Tag Archives: Sherwood Mill Pond

Pic Of The Day #1553

Sherwood Mill Pond (Photo/Mark Ritter)

Roundup: Fireworks, Mill Pond Jumping, River Cleanup …

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Jennifer Rago McCarthy grew up with Westport traditions. Like the Yankee Doodle Fair. And the 4th of July fireworks.

In 2020, COVID knocked out the June fair. To be safe, the Westport Woman’s Club moved this year’s event to September.

For the second straight summer, the fireworks wee canceled.

Which got Jennifer — a 1985 Staples High School graduate — thinking: Why not have the fireworks on Labor Day weekend?

Why not indeed?!

Jennifer asked me to post her idea. If enough people are interested, it may be worth pursuing.

So, “06880” readers: What do you think? If you’re down with fireworks on Labor Day weekend, click “Comments” below.

And if you think that’s a bad idea, click “Comments” too — and tell us why.

Labor Day, 2021?(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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“The show must go on” is a time-honored tradition. On Friday night, Drew Angus honored it well.

The Staples High School graduate, recording artist and all-around good guy was booked for the Levitt Pavilion. Right before showtime, a hard rain fell.

But Drew — standing behind his band’s covered instruments — gave a fantastic performance.

Most of the crowd was far in back, under the overhang. A few hardy folks sat on the grass. But it didn’t take long for many to get up and dance. It was an amazing scene. (It didn’t hurt that one of his numbers was “Singin’ in the Rain.”)

Carleigh Welsh announced that Drew will be booked for another performance this summer. Hopefully he knows “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.” (Hat tip: Laura Schwartz)

Drew Angus, singing in the rain. (Photo/Laura Schwartz)

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For decades, kids jumped off the Sherwood Mill Pond bridge.

When the water got grotty, they stopped.

The pond is back in great shape. Several years ago, the jumpers returned.

Last summer, some of them were loud and rude. They ruined it for everyone. Residents complained. Parks & Rec put up a “Danger/No Jumping or Diving” sign, complete with little red-slash pictographs.

Yesterday, Ann Becker Moore, Pam Washburn and Karen Como spotted a new sign. It says simply: “Jump.”

(Photo/Karen Como)

WTF?!

If anyone knows what’s going on, click “Comments” below.

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This was 90 Morningside Drive South, when it was on the market.

It was bought last July for $2.64 million, by Mattera Construction. Here’s how it looked yesterday:

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Every other Saturday morning, Longshore Sailing School hosts a Saugatuck River cleanup.

Despite yesterday’s weather, 40 single and double kayaks headed out. Each came bag with incredible amounts of trash.

Paul Danielewicz and Mark Jaffe collected the most. They don’t win anything. But everyone who loves the Saugatuck River is grateful.

The next cleanup is July 17 (9:30 to 11 a.m.). Anyone interested should meet at Longshore Sailing School, behind the pool.

Paul Danielewicz and Mark Jaffe.

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Last night, the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA Eastern Conference finals. They advance to the championship for the first time since 1974 (when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the starting center).

The Westport connection? The Bucks are co-owned by Westport hedge fund manager Marc Lasry. PS: They were named the Bucks long before the billionaire bought them. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

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Conversion of the former Armstrong Rubber Company headquarters in New Haven — the concrete box on the left as you head north, next to Ikea and just before the I-91 merge — into what may be the most energy-efficient hotel in the country has “Westport” all over it.

Hotel Marcel’s developer and architect is Westport-based Bruce Becker. He’s building it to meet net-zero energy standards. It will generate as much energy as it uses. All electricity is produced on site, and it’s the first passive house-certified hotel in the US. 

Saugatuck’s LANDTECH is the project’s site/civil engineer.

It’s a great project. To learn more, click on the video below. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)

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The weather hasn’t been great this 4th of July weekend. But Jolantha of Kellogg Hill proves you can put lipstick on this pig.

Or at least decorate her for the holiday.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

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“Naturally … Westport” ventures today to Bermuda Road, on Saugatuck Shores:

(Photo/Diane Yormark)

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And finally … happy birthday, America. We’ve made it through 245 years. Here’s to the next 245!

Iconic Compo Cove Homes For Sale

One of Westport’s most beloved — and most photographed, and most painted — properties is on the market.

The gray house on Compo Cove — the first one we see from Old Mill Beach and Hillspoint Road, gazing toward the Nantucket-like, no-cars-allowed enclave east of Sherwood Mill Pond — has just been listed.

