Looking to lose those extra Covid-19 pounds?

“Eat This Not That” Zoom talk on June 3rd

Stratford Library Nutrition Program

by Tom Holehan
Public Relations & Programming
Stratford Library

The Stratford Library will host a virtual, live nutritional and health program — “Eat This Not That” on Thursday, June 3 at 10:30 am. The program, available on the Library’s Zoom platform, is free and open to the public.

Nutrition plays a big role in one’s health, energy and mood. Viewers are invited to join this fun and interactive nutrition program and learn how making simple tweaks in foods can lead to big results.

Guest speaker for the program is Jill Patterson, RDN, an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, Patterson is also a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. She specializes in employee wellness and school nutrition and is passionate about helping people live their happiest and healthiest lives.

To register online and receive a Zoom invitation for the program visit: https://stratfordlibrary.libcal.com/event/7737942.
For further information, call the Stratford Library at: 203.385-4162

“This is Not Field of Dreams.”

The American Globe Center – The Next Evolution of Theatre

By: Tom Edmond Evans, Executive Director
And: Jim Warren, Artistic Director
American Globe Center

As we grow the vision for the American Globe Center (AGC), we are frequently met with this response. And though we are aware that Kevin Costner is not waiting in a cornfield to play catch with his ghostly dad, let me explain why WHEN we build it, they WILL come.

The American Globe Center is unique in its approach on every level – no one has ever conceived of, or constructed, a project of its kind. If someone had come to you in 2003 and said “I want to build a device that combines your cell phone with your laptop with your digital camera with your VCR with your calendar with your rolodex” – most people would have scoffed. And now today, imagine trying to invent a smart phone WITHOUT any of those features. Like Apple and other companies who developed a smarter phone, it is our goal to create a smarter theatre:

  • A theatre integrated deeply into its community, but with international reach, renown, and draw.
  • A new organization, alive, engaged, and aware, built on integrity, equity, and inclusion for all, which also reinvents and reinvigorates a classic past.
  • A place where one can see the work of the world’s greatest playwrights, past and present, brought to life in a living, participatory, shared, rock concert style of show – a “back to the future” experience where the audience will re-learn what theatre can be, by experiencing it the way Shakespeare and his original audiences would have.
  • A campus anchored by a re-creation of the premier “must-see TV,” “water cooler conversation”-generating venue of 1614; next door to the most cutting-edge arts and education facility ever built.
  • A destination for not only those who love the arts, but those who love the art of the constructed destination itself – historians, scholars, architects, builders, and more.
  • A cultural non-profit run with the acumen and management of for-profit business, future-proofed by the experience of 2020 to build better, do better, be better.
  • And lastly, the “Netflix” of live theatre, a company where you can see everything from “globe-stylin” Shakespeare to the best of Broadway to dance, visual art, and live music – all in one weekend.

We ARE building it. And they can’t WAIT to come.

We know the world is already in line for the AGC “Smart Theatre.” Both within the industry and from the arts consumer, everyone has been looking for a new arts paradigm. The AGC will deliver experiences unlike anything out there, taking the best of the best, and then raising the bar – and the smarts. Like those smarter devices, the AGC will have a range of features and benefits – to both the local community and to cultural tourists.

Locally, the AGC will provide nearly 100 jobs, purely within the business model of the theatre. Additionally, supporting businesses which will grow around the success of the theatre will add hundreds of additional jobs in service, tourism, and hospitality. Economic development indicators show that even if the theatre averages half capacity, businesses in Stratford would gain nearly $40 Million annually in increased revenue.
In addition to serving the town from a financial perspective, the AGC will also reinvigorate education in Stratford. “The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic… music, dance, painting, and theatre are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.” ~ William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan.

Part of the job as a company member of the American Globe Center is being an educator – not just through time spent in schools but in time spent in the community. Stratford teens will once again be proud of their town’s theatre and its presence in their life, and at the AGC, the arts will be the cool option to burn off extra energy. Stratford’s children will grow up with unparalleled access to art and theatre. We will provide the benefit of supplemental arts education despite frequent funding cuts suffered by the school system, and we will engage the minds of students from pre-K through post grad programs.

