Tag Archives: Westport YMCA Water Rat swim team

Roundup: Affordable Housing, Ukraine Help, Punk …


Affordable housing is an important topic in Westport. What’s Westport’s plan for it?

Tomorrow (March 16, 7 p.m. Town Hall),First Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin kick off the planning process for our town’s “Five Year Affordability Plan.” The public is invited.

For those who can’t attend, the event will be livestreamed at www.westportct.gov.

In other housing news, both Tooker and Dobin testified yesterday before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Planning & Development Committee. They spoke against House Bill 5429, which would permit up to 15 housing units per acre within a one-half mile radius of any train station in Connecticut.

For decades, Hales Court has offered affordable housing in Westport.


Buck Rosenfield is one of those people who always lends Westporters a helping hand.

Now the 1976 Staples High School graduate is doing it for Ukrainian refugees — overseas.

He posted on Facebook:

“Tonight I worked at a cluster of medical tents. About 2,000 to 3,000 people have passed down this makeshift tent corridor from the Polish checkpoint at the border. There is everything here from pampers to candy, kids’ toys, gloves, clothing, and a human warmth that betrays the long lines and long waits to enter.

“I took a night shift so doctors could sleep. Unknown to me, the border stayed open to the checkpoint. Usually it closes around midnight. There were donated blankets in front of the med tents. I tried to cover children and babies as they passed our way. Their eyes and smiles needed no translation, at the the entrance of Poland from Ukraine.

“Mostly girls, women and children. Men between 16 and 60 must stay in Ukraine.

“Tomorrow will be different. We heard the sounds of a few explosions earlier. Two too many.” (Hat tip: Chip Stephens)

The scene at the Poland border. The 3 smaller lights are in Ukraine. (Photo/Buck Rosenfield)


Here’s word of a Ukraine Relief Supply Drive nearby.

Medicine, warm clothes, toiletries, hygiene items, blanks, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, batteries, flashlights and baby items can be dropped off today and tomorrow (March 15-16), from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the POTOO garage lobby, 40 Richards Avenue in Norwalk. (Hat tip: Bob Weingarten)


“Hey, punk!”

Yeah, you — punk fans.

MoCA Westport next exhibit is “Punk is Coming.” The group show features over 50 photographers, filmmakers and artists whose work defined the punk era in 1970s New York, London, Los Angeles and other cities around the world.

The exhibition includes never-before-seen videos and photographs, artworks created by the punk era’s musicians, and contemporary works heavily influenced by the movement.

An opening reception for the exhibition is set for Saturday, March 26 (6-8 p.m., MoCA Westport, 19 Newtown Turnpike). The public is invited. Click here for details.

Patti Smith and Fred Sonic Smith, in 1980. (Photo/Sue Rynski)


Replacement of the Burying Hill Beach jetty is moving ahead rapidly.

Yesterday (below) equipment moved into place:

(Photo/William Weiss)

This morning, it was already at work:

(Photo/Art Schoeller, president, Greens Farms Association)

The site is set up to allow pedestrian access to the beach — and the ability to view construction, as it occurs.


Some good news about David Hidalgo, the beloved local carpenter, handyman, home improvement guy extraordinaire from Costa Rica with 2 young kids, who has battled leukemia.

While he continues treatment, and prepares for a bone marrow transplant, he is working on a new business.

David’s sister and brother-in-law moved from New Jersey to Connecticut to be closer to David and his family. Ariel is a gardener and landscaper, who is eager to find new clients around here. He can do spring clean-ups, plantings, yard maintenance, weekly or biweekly mowing – whatever you need.

He will be guided closely by David, who understands the service level of people around here, and will ensure that clients are as happy with Ariel’s service as they have been with David’s work for many years.

Contact David Hidalgo (203 919-3321) or Ariel Blanco (732 288-3453) for details. (Hat tip: Jennifer Zorek-Pressman)

David Hidalgo and family.


Staples High School sent one gymnast to the New England championship last weekend.

Mia Guster made the most of her chance. Placing 8th in the vault (9.45 score), 12th in the floor competiton (9.15) and in the top 30 for beam (8.9), she qualified for the high school national meet in Florida this June.

Congratulations, Mia! (Hat tip: Nancy Lally)

Mia Guster


Speaking of sports: The Westport Weston Family YMCA hosted the Connecticut State Short Course 10/Under Age Group Championship last weekend. The host Water Rat swim team placed 1st place, out of 43 teams.

All 6 relay teams claimed spots on the podium. Individual results were strong too, with every swimmer recording a personal best in at least one event.

Next up: state championship for age groups 11-12 and 13-14 this weekend.

1st place in the 400 yard medley relay: Zadie Schatz, Avery Mihelic, Valentina Belyaev, Drew McInerney. (Photo/Christine Schatz)

Finishing 2nd in the 400 yard free relay, front row (from left): Lewis Meyers, Spencer Cheung. Top row: Miles Pearson, Luke McGuinn. (Photo/Sarin Cheung).


