Friday, May 31, 2013

Three Hikes In Maromas Saturday

From the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.
Hubbard Brook Preserve/Scovill Loop Trails. Saturday, June 1. 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.
Come hike one of the newest trails in the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System. Located in Maromas, a section of our city that is home to one of the largest contiguous forests on the western side of the Connecticut River, this 1-mile hike will include some obstacles but will reward you with a view.

Meet at the trailhead kiosk on River Road. Sponsored by Pullmans Hiking Guides. Rain cancels. Pre-registration is NOT NECESSARY. Questions: contact leader Thomas Pullman, (860) 638-7748,

Hubbard Brook Preserve/ Scovill Loop Trails. Saturday, June 1. 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
This 1.5-mile outing will follow the Northern Loop, with an optional short hike to a scenic overlook. We will travese gentle terrain with a variety of natural features, including mixed hardwood forest, tidal stream preserve, beaver pond and lodges, glacial remnants, and Connecticut River frontage. Keep a look out for many historical sites (granite foundations, granite quarries, old dock sites, railroad bridges and track). Meet at the Scovill Loop Trails kiosk (on River Road between Freeman and Aircraft Roads).

Sponsored by Connecticut Forest & Park Association and Northeast Utilities ( Pre-registration
is RECOMMENDED. Questions and to pre-register: contact leaders, CFPA volunteer trail managers, Sonya and Scott Gray-Wulff, (203) 623-9961,; or Jeff Borne of Northeast Utilities, (203) 430-0974,

Asylum Reservoir #2 Loop Trail. Saturday, June 1. 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

Hit the trail on National Trails Day! The adventure begins at Brooks Road, winds along the east side of the reservoir, briefly joins the Mattabesett Trail (part of the New England Trail, NET), crosses Reservoir #1, includes a rock scramble over sparkling mica-filled boulders, and boasts lovely views of mountain laurel. Leader Bea Holt will discuss how the three reservoirs were dug by hand in the early 1900s. The total travel distance will be under 3 miles. Meet at Cedar Lane (second unpaved road on the left, before intersection of Brooks and Bear Hill Roads).

Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club. Rain cancels. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to pre-register: contact co-leader Janet Ainsworth, (203) 530-7826,

Naturalist Lucy Meigs To Lead Area Hike Tomorrow

Wadsworth Falls State Park & Captain’s Field.
Join Everyone Outside naturalist Lucy Meigs for a fun approximately 2-mile family hike followed by light refreshments provided by the Rockfall Foundation. We will enjoy two picturesque waterfalls, look for interesting plants, trees, creatures, and go on a treasure hunt for a letterbox on our route through the beautiful woods.

Meet at 1PM the Big Falls parking lot (not the main one) for Wadsworth Falls State Park, which is just north of Connwood Foresters (39 Cherry Hill Road, Middlefield).

Sponsored by the Rockfall Foundation (Rockfall- and Everyone Outside. See Everyone Outside for any event updates. Rain postpones to June 9, 1:00 PM; contact Lucy for rain plan.

Pre-registration is RECOMMENDED. Questions and to pre-register: contact the Rockfall Foundation,, (860) 347-0340; weekend of hike contact Lucy,, (860) 395-7771

Senator Richard Blumenthal Addresses MxCC Graduates; Challenges them to “Leave a Better America” for Next Generation

Middlesex Community College held its 46th graduation ceremony on May 30, presenting associate degrees in the arts and sciences to 319 students.   The students completed degrees in 27 different areas of study including biotechnology, forensic science, multimedia web design and development, ophthalmic design and dispensing, management information systems, environmental science, graphic design, and criminal justice.

The ceremony, which was presided over by MxCC President Dr. Anna Wasescha, opened with an inspiring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by Aja Wilson, MxCC employee.  Dr. Wasescha then addressed the students, calling on them to “take what you have learned here and flourish in your lives and in your work.” 
Meriden Mayor Michael S. Rohde and Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew welcomed students and families, congratulating them on their successes. Nicholas Reyna, MxCC student poet, read an original piece titled, “Essence of Existence: My Ode to MxCC.” Reyna credited MxCC with providing him with “infinite inspiration” to write and create.

State Troubadour Appearing Tonight

The Buttonwood Tree is the venue for a performance at 8PM tonight by Kristen Graves and Marci Geller.

Graves was recently selected as Connecticut's 15th State Troubadour, an honorary position established by the State Legislature. Her role as Troubadour is to promote cultural literacy and our state.

