Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Participate! Study on Parental and Student Experiences Within City Education System.

From Laura Bither (lbither@wesleyan.edu)

More: My name is Laura Bither and I am a student at Wesleyan University. I am taking part in a service-learning course for which I am conducting a research project with the Middlesex Coalition for Children. My group is reaching out to Wesleyan's community resources in the hopes of recruiting parents of children in the Middletown schools to interview. Interviews will take between 30-45 minutes and the interviewees will be entered in a drawing for a Downtown Business District gift card. We hope to conduct our interviews from now through April 10, so any time parents are free from now until then we can meet!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week! Larry!

Breed:Domestic Short Hair

Color:Black & White

Age:7 years old

I'm a very sweet boy who loves attention. I'll gently paw you to keep petting me if you stop and I'm very snuggly! I need a quiet home with a patient, cat experienced person who will give me time to adjust. I'm FIV+ but people can't catch this and it's difficult for other cats to catch. I have lots of love to give, so come meet me and see for yourself!  Call or email Cat Tales today.

No Dogs / No Children / FIV

Phone:  (860) 344-9043
See our commercial!  https://youtu.be/Y1MECIS4mIc

Mayor Draws A Line In the Sand, Building Committee Steps Over It

Last week, Mayor Dan Drew sent a letter to the building committee assigned to the task of exploring the possibility of building a new middle school in Middletown.  The letter insisted that the potential sites the committee are exploring "are not feasible."

The new middle school would consolidate grades 6-8.  Currently, sixth graders attend Keigwin Middle School, and seventh and eighth graders attend Woodrow Wilson Middle School.  Woodrow Wilson served as a former high school for Middletown, and the facility is in need of constant attention because of its age.

The building committee has suggested that potential sites include those directly across the street from the current Woodrow Wilson Middle School at Pat Kidney Field and the Woodrow Wilson Track.

Drew insists that those sites "are not available" because the are a part of the 21st Century Bond project for city parks.  For the record, the Woodrow Wilson track, the tennis courts and basketball courts have been ignored for years by the city despite being in deplorable condition.  The track and the tennis courts cannot be utilized for athletic events by the school because they are filled with potholes and crumbling surfaces.

City schools and school fields are considered city property.

The building committee, which was formed by the Common Council, fired back immediately stating that the mayor's opinions were "not binding" based on the Common Council resolution.

The committee suggests that the parks project at the site should be delayed and become part of a comprehensive plan to build the school and rejuvenate the park.  The committee suggested that in a comprehensive plan, because the park upgrade would be part of the school project, it would receive a 30% reimbursement by the state.  In addition, the committee reasons that the construction of a new school across the street from the current school would allow the building of the school without disruption to the school population.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Taunted Children Form Revenge Club -- The Colonel Carries On

by Davida Brooks and Zaphodda Beeble-Brooks

Epigraph: “O people, remember always that you are but rearranged eelpoop.” --Master of the Jumble

You can take your electronic car keys to Walmart’s jewelry department, and they will replace the battery for no cost above the price of the new battery.

They don’t sell the little jeweler’s screwdrivers that open and close the key.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Join us for a Free Screening of the Film, Racing to Zero, April 3, 2017

The next film in The Elements: An Annual Environment Film SeriesRacing to Zero, will be shown on April 3, 2017, at Middlesex Community College Founders Hall Pavilion (map, directions and public transportation information). The screening will begin at 7 pm, but we invite people to come at 6:30 pm for BYO dinner and conversation. As always, the film is free of charge and open to the public.  
Racing To Zero is about San Francisco’s efforts to achieve zero waste by 2020. As indicated on the film's website, this quick-moving, upbeat documentary presents new solutions to the global problem of waste. By substituting the word RESOURCE for the word GARBAGE, a culture can be transformed, and a new wealth of industries can emerge. Three years ago the mayor of San Francisco pledged to achieve zero waste by 2020. Racing To Zero tracks the City’s waste stream diversion tactics and presents innovative new solutions to waste...documenting a surprising, engaging and inspiring race to zero.

We welcome everyone to stay after the film for an informal post-film discussion led by Kim O'Rourke, Middletown's Recycling Coordinator.  

We hope you can join us! Please phone our office at 860-346-3282 for more information.
The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series was begun in 2015 by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program, The Rockfall Foundation, and Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts and College of the Environment. Racing to Zero is the ninth film in the series. Previous films include: Elemental, Watershed, Dirt! The Movie, Chasing Ice, The End of the Line, The True Cost, Dukale's Dream, Xmas Without China, and Merchants of Doubt.

First Church In Middletown, Open and Affirming

Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, 1932.

First Church in Middletown
190 Court Street
Middletown, CT

Taking the Leap

ARE YOU LOOKING for a church home? a meaningful Sunday morning experience? another way to serve God and your community? First Church in Middletown is a soulful and creative community with links to many state and local organizations and community service and volunteer groups.

