Make A Wish in Stratford – Stratford Answered!

Daniela Crowned Princess and Celebrated By Our Town

On Friday February 24th, Louis Zayas of the Star Factory, located in Paradise Green, hosted a Make A Wish Birthday Bash for a 9 year old girl, Daniela, who survived a brain tumor during the pandemic.  We have all seen the Make-A-Wish news stories happening around the country, and it fills our hearts that communities come together. When the opportunity arose in our own back yard, Stratford rose to the occasion. The story is even more heartwarming when you learn how this event arrived to our little town.

Zayas, a local DJ and owner of Star Factory, was contacted by Make-A-Wish on Tuesday February 21st with a last minute request for assistance. A planned Make-A-Wish event was to take place in a nearby venue but the venue was flooded out. The Wish team was scrambling to find a new venue or cancel the event before the Friday Event. Louis did not hesitate, rearranged his calendar with the Bijou Theatre, and agreed to host this event. But that isn’t all he did…

When Louis found out she only had 6 friends able to come to her party, he posted on Facebook a call to action. “Calling my amazing Facebook family and friends to help me give this beautiful girl the party of her dreams.”  The ‘Ask’ was simple. Come to Paradise Green from 3:30-4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, and line the sidewalk leading to Star Factory with a cheering crowd of support to make this special little girl feel like a princess.

The ‘Ask’ spread like wildfire, and was shared over 114 times. The results were beautiful and heartwarming. Over 100 residents came out to cheer on this little girl as she arrived with her family at the special party.  Fire engines filled the street, police cars flashed their lights, people chanted Daniela’s name, shook pompoms, while others held homemade signs of support and encouragement. Among those that attended were Stratford High School Cheerleaders, a softball team, Stratford families, Stratford teachers, elected officials, and many more residents.

The Star Factory was decked out in Disney Princess balloons, decorations, and the energy was pure Disney Magic. The Make-A-Wish Team was able to present them with tickets to Disney World with a crowd of cheering support. Friends, family and strangers gathered to celebrate the difficult journey this family endured. It was a true celebration of life and love.


Sudden (near) Death on the Football Field

Damar Hamlin and Your Heart

By Ari Pollack MD

Fairfield CT

Cover Photo by Robina Weermeijer

During a recent NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills tackled an opposing player and in doing so, appeared to have suffered blunt trauma to his chest. He stood up and then collapsed back to the ground. Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was administered CPR by the medical personnel who rushed to his side having identified very early, and critically so, that Hamlin had suffered a serious medical emergency.

Although we don’t know the exact cause of the events that transpired, we did see Hamlin stand up at first, then suddenly collapse. Since the event occurred after trauma to the chest, it made me think of commotio cords which is a rare and potentially deadly disruption of the normal heart rhythm that occurs as a result of a blow to the chest at a vulnerable time during the cycle of a heart beat, the window of which ranges from 20 to 40 milliseconds when the heart is relaxing. The disruption of normal electrical activity of the heart, followed by ventricular fibrillation leads to complete disorganization of the heart’s pumping function followed by cardiac arrest.

Commotion cordis is extremely rare, but has been described in young males playing sports such as hockey or baseball who are in the receiving end of trauma to the chest. The most important thing in this scenario is immediate recognition. Having a well functioning team of medical professionals ready to get on to the field, with access to and familiarity using an automated external defibrillator (AED) saved Damar Hamlin’s life.

It is a well described phenomenon that the sooner CPR starts and the AED is utilized in these type of situations, the better the outcome. Mr. Hamlin had the benefit of being a professional athlete with onsite medical professionals ready to intervene. While the risk of this specific entity is extremely small, recognition is critical, especially when considering amateur sporting events where trained medical professionals may not be present.

It’s incumbent to encourage everyone to learn basic CPR and to make certain we have AEDs placed strategically in our communities.

March For The Fallen

Oasis Physical Therapy

Oasis Physical Therapy will be hosting Firefighter Appreciation Month this year during the month of March. During March, we will be showing our gratitude and support for all the brave firefighters who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

As part of this celebration, we will be making a donation to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, an organization that provides support and resources to families of fallen firefighters. This is our small way of expressing our appreciation for the sacrifices that firefighters make, and we hope that this donation will make a positive impact in the lives of those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.

During the entire month of March, we will be collecting all co-pays from our patients, matching the amount collected, and donating it to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.

We would like to extend an invitation to all firefighters and their families to come visit us during this special month. We would be honored to show our appreciation in person and offer you a tour of our facility. We believe that firefighters deserve the best care, and we are committed to providing it to them.

