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The Top Of The Mountain



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October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, and The Newtown Bee is again hosting a collection for Newtown Animal Shelter. A collection box has been set up in our front lobby — just inside the front door of 5 Church Hill Road — for anyone who would like to drop off a donation. This year’s request list includes Nutro Max Mini Chunk Dog Food, Iams Dry Dog Food, freeze dried liver treats, canine toothpaste (poultry flavor), pig’s ears, large Kong toys, Air Kongs, large rope toys, Frisbees, squeak toys, tennis balls, choke chain collars, and sturdy slide leads. The shelter would also gladly accept pet store gift certificates, and cleaning supplies including bleach, ammonia, paper towels, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, towels, and large black garbage bags. Our office is open weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm. If you want to donate but don’t want to come inside the building, leave your donation at the front door and call the front desk (203-426-3141), and someone will step outside to collect it for you.

The Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity Halloween Walk is officially canceled this year, because organizers are playing it safe. Group spokesperson Maribeth Hemingway said she and everyone in SHOP “will miss our ghosts and goblins and hopefully they will be able to celebrate with their families safely.”

While it was announced last week by local officials that families — from within and out of town — are being asked to stay off Main Street this year, it was also pointed out that there are safe options for Halloween. Town departments are hosting a number of special events this month. For instance, Newtown Parks & Recreation is hoping to host its 2020 Spooktacular Family Fun Event at Dickinson Park. Registration is due by noon Friday, October 23. Cost is $5 per person, which covers a costume contest, games, and other activities. The event is limited to the first 100 people registered, so contact Parks & Rec ASAP at 203-270-4340 or by visiting newtown-ct.gov/parks-recreation. CDC guidelines will be followed.

In addition, there are safe ways to dress up and go out on October 31, such as remaining in one’s own neighborhood. Check our Community Calendar, in print and online, for details on special events, and check this month’s offering in the For Better Health supplement for CDC suggestions on being safe on Halloween.

Fans of Café Xpresso on South Main Street were saddened to hear via Instagram recently that the coffee bar/cafe will not be reopening. The permanent closing comes with “a heavy heart.” While the café was for sale just prior to the COVID shutdown, the owners have determined that reopening after the pandemic would not be feasible. Best of luck to Bob and Marie Schlump as they pursue post-café life.

Martin West shared with me a photo of a less-seen bird that he encountered on an early morning walk on Washbrook Road last week. The barred owl struck quite a nice pose for Martin!

Another bird we don’t often get to see is the bald eagle, but Sandy Hook residents Brad and Lisa Greene spotted one soaring far overhead while kayaking on Lake Lillinonah, this past Sunday.

The American Legion Post 202 has some ideas forming to celebrate this COVID-era Veterans Day. They are putting together a photo montage, which will be uploaded for all to view. Send a jpeg/scanned copy of the veteran in uniform to Senior Vice Commander Donna Montelone at americanlegionnewtown@gmail.com no later than Friday, October 30, and include the veteran’s name and branch of service. If no photo is available, send a photo of something reminiscent of his/her time in service. Include the veteran’s e-mail address and best phone number to reach them at for any questions. Call 203-577-9568 with any questions.

Remember that the gently used clothing drive continues through October 30, hosted by the Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue Ladies Auxiliary, in conjunction with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southwestern CT/Helpsy. Drop off your donation to the 127 South Main Street BB/BS facility — gently loved or new stuffed animals, bedding, and towels are welcome, as well — in bags marked “Sandy Hook” and the Ladies Auxiliary will receive the benefit of the donation. E-mail sandyhookladiesauxiliary@hotmail.com with any questions.

Maybe you want to spread the love among donations, though. The Newtown Middle School PTA is hosting another shoe collection at the 11 Queen Street school, from 2 to 4 pm, this Saturday. All kinds of shoes, gently worn or new, will be accepted. Drive up, and someone will take the donations from your car — no touch service! Direct any questions to newtownmspta@gmail.com.

And if you missed the Ladies Auxiliary shredding day on October 3, Friends of Newtown Seniors is hosting one this Saturday, October 17, at the new Newtown Savings Bank in Plaza South (274 South Main Street), from 9 am to noon. It’s no touch — volunteers in PPE will unload your boxes. Seniors pay $5 per box, $10 per box for all others. Call 203-430-0633 with any questions.

Newtown native Tracy Mulholland has been stuck in the LA area for months due to the pandemic. Currently living in Larchmont Village, Calif., she hasn’t been able to fly to the East Coast to see friends and family, and since most of Hollywood has been all but closed lately, she’s also unemployed. To pass some of her time, the actress, producer, and filmmaker came up with an idea to raise money by doing puzzles leading up to her birthday. She created Puzzle For A Purpose, a five week fundraiser during which she did a different puzzle in her home each week, supporting a different charity each week. She had a friend do the same puzzle with her each week, and ended up raising $2,203 by the time she finished on September 22. Tracy raised funds for The Conscious Kid, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. For the fifth and final week she did a bonus puzzle, joined virtually by her sister and best friend, and the trio raised $750 that week alone for Sandy Hook Promise. “I am immunocompromised, having had Lyme disease,” she shared last week. So Tracy’s pandemic protocols “have been very strict since March, only going outside for walks,” she said. “I was puzzling up a storm to get through the days. I did 12 puzzles before... I came up with an idea to raise money by puzzling leading up to my birthday.” While the fundraiser is over, anyone who would like to support Tracy’s efforts is welcome to make a donation to any of the abovementioned organizations. If you do decide to get a piece of this (puzzle) action and donate, please let Tracy know that she inspired you. Send her a note at puzzleforapurpose@gmail.com.

I can only hope this column is always an inspiration (or at least an amusement) to you. Be sure next week to... Read me again.

A barred owl looks down on Washbrook Road.
An eagle soars above Lake Lillinonah.
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