Who doesn’t love alpacas. They — and sheep, chickens and many more animals — have a home at Wakeman Town Farm. And they’re the stars of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)


And finally … today is the Ides of March. So of course:

Roundup: Paul Newman, Food Drive, Local Brands …


Paul Newman died in 2008.

But the actor/philanthropist/race car driver lives on in many Westporters’ memories.

Next fall, he’ll live on in a memoir. And it began right here, in the town he lived in and loved for 50 years.

According to the New York Times, he was frustrated by unauthorized biographies and other stories. So he recorded his own oral history.

But the transcripts were “forgotten in the basement laundry room” of his home.

Newman’s family will turn the transcripts into a book. Knopf will publish it next fall.

He spoke about “his difficult relationship with his parents, as well as his troubles with drinking, his shortcomings as a husband in his first marriage, and his flaws as a parent. It is candid about his sorrow when his son, Scott, died of a drug and alcohol overdose at 28.”

Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tips: Johanna Rossi and Fred Cantor)

The man. The legend. The US postage stamp.


The Westport-Weston YMCA Water Rats are a great swim program.

They’re also much more.

This Saturday (November 6, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), they host their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, to benefit the Bridgeport Rescue Mission

Food will be collected in the Y’s drop-off/pick-up circle. Just pop your trunk. the Water Rat swimmers will happily collect donations.

Needed items include cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, gravy, canned green beans, canned corn, canned peas, soup, canned sweet potatoes, peanut butter and jelly, tuna, canned chicken, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, dry cereal, powdered drink mix, coffee, sugar, powdered creamer and frozen turkeys.


Local to Market — the new curated shop in the old Talbot’s/Remarkable Book Shop at the Main Street/Parker Harding Plaza patio — introduces some exciting Connecticut-based vendors this Saturday (2 to 5 p.m.).

Shoppers are invited to meet the founders of some cool brands. They’ll tell their founding stories, and showcase their products.

There’s music too, plus works from the Westport Artists Collective.

Among the brands:

  • Cloud Lane Bakery
  • Nitnoi Provisions
  • Ivy Gourmet Granola
  • Alma Mexican Foods
  • Wise Guy Sauce
  • Kneads
  • Stylish Spoon
  • The Bites Company
  • Wonderland Jam

The Local to Market patio.


Also this weekend: The Westport Woman’s Club‘s annual Clothing Tag Sale.

It starts tomorrow (Friday, November 5) and continues Saturday (both days, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Sunday hours are noon to 3 p.m.

Among the items on sale inside the clubhouse (44 Imperial Avenue): clothing at great prices for men, women and children, plus shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, hats and more.

Funds raised support the Woman’s Club many philanthropic efforts.

The Westport Woman’s Club opens its doors for a great clothing tag sale.


Did these guys pose for today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot?

No. But it sure looks like they did.

(Photo/JC Martin)


And finally … Ronnie Wilson, a founding member of The Gap Band — has died. He was 73.

NPR says the group’s” distinctive electro-funk style (defined the 1980s’) increasingly synth-heavy R&B sound.” Click here for a full obituary.


Passing The Olympic Torch To Bill Krumm

When Kevin Strong was a Westport YMCA Water Rat swimmer, coach Bill Krumm asked him to mentor a new team member. Both boys were 11 years old.

They forged a great friendship. Strong — a very talented swimmer — quickly brought his teammate to the Water Rats’ high athletic and personal standards.

Both swam at high level college programs. They were in each other’s weddings. Today, Strong — a Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate, now a pediatrician in northern Maine — calls Krumm’s request to help another boy “an opportunity I’ll never forget.”

Three years later, the Westport Y selected Strong as its representative to run with the Olympic torch on a 1/2-mile Fairfield County leg, from the East Coast to the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He was chosen not only for his swim team accomplishments, but because of the way he lived the Y’s values.

Strong’s run came at night, in the pouring rain. The electric torch was lit. More than 3 decades later, he recalls how thrilling it all was.

Runners kept their torches. Each was also given a gorgeous mahogany case, inscribed with their name and date of the run.

For years, Strong kept his in the basement.

Bill Krumm

He told both stories last week at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, to an audience of 200 Water Rat alumni, Y friends and admirers of Krumm. They came from as far as Singapore to honor his memory. The longtime coach died suddenly in March, of a heart attack. He was 61 years old.

“Bill was a great technical coach,” Strong recalls. “But he was just as talented in helping kids get through that awkward 9- to 14-year-old stage.”

So — at the end of his 5-minute eulogy — Strong tied his 2 stories together. In a surprise, stunning move, he lifted up the Olympic torch he’d brought from Maine — and announced he was donating it to the Westport Y.

Then he asked everyone who knew Krumm to help choose an appropriate inscription.

Kevin Strong with his Olympic torch, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.

Strong is not sure where the gift will be displayed. He hopes it’s somewhere near the trophy case, at the pool.

But he knows what it will do.

“I want that torch to inspire some 8-year-old kid to be the best swimmer and person he can be — just the way Bill inspired me, and helped me grow,” Strong says.

“I learned so much from him. Now I can give back to others, just like he did.”

Besides, he says, “That Olympic torch does a lot more good at the Westport Y than sitting in my basement.”