Valentine’s Day came a little early for some of Newtown’s youngest as well as the town’s most experienced residents. For the second year in a row, the Newtown Youth Basketball Association (NYBA) teamed with Newtown High School’s girls’ basketball program, the cheerleaders, and the NHS culinary department to hold Senior Citizen Appreciation Night, a pre-Valentine’s Day dinner for the community’s senior citizens.This year’s event, which was held at Newtown High on February 6, drew 60 seniors who were greeted by elementary school-age and high school basketball players.
Beth Bogdan visited Newtown the weekend of January 31-February 2, and spent time that Saturday at The Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN). There, she and RCN Founder Stephanie Cinque packed up items that had been sold during the Second Annual Music For Newtown Auction. Over $6,500 was raised for the non-profit organization that provides free and confidential services, programs, and events to assist in the healing process for anyone in the greater Newtown community impacted by the events of 12/14. Both auctions have featured special and/or limited edition items related to music. Artists including Black Sabbath, Florida Georgia Line, and Lorde were among the first to donate items to this year’s event. By the time the auction went live on January 22, items included an autographed guitar from Anberlin, signed posters from Neon Trees and Colbie Caillat; signed photos from Nickelback and Psy; signed CDs from Bon Jovi, Cassadee Pope, and Ben Howard; signed vinyl from Jack Johnson; and a signed set list from The Naked and Famous.
Her name may be Sunny with a light gold and white coat, but her prospects for adoption have not been bright. She has twice left the shelter for a new home, and then been returned. Newtown Animal Control Board Chair Adria Henderson described the 4-year old dog as “beautiful, gentle, well mannered.” Sunny was among the first arrivals at the Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center when it opened two summers ago. She lives up to her name until her owners leave her home alone, said Ms Henderson. Hoping to help the “loving, gentle girl,” Ms Henderson, local animal proponents, and the animal control staff have been working to reduce Sunny’s anxiety.
As soon as residents cleared snow from walkways, streets, and lots that blanketed the town on Monday, the sky opened up again. Wednesday morning brought a second round of path and driveway clearing, as between six and nine inches of snow topped Monday’s precipitation. By early afternoon Wednesday, the blustery white flakes turned into rain.
School was canceled twice this week, and public works crews and private contractors alike put in plenty of overtime. Monday’s storm arrived around 5 am and continued very steadily until early evening.
Town employees reported to work by 4 am, and were on the roads within the hour.
“We anticipated that the snows would be starting shortly after 5, which they did, and we were trying to get a jump on the rush hour,” said Mr Hurley. The hour before the snow started, he said, “gave them time to get their trucks ready, with sand and salt. “When the snow started, we were already out there sanding hills, bridges and intersections,” said Mr Hurley.
They are not ready to pack the house yet, but Newtown youth involved in the Parks & Recreation sponsored “Theatre On Your Feet” program since its inception in January 2013 are developing theater skills that segue into real life, said program instructor Theresa Talluto. Using only a few props, their imaginations, and a shared sense of creativity, students recently taking part in the first class of the winter session of Theatre On Your Feet flowed from one theatrical exercise to another, under Ms Talluto’s guidance. Despite a biting cold winter evening that has depleted the class size that night, Ms Talluto was able to come up with fast moving improvisations that worked with the small group, smoothly integrating new students with those who have taken multiple sessions.
A corkscrew hazelnut sits outside the back door in its winter glory. All the other plants and shrubs are looking pretty chastened, deceased even, awaiting their Easter resurrections. But this jaggedy hazelnut cuts a fine figure against the snow, having long-since jettisoned its drab, unkempt cover of leaves. Its electric personality is now fully exposed in its branches with all the manic excitement of a Kramer, a Harpo Marx, a Harry Lauder.
Oh? Never heard of Harry Lauder? Don’t worry. Almost no one has. The Scottish comedian/entertainer died in 1950, and the memory of him has faded — except for his funny, crooked walking stick. The fame of Sir Harry’s odd and ever-present stick has been secured, among horticulturists anyway, by the corkscrew hazelnut, which is known in most garden centers and catalogs as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick.