Shop Small Saturday

Small Business Resources

by State Representative Joe Gresko (D)

This Saturday is Small Business Saturday, the shopping holiday that encourages consumers to support small businesses in our community. Many locally owned businesses will be offering various sales and promotions to encourage customers to shop small this holiday season. Small businesses are the backbone of our state and local economies, and when you shop at a local small business, a significant amount of that money stays and is reinvested in our community.

My legislative colleagues and I, along with state leaders, are committed to supporting our small businesses and small business owners this holiday season and every day after. To streamline the process of doing business in Connecticut, our state’s business registration system has been fully integrated with Business.CT.gov.  This move provides a seamless experience for business owners from starting a business, registering it, and managing their critical compliance needs. The upgraded portal aims to encourage entrepreneurship and business growth while working to reduce some of the risk that comes with starting a business. You can learn more about the site’s expanded capabilities.

Our small businesses are at the heart of our community. This holiday season, let’s keep the holiday spirit of giving alive by shopping, eating, and celebrating locally.

Victorian Festivities’

Kick Off the Christmas Holidays

Boothe Homestead Christmas
December 3rd, 4th, and 5th

Boothe Memorial Park, 5800 Main St., will be decked out in its finest splendor, December 3rd, 4th and 5th. Many of the buildings will be beautifully decorated for the holidays. The proceeds will benefit their school programs The Homestead will be decorated in a Victorian theme. There will be 3 foot decorated trees available for auction. The hours are:

Preview Party Friday, December 3rd, 6:30-9 p.m. There will be snacks and entertainment. Cost is $15 or 2 for $25.

Saturday, December 4th, and Sunday, December 5th the Homestead will be open from 2-5 p.m. The cost for Saturday and Sunday is $5. Children under 12 are free.

Boothe Memorial Railway Society will be open on Friday evening from 6:30-9 p.m and Saturday from 2-5 p.m.
Putney Chapel will be open and decorated on December 4th from 2-5 p.m. and December 5th from 2-5 p.m.
The newly opened Stratford Veterans Museum will welcome visitors December 3rd from 6:30-9 p.m., December 4th from 2-5 p.m. and December 5th from 2-5 p.m.
Stratford Community Concert Band will be performing holiday selections on Saturday, December 4th from 2-4 p.m. in the coliseum.

Letters to the Editor

by State Representative Joe Gresko (D)
121st District

Dear Neighbor,

On Friday, I was thrilled to be present for the ribbon cutting of the new Exit 33 interchange for I-95 in Stratford.

The project, which took several years to be approved, designed, and completed, added an on-ramp in the northbound lane direction for Exit 33 and off-ramp in the southbound lane direction, creating a full interchange.

I know that the completion of this project is a relief to many Stratford residents and businesses. Projects such as this not only help ease congestion, but they also play a major role in helping Connecticut rise 15 spots in recent years in national rankings of the condition of each state’s highway system. I am proud that I was able to play a role in ensuring this project was completed for Stratford residents and visitors.

Stratford has new exit 33 on-ramp after decades-long fight

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.

Be a Ninja! Krafts for Kids! Science for All!

Kids Library Events

December Activities for Kids of all Ages
Stratford Library

by Thomas Holehan

DIY Storytimes

The Stratford Library posts DIY Storytimes on the website at stratfordlibrary.org/kids every Saturday. Families can enjoy these online storytimes any time. Themes for December include Ninjas (12/4) and Underwear (12/18).

The Great Family Read

The Great Family Read, a monthly book program for children grades 3 to 6 and their families. Each month, the Library will choose a high-interest book that both kids and their grownups will enjoy. The title will be available via the Library’s Hoopla ebook app (download the free app from your phone/tablet’s app store), so each person in the family will be able to borrow their own digital copy of the book at the same time. December’s Great Family Read will be The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

Register for this program at stratfordlibrary.org on the Events page, and the Library will provide you with discussion questions, information, and fun activities related to the book that families can use to create an engaging literacy experience. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Outside Storytimes

The Stratford Library offers storytime outside during December. Toddler Time meets Monday, 12/6 at 10:30 a.m. for ages 1 to 2. Preschool Storytime meets Tuesday, 12/7 at 10:30 a.m. for ages 3 to 5.

Baby Lapsit meets Wednesday, 12/1 at 10:30 am for ages 0 to 1.

Friday Fun meets Fridays, 12/3 and 12/10 at 10:30 a.m. for ages 2 to 5.

To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Alphabet Parade

Stratford Library Alphabet Parade grab ‘n’ go craft kits will be available throughout December for children ages 3 to 6. With Alphabet Parade, children will receive a simple craft relating to a letter of the alphabet and a writing practice sheet. The letter “S” will be available starting 12/2; the letter “T” will be available starting 12/16; and the letter “U” will be available starting 12/30.

