How are we Celebrating our Pandemic Thanksgiving?

Stratford Crier Survey Results
Brought to you by our readers!

How is Stratford celebrating Thanksgiving?

According to the Stratford Crier survey respondents, all of us are staying home with immediate family. Several are going to Zoom with family members that are not local or out of state.

As for what we are thankful for – overwhelmingly we are thankful for our health, our family, and interestingly enough the Biden/Harris win. One respondent noted that they were thankful for “the endless supply of positivity around our town”.

How is this Thanksgiving going to be different around town? “Fewer people at the table”, “A smaller bird and no guests”, “More hope now for the future”, “I can be by myself, eat what I want, and not have to be in front of the TV with some dumb football game (or games)!”

Most of us are having the traditional turkey dinner; those with Italian heritage are going with the traditional turkey with lasagna and manicotti. The vegans and vegetarians are going with a “meatless turkey roast.” (who knew?)

One of our readers lost his father due to Covid-19, and to him and his family, and all of our readers who lost someone to Covid-19, we send you our most sincere condolences. Thank you all for filling out the survey, may many blessings come your way, wear a mask, stay socially distant, and stay safe.

Ode To Thanksgiving

Orna Rawls
Stratford Crier Board of Directors

Millions of people celebrate Thanksgiving, with many of us traveling to spend the day with loved ones, express gratitude, and share a meal together.(Would that be Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go). According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 54 million Americans travel over 50 miles or more on Thanksgiving.

Many Americans also use this holiday to help the less fortunate. Hosting a food drive is common, as is preparing free dinners for the hungry. The sense of community and thanks has given way to many powerful quotes and sayings reiterating these feelings.

Below is a collection of quotes, sayings, and puns to get you and your family in the festive mood.

Many people have shared their thoughts about Thanksgiving and being thankful .In a study by Statista, 50% of Americans reported that celebrating Thanksgiving is very important, while 70% of Americans think Thanksgiving is a holiday to spend time with family. Of the millions of people celebrating this holiday, many feel the need to express their gratitude and take inspiration from others.

Thanksgiving Quotes The Good, The Bad, and The Punny!

  • “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson
  • “Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put into words is all that is necessary.” — Margaret Cousins
  • “Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward
  • “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” — W. Clement Stone
  • “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
  • “Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Halftimes take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.” — Erma Bombeck
  • “When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.” — Sam Lefkowitz
  • “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
  • “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have
    roses.” — Alphonse Karr
  • “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in
    every hour, some heavenly blessings.” — Henry Ward Beecher
  • “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are
    conscious of our treasures.” — Thornton Wilder
  • “I like football. I find it’s an exciting strategic game. It’s a great way to avoid
    conversation with your family at Thanksgiving.” — Craig Ferguson
  • “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what
    he’s going to get.” — Frank W. Clarke
  • “When you give and carry out acts of kindness, it’s as though something inside your body responds and says, ‘Yes, this is how I ought to feel.’” — Rabbi Harold Kushner

Thanksgiving Puns
Thanksgiving can also be fun and whimsical. Often during happy gatherings, people like to bring humor to the table, just remember, “Laughter is the best medicine”!

  • Oh my gourd!
  • Gobble until you wobble
  • Feast mode
  • I’m all about that baste
  • Corn you believe it?
  • That’s a-maize-ing
  • I yam who I yam
  • Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater
  • B-autumns up
  • Fowl play
  • Turnip the beat
  • Taters gonna tate
  • Easy as pie!

Thanksgiving Sayings

  • There’s always something to be thankful for
  • There’s always room for seconds
  • Give thanks with a grateful heart
  • Pumpkin spice and everything nice
  • Thankful and blessed
  • Leftovers are for quitters
  • Eat, drink, and be thankful
  • In all things give thanks
  • Let our lives be full of both thanks and giving
  • Gather here with grateful hearts
  • Get your pie on
  • It’s turkey time
  • Keep calm and gobble on
  • Count your blessings

And to close, we leave you with these thoughts:

“Piglet noticed that although he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” A.A. Milne

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received,
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling,
Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse”
Henry Van Dyke

We at the Stratford Crier wish all of you a Blessed Holiday.


Quotes Source:

Thanksgiving Survey

This year, Thanksgiving celebrations may look different than in the past. With the current Coronavirus situation, public health officials are encouraging caution. While this may be challenging, there are many things to be thankful for and many traditions will hopefully continue.

