Activities March-April 2014

Wed. March 12—Regular Meeting

Sat. March 15—Waterbury Symphony “Grand Canyon Suite”

Wed. March 19—Board of Directors Meeting

 Wed. March 26—Father, Son, Daughter, Grandchildren Meeting

Thurs. March 27—Army Rock Band

Wed. April 9—Regular Meeting

Wed. April 16—Board of Directors Meeting

Wed. Aril 23—Regular Meeting

Sat. April 26—Lose the Litter Day

Sat. April 26—Progressive Dinner

Sat. May 3—Home Front Day


President’s Letter March 2014

Dear Fellow Lions,

            I bring you greetings in the New Year. This is proving already to be a very busy year. We already have three new projects to add to this year’s efforts.


Dan O’Grady and Bruce Walczak are co-chairing the Army Rock Band effort which is coming to town on March 27th. We plan on involving our Leo Club in this event. The Lions will be doing this in cooperation with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission and Michelle Hiscavich, Director of Music at the Newtown High School. Another rejuvenated project is the Homefront (Americares) effort that Gordon Williams, Denny Mclaughlin, and Jerry Cole are taking on again this year. I believe they have a recipient almost firmed up and it is scheduled for May 3rd. We will need all Lions on deck for this one. We are also working in cooperation with the Fraternity of Sigma Chi from Western Connecticut State University to put on a Golf Tournament on June  30th to benefit our Sandy Hook Elementary Fund raising effort.


The Father, Son, Daughter, Granchildren dinner is coming up March 26th. Gary Fillion has arranged for Fidelco to come with some guide dogs. This should be a big hit. We will have a special children’s menu that night in addition to our regular fare.


Earth Day is coming up and Lose the Litter Day is part of that day. Please support Lion Glenn Nanavaty and come out and help clean the roads. The Progressive Dinner is scheduled for April 26th. Bill Brett promises a fun filled and delicious evening.  If you can host a cocktail party or a dinner please give him a call


There are some major changes for the Sandy Hook Elementary Fund at this writing. Due to overwhelming response to the fine work over the last year we have exhausted our resources. Though many in our club have been involved with grant writing, and various fund raisers, we have just not been able to keep up with the financial demand which has reached over $30,000 per month. We have raised in excess of $350,000 to date for which Bob Schmidt, Kevin Corey, and Walt Schweikert along with the entire SHEF committee are to be congratulated. This is a record for fund raising in our club and has been accomplished in a little over a year. The proceeds benefit individuals directly involved in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy with out of pocket expenses related to counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other related psychiatric effects. Bob Schmidt, Chairman of the SHEF committee, has done a magnificent job of navigating this effort through unsettled and stormy waters. At a January meeting  to address our diminishing resources a decision was made to find a way to continue benefits for the 250 individuals we had been aiding while closing down our direct involvement in providing compensation.


I am happy to announce that we found a solution by joining a partnership with the Newtown Rotary Club, United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC), the Newtown Memorial Foundation, and the Office of Victim Services (OVS) in Hartford that had been collaborating with similar benefits since September of 2013. Happily, the Newtown Lions Club was welcomed with open arms to this partnership. The way it will work is that providers and individuals will register with OVS who will process claims and forward them to UWWC. UWWC is continuing to perform the pro bono effort to administer financial disbursement to the providers. The Newtown Rotary Club, Newtown Memorial Fund, and the Newtown Lions Club will provide monies while resources permit for the reimbursement of these claims in the foreseeable future. It is interesting to note that since the inception of this work and collectively by these organizations including the Newtown Lions Club that over 400 individuals have been helped with over $1,000,000 being disbursed in support of the community. We look forward to this new partnership as we think it will provide the much needed synergy to move forward.

We will continue with fund raising efforts to benefit those affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Even though we have joined this partnership SHEF will continue to be an independent fund under the Newtown Lions Club Foundation


 In closing I would like to welcome our newest member of the Newtown Lions Club Oscar De Los Santos. He is a professor of writing and the writing chair at Western Connecticut State University and besides that he is really nice guy! Let’s give him a warm Lions Roar to welcome him into our great organization.

