Tag Archives: Norma Minkowitz

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: Norma Minkowitz, Lucy Johnson, Full Moon …

Westport artist Norma Minkowitz demolished 3 US records at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She won all 3 races handily.

The first was Thursday, in the 5K road race. Competing in the 85-89-year-old age group, her 33:27 time beat the previous best mark by more than 6 minutes.

Then, in the same age group in the 400 meter dash, Minkowitz blazed to a 1:50.47 mark. That was more than 20 seconds faster than the existing record.

Finally, in the 800 meter run (in the 85-104-year old division), she finished in a speedy 4:17.66 — over a minute better than the previous mark.

Congratulations, Norma! (Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

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

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Here’s another winner:

Former Westport Library board member and longtime “Booked for the Evening” volunteer Lucy Johnson has earned a silver in the Independent Book Publishers Award.

Her book “This Was Toscanini:  The Maestro, My Father, and Me” won in the Performing Arts category (Music/Dance/Cinema/Theater).

The contest recognizes the thousands of independent, university and self-published books released each year.

Lucy Johnson

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Last night’s Super Flower Blood Moon drew lots of folks outside. Here’s one shot, by Tomoko Meth:

(Photo/Tomoko Meth)

And David Cross captured this view, over the library:

(Photo/David Cross)

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Business Networking International is a special kind of group. Only one member per category is allowed — maximizing the opportunity for connections, while minimizing competition.

BNI’s local chapter is open to new members in a few categories, including commercial broker, counseling service, security, HVAC, photographer, caterer, bakery, florist, event planner, home inspector, moving company, travel tours, auto repair, and dry cleaner/tailor/shoe repair.

Interested businesses are invited to a Visitor’s Day on June 2 from (7:30 to 9 a.m., United Methodist Church).

For more information and to register for the event, email Curtis@health-directions.com or billhall747@gmail.com.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has a new interim president and CEO.: Westporter Margo Amgott

She brings 30 years of non-profit leadership experience, serving in a range of organizations including community and healthcare, education institutions and government agencies.

A specialist in transitional leadership, Amgott reopened the Jacob Burns Film Center with fundraising and renewed programming. She served as interim director for Studio in a School, an arts and social justice organization working in New York City schools, interim CEO at Hearing Health Foundation, and COO of the National Council for Jewish Women, and a program leader at Columbia University, Hunter College, NYU Langone Medical Center, and the New York City Department of Health.

She holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA from Barnard College.

Margo Amgott

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Patti and Doug Brill moved from the north part of Westport to Saugatuck Shores recently.

“The fun part being in a new home. is seeing everything bloom. Lots of nice surprises!” Patti says.

Today she shares one of those surprises with “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … in honor of 85-year-old Norma Minkowitz’s three national record-setting performances (see story above):

Norma Minkowitz: Artist On The Run

Norma Minkowitz has quite a routine.

In the morning she goes to The Edge. Three days a week, she runs 1.5 miles on the treadmill. Then she does lunges, curls and core work with a trainer. She follows up with an hour-long spin class. The other days, she runs outdoors.

Then she heads back to her Westport home. She climbs the stairs to her studio, and begins a full day of work as an artist. “I run from one piece to another,” she laughs.

A few of Norma Minkowitz’s pieces, in her Westport studio.

Next month, Norma interrupts that routine. She heads to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a national championship track meet. She’ll compete in the 1500, 800 and 400 meter runs.

She hopes to win a US title in her age group: 80 to 84 years old.

At 81, Norma has spent fully half her life in Westport. She met her husband Shelly at Cooper Union. She studied fine arts; he was an engineer.

Jobs with Sikorsky and PerkinElmer brought them to Connecticut. But he changed careers, becoming a home builder. Harvest Commons is his work. Four decades ago, he built their house on Broadview Road.

Meanwhile, Norma pursued her own career. In the 1960s she began working with fiber. “Back then it was considered ‘arts and crafts,'” she says. “Now it’s a fine art.”

Norma Minkowitz, and 2 of her works.

Her specialty is crocheted cotton thread. She also does pen and ink, and sculptures.

Her style is “very personal,” she says. “It has a dark edge, about life, mortality and human nature. I’m interested in sequences, and how things evolve.”

Her art grows stronger every year, Norma notes. “I’ve pared things down to simple lines, shapes, forms and meaning.”

Norma’s work is now in 32 museums. And they’re big: the Metropolitan, the de Young, the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Norma Minkowitz, before the 1987 New York Marathon.

She came to running later in life. In 1985, a friend talked her into training for the New York Marathon. She did not prepare well, and lasted “only” 20 miles.

The next year, Norma trained with a coach. At 49 years old, she completed all 26.2 miles in 4 hours, 6 minutes — a 9:25 per mile pace.

The year after that, she had bronchitis. She ran anyway.

But, Norma says, she is “not in love with long races.” In 1986 she began running shorter distances, in the Westport Parks & Recreation summer series organized by legendary track coach Laddie Lawrence.

Those were more her speed. She’s participated every year since.

These days, she often trains with 4- or 5-kilometer runs. It sounds daunting. But Norma insists, “that’s not real long distance.” After training, she feels “healthy, strong, accomplished — and tired.”

She also feels “like I’ve done something for my body. Maybe it’s the blood going to my brain.”

Running helps her artwork, Norma says. In her studio, she often stands. “Artists have to be strong,” she notes.

She sees people her age who “hardly move.” No one says that about Norma.

One reason she loves her spin class is meeting so many nice (and young) people. “Some of them tell me they wish their mothers did this,” she says. “And their mothers are younger than I am!” She’s made many friends through the running community.

Her fellow spinners — and runners, and artists — are in awe of Norma’s accomplishments. They know how committed she is. And how hard she is training for the upcoming National Senior Games at the University of New Mexico.

Three years ago — at 79 — Norma Minkowitz led a pack of much younger runners.

It’s a big deal. Over 13,500 “seniors” — ages 50 to 100 — will compete in age group categories. Events include swimming, diving, biking, paddleball, bowling, golf, pickle ball and pole vault.

She qualified for her 3 track races last year, in a downpour in New Britain and a follow-up meet in New Jersey. Her times were well below the cutoffs.

But she’s leaving nothing to chance. She has no idea how the high altitude will affect her. So she’s working with former Staples High School runner and coach Malcolm Watson.

Last month, she ran in the Westport Young Woman’s League Minute Man race. Her mile time was 10:30. “That’s pretty good for 81,” she says.

It is indeed.

Two of Norma Minkowitz’ medals, from the Senior Games qualifying meet in New Britain.

“It’s exciting,” Norma says of the upcoming national meet. “I’m a novice. But you never know…”

And if Albuquerque goes well, there’s the 2020 Senior Olympics in Fort Lauderdale.

“That’s sea level,” Norma says with relief. “On the other hand, there’s the heat…”

(Click here for more information on the National Senior Games. Click here for Norma Minkowitz’s art website. Hat tip: Mitch Thaw.)