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American Legion Post 202 has again collaborated with local organizations to plan a service of remembrance this Memorial Day weekend. The brief event will again take place around The Liberty & Peace Monument at 66 Main Street. It’s a nice service, and an important time to remember any late veterans we know — as well as every person we don’t know who made the decision to honor and serve this country — by taking just a few minutes for this important national holiday. The Service of Remembrance is planned for 5 pm Saturday, with “Taps” to be played along Main Street to guide attendees to the monument. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, Newtown High School musicians will be among those performing, and Newtown Woman’s Club will have the property lined with American flags ahead of the weekend. Luminaria will also be set up for the weekend, and volunteers plan to light them Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings.

Belated congratulations this week to Joe Rahtelli, who I understand was recently elected State Deputy of the Knights of Columbus. Joe was among those elected during the annual meeting of the Connecticut State Council on May 6. His two-year term will begin July 1.

Continued congratulations also to Gary Peters, who received a volunteer appreciation award last month from Bridgeport Rescue Mission (BRM) for his dedication, commitment, and extraordinary volunteerism. A member of Newtown Congregational Church, Gary in recent years has led a strong effort for fellow NCC members to join him in supporting the work of the mission. He has organized a Thanksgiving turkey drive, delivered tons (literally) of donations from NCC Cornerstone, and regularly volunteers on-site at BRM.

Louise Zierzow shared this sweet photo of a lovely shrub outside the Commerce Road USPS post office. “Every time I stop at the PO, I notice this shrub, hoping it will soon get its spring haircut,” she said in her note. “Voilà! Done!” Well done, I’d say.

Melanie Mattegat and her family and business associates are working together to coordinate a special event for friend Erica Lafferty, who is battling two forms of cancer. Melanie, the owner of Julie Allen Bridal, and fellow business owners have coordinated Laffs For Lafferty — because we know laughter is indeed often the best medicine! — for Wednesday, May 31, at Aquila’s Nest Vineyard in Sandy Hook. Tickets for the 21+ event are $50 and include one complimentary glass of wine and pizza courtesy of Newtown Pizza Palace. The event will feature a performance by Annie Powell (who is battling her own cancer), and a silent auction and raffles featuring a multitude of items donated by local businesses. Mel’s daughter Jacey sent the finalized list of silent auction and raffle items, and it’s pretty impressive: two gift certificates for a manicure and pedicure from Newtown Nail Spa; a gift basket from The Toy Tree; a $50 gift certificate to MarketPlace; a sterling silver necklace from Julie Allen Bridals; an inflatable hot tub; a Coach bag; a flat screen television; furnace cleaning/AC tune-up from Steven Ash; a $100 gift certificate to Sweet Dee’s Salon; one family session from a local photographer; a one-hour massage from Zensitivity; a five-class pass from Journey Yoga & Wellness; two $50 gift cards for DBPress Photography; a $50 gift card to Nostranos in Newtown; three necklaces from Erica Koesler; a one-hour massage from Mind, Body, Spirit; and a pergola experience from Aquila’s Nest Vineyard. Give Melanie a call at 203-426-4378 if you want to get in on the fun.

Bev Bennett Schaedler is still raving about a special job taken care of earlier this month by Joshua Bent and Anthony Alves. Among many hats she wears, Bev is the coordinator of Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) Chore Services. Bev heard from someone a few months ago, she said, about an elderly man in town whose home experienced a fire, which led to the man’s temporary displacement. “He was so very concerned because his yard was not kept up, and he was worried [repairs] couldn’t be done because of that,” shared Bev. She admitted she was afraid she and her team wouldn’t be able to find someone to help. “I couldn’t promise anything because we are still seeking volunteers for projects like this. Well, the next day Joshua, of JB Landscaping, called!” It seems Joshua had helped Bev and her team create a Christmas miracle last year, and he was hoping to help someone else this year. Between snow, then rain and cold weather, the work couldn’t be done until May 6. As I said, though, Bev is still over the moon happy at the work done by Joshua and Anthony. “A happy homeowner is now worry-free thanks to them,” she said. Joshua and Anthony, we thank you for helping a stranger. This week’s Good Egg Award is in your honor.

Travelers within and through Newtown this weekend will have an opportunity to visit the BSA Troop 370 Coffee Stop, a Memorial Day weekend tradition three-plus decades old. The coffee stop will open at 6 pm Friday, and then remain open straight through to 6 pm Monday, May 29. The troop’s nearly two dozen active members will be teaming up with Troop 370 alumni to make sure anyone who stops by for a break at the community service station will have hot coffee and light refreshments available. The station will be set up in the upper parking lot of Newtown Hardware store, 61 Church Hill Road. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

The National Weather Service this week issued a reminder that we often hear from local first responders in NUSAR: Wearing a life jacket (or Personal Floatation Devices/PFDs) is a simple life-saving strategy when out on a boat. Boaters are required by the Coast Guard to have at least one approved life jacket per passenger on board every vessel. Before heading out, remember to Grab a Life Jacket and Wear It! More resources are available at safeboatingcampaign.com. Additionally, NUSAR continues to offer a Life Jacket Loaner Program that allows any family that realizes they do not have enough properly fitting PFDs for each child on board to simply call for one. Contact NUSAR at 203-270-4390 and check out a jacket for a day or weekend.

The approaching weekend may mark the unofficial start to summer, but some folks are ready to begin planning for the unofficial end of the season. The Newtown Labor Day Parade Committee has confirmed it will present the town’s annual march down Main Street (and Glover Avenue and Queen Street) on Monday, September 4. Help is always needed, and a planning meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31. It will begin at 6 pm in the lower offices of Newtown Savings Bank’s 35 Main Street location. If you can’t make that meeting but want to volunteer, or just want additional information ahead of next week, send an email to participate@newtownctlabordayparade.org.

Ping-pong and axe throwing are reportedly two good ways to improve one’s mental health, according to a recently published study. Maybe not at the same time, but a British medical expert last week said those two activities can do good things in the pursuit of boosting the well-being of players. Dr Zoe Williams said it’s the generally friendly competition between ping-pong players that can have a positive influence. Her research revealed that four in ten people who use sports or games to destress believe that focusing on a single task helps them tune out other concerns. Williams also offered five tips for well-being: get active, take breaks from technology, create meaningful connections, get into the competitive spirit, and be kind to yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be kind to myself by finding a nice sunny spot to curl up and nap in. I hope you’ll do something nice for yourself, but don’t forget to return next week to … read me again.

Louise Zierzow shared this sweet photo of a lovely shrub outside the Commerce Road USPS post office.
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