Thursday, July 27, 2017

Russell Library Director and CEO to Retire

The Virginia Hatch Room of Russell Library was recently repainted.
Matt Poland, Library Director and Chief Executive Officer of Russell Library since February 2016, announced today his plan to retire in the next few months.

Geen Thazhampallath, President of the Library Board of Trustees said, “Matt has been a passionate and tireless advocate for the Russell Library and for urban public libraries in general. He was exactly what we needed---a visionary who had the energy to help us modernize our offerings and service delivery with an eye toward what patrons really need in the community. The entire Board recognizes that he empowered the staff to strive for service excellence and in every instance, delivered exactly what he said he’d get done. We are grateful for his inspired leadership and for the change he led during his time at Russell.”

Thazhampallath also added that, “Matt is the consummate library leader -- focused on helping others find the answers they seek, expanding early childhood literacy services and teen programming, and navigating the complexities of a strategic plan. He has made an extraordinary contribution not only to the library but to the entire Greater Middletown community. We will all miss him.”
In announcing his retirement, Poland remarked, “I am incredibly lucky to have found a career in public libraries that sustained and challenged me for so many years. I’ve met fascinating and wonderful people during my time at Russell Library, and I have been privileged to work with and learn from a dedicated and talented staff and Board. The Library’s collection and programs are among the most remarkable in Connecticut. But they are but one facet of my experience here. It’s the talented and devoted staff who bring them to life through their hard work day in and day out. I consider myself among the fortunate few to have had such an extraordinary position at a wonderful place with such exceptional people.”

“I will miss my colleagues in Middletown, but I am excited about embarking on a new personal adventure. I am also very happy that the Russell Library has a full complement of engaged, forward-thinking trustees and the support of the Mayor and City Council who will make sure that the Library is a strong community anchor for many years to come,” said Poland.

Thazhampallath said that he may call the Board, which is in recess until September, into session for a meeting in August to begin developing its transition and leadership plan. “We’ll take it step by step. I view this as a loss but Matt is leaving us in very good shape with time to plan our next steps.”

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ Jazzy!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week

Breed:Domestic Short Hair
Color:Black & White
Age:  5 years old         

I'm a very sweet girl, love to be pet and purr when you pet me. I'm FIV+ but it's ok. I need to be  kept healthy and need yearly vet exams, just like any other cat. Humans cannot catch this, and it is very hard for other cats to catch. I'm very healthy and can live just as long as any other cat. I prefer a quiet home without any other cats. I need a patient, cat experienced person who will give me time to adjust. I've been so patient but I'm waiting for my forever home too - is it with you? Please adopt me today!

Phone:  (860) 344-9043
See our commercial!

1772 Foundation Grant Awarded For deKoven House Exterior Maintenance

MIDDLETOWN, CT - The Rockfall Foundation recently received a matching grant of
$10,700 to support exterior maintenance of the historic, 18th century deKoven House Community Center located at 27 Washington Street, Middletown. The grant was awarded by the 1772 Foundation in cooperation with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and will allow for painting, wood repair, and chimney repointing.
Bequeathed to the Foundation by the organization’s founder, Clarence S. Wadsworth, the deKoven House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Captain Benjamin Williams House. The brick Georgian mansion was built between 1791 and 1797 and is just yards from the banks of the Connecticut River.  Previously renovated with architectural work by Jeffrey Dale Bianco, AIA, the current exterior project is part of a long-range plan to care for the building.  

“One of the Rockfall Foundation’s main responsibilities is stewardship of the deKoven House,” said Robin Andreoli, the Foundation’s executive director. “In addition to the Foundation, its offices are occupied by several groups whose missions are concerned with natural resource education, research, and conservation in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Since 1942, the Rockfall Foundation has provided subsidized, low-cost office space in the deKoven House to a variety of nonprofit environmental and educational organizations. Current resident organizations include the Middlesex Land Trust, Connecticut River Conservancy, Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Mattabeseck Audubon Society, Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Artists for World Peace, Connecticut Center for Spiritual Living, and the Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission. Two meeting rooms are also available to community groups for use and host more than 150 gatherings per year.

The Rockfall Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation that supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation annually awards environmental grants to other non-profits and sponsors education programs and symposia.

