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A Festival's Benefits 

Claudia Margitay-Balogh

October 10, 2019

     On Sunday, October 6, 2019 Stratford’s Paradise Green was transformed into a Dog Lover’s Paradise. Young and old, large and small, canine and human enjoyed all the activities at the Stratford Animal Rescue Society’s Annual Fall Festival to Benefit Animals. During the last fourteen years, this event has grown from a small dog walk with a few booths to a daylong celebration featuring a pet parade, doggie contests, vendors selling merchandise for dogs as well as for their owners, crafters, music, food trucks, pet adoptions, a pumpkin patch, a silent auction, and a conducive atmosphere for meeting new canine friends and their owners.

     Studies have shown that dog owners in particular tend to be a little more extroverted or outgoing. When someone starts to engage an owner about his or her animal companion, the owner tends to open up and really blossom. Dog owners love to share stories about their favorite friend. This was indeed evident at the Festival. Wherever one looked, there were always small groups of people chatting and connecting about their furry family member who was indeed the center of attention.



Rugby celebrates his 8th birthday with his owner at the STARS Festival.

     Stratford Animal Rescue Society (STARS) is a non-profit group founded in September 2000 with the unanimous support from the Stratford Town Council. Its mission is to facilitate and expedite the adoptions of homeless animals into loving homes as well as provide food, medical care, and necessities for the animals impounded at the Stratford Animal Control Facility which is located on 225 Beacon Point Road. An impounded animal receives vaccines, disease testing, spaying/neutering, micro-chipping, socialization, training, and exercise as a means for life longevity, pet overpopulation control, and permanent adoption. All proceeds from Sunday’s Festival will help maintain the Society’s mission. 

     Volunteers are always needed to assist in the care of animals housed in the Animal Control Facility as well as to provide support for various fundraisers and educational programs. Please visit STARS’ website at www.stratfordanimalrescue.orgto learn how to become a volunteer. 

     A grateful thanks to all who were instrumental in creating a day on the Green where dogs were the catalyst for building social networks by connecting our town’s people with each other.



Right: Madison dressed as a

piece of sushi for the

STARS fundraising Festival. 

Below: It is always wonderful

to meet and greet new friends.

Quote of the Week...

 “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” 

-Abraham Lincoln


Stratford Democrats’ Picnic Draws a Crowd

Steve Raguskus

October 10, 2019


     Supporters of the Stratford Democratic Party gathered at Boothe Park on a beautiful fall day for the annual picnic hosted by the Stratford Democratic Town Committee.  Many local candidates were on hand, including several from neighboring Shelton.  

     It was a brief break from the campaign trail for hard-working candidates who received pep talks from several dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz who thanked everyone who has stepped up to run for office.  “Stratford helped elect us, now we will help Stratford.”

     Governor Ned Lamont spoke next and thanked the voters of Stratford for sending Phil Young to Hartford to help pass the Democrat’s budget.   “Full time minimum wage workers got a $35/ week raise, effective this past Tuesday, thanks to the Democrats.”  He also proudly said that UConn announced that any CT families making under $50,000 will get free college.  

     Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro stopped by a  little later and fired up the crowd. Rosa complimented DJ James Richards and then when the music started up again, she showed off her dance moves!  The crowd, which ranged in age from 2-80something, had a fun time while raising more money for November’s campaigns.

























Representative Rosa DeLauro takes her hair down in a relaxing atmosphere.




Stratford Health Department Offering Flu Vaccinations at Two October Clinics

October 4, 2019 


      With flu season fast approaching, the Stratford Health Department is making it easy for the public to obtain their annual flu vaccine by offering two public flu clinics in town. 

·        Tuesday, October 8th, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Baldwin Senior Center, located at 1000 W Broad Street, Stratford CT 06615.

·        Wednesday, October 9th, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Stratford High School, located at 245 King Street. The Stratford Health Department is continuing their Star Wars theme flu clinic to help encourage families and children obtain their flu shot! There will be giveaways, activities, photo ops, and more! 

      “We highly encourage people of all ages to come and receive their flu vaccine,” states Bernice Bova, Stratford’s Public Health Nurse, “getting your annual flu vaccine is the most important way to lower your risk of getting sick and spreading it to your friends and family.”

       No appointments are necessary for the October clinics. Individuals should bring their insurance cards, however will not be turned away without them. The Straford Health Department cannot accept Oxford or United Health insurance. Parents or guardians must accompany their children. 

       Getting a flu shot is the safest way to prevent possible flu-related complications. For more information call the Stratford Health Department at (203) 385-4058.


Library Celebrates Friends 

October 4, 2019

     Friday Evening, September 27, after the library closed, the lobby was transformed into a welcoming, food and drink laden venue for the volunteers and donors of the Library. The camaraderie was palpable amongst new and old friends. The tabouli salad was especially delicious.

According to Sheri Szymanski, Director, this was the ‘Annual Friend Raiser Event at which the Tyler Holloway Memorial Fund sponsors an evening where the Library Board and staff invite volunteers and donors to come and enjoy an extra night of entertainment’, and very enjoyable jazz it was by the Bennett Daponte Smith Trio, featuring Stratford native Bennett on guitar and fellow NYU undergraduates in the jazz program - an awesome bass player and drummer to match. Old favorites by Sonny Rollins, Duke Ellington and other jazz greats were covered by Bennett’s group before a smiling and rapt audience in the Lovell Room.


Quote of the Week

The Stratford Crier is initiating a Quote of the Week column. In this election season, we will be quoting  Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States,  adding as we go relevant and enlightening quotes from all over the world."

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”   

Abraham Lincoln


Square One Theatre Reveals 

2018-2019 Subscriber Award Recipients 

Trying Wins Three Awards Including ‘Outstanding Production’

Richard Pheneger

October 4, 2019 

       Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company concluded its twenty-ninth anniversary season recently with the annual presentation of its Subscriber Awards. The awards were selected by the theatre’s nearly 1,000 subscribers who voted for performers in various acting categories from the company’s three-play, 2018-19 season. This was the fourth year for the theatre’s new space onstage at Stratford Academy.

       Square One’s critically acclaimed production of Joanna Glass’s, Trying won three awards including ‘Outstanding Production’. It was also cited for ‘Outstanding Actor’ for Al Kulcsar (Fairfield), playing real-life Judge Frances Biddle during his final days. Kulcsar is a fan-favorite at Square One and is the top winner thus far with this most recent acting award being his eleventh. He also won last season for his role in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey and previously for Chapatti and The Outgoing Tide. 

