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Surveying to Begin for Stormwater Conveyance System 

 

August 22, 2019

   The Stratford Health Department reports that surveying is to begin this week for the design of a stormwater delivery system for excess stormwater from the Raybestos Memorial Field on Frog Pond Lane. The Army Corps of Engineers will be designing and constructing a stormwater conveyance system and lift station to control stormwater runoff from the Raybestos Field site. The survey process is scheduled to last for 4-6 weeks, and will be conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and GM2 Associates, a subcontractor. The Department notes that surveyors will be active in the areas of the Department of Public Works, Frog Pond Lane, East Main Street, Avery Street, and Platt Street. For more information visit www.townofstratford.com/health.

 

 

Clean Earth Project Comes to Stratford 

 

August 22, 2019

   The Clean Earth Project, in partnership with the Friends of Short Beach, is hosting a Beach Clean Up on August 24that Long Beach and Short Beach. The community clean-up will begin at 11 am at Long Beach and 1pm at Short Beach. Supplies will be provided. For more information visit www.thecleanearthproject.com

 

Seven Stratford Elementary Schools Qualify for Free Breakfast & Lunch 

 

August 22, 2019

   The Stratford Board of Education has notified elementary families that seven Stratford Elementary Schools have qualified for school-wide free breakfast and lunch in the coming school year. A letter, dated August 20th, notes that Franklin, Johnson, Lordship, Nichols, Second Hill Lane, and Soto elementary schools qualify for free lunch through the National School Lunch Program, as well as breakfast, through the School Breakfast Program. Select Stratford elementary schools have qualified for these programs through Community Eligibility Provisions (CEP). Parents of students at these schools do not have to take any action for their children to participate in the program. For more information contact the Board of Education at (203) 385-4214. 

 

Stratford Parents Eager for BOE to Release Bus Routes

 

August 22, 2019

   Stratford parents have taken to social media to lament the absence of posted bus routes for the upcoming school year. With the first day of school less than a week away students and parents are impatient to learn what their schedules will look like for the 2019-2020 school year. The Board of Education Transportation page notes that that the schedules will be released in “Mid-August”, however the existing “Bus Routes” link is not active. When the schedules do go live they can be found at www.stratfordk12.org.

 

Restoration & Assessment Plans Released for Shuttered Gun Club and Raymark Sites 

 

August 22, 2019

  In July the final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Lordship Point Gun Club and Raymark Industries Site was released by EA Engineering, Science, Technology, Inc. This report was compiled on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The report outlines plans for the restoration of natural resources due to release of hazardous substances at the two sites. The report notes that similarities in the resulting damages at both sites, as well as their proximity to one another, made it appropriate to combine the settlement funds ($744,000) and the restoration planning process. The combination of the restoration funds is expected to lead to a more ecologically significant and timely restoration plan. The full report can be found here: 

https://pub-data.diver.orr.noaa.gov/admin-record/6522/Lordship%20Pt%20Raymark%20Final%20RP%20EA_%2007%2023%2019%20FINAL.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2MQ1RWTDxQTW-supYtfLLlZvbJJ2vUf9nKgzrHDuGIGjaAXECbAyVUCkQ

A Phoenix is Forming Where the Shakespeare Theatre Once Stood

Orna Rawls

July 4, 2019

   The day after the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre burned down, an informal wake took place as hundreds of citizens came to say goodbye to “The Shakespeare.” Not long after, a slightly more formal memorial rally took place. People came back to the grounds where the Shakespeare once stood; demolition crews already working in the background. They signed a memory board, used a megaphone to share their memories, and urged leaders to work together to build what’s next. A by-product of that rally was the meeting of a few concerned citizens.

   J. Sibley Law, Elizabeth Saint, and Tom Evans, all citizens of Stratford, agreed that the town needed to revive the summer festival. Law co-founded the festival in 2006 as the Stratford Arts Festival, which later became Festival Stratford, and for years was helmed by Matt Catalano. To do this, they realized they needed to raise considerable funds; a nonprofit was needed. It wasn’t long before they would focus their efforts through Stratford Forward (StratfordForward.org). Saint said of the nonprofit, “What could be better than working with an organization whose sole focus is the ongoing enhancement and improvement of the town?” 

   Soon they reached out to the Town’s Economic Development Department, and learned that the Town of Stratford keeps a busy schedule. Under the banner of Celebrate Stratford (celebratestratford.com), the town partners in the Latin Music Festival, The Great Pumpkin Festival, Holiday Festival, a Menorah Lighting, Restaurant Week, Street Festival, Summer Concert Series, Fireworks, and Blues on the Beach.

   They also learned that the Economic Development Department had hired Margaret Bodell a few hours each week to plan an Arts and Culture Festival. Not having any theatre events planned, it was recommended that this Phoenix Season, as they were now calling it, become part of the Stratford Arts & Culture Festival.   

   Tom Evans took on the role of artistic director. He has created a vision of a three-day event including three stages: The Globe Main Stage for main events, the Sound and Fury Stage for music events, and the Midsummer Stage for children’s productions and activities. Connecticut Free Shakespeare will reprise their many-years residency with a production of The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged (a comedy covering all 33 of Shakespeare’s plays in 90 minutes).    SquareWrights, the Stratford-based playwright center, will produce a collection of its best original comedy works. Stratford-based CT Dance Conservatory will showcase some of the New York area’s best dancers, as well as their competition group. There will be classes, yoga, and a host of art and cultural events running September 6 – 8. 

   Law said he is looking forward to the convocation starting the event, which is being put together by the Stratford Clergy Association. “I think the theatre runs deep for many people in Stratford. The convocation will give people an opportunity for remembrance and a chance to look ahead at a bright future that we can build together.” 

The Stratford Arts & Culture Festival: 2019 Phoenix Season, September 6 – 8, 2019

 For more information visit: StratfordPhoenix.com. 

 

 

 

Executive Festival Director, Sib Law and Co-Producer, Elizabeth Saint discuss the 2019 Phoenix Season and fundraising efforts. The Festival will take place September6-8 on the Shakespeare grounds. For more information visit StratfordPhoenix.com  

Stratford Democrats 

to Endorse

2019 Candidates 

Steve Raguskus 

July 11, 2019 

   The Stratford Democratic Town Committee (SDTC) will host their endorsement meeting for candidates for the November 5, 2019 election on Wednesday July 17, 2019, at 6:30 pm in the Main Hall of the Baldwin Center, 1000 West Broad Street. Selection of endorsed candidates will be done by the voting members of the SDTC, including any properly approved proxies. 

   All 10 Town Council districts will be up for election this year, as well as three seats on the Board of Education and two seats each on the Planning Commission, the Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Constables will also be up for election this year. 

   This meeting, and all SDTC meetings, will be open to the public, but only members or approved proxies will be allowed to vote.  

Town Shares
Citizen Response

to Shakespeare Property Workshops  

Rachel Rusnak

July 4, 2019 

   On Tuesday, June 25th, the Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG) and Town Officials presented preliminary results of the community workshops, online survey, and written feedback that was received on next steps for the Shakespeare property on Elm Street. Subsequent to the fire that devastated the existing building, the Mayor appointed 11 members to the Shakespeare Property Task Force, and charged the group with gathering public input on the future of the property to share with the administration and council.

   Approximately 700 residents responded over the course of five workshops, two of which were open to the general public, one which was geared towards seniors, one for the business and arts community, and one open to students, or through an online survey.

   Common themes identified in the initial report recognize the site as a potential destination for local talent and the arts, as a home for events, festivals, and concerts, and call for improved accessibility to the site.

   Also of note, the report identifies the property as an opportunity for Stratford to develop local and regional attractions, and propose linking the site to the Greenway, which currently runs behind DeLuca Field.    

The next Shakespeare Property Task Force meeting is scheduled for July 9th at 7 pm in the Town Hall Council Chambers.

Shakespeare Property Task Force Holds
Final Meeting 

Rachel Rusnak 

July 11, 2019 

 

   On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the Shakespeare Property Task Force held their last meeting in Town Council Chambers. The Task Force, convened by Mayor Hoydick after the Shakespeare Theatre fire, was charged with soliciting citizen feedback on what should become of the former Shakespeare Festival Theatre site, and producing a report for the Town. Task Force members include co-chairs Anthony Nizzardo and Tom Dillon, members Al Baran, Amanda Meeson, Ed Goodrich, Curtis Eller, Peter Wood, Sib Law, Scott Bartelson, Patti Sorrentino-Galello, and Frank Bevacqua. 

   Several citizens spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, which consisted of an open forum for public comment, statements by the Task Force members, as well as response to citizen comments and questions. Those that spoke lauded the Task Force for their transparency throughout the process. 

  Nearly every speaker stressed the opportunity that the property represents for Stratford, and encouraged the town to use the space, combined with Stratford’s rich history, to create a destination theater. Many stressed the role that appropriate development can play in economic revitalization for Stratford, and commented on the prospect of putting Stratford, CT back on the map.  

  Rosemary Martin Hayduk noted that other Stratfords of the World capitalize and thrive on their history and Shakespearean connection to “bring tourists, make money, and have fun.” Councilman Greg Cann commented that there are many in town “waiting in the wings” to contribute to making the future of the property successful. Co-Chair Nizzardo noted that next steps include presenting the final report to the Redevelopment Agency, who will work in conjunction with the Town Council to lead the development of a Request for Qualifications and/or Request for Proposals. Co-Chair Dillon closed the meeting encouraging continued citizen participation as the plans progress. 

Celebrating Independence
& The Free Press

Rachel Rusnak

July 4, 2019

  As we celebrate Independence Day among the fireworks and picnics, and reflect on our forefathers from the original 13 colonies declaring their Independence from Great Britain, it is important to remember what the Declaration of Independence says about government and transparency.

   It states that the “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” meaning that the authority to govern falls to the people. Our democracy belongs to the citizens of the United States, our State Constitution identifies Connecticut as belonging to its residents, and our Town of Stratford charter conveys the responsibility for electing suitable representatives to us. The privilege and responsibility associated with democracy fall to the people, and for a democracy to thrive, the people must be involved and informed, which is essential to democracy and contributes to a more effective, accountable government.

   Over the past 15 years, nearly 2000 newspapers in the United States have shuttered or merged with other papers. Currently, only about half of all counties in the country have a local newspaper. The American Press Institute identifies the principal value of news as “a utility to empower the informed.” Of late, Stratford, CT has fallen into the “have not” category, with no local paper dedicated to the town. Yet, the value that local journalism brings to a community is irrefutable. Local journalism is meaningful journalism, broaching the topics and subject matter close to the heart, and most significant to its readers.

   A group of local citizens recognized the need for Stratford-focused news, and united to develop The Stratford Town Crier to fill that void. The Crier was created with the aims of restoring local journalism to our community, providing unbiased reporting of town meetings, events, politics and community organizations, educating and informing the public, and encouraging civic engagement. Our group of local volunteers is working to accomplish this by producing original journalism focused on Stratford, CT. We hope that The Stratford Town Crier becomes an indispensable tool, keeping you, the citizens of Stratford, informed about your community.

   If you have an interest in local journalism, we’d love to have you join us and share your talents. The Stratford Town Crier is for the people, by the people of Stratford.

   To join our mailing list for updates, or to volunteer, contact us at StratfordCrier@gmail.com

Attending the Festival:

   What You Need to Know 

 

Acts 

  • Admission to the Festival is FREE, and there will be two main stages! 

  • The Sound and Fury Stage will host bands and classes, as well as Downtown Cabaret Theatre. 

  • The Midsummer Mainstage will run theater events, including CT Free Shakespeare and the Lion King, as well as our Festival Invocation and our headliner concert with Javier Colon and Syndee Winters! 

Food 

  • Some of the most popular food trucks from the area in a range of cuisines, including Greek, Polish, Southern, Spanish, Italian and MORE !

Drink 

  • The Mayor’s Golf Tournament and the VFW Post 9460 are sponsoring Will’s Pub – they will be serving Jim Bean Fire signature cocktails like the “Flaming of the Shrew” as well as beer and wine.

  •  Only alcohol purchased at the Pub is allowed on the grounds – the event is NOT BYO.  

  • The Aquarion Water Truck will be on site - please bring your own water bottle or purchase a commemorative water bottle from the festival merchandise booth. 

 

Bring the Kids

   There’s a ton for them to do: 

  • Lion King Jr

  • Downtown Cabaret Children’s 

  • CDC Open Dance Class

  • Paolo C Perez

  • “Girls Can’t be Superheroes”

  • Yotisse

  • Lena and the Happy Clam Band and more! 

  • Arden Activity Forest 

  • Bouncy Obstacle Course 

Parking 

  • Festival Parking is located at DeLuca Field and the Honeywell lot (884 Main St). There will be signs to mark the entrance to the lots.

  • Free shuttle service is provided on a steady loop by Durham Bus Company to and from the Shakespeare Grounds. 

  • Handicap and Sponsor Parking is available on the Shakespeare Grounds. 

  • Uber and drop-off locations at festival entrance. 

Seating 

  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs for both the Midsummer Stage and the Sound & Fury Stage. 

