Northborough – When most people think of the Olympic Games, images of young athletes in their prime competing on a world stage come to mind. Davis Cox, a Northborough resident, has set out to promote a different kind of Games: the Massachusetts Senior Games, an annual event in which any active adults 40 years and older can compete in a range of sports, including track and field, swimming, basketball, tennis, archery and pistol shooting.
Cox has wanted to be a decathlon athlete since he was 7 years old. Now, at 75, his journey to becoming a decathlon athlete has just started. As the newly appointed state ambassador of the Massachusetts Senior Games, Cox said, “My major role is to bring awareness to the state of Massachusetts that the [Massachusetts Senior Games] exist.”
He plans to achieve his goal by recruiting a network of ambassadors across the state and creating public service announcements through local cable TV and media coverage.
Cox is currently creating a video that provides information about the history and purpose of the Senior Games, which are also referred to as the Senior Olympic Games. Ambassadors will then broadcast the video on public cable television stations across the state.
Cox hopes that the videos will raise the awareness of people who are over 40 years old and promote the idea that “they can still enjoy their sports and get recognition and have fun by participating.” In addition, he wants to enlighten the community on the benefits of the Senior Games to attract more athletes and sponsors. As the state ambassador, Cox enjoys meeting people and encouraging them to consider competing in the Games.
In June, Cox participated for the first time in the Games, which take place at Springfield College, where he competed in three events and medaled in one – the long jump. He qualified to compete in the long jump at the National Senior Games which are being held in Minneapolis in July 2015. The National Senior Games occur every two years in different locations.
Cox hopes to participate in the nationals.
“I definitely will be back to the Massachusetts Games,” he said.
An avid basketball player of 60 years, Cox played in high school and college.
“Basketball was my game,” he said.
Originally from West Virginia, Cox came to Massachusetts when he was in his mid-30s and played basketball for about 30 years at the Northborough Town Hall gym. Cox said he may even return to play pick-up basketball games in the gym now that he is in shape again.
Cox is determined to stay physically active, and he does not let obstacles stand in his way. At the Senior Games this summer, Cox had to throw the discus with his left arm since he has arthritis in his right. He also went through physical therapy to get his leg in shape to allow him to run. Three weeks before the Games he walked with a cane.
“That’s how important it is to me,” said Cox. “Retirement is not even part of my vocabulary.”
Cox really enjoys his new position and believes it gives him “a purpose, sense of value, and pride.”
“[The Senior Games are] just a great opportunity for somebody who enjoyed athletics in their youth to continue and get all those health benefits and all those medical benefits that come from participating,” said Cox, who is working with the managing director of the Senior Games, Larry Libow, to organize the events so that he can participate in more of the decathlon competitions. The decathlon involves three running, three jumping, and three throwing events in addition to low hurdles. To participate, Cox must learn to pole-vault.
Cox encourages anyone interested to become involved in athletics.
“My invitation is to all those former athletes out there, dust off those athletic shoes and get back into the game,” Cox said. “There’s nothing like it.”
Cox, who trains regularly at his fitness center, said that staying physically active is “the best prescription for health that there is. So that’s what’s in it for anybody.”
For those interested in learning more about the Massachusetts Senior Games and signing up for the monthly newsletter, visit www.MASeniorGames.org.]]>
Marlborough – In this era of email and text messages, Marlborough resident Jeff Shapiro jokes that he and his peers “get to read dead people’s mail.”
Shapiro has collected envelopes – studying “the rates and routes and history of that letter” – for decades. He estimates he has about 5,000 of these envelopes, called “covers,” at his Marlborough home.
“There’s letters in there. Lots of talking about world events,” Shapiro said. “I remember one of the first postal history items I got was when I was in high school. It talked about Lincoln’s funeral train passing through Cleveland. I’m getting letters from concentration camps or soldiers, just talking about what life was like day to day on the battlefield or in the camps.”
Shapiro said he also is a nationally accredited judge of stamp shows, and chairs a national show held yearly in Boxborough. The show attracts 75 dealers, he said.
