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The Top of the Mountain

I may be a bit behind the times, or felines, but I just learned this week that cat cafes are a popular Japanese hang out spot where caffeine aficionados can enjoy their favorite beverage in the presence of cats. I haven’t been able to find one in Connecticut, but if one was to open up in Newtown, you know who would be its first customer!

FAITH Food Pantry was visited by three Girl Scouts recently, who brought smiles and donations from their homes in Saddle River, N.J. Alexa Foley, Nicole Kalinowski, and Jennifer Troyano coordinated a nonperishables collection, and then Jennifer’s mom, Jean, drove the three to Sandy Hook so that the girls could deliver everything. The girls dedicated their efforts toward Sandy Hook because Mrs Troyano grew up in nearby Waterbury, and was “so upset about what happened” on 12/14, said food pantry co-chair Nancy Taylor. “These were 10-year-old kids, and they were just wonderful,” added co-chair Lee Paulsen. “We haven’t seen food donations like that in a while.” The food pantry is once again in need of donations, of cash or nonperishables. Volunteers are in the undercroft of St John’s Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook each Tuesday morning, from 10 am until noon, and Thursday evenings, from 6 to 8 pm. Give Lee a call, 203-426-5604, for suggestions, but they assure me nearly everything would be welcomed to help fill the bare shelves and cupboards.

It was up, up, and away for Newtown resident Christopher Eide. We hear he joined teachers from around the world to embark on a learning adventure of a lifetime this June, during the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy program. Honeywell awarded 210 scholarships to teachers from 27 countries and 42 states to attend its simulated astronaut training and professional development program at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Christopher has taught math and science for two years at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury. The local teacher took part in 45 hours of professional development, as well as an intensive educator curriculum focused on space science and exploration. Each teacher was also scheduled to undergo simulated astronaut training, including a high-performance jet simulation, scenario-based space mission, land and water survival training, interactive flight dynamics programs. Can’t wait to hear more of his high-flying adventures!

Abbott Tech’s Class of 2013 had a surprise guest during its graduation ceremony on June 17 — Newtown High School Class of 2010 grad and US Navy Seaman Dustin Hanson was home to hand younger brother Dylan his diploma (see full story in the June 21 Newtown Bee Education pages) — but one graduate had another surprise waiting for her after the ceremony. An engine from Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co. was parked outside the Danbury school, and a few members of the company were also there, waiting to congratulate firefighter Erica Knapp on her achievement. We send congratulations to Erica, and all of the 2013 high school and college graduates.

The Great Newtown Reunion continues to work on its plans for Saturday, June 27 (see John Voket’s latest story this week on page A-9), but one class is still moving forward with plans of its own. The Newtown High School Class of 1953 will hold its 60th anniversary reunion on Sunday, July 14, at 160 Main. Dinner is at 1 pm, and 23 classmates, spouses, partners and friends have already signed up for the gathering at the South Main Street restaurant. If you are interested, or know of anyone who should be at this gathering, give Bob Brown a call at 860-354-4190.

Tim Stan, who created the very popular green and white We Are Newtown | We Choose Love window signs (and magnets, and bumper stickers) has a new offering of his design: canvas tote bags. Tim visited The Bee’s office last Friday and had more magnets, along with green tote bags with that familiar phrase printed on them. The bags are about 18 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and open to about 7 inches, with printing on one side. Like the magnets (which are still available at The Bee’s office), the bags are $5 each, with proceeds to continue being donated to community-based organizations that provide counseling services to those who need it following 12/14. The new bags are available at The Newtown Bee office, 5 Church Hill Road; Pizza Palace Restaurant, 65 Church Hill Road; and The Toy Tree, 115 Church Hill Road.

Newtown United Methodist Church will host a special evening of music on Saturday, July 13. “Presenting: Anne and Pete Sibley” will be a fundraiser for the continued outreach to Newtown community programs by the Church Hill Road house of worship. The performance will begin at 7 pm, and there is a suggested donation of $15. The Sibleys “don’t just play music, they feel it deeply in their souls,” says fellow musician Betse Ellis. “Their harmonies take you to a peaceful place … it’s beautiful stuff, crafted with loving skill,” she added. And if that surname sounds a little familiar, there is good reason for that. Pete and Anne are a son and daughter-in-law of NUMC Associate Pastor Jane Sibley. For tickets or additional information, call 203-426-9998 or 203-426-4746.

Finally this week, we received a thank-you note from Reed School’s Odyssey of the Mind team. “The Einstein Monkeys would like to thank the Newtown community for all their generous donations which allowed us to travel to Michigan to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. We were excited to have placed 17th in our division! We would especially like to thank the following businesses for their support: Bagel Delight, Ferris Acres Creamery, McKenney Mechanical, Taunton Press, Dental Associates, Newtown Power and Equipment, and Anne Lynn. A special congratulations to Max Barbagallo from Sandy Hook for guessing how many candies were in our candy guessing jar. Way to go Max! Again, thank you very much.”

I promise to always remember to send out thank-you notes too, even if I fall behind, as long as you remember to … read me again.

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