  • For a $20 (or more) donation per seat, there will be limited VIP seating available for three of our mainstage events: 

    • Javier Colon and Syndee Winters in Concert – 2PM Saturday 

    • Professional Dance Concert – 4PM Saturday 

    • Connecticut Free Shakespeare – 7PM Saturday & Sunday 

  • The Festival will also provide limited seating at the Sound & Fury Stage. There will be picnic blankets available for purchase at the merchandise stand. 

Pets

  • Attendees are asked to leave  furry friends at home, both for their safety and to help keep the festival running smoothly. 

Beyond Books: A Bounty of Offerings at the Stratford Library 

Sheri Szymanski, ​Stratford Library Director

July 25, 2019 

“Oh!  You’re a Librarian?  I’d love to have a job where it’s quiet and I get to read books all day!”  

If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me, I could take a cruise around the world.  In my 34 years of working in libraries, I have never cracked open a book to read while on the job, but this common image persists. Most adults have memories of their public library that involve lots of books, librarians telling you to be quiet and people sitting solemnly at tables, working and reading. If you were an avid reader, this was wonderland!  For others, their last visit to a library involved frenzied research to finish a paper in order to graduate!

The 21stcentury library is quite different than you remember.  

Let’s start with the practical stuff.  Is your printer broken?  Stop by and print out those concert tickets for tonight’s show.  Are you making a special cake to celebrate your 4 year old’s birthday?  Check out our selection of cake pans.  Heading to the city on the train?  Go to our website (stratfordlibrary.org) to use Flipster, a selection of current magazines that you can read on your smartphone.  Do you have old photos, slides,[and VHS tapes cluttering up the closet?  Use our equipment to digitize them.  Want to update your computer skills?  Visit our website to use Hoonuit’s video lessons.  Are you frustrated by your new smartphone or tablet?  Sign up for one of our classes for help figuring it out. And if you’re looking for something to read, browse our print collection OR use Libby/Overdrive to peruse our e-book selections.

Are you looking for something to do besides binge watching episodes of your favorite TV show?   The Stratford Library can get you off the couch tonight!  You might know that we offer lectures and theater programs, but did you know that we are celebrating National Video Game Day on 9/12 with a Family Video Game Night? You might know that we have Books Over Coffee and Book Buzz discussion groups at the Library, but did you know that we host Books on Tap at the Sitting Duck Tavern each month?  You may have attended one of our live music programs, but did you know that we have The Studio—a place where you can explore green screen photography, record video/audio and experiment with sound mixing and podcasting?  You probably attended library storyhour and craft programs when you were a child, but did you know that we have adult craft nights, host a knitting group (the KnitWits) and even provide die cutting, 3-D printing and a sewing machine in our uCreate space?

So, if you have a library card that expired in the 20th century , stop in and renew it.   You’ll be surprised by what you find in the Stratford Library today.  We still have plenty of books, but we offer so much more.   Join the 750+ people who pass through our doors each day to learn, create and share!

Stratford Beat the Heat with the Blues

Rachel Rusnak

July 25, 2019 

   Blues on the Beach saw another successful season this past Saturday, July 20th at Short Beach, with locals and visitors alike braving the oppressive heat to picnic, play, and dance to popular local acts. The 2019 Season ran smoothly, with attendees commenting on the exceptional planning of the event. Rough estimates suggest thousands attended this year’s event, running from 12:30 in the afternoon to approximately 9:30 pm, with closer Da Band. 

Stratford Library Events,                              Photos courtesy of Sheri Szymanski

Stratford Republicans Announce Nominations

Rachel Rusnak

July 25, 2019  

On Thursday July 18th, the Stratford Republican Town Committee met to endorse candidates for the November Town elections. The slate of nominees includes candidates for Town Council, Board of Education, Land Use boards, and Constables. Chairman of the Republican Town Committee, Lou DeCilio had this to say “The Republican ticket offers an honest, hardworking commitment to our community from people that have consistently been involved in all facets of our community.”  

Contract Plating Cleanup to Begin

Rachel Rusnak

July 25, 2019  

 

The Stratford Health Department released notice on Monday, July 22ndthat 

the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the Town approval to remove composite material and soil from the former Contract Plating facility located at 540 Longbrook Avenue.  It was announced that the Town contractors might begin work  at the site as early as this past Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

 

Per the Health Department release, “This work is part of a Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Cleanup Plan created for the site with a Department of Economic Community Development (DECD) Brownfield Grant”.  Representatives for the project consultant will be on site to monitor dust control procedures and to prevent dust migration outside of the work zone. Air monitoring will be implemented to measure dust levels and ensure dust control procedures. The Department noted that the cleanup activities will be limited only to the Contract Plating site and that this work is exclusive of Raymark work. For more information visit the Stratford Health Department site http://www.townofstratford.com/health

Our Stratford Point Lighthouse

David Wright

July 4, 2019

The history of the Stratford Point Lighthouse is illuminated by legends.  These legends feature mermaids, sea serpents, ghosts, fearsome mosquitoes, and daring rescues.  Lighthouse keepers who didn’t see many visitors, and, when they did, presented an image slightly less than 100% sane, were also a common part of the lighthouse history.  While much of the foregoing is well-known in lighthouse lore, one legend surrounding the origin of the lighthouse is much more obscure.

As the legend goes, a large brig was making her way up Long Island Sound towards the open water of the Atlantic on a dark, stormy, raw, and sleeting New Year’s Eve.  A gale was fiercely raging over the Sound blowing ice and snow at the brig and obscuring the skipper’s vision.  The brig bore 100, or so, revelry minded passengers on their way to festivities in Boston.  No lights could be seen along the shoreline, and the shoreline itself was hidden from the skipper’s view.

With no lights to guide him, and with the gale buffeting his ship, the skipper grew increasingly wary, and concerned, as his brig approached the vicinity of the deadly Stratford Point.  Experience had taught this seasoned skipper to give the Point a wide berth even when the Point was visible.  

As the brig, and its passengers, came alongside what the skipper knew had to be the deadly rocks of Stratford Point, “there suddenly flashed up in the sky, a long, lambent tongue of flame that lit up the scene with a lurid glare.”  In the glow of this otherworldly phenomenon, the skipper was able to just make out the rocky shore of Stratford Point.  He had barely enough time to steer the ship away from a deadly collision with the rocks leading to the shore of Stratford Point. Once the ship safely cleared the Point, the flame flickered out.

The thankful passengers also saw the flame and knelt to give thanks for their deliverance.  Some of the passengers vowed that once they safely reached their destination, they’d insist a beacon be placed at Stratford Point to guide other ships during future tempests.

As a result, a crude brazier filled with coals was placed on the shoreline of Stratford Point.  The brazier was maintained until it was replaced, in 1822, with Stratford’s first lighthouse.  The 1822 lighthouse was replaced in 1881 with the lighthouse we see today.

Mayor Hoydick, just this month, was able to negotiate an agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard whereby the lighthouse would be leased to the Town for 20 years.  This exciting news will allow the lighthouse to be open to the public once more.  The scenic vistas from atop the lighthouse are dazzling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the lighthouse, 2015. 

2019 Phoenix Season Gains International Support

Rachel Rusnak 

July 11, 2019 

   In the wake of the blaze that demolished the Shakespeare Festival Theatre in January of this year, Stratford Forward and the Town of Stratford are working together to produce the 2019 Phoenix Season: Arts from the Ashes. This three-day festival – promoting the arts in Stratford and bringing life back to the site of the former historic landmark theatre – will be held the weekend of September 6-8. 

   The festival’s GoFundMe campaign is off to a roaring start, with contributions so far raising over half of the $20,000 goal and drawing international attention from Stratford, Connecticut’s own Sister Cities. The Stratfords of the World have stepped up to contribute to the festival, and invest in the future of the arts in Stratford, CT. Donations have arrived from Stratford Prince Edward Island, Canada; Stratford Ontario Canada;  Stratford-upon-Avon, England; and Stratford Victoria, Australia. International contributions have also come from supporters of the arts in Austria and Israel.

   Tim Raistrick, of the Stratfords of the World UK Committee, and a featured actor with the Trinity Players in Stratford-upon-Avon, had this to say, “Stratfords of the World UK Committee… is passionate about supporting the eventual rebuilding of the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut,” and backed his statement with a generous donation to the festival.

   This September the theater grounds will again come alive with art, music, theater and more! For more information, and to help reach the fundraising goal, please visit 
www.StratfordPhoenix.com

Democracy and Vision: 
Who and Why Stratford Forward?
  

David Chess

July 4, 2019

   Stratford Forward is a 501(c)(3) non-profit group with a mission to make Stratford the place we want to call home, raise our children, and where our children want to return to. We believe democracy requires broad community participation, and that it is not enough to have elected representatives. Our responsibility as citizens extends beyond elections, and our participation is the instrument that drives change, transparency, and avoids corruption.

 Stratford Forward is a nonpartisan, grassroots, inclusive organization that relies on participation. We do not support candidates or political parties, but rather work directly and closely with our elected officials to influence and support our Mayor and Town Council.   

   Stratford Forward brings people together around ideas, creating a vision for our town and a blueprint for progress. We have found that issues and solutions bring

us together and bind us. We are a forum that listens and responds, harnessing the best ideas, and creating practical, impenetrable solutions.

   Stratford Forward believes that creating a vision and investing in our town is how we will ultimately drive economic development, increase the value of our homes, and reduce our individual tax burden.

    Our focus, to date, has been on: 

Center School Site Development - Sponsoring community conversations, collecting those ideas and creating 3D computer representations for the future of that site. 

Arts and Culture Festival - The Phoenix Season: Arts from the Ashes, a 3-day festival on the Shakespeare grounds, to aid in restoring Stratford as a cultural center for the region. 

The Stratford Town Crier - A new, nonpartisan, digital newspaper to cover town hall, community events,  special features and more.

Sustainability - Currently working with the Mayor’s office to establish a Biodigester in Stratford, which takes food waste and turns it into energy and compost, as well as encouraging textile recycling, that is soon to come to Stratford.

   And more... but we need volunteers to join us in this effort - wherever your interests best fit - news, arts and festival, rethinking education, driving energy sustainability, etc.

   Please join us and become a part of Stratford Forward... your efforts and donations matter!

Pursued By A Bear: Shakespeare Academy Actors Prepare for July 27th Debut 

Kelly Letourneau

July 18, 2019 

 

 Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford's 2019 Pursued by a Bear Ensemble has been hard at work these past few weeks! This week, the ensemble is finishing their work with visiting master class teachers, and next week, they are headed into tech week for their productions of The Winter's Tale and Coriolanus. Join us on the grounds of the former American Shakespeare Festival Theatre July 27th to August 4th.

 To reserve tickets, visit  www.shakespeareacademystratford.org.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook @shakespeareacademystratford.

 

Stratford All Stars Take New Canaan

Rachel Rusnak 

July 18, 2019

     On Sunday, July 15, 2019 over 100 fans gathered to witness the Stratford Baseball Association 8U All Stars strike a blow to New Canaan in a 10 – 2 victory.  

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Saint 

PURSUED BY A BEAR: This year's ensemble operates the "Bear who Pursues" (affectionately known as "Ursula"), a puppet built by Director Sara Holdren.

Stratford Dems Announce 2019 Candidates 

 Rachel Rusnak

July 18, 2019

 

    On Wednesday, July 17ththe Stratford Democratic Town Committee gathered to endorse candidates for a variety of seats up for election this fall, including Town Council, Board of Education, Land Use boards, and Constables. In a press release, Democratic Town Committee Chair noted “The endorsed candidates exemplify Democratic Party values and they are committed to upholding those values in their respective offices…”. Candidates who received party endorsements include: 

Reflection on the Shakespeare Property Task Force 

Tom Dillon, Task Force Co-Chair

July 18, 2019

 

  Hundreds of people in Stratford came out to express their opinions of what should be done next on the site of the Shakespeare theater.  The Shakespeare Property Task Force held its final meeting last week to present the final report which is to be submitted to the Mayor.

   The Task Force was created by the Mayor after the tragic destruction of the Shakespeare Theater on Elm Street.  The eleven member task force held its first meeting with the public on February 5. The Mayor asked the task force to engage with the community and conduct a thorough process inviting all the residents of the town to bring their opinion of what should happen next.

     Five organizational meetings were held and five community forums were conducted throughout town.  Meetings were held in Baldwin Center, Birdseye Community Complex, Boothe Memorial Park and Town Hall.  The town has created a webpage with all the relevant details and documentation located at the Shakespeare Task Force webpage.

   The Task Force made it clear from the beginning that this stage of the redevelopment of the property was solely about input from the community.  No decisions have been made about what is to happen. The Task Force was responsible for creating a transparent process to accept input from the public without putting any limits on what was offered.                          

   Mary Dean, the Town’s Economic Development Director, Susmitha Attota, the Town’s Planner, and Patrick Carelton, a consultant from the Metro Council of Governments, as well as a host of other Town professionals assisted the Task Force in completing this task.

     In order to encourage real discussion among residents, a round table format was agreed upon.  Residents gathered in small groups of approximately eight and were each asked to answer the same nine questions.  Each question was asked sequentially and each participant was asked to respond. Moderators at each table were asked to both keep participants on point and to foster discussion about the particular question.

