The spotlight tonight goes to Ms. Antonia Velez, ninety-something years old, of Meriden and formerly of Cartagena Columbia who danced for two hours non-stop, keeping pace with all the Center for Creative Youth kids at Pablo Mayor's Folklore Urbano free public concert on Wesleyan's campus. Lots of local people were out to enjoy the music and the beautiful summer evening.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
A post from the Center for the Arts Blog by Director Pamela Tatge.
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for the annual outdoor summer concert at the Center for the Arts! We hope that you will come early, bring a picnic and groove with Pablo Mayor's Folklore Urbano. The concert begins at 7pm in the CFA Courtyard.
Pablo Mayor is a composer, arranger, pianist, from Cali, Colombia, whose star has risen since he moved to New York in 1999. While a professor of jazz at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, he began his personal investigation of the native music of Colombia, and has combined this knowledge with his extensive knowledge of jazz harmonies and arranging. The Folklore Urbano Orchestra has produced three CD’s and taken the band to both national and international venues.
What you'll hear tonight is modern Colombian music redefined in fresh, lively, provocative ways. Part groove band, part dance orchestra, the powerhouse ensemble of eight musicians seamlessly fuses the danceable swing of traditional Colombian rhythms with the lush subtleties of contemporary jazz harmonies and unique arrangements. You'll feel the beat of a rhythm section deeply grounded in traditional Colombian music. Like a feisty chef, Pablo Mayor then adds explosive horns and great vocals to produce a tasty, sultry, addictive blend.
Please join us!
Pablo Mayor's Folklore Urbano
Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 7pm
Free parking available in T, E, and G lots
An artist sent in the following commentary on the outcome of that debate.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Many of the chestnut trees planted in May of 2010 are nearly five feet tall – started from seed.This year’s planting went in May 1st, and several of those trees are 15 inches tall already.
So far this month, rainfall is just about double the DEP’s average prediction for all of June. Twelve out of the first 24 days produced measurable rainfall, and more is in the forecast.
While my trees planted in rocky clay have thrived, other trees are looking pretty stressed. Around
Sadly, many of the trees at
Hope springs eternal, however, and this past week, the Middletown Urban Forestry Commission began planting a nursery for future street trees. Approximately 150 native trees were potted up and heeled into a long trench, where they will grow for about two years. At least one more increase in pot size will be needed before these trees become large enough to survive as urban trees.
Because street trees have so many stresses – salt, limited root space, lack of water, careless drivers and thoughtless passers-by – the new trend for urban tree planting is something called “set-back planting.” These are trees planted by the municipality on residential property, rather than in what some call the “hell strip” between sidewalk and street. An agreement between the city and the homeowner states that the homeowner will make sure the tree or trees are watered and protected. In return, the city agrees to maintain the tree as needed, with the knowledge that these trees will likely have a much better future than they would if planted in the “hell strip.”
The Urban Forestry Commission received a grant in 2010 to plant a group of sugar maples to replace many maples that had been removed in recent years. With luck and favorable weather, many more will be planted in coming years.
Prohibition, the 1920 to 1933 national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, was eagerly embraced in puritanical Connecticut. It's vestiges remain, as Connecticut is one of only 3 states to ban sales of beer, wine, and spirits on Sundays.
The photo of the cartoon is the from the Wesleyan archives, which has extensive material on the Middletown efforts against alcohol. Churches, including the A.M.E. Zion church, played a very large role in promoting the temperance movement.
Neither Barber Shop Nor Saloon Is An Oasis.
The police yesterday afternoon raided two places on Main Street, one a barber shop and the other a saloon. Nothing was found in the barber shop and a small quantity of beer was found in the saloon.
The place formerly run by T. English at No. 720 Main Street, which recently changed hands, was the first to be visited by the police. Policeman Schilling, Ward, and Ghent in plain clothes search the place but found only bottles of what is supposed to be "beer". Samples were taken and the beer will be analyzed to ascertain the percentage of alcohol.The place was raided some weeks ago and nothing was found. Several complaints had been lodged against the saloon since that time.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
It took me some detective work to find out that Middletown is not having fireworks or a Fourth of July celebration again this year. The usual holiday festivities were cancelled in 2010, but I had not heard anything about this year and was thinking, wishfully, that the party would be back on. The display right on the riverbank always felt like the quintessential way to mark the holiday to me. It just doesn't feel the same without the fireworks.
During my childhood, every year my family trekked out to a huge park called Oregon Ridge in Maryland where the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played a full concert before the lengthy fireworks display got started. Families would spend all day there with picnics and games before the free concert and show. I spent one summer in Washington D.C. and watched the display from the Mall with the Washington Monument as a background. That year, there were overcast skies, but the threats of rain never materialized. There was less of a crowd because of the forecast, and I ended up with a choice viewing spot. Celebrating our nation's independence in the nation's capital is not an overrated experience in my opinion.
