Monday, October 5, 2015

City Crime Rate Rises, Bucking State Trends

Governor Malloy recently celebrated a significant reduction in the rate of crime in Connecticut, including a 9.7 percent decrease in violent crimes from 2013 to 2014. The reduction reflected lower crime rates in almost all cities and towns in the state.

Middletown is an outlier. Our city's crime rate was higher in 2014 than it was in 2013, in some categories significantly so.

The statistics come from the Uniform Crime Reporting data released by the FBI last Monday. Those data show the relative decrease or increase in the rate of crime in each of 92 municipalities, subdivided by the type of crime.

In the category of Aggravated Assault, while statewide levels decreased by 8.3%, Middletown showed an increase of 5.24%.  Of the 92 cities and towns in the data set, only Waterford, Old Saybrook, and Norwich had larger percentage increases in these crimes.

Statewide, Violent Crime decreased by 9.7%, but in Middletown it increased by 3.8%; this was the 10th worst rate of change among the 92 municipalities.

The Property Crime rate increased by 6.85% in Middletown, 32nd among the 92.  Statewide, Property Crime decreased by 3%.

The absolute rate of crime in Middletown remains lower in most cases than the state averages. In 2014 there were 17.6 incidents of Violent Crime per 10,000 residents in Middletown, compared to a statewide rate of 23.7 incidents per 10,000 residents. For Aggravated Assault, the city rate was 11.2 per 10,000 while the state rate was 13.6 per 10,000.

Statewide data and analysis is HERE, further information on other municipalities is HERE.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Woodrow Wilson Middle School Seeks Crafters

Woodrow Wilson will be sponsoring a Craft Fair on Saturday, December 5th at the school to benefit the Middle School sports program.  The school is looking for vendors ($25 a spot).

Vendors can contact:

Lisa G. Puorro
Secretary to the Principal
Woodrow Wilson Middle School
One Wilderman's Way
Middletown, CT 06457

860-347-8594 x4508

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Too Much Time Off?


Opinion by John Milardo

Let me preface this article by saying I was a teen of the 60’s, when local and national newspapers and news organizations were respected because they were the watch dogs of our country. Today, if a news organization is backing a politician, they will slant and ignore stories to benefit their candidate.

Quite a few people over the past year have mentioned to me that Mayor Daniel T. Drew, the mayor of Middletown, is seldom at work at Town Hall. As a former town employee, I know there are many meetings in and out of the building a mayor attends to conduct the taxpayers’ business. The complaints didn’t cease, so I spoke to a newspaper reporter about it. I was told they would look into it, but never heard back from them.

The same complaints persisted. So I decided to look into the matter. I requested copies of Mayor Daniel Drew’s daily meeting/work/appointment schedule or calendar through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), beginning from September 1, 2014 to the time of request, which was August 10, 2015. I paid the $172 fee for copies, and began to study them. What I found out about Mayor Daniel Drew’s work ethic was that in the 10- 1/2 month period of records I reviewed, Dan had a total of 35.8 days off from work. Mind you now, this is according to the Mayor’s official appointment/work calendar.

There are no other documents regarding what and where the mayor spends his time – that is according to City Attorney Brig Smith. That Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer is a LOT OF TIME OFF FROM WORK! Who gets six (6) weeks of paid time-off after being on the job for three (3) years? No wonder Mayor Dan misses so many Middletown events! He’s never around! Too busy rubbing elbows with Governor Malloy’s people and being introduced to the power players. According to Dan’s own calendar, he has had forty-nine (49) out of town meeting/opportunities, which have more to do with political exposure and donations, than anything to do with Middletown business. I’m sure if asked by the “real” press, Dan will tell them I don’t know what I’m talking about!

 Speaking of players – the Mayor regularly has meetings with his paid political consultant Geoff Luxenburg and cohorts, of The Vinci Group from Wethersfield CT. The meetings occur between 8:00am and 5:00pm; Monday through Friday. I didn’t know it was ethical or legal to conduct campaign business with taxpayer money? After all, the Mayor is supposed to be working. Mayor Drew even attends meetings which Mr. Luxenburg directs him to go to. Good exposure opportunities.

Who is Dan working for? It’s not the people of Middletown! Not when you’re giving your paid political consultant 84.5 hours (two plus full-time weeks) of taxpayers time in 10-1/2 months! According to the Mayor’s first batch of campaign disclosure paperwork filed with the State of Connecticut, since Mayor Drew has declared his candidacy, The Vinci Group has so far been paid $10,325.66, from his campaign contribution funds. With all the time-off Mayor Daniel Drew took, not once did he request the Deputy Mayor to assume his responsibilities. Not once! Ssshh! It’s a secret that the Mayor is missing! This year, the Mayor earned a Masters Degree from Columbia University. He stated in the Middletown Press he took courses remotely.