We have created a survey to learn how Thanksgivings in our community may be different this year.

Click HERE to see the results


If you haven’t responded yet, we still want to hear from you. Tell us about your thanksgiving experience:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Time to Sell – or – Time to Buy? 

By Osi Rosenberg,
A to Z Realty,

It is the middle of the pandemic and lockdowns are looming. Here is how things look in Stratford! At the time this was written, November 18, 2020, there are 83 properties on the market with a price range of $45,000 to $2.3M. An impressive range for our humble little town. While we don’t have a lot of inventory, the real question is, what kind of market are we in? Buyer or Sellers? Good question! It is hard to say how this will play out with so many moving parts such as the pandemic response in CT and surrounding states, the elections finalization, and the much awaited, highly anticipated vaccine. 

Key Conditions:

Let us go back to economics class for a moment. What happens when there is very little inventory (sellers), and a lot of demand (buyers)? If your Virtually Educated Middle Schooler answered prices skyrocket, they would be correct! When we have very few homes on the market and buyers pouring into the state, there is a huge demand that causes buyers to fight tooth and nail to outbid their competition. In some cases, having the winning bid meant bidding on homes $20,000 to $50,000 over asking price in parts of the state. This makes a Sellers’ market that Stratfordites and all of CT seemed to enjoy over the summer months. Summer is usually a busy time in real estate, 2020 did not change that, in fact it was impressive on all accounts. Buyers from NYC flocked to the suburbs to stretch their legs in the new remote work environment. I’ve even heard it described as the “Great Exodus”! 

Market Drivers: 

Now, the initial wave of panic has settled, and the pouring out of NY has slowed. What happens when the supply is increased and the demand decreases? You guessed it, the exact opposite, the infamous Buyers’ market. Where Buyers underbid and Sellers have two choices; wait for the market to turn, or accept lower than asking price. With the winter months approaching, colder weather, darker days and COVID-19 still looming, a Buyers’ market certainly seems very possible. 


Opportunities Amidst Challenges:

So where are we here in Stratford? Like the rest of CT, Stratford had its fair share of the benefits of the Great Exodus. I would attribute this to the position on the Metro North and Forest to Shore small town feel. During the pandemic, Stratfordites, supported each other through its religious and civic organizations as well as its municipal initiatives. Stratford has so much to offer and just a hop, skip, and train ride to the city. But as they say, what goes up, must come down. Homes are not flying off the market like they were, Sellers are seeing higher numbers of showings to contract, and Buyers are being braver with their low ball offers. The good news is that buyers are still looking, and homes are still going on the market, but like the ebb and flow of the tide, there is a familiar feeling in the current of Stratford Real Estate Market. What will happen going into the holiday season and beyond? Time will tell, but Buyers’ Market warnings are around us.

Fair Market values always drop a little in the winter months and it will be interesting to see how the market fairs the next few months. I’ll be watching. 

Sneak Peek at the next edition: 

Short Sales and REO’s are Reading their Ugly Heads Again. 

Now that courts are back in session, the pause on evictions, stalled foreclosures, and extended law days are coming to an end, February and March will likely see a huge uptick in foreclosure proceedings. Next edition, I will discuss the issues involved in Distressed Homes, Short Sales and how they affect the market. If you want to discuss your distressed property sooner than later, contact A to Z Realty, LLC 203.738.5999. We are always available to assist. 

Real Estate Question Corner: 

I was asked the other day about refinancing opportunities and if it is worthwhile in this market. 


Here are the factors to consider: 

  1. What is your current mortgage rate? 
  2. What is your current Loan to Value ratio?
  3. What is your current mortgage payment versus what you may pay with a new loan? 
  4. Do you have enough equity to do a no-money-down refinance? 
  5. Are you interested in cash out refinance? 
  6. How’s that credit score? 

Your best first step is to contact a Mortgage Professional and discuss your options. There are several mortgage professional businesses based right here in Stratford. 

*Note that the figures in this article are taken from InfoSparks statistics with the restriction of Stratford, CT/All Price Ranges/All Property Types/All Bedrooms/All Bathrooms/All Sizes.

