Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th to October 15th

Sources: United States Census Bureau; History.com

National Hispanic Heritage Month is annually celebrated from September 15th to October 15th in the United States, recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements for the United States. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines “Hispanic or Latino” as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

The term Hispanic or Latino (or the more recent term Latinx) refers to a person’s culture or origin—regardless of race. On the 2020 Census form, people were counted as Hispanic or Latino or Spanish if they could identify as having Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”

Hispanic Heritage Month always starts on September 15th, a historically significant day marking the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence September 16th and September 18th, respectively.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the culture and contributions of Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean. The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration, stretching from September 15th to October 15th.

Facts for Hispanic Heritage Month

  • 8% of Hispanics age 25 and over had a college degree in 2020.
  • Over half of Hispanics in the U.S. live in California, Texas, or Florida.
  • In 2020, the Hispanic population made up the largest racial or ethnic group in New Mexico (47.7%) and California (39.4%).
  • In 2019, approximately 6% or 347,000 businesses in the U.S. were Hispanic-owned.

Did you know?

People of Hispanic origin are the nation’s second largest racial or ethnic group.  The Hispanic population grew 2.4 percentage points over the decade from 16.3% in 2010 to 18.7% in 2020.

 

62.6 million: The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2021, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority — 18.9% of the total population.

 

13: The number of states with a population of one million or more Hispanic residents in 2021 — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

 

34,289The increase (from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021) in the number of Hispanics in Riverside County, California, the county with the nation’s greatest growth in this population during this period. Source:  County Population by Characteristics: 2020-2021 (census.gov)

 

30.5The median age of the Hispanic population, up from 30.2 in 2020.

Source: National Population by Characteristics: 2020-2021 (census.gov)

 

More Stats

American Hispanic/Latino history is rich, diverse and long, with immigrants, refugees and Spanish-speaking or Indigenous people living in the United States long before the nation was established, bringing with them traditions and culture from Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Latin American and Iberian nations.

 

From early Spanish colonialism to civil and worker rights laws to famous firsts to recent Supreme Court decisions on immigration, here’s a timeline of notable events in U.S. Hispanic and Latino history.

 

Early Spanish Explorers Reach America:  April 2, 1513.  Searching for the “Fountain of Youth,” Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon lands along the Florida coast, claiming the territory in the name of the Spanish crown. He would return in 1521 to establish a colony, but his party, attacked by Native Americans, were forced to retreat to Cuba, where he died.

 

Sept. 8, 1565.  Spanish admiral and explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles lands at what will become the settlement of St. Augustine, Florida, near the spot Ponce de Leon reached 52 years earlier. Now the oldest continually inhabited American city, St. Augustine was under Spanish rule for 256 years, and British rule for 20 years and served as a Civil War battle site.

 

1609-1610:  Conquistador Don Pedro de Peralta settles Santa, Fe New Mexico, making it the oldest capital city in North America, the oldest European community west of the Mississippi River and the first foreign capital captured by the United States, in 1846, during the Mexican-American War. The original capital of New Mexico had been established by Don Juan de Onate in 1598 at San Juan Pueblo, but it was moved to Santa Fe in 1610.

 

May 1, 1718:  Spanish priest Father Antonio Olivares founds the Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as The Alamo, the first mission in San Antonio, Texas. Formed to convert Native Americans to Christianity, it became a fort and site of rebellion in 1835.

 

Battle of the Alamo, Mexican-American War March 6, 1836:  After 13 days of siege, Mexico President and General Antonio Lopez Santa Anna, with 1,000-plus Mexican soldiers, storm the Alamo, killing most of the Texan soldiers inside, who include now-famous heroes Davy Crockett, James Bowie and Lt. Col. William Travis, even those who had surrendered. “Remember the Alamo!” becomes a battle cry for the Texas militia, which eventually wins independence. In 1845, Texas is annexed by the United States.

 

1846-1848

The Mexican-American War takes place, following a dispute over border control following America’s annexation of Texas. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the war, setting a border at the Rio Grande River between Texas and Mexico, and also giving America control of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, a majority of Colorado and Arizona and part of Oklahoma, Wyoming and Kansas.

 

July 9, 1868

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted. Section 1 states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

 

April 21, 1898

The U.S. declares war against Spain, with major campaigns fought in Cuba and the Philippines. The Spanish-American War, which ends December 10, 1898 with the Treaty of Paris, marks the end of Spain’s colonial power, with the country granting Cuba independence and ceding Guam, Puerto Rico and the Phillipines to the United States. Hawaii is also annexed during the war.

 

1910-1917

The long and violent Mexican Revolution causes a surge of Mexicans to cross the U.S. border, with El Paso, Texas, serving as “Mexican Ellis Island,” according to the Library of Congress. The U.S. census finds Mexican immigrants to have tripled in population between 1910 and 1930, from 200,000 to 600,000.

 

Feb. 5, 1917

Congress overrides a veto by President Woodrow Wilson to pass the Immigration Act of 1917, the first sweeping legislation to limit immigration in America. Also referred to as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act and the Literacy Act, it bans immigrants from most Asian countries. It also includes a literacy test for all immigrants older than 16, requiring them to read English or another listed language for entry, and bars convicted criminals, alcoholics, anarchists, those with contagious diseases and epileptics.

 

Puerto Ricans Granted US Citizenship:  March 2, 1917

President Wilson signs the Jones-Shafroth Act, granting U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans and creating a bicameral legislature in the island territory. With the United States about to enter World War I, it also gives America a stronghold and allows Puerto Ricans to join the U.S. Army. Eventually, 20,000 Puerto Ricans are drafted to serve during the conflict, many charged with guarding the important Panama Canal.