“That’s where people bring in their multi-million-dollar exhibits and people like me go and judge them,” said Shapiro, adding that he also recently judged shows in Houston and Indianapolis.
Shapiro’s hobby grew out of his stamp collection, which the retired human services management professional started as an 11-year-old in Cleveland, shortly after his father, Jack, died suddenly.
“They really didn’t know what to do with me, a guy without a father,” Shapiro said. “My mother was talking to her friends, [who] said, ‘Why don’t you get him a stamp album?’ This was a different time, where kids collected stamps. There were no computer games. She got me a small album and a packet of [U.S.] stamps, and I was off. I immediately took to the hobby.”
Even at 11, he recalled, he was very interested in history.
“I was getting old stamps, [from] countries that no longer existed, and they were plentiful. There were places near where I lived where you could buy bags of used stamps for under a penny a piece,” he said.
Shapiro said stamp collecting broadened his knowledge of history, economics and geography.
“I really think it helped me get into a better school, because I was way ahead of my classmates in junior high and even high school, and got into some advanced placement classes in history and economics because of the stamps,” Shapiro noted.
He minored in geography at Boston University “just because of the love of my stamps.”
Over the years, Shapiro said, he shifted his hobby from stamp collecting to postal history.
“We not only look at the stamps, we look at the markings, the address, how it got there, the rates that were charged,” he said.
World War II is his latest interest.
“Because of the war, rates changed and routes changed and countries weren’t accepting mail because of the war,” Shapiro explained. “Some letters were being confiscated. A lot of letters that normally would have been private were now being censored.”
Shapiro said he finds his material on eBay, which offers “hundreds of thousands of stamps and covers that I can pick and choose from,” and from dealers.
Also, shows for stamps and covers are usually held every Sunday, he said.
Shapiro said he also speaks to local stamp clubs. He’s a member of the Northeast Federation of Stamp Clubs, which has about 40 clubs throughout New England.
He mentioned that, despite electronic distractions, he is “seeing more and more kids coming back to stamps,” particularly among children ages 8 to 10, who are drawn in through collecting stamps of specific topics, such as sports.
Shapiro noted that during the 1950s and ‘60s, stamp collecting was known as “the hobby of kings.”
“FDR collected stamps. The kings of England collected stamps. So there was a certain prestige with stamp collecting,” he said. “Kids today have forgotten the prestige of stamp collecting. Because it’s more than just little pieces of paper.”]]>
The purpose of this year’s drawdown is to allow for control of invasive weeds and the Asian Clam, removal of sand from storm drains, and repair of walls and beaches. Each of these activities is described in more detail below; permits are needed for some of these activities.
1. Weed control – Residents may wish to take advantage of the drawdown to manually remove weeds from the drawdown area. No permit is needed. The weeds collected should be disposed of outside the lake in a manner which will prevent them from washing back into the water or decomposing on the beach and leaching nutrients back into the water. A good hard freeze and no snow cover for a few days will kill the weed roots that are exposed helping control some of the remaining invasive weeds. Problem weeds this year are Eurasian and variable water milfoil and Fanwort.
As in the past, residents are required to remove docks from the water for the winter. Those with additional questions should contact the Fort Meadow Commission at 508-481-0590.]]>
“We will concentrate on tap basics and movement exercises,” Leibowitz explains. “Because there are very few local classes for adults who want to work out by dancing, we thought we would test out if there was interest in an adult dance program.”
The world of amateur dance classes also will be the topic of Westborough Players’ spring musical production, “One Night a Week,” the musical version of “Stepping Out.”
“For those interested in auditioning for the show, the classes will provide a chance to brush up on tap skills they already have, or, for those with no previous tap experience, to learn some basic steps,” Leibowitz said. “I am also hoping to teach some combinations that will show up in the choreography for the show.”
For application information, visit westboroughplayers.com/adult-tap-dance-program.]]>
Harris is vice president and senior project manager at the Andover office of Woodard & Curran, an integrated engineering, science and operations firm serving municipal clients throughout New England. She specializes in municipal drinking water, including water-supply development, regulatory compliance and water-system optimization.
