Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ribbon Cutting For Newly Completed “Tuttle Loop” of Bike and Walking Path

Tuesday, July 29, 3:30
End of Tuttle Place (just off Tuttle Road, near Newfield St.)

Mayor Daniel T. Drew, and Director of Public Works William Russo will perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the newly completed 1.75 mile “Tuttle Loop” section of the Westlake and Mattabesset Bike and Walking Trail (see section colored in purple on the map here). The new section means that the entire trail system from Middle Street to Tuttle Place is now 5.0 miles.

The Complete Streets Committee of Middletown encourages all residents who support and enjoy improved walking and bicycling facilities to attend the event. Citizen presence will demonstrate interest for other planned and to-be-planned improvements to Middletown’s pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure.

To reach the ribbon cutting, drive north on Newfield Street toward Cromwell. But just ¼ mile before reaching Cromwell, turn left on Tuttle Road. Drive ¼ mile to Tuttle Place on the right.  Park along Tuttle Place where the bike lanes are painted (even though parking is usually not permitted in this location).  To view on Mapquest, click

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Going to Extremes in King Lear" Free Talk tonight!

John Klause, Professor Emeritus of English at Hofstra University, will be giving a talk on Shakespeare’s King Lear on Tuesday, July 22 in conjunction with ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove production of the play this month.

The talk will be held at 7 pm in Founder’s Hall at Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

The talk, “Going to Extremes in King Lear”, will offer suggestions about how the local meanings in the text (notably those established by “extremes” of thought, feeling, action, imagination, and spectacle) contribute to questions about the “meaning of life” that are raised in the play. It will relate Shakespeare the playwright to Shakespeare the philosopher. The talk will take place in an informal atmosphere in MxCC’s student lounge, with time for questions and discussion.

John Klause, Professor Emeritus at Hofstra University, received his PhD in English Literature at Stanford University—after spending some time as a high school instructor in Louisiana. He taught for ten years at Harvard, and served as dean of one of Harvard’s residential colleges. He has published books on Shakespeare (Shakespeare, the Earl, and the Jesuit and an edition of the play Measure for Measure), on Renaissance Latin Drama (an edition of the seventeenth-century academic play Andronicus Comnenus), and on the seventeenth-century English poet and political writer Andrew Marvell (The Unfortunate Fall: Theodicy and the Moral Imagination of Andrew Marvell). He has published an array of articles on other writers of the early modern period, often emphasizing the connections of literature to the politics and religion of the time.

ARTFARM is presenting King Lear for its ninth season of Shakespeare in the Grove on the Middlesex Community College campus. Performances will take place at 7 pm on July 17 – 20 and 24 – 27. Live music precedes each night’s performance of King Lear at 6 pm; audience members are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and a picnic and enjoy live music and professional Shakespeare in a gorgeous outdoor setting overlooking the Connecticut River Valley. In case of rain the performance will be held indoors in Chapman Hall on the campus.

Tickets for King Lear are $20 for adults, $10 for students. They may be purchased at the door or by going to ARTFARM’s website:

Additional free public events around the King Lear production include a pre-show Trail Walk with CT Forest & Park Association on July 20, “Talk Back” with the cast and director on July 25, and a Forum on “Arts and Aging” that will be held in October. For more info, contact or go to the ARTFARM website.

ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove is co-sponsored by Middlesex Community College, Division of Humanities and Arts. Additional support is provided by the CT Department of Economic and Community Development/Office of the Arts, the Middletown Commission on the Arts, Pratt and Whitney, and the Community Health Center.
King Lear production photos below by Bill Dekine. 1. John Basinger as King Lear; 2. Ken O'Brien as the blinded Gloucester led by Michael Hinton as his son Edgar; 3. Marcella Trowbridge as Cordelia with Ethan Sachs as the King of France.

Monday, July 21, 2014

MxCC Named a “2014 Great College to Work For”

For the third year in a row, Middlesex Community College  is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey released by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Middlesex Community College is the only community college in the state to receive this recognition.

The results, released today in The Chronicle’s seventh annual report on the Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 43,000 employees at 278 colleges and universities.

In all, only 92 of the 278 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. The Chronicle of Higher Education surveyed a random sample of MxCC employees who provided answers directly to the publication. Honorees were chosen based on responses to the survey and honored in one or more categories.

MxCC won honors in compensation and benefits this year, which means that MxCC employees believe that the pay is fair and benefits meet their needs.

“We are delighted that The Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized Middlesex Community College for the third year in a row in its Great Colleges To Work For list," said Dr. Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC. “This designation is based on an annual survey of our faculty and staff and it validates their continuing sense of satisfaction about working at Middlesex.  It also gives us an occasion to celebrate our collective efforts to make this college a great place in every way, including, most importantly, for our students.”