Kulcsar’s co-star in Trying, Celine Montaudy (Norwalk) who played Biddle’s youthful Canadian secretary, was honored as the year’s ‘Outstanding Featured Actress’ by the subscribers.  This was Montaudy’s debut performance at Square One.

        Peggy Nelson (Hamden) won her fifth award as ‘Outstanding Actress’ for her role as the fast-thinking wife in Square One’s hit comedy from March, Clever Little Lies. Nelson was previously honored for her leading roles in Irena’s Vow, Later Life, Doubt and Buffalo Gal. 

Kiel Stango (Waterbury), who played a political operative in last fall’s production of The God Game, won his first award at the theatre as ‘Outstanding Featured Actor’.  

Square One’s 30th anniversary season will open with Joshua Harmon’s timely play, Admissions, on November 7, 2019. Discount three-play subscriptions are currently on sale. For further information and a copy of the theatre’s new season brochure, call the Square One Administrative Office at 203.375.8778 or visit: www.squareonetheatre.com.

seated (l-r):

Al Kulcsar (Fairfield)

Celine Montaudy (Norwalk)


Peggy Nelson (Hamden)

Kiel Stango (Waterbury)

"Ragtime" Is Downsized in Norwalk

Tom Holehan 

October 4, 2019 

       The original 1998 Broadway production of “Ragtime”, with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens all based on E. L. Doctorow’s acclaimed novel, had a cast of 24 in a production budgeted at ten million dollars boasting live fireworks and a working Model T. Ford on stage.  Imagine that massive production scaled down to size, specifically for the intimate environs of the Music Theatre of Connecticut’s cozy black box theatre. The Norwalk company deserves plenty of praise for taking on such a Broadway behemoth and doing pretty well in the process.

“Ragtime” is set during 1906-1910 in and around New York City where we meet a wealthy family in New Rochelle, a pair of Jewish immigrants via Ellis Island and the African-American community in Harlem.  These three groups cross paths with each other and numerous celebrities of the period including the radical anarchist Emma Goldman, vaudeville queen Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, Henry Ford, Harry Houdini and more.  The central character is Harlem pianist Coalhouse Walker whose purchase of that Model T sets a number of racially charged events in motion. It all makes for a powerful musical, one of the great ones from the 1990s.

       So what’s different about MTC’s “Ragtime”?  Well, William David Brohn’s lush, Tony winning orchestrations, which featured 26 musicians on Broadway, are whittled down to just two pianos (expertly played by conductor David Wolfson and Mark Ceppetelli) at MTC.  Evelyn Nesbitt’s famous swing is nowhere to be found and the semblance of a Model T is glimpsed quickly before disappearing offstage. With only 16 in the cast, the African-American population is sorely under-represented here made evident during the final scenes when Coalhouse looks pretty lonely leading his revolution.  I also think director Kevin Connors is hampered in moving his actors on the multi-tiered set designed by Jessie Lizotte. They are often running into each other or out of the light in several scenes.

       But where Connors does very well is with the casting of “Ragtime”.  The musical’s glorious score is in able hands with these singers beginning with the commanding Ezekiel Andrew playing Coalhouse Walker, Jr.  When he duets with lovely Soara-Joye Ross on their thrilling ballad, “Wheels of a Dream”, chills are guaranteed. Juliet Lambert Pratt, as a wealthy New Rochelle matron, is on target with her major number, “Back to Before” and Dennis Holland, as her husband, possesses a beautiful baritone well represented in “Journey On”.  A fierce Mia Scarpa brings both fire and ice to her portrayal of Emma Goldman as well as several other characters here and Frank Mastrone (saddled with an unfortunate beard in act one) is warmly paternal as Tateh, a Jewish immigrant caring for his motherless daughter (Ryan Ryan). Ari Frimmer is also a delight as the youngest member of the cast, a pint-size Greek chorus all by himself.

       The singing, as good as it is, can often sound a tad overwhelming in such an intimate setting and the first act has its sluggish spots mostly due to the staging.  The unattractive backdrop, done in various shades of brown, is probably there to assist RJ Romeo’s projections. They don’t really register, however, especially if you are sitting on either side of the stage.  But, in all, this is an admirable effort for the theatre currently celebrating its 33rd season and a wonderful showcase for some terrific singers simply strutting their stuff.  

     “Ragtime” continues at the Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Avenue in Norwalk through October 13. For ticket reservations or further information call: 203.454.3883 or visit: www.musictheatreofcr.com.

       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.

Editorial: Don’t Confuse Me With The Facts

Orna Rawls 

October 10, 2019 

     In a small gathering recently a successful used car salesperson complained that the internet caused her income to go down significantly. “People just Google the cars.” she lamented. “They get all the facts before they even see them.” 

     The lady’s decreased income notwithstanding, most of us would like to know all the facts about a car, a house, a health insurance plan we’re buying, a school system we send our kids to. And, we hope, all relevant information about candidates we are voting for.  

     We’ll be wise to consider how the candidates’ education and work experience prepare them for the position they run for. Will they be free of conflicts of interest?  Have they been involved with the law? (Unfortunately this is not uncommon in CT and elsewhere, but do we want that in our town?) Have they been and will they be receptive to constituents? Will they serve the town’s interests or do they have another agenda? In short, we’ll be smart to be informed voters. 

     At the same small gathering, an enthusiastic but somewhat narrow minded person declared he knew in advance who he will be voting for. “Members of my party, of course.”  “Wouldn’t you like to know more about the individuals? “We asked. “No, I wouldn’t.” He answered emphatically.  “And please don’t confuse me with the facts.”

     We hope this attitude is rare here and that the majority of Stratford’s voters would want to make informed choices regardless of party affiliation. To that end, The Stratford Crier has sent a factual questionnaire to candidates of both parties who are running for council and other positions. We will be publishing the candidates’  responses in the upcoming issues and urge our readers to consider their choices carefully. Of course, if you want to know more about the candidates, there is always Google and other search engines. And, to paraphrase an old commercial: “An informed voter is Stratford’s best bet.” 

“Mlima” Opens Westport Playhouse Season 

Tom Holehan

October 10, 2019


     Lynn Nottage’s brave and mournful new play, “Mlima’s Tale”, is a potent work currently serving as the fourth production of the Westport Playhouse’s 2019 season. The Pulitzer Prize winning Nottage, one of the best contemporary playwrights now working in American theatre, is the author of such memorable dramas as “Intimate Apparel”, “Ruined” and “Sweat”.  With “Mlima’s Tale”, this brilliant writer continues her string of important, conversational plays of raw power.