Maybe that is why his work calendar only averages 3-1/2 to 4 hours of work per day over this same 10-1/2 month period. By the way, he doesn’t like to work on Fridays! Stay tuned for additional stories on how Mayor Drew spends his time, which is your taxpayer money!

Forest Management Educational Workshop Series at Wilcox Preserve

From Michelle T. Ford, City Planning & Environmental Specialist
Event 1:  Reading the Wooded Landscape                                                                  

  • When:  Saturday, October 17, 2015, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Where: Wilcox Preserve off Footit Drive in Middletown
  • Instructors: Tom Worthley, Associate Extension Professor, University of Connecticut  and UConn Extension Forestry Staff
You can become part of an investigative team that will explore, inspect, investigate and describe in detail the woodlands of the Wilcox preserve. Under the guidance of expert instructors we’ll make note of habitat features, measure trees, learn to navigate with a compass, map trails and other features and collect all the detailed information needed to formulate management decisions. Are you a woodland owner wanting a plan for your property? Or are you interested in how plans are created for managing public open space parcels? This workshop will provide the foundation you’ll need.
During the course of this workshop we will cover the following topics:

  • Boundaries and boundary evidence
  • Seeing history on the land
  • Recognizing habitat features
  • Forest cover types and plant communities
  • Tree measurement tools
  • Not getting lost: Keeping track of distance and direction
  • Observations and diagnostics: What do the data tell us
The rain date for this event is Sunday, October 18, 2015 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Event 2:  Chain Saw Safety and Operation

  • When:  Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Where: Wilcox Preserve off Footit Drive in Middletown
  • Instructors: Tom Worthley, Associate Extension Professor, University of Connecticut and UConn Extension Forestry Staff

Whether you find yourself needing to use a chain saw for property cleanup, making firewood, maintaining trails or woodland management, this workshop will be of interest. Homeowners and property managers, folks who find they need to use a saw occasionally at work or those who regularly cut wood for their own use need to be familiar with the basics of personal safety, and safe and efficient operation of the saw itself, and how to know that their saw is in good working condition.
During the course of this workshop we will cover the following topics:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Saw safety check
  • Reactive forces while operating a chain saw
  • Parts of the tooth and sharpening techniques
  • Basic maintenance tasks
  • Work planning and hazard assessment
  • Tree felling and bucking demonstration

The rain date for this event is Sunday, November 15, 2015 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Both workshops are free to Middletown residents. Wear sturdy shoes, bring drinking water and lunch. Hearing and head protection are not required, but bring them if you have them. If there is heavy rain, lightning or high winds, the workshops will be re-scheduled to the rain dates as posted.  Spaces are limited for each event so please RSVP to Michelle Ford at or by phone at 860-638-4837 to ensure availability.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Understanding Shakespeare: An Interactive Workshop at Russell Library

Understanding Shakespeare is an immersion into Shakespeare. This interactive workshop presented by ARTFARM will include a quick dip into the language of Shakespeare, including metrical structure, rhythm, literary devices and rhetoric plus secret tools for understanding the text. In signature ARTFARM style, this workshop will be on our feet, off the page and into our mouths! Don’t be afraid! Seasoned aficionado or new to the Bard, all are welcomed to come and play!
Limit 20. To register, please call 860-347-2520 or email

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree:
Music, Art, and Comedy!!!
Call 860-347-4957 or email for reservations

Friday, October 2
8pm $10
Michael Sheridan Trio
Gypsy Swing
For the past year and a half the Michael Sheridan Trio ( has delighted audiences around New York City with robust and vibrant interpretations of tangos, waltzes, gypsy jazz, flamenco and classical music. The new CD “...but that’s not why ships are built” will be available for sale at all performances. 

Saturday, October 3
3-5 pm
Opening Reception- Faces and Places
Art by Tom Pender of CenterSpring Studio
As a visual artist," Tom Pender paints "what [he] knows. Familiarity allows
greater freedom for creative flow." Faces and Places epitomizes creative familiarity in a collection of oil portraits, city and landscapes.

Pender was formally trained as an "old school painter." He also earned a BFA in graphic illustration from Paier College of Art and Albertus Magnus. Pender was most influenced by impressionistic era artists and his paintings reflect a blend of his illustrative and fine arts background.

Pender says, "As a painter I enjoy sharing my perspective of the world with everyone around me." Come view and enjoy Pender's perspective while his works are at The Buttonwood Tree!

