Here is a quick roundup of stories from around Connecticut:

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Stamford Police Chief Tim Shaw, second from left, takes a knee with #JusticeForBrunch Black Lives Matter protest organizers outside the Stamford Police Department in Stamford, Conn. Sunday, May 31, 2020. About 500 people marched from Harbor Point to the Stamford Police Station in honor of George Floyd and all other victims of police brutality. Protestors also shouted the name of Steven Barrier, who died in Stamford Police custody in October of 2019. Stamford Police Chief Tim Shaw spoke at the event saying "This police department is not silent. We are disgusted as well," before taking a knee with protestors for a moment of silence.

Rallying for Justice

Just as communities around the world saw protests in the wake of the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, people in Connecticut’s biggest cities and smallest towns have been moved to action over issues of racial justice and police reform. From Hartford to Hamden and Bethel to Bloomfield, demonstrators marched down streets and gathered on greens to make their voices heard. While acts of property destruction and confrontations between protesters and authorities occurred in some places in the U.S., Connecticut’s demonstrations have been largely peaceful. But the message of state activists has been no less passionate than that of counterparts across the country. Some protesters expressed frustration and impatience over a lack of sufficient change after previous police shootings. “We need policing, but policing with humanity, not supremacy,” organizer Remidy Shareef said during a Hamden unity march.

Many marches in Connecticut ended up at police stations, where activists directly addressed officers. On June 1, about 500 people arrived at Stamford police headquarters, where Police Chief Tim Shaw initially said he would not take part in the protest. But after Black Lives Matter organizers asked him to speak to the crowd, he agreed, saying, “Everyone in law enforcement feels the same as the community,” adding that officers feel “disgust” over Floyd’s death. “The police, they’re as angry as everyone else.” As seen here, protesters and Shaw then joined together to take a knee and share an 8-minute moment of silence. — AY

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Fourth of … September?

It’s July, and in the U.S. that means fireworks. Only this year America will celebrate its 244th birthday in small groups in backyards and on dead-end streets instead of massive crowds at fairgrounds and on beaches. So what are towns to do with all these fireworks? One answer may be to hope social-distancing measures are relaxed in time for a Labor Day fireworks spectacular.

Greenwich is looking at an “alternative fireworks event in either late summer or early fall.” Madison’s plan is to hold the canceled parade and fireworks show over Labor Day weekend. New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker says he “will be exploring other ways to celebrate Independence Day” in the Elm City. The annual grandiose dueling display by Naugatuck Valley towns Shelton and Derby has been called off with no word of rescheduling. Fairfield canned its Fourth of July plans but hopes to celebrate Memorial Day later on this summer.

Bottom line, almost no town-sponsored fireworks will be set off on July 4th weekend — Waterbury still plans to light up the sky on July 5. Depending on how the pandemic plays out over the summer, some are still holding out hope that the show, any show, must go on. — MW

The roads less traveled

An analysis of cellphone data by New Haven-based nonprofit DataHaven illustrates the dramatic drop in travel among Connecticut residents since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. DataHaven estimated that by late April, social-distancing policies had already saved the lives of 10,000 Connecticut residents, which they noted was “more than the total number of deaths caused by heart disease and stroke combined each year,” and that an additional 4,000 lives, for a total of at least 14,000, had been saved before the state began gradually reopening in mid-May. — EO

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Mary Pratt in her home in Quincy, Mass., in 2001.

A legacy of her own

We all know there’s no crying in baseball, but all is forgiven if you shed a tear for Mary Pratt, the last living member of the Rockford Peaches who died on May 6 at the age of 101 in Massachusetts. Pratt was born in Bridgeport in 1918 and her father worked for the Lake Torpedo Boat Co., an early submarine builder. The Peaches, of course, were immortalized in the 1992 film A League of Their Own, a fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was started in 1943 when many players from Major League Baseball were off fighting in World War II. 

Elected to the AAGPBL’s board of directors, Pratt was honored by the National Women’s History Museum in Virginia and The Sports Museum in Boston. — MW

Rocks of ages

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From left, Evan Honeyman and Dr. Robert Kyrcz with their discoveries.

Not one but two ancient stone artifacts were found by men on seaside strolls on two separate Connecticut beaches in May. At Hammonasset State Beach in Madison, Bob Kyrcz discovered an egg-shaped stone  that was likely used as a multi-tool by native inhabitants hundreds or even thousands of years ago. And at Quotonset Beach in Westbrook, Farmington resident Evan Honeyman spotted a small chiseled stone that’s believed to be between 1,000 and 6,000 years old and was possibly a spear tip or arrowhead. State Archaeologist Sarah Sportman, who consulted on both discoveries, says that ancient objects are sometimes found on state beaches because “our shorelines are more inundated by water than they were at different times in the past, so a lot of archaeological spots are actually underwater.” — EO, AY

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Close-ups of the stone objects found by Evan Honeyman (left) and Bob Kyrcz.

Escape from New York, Part 2

A “tidal wave” is how one Fairfield County real estate agent describes the May queries from New York City denizens, as coronavirus pandemic fears and fatigue had many Manhattanites looking to buy in the suburbs.

Entering June, the Connecticut markets had yet to show conclusively the tide had turned, but the possibility remains for a big summer of closings for home sellers as properties come to contract. Agents say buyers surged out of the city for in-person and virtual showings from Greenwich to Mystic, and into Litchfield County and the Connecticut River Valley. Bidding wars broke out over multimillion-dollar homes, whether as a summer rental escape or for a permanent move.

For homeowners distressed by multiple years of lowball offers on homes where they wish to cash out, the coming months could represent their best window in years to get a deal done. “I don’t know that [New Yorkers] necessarily want to stay out of the city — hey, they just want to have an option to go someplace else,” says Candace Adams, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, based in Wallingford. “I found it very interesting that the studios and one-bedroom apartments were flying off the [New York City] market. … People are renting smaller space there so they have a place there — and then they’re buying out here.” — AS

Correction: The "A legacy of her own" item was updated June 27 to correct the baseball team's location from "Rockville" to "Rockford."

This article appeared in the July 2020 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.

Albie Yuravich is the editor in chief of Connecticut Magazine. A product of the Naugatuck River Valley, he's also been a newspaper editor and writer at the New Haven Register, Greenwich Time, The Register Citizen and the Republican-American.