44 Compo Cove (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

It’s a historic gem. Built in 1917, the “Coleburn house” has withstood more than a century of storms with its original framing and fireplace still intact. The first floor has never been flooded.

44 Compo Cove (right). The “pirate shack” cottage at #42 (left) is also part of the sale.

The kitchen and bathrooms have been modernized, but the interior is true to its original construction. 

One of 4 bedrooms at 44 Compo Cove.

#44 is the oldest of the 19 homes on the Cove, a peninsula accessible only by footbridge from Old Mill (or in an emergency, through the west end of Sherwood Island State Park). The Mill Cove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Preservation CT calls 44 Compo Cove one of the “most typical and best preserved” bungalows in the state.

#44 is a classic beach house: 4 bedrooms, wooden interior, wraparound porch, and 125 feet of private sand.

The wide porch at #44.

The cottage next door, built in 2008 by Michael Greenberg at #42, is part of the sale. With a huge deck, it too offers stunning views in all directions.

The “pirate shack” cottage at 42 Compo Cove is part of the sale.

The price for both properties, on 1.96 acres, is $7.9 million. The seller hopes for a preservation-minded buyer.

44 Compo Cove, in winter (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

But #44 and 42 are not the only properties for sale on Compo Cove.

Next door, #48 is on the market too.

It’s a .41-acre lot, available as land only for $2.8 million, or — for $7 million — as a new home designed by Michael Greenberg.

Aerial view of Compo Cove. #44 is at right; #42 is in the center (white). Also for sale, in another transaction: #48 (the now empty lot just above #42, on the water).

Compo Cove is timeless. Its footpath dates back more than a century. Wildlife has been there far longer.

It’s also ever-changing. Each season — every day, really — brings new views.

Every Westporter — whether they’ve visited the Cove, or admired it from afar — feels attached to that small spit of land. We’re all invested in who next will actually invest in those properties.

Pics Of The Day #1487

Sherwood Mill Pond dawn …

… and nearby homes (Photos/Michael Tomashefsky)

Sherwood Mill Pond And Island: The Hidden Culverts

Generations of Westporters know John Kantor from his decades owning and running Longshore Sailing School.

But he’s comfortable near any body of water. He lives on Grove Point Road, bordering Sherwood Mill Pond. John writes:

Whenever there is a big coastal flood due to a hurricane, tropical storm or nor’easter, Grove Point residents talk about shutting the flood gates at Old Mill to keep the seawater out of our neighborhood. They believe that it is where floodwaters come from.

It is not entirely true.

The Mill Pond is not a closed system whose seawater level is controlled exclusively by the tide gates at Old Mill.

Did you know that you could paddle a canoe or kayak, non-stop from Grove Point to Greens Farms Academy?  And, under certain conditions, even to the Greens Farms post office?

Sherwood Mill Pond, Sherwood Island State Park and environs. Grove Point is at left, off Hillspoint Road. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

You can. You just need to pass through 3 culverts. But watch your head. Some have low clearance.

And if you turn to starboard in the marsh channel at Burying Hill Beach, you could paddle straight into Long Island Sound. It is an independent seawater connection to the Mill Pond – a Mill Pond back door.

You can kayak all the way from Sherwood Mill Pond to Burying Hill Beach (shown above).

To prove it, the other day I took a walkabout.

I went to the Sherwood Island State Park “Mission Control” office on the Connector, and got permission to slog around in the wetlands. I wanted to see the culvert that I knew existed, which connects the Mill Pond to the wetlands north of the state park. I wanted photos to bring back as proof.

I took many shots from every possible angle, from the pond on our side all the way to the New Creek wetlands alongside Greens Farms Academy.

The culvert from Sherwood Mill Pond to Sherwood Island State Park …

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officers assured me that the tidal flow, ebb and flood, to and from the pond, goes both ways in the culvert on a daily basis.

The cast concrete box culvert is sizable. Actually there are 2, separated by a common concrete wall. Each is wide enough for two canoes to pass through side by side.

… and the view from the park, looking west to the Mill Pond.

The culverts have no control gates. Water passes through freely on all tides. Tidal surge seawater can enter the pond through them in substantial volume regardless of whether or not the gates at Old Mill are open or shut.

Sherwood Island really is an island. It is surrounded by water on all sides. It just doesn’t appear that way. because the big double culverts are hidden from view beneath the Sherwood Island Connector. You drive over them whenever you enter the State Park.

