A Stratford Halloween Tale, 1995

by Andréa Byrne

I’d been living in Stratford for six months when Halloween rolled around. I was warned that loads of kids would swarm my new neighborhood in the Historic District and so I’d better be prepared. They’d come early and keep on coming. I couldn’t wait!

I loaded up on the best of the best candies—mini Milky Ways, Three Musketeers, Snickers and Nestle’s Crunch bars, packets of Candy Corn, M&Ms and malt balls. Everything I wouldn’t mind having as left overs, if by chance there were any.

I invited my friend Peggy to come up from New York City and she was as excited about it as I was. I made a big pot of soup for us to have after all the kiddies had exhausted the supply of treats. I was told they’d begin to arrive about five o’clock so at four-thirty Peggy and I were bustling around getting into our witch’s costumes, complete with scraggly hair under our pointy hats, and we each blacked out a front tooth for special effect. We giggled and talked to each other in whiny, cackling voices as we put the huge basket of goodies on the front porch between our two chairs at the top of the steps. I switched the porch light on, and then we waited. And waited. And waited.

Five o’clock came and was long gone so we went inside. We tried to keep a sense of fun going but it soon waned with Peggy sitting cross-legged on the floor with head in hand and me looking pitifully out the window at the empty street. We finally pulled off our hats and hair, scrubbed our teeth and sat down to have some soup.

The doorbell rang. We each leaped up, slapped on the hair and hat, blackened the tooth and ran for the door. Our first customer! I hunched up to get into character, opened the door with a wild laugh and there stood my friend and business partner holding a martini. He’d come trick-or-treating for an olive.

I was able to supply the olive and when he finished his drink he left. Peggy and I went back out to the porch and lo and behold, down the block were some little costumed people heading our way. We hid off to the side of the basket of treats until the princess and Spiderman climbed the stairs.

“Well,” we cackled, stepping out from our hiding place. “Who have we here?” The children screamed and ran off into the night. Their parents waiting out on the walk looked horrified, and we were mortified. No matter how sweetly we spoke to them, the Princess and the Spiderman couldn’t be coaxed back. Lesson learned. Tone it down…way down.

The rest of the night was cackle-free and full of imaginative costumes, including a jellyfish with lighted tendrils. It was pure Norman Rockwell until I had to call the cops.

A car screeched to a halt in front of the house and a man ran to the porch begging me to make that call. Someone down the street in a pirate costume had banged on the man’s car windows with his sword, scaring the man and his family who were huddled inside. The pirate threatened, swaggered and swore his way down the street, complaining that the man was driving too fast. It appeared the yo-ho-ho pirate may have been sipping from a bottle of rum. The man pulled a tire iron out of his car to protect his family if need be, but begged the pirate to back off.

Four squad cars of police arrived quickly and managed to calm things down. Then each officer made the rounds to chat with those of us who had witnessed it all to hear our versions of the story. The last to speak with Peggy and me was a tall, handsome fellow with a nice twinkle in his eye, so we hastily got rid of our hats and wigs and un-blacked our teeth as he approached.

Officer Studmuffin, or so Peggy called him and I agreed, sat on the steps with us to get our side of things. We offered him the basket of treats and one by one he finished what was left as we chatted about the evening and life in general.

At last we noticed that the other squad cars had left. Officer Studmuffin stood and assured us that everything was taken care of, then climbed into his car and, with a cheerful smile, waved as he pulled away.

That’s when Peggy and I saw that the trick-or-treaters had all disappeared and porches were dark. The street was just as empty as it had been, so with one last affectionate look up and down the block, we brought the basket inside, turned off the porch light, and I reheated the soup.

Stratford Resident Named to Fairfield Hall of Fame

Former Brakettes star Kathy Arendsen

By Tom Chiappetta

The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame (HOF) 2021 class of inductees, named eight prominent sports figures into its three wings. With the eight new honorees, the HOF has now recognized 111 Fairfield county sports legends in its 17 years of existence

Former Stratford Brakettes star pitcher Kathy Arendsen was one of the eight inductees, along with:

Jackie Robinson Professional Wing: Cam Atkinson (Riverside); Joe LaCava (Newtown); Chris Smith (Bridgeport); the late Chico Vejar (Stamford).

James O’Rourke Amateur Wing: Kathy Arendsen (Stratford); Ellie Karvoski (Norwalk)

  1. Walter Kennedy Community Service Wing: the late Ed Crotty (Danbury); Mike Ornato (Greenwich)

Kathy Arendsen was one of the Stratford Brakettes’ greatest pitchers for 15 years from 1978-1992. A 13-time All-American she led the team to 9 ASA national titles and three ISF world championships.  She concluded her career with 337 wins (3rd best in team history) and only 26 losses, a 0.15 ERA,79 no-hitters, 42 perfect games, and is 2nd all-time with 4,061 strikeouts.

