Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cat Tales Annual Walk-A-Thon/Run on 6/18 - Register online or day of event!

Cat Tales will be holding the 

Annual Walk-A-Thon/Run on June 18th!  

We are teaming up with Connecticut VOTES for Animals for this years Event.  Our joint goal is to raise awareness and much needed funds to keep all species of animals in Connecticut free from harm.  We hope to see you there to support this important mission! 
We hope to see you all there! 

Please visit http://www.CatTalesCT.org/walk-a-thon-run/ to register, and see all the details.  To donate, Connecticut Votes for Animals and Cat Tales have their own donation sites, ours being https://www.crowdrise.com/2016CatTalesWalkRun.  

Feel free to bring your leashed dog as we have water stations throughout the trail.  For any questions not addressed, please email info@CatTalesCT.org or call 860-344-9043.


Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ SEBASTIAN!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!

Gender:  Male
Breed:  Domestic Short Hair
Color:  Grey & White
Age:  4 years old

I'm an extremely mellow, laid-back, sweet, and affectionate cat that loves to be pet and loves attention!  I'm FIV+ but don't worry - it's impossible for humans to catch and is very difficult for other cats to catch.  I will live just as long as any other cat, I just need to keep my 1-2 Vet appointment per year, depending on my new Vet.  I’m a very good boy and I adore the Cat Tales volunteers, but I’ve been patiently waiting for my forever home where I can get all of the love and affection I'm craving.  I'm such a lover and hope you will give me a chance at a forever home!  Please come meet me?

No Dogs / No Children

*To learn more about FIV, please visit http://www.CatTalesCT.org/fiv-felv/

Phone:  (860) 344-9043


Pizza War on June 2

From Michael Piscopiello.
Feed the People Charity Inc. and the Middletown Press will be holding its 5th Annual Greater Middletown Pizza War on June 2, 2016 at Saint Francis of Assisi Church. The event supports Saint Vincent dePaul of Middletown that has provided an array of services to Middletown residents for over 30 years.

Feed the People Charity is pleased to welcome back this year, Pizzeria DaVinci of Higganum, Cromwell Pizza and Pasta, No Anchovies Pizza in Cromwell, Cozy Corner from Durham and Price Chopper of Middletown. We have two new restaurants joining the fun this year, Vero Cucino Rustico in Middletown, and Barb’s Pizza of Cromwell.

The Pizza War starts at 5:00 pm. Donations are $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4, children under 6 eat for free.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Some Behind-The-Library Inspiration

Photo: John Van Vlack from the
News@Wesleyan website.
One of the rites of Spring for non-Wesleyan affiliated, Wesleyan neighbors is commencement weekend.  The streets are full of alumni and families attending festivities.  Cars are parked where they shouldn't be.  Tents bloom on all the lawns, and loud music emanates through the night.  It's like a brainy carnival (following closely on the heels of the Italian carnival that invades Pearl Street every May).

It's been a family tradition to attend Commencement.  Some years, especially the years when my kids were younger, we were more connected to the student body as babysitters walked to the stage in cap and gown.  Lately, we attend just to hear the Commencement speaker.

This year, it was joyous to see punk poet Patti Smith awarded an honorary doctorate, and good friend Sally Bachner receiving one of the coveted Binswanger Awards.

Over the years, we've heard a lot of great speeches from people like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joss Whedon, Amy Gutman and Barack Obama.

But I can't remember being inspired as much as I was this year when Bryan Stevenson spoke. Stevenson is an author, attorney, professor and social justice advocate specializing in bring justice to those on death row.

He asked the graduates to do something many graduates have been asked: change the world.  Then he provided four relatively practical things they (we) could do that would go a long way to making that change.  A 17 minute video of his speech is here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Larry Marino To Be Honored By Chamber Of Commerce

From the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
Chairman Vincent Capece of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2016 recipients of the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Award.

Each year, the chamber presents this award to individuals who serve as an inspiration to others, and are recognized by the Middlesex community as unselfishly giving his or her time and talent to produce a lasting benefit to the area. The Distinguished Citizen Committee chose the recipients from a list of over 230 nominees.

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce proudly announces that the 2016 recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Award are:
  • Larry W. Marino
  • Darlene Briggs
  • Chandler J. Howard

Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “Once again, our Distinguished Citizen Committee has chosen three outstanding individuals. They are committed to making Middlesex County a better place to work and live, and we are extremely proud of all of them.”