 

May 28, 1924

Congress creates the Border Patrol, part of the Department of Labor’s Immigration Bureau, as established in the Labor Appropriation Act of 1924. In 1925, its patrol areas include the seacoast, and later, in 1932, it is divided with one director in charge of the Canadian border, and one in charge of the Mexico border.

 

Dec. 7, 1928

Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo of New Mexico is sworn in as the country’s first Hispanic senator. The Republican attorney, born in Mexico, immigrated to the United States when he was a boy. He served one term as governor of New Mexico and later was elected twice to the state House of Representatives before running for the U.S. Senate. But his time in Washington didn’t last long: In January he fell gravely ill and returned to New Mexico where he died April 7, 1930.

 

Dec. 7, 1941

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, drawing the U.S. into World War II. More than 500,000 Mexican Americans serve in the American military during the conflict, with 13 Medals of Honor awarded to Latinos. The 158th Regimental Combat Team, largely composed of Latino and Native American soldiers who fought in the Philippines and New Guinea, is called “the greatest fighting combat team ever deployed in battle” by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

 

Aug. 4, 1942

The U.S. and Mexico sign the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement, called the Bracero Program, America’s biggest guest-worker program created to avoid labor shortages during the war that would go on to last more than two decades until 1964. The controversial program allows manual workers (braceros) from Mexico to work in the United States short-term, mostly in agriculture, with basic protections, such as a minimum wage, insurance and free housing, although employers did not ignore those standards.

 

April 14, 1947

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals makes a landmark ruling prohibiting segregation in California public schools in Mendez v. Westminster School District. In the case, the family of Sylvia Mendez, then 9, and others sued four school districts for being denied entrance to Westminster Elementary School because they were Mexican. The ruling sets precedent for the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case seven years later.

 

June 9, 1954

President Dwight D. Eisenhower institutes “Operation Wetback,” a controversial mass deportation using a racial slur, in which the government rounds up more than 1 million people. Blaming illegal immigrants for low wages, the raids start in California and Arizona, and, according to a publication in the U.S. House of Representatives archives, disrupt agriculture. Funding runs out after a few months, bringing the operation to an end.

 

April 17, 1961

U.S.-trained Cuban exiles invade their homeland during the botched Bay of Pigs in a failed attempt to overthrow Dictator Fidel Castro. Soon after his inauguration, President John. F. Kennedy authorizes the plan. When the 1,400 exiles land at the Bay of Pigs on Cuba’s southern coast, they come under a swift counterattack by 20,000 Cuban troops and the invasion ends April 19, with nearly all of the exiles surrendering and 100 dead. Two months later, the prisoners begin to be released in exchange for $53 million worth of medicine and baby food.

 

July 2, 1964

The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 becomes law, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and outlawing discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color or national origin. The act also creates the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce federal job discrimination laws. One immediate effect of the act: an end to segregated facilities requiring Black Americans and Mexican-Americans to use only designated areas.

 

Oct. 3, 1965

President Johnson signs the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, better known as the Hart-Celler Act, into law, an immigration reform bill that ends a quota system established in 1924 based on country of origin (70 percent of immigrants were to go to Northern Europeans). The act gives priority to highly skilled immigrants and those with family already living in America. Post Hart-Celler, nearly 500,000 people immigrate annually, with 80 percent coming from countries other than Europe.

 

March 17, 1966

 

Cesar Chavez, general director of the National Farm Workers Association, leads 75 Latino and Filipino farm workers on a historic 340-mile march from Delano, California to the state capitol in Sacramento. Drawing attention to the demands of grape growers, the march, held at the onset of a strike that would last five years, lasts 25 days, and upon arrival in Sacramento on Easter Sunday, the group is met by a crowd of 10,000. Later that summer, the NFWA merges with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to form the United Farm Workers union that affiliates with the AFL-CIO.

 

April 16, 1973

The Dade County Commission unanimously passes a resolution from Miami’s mayor making Spanish the city’s second official language and creating a department of bilingual and bicultural affairs. In 1974, the Florida city is home to 350,000 Cubans who have been fleeing the country under Fidel Castro’s regime for more than 15 years. On November 8, 1973, Maurice A. Ferré is elected Miami’s first Hispanic mayor, also becoming the first Puerto Rican to lead a major U.S. mainland city.

 

March 20, 1973

Puerto Rican right fielder Roberto Clemente is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame 11 weeks after he was killed in a small plane crash while traveling from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua to assist in earthquake relief efforts. The owner of four National League batting titles, he received 12 straight Golden Glove awards, was the 1966 NL MVP, and, in 1971 at age 37, led his Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series victory, earning the MVP title. Voted into the hall in a special election, he is the first Latin-American baseball player admitted.

 

Aug. 6, 1975

President Gerald Ford extends the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with the amended Section 203 mandating that bilingual ballots be provided in certain areas.

 

April 20, 1980

Fidel Castro announces that Cuban citizens may immigrate to Florida from the port of Mariel with their own arranged boat transport. In the months that follow, 125,000 Cubans flee the country, in what came to be called the Mariel Boatlift. Many of the immigrants were law-abiding citizens and families, but others, called “marielitos” were prisoners, criminals and the mentally ill sent by Castro, causing President Jimmy Carter political woes.

 

Nov. 6, 1986

President Ronald Reagan signs the Immigration Reform and Control Act into law, granting 2.7 million long-term immigrants permanent legal status, but also imposing restrictions, increasing border security and making it illegal for employers to knowingly hire unauthorized workers.

