VAX Facts

As of May 19th, 51.83% of the town’s population had been vaccinated with a first dose.

Stratford clinics have dispensed 11,876 vaccines to date. It’s important to keep in mind that we are part of a larger regional and statewide vaccination network and effort. Stratford does not vaccinate ONLY Stratford residents – many of residents and first responders have been vaccinated at locations outside Stratford, and conversely, many from outside of Stratford have been vaccinated here.

The Stratford Health Department offered its last mass vaccination clinic for those wanting the MODERNA vaccine on Wednesday, May 26th. This clinic was the last “first dose” clinic being offered. Corresponding (28 days later) second dose clinics will take place in June.

Anyone wanting a Johnson and Johnson vaccine can still make an appointment for June Wednesday clinics as it only requires one dose. For questions about the June Wednesday vaccine clinics, please contact the Stratford Health Department by email at health@townofstratford.com or by phone at 203-385-4090.

Statewide Covid-19 Vaccine Clinics:
To view a statewide list and map of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, go to: www.211ct.org/vaccineclinics, and enter your zip code or town in the location box on the right, and press the yellow search icon.

Telephone: Those without internet access can call Connecticut’s COVID Vaccine Appointment Assistance Line: 877-918-2224. The phone system is targeted to provide support for eligible vaccine recipients who have limited technology access, or who have language, disability, or other barriers that could prevent them from using existing self-scheduling options successfully. The line will take calls on Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will offer a call-back option when all contact specialists are busy serving other callers. The team will aim to return calls as soon as possible, with the goal of same-day response.

Imporant: If you are having a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, it must be of the same type as your first dose. The vaccines cannot be mixed.

Mayor Announces Changes to Masking and Distancing Guidance in Town Hall Effective May 24th
Mayor Laura R. Hoydick has issued changes to requirements on social distancing and masking in Town Hall and other Town buildings. In accordance with CDC guidelines and executive orders from Governor Ned Lamont, restrictions on social distancing and masking are relaxed for employees and for visitors to Town buildings.

Individuals who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks will no longer be required to wear masks indoors or to maintain 6-foot distance from others. Those who are not vaccinated, or have not yet been fully vaccinated for two weeks will continue to be required to wear masks and to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.

The Mayor noted that the Human Resources Department is maintaining records of employees who are fully vaccinated to ensure compliance with the new guidance.

New Guidance Changes
As of May 19, 2021, Connecticut’s protocols regarding masks and face coverings were updated to align with the recently modified CDC recommendations. The protocols that are currently in effect statewide are as follows:

Outdoors? Masks not required

Indoors: Vaccinated not required to wear masks, Unvaccinated must wear masks

Masks are required to be worn by everyone in certain settings such as healthcare facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and childcare
Businesses and state and local government offices have the option to require masks to be worn by everyone in their establishments

YES WE CAN: Big Win in 2020 By Stratford Residents

You took on a developer and town government and WON

A house located at 2019 Main Street, the Lillie Devereux Blake house; is an important part of Stratford’s history. Built in 1856 by Lillie Devereux Blake’s mother, Sarah Elizabeth Johnson Devereux, it sits on what was part of the William Samuel Johnson estate and called Elm Cottage.

The house is an American Carpenter Gothic. Most American Carpenter Gothic structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which may help to ensure their preservation. Many, though, are not listed and those in urban areas are endangered by the increased value of the land they occupy. Apparently this was the case in Stratford.

In June Kaali-Nagy Properties submitted an application to the Stratford Zoning commission with a proposal to build a 100-unit apartment complex at 2009-2019 Main Street referred to as The Village. The developers of The Village intended to raze the house and replace it with 6 residential units “that will appear to be part of the neighborhood”.

Their plans were posted on Stratford Facebook pages, an on-line petition was created on Change.org, contact information on the Mayor and members of the Zoning Commission were posted – and in one week this is what happened next: This excerpt is from the July/August issue of Connecticut Preservation News:

Stratford-
Facing broad public sentiment, a developer dropped plans to demolish the home of an important but little known 19th-century author and feminist. In the years around 1860 Lillie Devereux Blake (1833-1913), lived in a Gothic Revival house (c.1855) on Main Street in what is now the Stratford National Register district. Her novel Southwold, published in 1859, is set in the town. Later, she became a leading figure in the women’s suffrage movement. The Kaali-Nagy Company of New Canaan had proposed razing the house for a six-unit apartment building to accompany a new 97-unit building to be built at the rear of the property. An online petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures, and on June 24 the town zoning commission approved revised plans with the requirement that the house be preserved and incorporated into the development. Damian Kaali-Nagy told the commission, “We understand and have great admiration for period and architectural identity… We will preserve at least the primary and architecturally significant portion of the existing building.” Blake’s childhood home in New Haven was demolished by Yale University in 1999, after a protracted preservation battle.