     The story of “Mlima’s Tale” is not an easy one to hear as it chronicles the illicit ivory trade that is still ongoing in Kenya and throughout the world.  The slaughter of the magnificent African elephants is a timely and horrific topic and Nottage’s approach doesn’t shy from the ugly. Early on we see actual photographs of an elephant, the “Mlima” of the title, after being hunted and butchered for his ivory.  It’s hard to look at and it’s mercifully brief, but it is also essential to Nottage’s message. Engrossing and endlessly theatrical, the play gets a big plus from the casting of African American actor/dancer Jermaine Rowe who portrays Mlima. The actor employs wonderful physicality as he narrates a tale that brings tremendous empathy and, yes, humanity to his animal character.

     Nottage cleverly structures the play as an assembly line of corruption detailing the process from beginning to end.  We meet a number of people who have to sign-off on this illegal activity that eventually ends up as artwork for the wealthy.  With only a cast of four (including Rowe) changing costumes, wigs and sexes, the various officials, hunters, traffickers and collectors are played by Jennean Farmer, Adit Dileep and Carl Hendrick Louis.  Mark Lamos’ direction is consistently graceful, but it is clear that not all of his actors are up to the challenge of playing multiple roles. The mediocre acting in some of the roles slightly mars an otherwise superior production. 

     The stark and effective scenic design by Claire DeLiso is highlighted by a magnificent array of projections by Yana Birykova. Cheers also to composer Michael Keck for his haunting score and the moody lighting design by Isabella Byrd.  Choreographer Jeffrey Page’s work with Mr. Rowe speaks for itself and is breathlessly eloquent. So is Ms. Nottage’s play which, in 80 concise and intense minutes, is the definition of a conversation starter. It demands to be seen. 

    “Mlima’s Tale” continues at the Westport Playhouse, 25 Powers Court in Westport through October 19.  For ticket reservations or further information call: 203.227.4177 or visit: www.westportplayhouse.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.

Frights Abound In Stratford

October 10, 2019

     Fright Haven, Connecticut's largest, scariest and greatest indoor haunted house, is gearing up for Halloween. Starting this Thursday through Sunday, Fright Haven will be open 4 nights a week. Fright Haven, located at 411 Barnum Avenue Cutoff in Stratford, is the only professional indoor haunted attraction between central Connecticut and New York. Fright Haven is filled with animatronics, decorated mannequins, static monsters, clowns, frightening figurines, dolls and creatures of the night in all shapes and sizes. They complement the team of over fifty scare actors, or “Scaracters," who spend their evenings startling visitors within the 20,000+ square foot entertainment complex. 

     As Fright Haven's promoters promise, "you'll be too scared to scream." Celebrate the Halloween season at Fright Haven Haunted House ... like never before. For additional information, visit website www.frighthaven.com or by call 203.799.FEAR.

How Do We Get the Best Land Use Deal for Stratford?

Tucker Chase

October 4, 2019

        In August of this year the town received responses to the Request for Qualifications for developing the Center School Site from three interested developers. The town may opt to reject all the bidders or it may move forward to the next stage of Request for Proposals from some or all three. The ultimate design and implementation of the work is by the developer’s design and construction team. 

        There is quite a bit of information about what the town would like to see at the site. Since it lies within the TOD (Transit Oriented District) overlay zone, all of the TOD requirements apply which are specified in an excellent study of TOD in December of 2015; in addition a link to that study is contained within the RFQ which is available at the town’s Purchasing Office site.  One general observation is that TOD lessens parking requirements considerably so that there can be greater density of the chosen use - retail, apartments, community centered activities, etc.  (Because parking requirements often are the principle limiting factor for the size of a project, their diminution allows for a considerable increase in square footage). In addition, three town wide meetings, charrettes, were conducted in 2017 to gather input from the residents and other interested parties.  A final ‘Outdoor Living Room’ was conducted by Stratford Forward in October of last year.

       On that cold, but sunny day - (too much noise from I95 unfortunately - that needs to be addressed)! in front of the Board of Education residents voiced their opinions about the Center School site’s future use.  Only one person suggested that housing should be a component of the development. By and large the responses were heavily weighted toward the arts and activities that would bring younger people to this part of Stratford rather than disappear to Milford and New Haven. (The response was similar in the town charrettes). The community identified that the ultimate goal for Stratford should be to make it a more desirable place to live, work, educate our children, and enhance the quality of life for people of all ages.

        Since the Request For Proposals will be sent to developers who have passed the first test of being qualified to do development of this scale, the town will be asking the developer to come up with a design and plan for the implementation of its guidelines - mixed use, some apartments, retail, and hopefully a weighted emphasis in the arts. With the greatly reduced parking requirements more pedestrian and less automobile traffic could certainly be a desirable result.

        But the outcome of this exercise may be pre-determined because developers want to make money and their formula for success has been repetitive in TOD zone after TOD zone. In addition to being given title or a hundred year lease to the 3.5 acres of the Center School site, they will propose to build a ‘multi-use’ plan that will feature a lot of apartments in four or more stories.  It is certainly also possible that no retail or community focused businesses or gathering locations will be provided.  This is the built outcome of two TOD approved sites in Stratford - the old Ford Keating building and the apartments on Ferry Boulevard. In neither development is there a retail or community friendly component anywhere.  Developers do this in TOD zones because it appears that they can, and because apartments usually rent quickly they will have a steady stream of cash. Retail is more difficult as seen by the ‘For Rent’ signs in other TOD zones. And the arts…always a question mark!

      Another approach to development in the TOD zone could be to encourage the majority of the square footage be occupied by retail, or community centered uses such as theater where the arts could thrive or inviting open spaces with gardens, trees, a petting zoo or a small circus or bocce ball venues or... that would serve all age groups - a place that can function like an enclosed mall which provides a place to ‘be’ - eat, socialize, entertain or be entertained, see and be seen and spend money. 

       There can also be another approach to multi-family housing. Rather than locating all the additional apartments within ‘podium’ blocks (parking at ground floor and apartments above), it could be spread out within walking distance of the station in the currently classified single family zones that could be reclassified two family, or, in a new three and four family zone. (According to Jay Habansky, Planning and Zoning Administrator for the town, Stratford does not have a three and four family zone unlike many Fairfield County towns). Mr. Habansky spoke positively of increased density near the station; ‘I would have no problem with a lot of the neighborhoods within a half mile of the train station be multi-family, two family’. 

