It was May 1, 1989, when Marilyn Place walked into the Senior Center at 14 Riverside Road. A mother of two “who volunteered all over the place,” Ms Place was stepping into a part-time position as coordinator of programs, working under Senior Center director Marvi Fast. She had no idea that within weeks, with Ms Fast out on an extended sick leave, she would be catapulted into a position as acting director, and that two years later, she would find herself in the top position. “Twenty-five years went by like this,” exclaimed Ms Place, snapping her fingers. Seated in her office, where piles of papers and craft materials adorn every surface, and mementos given to her by Senior Center members serve as décor, she reflected on the quarter of a century of serving and loving Newtown’s senior citizens.
Prompting residents to get “outside in the sweet spring sunshine,” the Newtown Earth Day is encouraging visitors to “Discover the wonders of nature” at the 7th Annual Earth Day celebration. Scheduled for Saturday, April 26, between 10 am and 4 pm, at Newtown Middle School, the upcoming Earth Day Festival promises “tons of kids’ activities,” including the Sharon Audubon’s birds of prey exhibit, where live birds will be present. Live music, a silent auction, “tasty food,” a vendors’ fair and more await guests at the annual spring festival that is aimed at helping the community “learn how to become a bit more green,” also according to the website. Earth Day Committee member Bill Buchler is “proud,” he said, that the day, growing in popularity each year, has become a “bona fide” event.
Splashes of deep purple, blues, and whites speckle a hillside at Treadwell Park. On Wednesday, April 9, late afternoon sunlight gave the small crocus petals an early spring glow. Brid Craddock walked with her husband Harvey Pessin, stepping carefully through the flower clusters. “This is great,” Ms Craddock said. “There are quite a lot.” A swath of color dotted the sloping ground where hundreds of crocuses had emerged, with more to come. Roughly 10,000 bulbs are planted there. Aside from crocuses, there are “a mix of cultivars that will come up throughout the year,” Mr Pessin said. The bulbs were a gift to town, received within days of 12/14. The Parks and Recreation Department had then asked for help, and Mr Pessin and his wife soon had a team of more than 100 volunteers eager to help plant the bulbs in honor of the shooting victims. Volunteers of all ages descended on Treadwell Park on Saturday, December 22, 2012, to plant the donations.
The 2014 Daniel Barden Highland Mudfest was held last weekend, and more than 1,100 people paid to run, walk, and romp in the mud for a few hours in New York. A large percentage of that number were people from Newtown, including the immediate family of the event’s namesake. The Daniel Barden Mudfest was created last year to honor and celebrate the life of Daniel Barden, one of the children killed on 12/14. The event was launched by Dan Williams, a family friend of the Bardens who came up with the event while seeking a way to support the family. The 5K obstacle race also offers a half-mile Half Pint Kids’ Fun Run for ages 5-12, as well as an additional five-mile timed Mud Run for elite athletes. Mark Barden said the idea of helping others, especially strangers, through the course was part of the plan. “It’s pretty much impossible to do this alone,” said Mr Barden. “This idea of helping hands was designed right into the course. And that goes right into our little Daniel’s spirit of being a little helper, and looking out for the people around him."
There are a lot of good things to say about eggs. An affordable source of high quality protein, even when paying for the priciest organic eggs, they contain numerous vitamins and minerals, unsaturated fat, and antioxidants. Two of those antioxidants, lutein and zeaxantin, are vital for eye health. Choline is crucial for healthy brain function. The egg is extremely versatile in cooking, and delicious — two qualities that make it an essential in the kitchen. But Easter time is approaching, and I have hard-boiled eggs on my mind. I don’t know about you, but besides the religious rituals, Easter means bunnies and colored eggs, to me. The rabbits I can do without, but colored eggs are not something I want to skip.
For the fourth year in a row, Newtown High School Odyssey of the Mind team members are gearing up to offer the annual Bunny Watch, a fundraiser for the group to attend the World Finals of the problem-solving competition. Odyssey of the Mind is the largest intellectual competition in the world. Teams of up to seven students select and solve one of five long-term problems that they present at the annual state competitions. The top 30 teams in each competing state then head to World Finals, where teams from more than 30 countries come together in the spirit of international competition. This year’s Odyssey of the Mind World Finals will be held at the end of May in Ames, Iowa. A number of Newtown’s Odyssey of the Mind teams will be attending World Finals. This year’s Bunny Watch is set for 10 am to 4 pm, Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19. It is once again being held on the Fairfield Hills campus, behind Glander Field. Rides will cost $5 per person and each participant will be given a tally sheet to “count” each bunny seen along the path. Additional activities will also be offered during the two-day event, including an inflatable slide.
Fairfield County Chef’s Table, Extraordinary Recipes From Connecticut’s Gold Coast, released March 3 by Globe Pequot Press, is a book of recipes and photographs from more than 50 of Fairfield County’s restaurants, and the stories of the chefs behind the food. It is a collaboration by photographer Stephanie Webster, editor in chief and founder of CTbites.com, and Newtown native Amy Kundrat, who is the executive editor of that award winning website. The book builds on the brand recognition generated by CTbites, said Ms Kundrat. “About two years ago, I thought that a recipe book about the chefs and Fairfield County food scene would be great, so I pitched it to Pequot Press,” she said. It was an idea well received, and she set about determining who and what would be featured in the book. Fairfield County Chef's Table is one in a series of similar books published by Globe Pequot Press featuring cities and regions from across the country, with unique content by the authors.