What a permanent memorial to 12/14 will eventually be is the challenge given to the newly formed Permanent Memorial Commission in Newtown. Many suggestions catalogued by the organization involve greenery, from trees with benches to donated evergreens to park spaces. The creation of memorial parks at Fairfield Hills or at Sandy Hook Elementary School with Feng Shui elements are among the ideas, as is the suggestion for a park, a landscaped walkway for exercise and meditation, a memorial bridge, a street naming, a memorial horse barn, an art museum or gallery, a children’s museum, or a memorial carousel. It will be a daunting task for members of the commission, some of whom lost loved ones that day, to sift through the suggestions that have been offered by people across the nation, and perhaps solicit additional ideas, in search for one formal memorial to the victims of 12/14.
Newtown resident and “Live At Edmond Town Hall” series promoter Hayden Bates is excited about the updates at the iconic Main Street building. Due in large part to the diverse music concerts that Mr Bates has organized over the past year and a half, in an effort to modernize the nearly 85-year old building, the support of the members of the Board of Managers of ETH, and the renewed interest by members of the community, enough funds have been generated to cover the cost of installing a new power system, new LED lighting, and a state of the art sound system. Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch will utilize all of those updates when he performs in the town hall's theater on Sunday, February 9.
“It’s all coming together in February,” said Mary Fellows, a member of the Board of Managers at Edmond Town Hall, referring to the upgrades to the infrastructure of Edmond Town Hall. The cornerstone of the historic building at 45 Main Street was laid in 1929. The building, formerly used as the central location for the town's officials and departments, needed to be repurposed once most of the town employees relocated to Newtown Municipal Center in 2009. Recent upgrades to the building's lighting and sound system, the third floor ballroom and infrastructure continue to make the 85-year old building a more desirable venue to attract quality performers to Newtown.
For several days before the somber anniversary of 12/14, First Selectman Pat Llodra led a panel of community leaders through a half-dozen press conferences that were attended by state, regional, and national media. It was her hope that media outlets would have enough material to report on Newtown without needing to be in town on or around December 14. At the same time, the first selectman used her national platform to request that people across the nation and around the globe honor the fallen teachers and students of Sandy Hook School by performing acts of kindness in their own communities. In the weeks since those press conferences, Mrs Llodra’s office has received numerous correspondence from around the country from groups and individuals who responded to her humble request.
Donna Kern Ball cleared the shelves at two local supermarkets of Hostess products when it was time to start collecting baked goods for her third entry in the annual Festival of Lighthouses Contest at The Maritime Aquarium. Hundreds of Twinkies, Ho Hos, and Hostess cupcakes went into the creation of this year’s offering, currently on view at the South Norwalk venue. "Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Lighthouse" is one of 22 entries in the 12th Annual Festival of Lighthouses Contest at The Maritime Aquarium. Ms Ball and a friend won the contest two years ago. The Newtown resident is hoping to return to top of the prize pile when winners of this year's contest are announced on January 23. Meanwhile, the public has until January 20 to visit The Maritime Aquarium and vote for their favorite construction.
Offering more than 60 square miles of a winter wonderland for those who like the outdoors, Newtown holds a diversity of scenery and history. Noting sites including the flagpole and “quaint Main Street and Edmond Town Hall,” Town Historian Daniel Cruson says there are hidden gems everywhere. In addition to historic scenery and old homes and architecture, which are mentioned in Mary Mitchell and Albert Goodrich’s book, "Touring Newtown’s Past," Newtown offers an abundance of hiking trails including beautiful locations in the Upper and Lower Paugussett State Forests, Orchard Hill Nature Center, Rocky Glen State Park, and Hattertown Historic District, among others. A visit to the town library, and talks with Dan Cruson, recently resulted in one Bee reporter heading out to find some of the town's prettiest winter locations.