Lillie Devereux Blake (aka Elizabeth Johnson Devereux) was a noted woman suffragist, reformer, and writer. She is a direct descendent of Samuel Johnson, William Samuel Johnson, Judge Samuel William Johnson, and Rev. Jonathan Edwards.

In 1869 she joined the woman’s suffrage movement. She worked alongside Susan B. Anthony , and, after visiting the Woman Suffrage Headquarters and meeting Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others prominent in the movement, Lillie decided, “They’re ladies,” and began to participate actively. Lillie played a prominent part in the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (where she was unanimously elected president of the New York State Woman suffrage Association, an office she held for 11 years) and the American Woman’s Suffrage Association . Her writing was channeled to the movement and included a contribution to the Woman’s Bible, a publication based on Biblical criticism and ecclesiastical history, proving that there was “no explanation for the degraded status of women under all religious, and all so-called ‘Holy Books.'” The book created a sensation when it was printed in 1895, with widespread coverage in New York papers. The clergy declared it the work of Satan.

Lillie was a natural organizer. She worked on the national level, but her chief success was in the state of New York. She championed the working people, particularly the women An active lobbyist in the legislature, she pled for school suffrage, equality of property rights, women factory inspectors, women physicians in hospitals and insane institutions, and police matrons. A Committee on Legislative Advice was organized with her assistance, to help other suffragists; her leaflet of instructions was printed in the Woman’s Journal. She succeeded in seeing the passage of legislation granting women the first vote in state elections and the right to become trustees of schools; with the support of Governor Theodore Roosevelt and over “the persistent opposition of the New York Police Department,” a bill was passed providing for police matrons. Further legislation allowed women to retain citizenship following marriage to a foreigner, and her final accomplishment was the enactment of an equality of inheritance law by the New York assembly.

She was one of the active promoters of the movement that resulted in the founding of Barnard College. In 1869, she visited the Women’s Bureau in New York and soon after, began speaking all over the United States in support of female enfranchisement. She
earned a reputation as a freethinker and gained fame when she attacked the well known lectures of Morgan Dix, a clergyman who asserted that woman’s inferiority was supported by the Bible. Her lectures, published as Woman’s Place To-Day rejected this idea, asserting in one instance that if Eve was inferior to Adam because she was created after him, then by the same logic Adam was inferior to the fishes.

Doggone Good Advice

from the Town of Stratford Health Department

 

Election Day: Stratford

By Elizabeth Saint

“Something so simple has such a big impact.” Michael Vernon, first time voter.

Delicia Desouza proudly displayed her “I Voted Today” sticker.

Stratford’s election day was noted for “Early Lines,” “Lots of first time voters,” a “Constant stream of voters,”  “mask wearing and social distancing being followed” “as well as Very smooth and safe.”

The Stratford Crier toured many polling stations in the town of Stratford.

Here is what we heard and saw:

District 1: Lordship Elementary School

9:20am

Election Moderator, Michael Rodriguez reported that at 5:15am there were already 50 to 60 people in line waiting for the doors to open.  “Things have been going smoothly.”

District 2: Stratford High School

There was not coverage of District 2 due to technical difficulties.

District: 3: Stratford Academy; Johnson House

Election Moderator, Robert Bradley said “We had about 25 people lined up to vote when I got here at 5:15.”

Johnson School, which is in District 3, reported that 70% of their registered voters had voted by 2 p.m.

District 4: The Franklin School

Voter, Ray Hess reported it took “about six minutes” from parking his car to casting his vote.

District 5: Nichols Elementary

At 10:19am there were approximately 36 people in line wrapping around the school.  The line moved efficiently and the mood was positive.

Tiaire Lee said it was his first time voting in a Presidential election.  “It took about twenty minutes and it was pretty easy.”