Best Regards,




NEW  Conundrums


  1. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila . . . floor.


  1. Atheism is a non-prophet organization


  1. The main reason that Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.


  1. If a deaf child signs swear words, does his mother wash his hands with soap?


  1. If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?


  1. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?


  1. If the police arrest a mute, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?


 Doings of the Pride

 Bruce Landgrebe certainly had great news lately.  His son, Bill, came through open heart surgery with “flying colors”.  They were able to repair the valve rather than have to replace it. . . . George Smily has had problems with his wrist.  It seems two bones were rubbing together causing a great deal of pain at times.  So the doctor took a tendon from his arm, chipped away at the bone and wrapped the bones with the tendon and all is well.  Perhaps not totally, however, for George will not be able to fly for some time but the pain is much better and he will start physical therapy soon. . .Skip Sims also had surgery.  His left shoulder had been bothering him for some time and lately he had had trouble sleeping.  Finally he went to the doctor and found that he had a torn rotator cuff  Thus the need for surgery.  He is supposed to wear a sling and obeys the doctor—mostly.  He is in less pain now so that is good but he longs for the days when he can have full use of his arm again. 


.Our president is certainly savings his pesos, euros, dollars, whatever he can scrounge for he has two weddings coming up.  He offered a ladder for elopement but there were no takers.  So if you have any left over food stamps or coupon books, send them his way.    


The Lions are leaving the pride in droves, most of them heading south. But at least three of them took river cruises. Gary Fillian and Peggy spent a week or so on a Break Away  cruise. Leaving New York they visited Cape Canaveral, Nassau and a private island.  I wonder what kind of bathing suits they wore on the private island?   Jon and Lydia Christiansen enjoyed a Grand Circle river cruise through the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. The ambiance of the boat was very attractive, the food excellent and the guides first rate.    One of the highlights of the trip was the week they spent with Lydia’s relatives in the Czech Republic.  Then Jon hooked up with an old friend from flight training and that was enjoyable as well. . . .Fred Stakel and Debbie were also cruising  aboard  the Celebrity line for ten days. There were many stops and many sights to see. Included in the islands they visited were San Juan, Puerto Rico,  with its great beaches, Demenica, Grenada, St. Thomas and St. John with its gorgeous national parks which cover much of the island.  One of the most amazing things they witnessed  was  on St. Kits where wild monkeys roamed at random all over the island. 


   Lion Snow Birds abounded.  Some have returned, others are still sunning themselves.  The southland claimed  Bruce Landgrebe, Paul Arneth, Greg Bruno, Tom Evagash, Kenneth Hostetler, Bruce Landgrebe,  Gordon Mounts, Lincoln Sander, Ryan Storms and Dick Sturdevant.  Doug Hensal and Seamus Walsh also went to Florida for a week—without wives!  They took in a Miami Heat game as well as a Mets exhibition game.  They hunge out with Tiger Woods’s caddy and played some golf.  One wonders how they ever managed that kind of vacation sans wives! I hope they were good boys! Although the temperatures in Florida early on was colder than usual, all reported good weather later on and some came back with sunshine on their faces. 


We all look forward to Ryan Storms’s performance in the Waterbury Smphony concert which many are attending on March 15.  We will be treated to “The Grand Cayon Suite”.  Look at the trumpet section to see Ryan!

                                    Warning About EBay

If   you buy stuff on line, check out the seller carefully.  A friend of mine, a newly married Lion from Reno, Nevada, spent $95.00 on a penis enlarger.

The company  sent him a magnifying glass!

The only instruction said, “Do not use in sunlight.”

The bastards!

                                    The Hour of Peril by Daniel Stashower

                                    Reviewed by Lion Paul Arneth


The Hour of Peril details a plot to murder Abraham Lincoln as he traveled to Washington to be inaugurated.  Stashower tells an entertaining and illuminating story, but one not without controversy.  Some historians question whether a full blown plot existed to assassinate Lincoln.  In the city of Baltimore there certainly was strong secessionist feeling and hatred toward Lincoln.  However, none of the suspected plotters were ever arrested.


