Locals share goals and resolutions for 2019

‘The Times’ caught up with community members, business owners and artists featured in the paper in 2018

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Metro Images

2019 may be officially upon us, but The Times is reflecting on 2018 one last time. We recently caught up with community members, business owners and artists featured in the paper last year to hear their favorite moments of 2018 and goals/resolutions for the new year.

Dennis Jarosz

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in the May 23 edition of the Langhorne Times in “Spreading pawsitivity,” which highlighted his volunteer efforts at St. Mary Medical Center with his pet therapy dogs, Twinky and Lillie

Favorite moment of 2018?

“There was one very special patient who was gravely ill with cancer and who suffered with significant PTSD resulting from his time in the armed services during the Vietnam War. We were able to visit him on three separate occasions while he was at St. Mary and, each time while he held and stroked Twinky, he visibly calmed and the unsettled feeling that was caused by his PTSD would be pushed in the background for a short while. On one Saturday morning, we made a special trip to the hospital just to visit him and bring him the joy that only a dog could bring. We were told that he passed that previous night. He was so touched by Twinky’s visits that he wanted the staff to know that he wanted me to have his prized motorcycle after he passed. That was such a special compliment that demonstrates just how valuable a visit from a little dog can be to someone gravely ill, suffering from serious maladies. Of course, we would not accept the gift and the motorcycle stayed with his estate, but the gesture will remain a beautiful memory in our hearts forever.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Always be seen with a smile on our face and do our very best to comfort those we visit and bring smiles to their faces. Take the time to truly listen to the patients we meet, engage them in conversation and be more than just a visiting pet therapy team, but also someone they can talk to during their stay. Do our best to wish them God’s blessing and healing grace. Encourage others who believe they have a dog that could become a therapy dog to pursue getting themselves and their dog certified as a team so that we can expand the circle of pet therapy teams that can visit our patients.”

Rick and Roberta Pipito

Source: Rick Pipito

Appeared in the April 25 edition of the Feasterville Times in “Dynamic duo,” which discussed the couple’s balance between family and fast-paced careers in writing and television respectively

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Roberta’s favorite moment of 2018 was being invited and going to Los Angeles to be on an episode of Home and Family for the Hallmark Channel. My favorite moment of 2018 was stepping outside my normal novel writing and co-writing a poetry book.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Her resolution is to make more international television appearances and travel with the family more. My new year’s resolution is to help my family achieve more success in 2019.”

Pat Guth

Source: Bucks County Women’s Chorus

Appeared in the Dec. 12 edition of The Hampton Times in “Experience of a lifetime,” which reflected on a White House performance by the Bucks County Women’s Chorus, which she is founder and director of

Favorite moment of 2018?

“One, singing at the White House for the Holiday Open House on Nov. 29, performing in the famous East Room amid the Christmas decorations. And two, singing in an amazing church in Helsinki, Finland, that was carved out of rock, and in a 14th century concert hall in Tallinn, Estonia, on our May performance tour to Northern Europe.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“We’re trying to organize a festival for women’s choruses to take place in March, featuring music composed by women for women. We’re also hoping to increase our membership to over 100 singers for the first time.”

Alex Nalbandian

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in the July 4 edition of The Hampton Times in “Successful beginnings,” which spotlighted the opening of The Iron Oven restaurant at 1134 Street Road

Favorite moment of 2018?

“I would say favorite moment was a Saturday night where it was packed and everyone was enjoying their night. When you see that, you know you are on the right track and people are happy.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“My goal for 2019 is to get our name out even more and to continue to provide the best service and highest quality food.”

Joe Amodei

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in the Sept. 5 edition of the Langhorne Times in “The film that started it all,” which discussed how he and longtime friend Mike Meister produced a documentary on the classic The Great Escape

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Seeing our film Coolest Guy Movie Ever appear on screen at the Cannes Film Festival market and actually have buyers attending in the audience was great. But seeing the look on our director’s face as this was happening was even more genuine. The film was a dream for him and a tribute to his dad. To be able to help fulfill that dream for him was quite moving and special.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“To finally release the long-in-production film Clarence Clemons Who Do I Think I Am and find more inspirational stories to tell. I want to release movies that make people think but also look toward the good things in life. And to win the lottery, of course!”

