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  Burt Richards
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INNER-VIEWS with CELEBRITIES

Kevin D. Thompson
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 6:16 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

Over a dozen members of the Jewish War Veterans Wednesday night asked the Palm Beach County School Board to honor living veterans by closing all county public schools on Veterans Day. "We teach our children respect and about world history," said Burt Richards, an 80-year-old Boynton Beach resident. "But we teach them nothing about the veterans who have kept the students of our country safe and free." All 187 schools are scheduled to be open on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, while schools in Martin, St.Lucie, Broward and Miami-Dade counties will be closed.

The county's public schools have been closed every other year on Veterans Day the last several years. When schools are closed on Election Day, as they will be this year, they're open on Veterans Day. The district has maintained that students are better off attending school on Veterans Day and receiving a history lesson in class instead of staying home. But that doesn't make veterans like Ralph L. Shear happy. The 87-year-old Shear said the school district needs to act quickly to close schools. "We're well up there in our 80s," Shear said. "We can't wait any longer. We're dying at the rate of 1,000 a day." For legal reasons, the board could not take any action Wednesday, but the new board after the November 2nd election could revisit the issue.

The district, however, said it will pay respect to veterans by holding various activities on or around Nov. 11.

Independence Middle students, for instance, are scheduled to visit a veterans hospital. Spanish River High kids will be shooting a veterans tribute video. "We want to make sure our students are aware of what you have done," said Ann Killets, the district's chief learning officer. "We want to have a generation of students who are proud of our country." Board member Debra Robinson proposed the district craft a veterans-themed curriculum so students could get a first-hand history lesson on Veterans Day.

Robinson also recommended that the district create a list of veterans speakers who can share their experiences with students. Those talks, Robinson added, should be captured on video.

"I learned more about history talking to veterans than I did in school," she said. Veterans, however, still prefer having the schools closed on the federal holiday. "Do the right thing for the kids and honor the veterans," Charles Epstein, an 89-year-old WWII veteran, told the board. "And honor your own conscious when you leave this board and go home." As of now the school public affairs and Supt Art Johnson have decided that schools will close beginning November 11th 2011 and for there after. So now our Veterans have won another War.

kevin_thompson@pbpost.com





WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO STAGE STAR CONNIE SALOUTOS?
by BURT RICHARDS

Well just got word after many years of NO CONTACT, The Lady, The Star, The LOVE OF MY LIFE.

She is alive and well and still in show business on a limited basis when she is on summer break from school, one of my sisters covers for me at home, she told me. She is now in Wisconsin teaching at two universities and has a private studio. She told me she went home to care for her mom and dad .

As she can usually get away for a few weeks each year to do a show. And her favorites are Concerts that seem to fit nicely into her schedule. Maybe she'll be visiting Florida again one day soon? After her appearances in probably every theartre that opened in South Florida you, name it she has worked there. Her days are very busy and looks forward to getting on the road again. HER DAILY CHORES INCLUDE the listing of Adjunct Faculty - Theatre and Speech Communications, BFA in Musical Theatre Performance, University of Michigan, MA in Theatre and English Education, College of Notre Dame. Previous Teaching Positions , University of Vermont , Clarke University, Patapsco School of the Performing Arts .

Teaching Responsibilities: Dance for Musical Theatre (all levels) Acting for Musical Theatre Speech, Pioneer Players/Musical Theatre Main stage Productions .

Connie SaLoutos Furlan is a member of the academic staff at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. She is a member of Actors' Equity Association and has performed. choreographed, and assistant directed in professional theatres across the country. Her award-winning one-woman cabaret act has literally taken her around the world three times aboard the vessels of Royal Viking and Seabourne Cruise Lines. A three-time Carbonell Award recipient for her portrayals of Charity in Sweet Charity, Anita in West Side Story, and Maria in Lend Me A Tenor, Connie has garnered a total of ten acting nominations. She has been nominated for Best Actress for her work as Young Belle in Little Me, Polly in Crazy For You, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha and Keely in Pete 'n Keely. Connie played leading roles in the National Tours of Steel Pier (Rita Racine), The Goodbye Girl (Paula), and Moon Over Buffalo (Rosalind). Favorite regional roles include Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, Roxie in Chicago, Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Mame in Mame. Connie appeared in the 25th Anniversary production of Dames At Sea in New York City starring Kristen Chenoweth and has been a guest soloist with the Florida Symphonic Pops.

Connie choreographed Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Cabaret for the Pioneer Players at UW-P. She has also choreographed The Producers, The Taffetas, and Beauty and The Beast for The Heartland Festival. She recently won the Iowa Theatre Association's Award of Excellence for her work on Little Shop of Horrors for The Grand Opera House.


Hey Burt , Please let me know what you've been up to these days. As a critic and reviewer, I remember all the encouraging words you gave me through the years. Your support means so much.

I'm sending a big hug.
Connie






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