My vegetable garden is struggling this year. Peas and lettuce were late and now are bolting in the heat. The beans leapt out of the soil and have continued and wrapping tendrils around the nearby tomatoes, instead of the poles provided. The tomatoes are unhappy with the cold and rainy start to the season, and the wet conditions that have followed. Zucchinis… well, there are blossoms. However, nature has provided me with a bountiful harvest of blackberries this year. Where grass segues into brush and then into woods, blackberry bushes trim our backyard. Randomly admiring the view one day last week, I was stunned to realize that the bushes were heavy with ripe fruit. In just minutes, a pint container was brimming over, my finger tips were purple, and only one bramble was embedded in my thumb.
A paint-spattered drop cloth clung to furniture and covered part of the floor in Southbury artist David Merrill’s living room. Stepping indoors from a sticky heat, he and Newtown resident Laurie McCollum looked at four-foot-high wooden panels, several of which will complete a 12- by 12-foot veterans mural for Newtown. He hopes to assemble and hang the finished work in October or November in the main hallway of Newtown Municipal Center. The work, which Mr Merrill began in April 2012, will contain the names of Newtown’s men and women who have served in the Armed Forces since 1971 when it is completed. Iconic military and patriotic images cover spaces between the intricate sea of names. Creating a theme for the mural, other wording includes “honor,” “courage,” “commitment.”
“A Glimpse Of The Garden” is a seasonal miniseries focusing on the heart of a gardener’s work — a special spot, an extraordinary plant, a place of respite, or a place that evokes a heartfelt memory. Chris Lincoln, who set out to create a little piece of tranquility three summers ago, feels some bit of pride in knowing that her gardens are the works of her own hands.
Efforts to share stories about inspiring teachers in the early stages of planning Saturday’s Great Newtown Reunion reunited one former Newtown student with a teacher who had deeply impacted her life. In the wake of 12/14, Kandice (Cohen) Castellino, a Head O’ Meadow, Newtown Middle School and Newtown High School alumnus, realized how vital it was to acknowledge the amazing educators she learned from throughout her time in the Newtown school system. One teacher in particular stuck out in her memory. “Mrs Koonce was exuberant,” Ms Castellino said of her seventh grade general science teacher at NMS. She remembers the 1995-96 school year with Nancy Koonce fondly, recalling enlightening discussions instead of cookie cutter lectures, her teacher’s vast knowledge of all sciences, from geology and biology to physics, and their class’s awe at National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) initial hope to colonize the moon by 2007.
On a blazingly hot and humid July 19, midway through the first session of the non-profit Jessica’s Camp horse training scholarship program, a half-dozen 6- and 7-year-old girls who are learning about things equine gathered near a corral at Kings Bridge Farm. Members of the New Jersey Pinto Horse Association opened a large horse trailer there and began giving the young girls a variety of horse-related items intended to equip them as they work toward becoming equestrians. The girls were the first participants in the Jessica’s Camp scholarship program, which provides equine training for children in need. The program is an outgrowth of The Jessica Rekos Memorial Fund.
The Newtown Junior Action Alliance (NJAA) group has created an online survey for Newtown High School and Newtown Middle School students to fill out. The survey asks three questions, and will help NJAA members set up a fall event that Sarah Clements, who head of NJAA, said will focus on “transforming tragedy into positive change.” NJAA is looking to hold their event in the fall, but an exact time and date has not been set. She also said it will most likely be held at Newtown High School. In early April a number of Newtown High School students attended PeaceJam New England, a conference held at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, that featured Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and workshops on topics such as peace building and activism as service. PeaceJam New England was such a life changing event for many that members of NJAA wanted to bring something like it to Newtown.
The Town & Country Garden Club supports three of the floral islands that beautify intersections in the Borough: one at the intersection of Queen Street and Church Hill Road; one at the intersection of Glover Avenue and Route 25; and one where Queen Street and Glover Avenue meet. An ongoing difficulty has become a crisis in the recent spells of hot weather, that of adequately watering the island gardens. Established shrubs and native plants can withstand a dry spell, but rose bushes, potted plants, and annuals suffer. Members are hoping that stronger individuals or members of Scout groups or other clubs might be able to take on the task of keeping the gardens watered this summer and into the fall.