       This multi-family zoning change could have a far reaching impact on the ability of families to live in their own homes once they were no longer working. The additional income from renting apartments could allow those owners to stay put. And it would be a boon to those renters needing an apartment near the station. The profits from rentals would go to hundreds if not thousands of residents rather than to a single developer. 

        In both the Outdoor Living Room and the Shakespeare charrettes there was a call for a thorough urban design plan of a larger area encompassing the Shakespeare Theater site, the waterfront, Avco and the downtown of the Center School site and its neighbors to be done by outside professionals such as the Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW).  YUDW did at least three projects/studies for Milford which may be some of the reason it has a fairly vibrant downtown and we do not). 

       These are complex issues when considered in the larger aforementioned footprint.  The global outcome of a YUDW study might be life changing for Stratford if the goals and conclusions could or would be implemented - a truly vibrant community of positive interactions could result. However, If each property is considered only by itself, that narrow focus may regurgitate a piecemeal, haphazard and possibly absolutely wrong consequence which would be contrary to a more positive desired outcome as identified by a larger contextual study. 

       Of course, the conclusions at this time of a YUDW study cannot be predicted, but not taking this opportunity at this time with three undeveloped sites - AVCO, Shakespeare & Center School - may be foolhardy.  There could be much to gain by exploring this more expansive approach to making the best possible choice for the Town’s social, economic and cultural direction.

Library to Open Sundays 

Beginning October 6th 

Tom Holehan 

October 4, 2019 

      The Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford will be open on Sundays beginning October 6, 2019.  Hours on Sunday will be from 1-5 pm and will continue until May 17, 2020.The return of “Sunday Afternoon Talks” will coincide with the library reopening with engineer and historian Rick Abramson discussing “Streamlined Trains of the 1930s”. The series will continue on monthly Sundays through May.  Also currently scheduled: “Meet-the-Author: Ken Lynch” (November 3), Stratford Historical Society Open Meeting (November 24) and Holiday Music Concerts (December 1, 8, 15 & 22)

       For further library information, call 203.385.4161 or visit its website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

Square One Friends To Meet at the Library 

Tom Holehan 

October 4, 2019 


    Friends of Square One Theatre Company, the volunteer organization of the Stratford-based theatre, will hold its first meeting of the new season on Monday, October 7 at 7 pm at the Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford.  The meeting, which is open to both members and newcomers and held in the Library’s Lovell Room, will focus on the theatre’s gala 30th anniversary season which opens on November 7.

    A short business meeting, conducted by President Carole Fanslow and a rundown of upcoming Friends events related to the special anniversary will begin the program. The Friends are currently making plans for their annual spring lunch fundraiser as well as other volunteer activities.  

Artistic Director Tom Holehan will discuss the theatre’s opening production, the Connecticut premiere of Joshua Harmon’s timely new play, “Admissions”.  Actors Janet Rathert, Lucy Babbitt and Ruth Anne Baumgartner will perform scenes from the play about diversity and white privilege in a private New Hampshire prep school.  A question/answer session will follow the preview. Light refreshments will also be served.

For further information, call the Square One Theatre Company at 203.375.8778.  

Bunnell-Stratford Marching Band Present the 40th Annual Cavalcade of Bands

Jon Barbee

October 4, 2019

       The 40th Annual Cavalcade of Bands Show will be held on Saturday, October 19th 2019, at Bunnell High School, on the Bob Mastroni Field, 1 Bulldog Boulevard in Stratford, CT. The gates open at 4 pm, the show starts at 5 pm. Admission is $12 for Adults, $7 for Seniors & Students (K-12), and Children under 5 are free. Tickets will be available at the gate.Food will be available for purchase. Please join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening and great way to show continued support to all the young musicians and performers.

About the  Bunnell-Stratford Marching Band

      The 2019 marching band consists of 96 musicians, 26 color guard, and 4 conductors, placing them in the USBands division 5A. They have travelled to The Hollywood Christmas Parade in 2005, 2009 & 2016, and were the Hollywood Bowl Grand Champions in 2005; The Tournament of Roses Parade in 2002; and The Citrus Bowl Parade in 1997, 1999, 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2018. Awards include: USBands New England & Connecticut State Champions in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2012, and 2011. 5th Place Finish at the Inaugural USSBA National Championship -USSBA CT State Champions 2006, 2005, 2006, and 2008. 2002 Circuit Champions.

Connecticut Theatre Season Looks Promising 


Tom Holehan

September 26, 2019 

    After a rather uneventful summer of theatre, Connecticut’s major regional theatres are all set to lure patrons back to their stages. What follows are capsule overviews of the theatres and what they are offering.

    Hartford Stage: The theatre’s sixth artistic director and first woman in the position, Melia Bensussen, oversees her first season that opened recently with “Quixote Nuevo”, a reimaging of “Don Quixote” by Octavio Solis. The season will also include Molly Smith Metzler’s “Cry It Out”, Nilaja Sun’s solo show “Pike Street”, Elizabeth Williamson’s adaptation of the classic Bronte novel, “Jane Eyre”, David Seidler’s “The King Speech”, the subject of the Oscar winning film and Eugene O’Neill’s glorious “Ah, Wilderness!” which closes the theatre season next May and will be directed by Bensussen.  www.hartfordstage.org

Long Wharf Theatre: After a mostly mediocre 2018-19 season which saw the controversial firing of its artistic director Gordon Edelstein, Long Wharf seems back on firm footing with the arrival of new AD Jacob G. Padron. He opens the theatre this month with the world premiere of “On the Grounds of Belonging” by Ricardo Perez Gonzalez. Press notes reveal the play is about “forbidden love in 1950s Jim Crow Texas”. The season follows with a stage adaptation of Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice” by Kate Hamill, a revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway hit “I Am My Own Wife” by Doug Wright, “The Chinese Lady” by Lloyd Suh (a historic two-hander which I had the pleasure of seeing two summers ago in the Berkshires) and “The Great Leap” by Lauren Lee.  www.longwharf.org

    TheaterWorks: Hartford’s plucky “off-Broadway” theatre company, which is unveiling a major renovation this fall, opens their season with the recent, racially charged Broadway play, “America Son” by Christopher Demos-Brown. The theatre will continue with another recent Broadway drama, “The Lifespan of a Fact” by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, “The Cake” by Bekah Brunstetter, “The Who and the What” by Ayad Akhtar and the Tony Award winning “Fun Home” by Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori and Alison Bechdel, an ideal musical winner for the theatre’s intimate setting.  www.theaterworkshartford.org