The AGC will thrive in the heart of Stratford – our artists will both come from the community and move to the town to join the community. This enterprise will not be a commuter workplace for New Yorkers, but instead a connected and vibrant group of citizens, working constantly to make Stratford an ever-improving place to live.

And to visit. The AGC at capacity will draw over half a million visitors to Stratford. And if those numbers seem somehow impossible, look at the three venues most like the American Globe Center, and how the combination of the best of their offerings will make our numbers obtainable from year 1.

The Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario is in a small town in rural Canada – two hours from the nearest large city. From its humble beginnings as a small railroad stop incorporated as a town in 1859, the inception of the Festival grew Stratford into a thriving city today. The primary reason for the city’s growth and success? The Stratford Festival, which draws nearly 500,000 attendees annually, and drives nearly $140 million in yearly economic impact. The model of the theatre is similar to one aspect of the AGC – they present classic and modern works in repertory, creating a year-round community of artists with a lifelong bond to the town. While their classic and Shakespeare work is well produced, it does not share the unique performance style of the AGC and it doesn’t have the allure of a historically accurate Globe theatre.
These promises are not without precedent and proof. The American Shakespeare Center (home of the Blackfriars Playhouse re-creation) was built on the backbone of Jim Warren’s approach to Shakespeare.

Presenting the works of Shakespeare (as well as other classic and modern playwrights) using Shakespeare’s staging conditions creates a shared, “watching your favorite band in a club,” energetic and alive experience. The actors and audience share the same light, and the audience is a part of the show – they are Macbeth’s army, Juliet’s best friend, Hamlet’s confidant, and co-conspirators planning to assassinate Julius Caesar. It is a public, shared experience, where we invite you to eat, drink, and party with not only your friends and family, but the entire ensemble. The Blackfriars has proven the commercial success of this style, touring in 47 states and five other countries while annually drawing over 50,0000 visitors to its 300-seat theatre, and doubling the economic impact of tourism in Staunton, VA, within ten years of opening.
Thirdly in alignment with the American Globe Center, is Shakespeare’s Globe in London, England, which is a historic re-creation of Shakespeare’s first Globe, built in 1599, and re-created and re-opened in 1998.

The Globe welcomes 1.25 million visitors annually, many of whom travel to London specifically to experience the re-created theatre. And while the London Globe does exist in a major urban center, it is as an educational destination that it most thrives, rather than from incidental tourism associated with general trips to London. The Globe derives 25% of its revenue from educational programs and tours of the building, and a large portion of ticket sales are dedicated to these groups as well.

Which brings us back to the AGC. To stay well in the black across a 30-year pro-forma, the AGC need only reach a 45% capacity average, or welcome 233,511 guests annually. If one examines both the number of current theatrical tourists visiting CT today – roughly 1 Million – and then extrapolates the potential draw of a theatre destination which combines the best of the Stratford Festival, the London Globe, and the ASC Blackfriars, then the potential for the American Globe Center is clear.

“This is not Field of Dreams.” The American Globe Center is an ocean of possibility.

A few short years from now, we and our chosen partners will sit back and say “We DID build it. And they are HERE.” Our goals are infinitely “do-able.” The size of this vision is not motivation to back away, but rather an opportunity to dive in all the deeper. Every great innovation has faced its naysayers and challenges. It is those who are willing to swim against the tide, to push back in the face of that adversity and continue to create the new, unexpected, and unique who will reach their destination.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…”

We are at the flood, and it is time for the American Globe Center to sail.

http://www.americanglobecenter.org

Forks Up: 2021 Stratford Restaurant Week is ON!!!

Sunday, May 16th through Saturday, May 22nd

Stratford’s popular Restaurant Week kicks off on Sunday, May 16 and runs through Saturday, May 22. More than 25 restaurants are teaming up to showcase and celebrate the best of Stratford’s dining scene.
Last year’s event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We are delighted to bring Restaurant Week back to the community,” Stratford Mayor Laura R. Hoydick said. “As we all know; the restaurant industry was deeply impacted by the pandemic. I encourage residents, family and friends to take advantage of our local restaurants’ promotions. We are lucky to have such a wide range of cuisine, from all over the globe, right here in Stratford.”

