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UPDATE (10:01 am): This article has been updated to include the correct contact number for Susan Smith at NYFS.

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St Rose recently hosted its 2024 Parish Carnival, which was Father Peter Cipriani’s first time leading the long-standing summer tradition. Parishioners have long joked Peter’s predecessor, Pastor Emeritus Robert Weiss, had a direct line to God when it came time to prayer for good weather for the carnival. Father Bob had a good run indeed, often having at least four if not five full nights of cooperation from Mother Nature. Fr Peter had a respectable start last month. The carnival welcomed guests for three of its scheduled nights. I was amused to see that Father Bob couldn’t help himself. Even in retirement, he attended at least the first night of this year’s carnival. See our Religion page in the July 5, 2024 print edition for some Bill Glass images from the big event.

A reminder that Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) and Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) have announced a new initiative being coordinated with Newtown Savings Bank. The Thriving Together Financial Literacy Program for youth and seniors aims to empower individuals to become financially savvy and connect with important financial resources and partners in the community. The program will provide financial literacy opportunities through educational workshops in collaboration with Newtown Savings Bank professionals. The workshops will be held in the fall, likely at NYFS. Before that time, NYFS is requesting input from local senior citizens for the program. A simple survey has been created by NYFS to indicate which suggested topics future program participants would like to learn about. There is also space to add something beyond the suggestions provided. The surveys are due by July 15 and are available from NYFS Community Liaison Susan Smith; send her a note at ssmith@newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org or call her at 203-426-8103 for details and/or a copy of the survey. I can’t stress how quick and easy these surveys are — it should take no more than a minute to fill one in — so I hope my friends reading this will participate.

Salvation Army Newtown Bethel will be presenting its 2024 Christmas in July Newtown Kettle Drive this month. Seven locations within town — Bagel Delight, Bottle Stop, Dunkin’ Donuts, Newtown General Store, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, and Yankee Wines & Spirits — will all be hosting bell ringers. The event will generally run from 8 am until 4 pm, with some locations starting and/or concluding later or earlier. Donations will be accepted at all locations, and 90% of everything that goes into the red kettles that day will be staying right in Newtown. The day’s collection will be earmarked to help school children and their families this fall. Cash, checks and credit cards will all be accepted. Want to be a bell ringer? There were still a few 60-minute openings available as of late last week. Send a note to sanewtownbethel@gmail.com if you’d like to join the fun.

Congratulations to Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company (SHVFR) and its Ladies Auxiliary, who won their first parade of the summer last weekend. The June 29 parade at Beacon Falls was not only the first of the new season for Sandy Hook, it was the first competition for the company since winning the state title. For the first time in its 85-year history, SHVFR in September captured the Connecticut Parade Marshals Association State Championship. The company is hoping to hang on to the coveted title again this year. Next up is the parade in Tunxis on July 13.

Bruce the Spruce has once again been decorated for the season. Yesterday being Independence Day, he joined in on the fun grilling a hamburger and hot dog while enjoying some root beer. He wouldn’t share with me, even though I asked nicely. He is prepared for the bright sun with a stylish NHS Nighthawks hat and big sunglasses, a great tip for anyone enjoying the outdoors this summer. Bruce’s son even let him borrow his 4th of July pinwheel for the picture.

Us cats and dogs do share something in common: fireworks make us anxious. Even though Independence Day was yesterday, firework displays will still light up the skies for a few days going into this weekend. If your pet at home is anything like me, be sure to keep them extra close as the big booms go off. You can also try playing music or other white noise to drown out the ruckus and be sure your pet has proper ID in case anyone tries to run away. Weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety in pets and humans, so try wrapping one around your pet at home, just be sure it isn’t too heavy for those tiny dogs … like Chihuahuas and Yorkies.

Speaking of dogs, on Saturday, July 13, the Danbury Railway Museum (DRM) will once again host a celebration honoring the legacy of Owney, the Railway Post Office dog. A centerpiece of the day will be the museum’s fully-restored Pennsylvania Railroad circa-1910 Railway Post Office (RPO) car. The event at the museum at 120 White Street will run from 10 am to 4 pm. Regular museum $7 admission and $3 for a short train ride applies. Trains depart hourly at 11 am, noon, 1, and 2 pm.

Newtown Conservation Coalition is planning a site walk of Reservoir Road from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, July 13. According to the coalition’s Facebook page, this is a free community event for all ages and abilities. There will be guided walks and historic enrichment commencing at 10:30 am near General Rochambeau’s Revolutionary War encampment site, followed by an optional short guided hike on Newtown’s section of the Washington-Rochambeau Trail that is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The tours will all meet back near the encampment for a bring your own picnic and more interaction with revolutionary war historians, experts and special guests. Those interested may RSVP through the NCC’s Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/newtownconservationcoalition.

A new book club is coming to C.H. Booth Library just for teens. It’s called the Fresh Reads Book Club, and the focus is on new young adult books. The first meeting is on Tuesday, July 16 at 4 pm. As always, the books are available at the Circulation desk on the main floor of the library. I asked to see if I was too old to join, but their issue was more of letting a cat into the library. Readers can call and ask about the Fresh Reads Book Club or any other event happening at the library at 203-426-4533.

Even though the book club is just for teens, the Dickinson and Treadwell Day Camps are just for kids and in full swing. Most sections of both camps have availability for the remaining weeks if children and parents are looking for activities to do this summer. I wandered over to Dickinson earlier this week and saw the kids enjoying Gaga Ball, Library Lit Camp with Miss Nora, and most importantly of them all, lunch time. Check out the camp information online at newtown-ct.gov/parks-recreation.

Bruce The Spruce is just grillin’.
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