Resist the urge to compartmentalize Newtown native and Renaissance woman Jenna von Oy into the kinds of sassy, fast-talking roles she made her own on hit TV series like "Blossom" and "The Parkers."
Today, at 36, the 20-something-looking Ms von Oy is neither letting those meaty television roles define her, nor is she falling into the sometimes career-ending pattern of reliving those characters over and over again, only with different names.
In fact, she has spent the past half-dozen years breaking free from life as an actor, penning a young adult novel; writing and producing two very different types of musical projects; exploring painting, photography, and poetry; and more recently, tying the knot with her soulmate, Brad Bratcher, and delivering the light of their lives, their daughter, Gray, now 19 months old.
CrossFit RedZone, at 31 Pecks Lane, will host its Second Annual Sandy Hook Victim Relief Fundraiser on Saturday, January 4. Last year, CrossFit RedZone raised over $100,000 with the help of over 1,000 participants. Donations went to the Sandy Hook PTSA. This year, they aim to top the generous donations with all proceeds going to the UConn Sandy Hook Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund will support the college costs for siblings of those killed in the tragedy, the dependents of the adults who also lost their lives, as well as students currently enrolled at the elementary school who are accepted to the university. The workout, to be completed with a partner, is a 10-minute CrossFit WOD (Workout Of the Day). Workouts will be running from 9 am until 6 pm.
The Booth Library Creative Writing Group for Young Adults will offer Fiction this winter. Students in grades 6-8 who love to write will be led by Wally Wood, teacher, author and Newtown resident, with assistance from Linda Strange, a a committed volunteer assistant in the Creative Writing program and teacher in Waterbury. All sessions will allow time for writing and sharing short stories in progress as well as one-on-one communication between adults and young people. The writing group is a great opportunity for young writers to hone their skills and develop their own technique. The prompts and exercises will focus on building characters, describing place, creating situations, and developing a story’s framework. The group will meet from 6 to 8 pm on six Tuesday evenings: January 7, 14, 21, 28, February 4, and 11; February 18 will be a make-up date if necessary. There is a limit of ten students in grades 6-8. There is no fee. Participants are expected to attend all six sessions, and preference is given to Newtown students and residents.
On Monday, December 23, NYA Sports & Fitness Center will open the turf, courts and bounce house, slide and obstacle course to all children — whether residents of Newtown or surrounding towns — from kindergarten through grade 8. From 8:30 am until 12:30 pm, parents can drop their children into this safe environment for playtime while getting those last minute holiday tasks done.
On Sunday, January 12, at 3 pm, at Congregation Adath Israel, Rita L. Frost will present a talk on “Varian Fry, A Connecticut Hero in Vichy France.” In her program Ms Frost will describe how Fry managed, with his own life in danger, to brilliantly save lives under the watchful eye of the Gestapo. She will also discuss the ill fortune Fry met with upon his return to the US. The program will also include a screening of the 30-minute film, "Assignment Rescue," narrated by Meryl Streep, about Fry’s activities.
A poem penned by Sandy Hook resident Joe Hemingway will be taking flight in song, thanks to a collaboration with a former school friend and songwriter hundreds of miles away in the rolling mountains of Vermont. The musical encounter also inspired a second song and a growing social network of fans.
Mr Hemingway first approached The Newtown Bee excited to pay respects to Mary L. Collins, and to discuss the possibility of using their creative output to raise funds for the very village that served as their collective muse.
Music For Newtown will hold its second online auction January 22-29. Numerous artists, including Black Sabbath, Florida Georgia Line and Lorde have already donated special limited edition items to the auction. Former Newtown resident Beth Bogdan is organizing the event, which follows an auction she organized and presented in March that raised $35,000. All of the proceeds from the second auction will benefit The Resiliency Center of Newtown (RCN).
C.H. Booth Library will host The Chickadee Spirit Story Time on Saturday, December 28, at 2 pm. The program had originally been planned for December 14, but needed to be postponed due to the snowstorm last weekend. Janice Bernard will read The Chickadee Spirit, a children’s book by Bill O. Smith. Following the reading, each child will cover a bagel with bird seeds, to take home and hang outdoors. Each child will also receive a free copy of the book donated by the author.
When Newtown resident Mary-Barrett Anders moved to Korea for a year, she decided to absorb the culture and become a part of the country, rather than be an observer. On Sunday, December 29, from 2 pm to 4 pm, Ms Anders will be sharing that experience through a workshop hosted by HealingNewtown for The Arts. She will be presenting an introductory workshop, through her Parem Hwah Asian Brushwork company, in the basic techniques of Chinese and Korean style brushwork painting.
Students in Newtown High School art teacher Carol Skolas’s Advanced Placement Portfolio class have artwork on display until Friday, December 20, in the meeting room at C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street. The students involved were Becca Aimely, Hannah Bartlett, Emily Berube, Samantha Crawford, Jamie Duncan, Graham Johnson, Anna Pasacreta, Karleigh Rivard, Bella Saraceni, and Emma Sullivan. The pieces range in size and subject. Students spent time on Friday, December 13, placing the drawings and paintings on the walls of the meeting room. The collection can be viewed any time the library is open.