A member of the NEWWA for more than 30 years, Harris previously served as director-at-large, vice president, and president-elect. She also chaired the Strategic Planning and Site Selection Committees and is currently chair of Executive Committee and a member of the Program Committee. She is a former director of the Standards and Administration Councils.
Harris was executive director of the Massachusetts Water Works Association, where she was responsible for representing the state’s water works profession on legislative, regulatory and policy issues.
Throughout her career, Harris has served on a number of state and national regulatory and advisory groups and has received awards for outstanding service, commitment and contributions to the water works profession.
For more information about NEWWA, visit newwa.org.]]>
Region – There are some people who make the rest of us seem like underachievers. Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School senior Kayleigh Stevens is one of those people. The drafting and design student has a list of accomplishments a mile long and keeps adding to that list. On a typical day, she is at school until 9 p.m. and many nights she barely has time to sleep.
In addition to her rigorous academic schedule – including taking an extra class – she is captain of the Math Team, a member of the Robotics Club, National Honor Society and Principal’s Leadership Team, plays softball, recently auditioned for the Drama Club’s next production, and accepted a part-time job.
“Everyone asks me: ‘How do you fit all these things in?’” Stevens said.
With all her activities, she still manages to keep up a social life, attending school functions such as the recent homecoming.
As captain of the 32-member Varsity Math Team, Stevens was tasked by her engineering teacher Chuck DuPont to “whip the team into shape.”
She took the job seriously, initiating online practice for team members which allowed the team to strategize and become more competitive. She also met with the Math Department to ask for extra credit for team members as an incentive to join. They agreed to add two points to members’ final grade.
“Kayleigh does a lot for the school,” DuPont emphasized. “She will take on any challenge. She is committed and dedicated to everything she takes on.”
The team’s first meet was Oct. 8 in Leicester.
“She relishes in competition,” DuPont added. “She doesn’t want a trophy just for participating. Not winning just makes her try harder, so she will do better next time.”
Stevens also participates in numerous academic and engineering competitions and leadership organizations, including Skills USA.
“She’s a born leader,” DuPont said.
Stevens is one of the growing number of female students who are choosing a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field. And it almost didn’t happen.
She attended grade school in Marlborough where she grew up. In sixth grade, as part of the city’s push to introduce STEM in middle school, “I was forced to take an engineering class and loved it,” Stevens recalled. She chose Assabet Valley because of its engineering program.
Before that, “I wanted to be a ballerina,” Stevens said. She took dance classes up to age 10 before realizing that “I was too short and had the wrong body type.”
She still has the opportunity to express her artistic side through the Drama Club; last year she acted in “The Little Mermaid.” In this year’s production of “Aladdin,” she auditioned for the role of Genie, typically a male role. But that did not deter Stevens in the least.
She has the same gender-blind outlook when it comes to her chosen discipline.
“Any girl can do whatever she wants to do, even in a male-dominated field,” she said.
At Assabet Valley, Stevens has a host of female peers that are proving that statement – about half of the Robotics Team and a third of the Math Team are girls.
Stevens, who moved to Shrewsbury from Marlborough in June, plans to attend a four-year college majoring in architecture and civil engineering.
“My first choice is Princeton University,” she said, adding that she hopes to become a manager in an engineering firm. She noted that her parents support her “100 percent.”
“She will be missed next year,” DuPont said. “She is a very valuable part of Assabet…. It will be hard to replace her sense of organization.”]]>
Shrewsbury – The dictionary definition of “trivia” is “unimportant facts.” That word carries more significance for an upcoming fundraiser. On Friday, Nov. 14, the Shrewsbury Education Foundation (SEF) will host its third annual Trivia Night at the Knights of Columbus Hall to raise funds for educational initiatives outside of the school budget and curriculum.
Teams of four adults will accept the challenge to answer 10 rounds of 10 questions on various topics. Once again serving as event chair is Mary Aicardi.
“Game night is a good excuse to go out and have fun,” she said. “A lot of the teams are two couples or four friends. It’s an inexpensive night out and you’re helping the schools.”
