About OSNA

OSNA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving a sense of community by sponsoring group activities and providing members with the information, tools and administrative support necessary to address important local issues.

You can contact us at StratfordNeighbors@gmail.com

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Joyce E. Slater, 89 – Our Grande Dame is Gone: An appreciation by Peggy Little

Family and many friends will gather on Monday, May 20, 2013 from 5 to 7:00 pm at the Pistey Funeral Home, 2155 Main Street to pay respects to Joyce Slater. Joyce’s beloved, welcoming and convivial soul passed from this life on May 11, 2013 and this neighborhood may never see her like again

If you moved into the Academy Hill neighborhood of Stratford, it was not long before Joyce Slater and her late husband Richard extended their embrace. For my family, they greeted us with a bottle of champagne with two flutes to accompany it while the moving van was still here. For another neighbor, she prepared and served dinner in her beautiful dining room for the newcomers and their four young children, the night they moved in.

Joyce and Richard lived life according to their own beliefs. They bucked the concept that if you hadn’t been born and bred to this New England neighborhood, you were not a “real” Stratfordite. They warmly welcomed everyone of whatever background who moved here and reached out to befriend and learn something about them. For years they lovingly sponsored Rotary exchange students from around the world, and extended their friendship to others from Australia, Germany, India, Africa, the Carribean and beyond. One young man from Mexico has sent his children and several members of his extended family over the years to experience a long visit to the U.S. through the warmth and guidance of the Slater’s home. The memories of all these young people and friends still enliven this town.

Their legendary restaurant, Dick’s Magic Kitchen, proved Samuel Johnson’s declaration that “there is nothing that has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced than a good inn or restaurant.” Joyce’s many years as the food service manager for the Trumbull schools brought a high level of culinary accomplishment to those fortunate schoolchildren.

Joyce never neglected the aspects of life that lift us out of our toil. She was devoted to the arts, travel, and the art of restoring and furnishing their magnificent 1690 home. Joyce’s pioneering devotion to fine cuisine was an inspiration to me. She was an accomplished cook in the American, French and Italian traditions, and as a world traveler, she brought back sumptuous and exotic dishes to their restaurant and to the palate of anyone fortunate enough to be invited to their table.

Joyce loved all the arts, but especially the theater and was a devoted supporter of the Shakespeare Theater and Square One Theater. Joyce has asked that memorial contributions be made to either the Stratford Historical Society or Square One Theater, utterly fitting recipients of memorial donations honoring her life.

Joyce and Richard were like parents, aunt and uncle or grandparents to the many families and young people of this neighborhood. Joyce lived her life with class, brio and style and always maintained an open, intelligent and thoughtful outlook. Joyce was involved in many community boards and activities over the years, including serving on the board of the Burroughs home in Bridgeport. But I think the thing she would most like to be remembered for was her rare and priceless gift for friendship. Goodbye, beloved friend, cherished aunt and grandmother to us and to so many others – we will miss you terribly.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shakespeare Theatre Under Assault - Join Today's March and Tell The Mayor and Council NO!!

I am sure many of you have been following the events surrounding the Theatre and the White House the past few weeks. Well the political high jinx in play the past few days demonstrate just how far the Mayor, the Town Council (except Matt) and certain political operatives  are willing to go to get their way to kill the theatre and bull doze the White House.

We have planned a march called "Save Our Heritage March on Town Hall" starting tonight at 6:00 pm, in the Stationhouse Square parking lot. We will walk single file up Main St and into the Town Council meeting room at 6:30 pm where many of us will speak in favor of the petition  to reopon the theatre and release the funds to repair the White House. This petition was launched on May 24th coincident with the White House Rally and has garnered over 1,200 signatures and over 150 comments from people all over the country. 

NOTE: If you have not signed the petition, please sign here.

WHAT:   "Save Our Heritage March on Town Hall"
WHEN:    Tonight June 11th, 6:00 pm
WHERE:  Stationhouse Square parking lot
WHY:      Deliver Petition to Mayor/Town Council. Tell them to reopen the theatre and release the budgeted funds to Repair the White House.

Over this weekend, we have learned that the Council has placed on the agenda the issue of the Summer Festival and whether the town has sufficient funds to go ahead with this annual tradition as previously planned. If the Arts Commission cannot come up with the budget shortfall of $15,000 by tonight's council meeting, then the Council will move to kill the Festival. These are the sorts of back room maneuverings that the theatre and White House opponents are using to get their way to put up a sports complex or retirement home in our neighborhood. Watch the video in this Patch news clip and see if you don't get as mad as I did at the Mayor and Councilman Jim Connor. 

There is so much happening, I cannot keep up. Please read my prior post  to understand the chronology of events sionce April 9th leading up to tonight's March.