Stacey Collins

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in the Sept. 19 edition of the Bensalem Times in “Finding hope,” which chronicled how the Parx Casino cook found strength to help others after her teen son committed suicide

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Winning the Everyday Impact Hero Award and our family reunion.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Graduating from University of Phoenix with my bachelor’s of science in human services with a concentration in family and child services, and prayerfully attending Drexel University for my master’s of science in addiction counseling.”

Two Rocks Rye

Source: Two Rocks Rye

Appeared in the Dec. 5 edition of The Bristol Times in “Anything goes,” which discussed the band’s debut album Saving Claire

Favorite moment of 2018?

“A green party at Bourbon and Branch, playing the Broad Street Run at Xfinity Live!, releasing our first album on Spotify and a Chesapeake Bay weekend jam.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Open for a national act at World Cafe Live or TLA, release another album, have a fully-stocked merch table, develop more recognition in the downtown Philly scene, play outside of our market. Take over the world!”

Matthew and Michelle Howard

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in the Sept. 5 edition of The Bristol Times in “A low-calorie celebration,” which highlighted the grand opening of the couple’s Healthy Plate Meal Preps & Smoothie Bar at 247 Mill St.

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Definitely our official grand opening back on Aug. 22. After some lengthy delays and many anticipated people, we finally came up with the date. That bright, beautiful morning was the best day ever as we had a more-than-amazing turnout of community, customers, family and friends. Even the mayor of Bristol and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives came through to commemorate our special day. Something we’ll never forget!”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“To continue to grow our foundation by offering more products and services. We always encourage feedback from our customers, which will continue to help make us a stronger business by actually listening to and following through with what our customers would like.”

Ceramic Animal

Source: Ceramic Animal

Appeared in the Aug. 1 edition of the Langhorne Times in “The nasty boys are back,” which spotlighted the band’s sophomore album The Horse and first nationwide headlining tour

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Spotify fans listened to 16 years worth of Ceramic Animal music in 2018 alone.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Write more music, reach more people, trust the process.”

Ian Monagle and Randy Taylor

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in the Dec. 5 edition of the Feasterville-Trevose Times in “That’s the spirit,” which highlighted the longtime friends’ new vodka and whiskey distillery, 1675 Spirits

Favorite moment of 2018?

“The buildout of our space, taking it from a blank empty space and creating our dream into a reality for the community to see.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“To grow our distribution part of the company and continue to grow the local customer experience further by continuing to bring people in the door.”

Paul Bencivengo

Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

Appeared in numerous editions of The Times as vice president of Visit Bucks County, which unveiled several new initiatives this year to promote tourism and travel in the area

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Increased marketing in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., delivered the most visitation to VisitBucksCounty.com ever. The mix of TV, outdoor billboards, transit, digital ads and digital partnerships increased traffic to the website by nearly 20 percent.”

“Visitors spend nearly $200 million in food and beverage in Bucks County annually. To leverage this opportunity and raise awareness of the county’s culinary scene, Visit Bucks County facilitated the first countywide restaurant week. Nearly 70 restaurants participated in Bucks County Restaurant Week. It was a huge year one success!”

“Visit Bucks County also increased advocacy efforts engaging with local and federal elected officials in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., discussing legislation that impacts the Bucks County hospitality industry and influences policies relating to the workforce.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Bucks County is poised for another growth year with many hospitality-related expansions and renovations in the works. The tourism office is excited to work closely with our partners, township and borough officials and the county to promote all of our current and future hospitality product. In late January, we’ll be sharing information on all the new places opening in Bucks County.”

Sarah Rudich

Appeared in numerous editions of The Times as managing director of Pennsbury Manor, which had a full roster of events in 2018 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of William Penn’s death

Favorite moment of 2018?

“Hosting the past and current governors of Pennsylvania for our 300th anniversary commemorative Governors Lunch in September. I remember getting chills looking up on stage in front of this amazing crowd and listening to the incredible combination of leadership, intelligence and vision that Governor Wolf, Governor Corbett, Governor Schweiker, Governor Rendell and Governor Ridge all shared with the audience.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“To help bring another amazing symposium to Pennsbury for marking our ‘Year of Hannah Penn’ or the ‘Year of Women.’ I’m looking forward to bringing some incredible women leaders from throughout the region to share their leadership, knowledge and vision with all.”