   Answers were then recorded and summarized into a final report which was presented in Town Hall and is available online -  Shakespeare Final Report.  The final report was not designed to draw a single conclusion out of the community input.  Many people had many ideas - all of which are represented in the report. There were, of course, themes, and common aspirations.  People who participated in the process and those who were not able should all look at the final report as a basis for discussion of going forward.  

Honoring Kathy Faggella

Claudia Margitay-Balogh

July 18, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   On Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Kathy Faggella facilitated her last Books Over Coffee series at the Stratford Library. During the last twenty-two years (1997-2019), 220 books, which included novels, memoires, historical fiction, biographies, and non-fiction, have been discussed. Kathy’s series has covered writers as diverse as Dan Brown, Fannie Flagg, Ken Follette, Elizabeth Strout, Anne Tyler, and Colson Whitehead. The book series annually observes Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.

    Books Over Coffee on Wednesday, September 17, 1997 began Kathy’s journey as host with the book The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle’s “tense, gripping, and widely acclaimed novel.”

    The book for the month of June 2019 was When The Crawdads Sings, a debut novel by nature writer Delia Owens who has ruled the best-seller list. Because this book certainly caused a “buzz among its readers,” the Library’s Lovell Room was filled with new faces along with the regulars. This book with its story of loss, loneliness, desperation, resiliency, and survival led to a lively discussion.

    At the end of the hour discussion, Kathy Faggella was honored for her many years as the host and discussion leader by Sheri Szymanski, Stratford Library Director and Tom Holehan, Public Relations and Programming Director. Kathy received a copy of the 1997 news release which introduced her to the community as the newly appointed discussion leader who replaced Joanne Greco Rochman. An official document which proclaimed Wednesday June 26, 2019 as KATHY FAGGELLA DAY at the Stratford Library was read to all.

    Through the years participants have always been invited to bring a bag lunch while coffee and tea have been supplied by the library. It was humorously noted that throughout the 22 years, 200 gallons of water and coffee, 1,100 sugar packets, 600 creamers, 900 tea bags, 1,500 stirrers, and 3,000 napkins were used. It is wonderful to note that our Stratford Library not only nourishes our minds but refreshes our thirst.

    Kudos and blessings are sent to Kathy for her dedication and service to all who have been fortunate to have been with her during these last 22 years.

Librarian Sheri Szymanski reads proclamation during Kathy Faggella Day celebration

 Kathy Faggella  and Tom Holehan

Cake from Kathy Faggella Day celebration

LIBRARY SEEKS ADULT VOLUNTEERS FOR SPECIAL EVENTS

   The Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford will be holding an organizational meeting of adult volunteers and sponsors for its upcoming Family Mini Golf fundraiser.  The meeting, open to area adults over the age of 18, will be held on Monday, July 29 at 6:30 pm in the Library’s Board Room.  The now annual Family Mini Golf fundraiser is scheduled for the fall. For further information, call the Library’s Public Relation and Programming Office at 203.385.4162.

LIBRARY SETS 2019 DATES FOR CTWORKS CAREER COACH

 

     Due to popular demand, the Stratford Library has announced that the CTWorks Career Coach, a career center on wheels designed to deliver career services and training opportunities at a variety of locations throughout Connecticut, will continue library visits through 2019.  The Career Coachdelivers free services to low-wage workers and job seekers in Southwestern Connecticut who are unable to get the services at local career centers due to lack of transportation, childcare or employment schedules. 

            Visitors to the coach will find computer workshops,10 computer workstations, high speed access to the Internet (via onboard satellite), 42” plasma TV with Smartboard overlay (for training use by the instructor), 10 wireless laptops and exterior plasma TV, interview room and an ADA-compliant lift and workstation for people with disabilities. These workshops are free and open to job seekers 16 year of age or older.  Basic computer skills are helpful but not required.  First come, first served.  Limited seating.  Excel, Word and Resume class dates do require registration at the Library.  

            The 2019 schedule is: July 22, August 19, September 23 (Exel Class), October 28, November 25 (Resume Class) and December 16 from 10 am – noon and 1-3 pm each month.  The CTWorks Career Coachwill be on site in front of the Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford, CT.  

For further information call the library's Adult Services Department at 203.385.4164or visit: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

SUMMER CONCERT  AT STRATFORD LIBRARY:

Violinist Cameron Chase To Perform August 21

 

        The Stratford Library will present Violinist Cameron Chase is set for a solo concert on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm. The concert, held in the Library’s air-conditioned Lovell Room, is free and open to the public.

            Cameron Chase started playing violin when he was 5 with Liu at Stratford’s Little Red School of Art & Music. He is a graduate of the pre-college Program at Juilliard and has also studied with Hyo Kang and Regi Papa.  In 2016 he played Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and in 2014 he won the American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in Fairfield. In addition he has played in numerous chamber groups concentrating on the classical repertoire.  He is a life-long resident of Stratford.  His concert will begin at 6:30 pm on August 21.

For further information call the library at: 203.385-4162 or visit its website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

"A SLICE OF HEAVEN” NEW LIBRARY ART EXHIBIT:

Original Work by Kennedy Center Artists on Display Through August           

            

             Original work from the Kennedy Center artists will be the July/August 2019 art exhibit at the Stratford Library.  It is the first appearance of artwork, entitled “A Slice of Heaven”, from the group and is free and open to the public.

The Kennedy Center, Inc. invites audiences to share and explore the talents and creative energy of the artists represented in the library show. As a group, their distinctive approach in use of color creates a highly moving, rich artistic mosaic representing novel and diverse interpretations of the world today. Prolific and talented, The Kennedy Center artists have produced a body of work that stands on its own with a truly unique perspective. On display is just a sample of the variety of artwork they create. Dive into the cool waters of a refreshing beach, feel the warm sunshine on your skin, smell the flowers blooming around every corner, and let yourself move to the rhythm of the ocean waves as you enjoy this exhibit. 

The Kennedy Center, which is located in Trumbull, Connecticut, supports over 2,000 individuals from birth to seniors with intellectual disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, learning and physical disabilities. Through a wide array of programs, individuals are provided opportunities for achievement in vocational, recreational, social and educational aspects of their lives. The Kennedy Center’s mission is to promote the empowerment of individuals with disabilities towards optimum participation and inclusion in the community. 

Viewing hours for the “A Slice of Heaven” art exhibitare: Monday-Thursday: 10-8 and Friday-Saturday: 10-5pm.  The display is located in the Main Lobby of the Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford and will continue through August 2019.

For further information, call the library's Public Relations and Programming Office at:  203.385-4162 or visit its website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

  Stratford Library to Screen “Free Solo”        

Oscar-Winner Set for August 5thShowing                  

   The Stratford Library’s popular “Monday Matinees” series continues with a screening of the recent Academy Award winner, “Free Solo” on August 5 at noon.  The series, which presents recent, popular films twice monthly on Monday afternoons, is free and open to the public.

 “Free Solo”is a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of the free soloist climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world's most famous rock, the 3,000ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without a rope. Celebrated as one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, Honnold's climb set the ultimate standard: perfection or death. Succeeding in this challenge, Honnold enters his story in the annals of human achievement. 

“Free Solo”is both an edge-of-your seat thriller and an inspiring portrait of an athlete who exceeded the current understanding of human physical and mental potential. The result is a triumph of the human spirit. “Free Solo”was named “Best Documentary” at the 2019 Academy Awards. It is ratedPG-13 and runs 97 minutes.     

            Movies in the “Monday Matinees” series are shown uncut on widescreen in the Stratford Library’s Lovell Room.  The summer session of “Monday Matinees” concludes with this screening and will return in September.  The fall schedule of films will be announced soon.

For further information, call the Library at 203.385.4162 or visit: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

 

 

Stratford’s Place in Space

David Wright

July 18, 2019 

   

 

 

   Unless you’ve spent the past decade, or two, living in Captain John Selby’s rum cache on the banks of the Housatonic River in Oronoque, you’re aware of the controversy surrounding Gustave Whitehead and his first in flight story.

If you’ve heard the Gustave Whitehead claim of beating the Wright Brothers to the skies, you no doubt have formed an opinion on the topic.  While there is ample reason to believe the claims of Gustave’s 1901 flight (see gw1901.stratfordhistoricalsociety.info or the August 18, 1901 Sunday Herald page 6) proof of the flight is still very illusive.  As William J. Winter, in the June (1969) American Aircraft magazine, wrote: “…One thing is positive; no one can prove he did not fly.”  

While the purpose of this article is not to attempt to prove Gustave’s flight claims, or to deny them, it’s abundantly clear that on the eve of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing, something very special happened in Stratford which led many aviators to our town.  Gustave’s flight claims were validated, and restated, in the July 20, 1969 Sunday Herald.  (You may read the renewed claims for Gustave Whitehead’s 1901 flight, on the eve of the 1969 moon landing, at gw1969.stratfordhistoricalsociety.info). 

   Consider the following.  Stratford resident, Stanley Beach, editor of the Scientific American magazine, wrote about Gustave Whitehead, and his 1901 flight, in 1901, 1903, and 1906.  

   One of the first air fields built in America was built at the western end of Stratford Avenue and was known as Aerodrome Park.  Aerodrome Park was so famous Bridgeport began referring to the Park as the Bridgeport Airport.  As a result of there being an airport in Stratford, a 1911 air show was held here which attracted famed aviators from all over the U.S.  Glenn Curtiss, an aviator and airplane manufacturing giant, on a par with the Wright brothers in the early 20th century, seriously considered locating his airplane manufacturing plant in Stratford in 1911.

   Due to Stratford’s reputation for flights and airplanes, the U.S. Army held a mock battle in Stratford in 1912, which included the first airplane ever used in a combat situation.  Because of Stratford’s reputation in the aircraft business, Amelia Earhart travelled to Stratford in 1929 to pick-up her recently constructed airplane.  All of this aviation activity, and the availability of an easy to access airport in Stratford, led Igor Sikorsky to build his airplane plant here in 1929.  Of course the fastest airplane built in America prior to 1945, the Chance Vought Corsair, was constructed in the Sikorsky plant across from today’s Sikorsky Memorial Airport.  In the days of the space age and moon walk, Avco Lycoming, the successor occupant of the Sikorsky plant (following Chance Vought’s relocation to Texas in 1948) built parts for the Apollo rocket which led to the moon landing in 1969.

   You may or may not believe the Gustave Whitehead 1901 flight story, but one thing is indisputable.  Stratford’s place in aviation history, and space travel, was secured at the dawn of the 20th century.  Was all this airline history in Stratford a result of Gustave Whitehead’s 1901 flight?  You decide.

Lincoln Beachey, famed aviator, with Marguerite Shea, at Aerodrome Park, May 11, 1911.  Photo courtesy of the Stratford Historical Society.

What Makes an Effective Facilitator?

Claudia Margitay-Balogh

July 14, 2019

       

   This is the question I asked native Stratford resident Kathy Faggella who has led the Stratford Library’s Wednesday noon book series for the last twenty-two years. Her answer became evident as she spoke about her life.

     Kathy’s love for reading began at an early age. She fondly remembers when she attended Center School the set of turquoise books which contained biographies. It was the biography of Jane Addams that had a profound effect on Kathy. Jane Addams (1860-1935) American activist, reformer, educator, and author was one of the most distinguished of the first generation of college educated women. Addams responded to the needs of her community by establishing a nursery, kindergarten, and cooperative housing for young working women. Addams always insisted that she learned as much from her neighbors as they did from her. 

    As I listened to Kathy, I realized the impact that Jane Addams had on her career. Kathy graduated from Southern Connecticut College and received her degree in childhood education. She began teaching 5thgrade in the Bridgeport School System. In the 1970’s she became co-director of the Helen King Reynolds School, located in Stratford’s historic district, which is a preschool for 3 and 4 year old children.  Because Kathy studied the British Infant and Primary School System within her Master’s Degree Program, she was able to apply its philosophy and strategies while working with the children in Stratford. She accepted the belief that a child is the facilitator of his or her own education. When I asked Kathy the difference between a teacher and a facilitator, she gave the following example. When a teacher tosses the ball (a question) out to the group, he or she expects the ball to be thrown back to him or her (an answer). On the other hand, when the facilitator throws the ball (a question), it is to be bounced about the group gathering many acceptable answers, comments, and opinions. This is the most important concept that Kathy has used in teaching and in facilitating her book chat.

   Kathy’s love for working with adults began when she taught at Fairfield University in the Graduate School of Education and then at Gateway Community College in New Haven. In the 1990’s at Sterling House Community Center in Stratford Kathy led a literacy program called PATH (Parents As Teaching Heroes) for seven years. During this grant program she directed and mentored twenty-two volunteer tutors who would teach newly arrived immigrants how to speak, read, and/or write in English. Throughout this time Kathy and her volunteers, similar to Jane Addams, learned as much from their students as the students did from their teachers.

      Yes, Kathy Faggella is indeed a life-long educator. Her love for travel has given her cultural experiences that have widened her perspective and her perceptions. As a writer, illustrator, and painter, Kathy understands the beauty of language and of art. All of her endeavors have contributed to her appreciation for the written word. Throughout her years as a book chat facilitator, Kathy has chosen books that are thought-provoking. She has never shyed away from controversy or diverse opinions. One of her tenets as a facilitator is that her opinion of a book should not matter. In fact, she can only remember one time that a participant asked her what she thought of a certain book. In recent years Kathy has researched Amazon to learn of which books are popular reads. Her list of books for the year is always given to Tom Holehan, the head of public relations and programming at the Stratford Library, who has the final say. 

