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I knew Father Bob wasn’t going to sit idle in retirement! St Rose of Lima Parish Pastor Emeritus Robert Weiss was the special guest at the State Capitol last Thursday, when he led the House of Representatives in an opening prayer. The longtime pastor of St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church retired on January 31, having become a very familiar face to generations of residents and visitors through 25 years of service at St Rose — and another 26 years in other areas of Fairfield County. In January Father Bob told us he was hoping to explore his home state a little more, maybe catch some movies, and “try to stay open to whatever opportunities come my way.” Sounds like he did just that last week, when he not only led the House in prayer, he also had time to visit with Governor Ned Lamont and State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Martin Foncello (R-107).

During the recent Friends Of Newtown Seniors (FONS) Membership Dinner, attendees were asked to rate services available in town. The top three concerns, in order, were transportation services, housing options, and medical services. Fortunately a recently launched service is helping in one of those areas. FONS is now offering Newtown Rides, a program that offers in-town rides for residents age 55 and over. If you fit into that age range and want to go from your home to any Newtown business, medical location or cemetery, rides are available between 10 am-noon and 12-2 pm every Tuesday and Thursday. The rides are free of charge. Program coordinators just ask for at least three days’ notice; call 203-430-0633. Co-Coordinator Bev Bennett Schaedler says there are plenty of volunteers ready to serve as chauffeurs.

Kleats For Kids is working with Newtown’s youth soccer, lacrosse and baseball programs to collect used cleats to donate to under-resourced youth teams and community programs. These sports programs are hosting their annual tournaments throughout Newtown in mid to late May. There will be collection bins at all of the fields for families to drop by and donate their gently used cleats. Bins will be set up at Treadwell and Tilson Fields at Treadwell Park for the Newtown Lacrosse Rooster Rumble Tournament, May 18-19; at Glander Field for the Newtown Baseball Fan Fest May 19; Newtown High School back fields for the CONNY Lacrosse Tournament May 19; and Fairfield Hills, Reed School, NHS back fields, and Treadwell Park for Newtown Soccer Association’s Memorial Day Tournament May 25-27. Finally, a collection bin has been placed at NYA Sports & Fitness Center, where it will remain available through the end of the month. Marc Maurath started Newtown’s Kleats For Kids program three years ago, collecting gently used cleats from our high school and youth sports teams and then donating them to programs that could use them for their players. Marc has collected nearly 800 pairs for soccer, baseball, football, and lacrosse. He works with a national nonprofit called Leveling The Playing Field in Baltimore, which distributes cleats to children in need. Marc is hoping to reach 1,000 pairs of collected cleats by the end of this month. Let’s do what we can to help him reach that goal.

Bruce the Spruce’s cousin Connie the Conifer has taken residence this month in the Production department at 5 Church Hill Road. Connie’s inspiration came from Benny, a character in Gnomeo & Juliet, but I think Connie’s even cuter than her blue-hat-wearing onscreen counterpart. Lynn Remson, one of the lead designers of Bruce’s monthly costuming, says it was a close challenge between Connie the Conifer and Bruce’s European cousin Norma the Norway Spruce making an appearance this month.

Clearly Newtown Police Chief David Kullgren hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to work on the road. The chief was near the center of town last Friday afternoon and witnessed a vehicle that was illegally passing vehicles on the right on Main Street near the flagpole. Chief Kullgren stopped the vehicle, and then learned the driver was operating with a suspended license. It was then discovered the driver had five outstanding warrants from Connecticut State Police and Brookfield Police! Needless to say, the driver was arrested on those warrants, and processed for the suspended license charge. Additional details can be found in this week’s Police Reports, but I just have to give Chief Kullgren a high-five for that work.

Space is still available on the roster for the upcoming Newtown High School Alumni Baseball Game. All NHS alumni players are invited to dust off their gloves and relive the glory days on the diamond. The game has been scheduled for Saturday, June 8, at 1 pm, at the NHS baseball field. Registration to play is $50, with all proceeds to benefit the NHS Baseball Program. That registration fee will also be used in part to cover the cost of a T-shirt and baseball cap for each player. Registration includes the opportunity to indicate which position you’ll be playing, share favorite NHS baseball memories or experiences, upload a photo, and even offer suggestions and comments. Players are asked to register ASAP; call 203-394-1850 or send an email to NewtownAlumniBaseball@gmail.com.

Newtown High School Varsity Baseball Coaches Joe Crimi, Ian Thoesen and Matt Memoli are hosting the event, which will also be counting on spectators to make the afternoon more fun for all involved. Food trucks, games and prizes will all be part of the afternoon, which will continue with a post-game gathering at NewSylum.

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue will be busy that same weekend. Sandy Hook LobsterFest 2024 will be Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, and tickets went on sale this week. The presentation will be essentially the same as previous years: full lobster, steak, surf and turf, hot dog or hamburger dinners with sides and one drink will be included in the ticket price. Live music will be played both nights, and proceeds from the family friendly event will again benefit the fire company. Advance tickets for the lobster or steak dinners are $35, while the burger and hot dog dinner tickets are $10 each. We have tickets available at The Newtown Bee office, 5 Church Hill Road; and our friends at the Fire Marshal’s office, within Newtown Municipal Center at 3 Primrose Street also have them. Cash or check for the advance sales, which continue until noon on June 7. After that, the lobster or steak dinners increase to $40 each and tickets will only be sold at the fire company’s main station on Riverside Road. At the door, credit and debit cards will be accepted in addition to cash. Surf & Turf upgrades will also be available at the door.

I’ll take the Surf, you can have the Turf, and we can all check in again with each other next week. That’s when I hope you’ll remember to come back here so that you can … read me again.

St Rose of Lima Parish Pastor Emeritus Robert Weiss led the House of Representatives in an opening prayer on May 2. —John Dooley IV photo
Connie the Conifer has taken residence this month in the Production department at 5 Church Hill Road. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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