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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: 'Newsroom' name-drops local mom

August 11. 2013 7:27PM

Like any mother of an 8-month-old, Sarah Crawford Stewart is rarely awake past 10 p.m. and probably doesn't have many opportunities to watch television shows for grown-ups. That's why she's never seen an episode of the HBO drama "The Newsroom."

"I don't watch the show. I've never seen it," said Crawford Stewart. But after being woken up by a barrage of text messages during the Sunday, July 28, episode, she realized she should probably start watching.

When she was awake enough to comprehend the text messages the next morning she discovered her name had been mentioned on the show. It wasn't just a random character who also happens to be named Sarah Crawford Stewart. They were actually talking about her.

I have seen every episode of Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom," which portrays the behind-the-scenes action of a fictional nightly cable-news program that covers "ripped from the headlines" topics. Jeff Daniels plays the show's anchor Will McAvoy, a Republican having some sort of crisis of conscience.

The show's politics are a bit in-your-face, but it is very entertaining, and part of Season 2 takes place in New Hampshire with Mitt Romney's 2012 Primary campaign. The show has mentioned many New Hampshire cities and towns and I have been on the lookout for recognizable locations. So far, I have seen a Radisson that is supposedly in Concord (which they pronounce like the French airplane). I was not on the lookout for names of people I actually know, and missed the brief reference to Crawford Stewart by a character named Taylor Warren, who is supposed to be the Romney campaign's feisty and sarcastic female spokesman. Fortunately, I was able to re-watch the clip on the Facebook page of Crawford-Stewart's company, b-fresh consulting.

The scene takes place on a campaign bus.

"Some news everybody," she tells the press. "Huntsman's fired his New Hampshire campaign manager Ethan Eilon, which is not surprising, and replaced him with Sarah Crawford Stewart, who most recently worked on the Pawlenty campaign, which was of course a huge success."

I'm not sure the reference to Eilon (actually let go from the Huntsman campaign) or Stewart (who did join Huntsman after Pawlenty backed out) was very flattering. But, who cares? They were mentioned on HBO. Sorkin's earlier New Hampshire creation was President Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) in NBC's "West Wing."

"I'll just assume Hollywood has its eye on me," said Crawford Stewart, a very funny girl from Vermont who has been an on-again, off-again Manchester resident since 1999, when she graduated college and joined the John McCain campaign. She and her husband Chris Stewart (a Manchester Board of School Committee member) officially put roots down here about five years ago when they opened b-fresh consulting. When they are not working on political campaigns and making their way into Aaron Sorkin scripts, they support various clients with their third business partner, Tyler Deaton. Crawford Stewart said she is not sure how she made it into the Sorkin script, but it has been a lot of fun hearing from people who saw the episode. And she would be happy to offer her consulting services to any producers who want to make sure their portrayal of New Hampshire political campaign life is authentic. She said she could offer advice like, "That pizza isn't stale enough."

A beautiful ball

I recently spent way too much time on The website has pictures of the first ever Story Book Ball in 2011 and I was blown away by the outrageous décor.

This fundraiser for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth features tables designed with storybook themes. One table was based on "Peter Pan." I'm not talking about a table covered with a plastic "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" tablecloth from iParty, This was an actual 3D Lost Boys treehouse with jungle shrubbery coming out the center of the table. A "Curious George" table was covered in green grass and had the naughty monkey himself flying over the table holding a bunch of balloons.

I feel exhausted just thinking about the creative and physical energy it takes to produce this event, so I don't question why organizers took a break from the ball in 2012. But Natalie Martinez with CHaD Community Relations tells me it is returning on Saturday, Sept. 28, with more magic than ever.

The event will be held in a private hangar at Wiggins Airways. The night will include a culinary station cocktail hour with food provided by local restaurants as well as a sit-down meal at one of the designer tables. There will be a silent auction, costumed characters and live entertainment.

Individual tickets are available at $100 each or you can be a sponsor and secure an entire designer table for you and your friends. Sponsorships are available at various price levels, and I believe the awesomeness of your table correlates with its cost. Ticket holders won't find out the theme of their table until they arrive, but are required to dress in their finest gala-wear.

Don't tell anyone, but I've peeked at the list of this year's themes and I can't wait to see what Lakes Region Bride Magazine does with its "Princess Bride" table and how Abbott Rental portrays "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

Saw them at CIGNA

Some ailments put me on the sidelines for this year's Cigna 5K, but being a spectator was almost as much fun. I can barely remember all the runners I recognized last Thursday, but a few stuck out, including marketing professional Amy Diaz running close to the front pack. I know the mother of three young children hits the pavement almost every day, but it is rare to actually see her running because she and training partner Andrea Munoz are usually getting their runs in at an hour when most of us are sleeping.

Other mothers of young children joining the fun included Dr. April Kosinski of East Coast Chiropractic and Melissa Gardner, who was running as part of the Fidelity team with her husband and 7-year-old son, both named Billy Gardner.

The city's dental field was well-represented with Dr. Jim DeLeo of Chestnut Family Dental and a large crew from Mehan Johnson Orthodontics, including Dr. Paul Johnson and wife, Jill, who recently moved here to join the longtime Manchester practice.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

The three-day Mahrajan festival takes place at Cedars Melkite Catholic Church this weekend and the entire community is invited to join this annual celebration of Middle Eastern culture. The most important part of any festival is the food, and Mahrajan will feature Lebanese specialties including lamb, beef and chicken kabobs, falafel, tabbouleh and traditional Middle Eastern pastries.

There will also be Arabic music and dancing, a bazaar, games and activities for children and a petting area featuring Josh the Camel. The festival is open 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

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