At her peak in the 1980 and ’81 seasons Arendsen was virtually unbeatable and unhittable, posting an 0.07 ERA in both years and setting the top two team season records with 593 and 551 strikeouts. Arendsen has been honored at all levels of her softball/athletic career being selected to the International Softball HOF (2003) and National ASA HOF (1996), where she was the youngest player (37) ever inducted into that shrine.

As a collegian, she was named the top player in college softball three consecutive years and has been voted into halls of fame at both Cal State-Chico and Texas Women’s where she helped guide her teams to AIAW Division I National Championships in 1979 and 1980, respectively.  In her native Michigan she has been recognized by Michigan’s ASA HOF and the Michigan Sports HOF (2003).

The 6-foot-3 right-hander pitched Team USA to medals at the Pan American Games in 1979 (gold) and a silver in ‘83. She also competed at the 1981 World Games, where she helped the U.S. to another first-place finish. In 1981, Arendsen became the first softball player ever to be a finalist for the James E. Sullivan award that recognizes the top amateur athlete in the country. She continued her softball life by becoming one of the top college head coaches, starting in 1983 at Western Connecticut and ending in 2009 at Oregon with 607 victories at five different universities.

State Representative Terrance E. Backer Memorial Highway

Backer Dedication

Section of Burma Road (Route 113) through the Great Salt Marsh named in honor of former State Representative/Soundkeeper Terry Backer

Sources: Wikipedia, Connecticut Post, Connecticut Mirror, New York Times

Terry Backer

Terry Backer (August 3, 1954 – December 14, 2015), was a politician who served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1993 until his death in 2015.  He was first elected to represent the 121st Connecticut General Assembly District of the Connecticut House of Representatives,in 1992, defeating Kevin C. Kelly 4,470 votes to 3,981.  He was re-elected on November 4, 2014 and served continuously until his passing during his 12th term on December 14, 2015.

Backer was a third generation fisherman and engaged in lobster and shell fishing with his father in the Long Island Sound for many years. He was a licensed Merchant Marine Officer from the United States Coast Guard Examining Unit at New York City, and he also received an Arborist license from the Connecticut Tree Examining Board, certifying him as an expert in the care of trees.

As a State Representative Backer served in numerous positions in the legislature, including; Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee, Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Whip.

He also served as House Chairman of the Appropriation subcommittee on Conservation and Development, where he chaired the subcommittee from 1993 to 2008 and again for the 2009-10 term.

Backer Family Members

The subcommittee is tasked with crafting the budget for the Department of Environmental Protection, the state Labor Department, the Department of Economic Development and Housing and the Culture and the Tourism Board and the Department of Agriculture, as well as other state agencies.

During his tenure as Chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee (2002–2003), Backer, oversaw and wrote the cleanup legislation to the State of Connecticut’s 1998 Electric Deregulation and Restructuring law. He added improvements to the environmental and renewable energy components to the law; expanded the Renewable Portfolio Standards, created Project 100, a renewable energy program design to implement renewable generation in the state, and passed the Energy Efficiency Standards of Commercial Appliances bill.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

Backer’s Committee assignments for the 2009-10 legislative session were the Appropriations Committee, the Environment Committee and the Energy and Technology Committee. Backer focused his activities in the Environment Committee on water quality improvements and reduction of pollution from storm water. His activities in the Energy and Technology Committee focused on renewable energy and energy security with a special interest in Peak oil concerns. House Speaker for the 2009-10 legislative session, Chris Donovan (D-Meriden) appointed Representative Backer to chair a newly created sub-committee on Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency.

In February 2005, while serving as vice chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Energy Committee, Backer wrote an article for State Legislatures Magazine, a publication of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Freedom From Fossil Fuel, where he criticized the federal government and past administrations for their failure to prepare the nation’s infrastructure for a contraction of the conventional fossil fuel supply and the resulting impact on the nation. He also proposed that the states take the lead rather than relying on Congress or the administration.

In 2007, Backer and State Rep. Bob Duff co-founded the Connecticut General Assembly’s Peak Oil and Natural Gas Caucus. The Caucus was formed to investigate the status of world petroleum based fuel supply, the impact of escalating cost on the society and the economy, and post carbon fuel implications for the current government planning process.