Combined with a variety of waterfront establishments, a “host of trendy hotspots and several Stratford landmarks, Stratford’s Restaurant Week promises to please the inner foodie in all of us!” officials wrote in a news release.

New this year, Restaurant Week patrons are invited to participate in the inaugural Golden Fork Award. Visit any participating Restaurant Week business and send a picture of your receipt to info@StratfordRestaurantWeek.com.

One lucky winner will receive The Golden Fork award, a bundle of Stratford restaurant gift cards worth more than $500.

For a list of participating restaurants and their Restaurant Week specials, and to learn more about The Golden Fork award, visit www.stratfordrestaurantweek.com

Sweet Treats on the Avenue

Cakes by Sonia

Interview with Owner: Sonia Diaz
2067 Barnum Avenue

She first opened her business down Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport in late 2019 — not the greatest timing in retrospect. Since her opening there are days when there is a line out the door for these delectable sweet treats.

When did you first realize that you were able to bake and decorate cakes?
I first realized I was able to decorate and bake when I was around 16. I would always watch baking competition shows and I fell in love! It started as a hobby but I later figured I’ll probably be doing this for a living!

I started from home baking and then I got hired by Food Bazaar as a cake decorator at 18 as my first job.

Why cupcakes?As much as I love decorating cakes I wanted to do something that is smaller and easier for everyone to eat! Cupcakes are a perfect size!

What is the most unusual cake you have ever been asked to create?
To me the most unusual cakes are those with very different flavor combinations! Who would think chocolate and lemon would be a thing! One thing I learned in the baking industry you’ll have to be open to create everything.

What made you decide to go “brick and mortar” with cupcakes?
What made me decide that I needed a brick and mortar was when I realized how much space I was running out of in my mom’s apartment. I always dreamed of having my own shop but I knew it was time when my small home kitchen looked like a bakery!

How many different varieties of cupcakes do you have, and how are they rotated?We have around 30 flavors. I like to always have my classic flavors and also different gourmet flavors and combinations, it gives everyone a lot of options to choose from.

Your “specialty cakes” have appeared on your website, as well in Facebook sites where people requested a special cake, and then posted a photo. Missing from all those photos were wedding cakes. Do you make wedding cakes?

We do make wedding cakes!! Wedding cakes are definitely my favorite they’re so simple and elegant. It makes me feel honored being part of anyone’s big day!

For a special cake we require at least 1-2 weeks in advance we do get lots of orders so to make sure you can book with us I always say to plan ahead!

What are your hours of operation?
We’re open from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Get your Creative Juices Flowing

New On-line Workshops

Arts Alliance of Stratford

Imagination Practice
Thursday, May 27, 2021 @ 6:15 pm – 9:15 pm
Zoom Videoconferencing

CONTACT: Megan McCool
1 session
https://artsallianceofstratford.org/event/imagination-practice-may

Arts Alliance of Stratford members: $30
Non members: $35
(7 students minimum)
Beginner to advanced artists of any medium welcome.

Like any muscle, your imagination gets stronger with use and weaker when neglected. Using specially designed tools to unlock the power of your creativity we will journey deep into the realm of your subconscious mind, strengthen the parts of your brain in charge of imagination and practice exercises and tools that help artists that work in any medium liberate their artistic impulses from their second-guesser mind. Whether you’re a writer or a painter, a chef or a trapeze artist, a mom or a model, these fun and practical exercise will set your brain on fire, melt creative blocks and become part of your creativity tool box for the rest of your life.

About the instructor: Brian Hogan is a guest lecturer and program coordinator at Sacred Heart University’s Graduate Film/TV & Screenwriting Program. He has released multiple award-winning short films and a two-hour award winning TV pilot screenplay. He is also a Creativity and Clarity Coach specializing in helping artists and creatives find clarity and move past blocks as they discover and honor their own artistic processes. For more about Brian see www.LifeStoryHacking.com.

