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.”

 

 

 

Stratford Salute

Audubon Accolades from “On the Wing”

Cover Photo by Mark Brucker

2022 was a big year for Connecticut’s shorebirds and seabirds. From nest monitoring to bird banding to outreach on the beach and more, Audubon staff and volunteers worked hard to make sure the 2022 season was full of many significant conservation wins and accomplishments, including:

  • A record-setting nesting season for all three of our focal species—Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns—that showed improvement from previous years.
  • Continued American Oystercatcher banding efforts that have now amounted to 28% of Connecticut’s breeding population being banded.
  • Completion of the first phases of the monumental Great Meadows Marsh salt marsh restoration project in Stratford, with the help of more than 150 volunteers and staff.

For threatened and endangered species, every fledged chick is a success and a sign that our hard work is worth it. All three of our focal species—Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns—had excellent nesting seasons in 2022!

In total, we monitored 66 pairs of Piping Plovers during the 2022 season. These pairs produced 97 total fledglings, adding up to a productivity of 1.51 fledglings per pair. Compared to the 2021 nesting season, this year we had more pairs, more fledged chicks, and a higher productivity—all sure signs that the population is growing!

American Oystercatchers also had a successful breeding season, with 79 confirmed breeding pairs out of a population of 200 individuals—an increase of 28% over the last decade. These pairs successfully fledged 62 chicks, amounting to a productivity of 0.78 fledglings per pair. This is higher than the 0.5 fledglings per pair recovery goal for this species, and our highest number of fledged chicks since we started this work in 2012.

The 247 pairs of Least Terns we monitored fledged 211 chicks, adding up to a productivity of 0.85 fledglings per pair. This is the highest number of fledged least terns we’ve had in years, and significantly higher than the 0.11 productivity from the 2021 nesting season.

 

Bands for Birds

Catching and banding fledgling American Oystercatchers helps us understand how to conserve them. Photo: Beth Amendola/Audubon

In addition to monitoring, we also continued our banding efforts with the American Oystercatcher. To date, we have banded 45 adults (making up 28% of Connecticut’s breeding population) and 17 pre-fledge chicks. The bands allow us to learn all about where birds go, and when, so we can better understand their movements and what it will take to conserve these birds.

Point of view shot of a person holding a scruffy fledgling American Oystercatcher. Around its legs are numbered yellow bands and silver bands.

This year, we got a surprise visit from two birds we had banded in 2020 and hadn’t sighted since—the first of the 17 chicks we’ve banded to be re-sighted returning to CT! You can help the American Oystercatcher banding project by reporting any sightings of banded oystercatchers to the American Oystercatcher Working Group.

Least Terns:  The 247 pairs of Least Terns we monitored fledged 211 chicks, adding up to a productivity of 0.85 fledglings per pair. This is the highest number of fledged least terns we’ve had in years, and significantly higher than the 0.11 productivity from the 2021 nesting season. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, staff, and partners, Least Terns were able to have a successful nesting season.

Front view of a Least Tern chick nestled underneath a Least Tern adult. The chick’s head pokes out from under the adult as it opens its beak. Photo: Fabiola Forns/Audubon Photography Awards

“2022 was a very successful year for CT’s beach-nesting birds thanks to hundreds of volunteers, field staff, wildlife guards, municipalities, and partners,” explains Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe, Audubon CT’s Director of Bird Conservation. “We are so thankful for to everyone for their time and efforts protecting our birds and their habitats!”

For the first time since 2020, our volunteer numbers returned to their pre-Covid numbers. As a result of holding our annual training virtually, we were able to reach a record number of 173 volunteers this season. All of their hard work added up to an amazing 1,376 volunteer hours.

With the help of our volunteers, techs, interns, and WildLife Guards, we were able to set up string fencing, install enclosures, monitor our many pairs of nesting shorebirds, and spread the word on protecting beach-nesting birds by engaging with beachgoers, boaters, and other members of the public.

An integral part of this successful season were the WildLife Guards, a group of 16 high school students and their college-age Crew Leaders who spent the summer on the beaches, monitoring shorebirds and educating and engaging beachgoers on shorebird conservation.