Please spread the word about “March for the Fallen” at Oasis Physical Therapy and our donation to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. Together, we can show our gratitude and support for the heroes who keep us safe.

Agnes of God

Local Theater Done Right!!!!

Square One Theater
719 Birdseye Street

Square One Theatre Company presents playwright John Pielmeier’s taut, compelling, forceful and thought-provoking drama Agnes of God, inspired by a newspaper article about an event that occurred in a convent near Rochester, New York. When a young nun had no memory of giving birth and then murdering her child, she is court-ordered to be examined by a therapist.

Agnes of God is being presented by our own local theater company. The Square One Theatre Company, a nonprofit theatre, was founded in 1990 by Executive Producer Barbara Cairney and Artistic Director Tom Holehan.

Employed by the Stratford Library, Holehan had begun a theatre program of staged readings there in 1985. With Cairney, they recognized an opportunity to create a new professional theatre in Stratford Center when the town’s former movie house was bought and renovated as a legitimate theatre by the Scottish Rite Building Corporation.

Following negotiations with the new owners, a Square One Theatre staff was assembled. Money to begin production was raised through donations from individuals, companies and corporations. A volunteer organization, The Friends of Square One Theatre, was also established in 1990. Square One’s first production, A Walk In The Woods, was praised and supported by the original Broadway producer, Lucille Lortel, in addition to receiving numerous honors in regional and national theatre competitions.

Square One Theatre is now in its 32nd anniversary season. At the end of its 25th anniversary, the theatre was forced to find a new producing space at the Stratford Academy where an intimate black box theatre space has been established. Each season has seen success, critically and financially. Many performances have been sold out and the subscriber base is now over 1,000. The Readers Theatre Showcase, Square One‘s second venue located at the Stratford Library, offers free readings of plays during the summer. The theatre also presents these staged readings in area libraries and other venues.

Agnes of God performance schedule:
Fridays, March 10-17-24 at 8 p.m.
Saturdays, March 11-18-25 at 4 p.m. (twilight matinee) AND 8 p.m.
Sundays, March 12-19-26 at 2pm

Single Tickets are:
$25 for limited number of front row seats
$22 for each adult single ticket
$20 for each senior citizen/student tickets

Tickets may be purchased:
By phone: box office at 203.375.8778(24/7)
Online at:
In person: at box office 60 minutes prior to each performance
Payments by cash or check only.

The stage at Stratford Academy is wheelchair accessible. Please inform the box office of any special needs when reserving tickets.

Annual Leprechaun Leap at Walnut Beach

Saturday, March 18th @ 9:30 am
Literacy Volunteers of Southern CT  (LVSCT)

Be a brave and warm-hearted soul and become part of the fun when Literacy Volunteer of Southern CT annual Leprechaun Leap comes to Walnut Beach on Saturday, March 18th. Join the many other brave, warm-hearted souls who will “take the leap” at 10:00 a.m. sharp! “Leapers” from around our community will run, jump or dive into the icy cold waters at Walnut Beach.

But if you’re a little timid to make the splash, show your warm heart by making a pledge of support to LVSCT or in support of a brave soul who ng. There’s always plenty of room for spectators to come down to the beach to watch and cheer.

Watch the competitions between local high school students and teachers, civic groups, restaurants, local businesses, canines and many more who will make the “leap” into Long Island Sound!

Awards will be given in several categories, including:
• Best Costume,
• Most Enthusiastic
• Group Theme,
• Largest Group of Leapers,
• Most Individual Pledges,
• Highest Group Pledges,
• First One in Water,
• First One Out of Water,
• Bravest Junior Leaper (under 12),
• Favorite Civic Organization,
• Best Leprechaun Costume
• and Favorite Literary Leaper.

To register online please visit our event website at

All proceeds collected will benefit Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut.

Youth Services Librarian Tess Beck to Retire

Staffer Since 1999 Exits April 4th

Say Thank You at Public Reception April 3rd from 3-6 p.m.

The Stratford Library has announced that Youth Services Librarian Tess Beck will retire her position on April 4th after 24 years.  Beck graduated with a Master’s in Library Science from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.  She joined the Stratford Library Youth Services Department in July 1999.

Tess Beck was instrumental in creating numerous programs at the Library which addressed child development needs and skills for new parents.  These included Baby Lapsit, Beginning with Babies, Babies & Beyond, Storytimes and StoryCraft programs.  Known for her colorful bulletin boards and numerous art classes, Beck conducted several outreach initiatives over the years taking her storytime programs to area daycare programs and preschools.

