The late author Rachel Carson is often credited with awakening Americans to the hazards of DDT contamination in the food chain. But eight years before Rachel Carson cautioned the world about the dangers of the pesticide in her 1962 book, "Silent Spring," another voice was was calling in the wilderness. Newtown resident Garry Ober recently brought to the attention of The Newtown Bee a letter published in the paper in April 1954. His son-in-law, Ethan Mannon, pursuing his doctorate at Penn State University, traveled to Ohio in the fall to study the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, a 20th Century conservationist. Tucked in among the writer’s notes were two clippings, one published in The Newtown Bee, and another letter to the paper that appears not to have made it into print. Both were written by a man identified as Alfred Nelson, a resident of Newtown. The content revealed an early cautioning statement regarding upcoming DDT spraying in Newtown and surrounding communities.
Birds are amazing, says Garden Club of Newtown President Holly Kocet. Birds will stay busy at feeders year round, Ms Kocet has noticed, and it isn't difficult to keep them healthy with the right offerings. Fat and water are important in the winter, when berries and seeds diminish. Margaret Robbins, of Wild Birds Unlimited in Brookfield, agrees. “Backyard feeding becomes critical when it’s frigid or there is snow cover and they can’t get at food," she said. "At times like that their chances of survival are better with feeders.” The energy to stay warm can cost a bird as much as ten percent of its bodyweight in a day, she said. In addition to food for energy, birds will also accept help when it comes to finding a home for the winter. Roosting boxes or winterized birdhouses can help birds stay warm during this coldest time of the year.
A chorus of voices spilled from The Alexandria Room Tuesday afternoon as various outreach and community-based groups networked at Edmond Town Hall. Representatives from groups such as HealingNewtown, Cullens Youth Association, Kevin’s Community Center, Newtown Memorial Fund, Newtown Youth & Family Services, and Sandy Hook Promise — representing foundations that had long been established as well those formed in the wake of 12/14 — and more gathered on January 14 for the first-of-its-kind event, bringing together the charities, service providers, community groups, and support foundations. Greeting guests was Elizabeth Rallo of GE, which initiated the event. The banquet hall quickly filled with guests displaying their group’s information to share with the others.
Garrett William Hydeck, Jr, edged out his closest competitor for the title of Newtown’s First Baby 2014 by less than 12 hours. Garrett, the son of Stephanie Masciola and Garrett Hydeck, Sr, was born on Thursday, January 2, at 8:45 am, at Yale Children’s Hospital. The Bee also heard from Kadri and Anthony Graffeo, whose son Thomas was born at 8:24 pm January 2. All other “competitors” were born January 3 or later. The winner of the 54th annual First Baby title from The Newtown Bee, Garrett was born within the time frame his parents and doctor had calculated, although his weight was a little higher than his mother had expected. “The contractions started right after midnight,” Stephanie said January 15. “There was about 30 minutes of pushing that started around 8:15, and then he came right out. That was a surprise.” As has long been tradition for this contest, Garrett Hydeck, Jr, not only has earned an honorary title that is his for the rest of his life, he and his parents have also been awarded a large collection of prizes.
Mary Kate Halmose wants to start a lending library-type program at several town parks. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she pictures a weather-protected enclosure for Dickinson and Treadwell Parks, and Eichler’s Cove Marina.
Sitting before the Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday, January 14, she offered her ideas and answered questions.
Member Jan Brookes asked, “So, some people could donate books, and others could borrow?”
Artwork created by five students at Newtown High School is featured in the 2014 Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards show, on display at the Tilpe Gallery, at the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School in West Hartford. The works by Rebecca Ainley, Hannah Godbout, Katherine Jennings, Abigail Kohler and Isabella Saraceni will remain on view until January 29. The show is the largest juried student art exhibition in the state. According to NHS art teacher Carol Pelligra the pieces were juried from over 1,200 entries from throughout the state. Ms Pelligra said each of the students who have work featured in the show are “remarkable kids, and they all worked so hard.”
What a permanent memorial to 12/14 will eventually be is the challenge given to the newly formed Permanent Memorial Commission in Newtown. Many suggestions catalogued by the organization involve greenery, from trees with benches to donated evergreens to park spaces. The creation of memorial parks at Fairfield Hills or at Sandy Hook Elementary School with Feng Shui elements are among the ideas, as is the suggestion for a park, a landscaped walkway for exercise and meditation, a memorial bridge, a street naming, a memorial horse barn, an art museum or gallery, a children’s museum, or a memorial carousel. It will be a daunting task for members of the commission, some of whom lost loved ones that day, to sift through the suggestions that have been offered by people across the nation, and perhaps solicit additional ideas, in search for one formal memorial to the victims of 12/14.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Martin Sexton is very interested in discussing the future, and even what he is up to currently. Just don’t ask him to talk about his youth or the earlier part of his musical career. Both his publicist and the artist himself indicated that any questions about his background would not be welcome during a brief chat with The Newtown Bee ahead of his scheduled January 18 show at The Ridgefield Playhouse. So those who want to know more about Sexton’s history can tap bio information available on his Facebook page, or on sites like Wikipedia. During his interview with The Bee, Sexton talked about his latest writing phase, plans for his next project, his friendship with Connecticut's own John Mayer, and what he's planning for fans coming out to see him in Ridgefield.