Tag Archives: Melissa Shapiro

Roundup: Senior Records, Family Day, “The Scream” …

We all know how great Westport is.

This morning (Thursday) at 11:30 a.m., everyone in the tri-state area will find out too.

Well, everyone watching “New York Live,” anyway.

The WNBC Channel 4 show features our town. The long (for TV) segment includes scenes of Compo Beach, Longshore, downtown and much more, plus interviews with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, La Plage executive chef Frederic Kieffer, and Savvy + Grace owner Annette Norton.

Of course, “New York Live” is not live. It’s clear from the not-quite-spring foliage that the segment was taped a couple of weeks ago. That’s show biz!

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The other day, “06880” reported that Westport artist Norma Minkowitz shattered 3 US records at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale.

Now she’s demolished a fourth.

On Tuesday, Norma ran the 1500 meters in 8:35 — a full 2 1/2 minutes faster than the prior record in her 85-89-year-old age group. It won the 80-84 division too! (Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

In 2016– age 79 — Norma Minkowitz led a pack of much younger runners.

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Lynsey Addario continues to provide graphic — and important — images of the war in Ukraine to the world.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photojournalist — a 1991 Staples High School graduate — contribute a series of images to yesterday’s story, headlined “In Ukraine, Gruesome Injuries and Not Enough Doctors to Treat Them.”

Click here to understand the toll the fighting has taken. It is not easy to see. But it would be worse to look away.

The boots of a slain soldier named Ihor (right), next to tennis shoes belonging to another soldier, killed a day earlier. They were placed outside a hospital, for soldiers who might need them. (Photo/Lynsey Addario)

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It took 4 months. But author Heather McGhee finally delivered her Martin Luther King Day address last night.

The author of “The Sum of US: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” spoke at the Westport Library. The town’s 16th annual event — sponsored by the Westport/Weston Interfaith Council and Clergy, Westport Country Playhouse and TEAM Westport — had been postponed by COVID.

The program included songs from the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and a dance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

Heather McGhee, at the Westport Library. (Photo/David Vita)

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Lucia Wang is editor of Staples High School’s STEM Journal.

But her writing is earning notice far beyond Westport. The junior just earned an honorable mention in the New York Times’ global STEM writing contest.

Out of 3,564 entries, judges chose 8 winners, 16 runners-up and 33 honorable mentions. Click here for the full story.

Her essay was titled “Crumbling Paintings, Swelling Crystals and Menacing Monsoons: Climate Change’s Erasure of Humanity’s Oldest Art.”

But Lucia does not spend all her time studying climate change, and writing. She’s also a member of the Wreckers’ varsity tennis team. They finished 15-1 this year, and compete in the FCIAC semifinals at 4 this afternoon at Staples.

Congratulations, Lucia!

Lucia Wang

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On Monday (May 23, 7 p.m.), the Planning & Zoning Commission will review a lease between the town and the Westport Police Athletic League (PAL) for the PJ clubhouse at PJ Romano Field behind Saugatuck Elementary School, plus the lawns, driveway and walkways around it. Click here to see all application materials.

PAL has leased the building from the Board of Education for over 50 years. The lease expired last November. On March 21, the BOE relinquished control back to the town, effective July 1. The proposed lease is 20 years.

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Everyone, of all ages, is invited to MoCA Westport’s Family  Day (June 18, noon to 2 p.m.).

The theme is “inclusion and kindness.” Among the attractions: Piglet, the deaf and blind pink puppy who has inspired a global movement for acceptance, inclusion, empathy and kindness. Westport’s own Melissa Shapiro share his story and talk about her new children’s book, Piglet Comes Home.

Norwalk artist 5iveFingaz will create a mural of Piglet in real time. Visitors can view “Spark,” a showcase of K-12 Westport Public School student art curated by Staples High School students.

Other highlights include a sensory art activity led by MoCA Westport instructors, live music by local favorite Dustin Lowman, an ice cream truck, a meet and greet with dogs from Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, and homemade dog treat giveaways from Earth Animal.

Click here for tickets.

In other Piglet news, Melissa Shapiro’s new children’s picture book, “Piglet Comes Home: How a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy Found His Family,” will be published June 7.

It’s beautifully illustrated, and will be a favorite with parents, children’s librarians — and of course young readers — everywhere. Click here to order, and for more information.

Piglet, with his new book.

 

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The next Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand play reading is “The Scream: A Musical Comedy Fantasy.” The June 13 (7 p.m) live performance will also be livestreamed, from June 16-19. Script in Hand readings offer intimate storytelling, as professional actors bring words to life without sets or costumes.

Click here for more information, and tickets.

“The Scream: A Musical Comedy Fantasy” is based on Edvard Much’s famous painting.

