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As mentioned last week my fellow Bees are in their pre-Good Friday creativity zone, ahead of the 2023 Newtown Bee Peeps Diorama Contest. Voting opens 24 hours early this year, so dioramas by employees will be arriving at 5 Church Hill Road by Thursday, April 6. Voting will open that morning and continue until midday Friday, and we’re counting on readers to again help determine a Peep-le’s Choice Award winner. Last year the awards were divided. There were two winners, as pictured: Lynn Remson’s “Santa Peep” won the in-house trophy, while “Limu Emu & Peep” picked up the Peep-le’s Choice bragging rights for Shannon Hicks. Watch our social media venues for updates, additional reminders, and those all-important photos on April 6, when voting will open.

Newtown schools will be closed right after the Easter weekend, and with that comes another temporary closure. The recently-rebuilt Meadowbrook Road bridge will be closed as of Monday, April 10, when crews will return for the installation of permanent asphalt pavement. The bridge has been open for single lane alternating use since February. This closure will be much shorter than the original months-long closure last year. This one is not expected to last more than a few days.

Speaking of the second full week next month, Patty Graves still has openings for a Tuesday, April 11 mob cap workshop. Patty is looking for young adults ages 13 and up to help sew caps for this year’s History Camp, returning to The Matthew Curtiss House in July. All materials and instruction will be provided, according to Patty, who co-founded History Camp in 2006 with fellow history enthusiast Gordon Williams. There is no charge to participate in the workshop. As with work done recently to create two dozen aprons for History Campers, Patty’s just looking for some volunteer help with the project. To register or for additional information, she can be reached at trisha.graves@yahoo.com. Parents of children ages 8 to 10 who would like to learn more about History Camp are invited to contact Gordon at gmwllw@charter.net or 203-405-6392. This year’s camp is scheduled for July 17 through 21, with morning and afternoon sessions filling.

Congratulations to Reverie Brewing Company in Newtown for its four-year anniversary this month! To celebrate, the business debuted its Birthday Beer during a special event on March 25. The beer is now available on tap and in to-go beers for the 21 and older crowd to enjoy. In other Reverie news, starting Wednesday, April 5, it will have a permanent food truck on site from Note Restaurant Group, every day Wednesday through Sunday.

Ten years ago, Big Time Rush came to Newtown and performed at Fairfield Hills to help bring happiness to the community after 12/14. Alissa Silber attended with friends and snapped this photo years before becoming a reporter at The Newtown Bee. Big Time Rush — consisting of Logan Henderson, James Maslow, Carlos PenaVega, and Kendall Schmidt — rose to fame with their popular Nickelodeon show of the same name, which was created by Newtown native Scott Fellows. Readers have a chance to see Big Time Rush perform live in Connecticut again, because the band will be visiting Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, July 1, during its Can’t Get Enough Tour. If you see a black cat crowd-surfing during the show, just know that I’m having a meow-zing time.

Castle Hill Farm is embracing springtime with many events starting with a Station Egg Hunt of April 2, followed by an Easter Bunny & Me Tea Party and Nature Egg Hunt on April 8, then a Belated Earth Day Guided Hike and Farm Tour on April 29. If you’re looking to enjoy the beauty of nature, focused on the changing season and the simple joys of springtime outside with your family and friends, these events are the perfect way to slow down and appreciate your surroundings.

My condolences to Monroe Police Department, who said their final farewell last week to retired K9 Murphy. The gorgeous canine died on March 29 with his handler, Sergeant John McAulay, by his side. K9 Murphy served Monroe PD for nearly eight years, from February 2015 until his retirement on October 27, 2022. During their career together, K9 Murphy recovered narcotics, apprehended felons, reunited lost loved ones, and won many awards for excellence. K9 Murphy’s greatest contribution to the community may have been “the countless demonstrations he and Sergeant McAulay did for children and seniors and he was always the biggest hit at our annual Monroe Night at the Park,” the department posted on Facebook last week. Thank you for your service K9 Murphy. Rest In Peace.

It’s late March and as we covered last week in print and online, in Connecticut that means it’s brush fire season. We implore readers to be careful with any open flames. Newtown’s firefighters have been steadily contending with brush fires in recent weeks. Among the latest was a large one in Dodgingtown Sunday afternoon, in a large field, to which Botsford firefighters also responded. Residents of not only local Newtown homes, but also nearby Monroe residents, were reportedly very concerned with the sight and smell of smoke. Around the same time on Sunday, Southbury firefighters also had another large brush fire to deal with. Winds, ground cover, and relatively dry air create the perfect environment for these fast moving fires. We all know Smokey Bear’s familiar phrase: “Only you can prevent forest fires.” While nature can occasionally get fires going when the warm spring sun heats up forest fuels, it seems many of the recent fires have been man-made.

St Rose Director of Mission Advancement Laura Moulder recently shared that, “On Sunday, March 19, St Rose School Principal Dr Bardhyl Gjoka was joined by two school families whose fathers are Knights of Columbus for a special Mass at St Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Frank Caggiano and included Principals, Knights, and families from all schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Mass was followed by a breakfast at Kolbe Cathedral High School, which is on the same campus as the cathedral. The morning was sponsored by the Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic Schools to highlight the important works the Knights of Columbus do for the schools.”

Hearts of Hope of Connecticut announced this month on its Facebook page that the organization has launched a new podcast called “Grief to Grit.” It will be led by Hearts of Hope Founder, Board President, and Executive Director Judy Pedersen and special guests. The post detailed, “We are very excited to begin this series — to learn your stories, and to invite you to be part of helping others in their journeys ... Together, we will learn a lot about grief — and a lot about the determination and pure grit it takes to move through this awkward journey. If you would like to recommend someone to be part of this series, or if you would like to join Judy on a future show, please e-mail podcast@ourheartsofhope.org.” To listen to the podcast, visit ourheartsofhope.org/grief-to-grit-podcast.

I'm going to embrace another nap. I hope you'll remember to come back next week to … read me again.

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