The 2016 Distinguished Citizen Award recipients will be honored at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce 2016 Annual Awards Dinner to be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell.

Larry W. Marino
Born in our city, Larry Marino always divided his life into three parts. The first part of life is devoted to education, the middle third of life is devoted to work while the last third is dedicated to helping others. Larry believes that you always should do what you are capable of to help others and that is something he has lived his life a testament to.

Larry attended college at Loyola University of Chicago getting a degree in English while spending his last two years abroad at the university’s Rome Center campus. Upon graduation, he wanted to make a difference and he immediately signed up for the Victoria Teacher Selection Program, which gave him the opportunity to teach school in Queensland, Australia. During his time in Australia, Larry found time to coach a women’s and girls’ softball team. He also published stories and poems written by his students and performed in local theater productions. Larry holds a teaching certificate from Central Connecticut State University and holds a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

When Larry returned to the United States, he began his business career joining his father as part of the S.G. Marino Crane Service Corporation as Chief Administrative Officer. As one of two officers in the company, he grew a $2 million regional crane rental house into a $45 million crane and rigging services company, servicing the energy, power, industrial and infrastructure markets operating in 37 states in the U.S. and the Caribbean Islands. He developed strong banking relationships as well as strong vendor relationships with major manufacturers and suppliers, this was the catalyst to secure recapitalization with Capital Funding Group at GE Capital Corporation.  His stewardship of S.G. Marino Crane Service Corporation led the organization for sale to Barnhart Crane, a $250 million leading equipment services provider.

During Larry’s business career he knew that community involvement was essential to a vibrant and rewarding life. His company provided crane and truck rental to local non-profits in need and has sent volunteers and distributed bottled water during natural disasters in the United States.  Additionally, he worked with a team to help develop a better bobsled for the U.S. Olympic Team which resulted in Gold and Silver Medals for the men and women.

Larry is an active participant in many local non-profits. As Exchange Club President, Larry chaired a local triathlon to raise funds for the prevention of child abuse. Through Rotary International, Larry’s family invited a young man from Venezuela to stay with them for a year as he completed his studies at the local high school. He has served on the Community Foundation of Middlesex County Grants Committee and was an Encore! Hartford Fellow. He was a founding member of the Portland Soccer Club and coached little league and soccer for 10 years in Portland. As Larry’s business grew he became an active member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. It was Larry’s honor to serve as Chairman of the Chamber’s Board in 2005.

A spark was lit in Larry when O’Rourke’s Diner, a 60-year-landmark in Middletown’s North End succumbed to a fire in 2006 when a steamed cheeseburger machine was left on overnight. The owner, Brian O’Rourke, unfortunately did not have fire insurance, but Larry made a commitment to Brian, the mayor and the loyal customers that he would help bring the diner back. A committee was formed and diner was rebuilt within seventeen months.

In Larry’s current role he serves as Director of Facilities and Safety at Adelbrook Behavioral & Developmental Services where he helps the non-profit which provides services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental disabilities, and mental health conditions and gives children and young adults the chance to live and work in the community.

When not working, Larry spends time with his wife Jane and four sons Daniel, Andrew, Christopher, and Ross. He enjoys hiking, tennis, books and theater and roots for the New York Giants and the Detroit Tigers.    

Darlene Briggs
Growing up in Cromwell, Darlene Briggs was the first child of Ronnie and Bob Brigg's six children. She has fond memories of her childhood, remembering that most days were raucous and that level of revelry continues today.  On Sunday mornings, the Briggs family occupied almost the whole pew at St. John's Church. Darlene attended Cromwell Schools.

As a teenager, Darlene could not wait to "get to work." Starting at the Belden Library, she was also a summer Park & Rec camp counselor, washed pots and pans at a convalescent facility, flipped fast food burgers, and enjoyed the glamour of operating a spotlight at a dinner theater.  It was also during Darlene's teenage years her father passed away, which years later set the stage for the Briggs-Pomfret merger combining a family of six kids with a family of five kids.

