- - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CONNECTICUT

NEWTOWN — Officials in Newtown, Conn., are asking people to stop sending gifts to the grief-stricken community following the deadly school shooting, saying they’re deeply grateful but can’t handle the donation deluge.

The town’s first selectman, police chief and mayor made the request Wednesday through an editor at The Newtown Bee newspaper.

They say since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators Dec. 14, gifts including artwork, school supplies and blankets have arrived from around the world. They say the small community’s ability to process, store and distribute the goods was quickly overwhelmed.

The officials are asking people to temporarily stop sending gifts and instead distribute them locally in memory of the victims. They say once they process the “warehouses full of items,” they’ll detail the best ways to help.

CALIFORNIA

Beer sales help rebuild16th century monastery

VINA — Monks in a small Northern California town are rebuilding a 16th Century Spanish monastery with help from what may seem like an unlikely source: beer.

The first phase of the building’s decades-long restoration project in the Sacramento Valley town of Vina has been completed, with the Chapter House of Ovila now standing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In the 1930s, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst bought the former Trappist monastery — the Santa Maria de Ovila — and imported it from Spain for an estate that was never realized. He had planned to use parts of the church for an indoor swimming pool changing room.

Once that project was scrapped, Hearst donated the monastery’s pieces to the city of San Francisco, but the dismantled building sat forgotten in Golden Gate Park for more than 60 years.

The Vina monks eventually convinced the city to let them rebuild it there, and with the help of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in nearby Chico have raised millions to get started.

The brewers created a series of Ovila Abbey ales inspired by Belgian Trappist monks, an order that to this day makes some of the finest beers in the world.

Sierra Nevada Brewing and the monks have raised $7 million over the past 12 years to help with the historic and painstaking reconstruction.

UTAH

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