On Thursday, June 3rd in a Zoom meeting from 6:15 – 9:15pm there will be a session on Creative Writing: Dissolving Creative Blocks Through Paradox.

For further information, go to:
https://artsallianceofstratford.org/event/creative-writing-paradox-june

“The Players may have Changed but the Game Remains the Same”

Stratford Army Engine Plant Development

On May 12th there was a virtual public informational hearing hosted by the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the United States Army to review a draft Stewardship Permit Renewal for the Stratford Army Engine Plant Property. Over 75 Stratford residents logged on to the Zoom meeting.

The Stewardship Permit’s purpose is to require the completion of investigation, remediation, and long-term stewardship requirements including monitoring of environmental conditions, engineered controls, and institutional controls, as applicable. The permit requires financial assurances and public participation in final remedy decisions. The Stewardship Permit, which is a 10 year permit, ensures that the statewide environmental remedy remains effective into the future.

The application for the Stewardship Permit is available for inspection at the SAEP website, https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects-Topics/Army-Engine-Plant-Environmental-Restoration-Project, and at the Stratford library, and at DEEP’s Record Center, by appointment when open, and the CT DEEP’s webpage listing public notices of proposed permit decisions: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Public-Notices/Public-Notices-Proposed-Actions—Opportunity-for-Comment/Proposed-Individual-Permits.

The Stewardship Permit is for what the Army refers to as the “upland area”. This is separate from the Record of Decision that was signed on March 12th that established a timeline for remediation of the “tidal area”. As a point of clarification, both the “tidal area” and upland area”, the Army Engine Plant, is owned by the United States Army, and, according to the Army, these permits which list all of the remediation that has to be completed, will not be transferred to any entity until that entity is reviewed and deemed having the financial, environmental, and engineering expertise to take over the plant.

Councilwoman Laura Dancho asked if the Town of Stratford had input as to the permit would be transferred. According to Tom Lineer (Army), “maybe to some extent” but it is the Army’s decision on who they select that they best believe would meet the financial obligations on the remaining cleanup. Note: According to Mr. Lineer the cost of the Army Engine Plant cleanup is staggering.

The draft permit identifies the applicant’s obligations to complete environmental clean-up and monitoring of the property, and any future corrective action to ensure that any release of hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents have been investigated and remediated to levels protective of human health and the environment, in accordance with Section 22a-133k of the RCSA, known as the Remediation Standard Regulations.

The renewal of this permit (presently held by the US Army) continues the cleanup obligations being implemented at the property. The permit authorizes the completion of environmental investigation, remedial actions where warranted, and as needed, post-closure care, long-term maintenance and monitoring to ensure the corrective actions remain effective into the future. The proposed activity is not expected to adversely affect any natural resources or human health.

All interested persons are invited to express their views on the tentative determination concerning this draft permit. Written comments on the draft permit must be submitted no later than May 21st. Comments provided during the public meeting will also be considered. Written comments should be directed to:

Amanda Killeen, Environmental Analyst, by email at Amanda.Killeen@ct.gov or by postal mail:

Amanda Killeen, Environmental Analyst
Remediation Division
Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse
79 Elm Street, 2nd Floor
Hartford, Connecticut 06106-5127

The Commissioner will not make a final decision regarding this proposed permit until the public comment period has closed and all comments received verbally at the public meeting or received in writing have been evaluated and addressed.

Historical Information:

The Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP) was a U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command installation and manufacturing facility located in Stratford. In 1995 the Base Realignment and Closure of the United States Department of Defense, recommended closure of the plant. On 30 September 1998, Allied Signal concluded operations in the plant and returned it to the US Army.

For the next 11 years the Army was involved with “Team Stratford” to develop the property. There has been support in the development by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, who opened up pathways for development, as well as Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

In March 2008 the United States Army auctioned the 78-acre site off with a winning bid of $9,612,000 which also included the 1,720,000-square-foot facility of over 50 buildings. This bid failed to be paid off and was placed for rebid. Robert Hartmann of Hartmann Development has a $1 billion plan to develop the former plant into a destination resort, dependent on the US government selling him the entire property for one dollar.