New Creek culverts by Beachside Avenue, further east. (Photos/John Kantor)

Fun Fact: There is a significant delay in the tide change in the Sherwood marsh system, relative to the Sound. I witnessed a rising tide level on the state park beach side of the Burying Hill breakwater, while the ebbing current was still flowing (at a good clip) out of the Sherwood wetlands on the other side of the breakwater — just a few feet apart!

Pic Of The Day #1456

Sherwood Mill Pond (Photo/Zvi Cole)

Roundup: Vaccines, Zoning, Schlaet’s Point, Ospreys …

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Not every “06880” reader lives in Westport. Sarathi Roy notes: “New York or New Jersey residents can book COVID vaccine appointments in their home state or in Connecticut.”

Here is New York state information:

A few days ago, “06880” posted a comprehensive list of Connecticut vaccine options, thanks to Sarathi’s HR department. Click here for information on CVS, Walgreens, Yale New Haven Health, Stamford Health and VAMS sign-ups.

In addition to that list, Sarathi adds:

  • Check your town’s website for information and clinics available only to residents. You may be able to register in advance or receive a call for available appointments or excess doses.
  • Connecticut’s  Vaccine Assist Line (877-918-2224) operates 7 days a week, from 8am-8pm. Agents can schedule appointments at state-run clinics. If you call early and are given the chance to leave a message, you should. They accept a certain number of messages each day, then call those people back throughout the day to assist in booking appointments. Once the maximum number of calls for the day has been reached the message option is turned off.
  • You can now search additional locations, including supermarkets and local pharmacies. A great tool to see who is administering the vaccine in your area is Vaccinefinder.org. Search a zip code, make note of the providers nearby, then search for booking websites.
  • Here are a few of the more common ones:
    Rite Aid

ShopRite

Big Y

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Did you miss last night’s webinar on the many housing bills making their way through the state’s General Assembly, and their possible impact on Westport?

Planning and Zoning chair Danielle Dobin gave a comprehensive overview. Our 4 local legislators — Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Stephanie Thomas — tackled the pros and cons. Viewers asked questions. It was a wide-ranging, engaging 80 minutes. (And I would say that even if I had not served as moderator.)

It’s now available to watch — or re-watch — at your leisure. Click here for the link.

Everything you wanted to know about zoning — including sewers — and more.

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One of the few positive parts of the pandemic: Many more Westporters have had time to walk.

Because we practice social distancing, we’re not always on the sidewalk. And — as Tammy Barry’s photo of Hillspoint Road at Schlaet’s Point shows — the result is some barren patches where grass once grew.

I’m sure saltwater flooding had something to do with t too.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

Here’s hoping the town can find some resources to bring this beautiful stretch of waterfront back to what it once was.

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CNN anchor (and Westport resident) Alisyn Camerota’s last day on “New Day” is today. The show was filled with many nice tributes. Yesterday, co-host John Berman started things off (click here to see).

Alisyn is not going very far — just a few hours later. She’ll anchor CNN’s weekday coverage with Victor Blackwell.

Congratulations, Alisyn, on your new gig — and the chance to sleep in a little longer. (Hat tip: Seth Schachter)

Alisyn Camerota

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Today’s osprey report comes courtesy of Chris Swan.

He wants Westporters to know that there are 3 platforms near Sherwood Island State Park.

One is in the saltmarsh behind the Nature Center, midway to the last house off Beachside Common.

The second is in the saltmarsh on the eastern shore of Sherwood Mill Pond, several hundred feet above the Compo Cove homes. It’s visible from the path on Sherwood Island’s western edge, above the fire gate to Compo Cove.

Both platforms are occupied by returning osprey pairs.

A 3rd location can be seen from the saltmarsh shore of the northeastern corner of the Mill Pond, looking west. This was erected last fall. No osprey pair has yet staked their claim.

A 4th platform is at the entrance to Burying Hill Beach, in the marsh across New Creek. Chris has watched it for 10 years, but has never seen it occupied.

He thinks it’s too low. He believes old utility poles make the best platforms — citing the ones at Fresh Market, Longshore’s E,R. Strait Marina, and Gray’s Creek.

Chris should know: He spent his professional career with Eversource.

The newest osprey platform in Sherwood Island Mill Pond. A house on Grove Point is visible behind it. (Photo/Chris Swan)

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Congressman Jim Himes holds a Facebook Live session today (Wednesday, April 7) at 3 p.m. He’ll discuss how constituents can benefit from the American Rescue Plan. Click here to watch live. To watch later, click here.

Congressman Jim Himes

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And finally … on this day in 1940, Booker T. Washington became the first African-American depicted on a US postage stamp.