   Kathy runs a very well organized one hour book chat. She always comes prepared with handouts about the author, about the book, and about interesting facts that give the participants more insight. She always begins with questions she has formulated when reading the book for the second time. The first time she reads a book, it is for sheer enjoyment. The second time is when the critical analysis occurs. Because Kathy is so skilled at what she does, the participants raise their hands with complete confidence that their opinions will be listened to with an appreciative ear by all. The ball is indeed tossed from one participant to another until the ball comes back to Kathy when she tosses it out again with another pertinent thought-provoking question.

  It has been a delightful experience attending Kathy’s book chats during the last three years, and I know that I speak for the other participants who have attended far longer than I have that we have been very fortunate to have our perceptions and perspectives enriched by her book discussions.  Kathy Faggella is indeed one of Stratford’s notable residents.

Limulus Comes to Stratford

Angela Capinera

July 18, 2019

Living fossils come to the shores of Stratford every year between May and June.  Who are they, where do they come from, and why are they important to us?

    Lumulidae, a family of the order Xiphosura or arthropods related to arachnids (spiders, anyone?), are also known as horseshoe crabs.  Horseshoe crabs, whose scientific name is Limulus, are not really crabs. They are called horseshoe crabs due to the shape of their outer shell, or carapace, and the early observation they have legs similar to a crabs.  They have existed and have repeated their yearly journey to lay their eggs for the last 450 million years.

    Limulus Polyphemus, or the Atlantic horseshoe crab, is one of four species of horseshoe crabs in the world.  The other three are in the Pacific Ocean and lay their eggs on Asian beaches. Stratford is blessed that Limulus come to the Town’s shores each year in May and June to lay their eggs.  Limulus Polyphemus come to Stratford due to its sandy, flat beaches, and shallow waters. The sandy, flat beaches make it easy for each female to lay her approximately 9,000 to 120,000 eggs after multiple males may fertilize them.  The female digs a small burrow and lays her eggs. After the eggs gestate for about two weeks and then hatch, the baby Limulus go out with the next high tide. This is why it is important the females and the burrows are not moved or disturbed.

    Limulus Polyphemus is near threatened and humans are the biggest culprit.  Horseshoe crabs are used for bait and fertilizer, even with better options available, they are delicacies in cuisines, climate change and water temperature variations affect their laying cycles, and the biggest threat of all is the use of their blood.  Blood? Yes, blood. Humans have red blood due to iron and hemoglobin while horseshoe crabs have blue blood due to copper and hemocyanin. Pharmaceutical companies “harvest” Limulus for a protein in their blood called LAL or limulus amebocyte lysate. Why is LAL important?  Anyone who has ever been to the doctor, received a shot, or had a joint replacement is indebted to Limulus. LAL is the only protein on Earth that can detect Ecoli and other bacteria on medical equipment before its sent out to doctors and hospitals. The downside is that the pharmaceutical companies do not monitor Limulus after they have drawn their blood and do not monitor if they are taking the same Limulus again and again.  Like humans, Limulus can suffer from shock when losing too much blood. Limulus also cannot mate in captivity so therefore they must be left in the open ocean. Scientists are trying to monitor as many of them as possible but tagging, sonar, and funding can only go so far.

    Anyone who wears glasses or contacts is also indebted to them for research on vision.  Limulus have 9 eyes on their carapace. Their rods and cones are 100 times the size of human rods and cones.  This allows them to be more sensitive to light at night versus during the day. Limulus need this due to the full and new moons in May and June signaling that it is time to lay their eggs.

    Limulus can be an interesting conversation starter.  Here are some other interesting facts about them. First, their tail is called a ‘telson’.  Their telson helps them navigate up and down the Atlantic seaboard, approximately 3,000 miles each way.  The telson is harmless and they use it to flip themselves over and as protection from birds. And, no, it does NOT sting.Their carapace, or exoskeleton covering,  is made of the elements of chitin and calcium. It’s the same calcium we have in our bones and the same chitin we have in our fingernails. They have 5 pairs of legs for movement and the top pair of legs, the 6th pair, is called ‘pedipalps’.  The females have small ones and the males have larger ones that look like boxing gloves. The males use their pedipalps to hold onto the female while fertilizing and the females use their pedipalps to dig in the sand. Their mouth is in the center of the 5 sets of legs and they grind up their food, usually worms, mollusks, and small crabs.  Females are larger than males. They take 8 - 10 years to reach maturity and they molt. The breath through book gills that are located near the telson.

    Next time a Limulus comes ashore, thank them for all that they do.

 

 

U.S. Army Flying Squadron in Stratford, August 14, 1912.  Photo courtesy of the Stratford Historical Society.

The Shakespeare Property: "We Don't Have to Reinvent the Wheel"

 

Stratford Town Crier:

   We don’t have to reinvent the wheel in our thinking of what to use the Shakespeare property for. For starters, let’s remember that the Shakespeare Theater was not built and paid for by the Town of Stratford. It was a vision by artists who lived here who formed a board and raised money to build the theater on Town property, which they leased from the Town.  Let’s look at what has worked before, we have before us an opportunity to not only revitalize the arts community in Stratford, but to once again make us a destination. 

Look to our neighbors and what they have done successfully to support the arts, again, let’s not reinvent the wheel. We should have a venue on the property that would support our local arts groups, our Square One, host dance recitals, etc.

Fairfield County has a multitude of local arts commissions, vibrant and active.  We have to ask ourselves as a town what is our arts commission doing to advance our local arts groups? Also ask yourself, how best can we overcome the inertia that has gripped our town previously over the Shakespeare Theatre? Of note is that all of these following venues that are cited are devoid of political “interference”.

PARSONS CENTER, A mission of the Milford Performance Center used for performing arts for their community. They repurposed the original Milford High School by creating a public place to enjoy music, theatre, film and comedy. It’s large stage, state of the art sound and lighting and intimate seating arrangement for 950.  They showcase all genres of music, dance, comedy, film and theatre.

WESTPORT ARTS CENTER is a visual and performing arts organization. A nonprofit organization, they have been connecting the community through the arts for more than 47 years and reach more than 11,000 people annually through arts and education programs. Including contemporary art exhibitions, arts education, chamber and jazz music concerts.

Their arts education and outreach programs for children and teens ages 2 – 18 reach over 4,000 students  through classes, workshops, family programs and school field trips. They are moving to Martha Stewart’s property in Greenfield Hills this summer so that they may expand their reach.  They presently are able to have 200 standing, 100 seated. They will have 7 acres indoor/outdoor outreach to all communities

SEABURY CENTER located in the old Christ and Holy Trinity Church in Westport, a performing arts venue, it seats 200. Owned by the church who rents the venue out.

ROWAYTON CIVIC ASSOCIATIONwas created in 1911, and is instrumental in bringing cultural and educational venues to residents.  They have concerts, theatre events (including an outdoor Shakespeare festival), Easter egg hunts, etc.  The RCA is a not-for-profit organization, there are no dues, as it is supported by contributions and fund-raising projects. Under the by-laws, all residents and property owners of voting age in the District are automatically members of the Association. The annual meeting of members is held each January.

THE LEVITT PAVILION FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS was founded in 1973, and every summer offers some 60 free arts and entertainment. The activities are directed by a Chairman and Governing Committee, each appointed for a two-year term by the First Selectman. In addition to these volunteer officials, there is a paid Executive Director, responsible for turning the annual Pavilion plan into an operating reality. They are one of the largest and longest-running free outdoor summer festivals in the nation Programming includes jazz, rock, pop, blues, folk, World, big band, and cabaret, plus dance, theatre, comedy, circus, movies. River Swing, an annual series of six or more evenings sprinkled throughout the season on which the Pavilion offers free pre-concert dance lessons led by professionals in the style of the music about to be enjoyed. And every summer also includes the acclaimed Children’s Series on Wednesdays.

- Barbara Heimlich
 

SquareWrights to Present on Shakespeare Grounds 

Mark Lambeck

August 29, 2019

   SquareWrights Playwright Group will present

“Laughing Matters,” a festival of six original short plays on Sunday, September 8, at 1p.m. on the grounds of the former American Shakespeare Theatre, 1850 Elm Street, Stratford. The comedies will be performed on the Midsummer Main Stage as part of the Stratford Arts & Culture Festival 2019 Phoenix Season, a town-wide community celebration of the arts including music, dance, theater, yoga and fine arts.           The show features the following plays by Stratford playwrights: “Shayna” by Orna Rawls, “Unblocking Will” by Tom Rushen, “An Honest Tale” by J. Sibley Law and “Meeting the Hostess” by Mark Lambeck. It also features “He Didn’t” by Peggy Sperling of Shelton

and “Modern Fiction” by Kate Gill of Guilford.

   Directors for the festival are Richard Mancini, Tom Rushen and Michael Shavel, all of Stratford; Robert Watts of Milford, Toby Armour of East Haven and Rachel Babcock of

Branford. The plays range from an unusual spiritual encounter to characters from popular fiction coming to life. In keeping with the venue and the flavor of the overall

festival, some of the plays are inspired by the works of William Shakespeare. 

    Featured actors are: Jim Buffone, TJ Chila, Jennifer Ju, Luke Lynch, CJ Nolan, Frank Smith and Richard Warren, all of Milford; Jacqueline Carlsen, Danielle Testori-Gartner, Elayne Gordon and Celine Montaudy, all of Norwalk; Randye Kaye and John Smith, Jr., both of Trumbull; Norman Allen of Stamford, Jeremy Funke of New Haven, Rachel Babcock of Branford, Joan Barere of Hartford, and Peter Haynes of Wilton.

 Since its inception in 2003, the Stratford-based SquareWrights Playwright Group has

had nearly 100 productions and staged readings including short-play festivals, the 24- Hour Fast Forward Theatre Festival and the Stratford Fringe Festival in the center of

town. The group has staged fundraisers for Katrina and Tsunami victims, the Stratford Library, Sterling House Food Pantry, and the historical Perry House, among others. It

has also been represented at the Stratford Summer Arts Festival on the grounds of the Shakespeare Theatre. In addition, they’ve collaborated with the Stratford Arts

Commission, The Temple Players, the Stratford Arts Guild, Eastbound Theatre of Milford and Two Roads Brewery.

     The show is free and open to the public. It is presented on an open air stage – rain or shine. Learn more about SquareWrights at: www.squarewrights.com or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Squarewrights

A Taste of the Arts & Culture Festival 

Renovations underway at the newest Little Pub 

   Little Pub owner Doug Grabe reports that renovations are well underway at the former Marnick’s to transform the site into Stratford’s newest eatery. The newly constructed bar is modeled after a 22 foot long boat and will have a seaside vibe. It’s reported that the restaurant will serve three meals a day, dishes from the Little Pub’s lunch and dinner repertoire as well as some specialized breakfast dishes unique to the Stratford location. The attached former motel, renamed The Surfside Hotel,  is also undergoing a complete renovation, and is set to open this September. 

 

Fall Soccer Registration Opens

   The Sterling House Community Center announced that registration for their Fall 2019 Soccer program is now open for boys and girls ages 5-18. Discount registration is available until September 1st, with a savings of $20 off the program fee. Sterling House will also offer a Learn to Play program this Fall for 4 and 5 year old players. For more information or to register visit https://www.sterlinghousecc.org/soccer

 

Stratford Receives FEMA Recognition 

   On August 12th Molly Kaput, a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized the Town of Stratford as a Class 8 Community Rating Participant. This rating recognizes that Stratford officials, primarily Planning and Zoning, have taken steps to address floodplain management in the areas  of reducing flood losses, facilitating accurate insurance ratings, and promoting flood insurance awareness. Estimates indicate that eligible residents could save an average of $140 annually on their flood insurance premiums. “Stratford is recognized as a leader in statewide resilience efforts, and this recognition highlights our commitment to flood protection and saving lives and property,” noted Mayor Hoydick in a statement. She also specifically thanked Jay Habansky, and Susmitha Attota for their collaborative efforts on obtaining the rating change for Stratford. For more information on town efforts visit www.townofstratford.com or for information on flood management visit www.floodsmart.gov

 

Vibrations Upset Stratford 

   This week residents voiced concern over vibrations felt through town. The Health Department reports that these vibrations are a result of site preparation for construction underway on Barnum Avenue Cutoff.  Reports indicate that a large marble slab was unearthed on the site, and the area is being cleared via explosive charges, set 6-8 times per day. The office of the Fire Marshall is monitoring the site and construction team.  As of August 15thno event has registered above a 0 .6 on the Richter Scale, with the allowed margin being no greater than a 2.0.  The work is expected to complete this week. 

The Phoenix Rises in Stratford 

Phoenix Moves to Its New Home

   The sculpture created from the ruins of the Theatre is set to be unveiled this weekend at the Arts & Culture Festival. Preview it's journey from the Town garage to the Shakespeare grounds.

Top: The sculpture is prepared for loading. 

Middle: The sculpture is secured to the trailer for transport. 

