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Organizing Committee Prepares For A Classic New England Parade



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Organizing Committee Prepares For A Classic New England Parade

By Nancy K. Crevier

“This year we will celebrate 51 years of a classic New England parade,” said Newtown Labor Day Parade committee president Beth Caldwell. Recreating all that has made viewers smile through the years is the goal for parade committee members and participants, she said, including the Newtown High School Marching Band and other musical entries with which people are familiar.

There is one big change scheduled for the 2012 parade, though, said Ms Caldwell. This year, the parade will step off from the top of Main Street at noon, rather than the traditional 10 am start to the parade.

“Our original reason for holding the parade [later] last year was because it was held on a Sunday, due to the storm,” said Ms Caldwell, “but we had such a good response from participants that we decided to think this through. The more [participants] we talked to, the more it made sense.”

The 2011 parade, which was held on Sunday of Columbus Day weekend, began at 2 pm.

“We think it will help with attendance at our fair [on the grounds of the Newtown Middle School],” continued Ms Caldwell, “where there is food and entertainment. Also this means our attendants won’t have to be on the streets at 6:30 am,” she said. Starting the parade two hours later than its traditional 10 am start, the committee decided, makes it easier for everyone involved.

Dr Z. Michael Taweh and wife, Jocelyn, will head the 2012 parade on Monday, September 3, as grand marshals representing Kevin’s Community Center. This year’s parade theme — “Honoring 10 Years of Caring For Newtown” — celebrates the Tawehs for their contributions to the Newtown health community.

Working hard with Ms Caldwell to put together the annual parade this year are committee members Robin Buchanan, vice president and lineup director; Andy Cluff, treasurer and street director coordinator; Dan Cruson, secretary, historian, and political liaison; Ellie Whalen, community liaison; Tom D’Agastino, facilitation coordinator; Kym Stendahl, judges coordinator; Kelly Stendahl, support services and program distribution; Steve Bigham, communications coordinator and program contributing editor; and Betsy Stewart Kenyon, correspondence coordinator.

The committee is pleased to have emcees John Voket and John Klopfenstein at the Flagpole Reviewing Stand this year, and Mary Ann Murtha and Mike Giarrantano reviewing the parade participants at the Grand Stand on Queen Street.

Under a canopy on Queen Street, this year’s judges are all volunteers from Kevin’s Community Center. George Taweh is vice president/secretary of KCC. Mr Taweh holds several engineering degrees, and is currently a candidate for an MBA degree. He is the author of The Dialysis Project Management Guide.

Michael P. Ronan is a nonprofit executive, attorney and St Rose parishioner. He currently serves as stewardship director and secretary at Jericho Parnership, Inc, a social services organization serving the poor and needy in Danbury.

Dr Evan Pitkoff is the former superintendent of schools in Newtown (2002–2007), and currently serves as executive director of Cooperative Educational Services in Trumbull. He is also a justice of the peace in Connecticut and serves on the Board of Directors at KCC and other nonprofit organizations. Dr Pitkoff is a volunteer in the free mental health clinic Psychotherapy in West Hartford.

Dr Susan A. Belanger is a therapist with Community Health Center in Danbury. She holds masters of arts and doctorate degrees in developmental psychology. Dr Belanger has served on several local and national advisory boards, collecting data aimed at improving the delivery of quality medical services to children in foster care in New York City.

Lisa Schwartz has held various elected offices in Newtown since 1993, including on the Board of Ethics, Legislative Council, Public Safety subcommittee, and Board of Education. She was also an active member of the Democratic Town Committee. Ms Schwartz has worked for Fordham University School of Social Work and the NY State Society on Aging as a consulting editor for journal articles and publications, and is the poetry editor for The Newtowner.

The sixth parade judge is Dr Della Schmid, who has been in private practice as a Doctor of Chiropractic for more than 16 years. She owns Colonial Chiropractic Centre in Newtown. She has co-chaired the annual Newtown Health and Safety Fair since 1993, and is a member of Newtown Chamber of Commerce, various chiropractic associations, and Newtown Public Schools Wellness Committee. She has volunteered on the medical staff of the NYC Marathon and the Nutmeg Games.

The committee is grateful to this year’s Platinum Sponsor, Newtown Savings Bank, as well as Gold Sponsors, Rotary International and Clinical Laboratory Partners, Silver Sponsor Newtown Hardware, and Event Sponsors Lions International, the DaSilva Law Firm, and Haas Insurance.

As always, Ms Caldwell said, the parade committee is in need of donations to fund the parade. Bands, dancers, entertainers, and other costs add up to more than $25,000 each year. Checks payable to Newtown Labor Day Parade, Inc can be mailed to PO Box 746, Newtown CT 06470.

To find out more about becoming a sponsor or placing an ad in this year’s parade program, visit www.newtownctlabordayparade.org.

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