Working with current Department Head Caitlin Augusta, she also contacted local businesses and organizations to partner with the Library for its popular “Read Around Stratford” program.  She has served on Connecticut’s Nutmeg Book Award Committee and ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) Notable Recordings Committee.  Beck was also active in the Connecticut Storytelling community and was chair of the Fairfield County Children’s Librarians Roundtable for several years.

According to Library Director Sheri Szymanski, Beck will be greatly missed at the Library. “Tess Beck has been an invaluable resource to our Library and the greater Stratford community”, she said.  “We congratulate her on a well-earned retirement”.  A public reception for Tess Beck will be held in the Stratford Library Children’s Department on Monday, April 3rd from 3-6 p.m.  The public is invited.

How to Avoid the Negativity Bias

By Irene Roth S. Roth

A chronically ill person can have a difficult time feeling healthy and resilient. There are days where you may feel tired and unable to cope because of a sleepless night. Or you may feel more pain for no apparent reason. Individuals with chronic illness frequently struggle with such enigmatic times.

There is no doubt that living with chronic illness can be stressful. Our life feels like an uphill battle, going to nowhere good. The thing about chronic illness, however, is we don’t really know how bad or good things really are. In other words, our negative perceptions can impact now we interpret our pain and fatigue levels.

Why, you ask? Because our perceptions usually focus on the negative aspects of living with chronic illness and unintentionally avoid some of the positive things. I realize this sounds odd and perhaps even counterintuitive at first glance. But there is real wisdom in this realization.

The negativity bias occurs when we hold onto negative thoughts instead of positive ones. This bias makes it easier for the brain to register negative stimuli than positive ones. We also dwell on negative events more readily.

For a chronically ill person, this can add a lot of unnecessary stress to your day. You may find yourself lost in the morass of negative thoughts and emotions, making you feel worse. As a chronically ill individual, you are far better to focus on some of the positive things in your life. Then you can take full ownership of your health and ensure that you live a healthy life.

Therefore, the negativity bias can impact your mental and physical health. Negative thinking can influence your behaviors, actions, and attitudes. Some of the unwanted emotions the negativity bias can bring about are anger, emptiness, helplessness, guilt, shame, fear, failure, sadness, overwhelm, inadequacy, and not feeling strong enough to cope with things of life.

It’s no wonder that you feel weak and unable to cope. When you focus on the negative, you become mired in all the terrible things you believe are happening. But what about some of the good things? If you think there are none then you are deeply in the throes of the negativity bias.

What’s worse, when you get caught up in negativity, these thoughts and emotions can become self-fulfilling prophecies. In other words, if you keep telling ourselves you feel awful, tired, and in excruciating pain repeatedly, after a while that’s all you will perceive. Your perceptions will become distorted, and you will start experiencing thinking traps, which keep focusing on the same negative thoughts and emotions, whether they are relevant at the time.

Here are a few ways to overcome negative biases.

1. Be aware of the negative bias. Become aware of your negative thoughts as they are occurring. Practise self-compassion by giving yourself some space to deal with them and accept how you feel.

2. Reframe the way you think. This technique identifies automatic thoughts and replaces them with more balanced ones. Start by noticing your thought distortions. Every time you experience a thought distortion, point it out to yourself. Evaluate whether there is factual evidence for your negative statements. If there isn’t, let go of the statement.

3. Start a gratitude journal. This practice will help you focus on the things you are grateful for. The more often you practice gratitude, the stronger you will feel.

4. Repeat some positive affirmations every day. Affirmations can change your outlook on life. When you’re having a hard day, consult your list of affirmations, and read one that resonates with you.

By taking these steps, you can become more resilient and in control of your health. You can’t feel resilient and healthy if you are focusing on what is wrong with you, the pain in your arm, your headache, or your fatigue. Instead, try to focus on your warm cup of tea, your view from the window in your study, the love and attention your spouse gives you and so on.

So, today make some space to focus on the positive. There is so much we can all rejoice about. Just look around you right now. Name five things are good right now. There, I knew you could do it.

Mark Your Calendar

CTRides: Free Bus Service thru March 31st.  See Connecticut free.  Plan your trip.


Saturday March 11th from 9 a.m. to noon rain or shine the Bunnell Stratford Marching Band and Color Guard can and bottle drive.  Drop off at the Whitney School drop off circle.  Support our famous musicians and color guard!

Monday March 13th Go Out To Eat at Dal Mare Pizzeria, 346 Stratford Road, to raise money for our future thespians Spongebob The Musical.  Scan coupon

Save The Date Stratford Events:

March 25th: Boogie at the Brewery to benefit Sterling House Community Center.  Sold Out!!! Way to go Stratford.