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Former Staples High baseball player George Goldstein is the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Pitcher of the Year. He’s only the second relief pitcher in history to win the honor, and just the second Middlebury College pitcher to do so.

With the season still continuing, Goldstein holds several Middlebury baseball records, including career saves and career appearances. He is second in best season and career ERA, and saves in a season.

George Goldstein pitches in the snow earlier this season. (Photo/David Goldstein)

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A hummingbird has flitted around Paul Delano’s house recently, collecting spider webs for its nest. He captured this great shot — perfect for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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And finally … in honor of the next Script in Hand play reading at the Westport Country Playhouse (story above):

                                                                  

Roundup: Kings Highway Bridge, Masks, Sip & Swap …

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First the bad news: The Kings Highway North project (connecting Main Street and Canal Street) will not be paved until next spring.

Now the good news: It won’t be closed that long.

Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich says his department (and the rest of the country) has run into supply chain issues. As soon as some piping comes in, they’ll finish the water line. The road will reopen then.

The reason final paving must wait until 2022 is to let all the utility work settle.

Paving of the lower portion of Main Street — where utilities are also going in — may wait until spring too. Ratkiewich said it’s possible to do it in November, but he does not want to disrupt prime shopping season.

Bottom line: All roads will be open, hopefully soon. They just won’t be just-paved smooth.

Once upon a time, traffic flowed easily on Kings Highway North. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

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The latest COVID advice from the CDC: Even if you’re vaccinated, you should wear masks indoors if you live in a place with “substantial” or high virus transmission.

The CDC classifies a community as having “substantial transmission” if there are 50 to 99 weekly cases per 100,000 residents or if the positivity rate is between 8.0 and 9.9%.

NPR has a handy tool that lists risks in every US county. As of yesterday, Fairfield County was “moderate” — in other words, below the “substantial” threshold.

Not in Fairfield County? Click here to see how your county is doing.

COVID transmission rates across the US.

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Longtime Westporter Charlene Zeiberg has organized a great women’s clothing “sip and swap” for next Tuesday (August 3, 6 p.m., Unitarian Church parking lot).

There’s a lot going on. It’s a chance to see old friends and meet new ones while trading — not buying! — clothing and accessories. There are adult beverages and nibbles. And voluntary charitable cash donations to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center of Connecticut will be gratefully accepted. Any leftover items will be donated to charities.

Swapper alert: This is not an unload-your-junk tag sale. It’s for high-end, designer-type goods. Each participant must bring at least 10 items. And it’s ladies apparel only — not men’s or children’s. (Of course, all are welcome to attend.)

The deadline to register is this Friday night. Click here for details.

Get rid of your slightly worn gowns on August 3.

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Adam Kaplan is taking the big leap.

The 2008 Staples High School graduate has been cast in Fox’s “dance dramedy “The Big Leap.”

The show-within-a-show “takes viewers on a journey of self-acceptance, body-positivity and empowerment at any age.” It’s described as “a modern tale about second chances, chasing your dreams and taking back what’s yours.”

The show revolves around a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck characters attempting to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show that builds to a live production of Swan Lake.

Kaplan’s role is Simon Lovewell. He is a talented dancer, has confidence to spare, and is wildly ambitious. He’s “comfortable in his queerness and likes to challenge expectations about gender in both his attitude and appearance.”

“The Big Leap” is in production in Chicago. It premieres on Fox on September 20 (9 p.m.). Click here for more details.

Kaplan recently wrapped a supporting role in “Mr. Russo,” directed by Ray Romano. He also appeared in a lead role in A Bronx Tale on Broadway opposite Chazz Palminteri, directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks.

Adam Kaplan

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Earlier this week, “06880” noted Melissa Shapiro’s upcoming appearance (Saturday) on “Good Morning America.”

You can also see the Westport veterinarian Melissa Shapiro live. Next Tuesday (August 3, 7 p.m., Zoom) she’ll discuss her book “Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family. It’s the story of how fostering the unwanted dog transformed her, her family, and countless admirers.

Piglet (and Melissa) have been featured in People Magazine, and on NBC Nightly News, CNN, CBS News and more. Click here to see our neighbor (virtually). The event is sponsored by the Westport Library; autographed copies of the book are available here.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” orchids come courtesy of Molly Alger, on Whitney Street:

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And finally … if you’ve followed these “And finally …” videos for any amount of time, you know that Bruce Springsteen is one of my all-time favorite rockers.

His wife, Patti Scialfa, is no slouch herself.

She joins Bruce every night for a few songs at his Broadway show. From my 2nd-row pre-pandemic seat*, it was a riveting performance.

Today is Patti Scialfa’s 68th birthday. Hope she has a brilliant one.

Eat your heart out

 

Roundup: Bear, Piglet, Poles …

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Westport’s most famous bear is dead.