The main character in this book is not Lincoln, but rather Allan Pinkerton who was just establishing his reputation as the nation’s leading private detective.  He sets up his operatives to infiltrate secessionist groups in Baltimore.  Pinkerton used both male and female undercover agents in Baltimore.


We learn that presidential security was non-existent in 1861.  During the campaign, candidates were not expected to travel around seeking votes.  Lincoln, for example, remained in Springfield, Illinois until it was time to leave by train for the inauguration in Washington. The rail trip was a circuitous route through Cincinnati, Buffalo, Albany, New York City, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and finally, Baltimore.  The purpose of the trip was to allow the citizens to see their new president elect.  Lincoln gave speeches at every stop, as many as ten each day.


Abraham Lincoln was unconcerned about his personal safety, and the crowds were uncontrolled.  At his hotel each evening, he would have to wade through rooms filled with people anxious to see him.  Adding to the security problems, in large cities each railroad company had its own separate station.  Lincoln’s party would change trains by either walking or going by open carriage to the next station to continue their journey.


The implications of Lincoln being murdered prior to his inauguration would have been profound.  His vice-president elect was a southern sympathizer and certainly not a strong, heroic leader like Abraham Lincoln.  Had the plot succeeded, our nation might well be very different.  The Hour of Peril is entertaining and educational.  I highly recommend this book.

                                                     Focus on Our Wives

We don’t see as much of Betty Mounts as we used to as she and Gordon stay in Florida longer these days.    But it is always good to see her on her return as she has a friendly smile and a ready laugh.  The mother of three girls, Joy, Amy, and Julie, and the wife of Gordon, she is also the proud grandmother of three girls and four boys. Those children surely couldn’t ask for a more nurturing grandmother.  Perhaps this nurturing ability comes from being a home economics major at Purdue but I’m guessing it is just her nature.

 As the wife of a corporate high flyer, she has lived in various places.  Quite unique were the two  years she spent in Brazil.  While in Brazil she taught a number of subjects in the American school in her town.  Back in the Nutmeg state, Betty is a dedicated member of the Newtown Congregational Church.  She also plays a wicked game of bridge.  Her favorite activity, however, is reading.  Next time you see Betty stop and chat a bit.  You will always get a warm welcome.

Irish Jokes for St Patrick’s Day

Paddy was driving down the street in a rush because he had an important meeting in Limerick and couldn’t find a parking place.  Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord take pity on me.  If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!”  . . . .Miraculously, a parking place appeared.  Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”

Mike Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died.  He quickly phoned his best friend, Finney.                            “Did you see the paper? “ asked Gallagher.  ”They say I died!”   . . .“Yes, I saw it!” replied Finney.  ”Where are ye callin’ from?”

            An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut.  The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest’s breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.  He says,” Sir, have you been drinking?” . . .  “Just water,” says the priest. . . . . The trooper says, “Then why do I smell wine?” . . . The priest looks at the bottle and says, “Good Lord!  He’s done it again!”

New Lion in the Pride

            We are happy to welcome Oscar De Los Santos to our fold.  Oscar, a native of Corpus Christie, Texas has quite a list of job experiences.  At one point he was a rock D.J. in Texas, who loved to spin the Beetles’ and Stones’ tunes.  Although he really liked that job, it did not pay well so he decided to move on.  Eventually he graduated from Ohio State where he majored in American literature. They liked him so well that he eventually taught literature there, including a science fiction course, one of his interests.  For over a decade he has been in the English department at Western Connecticut State University.  Some of the years he chaired the department and when, because of its great popularity, it was decided that  the journalism-writing school would be split off and become it own department, he chaired the new department and has continued to do that to this day.  In his spare time, this ebullient man likes to write.  He has published a number of books, none of which, he admits with a grin, have sold very well.  The book that he wrote that has sold the most copies is Spirits of Texas and New England. 

Oscar seems eager to participate in a number of Lions activities.  But one event he absolutely refused to be a part of is the Progressive Dinner.  In our astonishment the membership committee asked “Why?”  And he responded “I’m getting married that day.”  (And to John Kopins’ step-daughter, no less).  After a lot of thought the committee decided that this was a reasonable excuse!