In November 2007, the Legislative Peak Oil and Natural Gas Caucus, with Backer as the lead author, released a report to the Connecticut General Assembly and the Governor titled “Peak Oil Production and the Implications to the State of Connecticut.” During the 2008 legislative session, Representative Backer authored the Energy Scarcity and Security Act which was passed into law The Energy Scarcity and Security Task Force was formed to make recommendation regarding the findings of a report that will investigate the impact of rising energy cost and both major and short term supply disruptions on the state’s ability to provide services and the impact on the state’s economy and cost to citizens.

Connecticut Coastal Fishermen’s Association

In 1984, after witnessing degrading water quality in Long Island Sound, Backer, along with Chris Staplefelt, another local fisherman, co-founded the Connecticut Coastal Fishermen’s Association.

Staplefelt and Backer had been buying Buck Shad in the spring of the year for lobster bait from Bob Gabrielson, a Nyack, shad fisherman.  After hearing complaints of continued pollution problems in Long Island Sound, Gabrielson, introduced Backer and Staplefelt to John Cronin, then the Hudson Riverkeeper, who then with Backer and Staplefelt, established the Connecticut Coastal Fishermen’s Association.

Once established, Backer, Cronin and Staplefelt laid out an aggressive plan to track down municipal and corporate polluters of the Sound, and bring them to court to abate the pollution of the Sound.

Backer became the group’s president, investigator and public point man. The Fishermen’s Association, under Backer, brought federal Clean Water Act lawsuits against several Connecticut municipalities for violations of their National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Permits. The suits included; Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stratford and Milford, as well as other cities in Connecticut. The Fishermen’s Association’s set the tone for the hardnosed legal defense of the Long Island Sound.

Soundkeeper

With pollution fouling harbors and beaches with dead fish in 1987, Backer joined with John Cronin, the full-time Hudson Riverkeeper for the environmental group Riverkeeper, and that group’s lawyer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to sue several shoreline municipalities for violating the 1972 Clean Water Act by illegally disposing sewage in the Sound.

That same year, Backer became the first Soundkeeper for Long Island Sound and executive director of the not for profit environmental protection organization based in Norwalk. the Long Island Soundkeeper Fund, Inc. a non-profit dedicated to protecting waterways through litigation and political action.

The Soundkeeper’s mission was to monitor the Sound’s biological integrity, pursue polluters and reduce contamination; restore salt marshes, educate the public and generate popular support.

The Long Island Soundkeeper Fund, was the second “Keeper” based organization and was preceded only by the Hudson Riverkeeper Fund. Long Island Soundkeeper was started by using a portion of stipulated penalties of $87,000.00 from a settlement based on a Clean Water Act lawsuit with the City of Norwalk.

With Backer as Executive Director/Soundkeeper, Soundkeeper Inc. brought many Clean Water Act lawsuits against polluters of Long Island Sound including New York City, as well as, a federal lawsuit challenging the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s rule making regarding cooling water intakes from power plants.

Backer called the Northport Power Station plant, which draws and discharges a billion gallons of Long Island Sound water daily, a “giant fish-killing machine.”Its water-pollution discharge permit expired in 2011, but the plant can operate without improvements while its permit is reviewed.”

In 2016 the Northport Power Station was required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation, to follow a new State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit that demands greater regulations to protect aquatic life in Long Island Sound, which was expected to reduce harm to aquatic life by 85%.

New upgrades expected for the Northport Power Station will provide protection to the surrounding marine ecosystem of Long Island, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“National Grid will modernize the Northport Power Station in order to significantly reduce impacts to aquatic life while producing the power needed to keep Suffolk County running,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. “DEC worked hard to strike the right balance for the people, businesses and marine ecosystems of Long Island.”

The permit which expired in 2011 allowed the Northport Power Station to withdraw more than 900 million gallons of cooling water from the Long Island Sound each day. This caused fish and other aquatic life to be harmed or killed when they are drawn into the cooling system or caught on water intake screens.

In addition, to its legal activities Soundkeeper Inc., under Backer’s leadership, restored salt marshes in the Bronx and pioneered the use of catch basin filters to clean polluted storm water of bacteria, metals, and hydrocarbons before it enters Long Island Sound, as well as numerous other projects.

“If we move more citizens to realize the value of Long Island Sound as a natural resource,” Backer told The New York Times in 1988, “government will have no choice but to follow their lead.”

In 1994, prodded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, New York and Connecticut approved a comprehensive cleanup plan. As part of the effort, significant strides have been made in reducing the amount of nitrogen reaching the Sound from waste treatment plants.