Westport Playhouse: The venerable playhouse, now under the direction of Mark Lamos, has seen significant changes over the years going from a summer stock company to a full-time producing theatre with an eclectic mix of offerings.  Lamos directs Lynn Nottage’s potent play about the illicit ivory market in Kenya, “Mlima’s Tale”, the first professional production of the play since its world premiere at New York’s Public Theatre in 2018. Also set for the Playhouse season is a world premiere adaptation and translation by Brendan Pelsue of Moliere’s “Don Juan”, “Next to Normal”, the Tony Award winning musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, “Tiny House”, a new comedy by Michael Gotch, a revival of the classic Fats Waller musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’” by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz, a world premiere adaptation and translation by Kenneth Cavander of Sophocles’ “Antigone” and “Blues For An Alabama Sky” by Pearl Cleage.  www.wesportplayhouse.org

    Yale Repertory Theatre: The most adventurous theatre offerings in the state will no doubt continue at the New Haven mainstay with the opening of “Girls”, a fresh take on Euripides’ “The Bacchae” in a world premiere production by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.  It will be followed by yet another world premiere of Will Eno’s latest play, “The Plot”. Also in the season: “Manahatta”, an East Coast premiere by Mary Kathryn Nagle, a revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama, “Raisin in the Sun” and the East Coast premiere of “Testmatch” by Kate Attwell concluding the season.  www.yalerep.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.

Stratford Rotary to Host Shredding & Recycling Event to Benefit Stratford Youth


 Rachel Rusnak

September 26, 2019


      On Saturday, October 12th the Stratford  Rotary will host a  Secure Document Shredding and Electronics Recycling event, from 9am-12pm at the Baldwin Center. The bi-annual event is hosted in the  Spring and Fall with proceeds benefitting educational programs, including: 

  • Dictionaries provided to every 3rd grade student in all public and parochial schools in Stratford; 

  • A Thesaurus to every 5th grade student; 

  • A Scholarship to a Bunnell and Stratford High student attending college; and 

  • A Scholarship to a Bunnell and Stratford High student pursuing a Trade or other career path. 

Nominal fees will be collected for various materials. Those unable to attend the event, or those with questions can contact John Corb at 203-377-0693

Parents Express Outrage Over New Bus Procedures 


Rachel Rusnak

September 26, 2019


       This past Monday’s lively Board of Education (BOE)  Meeting drew a large crowd of attendees  voicing displeasure with newly implemented BOE policies. Parents raised concerns over the busing plan that now leaves many students without Town provided transportation to and from school, and appears to present discrepancies between transportation provided to students in the North and South ends of Town. The new policy on “Neighborhood Bussing” directs that elementary students residing within 1.5 miles of their school, and middle and high school students within 2 miles of their school will not receive bus services. At the meeting speakers indicated that this change in the transportation plan for schools was sprung on parents with little time to plan in advance. Superintendent Robinson noted that bus schedules were posted online in advance of the school year, however as the Stratford Crier previously reported, as of August 22nd there were no posted bus routes on the BOE website. Parents noted dangerous routes for students in areas of high traffic and without sidewalks and took issue with the notion that it would be acceptable for elementary students to walk 1.5 miles unaccompanied to school. Both Superintendent Robinson and the Board indicated that they would look into the policy and current bussing situation. Stratford parents are surely going to be tuned into this situation, and the issue will likely remain on their minds as the November election approaches for the Board. 

Pumpkin Festival Seeks Volunteers 

September 26, 2019

    The Pumpkin Festival, held annually at Boothe Memorial Park, is looking for volunteers for the upcoming event. This year the Festival will be held on Saturday, October 19, running from 12-4pm. Volunteers  are needed between 9am and 5pm, and do not have to commit for the entire day. Students in need of community service hours have often found this a fun way to get them, and many come back year after year until they go off to college. Adult volunteers are also needed. Volunteer jobs include  setting up and staging prior to the event, running activities such as the bounce houses, train and hay rides, organizing the Halloween costume parade, working in the kitchen, and selling refreshments. 

If interested, please contact Donna Caserta at dcaserta@townofstratford.com.





Beautification Awards 2019

Claudia Margitay-Balogh 

September 26, 2019


     Smiles, applause, and appreciation filled the Chambers at Town Hall on Thursday evening, September 19, 2019 as the Beautification Committee presented their Awards Program 2019. Honoring the recipients were The Honorable Laura Hoydick, Mayor, and committee members: Co-Chair Donna Caserta, Co-chair Christine Griffin, Janice Cupee, Patricia Ritchie, Rita Scacchia, Jen Reily Young, and Laura Dancho, Councilperson 10thDistrict. This was indeed a celebratory event showcasing the beautiful properties throughout Stratford that were created by residents who according to Mayor Hoydick “are making Stratford more beautiful than Stratford already is.” 

            This year there were 46 nominations. All of the Committee members visited each property and rated them individually for “their curb appeal.” The scores were tallied, and those properties which scored the highest won. The category titles are different each year. Co-Chair Christine Griffin stated that the property lends itself to the creativity of the category name. For example the award named “A Ray of Sunshine 2019” was due to the house being painted yellow.  

         To get ready for the Awards Program each of the Committee members revisited the properties that they were going to speak about to gain more information about the plantings and the work that went into creating such glorious curb appeals for all who pass by to enjoy. A photo of each property which received an award was presented on a screen. As the audience looked at an enlarged photo, one of the Committee members explained the names of the flowers as well as any other plantings that went into the beauty of the design. The detailed verbal descriptions enhanced the audience’s understanding of the reasons why these properties won.

      After the property was described, the owner was called up to receive the award from Mayor Hoydick. Besides the award, all winners received a sign to place on their lawns with “full bragging rights,” as well as a bag of daffodils (Stratford’s town flower) to plant “2 ½ times deeper than the size of the bulb when the soil gets colder.”

     There were three winners who were not home owners. The Best Public Space 2019 Award was presented to the Department of Public Works for their plantings and maintenance of the Gazebo area in Paradise Green. The owner of the restaurant Cibus dos received the Pride of Ownership 2019 Award for totally transforming the area outside of the restaurant into a visually pleasing atmosphere. The Best in Show 2019 Award (play on words intended) was given to the S.T.A.R.S Gardening Club who created a beautiful welcoming area for the Dog Pound on Beacon Point Road. The volunteers also created a Monarch Way Station by planting milkweeds, butterfly bushes, and verbena.   

