Thursday, October 23, 2014

Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan: October Update

Wesleyan University’s Dance Department and Center for the Arts present
"To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars"
Panel Discussion and Fall Faculty Dance Concert by
Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio,
Friday, October 24, 2014.
Premiere of multimedia work in response to political changes in Crimea.
CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 discusses the events of "Muslim Women's Voices at Wesleyan" in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog.

Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan is in full swing! We opened last month with the panel discussion Gender, Islam, and the "Muslim Problem," organized and moderated by Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk, followed by the Planet Hip Hop Festival.

Earlier this month, Muslim Women's Voices at Wesleyan was featured on WNPR’s Where We Live with Center for the Arts Director Pamela Tatge joining Dr. Feryal Salem, Assistant Professor of Islamic Scriptures and Law, Co-Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program, and Director of the Imam and Muslim Community Leadership Certificate Program at the Hartford Seminary, and Sufi fusion singer Riffat Sultana (who will perform at Wesleyan on Friday, November 7, 2014 at 8pm). Click here to listen to the broadcast.

A number of exciting Muslim Women's Voices at Wesleyan events are on the horizon. On Friday, October 24, 2014 at 8pm in the Memorial Chapel, Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio presents the premiere performance of the multimedia work To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars, a response to recent political changes in Crimea. Featuring live music and dance in collaboration with New York Crimean Tatar Ensemble Musical Director Nariman Asanov and Yevshan Ukrainian Vocal Ensemble Conductor Alexander Kuzma, the work explores issues of historical memory, cultural narrative, and the quest for human rights, as they relate to the history of Tatars, native inhabitants of Crimea, and their complex relationships with Ukraine and Russia. A free panel discussion, "Indigenous Ukrainian Perspectives of Crimea Post Russian-Invasion, will take place before the performance, on Friday, October 24, 2014 from 6pm to 7:30pm in Fayerweather Beckham Hall.

Next week, on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 7pm in CFA Hall, Lebanese American writer, actress, and teaching artist Leila Buck ’99 explores family, memory, and politics in her free solo performance Hkeelee (Talk to Me).

This semester, Ms. Buck is teaching a course in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program Department, Beyond "the Veil": Representations and Realities of Muslim Women in the U.S., as part of the Creative Campus Initiative. The course employs artistic methods, personal narratives, and in-person connection to research and examine the dominant representations of Muslim women in the U.S. mainstream media and the complex realities of Muslim women’s lives.

Ms. Buck will also give a free workshop performance (Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 8pm), where she will present a work-in-progress showing of a collaborative theatrical work commissioned by the Center for the Arts as part of Muslim Women's Voices at Wesleyan.

In the meantime, we hope you will join us for all of these upcoming talks and performances.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WRA Meet the Candidates Forum

The Westfield Residents Association invites all Middletown residents to its Annual Meeting and Meet the Candidates Forum this Monday, October 27, 2014. The event will be held in the Fellowship Hall at the Third Congregational Church on Miner Street in Middletown. There is no charge to attend.

The WRA will hold its Annual Meeting starting at 6:30pm. In addition to electing the 2014-15 Executive Committee, the organization will host special guest speakers Dr. David Larson and Robert Blanchard, members of the Charter Revision Commission. The following questions will be on the Nov. 4th ballot, and Larson and Blanchard will speak about the Commission's work and then answer audience questions:

1. Shall the Charter be amended to provide for a term of four years for the following elected officials of the City of Middletown: the Mayor, Common Council, Treasurer, Board of Assessment Appeals and Registrars of Voters?
2. Shall the Charter be amended to raise the bond limit for which the Common Council can approve spending without going to referendum to $1,000,000?3. Shall all other amendments to the Charter as approved by the Common Council from the Final Report of the Charter Revision Commission at its September 2, 2014 meeting be approved?