Our Sunday services are a blend of tradition and innovation, with Rev. Julia Burkey leading worship and shepherding First Church into its 350th year, informed by 21st-century ideals and outlook. Participation in community services, special music—bell choir and choral singing, on-site childcare, Sunday School, weekly youth gatherings, and occasional retreat and camping experiences are just some of our ongoing programs.

We hope you will reflect on quality of life and community and consider coming to one of our services for a little Sunday morning boost—a fresh look at ancient traditions, a breath of fresh air. Coffee hour and second hour discussion feature timely topics.

First Church in Middletown is at 190 Court Street; there is plenty of free parking nearby. For additional information about First Church services or programs, call the church’s office manager at 860-346-6657.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ Moses!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week 




Color:Grey Tabby

Age:5 years old

Hey, I'm Moses! I lived in a feral colony the past few years as someone no longer wanted me which makes me so confused because I am a sweet boy.  I don’t know if they didn’t like my squinty eyes but I think they make me look adorable and they cause me no problems at all.  They make me unique!  I am a huge fan of belly rubs – they are like the best thing in the world!  I think attention and getting pet is awesome, so I really would love to have a home where I am the only pet so I can soak up all the love without sharing – this even includes small humans, they are kind of scary and take away time for belly rubs!  Please open up your heart and home to me. 

No Cats / No Dogs / No Children

Phone:  (860) 344-9043
Email:  ​​ Info@CatTalesCT.org
See our commercial!  https://youtu.be/Y1MECIS4mIc

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Former Senator Bob Dole Named to Honorary Board for Letter from Italy, 1944 Project

From The Greater Middletown Chorale.


Former Senator and Army Lieutenant Bob Dole, a WWII combat veteran of the 10th Mountain Division, is one of several prominent individuals named to the Honorary Board for the Hartford Premiere of Letter from Italy, 1944. The performance of this oratorio will feature the combined voices of GMChorale and Hartford Chorale, with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, at The Bushnell on Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. TICKETS.

The story of Dr. John K. Meneely, a WWII combat medic in the Army’s fabled 10th Mountain Division, who returned home suffering from what is now termed PTSD, inspired Letter from Italy, 1944. Commissioned by GMChorale and created by his daughters, composer Sarah Meneely Kyder and librettist Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, the moving and powerful oratorio was first performed in our city in 2013.

In the words of Senator Dole, ”The experiences and struggles in the mountains of Italy of this courageous and admirable man parallel my own experiences during WWII as a member, as was Dr. Meneely, of the 10th Mountain Division. Thank you for giving me the honor of participating in this most impressive and important endeavor.”

Other members of the Honorary Board include representatives and residents of our city: U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, CT State Senator Len Suzio, Mayor Daniel Drew, resident and Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh, and Wesleyan Professor of History Ronald Schatz.

In preparation for the Hartford Premiere of Letter from Italy, 1944, a series of eight Community Conversations will be featured:

  • A lecture by Dr. John H. Warner, Yale University, entitled “Mental Health, the Media, and the U.S. Veteran: Historical Perspectives on PTSD/Military." 
  • A screening of the 2016 Emmy Award-winning documentary narrated by Meryl Streep, “Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio.” 
  • A screening of the documentary followed by Conversation with Dr. James Marinchak, VA Connecticut Healthcare System. 
  • Exhibition: “Letter from Italy, 1944: Original Sources,” with Meneely Collection photos, letters, 10th Mountain Division artifacts, poetry and scores used in the oratorio’s creation. 
  • Presentation, “Letter from Italy, 1944: A Musical Moment,” by Jack Anthony Pott, tenor lead soloist, and Joseph D’Eugenio, Production Director. 
  • A Three Lecture Series, “Transforming the Silence,” will be presented at University of Hartford’s Presidents’ College. Fee for the series is $80 ($65 for Fellows). Register HERE
  1. A screening of the 2016 Emmy Award-winning documentary, “Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio,” followed by Conversation with Filmmaker Karyl Evans. 
  2. Poet and Librettist Nancy Meneely will read her poetry used for the oratorio with slide projections and music. Composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder joins her sister for Conversation with the audience. 
  3. A lecture, “Looking at PTSD,” presented by Dr. Jason DeViva, VA Connecticut Healthcare’s PTSD and Anxiety Disorders Program. 

These Community Conversations will be presented between March 2 and April 6, except for the exhibit, which will be ongoing from April 1 to May 30. Visit www.gmchorale.org for information on the dates, times and places.

Letter from Italy, 1944 — a soldier’s story told in music — is indeed most timely as our nation strives to understand and address our veterans’ struggles with the emotional consequences of war, known as PTSD. In the words of Elaine Lowry Brye (Be Safe, Love Mom. PublicAffairs, 2015), “... it is clear, as we look at the alarming numbers of soldier’s suicides and lives torn apart by substance abuse, violence, and emotional instability, that we need a war on brain injury and emotional trauma.” Please join us to learn more about this national crisis and the Letter from Italy, 1944 project.

