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Caroll Spinney, original Big Bird, retiring from ‘Sesame Street’

The man who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since “Sesame Street” debuted in 1969 is retiring this week, Sesame Workshop said Wednesday in a news release. Caroll Spinney, 84, will perform his roles for the final time Thursday. The puppeteer’s roles will be taken by Matt Vogel, who will perform as Big Bird; and Eric Jacobson, who will play Oscar. Spinney has mentored both men for more than 20 years. “Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney said in a statement. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.” During his 49 years on “Sesame Street,” Spinney appeared on “thousands” of the more than 4,400 episodes of the children’s show, a Sesame Workshop spokesman told the The New York Times. As Big Bird, Spinney has traveled around the world, visiting China with comedian Bob Hope. He has also performed in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, Canada and Australia. Big Bird has danced with the Rockettes and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The character also has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp and was named a Living Legend in 2000 by the Library of Congress.“ Since 1969, Caroll’s kind and loving view of the world has helped shape and define this institution,” Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Throughout his unparalleled career, Caroll Spinney gave something truly special to the world. With deepest admiration, Sesame Workshop is proud to carry his legacy – and his beloved characters – into the future.” In October 2012, The Atlantic reported that Spinney made about $314,000 a year in his roles on “Sesame Street.” From a personal standpoint, Spinney met his wife, Debra, on the show’s set in 1973, Sesame Workshop said in its statement. They have been married 45 years, the New York Post reported. “Before I came to Sesame Street, I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important. Big Bird helped me find my purpose,” Spinney said in a statement. “Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird.” Spinney had to stop puppeteering as Big Bird in 2015 due to problems with his balance, the Times reported. Since then he has limited his roles to voices for Big Bird and Oscar. His final recordings will be aired on “Sesame Street’s” 50th anniversary in 2020 on PBS, the newspaper reported. Spinney said he will remain a “Sesame Street” ambassador. “I’ll be 100 years old, doing Muppet stuff,” Spinney told the Times. Long-time puppeteer Caroll Spinney has announced that he is stepping down from the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Spinney is pleased that his iconic roles will be carried on by puppeteers Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson. Learn more: https://t.co/BALgkIPI5q pic.twitter.com/sGMDjqLklQ — Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) October 17, 2018

White woman who blocked black man from entering his St. Louis apartment fired

A white woman shown on a viral video blocking a black man from entering a loft to his downtown St. Louis apartment was fired from her job Sunday, KMOV reported.

In a cellphone video posted to his Facebook page, D’Arreon Toles documented a confrontation between himself and a female tenant at the Elder Shirt Lofts. Toles, 24, said he was returning from a late shift Friday when the woman, who was walking a dog on a leash, asked what unit he lives in, the Post-Dispatch reported.

In the video, Toles can be heard telling the woman, “You are blocking me into my building. This is my building as well. So, I need you to get out of my way.”

“I’m uncomfortable,” the woman says in the video.

“OK, you can be uncomfortable,” Toles says in the video.

In the video, the woman follows Toles to the front door of his apartment, KSDK reported. Thirty minutes later, St. Louis police appeared at his apartment, according to Toles’ Facebook post. No citations were issued.

A St. Louis police sergeant confirmed a 911 call was made to the building, but no report was written, KSDK reported.

“Did this really just happen to me? It happened to me. I am really taken away by the moment,” Toles told KMOV. “I was kind of blown away, shocked and like ‘Wow.’ I am just glad I had my camera out. If I did not have my camera out, I feel it could have gone a totally different way.”

“To Be A Black man in America, & Come home,” Toles wrote on Facebook.

Tribeca-STL, a luxury apartment company that says it is a minority-owned business, confirmed that the woman worked for the company, KMOV reported. In a statement, the company’s owners said they were “disturbed” by the video. The company also said in its statement that the property did not belong to Tribeca-STL and that the employee was interacting with Toles at her own private residence.

“We do not and never will stand for racism or racial profiling at our company, Tribeca-STL said in its statement.

The woman, who has not been identified publicly, did not respond to requests for comment by several news organizations.

“I am not mad at her. I am not upset with her. I am not going to go after her legally or anything like that, Toles told KMOV. “I wish her the best. I would still have a conversation with her.”

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2018 Midterm Election

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Take a Loved One To The Doctor Day 2018

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