Returning as emcee is Hank Stolz of WCRN-AM 830, Aicardi noted.
“Hank is charming, funny, smart and always willing to donate his time to the community,” she said. “He has done trivia nights for years at different venues in and around Worcester. We’re really lucky to have him.”
SEF committee member Brenda Buckley is again working together with Stolz to develop trivia questions. Among the topics that have been tackled in past years are music, pop culture, New England history, science and sports.
“All teams participate throughout the whole evening,” Aicardi explained. “It’s all about your score at the end of the night.”
The highest scoring team members last year were Bob Fryc, Scott Spangenberg, and John and Judy Vedder.
“They’re geniuses,” Aicardi proclaimed of last year’s champs. “They stacked their team and they did very well. The key is to be strategic about who’s on your team.”
The committee also wants participants to know how adaptable Trivia Night is for everyone involved.
“This year we’re encouraging everyone to have team spirit, however they want to do that,” Aicardi said. “Last year we started to see teams come in wearing the same hats, another team wore Hawaiian leis, and some people have come up with fun names for their team.”
Some of last year’s clever participants incorporated alliteration into their team names such as the Four Fabulous Females and the Eclectic Electric Eccentrics.
Among those planning to compete is Melanie Petrucci, who currently serves as SEF co-president with Chris Juetten.
“There’s really no way to prepare to compete on Trivia Night,” Petrucci said with a laugh. “It’s really just a matter of good luck.”
What actually matters most to SEF is raising funds to continue its mission of awarding grants to educators.
“We’re heading into grant season right now,” Petrucci explained. “Teachers in the public schools submit an application with a grant proposal. We have a review committee from members of our board and we select what we think are the most viable grants. The primary criteria is the longevity of the grant, and how many students the grant will reach during its lifetime.”
Last year SEF presented 10 grants totaling $11,802.00.
SEF is seeking sponsors to cover the costs of Trivia Night. Businesses and individuals interested in tax-deductible sponsorship, which includes signage and acknowledgment at the event, can contact Petrucci at 508-341-9382 or email@example.com.
Trivia Night begins with a happy half hour at 6:30 p.m.; the game starts at 7. Cost is $80 per team; $5 per spectator. Cheese and pepperoni pizza will be available for $10 each. The first 32 teams who submit payment will be registered. Mail check payable to “SEF” by Monday, Nov. 10 to: SEF Trivia Night, c/o Mary Aicardi, 11 Whippoorwill Dr., Shrewsbury, MA 01545 or register by email at SEFTrivia@gmail.com. Late registration may be accepted if space allows.
For more information, visit sefgrants.org.]]>
Marlborough – On Sept. 27, Josephine Laptewicz’s family gathered at Arturo’s Restaurant in Westborough to celebrate her milestone 90th birthday. As the matriarch of the family, Josephine wore a crown with a red heart and flashing lights and carried a silver staff. A banner reading “The Queen of our Hearts” hung on the wall.
Josephine Laptewicz came into the world Sept. 15, 1924, as Gelsomina Theresa Zarba. Or as her son, Walter Laptewicz Jr. explained, perhaps it not actually was that day.
“Josephine has two birthdays, but it wasn’t always that way,” he said. “For years we were told that she was born on Oct. 6, 1924, so that’s when we celebrated it. Then one year when she and my father were planning a vacation to Italy she had to get a passport for the trip. That’s when she found out that her birthday was actually Sept. 15. After much thought she decided that she’d rather celebrate her birthday on Oct. 6 because, she said, ‘It makes me feel younger!’”
Josephine was born in the second-floor bedroom of her father’s home on Devens Street in Marlborough, joining siblings Anthony and Lillian. She was later joined by sisters Albena, Gloria and Viola.
Salvatore and Carmella Zarba moved their family across town from Devens Street to Pleasant Street to a property with a working turkey farm and apple orchard. Josephine spent endless hours picking apples and plucking turkey feathers to prepare birds for feasts at Thanksgiving. It is there that her sister Albena, 88, still lives.