Westport Local Press reports that “Bear 211” — the black bear tagged with that number by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and reported at various sites in northern Westport and environs over the past 2 months — was struck by a car and killed yesterday, on Route 136 in Easton. The driver left the scene.

Click here for the full story.

This was the scene off Weston Road recently. The bear has now been struck and killed. (Photo/Denny Galindo)

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The Westport Public Art Collections includes an astonishing array of 1,500 paintings, illustrations, photos and more. They hang in every public school, and buildings like Town Hall, the Parks & Recreation Department office, even fire headquarters.

But not everyone has access to schools. Town Hall is still pretty much closed. And when was the last time you were at the fire station?

This winter, there’s an exciting opportunity to see 40 or so outstanding works.

MoCA Westport and the Westport Arts Advisory Committee are collaborating on an exhibit, at MoCA’s expansive gallery space.

Two of the works are shown below. As for the few dozen others: well, you’ll have to see for yourself!

“Don’t Judge Me 2020” (Christa Forrest

From Larry Silver’s “Yangzhou, China 1997-2000” collection.

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“06880”‘s favorite Piglet is actually a dog.

Piglet is the name of a deaf, blind pink dachshund/Chihuahua mix. He was rescued by Westport veterinarian Melissa Shapiro. (Click here for a 2017 story.)

She’s just written a book. “Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family” will be published August 3. Simon & Schuster calls it “a charming, inspirational memoir about empathy, resilience, kindness, and an adorable deaf blind pink dog.”

Click here for details. And watch “Good Morning America” this Saturday (July 31), for an interview with Melissa. (Hat tip: WEndy Bouthillier)

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It’s a little bit of vandalism: a couple of benches overturned by Ned Dimes Marina, off Compo Beach Road.

But the benches are memorials to real, much-loved human beings. Richard Webb — who says this is the second time it’s happened this month — notes that the perpetrators “might as well be turning over headstones.”

(Photo/Richard Webb)

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Mark Mathias writes:

“As I’ve been walking my dog recently, I noticed wood shavings at the bottom of most of the telephone, power, cable and such poles around town.

“I also recently saw a truck with 2 guys drilling holes in a pole, and wondered if it’s related.

“Upon further investigation, it appears that at least 3 holes have been drilled and then plugged.

“I also noticed a metal tag nailed into each pole saying “Maverick Inspected 2021 Cobra Rod.”

Any idea what this is for?

Nope. But I’m sure at least one alert “06880” reader does. Click “Comments,” to let us all know.

Plugged hole (below) and metal tag (above). (Photo/Mark Mathias)

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These sunflowers graced Peter Wormser‘s memorial service Sunday, at Cedar Point Yacht Club. The architect, cook, outdoorsman — and avid gardener — died earlier this month.

The service was moving and memorable. And Nanette Hausman thought this “Naturally … Westport” photo epitomized Peter’s love of beauty and life.

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And finally … in honor of Melissa Shapiro’s new book (above):

 

This Little Piglet…

Melissa Shapiro and her husband Warren moved to Westport 24 years ago. They’ve got 3 college-aged children, plus many rescued dogs and birds. She is a house call veterinarian, as well as Connecticut representative for the national Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Melissa writes:

Piglet — a deaf, blind pink dachshund/Chihuahua mix — was rescued last year from a hoarding situation in Georgia. So were his mother and 3 littermates.

But Piglet did not do well in his rescue situation. Last March he was sent to Connecticut.

I planned to foster him until he found his forever home. As things happen, that was my home. My family adopted Piglet in May.

Piglet at Compo Beach.

After months of screaming and severe separation anxiety, Piglet finally got into a routine snuggling in his dad’s arms, playing with his dog pack siblings, taking walks down the street, traveling to house calls with me, and visiting the bank, pet stores, and the animal hospital to see his BFFs,

In October, he was a celebrity guest at a Halloween fundraiser for Wolfgang & Company, a Fairfield company that employs special needs young adults to bake and sell dog treats.

Wherever he goes, he creates smiles on the faces of everyone he meets. (He’s even got his own Facebook page — click here!)

But it’s through his YouTube video that Piglet really reaches people.

A 3rd grade teacher in Massachusetts used Piglet’s video to teach her class how his positive mindset helps overcome challenges. Her students were so inspired, they used him as a role model to grow as people. When problems arise at home, kids ask, “What would Piglet do?”

The students sent hand-drawn cards to our family, with messages to Piglet. We were speechless.

Piglet’s fame has spread to Massachusetts.

That’s inspired me. I’ll make a short personalized Piglet greeting for any class or other group that wants to use this video.

But it’s not just kids who love Piglet. On January 27, he’ll be at the Senior Center. We’ll show his YouTube story, and he’ll meet and greet people who stops by.

Everyone is welcome, to see Westport’s own pink celebrity.