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Congratulations to Town Players of Newtown, whose recent production of 12 Angry Men reportedly set some records for the community theater. We already knew it was a good show, based on Reporter Noelle Veillette’s review. We’re still hearing great things, however, like the words “standing ovation.” Frank Monetti was part of a group that met with Managing Editor Shannon Hicks last week to begin working on a story, and he was still raving about the performance he saw. “It was riveting,” he said. “The passion they conveyed was just amazing.” Bravo!

My thanks this week for this fun photo from Sunday afternoon’s reception at Booth Library. That’s the afternoon’s featured guest, David Merrill, on the left, and Mike Jehle on the right. Mike recently purchased Howard Lasher’s former home on Dodgingtown Road, where David painted the 9/11 Flag Trees Mural soon after 9/11. Mike’s holding a copy of A Tour of Newtown, published a few years ago by Newtown Lions Club, opened to the page featuring the trees on the property he now owns. That book was the predecessor to the current David K. Merrill’s Lifetime Of Painting, the book and concurrent exhibition of the same name being celebrated last weekend. Newtown Cultural Arts Chair Laura Lerman was quick with the camera for this photo.

The Lions also dropped us a note last week (and a Letter to the Editor for everyone this week), concerning last month’s Lose The Litter effort. The annual roadside cleanup “was very successful,” according to Kevin Corey. “Several Lions along with the help from Newtown High School Leo Club and over 20 groups, cleared several Newtown roads of litter.”

We are just about midway through May, which means NewSylum Brewing Company and Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) are nearing halfway point of the second annual Mental Health Awareness Month fundraiser. Visit NewSylum Brewing, at 36 Keating Farms Avenue, before May 31 and order Therapy Session. All profits from the purchase of that hazy New England-style pale ale will go to NYFS, which serves the greater Newtown area area. The collaborative effort did well last year, so of course organizers are hoping to equal if not better the fundraising totals.

Rotary Club President Alex Villamil is still hoping to hear from readers interested in joining next weekend’s Rotary Day of Service. All ages are invited to help paint the Ability Beyond house in Hawleyville on Saturday, May 20. A contractor has been scheduled to do some advance work. Volunteers are then needed from 9 am until no later than 5 pm next weekend, however, to paint the building.

Can’t give up that much time? A collection of nonperishable donations will also be conducted, with all items to be delivered to a local food pantry. A van will be parked at 2 Old Hawleyville Road during the Day of Service. Stop by, say Hello, offer the donation, and you too will have done your part in the effort that is being coordinated among 500 Rotary Clubs across five states and three countries. Contact Alex at 203-223-3524 or president@newtownctrotary.org for additional details.

Local groups are also well into planning events for next month. Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue will celebrate LobsterFest 2023 on June 9-10. Tickets will be $33 in advance, $35 at the door, and we’ll have them at our office as soon as they’re ready. I’ll be among the first in line when it’s time to queue up for some lobster and butter!

Speaking of next month, our longstanding tradition of publishing photos of all Newtown High School graduating seniors is right on track for the Class of 2023. We’ll have photos of this year’s graduates in the print edition of June 9, surrounded by ads offering congratulations and words of encouragement from family and friends. We are still accepting requests for the NHS Graduation Insert. For $30, anyone can place a business card size ad with up to four lines, 36 characters per line, with a personalized message. Deadline to place those ads is Wednesday, May 24. Call our front office (203-426-3141) and ask to speak to someone about a Graduation Ad or send your name, message information, and a callback phone number to ads@thebee.com, and someone will return your call and collect your credit/debit card information. Those who would like to participate in this tradition are also welcome to visit our office weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm.

I hear the Newtown Historical Society Tag Sale will return next month. This year’s event is planned for Saturday, June 17, 10 am-2:30 pm. The historical society’s headquarters — The Matthew Curtiss House, at 44 Main Street — will serve as both the sale location and the donations drop-off point. Volunteers will be at the Matthew Curtiss House on Friday, June 16, 2:30-4 pm, accepting housewares, books, toys, knickknacks, and furniture (no clothing; and all items need to be in saleable condition). To arrange a pick-up of donations contact Patti Clark at Willomoor@att.net.

Interested in becoming a board member for Friends of Newtown Seniors? “We have so many exciting ideas to share with seniors of Newtown and we need their help to make it happen,” said current board member Bev Bennett Schaedler. Among other upcoming events FONS has a Lunch & Learn program scheduled in just a few weeks, and then back-to-back fundraisers in June. To learn more, give Bev a call at 203-430-0633. Tell her Mountain sent you.

Meanwhile, FONS recently worked with Dan Riccio, owner of the long-standing Ricci’s Salon and Ricci’s Academy, to create something very nice for local senior citizens: Senior Beauty Day. FONS Outreach Committee Chair LaVerne Blackwell approached Dan with a request to offer a free haircut to one local senior citizen each month. Dan reportedly not only agreed to the request, but upped it. The Academy will now provide free haircare to nine randomly selected senior citizens, and a special day (hair and nails) to one senior each month. Senior Beauty Day launched in April and will continue until further notice. Want to be part of the fun? Drawings will be conducted at 11 am on the third Monday of each month, at Newtown Senior Center, 8 Simpson Street; the next drawing is May 15. Readers do not need to be senior center members, but they do need to be a resident of Newtown to enter the raffle. This offer is for men and women. Drop in the senior center before 11, add your name for consideration, and wait for the raffle to start. Winners must be present at the drawing to claim their prize. Want additional information? Call LaVerne, 203-770-7046.

For those looking ahead to Father’s Day, I’m still looking for favorite Dad Jokes. You know the ones I’m talking about. The silly little jokes that make us groan, but Dad will laugh at repeatedly. Scudder Smith, our late publisher, was full of them. He loved sharing the worst jokes with his children, grandchildren, and employees — especially the latter, and particularly if they were crunched up against deadlines. Among his favorites was: A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartenders says, “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.” Think you can top that? Send your favorite(s) to Managing Editor Shannon Hicks at shannon@thebee.com. She’ll share the best of the worst next month.

In honor of this Friday being National Limerick Day, I’ve come up with these: I love my Newtown Bee, / That continues to publish in 2023. / Since 1877 / It’s been manna from Heaven, / For those seeking news about me. And for something even more topical: Sunday is for our mothers / who love us like no other. / Say Thanks to your Mom / for all that she’s done. / Mom’s love? There’s nothing tougher.

With those little ditties I’ll finally let you go for now. Just promise to come back this time next week to … read me again.

David Merrill (left) and Mike Jehle met during the artist reception and book signing event presented by Newtown Lions Club at C.H. Booth Library. —Laura Lerman photo
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