Register online to reserve a kit on the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Book Scientists

Book Scientists is grab‘n’go learning experience offered by the Stratford Library Children’s Department. Each month, children ages 3 to 12 can sign up for different Book Scientists topics. Each kit will include Library books, a craft and/or an extension activity. Library books will be chosen by the child’s age. The Book Scientists kits for December are Crafts (pick up 12/3-12/16) and Christmas (pick up 12/17-12/29). When you are done, return the Library books by their due date and keep everything else!

To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Zentangle Art

The Stratford Library offers Zentangle Art on Zoom on Saturday, December 4th at 2:30 p.m for ages 6-12. Children will use their initials to create intricate designs. Materials will be provided for pick-up before the class. To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Coding Club

Stratford Library’s Coding Club meets online Monday, December 6th at 4 p.m. for children ages 8 to 12. Each class has two activities: a Scratch coding project and a group activity involving ancient codes like hieroglyphs or runes. Learn to think like a coder! To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Movie Watch Kit

The Stratford Library will offer a movie watching kit for the animated film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Kits are for children ages 6 to 12 and their families. You supply the film, we’ll supply fun items for a movie watching time with family. The Library also has a few copies of the movie for check out. Pick up begins December 6th. To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Jr. Scientists Grab’n’Go

The Stratford Library Children’s Department presents Jr. Scientists Grab’n’Go for ages 3 to 7 with pick up starting Wednesday, 12/8. Pick up a kit with a different science experiment each month. The kit contains items that children and their families can use together to test scientific principles. To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Nutmeg Book Group

The Stratford Library hosts a monthly Nutmeg Book Group for children grades 4 to 6. The December book is “Sanity and Tallulah” by Molly Brooks. Participants will receive a free copy of the book as well as items related to the book to keep, courtesy of the Carol Pieper Memorial Fund.

The discussion meets on Zoom on Monday, 12/13 at 7 pm. To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Science Sunday

Every month, the Stratford Library Children’s Department posts a feature on the website called Science Sunday, with links to online information about a different science topic. The December topic is The Polar World. Check out the kids page at stratfordlibrary.org/kids on or after 12/19 to see the December Science Sunday. 

Reading is Snow Much Fun – Winter Reading Challenge for Kids

If the weather outside is frightful, stay inside and read! The Stratford Library will offer a fun winter reading challenge for children in grades K to 6.

Families can sign up for the “Reading is Snow Much Fun” challenge beginning December 21st, the first day of winter. Children will have a snowflake displayed in the Library, with stickers added every time a child completes a reading challenge. Children who complete six reading challenges will receive a coupon for free ice cream in the spring. Register any time the Library is open in the Children’s Department on the second floor. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

New Year’s Family Vision Boards

The Stratford Library presents a New Year’s Family Vision Board grab’n’go kit for families with children ages 7 to 12. Vision boards are collages or collections of images that represent dreams and goals, and they are a great way to begin a new year. Kits can be picked up beginning 12/27. To register for a kit, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information, call the Library at 203.385.4165.

New Year’s Activities and Decorations Kit

Families with children ages 5 to 8 can register for a New Year’s Activities and Decorations Kit from the Stratford Library. Kits can be picked up beginning 12/28. To register, visit the website at stratfordlibrary.org, then choose Events. For more information about Library programs and services for children, call 203.385.4165 or visit stratfordlibrary.org/kids.

Protecting Public Safety

State Rep. Ben McGorty, (R)
122nd District

Just last night in Fairfield, a teenager was car-jacked while sitting in their running, parked car on a busy street just after 6:30 P.M

In my home town of Shelton, police reported more cars were stolen during a three-month period this year than in all of 2019. I recently joined my colleague Shelton State Rep. Jason Perillo in re-raising our call to action for a special legislative session to address these crimes and provide law enforcement with the tools they need to respond.

Responding to the concerns of residents statewide who are alarmed by the rise in juvenile crime, most especially the increase in motor vehicle thefts, we will be holding a Trumbull Juvenile Crime Forum on December 13th at Trumbull Library (33 Quality St) starting at 6:00 P.M.

I will be joined by fellow Trumbull State Reps. Laura Devlin and Dave Rutigliano, as well as State Rep. Craig Fishbein, the lead Republican on the Judiciary Committee, which is tasked with examining juvenile crime issues.

As part of the forum, we will discuss changes to Connecticut’s juvenile justice laws over the last ten years, the most recent data on car thefts and juvenile crime in our state, details of the House Republican plan to address the problem through legislation, and answer residents’ questions about this issue.

Tree Time at Sterling House Community Center

Buy Early for Best Buy on Trees and Wreaths!

On-line purchase options offered this year.