For additional information, please call 860-347-0340 or visit


Saturday, July 22, 2017

True Popcorn -- The Colonel Carries On #93

by Hummingbird Feeder-Leaks

Epigraph: “Hot summer days are as good a time as any for complete mental decomposition into popcorn.” --Col. T.H. Clapping

Things that might be worth writing about if it weren’t so hot:

LED bulbs.

Forgotten Judaica.

Make up a story to go with this photo. The title of my story is “The Heartless Wedding Photographer.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Democratic Town Committee Endorsements For November Election

The Democratic Town Committee endorsed the following candidates to run for office in November's municipal elections.

Board of Education
  • Vincent J. Loffredo
  • Lisa Marino Loomis
  • Sean T. King
  • Patricia Alston
Planning and Zoning
  • Stephen H. Devoto
  • Steven M. Kovach
  • Nicholas Ficaro
  • Amy Albert
Vincent Loffredo is currently Chair of the Board of Education, Sean King ran a primary campaign for a Board of Education seat in 2015.

Stephen Devoto and Steven Kovach are currently on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Devoto as Chair and Kovach as an Alternate.  

Republican Town Committee Endorsements For November Election

The Republican Town Committee endorsed the following candidates to run for office in November's municipal elections.

Board of Education
  • Edward Ford, Jr.
  • Christopher J. Sugar
  • Jon Pulino
  • Kevin Kelly

Planning and Zoning
  • Nick Fazzino
  • Corrine Dorsey
  • AJ Moran
  • Tyrell Brown

Jon Pulino, running for Board of Education, has long been quite active in the city's Republican party.
In 2015 he campaigned for a seat on the Common Council.  He is currently vice-chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Corrine Dorsey and Nick Fazzino are incumbents on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Dorsey as a regular member and Fazzino as an alternate. AJ Moran challenged Matt Lesser for the State Representative in 2016.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fun Buttonwood Events, July 20 - 23

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457 / 860.347.4957

Shaking the Tree, Gong and Sound Meditation

Thursday, July 20 @ 7 9 pm. Suggested $15

THIS WILL TAKE PLACE AT 650 Main Street, just across the street from The Buttonwood Tree.

Reservations are suggested. Plenty of space available, bring your mat, blankets or zero-gravity chair. 

Greetings and welcome all! My name is Andrew and I would like to invite you to the soundship meditation that is Shaking The Tree!

I do my practice with many different sound tools and percussion affects including but not limited to; Gongs, bells, ocarinas, drums, horns, shakers, singing bowls and many other meditation items to create a soundship for you to take off in and travel to and from meditation land. Each month we will have a new guest join us and share their talents and special unique gifts with all of us. This will indeed be a night to remember! So tell a friend, bring the family, bring a blanket and pillow to lay down on.

We want to help you minimize the stress that you collect on your journey in life. Meditation is medicine for the mind, body and spirit— and is very effective in relieving that stress. It’s really as simple as that. Come find out what it can do for you or if you already know then I will see you at the tree.
BadSlax, Jazz Quartet

Friday, July 21 @ 8 - 10 pm. $10

BadSlax is one of the area’s premier jazz quartets. What distinguishes us from most jazz groups is our eclectic repertoire, which ranges from straight ahead standards, to composers such as John Scofield and Pat Metheny, as well as some great originals. We pride ourselves in playing a style that is swinging, accessible, and highly inventive.

We have performed on The New Haven Green, The Ninth Note Jazz and Supper Club, The Buttonwood Tree, Best Video Film and Culture Center, The Outer Space, and numerous other concert venues. As individual jazz performers and band leaders, we have a distinguished history of delighting jazz audiences. Our new drummer, Keith LeBlanc, is a hip-hop pioneer of Sugar Hill Gang fame, as well as a bebop stylist having backed Eddie Harris and Jack McDuff.

A sneak peak at their sound.

Aligned with Source, Interactive Workshop & Meditation

Every Saturday, 10:30 am to noon.  $10 suggested donation 

A Spiritual & Holistic Healer from India, Annaita seeks to empower, sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, enabling you to rise above life’s challenges and live a healthy, fulfilled & confident life.

Be the change you wish to see. All you need is Willingness.

This week’s topic: Harmony & Balance through Grace

Naomi Wachira & Lara Herscovitch

Saturday, July 22 @ 8 - 10 pm.  $15

East meets West coast in a terrific co-bill of two of the best emerging artist new-folk singer-songwriters. Join Naomi Wachira and Lara Herscovitch at an acoustic show to support these two artists and Naomi’s new album Song of Lament.