The Founding of a Movement – Waterkeeper Alliance

Many “Waterkeeper” organizations formed at the grassroots. The concept of protecting the environment as defined by the work of Cronin and Backer, was spreading quickly. John Cronin, the Hudson Riverkeeper introduced the vision of a national alliance of “Keepers” and after several experiments the Waterkeeper Alliance emerged in 1999. Backer played a leading role in forming the Waterkeeper Alliance in its formative years along with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Backer helped guide and grow the Waterkeeper Alliance.  Today there are over 350 Waterkeeper groups protecting more than 2.75 million square miles of rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways on six continents.

James Albis, DEEP

Other Significant Environmental Acts for Connecticut

He played a role in the 2015 legislative session in convincing leaders to include an environmental protection measure in a budget implementer bill: A law requiring cosmetic companies to phase out the use of plastic microbeads that end up in the food chain of the Sound.

He did not mince words in what would be one of his last public acts as Soundkeeper: He blamed New York’s state Department of Environmental Conservation for taking a “lackadaisical, dilatory and laissez-faire” approach to the Sound.

His final public appearance for an environmental cause may have been in October, when he joined United States Senator Chris Murphy at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven to back the senator’s call for a federal ban on plastic microbeads.

“It’s one of those issues that I might not care about if it wasn’t for him,” Murphy said.  Murphy said Backer was obviously ill, but he still came.

“Despite being so ill, he was there, shivering, standing with me on a beach on Long Island Sound, making one final pitch to preserve the waters that defined his life and career,” Murphy said. “And though I’m so sad he’s gone, I’m glad that’s the last time I saw him – standing on the shores of Long Island Sound, urging us all on to preserve his legacy. To his very last breath, the Soundkeeper.”

State Representative Joe Gresko

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection credited Backer with helping to establish no-discharge zones where boats were barred from dumping sewage. With a state grant, Soundkeeper offers to this day, free pump-out service from May to October for recreational boaters.

Soundkeeper sued to force improvements in sewage treatment in Bridgeport, Greenwich, Norwalk and Stratford.

Backer died during his 12th term as State Representative on December 14, 2015, in  Bridgeport from complications related to the treatment of brain cancer

At Tuesday’s dedication State Representative Joe Gresko, was master of ceremonies.  Rep. Gresko was elected to serve the 121st Connecticut General Assembly District of the Connecticut House of Representatives following Backer’s passing. Several members of Terry Backer’s family were also in attendance.

Dignitaries in attendance included: United State Senator Richard Blumenthal, State Representative Phil Young, Fifth District Councilman Greg Cann, Bill Lucey, Long Island Soundkeeper, James Albis, DEEP Senior Advisor to the Commissioner at Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection,  Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance, Vinny Chase, and John Harkins.

Town of Stratford, Connecticut Complete Streets Policy

Final Draft

Note Designs for Complete Streets at End of Policy

Town of Stratford, Connecticut

Complete Streets Policy

Summary: The Town of Stratford has made significant progress toward a local complete streets program. Early efforts of the town’s Greenway Committee lead to the development of a comprehensive complete streets plan for areas including and connecting to the town center and transit-oriented district. To effectively advance these projects toward completion, this report recommends the adoption of a local complete streets policy to integrate future road design and funding decisions in a manner that promotes sustainable accommodation of all roadway users.

Purpose: The purpose of the Town of Stratford’s Complete Streets Policy is to accommodate a wide range of road users by creating a road network that meets the needs of individuals utilizing a variety of transportation modes. The policy will be applied as a guide in decision-making in related infrastructure planning and construction, and create a framework for future development that beautifies the public realm; transforms streets into active, healthy corridors for all modes of travel; connects residents and visitors to major destinations; provides a safe, accessible environment for users of all ages and abilities; and, revitalizes Stratford Center. By incorporating Complete Streets as a guide, the Town of Stratford will advance its efforts to provide safety and accessibility for all the users of our roadways, trails and transit systems, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists, commercial vehicles, and emergency vehicles for people of all ages and of all abilities.

In addition, the recent Complete Streets Improvement Plan developed for Stratford Center recommends adoption of a complete streets policy to guide local investment decisions, as those in effect by many towns throughout the country. As such, the town’s Greenway Committee and Planning & Zoning Commission conducted a survey of best complete streets practices across the country and recommend council adoption of the following policy to support integration of complete streets in roadway design projects, and focused implementation of priority projects included in the town’s Complete Streets and Housatonic Greenway Plan (Appendix A):

Complete Streets Policy

The Town of Stratford aims to improve the health of its residents and acknowledges that Complete Streets can increase everyday physical activity by enabling additional walking and bicycling by its residents and visitors. It is the intent of the Town of Stratford to formalize the plan, design, operation and maintenance of streets so that they are safe for all users of all ages and abilities as a matter of routine. This policy as adopted by the Town Council with support of its legislative Commissions, guides decision makers in consistently planning, designing, and constructing streets to reasonably accommodate all anticipated users including, but not limited to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, emergency vehicles, and freight and commercial vehicles. It further serves as a guide for town development and Public Works/Engineering department officials to ensure the integration of complete streets principles in the planning, design, and construction of local infrastructure.

