Newtown Bee readers last month were invited to drop off donations, items to be sent to servicemen and women currently deployed, in honor of the Memorial Day holiday. The Bee began running the annual collection in 2011, with the intent of having anything dropped off at its Church Hill Road office then provided to the VFW so that everything could then be sent off to Newtown residents serving overseas. This year, however, there was a catch: the local VFW post is not currently following any Newtown residents, which was not realized until midway through the collection period last month. VFW Post 308 Chaplain Donna Monteleone Randle said this week the problem was not insurmountable.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, solo artist and Byrds front man and primary songwriter Roger McGuinn has reached a point in his nearly 60 year musical journey where he has arrived back where he started. And the celebrated musician has found himself not only enjoying, but delving deep into the music of his youth - American folk. During a candid and exclusive interview with The Newtown Bee ahead of his planned June 12 solo appearance at the Ridgefield Playhouse, McGuinn chatted about the various flavors of folk he enjoys exploring and playing, from traditional cowboy songs, to American sea shanties, to music from the deep south and the often haunting melodies of Appalachia. He also deconstructed his “King of the Hill” single, and revealed how his endearing Byrds hit, “Chestnut Mare” originally came to life as part of a failed stage musical called Gene Tryp.
A cool and sunny Wednesday morning found Dawn Ussery pulling out weeds at The Victory Garden. She, Maureen Friedman, and Caryne-Lynne Davis, volunteers from The Taunton Press, cleaned up several rows at the community garden in Fairfield Hills, just one of many teams participating the United Way of Western Connecticut’s (UWWC) Day of Action on June 3. The garden’s harvest is donated to the town’s food pantries. The women were part of nearly 550 volunteers from 27 companies completing projects in towns including Newtown, according to UWWC. Also at work in Newtown was a team from Newtown Savings Bank doing outdoor gardening, yardwork and maintenance at the Children’s Adventure Center, and a team from UTC Aerospace worked on the exterior paint, driveway, and landscaping at the Ability Beyond group home, 2 Old Hawleyville Road.
Health Day, the online “News for Healthier Living” newsletter, notes in a November 2014 article that a study of more than 7,000 Americans found “the higher people scored on a ‘purpose in life’ scale, the more likely they were to get various [health] screening tests over the next six years.” People who found their lives to be purposeful tended to spend less time in hospitals and were more likely to spend time on preventative health care. Having purpose in life is vital to well-being, said Andrea Ellen, vice president of marketing and communications for Maplewood Senior Living, especially as people age. “As people coexist and go through life, people feel good about having a sense of purpose,” she said, and at Maplewood at Newtown there is a thriving example of the positive effects of having a reason to rise and shine each morning, she said.
“What does it mean to have a collection?” Writer Renata Adler considered that question one recent morning, passing her fingers down the long braid that drapes over her right shoulder, much the same as in the 1978 Richard Avedon photo of her that graces the cover of her latest book. “I guess I haven’t really thought about that,” she answered. It is a question worth asking, though, as "After The Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction" by Ms Adler was released April 7.
Newtown native David Egee needed to have a project after retiring several years ago. He rented a small 10-foot by 9-foot office in London, where he has lived since 1979, “with bare walls and a skylight.” In it was “an empty desk with a spiral notebook, pencils ..." In that space Mr Egee over several years completed his memoir. Released in February, the book portrays his life of travel, family, business ventures, and memories of his time growing up in Newtown.
A special event showcasing the literary, performing, and visual artistic support of Newtown’s student community, “The Power of Purple: A Festival of the Arts” will be presented Friday, June 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at Reed Intermediate School. Presented one week before Newtown’s 2015 Relay For Life, “The Power of Purple” will offer performances by students of local dance studios, works by students of four Newtown public schools, vocal performances, the screening of a student film, and poetry by students in one Newtown High School English class. In addition, there will also be performances by Connecticut recording artist Stevie Fresco, lyrical dance by Ridhi Sahani (NHS Class of 2014), a vocal performance by Michelle Zarifis (‘14), and the screening of a short film by NHS sophomore Collin Todd. The event is open to the public, free of charge. Newtown Relay For Life team members will also be on hand for “The Power of Purple.”