 

Sept. 21, 1988

Dr. Lauro Cavazos, a Texan, is sworn in by Vice President George H.W. Bush as secretary of education, making him the first Hispanic to serve in a presidential cabinet.

 

Aug. 29, 1989

Cuban immigrant Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, later becoming the first woman to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Over 30 years—15 terms—the Republican from Miami served in the Florida House and Senate before representing the state’s 110th District. In 1990, Dr. Antonia Novello is appointed the first women and first Hispanic U.S. surgeon general under Bush, and, in 1993 Ellen Ochoa becomes the first Hispanic woman to travel to outer space.

 

Jan. 22, 1993:

Federico Pena, who previously served as Denver’s first Hispanic mayor, is confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Secretary of Transportation under the nomination of President Bill Clinton, making him the first Hispanic to hold the position. He also spends two years as the first Hispanic Secretary of Energy under Clinton, immediately followed in that role by another Hispanic, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

 

Jan. 1, 1994

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Mexico and Canada takes effect, establishing a North American trade-free zone and lifting tariffs of most goods. It is replaced, in 2020, by the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

 

Nov. 8, 1994

Proposition 187, called “Save Our State,” is passed in California, a controversial ballot measure requiring law enforcement, teachers and health care professionals to verify and report the immigration status of all individuals, in an effort to “prevent illegal aliens in the United States from receiving benefits or public services in the State of California.” Lawsuits and challenges are immediately filed, with a U.S. District Court judge issuing temporary restraining order just days later and another District Court judge declaring most of it unconstitutional in 1998.

 

Jan. 22, 2003

The U.S. Census Bureau releases statistics showing Hispanics are the country’s largest minority group, with a population of 37 million, while the Black population stands at 36.2 million.

 

Aug. 8, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice and the third woman to serve on the court. Raised in a housing project in the South Bronx, N.Y., she is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents and previously served on the board of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

 

June 25, 2012

In a 5-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down most of SB1070, an Arizona immigration law in Arizona v. United States. The decision finds three of the four provisions of the statute are preempted by federal law: the section making it a crime to reside in the country illegally, the section making it unlawful for undocumented workers to apply for a job and the section allowing warrantless arrest based on probable cause of unlawful presence. However, the court does uphold the law’s requirement that law enforcement officers verify immigration status during lawful stops.

 

June 23, 2016

In a one-sentence ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court announces it is equally divided in a case involving a lower court’s decision to block President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive immigration order, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), granting deportation relief to 4 million-plus undocumented people living in the U.S. providing they pay taxes, pass background checks and reside in the country for more than five years.

 

June 18, 2020

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocks an attempt by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protecting immigrants who came to the country as children from being deported. Established in 2012 under President Obama, DACA protects 700,000 “Dreamers.”

 

The Stratford Hispanic Heritage Committee

The Stratford Hispanic Heritage Committee started promoting the pride of Hispanic heritage in Stratford in 2005 as part of National Heritage Month to increase cultural sensitivity, foster understanding, and celebrate the literacy, music, and the artistic expression Hispanic cultures.

 

One of the committee’s primary goals is to provide scholarships for qualified students of Hispanic Heritage to attend college.  Since 2009 the committee has awarded approximately $70,000 to students attending Bunnell and Stratford High School.

 

Their main fundraising event for the scholarship program is their annual Scholarship Gala.  This year’s event will take place on October 8th at the Trumbull Marriott Hotel on Hawley Lane in Trumbull.  Dance the night away from 7 p.m.- 11 p.m., enjoy dinner with a Latin flare.

 

For tickets contact Olga Pena, 203-820-3658.  Presale 2 tickets for $150, at the door $95 earch.

 

Birding in Stratford

Stratford Bird Festival

Saturday, September 24th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stratford Point, 1275 Prospect Drive

Source: Audubon; Karin Doyle, Community Development Administrator, Town of Stratford; CTVisit

After a 10 year hiatus the Stratford Bird Festival is returning to celebrate Stratford Great Meadows, which Audubon lists as an “Important Bird Area”.

The event will take place on Saturday, September 24th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature a series of walking tours hosted by professional birders and educators with the Connecticut Audubon Society, a Fairfield-based nonprofit that works to protect the state’s wild birds.

Two of the tours will take place at Stratford Point, while one will be held on Long Beach. Festival-goers interested in a walking tour should pre-register for a tour online. Each tour is capped at 25 participants.

Experienced and well-seasoned birders will host the guided walking tours throughout the day; pre-registration is required for tours. Information on walking tour registration and a complete schedule of the day’s events can be found at: www.CelebrateStratford.com

The Bird Festival is a family-centric event inviting beginner and experienced birders to enjoy a unique opportunity to view a varied number of bird species. With miles of riverfront, several hundred acres of tidal marsh, Connecticut’s longest barrier beach, and a beautiful shorefront on Long Island Sound, Stratford has been coined one of the best birding locations in Connecticut.

The festival will also include a children’s craft tent, food truck and presentations by Skyhunters in Flight, a showcase demonstrating the power of hawks and falcons, and a Secret Life of Owls, which promises to offer a closer look at the life of owls. There will be a series of backyard bird presentations, Beardsley Zoo exhibits, a children’s craft tent and the Down South Dawgs food truck. Parking is available on the Audubon CT property.

“With miles of riverfront, several hundred acres of tidal marsh, Connecticut’s longest barrier beach, and a beautiful shorefront on Long Island Sound, Stratford has been coined one of the best birding locations in Connecticut,” Karin Doyle said in a statement.

David Wright, the town’s historian and an experienced birdwatcher who is helping organize the festival, said officials began considering reviving the event after a rare juvenile snowy owl was spotted on a town beach last fall.

