Snapshot: Christine O’Neill
Occupation: You can find me behind the Land Use Agency (Planning & Zoning) desk at the Newtown Municipal Center. I also do some work for Economic and Community Development.
Family: Right now, it’s just me and my two pets, but I am currently accepting applications for a husband, if anyone’s interested. My sister, dad, and mom all live in New York, though I’m in the process of courting my mom to move to Connecticut.
Pets: I am the proud mama of an adopted, bonded cat-dog pair: Gwendolyn (orange tabby) and Lady Schnitzel (Chihuahua-Dachshund mix, “chiweenie”). They are incredibly sweet and always making me laugh. You can follow their adventures on Instagram at @schnitzelandgwendolyn.
How long have you lived in Newtown? Alas, I only work here! I’ve been with the town for two and a half years. I actually just purchased my first home, in Wolcott.
What do you like to do in your free time? When I’m not at work, I’m earning a Masters of Energy and Environmental Management through UConn. Otherwise, I spend an embarrassing amount of time playing video games. I get my competitiveness from my grandma and my gaming skills from literally no one because I’m a terrible player.
What is your favorite book? Shakespeare’s corpus will always have a special place in my heart.
What is your favorite travel destination? Cape Cod. I lived there for two wonderful years and I plan to continue visiting for the rest of my life.
What is the best part about Newtown? I adore this town. One thing that continually impresses me is the variety of the small businesses here, and the salt-of-the-earth charm of the business owners.
What organizations are you part of in Newtown? I’m the president of the union for the Newtown Municipal Center. I volunteer for the Conservation Commission when I’m able, especially with their invasive species removal efforts, and last year I did some maintenance for the Victory Garden.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? My Christian faith was extremely formative in my younger years. Studying abroad in Africa inspired me to become a vegetarian, which I’ve been doing for almost nine years now. I’m also blessed to have had two extremely loving and devoted parents who taught me good manners!
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? Anne Sullivan Macy [1866-1936, best known for teaching Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, how to communicate and read braille]. Her tenacity and intelligence in the face of illness, poverty, and discrimination were an inspiration to me since I was just a little kid.
Who is your favorite musical artist? I can’t believe I’m putting this in writing, but probably My Chemical Romance. Growing up, it was Billy Joel.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? One mantra I love is from the Austrian author Rainer Maria Rilke: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses, only waiting to see us — just once — brave and beautiful.”
What is something you cannot live without? Peanut butter.
What is your proudest accomplishment? When I was 23, after a series of mental health struggles, I realized a life-dream by growing a vegetable garden. I entered my veggies into the Barnstable County Fair and won three blue ribbons. I am still prouder of this than any academic or professional achievement in my life.