At approximately 7pm, the Meet the Candidates Forum will begin. The following candidates have been invited (candidates with * after their names have already confirmed their attendance):

US House of Representatives: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro* v. James Brown*

CT House District 100: Rep. Matt Lesser v. Angel Fernandez

CT House District 33:  Rep. Joe Serra* v. Linda Szynkowicz*

CT Senate District 13: Sen. Dante Bartolomeo* v. Len Suzio*

CT Senate District 9: Sen. Paul Doyle* unopposed

This is not a debate, but rather an opportunity for the candidates to speak briefly and then answer audience questions. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

Here are the relevant details again:

WRA Annual Meeting and Meet the Candidates Forum
Monday, October 27th at 6:30pm
Fellowship Hall at Third Congregational Church
94 Miner Street, Middletown

6:30pm - Annual meeting, Guest Speakers from the Charter Revision Commission, and refreshments
7pm - "Meet the Candidates" Forum 

Questions can be directed to

The Buttonwood Tree Holds 25th Anniversary Gala - Tribute to John Basinger

Buttonwood Benefit Gala 
Saturday, October 25, 2014
7:00 – 11:00 pm
One Night - Three locations:

 7:00-9:30pm -  The Community Health Center  675 Main St.
9-11pm - MAC 650 Art Gallery
  650 Main St. 
9-11pm - The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center  
605 Main St.

John Basinger, NEAR/TBT Board President Emeritus
25 Years of The Buttonwood Tree
Musicians and Poets who have supported TBT all these years


Performances by: The National Theatre of the Deaf, Stacy Phillips and Paul Howard, Neely Bruce, Kitti Kathryn, Stan Sullivan, Elizabeth Thomas, Faith Vicinanza, Ben Ross, Brian Wolfe, Matthew Bruns, Bobo & Rose Wolfe as "Pottery", Dave Downs, Randy Moses and other surprise artists!

Join us for a once-in-a-life-time event as we honor John Basinger, our newly-retired board president and enjoy music and poetry by performers who played at TBT during our early days (1989 – 1995) when we were located on Rapallo Ave. We’ll also feature a special performance by The National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD), and an eclectic silent auction.

 John was one of the early directors of North End Arts Rising (our official name), served as President for over a decade and has kept the dream alive through all the years of TBT's highs and lows. John has been with the Theatre of the Deaf for many years, is a Professor Emeritus at Three Rivers College and portrayed King Lear in a recent ArtFarm production. This year marks TBT’s 25th year, so let's celebrate together and raise some much-needed funds to help TBT keep going another 25 years! Last year we served over 10,000 people - help us to grow to serve more!

7-7:50 pm  "VIP Meet & Greet"  Additional $15 for VIP Rooftop Meet & Greet
There will be a special "VIP Meet & Greet" with John Basinger on the beautiful Rooftop garden of the Community Health Center - with his dear friends, including NTD Leaders & Staff: David Hays, Betty Beekman and Sheila Mullen, also Neely Bruce, Susan & Stephan Allison, Carl & Jenny Lecce, Marcella Trowbridge & Dic Wheeler and of course, John's lovely wife, Jeanine Basinger. Space is limited for this special gathering, so please reserve your tickets today! (See below)

7:00-9:30pm   The Community Health Center (CHC)  675 Main St.  

7:00-7:55  (VIP preview 6:30-7:00) Silent Auction
Auction items will include original artwork and CDs, home concerts, overnight stays, fabulous gift baskets and other graciously donated gifts. Items must be paid for and picked up by 9:30. Special arrangements may be made upon payment for other pick up options.
8:00-8:45 - Tribute to John Basinger by friends, family and members of the National Theatre of the Deaf 
8:45-9:00 - Special presentation by the National Theatre of the Deaf 
- Beverages, delicious food
by area restaurants and our own chefs (at all locations)

 9-11pm   MAC 650 Art Gallery  650 Main St.
- Music by our friends who performed at TBT on Rapallo Ave: Pottery (Brian & Rose Wolfe,

Matthew Bruns, Bobo), Randy Moses, Ben Ross, Elizabeth Thomas, Faith Vicinanza

 9-11pm   The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center (TBT)  605 Main St.
- Music by our friends who performed at TBT on Rapallo Ave: Dave Downs, Stacy Phillips & Paul Howard, Stan Sullivan, Neely Bruce, Colin Haskins

Reserve your space for our 2014 event to benefit all the community through what TBT does!
Reservations requested, walk-ins welcome:
$35 per person (two tickets for wine included)
Additional $15 for VIP Rooftop Meet & Greet & Silent Auction Preview
Click below for details, more info and to reserve your space:
THANK YOU to Michael Arafeh of the Coffeehouse Recording Studio for your consistent care of Buttonwood's sound needs over the past 25 years and for all the time you're donating to this event!

