Child excels at chess; Pie&Politics, history and more

Curries employees show off the Norwalk Tires t-shirts given to them by Nathan and Gloria Dillard. (Courtesy photo.)

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk announcements:

  • Meet Norwalk’s 5-year-old chess master
  • Norwalk Tires memorabilia sought
  • League schedules Pie & Politics, on Zoom
  • Small business loan program accelerates
  • Police seek tips in cold case


Dig this

Aidan Curtin, 5. (Courtesy photo.)

“I can’t believe I won a real chess tournament!” 5-year-old Norwalker Aidan Curtin said upon winning the age 5-12 DIG (Determination, Integrity, Growth) beginners’ tournament.  Aidan, the youngest member of the SONO Branch Library DIG chess team, beat Greens Farms Elementary second-grader Bryson McLaughlin in the final round to emerge victorious from a field of 25 Connecticut, Florida, and Kentucky players.

“It is rare to see a kid so young play chess with such creativity,” said Dan Starbuck Pelletier, the mastermind behind the DIG USA program.

Currently attending New Canaan Nature Center Preschool, Aidan will enter Marvin Elementary in the fall.  His mother Kristen Curtin said he has been playing chess for a year.  “We are so grateful that this chess club is available in our Norwalk community,” she said.  “Our family would never be able to afford chess lessons. The fact that this program was brought to Norwalk so that students in the community can access this type of instruction and have exposure to these coaches free of charge is monumental for us.”

“This is a great achievement for Aidan,” said coach Jithu Sajeevan. “I’m really happy with our kids’ performance.  They all have great futures in chess.”

Along with Aidan, other team members who represented Norwalk in the 2021 Fairfield County Libraries Chess Tournament on Jan. 23 were Cranbury Elementary students Erica and Ella Chen (first and second grade respectively), Brookside Elementary fifth grader Richard E. Deleon Vergara, Brookside third grader Aiden Espinal, and Ponus Ridge Middle School sixth grader Benjamin Liu Mao.

Previous SoNo Branch Library DIG chess winners include 2019 Nutmeg DIG Scholastic Tournament winner Redmond Little, and his younger brother Matthew who won the 2018 tournament involving more than 60 competitors from library programs at SoNo Branch, Norwalk Public Library, North Branch, Bridgeport, Hartford, Our Lady of Fatima School, Wilton, and Weston.

“I am excited about each and every team member,” Norwalk Public Library Interim Director Sherelle Harris said.  “I love everything that chess represents and Aidan’s win at just five years old is simply spectacular.”


Norwalk Tires memorabilia sought

(Courtesy photo.)

A free Norwalk Tires t-shirt made from original 1920s wood printing blocks will be given in return for donations of Norwalk Tire & Rubber Company memorabilia to preservationists Nathan and Gloria Dillard.  Examples of sought-after items include ashtrays, banners, clothing, signs, clocks, neon, thermometers, photographs, crates, posters, tire holder, and new old stock.

“We are not looking to resale these items, but to preserve them as an important part of Norwalk history,” Nathan Dillard said.   Greg Duffey and Minuteman Press made the shirts, using the printing blocks which were found in the Hour Press Building on Commerce Street.

Eleven of the t-shirts were given to employees at Currie’s Tires, a Norwalk business founded in 1929 by former Norwalk Tire & Rubber employee Duke Currie.  The Dillards also had a banner made celebrating Curries’ 92 years in business.  Curries’ walls are replete with historical photos.

Located at 20 Glover Ave., the Norwalk Tire & Rubber & Rubber Company building later became the Caldor department store chain’s home office.  Today the site is occupied by the Merritt On The River complex.

To donate items, or to share stories and info, contact Nathan Dillard at [email protected]


Query your legislators without leaving home

The League of Women Voters of Norwalk has scheduled its annual Pie & Politics for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 6. You’ll have to provide your own pie as the event is on Zoom.

Invited are State Senator Bob Duff and State Representatives Lucy Dathan, Stephanie Thomas, Chris Perone, Travis Simms, and Terrie Wood.

“Bring your questions to ask via the Chat feature on Zoom! Spread the word to your friends and neighbors!” the announcement states.

Click here to register.  For more information call 203-394-1710 or email [email protected], [email protected]



Small business loan program opportunity

Small businesses employing fewer than 20 workers will get exclusive consideration for Paycheck Protection Loans (PPL) thru Tuesday March 9, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website, which states that until then, “SBA will not accept new applications from lenders for businesses and nonprofits with 20 or more employees, so that lenders can focus on serving smaller companies.”

The loans, meant to defray COVID-related expenses, are administered by various local banks, and are forgivable if certain criteria are met.  Businesses that already got a PPL may still qualify for a second loan under certain conditions, one of which is having lost at least 25% of gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

Although Congress set aside $15 billion for small business loans, only $2.4 billion has been deployed thus far.  The two-week exclusivity period is intended to expedite the process, as are various newly-relaxed criteria:

  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals will get more support
  • Business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions will now be eligible
  • Student loan debt delinquency will no longer disqualify PPP loan applicants
  • Non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents may use individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.


700,000 Connecticut residents own or work for small businesses according to a press release from Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT-04), an advocate for the $15 billion program.

Full details are at the SBA website Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources (sba.gov)


Police seek tips in presumed 1985 death

(Norwalk Police)

Norwalk Police seek the public’s help in solving a notorious 36-year-old cold case: the disappearance and presumed murder of 20-year-old Norwalk resident April Grisanti.  Grisanti was last seen being forced into a car at Anthony’s Bar on Main Street by James “Purple” Aaron, 34, at 12:15 a.m. on Feb. 1, 1985.  Claiming that Grisanti had exited his car three blocks away, Aaron was convicted and jailed for kidnapping and unlawful restraint, but avoided further charges due to absence of evidence.  April Grisanti has never been seen again, and Aaron died in 2016.

If you have any information, contact Detective Daniel Serio of the Cold Case Unit, (203) 854-3188.  Anonymous tips can be sent online to www.Norwalkpd.com, or via text to TIP411 (847411) typing NORWALKPD into the text field followed by the tip.  Or call the NPD tip line (203) 854 3111.

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