Crowds quickly flocked to the shore for a chance to catch a glimpse of the creature, which concerned environmentalists that the birdwatchers might disturb the vulnerable animal, but it also convinced the town there might be enough interest in a new bird festival.

Wright described the upcoming festival as a kind of experiment that will feature an array of family-centered activities, including a presentation he will host about the safest methods to feed birds.

According to Wright, about 300 different species of birds either live in or pass through Stratford in any given year. The list is made up of common birds like house sparrows, starlings and pigeons, but it also includes more interesting animals such as cardinals, blue jays, northern flickers and red-bellied woodpeckers.

He said Stratford’s wide variety of birds is largely due to its uncommon geographical features which allow for a diverse number of habitats that can support different species.

“Because Stratford is a very long and narrow town, you have shoreline birds that you would see in Lordship that you wouldn’t necessarily see in the north end,” he said. “It really is unique.”

Ornithological Summary of Stratford’s “Crown Jewel”

Great Meadows Marsh is a significant over-wintering area for waterfowl, especially Black Ducks. The rare Snowy Owl, threatened Short-eared Owl, and special concern Ipswich Sparrow, can also be found wintering here. It is a critical nesting habitat for special concern species Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed and Seaside Sparrow, Willet, and the threatened Least Tern and Piping Plover.

The site is also an important feeding area for wading birds such as the threatened Great and Snowy Egrets, after the young have fledged. Endangered raptors, such as Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons, use this area as a feeding ground during migration and winter. The nearby airport lawns support breeding areas for the endangered Upland Sandpiper and the threatened Horned Lark. The site is a migratory stopover for the endangered Pied-billed Grebe.

Conservation Issues

Serious: Introduced animals, predators, habitat conversion, development, disturbance to birds or habitat, marine sand and gravel mining. Minor: Invasive or non-native plants, pollution. Potential: Hydrologic changes.

Ownership

US Fish and Wildlife Service, Town of Stratford, City of Bridgeport, Sikorsky Memorial Airport, private.

Habitat

Primary: Saltmarsh with barrier beach. Secondary: Non-tidal freshwater marsh (near airport), pond/lake (Frash Pond), estuary, marine, some forest.

Land Use

Primary: Nature and wildlife conservation, undeveloped. Secondary: Hunting/fishing, suburban/residential, urban/ commercial.

Other: Before the construction of Sikorsky Memorial Airport and other industrial and commercial developments, this marsh system was four times as large as it is today,
covering as much as five square miles.

The site is an important breeding area for the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab, and nesting site for a population of Diamond-backed Terrapins.

The tidal flats and offshore waters are also important for foraging and breeding finfish populations.

A large oyster seed bed is found between the marsh and Long Beach which serves as an economically important component of the Long Island Sound fisheries.

Several rare plant species, such as prickly pear, marsh pink, and coast violet occur
here.

The site has tremendous potential as one of the primary bird watching areas in Connecticut

“Let’s Talk”

By Chris Green
Chris Green is running for CT State Senate in November 2022 for the 21st District

One thing I have learned from knocking on thousands of doors and talking to hundreds of voters is that, despite the popular narratives in the media and on social media about increasing political divides, many of us fall somewhere in the middle.

Residents love our state, but they see things that should be changed. They see room for improvement across both sides of the aisle. They want solutions and compromises, not mud-slinging and gridlock.

Most voters also want to make informed decisions with their vote; they understand who they elect impacts the quality of their lives. But with all the different levels of government, it can be difficult to keep up with who your state legislators are – let alone how they voted or where they stand on key issues.

My name is Chris Green and I’m running for State Senate in the 21st District encompassing Shelton, most of Stratford, and parts of Seymour and Monroe. I’m running against State Sen. Kevin Kelly. While we have some common ground, there are important differences in our beliefs.

More than ever, it is important for public servants and political figures to embrace transparency and lead by example to show that this country has a path towards a brighter future through lively but respectful public discourse. I sent Sen. Kelly an email on September 2nd inviting him privately to work with me to arrange for this opportunity. As I haven’t heard back, I am making the same plea now, publicly.

Dialogue is the foundation of democracy. I invite Sen. Kelly to reach me at cgreen4senate@gmail.com so we can work together to create an opportunity for the voters to make an informed choice on November 8th. Voters can find more information about my campaign at www.cgreen4senate.com.

Pension Pay Down

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

State Representative Phil Young (D)
120th Connecticut House District

Dear Neighbor,

Connecticut continues to make sound financial decisions that will strengthen our state long term.

State Comptroller Natalie Braswell announced that her office will transfer $3.1 billion into the rainy-day fund. This move triggers a statutory mandate that requires a one-time, special payment of $2.8 billion to be made toward the state’s unfunded pension liabilities.

This payment, which will be allocated into several pension funds later this year, could save Connecticut taxpayers approximately $6 billion over the next 25 years.

Connecticut was able to build its rainy-day fund through years of deliberate and careful policy. We can now celebrate the benefits of those decisions as we make investments that will not only benefit residents now, but for the foreseeable future.

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.

Mark Your Calendar

Monday, the Paradise Green Farmer’s Market Back Better Than Ever!! Connecticut Grown and Made.

Thursday: “Tired of Arguing with Your Teen? Change is Possible” come hear Lianne Dixon on Thursday, September 29th from 7-8 p.m. at the Stratford Library. The talks are free and open to the public. Parent Coach and Windsor resident Lianne Dixon will conduct a public presentation for parents who are tired of arguing with their teens. Discover high-impact strategies that create less room for arguing and more room for connection. Explore the benefit of using visualization to help create the relationship you want. Learn mindful practices that are critical in setting the scene for more peaceful communication and joyful connection. Register for free Zoom link: https://stratfordlibrary.libcal.com/event/9178317
Safe Sitters Classes by Sterling House Community Center begins on October 8th. Register now.