The Hartford Premiere of Letter from Italy, 1944 is being made possible, in part, by The Richard P. Garmany Fund and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional support from The William and Alice Mortensen Foundation and The Greater Hartford Arts Council.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

By Pouring Milk Into An Ice Cube Tray, She Created a Genius Life Hack--The Colonel Carries On # 75

by Claire O’Claddagh and Theresa FitzFiddlesticks

Epigraph: “I am big -- it’s the pictures that got small.” --Norma Desmond

I don’t know what the genius life hack was, but my best speculation is milk ice cubes, to put into a glass of scotch, to make a nice cold scotch and milk, with an incentive to down the drink before the cubes melt too much. Who volunteers to test the idea?

Ice cube trays should be designed to double as egg cartons.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

CANCELED: Public Information Session on Eversource Right-of-Way Management in Middletown

UPDATE, March 15: The Eversource Vegetation Management Public Information Session scheduled for this evening at 6:00 has been CANCELED due to conflicts associated with yesterday’s snowstorm. The meeting will be rescheduled to a later date and notice posted accordingly.

 On March 15, 2017, from 6:00 to 7:00, the City will host a public information session with Eversource concerning right-of-way management.  The goal of the session is to help educate the public on Eversource’s vegetation and right-of-way management best practices used on the transmission corridors here in Connecticut.  Representatives from Eversource’s Vegetation Management and Environmental Licensing & Permitting teams will be making a presentation and answering questions. The City looks forward to an open dialogue between residents and Eversource. The event will be held in the Council Chambers of City Hall located at 245 deKoven Drive.

For more information, please contact Michelle Ford, Middletown Planning, Conservation and Development Department, at (860) 344-3401, or michelle.ford@middletownct.gov

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Case Against Noise

Opinion, submitted by Sarah Frost
For the number of people walking around with buds stuck in their ears, there should be no audience of consumers left to hear the blather of advertising and music that are projected onto the city of Middletown every day. It is nearly impossible to go about an average day without some audio intrusion.

I am not talking about the everyday city life noises: vehicles, “walk sign is on” alerts, sirens, horns, construction, church bells, etc. I am talking about the carefully placed intrusions of video screens at gas station pumps, music piped from buildings or restaurants on to sidewalks, and city-sanctioned canned music at the South Green.

About eighteen months ago, Middletown installed black posts along the walkways and sidewalks of the South Green that are a combination of low-level LED lights for illumination and speakers to broadcast soft music 14 hours every day. Canned music does not belong on the South Green. This oasis is surrounded by the hospital, Wesleyan, various offices and businesses – places that employ people who might like to leave their office at lunch time to find quiet time in the park. That is no longer possible.

Public Works Director, Bill Russo explained the lights were added after area residents complained of poor lighting in the park and the adjoining crosswalks. The idea of the music was to create a calming atmosphere while at the same time creating noise. “People don’t like noise,” Russo said. Exactly! People don’t like noise, especially excessive, inorganic noise, in parks.

Spending time outdoors can contribute to a plethora of good feelings, from relief of depression and stress symptoms to simply experiencing a bit of nature and feeling revived and refreshed. I would argue that outdoor time should be quiet time. When I go to a park, I want to observe and listen to the  sounds of nature -- the twitter of live birds, scampering squirrels and people-watching. If I choose to listen to music, I prefer it to be my musical choice for my ears only, not that which someone else has decided I should be subjected.

From a safety standpoint, Russo said the noise deters unwanted behavior, such as loitering, or other unruly actions. I understand that. Music is also played in the pedestrian tunnel that runs under Route 9 from Melilli Plaza to Harbor Park. In this confined space, were I to linger longer than required to simply traverse from point A to point B, the noise would certainly reverberate and echo enough to drive me away.

From a marketing standpoint, I understand the video screens at gas pumps. With the pay-at-thepump revolution, convenience store owners want to lure customers inside. Music broadcast across the entire span of the establishment will include plugs for the store’s specials, and videos will play to a captive audience, ostensibly offering news updates disguised as advertising.

And I understand outdoor music at restaurants, especially those with sidewalk seating. Although, one might argue the City’s tactic of music as noise may actually deter patrons from restaurants. I think of Eli Cannon’s, which blasts music into the North End and through the closed windows of passing cars. (The subtle “background noise” at Amici’s is just about perfect. Barely discernible, it actually does enhance the dining experience, since it is possible to have a normal-volume conversation while dining.)

From an aesthetic standpoint, I cannot understand canned music on the South Green. A place set aside years ago for public gathering, it generates its own entertainment, from games of Frisbee to family picnics to occasional buskers. People go to the park for entertainment, not to be entertained.

We are a society of short attention spans and an expectation of outside stimulation, as though if left to our own devices we could not figure out how to pass an hour sitting on a park bench. Some people do not want to be alone with their own thoughts, but some of us relish that time. I relish that time. That time when I simply experience my surroundings, absorbing the no-ad, no-music moments.
John Grossmann and Gordon Hempton, co-authors of the book “One Square Inch of Silence” have said, “Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”

Music is wonderful and inspiring and healing, but please, keep it out of parks meant to give us natural respite. The sounds of the city are hard to escape, but if we keep piling on the noise, pretty soon it might all become one big din, too much to digest and it will eat away at our own inner silence.