Core Commitment & Objectives: The Town of Stratford recognizes that roadway projects, whether new, maintenance, or reconstruction, are potential opportunities to apply Complete

Streets design principles and support the towns goals for Transit-Oriented Development. The Town will, to the maximum extent practical, design, construct, maintain, and operate streets to provide for a comprehensive and integrated street network of facilities to achieve the following objectives:

  • Increase safety and access for all ages, abilities, and modes
  • Create better connections between residential and commercial areas
  • Ensure Stratford Center will support future development and growth
  • Improve access to and between public transit systems (e.g., rail and bus)
  • Develop safe routes to school for students
  • Explore design interventions that create a sense of place, reflect the character of Stratford’s different neighborhoods, and evoke a sense of safety and vibrancy
  • Soften existing barriers (e.g., I-95 and rail corridor)
  • Embrace Stratford’s cultural arts, history, and natural resources
  • Integrate traffic calming measures to slow traffic and encourage active transportation in key areas
  • Incorporate green infrastructure, and support of the town’s MS4 program for stormwater

Design Practices: To ensure that Complete Streets projects accommodate all modes of travel and all users, while still providing flexibility to allow designers to tailor the project to unique circumstances, the planning and design shall adhere to the guidelines and principles included in the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and Guide for Planning, Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, in consult with other available best practices (Appendix B), and shall consider the following elements:

  1. Bicycle facilities, including designating bicycle routes, installing bicycle lanes, installing “Share the Road” signs, providing bicycle racks and adding appropriate pavement markings, such as sharrows, bike lane symbols and shoulder edge lines;
  2. Bus features and amenities, including constructing bus pull-outs, installing shelters with ample room for boarding and alighting, ensuring bus stops and shelters are well connected to the pedestrian network and there is a clear path to and from the bus stop, and coordinating with transit officials so that their operating needs are adequately considered and incorporated into the design;
  3. Pedestrian enhancements, including installing crosswalks, upgrading pedestrian signal equipment and timing such as countdown clocks and providing a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), constructing curb ramps that meet ADA standards, and providing sidewalks that are well maintained, meet width needs and are interconnected;
  4. Traffic calming actions, including using textured material at crosswalks, bumping-out intersection curbs to shorten the walk distance, installing center refuge islands, and installing raised intersection tables;
  5. Streetscape environment, including planting urban appropriate trees, landscaping, installing bio-swales and rain gardens, using permeable paving material, such as concrete pavers and porous asphalt, and providing a buffer between the street and sidewalk; ADA compliant features, including curb ramps, detectable tactile cues and warnings, accessible pedestrian signals that emit audible sounds, have a locator tone at the pushbutton or use vibrotactile devices, and increasing the walk time to accommodate persons with disabilities;
  6. Encourage off-street parking, consider eliminating on-street parking where appropriate, and on-street parking treatments, including designated spaces delineated by a unique pavement treatment (textured material, concrete pavers) and curb/sidewalk bump-outs; and
  7. Access management actions to manage and control ingress/egress at commercial driveways, including consolidations, reduction in the number, closures, modifying allowed movements, and incorporating good sidewalk design across driveways.

Implementation: Complete Streets implementation should be constantly evaluated for success and opportunities for improvement. The Town will adopt performance measures to gauge implementation and effectiveness of the following policies.

