Thursday, January 17, 2019

Russell Library presents Nekita Waller in Concert

Nekita Waller will perform at Russell Library
on Thursday, January 24 at 7:00pm

On Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 7:00pm, our new state troubadour, Nekita Waller, and a five piece band will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Songs include inspirational pieces in a classic soul style. During the evening, actor Michael Scott will also present a reading of a piece by MLK.

A Middletown native, Nekita Waller won an award for singing at the Buttonwood Tree when she was just ten years old. Part of her mission as Connecticut State Troubadour is to connect with and inspire children to find their own voices. She is currently working with Oddfellows Playhouse to develop a show with their Teen Repertory Company for spring of 2019. She also is hosting their Teen Talent Search on January 19th for 12-19 year olds.

Nekita performs throughout the region bringing a mix of pop, Motown, soul, Jazz and classic rock favorites with original music. She is the first non-folk musician to be appointed as the Connecticut State Troubadour.

This concert is sponsored by the Friends of the Russell Library. Like all programs at the library, it is free and open to all.

Wesleyan’s Sustainability Action Plan Progress Report Features Impact on Local Community

Wesleyan’s Sustainability Action Plan (SAP), developed in 2016, is a five-year plan that reflects Wesleyan’s commitment to a sustainable future. Written with input from more than 130 students, faculty, and staff, the plan establishes goals, objectives, strategies, timelines, metrics, and responsible parties in topic areas.
In November, Wesleyan’s Sustainability Office released its first Sustainability Action Plan Progress Report. This report highlights progress made toward SAP strategies between 2016 and 2018 in the areas of planning, engagement, health and well-being, academic operations, curriculum, buildings, dining, energy, grounds, purchasing, transportation, waste, and water. The report also outlines Wesleyan’s vision for 2021 and summarizes overall progress.
“The Wesleyan community should be extremely proud of what sustainability measures we’ve accomplished in only two years,” said Jen Kleindienst, sustainability director. “The Progress Report highlights our success and it’s meant to acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments that contribute to a more sustainable campus and community.”
Some of the report’s highlights that impact our greater Middletown community are below:

  • Photo from Long Lane Farm's annual Pumpkin Fest which is free and open to the public

    A student-run organic farm on Long Lane grows produce for local food pantries and soup kitchens as well as the North End Farmers Market, and helps families with children on free or reduced-price lunches through a summer program on farming and food.
  • The Waste Not program collects gently-used items during student move-out to donate to local social good organizations and to sell at a large tag sale. Since 2009, over $34,000 in proceeds has been donated to local organizations and Financial Aid.
  • Food Rescue and composting efforts helped divert 111 tons of food waste through donations to the Eddy Shelter and composting.
  • Four solar photovoltaic installations on campus add renewable energy to New England’s grid and prepare Wesleyan for long-term carbon neutrality.
  • Local, owner-operated vendors and farmers provide at least 20% of ingredients to Bon App├ętit, Wesleyan’s dining service, fulfilling Wesleyan’s 2012 commitment to purchase local and organic foods through the Real Food Challenge.
  • In 2018, Wesleyan joined with the City of Middletown, Middlesex Community College, and Middlesex Hospital to design and print citywide recycling signage.  Signs are now on all partner trash and recycling bins, as well as those at City schools, parks, and individual residential and commercial bins. 
  • Wesleyan student Ingrid Eck ’19 worked with the City of Middletown in summer and fall 2018 to assist in pursuit of Sustainable CT certification.  Sustainable CT is a statewide program recognizing municipalities that meet holistic sustainability criteria; Middletown received Bronze certification in October 2018.  A full-time summer fellow will continue this work in 2019. 
View the entire report online here. More information on sustainability at Wesleyan is online here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

City to Unveil New Tool For Achieving 100% Renewable Energy

From Michael Harris, City Energy Coordinator.
The Middletown Clean Energy Task Force (CETF) has brought forward a powerful planning tool for the City with regard to meeting our energy needs in the future through 100% renewable energy.

An introduction and overview of the program is planned by CETF for February 6 at our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The meeting  will host Bernard Pelletier, the statewide coordinator for the program. Mr. Pelletier will provide an overview of the program to the task force and members of the public. All are welcome.

The 100% program is a long-term, strategic planning tool for understanding energy use within city boundaries (not just municipal, but all residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and transportation energy use) for the purpose of beginning the planning process for meeting this energy use with 100% renewable energy.

The CETF is actively seeking additional team members for this effort.

More information.

Friday, January 11, 2019

No More Motorcycle Mania

Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh, and Mayor Dan Drew announced today that the city will no longer host Motorcycle Mania.

The event, with thousands of motorcycles parked on Main and surrounding streets, was a popular event for pedestrians to enjoy a summer evening stroll. It was not as popular for residents throughout town who from late afternoon through dusk were slammed by the thunder of exhaust pipes.