Notice: The Stratford Library Board of Trustees have announced their new slate of officers. They include: Maria Ferrera, President, Robyn Proto, Vice President, Donald Putrimas, Treasurer, Joel Pleban, Assistant Treasurer, and Janice Cupee, Secretary. All are Stratford residents and will serve through June 2024.

Make A Difference!
Be a Citizen Reporter for the Stratford Crier
We are a volunteer group, providing fact-based nonpartisan reporting,
and we want YOUR help in keeping our community informed.

We need Citizen Reporters to cover:
• Town Government
• Education
• Environment and Climate Resilience
Please join us! Reach out to Barbara@stratfordcrier.com

 

Flu and Covid-19 Vaccines Now Available

Stratford Health Department
September 28th – October 26th

Appointments Needed

The Stratford Health Department is hosting a series of vaccination clinics for Stratford residents in September and October. The clinics will be offered, by appointment only, at the Birdseye Municipal Complex, located at 468 Birdseye Street in Stratford.  

Dates:

  • Wednesday, September 28th        3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.(Flu and Covid-19 shots)
  • Wednesday, October 5th              10:00 A.M.– 2:00 P.M. (Flu and Covid-19 shots)
  • Wednesday, October 12th            3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. (Flu vaccine only).  

This is a Minions-themed clinic so please bring your children for flu shots and free giveaways. 

  • Wednesday, October 26th              3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.(Flu and Covid-19 shots)

 

The CDC urges the public keep up-to-date with routine vaccinations. “Keeping up with vaccinations against these viruses is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe” says Bernice Bova, Public Health Nurse.

The Stratford Health Department is taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of visitors coming in for an appointment. Masks will be required when inside the office.

Vaccinations are by appointment only. Available vaccines include Influenza vaccine and Covid-19 Vaccine. We have the new Bivalent Moderna Booster. Insurance is needed for all flu vaccines. We accept the following insurance: Blue Cross, Cigna, Aetna, Medicare Part B, and Connecticare. We do not accept United Healthcare Insurance.

For questions or to schedule an appointment, please call the Stratford Health Department at 203-385-4090 or follow this link https://stratfordhealthdepartment7509.setmore.com.

Walk N’ Talk

Friday, September 30th from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Roosevelt Forest

New Moms, Infant Caregivers, Toddlers
3 Week Program Sponsored by Stratford Health Department, Parents Place and YMCA

Plan Stratford Meeting at Boothe on Thursday

Editors Note: Dear Readers, if you have attended or participated in one of the Plan Stratford Meetings we are interested in your thoughts on how the meetings were conducted, and what you thought about the information presented. Please send your impressions to: Editor@stratfordcrier.com
Thank you.

Next Plan Stratford Workshops:

Boothe Memorial Park & Museum Workshop

5800 Main St, Stratford, CT  06614

Thursday, September 29th | 6 – 8 p.m.

 

Baldwin Center Workshop

1000 W Broad St, Stratford, CT 06615

Thursday, October 13th | 6 – 8 p.m.

What Is Plan Stratford?

It is the opportunity for residents to give input on a Plan of Conservation and Development to be used as the Town’s guide for managing growth and conserving resources.

The Town’s Planning Commission is responsible for updating the Plan every ten years as mandated by the State. The Plan addresses multiple issues related to stewardship of the Town and provides a foundation for Town policy, capital investment, and it’s zoning regulations.

Stratford last undertook this process ten years ago culminating in the 2013 POCD.  This effort will provide an updated Plan that will address important issues related to Stratford’s growth and will provide a vision for its future.

What Are The Plan Elements That Will Be Covered in the POCD?

Demographic Trends

Housing

Land Use & Zoning

Conservation, Open Space & Recreation

Economic Development

Cultural & Historic Resources

Mobility

Community Facilities, Infrastructure & Utilities

Energy & Environment

Resiliency & Waterfront Redevelopment

Placemaking & Urban Design

 

Why Should I Participate?

 

The development of PLAN STRATFORD lays the groundwork for projects such as Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP) and Center School redevelopment, Greenways, Complete Streets, parks and playground improvements, etc.

 

It promotes housing choices and resiliency initiatives, and helps advance community grand list.

 

Information generated to date from:

Town of Stratford Plan of Conservation and Development

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting #3 August 30th, 2022

 

Housing

  • Single-Family Residential on relatively larger lots prevalent in northern areas of Town

 

  • Higher density single-family and multifamily in central areas of Town which supports

TOD policies

 

Population Density

  • Areas with highest population densities are also those areas zoned for higher densities

 

Transit Oriented Development Zone

  • TOD Zone located in center of Town adjacent to the Train Station and municipal center

 

  • TOD’s in various stages of construction, approval, and planning

 

  • Nearly 500 multifamily units either approved or built since the past five years in and around the TOD zone

 

  • Mix of higher density residential zoning, commercial, and industrial within the TOD Zone

 

TOD Zone and Academy Hill Historic District

  • Several historic properties are listed on the state register of historic properties located within the TOD zone

 

  • Additional level of review involved for historic properties either through local Historic District Commission or through State Historic Preservation Office

 

Year Structure Was Built

  • Many homes built between 1930’s and 1970’s – 67% built before 1970
  • Far fewer built since 2000’s – under 5%
  • Naturally, Historic District has oldest structures

 

Apartments

  • Apartment units located throughout Town, but more concentration in the Town Center

 

  • Most residence apartments were approved through zoning regulation Section 5.3, which is based on old district boundaries. This regulation is obsolete now. Town needs new zoning guidance for multifamily housing between 3 and 8 units in areas outside TOD zone

Housing Summary

  • TOD’s have been proposed for locations just outside the TOD Zone boundary. Is there a need to expand the TOD Zone?