It's been hard to find any other Fourth of July celebrations so spectacular as the ones I experienced early in life, partly because of the true magnificence of them, but also partly because of the way that good memories can set in and leave an unbeatable impression, leaving you always searching to recreate them. Twice I have spent the Fourth of July in Norwich, where the fireworks display over the Thames river was quite spectacular. A few summers at a town park in Western Pennsylvania were unimpressive, but pleasant. I've never seen the displays in Boston or New London and I'd like to get a chance to see those some time in the future.
Some people don't feel the connection with the Fourth of July or enjoy the fireworks all that much. I've heard from people who dislike the noise, or the crowds, or just don't feel that Fourth of July is a favorite holiday. I knew one man who was a war veteran and felt that the fireworks displays are disrespectful to veterans, because for him, the sounds and flashes of lights brought on bad war memories. I have a relative who was injured badly at a backyard Fourth of July party gone awry, where the combination of alcohol consumption and firecrackers landed her in the hospital and with a life-long injury.
Back to present day, New Britain has been in the news lately for announcing the cancellation of their annual fireworks early in June, and then having donations and grants pour in, in a still ongoing effort to restore the tradition for this year. There is a nationwide trend of downsizing or canceling the displays. The typical fireworks display for a town like Middletown or New Britain costs about $50,000.
So, Eye readers, what do you think about the lack of a celebration in Middletown this year? Is this a good way to save some money in our City budget, or are we foolish to forego one of the rites of summer? What are some the best, or worst, or most memorable Fourth of July fireworks you've seen?
And if you're looking for festivities for this year, check out the Hartford Courant's interactive map and “10 Best Bets” listing here: http://www.courant.com/entertainment/holiday/4th-of-july/
What: Protest against War, all the Wars we are continuously waging
When: Today 6/25 @ 1 PM
Where: At the corner of Main & Washington in Middletown
Who: Vic Lancia and anyone who wants to join in....
Why: War on Hunger, War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terror, War on Reality, & Real Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Columbia, Iran, and on and on and on
Friday, June 24, 2011
John Hall's Final Sermon
at First Church UCC
First Church of Christ (UCC),
190 Court Street
John Hall, pastor of First Church of Christ, Congregational (UCC) in Middletown for 21 years, will speak the final sermon of his ministry here on Sunday. John was called to serve First Church on May 13, 1990, over 21 years ago. First Church has been blessed to have John serve as our 15th minister of our congregation since it was officially chartered in 1668.
John has made many wonderful contributions throughout his ministry: His efforts in the Middletown community, his work concerning environmental issues, his work with the Jonah Center for Earth and Art, and his efforts in planning for riverfront access for canoes and kayaks have been steadfast, successful, and strong. On a personal level, John exudes good will and charm.
John's efforts to secure the names of those who are buried by number, not name, at the CVH cemetary culminated in annual memorial ceremonies at the CVH cemetery that name and bless all the forgotten ones.
Within the church: his sermons are not excessively long!; they are usually humorous, at least in part; and they can be challenging in one way or another. That is, his sermons may be controversial or "out of the box" in some way. One might not always agree with him (not speaking for myself particularly), but there's always food for thought. His presence and his ways will be greatly missed.
The service this Sunday includes, in part
Reading from Scripture: John 21:15-19 and a sermon – The Life We Have. John's final sermon as Minister of First Church will be a personal reflection on the journey that led him to this point, in order to encourage us all to ponder what brought us to this point in our lives, including things we never wanted to happen. And yet, what a blessing it is -- just to be alive!
Music for the service includes
Prelude: Fugue in Eb, Johann Sebastian Bach
Anthem: Psalm 139, Allen Pote
(Senior Choir and Celebration Singers)
Offertory: Come Now Holy Spirit, Dietrich Buxtehude
Postlude: Sinfonia in D, Johann Sebastian Bach
Hymns: All Praise to Thee, for Thou, O King Divine; I Sought the Lord and Afterward I Knew Peace; Lord, Thou Hast Searched Me Tender Thought
If you haven't heard John preach, or even if you have, we invite you this Sunday to witness his final Sunday in ministry at First Church. The service begins at 10 o'clock, as usual, and a reception for John and Susan, his wife, follows in the Parish Hall. Come and see what it's all about.
Child care is provided every Sunday at First Church--just ask about it at the front door; parking is available on Court Street & in the surrounding neighborhood.
The mission of First Church is to engage and support people in worship, learning, fellowship, and service, so that all may find in our community the Spirit of the living Christ.