Saturday, October 3
8 pm $10
Sherman Ewing
Folk Rock
Sherman Ewing’s music is his own unique mix, suggesting a maturity, despite his 40 young years, that comes from development of a multi-dimensional sound. That sound can be traced back to his native Minnesota, a virtual rock and roll holy land of the Midwest. His sound is also seasoned through two decades of experience as a street wise singer/songwriter in New York City.

Learn more about Sherman Ewing at his website,

Sunday, October 4
7pm $5
Great Make Believe Society
It’s comedy and fun with the GMBS Improv troupe! Don’t miss your chance to join in! 

Comedy Theater returns to Buttonwood Tree this Sunday (despite protests)

The Great Make Believe Society hosts it's monthly show this Sunday, October 4 at 7PM.

Each month we've showcase an emerging act in the Connecticut improvised theater scene. Boop! featuring Christopher Dube and Jenny Drescher, followed by an intermission and then moe improv with The Great Make Believe Society.

$5 suggested donation.

All are Welcome at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street, Middletown CT [Google Maps]

Free street parking and municipal lot parking one block south of TBT near it’s Only Natural Market.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Los Trovadores de America: A Mariachi Band! at Russell Library

Saturday, October 3 at 2:00 p.m., in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library, families are welcome to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by listening to a traditional Mariachi Band! Los Trovadores de America travel and perform throughout the New England region. They are a multi-cultural ensemble with experienced and talented musicians from various backgrounds and nationalities. They sing both in Spanish and English. In addition to the interpretation of traditional Mexican music, the group's goal is to revitalize old tunes that have been shadowed by modernization and extremely commercial music. Also, another important goal is to create original compositions and to serve as a musical liaison between the different cultures that co-exist in this country. The group was founded by Eduardo Rocha from Mexico and Jaime Chiluisa from Ecuador.
The concert is sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library.

South Fire District Hurricane Information

From the South Fire District.
The staff at the SFD are monitoring our first threat of a hurricane for this season. We are working closely with the city officials to ensure Middletown is prepared and ready to respond should the storm come this way.
I have a few links listed below that you should review for your own storm preparations. Please take some time to review the links and consider your own personal needs should our area be impacted by the storm.
As always please do not hesitate to call on us at the SFD should you have questions or need our help.
Chief Rob Ross

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lesser Begins Prestigious Fellowship Today

From the office of State Representative Matthew Lesser.
Matthew Lesser left today on a month-long intensive transatlantic fellowship sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

Rep. Lesser is the only state official in the United States to be named a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a prestigious and competitive policy fellowship, and the flagship leadership development program of the GMF.

Cat Tales presents... Cat of the Week ~ JACKIE!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!!

Gender:  Female
Breed:  Domestic Short Hair
Color:  Black
Age:  2 years

Hello! My name is Jackie. I'm a cute, very sweet, affectionate girl who craves attention!  I lived with my owner who died suddenly and I was found hanging out at the house waiting for her to return. I'm now at Cat Tales with four kittens of my own, which have been adopted! I would love to feel the warmth and security of a loving home again. I would also like to know that my kittens will have a safe and happy home too. I am FIV+. Humans and dogs cannot catch this and it is only transmitted to other cats through blood. I am not a lover, not a fighter so this would not happen. Cats with my condition can live long, happy, healthy lives just like any other cat - with no symptoms at all. I would only need my annual vet visit per year, or as often as my doctor advises. To learn more about FIV, visit  Please come meet me! I have lots of snuggles for you! 

No Dogs, please.

Phone:  (860) 344-9043

Important Finance, Important Government Operations. Tonight.

The Finance and Government Operations Commission has a big job at its meeting tonight (7PM, Room 208, City Hall). Its agenda includes nearly $500k of appropriation, grant and transfer requests, and discussion of several plans that could have significant effects on our city.

F&G will consider appropriation requests from the Registrar of Voters, the Fire Department, the Library, and the Police. The Board of Education will ask for permission to use money it did not spend in the last fiscal year to install air conditioning in schools.

The Commission will also discuss a new State Motor Vehicle Tax legislation, the recent Emergency State budget reduction, and hold preliminary discussions on the effect of a possible tax on the city because of its generous health insurance.

Government Operations
The Commission will discuss the Riverfront Master Plan RFP. The Master Plan approach to Riverfront planning was suggested by Molly Salafia and other Republicans, when in May they opposed changes to the Zoning Regulations relating to the river.

Finally, the Commission will discuss a proposed amendment to the ordinances regulating the operations of Planning and Zoning. This would be a "Public Education Budget Impact Statement". Council member Tom Serra, Chair of Finance and Government Operations, said that this was an initiative of Council member David Bauer. Serra said the idea was to collect information on housing that would help in planning future budgets.