 

  • Section 5.3 zoning reg must be fixed to allow for 3-7 units style houses in the town. Is the Town interested in such housing types?

 

  • How affordable is the housing in Stratford for those in the low- and very-low income threshold? Does it make sense to allow for a moderate sized ADUs for those in the north end of the town?

 

Land Use and Zoning

Existing Land Use

  • Existing land use map will be updated to reflect most recent assessor’s data

 

Existing Zoning

  • Various zoning categories

 

Existing Ownership

  • Largely privately owned land in the town with some parcels under municipal ownership scattered throughout the town.

 

  • Town has very limited vacant land for accommodating new developments.

 

Conservation, Open Space & Recreation

Open Space

  • Stratford’s Open Space resources include a variety of sports fields, parks, beaches, and Roosevelt Forest

 

  • Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge

 

  • Greenway

 

  • Open space/recreational facility within a 1/2 mile of each residential neighborhood

 

Economic Development

Major Employers

  • Stratford’s Major Employers include:
  • Sikorsky
  • Two Roads Brewery
  • Athletic Brewing
  • Bridgeport Fittings
  • Ashcroft, Inc.

 

Density of Jobs

Likewise, with the exception of Sikorsky, jobs in Stratford are concentrated in the Southern portion of Town

 

Commuting Patterns

 

  • More of Stratford’s residents are commuting out of Town for employment than in in 2010

 

Roadway Functional Classification

  • Stratford has a robust transportation network
  • Includes Interstate 95, expressway – Merritt Parkway, minor arterials, collectors, and local roads

 

Average Annual Traffic Volumes

  • Higher volumes found on arterials and collectors
  • Consider locations for traffic calming measures

 

Sidewalk Network

  • Stratford has a network of sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Are there plans in place for maintenance or expansion?

 

Multimodal  Facilities

  • Stratford has made great progress towards constructing and planning for greenways and complete streets throughout Town
  • Do these locations still make sense?

 

Crash Analysis 2017 – 2021

  • Crash hotspots include areas along Route 1 and in the Town Center

 

Crash Analysis Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes 2017 – 2021

  • 28 Bicyclist Crashes
  • 85 Pedestrian Crashes
  • 3 Fatal Pedestrian Crashes

 

Community Facilities, Infrastructure & Utilities

Community Facilities

  • Stratford’s Community Facilities are located throughout the Town
  • Does the Town need more space, if so what types?

 

Energy & Environment

 

CT DEEP Natural Diversity Database Areas

  • Areas with a high prevalence and diversity of species
  • Generalized zones updated by CT Deep every six months
  • Areas in the NDDB zone would require DEEP review, if any large scale developments are proposed

Inland Wetlands

In CT, wetlands are delineated by soil types including

  • Alluvial and floodplain
  • Poorly drained and very poorly drained
  • Some areas in north end are not suitable for large scale housing due to soil type

 

Hurricane Inundation

  • Much of the area below I-95 is susceptible to Hurricane Surge Inundation
  • Town’s critical infrastructure, such as I-95, railroad, WPCF, wastewater treatment plant, and Sikorsky airport are at highest risk of flooding in the event of Category 3 and 4 hurricanes

 

Contaminated Areas

  • 77 Brownfields- in various stages of remediation
  • 13 Superfund Sites-in various stages of remediation
  • Located in low lying areas susceptible to flooding and hurricane storm surge
  • Will need to update this map to reflect various stages of remediation

 

Resiliency & Waterfront Redevelopment

How Can a POCD Incorporate Resiliency?

  • Acknowledge the four parts of resilience
  • Prepare for floods and severe storms
  • Withstand events like floods and severe storms
  • Recover from events
  • Adapt to changing conditions; this is more than reducing risks
  • Acknowledge and honor recent planning efforts
  • Allow existing land uses to continue
  • Make a firm statement about which investments the Town will make – and where – going forward

 

Stratford Coastal Resilience Plan (2016)

  • Funded by CDBG-DR from SuperStorm Sandy
  • Described coastal flood risks and sea level rise
  • Developed flood protection system concepts along Housatonic River shoreline and southwest of Lordship Boulevard

 

Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience (2017)

  • Development of green projects from 250 individual projects collected from ten municipalities
  • Emphasis was mostly on the shoreline
  • Resulted in concept designs for each of the ten municipalities
  • Stratford: Russian Beach

 

3rd Edition of MetroCOG Hazard Mitigation Plan (2019)

  • Lists actions that can be undertaken within five years to reduce losses at the site scale or a larger scale
  • Categories include property protection, prevention, public education, emergency services, natural resources protection, and structural projects
  • Actions range from home elevations to flood protection system segments previously developed in the Town’s coastal resilience plan

 

Resilient Connecticut Phase II (2020-2021)

  • Planning process resulting from the State’s application to the NDRC
  • Flood, heat, and social vulnerabilities were intersected with regional assets and infrastructure to identify 63 opportunity areas for addressing climate challenges
  • Four opportunity areas were identified in Stratford (three flood-related and one related to extreme heat)

 

Resilient Connecticut Phase III (2022-2023)

  • Concept design process resulting from the State’s application to the NDRC
  • South End was selected as one of only seven opportunity areas in Fairfield and New Haven Counties to advance
  • Will allow a new review of the concepts of the Town’s Coastal Resilience Plan

 

Other Resiliency Efforts that Covered Stratford

  • Historic Resources Resiliency Planning (2016-2017)
  • Town received a report
  • GIS mapping was developed
  • Eight actions developed for making historic resources more resilient
  • Drinking Water System Vulnerability Assessment and Resiliency Plan (2017-2018)
  • Interconnections and other redundancies recommended

 

What is the Town’s Resiliency Story?