First Church is an Open and Affirming Congregation: All are welcome into the full life of our community regardless of their race, age, gender, nationality, marital status, economic situation, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation. No matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
In early March, Mayor Sebastian Giuliano asked the Commission to plan for development of the Riverfront south of Harbor Park, asking them to review previous riverfront planning efforts, and to gather information regarding the Route 9 southern interchange project, the OMO superfund toxic waste site, and to meet with other stakeholders such as the Lady Katherine Cruise Line, the Lions Club, Parks and Recreation, and the operator of the Canoe Club.
Last night, Warner highlighted the "historic" Council vote to join the Mattabassett Sewer regionalization project. He told the Commissioners how much enthusiasm there was on the Council about the possibilities which would open up when Middletown's treatment plant on River Road could close. He said that the Council was now looking towards Planning and Zoning for a plan, "All of that is on your shoulders."
Johnson also said it was premature for the memorandum to include in the last section, entitled "The Riverfront Zone", a discussion on what the Commission intended, "Below are our preliminary thoughts on the new Riverfront Zone for the study area."
Johnson said that riverfront planning should be done very carefully, "It would be nice to have a larger study."
Other Commission members defended the memorandum as a preliminary set of thoughts with nothing "set in stone". Carl Bolz said, "This document is a start."
Bill Warner urged the Commission to move forward, "You can study and study, or you can get going and get something done."
The full draft memorandum is HERE
This week we have a special treat, an international performing artist, Ms. Phred Mileski and her trio. You will love this vocalist, I promise.
We're hoping today's rain will be gone by tomorrow. And even if it's not, we can set up the band inside. So come on down for food, drinks and free jazz on the River!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
After O'Rouke's Diner officially closed for the day, Brian O'Rourke kept going to show his support for his North End neighbor. Gracious as ever on the Summer Solstice, he laid out a beautiful dinner party for the volunteers of The Buttonwood Tree. Anne-Marie Cannata, Executive Director of North End Arts Rising / The Buttonwood Tree, returned to the kitchen to help prepare and serve the meal.
Brian made special accommodations for vegetarians on the spot, but he warned everybody that there would be no cheesecake for anyone who didn't eat their brussels sprouts. And never so tasty a tiny cabbage was there ever served up in a Middletown dining establishment. Salad was fresh with house made dressing and fresh herbs, soup was rich, and everything was delicious. It really was a special way for the Buttonwood to say thanks to the people who have, in testament to the importance of The Buttonwood, donated their time, talent, energy, and services over the years. Anne-Marie would like to thank each and every person and hopes she has remembered everyone when she says that The Buttonwood Tree IS:
Eileen Albrizio | Mike Arafeh | Francine Augeri | Reverend Ronnie Bantum | John Basinger | Ed Biofore | Bill Biski | Abe Bobman | Lisa Bosco | Brian Burness | J- Cherry | Breanne Coates | Tom Cushing | Matt Donahue | Brad Devlin | Kelly DiMauro & daughter Kelsey | Mike D'Amico | Matt Earls | Matthew Evangelisti | Brad Devin | Deb Flynn | Ambur Fulse | Annaita Gandhy | Bill George | Bob Gotta | Tom Hahn | John and Jen Halfinger | Colin Haskins | Joe Hoyadilla | Ty Hunter | Jim Keating | Terri Klein | Kunle Mwanga | Kay Lani | Isaac Lichter | Roy Lisker | Topher Polack | Ian LaForce | Suzy Lampson | Laura Lawton | Roy Lisker | Dr. Maryott | Ted Paulsen | Topher Polack | Abby Reynolds | Paul Rice | Cocomo Rock | Erin St. Pierre | Phill Salafia | Ann Smith | Rev. Sandra Steele | Tim Sparks | Melissa Spencer | James Stoetzle | Dave Stott | Karen Swartz | Elizabeth Thomas | Ken Villines | Ashley & Sheryl Wescott | Terri Johnson & Martha Johnson | Dottie & Barry Ten Eyck | Fred Carroll
Here Stephan and Susan Allison talk about the origins of The Buttonwood Tree (TBT), now also called NEAR. The Allisons are pleased that TBT is thriving under Anne-Marie Cannata's leadership, and were delighted to receive the new TBT mug! The Allison's talk also focused on the original goals of The Buttonwood and some history and reminiscing. It was a great opportunity for the volunteers to learn some of the stories of the people and events and changes over the years.
At approximately 6:00 P.M. this evening, a serious motor vehicle collision occurred on Route 17 (South Main Street) in the area Talcott Ridge Drive.
The preliminary investigation indicates that a 2006 Toyota Highlander, operated by, Ms. June Sylvester, age: 65, of Durham, was traveling in a southerly direction on South Main Street. The vehicle traveled to the right, and off the roadway making contact with a wooden utility pole.