Several Stratford administrations have been working to redevelop Stratford Army Engine Plant property (historically with announcement of development timed for municipal elections) and the issuance of a Stewardship Permit Renewal begins the process of cleanup of contamination.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) leads oversight of the site’s environmental remediation
In 2014 the Connecticut State House of Representatives and the State Senate had passed a bill to create a special tax district at the plant to levy taxes and issue bonds which was viewed as helping to finance the redevelopment project, particularly road construction, sewage systems, and environmental remediation.
According to a statement from Mayor Hoydick in her State of Stratford video/statement she acknowledged that the Record of Decision (ROD) signed in March was the first phase of remediation, the dredging of the mudflats. She stated that “the transfer of the property from the Army to the developer, Point Stratford Renewal, must happen within six months of the signing of the ROC. Note: The Army did not indicate them having received an application from Point Stratford Renewal.

Point Stratford Renewal is a collaboration of at least three separate Connecticut Companies: Loureiro Properties LLC, Development Resources LLC and Sedgwick Partners LLC. Their vision for the former Avco being mixed-use development to accommodate several million square feet of residential, senior living, retail, hotel, entertainment, beer garden, and various commercial/industrial uses.
Presenting for the Army was Tony Delano, Erika Mark, and Tom Lineer; CT DEEP was represented by Amanda Killeen.

Meet Your Councilman” Dave Harden, District 4

Editor’s Note: Councilman Dave Harden was contacted multiple times, and did not submit answers to our questions, or respond to repeated attempts to interview him.

 

Ask the Registrar – Stratford, CT

Your place to get questions answered about voting and local elections in Stratford

By Democratic Registrar James Simon.

Q. Why are there more Independent voters in Stratford than Democrats or Republicans?
There aren’t. In Connecticut, “Independent” is the name of a political party. Only 485 of the 35,150 Stratford voters were registered with ANY of the minor political parties, as of May 11, 2021.

If you don’t belong to a party in Connecticut, you are labeled as Unaffilated. There were 15,159 Unaffiliated voters in Stratford, compared to 13,191 registered Democrats and 6,315 Republicans, as of May 2021.

Q. Is there any disadvantage to being an Unaffiliated voter?
You must be a member of the Republican or Democratic Party in order to vote in that party’s primary. If you are Unaffiliated, you can vote in a party primary as long as you join the party by noontime on Monday the day before the primary. If you already belong to one of the major parties and want to switch and vote in the other party’s primary, you need to act 90 days before the primary election.

Q. Why does Stratford use public schools as polling places?
Tradition, availability, and the high visibility of schools. To maintain polls in all 10 districts, Stratford needs our schools!

Stratford school officials also have been very cooperative in making their facilities available. Elsewhere, Registrars of Voters have had to threaten to use a state regulation that allows them to “commandeer” part of a school in order to use it as a polling location.

Q. Will I be able to use an Absentee Ballot to vote in the Stratford town elections this fall?
We don’t yet know.

In Connecticut, Absentee Ballots have always been permitted for people who say they are unable to go to their assigned polling place on Election Day because of illness, physical disability, military service, and absence from town during all hours of voting (such as a business trip). Other reasons are religious tenets that forbid secular activity on the day of the election, or if you are an election official working at a polling place other than your own during all the hours of voting.

Last year due to the Covid-19 virus, the governor used his emergency powers to have an Absentee Ballot application sent to all voters statewide; you could automatically use the Covid-19 virus as a reason to vote by mail, if you so desired. Some 10,000 Stratford voters used an AB in November 2020, triple the normal number.

This year, Gov. Lamont extended that policy to cover the municipal elections that were held in May 2021, although the political parties had the task of mailing out Absentee Ballot applications if they so desired. It is not yet known how the process will work for any Stratford party primary election Sept. 14th or for the general election Nov. 2.nd.

Q. Can I get a permanent Absentee Ballot sent to me every election?
Dozens of Stratford voters who are permanently disabled have an AB sent to them automatically for every election. The voter must file an absentee ballot application together with a doctor’s certificate stating that they have a permanent disability and are unable to appear in person at their polling place. Contact Town Clerk Susan Pawluk (203-385-4020) to see if you qualify.