Diana Kosa,  planned ahead and brought her own chair.

District 6: Wooster 

Judy Cleri, Election Moderator reported lines of voters ready at 6am and wrapping around the building.  The line flowed constantly, with lots of new voters, even creating a need for double lines until about 8:30am, when things began to slow.”

 

District 7:  Wilcoxson Elementary

Election Moderator, Elizabeth Christiansen reported being busy all morning.  “Right now we are in a lull.” She said,  even as voters arrived in a steady trickle.  “People started standing in line at 5:30am.  The line finally dissipated at 8:30am. Everyone has been fine.

 

District 8 — Chapel Street School

One couple, when asked about their voting experience said.  “ It was wonderful.  We didn’t even wait a minute.”

Father, Mark Vernon accompanied his son, Michael Vernon, who is 19 years old, to the polls for his first experience voting in a Presidential election.  When asked how it felt, Michael said, “Filling in the ballot is a little underwhelming.  You are just filling in a circle.  But you remember that doing something so simple has such a big impact.”

Zach Kassay, Cameron Vatnais, Lily Kassay, Julia Delke, Madison Letsch and Noa Reid

Assorted organizations saw election day as an opportunity.  At the Chapel Street School, the Sixth grade class was hosting a bake sale to raise money for end-of-sixth grade awards and picnics.  “We don’t know how it’s going to be this year but we are hopeful.” one sixth grade mother said.

Enthusiastic sellers included: (from left to right)

 

 

 

 

District 9: Bunnell High School

11:30am

Everything was quiet with single voters arriving every few minutes.  However, Malcolm Starratt, the Election Moderator, said the day didn’t start that way.  “At six am the line went up back along the side of the school.  And they kept coming till about 8:30am. It was just packed.

Malcolm Starratt, Election Moderator for 18 years takes a breath during a busy day of voting.

Then it started tapering down but it has been consistent all day.”  “What I’m hearing”, said Starratt, “is that all the districts had powerful mornings.”

Starratt has been an Election Moderator for about 18 years.

“We’ve got a great team.”  He said, “A great team that works well together”  — referring to the women and men working the Bunnell High School polling station.

“I’ve never done this with a mask before.  It’s a different thing.  Everyone has had a mask. Everyone was keeping a social distance.  It’s been nice.  We haven’t had to tell anyone to wear a mask.  It’s the biggest round of people I’ve seen.  It’s big.”

District 10: Second Hill Lane

11:06

This morning there was a line of approximately 47 people.

Beth Kardamis reported that the experience was a positive one.  That it felt very “smooth and safe.”

Joyce Varrone (pictured here with her “I Voted” sticker) reported that she arrived at 10:50 and took her almost exactly 20 minutes to vote.  “It didn’t take that long.”

 

 

 

New Laws on the Books for October 1st

by State Representative Joseph Gresko
Connecticut House District 121

Dear Neighbor,

Next week, several new laws in Connecticut will go into effect on October 1st. These laws are a result of the hard work of my colleagues and I during the 2021 session.

Below is a selection of some of the laws that will go into effect on Friday, October 1st:

Breastfeeding in the Workplace
Public Act No. 21-27 – Requires employers to provide a private room or location with an electrical outlet for women to express milk. Employers must also provide a refrigerated space to store the breastmilk.

The law also protects breastfeeding employees from workplace discrimination.

Marijuana and Smoking Restrictions
On October 1st, a portion of Public Act No. 21-1 will go into effect.

Medical marijuana patients who are 18 years of age or older can start growing mature and immature plants at home.

Smoking of any kind (tobacco, vaping, marijuana) will be prohibited within 25 feet of the any door, window, or vent intake of any building open to the public.

Pedestrian Safety
PA 21-28 clarifies the rules for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Starting October 1sr, drivers must slow down or stop if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk or indicated that they are going to cross.

Addressing Gender Discrimination
PA 21-30 – Requires employers to offer equal pay for “comparable” work regardless of gender.

Also requires employers to offer prospective applicants and employees with a scale of pay among those with similar tasks.

“Bottle Bill”
PA 21-58 -Starting October 1st, certain retailers will be required to have at least two reverse vending machines on their premises.

It also increases the handling fee paid by the distributors to redemption centers from 2.5 cents per beverage container to 3.5 cents.