THANK YOU to our sponsors for donating food and auction items:
- Kristen Graves
- Sinan Bakir
- ArtFarm
- Mallove’s Jewelry
- The Inn at Middletown
- Dante's Jewelry
- Fusion Bakery
- Tesoro Unique Gifts
- Sandra James Boutique
- P.J. Jewelers
- Public Market
- First Church (on Court St.)
- Pamela Roose Knitting
- Itkin’s Decorators
- Amatos Toys & Hobbies
- Middletown Framing
- Classic Home Consignment
- Mondo Pizza Restaurant
- Guilmarten, DiPiro & Sokolowski
- Kid City
- EG Salon
- Thai Gardens
- Fiore II Restaurant
- It's Only Natural Market
- It's Only Natural Restaurant
- First and Last Tavern
- Iguanas Ranas Taqueria
- Middletown Rugs
- The Bridge / Steve LaPenta
- Ken Burtis
- Diane Nuhn
- Annaita Gandhy
- Mylene Poitras
- Bodyworks Therapeutic Massage / John Bell
- McEwen Construction / Mike McEwen

Opinion: Tom Serra Urges Voters To Reject 4 Year Terms

From Tom Serra, present Majority Council Leadeer, Former Mayor.
On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, there will be a very important decision to be made relative to the City of Middletown’s Charter changes that will be on the ballot. I respectfully urge the voters to Vote “NO” on Question# 1 (4 Year Term) and “YES” on Question# 2 (raising bonding limit) and “YES “on Question# 3 (adjusting language).

The following comments are my insights on my reasons to Vote NO, YES & YES on the proposed changes.

As a former Mayor and current Majority Leader of the Council as well as having City governmental experience in various other capacities since October of 1974, I would like to strongly recommend the following delineation of my reasons for the Middletown electorate to consider. I strongly recommend that Question #1 “NOT” be affirmed for the following principles: 1) Every 2 years should be considered as an evaluation of elective office holders, not 4.... 4 years is too long...most vocations are evaluated at least annually. 2) There is “No Recall” Statute in the State of Connecticut therefore, if you have inferior elected officials, you have no voice to adjust that until 4 years later...too long! 3) Off year elections (B.O.E. & P. Z.) without the Mayor or Council Candidates to vote for will manifest a very small voter turn out for those very important positions. 4) Every 2 years would make the candidates for these offices (Mayor & Council) meet and interact with the Public via campaigning every 2 years instead of 4 years. 5) In the historical past, 2-year election cycles have worked well. “Why change something that is not broken”. Vote “NO” on Question #1.

I believe that over the past 9 years, in particular, the City of Middletown’s finances have been very stable in light of the economy during that time period. The stableness is shown not only by our budgeting and audits but more importantly, by our AA2 Bond rating, the second highest a municipality can receive. Therefore, from that benchmark, we have consistently done well. In analyzing our Bond Rating, the following areas of City finances are evaluated by Wall Street Bond Raters: Our Grand list, Our ability to pay, Our ERG, Our Educational System, Our budgeting, our Economic development, Our Fund Balance and our investment in our infrastructure. It is important to note that we invest in our infrastructure in a responsible way for two reasons; 1) Is for safety reasons first and it would cost more later. 2) It also aids us in attaining and maintaining our superb AA2 Bond Rating for our ERG. Since we have done this investment in a very conscientious rational manner in the past, I recommend that a “YES” vote would be appropriate for Question# 2.

Question #3 is to clean up some antiquated language as well as to make sure our Charter is in concert with State Statutes. I recommend a “YES” vote for Question #3.

In conclusion, and with the aforementioned reasons in mind, I strongly recommend a “NO” Vote on Question #1 and a “YES “Vote on Questions #2 and #3.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bear In Westfield

From the Middletown Police Department
A 2006 Waterbury Bear,
From The Hartford Courant 

On October 21 there was a black bear sighted roaming the Westfield area. If you see a bear do not approach it. It is a wild animal, please leave it alone. Stay inside a building or vehicle until it leaves the area. Remember to secure any bird feeders, gas grills, garbage cans and any other food sources. Please refer to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection web site for further information about black bears.

Monday, October 20, 2014

WESU Record Fair Sunday!

Get excited for WESU’s Fall Record Fair! You’ll find dozens of vendors from across the Northeast, selling tons of vinyl, CDs, posters, T-shirts and more. There will be live WESU DJs and plenty of WESU gear and records, on sale to support WESU.

The record fair will take place on Sunday, October 26th from 11am-4pm in Beckham Hall, at 55 Wyllys Ave. on the Wesleyan University Campus Middletown, CT 06459. Limited vendor space is still available. Email Lee Berman ( if you want to rent a table to sell your merchandise.

