Hula hoops cast dizzying shadows across the Fairfield Hills lawn Sunday, September 14, where Tanner Chase of Velvet Orchid out of Bristol danced through her hoop routine. With the Newtown Arts Festival going on around her, others celebrated under a baby blue sky with ribbons, rainbow splashes of paint, arts, crafts, demonstrations, sculpture, poetry reading, and more. The two-day, outdoor festival was part of Newtown Cultural Arts Commission’s “ridiculous abundance of enriching activities throughout September all around town.” And while the signature event has completed, there are still a pair of Newtown Arts Festival events to look forward to this weekend.
The Comfort Quilt is one of 250 quilts received by the Town of Newtown, following 12/14. The plaque that accompanied its arrival in Newtown tells a special story. Created in 2001 by the children of St Hilary Catholic School in Fairlawn, Ohio, the 35-block quilt was first presented to the students of St James Catholic Grammar School in Red Bank, N.J. after 9/11, as a tangible display of the thoughts and prayers sent their way. Since it has passed from community to community, eventually finding its way to Newtown following the 12/14 tragedy, and it is clear, said Town Human Resources Director Carole Ross that the Comfort Quilt is meant to be shared, “and unfortunately, it will probably be passed on. We have always honored the givers' requests [so far as is reasonable]." This cannot happen, however, until the quilt is located. Since the spring of 2013, the quilt has been missing from the collection of items preserved by the Town of Newtown.
A beer and wine tasting event in Trumbull next month will benefit Where Angels Play Foundation, the group responsible for 26 playgrounds that have been built during the past 16 months with a dual purpose. They have primarily been built in communities that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Each one has also honored the memory of a woman or child killed on 12/14. When the 26 Sandy Ground Project playgrounds are finished, the foundation will continue to build playgrounds in communities that have been visited by tragedy. It hopes to be in Boston by April, to build an playground for those who were killed or injured during last year's Boston Marathon bombings. Funds raised during the October 3 beer and wine tasting will help those efforts.
Parks and Recreation crews have removed the old tennis courts at Treadwell Park and are now preparing a base for the new tennis and pickle ball courts. Contractors that received the bid will begin work this season. Recreation Director Amy Mangold said her department had recommended Classic Turf Co, LLC to earn the bid for installation work. The company proposed $246,700 for the courts’ reconstruction and design. In August the recreation commission was anticipating the current work. Parks & Rec had Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) funds available then and was ready to soon seek bids for building new courts.
During the 2013–14 school year, Sandy Hook School third and fourth grade students had the opportunity to talk, via Skype, with two flight engineers aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and on Friday, September 10, one of the astronauts visited the school, offering presentations and visits with students during the morning.
Waterbury resident Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson both talked with the students last April using Skype, as the culminating celebration of the 2013–14 One School One Read program, which had the whole school community read the same book at the same time, which was How Do You Burp in Space? And Other Tips Every Space Tourist Needs to Know by Susan E. Goodman. That conversation was also shared live so students across the entire school and family members could tune in.
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