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Pedro DeAbreu was stopped by more than a few people recently, while working on our building at 5 Church Hill Road. For a few weeks, Pedro and members of his crew have been sanding, doing light repairs, and repainting our building — which went from its original light gray to its long-standing red 75 years ago last month. When Pedro was midway through priming the building early last week, he was using a blue-gray primer. And that’s when people would stop to check with him on the color plans for our office. Some were very concerned, it seemed, that The Bee would have a new look at the end of the project. Rest assured, as everyone can now see, we did indeed keep our signature red, with white trim, and we are very grateful for the wonderful job Pedro and his crew did. The building looks beautiful, as does our arched sign over the front door, which was repainted on July 11. Like a crow to a penny, our eyes keep finding themselves drawn to those pretty gold letters.

Speaking of happy traditions, Edmond Town Hall and Ingersoll Auto of Danbury will continue one of their favorites this weekend. Free screenings of The Super Mario Bros. Movie are planned for Friday through Sunday, July 14-16, at 45 Main Street. See our calendar, in print and online, for the screening details for those shows as well as this weekend’s plans for the ETH Drive-In showings of Jaws. Now there’s a summertime classic!

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company received a cool note from Olivia Shull, a 2018 Newtown High School graduate who reached out from Ireland. She and her family, she shared via email, were vacationing there in late June. While in Durty Nelly’s pub in Bunratty, Olivia looked above her table and saw a Sandy Hook VFR patch! “It is very common in Ireland to see fireman and police patches, mostly from America, stapled into the wooden beams of pubs,” she said. Sure enough, in addition to the Sandy Hook patch, those in the immediate vicinity of Olivia and her family included representation of Massachusetts State Police, Hammond Indiana Police, and Castle Haven North Carolina Fire, as seen in the photo Olivia shared with the fire company, and then with this newspaper.

A wetdown — the celebration by volunteer fire companies/departments of a new piece of apparatus — is also planned by Sandy Hook VFR this month. The company is inviting everyone to join them on Saturday, July 22, rain or shine from 12 to 5 pm, to celebrate its new Quint. The truck arrived in late March and went into service in April. The 2022 E-One has a 100-foot ladder, and multiple benefits that offer improvements for the company over the 1992 E-One truck it replaced. All are invited to join the company for tours of the truck, some food and refreshments, and general fun as the company also continues to celebrate its 85th anniversary year. The event will be at the fire company’s main station, 18-20 Riverside Road, and there is no charge to attend.

Multiple local first responder agencies will be participating in National Night Out next month. We heard from Newtown PD Sergeant Will Chapman this week, who confirmed the national event will return to the parking lot of 8 Simpson Street on Tuesday, August 1. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes strong police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, and more caring places to live and work. While local groups participated in the Newtown event for the first time last year, the annual celebration and awareness-raising offering has been happening across the country since 1984. While Sgt Chapman said this year’s event will essentially mirror last year’s, with local and regional police officers, firefighters, EMTs, local health and safety-focused organizations all participating, this cat is already hoping the mid-event downpour decides to stay away. There was also a food truck, music, face painting, plenty of handouts, and a lot of smiles within the all ages crowd.

There was good news, bad news, and then a little more good news for Steve Bowers last week. The good news is, Steve picked up a new-to-him Nikon camera and has expanded his photography skills. One of the first things he did with the new SLR was head to Dickinson Park for last week’s Summer Concert Series performance by Head Over Heels. Head over to this week’s Enjoy pages for a few of his images from the July 6 concert, in fact. The bad news was, after then going back to his trusty drone, which he has been using to photograph car shows, carnivals, and scenic videos for years, there was an altercation between the drone and the tree. The tree won. The drone limped away with a broken arm. The other good news? The arm is about a $35 repair, according to Steve, who is already looking forward to getting the flying camera back in the air.

Our local Salvation Army is planning its 2023 Christmas in July Bell Ringing Campaign next weekend. Volunteers are needed, and the singing of Christmas carols is optional, according to organizers. Ringers are needed to fill 60-minute time slots on Saturday, July 22, at Bagel Delight, Bottle Stop, Dunkin Donuts, Newtown General Store, each entry-exit of Stop & Shop, and Yankee Wine & Liquors. Interested? Contact Steve Bennett at newtownringers@yahoo.com, and he can send you the link for the online registration page.

Also next weekend, at least two young residents will be participating in Lemonade Stand in July Challenge, a national effort to raise funds for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Emma and Hannah Dietter will be set up at the corner of Crabapple and Mountain Laurel Lanes from 2:30 until 4 pm July 22. The girls will be selling lemonade for donations. Their efforts echo those of children and young adults across the country who are helping St Jude’s find cures and save children. All are invited to visit the Dietter sisters next weekend, and don’t worry if you don’t have cash with you. The Dietters will have a QR code that can be scanned, which will send donations directly to the research hospital. We wish the girls the best of luck!

For those who really like to plan ahead, Newtown Youth & Family Services has not only announced the dates for this year’s Family Scavenger Hunt (Saturday, December 2) and Holiday Festival (Sunday, December 3), organizers are already seeking entries and vendors, respectively, for the festival’s Gingerbread House Contest and Outdoor Holiday Market. Deadline to register for either is November 17. While that seems a long way off during these hot summer days, if you’re anything like me, you’ll settle in for one little nap and suddenly wake up in October. Visit NewtownYouthAndFamilyServices.org for full details.

Milling of Toddy Hill and Botsford Hill roads will be finished by July 17, according to a note this week from the Town. Paving in that section of town will begin the week of July 17. Milling of Commerce Road will then begin July 18.

Continued birthday wishes to Noelle Veillette. Our newest reporter celebrated her first birthday as a Newtown Bee on Monday.

We hope she’ll be with us for many more birthdays, and that you’ll come back next week to … read me again.

Imagine her surprise when Olivia Shull looked up from the table of a pub in Ireland where she and her parents were visiting and saw a Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue patch among the collection! —Olivia Shull photo
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