     This was indeed an event all about the positive. Taking pride in one’s property is a gift to our community. A grateful thank you is given to all of the winners.   

S.T.A.R.S. Gardening Club

Courtesy of Janice Cupee

The Winners of Stratford’s

Beautification Committee Awards 2019

  • Best Public Space 2019 – Public Works Department

  • Pride Of Ownership 2019– Cibus dos, 2415 Main Street, Maya Cabrera

  • Manicured To Perfection 2019– 85 Florence Drive, Barbara Mandel

  • Best Hidden Treasure 2019– 40 Beardsley Ave., Joseph Bucki

  • Neat As A Pin 2019 – 1105 Huntington Rd., Anthony and Seomara Gallo

  • Most Welcoming Entrance 2019 – 516 Windsor Ave., Vivien Lounsbury

  • Best Wrap-Around Garden 2019 – 573-A North Trail, Kathleen Flynn

  • Best Corner Property 2019 – 60 Birch Place, Ralph and Nina Demasi

  • A Ray Of Sunshine 2019 – 431 Windsor Ave., Mark and Danielle Wright

  • Best Use Of Hillside 2019 - 242 Whipporwill Lane, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Micros

  • Best In Show 2019-  S.T.A.R.S Gardening Club, 225 Beacon Point Rd.

  • Best Artistic Vision 2019– 100 Red Coach Drive, Glenn McGarvey and Sidney Vazquez

  • Best in Neighborhood 2019– 91 Winton Place, Bruce and Debbie Hawley

  • Picture Perfect 2019 – 115 Perry Lane, Mr. and Mrs. James Niesel

  • Most Welcoming Walkway 2019 – 516 Bridgeview Place, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Wilcoxson

  • A Nautical Delight 2019 – 96 Bridgeview Place, Tim Nacewicz

  • Kaleidoscope of Color 2019 – 529-A Narraganset Lane, Dima Thompson

  • Best Use of Small Space 2019– 957 Huntington Rd., Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sheehan

Shakespeare Troupe Returns to Stratford Library: 

Hudson Shakespeare Company to Perform “Doctor Faustus” on October 12


 Tom Holehan 

September 26, 2019 

        The Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford announces that the Hudson Shakespeare Company of New Jersey will return to Stratford on Saturday, October 12 at 2 pm for a special Halloween season offering of “Doctor Faustus”.  The company, which has brought its summer series of outdoor Shakespeare for the last several seasons to Stratford, will perform “Doctor Faustus”in the Library’s Lovell Room.  The fully-staged and costumed performance is free and open to the public.

       Doctor Faustus, the German intellect, has risen to the height of his profession but still wants more via the world of magic. He decides on magic and calls upon Mephistopheles, a servant of the devil, for his help. Faustus makes an offer the devil can't refuse - he will sign away his soul in exchange for 24 years of life and Mephistopheles at his beck and call in order to discover the secrets of life. Faustus then embarks on a journey through time and space in order to discover all of life's meaning. Who will he meet? Where will he travel to? What will he learn? And ultimately - what happens when his time is up?

            The Hudson Shakespeare Company production of “Doctor Faustus” will begin at 2 pm on October 12 at the Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut. Doors open at 1:30 pm for general seating.  For further information, call the Library at 203.385.4162 or visit: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

Stratford Beautification Committee

Courtesy of Janice Cupee

Touch A Truck Comes to Stratford This Weekend! 


       Hosted by Saint James School, over 60 amazing trucks will be on display at DeLuca Field in Stratford. Young and old, children of all ages will enjoy this event!  Organizers say these are not your ordinary highway trucks and construction vehicles. These are awesome souped-up trucks that will blow your mind! Swat vehicles, bucket trucks, garbage trucks, fire & rescue, military ... come see it all at Connecticut’s largest Touch-A-Truck Event! 
     Admission is $5 a person/$20 max per family. Quiet time for the event will run from 10-10:30am for any with noise sensitivities. Pets should remain at home for this event.

Cibus Dos: Taste the Difference

June Holzworth

September 19, 2019 




   With the success of Cibus (the Latin word for ‘food’), a list of ‘best of’ recognition, even winning a 2018 National Elite Award as one of the 10 best restaurants in CT, who couldn’t help but be excited by the opening of their second restaurant in Stratford, Cibus dos. And Main Street was buzzing with people at the official ribbon cutting ceremony this past Friday. With a tag line, Taste the difference, Cibus dos doesn’t disappoint with a delectable new menu and impressive list of cocktails and Tapas dishes I’ve already started working my way through. Maya Cabrera’s vision and passion for interior - and exterior - decorating has certainly been a bonus for Stratford, and is greatly appreciated. Maya believed she could, so she did... and we wish her and her family great success. 

The official ribbon cutting for Cibus Dos on September 13, 2019. 

Left: A view from the dining room. Customers dine at Cibus Dos on September 13th. 

Below: Staff gather at the ribbon cutting ceremony

All photos courtesy of June Holzworth

Bunnell Honors Wojnarowski Family & Former Coach Bob Mastroni

 Will Aldam

September 19, 2019 

   The Bunnell high school athletic department honored Robert Mastroniand the Wojnarowski familyduring a pregame dedication ceremony Friday.

The Bunnell turf field will now be known as Robert Mastroni Stadium Field.

   Mastroni was the head coach of Bunnell for 23 seasons from 1977-2000. He compiled a 152-90-3 record and won four conference championships.

In November of 2016, Mastroni was inducted into the CHSCA Hall of Fame as a football and softball coach.

“This is an honor beyond belief,” Mastroni said. “I am honored and thrilled, but I realize something: I share this honor with a lot of people. This isn’t just me. A lot of people made this possible during my tenure here.”

Mastroni humbly thanked many of his colleagues throughout the years for all of their assistance during his speech before closing with a touching sentiment.

“The greatest thing is the players that I coached, Mastroni said. “They became my sons. I loved every single player that I coached. They are close to me, they are wonderful. I talk to them all the time and I love them dearly. That’s what it was about. I love my players and I loved my experience here.”​

   The Bunnell Athletic Department honored the Wojnarowski family and longtime former football and softball coach Bob Mastroni Friday night, Sept. 13, 2019. From left, Arlene Wojnarowski, Jack Wojnarowskiand Bob Mastroni. Bunnell lost its season opener 42-0 to Barlow.

