Like many others, Ashley Petersen did not know any of the children or women who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14, but she was horrified and changed by what happened that day. A former student of SHES, Mrs Petersen (née Bochino) did know that building and many of those inside it. She has a younger sister, Cassidy, who also attended the Dickinson Drive elementary school, so Mrs Petersen was part of that school community again until about five years ago. The Newtown High School graduate was moved last year to create 26 Days of Kindness. She encouraged people to do something nice for 26 days straight. Each day honored one of the children and women killed that chilly Friday morning.
It was by chance, not design, that 18-year-old Amaury Bargioni of Paris, France, ended up at Newtown General Store on Thursday, December 11, for lunch. And it was by chance that Newtown residents Joanne and Phil Keane struck up a conversation with the young man, intrigued by his arrival on a pack-laden bicycle — and that he was wearing only a T-shirt on a chilly, snowy day that had most locals bundled up in parkas and wool sweaters. “We had to know what he was up to,” said Ms Keane, as well as advise the traveler on a second sandwich to add to the Golden Chicken he had already ordered: a bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll. The young guest had just pedaled into town from Mahopac, N.Y., on his way that day to Middletown. It was a very short leg of his ambitious bicycle trip that began in Paris on September 15 and, if all goes to plan, will ultimately find him rolling around the world before he returns to his home city in June.
One evening last winter as Newtown High School graduate and aspiring rapper Mason West — a/k/a Stirling DuBois — was sitting in his dorm room at the University of Vermont surfing Soundcloud looking for inspiration and possible collaborators, he discovered not one, but two protégés right back here at his own alma mater. Enter two current NHS seniors: rapper Chris Daly and producer Zach Aumueller. That rhythmic attraction resulted in West’s first project, called "The Complex EP" — executive produced by his newfound creative co-pilot Aumueller. Thanks to that project, West says he now has a “small but buzzing fan base and am beginning to book [live] shows of my own.”
The biggest draws at regional concert venues this fall mirrored bills that may have played the same or similar venues 20, 30, even more than 40 years ago. At the same time, other legacy acts — along with a secret weapon super group — energized more intimate venues, bringing classic storytellers up close and personal to fans, many who have been following some of those the artists for decades.
EverWonder Children’s Museum, which lost its classroom and museum space at 31 Pecks Lane in August, has found a new and “much larger,” 7,500 square-foot home in the same industrial complex, Executive Director Tamara Tragakiss Barry said December 15. The larger Pecks Lane location “had all the right ingredients, and we can stay in town,” which is the base for museum support, she said. Board members has a new five-year lease arrangement with the Tier One property management, and hope to welcome children and families back for programs and activities by mid-February. In order to do that, a capital campaign to cover the costs of retrofitting the new space has been launched.
There was much merriment at Michael’s at The Grove in Bethel (formerly Cappellaro’s), Tuesday, December 9, as members, friends, and family of the Newtown Senior Center gathered for the Annual Holiday Party.
Newtown High School teacher Carol Skolas’s Art Portfolio students had tape in hand and many of their works before them on Wednesday, December 10, as they prepared the pieces for exhibit at C.H. Booth Library.
The artwork, entirely created by NHS students, will be on display at the town library, 25 Main Street, during library hours in the building’s meeting room from Saturday, December 13, to Friday, December 19.
A formal reception will be held the night before the artwork is set to come down, on Thursday, December 18, from 4 to 6 pm.