 

  • Parts of the shoreline, the interior South End, and the commercial area along Lordship Boulevard are at significant risk of coastal floods
  • The Coastal Resilience Plan lays out methods of reducing the flood risks through flood protection systems
  • The Town may need to look at options if the flood protection systems are not constructed due to funding or property owner constraints
  • Consider concepts from Resilient Connecticut such as “resilient hubs” and “resilient corridors” that can help focus the discussion in a positive light

 

 

Placemaking & Urban Design

 

Streetscape Design and Façade Improvements?

  • Are there locations in Stratford that could benefit from aesthetic improvements?
  • Opportunities for streetscape design improvements such as pedestrian lighting, benches, planters, etc?

 

Review of Online Survey Questions

 

Generate Interest in the Plan

  • Emphasis on why the POCD is important

 

  • Guides planning and development for the coming decade

 

  • Emphasis on why residents should be involved

 

Gain valuable feedback from community

  • Wide variety of questions
  • Focus on what works and what needs improving
  • Option to answer more questions provided
  • We can provide hardcopies to leave at Library, Baldwin Center, Town Hall etc.

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Why do you reside in Stratford, what is keeping you here?

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Length of time in Stratford

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Question about children in the school system
  • Parents often have different priorities than residents without children

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Thoughts about Stratford

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Question targeted at business owners

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Question targeted at business owners

 

Sample Questions

 

  • Question targeted at business owners

 

Sample Questions

 

  • What should the Town focus MORE of over the next decade?

 

Sample Questions

 

  • What should the Town focus LESS of over the next decade?

 

 

 

Sample Questions

 

  • What concerns you most about the future of Stratford?

 

Workshop Format Workshop Timeline

 

  • 5:30 – 6:00 PM: Sign in and promotional video/open house
  • 6:00 PM – 6:30: Presentation and interactive polling session
  • 6:30 – 7:30: Break-out sessions
  • 7:30 – 8:00: Report back and next steps, closing

 

 

 

Break-out Session Draft Questions

 

  • Where do you spend time with family and friends in Stratford (specify public places only)? How can we promote more such places in Stratford and where?
  • If you could implement one project in Stratford, what would it be?
  • Stratford is forecasted to grow in population over the next decade. But there are not enough vacant housing units currently to accommodate all this growth. Should Stratford grow? If you believe the Town needs more housing, where should it be built and what types of housing should it be?
  • There will be more seniors in Stratford (55+) in ten years from now based on our 2020 census data analysis. Young adults (20-29 year olds) are also forecasted to grow. What kind of housing types should we encourage for these growing senior citizens and young adults in Stratford?

 

Break-out Session Draft Questions

  • What Town in Connecticut or the New England Region would serve as a good role model for encouraging positive growth and development in Stratford? Why?
  • What would encourage you to walk or bike more often for taking local transportation trips within Stratford?
  • Twenty years from now, would you prefer living by the water (near Stratford Coast) or away from the coast? Why?
  • If you were to re-imagine the look of Stratford’s major transportation corridors such as Barnum Avenue or Stratford Avenue, what would they look like?
  • How could Stratford’s waterfront be improved?
  • What are the energy/infrastructure improvements and opportunities that the Town should pursue?
  • Do you think the Town is doing a good job protecting

its environmental resources such as rivers, streams,

 

Example board created for Durham, we will bring forested areas, and coastline?

 

something similar to Stratford to collect feedback during the workshop

 

 

Break-out Session Draft Questions

  • Do you think Stratford has adequate parks and open spaces for you enjoy? If not, please elaborate on your response.
  • How do we ensure that Stratford’s youth get involved and invested in Stratford? In other words, how can we make Stratford’s community stronger? How can we retain Stratford’s youth?
  • Do you have access to healthy food where you live? Would you like to grow your own food in your community in the near future?
  • What if anything would cause you to leave Stratford in the next ten years?
  • Schools? Not enough housing choices? No good quality parks? Very few places to have fun? Rising waters? Other
  • What types of businesses would you like to see more of in Stratford?

 

Future Technical Advisory Committee Meetings

 

Topic Focused Meetings

 

  • September and October: Public Workshop update, online survey findings

 

  • November through January 2023 –

Topic based meetings – 3-4 Topic groups per meeting

 

Next Steps

  • 3 Public Workshops!
  • Interviews with Boards and Commissions – November
  • Meeting with High School Students

 

Thank You!

 

Who Is On The Planning Team?

