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The Top of the Mountain

There were many unsettled emotions swirling about town last Friday, June 14, and it seems that Mother Nature felt equally unsettled. At about 8 pm on Friday, June 14, Kitten Associates Founder Robin Olson saw this funnel-shaped cloud form over Sandy Hook from Route 34, as well as a mesocyclone (rising air that rotates around a vertical axis) that spawned the funnel. Robin took photos to prove it and shared it with me for publication. She tells me she is, “Glad it didn’t form a tornado…” Me too, Robin. I hear tornados do nothing for perfectly coiffed felines!

Newtown mom Julie Hasselberger is seeking some assistance, ASAP. Her 15-year-old son Daniel has a rare brain deformity called polymicrogyria, requiring much special care and equipment. Now the family is having “a bit of emergency because Daniel’s van lift has stopped working and repairs are a killer,” Julie says. Graduation is Saturday, and the family doesn’t know what they will do, as Daniel does not want to miss out on his sister Sarah’s graduation. If anyone can help Daniel’s family before the Saturday morning graduation especially, please call Julie at 203-788-9602.

They didn’t monkey around when they were soliciting donations, and they are not monkeying around now. The Reed Intermediate School Odyssey of the Mind “Einstein Monkeys” give heartfelt thanks to the Newtown community for its generous donations that allowed the team to travel to Michigan last month to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Their monkeyshines paid off to the extent that the group placed 17th in the division, I hear. Special thanks go out to Bagel Delight, Ferris Acres Creamery, McKenney Mechanical, Taunton Press, Dental Associates, Newtown Power & Equipment, and Anne Lynn. The Einstein Monkeys also want to congratulate Max Barbagallo of Sandy Hook, who guessed the correct number of candies in the Monkeys’ candy guessing jar contest.

In conjunction with this Sunday’s noon to 4 pm open house at The Matthew Curtiss House, Town Historian Dan Cruson will be leading a walking tour of the oldest sections of the Village Cemetery, Newtown’s primary cemetery. Meet at the main entrance to the burial ground on Elm Drive, a 1 pm, and wear comfortable shoes. Dan will begin by explaining the 19th Century burial area, and then offer a detailed explanation of the 18th Century section, including how it was laid out and why some of the headstones appear the way they do. Participants are invited to visit the Curtiss House on Main Street afterward for light refreshments and another dose of history.

Mark your calendars for Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, June 24–26, when C.H. Booth Library is hosting open house days for residents to bid farewell to library director Janet Woycik. Janet has served the public in this capacity for more than 30 years, and will be retiring as of June 30. Refreshments will be served each day, and Janet is looking forward to seeing the many, many Newtowners she has come to know, so stop by anytime during regular library hours. (I’m guessing she has checked out all of the books she has not had time to read these past three decades, and will be wallowing in literature in her retirement.)

There’s nothing better than a good stretch, and if you feel the same, check out the free Community Yoga, Saturday, June 22, at The Graceful Planet. Ab Express starts at 8:30 am and Hatha Yoga at 9 am. The Graceful Planet is at 7 Berkshire Road (Route 34) in Sandy Hook. For information call 203-426-8215.

Look for ticket information coming soon, regarding the first annual Party for Promise that will take place at Fairfield Hills, July 26, from 6 to 10 pm. The Party is open to anyone who believes now is the time for change and healing, and will present a very special evening of remembrance, friendship, and entertainment. The benefit serves a dual mission: to raise funds for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation and to thank the many people who have made the organization a success and played a critical role in helping families, survivors, teachers, first responders, and others in our community most affected by the tragedy of 12/14. Local musicians, including Sandy Hook parents Mark Barden, Francine Wheeler, and Jimmy Greene, along with other special guests, will provide music. Beer, cocktails, and wine will be available, thanks to donations by purveyors. Enjoy food from gourmet food trucks and local establishments. A charity auction will take place. Stay up to date and find out more at www.Facebook.com/SandyHookPromise.

Newtown Congregational Preschool director Kathy Murdy is sad to be closing the preschool, but finding some happiness — and surprises — in the disbursement of school supplies. “We had decided to give all of our teaching manipulatives that we use in the classroom to some teacher in Bridgeport who pays, as many of us teachers do, for supplies in her classroom. Abby, our board president, knew a teacher,” says Kathy, so they packed up Abby’s truck and gave it all to this teacher. “This is where it gets good,” Kathy adds. “When I looked at the paperwork for our move, I recognized the name.” The teacher had been a student at Newtown Congregational Preschool. The teacher recognized Kathy’s name, and came to the school’s farewell party to thank her. “How special was that?  We found more things for her school. It was a good thing,” Kathy says. “Everything worked out well and others were able to benefit from our closing. I could not have been happier with the way things fell into place.”

As usual, I’m hoping plenty of news will fall into place for me. Be sure next week to… Read me again.

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