Stratford Rotary Annual Rib Night, Friday April 14th, Vazzano’s Four Seasons 6 -10 p.m. Dinner, Cash Bar, DJ, Games, Raffles and Silent Auction  Sign up, bring friends, eat Johnny’s Famous Ribs (vegetarian also being served).  For information go to:

May 20th the Goody Bassett Ball fundraiser for the Stratford Historical Society.  Tickets available beginning March 15th.  Ball will be on Saturday, May 20th, from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Vazzano’s Four Seasons.  $80 per person or $750 per table of ten.

Celebrate Stratford 2023 Events

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


Fun Times At Sterling House Community Center

Spring Break Activities

Toddler and Kindergarten Art Classes

Spring Break begins on Monday March 13th -17th.  Sign them up for SHCC Kids On Campus.  All day care, fun, and enrichment on the days when school is out. Spots will fill up fast!  8:00 am – 6:00 pm.  Daily activities will include playing on the playground, crafts, group games, Erin’s Gym, snacks, and so much more!

Please note that children will need to bring their own lunch.


Little Artists Club for art lessons ages 3-6.  Begins Saturday March 11th.  Ages 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.  Ages 5-6 11 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.

Are you ready for Spring Cleaning?  Sterling House annual Saver Drive will being on Friday March 18th.  Clean and sale-able clothes, household textiles, and small household goods.

2023 Spring Lacrosse with the Stratford Storm can be found at:  Games begin April 1st.

Why choose Stratford Storm Lacrosse?

-Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing youth sports in America

-Stratford Storm Lacrosse offers programs for boys and girls in grades K through 8

-Stratford Storm Lacrosse does its best to give back to its families with added events such as free clinics throughout the year, and a season ending banquet


Visit the Stratford Storm Lacrosse You Tube page.  If you’ve never played or watched the game of lacrosse, here is your chance to see what it looks like:

Stratford Storm Lacrosse – YouTube

Facebook – Stratford Storm Lacrosse

Instagram – storm_lacrosse2002


Soccer:  Winter off-season soccer skills clinic.  Co-ed classes on Saturday’s in Erin’s Gym.  Led by advanced soccer training coaches, players will work on agility, foot skills, shooting tactics, game IQ and teamwork.

Session 2, runs from February 25th – April 1st.

To register go to:


Women’s History Month

Stratford Herstory

Nettie A. Filmer

By David Wright
Stratford Town Historian

There is a regrettable dearth of information concerning Stratford’s women in the official histories of our town. We probably need to create a volume entitled “Stratford Herstory” to document the many contributions Stratford’s women have made to the town.

Fortunately, every year we mark Women’s History Month and try to recognize a few of the remarkable women who’ve played a role in shaping our town.

Nettie A. Filmer was one such lady. Nettie was born in 1871, and moved to Stratford with her parents in 1895. She married Sterling Filmer in December 1900.  Nettie was very involved in Stratford’s schools. She taught sixth grade at Center School for 16 years, and served on the town’s school board for 8 years. Nettie was elected to the School Board in 1915. She served as Board secretary in 1921.

Nettie served as Chair of the Stratford Red Cross in 1919. In 1921 Nettie was elected as the first Registrar of Voters in Connecticut along with Sallee Wells.  In her spare time, Nettie was placed in charge of rebuilding Stratford High School after the Center School building was destroyed by fire in 1921.

Nettie served on the Republican Town Committee in 1922, and she was active in the Stratford Historical Society. Coincidentally enough, Nettie lived at 797 East Broadway which was the former home of Frederick Sedgwick the distinguished and long time leader of Sedgwick Academy. Apparently, 797 East Broadway was a magnet for educators.

Bridgeport Evening Farmer


November 29, 1921

With the appointment of Mrs. Filmer and Miss Wells, Stratford claims the distinction of having the first two women registrars of voters in the state, while the town was only beaten by New York City a few days in having the first women registrars in the United States.


The Stratford News September 18, 1936

Burial of Mrs. Filmer at Union Cemetery to Take Place Saturday

Mrs. Filmer was a well-known teacher, having taught sixth grade at Center School for the past sixteen years and seven years before that in Bridgeport. She was born in Stoneham, Mass., on May 12th, 1871. and moved here from Bridgeport in 1895 with her parents, Robert and Mary Ann Strickland. Her father was first selectman.  Noted for her diligent work in the Red Cross during the World War, Mrs. Filmer was very active in the local Parent-Teachers’ Association and also served on the Board of Education for eight years. She graduated from Bridgeport High School and received her teacher’s training at the Bridgeport Normal School