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The Top Of The Mountain



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Leslie Ballard and the rest of Panacea will be returning to Dickinson Park for this year’s Labor Day weekend concert. While the schedule generally remains the same as past years — an opening set by The Willie-Portera Trio, followed by the performance by Panacea and requests for donations for FAITH Food Pantry — Leslie is working on something very special this time around. To memorialize Bridget Seaman — our late Bee Publishing Company co-worker and a friend to generations of Newtown residents — Leslie is asking everyone to help make this year’s collection for the food pantry the biggest one to date. FAITH Food Pantry had a special place in Bridget’s heart, and she was instrumental, as highlighted in her obituary just a few months ago, in raising awareness for the need of donations for the nondenominational pantry. Attendees would carry in donations each Labor Day Sunday, and Bridget made a point of delivering them to the Church Hill Road pantry within a few days.

With Bridget’s sudden death in April, this year’s collection will be made in her memory. Additionally, without Bridget to watch over everything in person, Leslie is looking for someone to collect the donations on September 5 and deliver them to the pantry soon thereafter. Anyone interested in this important job is invited to contact Leslie through Panacea’s Facebook page. It’s a volunteer position, but it carries big rewards.

Panacea & Friends will perform from 2 to 6 pm Sunday, September 5. In the event of rain, everything happens under the pavilion at the park on Elm Drive.

A reminder this week that if you hear the tinkling bells and/or Christmas carols while running errands in town on Saturday, you will not be going crazy. Those sounds will be accompanying bell ringers volunteering their time for the Newtown chapter of the Salvation Army. The local chapter has planned its second “Christmas in July” event — having conducted a very successful inaugural summer event in 2019 — and will have bell ringers at multiple locations around Newtown between 9 am and 4 pm. Please donate if you can. Ninety percent of the funds collected during each Salvation Army-Newtown chapter event stay right in town, and this one-day campaign is already earmarked to support the chapter’s annual Back To School purchase of supplies to fill backpacks for families that need a hand doing so.

Who doesn’t like birthdays? Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) has a way everyone can celebrate birthdays: by supporting its Birthday Bin, which collects toys, books, and gift cards. Parents and guardians in need of gifts for a child’s birthday can drop by to select a few from the bin, no questions asked. NYFS is at 15 Berkshire Road, Sandy Hook. The Birthday Bin is open the first Friday of the month from 10 am to 11:30 am, the third Thursday of the month from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, and on Saturdays. A reservation system is available online, tickettailor.com/events/newtownyouthfamilyservices/478516. New and unopened toys, books, and gift cards for children aged birth to 14 can be donated. Donations can be dropped off at NYFS, or the group has an Amazon wish list, available through its website, newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org (click on Make A Gift, then Other Ways to Give).

I love my job here as The Newtown Bee’s roving cat reporter, but someone must be a good fit for the open part-time office administrator position with Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Association. The current position holder is retiring soon. The position calls for 12 hours per week over three or four days and is compensated at $25 to $30 per hour, depending on experience and training. For a full copy of the position posting, contact Maureen Owen at maureenowen@newtown-ambulance.org or Pat Llodra at secretary.nvaa@newtown-ambulance.org.

Bill Cafarelli has completed editing his video of the 2021 Taps Along The Housatonic event and it is available to watch online at youtube.com/watch?v=4Fvtdk7rYn4. American Legion Post 202 hosted Taps Along The Housatonic for the second year in a row this year. “Taps,” a 24-note tune, is a distinctive melody traditionally played at US military funerals and memorials, and as a lights-out signal to soldiers at night, that dates from the American Civil War, according to the announcement from Post 202. For the event, musicians and post members assembled at eight different locations along the Housatonic River in Sandy Hook, playing “Taps” one minute after the last. Bill collected video and photos from the event and compiled it all into the video. Last year’s video is also available to watch online at youtube.com/watch?v=GkoZeqdLkK8.

American Legion Post 202 Senior Vice Commander Donna Monteleone also announced that the group’s next big event will be a September 25 Kids’ Fishing Derby at Great Hollow Lake in Monroe from 9 am until noon. Admission will be free and attendees do not need to be veterans to participate. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: 5 years old and under; 6-10 years old; and 11-15 years old. First, second, and third place trophies will be awarded in each category, plus a “Largest Fish” category. The local American Legion is one of the day’s sponsors.

Local senior citizens are invited to join Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) next week for its next monthly social event. FONS will be at Red Rooster Pub on South Main Street beginning at 4 pm Wednesday, July 28. These events had been on hold during the height of the pandemic, but resumed last month when nearly two dozen people gathered at The Villa Restaurant in Sandy Hook (see last week’s paper for story and photos). There is no set charge for this month’s event — guests will order off the menu, enjoying and paying for their choice of food and/or drink. Janice Garten is organizing the gathering, and asks that anyone who is planning to join the group just give her a call so that she can accurately tell the restaurant how many people to plan for. Call Janice at 203-430-0633. Tell her you heard about it from us.

The end of an era arrived at the end of June. Not only did the printing of our newspapers move off site (see related story in the print issue of June 25 and online), but two additional things also came to an end: the availability of tin plates and paper end rolls. Now that Trumbull Printing is handing all of The Bee’s printing needs, we no longer have tin plates coming off our printing machines each week. Ditto on the end of paper rolls, which were also offered and very popular. Congratulations to the residents who stopped in for the final offerings of those items. You now own unusual pieces of Newtown history.

I promise the end of my era will not come as long you promise next week to... Read me again.

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