In November 1944, Booker T. Jones Jr. was born in Memphis. He was named after his father, Booker T. Jones Sr., a high school science teacher — who himself was named in honor of Booker T. Washington, the educator.

 

Pics Of The Day #1415

Sherwood Mill Pond: 2 boats … (Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

… and 4 swans (John Richers)

Heather Grahame’s Worldwide Adventures: Thank You, Mill Pond!

Heather Grahame has done it all.

She captained her 1972 Staples High School field hockey team, then played at Mount Holyoke College.

During college summers she leveraged her experience as a Compo Beach lifeguard to teach swimming, water safety and first aid in rural Aleut villages. 

After graduating from the University of Oregon law school, Grahame practiced utility law in Anchorage. She placed 6th at the 1988 Olympic bicycle racing time trials. As a competitive sled dog racer, her top international finish — 6th — came at the 2000 Women’s World Championships.

In 2010 she moved to Montana. She ran her first triathlon at age 56, and found another great sport.

Not enough? Grahame also completed a full Ironman. That’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.

Not even COVID could knock out Heather Grahame. Though pools closed last spring, she did not miss a stroke. 

I should mention also that Grahame is a gifted writer. This was published recently by the Montana Masters Swimmers. “06880” reprints it, for all of us back east.

I learned to swim at the Sherwood Mill Pond, a marshy tidal basin in Westport, Connecticut. It was connected to Long Island Sound, with the water swiftly going in and out of the pond with the Sound’s high and low tides. To this day I recall being terrified of being swept to sea as the tide went out.

Sherwood Mill Pond, and the outlet to Long Island Sound. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Later I spent many summers as a lifeguard at the town’s 3 beaches, watching from my chair for swimmers in trouble and, as the water became very warm in August, signs of sharks with their ominous fins.

Little did I know that my years of swimming and lifeguarding, and the accompanying swimming/water safety/first aid skills, would provide the foundation for years of adventures.

The first involved spending summers in small, isolated Alaskan villages along the Bering Sea. Villagers hunted and fished for subsistence – there were no Costcos, Safeways or other stores.

Summers required going out in boats in the dangerous waters of the Bering Sea or fishing from the shore for enough salmon to provide for the rest of the year. Falling into the icy waters often had deadly consequences, as there were no pools in which to learn to swim.

To address rural Alaska’s high drowning rate, for several years the state funded a program in villages in the Aleutian Chain and Bristol Bay. For 2 summers while I was in college, I lived in 4 rural Aleut and Yupik Eskimo villages to teach swimming, water safety and first aid.

I flew to Anchorage (3 1/2 hours from Seattle). Another college student and I got on a 4-seater bush plane for 3 to 6 more hours. We were finally dropped off on a gravel airstrip with a month’s worth of pilot bread, peanut butter, cornflakes and evaporated milk. We had to find a place to live and teach.

Heather Grahame (Photo courtesy of Helena Independent Record)

In each village we found a pond by the Bering Sea for the swim lessons. What quickly became clear was that water safety was the most important tool we could teach, together with the ability to tread water or swim a few strokes. If a person who fell overboard or waded too deeply had confidence to tread water or swim a few strokes while another person extended a jacket or pole, they could be rescued.

The kids loved the program. Adults sometimes wanted to learn as well. I spent hours standing in cold ponds in my old Speedo lifeguard swim suit with the equally cold Bering Sea wind whipping around me teaching floating, treading water, a few strokes of freestyle, and how to extend a pole or jacke.

Toward the end of my month in Egegik, I saw a young kid fall into a shallow pond. Before I could help, another kid extended his jacket and pulled him to safety. I have never forgotten the significance of that.

Swimming opened the doors to many other adventures. In Good News Bay I lived in the jail, except on the July 4th when a few villagers needed the cells more than I did.

In Unalaska I lived in a large barrel-like structure near a stream in which I often caught salmon, as an alternative to pilot bread and peanut butter.

The most remote village was on the island of Atka. It did not even have an airstrip. I flew from Anchorage to Unalaska, then get on a very small plane to Adak (a Navy base). I had to wait for days to take a 9-hour tugboat ride to Atka.

It’s amazing I actually made it back to college on time because due to repairs, the tug only made it to Atka and back 3 times. Had it not made that 3rd trip, I would have been stranded on the island for nearly a year.

Other adventures are much more recent. While they were not rugged, they are equally memorable, and made possible by my swimming skills.

I was fortunate to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2016 in Mooloolaba, Australia. The swim took place in the Pacific Ocean, with the surf pushing us to the shore at the finish. Sweet!