This year marked the first year where the WildLife Guards took part in a pair of “swap” days with one of Audubon Connecticut’s other youth conservation groups, the Junior Forest Technicians (JFT) from Bent of the River Audubon Center. In addition to learning new skills of their own, they were able to show the JFTs what its like to be a WildLife Guard, including shorebird monitoring, shorebird identification, and outreach.

Significant Salt Marsh Restoration

Partnerships with Connecticut’s environmental conservation officers and the Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection Boating Division also helped us expand our outreach capabilities.

Outreach on the Beach

Beaches are not the only habitat that Connecticut’s shorebirds focus on, nor are shorebirds the entire focus of our coastal conservation work. Another invaluable habitat is the salt marsh, essential habitat for birds like the declining Saltmarsh Sparrow.

Throughout the course of this year, Audubon Connecticut, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the State of Connecticut, and the Town of Stratford, implemented the largest salt marsh restoration project in the state’s history at the Great Meadows Marsh in Stratford, CT.

Thanks to the hard work of our partners, Salt Marsh Stewards, crew leaders, and more than 150 volunteers, we were able to complete the first phases of the project and held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate this in August. We look forward to continuing the implementation of this restoration project and sharing progress as we do so!

Just a reminder, please be good environmental stewards and respect our environment.

Connecticut Audubon’s newest preserve: Stratford Point, a conservation centerpiece in a rich ecological region

Connecticut Audubon kicked off its 125th anniversary year by announcing the acquisition of the Stratford Point preserve, a 28-acre coastal habitat in the heart of one of the state’s most important environmental regions.

Stratford Point sits on a peninsula in Stratford, jutting into Long Island Sound and the mouth of the Housatonic River estuary. It features coastal grasslands and shrubs, salt marsh, a north-facing beach, and a coastal trail with panoramic views of the water.

Relatively isolated between the water and the adjacent neighborhood, it attracts migratory songbirds by the score and supports a growing Purple Martin colony. More than 30 species of waterfowl have been seen resting and feeding on nearby waters.

Stratford Point features a short coastal trail with panoramic views of Long Island Sound. Photo by Gilles Carter.

Its location, varied habitats, and commanding viewpoint have given birders the opportunity to see 300 species, as recorded on eBird, including rarities such as White-tailed Kite, Long-tailed Jaeger, Cory’s Shearwater, and Snowy Owl.

Stratford Point sits in an area rich with birds, fish, and other marine life, including vast oyster beds. Nearby are the 699-acre Great Meadows salt marsh in Stratford, part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge; the 840-acre Charles B. Wheeler Salt Marsh in Milford, and the Milford Point Coastal Center.

Stratford Point is also the site of important coastal resiliency research being conducted and overseen by Sacred Heart University and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The new preserve is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The sanctuary’s main building will be closed until renovations can be completed. With the acquisition, Connecticut Audubon now stewards 22 sanctuaries around the state for conservation and public enjoyment.

“Connecticut Audubon now has two locations as centerpieces of its conservation and environmental education work in the heart of one of Connecticut’s most ecologically important areas,” Connecticut Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins said. “Our statewide vision is to conserve the natural world for birds and other wildlife, and to share the joys of nature with all.  This acquisition is 100 percent in keeping with that vision.”

Stratford Point History

Stratford Point was the home of the Remington Arms Gun Club, which operated a shooting range there for decades. DuPont acquired Remington Arms in the 1940’s and operated the trap and skeet range until 1986.  A large-scale clean-up of lead shot and target fragments was completed in the early 2000’s. DuPont and Remington Arms became subsidiaries of Corteva Agriscience in 2019.

Connecticut Audubon and then Audubon Connecticut, the state office of the National Audubon Society, maintained an office and conducted conservation work there in the intervening years, until Corteva donated the land to Connecticut Audubon.

Mike Liberati, the principal project director for Corteva, said, ““Connecticut Audubon Society has been a key partner in the restoration of this important coastal habitat. We are pleased with the property’s transformation, and it’s future use as a conservation and education resource.”