WESU Receives Large Gift

WESU Middletown, the alternative radio station, announced this morning that it had received a large matching donation to close out Spring Pledge Drive.

The station is using the anonymous gift to match all donations up to a total of $2,250. Any pledge in the next two weeks will qualify.

Pledges to the radio station can be made HERE.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How They Voted: Minimum Wage Increase Of 75 Cents

The State House of Representatives and the State Senate each voted to raise the minimum wage by 45 cents beginning next January, and by another 30 cents a year later.

State House (passed, 89-53)
Joe Serra (D, 33rd District): YES
Matt Lesser (D, 100th District): YES
State Senate (passed 21-15)
Paul Doyle (D, 9th District): YES
Danté Bartolomeo (D, 13th District): YES
The Bill now goes to Governor Malloy, who has indicated he supports it.

How They Voted: Drivers Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

The State Senate voted early this morning to pass a bill allowing drivers licenses for immigrants in this country illegally. The vote was 19-16.

Our Senators voted as follows:
Paul Doyle (D, Senate 9th): NO
Danté Bartolomeo (D, Senate 13th): YES

The State House previously passed the bill, which now awaits Governor Malloy's signature.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saturday Co Bill: Frank Critelli & Goodnight Blue Moon

The Buttonwood Tree
June 1, 2013; 8 - 10 pm

Critelli’s lyrics are poignant and deeply insightful without runningaround on the Great Maudlin Reef. His guitar work is skillful and melodic and, and his vocals flow like the heavily creamed java that is served in the coffeehouses that he has played up and down the east coast for the past twenty years.”  –Craig Gilbert, New Haven Advocate

Goodnight Blue Moon: “Their instrumentation is as varied as their influences with songs that  utilize such tools as banjo, trumpet, cello, violin, and upright bass as accompaniments. Not to mention some seriously killer vocal arrangements reminiscent of such classic harmonizers like Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills & Nash.” -Chip McCabe (Advocate Weekly,

Sunday: Sustainable Design, Communities and Shakespeare’s Fool: How One Clown is Trying To Change the World

Clown 2The Buttonwood Tree
June 2, 2013; 3 - 5 pm

Humanity and Humor:
(how one clown tackles international development)
Clown 3Canadian performance artist Jonathon Ellison will give a lively and funny talk that turns international development on its head.

Sunday: Great Make Believe Improv Show

The Buttonwood Tree
June 2, 2013l; 7 - 9 pm
 Watch The Great Make Believe Society perform different kinds of improv comedy! See the styles of improv comedy made popular in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York! Watch improvised scenes created right before your eyes, based on your suggestions!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Driving Miss Daisy and More This Sunday

Congregation Adath Israel and Vintage Players present "Driving Miss Daisy", the play by Alfred Uhry first produced Off-Broadway in 1987 at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Carolyn Kirsch (pictured left) stars in the title role along with Rick Nelson as Hoke Colburn (her driver) and Nat Holmes as her son Boolie Werthan.  The story opens as Miss Daisy's son takes away her driving privileges and hires a driver.  At the heart of the play is the relationship of the elderly white Jewish Daisy and the African American Hoke.  We watch it unfold over 25 years as the main characters and citizens of Atlanta, Georgia, (where the play is set) deal with issues of segregation, racism, and assimilation.

After the play, there will be a panel discussion on African American/Jewish relationships in Middletown, the state and the country.  Scheduled to appear will be several members of the clergy (including Adath Israel's Rabbi Seth Haaz), Professor Ron Schatz of the Wesleyan University History Department, and Debbie Shapiro, Executive Director of the Middlesex County Historical Society.  To cap off the event, members of the Afro-Semitic Experience, an ensemble started by bassist David Chevan and pianist Warren Byrd to play a mix of spiritual music, world beat, jazz, salsa, gospel, funk, cantorial and more, inspired by the liturgical music of the Black Church and the Jewish continuum.

The play starts at 4 p.m., the panel discussion at 6 and the music at 6:30. Ticket price is $10 per person and can be reserved by calling Adath Israel at 860-346-4709.  Rabbi Haaz will appear on WLIS & WMRD's Phil Mikan Show Wednesday May 28 at 10 a.m..  The show will be archived at

Long Island Story:Fragmentary Memorial Day Thoughts, Mostly Borrowed -- Popcorn by The Colonel #46

1 Memorial Day does not honor the Confederate dead. They fought against the United States, not for it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

South Carolina Broadcasters Bring Audience to Their Feet at The Buttonwood Tree

art begets art
This past weekend's events were fabulous, starting off with Smooth Jazz by Karl Rausch and the Moments Notice Ensemble. Two patrons sketched the musicians as they aptly played their instruments. Unbeknownst to them of the other sketcher initially, they later compared drawings and a new relationship was formed. Time and again we see proof that one's expression through the arts, music as one example, can inspire others and that The Buttonwood Tree is a delightful place to get connected.