Bottom: The base is laid at the Shakespeare grounds.

Phoenix Festival Set to Take Flight This Weekend in Stratford 

September 5, 2019 

Rachel Rusnak 

   The organizers of the 2019 Phoenix Season: Art From the Ashes gathered this Tuesday evening for their final weekly meeting. The group of Stratford residents came together in February 2019, after the loss of the Theatre to arson. Discussions to host a festival on the historic grounds began in the spring, and since then the clutch has gathered weekly to design, organize and produce the art festival that will sweep into Stratford this coming weekend, as the fruits of their labor are realized. This Tuesday the team walked through plans on stage building, lighting, and site layout, finalized logistics and volunteer efforts, and worked through eleventh hour details. 

   The weekend long festival will host entertainment sure to please everyone.  Music, dance and theater will mingle with local artisans, interactive art and workshops. International cuisine will be featured at a myriad of food trucks, and you can wash it all down with a cocktail from the on-site pub. There will be plenty of activities and acts to entertain the kids, including a giant inflatable obstacle course. If you’re feeling lucky enter the raffle for a chance to win a pair of premium tickets to see The Voice and Stratford’s own Javier Colon in concert in September 27th. Of course, you can also catch him at the festival on Saturday afternoon performing with Broadway’s Syndee Winters. 

   The festival represents the long history of the arts in Stratford and an opportunity to put Stratford back on the map as a destination in Connecticut. The entire team welcomes festival goers and is prepping for an unforgettable weekend! 

Technical Director, Josh Tillotson (center) supervises the stage set up for the Midsummer Main Stage Thursday evening  in preparation for the weekend festivities. For more information on the Festival visit www.StratfordPhoenix.com

 Photographs 

courtesy of Robert Tyer.  

Attending the Festival:

   What You Need to Know 

 

Acts 

  • Admission to the Festival is FREE, and there will be two main stages! 

  • The Sound and Fury Stage will host bands and classes, as well as Downtown Cabaret Theatre. 

  • The Midsummer Mainstage will run theater events, including CT Free Shakespeare and the Lion King, as well as our Festival Invocation and our headliner concert with Javier Colon and Syndee Winters! 

Food 

  • Some of the most popular food trucks from the area in a range of cuisines, including Greek, Polish, Southern, Spanish, Italian and MORE !

Drink 

  • The Mayor’s Golf Tournament and the VFW Post 9460 are sponsoring Will’s Pub – they will be serving Jim Bean Fire signature cocktails like the “Flaming of the Shrew” as well as beer and wine.

  •  Only alcohol purchased at the Pub is allowed on the grounds – the event is NOT BYO.  

  • The Aquarion Water Truck will be on site - please bring your own water bottle or purchase a commemorative water bottle from the festival merchandise booth. 

 

Bring the Kids

   There’s a ton for them to do: 

  • Lion King Jr

  • Downtown Cabaret Children’s 

  • CDC Open Dance Class

  • Paolo C Perez

  • “Girls Can’t be Superheroes”

  • Yotisse

  • Lena and the Happy Clam Band and more! 

  • Arden Activity Forest 

  • Bouncy Obstacle Course 

Parking 

  • Festival Parking is located at DeLuca Field and the Honeywell lot (884 Main St). There will be signs to mark the entrance to the lots.

  • Free shuttle service is provided on a steady loop by Durham Bus Company to and from the Shakespeare Grounds. 

  • Handicap and Sponsor Parking is available on the Shakespeare Grounds. 

  • Uber and drop-off locations at festival entrance. 

Seating 

  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs for both the Midsummer Stage and the Sound & Fury Stage. 

  • For a $20 (or more) donation per seat, there will be limited VIP seating available for three of our mainstage events: 

    • Javier Colon and Syndee Winters in Concert – 2PM Saturday 

    • Professional Dance Concert – 4PM Saturday 

    • Connecticut Free Shakespeare – 7PM Saturday & Sunday 

  • The Festival will also provide limited seating at the Sound & Fury Stage. There will be picnic blankets available for purchase at the merchandise stand. 

Pets

  • Attendees are asked to leave  furry friends at home, both for their safety and to help keep the festival running smoothly. 

Javier Colon of The Voice and Syndee Winters of Broadway’s “Lion King” to Headline Phoenix Season

September 5, 2019

Elizabeth Saint 

   On January 13, 2019 the American Shakespeare Festival Theater (ASFT) burned to the ground in a case of arson.  On September 6, 7 and 8 the non-profit, Stratford Forward and the Town of Stratford will honor the past and plan for the future of art in Stratford by hosting the first annual Stratford Performing Arts Festival: Phoenix Season.

   The original Shakespeare Theater opened in 1955. It was one of only three like it in the world and was modeled after London’s Globe Theater. At its height of popularity it hosted legendary actors including Katherine Hepburn, James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer among others.  It was the most popular tourist destination in Connecticut second only to the Mystic Seaport, attracting visitors and school groups from across the country.

   Now a new generation of names will perform on the famous grounds.  Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s first season of “The Voice” will return to his hometown of Stratford to perform with Broadway’s Syndee Winters at 2:00pm on Saturday, September 7.  

   “When we were contemplating how to respond to the loss of the theater, we wanted to be sure our definition of the arts was broad so that anyone who walked onto the grounds would find “the art” that they respond to, be it writing, music, theater, dance, painting, weaving, you name it.  We wanted to be sure all the arts were represented” said, Artistic Director, Tom Edmond Evans.  

   “I think it says a great deal about Stratford that the performances at the festival and the support we have received are local, national and even international.” said J. Sibley Law, Executive Director of the Festival.

   Donations to the festival have come locally a well as from all over the globe, England to New Zealand to support keeping the arts in Stratford. Meanwhile,   performances by local groups including The Stratford Academy, plays from Stratford's own Square Rights  and The Stratford Sister Cities Chorus will intermingle with Australian ballet dancers provided by the New England Ballet Theater, and Shakespearean actors who have performed around the world. 

  We hope that this weekend will be both a powerful acknowledgement of the past but also a huge step into the future of the arts in Stratford.  

The Phoenix Begins To Rise

Orna Rawls 

August 29, 2019

   A mythological bird, the Phoenix dies in a show of flames only to rise again and begin a new life.

   This ancient symbol of rejuvenation and renewal was not lost on Stratford’s Mayor when she visited the inferno that consumed our venerable Shakespeare Theatre: “Seeing the force and power of the fire and the twisted steel aftermath,” Mayor Hoydick said, “made me think we use the steel for a remembrance of the theater and the art performed on the grounds.”  Our Mayor shared her vision with two local metal sculptors, Phil Levine an artist/educator and retired Stratford police officer and sculptor Dave McNeil She invited them to create a sculpture from the wreckage that would symbolize what had been and what could come to be.

   The metal wreckage of the burned edifice fascinated the sculptors. Looking for metaphors, Phil Levine saw Shakespearean images. Dave, on the other hand, was looking for movement and force and spotted a large structural beam that was crushed to the ground. “I saw a big S.” he remembered. The artists chose the pieces they wanted to work with and the metal was transferred to the town garage. There the two were joined by Robert Tyer, a talented and unassuming master welder and fabricator at Stratford’s public works department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   The team of three “sculputeers” worked together in a creative, complementary collaboration.  “Bob likes to transform steel,” said Phil Levine, “Dave likes brute force and I like poetry.”

   The result of this artistic teamwork is a 12 ½ foot powerful sculpture weighing 1300 pounds. The STRATFORD CRIER will follow the PHOENIX as it travels next week to its permanent home at the entrance to the Shakespeare Park, to welcome all to the PHOENIX SEASON festival and to the future of the Shakespeare Park.

Stratford Beautification Committee Seeks Volunteers 

Donna Caserta

August 29, 2019 

   The Beautification Committee is looking for volunteers for the annual Pumpkin Festival held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at Boothe Park. The Festival will run from 12-4pm, volunteers  are needed from 9am till 5pm and do not have to commit for the entire day. Students seeking to fulfill community service hours have often found this a fun way to get them.  Both student and  adult volunteers are needed. Before the Festival begins, help is needed in setting up and staging everything. During the event, volunteers are needed to man various activities,  such as the bounce houses, train ride, hay ride, to organize the Halloween costumed parade, work in the kitchen, or sell donuts, popcorn, soda, etc. If interested please contact Donna Caserta at dcaserta@townofstratford.com. 

A Challenging "Cabaret" At Ivoryton Playhouse

 

Tom Holehan

August 22, 2019 

        "Cabaret", the classic 1966 Tony Award winning musical that spawned an Oscar winning film by Bob Fosse in 1972 and an acclaimed Broadway revival by director Sam Mendes in 1998, is currently in production at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  This challenging, brilliant musical is always worth seeing even when it is under lesser circumstances.

       Based on the play by Joan Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Joe Masteroff, "Cabaret" tells its story through the eyes of struggling American writer Clifford Bradshaw (Andy Tighe) who visits Berlin in 1939 just as the Nazi movement is taking hold. He rents a room not far from the seedy Kit Kat Klub which serves as a metaphor about the downfall of a society plunging into decadence. The cabaret is run by the Emcee (Sam Given) and headlined by British singer Sally Bowles (Katie Mack). Taken by the sheer force of her personality, Cliff falls for Sally and their doomed affair begins as the rumblings of fanaticism take hold.

        The Ivoryton production (based on the 1998 revival) gets off to a strong start with Given leading the company in a fine rendition of “Willkcommen”. Director/Choreographer Todd Underwood does a good job of sorting out the various characters who are all deftly introduced within the framework of this potent opening number. He is less successful, however, in making each subsequent number a part of the growing dread. All the music here, under the able musical direction of Michael Morris and his terrific on-stage band, is delivered fairly well, but it rarely seems part of the whole, part of the inevitable horror story that unfolds. It’s more like a greatest hits concert performed by singer/actors who are good enough to make you wish they were just a little better.

        It’s interesting to note that the secondary characters succeed a little more than the leads in this rendering. Cliff’s elderly landlady, Fraulein Schneider (Carolyn Popp) and the Jewish fruit seller who woos her, Herr Schultz (John Little), shine in roles that become the heart of the production. And Carlyn Connolly is forceful and commanding enough as Fraulein Kost, a savvy prostitute who knows her worth, to make you wonder what she might have brought to the leading role of Sally.

        Scenic Designer Daniel Nischan has done wonders with Ivoryton’s limited stage creating an impressive Kit Kat Klub, but it would have been helpful if he allowed a permanent set for Cliff’s single room so time wouldn’t be wasted continually setting up the area. In that regard, the pacing was relatively sluggish on opening night especially in a longish first act. Costumer Kate Bunch brings plenty of imagination to the show even as I question the “Hamilton”-inspired choices worn for the “Money” production number. And, without giving too much away, Bunch also tips her hand prior to the devastating climax with her choice of striped slacks for the Emcee.

        Even with some reservations, however, any chance to see a production of this landmark musical should be taken.

        “Cabaret” continues at the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street in Ivoryton, Connecticut through September 1. For further information call the theatre box office at: 860.767.7318 or visit: www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor and resident critic of WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Town Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

Raw materials for the sculpture, salvaged from the remains of the Shakespeare Theatre. 

Courtesy of Phil Levine. 

Stratford Artists Featured on "Big Bellies" 

August 22, 2019 

   Several local artists have been featured around town on the BigBelly recycling and trash receptacles. Kudos to the Stratford Arts Commission for bringing beauty through  photos and art to the sides of the new Big Belly bins which can be found throughout our town.

   Photos courtesy of Claudia Balogh. 

The Poetry Corner 

Norah Christianson

August 15, 2019

   Anything in the world can be a subject for poetry. Poets write about their grandmothers, they write about war, they write about turtles, love, Paris, the grocery store clerk--they write about what they observe and are moved by.  Here, Gary Snyder writes about changing his baby son's diaper:

 

    Changing Diapers

        -Gary Snyder

 

How intelligent he looks!

    on his back

    both feet caught in my one hand

    his glance set sideways,

    on a giant poster of Geronimo

    with a Sharp's repeating rifle by his knee.

 

I open, wipe, he doesn't even notice nor do I.

Baby legs and knees

    toes like little peas

    little wrinkles, good-to-eat,

    eyes bright, shiny ears,

    chest swelling drawing air,

 

No trouble, friend,

    you and me and Geronimo

    are men.

Level Up Studio Announces Grand Opening 

Malcolm Wilson 

August 15, 2019

   “Level Up” fitness studio in Stratford invites the public to a grand opening on Saturday, August 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at its new quarters on 115Bruce Ave in Stratford. “Level Up” is a family owned studio where owner and certified trainer Malcolm Wilson specializes in individually designed programs for busy professionals. The “Level Up” system creates a progression that helps members get to the next level. Itkeeps members accountable, builds good habits, and works around current ability level and members’ schedules. The program makes fitness fun and creates a community of like-minded members. The event will include tours and demonstration of the system. All are welcome!

The Phoenix Rises in Stratford 

Phoenix Moves to Its New Home

   The sculpture created from the ruins of the Theatre is set to be unveiled this weekend at the Arts & Culture Festival. Preview it's journey from the Town garage to the Shakespeare grounds.

Top: The sculpture is prepared for loading. 

Middle: The sculpture is secured to the trailer for transport. 

