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Essay Brings 'Armpit of New England' to Its Sneeze

September 24, 1987|SHIRLEY MARLOW

Bridgeport, Conn., may not be everyone's idea of the place for a dream vacation. But that didn't keep Jim Bahoosh from entering the Bridgeport Fantasy contest and winning a free weekend in that town. The contest came about after newspaper columnist Mike Levine in Middletown, N.Y., took exception to Money magazine's ranking Bridgeport as the nation's 37th-best place to live. Middletown placed 38th. In his column, Levine repeated a slur, attributed to Paul Newman, that Bridgeport is "the armpit of New England." Leonard Grimaldi, an aide to Bridgeport Mayor Thomas W. Bucci, objected. The two agreed to open the dispute to the public and devised a contest in which readers would write on Bridgeport or on what Levine and Newman have in common. Bahoosh wrote: "Picnics in a field of waist-high wildflowers? Telling lies by firelight in the midst of cascading mountains? Slipping upstream, ankles icy, sun soaking into your tanned shoulders? Hah! No way. This is allergy season. Send me someplace where nothing grows. Send me to Bridgeport."

--Singer Perry Como, actress Bette Davis, singer and actor Sammy Davis Jr., classical violinist Nathan Milstein and composer, designer and founder of the Nikolais Dance Theatre Alwin Nikolais will receive the 1987 Kennedy Center awards for special achievement in the arts. The recipients, chosen by the board of trustees of John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for their work as performers, composers, choreographers, playwrights, directors or conductors, will receive the awards at the 10th annual Kennedy Center dinner Dec. 5 and will be saluted the next night at a special ceremony that President and Mrs. Reagan are expected to attend.

--The first quintuplets born in Canada since the world-famous Dionne quintuplets in 1934 were reported to be in "pretty good shape" in intensive care at an Ottawa, Ontario, hospital. The three girls and two boys were born Tuesday afternoon at Ottawa General Hospital more than 11 weeks prematurely. Each baby weighed about two pounds. Dr. Douglas Bell, the attending physician, said they were born by Caesarean section because their mother had pregnancy-related respiratory and blood-pressure problems. The parents' identity remained a secret. But television station CJOH-TV in Ottawa said the parents are a professional couple from suburban Orleans. It also reported that all five infants were having respiratory difficulties, common for premature babies.

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