New Year’s greetings dear friends and kind readers, and welcome back for our first Front Porch visit of 2019 where we're still savoring the holidays.

With so many wonderful parties, get-togethers, reunions, weddings and the amazing kick-off to Westerly’s huge 350th, I find myself wanting to stop and remember each celebration and each person I shared time with before admitting the season has officially come to a close.

On the first day of the New Year, hundreds of people gathered on the steps of Westerly Town Hall to ring bells and celebrate the beginning of the town's 350th anniversary. What fun and what a feeling of community! Kudos to the organizers and check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkDo3xwb_lA. To stay abreast of all events, visit https://www.westerly350.com. One of the many events you'll want to put on your calendar is the Olde Tyme Faire scheduled for Aug. 24 in Wilcox Park, an event Paul Donohue is very excited about!

A few weeks back I wrote about John Macomber of Westerly and how proud he was of his grandsons, Jon and Chris, the sons of Steve Macomber (of Valenti fame) and Heidi Macomber. What I didn't know then, was that Chris, who graduated from Westerly High School in 2010 and Marymount University in Virginia, is set to graduate from the University of Virginia Law School, where he was recently named a winner of the school's 90th William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition. Chris's name will be inscribed on a plaque along with the names of other past winners of the prestigious contest, like that of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. 

Chris worked at the Supreme Court before law school and plans to clerk for Associate Judge Craig Iscoe of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia afterwards. He also got permission to preside over marriage ceremonies which came in handy this Christmas when he officiated at the wedding of his brother, Jon and his new sister-in-law, Elle. Although Elle and Jon, the Military Liaison for Congressman John Lewis, had planned to marry in Italy next summer, the two changed plans when Elle's mom, Geri, was diagnosed with cancer. They instead were married on Christmas Eve, at a small ceremony held at the boys' mom Heidi's house, with Chris officiating. Next week, I'll have more on the New Year's Eve wedding of Erica and Aaron Bliven.

I keep meaning to mention how surprised many of us were to see the sign on the Bean Counter in downtown Westerly, announcing the closing of the 22-year-old business. Goodbye Bean Counter! Best of luck to you Sheila Fravesi

If you missed the article about Cassandra Lin that was in the Dec. 24 edition of People magazine, I have a copy thanks to the thoughtful and kind Karen Hebb Piccolo, who dropped one by last week. (Sorry I missed you, Karen, happy New Year to you and Sam!Cassandra’s dad, Jason, actually alerted me to the piece, but with the holidays, it slipped my mind. Cassandra, who is featured right after a story about the new "Mary Poppins" movie and a photo of Lin-Manuel Miranda, is in People's "Heroes Among Us" under the "Women of Worth" section with the headline, "Turning Cooking Oil into Fuel."

Until next week, happy New Year and ciao bella!

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