As one of the many safeguards in the AB process, the Registrars send such voters a letter every January, asking you to certify you are still an active voter and want to continue to receive a ballot in the mail.

More Questions? Please send them to Registrar Jim Simn; jsimon@townofstratford.com. This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford. (Vol. 1, No. 5; May 2021)

Vintage Aircraft, Helicopters, Food, and Fun

Connecticut Air & Space Center Grand Opening: May 29th

The Connecticut Air & Space Center is a non-profit Air Museum that displays vintage aircraft, memorabilia, and artifacts that pertain to Connecticut, both inside and out. The museum’s motto is to: Honor, Preserve, Educate. Honoring the founders, workers, and companies from Connecticut. Preserving the vehicles and artifacts they used. And Educating this generation and the next about this history.

Founded by the late State Senator George Gunther in 1998 after the closing of the Stratford Army Engine Plant, in Stratford, the Connecticut Air & Space Center occupies buildings 6 and 53 at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex. The museum is one of only a handful throughout the country to be located in a portion of an original WWII aircraft factory.  In 2012 the museum was damaged by Hurricane Sandy but has since recovered.

History:

The Army Engine Plant/Stratford (AEP/S) property is located at 550 South Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut. The 126-acre AEP/S property is occupied by a U.S. government-owned, contractor-operated manufacturing facility comprising numerous manufacturing buildings. The operator was Textron Lycoming, a Division of AVCO Corporation, a contractor to the U.S. Army Aviation Systems Command. The AEP/S property is bordered by industrial properties to the north; the Housatonic River to the east; a marsh which was a former landfill, to the south; and Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport to the west.

Prior to 1927, the site was farmland. The property was developed in 1927 for Sikorsky Aircraft. In 1939, one of the world’s first successful commercial helicopters, the Sikorsky VS-300, was developed in Stratford by Igor Sikorsky and flown at his plant. The Chance Vought Aircraft company designed and constructed the Vought F4U Corsair as well as several other seaplanes and fighters until they moved in 1949. The Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division in Stratford built a total of 7,829 F4U fighters and these planes saw extensive combat in the Pacific Theatre of operations during World War II, and played a supporting role in the Korean War. The Lycoming company produced Wright radial engines at the site and after World War II, the plant was converted to produce turbines. The site was then owned by the Air Force through 1976. Ownership was transferred to the U.S. Army in 1976. Because of the Base Realignment and Closure actions of the United States Department of Defense, closure of the plant was recommended in July 1995. The plant closed in October 1998.

The Connecticut Air & Space Center currently occupies the research and design hangar where all experimental testing was performed by Chance Vought from 1944 to 1948. It’s the hope of the members of the CASC to remain at this location to later develop a world-class museum.

Environmental Racism

Raising the BAR (Becoming Anti-Racist) Series

Thursday, May 20, via Zoom at 7:30 p.m.
Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport

The Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport (CCGB) have sponsored ongoing, monthly conversations and call to action on various segments exploring racism. Join us from 7:30 – 8:45 pm on the third Thursday of each month through May 2021.

The BAR (Becoming Anti-Racist) team has done an amazing job over the past 12 months. The team is made up of dedicated volunteers who have designed curricula which have been used in over 30 zoom sessions, attended by more than 600 people. They have facilitated series of meetings for CCGB members and friends, individual congregations, high school classes, and the Town of Stratford’s C.A.R.E. (Citizens Addressing Racial Equity). In every session people have learned, grown, and become acutely aware of the racism and inequities that are embedded in our history.

This coming summer CCGB will be offering a 5 part series, based on Jemar Tisby’s new book, “How to Fight Racism.” Building on last year’s summer series, participants will discover practical, concrete opportunities to put their faith and new understanding into action. The first session will be on Thursday, July 1st. Stay tuned for more information!
Pre-Session Homework:

To learn more and to register please go to: https://www.ccgb.org/content.cfm?id=9041