Roses to Arlene Begelman, Barbara Braverman and all those who have contributed so much for so long to make the New Milford-based School of Performing Arts such a vibrant player on the region's arts education scene. SOPA directors, teachers and students are now looking ahead to the school's 30th anniversary reunion Aug. 8 in Kent (see Spectrum Images, Page S13). Once gathered, the troupe of past and present performers and instructors could well represent the greatest collection of dance and artistic talent even seen together in this area. We wish Ms. Begelman and Ms. Braverman well and thank them for serving such a vital role for so many years, even today serving respective roles as senior staff member and dance instructor at FineLine Theatre Arts in New Milford.

Thorns to an economy, and more aptly the resultant state of mind among consumers, that has made it so difficult for merchants in the New Milford village center to make a go of it. The imminent closing of Homeward Bound on Bank Street (see story, Page S1) is bad news for a downtown business community already struggling to fill such important storefronts as the former CVS on Main Street. We will sadly say farewell to Kathy Walsh and Trip Rothschild as downtown business owners and thank them for their years of service to the cause of improving our village center. We hope Greater New Milford-area shoppers will soon be able to better support the town's shops and businesses in order to keep our community's heart and soul the lively, indispensable district it has so long been.