Cleaning out your shelves but can’t make it to the event? Please consider donating your records for WESU to sell to aid in our fundraising efforts. Come support the station and invite your friends! Why? You can’t scratch an MP3.

ABOUT WESU 88.1FM Currently celebrating its’ 75th anniversary, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Week nights and weekends WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000-watt transmitter located atop the Wesleyan University science tower in Middletown, CT with a potential to reach over one million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio, online through their website

Friday, October 17, 2014

Registration opens Oct. 27 for Thanksgiving Baskets in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN – Registration begins Oct. 27 for Middletown families to apply for a basket of Thanksgiving food from the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project.

The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project was established four years ago to ensure that all Middletown families who couldn’t afford to purchase a Thanksgiving meal could still enjoy a feast on Thanksgiving. The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project will assemble baskets of food for more than 800 families this Thanksgiving.

Registration for Thanksgiving baskets will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from noon to 4 p.m. at Amazing Grace Food Pantry, 16 Stack Street, starting Oct. 27 through Nov. 21.

Those who wish to register must provide proof of Middletown residence and identification for each family member. Acceptable proofs of residence are utility bill, driver’s license or state identification, lease agreement or rental receipts. Acceptable forms of identification are driver’s license, birth certificate, medial card, or DSS or housing listing. No social security cards will be accepted.

Baskets will be available for pick up Tuesday, Nov. 25 between noon and 3 p.m. Families of two or more will pick up baskets at Fellowship Church, 1002 Saybrook Road. Individuals will pick up baskets at Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

This project is supported by many generous local businesses, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, civic groups, and individuals. It is funded in large part by the Middletown Rotary Club.

The planning committee for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project includes representatives from the City of Middletown, Cross Street AME Zion Church, Fellowship Church, Heritage Commons, Liberty Bank, Liberty Bank Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex Hospital Volunteer Services, Middlesex United Way, Middletown Kiwanis Club, Middletown Police Department, Middletown Public Schools, Middletown Rotary Club, St. Luke’s Community Services, St. Vincent De Paul Middletown/Amazing Grace Food Pantry, The Salvation Army, Wadsworth Glen Health Care Center, and Wesleyan University.

Monetary donations are being accepted to purchase necessary food and non-food items essential to this effort. If you wish to contribute, checks can be made out to “Rotary-MCTP” and sent to MCTP, c/o Fellowship Church, 1002 Saybrook Rd., Middletown, CT 06457. For more information about volunteering or contributing a donation, please contact Lara SantaMaria at Fellowship Church at 860-346-1181 or

Runners and Walkers Invited to MxCC Foundation's 4k, 5k AND 10k Scholarship Race October 25

The popular MxCC Foundation Scholarship Road Race has been revamped for the October 25 race date to feature new 5k and 10k running courses along with a return of the 4k walking course. All races for this fundraising event begin at 10 a.m. in the lower parking lot on the MxCC campus in Middletown, and all courses travel through wooded areas, farmland, and along local reservoirs.  Registration forms, which are available by visiting, can be submitted anytime online, by mail or in person on race day (beginning at 8:30 a.m.).  Entry fees range from $15 to $30 depending on the race, with discounts available for MxCC students and faculty.   

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cat Tales - Cat of the Week - MIA - Call or email to adopt this sweetheart today!

Cat Tales
Cat of the Week!!


Name: Mia
BreedDomestic Short Hair
AgeLess than 1 year old
"I'm a very sweet and little affectionate girl I love to be pet, love attention and play. I like to be held and cuddled and would love to have a warm bed to sleep in next to you. I'd make a wonderful addition to your home and family. Please take me home with you!"
Please call Cat Tales at (860) 344-9043 or Email: to inquire about Mia!

Free Computer and Electronics E-cycling on October 22

Middlesex Community College will hold a free “Computer and Electronics Recycling Event” in the lower parking lot at 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown on Wednesday, October 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Nearly anything with a cord or battery will be collected including computers, monitors, laptops, modems, toners, printers, fax machines, telephones, cables, server racks, Walkmen, and iPods (no air conditioners, washers/dryers, refrigerators, light bulbs, or household batteries).  Green Monster e-cycling of West Hartford will dispose of all materials in an environmentally friendly manner.  This event is offered in conjunction with Connecticut’s statewide “Public Higher Education Make a Difference Week.”  Donations help fund the Computer Club’s project to build and give away a computer to a needy MxCC student.