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Hawley Elementary School first grade students wrote what they feel is the meaning of being kind on the bellies of these snowmen, posted on a bulletin board at the school the week of December 10, under the title, “Cool To Be Kind.” One student wrote, “Kindness is treating others the way you want to be treated. Kindness is not taking stuff.” Another wrote, “Kindness is being rspetfool [sic] to evreone [sic]. It is owso [sic] trying your best.” And another wrote, “Kindness is helfl [sic] for uthrs [sic], kindness is being kid to, and kindness is working hard.” I hope we all fill our bellies with kindness this winter: It’s cool.

I know one Newtown resident who must have a belly full of kindness: Julie vanderKroef. Julie stopped by last Thursday with the BIGGEST holiday card we have ever received — and a delicious carrot cake. Julie is a licensed drone pilot and has, on several occasions, provided our paper with some high-flying photographs: maybe you saw one of her photos in last week’s issue, of the newly reconfigured Edmond Road. We send out our thanks to Julie for the treats and the photos! She certainly raised our spirits.

It’s a season to be grateful for any light we find in the dark. The C.H. Booth Library’s Instagram account, chboothlibrary, shared a picture on December 11 of a glowing new light in its parking lot with the words, “Thank you town, for our new lights in the parking lot!” May all of our dark places be illuminated in the coming year

Lions Club member Bruce Landgrebe had a jolly time ringing bells for the Salvation Army, Saturday, December 15, at Stop & Shop — particularly because he had the jolly old elf himself, Santa, stop by for a bit of bell ringing. Pretty nice of Santa, don’t you think, to take time off from overseeing the elves’ toy workshop this time of year to volunteer for a great organization.

Maybe you’re replacing your old CD player with new technology, even though it works great. Wondering what to do with gently used player? The Newtown Senior Center, 14 Riverside Road, would love to make use of it. They are currently seeking the donation of a CD player with detached speakers. To donate, call 203-270-4310.

If you love theater and you love the talent that comes out of Newtown, you may want to check out the production of Hamilton currently at The Bushnell in Hartford through December 30. A little bird has told us that the part of Eliza Hamilton is played by NHS graduate Hannah Cruz.

Do you know a service person who would love to get a card this Valentine’s Day? Valentines for Troops is underway again this year. The names and contact information for those who are serving in the military at “home or abroad” can be sent to Donna Monteleone at americanlegionnewtown@gmail.com in order to receive cards and letters in 2019. The American Legion will facilitate connecting those who want to write letters in January with a military point of contact. Postage and handling is to be paid for by those sending cards or letters.

Newtown Police Department Lieutenant David Kullgren and Officer Adam Greco were greeted by Middle Gate Elementary School third graders Vito Mecca and Addison Strychalsky on December 16 with a box of Italian cookies from Caraluzzi’s Market in Newtown and handmade cards. The students wished the officers “Merry Christmas and thanked them for keeping our town safe,” according to Addison’s mom, Jennifer Strychalsky. The surprise was part of a third grade kindness project, which is completed by every third grade student at Middle Gate, according to the school.

One of our longest running offerings here at The Newtown Bee is our First Baby Contest. We cannot wait to meet, and then announce, the 58th annual holder of that honorary title, and we are looking for parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors to help us find them. The First Baby of Newtown 2019 will win for their family everything from baked goods and champagne to savings bonds, multiple dining opportunities, and even automotive services courtesy of local businesses. The winning parents will be the ones who send the earliest birthdate (and time, if necessary, to break a tie) to The Newtown Bee by noon Tuesday, January 9. Contact Newtown Bee Associate Editor Shannon Hicks at 203-426-3141 or shannon@thebee.com any time after the stroke of midnight Tuesday, January 1.

We’re bringing back the Bee Abroad Contest! Photograph yourself or members of your family holding a copy of The Newtown Bee in front of a recognizable landmark or sign anywhere in the world. Submit the photo with a description of when and where the photo was taken, who is in the photo, and what you were up to when it was taken (vacation, business trip, expedition, etc), to The Newtown Bee before December 31, 2019 (one submission per family per year). Send your entry to Nancy Crevier, The Newtown Bee, PO Box 5503, Newtown, CT 06470 or e-mail editor@thebee.com with the subject “Bee Abroad.” In January of 2020, one $100 first prize will be awarded to the reader who submits the photo taken farthest away from Newtown; $50 prizes will be awarded to readers who submits the photo taken in the northernmost and southernmost place. Photo entries will be published from time to time throughout the year. Ready? Set? Go!

What’s the word of the year? According to Merriam-Webster, as reported at CNN, that word for 2018 was “justice,” which saw a 74 percent spike in lookups. Merriam-Webster dictionary has added a whole lot of new words the past twelve months, as well, including wordie, meaning one who is a word lover; wanderworts, for words adopted from another language; cryptocurrency, for those confusing digital currencies; microfinance and microcredit, for organization of money in developing economies; and Silver Alert, to inform the public of a elderly person who is missing. Not to be forgotten is “mansplain.” No need to ‘splain that, right?

Nor do I need to ‘splain how great it would be if you were to... Read me again.

It is "Cool to be Kind." Hawley School students left messages of kindness on these snowmen. (Bee Photo, Hallabeck)
Bruce Landgrebe had a special helper stop by to help ring bells for the Salvation Army last Saturday.
Middle Gate third grade students Vito Mecca, left, and Addison Strychalsky brought gifts of kindness to the Newtown Police Department. Officer Kullgren, left, and Officer Greco accepted the tasty treats.
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