Bottom: The base is laid at the Shakespeare grounds.

Phoenix Festival Set to Take Flight This Weekend in Stratford 

September 5, 2019 

Rachel Rusnak 

   The organizers of the 2019 Phoenix Season: Art From the Ashes gathered this Tuesday evening for their final weekly meeting. The group of Stratford residents came together in February 2019, after the loss of the Theatre to arson. Discussions to host a festival on the historic grounds began in the spring, and since then the clutch has gathered weekly to design, organize and produce the art festival that will sweep into Stratford this coming weekend, as the fruits of their labor are realized. This Tuesday the team walked through plans on stage building, lighting, and site layout, finalized logistics and volunteer efforts, and worked through eleventh hour details. 

   The weekend long festival will host entertainment sure to please everyone.  Music, dance and theater will mingle with local artisans, interactive art and workshops. International cuisine will be featured at a myriad of food trucks, and you can wash it all down with a cocktail from the on-site pub. There will be plenty of activities and acts to entertain the kids, including a giant inflatable obstacle course. If you’re feeling lucky enter the raffle for a chance to win a pair of premium tickets to see The Voice and Stratford’s own Javier Colon in concert in September 27th. Of course, you can also catch him at the festival on Saturday afternoon performing with Broadway’s Syndee Winters. 

   The festival represents the long history of the arts in Stratford and an opportunity to put Stratford back on the map as a destination in Connecticut. The entire team welcomes festival goers and is prepping for an unforgettable weekend! 

Technical Director, Josh Tillotson (center) supervises the stage set up for the Midsummer Main Stage Thursday evening  in preparation for the weekend festivities. For more information on the Festival visit www.StratfordPhoenix.com

 Photographs 

courtesy of Robert Tyer.  

Attending the Festival:

   What You Need to Know 

 

Acts 

  • Admission to the Festival is FREE, and there will be two main stages! 

  • The Sound and Fury Stage will host bands and classes, as well as Downtown Cabaret Theatre. 

  • The Midsummer Mainstage will run theater events, including CT Free Shakespeare and the Lion King, as well as our Festival Invocation and our headliner concert with Javier Colon and Syndee Winters! 

Food 

  • Some of the most popular food trucks from the area in a range of cuisines, including Greek, Polish, Southern, Spanish, Italian and MORE !

Drink 

  • The Mayor’s Golf Tournament and the VFW Post 9460 are sponsoring Will’s Pub – they will be serving Jim Bean Fire signature cocktails like the “Flaming of the Shrew” as well as beer and wine.

  •  Only alcohol purchased at the Pub is allowed on the grounds – the event is NOT BYO.  

  • The Aquarion Water Truck will be on site - please bring your own water bottle or purchase a commemorative water bottle from the festival merchandise booth. 

 

Bring the Kids

   There’s a ton for them to do: 

  • Lion King Jr

  • Downtown Cabaret Children’s 

  • CDC Open Dance Class

  • Paolo C Perez

  • “Girls Can’t be Superheroes”

  • Yotisse

  • Lena and the Happy Clam Band and more! 

  • Arden Activity Forest 

  • Bouncy Obstacle Course 

Parking 

  • Festival Parking is located at DeLuca Field and the Honeywell lot (884 Main St). There will be signs to mark the entrance to the lots.

  • Free shuttle service is provided on a steady loop by Durham Bus Company to and from the Shakespeare Grounds. 

  • Handicap and Sponsor Parking is available on the Shakespeare Grounds. 

  • Uber and drop-off locations at festival entrance. 

Seating 

  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs for both the Midsummer Stage and the Sound & Fury Stage. 

  • For a $20 (or more) donation per seat, there will be limited VIP seating available for three of our mainstage events: 

    • Javier Colon and Syndee Winters in Concert – 2PM Saturday 

    • Professional Dance Concert – 4PM Saturday 

    • Connecticut Free Shakespeare – 7PM Saturday & Sunday 

  • The Festival will also provide limited seating at the Sound & Fury Stage. There will be picnic blankets available for purchase at the merchandise stand. 

Pets

  • Attendees are asked to leave  furry friends at home, both for their safety and to help keep the festival running smoothly. 

Javier Colon of The Voice and Syndee Winters of Broadway’s “Lion King” to Headline Phoenix Season

September 5, 2019

Elizabeth Saint 

   On January 13, 2019 the American Shakespeare Festival Theater (ASFT) burned to the ground in a case of arson.  On September 6, 7 and 8 the non-profit, Stratford Forward and the Town of Stratford will honor the past and plan for the future of art in Stratford by hosting the first annual Stratford Performing Arts Festival: Phoenix Season.

   The original Shakespeare Theater opened in 1955. It was one of only three like it in the world and was modeled after London’s Globe Theater. At its height of popularity it hosted legendary actors including Katherine Hepburn, James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer among others.  It was the most popular tourist destination in Connecticut second only to the Mystic Seaport, attracting visitors and school groups from across the country.

   Now a new generation of names will perform on the famous grounds.  Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s first season of “The Voice” will return to his hometown of Stratford to perform with Broadway’s Syndee Winters at 2:00pm on Saturday, September 7.  

   “When we were contemplating how to respond to the loss of the theater, we wanted to be sure our definition of the arts was broad so that anyone who walked onto the grounds would find “the art” that they respond to, be it writing, music, theater, dance, painting, weaving, you name it.  We wanted to be sure all the arts were represented” said, Artistic Director, Tom Edmond Evans.  

   “I think it says a great deal about Stratford that the performances at the festival and the support we have received are local, national and even international.” said J. Sibley Law, Executive Director of the Festival.

   Donations to the festival have come locally a well as from all over the globe, England to New Zealand to support keeping the arts in Stratford. Meanwhile,   performances by local groups including The Stratford Academy, plays from Stratford's own Square Rights  and The Stratford Sister Cities Chorus will intermingle with Australian ballet dancers provided by the New England Ballet Theater, and Shakespearean actors who have performed around the world. 

  We hope that this weekend will be both a powerful acknowledgement of the past but also a huge step into the future of the arts in Stratford.  

The Phoenix Begins To Rise

Orna Rawls 

August 29, 2019

   A mythological bird, the Phoenix dies in a show of flames only to rise again and begin a new life.

   This ancient symbol of rejuvenation and renewal was not lost on Stratford’s Mayor when she visited the inferno that consumed our venerable Shakespeare Theatre: “Seeing the force and power of the fire and the twisted steel aftermath,” Mayor Hoydick said, “made me think we use the steel for a remembrance of the theater and the art performed on the grounds.”  Our Mayor shared her vision with two local metal sculptors, Phil Levine an artist/educator and retired Stratford police officer and sculptor Dave McNeil She invited them to create a sculpture from the wreckage that would symbolize what had been and what could come to be.

   The metal wreckage of the burned edifice fascinated the sculptors. Looking for metaphors, Phil Levine saw Shakespearean images. Dave, on the other hand, was looking for movement and force and spotted a large structural beam that was crushed to the ground. “I saw a big S.” he remembered. The artists chose the pieces they wanted to work with and the metal was transferred to the town garage. There the two were joined by Robert Tyer, a talented and unassuming master welder and fabricator at Stratford’s public works department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   The team of three “sculputeers” worked together in a creative, complementary collaboration.  “Bob likes to transform steel,” said Phil Levine, “Dave likes brute force and I like poetry.”

   The result of this artistic teamwork is a 12 ½ foot powerful sculpture weighing 1300 pounds. The STRATFORD CRIER will follow the PHOENIX as it travels next week to its permanent home at the entrance to the Shakespeare Park, to welcome all to the PHOENIX SEASON festival and to the future of the Shakespeare Park.

Stratford Beautification Committee Seeks Volunteers 

Donna Caserta

August 29, 2019 

   The Beautification Committee is looking for volunteers for the annual Pumpkin Festival held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at Boothe Park. The Festival will run from 12-4pm, volunteers  are needed from 9am till 5pm and do not have to commit for the entire day. Students seeking to fulfill community service hours have often found this a fun way to get them.  Both student and  adult volunteers are needed. Before the Festival begins, help is needed in setting up and staging everything. During the event, volunteers are needed to man various activities,  such as the bounce houses, train ride, hay ride, to organize the Halloween costumed parade, work in the kitchen, or sell donuts, popcorn, soda, etc. If interested please contact Donna Caserta at dcaserta@townofstratford.com. 

A Challenging "Cabaret" At Ivoryton Playhouse

 

Tom Holehan

August 22, 2019 

        "Cabaret", the classic 1966 Tony Award winning musical that spawned an Oscar winning film by Bob Fosse in 1972 and an acclaimed Broadway revival by director Sam Mendes in 1998, is currently in production at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  This challenging, brilliant musical is always worth seeing even when it is under lesser circumstances.

       Based on the play by Joan Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Joe Masteroff, "Cabaret" tells its story through the eyes of struggling American writer Clifford Bradshaw (Andy Tighe) who visits Berlin in 1939 just as the Nazi movement is taking hold. He rents a room not far from the seedy Kit Kat Klub which serves as a metaphor about the downfall of a society plunging into decadence. The cabaret is run by the Emcee (Sam Given) and headlined by British singer Sally Bowles (Katie Mack). Taken by the sheer force of her personality, Cliff falls for Sally and their doomed affair begins as the rumblings of fanaticism take hold.

        The Ivoryton production (based on the 1998 revival) gets off to a strong start with Given leading the company in a fine rendition of “Willkcommen”. Director/Choreographer Todd Underwood does a good job of sorting out the various characters who are all deftly introduced within the framework of this potent opening number. He is less successful, however, in making each subsequent number a part of the growing dread. All the music here, under the able musical direction of Michael Morris and his terrific on-stage band, is delivered fairly well, but it rarely seems part of the whole, part of the inevitable horror story that unfolds. It’s more like a greatest hits concert performed by singer/actors who are good enough to make you wish they were just a little better.

        It’s interesting to note that the secondary characters succeed a little more than the leads in this rendering. Cliff’s elderly landlady, Fraulein Schneider (Carolyn Popp) and the Jewish fruit seller who woos her, Herr Schultz (John Little), shine in roles that become the heart of the production. And Carlyn Connolly is forceful and commanding enough as Fraulein Kost, a savvy prostitute who knows her worth, to make you wonder what she might have brought to the leading role of Sally.

        Scenic Designer Daniel Nischan has done wonders with Ivoryton’s limited stage creating an impressive Kit Kat Klub, but it would have been helpful if he allowed a permanent set for Cliff’s single room so time wouldn’t be wasted continually setting up the area. In that regard, the pacing was relatively sluggish on opening night especially in a longish first act. Costumer Kate Bunch brings plenty of imagination to the show even as I question the “Hamilton”-inspired choices worn for the “Money” production number. And, without giving too much away, Bunch also tips her hand prior to the devastating climax with her choice of striped slacks for the Emcee.

        Even with some reservations, however, any chance to see a production of this landmark musical should be taken.

        “Cabaret” continues at the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street in Ivoryton, Connecticut through September 1. For further information call the theatre box office at: 860.767.7318 or visit: www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor and resident critic of WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and the Stratford Town Crier and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

Raw materials for the sculpture, salvaged from the remains of the Shakespeare Theatre. 

Courtesy of Phil Levine. 

Surveying to Begin for Stormwater Conveyance System 

 

August 22, 2019

   The Stratford Health Department reports that surveying is to begin this week for the design of a stormwater delivery system for excess stormwater from the Raybestos Memorial Field on Frog Pond Lane. The Army Corps of Engineers will be designing and constructing a stormwater conveyance system and lift station to control stormwater runoff from the Raybestos Field site. The survey process is scheduled to last for 4-6 weeks, and will be conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and GM2 Associates, a subcontractor. The Department notes that surveyors will be active in the areas of the Department of Public Works, Frog Pond Lane, East Main Street, Avery Street, and Platt Street. For more information visit www.townofstratford.com/health.

 

 

Clean Earth Project Comes to Stratford 

 

August 22, 2019

   The Clean Earth Project, in partnership with the Friends of Short Beach, is hosting a Beach Clean Up on August 24that Long Beach and Short Beach. The community clean-up will begin at 11 am at Long Beach and 1pm at Short Beach. Supplies will be provided. For more information visit www.thecleanearthproject.com

 

Seven Stratford Elementary Schools Qualify for Free Breakfast & Lunch 

 

August 22, 2019

   The Stratford Board of Education has notified elementary families that seven Stratford Elementary Schools have qualified for school-wide free breakfast and lunch in the coming school year. A letter, dated August 20th, notes that Franklin, Johnson, Lordship, Nichols, Second Hill Lane, and Soto elementary schools qualify for free lunch through the National School Lunch Program, as well as breakfast, through the School Breakfast Program. Select Stratford elementary schools have qualified for these programs through Community Eligibility Provisions (CEP). Parents of students at these schools do not have to take any action for their children to participate in the program. For more information contact the Board of Education at (203) 385-4214. 

 

Stratford Parents Eager for BOE to Release Bus Routes

 

August 22, 2019

   Stratford parents have taken to social media to lament the absence of posted bus routes for the upcoming school year. With the first day of school less than a week away students and parents are impatient to learn what their schedules will look like for the 2019-2020 school year. The Board of Education Transportation page notes that that the schedules will be released in “Mid-August”, however the existing “Bus Routes” link is not active. When the schedules do go live they can be found at www.stratfordk12.org.