  1. The Town shall make Complete Streets practices a routine part of everyday operations, shall approach every transportation project and program as an opportunity to improve streets and the transportation network for all users, and shall work in coordination with other departments, agencies, and jurisdictions to achieve Complete Streets.
  2. Town shall review and either revise or develop proposed revisions to all appropriate planning documents (master plans, open space and recreation plan, etc.), zoning and subdivision codes, laws, procedures, rules, regulations, guidelines, programs, and templates to integrate Complete Streets principles in all Street Projects on streets, as well as potential off-road trails and paths.
  3. The Town shall maintain a comprehensive inventory of pedestrian and bicycle facility infrastructure that will prioritize projects to eliminate gaps in the sidewalk and bikeway The Public Works Department, Town Engineer, Town Planner and any other relevant town department, in consultation with METRCOG and the State Department of Transportation, will monitor and maintain a GIS layer of Complete Streets data and report on performance metrics as follows:
  4. Inventory
    1. Linear feet of new or reconstructed sidewalks
    2. Miles of new or restriped on-street bicycle facilities
    3. Number of new or reconstructed curb ramps
    4. Number of new or repainted crosswalks
    5. Number of new street trees/percentage of streets with tree canopy
  1. Percentage completion of bicycle and pedestrian networks as envisioned by city plans
  2. Percentage of transit stops with shelters
  3. Percentage of transit stops accessible via sidewalks and curb ramps
  4. Monitoring
    1. Efficiency of transit vehicles on routes
    2. Multimodal Level of Service (MMLOS)
    3. AutoTrips Generated (ATG)
    4. Decrease in rate of crashes, injuries, and fatalities by mode
    5. Transportation mode shift: more people walking, bicycling, and taking transit
    6. Rate of children walking or bicycling to school
    7. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) or Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trip reduction
  1. The Town will reevaluate prioritization of Capital Improvement Projects to encourage the connectivity of Complete Streets with a focus on implementation of project schedules and maps included in the Stratford Center Complete Streets Improvement Plan and the Housatonic Greenway Plan (Appendix A).
  2. The Town will make its best effort, as resources allow, to train pertinent town staff and decision-makers on the content of Complete Streets principles and best practices for implementing policy through workshops and other appropriate means.
  3. The Town will utilize inter-department coordination to promote the most responsible and efficient use of resources for activities within the public way and will make a best faith effort to coordinate with adjacent municipalities to ensure a seamless network of facilities for all users of the roadway.
  4. The Town will seek out appropriate sources of funding and grants for implementation of Complete Streets policies. This includes transportation infrastructure and street design projects requiring funding or approval by the Town of Stratford, as well as projects funded by the state and federal government, Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Capital Funding and other state and federal funds for street and infrastructure design.
  5. The Town will work with local developers to incorporate complete streets design principles as appropriate in private development projects. Imposition of such requirements should be made on projects that will significantly advance the town’s comprehensive complete streets objectives, as determined by the Town Engineer.
  6. The Town Engineer, in consultation with the Department of Public Works and local Task Force as needed, will use best judgment regarding the feasibility of applying complete streets principles for routine roadway maintenance and projects. The same will be applied to private developments and related street design components or corresponding street- related components. Other transportation infrastructure projects, including but not limited

to roadway reconstruction, roadway reconfigurations, or subdivisions, transportation infrastructure may be excluded, upon approval by the Mayor and/or its designee, where documentation and data indicate that:

  1. Cost or impacts of accommodation is excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use or probable future use.
  2. Roadways where specific users are prohibited by law. An effort will be made, in these cases for accommodations elsewhere.
  3. Other Town policies, regulations, or requirements contradict or preclude implementation of complete streets principles.

Recommendations & Impact: Adoption of a Complete Streets policy will have various impacts across town departments. At an executive/ management level, the cost of capital improvement projects can be expected to increase in line with the level of accommodation made on a proposed route. That said, the type of improvements made under a complete streets policy often benefit a larger cross-section of users, and have other benefits aside from simple accommodation of motorized transportation. Reductions of vehicular traffic, enhanced biofiltration, and improved public health have significant economic and environment benefits which can offset the cost of more extensive capital improvements.

Implementation of this policy should focus on the creation of a contiguous local and regional system for non-motorized travel. To ensure investment is first made in the highest impact areas, priority shall be placed on the recommendations included in the Town’s Stratford Center Complete Streets Improvement Plan, and Housatonic Greenway Plan. Concurrent to implementation of these priority projects the town shall pursue the development of a town-wide complete streets plan and concept network map to guide future investment decisions along other local and regional routes not currently identified as priorities in previous town planning initiatives.

Furthermore, the Town Engineering, Public Works Departments and other relevant departments will require additional support for the development, monitoring, and maintenance of Complete Streets improvements, without which comprehensive compliance will not be achieved. These facilities typically require additional design and maintenance, and as result are more expensive from a long term operational perspective. These costs, in addition to the thorough review and reporting requirements included in the proposed policy, suggest consideration should be made to the establishment of a cross-departmental complete streets task force to share the responsibility, workload, and cost of complete street improvements.

Appendix A: Identified Priority & Connectivity Projects 

Project Prioritization Criteria:

Community Need & Impact: This category considers existing street conditions, such accessibility, safety concerns, and multimodal infrastructure, and assesses the ability of a given project to significantly improve existing conditions and positively impact the community.

