Every year, The Newtown Bee is privileged to share the stories of Newtown residents and organizations, and among the many highlighted in 2014, were stories about residents advancing their careers with promotions and celebrating milestones, creating films, traveling, earning honors and awards, and working on long-term projects for the greater good of the community. Newtown Bee Reporter Nancy K. Crevier offers this look back at a few of the people whose stories unfolded during the past 12 months.
Ross MacDonald created this year’s Christmas cover for The Newtown Bee. Mr MacDonald, a professional illustrator, has lived in the Hattertown section of Newtown since October 1996. He collects and uses antique type in major publications. His Brightwork Press has been featured in Print Magazine, and he is a consultant and vintage prop creator for movies. He worked on "Seabiscuit," "National Treasure 2" and "Van Helsing," among others. Mr MacDonald also writes and illustrates children’s books, including "Another Perfect Day," "Bad Baby" and "Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet." This is the third Newtown Bee Christmas cover Mr MacDonald has created.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is celebrating with the newest member of the family, the puppy! No matter when the puppy arrived during the year they will always have a first Christmas. Like most of us dog lovers, I’m guilty of overindulgence of my treasured pets. Puppy’s first Christmas is full of wonder and investigation, so in the spirit of safety, no decoration reaches into the puppy zone.
Believe me, it’s taken multiple puppies and years of broken ornaments, knocked down large trees, drinking Christmas tree water, licking pine needles, ripped open packages, eaten candles and close calls with poinsettias to come to this design. There are just too many holiday hazards with poisonous plants, glass ornaments, tinsel, chocolate, electrical wires, and open flames to even consider using them. I prefer simplicity and peace of mind for my newest puppy and family pack of high energy hunting hounds.
A school assembly was held on Friday, December 19, for Reed Intermediate School students participating in the Pilobolus At Newtown, an After School Arts Program (ASAP), to perform with two Pilobolus dancers ahead of a scheduled performance for family and friends that night. The Pilobolus instructors and representatives have been working with Reed students since near the start of the 2014-15 school year, when all students at Reed were given the opportunity to be taught by Pilobolus dance instructors before the after school program began. While the school assembly was for the enjoyment of fellow students and Reed faculty, a public performance was also offered that evening.
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.”
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, National Lampoon’s "Christmas Vacation" will be screened for three days at Edmond Town Hall Theatre, 45 Main Street. Released in December 1989, the film stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Dianne Ladd, Doris Roberts, William Hickey, John Randolph, and E.G. Marshall. It will be screened Sunday through Tuesday, December 21-23. As usual, all tickets are $2.