What’s New In CT? New Laws On The Books

A number of bills have made their way out of the House and Senate and onto Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk, where they were signed into law in the past few weeks after the state’s General Assembly 2021 Regular Session adjourned on June 9th.

They did convene a special session this week to tackle the legal marijuana bill, which was passed and signed and goes into effect on July 1st.

Bills signed into law in the past few weeks are:
Senate Bill 1019: Called the “clean slate bill”. This reform bill wipes out the records of criminal convictions after 7-10 years, including some felonies. The provisions do not apply to class A, B, or C felonies, some unclassified felonies, family violence crimes, or certain crimes requiring sex offender registration.

During the first full session after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis in May 2020, Connecticut legislators passed a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s justice system.

• They passed a measure that automatically clears certain convictions from a person’s record if they stay crime-free for seven or 10 years.
• They approved a bill that curtails the Department of Correction’s use of solitary confinement.
• They gave final passage to a measure that enables free telephone calls for the incarcerated.
• They expanded the definition of domestic violence to include “coercive control”.
• Broadened the crimes for which people can ask the court to vacate if they committed that crime while they were a human trafficking victim.

Misdemeanors become eligible for erasure after seven years, and class D and E felonies, or unclassified felonies with prison terms of five years or less, can be wiped after 10 years. The records are erased automatically for offenses that occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2000. For offenses before then, the records are erased when the person files a petition. This law was signed on June 10th, and becomes effective Jan. 1, 2023.

House Bill 5158 addresses nursing employees. Existing law requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location near a nursing employee’s work area, other than a toilet stall, so the mother can express her milk in private during a meal or break period. That law’s been upgraded, and effective October 1st, that designated nursing area must be free from intrusion and shielded from the public, include or be near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold storage device in which the employee can store her breast milk, and have access to an electrical outlet.

House Bill 6105: When a child born in Connecticut gets adopted, the Department of Public Health seals their original birth certificate and creates a new one, substituting the adoptive parents’ names. Persons adopted prior to October 1983 would have to get a court order if they wanted to obtain their original birth certificate. If either of their birth parents were still alive, it would become more difficult. House Bill 6105 obtaining a copy of an original have been mostly removed, regardless of when the adoption took place. The new law, effective July 1, also moves most of the paperwork associated with obtaining the document away from the state Department of Health and over to the town registrar.

House Bill 63880, requires employers to provide both their existing employees and job applicants with the wage range of the positions they have or for which they are applying. Included in the bill’s definition of “wage range” is the pay scale, previously determined wage ranges for the position, actual wage ranges for current employees, and the employer’s budgeted amount for the position, as applicable. The law goes into effect on October 1st.

House Bill 6491, “An Act Concerning Electronic Weapons,” allows those age 21 and older to carry an “electronic defense weapon” if they possess a valid firearm credential, such as an eligibility certificate or permit to carry or sell handguns or long guns, or an ammunition certificate. Currently, such a weapon will score you a class D felony if carried in a motor vehicle, and a class E felony if you’re just carrying it.

Senate Bill 840 allows certain aquaculture operations, including farm, forest, open space, and maritime heritage land to be taxed based on current use value rather than fair market value. The bill also expands Connecticut’s shellfish restoration program by allowing the state to acquire, and not just purchase, the cultch material necessary to deposit on and build out state shellfish beds. The bill also makes some tweaks to the Connecticut Seafood Advisory Council and renames it the Connecticut Seafood Development Council. The new law is effective October 1st.

Senate Bill 908, which goes into effect on October 1st, mandates that employers must provide the union with every new employee’s name, job title, work address, work phone number and home address within 10 days of the hiring. The employer must also allow the union access to new employees’ orientation, and government buildings and facilities to hold union meetings.

Senate Bill 1093 now makes it a crime to “entice a juvenile to commit a criminal act”. You will have committed this class A misdemeanor if you are at least 23 years old and knowingly cause, encourage, solicit, recruit, intimidate or coerce a minor to commit or participate in a crime. This bill also does away with “no knock warrants,” whereby law enforcement officers could enter certain premises without first knocking and announcing their presence or purpose. The law will also allow a judge or jury to draw an “unfavorable inference” from a police officer’s deliberate failure to record the use of physical force on their bodycam. All these go into effect October 1st.

House Bill 6107. The new law requires that zoning regulations, among other provisions, be designed to address disparities in housing needs and access to educational and occupational opportunities. It also requires zoning regulations to provide for, rather than merely encourage, the development of housing opportunities for all residents of the town, including opportunities for multifamily dwellings. The law was signed June 10th, and went into effect immediately.

Senate Bill 1083 instituted changes to current public health statues, including:

• Health clubs must maintain at least one automatic external defibrillator, and employ someone who knows how to use it
• 16-year-olds, with written parental consent, may give blood. The existing law, which remains unchanged, allows a person age 17 or older to do so without consent.
• Hospitals may provide the written discharge materials and document acknowledgement of them solely through electronic means
• Marriage license applications and certificates must replace references to “bride” and “groom” with “spouse one” and “spouse two,” and remove references to a spouse’s race or ethnicity.

More than 40 bills on environmental issues – most of them related to climate change – were proposed during the session, but relatively few made it through.

One of the casualties was the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Proponents called it the most important climate change legislation in a decade. Opponents called it a gas tax. It would allow the state to develop its plan to cut carbon emissions in the transportation sector as part of a large regional strategy. Gas prices would likely go up slightly as a result. It didn’t get a vote in either chamber, but advocates, who say the votes for passage are there, are pushing to include it in the upcoming special session.

Another emissions bill that could wind up in the special session would start a process to tighten emissions on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. It passed the Senate but was not taken up in the House.

After years of contentious hearings and demonstrations, the General Assembly succeeded in passing a bill repealing Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory school vaccinations. Under the new law, the religious exemption will be erased starting September 1st, 2022. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade who currently claim the exemption will be allowed to continue using it for the remainder of their academic careers, while those in pre-kindergarten, day care or who are new to the school system will no longer qualify.

Lawmakers also adopted broad health equity reforms, declaring racism a public health crisis, requiring better data collection on race and ethnicity in health care, mandating that hospitals conduct implicit bias training for employees who provide direct care to pregnant or postpartum women, requiring that the public health commissioner study the development of a recruitment and retention program for state health care workers who are people of color, and directing the health department to explore whether to create a certification process for doulas.

Other ambitious health care reform efforts, however, failed to cross the finish line.

Legislators failed again this year to pass legislation that would expand government-sponsored health insurance. The latest version of the public option bill would have extended that coverage to small businesses and nonprofits, and also expand access to Medicaid and add an assessment on insurance carriers that would fund additional subsidies on the state’s health insurance exchange.

A bill that would let terminally ill patients access medication to end their lives did not come up for a vote in either chamber

Housing insecurity was considered by the legislature with several reforms that aimed to address the state’s longstanding issues surrounding segregation and housing insecurity. With an onslaught of evictions expected in the coming months, legislation ensuring that low-income tenants have access to an attorney was signed by the governor this week.

Ambitious changes in state law aimed at remedying the high housing costs and the segregation that festers between poor and tony municipalities were not approved.

Legislation that would have made it easier for those with Section 8 housing vouchers to use it more places — as well as allow housing authorities the ability to develop public housing in neighboring suburban towns — was not approved, despite the threat of the federal government forcing Connecticut to make the change.

In an effort to respect local control, but not allow towns to ignore their obligations under the Federal Fair Housing laws, another bill that failed to win approval would have left it entirely up to municipalities to determine how to provide their so-called “fair share” of affordable housing but would have attached strict enforcement mechanisms if a town’s plan or implementation was not ambitious enough.

Language was scrapped from another bill that would have required towns to allow the construction of multi-unit housing around some train stations and suburban towns’ commercial centers. Instead, legislation was signed by the governor that would require towns to allow single-family homeowners to convert parts of their dwellings or detached garages into so-called accessory dwelling units, nicknamed “granny pods,” without needing special permission from local officials — but it allows towns to vote to opt out.

The bill places limit on how many parking spaces a new home or apartment must have — but also allows towns to vote to opt out. That bill also strikes current state law that requires zoning regulation to consider the “character of the district” with “physical site characteristics” that local officials must prescribe.

Education: In the wake of the pandemic that caused trauma in the lives of so many children — and with many more children showing up in hospital emergency rooms in crisis — scaling up social-emotional learning in schools and addressing children’s mental health was a top priority this legislative session.

Legislation an influx of state and federal aid to help local school districts and cities and towns respond and recover from the pandemic is headed for municipalities.

A bill that would allow Connecticut college athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses, as well as make money through endorsements and hire an agent, passed out of the General Assembly this session and is awaiting the governor’s approval. If signed into law, Connecticut would join several other states with similar legislation in place, but a pending decision from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) could also create a nationwide policy.

Legislation was passed that would require college campuses to distribute a sexual misconduct survey to students every two years has to date not been signed by Gov. Lamont. It would establish a council that would be required to submit a report about survey results to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. The measure would also provide amnesty to those who report an assault so that they will not be subject to disciplinary action for violating a college’s drug or alcohol policy. Another bill heading to Lamont would require colleges and universities in the state to include campus accidents resulting in death or serious physical injury in each institution’s annual crime and safety report.

Crumbling foundations: Gov. Ned Lamont has signed into law a comprehensive crumbling foundation bill that aims to protect unsuspecting buyers from purchasing affected homes. It also establishes a low-interest loan program for repairs, allows condominium owners to participate in the captive insurance company, and develops more cost-effective methods for repairs.

The bill makes permanent the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company (CFSIC), a captive insurance company created to distribute money to homeowners with faulty foundations as a result of the mineral pyrrhotite. The CFSIC will also study the damage related to pyrrhotite in nonresidential buildings, an attempt to keep track of further incidences of decay.

The legislation will direct up to $175,000 from the Healthy Homes Fund for the CFSIC study’s expenses, and it authorizes the commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to adopt regulations for the testing of pyrrhotite in aggregate held in quarries.

Concrete aggregate quarries in the state will submit an annual operations plan to the state geologist and DEEP commissioner, and they will also submit a geological source report (GSR) every four years to keep tabs on the status of the concrete that is used.

The bill removes a five-year maximum on reduced assessments for properties made with abnormal concrete. Homeowners will benefit from the reduced assessments, and they can rest easier knowing some of the burden has been lifted from their shoulders.

Sports betting: A bill legalizing sports betting and online casino games and lottery sales in Connecticut won final passage, an effort to boost state revenues and help casino employment rebound in the state’s struggling southeastern corner. Passage came after a relatively brief debate, an anticlimactic ending to a multi-year push to expand the customer base of Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun, two tribal casinos squeezed by competition in New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts and a temporary closure forced by COVID-19.

Pathways to Payment

College Financial Planning

Advice Offered for Parents/Students via Zoom July 6th

by Tom Holehan
Public Relations & Programming
Stratford Library

Teens and parents are invited to an informative and timely Zoom workshop, “College Financial Planning” on Tuesday, July 6th from 6:30-8 pm.  The program is hosted by the Stratford Library in conjunction with Advanced College Funding Solutions with guest speaker Lynn Verrilli.  It is free and open to the public.

The educational workshop will focus on high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

Among the topics to be addressed will be:

  •  Critical information not covered during high school financial aid night.
  •  Opportunities available for students to attend an expensive private university for less than a state school.
  •  Selecting colleges that will give the best financial aid packages – more FREE money and less loans.
  •  Locating and applying for every “need-based” scholarship, grant, and low-interest loan that students may be eligible for.
  •  Paying for college without relying on 529 plans, expensive private student loans or raiding personal retirement accounts.
  •  Simplify the process and making sure all the right things are done at the right time.
  •  Which assets are taken into consideration when the U.S. Department of Education calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  •  The Biggest Mistakes parents can make that cause them to overpay for college, and how to avoid them.
  •  The FAFSA form and all the other information needed to understand in order to maximize the amount of financial aid one is eligible to receive.

Even if a family is not eligible for need-based aid, the workshop will cover the best strategies on how to pay for college in the most cost efficient basis without it putting a strain on the rest of family finances.

College Financial Planning will begin at 6:30 pm on the Library’s Zoom platform.

For further information call: 203.385-4162 or register online and receive an invitational link at:

https://stratfordlibrary.libcal.com/event/7887797.

 

Active Afternoons

Free Learning Experiences at Sterling House

by Michael Rosati
Director of Youth Development
mrosati@sterlinghousecc.org

With support from The AccelerateCT Innovation Grant, Sterling House is able offer Stratford children new, Free learning experiences to keep their brains and bodies active this summer! You can register for one week or join them for all!

These programs are not under Sterling House Summer Camp programs, and are designed for Grades PreK – 8, Monday – Thursday, 3:45 – 4:45 pm. The programs begin Tuesday July 6th – Thursday August 14th.

Offering Something for Everyone!

Week 1: Tuesday July 6 – Friday July 9
Social Superheroes (Grades 3-4): Become comfortable being yourself around others; find your strengths and let them shine!
Sweat It Out! (Grades 3-8): Learn some awesome aerobic exercises while having a great time!
Glee Club Jr.: (Grades 1-2): Come sing your heart out, learn all about your voice, and develop your musical talent.
Film Club Pt. 1 (Grades 5-8): In this first part of a two-part series, you will learn the basics of filming and editing.
Jumpstart to Algebra! Pt. 1 (Grades 6-8): This first part of a two-week course will review the core concepts required for success in Algebra in High School and beyond. This can be a good way to fill in gaps for students heading into Pre Algebra or Algebra level courses in the Fall.
Passport Around the World! (Grades K-6): Join us on some Spanish cultural fun as we travel across the world right here at SHCC. Each week we will discover a new country and introduce you to basic Spanish speaking skills.

Week 2: Monday July 12 – Thursday July 15
Learn to Ride (a bike!) (Ages 3-8): While we do not guarantee that your child will be fully riding a bike at the end of the 4-day session, we will get them comfortable with their bike, their balance, and give them confidence in riding.
Epic Kids Run (Grades 3-8): Join us after camp for the Epic Kids Run where we will work as a team to reach new levels of fitness and personal accomplishments.
Community Club (Grades Pre-k – 2): Kids will spend the hour in our food pantry. Through tasks and story time we will learn about ways to serve their community.
Film Club Pt. 2 (Grades 5-8): In this second week of a two-part series, you will be able to film and edit your own short clip! (prerequisite: part 1 of film club).
Jumpstart to Algebra! Pt. 2: This is a continuation of last week’s introduction to Algebra. This can be a good way fill in gaps for students heading into Pre Algebra or Algebra level courses in the Fall (prerequisite: part 1)
Passport Around the World! (Grades K-6): Join us on some Spanish cultural fun as we travel across the world right here at SHCC. Each week we will discover a new country and introduce you to basic Spanish speaking skills.

Week 3: Monday July 19 – Thursday July 22
The Sterling House Dance Factory (Grades Pre-K – 3): Sing karaoke, dance, and play fun games at the Sterling House Dance Factory.
Confidence Club (Grades 5-8): Why blend in, when you were meant to stand out? Learn the skills to be a more confident middle schooler.
Theater 101 (Grades All): Come join us as we enter the world of theater! Jump into this course with us as we dive into theater and learn some skills to start us off on our theater journey- such as singing and dancing.
Passport Around the World! (Grades K-6): Join us for some Spanish cultural fun as we travel across the world right here at SHCC. Each week we will discover a new country and introduce you to basic Spanish speaking skills.
Jumpstart to Algebra! Pt. 1 (Grade: 6-8): This first part of a two-week course will work to review the core concepts required for success in Algebra in High School and beyond. This can be a good way to bust the rust and fill in gaps for students heading into Pre Algebra or Algebra level courses in the Fall.

Week 4: Monday July 26 – Thursday July 29
Learn to Ride (a bike!) (Ages 3-8): While we do not guarantee that your child will be fully riding a bike at the end of the 4-day session, we will get them comfortable with their bike, their balance, and give them confidence in riding.
Art Club! (Grades 1-3): Boost your creativity, improve your skills and make better art with classes taught at SHCC.
Girl POWER (Grades 5-8): Discover your best self through crafts and activities, girl talk, confidence-building, and new connections.
Passport Around the World! (Grades K-6): Join us on some Spanish cultural fun as we travel across the world right here at SHCC. Each week we will discover a new country and introduce you to basic Spanish speaking skills.
Jumpstart to Algebra! Pt. 2: This is a continuation of last week’s introduction to Algebra. This can be a good way to fill in gaps for students heading into Pre Algebra or Algebra level courses in the Fall. (prerequisite: part 1)

Week 5: Monday August 2 – Thursday August 5
Learn to Ride (a bike!) (Ages 3-8): While we do not guarantee that your child will be fully riding a bike at the end of the 4 day session, we will get them comfortable with their bike, their balance, and give them confidence in riding.
Glee Club (Grades 3-4): Come sing your heart out, learn all about your voice, and develop your musical talent!
Irish Dancing (Grades All): This course is an introduction to Irish Dancing. Participants will learn basic steps and skills needed to Irish Dance.
Marketing & Entrepreneurship (Grades 5-8): Come learn how to design a business and market it to your community!
Early Start Algebra Pt. 1 (Grades 5-6): This learning experience would give students an introduction to variables, the logic of equations and branching into other interesting and useful topics depending on the needs and progress of the group. This class would be for students who are not yet going into Pre- Algebra in the Fall as a way to gain some early exposure in these topics. Jumpstart to Algebra! Pt. 1
Passport Around the World! (Grades: K-6): Join us on some Spanish cultural fun as we travel across the world right here at SHCC. Each week we will discover a new country and introduce you to basic Spanish speaking skills.

Week 6: Monday August 9 – Thursday August 14
Learn Korean (Grades 4-8): Come learn the basics of the Korean language.
Cooking (Grades 3-8): Together let’s make some cool snacks! Learn the basics of working in a kitchen and preparing food.
Glee Club (Grades 3-4): Come sing your heart out, learn all about your voice, and develop your musical talent!
Art Club! (Grades 1-3): Boost your creativity, improve your skills and make better art with classes taught at SHCC.
Early Start Algebra Pt. 1 (Grades 5-6): This learning experience would give students an introduction to variables, the logic of equations and branching into other interesting and useful topics depending on the needs and progress of the group. This class would be for students who are not yet going into Pre- Algebra in the Fall as a way to gain some early exposure in these topics. JumpStart to Algebra! Pt. 1 (prerequisite: part 1)
Passport Around the World! (Grades: K-6): Join us on some Spanish cultural fun as we travel across the world right here at SHCC. Each week we will discover a new country and introduce you to basic Spanish speaking skills.

Our first priority is the health and safety of our community. All programs and events are subject to change and/or cancellation based on COVID19 conditions and federal, state and local mandates, regulations and guidelines.

Calling all former Sterling House Summer Campers

by Michael Rosati
mrosati@sterlinghousecc.org

Sterling House Summer Camp is turning 80 Years Old!!! To mark the occasion, they are creating an 80th Anniversary Museum this summer, filled with photos and memories from the 8 decades’ camp has been around.

The Crier cover photo is from the Summer of 1958, and shows campers playing on the playground – in the exact same location it is today!

If you are a camp alumnus (either camper or staff member) and have pictures or memories to share, please reach out to camp co-director, Michael Rosati at mrosati@sterlinghousecc.org.

They would love to see what memories you have of camp to go into the Camp Anniversary Museum

Keepsakes or “Stuff”?

What your Kids Really Want you to Save

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way
FengshuiJoansWay@gmail.com

What your kids really want you to save as you begin to downsize your life might surprise you. Especially in a throw away culture. Gone are the days where items are passed down to the young married couple just starting out. For example, today’s young couples would prefer inexpensive, easily replaceable, and contemporary place-settings rather than grandmother’s fancy Bone China dinnerware. And young couples are leaning toward lean and mean living and tiny homes.

The good thing about this trend indicates experiences rather than things take precedence. Who would have thought consumerism could manifest as good Feng Shui?

A sample of what your kids really want you to save might include your first passport or sentimental piece of jewelry. Looking at all those country stamps from exotic places will remind them of what an adventurer you are, and opens the door to retelling the stories of the time after college when you backpacked and hitchhiked through Europe and the Middle East. That ring you got at your Sweet 16, or the watch you received from your dad when you graduated college is priceless.

There are so many items gathered over a life-time that it is often hard for us to make those choices – so ask your kids to share in your journey to embrace those things that are most important.

Keep and pass on objects that have sentimental value. Here are some thoughts:
• One printed photo of your wedding.
• A photo of the first time you held them (you have tons but that first one is the keeper).
• Something belonging to the oldest living relative they know.
• Highlights of their childhood.

Don’t forget your furry friends! The dog tags worn by childhood pets could have a place in the remembrances box, along with a photo of them with the family.
Keep and pass on objects that have sentimental value.

Where Clutter Clearing and End-of-Life Planning Collide

This concept of what to keep and what to toss gets played out for me time and time again as I work with clients wishing to downsize. The other parallel concept that inevitably pops up is End-of-Life planning. In fact, my past three clients were in their 80’s. These recent projects really encompassed three distinct areas of focus.

My clients were all clearing clutter to make their homes more attractive to sell, down-sizing or deciding what to take with them so that they could move comfortably to assisted living or smaller, more manageable homes. Also under consideration was their legacy to their children – not wanting to leave kids with a mess to manage.

The task of “letting go of” or “re-imagining” sentimental things is a big deal. Clutter-clearing, down-sizing, and legacy/end-of-life planning utilizing Feng Shui principals is about managing each of these processes with intention.

The Process Goes Something Like This:

Clutter Clearing:
I work with clients to figure out what can be tossed and what can be donated. Bottom line the first step is to move the “stuff” you don’t need or want on. You might know of a friend who loved an item you no longer need. I’ll bet that friend would be pleasantly surprised and grateful if you passed it along as a gift.

Clutter Clearing and Gifting:
My daughter recently received a beautiful thrown pottery set from a friend who no longer needed it. Hand-made and infused with positive energy by Jeanette George Dais, this set sends my daughter off to college for her degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) in style and with well-wishes.

Down-sizing:
The “clutter” is gone. The next step is to figure out which of the items left are the most special. The idea is to get rid of the old catalogs and magazines or dishes and cutlery so that you can enjoy things that hold real value.

Legacy Items:
Knowing what/who/how selected possessions are to be retained and remembered is perhaps the most meaningful exercise. This is a great time to begin work on a Legacy Project…a physical reminder of who you are and the life you’ve lived, a gift to family, and a treasure to cherish. Examples include memory books, letters, video/audio recordings, crafting favorite objects/clothing into keepsakes, and more.

Here is an example of a fun Legacy Project. Choose favorite flannel, t-shirts, or blankets and craft them into a Memory Bear – ask me for info. Or investigate T-Shirt memory quilts that many local crafters make for folks.

Find Your Spiritual Pathway to Happiness!

Joseph Bologna and Donna Martire – Two Stratford residents team up for the second time in 50 years for a performance of a different kind!

by Donna Martire Miller
donna@happilyeveractions.com
www.HappilyEverActions.com

Joseph Bologna and Donna Martire-Miller, Stratford residents team up to write “The View from Within: Spiritual Pathways to Happiness”.

These two former Rock and Rollers have teamed up to publish a photographic journey into happiness and spirituality. Photos from around the world are combined with blessings for the reader, quotes, and insights from over 20 different spiritual practices. This book is the first in a coming Unshakeable Happiness Trilogy, a body of work published by e-Clements.com for Happily Ever Actions exploring the science of happiness. Happily, Ever Actions is an organization that teaches universal skills for health and happiness. They offer workshops, classes, retreats, public speaking, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.

“In these uncertain times, the search for happiness and meaning in life is more critical than ever. There is both an art and a science to happiness, and many ways to achieve it. The View from Within invites readers on a journey to happiness by tapping into the tenets of spirituality from around the world. By acquainting ourselves with the mysteries of the sacred, combined with a deep understanding of who we are in the world in which we live, we can begin to live a purposeful life and to discover our own pathways to greater life satisfaction and happiness.” According to Martire Miller and Bologna.
The View from Within is filled with meta blessings that unify many of the wisdom traditions. The contemplative spirituality shared in The View from Within describes virtues such as compassion, love, mercy, and kindness. These are pathways built within the faith traditions that help us reach beyond ourselves towards unshakable happiness.
The View from Within is endorsed by thought leaders in the Happiness Field and sets the stage for growth, wisdom, and the pursuit of happiness.

“A spiritual life possesses both breadth and depth, like an ocean. And like the ocean that connects nations and continents, a spiritual life connects us to all beings, near and far. In The View from Within, Donna Martire Miller and Joseph Bologna gracefully and beautifully bring together different spiritual traditions. Their work connects, inspires, heals.” Dr Tal Ben-Shahar

Martire Miller holds multiple degrees and certifications and is an educator in the fields of Happiness and Positive Psychology. Bologna is an award-winning internationally traveled photographer. They met as young adults as performers in rock, rhythm, and blues. Life took them to separate corners of the earth but did not keep them apart forever. They reconnected decades later to begin a new journey together. They reside in Stratford, and have a love story for the ages.

In 1969, Joseph Bologna was graduating from Stratford High School, and Donna Martire was entering Stratford High as a freshman. They were known to each other as both were in the performing arts and lead vocalists in different Rock, Rhythm, and Blues bands. Joseph’s career took him on tour to the east coast, and Donna’s took her on tour to the west coast. They were able to keep in touch because of mutual friends in the music business, and that grew up in Stratford as they did.

Joseph eventually left the music business and became a photographer. He traveled around the world and captured over 90,000 images of beautiful and sacred places. His work is published, and he is currently a highly awarded photographer.

Donna left the music business as well and became the executive director of a family strengthening organization. There she became interested in positive psychology, became certified in it, and was a teacher’s assistant to Harvard Professor Dr Tal Ben-Shahar. She currently is a happiness professor herself at the University of Bridgeport.

The two reconnected a few years ago when Donna performed at the Blues on the Beach festival at Short Beach. After a few connections on social media, they decided to get together. In 2018 they decided to collaborate once again, not harmonizing on stage but bringing his images and her writing together in a Trilogy called Finding Unshakable Happiness. Book one, The View from Within, Spiritual Pathways to Happiness. Book two, Finding Unshakable Happiness, is set to be released on August 1, 2021.

They have also completed and published a social-emotional learning book for children called Let’s be Friends, Meet New Friends from Around the World. The story is based on positive psychology, recognizing the character strengths in children and making friends with culturally diverse youth worldwide. During isolation from Covid, many children became anxious and saddened. This is a book that helps to bring happiness to children and their families.

Both Martire-Miller and Bologna are parents of children who are grown now and have families of their own. Their children and grandchildren were their inspiration. They are very excited to present this book. Their journey has been a long one as friends, musicians, authors, and now as one of Stratford’s own love stories. (He just offered her a ring!)

These books can be found at Bookbaby Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Martire Miller and Bologna are available for media interviews, keynotes, workshops, and school visits.

To All Fathers Following the Stratford Crier

From Start to Today
Happy Father’s Day

Source: history.com

The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington, and 58 years later in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday.

Mother’s Day: Inspiration for Father’s Day?
There are more than 70 million fathers in the United States. The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm–perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.”

On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah,WV, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday.

The next year, a Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Sonora Smart Dodd:
William Jackson Smart was a twice-married, twice-widowed Civil War veteran and father of 14 children, one of whom dedicated her life to the creation of Father’s Day in honor of her devoted and selfless dad.

The story goes that William’s daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, was attending one of the first official Mother’s Day services in 1909 at her church in Spokane, Washington, when she had an epiphany—if mothers deserved a day in honor of their loving service, why not fathers?

When Sonora was 16, her mother Ellen died, leaving William as a single father to Sonora and her five younger brothers. And by Sonora’s account, he performed brilliantly. “I remember everything about him,” Sonora said many years later to the Spokane Daily Chronicle. “He was both father and mother to me and my brothers and sisters.”

Sonora’s mother Ellen, herself a widow, had three children from a previous marriage. On top of that, William had also been married and widowed before he met Sonora’s mother. William had five children with his first wife, Elizabeth, who were already grown when William became a widower for the second time.

In 1910, Sonora brought a petition before the Spokane Ministerial Alliance to recognize the courage and devotion of all fathers like William on June 5, her dad’s birthday. The local clergy liked the idea of a special Father’s Day service, but couldn’t pull something together so quickly, so they settled for June 19, the third Sunday in June.

On that first Father’s Day in 1910, church sermons across Spokane were dedicated to dear old dad, red and white roses were passed out in honor of living and deceased fathers, the mayor of Spokane and governor of Washington issued proclamations, and Sonora found her calling. She would spend much of the next 60 years pushing for the official recognition of Father’s Day as a national holiday.

Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day, and today, the day honoring fathers is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June:

In other countries–especially in Europe and Latin America–fathers are honored on St. Joseph’s Day, a traditional Catholic holiday that falls on March 19th.

Father’s Day: Controversy and Commercialism
Many men, however, continued to disdain the day. As one historian writes, they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”

During the 1920s and 1930s, a movement arose to scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day altogether in favor of a single holiday, Parents’ Day. For years on Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park–a public reminder, said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.”

Paradoxically, however, the Great Depression derailed this effort to combine and de-commercialize the holidays. Struggling retailers and advertisers redoubled their efforts to make Father’s Day a “second Christmas” for men, promoting goods such as neckties, hats, socks, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods, and greeting cards.

When World War II began, advertisers began to argue that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day may not have been a federal holiday, but it was a national institution.

Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.

“Music is the Wine that fills the Cup of Silence.”

First Concert June 22nd

2021 Summer Concert Series on the Green Schedule

All concerts begin at 7 p.m.

Bring a blanket, bring a chair, bring food and wine to dine. Dance on the Green!
The Town of Stratford Summer Concert Series is back!!!

The Cold Ones
Tuesday, June 22
rain date June 24
Classic Rock

Oddfellows
Tuesday, June 29
rain date TBD
Rock & Roll

Red Hots
Tuesday, July 6
rain date July 8
Blues/Swing

Frank Porto Band
Tuesday, July 13
rain date July 15
Easy Listening

Jake Kulak Band
Tuesday, July 20
rain date July 22
Contemporary Rock

Coastal Chordsmen
Tuesday, July 27
rain date July 29
Barbershop

The Void
Tuesday, Aug. 3
rain date Aug. 5
Rock, Pop, R&B

Shameless
Tuesday, Aug. 10
rain date Aug. 12
70’s – today

Community Concert Band
Friday, Aug. 13
rain date Aug. 20
Easy Listening

Chauncey Street Band
Tuesday, Aug. 17
rain date Aug. 19
Blues

Royal Kings
Tuesday, Aug. 24
rain date Aug. 26
Doo Wop

Leigh Henry Band
Tuesday Aug. 31
rain date Sept. 2
50’s, 60’s & 70’s

Community Concert Band
Tuesday, Sept. 7
rain date Sept. 9
Easy Listening

Salute the Summer Solstice with Music

Make Music Day Celebration Back Better than Ever

Arts Alliance of Stratford to Sponsor Live Music in the Park

Sunday at the Shakespeare Market
Monday at Shakespeare Park from 3:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Make Music Day Stratford 2021 is live with over 40 craft vendors and food trucks!

On Sunday, June 20th, the celebration begins with the Arts Alliance of Stratford partnership with the Shakespeare Market. There will be live music and arts at The Alliance’s booth from 10 AM to 4 PM.

On Monday, June 21st, we sponsor and participate in Stratford’s annual Make Music Day. This is a free celebration of music around the world on the same day each year, often falling on the Summer Solstice. It began in 1982 in France and is now a global event in more than 1,000 cities and 120 countries.

“The Make Music Day event begins at 3:45 p.m. and runs through 8:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Shakespeare Theater Park. The exciting news is that we are planning an Artisan’s Market around the circle of the driveway with food trucks for picnic dinners while watching and listening to live music and enjoying the views of the Housatonic River at sunset. Come spend the day and evening with us. There will be six food trucks, six bands, and lots of artisans and crafts, along with activities for kids,” Mark Hannon of The Arts Alliance of Stratford.

For more information about these events, please visit https://www.makemusicday.org/stratford/about/ and https://artsallianceofstratford.org/event/the-shakespeare-market/?instance_id=184

Schedule:

3:45 pm YOtisse Family Band
Original, eclectic, percussive, sultry mixes of world music with a splash of pop!

4:30 pm The 34s
One of New Haven’s most dynamic Alternative Rock bands. Inspired by musical styles like punk, classic rock, progressive rock, blues, country rock, alternative, and more, The 34s aim to please and impress while they get moving to the sound.

5:30 pm Mike Hatfield
His sound is centered around his hard rock roots, with at times brutal and at times bleeding vocal melodies layered over his acoustic rhythms.
Website Facebook

6:30 pm Nina Lesiga
Ukulele Lessons: Play along and sing along as she teaches chord strumming of beginner level songs of varied genres. If you have a ukulele, bring it with you. If not, Nina will have loaner ukuleles for public use. No prior ukulele experience is needed. Ages 8 and up.

6:45 pm Ursula and Alex
Acoustic versions of R&B, Pop and Rock hits from the 70s to today – with a few surprises.

7:30 pm Drop Party
Ska, Funk, Jazz & Latin

8:30pm Closing Words

Mixed Bag of Summer Fun for all Ages

Mark Your Calendars!!!

Stratford Library offers Kids Events 2021

by Tom Holehan
Public Relations & Programming
Stratford Public Library

The Stratford Library Children’s Department continues to offer stimulating programs for kids and their families. The Library is currently offering limited computer use for adults with reservations and contact-free Take Out borrowing services, online and outdoor programs, grab and go program kits, Reference Chat and 24/7 online access to ebooks, audiobooks, movies and music.

Book Scientists
Each Friday this summer, the Library Children’s Department will debut a new Book Scientists themed kit containing Library books, a craft, and an extension activity for children ages 3 to 12. Themes include gemstones, gardens, the USA, financial literacy, and more. Register for kits on the Library’s website at stratfordlibrary.org / Events page, and pick them up beginning two weeks prior to each date. Return the Library books when you are done, and keep everything else! Learn something new this summer! To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Summer Storytimes
The Stratford Library Children’s Department will offer summer storytimes beginning June 21. Toddler Time for ages 0 to 2 meets Mondays at 10:30 am. Some sessions will meet on Zoom, and some will meet on the Perry House Lawn behind the Library, weather depending. During outdoor Toddler Time, adults will wear masks, and families will social distance. Storytime will meet on Zoom on Tuesdays at 10:30 am. Each week will have a different theme – see the website for details. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Summer Reading for Children
The Children’s Department of the Stratford Library invites children ages 0 to 12 to join summer reading. The Read to Me Program is for children birth to grade 2 not yet reading independently. Complete 20 activities, including listening to stories, to complete the program and enjoy an end of summer celebration. For reader’s grades Kindergarten to six, children who read at least 8 books can enjoy an end of summer celebration. Children in both programs will receive a monthly prize for reading/activities with additional prize drawings each week. For those young stargazers, the Library is also hosting a summer Astronomy Bingo game which can be picked up at the Library. Complete 5-in-a-row to get Bingo, and return cards before August 14 to be entered into a prize drawing. To register for either summer reading program, or for the Library’s Teen/Adult Summer Reading programs, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Saturday Grab ‘n’ Go Kits
Need something to do this summer with the kids? Visit the Stratford Library’s Event calendar at stratfordlibrary.org / Events and sign up for different grab and go kits for children listed on different Saturdays throughout the summer. Themes range from Olympics to Animals to Sharks. Take home something fun to enjoy from the Library. Registration starts two weeks before each date. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call Children’s at 203.385.4165 for more information.

Weekly Crafts
The Stratford Library Children’s Department offers a Weekly Craft beginning Monday, June 21 and running through August 14. While supplies last, families can pick up a craft kit to take home and enjoy with no registration required. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2:30-5:30 pm, weather permitting, children can stop by the Library to make the weekly craft with the help of teen volunteers. The Craft Table will be located outside in the Library’s Amphitheatre, and masks are required. For more information or a weather update for the Craft Table, call 203.385.4165.

Science Sundays
The Stratford Library Children’s Department offers a monthly website feature called Science Sundays. Learn about different science topics through curated websites, videos and activities, then stop by the Children’s Department’s take home table to pick up a handout that ties together the themes and activities in the web feature. Science Sunday Sharks will be posted on the stratfordlibrary.org/kids page on July 25 and Earth Geology on August 29. For more information visit stratfordlibrary.org / Events or call 203.385.4165.

The Great Family Read
Children and their families read together! The Stratford Library offers a monthly, self-paced family book club with different titles for families to enjoy together. The June title is: A Boy Called Bat, July is The Sisters Grimm, and August is Sideways Stories from Wayside School. All titles are available for check-out via the Library’s Hoopla app and are geared for children ages 7 to 12. Families who register will receive discussion questions and other ideas for activities via email. To register for each month’s title, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Color Parade
Throughout the summer, the Stratford Library will offer colorful grab ‘n’ go craft kits geared toward children ages 3 to 6. Look for registration information every other Thursday on the Library’s online calendar under stratfordlibrary.org / Events page. Kits can be registered for and picked up starting two weeks before each date. Call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Kindness Rocks
Children ages 5 to 12 can decorate rocks for the Stratford Library’s new Kindness Rock Garden on Monday, June 28 at either 2:30 pm or 3:15 pm. This program can accommodate family groups of up to five people, and masks are required. Registration opens two weeks before the program date. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Art Workshops
The Stratford Library Children’s Department will offer guided Art Workshops on Zoom on Thursdays during the summer at 7 pm for school aged children. Register on the Library’s website beginning two weeks before each workshop then pick up the art supplies at the Library and meet for instruction on Zoom. Summer workshops include watercolor, mixed media, colored pencils, and more. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org / Events page or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Math Mania
The Stratford Library Children’s Department will offer Math Mania kits in July and August for children to enjoy at home. Strengthen math skills and have fun at the same time! July 8 is Fractions, July 22 is Multiplication, and August 19 is Geometry themed. Register for each and pick up kits beginning two weeks prior. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Beading Grab ‘n’ Go Craft
The Stratford Library Children’s Department will offer two different Beading Grab ‘n’ Go Kits for children ages 5 to 7 and 8 to 12. Sign up children by age then pick up kits June 28 to July 12. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Nutmeg Book Group – You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P.
The Stratford Library Children’s Department offers its popular Nutmeg Book Group on Monday, July 19 at 7 pm on Zoom. In July, we will discuss Nutmeg title You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P. In this book, Jilly learns empathy through interactions with relatives and a new friend. Registered participants grades 4 to 6 will receive a free copy of the book and a goody bag courtesy of the Carol Pieper Memorial Fund. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Glass Lantern Craft
Children ages 7 to 12 can create a Glass Lantern Craft with a pick up kit from the Stratford Library. Convert a simple glass jar into a luminous lantern with colored tissue and shiny cellophane. Kits can be picked up June 30 to July 14. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Candy Olympics
Children ages 6 to 12 can participate in silly, sweet Candy Olympics at the Stratford Library on Thursday, July 15 at either 3 pm or 3:45 pm in the Library’s Courtyard. Masks and a grown-up helper are required. In case of inclement weather, participants will be notified when kits can be picked up for home enjoyment. Sign-ups begin two weeks before the event. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Illustrated Poetry Workshop
The Stratford Library will offer an Illustrated Poetry Workshop for ages 8 to 12. Children will write and illustrate a book of poetry and receive a copy of the printed book when it is completed. The first two classes will focus on writing and the second two classes on illustration. The workshop will meet on Zoom on Mondays, July 19 and 26 and Tuesdays August 3 and 10 at 4 pm. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Family Garden Project
The Stratford Library continues its popular Family Garden Project with pick up kits each month containing different seeds and instructions for growing. For July, Library patrons can sign up for a Kentucky Beans kit and pick it up July 6 to 20 in the Children’s Department at the Stratford Library. The Library loves to receive pictures of sprouting seeds! To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Fizzy Science
Children ages 2 to 6 can watch colors fizz and foam in this colorful science experiment at the Stratford Library on Monday, July 26. Masks are required. Families can sign up for a session at 2:10 pm, 2:40 pm, or 3:10 pm and meet outside in the Library’s Courtyard. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information about inclement weather plans.

Paper Weaving Craft
Sign up for a Paper Weaving Grab ‘n’ Go Kit from the Stratford Library for ages 6 to 12. Kit pick up runs 7/21-8/4. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

It’s Rocket Science
Children ages 6 to 9 can decorate and fly their own rocket ship at the Stratford Library on Thursday, August 5 at 10:30 am. Masks and a grown-up helper are required. This program meets outside in the Library’s courtyard and will be postponed to the fall in case of inclement weather. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Children’s Puppet Show
The Stratford Library will offer a Three Billy Goats Gruff puppet show on Monday, August 9 with two sessions, one at 2:30 pm and one at 3:15 pm for families with children ages 2 to 7. Families will be given finger puppets to participate along with the show. The rain date is August 14. To register for either session, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Ready for School
The Stratford Library will offer online practice in reading and math to children grades Kindergarten to six. Get ready for school with help from teen tutors on Wednesday, August 11 and 25 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Nutmeg Book Group – Wink
The Stratford Library Children’s Department offers its popular Nutmeg Book Group on Monday, August 16 at 7 pm on Zoom. In August, we will discuss Nutmeg title Wink. In this book, middle schooler Ross struggles to fit in after undergoing surgery the previous year. Registered participants grades 4 to 6 will receive a free copy of the book and a goody bag courtesy of the Carol Pieper Memorial Fund. To register, visit stratfordlibrary.org or call 203.385.4165 for more information.

Read to Therapy Dogs
Families can sign up for a time to read outdoors with therapy dogs at the Stratford Library on Thursday, August 26 from 11am-12pm. For the safety of the dogs, masks are required for everyone. Register online at stratfordlibrary.org on the Events page or by calling 203.385.4165.