If you care about our neighborhood's integrity and what happens to the White House and the hallowed grounds of the theatre along the Housatonic, then I urge you to attend to tonight's March and Public Forum. Over 50 citizens have already signed up to speak as of Saturday night. This promises to be an historic evening. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Save the Theatre & The White House" Rally ... Thursday 5/24 4:30 PM

Recent actions by the Mayor and certain Town Council members make it clear that they have declared war on the theatre, the White House, Councilman Matt Catalano and all Shakespeare Theatre and Performing Arts Center supporters and volunteers.

Their actions require those that value the Historic District, the Performing Arts and our neighborhood integrity to join us Thursday May 24th in front of the White House at 4:30pm. We all must act NOW and make our numbers and voices seen and heard. Channel 8 News is already scheduled to cover the rally and other news outlets, blogs and citizen advocacy groups have been notified, are organizing and plan focused and wide spread coverage. It's time to act go, spread the word and go viral.

Here are a few of the salvos fired by the anti-theatre war mongers:
  • April 10th: Mayor Harkins without warning and behind closed doors orders the locks changed on the theatre and demands the return of all keys. The night before at the Town Council meeting, Councilman Catalano and SaveStratford Advocate Tom Smith attempt to get the Raymark Resolution on the agenda. So the Mayor responds the very next day. 
    • The Mayor's action was NOT a coincidence. 
    • The Mayor's excuse? The theatre is not safe and must be throughly checked out for code violations before anymore events take place. 
    • Really? Not safe? Over 6,000 people visited the theatre last year and volunteers have been working inside the theatre for 2 years. Where was the Mayor's concern then? Hmmm?
  • May 9th: The Mayor announces that the code violations in the theatre will cost $377K to fix. No real details, no report, just a number to get taxpayers riled up and justify keeping the doors locked.
    • Subsequent letters to the editors and blog posts point to a veritable stonewalling of the volunteers and supporters by the Mayor and certain council members
  • May 14th: At the Town Council public forum, scores of supporters show and speak on behalf of the theatre and White House asking the Council to take action, unlock the theatre doors and follow through on the bids to fix the White House.
    • Barely half the Council show for the Public Forum.
    • During the Council meeting, this video clip shows the hostility and stonewalling by the Mayor and suggestions by Councilman Jim Connor that, "it might be time to think of another use for the theatre property, such as senior housing or a sports complex."
    • Sports complex? Really? In the Historic District? In a residential area?
    • The back and forth between Matt and the Mayor in the video clip says it all
  • May 16th: Councilman Catalano responds to the assault, the verbal abuse and the total dishonesty by the Mayor and the silence of the rest of the Council.
    • Bravo Matt for saying what everyone has been thinking since April 10th. It's time to "call it likes we sees it folks." 
There are many more articles and letters to the editor that detail the salvos since April 10th, but the overall message and strategy of the those that want to tear down the theatre AND the White House is crystal clear.

The Mayor, his supporters and the back room developers who have their sites set on all that riverfront property feel they can lock the doors and stop the volunteers from opening the theatre because they believe that the theatre/White House advocates are all talk and no action.

Well after watching and reading about the events and actions of the past 45 days, hopefully, you are like me and are "Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore"!!

Judging by the emails, blog posts and comments and follow up letters I have read the past week, I'd say the anti-theatre players have gone too far and awaken the sleeping giant that is the citizenry of Stratford.

Show your supposed town representatives and Mayor they've gone to far and join your neighbors and friends May24th at 4:30 outside the White House to "Save our Heritage."

Its time to tell the Mayor and Town Council to unlock the doors and fix the White House NOW

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Has SaveStratford.org Actually SAVED Stratford?

On Monday May 14th at Town Hall, the Town Council plans to take up a resolution that could be the start of the final chapter in the seemingly never ending saga involving the EPA, Town officials and SaveStratford.org to remediate the Raymark toxic waste disaster.

Our district Councilman, the Honorable Matthew P. Catalano, together with SaveStratford.org Director Tom Smith have sponsored a resolution that puts forth a REAL solution of what to do with the toxic waste that Raymark spread over our entire town. The resolution asks the Town Council to officially state and agree that it will:
  • Work with "Federal, State and Local agencies (namely the EPA) ... to provide the Town of Stratford with a fully funded, comprehensive clean-up plan that uses technology, specifically thermo-chemical processing, to remediate all affected properties and permanently eliminate toxic waste from Stratford.
  • NOT endorse any plan put forth by the EPA or other parties that attempts to consolidate the Raymark toxic waste in or near residential zones.
Thanks to Matt and Tom Smith, the thermo-chemical processing solution is now on the table after over 6 months of resistance, due diligence and wranglings with the EPA and Town officials. 

If you care about the safety of your families and neighbors you will come to Town Hall Monday May14th at 6:30 pm and lend your voice to support this resolution. Its time for Town officials and the EPA to DO THE RIGHT THING and approve this resolution to finally clean up the mess we have lived with for decades.

If you wish to speak during the Public Forum time, contact the Council Clerk no later than 6:30pm on Monday the 14th at (203) 385-4035 or via email at councilclerk@townofstratford.com. Each person will be allowed 5 minutes starting at 6:45 pm. 