 

Technical Advisory Committee Members Are:

Laura Hoydick. Mayor

 

Jermaine Atkison. Deputy Fire Chief

 

Susmitha Attota. Town Planner/POCD Project Manager

 

Paul Aurelia. Planning Commission Member

 

Andrea Boissevain. Health Director

 

Brian Budd. Administrative Police Captain

 

John Casey. Town Engineer

 

Larry Ciccarelli. Public Safety Director

 

Alivia Coleman. Health Program Associate

 

Mary Dean. Economic Development Director

 

Brian Donovan. Building Official

 

Michael Downes. Chief of Staff

 

Matt Fulda. Director of MetroCOG

 

Jay Habansky. Planning & Zoning Administrator

 

Kelly Kerrigan. Conservation Superintendent

 

Amy Knorr, Recreation Superintendent

 

Brian Lampart, Fire Chief

 

Joseph McNeil, Police Chief

 

Bryan O’Connor, Chairman of Planning Commission

 

Tara Petrocelli, Director of Community Development

 

Greg Reilly, Grants Writer

 

Dawn Savo, Finance Director

 

Raynae Serra, Public Safety Director

 

Elizabeth Sulik, Executive Director of Stratford Housing Authority

 

Tamara Trojanowski, Community Services, Youth Services, and Senior Services Director

 

Christopher Tymniak, CAO

 

Community Advisory Committee

 

Bryan O’Connor, Chairman of Planning Commission

 

William Boyd, Vice Chairman of Planning Commission

 

Paul Aurelia, Regular member of Planning Commission

 

Sarah Graham, Regular member of Planning Commission

 

Alec Voccola, Regular member of Planning Commission

 

Tami-Lyn Morse, Alternate member of Planning Commission

 

Brian Stirbis, Alternate member of Planning Commission

 

Daniel Senft, Alternate member of Planning Commission

 

Planning Consultants

 

Rory Jacobson, Lead Project Manager, FHI Studio

 

Francisco Gomes, Senior Project Manager, FHI Studio

 

Dave Murphy, Subconsultant, Resilient Land and Water

 

Glenn Chalder, Subconsultant, Planimetrics

 

Susmitha Attota, AICP

Town Planner

(203) 385-4017

sattota@townofstratford.com

Books Over Coffee Fall/Winter Lineup

Zoom & In-Person Formats thru December 2022

First Feature: Wednesday, September 28 beginning at 12 noon
Lauren Groff’s Matrix

The Stratford Library has announced that its “Books Over Coffee” program will return to a live, in-person format in the Lovell Room while also continuing on Zoom through December 2022.  The monthly book discussion program has been a popular staple at the library for over 40 years.   It is free and open to the public.

The library continues to offer the latest in current titles and topics and on Wednesday, September 28th Lauren Groff’s Matrix will kick-off the series.  The popular author’s latest novel is full of surprises.  Its premise is simple: the life of a medieval nun and the story of a rebellious teenager’s transformation into a respected spiritual leader.  The talk will begin at 12 noon in the Library’s Lovell Room while also being offered on Zoom.  To receive a Zoom link register at: https://stratfordlibrary.libcal.com/event/9037046

Other titles for the fall/winter “Books Over Coffee” series include: The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig & Karen White (October 26th); Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (November 30th) and Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang (December 28th).

Copies of all books are currently available for loan at the library’s Circulation Desk.  The titles are also available for loan on Kindle and Nook eReaders.  Zoom links for each book discussion are found on the website.

For further information, call 203.385.4162 or visit the Stratford Library at 2203 Main Street. Timely information is also available on the library’s website at: www.stratfordlibrary.org.

New Year Greetings: High Holidays Begin with Rosh Hashanah

Sunday at Sundown

Sources: Chabad-Lubavitch of the Shoreline; History.com; jewfaq.org.

Rosh Hashanah

The two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah is the head of the Jewish year, the time when G‑d reinvests Himself in creation as we crown Him king of the universe through prayer, shofar blasts, and celebration.

What: It is the birthday of the universe, the day G‑d created Adam and Eve, and it’s celebrated as the head of the Jewish year.

When: The first two days of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah 2022 begins at sundown on September 25th and continues through nightfall on September 27th

How: Candle lighting in the evenings, festive meals with sweet delicacies during the night and day, prayer services that include the sounding of the ram’s horn (shofar) on both mornings, and desisting from creative work.

As we read in the Rosh Hashanah prayers, each year on this day “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die … who shall be impoverished and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.”

It is a day of prayer, a time to ask the Almighty to grant us a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day when we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe depends on G‑d’s desire for a world, a desire that is renewed when we accept His kingship anew each year on Rosh Hashanah.

In our prayers, we often call it Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance) and Yom Hadin (Day of Judgement) since this is the day when G‑d recalls all of His creations and determines their fate for the year ahead.

Together with Yom Kippur (which follows 10 days later), it is part of the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe, or: High Holiday)

The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron, meaning the day of remembrance, or Yom Teruah, the day of the sounding of the shofar.

The shofar is a trumpet made from a ram’s horn and is an essential part of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The sound of the horn serves as a call to repentance and a “reminder to Jews that God is their king,” according to History.com.

One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, “big tekiah”), the final blast in a set, which lasts 10 seconds minimum. The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar’s sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is traditionally not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat, although the traditional synagogues that observe that restriction observe the second day of Rosh Hashanah and blow the shofar on Sunday.

Customs of Rosh Hashanah

After religious services are over, many Jews celebrate with a festive meal and other customs. Here are a few symbols and customs of Rosh Hashanah.

Apples and honey – Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties and honey signifies the hope that the new year will be sweet.

Round challah – On Jewish holidays, Jews eat loaves of the traditional braided bread known as challah. On Rosh Hashanah, the bread is often baked in a round shape to symbolize the circle of life and the crown of God.

Tashlich – Some Jews practice this custom which means “casting off.” Casting off is the practice of throwing pieces of bread into a flowing body of water while reciting prayers. The bread symbolizes the sins of the past year.

L’shana tovah – This Hebrew phrase means “for a good year” and Jews will greet each other this way on Rosh Hashanah.

No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. In fact, there is a special prayer book called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical insertions for these holidays.