 

Restoration & Assessment Plans Released for Shuttered Gun Club and Raymark Sites 

 

August 22, 2019

  In July the final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Lordship Point Gun Club and Raymark Industries Site was released by EA Engineering, Science, Technology, Inc. This report was compiled on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The report outlines plans for the restoration of natural resources due to release of hazardous substances at the two sites. The report notes that similarities in the resulting damages at both sites, as well as their proximity to one another, made it appropriate to combine the settlement funds ($744,000) and the restoration planning process. The combination of the restoration funds is expected to lead to a more ecologically significant and timely restoration plan. The full report can be found here: 

https://pub-data.diver.orr.noaa.gov/admin-record/6522/Lordship%20Pt%20Raymark%20Final%20RP%20EA_%2007%2023%2019%20FINAL.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2MQ1RWTDxQTW-supYtfLLlZvbJJ2vUf9nKgzrHDuGIGjaAXECbAyVUCkQ

Stratford Artists Featured on "Big Bellies" 

August 22, 2019 

   Several local artists have been featured around town on the BigBelly recycling and trash receptacles. Kudos to the Stratford Arts Commission for bringing beauty through  photos and art to the sides of the new Big Belly bins which can be found throughout our town.

   Photos courtesy of Claudia Balogh. 

The Poetry Corner 

Norah Christianson

August 15, 2019

   Anything in the world can be a subject for poetry. Poets write about their grandmothers, they write about war, they write about turtles, love, Paris, the grocery store clerk--they write about what they observe and are moved by.  Here, Gary Snyder writes about changing his baby son's diaper:

 

    Changing Diapers

        -Gary Snyder

 

How intelligent he looks!

    on his back

    both feet caught in my one hand

    his glance set sideways,

    on a giant poster of Geronimo

    with a Sharp's repeating rifle by his knee.

 

I open, wipe, he doesn't even notice nor do I.

Baby legs and knees

    toes like little peas

    little wrinkles, good-to-eat,

    eyes bright, shiny ears,

    chest swelling drawing air,

 

No trouble, friend,

    you and me and Geronimo

    are men.

Level Up Studio Announces Grand Opening 

Malcolm Wilson 

August 15, 2019

   “Level Up” fitness studio in Stratford invites the public to a grand opening on Saturday, August 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at its new quarters on 115Bruce Ave in Stratford. “Level Up” is a family owned studio where owner and certified trainer Malcolm Wilson specializes in individually designed programs for busy professionals. The “Level Up” system creates a progression that helps members get to the next level. Itkeeps members accountable, builds good habits, and works around current ability level and members’ schedules. The program makes fitness fun and creates a community of like-minded members. The event will include tours and demonstration of the system. All are welcome!

A taste of what the library had to offer, A concert at the Stratford Library, Photo Courtesy of Sheri Syzmanski

Courtesy of Claudia Margitay-Balogh

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED LEADS TO STRATFORD

August 1, 2019

Tucker Chase

 

   

 

 

When we think of Two Roads Brewery on Stratford Avenue, we picture an old red brick building, a tasting room on the second floor, an interior, light-filled vista of green columns riveted to beams amidst endless stainless steel brewing tanks, camaraderie with friends trying out a selection of IPA’s designed by the ever-so-helpful bar employees, all surrounded with the happy smell of success in Stratford’s backyard. Yes, it is all that.

   On a rainy day in early July, I was lucky to see, hear and not smell the inner workings (not an odor of yeast or hops anywhere in this completely closed brewing system) that make that exterior excellence. Led by John Rehm, the Director of Brewing Operations in charge of day-to-day production, I was given a lengthy tour and history of Two Roads, which opened in 2012 after a series of very fortunate events in which Stratford, this town, this community, played a large part:

  • The Baird Machine Company plant was ready for adaptive re-use and available for purchase. (Every door opens with a creaking greeting, but it looks as elegant now, as at its opening in 1912).

  • In 2012, according to Rehm, Mayor Harkins and his administration ‘bent over backwards’ to be welcoming and helpful to the brewery that was looking for a home.  

  • John Rehm found his way back home.

  • Who knew that Stratford’s air could be involved in such a positive way?

   

 

 

 

 Rehm was born and raised in Stratford, and graduated from Bunnell High School in 2000 before attending LaSalle College in Philadelphia where he majored in Integrated Science, Business and Technology. As part of the program, he did a case study of home brewed beer which planted the barley that would sprout a fulfilling career. He realized beer making was an art and a craft, not just the production of a commodity. Five years later, he was getting the itch to move on to a larger operation from his stint with a local brewer in Philadelphia. He would have gone anywhere, but serendipity knocked when his brother-in-law sent him a newspaper clipping that a brewery was to open in Stratford. He contacted Two Roads and became the second employee hired, proving that you can go home again.  

   The growth was phenomenal in those first two years - 20 to 30 percent.  Everyday was a learning experience, mostly from professionals hired from Germany to bring their expertise to Stratford (virtually all the equipment and ingredients came from Germany as well). After seven years, Rehm feels he has the equivalent of a brewery engineering degree due to exceptional on-the-job training.

   We walked the one hundred and seven year old, wood floored corridors filled with stainless steel tanks and tentacled piping. I noticed everything was spotless; much of the crew’s job is to clean and then clean some more. From the start of creating the wort - water, hops and barley - to adding the yeast for fermentation (which cannot have a single errant, uninvited microbe), to the final bottling in sterilized kegs or bottles, cleanliness is the principle unnamed ingredient.

   The brews from Two Roads, the commercial part of the enterprise that occupies the old Baird building, and Area Two, the Constructivist-styled experimental brewery and tasting room built in 2018, are created by Master Brewer Phil Markowsky. The Two Roads beers take approximately 14-30 days from start to finish, whereas the Area Two product, which uses a slower, naturally fermenting method of brewing, can sit in casks for up to two years. The air of Stratford and, in particular, that which comes from the wetlands behind the brewery, regularly pushed a bit by Metro-North trains, blows over and cools the hot wort, which is spread to an inch or two in depth in the ‘cool ship’ - the large metal container (like a hugely oversized baking pan) next to the outside deck at the rear of Area Two. This air is rich with microbes and bacteria that contribute, along with some locally harvested hops growing on a small part of the ten acre property, to the fermentation process. When I sampled the delicious Table Terroir, I was drinking one of the only combinations of alcohol and Stratfordian microbes on the planet.

   Besides producing great products, Two Roads has been extremely generous with invitations to the community to come and visit and get to know them. Oktoberfest is simply amazing. Perhaps a Twelfth Night celebration could be in the near future,  ‘Dost thou think… there shall be no more cakes and ale?’ No! No! Fortunately Two Roads has happily put a stop to that dreadful thought to help us out of our collective Shakespearian mourning.

DOG STEALS THE SHOW, NATURALLY, AT GOODSPEED

August 1, 2019

Tom Holehan

 

    Pity the adult actors who have to share the stage not only with a flock of scene-stealing youngsters, but also the cutest darn stage dog this side of Sandy from “Annie”. I’m talking about “Bowdie”, the bona fide star and title character of the Goodspeed Musicals’ latest production, “Because of Winn Dixie”. This kind of star quality definitely doesn’t come along every day. If only he were enough to save this rather lackluster family musical.

   In Naomi, Florida, a motherless young girl (Josie Todd), who has an uneasy relationship with her preacher father (J. Robert Spencer), comes upon a lost dog in a supermarket that she decides to adopt.  She names him Winn Dixie (after the store) and it isn’t long before the pooch is getting her to make friends with some of Florida’s local outcasts. They include Otis (David Poe), the “crazy pet store man”, Gloria Dump (Roz Ryan), the “town witch” and Franny Block (Isabel Keating), the stern librarian who all melt under the spell of meeting Winn Dixie (seriously, who wouldn’t?). Somehow Winn Dixie is eventually credited for bringing the whole town together when, in act two, he goes missing forcing everyone to join forces and search. It’s a pretty thin premise to hang an entire musical upon, but it probably worked better in its original form as a popular 2000 children’s book by Kate DiCamillo.

   With unremarkable book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and music by Duncan Sheik, “Because of Winn Dixie” is still perfectly adequate fare to bring the kids to with its overt sentimentality, positive themes and cute pooch to offer. It all goes down fairly easy and somewhat recalls the live action feature films from Disney in the 1960s like “Pollyanna” and “The Three Lives of Thomasina”. But the curmudgeon in me needs to point out that while Miss Todd can belt like an “American Idol” contestant, she is unable to bring significant feeling or passion to the words she is singing. Mr. Spencer is serviceable as her dad, but never seems to take charge of his scenes or make a serious impression. The single best adult performance is Mr. Poe’s who has an easy charisma with the youngsters and deftly accompanies himself on guitar while singing the moving act one curtain, “You Can’t Run”. Also worth a mention is the outsized performance of Ms. Ryan who stops the show briefly with “Bottle Tree Blues”, the musical’s liveliest number.

Donyale Werle’s puzzling scenic design frames the stage with gray, forbidden walls that suggest a gothic fortress belying the sunny Florida locale. Jeff Croiter’s expert lighting rarely disappoints especially during the torrential downpour that occurs during most of the second act. No review of the show, however, would be complete without mention of Connecticut’s most famous “Animal Director”, Bill Berloni. Mr. Berloni made his name by introducing “Sandy” way back in 1976 at Goodspeed and has been the go-to guy for all things animal on Broadway and beyond ever since. His work with “Bowdie” here is nothing short of miraculous (the dog reportedly has over 200 cues). The moment that features Winn Dixie on a treadmill during a thunderstorm may prove to be the stage highlight of the season.

    “Because of Winn Dixie” has already been extended through September 5.  For further information or ticket reservations call: (860) 873.8668 or visit: www.goodspeed.org.

   Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor and resident critic of WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

Introductory Ode to the Great Meadows Marsh

Angela Capinera

August 8, 2019

    The Marsh first and foremost teaches that looks can be deceiving and what people see on top conceals the many hidden wonders both on the surface and just below and then way below the surface. The Marsh also teaches that people can see what they want to. This holds true not only of the Great Meadows Marsh but any type of marshland someone may encounter. 

    The Marsh, from a perspective of driving in a car, looks like “a bunch of grass and water”, as often stated by people who don’t know the history and hidden wonders of its’ 200+ acres. When getting out at Long Beach and walking around, that perspective can quickly change. What wildlife, especially birds, will be around today? Will there be any deer swimming across the water in Lewis’ Gut? What has the most recent high tide brought in? The Marsh looks the same but changes constantly everyday. 

    All of the grass, the spartina, and water during high tide conceals the peat that holds up to approximately 20 million (yes, 20 million) gallons of water and acts like a natural sponge to help keep humans and animals safe from flooding both daily and during high velocity storms. The spartina, and, yes, even the invasive fragmites, serve as a source of protection and habitat for numerous species. One of the most notable ones is something that comes across dinner plates, the ribbed mussel. Another is the fiddler crabs. A third is the coffee bean snails.

Migrating birds know to stop at the Marsh and search through the grasses and channels for the fiddler crabs and coffee bean snails, as they are an easy and much needed source of protein for them while on their voyage.

    Each ribbed mussel filters around 30 gallons, or about a garbage pail sized amount, of water daily. Each ribbed mussel. They filter out pollution and heavy metals from the water. Ribbed mussels are known as bivalves (bi = two) and are bottom feeders that once they reach adulthood are the size of of 2 -3 quarters lined up together. They received the name “ribbed” due to the ridges in their shell and are recognizable for their pretty purple color inside and out. No count has ever been made of approximately how many reside in the Marsh. Yet the low tide reveals the possibility of hundreds of thousands, maybe a million reside there? The math

speaks for itself. The possibility of 30 million ribbed mussels filtering the water everyday and how much dirtier the water would be without them there.

    There are three species of fiddler crabs that reside in the Marsh. Their numerous burrows line the shoreline. Again, they are too numerous to count. The fiddler crabs act as the earthworms of the Marsh, their burrows keep the peat oxygenated and their digging moves the soil around and helps the nutrients and decomposition to be in constant motion. Fiddler crabs eat organic detritus as well as fungi and algae. 

    Finally, the coffee bean snails can hold their breath for an hour during high tide while

being Nature’s acrobats and climbing up the spartina, holding on to the top of the grass during high tide, and then climbing back down to nestle back among the roots to hide during low tide.

    Amazed? Stay tuned for more.

Little Pub Breaks Ground

August 8, 2019

   On Tuesday, August 6 th owner Doug Grabe broke ground on the former site of Marnick’s, at 10 Washington Parkway. The site is to become the newest Little Pub Restaurant. Stratford is in good company, with existing locations in, Fairfield, Greenwich, Wilton, and Old Saybrook. The Ridgefield location closed just days before the new Stratford location was announced. A release on August 6th indicated the new Stratford Little Pub would be serving customers within a month.

 

New Eatery Opens in Paradise Green 

August 8, 2019

   Mayor Hoydick joined the Department of Economic Development and others for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Chicken Piri Piri restaurant on August 8th. Chicken Piri Piri, run by Stratford native J.P. Vilarinho, is serving up authentic Portuguese barbecue. A statement released by Mayor Hoydick described the new restaurant as “adding to the incredible diversity of cuisine available in Stratford”. 