Here are some important facts to remember:
  • In 2008, the Connecticut State Legislature passed House Bill 5606 that prohibits the storage and disposal of toxic waste near residential properties. The former Governor Jodi Rell came to Stratford to sign the bill into law.
  • The proposed thermo-chemical processing technology and company ARI Technologies was approved by the EPA in the late 90's to do exactly what needs to be done to the Raymark toxic waste here in Stratford. 
  • This technology and the company have remediated sites managed by the EPA since that time, HOWEVER, the regional and local EPA agencies had no knowledge of this option or the prior EPA approvals until brought to the EPA's attention late 2011 by Matt and Tom Smith.
  • The EPA has conducted 3 months of due diligence with ARI Technologies to verify that this remediation option and ARI can do what they say and have already proven at other EPA managed sites with the same toxic waste materials.
  • Our congressional delegates - Rosa DeLaura, Joe Lieberman and Dick Blumenthal have been briefed on this approach and are ready to support what the Town wants to do.
  • This remediation option would also be able to eliminate the toxic wastes found at the Army Engine Plant (SAEP). 
  • The EPA remediation fund for Stratford has the money (over $20mm) to get started now.
  • To understand the full extent of the Raymark superfund site, read the EPA Bulletin #44.
It is unconscionable that the EPA and some local officials have dragged their feet in pursuing options that would solve the toxic waste disaster that exists in virtually every neighborhood in our town. This option is the ONLY one that has been put forth in the 34+ years of this environmental nightmare that will solve the problem. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over that time with little or no results. 

We now have a viable solution and the money to get started. It's time for Town officials to DO THE RIGHT THING and pass this resolution and get the REAL remediation project started ASAP.

Join me and other neighbors to  Town Hall May 14th at 6:30pm to tell Town Council to take action now.

- Henry Bruce, OSNA President

Thursday, April 12, 2012

OSNA Annual Meeting Convenes March 22nd at Perry House

The OSNA Board of Directors conducted their Annual Meeting on Thursday March 22nd. Thank you all who attended at the Perry House, as over 20 neighbors and Town Officials participated, including Councilman Matt Catalano and Erin Holroyd of "SaveStratford".
  • Presenting the 2012 Board of Directors.
  • OSNA Board focus for the year
  • Presentation from "SaveStratford" representative Erin Holroyd on the Raymark remediation project.
  • The status of the "White House" and the Shakespeare theatre.
We covered a wide variety of topics, including:

We look forward to a productive and enjoyable year in the neighborhood. Please plan on attending the upcoming Spring social June 24th at the Housatonic Boat Club and end of summer barbeque at my house September 9th.

Happy Spring!

Henry Bruce, OSNA President

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Historic District "House" Biographies - Tell us Your Story

The Historic District is rich with history and almost every house has a story to tell. Since we all love to hear a good story, the Old Stratford Neighborhood Association is asking our neighbors to tell us their's and we will post on the BLOG.

Michael Bingham started us off in January by telling the Story of the Leaning House. It is the first of what we hope will become a series of “biographies” of houses in the Historic District. We invite submissions from owners of any neighborhood homes, old or not. They needn’t be essay-length — even sharing just a few paragraphs about what you find most interesting or endearing about your home would be of interest to neighbors.

And of course please include an image. If you don’t have a photo of your home, we would be happy to take one (at no charge) to include with your post. Please send submissions to mbingham@conntact.com.

Monday, January 30, 2012

OSNA Announces 2012 Events Schedule - Three New Board Members Welcomed

The newly seated OSNA Board of Directors announced their 2012 events and meeting schedule at their January 9th board meeting. The board officers are:
  • Henry Bruce, New President
  • Ann Lindsay Jackson, Vice President (continuing)
  • Michael Bingham, Secretary (formerly Board President)
  • Christine Rudney, New Treasurer
  • Paul Joy, Membership Co-chair
  • Carol Lockshier, New Membership Co-chair

With three new board members, we are all excited about the prospects for 2012 and beyond. We have many plans and initiatives in the works with our social and meeting finalized, starting with the annual Business Meeting on Thursday March 22nd from 7:30 to 9 pm. Our Business Meeting is open to all OSNA members and neighbors and provides us the opportunity to discuss and share community-wide topics and issues. This year's meeting will be at The Perry House.

Our entire events plans for 2012 are as follows:

  • Business Meeting, March 22nd, 7:30 to 9 pm, The Perry House
  • Spring Social, June 24th, 5 to 9pm, Housatonic Boat Club
  • End of Summer Picnic, September 9th, afternoon, 2252 Elm St
  • Holiday Party & Caroling, Sunday December 16th, 4 to 8pm

These events are a great way to connect with old friends and neighbors and meet the many new ones (like myself). These gatherings are also a great way to stay up on all of the community happenings that affect us all.

In the meantime, please reach out to any of us on the board to let us know what you think and how we can serve you and our neighborhood!

Henry Bruce, OSNA President