Darlene enrolled at Central Connecticut State University and majored in graphic design. She accepted a summer job in an A/V production house and it was "off to the races." That first job led to freelance opportunities at other graphics houses, advertising agencies, and corporate in-house departments.
A position opened at the Southern New England Telephone (SNET) Customer Communications Center in New Haven and this began Darlene's 12-year "inside corporate" adventure. Her team was responsible for the production and management of multimedia extravaganzas, customer presentations, sales meetings, awards programs, proposals, marketing and advertising for Network, Yellow Pages, Corporate Communications, and Wireless.

Darlene met her husband, David Kittle at SNET.  A colleague/friend Tony Palermo suggested that the town of Westbrook might be a good fit for the couple. Darlene and David signed up for a buyout from SNET and started their company, Cominfortainment -- communications, information and entertainment. They expanded the services they previously provided "inside" to the outside world. As part of larger teams, they manage and create content for sales, awards, shareholder, town hall, and analyst meetings country-wide.  Their company also creates and manages trade show, web and collateral materials. Clients include pharmaceutical, technology, industry associations, non-profits, and finance.

When they started their business the couple's accountant was the company's first advisor. Two of his suggestions were to take the summer off and join the Middlesex Chamber. They began attending Westbrook Division meetings. It was at those meetings that Darlene met and joined forces with "Mad Scientist and Sorcerer" Gerry Dyar. The sorcerer's apprentice rose to Chair of the Westbrook Division, Board of Directors and to serving on the Executive Committee. Another important chamber assignment was delivering her dad #2, Bill Pomfret to the member breakfast at 7:45 instead of 7:59 for the pledge of allegiance.

It was Darlene's distinct honor to become Chairwoman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in 2013-2014. Her post Chairwoman duties include representing the Chamber on the River COG. Through her continued involvement, Darlene hopes to bring the lower-county perspective to the Chamber.

As a business owner, chamber member and a Westbrook citizen she is an active member of the Town Center Revitalization/Economic Development Commission, Ad Hoc Energy Committee, Youth Assets and her favorite, the Tree Lighting Committee.

When not in "client land" you may find Darlene shuttling snacks and chairs to the beach for their family and friends, out and about in her neighborhood or on the links with the "Golf Devils."

Chandler J. Howard
Growing up in Stratford near the Bridgeport border, Chandler Howard sought leadership opportunities his whole life. Starting at the age of nine, he delivered the largest newspaper route in the town of Stratford. The route got so large that Chandler got his first taste of entrepreneurship by paying a few neighborhood children with bikes to join him in subdividing the route to ensure on time delivery and service.

Drafted in the military at the age of 18, Chandler became a soldier in the jungles of the Vietnam War. When he left the military he jumped right into community service. He started a counseling center when he noticed that many Vietnam veterans were returning in a bad emotional state. Talking with veterans and their families, it was at that point he first noticed that he was good at communicating with other people.  When officials noticed his clinic and discovered that he was practicing without a license, Chandler had to retire his services, but the experience stuck with him. His work at the Red Cross in which he became volunteer of the year, drew the attention of People’s United Bank chief Nick Goodspeed who offered him a job as a part-time teller.

The teller job began Chandler’s long career in the banking industry. Attending college at night to earn his bachelor’s degree at the University Connecticut, Chandler rose through the ranks at People’s, becoming a senior regional manager in the span of 20 years. He also earned a Masters of Finance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and developed as a manager. He joined Fleet Bank as an Executive Vice President in 1996 overseeing 6,000 people in the Northeast region after the merger with Bank of America in 2004. During his time at Bank of America, Chandler was a Consumer Executive for the Upstate New York/Connecticut/Northeastern Pennsylvania Division. After leaving Bank of America, Chandler led a community bank start-up based in New Haven.

Chandler assumed his current position in 2007 as President and CEO of Liberty Bank, Connecticut’s largest and oldest full-service mutual bank with $4.1 billion in assets.  Chandler led the Bank to a 30 percent increase in branch locations, acquisition of two competitors, and expansion into Hartford and New Haven counties, and steady growth in new households. He oversaw an enterprise-wide core system conversion to improve customer experience and back-office efficiency. During this time, assets have grown by 25 percent, and overall financial results have significantly surpassed those of the average Connecticut-based bank; Liberty Bank was recognized as a Top Workplace in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and the Liberty Bank Foundation was recognized on a national level by the American Bankers Association for innovative service to the community. In 2014, he was named Leader of the Year by the Hartford Courant and Fox61.