Mold the Future for Stratford Education: Stratford Education Fund

by Tom Dillon

What skills will be required for Stratford’s students in the years to come?  What will make them successful in their careers?  What knowledge do they need to make the greatest impact on their lives and the lives of others? The answers to those questions are the focus of a community led initiative being implemented by The Stratford Education Fund.

Bob David, a community member and one of three facilitators for the Barr Foundation, is looking for community volunteers throughout our community to participate in a structured workshop for the next several months.  Three groups composed of educators, parents and local business people that will collaborate to create an outline for programs and priorities required for students to become successful in life and the workplace.

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, they are guided by core values defined by their founders. “These values are fundamental to who we are and what we believe constitutes effective philanthropy.”

Volunteers are needed to kick the program off starting in December and will be meeting through March. The groups will share ideas and develop specific programs that will be presented to the Barr Foundation and the Stratford Board of Education by the Summer of 2021.

A few dozen communities have been selected across New England.  The Barr Foundation is not only providing the funds to conduct the initial community collaboration, but a handful of communities will be awarded a grant each year for four years in a row to implement the programs that they created.

Diversity Matters

Over 50 languages are spoken in Stratford homes and our community is made up of an incredible diversity of people.   Bob is urging every Stratford resident with an interest in the success of our youth to consider getting involved with the project to ensure that it represents our community in the broadest possible sense.  Based on current conditions with the pandemic, meetings are currently expected to be virtual and will meet numerous times per month.  There is even a small stipend available for participants.

The Stratford Education Fund is an outgrowth of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce’s oldest running program the Business and Education Support Team (BEST).  The BEST program has run for more than 30 years as a public private partnership between Stratford’s business community and the public schools.  The BEST program continues to provide “mini-grants” between 50 and 500 dollars which are put directly into teachers’ hands for small programs that go straight to Stratford’s classrooms. Every year awards are presented to teachers and students for being the “BEST” of Stratford.

The Stratford Education Fund was created to create more opportunities by going through the full process of registering as a IRS recognized 501(c)3 charitable foundation.  That long process was completed with extensive support of many community businesses, including the Milford Bank.

This is your opportunity to get involved and share your experience and perspective on the future of our students and community!  Anyone interested should reach out to Bob David at

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Probate Corner with Judge Max L. Rosenberg

Greetings Stratfordites and friends! I am Max L. Rosenberg, the Judge of Probate Court for Stratford, District 47.

In this installment, I want to discuss the risks of dying without a will. I have been asked on several occasions, how the artist formerly known as Prince could have died without leaving a will. This musical phenomenon, who was a virtuoso on no less than four instruments, and arguably a shrewd businessman, who unlike his contemporaries, took control of his musical catalog and copyrights, left no will? Why?

Reportedly, he hated lawyers. But increasingly, and unexpectedly, people are losing loved ones far too soon to COVID-19. Often, these events are surrounded by abrupt and hectic circumstances with little to no time to prepare or discuss intentions. Other notable people that have not left a Will (which resulted in expensive, time consuming wastes of resources with loved ones being left forgotten) are Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, and Sonny Bono. Stieg Larsson, the author of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise, left no will and his lifelong partner of thirty-two years, Eva Gabrielsson, received nothing. (His family did grant her ownership of the couple’s apartment). If there is a lesson here, it’s to prepare early. Now is the time to get your estate planning house in order.

What is intestate or intestacy? This is the term we use regarding a deceased person and their estate when they have not left a Will. For some people, this may not seem too alarming, assuming they plan on dying with no assets or assuming they have left no loved ones behind. However, if you have assets and loved ones, it seems irresponsible not to leave considerate directions for when you are gone. In the news today, I was saddened to be reminded that Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Comics’ Black Panther, died at such a young age (43) and at the height of his career. I was sadder to read that he died intestate. Its no surprise or secret that people put off getting their Wills taken care of.

No one wants to contemplate their own mortality. The younger the person is, the less likely they believe it to be necessary. Mr. Boseman was 43, and while it does not seem he had any children, he left behind two parents and a wife, Taylor Simone Ledward. Ms. Ledward has now filed in Los Angeles Probate Court and requested for a judge to name her an administrator of her husband’s estate with limited authority. She listed the estimated value of the “Black Panther” star’s estate at $938,500.