Monday Matinee

Minari

Stratford Library
December 13th
Noon in the Lovell Room

The Monday Matinee series presents recent, popular films on monthly Monday afternoons, is free and open to the public. Minari is the last film to screen in 2021!!

Minari is a tender and sweeping story that follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother (Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung).

Set during the 1980s The film, which was also nominated for “Best Picture” and “Best Actor”, is rated PG-13 and 115 minutes.

Movies in the “Monday Matinees” series are shown uncut on widescreen in the Stratford Library’s Lovell Room.  Due to town mandates, patrons are required to wear a mask inside the Library.

For further information, call the Library at 203-385-4162 or visit: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

 

 

 

 

A Celebration of Resilience!!!

Sterling House Community Center and SquareWrights Playwright Group will celebrate plays written during the height of COVID-19, explore various aspects of human resilience in the face of isolation and the challenges of physical and emotional health.

Turkey Trivia

Source: History.com, Nicole Barrantes, Animals in farming blog

Did you know?

Many people report feeling drowsy after eating a Thanksgiving meal. Turkey often gets blamed because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can have a somnolent effect. But studies suggest it’s the carbohydrate-rich sides and desserts that allow tryptophan to enter the brain. In other words, eating turkey without the trimmings could prevent that post-Thanksgiving energy lull

The Pilgrims might have been familiar with cranberries by the first Thanksgiving, but they wouldn’t have made sauces and relishes with the tart orbs. That’s because the sacks of sugar that traveled across the Atlantic on the Mayflower were nearly or fully depleted by November 1621. Cooks didn’t begin boiling cranberries with sugar and using the mixture as an accompaniment for meats until about 50 years later.

After encountering it in its native South America, the Spanish began introducing the potato to Europeans around 1570. But by the time the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower, the tuber had neither doubled back to North America nor become popular enough with the English to hitch a ride.

Only male turkeys gobble. 

Turkeys make a variety of different sounds such as “purrs,” “yelps,” and “kee-kees,” but the “gobble” call is only done by males during mating season. As a result, male turkeys are called “gobblers” while females are called “hens.”

Wild turkeys can fly. 

It’s a common myth that turkeys can’t fly (most likely because they feed on the ground) but wild turkeys have been known to fly up to 55 mph in short bursts. For domesticated turkeys, this is unfortunately not the case. They’re bred to be heavier in weight, almost twice as much as a wild turkey so they won’t be flying anytime soon.

Wild turkeys sleep in trees. 

Turkeys spend most of their time on the ground but when it’s time to sleep, they fly up into trees. This is because turkeys can’t see well at night and to protect themselves from predators, they roost at dusk and fly down at dawn.

They can change colors.  

Well, their heads do at least! You can tell a turkey’s emotions by the color of their heads. Colors can change from red to blue to white, depending on how excited or calm they are. The more intense the colors are, the more intense their emotions.

Their poop identifies their gender.

Are they girls or boys? One certain way to find out is by checking their droppings. A male’s poop will be shaped like the letter J, while the female’s is more spiral-shaped.

Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey to the bald eagle.  

While Benjamin Franklin did not advocate for the turkey as our National Bird, he did prefer them to bald eagles. In a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin called the bald eagle, “a bird of bad moral character” because they steal from other birds. He called the turkey a “much more respectable bird”, “a bird of courage”, and “a true original native of America.”

Turkeys can see better than humans. 

Turkeys have three-times better vision than humans. They can also see in color and their eyesight covers 270 degrees.

Presidential pardons for turkeys started in 1989. 

It’s widely believed that the first presidential pardon for turkeys started when Abraham Lincoln’s son pleaded that the bird intended for Christmas dinner had a right to live just like any other creature, but it wasn’t until 1989 during George H.W. Bush’s administration that the official pardoning ceremony started.

Turkey snoods are for mating.  

Snoods, the fleshy appendage that extends over a turkey’s beak is for finding a suitable mate. According to the Journal of Avian Biology, females prefer males with longer snoods, and snood length can also be used to predict the winner of a competition between two males.

46 million turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving.  

That’s about one turkey for every person in Spain. To add, each turkey weighs about 30 pounds on average, which means Americans will consume 1.4 billion pounds of turkey.

A Lifetime on Wigwam Lane

By Flo Costa
with Andréa Byrne

Flo Costa has 87 years of memories on Wigwam Lane.  In 1935, when she was born, her neighborhood was very different, with perhaps eight or nine houses in total.  Thornberg and Anson were the only other streets in the area off Cutspring, and long before that, Wigwam Lane, which takes several turns on its way from Huntington Road to Cutspring, had been an Indian trail that then led on to Pecks Mill Pond.  Flo has two arrowheads, one of quartz and one of flint, found in her mother’s garden some sixty years ago that testify to that.

