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The Top of the Mountain



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Ben’s Bells Newtown studio is seeking a new home. “We are so thankful for the generosity of our current landlord, Peter Stockwell. We just need a location that can house our kiln,” says Tricia Guiry, studio manager. The 17 Church Hill studio cannot accommodate the busy kiln for firing the handcrafted ceramic pieces that make up the bells. Ideally, Ben’s Bells studio wants to stay in Newtown. “The Newtown community has supported us in so many ways over the last two years. If anyone has a space or knows of a space that would be flexible with our nonprofit organization, please let us know,” Tricia asks. You can contact her at tricia@bensbells.org or 203-470-7950.

Take a look at the new website for Newtown Youth & Family Services, when you have a moment. The new look is bright and sleek, and the site is easy to navigate. The web address remains the same: newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org.

I want to introduce you this week to one of our summer interns. Taylor Gallagher joins us at The Bee office from SUNY Purchase, where she will be a junior this fall.  Taylor is majoring in journalism, with a minor in literature. She grew up in Harwinton, but Newtown is like a second home, with grandparents Wendy and Richard Margules being longtime residents here. Would you be surprised to find that a lot of Taylor’s free time is taken up by reading? Right now, she’s deep into Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Wicked by Gregory Maguire, but if she can find a book by Scott Westfeld or Tess Callahan (“Who wrote my favorite book ever, Annie and Oliver”), she’s happy. Taylor confessed to me that the hours not spent reading, watching Netflix, or running might be spent shopping for shoes or books. “I’m hoping to learn a little of everything,” Taylor says of her Bee internship, “especially improving my writing and editing skills.” You’ll be seeing some of her writing in upcoming issues of The Bee.

Kitten season is underway, and The Animal Center surely appreciates any donations of food for kitties. The Animal Center Cat Food Drive is in progress now through June 14, at Caraluzzi’s Newtown Market, 5 Queen Street. The rescue organization is requesting donations of Friskies or Purina brand wet and dry cat food; however, any donations are greatly appreciated. Food donation bins are located inside the store.

Lathrop School of Dance shared this Karie Peterson photo with us of their very own “Newsies.”  The dance students will be presenting a number similar to the Broadway show, Newsies — and look what newspaper gets to dance with them: The Newtown Bee. Shows for the annual Stardust Revue are Saturday, June 6, at 4 and 7 pm, and Sunday, June 7, at 1 and 4 pm, at Edmond Town Hall. Ticket information can be found at www.lathropschoolofdance.com.

If attending the Spirit Day at Head O’ Meadow and the Field Day at Hawley Elementary School on Friday, May 29, taught me anything, it is do not challenge Hawley kindergarten teacher Anne Fries to a bounce house obstacle course. She bested both Hawley Principal Christopher Moretti and Hawley custodian Steven Richardson in making it through the Adrenaline Rush II inflatable obstacle course set up as one of the stations at the field day. Mr Richardson put up a good fight, too, but I hear his knees showed the signs of his struggle. Good luck next time, gentlemen.

Do I call her Master or Mistress now? Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead is all smiles in this photo of her with newly elected president of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Monica Martinez Simmons, MMC, for a good reason. On May 8, Debbie earned her MMC — Master Municipal Clerk — designation.  “This was a goal I have had since the day I started working as an assistant town clerk over ten years ago,” she says. Personal issues and the demands of her job did not hold her back. “Throughout this endeavor I am blessed to have had the support of my mentors, Cindy Simon , former Newtown town clerk; Michele Grande, Redding town clerk; my assistants Aileen, Monica, and Renee, and most importantly, my family and dear friends,” Debbie says. Debbie is one of only 12 clerks in Connecticut’s 169 towns to receive this title in the past 25 years. Congratulations, Debbie!

Join C.H. Booth Library Director Brenda McKinley for an open book discussion, next Tuesday afternoon, June 9, from 2 to 3 pm, in the Antiques Room of the library. Brenda will facilitate the talk about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is the “Newtown Reads” book librarians hope everyone in town is reading between now and July 1. Stop by to put in your two-cents worth. Registration is at www.chboothlibrary.org, particularly if you had the opportunity to hear Dr Mark Schenker’s observations on the novel, Wednesday evening, June 3.

If all that reading makes you hungry for pie, go for it! And then enter your favorite pie in the library pie contest, Saturday, June 20. Whether you make dessert pies or savory pies (or potato peel pie), there is a category waiting for you. Find out details at the library’s website. I understand that the public is invited to sample the pies at 10:30 am that day, for a popular vote — just in case pie eating, not pie baking, is your forte.

You do have your calendar marked for the June 17 Newtown Chapter Regional Hospice Breakfast Fundraiser, right? Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut serves more than 500 patients and families from the area, every year. Extending the care options for hospice patients, Regional Hospice opened The Center for Comfort Care & Healing in Danbury, earlier this year, the first hospice residence in the state of Connecticut with private room service. You can sponsor a table for eight for $125. Corporate table sponsorships are available, at $500 for a table for 12. Have fun donating “tips” to the waitstaff (Regional Hospice volunteers, and often the table’s main sponsor), which become donations to the agency, as does the money raised through table sponsorship and a raffle. Seats for walk-ins are always available. Individuals may attend for $12 per person. Along with a breakfast feast and a chance to visit with friends and associates, every year the event features a special guest speaker. Attendees are asked to arrive by 7:45 am for the 8 to 9 am event. To sponsor a table, call Marg Studley at 203-426-3651. What a great way to start the day!

Kathleen Gadoci had a visitor to her backyard, and it wasn’t one of the many magnificent hawks or birds she usually sees. This coyote stopped by on Tuesday morning and took the time to smell, not the roses, but the peonies, it looks to me. He (or she?) looks pretty mild-mannered here, but I happen to know that cats are (gulp!) a favorite coyote snack. I’m steering clear of that Stop & Shop neighborhood for a while.

I will not be steering clear of the best news in town, though, so be sure next week to… Read me again.

This coyote stopped to smell the peonies in Kathleen Gadoci's yard on Tuesday.
Debbie Aurelia Halstead is now one of only 12 Connecticut town clerks with MMC certification.
Look for The Newtown Bee, starring in the Newsies-like dance number during this weekend's four performances of Stardust Revue at Edmond Town Hall.
Taylor Gallagher is a summer intern at The Newtown Bee.
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