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Top Of The Mountain



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Well that wasn’t long! Just about one week after the Newtown Meeting House rooster weathervane was removed for repairs, I walked out the front door of my office and the sun was bouncing off the antique piece once again. What a beautiful sight it was, too: the sun just hitting the gold that was added when Paul Bastiaanse from Valley Restoration did repair work and regilding last week.

Newtown High School students had quite the celebrazione on October 24, when classes cycled through Italian Day programs in the school’s lecture hall. Coordinated by NHS Italian and French teacher Laura Battisti, each class started by singing the Italian national anthem, with four student volunteers offering their own quartet rendition. The room was decked out in colorful class projects by freshmen breaking down Italian food favorites. Battisti even set up a selfie wall depicting an Italian scene where students could snap a photo of themselves in T-shirts they had customized for the Italian Day T-shirt Contest. Students and visiting staff members also enjoyed Italian food prepared by fellow students and served by parent volunteers. Sounds like a very piacevole presentation!

I have to offer a shout-out this week to Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS), who set a new record during last month’s Making A Difference Gala. Organizers surpassed their own event goal and raised over $200,000, which will be used for the thousands of animals the organization takes care of every year. A tip of my hat to Dr Vali at Pleasant Paws and Mt Pleasant Hospital for Animals here in Newtown, who were among those to sponsor and support the effort. The news from DAWS came just a few days after we heard about Spay and Neuter Association of Newtown’s (SNAN) current efforts to help a small dog named Star, who was rescued with multiple health challenges but fighting her way toward a good life. SNAN, Newtown Animal Control Center, and other local groups, associations, and departments are all filled with good people. From this feline heart to all of those who help animals any time they can, I offer my sincere thanks.

During their most recent meeting, Newtown Cultural Arts Commission members found the silver lining that followed the cancellation of the 2023 Newtown Arts Festival. If you recall, high winds predicted for the weekend of September 23-24 led to the difficult decision by the Arts Festival Committee to cancel the Saturday and Sunday events for the first time in festival history. The Friday evening concert was held, but “the winds that were predicted for the Festival weekend were just too dangerous not to cancel” the remaining plans, Festival Grounds Co-Chair Jen Cebry said last Thursday night. The concern was that the 75+ artisans would not only lose their tents but their products, she added. Additionally, the major event sponsors — including Aquilia’s Nest, Newtown Savings Bank, CT Humanities, The Newtown Bee, Pleasant Paws, Associated Refuse Haulers and the Laurelrock Company — reportedly endorsed the cancellation when they were contacted during the decision-making process. All other sponsors understood the need to cancel the festival, the commissioners said last week.

All vendors, from artisans to food trucks, had their fees refunded, and NCAC made the decision to keep the website links of the artisans on the Arts Festival website for remote ordering for the holidays. Visit (newtownartsfestival.com/artisans/) to show them some of the love they were hoping for in September.

The silver lining? There are a few of them. First, thanks to the results of previous festivals, the commission’s college scholarships and the grants to local artists, which are funded by the festival, will continue. NCAC Chair Laura Lerman was very happy to hear that news. Second, the commission has announced the 2024 Arts Festival dates will be September 13-15, and Terry Sagedy will be returning as artistic director. Third, planning for the 2024 Festival will begin again in January when the competition to create the signature art for the 2024 Newtown Arts Festival will be announced.

Last weekend it was “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries” time, so I hope everyone remembered to change the batteries in any freestanding fire and CO alarms in your home. This weekend I’m reminding you that it’s nearly time to ring in the new year. What better way to keep track of dates than a Newtown Bee calendar? The Newtown Bee 2024 calendars are now available. Readers are welcome to stop in at 5 Church Hill Road and pick up a free calendar during office hours — Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm. The calendars are located on the counter opposite the front door.

The restrooms at Dickinson Park closed for the season this week. Definitely plan your park visits accordingly for the next few months.

Belated birthday wishes this week to Adam Fredericks, the lead pastor for Grace Family Church. I understand the good pastor celebrated a milestone birthday this week. He joins the club with members who are all quite Nifty.

You know what else is nifty? Friends. I understand there are some new cats making their home over on Black Walnut Drive, in fact — they moved there with their adults recently — so I think I’ll go make friends with them. I hope you have a good week, maybe make a new friend or two, and then remember to come back to … read me again.

Newtown news and notes, told from the point of view of a cat named Mountain.
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