Primary Challengers Crash and Burn

Party Endorsed Candidates Win Both Races

Endorsed candidates Dianne Nolan (D8) and Linda Chaffin (D9) solidly defeated their challengers Dick Brown and Rick Marcone in Tuesday’s Primary Election.

Democrats in these districts resoundingly declared their support for qualified candidates to move on to the November 2nd election.

Here are complete, unofficial results from the two Democratic primary elections for Town Council on Tuesday.

In both cases, voters overwhelmingly chose new, progressive voices –endorsed by the party — instead of one-time party stalwarts who had yoked themselves to the GOP.

  • Endorsed candidates by the Stratford Democratic Town Committee
  • Nolan’s huge margin came despite typical, GOP-style, last minute, inaccurate attack ad. She was up against a much better known opponent who worked the phones like crazy and, as a realtor, had seemingly sold homes to half the voters in the district.
  • Chaffin’s huge margin came despite little campaigning.  Marcone, a former Democratic town chairman, had twice run in the district as the Democratic town council candidate and was much better known. He took the race very seriously.
  • For the first time in memory, about half the votes cast in each election contest came via Absentee Ballots. (AB Percentage was 33% for Stratford in 2020 presidential election).

Dianne Nolan presently teaches at Central High School in Bridgeport, is a union building delegate, directs the Summer Springboard Program at Yale, and is a member of the ESPN3 Basketball Broadcast Crew at Quinnipiac University.

Dianne Nolan and her husband Mark have owned a home in Stratford for over 30 years, and lived at Oronoque Shores for seven years.  They are the proud parents of three boys and two granddaughters.

Linda Chaffee is passionate about civics and community participation having spent her career as a Volunteer Director and Certified teacher, eventually combining her passion for teaching with community service work.  She taught character education through service in districts throughout the state of Connecticut, for 13 years. Most recently, in 2018, she worked with a student group to introduce and pass state legislation to eliminate polystyrene in schools. The group also worked tirelessly to eliminate plastic bags in our state.

 

 

 

 

Future of Stratford Analyzed

MetroCOG Drafts Regional Economic Development Strategy

By Rachel Rusnek

On September 15th the Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG), a regional planning organization serving Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull, hosted a virtual meeting to discuss the proposed draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region.

Executive Director, Matt Fulda and Deputy Director, Patrick Carleton presented the draft Strategy to a small audience over Zoom. The CEDS, a plan for regional economic development, is required by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the region to be designated as an economic development district and become eligible for federal development grants. The strategy, updated every five years, includes an assessment of each municipality, and the region as a whole, and evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, trends, identifies existing or potential capital improvement projects and lays out a strategy for complementary and coordinated economic growth.  The assessment and report were developed in conjunction with RKG Associates, a Boston economic planning consultancy.

Identified weaknesses include:

  • the lack of a unified vision for the region,
  • lack of cooperation between municipalities,
  • and public perception.

The proximity to major markets, transportation and skilled workforce represented top strengths for the region.

A notable finding of the assessment is that the strongest job growth has been in those positions requiring minimal education. Since 2010 the growth of jobs requiring a high school diploma or less has grown by 16,700, while jobs requiring bachelor’s and post graduate degrees have declined by 9,300.

The analysis of Stratford identifies that compared to peers, we have considerable open/vacant land, amounting to approximately 2,747 acres. Within this available space,  a substantial portion includes the abandoned Army Engine Plant.

The CEDS pinpoints the Army Engine Plant as the most substantial development opportunity in the region. Meanwhile, the towns’ primary growth in recent years has been in the development of warehouses, distribution, and self-storage facilities. The assessment notes “While the town has a strong manufacturing base, this segment of the industrial marketplace has not been served by recent development…”.

The CEDS lays out six priorities for the region which include:

  • Organization and Coordination
  • Business Retention and Expansion
  • Business Recruitment and Attraction
  • Existing Asset Development
  • Economic Development Toolkit
  • Outreach, Communication, and Marketing

A few strategies identified to implement these recommendations include the development of a Public Private Partnership to increase private sector engagement, involving MetroCOG citizens in community outreach and implementation projects, issuing an annual business survey, developing industry groups and creating a business recruitment effort.

The research and assessment on the opportunities for the region, and specifically for Stratford, contained within the report are worthwhile, and give a glimpse into the state of our current economic standing and future opportunities.

Review the report and appendix at the MetroCOG site (https://ctmetro.org/regional-planning/economic-development/).

The report is open for public comment until September 30th. Comments and questions can be submitted via email to: mfulda@ctmetro.gov and pcarleton@ctmetro.gov

Where Am I?

Stratford the Beautiful

Stratford Crier Contest

The Crier has launched a weekly photo quiz to acquaint readers with the many beautiful parts of our town.  Crier photographers will publish photos of Stratford’s gems and ask readers to identify the location. First right response will be honored with a free ice cream cone from Goody Bassett, a Stratford Mecca for ice cream lovers.

Email your “guess” to: editor@stratfordcrier.com

This week’s gem is to commemorate a very special police officer who made history in Stratford.  Have you seen it?

Let us know where, and what you know about it. There’s ice cream at Goody Bassett on Main Street, just waiting for the “first responder”.

Stratford the Beautiful is happy to return after a two-week hiatus.  Our last marker, that of Captain John Carpenter, can be found on Academy Hill.

Not much is known about the valiant Captain except for what is written in this old marker.  He was born in England in 1628 and settled in Stratford before 1640. He commanded the Jamaica Fusiliers in defense of Fort James, New York, when the Dutch fleet of William of Orange recaptured New York from the English.

The marker is easy to locate, and when you visit it to pay your respects you can read the whole text.

Ice cream cone awaits at Goody Bassett for the first one to identify the location of this week’s marker.  Send submissions to: editor@stratfordcrier.com.

 

Kathleen Callahan

Democratic Candidate for Town Council in District 10

My name is Kathleen Callahan and I am running for Town Council in District 10. My wife, Karen Tracy, and I are lifelong Connecticut residents and have lived in Stratford for 11 years. We plan to retire and spend the rest of our lives here and realized it was time to help enhance the positive and bring a new perspective to the future planning and vision of our town.

I am a woman in long term recovery from addiction; a daughter, sister, wife, friend, and colleague; a community social worker; a former software engineer; and a lifelong learner, consensus builder, problem solver, and leader. I think in relationships, systems, stories, and data. My recovery is my touchstone, the measure of who I am and the determination of how I show up on a daily basis. Through my darkest days, into the challenges of today, and the concerns and hopes for the future, I am firmly grounded in the frailty and magnificence of our human experience, individually and collectively.

Our town’s budget is annual, town council terms are 2 years, mayoral 4 years. Short-term goals are easier given these restraints, and lack of consistent stakeholders can often preclude long-term planning. My experience in both careers has shaped a responsiveness that mitigates these impediments, allowing me to work toward a goal on the horizon and position projects to achieve that goal. I have learned how to shift seamlessly between team member and leader, effectively and efficiently research and resource issues, and actively listen with an open mind while growing into a skilled communicator and motivator.

As a social worker, I have been responsible for the development and implementation of community programming. This includes fostering relationships and educating about the impact of childhood and community adversity while engaging state agencies, legislative champions, and statewide committees and workgroups to promote trauma-responsive, evidence-based best-practices that improve services, empower individuals, and enhance community resilience.

My software career was comprehensive, successful, and satisfying, spanning over two decades. My experience was multi-disciplined with systems ranging from real-time, multi-tasking, embedded airborne avionics and surface-based radar applications to early, innovative e-commerce web sites.

I will bring the whole of my life’s experiences, personal and professional, to the Town Council as the representative of the 10th District. I believe Stratford is at a tipping point. While surrounding communities seem to be thriving, even in the midst of multiple public health crises, it appears our town and many of our residents are facing diminishing mobility and opportunities for growth that predate the current challenges. My life experiences have sharpened my ability to connect, motivate, and provide options. A sense of urgency dictates a new path for our town, one with visionary leadership and creative solutions. I want to leverage my skills to improve the lives of those in my district and help transform the town of Stratford.

The core of my candidacy is optimism and potential. I want to advance opportunities provided by our assets – geography, people, and resources, recognizing that Stratford is uniquely positioned for this moment. I understand the impact of COVID on communities that have long been marginalized, how it has magnified disparities and inequities, and also the need to address the collective grief of the town.

My goals for our town align with our Democratic Party priorities: to empower residents to prioritize President Biden’s investments in America and Stratford; lower residential taxes with honest budgeting and smart economic development; create a resilient Stratford with innovative green energy infrastructure; ensure that government, boards, and commissions represent Stratford’s evolving diversity; and redistrict based on census data to end gerrymandering and ensure fairness and equity.

My work for residents of District 10 will be informed by my personal experiences living in this area and focus on things I’ve been learning from my neighbors as I walk the doors. Key concerns I continue to hear at the doors are taxes and public safety.

Lowering residential taxes requires expanding our tax base to lower our residential mill rate, making Stratford more attractive to people wanting to live here and businesses wanted to locate here. While not the economic engine of the town, our district benefits from a diverse business culture that employs residents and draws customers – and even new residents – to town, creating a sustainable cycle of growth and increased advancement. What brings new residents is also the school system. A Democratic Board of Education will benefit our schools, including Second Hill Lane, with increased resourcing for students and teachers and a more visible role for parents and teachers in decisions.

As your town councilwoman I would gather the residents’ input while monitoring and supporting our interests on some of the interesting potential development in our district, including the fate of the residential buildings alongside the Ella T. Grasso therapeutic swimming pool and the continued buzz about a new diner next to the shopping complex on Hawley Lane, directly across from the Trumbull Marriott. Who doesn’t love diners? I know I sure do as may some hotel guests. Of importance would be impact on traffic in the area which has, by my experience, improved since the end of 2020 holiday congestion.

Our town’s Complete Streets Plan provides many public safety suggestions for dealing with high speed vehicles and I would work to ensure their recommended expansion of traffic calming measures, proven to slow traffic, to our district. Over the past few months, I’ve heard multiple crashes on our nearby traffic light signal on Broadbridge Avenue at the entrance to Remington Woods. I will also advocate for incorporating green infrastructure and supporting the plan’s program for storm water management.

Regarding Remington Woods, I support this area as an urban forest to protect what I believe is the largest undeveloped open space in Fairfield County. When I first moved to Stratford, I worked for a consulting firm that contracted for Sikorsky and was located in the office park there. I look forward to sharing some of my ideas about how to renovate that structure after remediation is complete.

I am meeting many of my neighbors, listening to their reasons why they love our town and what their concerns and needs are. I am excited to be considered for Town Council by the residents of my district.

National Small Business Week

by State Representative Joe Gresko, (D)
Connecticut House District 121

It’s National Small Business Week, the perfect opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our state’s and nation’s small business owners and leaders. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create roughly 66% of jobs in our country each year.

At a time when small businesses matter more than ever for the local economies, and remembering the hard challenges faced by business owners during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, please take time this week to shop at local small businesses and restaurants and support those in your community. Find a list – by category – of local businesses in our district by clicking the button below and searching the Connecticut Magazine database.

https://www.connecticutmag.com/marketplace/

If you are a local business owner, please also remember that Connecticut offers a number of programs to ensure your success. Please click the button below to access resources available to you.

https://service.ct.gov/business/s/ResourceCenter?language=en_US

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at the Capitol at 800-842-8267 or email me at Joseph.Gresko@cga.ct.gov.

Get Ready for Fall – Clean Your Closets!

September Community Cares Projects

Sterling House Community Center
Fall Events and Programs

 “Clean Out Your Closets”

In partnership with Savers of Orange, Sterling House Community Center (SHCC) is encouraging all friends of Sterling House to rummage through your closets, attics, basements, garages and sheds for usable items you can donate in support of our Food-4-Kids program, which provides weekend food for local students in need.

Donations will be accepted on Saturday, Sept. 18th, and Saturday, Sept. 25th, at the SHCC from 9 a.m. to Noon. We will accept items in good condition including clothes, wallets, handbags, sheets, towels, curtains, silverware, pots and pans, toys, games and more!

Please contact Pam Robertson for more information: probertson@sterlinghousecc.org or call (203) 378-2606, ext. 113.

The SHCC Preschool program has begun for the new year! There is still time to have your child join our classroom community!

Youth, Teen & Adult Programs Starting SOON at SHCC

  • Safe Sitters – Saturday October 9th 12:30 p.m.
  • Karate – Saturdays 9:15 a.m. & 10:15 a.m.
  • Art – Youth/ Teen Saturday mornings & Adults Thursdays 7 p.m.
  • Adult Scrapbooking – Saturdays September 18th, October 16th, November 13th & December 4th.
  • Adult Gentle Kripalu Yoga – Monday nights 6 p.m.
  • Adult Chair Yoga – Tuesday mornings 10:30 a.m.

To Register or for more information log onto our website at:

https://www.sterlinghousecc.org/youth-adult-programs

 

The People Speak

Town Council Meeting Public Comments

September 13th

The Stratford Town Council conducted a regular meeting on September 13th  at 8 p.m..  During the public comment portion of the meeting, (which begins at 6:30 p.m., and adjourns one hour before the regular meeting) speakers were:

Mark Hannon, President, Arts Alliance of Stratford, spoke to Council members about all upcoming events sponsored by the Arts Alliance.

Mitzi Antezzo, expressed her concern over the Town of Stratford mandating that developers vying for the Center School Redevelop contract provide underground parking.  Ms. Antezzo detailed the history of flooding in Stratford Center, as well as the recent flooding that occurred with Tropical Storm Ada (which brought 5 inches of rain to Stratford).  She wanted to know who was going to be responsible for flood damage when the buildings were complete; were the contractors going to include flood prevention in their plans.

Kathleen Callahan, shared her thoughts on the proposed Stratford use of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity for our town. She believes that the use of the ARP requires community input to set priorities and a focus on racism as a public health crisis.  “Racism is a social determinant of health, causing inequity and disparate outcomes in many areas of life… While not a new situation, COVID-19 has highlighted this health divide with people of color in Connecticut bearing a disproportionate burden of illness and death.”

She pointed out that the Connecticut Council of Municipalities (CCM), the largest, nonpartisan organization of local leaders across the state, crafted a toolkit that provided guidance on how to best allocate this funding. They encourage expenditures that include addressing racial inequities and disproportionate harm by identifying and addressing pre-COVID barriers to growth.

CCM also recommends that local leaders convene all stakeholders in the community and build consensus about needs, resources, and priority-setting. Previously approved capital improvement and equipment may be key components of our local annual budgeting yet not necessarily the best use of these funds. I urge this body to not rush to allocate this money to existing priorities but rather to step back and examine the total picture of our communities’ needs. Indeed the CCM states that we should be intentionally planning our horizon for this funding through 2026.

ARP dollars are the Willy Wonka “golden ticket” – a gift from the federal government to help recover from the pandemic while investing in projects and people who have not been the focus before. We can not only recover but grow, when we change our perspective to include ideas that never make it to the decision table.

Note: Barbara Heimlich also expressed dissatisfaction over the proposed spending of ARP monies by the Town, as well as seeing no input, nor monies, spent on non-profits and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Jennifer Budai one of the issues that she brought up was that the Town Council, who are elected by residents and serve at our pleasure, were disingenuous in holding a public hearing that is not attended by all council members, the mayor and her staff, as well as other department heads.  No opportunity for feedback to comments.  She reminded all that it was a tradition to do so, and now that council meetings are once again in person, should be reinstated. She also weighed in on ARP and how there have been surveys coast to coast on what to do with monies, none of which Stratford seems to have mirrored.

Stephanie Philips voiced concern over the flooding in District 3, a chronic problem which has been overlooked.  She pointed out that most of the District sits in a flood plain; residents pay extra insurance for being in a flood plain, and after each heavy rainfall spend yet more money on pumping out basements.  She also noted that the water is so high that the police block off streets, which hampers the response of ambulances, fire and police.  She asked the Town Council to look into catch basins.

Linda Palermo requested that Stonybrook Housing be added to “affordable housing” listing, which would enable residents to get funding for upgrades and repairs.

Town Council Meeting Highlights:

Grants have been submitted and approved for:

  • Funding for the latest de-escalation techniques for the Stratford Police Department
  • Grant to acquire and install up to 240 smoke/CO alarms with a bed shaker device for residents who are hearing impaired or hearing disabled.
  • A grant through the Connecticut Department of Economic Development’s State Historic Preservation Office to hire a qualified professional to conduct a survey and capital needs assessment on the Sterling Homestead at 2225 Main Street.

Consolidated Edison Solutions Inc. was awarded the contract for five school solar photovoltaic projects to be installed at Bunnell, Stratford Academy/Johnson House/ Wooster, Chapel Street, Second Hill Lane.  The total amount is: $2,503,545.48.

Approval of a cost overrun of $10,914.41 for approved electrical service at West Broad/Linden for a revised total of $22,662.91.

Awarding Titan Enterprises Inc. for Juliet Low Park improvements in the amount of $63,800.

Editor’s Note: To see the projects that the Town of Stratford plans to spend our ARP monies on go to the Town of Stratford website.

Welcome to Stratford

Cora Anne Fabian

Proud parents Rachel & Stephen, and big brother Lucas are thrilled to announce the birth of Cora Anne Fabian. Cora was born June 23, 2021 at 11:28 pm, weighing 5 pounds 13 ounces, and measuring 18.9 inches long. The family could not be happier with their little blessing.

 

Helpful People, and the Chapters of Your Life

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

A very important principal of Feng Shui is surrounding yourself with helpful people. The people who support your hopes, dreams, and all the chapters of your life generate a powerful and positive energy to lift you up.

I am sharing with you a letter from a friend.  Her kind words have given me the affirmation I’ve needed to embrace and continue the work that I do with a renewed energy.

She recognized that I haven’t been taking my own advice of late. And, admittedly I have been feeling my world is spinning just a bit too fast. A blog for another day.

Dear Joan,

Over the past year and a half you and I have become great friends via work we have been doing together. And, in the progression of that work and friendship, I have learned so much about how to approach life from you. Your counsel is invaluable!

Much of that new life-knowledge is centered around Feng Shui principals that I have incorporated into my world. And, my goodness, the variety of Feng Shui tweaks I have made really have transformed the trajectory of my life! The details of that transformation will most certainly be a story for another day and for an awesome google review for Feng Shui Joan’s Way at some point soon.

Today, however, the story takes a different turn. It is about feelings that have been stirred up by a few colliding factors.  These include the collective grief we all feel each year on and around 9/11, recent circumstances related to late-life and end-of-life struggles in my family and chatting with you about the challenges you face communicating the importance of your new End-of-Life-Doula service.

I fully understand the connection you saw between the work you do as a Feng Shui consultant with the new End-of-Life counsel you now provide.  We live – we die. In between the living and dying chapters are written and history is made.

Your work as a Feng Shui consultant helps folks manage the ebb and flow of unseen energy in their physical environments. Managing that energy can have a huge impact on how an individual lives their life.

And, indeed, we all want to live our lives to the fullest. We certainly don’t want to feel weighed down, stuck, and depressed every day.

I have learned from you that clutter is the bad guy in a perfect Feng Shui world. And, you have shared that a good many of your clients are mature and downsizing. Navigating “stuff” can be daunting especially when one is facing a new chapter of their lives.

It dawned on me that every day brings with it the opportunity to start a new chapter. Maybe that chapter is about our relationships, work, or finances. And Feng Shui principals can be applied to all.

But, what about the chapter that faces the unknown, illness, aging, loss?

I have learned from you that Feng Shui can be applied to these circumstances as well and that your new service as an End-of-Life Doula adds another layer of compassion and understanding to the work you’ve been doing right along. Our conversations about how your work has evolved is helping me chart a path for those mature people in my life.

I love the idea of participating in a Legacy project with a loved one – a topic of one of your blogs. I didn’t think to do that with a loved one who has since passed. However, I can’t think of a better thing to do for and with those important people who are in the here and now.

What a journey we will have understanding, exploring, and documenting their stories.  In particular I think of my husband’s mother whose memory is beginning to fade. She lived through World War II in England.  Over the years her five children recalled how she didn’t allow them to watch Hogan’s Heroes. And I remember she refused to watch the 2005 movie The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I asked her why.  In her matter-of-fact British way she replied, “Hogan’s Heroes made light of a war that was no joke.” And while she is a big fan of C.S. Lewis – she had seen trailers of the movie that hit too close to home. In particular, the bombing scenes of London and the fact that she and her sisters were separated from their parents and each other. Like the children in the story they were sent to country homes and placed in the care of strangers.  This was no adventure for any of them and the scars still run deep.

While this is a painful memory, it is a memory that shaped the strong, successful, and dearly loved women my husband’s mother and aunts became. Recounting the stories happy and sad are a legacy to be treasured. And, in all the “stuff” that one doesn’t need there are those very important items that spark memories that should be treasured for all time.

You, Joan, know how to compassionately guide folks through their stuff, the life changes, and all the chapters of their lives. I, among many, so appreciate your skill and kindness.

The passage at the end of Narnia Chronicle, The Last Battle reads, “And as for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”  JP

 

Never Forget!

Remembering September 11th

By Barbara Heimlich

On Sunday morning while watching “Sunday Morning” I was shocked to hear that only 14 states taught students about the 9/11 Terror Attack. When asked about 9/11 they didn’t even know what it was.

This year, the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, has been especially difficult for those of us who lost a loved one on 9/11. Not only are we grappling with the Covid pandemic that has kept many of us isolated, but we were bombarded with updated information regarding 9/11.

For years, families of the victims of the September 11th attacks have pushed the federal government to reveal more information about any Saudi involvement in financing the attacks. In 2019, William P. Barr, then the attorney general under President Donald J. Trump, declared in a statement to a federal court that documents related to the attacks should stay classified to protect national security. The move stunned those of us still seeking answers.

As a candidate, President Biden pledged to “err on the side of disclosure in cases where, as here, the events in question occurred two decades or longer ago.” In an executive order, the president instructed Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to publicly release the declassified documents over the next six months.

During the September 11th attacks in 2001, 2,977 people were killed, 19 hijackers committed murder–suicide, and more than 6,000 others were injured. The immediate deaths included 265 on the four planes (including the terrorists), 2,606 in the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon.

More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks, including the United Kingdom (67 deaths), the Dominican Republic (47 deaths), India (41 deaths), Greece (39 deaths), South Korea (28 deaths), Canada (24 deaths), Japan (24 deaths), Colombia (18 deaths), Jamaica (16 deaths), Philippines (16 deaths), Mexico (15 deaths), Trinidad and Tobago (14 deaths), Ecuador (13 deaths), Australia (11 deaths), Germany (11 deaths), Italy (10 deaths), Bangladesh (6 deaths), Ireland (6 deaths), Pakistan (6 deaths), and Poland (6 deaths).

Of the 2,977 victims killed in the September 11th attacks, 412 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center. This included:
• 343 firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
• 37 police officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD);
• 23 police officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD); and
• 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private emergency medical services
• 3 New York State Court Officers
• 1 patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol

The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. Approximately 75-80% of the victims were men. The attacks remain the deadliest terrorist act in world history.

Today there are still medical repressions affecting those heroic 9/11 First Responders who face a high cancer risk. It can take years, even decades, for cancers to develop. A study published in 2019 found that 9/11 first responders have an elevated risk of certain cancers, including a roughly 25% increased risk of prostate cancer, a doubling in the risk of thyroid cancer and a 41% increase in leukemia compared to the general population.

The medical director of the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital reported in 2018 that out of the approximately 10,000 first responders and others who were at Ground Zero and have developed cancer as a result, more than 2,000 have died due to 9/11 related illnesses.

So yes, the carnage continues, not only do I want answers about that day that resulted in the murder of a family member, but there are thousands of us who are looking for details.

Connecticut lost 161 residents that day. A stark reminder in the days following 9/11 were cars in Metro North parking lots gathering dust waiting for those who would never return.

And then there is the announcement that the Guantanamo trial of suspected 9/11 mastermind would resume. The case will be restarting with a new judge after a 17-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Selection of a military jury was slated to begin in January of this year, but now will not begin until 2022 at the earliest.

At contention by 9/11 families is that the “trial” is being conducted by the military. The Guantánamo military commissions office announced that victims’ family members would be permitted, on a lottery basis, to attend the Guantánamo legal hearings of those accused of planning the 9/11 attacks.

Not only does the lottery system inherently result in the granting of media attention to the select few who are chosen, and whose views are not necessarily representative of all victims’ families. Many 9/11 families do not believe these military commissions to be fair, in accordance with American values, or capable of achieving the justice that 9/11 family members and all Americans deserve.

We believe that a military tribunal is secretive and unconstitutional nature of these proceedings deprive us of the right to know the full truth about what happened on 9/11.

These prosecutions have been politically motivated from the start. No comfort or closure can come from military commissions that ignore the rule of law and stain America’s reputation at home and abroad.

The 20th Anniversary of September 11th has even changed how we honor our loved ones. Going to Ground Zero for commemoration ceremonies has always exposed us to “deniers” demonstrating outside our entrance, but this year we have been issued warnings, and new guidelines to go to Ground Zero.

So yes, this 20-year anniversary has been painful. It is personal for our family. Do I remember?

I remember what a beautiful day that Tuesday morning was, especially the blue sky with not a cloud. Then my boss called – are you watching the Today show? A plane from Boston has just hit the World Trade Center.

And my life changed forever.

First call was to my son in Ohio, as my daughter-in-law Mary was due to fly out of Boston that morning to go home to Columbus. She was safe.

Second call was from my daughter who worked at an AT&T call center to let me know she was OK (even though she was outside due to a bomb threat) and that my son-in-laws flight (as all flights) had been cancelled.

I stood in my living room, rooted in front of the TV watching the horror; I watched the second plane hit, I watched people jumping from windows to escape the fires,

I watched the towers fall, I watched people running for their lives, I watched first responders rush into the buildings. When I saw FDNY members rushing in I called to find out where my nephew, a NY fireman was – he ran in, and was and is safe.

Third call: my daughter calling me to tell me that Richie was missing. That he had an 8 a.m. meeting at Cantor Fitzgerald and his wife had not heard from him.

By 10 p.m. that night I was combing the lists of survivors that had been taken to hospitals, looking for Richie’s name. I was searching for any information that might give us information on his whereabouts.

That was day 1.

The following days (weeks) are a blurry of random memories.
• Fighter jets streaming over Long Beach
• Being able to see the smoke from the Towers on Long Beach
• Family members combing the streets with photos of Richie hoping against hope that someone had seen him.
• Volunteering at Teamsters Local 1150 on Garfield Avenue to help them collect and sort donations.
• Sending those teamster drivers headed for Ground Zero with flyers on Richie.
• Waves of anxiety attacks, which eventually lead to me having to seek therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. (FYI which manifests every anniversary of 9/11)
• A funeral that had hundreds of mourners, almost unbearable pain.

On September 11th Bill and Maureen Bosco lost a son.
Bill Bosco (my son-in-law) and his siblings lost a brother.
Tracie lost a husband.
Abby and Richie lost their father.

All of us: aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, friends, grandparents lost a precious soul that we loved to the terrorists.

Is there anything “good” that came from this horrible tragedy?

Community: through community volunteering I met and developed a friendship with Sean Haubert. Sean and his father, a now retired fireman, were among the first responders who went to Ground Zero to look for survivors.

Voices Center for Resilience, formerly known as Voices of September 11th, that was formed to provide long-term support for the 9/11 community, while sharing their nearly two decades of expertise to assist those impacted by other tragedies in the United States and abroad. They were there for Sandy Hook; they were there for  Stoneman Douglas High School; and they have been there for us providing: resources, programs, education, and mental health care to communities impacted by subsequent tragedies in the United States and abroad.
VOICES is a non-profit organization that assists communities in preparing for and recovering from traumatic events and provides long-term support and resources that promote mental health care and wellness for victims’ families, responders and survivors. Voices was founded by Mary and Frank Fetchet, who lost their son Brad on September 11th.

And lastly, this week two more victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center have been identified by the New York City medical examiner’s office, who have vowed to identify everyone lost that day. Just days before the nation marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, Dorothy Morgan of Hempstead, N.Y., becomes the 1,646th victim to be identified through ongoing DNA analysis of unidentified remains recovered from the World Trade Center site, where 2,753 lives were lost. The second person — and the 1,647th victim — is a man whose name is being withheld at his family’s request.

So No – I will Never Forget!