For the complete list of laws that will go into effect on October 1st please go to:
https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/content/aeauto.asp

Pedaling to Protect

Man Cycles 47-days, 3,800-miles Raising Funds

Center for Family Justice
Funds for Safehouse Serving Stratford Residents

Alan Masarek, an avid bicyclist and Co-Chair of The Empower House, www.EmpowerhouseProject.org fundraising drive, has cycled 34-days to raise funds in a pledge challenge benefiting The Center for Family Justice’s (CFJ) newly acquired double-sized safehouse, currently under renovation. Upon completion, the safehouse will serve Stratford residents. The goal is $1.4 million dollars.

Masarek, who is riding alongside 20 bicyclists in the Trek Bicycle “Bucket List” trip, which commenced on August 18th in Portland, Oregon, decided to structure his ride as a fundraising campaign. He hopes to generate enough corporate sponsorships and donations on his EmpowerRide to close a 40% fundraising gap in the $3.5-million-dollar project. His trip ends on October 3rd in Portland, Maine.

His itinerary and progress are tracked on the EmpowerRide page at http://www.empowerride.org/. Donors can sponsor him with a $100.00 per mile pledge or make donations in any amount. Masarek’s daily cycling adventures are posted on CFJ’s social media sites.

During Covid in 2020, domestic violence grew an average of 40% across the country, causing a critical shortage of housing for victims seeking refuge. With plans to open in 2022, The Empower House safehouse will provide temporary housing and support services to domestic violence and human trafficking victims primarily from Bridgeport, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, Trumbull and Easton.

Debra Greenwood, President and CEO at The Center for Family Justice said, “Talk about going the extra mile! Alan is going the extra 3,800 miles! He’s pedaling to protect victims of domestic violence and we are blessed to have him as co-chair of our Empower House fundraising team”.

The Bridgeport-based nonprofit The Center for Family Justice, located at 735 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, celebrates its 126th Anniversary this year. Those needing emergency housing and support services should call the Center’s hotline at 203-384-9559 for immediate help. www.EmpowerhouseProject.org

Planning Commission Meeting

September 21st

Vessel Technologies, Inc. appeared before the Planning Commission requesting creation of a new housing designation, Honeyspot Housing Zone (HSHZ), an amendment that would change the parcel of land at 313 Honeyspot Road (and Lot 14) from RM-1 (two family districts) to HSHZ.

Vessel proposes to construct a three-story 15-unit affordable housing development as allowed by the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Section 8-30G.  According to Josh Levy, principal of Vessel, the Town Council has already given the nod to Vessel to develop this property, which is currently a municipal property.

According to Levy, the 15-units meets all POCD (Plans of Conservation Development) goals and objectives, and the Stratford housing plan.

“We are working to invent the technologies behind a 21st century housing economy. Our efforts are focused on better design, material selection and manufacturing processes. Our mission is to offer a housing alternative that is reliable, functional, durable, secure, accessible and affordable. We are developing close partnerships with landholders, such as municipalities, philanthropies, or private individuals, who share our vision and want to see their vacant land put to productive use. Our plan is to activate entrepreneurs within the communities we will serve, who will find opportunity in the jobs we will create in building and operating the Vessel system.”

Editor’s Note: The Vessel System US Patent Number 10,704,251, is construction using modular systems and methods for assembling multiunit buildings, and particularly to systems and methods wherein individual units are constructed from multiple vertically stacked modules.

Levy noted that Vessel has been working with the town for over a month on developing the site, and, must have approval by October 1st.  The 15-units will each be 525 square feet, 1 bedroom, and provide 1 parking space per unit.  There will be a deed restriction of 1 person or 1 couple per unit.

The Vessel proposal passed the Planning Commission by a vote of 3-1.

In other business:

Merritt 8 LLC went before the Planning Commission to amend Section 5.3 and 6.3 regarding residence apartments (3 or more multifamily housing units) in an Office Park Development (OPD) Zone.  Stratford presently has two sites listed as OPD, Merritt 8 building on Hawley Lane, and the Stratford Executive Park on Lordship Boulevard (which apparently is not viable at this time).

The Commission instructed Merritt 8 that in order to move into Zoning for approval they needed to add affordable housing to their proposal, as well as mixed use.

Their proposal passed unanimously.

Tabled until the next meeting was a general discussion on recreational cannabis, and a moratorium extension on methadone clinics.