Author: Michaela Halnon

Millions of parents turn to Essex author for baby sleep advice

Alexis Dubief is not a pediatrician, child development specialist or psychiatrist. Still, millions of parents around the world turn to the Essex-based blogger and author desperate for advice about a universal phenomenon — sleep. “All human beings on the planet need to learn how to fall asleep,” Dubief said. “It’s not a medical issue, but it’s a huge issue.” A decade ago, Dubief was a bored, lonely stay-at-home mom searching for relief in scads of baby sleep books. She vividly remembers talking about her struggles at a nursing group, where fellow mothers told her sleep deprivation was an unavoidable...

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Siblings take the stage for VBT’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Seventeen-year-old Liam Kinney would have happily bid adieu to the Nutcracker Prince character after his performance last Christmas. He decided to reprise the role one more time, though, insisting he was absolutely certain who would be picked to play the ballet’s iconic Clara this year: his little sister. “There was never a doubt in my mind that you would be Clara,” he told his sibling with a grin inside the Vermont Ballet Theater’s Essex dance studio last week. “I knew I wanted to dance with her one more time on the stage.” Nora Kinney, 13, humbly waved off that...

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Annual diaper drive inspires fifth-graders

A band of fifth-graders at Malletts Bay School are calling on the community for diaper donations, hoping to collect a whopping 500 pounds of the baby basics for the Committee on Temporary Shelter by December 18. “We decided it was just a nice thing to do for our community because homeless people need to spend their money on food and clothes,” MBS student Beatrice Melo said. “We’re really excited about it, [and] we’ve been working really hard.” School counselor Luba Routsong introduced her students to the idea just before Thanksgiving. She heard about the fundraiser from Jason Fitzgerald, an...

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On air: It’s a Wonderful Life

Community Players stage unique take on holiday classic Three metal music stands perched at the edge of the Memorial Hall stage in Essex on a snowy Monday evening, each holding a script lined with dozens of colorful tabs. Familiar character names were inscribed on each: George, Potter and Zuzu among them. Before the first dress rehearsal commenced, stage manager Louise Richmond wet a trio of bright yellow sponges attached to the stand bases. The kitchen apparatus would hopefully offer the actors a more subtle way to wet their fingertips before turning the pages, she explained with a smirk. It’s...

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Amid online shopping surge, Turner Toys preps for holiday rush

Turner Toys is not sheltered from the effects of an exorbitant rise in online shopping. Some patrons peruse the Essex shop with their smartphones in hand, comparing owner Peter Sloan’s prices to a web retailer’s in real time. The phenomenon is so prevalent at brick and mortar stores, it’s earned a name: showrooming. Yet, Turner Toys has one major factor working in its favor during the frequent head-to-head evaluations: Kids are all about instant gratification. Take a dreaded trip to the dentist, for example. A parent hoping to coax their child through the appointment will have much better luck...

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