Year in Review

Locals featured in ‘The Times’ share favorite moments of 2019, goals for 2020

To officially ring in the new year and the start of a fresh decade, The Times caught up with individuals featured in the paper throughout 2019 to hear their favorite moments of the past 12 months, and goals/resolutions for 2020.

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Michelle Rosado – Appeared in the Jan. 9 edition of The Bristol Times in “Breaking barriers,” which previewed her first staged boxing card in Philadelphia through her marketing business Raging Babe.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“The highlight of 2019 for me, hands down, was promoting Philadelphia legend and Hall of Fame promoter Russell Peltz’s 50th anniversary event. He has been the backbone of the Philly fight scene for decades, and I was so honored to have had the opportunity to celebrate him leading up to the show and at the event itself. He had a resolution dedicated to him at Philadelphia City Hall, added his signature to the famous Spectrum S, and on Oct. 4, we put on a great night of fights, which was probably his favorite part.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“My goal/resolution is really to get back to my roots. When I began in this business, I wanted to promote good fights and treat the fighters well and differently than others who treat them like a commodity. I wanted old school and new boxing fans to fall in love again with boxing when they came to my shows. I wanted fans to see local talent and rising prospects in good fights, and in 2020 I will be focusing once again on that. Producing my series Boxing Moms is also a goal of mine in the coming year, and we are set to begin filming in January.”

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Greg and Mary Pellegrino, founders of the BennettStrong Foundation – Appeared in the Feb. 27 edition of The Hampton Times in “Staying BennettStrong,” which spotlighted their foundation that supports parents of micro preemie babies at CHOP’s N/IICU.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“At our second annual BennettStrong gala in February, we officially announced the implementation of the first phase of our N/IICU (neonatal intensive care unit) Parent Survival Kits. We are providing journals to every family admitted to CHOP’s N/IICU, so they can note milestones, write letters to their baby, process feelings and make medical notes. We were thrilled to have Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick attend and it’s always a joy to spend time with family and friends, new and old. N/IICU staff, graduates and families attend and are celebrated as we continue to raise funds for this special project.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“In December, we were honored to be chosen by Phillies Charities Inc. for a grant. We have now fully funded N/IICU journals and we’re ready to grow our Parent Survival Kits. We are very excited to work with N/IICU staff to expand our project and bring meaningful support to patients and families in the N/IICU. We’ll also be adding to our executive board in 2020.”

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Nothing But A Nightmare – Appeared in the April 10 and Nov. 6 editions of the Lower Bucks Times in “Making it big” and “A new musical era,” which highlighted the band’s debut EP Nostalgia and growing local following.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“Best moment for us was, for sure, opening for Andy Grammer. It was an awesome opportunity and a great time.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Goals for the year are to just keep making music and build our band and have a happy, healthy new year.”

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Tony Bria – Appeared in the June 19 edition of The Hampton Times in “Fitness goals,” which spotlighted the grand opening of the William Tennent alum’s fitness facility Bria Method, located in Warminster

Favorite moment of 2019?

“On Feb. 19, my daughter Jordyn Lynn Bria was born. And on June 8, my dream of having my own fitness studio came true! Bria Method opened.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“As a new business owner, the struggle between work balance and family time can be difficult. The goal is to continue on our early success at the studio and also be there for my family. Also, I’m a good trainer and motivator, but that goal is always to get better. Signing up for a new cert and improving my skills as a businessman is next on the list. But I’m not big with resolutions. If I have something I need to work on, I wouldn’t wait for the new year to begin.”

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Cathy Malkemes, chief executive officer of Women’s Animal Center – Appeared in the July 3 edition of the Bensalem Times in “A lifesaving mission,” which covered WAC’s 25th anniversary rededication ceremony at its Bensalem location.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“2019 was an extraordinary year for Women’s Animal Center as we celebrated our 150th year as America’s First Animal Shelter. There were many special moments during the year, including the dedication of a Pennsylvania Historical Marker commemorating our 150th anniversary; our anniversary celebration in June, attended by over 150 friends and supporters; numerous adoption events sponsored by our community partners; and we celebrated our shelter’s 25th year in Bensalem. But our favorite part of 2019 is the 1,500 lives saved through adoptions in our animal shelter and the 9,000 clients treated in our veterinary hospital.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“We look forward to continuing lifesaving work in our animal shelter and providing veterinary care for pets owned by families and individuals in our community.”

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Kyrus Keenan Westcott – Appeared in the July 3 edition of The Bristol Times in “Choosing happiness,” which discussed his mission to spread positivity through “Good Vibes with Ky,” available on all social media platforms.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“The highlight of my year, for sure, was the day I was able to walk for the first time after rupturing my Achilles in 2018. It was a long recovery, and being able to walk on my own without crutches or a boot, that was the best feeling I could ever ask for.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“It’s time to take my life to the next level. By the end of the year, everyone will know my name. That’s the goal.”

