ve seen handpainted stones and signs that people placed there with messages on them of ‘Thank You’ and ‘We love our volunteers.’ But here is a sign left not by humans, but by nature (or, as I believe, God!), saying thanks to those volunteers. You are loved! I find that heart-warming,” says Kathy, and so do we. Thank you for sharing your discovery!

Want a very special face mask? Because even as more people are vaccinated, wearing a mask is still going to be a part of our lives for quite a while. Send us a photo of your Newtown Bee craft, and directions for making it: use any portion of The Newtown Bee to make a fun newspaper work of art. We are looking forward to seeing what clever things come out of this challenge. We’ll give a special bee-embossed face mask to the first ten original submissions to eliza@thebee.com, or drop it off at our 5 Church Hill Road office, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Put on your thinking caps (or make one out of The Newtown Bee)!

The Garden Club of Newtown is still planning its 65th Luncheon. Originally planned for March 2020 — then postponed to June, and September, and then April of this year — the big event has been postponed once more, this time to Tuesday, September 21. The garden club is moving its event to a private location in Sandy Hook, although the public is still welcome to join them for the celebration, which will still include special guest speaker Ellen Ecker Ogden on “The Art of Growing Food: Designed for Cooks Who Love to Garden.” Tickets are $55, and include a full lunch and ten raffle tickets. The event will also include honors and accolades for club members. Interested? Contact Club Co-President Peg Jepsen at peggyjepsen@frontier.com for details.

This little piggy went to market; this little piggy stayed home... and some little piggies were racing across the floor at St Rose School recently! Read in next week’s Education section how piggies were a part of this school’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week. Take a peek in this week’s Education section for some other Catholic Schools Week activities at SRS.

Just as The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp in Ashford has been there for seriously ill children, we hope that the summer camp, founded by the late actor Paul Newman in 1988, will find others are now there for the camp. A devastating fire last Friday destroyed several main buildings, and in order for the nonprofit camp to rebuild, help is needed. If you can contribute, visit holeinthewallgang.org/rebuildcampfund, or mail your contribution to The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp, PO Box 150448, Hartford CT 06115-04498.

While our neighbors in southern states have shivered and shoveled through record low temperatures and snow not experienced in a generation or two, Connecticut’s deep freeze prediction of last week fell through, with unseasonably warm temps earlier this week instead, bringing rain — and far less ice here than was predicted. Don’t put away your shovels yet, though: Snowy days were on the menu for Thursday into Friday as I put my paws to the keys. And it is February, what I consider the longest short month of the year...

The Farmers Almanac has a clever quiz at farmersalmanac.com regarding folklore sayings related to weather — probably at least as accurate as most modern day reports. A couple of them seem just right for this time of year: “See how high the hornet’s nest, ’twill tell how high the snow will rest,” and “If snow begins at midday, expect a foot of it to lay.” I’m not sure when exactly one is to measure from ground to hornet’s nest, but with the height of most nests I’ve seen lingering in tree branches as I poke about town, I am rather concerned at how high this next snowstorm could find the snow resting!

I prefer to do my resting curled up on a cushion near a heater these winter days. Not to worry, though. I’ll be up in time to gather the news for next week. Be sure to... Read me again.

Nature left a message of love recently at Fairfield Hills. - Kathy Ronan photo
A Milford resident recently found a true message in a bottle, and believes there is a link to Newtown.
Pictured, one handy resident created a paper crane using a recent copy of The Newtown Bee. A typical origami crane crafted from a 6-inch square is pictured next to the newspaper version. —Bee Photo, Crevier
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