Seattle singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira was born in Kenya and grew up singing gospel music in a choir of family and friends. Inspired by the music of Tracy Chapman and Miriam Makeba, Wachira saw the potential for song to make the world a better place and set out to create music that is “poignant, hopeful and life-giving.” Since her arrival on the Northwest music scene, she has received numerous accolades, including being named “Best Folk Artist” by Seattle Weekly, and has cultivated a growing base of enthusiastic fans. She has released three recordings to date–“African Girl” (2012), “Naomi Wachira” (2014) and “I am Because You Are” (2015)–and her fourth album “Song of Lament” is scheduled for release in June 2017.

“Pure musical poetry” (The Courier), Lara Herscovitch’s music is an original blend of modern folk with blues, jazz & pop influences. With a voice “clear and smooth like expensive liquor” (Northeast Performer), she is “A rising talent who is truly someone to watch for” (Acoustic Live in NYC). Her music is “expertly written prose, songwriting at its best; good for your ears AND your soul” (Sound Waves). Former Connecticut State Troubadour, Lara brings a charm, authenticity, and love of performing that resonates with diverse audiences. She has appeared as a guest on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and tours from Maine to Miami. She also has extensive experience as a policy social worker, and has worked in the US, Latin America and Asia – focusing on education, community development, and juvenile justice. Echoes of these themes resonate throughout her music: “Singer-songwriter Lara Herscovitch doesn’t write songs just for the ears, but also for the heart and soul.” (Daily Journal, Tupelo MS).

~               ~               ~

Stay tuned here and make sure to check our website's calendar for upcoming events. The following weekend we'll be joined by jazz groups Lorens Chuno and The Rosemary Minkler Trio. Summer nights are the best time to enjoy live music so make sure to save the dates and snag your seats in advance. 

5K Road Race Today!

The annual Citizens Bank Road Race takes place this evening. 

Raceday Schedule @ Citizens Bank, 225 Main Street
4:30 p.m. Packet Pickup & Race Day Registration
6:30 p.m. ½ Mile Kid’s Fun Run
6:45 p.m. 5K Start
7:00-8:00 p.m. Post-Race Celebration
7:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony

The map shows where automobile drivers will be temporarily annoyed.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ TIPPY!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!!


Gender: Male
Breed: DSH
Color:Grey & White
Age: 5 years old

Hey there, I'm a handsome boy with a pretty cool goatee!! I am the greeter, making sure I get all the pets I can. I follow the Cat Tales volunteers around and grab any extra treats that I can get. Since I was abandoned, it took me some time to adjust to being spoiled but I am now a social butterfly. When I was found, my mouth really hurt and the doc decided to pull all my teeth. I am no longer in pain and I easily take medicine in my food (for maintenance). I also have FIV, but don't worry, the doc said I am in good shape and not contagious to humans. I really just want a home so I can love and be loved. Please adopt me because I'm a great guy.

No Dogs / No Children / FIV

Phone:   860.344.9043
Watch our TV commercial:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Connecticut's Kid Governor Coming to Russell Library July 20th!

Jessica Brocksom of Milford is this year's Connecticut Kid Governor.
On Thursday, July 20th at 1:30pm, Connecticut's Kid Governor Jessica Brocksom will be presenting her ideas at Russell Library. All ages are welcome.

Jessica won the election last November on the platform of humane treatment for animals.  

"Connecticut’s Kid Governor (CKG) is a national award-winning statewide civics program created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN). CKG is sponsored by the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies and the State Department of Education. The free program, which is in its second year, teaches 5th graders across the state about government, elections, and the importance of civics engagement through a real-life election that’s timed to coincide with Election Day in November. Each officially registered 5th grade class in Connecticut is eligible to either enter one student candidate into the election, vote for the next Kid Governor based on a platform or community issue that the CKG candidates campaign on, or both. Winner of a 2016 Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History, the Connecticut’s Kid Governor program inspires students to be lifelong agents of change, active participants in our government, and registered voters when they turn 18."  --
quoted from the Connecticut Kid Governor website: 