Known for his involvement with community organizations, Mr. Howard has received numerous awards, including the Hartford Courant’s Tapestry Award for his personal and corporate commitment to fostering diversity; the Champion of Children Award from the Village for Families & Children; the Corporate Leader of the Year Award from the Christian Activities Council; and, most recently, the Whitney M. Young Service Award from the Boy Scouts. He is always a strong, visible supporter for the United Way.  Chandler Howard served as Chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in 2013.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Psychiatrist and the Proctologist Opened an Office Under the Name “Odds ‘n’ Ends” -- The Colonel Carries On #32

By Miss Tagoggi

Epigraph: “Nothing good ever came from a phone call on a Friday after lunch.”

The articles or books of the Koran are arranged from shortest to longest. It is an organizational principle with much to recommend it.

The “Swampman Thought Experiment” comes from philosophy and has to do with the meaning of meaning. Here it is:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Letter From Italy, 1944: Filmed At MHS, On CPTV Sunday

From the Greater Middletown Chorale.
“Letter from Italy, 1944: World Premiere Performance” Television Premiere Sunday, May 15, on CPTV4U and Sunday, May 22 on CPTV

Meryl Streep will narrate a short introduction to the “Letter from Italy, 1944: World Premiere Performance,”  on Sunday, May 22, at 12:30 P.M. on CPTV.

Written and directed by Emmy Award-winning Karyl Evans Productions and filmed live at the oratorio’s premiere in our city, the concert stars Connecticut soloists Patricia Schuman and Jack Anthony Pott, who created the roles of Delia Meneely and Dr. John K. Meneely. Other featured soloists are Patricia Barbano, Sheri Hammerstrom, Margaret Tyler, and Michael O’Herron.

With lyrics by Nancy Meneely of Essex and original music by Grammy-nominated Sarah
Meneely-Kyder of Old Lyme, this musical drama is based on the fabled 10th Mountain Division’s history and tells the true story of how one soldier’s PTSD affected generations.

Medical experts have praised the production, promoting it as a useful agent in the process of healing. Others have focused on the oratorio’s artistic and musical aspects, pronouncing it “Brilliant!”

Joseph D’Eugenio, Artistic Director of the GMChorale, produced the book and directed the
soloists, orchestra and the 80-voice GMChorale in the original production at the  Middletown Performing Arts Center. Based in Middletown, the GMChorale commissioned the music in 2012 and produced the oratorio.

“The GMChorale commissioned this concert video with the hope that Letter from Italy, 1944’s healing message could reach a wider audience,” said D’Eugenio. “We need to do what we can to work toward solving a major national problem - Post Traumatic Stress and its effect on our veterans and their families. One of the most effective ways to do this is through music.”

“Letter from Italy, 1944: World Premiere Performance” was created with the support of the Connecticut Department of Community Development, Office of the Arts; Tenth Mountain Division; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; City of Middletown, Mayor’s Office and Middletown Commission on the Arts; Choral Arts New England and many generous donors.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree!
May 20-21

State Troubadour Kate Callahan / Davey O

May 20 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm | $15

Come watch Connecticut's very own 16th State Troubadour Kate Callahan, co-billed with singer songwriter Davey O at The Buttonwood Tree this Friday Night!

Find out more about these artists -
Kate Callahan: 
Listen to Kate's hit song; Two Doors.
And visit her at her website!

Davey O: 
Listen to Davey's song; Nothing Could Go Wrong.
And visit him at his website!

The French-American Connection: Christophe Rocher, Joe Fonda & Harvey Sorgen

May 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm | $15

This special show has been dubbed The French-American Connection.
Combining French and American jazz cultures in a creative, new way. Don’t miss it!

Enjoy an evening of creative music with:
Christophe Rocher (France), Clarinets
Joe Fonda, Bass


The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457
www.buttonwood.org / 860.347.4957  

George Dunn To Receive Michael Green Award

From the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.
Chairman Vincent Capece of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2016 recipient of the Michael L. Green Award.

The Michael L. Green Award is presented annually to a member of the police or fire community for his or her outstanding service to the community and to the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

The 2016 recipient of the Michael L. Green Award is George P. Dunn of Middletown.

