Ten hours after her mother went into labor, Angelina Jean Berger was born on Tuesday, January 6. Her arrival was much easier on her mother than older sister Allison’s arrival. “She was 56 hours of labor,” Jessica Berger said Wednesday evening, looking toward Allison while cuddling Angelina in her lap. Gesturing toward the newborn, Jessica added, “She was nice and easy. We really lucked out with both of our girls. Both are wonderful.” Gathered in the living room of the Sandy Hook home Wednesday evening, the family was celebrating the announcement that young Angelina has been named The Newtown Bee’s First Baby of 2015.
Rain falling on a frigid winter ground Sunday, January 18, formed a coat of ice that likely kept many residents home during Boy Scout Seth Barrett’s charity collection that afternoon. He had a late start due to the weather on what was to be a one-day collection that morning, so has extended his drive for goods to benefit Operation Hope, a food pantry and homeless shelter in Fairfield, through February 1. A collection box is now located in the front lobby of The Newtown Bee office.
With the recent cold snap I’ve become nostalgic for hay. That’s right, hay. Whenever sub-zero wind chills make the news, I take a deep breath and can recall that sweet smell of alfalfa and timothy on crisp winter mornings. My old horse would eat copious amounts of hay when the mercury dipped below freezing. Hay is what kept him warm and each winter it seemed all I did from sunrise to sunset to moonrise was fill his hay net over and over and over again. Experienced horse people know the centuries-old animal husbandry tactic: when it gets colder, feed your horse more hay and he will stay warm. When a horse lived in the backyard, my life used to revolve around this winter hay ritual — check the temperature, adjust the flakes delivered. In addition, I gained expert knot-tying status as I hung the string hay net on the inside of his shed every morning, noon, and night. An added benefit, my biceps and triceps became shapely from hoisting heavy hay-laden nets over my head to secure the net.
Perhaps Newtown can claim some ownership to the recent director-actor pairing: former resident Nate Hapke and seasoned performer Richard Herd. Hapke, himself a child star turned film maker, is in the early stages of developing a second film in as many years with the veteran character actor who has previously appeared in dozens of film, stage and television projects. At the same time, Hapke is promoting a 2014 film he produced with Herd and actor Al Thompson entitled "Thom & Gerry," which was shot in town last year. Local audiences may eventually be treated to a double feature of Hapke’s films as he is in preliminary discussions to screen them in September during the 2015 Newtown Arts Festival.
Who was the first baby born to Newtown parents in 2015? We are ready to find out. In addition to that wonderful new baby smell and the joy of life that has arrived in someone’s home, The Newtown Bee and 23 additional local businesses are still looking forward to introducing the local newborn whose birth coincides closest to the arrival of the new year.
A desire to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has carried 22-year-old Alexander Moliver a long way from his Newtown home to a small apartment outside of Tel-Aviv, Israel. He spends up to three days there with roommates and rotates back to his military base for another 11 days. Mr Moliver is Jewish, and said, “I believe very strongly in the Jewish people and Israel’s right to exist.” Without IDF, he said, “Israel probably wouldn’t exist from all the attacks.” The IDF is not exclusive to Jews, and others, including some Muslims and Christians, also serve in Israel’s military forces. A 2010 Newtown High School graduate, Mr Moliver is now serving in an elite army unit in one of the world’s most dangerous war zones.