Drew and McHugh wrote, "The event ... has grown so large that the cost of providing security has grown to an unsustainable level."

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Eco-Boardgame Night (Round Two!)--1/25 from 6-10pm

There are lots of great eco-themed boardgames out there. On Friday January 25th, The Rockfall Foundation will host its second Eco-Boardgame Night in the large meeting room at the deKoven House. Try to save the world, green your power supply, grow some trees, identify some wild edibles, or just make some risque green jokes.

Included will be Catan’s latest eco-expansion: Crop Trust. Can you settle Catan without threatening your food supply? And save seeds to preserve their diversity for their future?

Drinks and snacks will be served! Game Night starts at 6pm and runs until 10pm. 

The deKoven House is located at 27 Washington Street in Middletown.

Some of the games available are listed below. If you have other game ideas please let Erik know at!

Thanks to the Board Room for sharing some games to expand out our play list!

Last chance to register for winter youth theater programs

Oddfellows Playhouse winter programs for young people start up this week and next, and Friday, January 11 is the deadline to register for the Oddbridge After-School Program for Middletown Public School students ages 6 - 14. Arts classes begin January 14 and registration for these classes will remain open through January 18 or until an individual class has reached its maximum enrollment.

Highlights/Last Chance:
The Servant of Two Masters Junior Rep Mainstage production (ages 12 - 14) has auditions Thursday, January 10, 4:30- 6 pm. Rehearsals are Tues/Thurs, 4:30 - 6 starting Jan. 15.

Circus Botanicus is a mainstage circus-theater production for ages 12 -19. Rehearsals are Tues/Wed, 6 - 9 pm starting January 22.

After-School classes for ages 6 - 14 start January 14. Classes include Scene Study, Stories from the Middle East, Clowning & Slapstick, Musical Mentoring, Visual Arts, Circus, and a Mini-production for ages 9 - 11 called Fairytale Fantasy. Most classes meet one afternoon per week, 4:30 - 5:30 pm. There is also an Improv Jam for ages 11 - 14 on Saturdays from 10 - 11:15 am.

Oddbridge is an arts-based program which provides a snack, arts-based activities and homework help to Middletown kids from 3:30 - 4:30 pm, when classes start. Participants can take a bus right from their school to Oddfellows. Registration for this program closes January 11. Oddbridge participants must also be registered for a 4:30 - 5:30 class on the days that they do Oddbridge.

Middletown Teen Talent Search is January 19 and is open to kids ages 12 - 19 from Middletown & surrounding towns. $500 & $250 cash prizes for the top acts. Registration deadline is January 17.

This Is Important: An Ensemble-Creation Experience is an opportunity for kids ages 14 - 20 to work with Playhouse Artistic Director Dic Wheeler and State Troubadour Nekita Waller to create original theater and music around issues of importance to the participants. Creation sessions start January 31 and will be Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, through February 28. Stipends available for participants who commit to the 5 weeks of creation, which will lead to an original mainstage play with music to be performed in May.

Le Petit Studio is a unique opportunity for kids ages 8 - 14 and family members to work with Congolese theater artist Toto Kisaku to create instant theater pieces. Saturdays, 10 am - noon, January 26, February 9 & February 23. Sign up for one or all three!

Phew! That's a lot of stuff. For more details, prices, and to register, call (860) 347-6143, email, or go to Financial Aid is available for all programs.

St. Vincent DePaul To Be Awarded Green Street School

click to enlarge
Mayor Dan Drew released on Facebook a letter announcing that he has selected St. Vincent DePaul as the new owner of the Green Street building that most recently housed the Green Street Arts Center. St. Vincent DePaul won out over a proposal from the Community Health Center and from a coalition of volunteers looking to develop the Middletown Community Green Center.

St. Vincent DePaul will use it to expand the services that it provides to less fortunate members of our community, these services include not only food but also a variety of housing, counseling, and training.  Its acquisition of the building is contingent on the sale of its Main Street property for use by a business consistent with the city's plan for Main Street.

The three proposals were vetted by the Economic Development Commission, but the decision was ultimately the mayor's to make. 

click to enlarge
Drew praised the work of the CHC, he noted that this building was not necessary for its growth, the city would be happy to work with it to ensure its continued success.

Drew criticized the application of the Middletown Community Green Center on procedural and substantive grounds. He said that the organization was not legally incorporated and it presumed to have access to federal grants which are committed to other uses by another organization. He also damned the applicant for not showing it is a "collaborative member of the community".