On May 18, 1946, Josephine married Walter Laptewicz. Originally from Southborough, Walter was a milkman for locally owned Sealtest Farms. When the company closed he became an independent milkman for H.P. Hood & Sons until his retirement at which time he became a bus driver for the Southborough Schools.
When they married, Walter and Josephine rented an apartment from her parents at the home on Devens Street where she was born. A few years later they built a home at 60 Flagg Road in Southborough, on land which Walter’s parents had given to them as a wedding gift and which was adjacent to their own. They moved there during a hurricane in September of 1950. The couple had five children: Joanne, Walter, Robert, James and Donna.
Today Joanne lives in West Roxbury with her husband James; Walter Jr., vice president of operations at Donahue Industries, Inc., and his wife Nancy live in Berlin; Robert lives in Westborough with his wife, Janice Cote, and is the owner of Bob’s NAPA Autoparts; James lives in Augusta, Maine, with his wife Kathy; and Donna and her husband Lou live in North Carolina.
Josephine has 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
After Walter’s passing in 1994, Josephine continued to live on Flagg Road until 2010 when she rented the ‘Old Homestead’ to her nephew Robbie and his wife Shannon. In 2012 the home was sold.
For the past four years Josephine has lived at Whitney Place in Westborough – bouncing back and forth between Whitney Suites and Beaumont Rehabilitation.
Josephine has spent her life surrounded by family.
“Her family has always come first,” her son Walter said. “She loves her family with her whole heart and her whole soul. She loves people. She loves life. Her favorite mantra today is ‘What a life!’”
After the “Queen’s Happy Hour” was held during her Sept. 27 celebration, Josephine’s cousin Frank Zarba serenaded her with three songs from his latest CD. Dinner followed along with cake and gifts. When the celebration ended, Josephine “waved like a true queen,” her son said, and was wheeled down Main Street back to her residence.]]>
Shrewsbury – Elliana Davis, 15, will be participating in the National American Miss (NAM) pageant that will be held in Anaheim, Calif., during the week of Nov. 24.
Elliana earned this honor after placing in the Miss Massachusetts Junior Teen division of the state pageant held earlier this year in the talent and photogenic contests. As a contestant in the national pageant, she will have the opportunity to win a share of over $500,000 in cash and prizes.
Elliana is a sophomore at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. Her additional awards include High Honor Roll, Top Cosmetology Student, Girl Scout Community Service Award, and Awana Club Award for Excellence. She enjoys field hockey, lacrosse and dance. She is the daughter of Robert and Mieka Davis of Shrewsbury.
According to its website, NAM pageants are “dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders.”
Each year, the pageants awards $1.5 million in cash, scholarships and prizes to recognize and assist the development of young women nationwide. NAM is dedicated to developing the success of young women across the nation with a program that is designed to be age-appropriate and family-oriented. Emphasis is placed on inner beauty, as well as poise, presentation, gaining self-confidence, learning new skills and good attitudes about competition and achieving personal goals.
For more information about National American Miss, visit www.namiss.com.]]>
Northborough – Julie Booras, owner of Heart & Stone Jewelry in Northborough, has a passion for promoting local, independent small businesses. Her first effort to unite business owners in the up and coming shopping district centered around the intersection of Route 20 and West Main Street that was lacking an identity is already paying off, as customers can now be seen walking into stores with the “20 & West Main” map she created.
Most recently, she has been leading the effort to establish Northboro Local First, a collaborative effort by local, independent small business owners, community members, nonprofit organizations and all stakeholders of the Northborough community to help build and maintain a vibrant local economy.
Northboro Local First is holding a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 4 for members and prospective members who are independent local business owners in the community. The meeting will be held at Armeno Coffee Roasters, 75 Otis St., Northborough, from 6 – 8 p.m. There will also be ample opportunity for networking during the first and last half hours of the meeting. Membership is open to all types of small business owners across all sectors in Northborough and its bordering neighbors of Shrewsbury, Westborough, Southborough, Marlborough, Berlin and Bolyston. For more information, or to RSVP, contact Booras at Heartandstonejewelry@gmail.com or visit the organization’s web page at http://www.northborolocalfirst.org/.]]>