The 14th Annual Great Pootatuck Duck Race will be taking place this year — as it pretty much has for the past 13 years — on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Astute residents may have also noticed that fliers and banners being posted around town this month have an addition to the name of this year’s event: Town Festival. Newtown Lions Club, who created and has been running the Duck Race for 13 years, has teamed up with Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) to present The Great Pootatuck Duck Race & Town Festival on Saturday, May 24. The Lions are sponsoring the event; SHOP is serving as its host. The partnership will return Duck Race Day to its original presentation: a festival that felt more like a street fair.
Co-authors of "the Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last" Meryl and Stewart Ain, local clergy members, and representatives of Ben’s Lighthouse and The Caroline Previdi Foundation spoke during a Healing, Transformative Gathering hosted by Congregation Adath Israel on Sunday, May 4. Several local clergy members offered prayers and words of healing during the event, and both Dr Ain and Mr Ain spoke about their work in creating The Living Memories Project. While a small group attended the event, Rabbi Shaul Praver said holding the event was a significant step. Newtown, Rabbi Praver explained, endured something unimaginable in December 2012, and events like the one held on May 4 offer ways of turning the corner toward love.
May is National Bike Month, and for those with pedal power, Bike Walk Connecticut has proclaimed the week of May 12–16 as Bike To Work Week. The less ambitious might want to partake of Bike To Work Day, scheduled for Friday, May 16. Numerous towns around the state have organized celebrations of bicycling as a means of transportation. There is no need to be a full-time bicycling enthusiast to make this sport a regular part of the work or play day routine. Anybody can challenge him or herself, even if bicycling is only a memory of youth. At Sandy Hook Cyclery in Sandy Hook, owner Terrance Ford is working to improve bike culture awareness. An avid bicyclist, who bikes anywhere from a couple of miles to 100 miles every week, Mr Ford said there are a number of things that could be done to encourage the sport.
Samantha “Sammy” Kuruc, 9, is “an amazing little girl who has been through a lot,” said her mother Jill Kuruc. Sammy was among the Sandy Hook School students who fled the building on 12/14. “My daughter described vividly” things that she saw and heard and will never forget, Ms Kuruc said. “There isn’t a kid I know that isn’t different…the things they don’t feel comfortable doing, the things they’re afraid of…” Sammy's recovery led to many connections during the past 16 months, including one therapy dog, its handler, and an award-winning journalist who recently traveled from Tacoma, Washington, to surprise Sammy with a special gift.
The SCAN Spring Juried Show & Sale opened on Saturday, May 3, but the show formally opened a public reception held on the afternoon of Sunday, May 4. Over $1,000 in cash prizes were awarded for a number of works in the show on Sunday afternoon, including “Smile,” a pastel by Harry Burman. Mr Burman’s work received the group’s top honor, The Larry Newquist Award For Excellence/Best in Show. It was the second consecutive win of the Best in Show award for the artist. This year’s juried exhibition offers 119 traditional as well as contemporary works in oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, mixed media, graphics and sculpture are on display in the library’s lower meeting room for the event. It is on view until May 11.
It was a different kind of father-daughter road trip, when Dr Steven Landin and his daughter Melissa set out March 21 for Bradley International Airport and a long day’s journey to Honduras.
Dr Landin and Melissa were part of a 32-member dental mission team to Comayagua, Honduras, from the University of Connecticut, where Melissa is a junior in the dental program.
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked Honduras for a place to go,” admitted Dr Landin, a general dentist with a practice on Main Street in Newtown. “I was a little nervous. Honduras is the Wild West, and US travel advisories tell you ‘Don’t go out alone. Don’t go out at night. Travel in groups.’ Kidnappings of Americans are on the rise, so you have to be very careful. But Melissa selected the mission and asked me to be a part of it,” he said. Realizing that dental need is great in Honduras, Dr Landin agreed to go.
“Hunger is in everyone’s backyard,” including Newtown, said Allysa De Wolf, the assistant minister at Newtown Congregational Church. Two food pantries, FAITH in the basement of St John’s Episcopal Church on Washington Avenue, and the Salvation Army food pantry in Town Hall South, serve residents year round, and the number of people who make use of the pantries has increased in recent years. Hunger and homelessness need to be talked about, she said, and with that in mind, Ms De Wolf has organized a special program, “The Face of Poverty and Homelessness.” The program, sponsored by the Newtown Congregational Church Human Service Committee, will take place Tuesday evening, May 13, from 7 to 9 pm, in the lower level library of Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street, and is open to the public.