A beautiful night for Shakespeare in the Grove

ARTFARM's Hamlet will have its final performance of the first week tonight in the Cedar Grove on the campus of Middlesex Community College. It may be hot in town, but up on the hill it is cool and pleasant -- catch the show during perfect outdoor Shakespeare weather.
Performance is at 8 pm sharp. Tonight is also FAMILY NIGHT -- kids 12 and under get in for $5, and there will be activities for young people starting at 6:45.
This 2 hour Hamlet is fast-paced and to the point, with ARTFARM's Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge as the Prince if Denmark. This is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to Shakespeare, but parents of younger children should be warned that Hamlet contains sword fights, ghosts, murder, suicide and violence.
Additional performances will be Wednesday through Sunday, July 19 - 23.
For more info, go to

Photo above by Bill De Kine shows Hamlet and Laertes squaring off for their final match under the eye of the judge Osric.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Speedy Kenyan Outruns Bears in Maine -- The Colonel Carries On #92

By Muriel Haggard and her Russian yes-man “Da” Quasson

Epigraph: “God does not play dice with the universe, but everyone else does.”

Are you the functional equivalent of a denier if you believe the following? (1) The globe is warming substantially. (2) Human activity is causing it. (3) Unless the warming is stopped, doom looms; (4) Unless the U.S. promptly reduces its energy consumption by at least eighty percent (80%), the worst will not be averted.

It seems to me that if (4) is true, then building a four-foot-high dike against a 100-foot-high tsunami is the same as doing nothing at all, like replacing the batteries in a flashlight with no bulb, so why bother? If the only thing that will actually save the world is for the U.S. (or the world) to adopt a carbon tax equivalent to $50 a gallon on gasoline, the world is well and truly cooked, for it simply won't happen.

Does "consensus" mean unanimity, or something less than 100% agreement? If the latter, what percentage constitutes "consensus"? required?

This poster illustrates every bird in North America. Or is the Declaration of Independence. Hard to say.

Is this where we’re headed or where we already are?
“Look! A squirrel!”

Selected clickbait (neutered):

Stones that move but whose movements no one has ever seen.

Electrical fire or gateway to another dimension?

University remote camera captures terrifying Northern California forest “firenado.”

Dad with four daughters learns his wife is having another girl, walks outside, just gives up.

Scientists recreate extinct virus. What could go wrong?

Saucy Aussie checks single beer as luggage when airline won’t let her carry it on board.

Smoke above Mt. Vesuvius forms skull shape.

(End of clickbait.)

"Ce n'est pas l'immensité de la vôute étoilée qui peut donner le plus complétement l'ideé de l'infini, mais bien la bêtise humaine." --Voltaire (“Genius has limits. Stupidity, not so much.”)
“What can’t go on, will stop.” --“Stein’s Law,” after Herbert Stein. The last word on sustainability.
The new 007: “Spheres. Darka Spheres.” “Spheres turned her head and the bullet missed her ear by a millimetre. She was shaken but unstirred.”

A friend (Bucky the Vampire Player) reports: “The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed that Nationwide acted in bad faith by refusing to settle a claim against its insured for the policy limits of $100,000, exposing the policyholder to a $5.83 million verdict.  The evidence at trial indicated that Nationwide knew its insured could be liable for damages in excess of the policy limits, but failed to timely respond to a reasonable settlement demand.  A sharp lesson for Nationwide -- it not only exposed its insured to a verdict higher than the policy limits, it also exposed itself to millions of dollars in damages on a claim for that it acted in bad faith.”
Robert Recorde, long-ago inventor of the equals sign, died in debtor’s prison at age 48. Uncelebrated in his lifetime, he was a hero of mathematics and posthumously of computer science for more than that one contribution. By contrast, David Bradley (b. 1949), the inventor of the CTRL+ALT+DEL key command for reboot, is justly celebrated in his lifetime. Like Recorde, Bradley has other accomplishments; including (in Bradley's case) seven patents.

The above graph shows that Silver Street should be renamed Rue d’Biega.

On the subject of renaming local streets, how about renaming Main Street “Sailing, Sailing Over the Bounding Main Street” in honor of Middletown’s underappreciated nautical history?

Or call it “Mani Street” after the nowadays-underappreciated Iranian prophet Mani (c. 216-276 CE), founder of Manichaeism and the current sharply divided U.S. political situation.

“Neolocal” is an adjective that means “designating the domicile of a newly married couple as located separately from the homes of either of their parents.”

Hypograph: “It’s hard to be an elitist once you’ve met the elites.” --Will Rahn

(c) 2017 Ineffectual Ambition, LLC, a division of The Large But Poorly Defined Project, Ltd.: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” --Samuel Johnson