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Emiliano Martin – Appeared in the Sept. 4 edition of the Bensalem Times in “A surreal life,” which discussed his latest book Vulnerable Excellence, a 90-page chronology detailing the storied life of famed surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“Frankly, I have been blessed with good health while important interesting moments took place, throughout steps taken in 2019. Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting in person with Ms. Samantha Bambino, the associate editor of Bensalem Times, with whom I spent a wonderful time going over my newly released book Vulnerable Excellence. Things turned out to be extremely positive for me when I saw her written article with a large picture taken over the interview she kindly handled for me. I was delighted to meet a true professional. My family, neighbors and friends read the ‘Entertainment’ page and commented on it, making me feel like someone of importance, and all thanks to Ms. Bambino. Yes, my ego was touched and I remember that we all smiled. A copy of the newspaper I shall treasure forever.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“My goals and resolutions for the new year are simple: hope not to be in deep debt; find peace and make it work positively among all of us; maintain a healthy diet and mental sanity so that I may keep on moving with new ideas to pen down; and finally wrapping up my new manuscript on the subject of ‘an unknown story of Spain in Philadelphia’s colonial days.’ It will be a book hopefully ready to be published early in 2020. May I also wish a happy and prosperous new year to all.”

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Kate Sample, president of Sunshine Foundation – Appeared in the Sept. 4 edition of the Feasterville-Trevose Times in “A dream come true,” which covered local Jersey Mike’s generous donation to help Alex, who has cerebral palsy, visit Walt Disney World with his family.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“We had an exciting Dream Come True Presentation at Jersey Mike’s in Feasterville when Alex was told he was going to Disney World. This happened through the generosity of Jersey Mike’s Feasterville, Ladies Who Rock 4 A Cause, MOMS Club of Bensalem, Giant Feasterville, Cavity Busters and Delaware River Port Authority.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Goals for 2020 are to raise more local awareness of the Sunshine Foundation in the hopes of identifying more children from the area who are eligible for dreams. How we raise awareness, since we have no advertising budget, is through our Dream Come True Presentations, such as the one this past year at Jersey Mike’s and another at the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology with the support of CECF (Corvette Enthusiasts Community Foundation). Another goal is to find more opportunities for sponsorship for the children we serve. Sunshine Foundation has many generous supporters who collectively come together to make children’s dreams come true. Through speaking events and being out in the community, we can show the impact our program has in the lives of the children and families we serve.”

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Tracy Everly – Appeared in the Sept. 11 edition of The Hampton Times in “The beauty of Bucks,” which discussed the Holland native’s vast artistic career and appearance at the Bucks County Plein Air Festival in October.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“I would have to say that a highlight in 2019 was making the decision to leave a full-time corporate job in order to delve deeper into making art. It was a risky decision in many ways, but one that had a huge and positive impact on my life, both personally and professionally. I am grateful to be able to devote more time to making art and to teaching. It’s not always easy, but it’s a whole new adventure.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“I constantly set goals, not just for the new year. So for 2020, my goals are what they usually are – to live a healthy life while continuing to expand my art career and be present for my family. That’s really what matters most to me.”

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Tyler Lewandowski – Appeared in the Sept. 25 edition of the Lower Bucks Times in “Trying a remix,” which chronicled his transition from frontman of the post-hardcore band Moral Support to solo artist Honcho Macguffin, who has a more R&B-influenced sound.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“A highlight of mine would be releasing a new project and getting to see people enjoy the music.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“Some goals or resolutions would be to work on a song every other day, and take care of my mental health by doing yoga, working out and eating healthier.”

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Nancy Avery – Appeared in the Nov. 20 edition of The Hampton Times in “Heading down under,” which discussed the retired Davis Elementary teacher’s first published educational book Watson and Jason Move to Australia.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“My favorite moment of 2019 was seeing my dream come to life in my first of a series of books, Watson and Jason Move to Australia.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“My goal for the new year is to continue to read my book to elementary children for their enjoyment and to have my books available in local bookstores. I also plan to complete my second book, Watson and Jason Move to Africa.”

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Bill Pezza, president of Bristol Borough Raising the Bar – Appeared in the Nov. 27 edition of The Bristol Times in “Miracle on Mill,” which covered the unveiling of 10,000 additional holiday lights along the borough’s business district.

Favorite moment of 2019?

“We’ve had several highlights, but my favorite came at the very end of the year with the completion of our Raising the Bar mural on Old Route 13. A public art/mural program has been a goal of Raising the Bar for a few years. Now, thanks to a matching grant from Visit Bucks County and private donations from residents, we were able to commission local artist Jean-Marc Dubus and complete and light a large mural celebrating the borough’s diversity. The public reaction has been very positive, and we’re hopeful this first piece will be the catalyst for more to come.”

Goals/resolutions for the new year?

“We have an application pending with DCED for another round of facade grant funding. If successful, we’ll be able to fund another 10 businesses in the commercial district to enhance their curb appeal in compliance with Historical and Architectural Review Board standards. We’re optimistic. Longer term, we’d like to facilitate the opening of a small hotel/bed and breakfast for out-of-town visitors.” ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com