The Chronicle’s 2014 Great Colleges to Work For program recognizes small groups of colleges for specific best practices and policies. Now in its seventh year, the Great Colleges program has become one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.

“The Chronicle’s Great Colleges program provides readers with important information about the colleges and institutions we cover,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “The institutions that the Great Colleges program recognizes provide innovative educational experiences – while also offering their employees outstanding workplace experiences – and we are eager to help readers learn more about them.”

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Raptors on the Radio

Raptors on the Radio! Tune in to Earth Out Loud on WESU, FM 88.1 TODAY  
from 6:30-7:00

Ever wonder what's in an owl pellet? Or what grasshoppers taste like?  
Or what falcons wear for camouflage? Join Middletown kids and raptor  
experts for a pre-recorded talk show on Earth Out Loud to find out.  
Christine and Todd run A Place Called Hope, a birds of prey  
rehabilitation center in Killingworth, CT. They bring an American  
Kestrel and a Barred Owl to the WESU studios and talk with kids about  
the habits and habitats of these cool birds of prey.

Earth Out Loud on WESU is part of a new outreach program at Wesleyan’s  
College of the Environment. Learn more at

A few thoughts on King Lear

Why Lear? Why Now?
King Lear is a challenging play to produce. Long, deep, unconventional, difficult to stage, dark and bloody, with precious few moments of levity. It is not produced nearly as often as the other great Shakespeare tragedies.
Until recently.
Suddenly, King Lear is everywhere. Shakespeare in the Park in New York is doing Lear. Royal Shakespeare Company. Stratford Festival Theater in Canada. England’s National Theater. Frank Langella was just Lear at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Theater for a New Audience in New York. Shakespeare on the Shoreline is producing Lear in Guilford in August. And, of course, Middletown’s ARTFARM is opening a two week run of King Lear starting July 17.
Why is King Lear suddenly the Romeo and Juliet of the 2014 Season?  
The two word answer is Baby Boom, which has matured into the Grayby Boom. Lear is about aging and the decisions that people make around aging. It starts with a poor decision made by an aging, ailing monarch in regard to his three daughters. The initial act of wrathful poor judgment – disinheriting his youngest and favorite daughter for failing to express her love for him with enough sugar – leads to a series of decisions by his family, friends, rivals and caregivers that ends with a stage full of corpses.
Raise your hand if issues around aging are a part of your life right now. Your own aging? Your aging parents, grandparents, mentors, friends? We are living in the first years of the Age of Aging, an Era in which terms like Assisted-Living, End of Life Decisions, Palliative Care, Dementia, Probate, Do Not Resuscitate and Power of Attorney are suddenly becoming as prevalent as productions of King Lear.
Lear was written over 400 years ago, and the story is set in pre-Christian Britain, yet the proud, disoriented and unpredictable King is as recognizable today as our own aging father. The chaos created by the powerful monarch’s abdication and descent into dementia is a mirror of what so many families are coping with today. Move down to the ground floor, take away the car keys, sell the house, move into a facility, call hospice, write the Living Will, talk about funeral plans. People love people who get old, who get sick, who die. Nobody gets out alive. As the German writer Goethe said, “An old man is always a King Lear.”
King Lear is being produced all over right now because it is a reflection of what we, and our society, are going through right now. Shakespeare, well presented, helps us to feel the depth of our own experiences by connecting us to universal truths of the collective human condition.  

Connecticut Lear productions this summer:
ARTFARM’s Shakespeare in the Grove on the campus of Middlesex Community College in Middletown, featuring 80 year old actor John Basinger as Lear. July 17 – 20 & 24 – 27.

Shakespeare on the Shoreline on the Guilford Green, featuring David Richman as Lear. August 6 – 10.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Sounds Series - The Afro-Semitic Experience at Harbor Park!

Tuesday - July 22
The Afro-Semitic Experience promises a good mix of spiritual jazz/klezmer/swing music.
Performances are taking place at Harbor Park this year. It's a great place to hear the music, enjoy the views of, and along, the Connecticut River, and have a picnic! It's all free and brought to you by the Middletown Commission on the Arts.
Rain location is the South Church sanctuary at the corner of Main and Union Sts. across from the South Green. If unsure of the weather/location, call 860.638.4510 between 3 and 4:30 pm the day of the event or visit for an update.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Connecticut Food Truck Festival in North Haven 7/19 & 7/20

Hello Readers!

WHAT:     The 1st Annual Connecticut Food Truck Festival! 
WHEN:     Saturday and Sunday July 19th & 20th 
WHERE:  North Haven Fairgrounds (300 Washington Ave, North Haven, CT 06473)
TIME:       11am to 7pm 
COST:      $5 each (under 17 free with parent)

Cat Tales will be accepting donations of food/supplies/funds to helps support cats and kittens under our careCome meet us and learn how we help abandoned cats and kittens in our community!