Mr. Dunn is a retired Fire Chief for the City of Middletown in central Connecticut. Chief Dunn was responsible for providing direction and support to the city’s fire department, which included fire suppression, marine services, fire prevention, public education, training and first response emergency medical services.

While in the fire service he earned his Fire Instructor Certificate from the National Professional Qualification Board for the Fire Service. As an adjunct Instructor for the Connecticut Fire Academy he provided instruction in the Fire Officer Development, Haz Mat and Terrorism programs for more than 25 years. Having studied numerous courses at the National Fire Academy he was instrumental in bringing the Incident Command System to Connecticut as a Deputy Fire Chief. Currently, George is also president of George P. Dunn & Associates LLC consulting specialists, providing planning, training and exercise services.

George has worked with many State of Connecticut agencies providing instruction on the National Incident Management System, the Incident Command System, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional programs and providing services for agency exercises.

In 1978 being active in Emergency Management, George co-developed the City of Middletown Operations Plan for Civil and Nuclear Emergencies. Continuing in Emergency Management studying many programs at the Emergency Management Institute, he earned his trainer certificate in Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools. A graduate of the Emergency Management Institutes - Master Exercise Practitioner Program he is certified as an MEP.  Following this, he has had the opportunity to design and participate in numerous Table Top, Functional and Full Scale exercises.

As the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Middletown, while working closely with the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, he was successful in establishing a relationship where Middletown’s Office of Emergency Management provides logistical support for the state’s Mobile Hospital System. Also George was able to see to fruition a new universal access place of assembly (disaster shelter) to meet the needs of modern day community assistance. With planning as part of his background and with the assistance of the local school district and non-public schools he has been able to establish an all hazard planning process for the schools in Middletown. George along with his consulting duties is a Planning Section Chief with the Connecticut 3 Incident Management Team.

With an interest in supporting the need for modern safe and serviceable educational facilities, Mr. Dunn was Chairman of Middletown’s Snow School Building Committee. In addition as a member of Mercy High School Board of Trustees and Building Committee he has participated in a major addition to a non-public High School.
George attributes his success to the support he has received from his wonderful wife Rosemary. They have been married for 48 years, have two children, four grandchildren and reside in Middletown with their dog Maggie.

Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “George Dunn has dedicated a lifetime of public service to the city of Middletown. We are very proud of him, and look forward to honoring him at our Annual Awards Dinner on June 7th in Cromwell.”

The Michael L. Green Award will be presented at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ OLIVIA

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week


  Gender:  Female
Breed:  Domestic Short Hair
Color:  Torti
Age:  3 years old

When I was found by Cat Tales, I was pregnant and soon delivered four kittens. I was a very good mama and very tolerant of all their kitten antics. All of my kittens have found good homes, so I'm ready for a home of my own. I'm a very affectionate kitty with my foster parents. I love to sit with them on the couch and purr contently when they pet me. I'm shy with people I don't know so please be patient with me if you decide to visit. With a little bit of patience, I know I would make a great companion. 

No Dogs or Children, please.

Phone:  860-344-9043

Email:  info@CatTalesCT.org

Middlesex Land Trust Hikes In New Preserve

The Mica Ledges preserve in southern Durham is the destination for a hike organized by The Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with Everyone Outside. This is the first in a series of guided hikes and environmental educational to enjoy and learn about the Land Trust’s latest preserve.

Family Hike – Sunday, May 22 at 1 PM
Join us for a fun, easy 2-mile, family hike where we will spend some time exploring the area around the beautiful Whitney Pond and check out the Selectmen’s Stones.

Trails Day Family Hike – Saturday, June 4 at 10 AM
Join us for a fun, 2.5 mile, mildly strenuous family hike. Enjoy the beautiful woods as well as the view from the mica studded rock outcroppings.

Trails Day Hike for Women – Sunday, June 5 at 1 PM
Come for a Woman of the Woods Hike especially for adult women. Enjoy a hike through beautiful woodlands, views from the rocky cliffs, and the serenity of Whitney Pond.

To register for the hikes or for more information, please visit www.EveryoneOutside.org or contact Lucy Meigs at Lucy@EveryoneOutside.org or 860-395-7771.