CONNECTIVITY: This category considers how well a proposed project connects residents and visitors to local and regional destinations and the integration of different modes of transportation. SYNERGIES WITH EXISTING EFFORTS: This category assesses the extent to which a proposed project advances the goals of other local and regional projects. For example, projects that achieve goals relevant to complete streets, coastal resilience, and greenway implementation should be prioritized over projects that address only one of these Town initiatives.

BENEFIT/ COST: This category compares the long-term community health, safety, and welfare benefits of a project to capital investment required to construct the project.

Sample Priority Projects:

Main Street (North of E. Broadway to Barnum Avenue)

Main Street (North of Barnum Avenue to Fenelon Place)

Main Street (South of E Broadway to Stratford Avenue)

Ferry Boulevard (Main Street East to Exit 33)

Nichols Avenue (Barnum Avenue North to Lincoln Street)

Broad Street (Ferry Boulevard to Linden Street)

Final plan details available at:

Complete Street Plan for Stratford Center: http://www.townofstratford.com/filestorage/39879/ 73757/StratfordCompleteStreets_DraftPlan_Spread s_HiRes_-_compressed.pdf

Housatonic Greenway Plan: http://www.ctmetro.org/uploads/PDFs/Publications

/Reports/Transportation/Pedestrians- Bikes/Housatonic-Greenway/GBRPA-Housatonic- Greenway-Plan-February-2008.pdf

Appendix B: Best Practices as identified by Town Greenway Committee

 

The Lordship Fathers Club

By Tom Halverson

[This series of articles is intended to acquaint you with more of the Stratford areas and communities that are a part of our town. We invite you to share stories of your own neighborhood and what it means to you. Please write to editor@stratfordcrier.com We look forward to hearing from you.]

The Lordship Fathers Club was formed in 1947 for the purpose of helping the children of Lordship either directly or through the schools.

After World War II most schools in Stratford and across the country formed Fathers Clubs to give men a vehicle to contribute to their community. The Lordship Fathers Club (LFC) is the only one of the original groups left in Stratford.

The LFC recently kicked off our 75th year with concerts on the Russian Beach bluffs for residents. The club recently held the 61st Annual Spelling Bee at Lordship School in May 2021. We have been holding a Halloween Party every year since 1947 and an Easter Egg Hunt every year since 1948 (except 2020) for the children of Lordship.

Through the years the LFC has run blood banks, scholarship programs, sponsored Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Lordship Bombers Pop Warner football team and various Little League teams.

Growing up in Lordship, we all have our memories of attending the annual picnics held at Booth Park, the variety shows held from 1949 to 1993, the annual Children’s Olympics or battling for eggs at the annual Easter Egg Hunt where over 500 children would compete for a limited quantity of chocolate rabbits.

The LFC has had to scale back or eliminate several events due the shortage of volunteers in the past 10 years. Anyone interested in becoming a member or volunteering is invited to the LFC Clubhouse the first Wednesday of each month from September through June at 8 pm.  You do not need to be a resident of Lordship.  The LFC Clubhouse is located behind the Lordship Fire House on Prospect Drive. To learn more about the LFC please visit: lordshipfathersclub.com

Coorection: “Let The Games Begin,”

The Stratford Crier’s October 1 story, “Let The Games Begin,” mistakenly reported sources of funding for Baldwin Center renovations. We apologize for the error. The correct facts, as they were fact-checked and released by Town Hall, are:

Town Funding: 77%
Federal Funding: 23%
Town Funding FY 2020: $800,000
Town Funding FY 2021: $200,000
Town Funding FY 2022: $200,000
Federal CDBG Year 45: $350,000
Total: $1,550,000

Let the Games Begin!!

Baldwin Center Re-opens for Games, Classes, and Camaraderie

On Wednesday an official reopening and a celebration of the just-completed renovations and upgrades at the Baldwin Center facility for seniors and the greater community took place.

Tammy Trojanowski, the Town of Stratford’s Director of Community and Senior Services, which operates the Baldwin Center, likened the renovation project to a popular reality television home makeover program. “The Extreme Makeover – Baldwin Edition is worthy of an Emmy Award!” she said.

“We now have a more welcoming and multi-functional space,” Trojanowski said. “Our residents love it
While the Baldwin Center was closed for health safety reasons during COVID-related shutdowns, the Town took the opportunity to do a wide array of improvements that had been planned.

A gathering of residents as well as Councilor Bill O’Brien, State Senator Kevin Kelly, State Representatives Joe Gresko and Phil Young, Judge of Probate Max Rosenberg, and former 2nd District Councilor Ron Tichy were treated to a tour of the newly renovated facility as well as food and beverages.
Members of the family of Raymond E. Baldwin, former Governor and Chief Justice of Connecticut for whom the Center is named, were also in attendance.

The fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the building, which is behind the historic Perry House on West Broad Street and the new railing around the bocce court that sits beside The Burying Ground across the fence are the first things you will notice.

Inside the Baldwin Center, improvements on the first floor are highlighted by the removal of a wall that created increased capacity and comfort in the conference room. A coat closet has replaced unsightly coat racks in the Main Hall, and another closet was added in the coffee shop for better storage and easier access to the games and puzzles.

The renovation includes new flooring, new fixtures, updated restrooms, fresh painted walls, and new furniture. Many of the program rooms are now outfitted with video monitors to enhance presentations by staff and the community. Baldwin Center hosted up to 1,500 visitors every week before the pandemic.

There are new boilers for more efficient heating, a new elevator in full service, and offices have been refreshed and redesigned to maximize work area efficiency. Downstairs, a more spacious game room has been created by removing a wall between the ping-pong room and an adjacent smaller room.

Many deserve thanks for the hard work on this project, particualrly Raynae Serra, Director of Public Works, and Tammy Trojanowski, Director of Community and Senior Services, and all those on their staffs.

Baldwin Center renovations – over 80% paid for by State and Federal funding, courtesy of State Reps Joe Gresko and Phil Young and Town councilors who allocated $400k of HUD’s CDBG low/mod income grant to Baldwin Center. Town allocated $800k in 2020 and $200k in 2021. CDBG provided $400k for overall cost of $1.4m

Regular hours at the Baldwin Center are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information visit StratfordCT.gov/Departments/Senior Services, or call 203-385-4050.

Not Just For Birds

Audubon Connecticut at Stratford Point

By Will Perret
Land Steward
Photos By : Andrea Byrne and Jackson

[This series of

 articles is intended to acquaint you with more of the Stratford areas and communities that are a part of our town.  We invite you to share stories of your own neighborhood and what it means to you.  Please write to editor@stratfordcrier.com  We look forward to hearing from you.]

Many longtime residents of Lordship may know Stratford Point as the former Remington Gun Club, which operated as a trap and skeet shooting facility from 1926-1986.  What residents of Stratford may not know is that you will now find a vibrant wildlife sanctuary that has been managed by Audubon Connecticut (a state office of the National Audubon Society) since 2015.

Since a massive remediation effort that took place during 2000-2011, Stratford Point has been meticulously stewarded to provide for birds, pollinators, and a host of other wildlife.  Our Sanctuary also serves as an important connector between units of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge (such as Great Meadows in Stratford), and multiple other natural areas including Long Beach/Pleasure Beach and the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point.

Stratford Point is also listed as a globally important Bird Area for migrating Semipalmated Sandpipers, and provides critical migratory stop-over habitat for a host of other shorebirds and song birds. In total, there have been 298 avian species officially observed at Stratford Point.

From wintering waterfowl like American Wigeon, Greater Scaup, and American Black Duck, to migrating Warblers in the spring and fall, to nesting Purple Martins and Tree Swallows in the summer, Stratford Point truly abides by Audubon Connecticut’s mission to protect birds and the places they call their seasonal home.

Sacred Heart University also heads the “Living Shoreline” project, which most notably comprises hundreds of reef ball units along our northeast facing shore that have been installed to combat severe coastal erosion issues on the property.  This project, first piloted in 2014 and expanded in 2017, is the largest example of a “Living Shoreline” in New England.

Stratford Point, owned by Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of Corteva Agriscience, and managed by Audubon Connecticut is open to the public Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Walk our trails, enjoy the native gardens, and observe plentiful wildlife at one of the premier birding/pollinator spots in the state.

Audubon Connecticut at Stratford Point is located at 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford. Visit www.ct.audubon.org for more information.

 

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

Stratford the Beautiful

Stratford Crier Contest

Be Blessed by Goody Bassett!

The Crier has launched a weekly photo quiz to acquaint readers with the many beautiful parts of our town.  Crier photographers will publish photos of Stratford’s gems and ask readers to identify the location. First right response will be honored with a free ice cream cone from Goody Bassett, a Stratford Mecca for ice cream lovers.

Email your “guess” to: editor@stratfordcrier.com

This week’s marker commemorates one of Stratford’s famous, nationally celebrated residents.

Can you identify the location? Tell us what you know about William Samuel Johnson.

Let us know where, and what you know about it. There’s ice cream at Goody Bassett on Main Street, just waiting for the “first responder”.

Send submissions to: editor@stratfordcrier.com.