The operator of the Toyota was transported to Hartford Hospital, and is listed in serious condition.
Witnesses to the collision are asked to contact Officer David Godwin of the Traffic Unit (860) 344-3264.
Saturday, it's the "electro-acoustic improvisations" of 9:55, another Connecticut-based trio but one whose members create music "in the moment" that is to say totally improvised. The musical adventure starts at 8 p.m.
Sunday, the "Trio" theme continues when pianist-composer-educator Noah Baerman brings his Trio to The Buttonwood for a 3 p.m. show. Bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza join Mr. Baerman for a program of classy originals, fine standards and smart improvisations - the Trio has been performing the "Fulfillingness Project", the music of Stevie Wonder and, hopefully, will treat the audience with plenty of that music as well.
For more information, call 860-347-4957 or go to www.buttonwood.org.
There certainly a dream-like quality to the opening pieces but there are also moments when the band and music takes flight. The solos are uniformly excellent and the rhythm section strong, supportive as well as catalysts for rhythmic adventure.
In the liner notes, Dingman (who has also performed and recorded with fellow Wesleyan grad Steve Lehman) gives credit to a good number of people, including the afore-mentioned Mr. Baerman and Wesleyan Professor Jay Hoggard. At a time when jazz continues to be ignored in most of the mainstream media, it would be a crime for people who love creative music to miss this impressive music. For more information, go to www.chrisdingman.com. A more comprehensive review of the CD will appear on my music blog - steptempest.blogspot.com - in the next few weeks.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Small Fleet of Paddlers
Heading upstream photo (above), Penny Dobratz.
Paddlers at the confluence photo (left), Trevor Davis.
The Middlesex County Career Fair will be held on Tuesday, June 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell Hotel. Employers from across the region will be represented at the event.
Primerica Financial Services
Post University, Inc.
The Diversified Companies
Oakleaf Waste Management
Jafra Cosmetics, International, Inc.
TCA Consulting Group, Inc.
MTU Aero Engines North America
Brasco Technologies, LLC
B/E Aerospace Consumables Management
Connecticut Air National Guard
Cyma Systems Inc.
FJB Associates LLC
Health at Home
Barnum Financial Group, an office of MetLife
Genuine Parts Company NAPA
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Perennial invasives are showing real vigor this year, what with the dense snow-pack and subsequent heavy rains. Vines may be the most obnoxious invasive, with truly insidious modes of survival.
Most people know (or think they do) poison ivy, but that doesn’t keep them from getting rashes. Poison ivy employs several defensive strategies, including secreting a highly irritating liquid in all its parts. Urushiol is an irritant whether you contact the plant’s roots, stem, leaves or berries. Eating this plant is almost as bad as inhaling smoke from burning poison ivy. Birds, on the other hand, can eat the berries with no problem (I’m told most birds have no taste buds.) Insects rarely eat the leaves, and I have never seen deer browse on poison ivy.
Bird dispersal is the number one way poison ivy spreads, but the plant also does a great job of burrowing under the soil and popping up anywhere and everywhere.
Of course, its ultimate goal is always to reach sunlight, so trees are a perfect vehicle toward that end. Get rid of poison ivy by pulling it out of the ground, roots and all. Plastic newspaper bags can be used, over a pair of sturdy gloves (plastic can always tear.) When you have yanked a length of poison ivy, simply turn the plastic bag inside out, and bundle the whole thing into the trash.
Be careful when poison ivy is firmly attached to a tree’s trunk – tiny root hairs embed themselves in the fissures of the tree’s bark, so do not rip the bark off the tree. A large poison ivy vine should be sliced through at intervals from the base of the tree upward. A small pruning saw works well – just be sure to wipe the blade with a paper towel before using it elsewhere.
Many people confuse Virginia creeper with poison ivy, but always count the leaves on the leaflet: Virginia creeper has five, poison ivy has three.
Virginia creeper is invasive and vigorous, but not nearly as obnoxious as poison ivy or Oriental bittersweet. Oriental bittersweet is not poisonous but that’s the only positive thing about it. It’s the worst pest in my garden, because it strangles trees and shrubs by twining tightly around their trunks, preventing the necessary expansion of the cambium. You’ve probably seen trees along highways, completely shrouded in lush green vines – that’s Oriental bittersweet. Unless you’re in
That mass of foliage is another way Oriental bittersweet kills trees: the added weight of it makes trees top-heavy, so they are more prone to wind-throw or toppling when soil is too wet to hold onto the tree’s roots. Below is a rogue’s gallery of the plant, from its cute baby stage up to the killer vine stage.
Unlike poison ivy, bittersweet can be pulled safely with just gloved hands, and it comes out of the ground fairly easily. Take my advice: pull it whenever you see it, before it sets seed and propagates all over the place.