Since becoming pastor of the Newtown United Methodist Church (NUMC), six and a half years ago, the Reverend Mel Kawakami has overseen one of the rituals of spring there — filling in the sinkholes in the front parking lot. But until last year, when a 10-by-10-foot test hole was opened up and he had the opportunity to see what lay beneath the asphalt, Rev Kawakami and many of his congregation had no idea that the ongoing problem was a piece of history buried under their feet. “I was completely surprised,” said Rev Kawakami, “when I saw the remains of a house down there. We had thought it might be the old water pipeline that was broken and creating problems under the parking lot, but it was everything and the kitchen sink," filling a foundation of a former home.
Kim Harrison caught a glimpse of the new season unfolding this week. Out from under her barn on Taunton Hill Road Tuesday morning emerged a “cool little spring story,” she said. A mother fox and her litter came out from beneath the barn and into Tuesday morning's sunshine. The kits are brownish, with a golden honey color, said Ms Harrison. Wildlife in Crisis Assistant Director Peter Reid said it’s right time of year for a young fox family. “They are not harmful, they are not dangerous,” he said. “Just give them space.” He recommends keeping young children and pets at a distance from the fox den. “We do not encourage people to force them away.” To see them during the daytime is “perfectly typical,” he said.
Sometimes when a review begins with a discussion of the set it is out of an attempt to be kind, because there was nothing else on stage worth mentioning or remembering. That is definitely not the case with Hartford’s TheaterWorks production of Sharr White’s powerful and absorbing drama, The Other Place. Designer Luke Hegel-Cantarella, a TheaterWorks fixture known for the lovingly detailed naturalism of the sets he has created for the Hartford company, has done something quite different and brilliant here. In addition, Kate Levy is stunning in her portrayal of Juliana, alternating between convincing lucidity and increasing episodes of rage and confusion, while R. Ward Duffy as her husband Ian is both believable and admirable in his dogged, pained patience in offering his love and support.
At Vogue Knitting Live, a yarn industry expo in Manhattan this past January, Newtown resident Linda Zemba Burhance taught an 8-hour session on arm knitting. “I noticed that anybody, of any age or gender, seemed interested and could learn it quickly. It’s multigenerational and gender neutral,” Ms Burhance said of the ages-old knitting technique that has seen a resurgence in the craft. The technique is simple, and precisely what the name implies. A person’s arms take the place of knitting needles, looping yarn about the arm and pulling the loop through to make a stitch. With arm knitting, the craft is literally in the hands of the creator. She is now sharing the process, in detail, in her new book, "Thread Select — Arm Knitting," available online April 1 and in book stores April 15.
The spotlight found him center stage, where he quietly settled in behind the microphone. Guest performer Mark Barden, a Newtown resident and accomplished career musician, used few words, and let his guitars do the talking March 22, at the Flagpole Radio Café, a local production now in its sixth season. The Flagpole Radio Cafe and Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theatre members were right there with Mr Barden, entertaining those in the ETH Theatre Saturday night.
Following an excruciatingly long period of rebuilding and recovery after a devastating January 4 flood, the C.H. Booth Library came fully alive again last weekend, with celebratory toasts, socializing, music and even a little fire juggling to really spice things up. While patrons have been welcomed back to the reopened facility for more than a week, a private reception on March 21 and a public celebration on March 22 was a chance to officially reopen the doors and welcome both the prominent supporters of the local institution as well as the residents and children who are the lifeblood of the local library. Attendees socialized and checked out some of the renovations, particularly behind the reception desk where staff members had found ankle deep water flowing after sprinkler pipes burst in the ceiling nearly three months earlier.
There are a few natural treasures to be found at 34 Pole Bridge Road. Citing a “nice main trail, some recently cleared meadows” and “old charcoal pits,” Conservation Commission member Joe Hovious recently ticked off some of the property’s features. The parcel, made up of four lots and measuring more than 50 acres, includes habitat for wildlife, plants and birds, a rare hemlock forest, and trails that loop through forests and fields. Recent volunteer efforts have aimed at making the preserve more attractive, and a just-published brochure will help the public learn about the preserve's history as well as find their way around thanks to trail maps.