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wesleyan's MLK Commemoration, What Came Before & After King: Abolitionist Teaching & Life

Please join us on Wesleyan's campus to honor the civil rights legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at this year’s MLK Commemoration, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Bettina Love, award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education and is the author of the book We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press). 
Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her work is also concerned with how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice for the goal of equitable classrooms.  For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE and in 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education.
Dr. Love's talk is entitled “What Came Before & After King:  Abolitionist Teaching & Life," and will focus on the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving.

This event is free and open to the public.  

Event details

Wednesday, January 23
12:15-1:15 p.m. ~ Keynote in Crowell Concert Hall
Reception to follow in Beckham Hall

Wesleyan University (directions)
50 Wyllys Avenue
Middletown, CT 06459

Learn more here: 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Scholarship Opportunity for Student Environmental Leaders

The Rockfall Foundation Now Accepting Applications

Applications are now being accepted for the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 award to recognize leadership and initiative by a high school junior or senior residing in Middlesex County, Lyme, or Old Lyme for participation in a program, project, or activity that benefits preservation, conservation, restoration or environmental education. The scholarship is presented by The Rockfall Foundation and applications must be submitted by March 1st. The scholarship is named in honor of former Executive Director of The Rockfall Foundation, Virginia R. “Ginny” Rollefson, who retired in 2010 after 24 years with the Foundation. The award honors her long service to the Foundation, her enthusiasm, and her belief that we all benefit when young people are actively engaged in making their communities a better place to live. For a copy of the application and more information, visit or call 860-347-0340.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, The Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.  In addition, the Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting and event room rentals and office space for non-profit organizations. For additional information about the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship or The Rockfall Foundation, please visit or call 860-347-0340.

MxCC Spring Semester—Register Now!

The doors at Middlesex Community College are ready to welcome you this spring semester. Classes begin on Thursday, January 24, so stop by and enroll during our upcoming open registration days.
MIDDLETOWN (100 Training Hill Road):
Thursday, January 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Super Saturday, January 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday, January 17, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
MERIDEN (MxCC @Platt, 220 Coe Road):
Tuesday, January 15, from 3 to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, January 23, from 3 to 8 p.m.
Find all the details here:

City Awarded Sustainable CT Bronze Award

Modified from City Press Release.
Along with twenty-one other Connecticut towns and cities, our city was recently recognized as a
Sustainable CT certified community, earning a Bronze certification. The announcement was made at the annual conference of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities in November. The
awards ceremony, attended by hundreds of municipal leaders from across the state, marked the successful completion of the first year of Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports efficient, resilient, and inclusive practices at the local level.

The certification and plaque were presented to the City by Sustainable CT at last night's Common Council meeting. The Mayor and the two Councilmen currently serving on Middletown’s Clean Energy Task Force, Councilman Gerald Daley and Councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski received the plaque with Mayor Drew.

Along with the other newly certified towns, our city worked to demonstrate significant achievements in nine areas ranging from thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. In addition, all of the towns had to address diversity, inclusion, and equity when implementing sustainability actions.

Middletown was the first Connecticut municipality to join the program and has continued to display leadership in this area with this initial certification.

After the Clean Energy Task Force took the lead to join the program, a Sustainable CT Team emerged comprising task force members, City Hall staff, community volunteers and Ingrid Eck, an intern
funded by Wesleyan. The Team worked diligently throughout 2018 to accomplish the initial certification and expects to use that achievement as a base upon which additional sustainable initiatives will be rolled out, earning higher levels of certification this coming year and into the

For more information, visit

Monday, January 7, 2019

Meet Your Greens January 17th

Middletown Green Drinks

January 17, 2019, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Perk on Main
386 Main St.
Middletown, CT 0645

Join The Rockfall Foundation for our first Green Drinks of 2019!  Maria Madsen Holzberg will be joining Perk on Main owner, Katie Hughes-Nelson, to talk about single use plastic bags. Locally, the Middletown Garden Club is supporting an ordinance to ban the use of plastic bags and Maria will update us on the initiative and how we can help support it. The effort to encourage the use of consumers’ own bags by reducing or eliminating plastic bags is an initiative of Zone II of the Garden Club of America.  Katie will also talk about Perk’s mission to be an environmentally sustainable business.

Maria is an attorney, a past Mayor of the City of Middletown, the past president of the Middletown Garden Club and is currently the Club’s National Affairs Legislation Delegate and a member of its conservation committee.
Join us for socializing and to hear the guest speakers, January 17th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

And for those of you not familiar with Meet Your Greens: Middletown Green Drinks, this monthly event provides networking opportunities for anyone who is interested in making connections and exchanging news about emerging environmental issues to help keep Lower Connecticut River Valley communities green and growing. An official location of Green Drinks International, this informal monthly gathering of people drawn from the community, nonprofit groups and the business world offers time to brainstorm ideas and plant seeds for collaboration. All are welcome and there is no admission fee, unless otherwise noted.