The land is already protected from development by a conservation easement. But by becoming its owner, Connecticut Audubon will be able ensure that its habitats are properly managed for the benefit of the region’s wildlife. Habitat work there will build on the success of ongoing coastal habitat work at the Milford Point Coastal Center and at the H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport.

Connecticut Audubon became the owner on December 29, 2022. Board members Kathleen Van Der Aue and John Tower led the transaction team for Connecticut Audubon.  Connecticut Audubon is grateful to Corteva for the donation, and to Corteva, the CT DEEP and Audubon Connecticut for its stewardship of the property over the years.

 

How to Start the Year Strong if you Are Living With a Chronic Illness

By Irene S. Roth
sunnyiroth@gmail.com
https://irenesroth.com/

Many of us live with some type of chronic illness which can make our lives feel like an uphill battle. It can also be hard to start a new year strong if we feel depleted of energy and in pain often.

Yet, chronic illness is prevalent in our society today, given our aging population. There doesn’t seem to be a lot we can do about it either, except manage our lives healthily. When we get diagnosed with a chronic illness, we will probably never be completely free from it. But there are ways to mitigate the pain, fatigue, and other debilitating features of the illness.

Many common diseases are chronic illnesses. Here is a short list: heart disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, liver disease, colitis, IBS, and many more. So, there are a lot of chronically ill individuals in need of advice on how to live a healthy life.

What makes these diseases chronic? One of the chief defining features of chronic illness, as opposed to acute illness, is that there is nothing that can be done to cure the chronic illness. The only thing we can do is to minimize the negative affects of the illness on our everyday lives through effective self-management strategies.

What makes chronic illness so hard to cope with is the continuous nature of the symptoms and challenges that result. With acute types of illnesses, we may need to have a surgical procedure or take a few medications, and our life returns to normal. But with chronic illness, we will never get back to normal.

However, the purpose of this article is not to dwell on the negative aspects of chronic illness. Instead, I will argue that we can all live well with chronic illness by changing our mindset and developing a few healthy habits. And there isn’t a better time to start a few new habits than in January, is there?

I’ll be the first to admit, living well with a chronic illness is difficult. It can take a lot of practice and effort. However, by effectively managing our pain levels and cultivating the right attitude, we can learn to cope with any chronic illness.

Here are a few things we can easily incorporate into our daily life that should make a big difference to how we are living with our chronic condition.

  1. Try to incorporate new ways of thinking. Instead of focusing on all the negative things in our life, try focusing on what’s working. We are all far too negative with ourselves and we don’t cut ourselves enough slack.
  2. We must learn to live differently. We shouldn’t fill our day with endless activity. Instead, we must take our time and make space to pace ourselves and listen to our body. If we’re feeling tired, we should take some time to rest and recuperate.
  3. Ask for help and delegate. Many of us continue to do things that may hurt us in the long run, such as lifting heavy groceries or doing hours of housework.
  4. Practice self-care. Take some time to just relax. Make a cup of warm coca, put on a warm robe and fluffy slippers, and sit in a favorite recliner and read. Or take a nap.

By incorporating these tips into our life, we will start the year off strong. We will also honor what our body and energy levels are asking of us.

It may seem honorable to keep on pushing past our pain levels and fatigue. However, this can be destructive, and it may set us up for even more pain and disability. Therefore, it’s essential that we listen to our body.

In the process, we will rise to our everyday challenges of living with a chronic illness by revising our attitude in favor of a more positive approach and managing our symptoms as they arise. Further, we will live in a way that is cohesive with our disabilities and pain levels on a particular day. These are certainly ways to start the year strong.

Stratford Rotary Club Delirious BINGO Night!

Friday, February 3rd
Virtual Zoom from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Stratford Rotary will have a virtual Bingo night on Friday February 3rd.

Join us for the Rotary Delirious BINGO Party!!  Instructions on how to play practice session begin at 7:00 p.m.  The first game will commence promptly at 7:30 p.m.  You must be over 18 to play.

Play 6 games on-line in your PJs, sweats, or favorite casual wear – no winter coats, hats, or mittens needed. (No nudity please!!! )  $500 in prizes.

Zoom link will be posted within 24 hours of the event.

All proceeds to support Rotary Club’s charitable projects.