You may be wondering what will happen with this estate as there are not clear directions from the decedent (deceased person). The state’s Intestate Succession laws or probate law will now dictate how Mr. Boseman’s money will devolve, to whom and in what proportions.

Under California law, when a person dies “intestate”, the spouse inherits all community property and splits the individual’s separate property with the parents. However, and more applicable to us, in Connecticut, the same situation would be differently handled. To wit: the spouse inherits the first $100,000 of your intestate property as well as three quarters (3/4) of the balance. The parents would inherit all the remaining intestate property.

So, while our state has a number of wonderfully crafted intestacy laws, I recommend not leaving something this important up to the court if you have options. Every adult should ask themselves the hard questions we normally avoid and prepare for the eventual inevitable. On a positive note, certain notable people did leave very specific directives in their Last Wills.

A few more interesting tid-bits in Connecticut intestacy law: If a person dies with no living relatives their property goes to the state. Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-439, If a person dies with half-siblings, they inherit as if you shared both parents. Also, relatives with immigration status issues inherit regardless of any legality as to their status. Babies born after, but conceived before a person’s death, inherit as though they were born before the person’s passing. And finally, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 45a-447, if an heir is found guilty of murdering the relative, they lose their inheritance, and shall not profit from the killing. This is called the “Slayer Statute”.

Dusty Springfield, Alexander McQueen and Leona Helmsley left very generous, very specific provisions for their dogs and cats. William Shakespeare generously gave his “second-best bed, with the furniture” to his wife and his “broad silver-gilt bowl” to his daughter Judith and finally, a whole ten pounds to “the poor of Stratford,”. Even if it is just ten pounds, isn’t it nice to be remembered?

Hate is Not a Mental Illness

by Orna Rawls
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT

In the weeks leading to Halloween and the election, a friend of mine spotted an effigy of one of the presidential candidates with a knife sticking out of his chest. It was adorning a front yard in a peaceful, bucolic Fairfield County town.

I don’t think it matters which candidate got the knife; what matters is that such a demonstration of blind hate sends a message legitimizing hate and violence to all who pass by and beyond.

Is hate a mental illness as many feel? The American Psychiatric Association concluded that hate is not a mental illness. People consumed by hate may be fearful, unhappy, resentful, chronically angry and/or ignorant. They tend to gravitate towards hate-mongering and racist leaders, but they are rarely mentally ill. Hate, however, with its cousin racism, is a social malaise.

Hate and racism are learned behaviors, best summed up in the lyrics from Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific musical:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

Since hate can be taught, it can and should be untaught. 2nd District Councilperson Kaitlyn Shake suggested the council pass a resolution regarding racism as a public health emergency. I’d add hate, hate-mongering and hate crimes to the resolution. And ideally tack on some programs to teach all ages about alternative emotions.

I’m no Rogers and Hammerstein, but here is my valiant attempt at rephrasing their lyrics:

You’ve got to be taught
To be thoughtful and kind,
You’ve got to be taught
Your neighbor to mind,
You’ve got to be taught,
From year to year,
With compassion and goodwill

The “otherness” to cheer.


Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Décor

11th Annual Small Business Saturday® Begins on November 28th

Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Decor has announced that as a member of the American Express® Neighborhood Champion Program, it is encouraging consumers to shop with local, independently owned small businesses as part of the 11th Annual Small Business Saturday, which begins on Nov 28 and continues all holiday season long. Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday celebrates the impact small businesses have on communities across the country, and is a celebration of the positive impact they have on communities across the country. American Express works with organizations and independent businesses to provide solutions that support communities and uplift local economies. Learn more and connect with us on,, and

For the fourth year in a row, Mellow Monkey has led the Shop Small effort in cooperation with the Town of Stratford Department of Economic Development by promoting “Shop Small Stratford.” a town-wide effort that highlights small businesses in the town of Stratford and what they have to offer. This year’s Shop Small event is particularly challenging given the fluid nature of the pandemic and its impact on small businesses.

According to Howard Aspinwall, “Historically, Shop Small Saturday has put a focus on getting consumers in the doors of small businesses. This year, restrictions on occupancy and any potential lockdown measures make this year’s event a challenging one. To address that, we’re encouraging businesses to plan for both scenarios – in particular, to ensure their online and social media presence is ready and up-to-date, and their alternative fulfillment processes (local delivery, curbside pickup and shipping) are clearly communicated to consumers.”