   Try them out at 3530 Main Street.

Call for Dancers

August 8, 2019

   The Academy of New England Ballet Company is holding auditions for selections from Romeo & Juliet on Sunday August 18th. The company will perform at the 2019 Phoenix Season Art from the Ashes Festival on the grounds of the Shakespeare Theatre the weekend of September 7 th. For more information contact academyofnebco@gmail.com.

Violinist Cameron Chase To Perform at Stratford Library 

Tom Holehan 

August 8, 2019 

    The Stratford Library will present Violinist Cameron Chase is set for a solo concert on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm. The concert, held in the Library’s air-conditioned Lovell Room, is free and open to the public. Cameron Chase started playing violin when he was 5 with Liu at Stratford’s Little Red School of Art & Music. He is a graduate of the pre-college Program at Juilliard and has also studied with Hyo Kang and Regi Papa. In 2016 he played Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and in 2014 he won the American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in Fairfield. In addition he has played in numerous chamber groups

concentrating on the classical repertoire.  He is a life-long resident of Stratford. His concert will begin at 6:30 pm on August 21.

For further information call the library at: 203.385-4162 or visit its website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

THE POETRY CORNER

Norah Christianson

August 8, 2019

   In America in the 1830’s, a philosophy called

Transcendentalism was popular.  It taught that divinity pervades all things.  Emerson and Thoreau and Whitman were some of the proponents of this idea. 

The American poet Mary Oliver (1935 - 2019) also seems to have been a believer in the idea that all things in nature have soul. Witness her poem “Some Questions You Might Ask.”

Some Questions You Might A

   -Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid like iron?

Or is it tender and breakable, like

the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?

Who has it, and who doesn’t?

I keep looking around me.

The face of the moose is as sad

as the face of Jesus.

The swan opens her white wings slowly.

In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.

One question leads to another.

Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?

Like the eye of a hummingbird?

Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?

Why should I have it, and not the anteater

who loves her children?

Why should I have it, and not the camel?

Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?

What about the blue iris?

What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?

What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?

What about the grass?

Introductory Ode to the Great Meadows Marsh

Angela Capinera

August 8, 2019

    The Marsh first and foremost teaches that looks can be deceiving and what people see on top conceals the many hidden wonders both on the surface and just below and then way below the surface. The Marsh also teaches that people can see what they want to. This holds true not only of the Great Meadows Marsh but any type of marshland someone may encounter. 

    The Marsh, from a perspective of driving in a car, looks like “a bunch of grass and water”, as often stated by people who don’t know the history and hidden wonders of its’ 200+ acres. When getting out at Long Beach and walking around, that perspective can quickly change. What wildlife, especially birds, will be around today? Will there be any deer swimming across the water in Lewis’ Gut? What has the most recent high tide brought in? The Marsh looks the same but changes constantly everyday. 

    All of the grass, the spartina, and water during high tide conceals the peat that holds up to approximately 20 million (yes, 20 million) gallons of water and acts like a natural sponge to help keep humans and animals safe from flooding both daily and during high velocity storms. The spartina, and, yes, even the invasive fragmites, serve as a source of protection and habitat for numerous species. One of the most notable ones is something that comes across dinner plates, the ribbed mussel. Another is the fiddler crabs. A third is the coffee bean snails.

Migrating birds know to stop at the Marsh and search through the grasses and channels for the fiddler crabs and coffee bean snails, as they are an easy and much needed source of protein for them while on their voyage.

    Each ribbed mussel filters around 30 gallons, or about a garbage pail sized amount, of water daily. Each ribbed mussel. They filter out pollution and heavy metals from the water. Ribbed mussels are known as bivalves (bi = two) and are bottom feeders that once they reach adulthood are the size of of 2 -3 quarters lined up together. They received the name “ribbed” due to the ridges in their shell and are recognizable for their pretty purple color inside and out. No count has ever been made of approximately how many reside in the Marsh. Yet the low tide reveals the possibility of hundreds of thousands, maybe a million reside there? The math

speaks for itself. The possibility of 30 million ribbed mussels filtering the water everyday and how much dirtier the water would be without them there.

    There are three species of fiddler crabs that reside in the Marsh. Their numerous burrows line the shoreline. Again, they are too numerous to count. The fiddler crabs act as the earthworms of the Marsh, their burrows keep the peat oxygenated and their digging moves the soil around and helps the nutrients and decomposition to be in constant motion. Fiddler crabs eat organic detritus as well as fungi and algae. 

    Finally, the coffee bean snails can hold their breath for an hour during high tide while

being Nature’s acrobats and climbing up the spartina, holding on to the top of the grass during high tide, and then climbing back down to nestle back among the roots to hide during low tide.

    Amazed? Stay tuned for more.

Little Pub Breaks Ground

August 8, 2019

   On Tuesday, August 6 th owner Doug Grabe broke ground on the former site of Marnick’s, at 10 Washington Parkway. The site is to become the newest Little Pub Restaurant. Stratford is in good company, with existing locations in, Fairfield, Greenwich, Wilton, and Old Saybrook. The Ridgefield location closed just days before the new Stratford location was announced. A release on August 6th indicated the new Stratford Little Pub would be serving customers within a month.

 

New Eatery Opens in Paradise Green 

August 8, 2019

   Mayor Hoydick joined the Department of Economic Development and others for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Chicken Piri Piri restaurant on August 8th. Chicken Piri Piri, run by Stratford native J.P. Vilarinho, is serving up authentic Portuguese barbecue. A statement released by Mayor Hoydick described the new restaurant as “adding to the incredible diversity of cuisine available in Stratford”. 

   Try them out at 3530 Main Street.

Call for Dancers

August 8, 2019

   The Academy of New England Ballet Company is holding auditions for selections from Romeo & Juliet on Sunday August 18th. The company will perform at the 2019 Phoenix Season Art from the Ashes Festival on the grounds of the Shakespeare Theatre the weekend of September 7 th. For more information contact academyofnebco@gmail.com.

Violinist Cameron Chase To Perform at Stratford Library 

Tom Holehan 

August 8, 2019 

    The Stratford Library will present Violinist Cameron Chase is set for a solo concert on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm. The concert, held in the Library’s air-conditioned Lovell Room, is free and open to the public. Cameron Chase started playing violin when he was 5 with Liu at Stratford’s Little Red School of Art & Music. He is a graduate of the pre-college Program at Juilliard and has also studied with Hyo Kang and Regi Papa. In 2016 he played Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and in 2014 he won the American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in Fairfield. In addition he has played in numerous chamber groups

concentrating on the classical repertoire.  He is a life-long resident of Stratford. His concert will begin at 6:30 pm on August 21.

For further information call the library at: 203.385-4162 or visit its website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

THE POETRY CORNER

Norah Christianson

August 8, 2019

   In America in the 1830’s, a philosophy called

Transcendentalism was popular.  It taught that divinity pervades all things.  Emerson and Thoreau and Whitman were some of the proponents of this idea. 

The American poet Mary Oliver (1935 - 2019) also seems to have been a believer in the idea that all things in nature have soul. Witness her poem “Some Questions You Might Ask.”

Some Questions You Might A

   -Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid like iron?

Or is it tender and breakable, like

the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?

Who has it, and who doesn’t?

I keep looking around me.

The face of the moose is as sad

as the face of Jesus.

The swan opens her white wings slowly.

In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.

One question leads to another.

Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?

Like the eye of a hummingbird?

Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?

Why should I have it, and not the anteater

who loves her children?

Why should I have it, and not the camel?

Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?

What about the blue iris?

What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?

What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?

What about the grass?

Courtesy of Claudia Margitay-Balogh

Little Pub Breaks Ground

August 8, 2019

   On Tuesday, August 6 th owner Doug Grabe broke ground on the former site of Marnick’s, at 10 Washington Parkway. The site is to become the newest Little Pub Restaurant. Stratford is in good company, with existing locations in, Fairfield, Greenwich, Wilton, and Old Saybrook. The Ridgefield location closed just days before the new Stratford location was announced. A release on August 6th indicated the new Stratford Little Pub would be serving customers within a month.

 

New Eatery Opens in Paradise Green 

August 8, 2019

   Mayor Hoydick joined the Department of Economic Development and others for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Chicken Piri Piri restaurant on August 8th. Chicken Piri Piri, run by Stratford native J.P. Vilarinho, is serving up authentic Portuguese barbecue. A statement released by Mayor Hoydick described the new restaurant as “adding to the incredible diversity of cuisine available in Stratford”. 

   Try them out at 3530 Main Street.

Call for Dancers

August 8, 2019

   The Academy of New England Ballet Company is holding auditions for selections from Romeo & Juliet on Sunday August 18th. The company will perform at the 2019 Phoenix Season Art from the Ashes Festival on the grounds of the Shakespeare Theatre the weekend of September 7 th. For more information contact academyofnebco@gmail.com.

THE POETRY CORNER

Norah Christianson

August 8, 2019

   In America in the 1830’s, a philosophy called

Transcendentalism was popular.  It taught that divinity pervades all things.  Emerson and Thoreau and Whitman were some of the proponents of this idea. 

The American poet Mary Oliver (1935 - 2019) also seems to have been a believer in the idea that all things in nature have soul. Witness her poem “Some Questions You Might Ask.”

Some Questions You Might A

   -Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid like iron?

Or is it tender and breakable, like

the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?

Who has it, and who doesn’t?

I keep looking around me.

The face of the moose is as sad

as the face of Jesus.

The swan opens her white wings slowly.

In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.

One question leads to another.

Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?

Like the eye of a hummingbird?

Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?

Why should I have it, and not the anteater

who loves her children?

Why should I have it, and not the camel?

Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?

What about the blue iris?

What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?

What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?

What about the grass?

Introductory Ode to the Great Meadows Marsh

Angela Capinera

August 8, 2019

    The Marsh first and foremost teaches that looks can be deceiving and what people see on top conceals the many hidden wonders both on the surface and just below and then way below the surface. The Marsh also teaches that people can see what they want to. This holds true not only of the Great Meadows Marsh but any type of marshland someone may encounter. 

    The Marsh, from a perspective of driving in a car, looks like “a bunch of grass and water”, as often stated by people who don’t know the history and hidden wonders of its’ 200+ acres. When getting out at Long Beach and walking around, that perspective can quickly change. What wildlife, especially birds, will be around today? Will there be any deer swimming across the water in Lewis’ Gut? What has the most recent high tide brought in? The Marsh looks the same but changes constantly everyday. 

    All of the grass, the spartina, and water during high tide conceals the peat that holds up to approximately 20 million (yes, 20 million) gallons of water and acts like a natural sponge to help keep humans and animals safe from flooding both daily and during high velocity storms. The spartina, and, yes, even the invasive fragmites, serve as a source of protection and habitat for numerous species. One of the most notable ones is something that comes across dinner plates, the ribbed mussel. Another is the fiddler crabs. A third is the coffee bean snails.

Migrating birds know to stop at the Marsh and search through the grasses and channels for the fiddler crabs and coffee bean snails, as they are an easy and much needed source of protein for them while on their voyage.

    Each ribbed mussel filters around 30 gallons, or about a garbage pail sized amount, of water daily. Each ribbed mussel. They filter out pollution and heavy metals from the water. Ribbed mussels are known as bivalves (bi = two) and are bottom feeders that once they reach adulthood are the size of of 2 -3 quarters lined up together. They received the name “ribbed” due to the ridges in their shell and are recognizable for their pretty purple color inside and out. No count has ever been made of approximately how many reside in the Marsh. Yet the low tide reveals the possibility of hundreds of thousands, maybe a million reside there? The math

speaks for itself. The possibility of 30 million ribbed mussels filtering the water everyday and how much dirtier the water would be without them there.

    There are three species of fiddler crabs that reside in the Marsh. Their numerous burrows line the shoreline. Again, they are too numerous to count. The fiddler crabs act as the earthworms of the Marsh, their burrows keep the peat oxygenated and their digging moves the soil around and helps the nutrients and decomposition to be in constant motion. Fiddler crabs eat organic detritus as well as fungi and algae. 

    Finally, the coffee bean snails can hold their breath for an hour during high tide while

being Nature’s acrobats and climbing up the spartina, holding on to the top of the grass during high tide, and then climbing back down to nestle back among the roots to hide during low tide.

    Amazed? Stay tuned for more.

Violinist Cameron Chase To Perform at Stratford Library 

Tom Holehan 

August 8, 2019 

    The Stratford Library will present Violinist Cameron Chase is set for a solo concert on Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 pm. The concert, held in the Library’s air-conditioned Lovell Room, is free and open to the public. Cameron Chase started playing violin when he was 5 with Liu at Stratford’s Little Red School of Art & Music. He is a graduate of the pre-college Program at Juilliard and has also studied with Hyo Kang and Regi Papa. In 2016 he played Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and in 2014 he won the American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition in Fairfield. In addition he has played in numerous chamber groups

concentrating on the classical repertoire.  He is a life-long resident of Stratford. His concert will begin at 6:30 pm on August 21.

For further information call the library at: 203.385-4162 or visit its website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.