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.
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.
They may have a low-key name for their group, but The Quiet Life has no plans to lull the audience at Hayden Bates' next Edmond Town Hall Concert December 20. The energetic foursome led by brothers Sean and Ryan Spellman will take care to ensure that fans and newcomers to their unique brand of music have a rousing good time. In fact, anyone under age 18 can access the show absolutely free with valid ID thanks to underwriting from Wells Fargo Bank, and all the rest are sure to get their money's worth at $20 for general admission tickets. The group, which formed in New London, has honed its craft touring the lower 48 as well as Alaska in a veggie oil fueled van, playing festivals, clubs, coffee houses and living rooms. Along the way, Quiet Life produced two projects including their latest offering, Housebroken Man.
Santa Claus on Saturday, December 6, began checking his list of girls and boys he will visit on Christmas Eve. Children rushed to see him as he strolled through Sandy Hook Center during the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity’s (SHOP) 13th Annual Sandy Hook Village Holiday Tree Lighting. Two trees, both lit the night with both symbolic and traditional colors. The trees will shine every night throughout this holiday season.