88-acre Mica Ledges Preserve
The 88-acre Mica Ledges Preserve is a beautiful and permanently protected open space that is open to everyone. The easiest access is from the parking lot at the end of Cream Pot Rd. Following a dirt road about ½ a mile you reach the beautiful 6-acre Whitney Pond - a great place for a picnic or for just enjoying nature. On the blue-blazed Mattabessett Trail located to the west (now part of the New England Trail), in less than a mile you reach exposed mica studded ledges with a magnificent vistas south to Long Island Sound and west to the trap rock ridges. Don’t miss the caves and fascinating rock formations created by the cliffs and boulder field on the eastern side of Mica Ledges. It is a great place to explore. For a map of Mica Ledges see www.middlesexlandtrust.org

The Middlesex Land Trust is a private not-for-profit volunteer run organization, with the mission to preserve open space in Northern Middlesex County. With about 1000 acres protected in 50 preserves, the Middlesex Land Trust is constantly working to ensure that these lands remain in open space for the benefit and enjoyment of all. To reach the Middlesex Land Trust please contact David Brown at (860) 343-7537, or visit www.middlesexlandtrust.org.

Everyone Outside is a Non-profit organization that offers outside activities and guided hikes, school-yard enrichment programs, nature field trips for elementary school students, outside after-school programs, and a volunteer program.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Midd You Missed

This post was originally published in 2009.  Seven years later, things have changed in the Midd. New restaurants and craft breweries.  A revitalized North End (NORA).  A canoe and kayak launch in the wilds of the Coginchaug.  So, we present the material again, with hopes that you'll take one last longing look on our Forest City by the Great Tidal River.

So you're a graduating Wesleyan senior and you want to leave town as quickly as you can, feeling you've seen everything you can bear to see in Middletown. Or you're a graduating senior who wants to ditch the parents and send them off for a few hours over the weekend so you can hook-up with a friend for the last time. Or say you're a Middletown resident who spends too much time in the old cul-de-sac.

In 2009 I wrote a column with some suggestions for places you, or your parents, can visit before departing the Midd, or returning to the safety of the cul-de-sac. Some suggestions are leftovers from last year, but I've solicited a few really interesting additions. And so....

Where the Coginchaug Meets the Mattabassett
Just North of downtown on the Connecticut River two rivers, the Coginchaug and the Mattabassett meet, then flow intertwined into the Connecticut. The rivers drain through parkades and suburbs then snake around the old landfill. The huge wetlands and watershed supports a huge diversity of avian and aquatic life, floating meadows, wild rice fields and miles of navigable (by canoe and kayak) waterways. The easiest and only way to tour the fascinating backwaters is to launch a canoe at the new Philip Salafia Middletown boat launch on Johnson Street and navigate the Connecticut River until you reach the mouth of the Mattabassett. An interesting note, the Mattabassett were a tribe of native Americans who called an area from the Connecticut River and west to what is now Berlin, home. Mattabassett is the original, and native American name for Middletown. Wesleyan biologist Barry Chernoff, along with John Hall of the Jonah Center often organized informative paddle tours of the watery wonderland. It's a shame there isn't one being offered this weekend.

Wesleyan Potters
This prestigious and well-loved craft guild was founded in 1948 as a guild to foster the crafts. It continues to offer classes and its gallery displays juried pottery, glass and ceramics from the craftspeople associated with Wesleyan Potters and from artisans around the country. It's a great place to find a one-of-a-kind gift. But it's your bad luck that Bowlapalooza is next weekend (Friday May 29). It's a wonderful fundraiser with food, music and pottery in which your $10 admission entitles you to pick a pottery piece from the Bowlapalooza table. Wesleyan Potters is located at 350 South Main St.

Hindu Temple
The Sri Satyanarayana temple at 11 Training Hill Road is also known as The Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society. It comprises the state's largest and most active Hindu spiritual community. Numerous daily temple services and weekly poojas revolve on an accessible schedule, and visitors are welcome to tour the beautiful grounds. The temple features a splendid setting and thoughtfully appointed deity statuary, as well as a warm and friendly atmosphere. Graceful, pristine white marble and delicate tapestries complement the open space and airiness of the building.

The Other College
Middlesex Community College, is also on Training Hill Road, in the hills on the South side of town, and sometimes referred to as MxCC, it's part of the state's community college system. A two-year college, it offers a variety of degrees, is a feeder school for four-year universities, and it also offers certificate programs in accounting,