Over 50 food and specialty drink vendors, live music all weekend, free activities for the kids, retail and artisan vendors, raffles and more!

The festival admission is $5 per person and includes parking, kids under 17 are free but must have a parent with them. 

We have close to 50 food providers, live CT bands playing throughout the weekend, a bunch of bounce houses, inflatable obstacle course, games, contests and DJ all provided free for the kids as well as clowns providing free face painting. 

All Saturday attendees will receive a ticket which can be brought back on Sunday to enjoy some of the new trucks that will be joining us that day at a discounted admission of $2. All the trucks will be selling their top items and many will be doing smaller portions at a reduced price to allow you to try multiple trucks. 

How we arrive at the admission cost is the total cost of the event, a little over $50,000 so far (venue rental, entertainment, insurance, advertising, police, fire, trash removal, event staff and the list goes on). On top of that we hope to contribute thousands of dollars for the local food banks to help support them. Unlike other festivals, we just want to cover all the costs and be able to contribute heavily to our local community which is why we are paying for entertainment for the kids so parents don't have to. By coming out you are supporting a lot of good causes as well as the trucks and vendors, many of them just starting their own local businesses. Please make a point to come out and enjoy this event, you'll be helping a lot of people!!

P.S.  Check out our Facebook Page for this Event:

Thank You for your support!!

~Cat Tales

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ Medalla ~ 7/10/14

Cat Tales presents...

Cat of the Week!!!

My Name is Medalla!  Can I Come Home With You?

Meow – I’m Medalla! I’m a short-hair, buff-colored male, almost 3 years old. I’m always there to greet my human Cat Tales friends as soon as they walk in the door! I have expressive eyes and a very easy temperament. Look closely and you can see my “smile”.

A home with older children and no dogs is best for me. I’m okay as the only pet or with one other non-dominant cat is okay, too.

I’m a bit overwhelmed at the shelter so I am hoping a kind and gentle family will take me home soon. I am responsive to petting and talking and would love to cuddle up next to you at night.

Cat Tales is seeking permanent adoption for me and will tell you the best way to take care of me.

Please call Cat Tales at (860) 344-9043 or
Email: to inquire about Medalla!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014



Foster care volunteers provide temporary housing and care for abused, neglected and abandoned cats and kittens within our community. By offering your time, energy, and home to an animal in need, you prepare the animal for adoption into a permanent home and prevent overcrowding in our shelter.

As a Foster, you should be comfortable with:
• Daily feeding, play, and attention
• Administering medications
• Following special dietary plans
• Handling the cat into and out of a carrier
• Transporting cats to veterinary appointments

Cat Tales provides food, supplies, and medications, and pays for all vet care.

We currently have four (4) cats that require foster placement. These cats need to be the only pet in the house, or in a separate room where the cat can live in until they are adopted.

You can make a significant difference in future of these cats! Interested?
Contact Cat Tales at 860-344-9043 or, subject line: FOSTER.

Cat Tales Non-Profit Rescue
A 501(c)(3) Organization Since 1999

Monday, July 7, 2014


The Children’s Circus of Middletown is holding auditions for trombone, saxophone, trumpet and other band instruments.

Minimum Age: 14.

Performances will be on August 1st (Raindate August 2nd)

Rehearsals are held weekday evenings in July.

Please contact or 860 347 6143

Let us know your name, age, instrument, and a way to contact you.

Thank you.

Salafia Urges Delay On Riverfront Appropriation By Council

Tonight at the Common Council meeting (7PM, Council Chambers), the Council will vote on an appropriations request of $15,000 by the Planning Department. The money would come from the Economic Development Fund, it would be used to purchase small items for immediately improving the Waterfront for the public, as outlined in the final Riverfront Redevelopment Commission report. The improvements suggested in the report include, replace the old wood with new on the picnic tables, enhance lighting at tunnel and along boardwalk, purchase portable playground, purchase inexpensive plastic Adirondack chairs, purchase trash cans to match Main Street, purchase and install a sign, purchase LED tree lights.

The following Letter to the Editor in response to that appropriation request, it was submitted by Molly Salafia, Vice Chair Planning & Zoning


Dear Councilmembers,

I noticed on tonight's Council agenda is $15K allotted for the "lighter quicker cheaper" amenities for Harbor Park. Although 15k dwarfs other appropriations by many thousands, need I remind the council the average income per family in Middletown is $50k according to the last census. The $15K should be treated as delicately as if were a six figure appropriation, seeing many families struggle in the wake of an unstable economy and this administration's increased local taxes.

