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Top Of The Mountain



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Art & Frame of Newtown has extended, for just a few days, the special exhibition of oils and watercolors by the late Ruth Newquist. Originally planned to be on view until February 23, the collection is on view until Monday, February 26. Due to the success of the posthumous exhibition, Ruth’s family last week donated additional paintings to be shown and offered for sale within the gallery at 77 Main Street. As pieces are purchased and taken off the walls, the new works are being hung as replacements. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am-4 pm.

I was very sorry to learn of the recent passing of the Reverend James B. Ilten, founding pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church. Pastor Ilten arrived in Newtown in 1959 as a mission developer. As a result of his labor, the congregation was chartered in 1961, first meeting at Hawley School, then Newtown High School (today’s middle school on Queen Street). He was installed as the first permanent pastor of the young church in March 1963. Three years later, on Palm Sunday 1966, he was joined by about 200 people for the groundbreaking of the permanent home of Christ the King Lutheran Church. Members and friends met in the then-open lot on Route 6 at Tory Lane, next to the parsonage, with many people accepting the invitation to turn a ceremonial spadeful of earth. Pastor Ilten was also one of four local leader of faith who traveled to Selma, Ala., in March 1965, when Civil Rights efforts were making national headlines. He remained as leader of the community of faith until 1968, when he began serving as pastor of an Evangelical Lutheran church in Chicago, Ill. He continued to live and lead a life of faith until retirement in 2003, and even continued as pastor emeritus for another ten years beyond that. After they moved from Newtown, Pastor Ilten and his wife Nadine (who died last May) lived the remainder of their lives in and near Chicago. He was 91 when he died on January 30.

Continuing with news from our friends at Christ the King Lutheran Church, I had a very nice visit last week with Isaiah Morris. He joined his father, the church’s current pastor, for a chat over some delicious hot chocolate, and while I was initially startled to see young Isaiah show up with a cast, his constant smile assured me he isn’t hurting. Seems my young friend took a tumble recently and broke his arm, but he’s tough and happy and isn’t letting a silly little cast slow him down a bit.

Lynetta Daria let me know this week that the recent fundraiser for American Bible Society conducted by Newtown United Methodist Church collected enough donations to contribute 108 Bibles. Now that’s some good news!

Barb Patrick visited The Toy Tree earlier this week, picking up a donation from the Church Hill Road toy store for Regional Hospice. While speaking with store manager JoAnn Whiting, Barb — the marketing and development coordinator for Regional Hospice — said she always loves hearing from people who want to do fundraisers for the nonprofit organization. Local businesses, clubs, organizations, families, et al are all welcome to contact her, she said, if they’d like to do something to raise funds for the Danbury-based location that has been helping people in Newtown and the area for more than four decades. Barb continues to be amazed, she said, at the number of people she meets who have had family members and/or friends cared for by the very special organization with a mission to help each patient approach the end of their life with comfort and dignity. If you’re interested in hosting a fundraiser, Barb would love to hear from you. She can offer suggestions, including sharing the myriad ways people have raised funds over the years. Give her a call at 203-702-7415 or send an email to bpatrick@regionalhospicect.org.

Fresh off last week’s deliveries of goodies to local first responders, Women Involved in Newtown is now focusing on its annual Easter Basket Community Outreach. A collection box is available at Newtown Community Center, 8 Simpson Street. The group is seeking donations of Easter baskets, candy, plastic eggs, grass, and new/gently used stuffed animals.

Congratulations again to Kwame and Anne Carlor — and newborn son Ellis, really — who picked up their 2024 First Baby of Newtown certificates last week. The Carlors were so excited last month when they learned their third child, and first son, had been named the winner of this year’s local tradition. Ellis was born just shy of 24 hours into the new year, earning his family a collection of prizes from local businesses that includes everything from dinners and food at nearby restaurants to gift certificates from a toy store, a book store, Newtown Hardware, and even a car wash. We offer our continued thanks to everyone who donates gifts for this fun tradition. You folks are a huge part of this 66 years and counting celebration of life.

High school and college aged students are being sought for Real Food CT summer internships. This year marks the fifth opportunity for students to work at the two community farms RFCT runs — at Sticks and Stones Farm and The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary. Founded in 2019 and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in southern Newtown, Real Food CT has donated 30,000 pounds of locally grown produce to 15 hunger relief partners in our region for the past three years, and they credit their interns as “a huge part of this!” It’s early morning work (7-10 am) and you’re going to literally get your hands dirty, but if all of this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, contact Executive Director Sean Fitzpatrick ASAP at Sean@realfoodct.org.

Meanwhile, FAITH Food Pantry also continues to do what it can every week to help Newtown residents in need of assistance. That means the nondenominational charity offers one of the most basic human needs — food — along with cleaning supplies, toiletries, and even some pet supplies to anyone with proof of residency. The pantry has been doing this since 1983. Donations are accepted on Tuesdays between 9:30-11:30 am, Thursdays between 3:30-6 pm, online through its website (newtownfoodpantry.org, click on Donations near the top of the page), and during drive-thru events the first Saturday of each month. The next FAITH Drive-Thru Food Drive is planned for Saturday, March 2, 10 am-noon, and volunteers will gladly help with unloading when you arrive at 46 Church Hill Road. The pantry is behind the church and rectory buildings, to the immediate south of the Knights of Columbus Building. Beyond all those options, FAITH has an Amazon Shopping List available through its website, and donation bins set up around town that are collected from regularly. We have one right in the front office of The Bee, in fact, at 5 Church Hill Road. Additional locations include Barre Boutique, 87 South Main Street; Caraluzzi’s Market (near the coffee station), 5 Queen Street; Fisio Therapy, 141 Mt Pleasant Road; Popowich Chiropractic, 71 South Main Street (within Ricky’s Shopping Center); and Union Savings Bank, 1 Commerce Road.

There are so many ways to be kind in and around this town of ours. I think it would be very kind if Real Food CT added one little spot of catnip in its gardens this year. It would also be kind if you’ll remember to come back next week and … read me again.”

Newtown news and notes, told from the point of view of a cat named Mountain.
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