After the race I asked officials about what appeared to be crab pots just beyond the racecourse buoys. I knew they could not be crab pots, because the water was too warm. I learned they were the tops of shark nets, to try to keep sharks out of the swim area. I’m glad I asked after the race.

Heather Grahame in Ironman action.

I raced in the Atlantic Ocean in 2017 as part of Ironman 70.3 Maine. When my husband and I had dinner on a high pier overlooking the buoys designating the course, I was a little intimidated. They extended straight out from the beach directly into the Atlantic for what appeared to be infinity.

I got into the water a day before the race. I swam along the buoys until I could easily see the turn buoy, and realized there was no reason to be concerned.

In 2018 I raced in the International Triathlon Union’s Multisport World Championships, in a channel in Denmark off the island of Funen.

The water was a comfortable temperature. There were no surf, tide or shark risks whatsoever. Easy!

When I reached halfway in the 1.2-mile swim and dove off the turnaround platform, I decided to change how I normally race. Instead of swimming conservatively and saving my energy for the bike and/or run portions of the race, I decided to truly race, in appreciation of my Helena swimming buddies and coaches who had helped me get ready for the event (thank you, guys!).

I finished with the second fastest swim time for women in my age group, due to the confidence and fitness achieved through the Helena Ridley swimmers and coaching.

All of these experiences flowed from my early years learning to swim in the Sherwood Mill Pond in Connecticut. From those moments of swimming terror I have enjoyed years of adventure, joy, challenges and friendships, and the treasured camaraderie of the swimming community.

Heather Grahame, swimming in Montana.

Roundup: Gelato, Vaccine, Tyler Hicks, More

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What’s better than one gelato shop opening on Main Street?

Two.

Hot on the heels of news of Cold Fusion moving into the former Papaya Papyrus space next to Chase Bank in May, a sign in what was once Lucky Brand — across the street, and closer to the Post Road — announced the arrival “soon” of La Fenice.

Like its sister locations in Greenwich and Rye, it will serve gelato, crepes, pastries and coffee. Click below for a look at the Rye shop:

It’s not quite like the days when there was a frozen yogurt store on every Westport corner.

It’s better.

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First “06880” reported that St. Vincent’s was closing their Long Lots Road COVID testing facility on March 1.

Then we reported that it was remaining open.

This morning, a reader reports that his wife just phoned St. Vincent’s. She was told they are closing their Long Lots testing as of March 1.

St. Vincent’s Health Center testing will soon be in the rear mirror. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

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It’s not just New York Times readers who appreciate Tyler Hicks’ work.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate just won 1st place in a new category — COVID-19 coverage — from Pictures of the Year International. It’s the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism program and competition in the world. This year’s awards were the 78th annual.

The honor — which follows many others, including multiple Pulitzers — is for Hicks’ photos of the pandemic’s devastation in the Amazon.

COVID in the Amazon (Photo/Tyler Hicks for New York Times)

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MoCA Westport and Up|Next Teens are partnering to present a Winter Lights Festival at MoCA. It’s set for this Saturday (February 27, noon to 6 p.m.).

The Festival features a maker and crafts space in a large outdoor tent, with supplies and step-by-step instructions for families to work together to create winter-themed decorations. The decorations will be incorporated into a walk-through Light Path, to be lit at sun down. The public can view the experience through the following weekend.

Also planned: live performances by high school musicians, food from The Melt truck, and hot cocoa.

The Festival includes free entry to MoCA ’s exhibition “Hindsight is 2020,” showcasing nearly 200 high school student artists from across the region.

Click here for tickets.

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The Fairfield County Directory — the “Yellow Pages” that is dumped in driveways and by mailboxes — will be distributed between February 25 and April 13.

The Selectmen’s Office says that residents with questions or concerns regarding the distribution of the directory should e-mail RealYPResolutions@thryv.com.

You may request directories or opt-out of future phone book deliveries by clicking here or here.

Let’s hope that works better than the national Do Not Call Registry.

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A group of swans is called a “flock” or a “wedge.”

Matt Murray spotted this flock/wedge — aka “a whole lot” — yesterday, at Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … Today is the 41st anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice.” The US Olympic men’s hockey team came from behind to beat the overwhelmingly favored Soviet team 4-3, at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Al Michaels memorialized the moment on ABC: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!!!!”

That game was not, however, the final. Two days later the Americans clinched gold, with a win over Finland.

Westport connection: After a disappointing NHL career, goaltender Jim Craig worked for a marketing firm on Riverside Avenue.