The Top of the Mountain

My back arched and my tail stood up straight last week when I heard about two acts of vandalism at Sandy Ground playgrounds, built in the tri-state area to honor each woman and child killed on 12/14. In another show of love winning over evil, however, both senseless acts have been turned on their head. Nelba Marquez-Greene has said that she would like to have a message board installed at the playground in Hartford honoring her daughter, Ana Marquez-Greene. That addition, she hopes, would allow messages of love and strength to be left there instead of painted on equipment and elsewhere. In addition, after learning that a vinyl peace sign had been stolen from the Mystic playground built less than two weeks ago to honor Grace McDonnell, The Sandy Ground Foundation — the group fundraising and leading the builds of all of the playgrounds — said on Tuesday that many people had offered to donate funds to replace that sign. “We have decided to use every offer to replace the sign to create multiple peace signs that will not only hang at the playground, but all over the Mystic community and hopefully the country,” the group announced May 13 on its Facebook page.

In honor of Betty Christensen’s 99th birthday this year, the Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN) included an award with the Newtown artist’s name as part of its 44th Annual Spring Juried Art Show. The winner of that award was Ron DeFelice, “a Sandy Hook artist who did a fabulous oil painting of the view from Ferris Creamery,” said Show Chair Mary-Barrett Anders. In a sweet turn of events, Betty also earned an award from this SCAN show. Jurors selected one of her watercolors, called “Back Alley,” for a Savings Bank of Danbury Award. That’s one way to celebrate a birthday.

We have coyotes, the occasional bear sightings, and the very rare moose sightings here in Newtown. For a few more weeks Relay For Life of Newtown’s Team Giggles For A Cure will continue to provide sightings of pink flamingos as they continue to fundraiser for this year’s Relay. Want to send a flock of flamingos to a home or business in Newtown? Contact TeamGigglesForACure@gmail.com for details. The team asks for a $20 donation per flocking, and all donations will then go to the American Cancer Society.

Kathleen Gadoci had a special sighting at her bird feeder this past weekend, and was lucky enough to capture some photos of the beautiful, bright blue Indigo Bunting bird. She was nice enough to share it with me, too, knowing what a connoisseur of birds I am!

Speaking of blue birds, Newtown Girl Scout Troop 50651 saw a somewhat familiar sight while on their April tour of Europe. In London’s Trafalgar Square, they could not resist taking a picture of a very blue rooster.  The rooster, a sculpture by Katharina Fritsch, is the symbol of France, and our scouts caught it during its brief 18-month display in London.

Donate $10 per person, and enjoy a Girls’ Night Out at Ben’s Bells Newtown, Saturday evening, May 17, from 8 to 11 pm. Bring a friend, come alone, or register a group. BYOB or just enjoy the supplied refreshments as you work to spread bells of kindness. Visit https://gno-may17.eventbrite.com to register. There’s still time; but if you can’t get in this month, the next GNO is already on the calendar for June 21.

I’ve had a hard time springing into the springtime mood this year. One warm day followed by another “put on the fur” day has me in a tizzy. But I know that gardens have been growing, anyway. If you have a special place in your garden, a special plant, or an extraordinary feature you would like to share with Bee readers, contact Nancy@thebee.com, and be part of the summer series “A Glimpse of the Garden.”

Do you have extra time on your hands? Sandy Hook Promise is in need of volunteers to assist in the Newtown office, in a variety of capacities. Give Betsy at call at 203-304-9780 to find out details on how you can help out.

The Sandy Hook Baptist Church will host a series of Get Acquainted Meetings at its new location, the rear building at 111 Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook Center. The meetings are planned for Monday–Friday, May 19–23, at 7 pm. Pastor Chris Camp and members hope others will stop in to learn about the church. Services are Sunday at 10:30 am and 2 pm, and Thursday at 2 pm. Call 203-426-9041 or 203-231-1821 for information.

While out enjoying Monday afternoon, Andrea Zimmermann and Dan Cruson noticed a card made out to “Zach” at the side of the road. Since their stroll took them past The Bee shortly after, the pair dropped off the card (along with a gift card enclosed), hoping my column would help find the owner. It turns out I wasn’t needed. Education reporter Eliza Hallabeck noted Newtown High School student Zach Weiland strolling down Church Hill Road, put two and two together, and contacted Zach’s Odyssey of the Mind Coach Robin Fitzgerald, to help contact him. It was his card, and he has since been reunited with it. Dan and Andrea, here’s a Good Egg Award for you to share!

It’s no wonder that Dan and Andrea thought of my column. You might recall that last week, Bee employee Ann Kugielsky picked up two perfectly fine, stuffed animals abandoned at the roadside, brought them in to the office, and we put their sad little picture in my column. The magic worked. On Monday, Debbie DeBlasi stopped by the office to claim the lion and the piggy puppet. It seems Newtown’s own little Toy Story had taken place… Debbie had loaded up some of the less loved (or so she thought) stuffed toys lying around the house and was headed off to donate them to charity. Somewhere along Brushy Hill Road, though, the lion and pig apparently decided they wanted no part of it, and bailed. When Debbie saw their photo in the Top of the Mountain last week, her first thought was how odd that someone else had a lion like the one she had given away… Then she thought, what are the chances someone else would have the same lion and the same pig? Zilch. So, Debbie gave the lion and the pig a ride back home on Monday. We have proof that they made it back — Debbie sent this photo of her son, Nicholas, overjoyed to have the duo back.  Formerly known merely as “Lion” and “Pig,” Nicholas has rechristened them “Sunny,” for the lion’s sunlike mane, and “Wilbur,” after the pig in Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White. All’s well that ends well. At least Sunny and Wilbur won’t be borrowing Toy Story’s Hamm the Piggy Bank’s quote: “C’mon. Let’s go see how much we’re going for on eBay.”

I don’t want to find myself boxed up and shipped off for places unknown, so I’ll keep my paws busy typing out the news you want to know. You can do your part by promising to… Read me again.

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