“At Mellow Monkey, we are actively encouraging our customer base to get out NOW and shop with small businesses in advance of the event by incentivizing them to do so. The store will reward customers with shopping discounts on Shop Small Saturday when customers present receipts for purchases made with other Stratford Small Businesses from November 13th through November 28th (Shop Small Saturday).”

“Mellow Monkey is also cross-promoting other independently owned “retail stores” regionally and in its same vertical market. While technically we all sell gifts and home décor, our primary competition is not with each other, but with national and online brands. Working together, we are stronger as a collective by reminding and encouraging consumers to do their holiday shopping with small business retailers.

Specifically in retail, it’s important to remember small businesses needed to tap into a financial reserve during the Spring lock down – a cushion that came from holiday sales in the previous year. Without the benefit of holiday sales this year, most retailers would find it difficult if not impossible to survive into 2021. The impact of shuttered small businesses in 2021 would be extensive and noticeable because they have given back to the community many times over and also make up the fabric and color of the communities they operate in.” Howard Aspinwall, Owner, Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Decor

In order to drive shoppers to Shop Small® this Nov 28, Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Decor is participating in the American Express® Neighborhood Champion Program to spotlight small businesses and the impact they have on communities. According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 97% of consumers who
shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community and 95% reported the day makes them want to shop or eat at small, independently-owned businesses all year long, not just during the holiday season.

Since it started in 2010, consumers have reported spending an estimated $120 billion across all Small Business Saturdays combined. Merchants and consumers can learn more about Shop Small, Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting

The Stratford Crier can be an Essential Part of our Community

by David Chess, MD

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

The Stratford Crier can be an essential part of our community, our democracy and our building Stratford in a way we can all be proud of. Stratford Forward, the sponsor of the Stratford Crier, was formed over 2 years ago as a 501 C3 nonprofit. It is a non-partisan, grassroots effort to bring people together around issues that touch their lives, that touch our community and the future of our community.

If we are to have a community that truly invests in its citizens, that truly provides the best education for our children, that lifts each of us as much as possible and we lift our town as much as possible, we need a way to share ideas, to share a vision and to tell the stories of Stratford.

The success of this effort depends on community involvement, we are largely a volunteer organization with a very small budget. We need your help!!

Stratford is our Town, The Crier is our paper (virtually speaking).

Please become part of our extended writers, contributors.

Please contribute to the Stratford Crier. We really need your help. You contribute by mailing a check to Stratford Forward 1990 Elm St, Stratford CT 06615 – For the our Crier

Our Click the link:

With kindness and thanks,
David Chess

Obituary: John “Jack” F Wojnarowski Jr

John “Jack” F Wojnarowski Jr, age 79, of Stratford, the beloved husband of 60 years to Arlene Kramer Wojnarowski, passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 8, 2020 in his home, with his loving family by his side. Jack was born in Bridgeport, on June 27, 1941, to the late John F and Elsie (Salik) Wojnarowski and had been a lifelong area resident. He was the retired owner of Wojnarowski Builders and was also an owner of Donut Crazy, both family owned businesses. You would often find Jack behind the counter at Donut Crazy in Paradise Green serving up smiles one coffee and donut at a time.  Jack enjoyed his role in both businesses; however, he most enjoyed spending time with his family, whom he was most proud.

He was an active member of the Bunnell High School sports community and was an integral part in making sure the Bulldogs had a field house to call their own.  In 2019, the Bulldog field house was dedicated to Jack and his family, for their generous donation. In his spare time, he would attend his grandchildren’s sports events and personally enjoyed hand sewing patchwork blankets that were handed out to countless sick children and adults over many years. Survivors in addition to his beloved wife Arlene, include his sons, John F. Wojnarowski III and Jason Wojnarowski, his grandchildren, Gregory Wojnarowski Jr, Jack Wojnarowski, John Wojnarowski IV, Ava and Hunter Wojnarowski, daughter-in-law, Courtney Boyle and her husband Tom, several nieces and nephews. Jack was predeceased by his son, Gregory Wojnarowski Sr. Due to the pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings, the family has elected to hold a private service.

A memorial service to celebrate Jack’s life will be announced at a later time. On behalf of The Wojnarowski Family, they would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. The Adzima Funeral Home has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements. For more information or to make an online condolence please visit