With affection, a ready laugh, and a memory as sharp as one of those arrowheads, she shares a few of her many stories with us:

“My grandparents on my father’s side were the first in the Wigwam area.  For many years my grandfather, Frank William Dial, was the ringstock foreman for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  That means he was in charge of all the horses, and there were a lot of horses.  Work horses as well as the show horses.  There’s a picture of him in a book called ‘The Other side of the Circus’, and we have a trunk of his that still has the shipping tag on it that says Frank Dial, Sarasota, Florida.  That’s where the circus went for winter.  We have a letter to my grandfather from Charles Ringling dated 1923.  My grandfather had been injured and Mr. Ringling wrote him to say how much he’d be missed and hoped that he would be back with them soon.

We lived with my grandparents and I remember sledding with a friend down the hill on Wigwam to Cutspring when I was little.  Fortunately there wasn’t as much traffic as today. The original families there were Yacaback, Beatty, Piletsky, Nemergut, Chiberco, Pruzinsky and the Dials.  Most of the houses were built by the architect, Angus McDonald.

The old wooden Putney School was across the road down at the far end of Whippoorwill Lane.  A new brick school was built there in 1939-1940.  It had first and second grade in one room, third and fourth in another, both upstairs on the second floor.  Fifth and sixth were in one room, seventh and eight in another, both downstairs on the first floor.  Mrs. Frances Russell was the principal.  During WWII when there were air raid drills we would all go to the lower floor and crowd together under the stairway.

When Whippoorwill Lane was extended up from Cutspring it went as far as an old stone wall, with Florence Street on the other side of the wall.  When a firehouse was built there they took down the wall and Whippoorwill just became Florence at that point with no warning.  For some people it got pretty confusing for a while.

Hilltop and the streets off Cutspring were built in the mid-1940’s.  The school got crowded so in 1948 the eighth and ninth grades were transferred to Wilcoxson School.  I remember some kids at Wilcoxson thought we’d be real hayseeds in dirty overalls because our neighborhood was so far from town.  Now that old brick school is a Baptist Church.  Mr. Vender and his son Peter ran the Huntington Road bus that went up Huntington to Tavern Rock to Cutspring to Hilltop to Wigwam.  In the 1950’s there were no school buses so we took that bus to Stratford High.

My family had a large front row cottage on Short Beach.  In the early 1940’s a hurricane destroyed many of them, but ours survived.  During WWII the Army had barracks along Short Beach Road and out toward the lighthouse.  Before going overseas the soldiers trained there in the marsh weeds that are now the golf course.  The soldiers’ wives rented cottages there.  Before being shipped out the soldiers would sneak out of the barracks at night to visit their wives and have to duck down in the marsh when the search lights came their way.  As soon as the lights went in another direction, off they’d go. 

I was the only child there at the time, other than the baby of one of the soldiers and his wife.  They used to call me ‘the little fisherman’ because I loved to fish.  I’d go out in a little boat and fish with two hooks on each side and catch four flatfish at once.  At that time there were so many flatfish.  There were also porpoises that came up among boats in the channel and they’d go up the river on the tide and then back down and out.

We were friendly with some of the military families and they’d gather at our cottage.  We kept in touch with a few of them and Vinny and I even visited with one couple in Syracuse maybe thirty years ago.

In 1948 the town had the cottages at the beginning of the beach moved to the other end, and ours was put in the second row back from the beachfront.  In the late ’50’s seven cottages burned to the ground after someone broke into one.  Later the town had all the cottages removed and made the area a complete public beach.”

Flo and her husband Vinny continued making memories on Wigwam Lane.  They planned their wedding by mail while Vinny was overseas in the service.  They married when he returned and moved into their current home in 1957.  They began their family and without having much money created a comfortable, welcoming home, doing most of the work on it themselves.  Vinny built the wood-paneled family room that features a rustic stone-walled corner that Flo made.  In that corner is an old-style coal or wood stove that still gives warmth on winter days and nights.  And with $1000 that Vinny won from a scratch-off lottery ticket they were able to re-do their entire dining room.

Through the years they’ve both been active members of the community in many ways.  Flo is particularly touched by receiving a District Award for her extensive work with the Boy Scouts.  Two of their boys were Eagle Scouts and one a Life Scout.

Flo wrote for the old Stratford Star newspaper about brides and weddings, and had her own feature column called The Armed Forces Column by Flo Costa.  She covered a variety of stories about the military and also noted those from Stratford who were going into and coming home from the service.  She was paid ten cents a column inch for her work, and still laughs at recalling how every check bounced.

Of their many accomplishments, Flo and Vinny are proudest of their sons, Gary, Doug and Glenn, one of whom lives next door, another in the house next to that, and the third is not far away.  They are a large, good-hearted, loving family with deep roots in Stratford that only grow stronger with each generation.

If you have a story of your own about Stratford, please contact us at editor@stratfordcrier.com