The Wojnarowski family was honored as well, for its help and dedication to the Bunnell football program.

In 1983, Bunnell formed the All Sports Booster club with the goal of improving the Bunnell athletic facilities. The booster club secured funding to build a Field House, but the funding alone was insufficient.

“There were five of us at that meeting,” Arlene Wojnarowski said during her speech. “I said, let me see what my husband could do, and he told me never to volunteer him again, but it was wonderful because the people helped us.”

   Jack and Arlene Wojnarowski, along with their family, dedicated much of their time and energy to making the field house a reality in 1985, and are credited as being catalysts of the project.

Both Mastroni and Arlene Wojnarowski were choked up at the end of their speeches in what was an emotional ceremony honoring those who have contributed to the Bunnell football program.

Library “Sunday Afternoon Talks” to cover 1930s Trains

Tom Holehan 

September 19, 2019 

   The Stratford Library will begin the fall season of “Sunday Afternoon Talks”, its monthly series of informative and entertaining talks featuring prominent local guest speakers, on Sunday, October 6 at 2 pm with “Streamlined Trains of the 1930”. Guest speaker is engineer Richard Abramson. “Sunday Afternoon Talks” is free and open to the public.

Richard Abramson, a retired railroader of 44 years, will discuss streamlined trains of the 1930s and their famous industrial designers. The talk will cover the concept of streamlined trains originating in the 1860s, the classic Art-Deco era of the 1930s and the attempts by the railroads in the 1950s to bring riders back to the rails with innovative trains. Abramson, having an interest in trains since age six and, after working for various railroads, retired from the Housatonic RR in September of 012 as Superintendent of Operations. He is also an avid model railroader and has built an HO scale layout of the New Haven RR which has been featured in several publications and DVDs. 

   “Sunday Afternoon Talks” will be held in the Stratford Library’s Lovell Room beginning at 2 pm on Sunday, October 6. A complete schedule of future talks through May 2020 is now available at the Library or online at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

Photo of the Week

Stratford Library Seeks Sponsors for FORE!

Mini-Golf Fundraiser Set for November 15 & 16 

Tom Holehan 

September 19, 2019 


   The Stratford Library Board of Trustees will present a special fundraiser for the library on Friday and Saturday, November 15 and 16.  The second annual family event is FORE! Stratford Library, a mini-golf fundraiser to benefit the library collection. For the benefit, the Stratford Library will be transformed into a mini-golf course, complete with 18 holes. The course will be open for adults on Friday evening from 6:30-9 pm, including a night of food and fun for grown-ups. On Saturday, from 10 am-3:30 pm, the course will be open for

mini-golfers of all ages.

   The Library is currently offering sponsorship for individuals and local businesses at the benefit. FORE!

Stratford Library will allow supporters to be an Event or Hole Sponsor and have the option to decorate a hole on the course. The benefit will help sponsors reach hundreds of Stratford residents while helping the Library continue to offer great programs and materials. Event Sponsors at $500 will get their company name on all event publicity, a high visibility hole for sponsorship, two tickets to the Friday evening adult event ($50 value) or two family five-some of tickets for the Saturday event ($40 value), company name/logo on event poster and scorecards and linked from the Stratford Library website and certificate to display your business. Premium Hole Sponsors at $200 will receive sole

sponsorship of one hole, one ticket for the Friday evening adult event ($25 value) and a family five-some of tickets for the Saturday evening ($20 value), company name/logo on event poster and linked from the Stratford Library website with a certificate. Hole Sponsors at $150 are the same as Premium but may have to share a hole

with another sponsor.

   Current sponsors include Ash Creek Enterprises, The Square One Theatre Company, Dougherty Insurance,

Mitchell & Sheahan P.C., Sterling House Community Center, Stratford Antique Center, the Pickle Barrel and the

Proto & Bevacqua Family. Individuals and businesses interested in sponsoring the FORE! Stratford Library benefit can email:hsilverman@stratfordlibrary.org or call the Administration Office at: 203.385.4166.


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Stratford Crier

Submit your photos to the Stratford Crier for a chance to be published in an upcoming issue!

The Poetry Corner

Norah Christianson

September 19, 2019 


   Louise Gluck is a contemporary American poet who has won many prizes including the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. She was the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2003. Poetry is not always hearts and flowers. In Gluck’s “Monologue at Nine A.M.,” a woman senses that the bad 16-year-old relationship with her man has come to an end. Its starkness stops our heart.

 Lily Rawls of New York City came to the festival to see the Lion King, here with Syndee Winters.

Tommy Mac 5k set for September 28th at 9 am in Stratford.

The run will be followed by BBQ at the Lordship Firehouse! 

For more information visit:


The Gift That Speaks Volumes

Claudia Margitay-Balogh

September 12, 2019


     Thanks to the Stratford Education Foundation and The Dollywood Foundation preschool children (from birth until their fifth birthday) who reside in Stratford will be able to receive a new, carefully selected book each month which will be mailed directly to the child’s home in the child’s name from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. 

       According to Dolly Parton, growing up in the Smoky Mountains had its challenges, and yet most of her life was full of the kind of riches money could never buy. One of her most precious memories was sitting at her mother’s lap and listening to her read stories from the Bible. It was those wonderful moments with her mother that allowed Dolly’s imagination to soar to places far beyond her little cabin. Because reading was so instrumental in Dolly’s formative years and because research has shown that reading regularly to children during their preschool years gives them the biggest boast toward a successful education, Dolly realized that she wanted to help children become readers by having their parents read to them at an early age. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free gift to children. All parents have to do is read the books to their children.

            Dolly Parton hopes that parents will encourage their children to keep dreaming and to dream big! If Dolly’s Imagination Libraryhelps turn the dreams of a child into the promise of a bright future, then one of Dolly’s biggest dreams will come true.     

            In order to register a child for this free program, an official registration form must be completely filled out by parent or guardian. This form must be approved and on file with the Stratford Education Foundation. Forms are available at the Stratford Town Hall, Room 118. One can also register online at: imaginationlibrary.com.

            Eight to ten weeks after the registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at the child’s home and will continue until the child turns five or if the child moves out of Stratford. This free program can make a huge difference in the future of Stratford’s children. It is indeed a gift that speaks volumes!

