Top of the Mountain

Published: November 30, 2018 at 07:00 am


UPDATE (Monday, December 3, 2018): This story has been updated to reflect to correct opening night of Hanukkah.

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The Mars InSight lander, which launched into space in May from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, safely touched down on Mars this past Monday, November 26, sending back its first photos of the far away planet. This was NASA’s first attempt at landing on Mars since the Curiosity rover landed six years ago.

Just when I thought the bears around Newtown had gone into hibernation, Joanne Antignani shared these photos of a furry visitor to her Country Squire Lane property the day before Thanksgiving. This bear explored the big flower planter on Joanne’s deck and even took a peek in the window before ambling off.

We heard from Mike McCarthy this week regarding the photo that ran with last week’s “Way We Were” column. “The picture of the ice divers was an ice diving certification class,” the longtime Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue (NUSAR) member said via e-mail. “NUSAR members Ed Pressmar and Mike McCarthy were two of the divers. It was December 1996 in Candlewood Lake. Jeff Bell was the instructor, from The Diving Bell in Brookfield.” We thank Mike for these details and encourage readers to check each week’s Way We Were column. In addition to news culled from our print editions of 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago, we often have photos that don’t have much detail available. We love hearing from our readers with information.

If you enjoy the Bridgeport Beardsley Zoo, you’ll be happy about this news we have received: Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s fundraising efforts to create a new habitat for its family of Amur tigers received a huge boost with a $1 million donation from longtime Zoo supporter, Pamela Hope Kochiss-Werth, Zoo Director Gregg Dancho has announced. After the birth of four extremely endangered Amur tiger cubs in November 2017, two of which survived, the Bridgeport zoo began a campaign to create a new, more spacious home for its valuable tigers. Pamela Kochiss-Werth stepped forward with a birthday check for the two female tigers, Reka and Zeya, earmarked for a new tiger habitat. Pam and Deb Bachard, through Werth Family Foundation, have repeatedly supported the state's only zoo through generous grants. Some of the programs they have underwritten include the Amur Leopard Habitat, the Seasonal Country Fair Exhibit, and Zoo Educational Programs. This is the first grant made by Pamela Hope Kochiss-Werth’s new foundation and reflects her individual philanthropy.

BD Provisions, which recently opened at 125 South Main Street, is asking children to help celebrate the season (and maybe impress Santa when he visits there over the weekend). Make an ornament from recycled materials (think cardboard, egg cartons, etc) to hang on the BD Provisions tree. Just bring them in, and staff there will hang them up. Call 203-491-2925 with any questions.

The Newtown Bee is among the many Toys For Tots drop-off locations in Newtown and Monroe this holiday season and will be collecting new, unwrapped toys in the white Toys For Tots box located by the office’s front entrance. Donations will be collected on December 15 for distribution. Newtown police will hold its annual Toys for Tots toy drives at three locations on Saturday, December 8, from 10 am to 2 pm, in front of the TJ Maxx store at Sand Hill Plaza at 228 South Main Street, The Toy Tree at 14 Church Hill Road, and in front of Tractor Supply at 116 South Main Street. For people who want to donate toys but cannot do so at these drives, the police department is also one of the in-town locations with a collection box this holiday season.

Whether you are looking for something new to tote around your shopping, an unusual holiday gift bag, or a gift for someone, a small supply of the reusable bags featuring a design by Adriana Russo are still available at Newtown Parks & Recreation. Adriana created the winning design for the bag, which was introduced in September as part of the exhibition “In The Bag: The Art & Politics Of The Reusable Bag Movement.” Displayed at Newtown Municipal Center, the exhibition featured art created from single-use plastic bags, educational panels about those bags and the worldwide movement to minimize them, and a section of designs by Newtown students who had entered a competition to have their art featured on reusable shopping bags. The bags are just $5 each, with proceeds to benefit Newtown Environmental Action Team. NEAT co-hosted the exhibition and the design contest and will continue to spread awareness of the dangers posed by single-use plastic bags through future public events.

As we head toward the sixth anniversary of 12/14, we’d like to thank one Sherman resident for sharing lessons she has learned since that awful day. Molly Fitzpatrick, a senior at the University of Connecticut, and a resident assistant in a freshman dorm, recently created a beautiful bulletin board display. A student at New Fairfield High School at the time of the shootings, Molly — like so many others around us — spent most of that day in her school, which went into lockdown. Her social studies teacher, she said, lost her niece in the shooting. Molly has “a lot of close friends from Newtown,” she shared recently, and wears her be kind necklace “all the time to honor them,” she added.

Congratulations to St Rose parishioners Michael Ronan and Kelly and Jim Gerbo. Michael was recently installed as an acolyte by Bishop Frank Caggiano. In his new role, Michael will assist deacons and priests during services, set the altar in preparation for the Eucharistic Prayer, assist in the distribution of Holy Communion, and other sacred tasks. Michael is expected to be ordained a permanent deacon in the spring. The Gerbos were also honored by the bishop recently, having been selected for the Saint Augustine Medal of Services. Among their contributions to the parish, Kelly has served as a kindergarten aide at St Rose School and in the parish office and has offered countless hours toward the parish and diocesan campaign “We Stand With Christ.” Husband Jim, meanwhile, has been a member the church’s Finance Council since its formation and is a lay member of the Corporation (formerly called a trustee). The couple “are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and great supporters of Catholic education,” Monsignor Robert Weiss recently noted. “My thanks for the example of service they are to all of us,” he added.

Happy Hanukkah! The festival of lights celebration begins Sundayevening, December 2, and continues through December 10. One by one, the eight candles on menorahs will be lit over the course of the days in households all around Newtown — and the world.

I could go on and on about all of the events in town this weekend, but I hope you’ll turn the pages of this week’s paper to get the lowdown on everything. Check out our stories, and check out our calendar at newtownbee.com. See you around the town this weekend!

Be sure next week to... Read me again.



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