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The Top Of The Mountain



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It’s barn swallow nesting season, and as this photo by Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks illustrates, barn swallows have once again found their way to the eaves of Newtown Municipal Center this summer. A whole series of nests have been constructed at the town building, where they are staying safe — and creating a bit of a mess — during breeding season. Two things to keep in mind if you see these nests, though. First, these birds do provide an important free service as insect controllers. Yay. Also, all swallows are state and federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is illegal, according to the Federal Wildlife Service (USFWS), to take, possess, transport, sell, or purchase these nests or eggs without a permit. Active nests with eggs or chicks inside may not be touched or destroyed without a permit from USFWS. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal mentioned last week that he is fully aware of the nests at the Municipal Center. They’re being watched (and enjoyed) by many, and will be properly removed following the current nesting season.

Local artist/author/gardener Pat Barkman has kept herself busy this summer creating a number of gardening videos for YouTube, with help from Ellery McFarland, who filmed, edited, and put them up on YouTube for Pat. Check out this one on “Why Rain Gardens Are Necessary,” at https://youtu.be/9-ivjmzxcuo and then search Pat Barkman on YouTube to see all of her recent videos. Find out Pat’s take on “Growing Annuals In Connecticut, Zone 6b,” “Perennials in Connecticut, Zone 6b,” “Composting the Easy Way,” “Herb and Veggie Gardens,” and more.

We’d like to bestow a Good Egg Award on Betty Presnell, who is conducting a bottle and can drive to supplement funds that are not being raised this year by the Nunnawauk Meadows Community Tag Sale. The annual event is a fundraiser for that community, and of course it was canceled this year due to COVID-19. So Betty, who is the current president of the Nunnawauk Meadows Resident Association, recently put a request out for people to drop off their returnables. She has been making frequent visits to the local bottle return machines, raising funds one nickel at a time. As of Monday morning, Betty had turned in enough bottles and cans to raise $263! Donations are still welcomed, and can be dropped off at 1D Nunnawauk Meadows.

The local American Legion Post had hoped to resume its monthly meetings in August, but those plans — like so many others this year — have also been changed. Newtown Community Center Director Matt Ariniello told The Newtown Bee this week that while some programs have resumed at 8 Simpson Street with class sizes limited and other precautionary measures in place, Post 202 will not be meeting on August 5. Garden clubs, AA groups, and even Newtown Rotary Club are all on hold, Matt mentioned. Rotary recently held a special outdoor annual ceremonial passing of the gavel, but the group is reportedly otherwise at a standstill as well.

Do you have a furry or not-so-furry friend who can share a “high five”? The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation would love a video of you and your friend saluting the world. Here’s how you do it: Take a video or photo of your fave high-fiving animals; e-mail your work to info@cvhfoundation.org — or post it to your own Facebook or Instagram page. Then, nominate five of your friends to take part. Last of all, why not donate to support the CVH Animal Sanctuary that is taking shape on Old Farm Road? Visit cvhfoundation.org and find out more.

Speaking of furry friends, Toni Earnshaw had a visitor to her Osborne Hill home for cocktail hour last Friday... a bear. “After about 15 minutes (an eternity in bear-on-my-deck time) without being served he/she left,” says Toni, “But not without sampling the bird seed, some lettuce planted in a pot, rummaging through a potted mandevilla, and stopping for a nice sit down and ear scratch. He then proceeded to mosey off to nibble on some not-yet-ripe Kousa dogwood fruit.” Not the first bear sighted in Newtown, and certainly not the last, I suspect! Be sure to keep pet food indoors, take in the bird feeders until cold weather, and stay a safe distance away when Mr Bear comes for a visit.

Anyone who enjoys using the Treadwell Park pool and/or the beach at Eichler’s Cove should make note that both locations will be closing early one afternoon next week. Parks & Recreation has announced both swimming locations will be closing to the public at 1 pm, Friday, August 7, for a Staff Appreciation Day. Both locations are expected to reopen at their regular times the following morning (9 am for laps at Eichler’s Cove, 11 am for open swim at that location, and 10 am for Treadwell). We thank everyone who works for Parks & Rec, and any other town department, who will be participating in the special event. We certainly appreciate all of you and the work you do.

It’s taking a little effort this summer, but you can still find — safe — entertainment around town. Don’t forget that Ingersoll Auto’s Pop-Up Drive-In continues through the summer, behind Edmond Town Hall. Visit edmondtownhall.org for ticketing information. If you’ve missed out on the Thursday evening concerts at Dickinson Park, the Parks & Rec/Claris Construction Summer Concert Series continues on August 6, with Cold Duck Time, at 6:30 pm. These family-friendly events are all weather permitting, of course...

You won’t want to miss The Newtown Bee Diversity Discussion online a little earlier Thursday, August 6, of course, at 4:30 pm. Associate Editor John Voket moderates the conversation with Land Use Director George Benson, Planning & Zoning Commissioner Don Mitchell, and Fair Housing Officer Kimberly Chiapetta to hear about policies, practices, and how Newtown is working to become more inclusive. The Bee welcomes questions for this conversation — send yours to john@thebee.com, by 4 pm that afternoon.

You know what I welcome? When you promise next week to... Read me again.

Barn swallows have built nests this summer at the Municipal Center. -Bee Photo, Hicks
Forget the cocktails - hand over the bird seed! -photo courtesy Toni Earnshaw
Betty Presnell is a Good Egg!
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