A Note of Thanks to Festival Volunteers 

Rosemary Martin Hayduk 

September 12, 2019 

Dear awesome volunteers,

Through many months of planning the events of this past weekend, the Festival organizers repeated this mantra: the Phoenix will rise. 

Thanks to your enthusiasm, support, and dedication to the Festival, it did. Majestically.

You, the fabulous Phoenix volunteers, became the pulse and pace of the weekend, keeping things moving as intended, trouble shooting and problem solving. Without you, the Festival simply could not have happened.Truth.

For working in the cold and rain on Friday, our thanks.

For showing up on time and staying longer than intended, our thanks.

For bringing a friend to  help, please share our thanks.

For your part in recruiting volunteers, our thanks

For standing watch over the sun baked bouncy obstacle course our thanks.

For the amazing, hard working, "just like pros"  stage crew volunteers, our thanks.

For the fabulous merch table organizers and sales crew, our thanks.

For the countless tasks performed by our 100+ INCREDIBLE  BHS and SHS student volunteers, our thanks!!!!!!!!!

For those committed from set up to tear down, our thanks.

Please share the gratitude of the Festival organizers with those whose email addresses are not on our volunteer distribution list.

Now that the Phoenix has taken flight, we expect a return home next year. Don't toss those volunteer badges!

"I can no other answer make, but thanks and thanks and ever thanks". (Shamelessly stolen from the Bard himself),

-Rosemary, Volunteer Director Phoenix 2019

Festival Volunteer Director Rosemary Martin Hayduk and volunteer Lani Hayduk. Photo courtesy of Claudia Margitay-Balogh

Over 12,000 Pounds of Trash Collected in August Clean Ups

Release from Clean Earth Project

September 12, 2019

    The beaches along Long Island Sound are beloved by Connecticut residents. Whether walking on the beach, playing in the sand, or swimming in the tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, these destinations of seaside fun have four season appeal for most residents. Unfortunately, for many parks and beaches along the jagged coastline, litter and trash have become a big problem. Plastic bottles and caps, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts and plastic straws challenge the long-term health and vitality of these outdoor livable spaces. It’s a problem faced all over the country, and not unique to the Connecticut shoreline, but The Clean Earth Project knows the importance of cleaning-up locally in order to make a global impact. 

    During the month of August, TCEP organized two beach clean-up events with incredible success. The first, on August 17th, took place at Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It wasn’t the easiest point to travel to - people arrived by boat or water taxi - but volunteers were committed to beautifying their local beach in spite of the trek. Thanks to TCEP’s partnership with the Audubon Society Wildlife Guards and the dedication of 21 volunteers, 528.7 pounds of trash were retrieved. 

“My heart has been breaking recently over the state of our oceans,” said volunteer Julie Gulemi. “I wanted to find ways to help the Earth heal. Attending The Clean Earth Project’s event at Pleasure Beach - I was in shock. At first it was overwhelming to realize the sheer amount of trash that had accumulated there. It was such an incredible experience.” 

    The following weekend, on August 24th, TCEP organized two cleanups in Stratford, Connecticut at Long Beach in the morning and Short Beach during the afternoon in partnership with Friends of Short Beach, Short Beach Park Commission. In just a few hours, a combined 100 volunteers picked up nearly 750 pounds of trash. 

For many volunteers, there is a deep sense of ownership over their local beaches and also tremendous pride in keeping the area clean. Some volunteers felt so good about their experiences, they were driven to do more. “Seeing the pile of trash we picked up at Pleasure Beach on the 17th was humbling, but also exhilarating and motivating. I wanted more, so I decided to join the next TCEP event here in Stratford,” said Gulemi. “I brought a friend and we loved every second of it. I believe in the TCEP mission as they are providing us a tangible way to help the Earth heal. Each of us has the power to make a huge difference in this world.” 

Volunteers were able to discuss the problem at hand and learn about other ways to help the environment. Thanks to Garbo Grabber products, Trash Baggers and Reachers, volunteers found the cleanup process to be easier and more sanitary than expected. The task became so easy and fun, they were able to focus their attention on making connections with their fellow eco-warriors. 

    "This is the best organized cleanup I've ever attended," said Dawn Handschuh. "We filled 4 bags worth of trash and way too many straws, bottle caps and soft plastics. Thanks for the great tools, too." 

    In addition to the many volunteers, these cleanups were made possible through collaboration with various local businesses whose missions support environmental advocacy. They include: Friends of Short Beach, Short Beach Park Commission, Knapp’s Landing, Oar & Oak, Pulaski Strength, Fair Harbor Clothing, njoiii, Shoreline Pools, BRYAC Raw Bar and Garbo Grabber. 

Volunteers Needed for Pumpkin Festival


The Boothe Park Commission is looking for volunteers for the 2019 Pumpkin Festival, to be held at Booth Park on Saturday, October 19th. The Commission is seeking helpers on the day of the festival to work shifts between 9am and 5pm, to help with activities including set up, supervising children’s activities, helping in the kitchen, selling refreshments and more. Both teen and adult volunteers are welcome. Those interested can contact Donna Caserta  dcaserta@townofstratford.com.


Hall of Fame Athlete Joan Joyce Visits Stratford Library 

 Tom Holehan 

September 12, 2019


        Legendary Hall of Fame athlete Joan Joyce returned to Stratford for one day, Thursday September 12th.  Joyce joined author Tony Renzoni for a Meet & Greet Book Signing at the Stratford Library, 2203 Main Street on Thursday, September 12th, from 2pm-5pm in the Library Lobby.

          Joan Joyce began her illustrious career in Stratford at age 13 when she starred with Stratford’s world-famous Raybestos Brakettes fast-pitch softball team. Inducted into an amazing 20 Halls of Fame, Joyce starred in Softball, Basketball, Volleyball, Golf, and Bowling. Her sports achievements are off the charts!! To name just a few: 150 No-Hitters; 50 Perfect Games; a career pitching record of 753 wins - 42 losses; striking out baseball great Ted Williams on several occasions, an LPGA (women) AND a PGA (men) golf record of only 17 putts in a single round (the record still stands today after 37 years); and an AAU basketball record of 67 points. 

          Joyce has refereed for 34 years, coached College golf for 18 years and is currently Head Coach of the Florida Atlantic University women’s softball team (for the past 25 years).  She has been a Champion of women in Sports. As a player, coach, and teacher, Joyce has been a true inspiration for young girls (and boys) for many years.

Upcoming Library Events

Check out a sample of the Arts & Culture Festival from a local videographer, Mike Dominguez