Cecelia Ann Ragusa and cousin Halle Rowan Pechenko are four months old now. The daughters of Jessica (Stiewing) and Thomas Ragusa of Newtown and of Brook (Stiewing) and Eric Pechenko of Brookfield see each other nearly every day, as they have since Cecelia’s May 29 birth and Halle’s May 30 birth. The “twousins” — not quite twins, but more than just cousins — were born less than 26 hours apart at Danbury Hospital, much to the surprise of their parents. The sisters had due dates that were close but not as close as what ended up happening a few months ago. Brook was due to deliver her third child on June 2, and Jessica was expecting to give birth to her first child on June 11.
The Comfort Quilt is one of 250 quilts received by the Town of Newtown following 12/14. Created in 2001 by the children of St Hilary Catholic School in Fairlawn, Ohio, the 35-block quilt was first presented to the students of St James Catholic Grammar School in Red Bank, N.J. after 9/11, as a tangible display of the thoughts and prayers sent their way. Since it has passed from community to community, eventually finding its way to Newtown following the 12/14 tragedy, and it is clear, said Town Human Resources Director Carole Ross that the Comfort Quilt is meant to be shared. This cannot happen, however, until the quilt is located. Since the spring of 2013, the quilt has been missing.
Hula hoops cast dizzying shadows across the Fairfield Hills lawn Sunday, September 14, where Tanner Chase of Velvet Orchid out of Bristol danced through her hoop routine. With the Newtown Arts Festival going on around her, others celebrated under a baby blue sky with ribbons, rainbow splashes of paint, arts, crafts, demonstrations, sculpture, poetry reading, and more. The two-day, outdoor festival was part of Newtown Cultural Arts Commission’s “ridiculous abundance of enriching activities throughout September all around town.” And while the signature event has completed, there are still a pair of Newtown Arts Festival events to look forward to this weekend.
A beer and wine tasting event in Trumbull next month will benefit Where Angels Play Foundation, the group responsible for 26 playgrounds that have been built during the past 16 months with a dual purpose. They have primarily been built in communities that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Each one has also honored the memory of a woman or child killed on 12/14. When the 26 Sandy Ground Project playgrounds are finished, the foundation will continue to build playgrounds in communities that have been visited by tragedy. It hopes to be in Boston by April, to build an playground for those who were killed or injured during last year's Boston Marathon bombings. Funds raised during the October 3 beer and wine tasting will help those efforts.
The year before the Sandy Hook tragedy propelled Newtown into the hearts and minds of people across the globe, resident and finance industry expert Hayden Bates set out to bring a broader range of world-class artists in to play in the intimate Edmond Town Hall Theater, in part to to raise funds to improve the classic Main Street venue. Eight shows into his self-promoted “Live at Edmond Town Hall” concert series, Bates’s efforts have come full circle as he prepares to welcome the eclectic singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek for a headline set Saturday, September 20. Among the songs the former Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon frontman is expected to perform is a ballad he wrote, that was inspired by the events of 12/14.
The public is invited to celebrate under decorative lights with a glass of wine at the Smokey Topaz and Art in Residence (AIR) pop-up galleries on Friday, September 19. Enjoy food and music between 6 and 9 pm during the galleries’ opening reception at 104 Church Hill Road. The galleries are part of the inaugural Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) ArtWalk, an ongoing event that welcomes residents to view various artists and mediums on display throughout Sandy Hook Center. Join hosts Bob and Rosemary Rau of AIR Art Gallery and SHOP Marketing Coordinator Melissa Lopata for food samples compliments of Cover Two Sports Bar & Grill, and peruse paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, and more for sale. Temporary exhibitions at the adjacent gallery spaces opened on September 6, and each offers a collection of works by local and Connecticut artists.