I ask specifically what this appropriation will be used for- plastic furniture shown in the presentation by the firm Project for Public Spaces would not work well in Middletown. If granted, the public's money should be used for amenities that will last multiple seasons & events, and can be utilized by park goers with out the monitoring by public safety. The pipe rails & wood benches at Harbor Park are already in place, however, appear to need maintenance. Before more money is spent on more "things, why not restore what is already in place? More "things" also means more storage required. A budget for amenities such as this can be funded through dockage fees which the City does not currently charge for but should. Another question- shouldn't routine maintenance to Harbor Park already be budgeted for?

Unaddressed by Public Spaces were events already taking place annually at Harbor Park such as the Regatta, a gospel music weekend, yoga, and a variety of other events by local groups. While some of these events have a large turn out, others do not. The City should find out why. Perhaps before purchasing for unspecified events, someone should address attendance to current activities and find out what can be done to make the most of these scheduled activities. That in my eyes is the essence of "lighter faster cheaper."

The public bathrooms at Harbor Park are perpetually locked, with the exception of the Fourth of July. Before the City purchases public "toys" to make the riverfront friendlier, why not make the riverfront friendlier with finding a way to have usable bathrooms? Let's solve current issues before new ones are invented.

Lastly, as acting chair of P&Z, it has come to my attention that we are awaiting a hearing with representatives from the DOT to discuss improvements the ramp at Exit 17 by Harbor Park which has burdened Middletown for nearly two decades as a death trap. Until the presentation, we are unsure of the impact & timeline of these improvements. Common sense tells me that construction would be noisy and possibly make Harbor Park unpleasant for leisurely activities for a time; therefore; until such timeline for DOT improvements is put in place, personally, I would encourage the council to delay appropriations for temporary leisure based improvements to the park.

Sincerely, Molly Salafia
Vice Chair Planning & Zoning

Album Release Party By Local Band At The Buttonwood Tree Saturday

J-Cherry and The Strawberries to release their first album, “In the Belly Of The Beast” recorded before a live audience with Michael Arafeh of The Coffeehouse Recording Studio; on Saturday, July 12 at 8PM at The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street Middletown. “In The Belly Of The Beast”, is part poetry, blues, and roots rock. A critical look at life, politics, and the world we live in. From “Lies”, to “Dirty Water”, the “Dog’s On Prozac”, and “The Illuminati”, just a few titles on this 13 track record. Here’s what critics have to say about J-Cherry and the Strawberries, “J-Cherry and the Strawberries took to the stage and played to a house that overflowed the music room and spilled out into the library. A local artist with a passion for music, lead singer J-Cherry, a.k.a. Jennifer Shafer Wood, plays her own soulful style of blues, poetry, and funk surrounded by an ethereal musical background.” David Gellar, Middletown Patch.

It all started five years ago. Jennifer Shafer Wood AKA J-Cherry was looking for a place to produce an open mic. J-Cherry was inspired by an open mic in Hartford called the “Love Jones”. “I wanted to recreate a “Love Jones” atmosphere closer to home. The open mics I attended locally were either poetry or music; there was nothing with a combination. Until I stumbled upon the “Love Jones” and I was like, WOW, this has a little bit of everything, music, poetry, comedy, rants, and hip-hop.” Cherry approached Anne-Marie Cannata, the Buttonwood Tree’s Artistic Director about producing an open mic and thus “Anything Goes Open Mic Mondays” were born. “Anything Goes Open Mic Mondays” continues to run today with a crew of hosts to keep it going weekly. J-Cherry and Tim Sparks continue to host on the first Monday of the month.

It was at open mic that J-Cherry met her husband and band mate Tim Sparks, as well as band mates, Sympetalous, poet and percussionist, and Steve Far singer/songwriter on bass and guitar. Tim Sparks, singer/songwriter on rhythm guitar, vocals and harmonica, Sparks brought in lead guitarist Rich Hatfield and the group started practicing once a week and playing gigs. We just enjoyed making music together. “We decided it was time to record an album. Some of the songs were written or inspired by our experience at the Buttonwood Tree. “On and PopPin” was inspired by being in downtown Middletown at The Buttonwood watching all the people stroll in or by on a summer evening. “The Rhythm Is In The Kiss” is a song inspired by a someone at The Buttonwood Tree who was down on their luck. Clinging to the bottle, unaware of another way to handle life. Cherry explained. This record is a colorful collaboration of poetry and music. I am thankful for places like the Buttonwood Tree that open their doors to aspiring artists and provide a platform for the budding artist to share”, recalls J-Cherry. “In all honesty this album would not have been possible without The Buttonwood Tree! It gives me great joy to officially release our record on the stage where it all started!”