On Saturday afternoon a Chinese Bamboo Brush Painting class was held after the morning's 3 classes. Thanks to Jason Alster, M.Sc, here's a photo of students with their own paintings:

Saturday night, Ivy & David Sheppard and Sarah Osborne, better known as the South Carolina Broadcasters, came to Middletown with their fiddles, banjos and guitars in tow. No need for amplification in our intimate space, they were thrilled with the sound quality of the room. Later they gave thanks for the attentiveness of the audience, as musicians often do at TBT, explaining that there aren't many places that are dedicated listening rooms.

One of the best parts of Buttonwood's shows are the stories that the artists tell. Saturday night was no exception and we heard a few, including one about Hank Williams and his radio shows. After a standing ovation by the full house (31 patrons and 4 TBT volunteers), the trio played a rousing song to which the audience sang along. The joy level was high that night and folks left almost amazed at what a good time they had.
Concerts, comedy, dance, poetry, film, free books and an art gallery are some of the offerings The Buttonwood Tree offers. Open at 10 am seven days a week, the space is a favorite to musicians from all over the world. They also run an arts camp for children ages 6-14, sponsored by Middletown's Commission on the Arts.  For more information, call 860-347-4957 or see them online at Facebook or

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wesleyan's 2013 Commencement

Wesleyan gave 21 Doctorate, 30 Master of Arts, 30 Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, and 785 Bachelor of Arts degrees at its commencement today.

Three received honorary degrees: Majora Carter, James Dresser, and Joss Wheedon. Wheedon gave a well-received commencement address, urging graduates to embrace the contradictions and tensions that are present in any life.

From 1863: Commencement Of The Wesleyan University

Rev. Jos. Cummings, D.D.
President of Wesleyan, 1858-75

The following article is from 150 years ago, published in the New York Times on July 19th, 1863, 7 months after the Emancipation Proclamation, and 2 weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg.

This article, as were many in those days, is written in the style of a letter from Middletown to the readers of the New York Times; it was submitted by "H.W.R." I have subdivided an original two into multiple paragraphs.  

 The "troubles in your city" probably refer to the New York City draft riots, in which 120 were killed and 2000 wounded. The Dodworth Band was a very prominent brass and percussion band based in New York City, in the middle part of the 19th century.
Of course, in busy stirring war times like these, the interest usually felt in a College commencement must necessarily be somewhat lessened, but I feel sure that such an occasion can never entirely lose its prestige, and accompanying excitement.

In connection with Commencement Week, a few facts with regard to the history of the Wesleyan University may not be amiss. The Wesleyan University was founded in this place in the year 1829, under the control of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Wilbur Fisk was the first President; since whom there have been three others, the present incumbent, Rev. Jos. Cummings, D.D., being the fourth. In 1833 the Graduating Class numbered six members; the Graduating Class this year has twenty-six.

The amount of the present endowment is $160,000, and measures are in progress for its increase. Numerous scholarships have been endowed, securing free tuition, and indigent students are aided in their other expenses. the College and Society libraries amount in the aggregate to 14,000 volumes. The whole number of Alumni, according to the last triennial catalogue, is 707, of whom 329 are living. The Faculty consists of a President and seven Professors.

The present Commencement was attended with unusual interest throughout. Swarms of visitors were constantly arriving from different places.

On Sunday last, the Baccalaureate sermon was delivered by the President in the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was crowded to its utmost capacity, in spite of the heat. The sermon was a most finished and beautiful address to the Graduating Class. In the evening, Rev. R. Durbin, of New-York, addressed the seniors.

On Monday night, an oration by Rev. Mr. Peabody, and a very humorous poem by the venerable and reverend Dr. John Pierpont, of Washington, was delivered in the same place before the Literary Societies of the College. The church was well filled, as it ought to have been, and the speeches were frequently interrupted by applause.

On Tuesday evening, George Wm. Curtis, Esq., was advertized to speak before the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, but owing, it is supposed to the troubles in your City, at the appointed hour Mr. Curtis did not appear. In his place, however, the audience, whom Mr. Curtis' fame had attracted thither, were agreeably entertained by remarks from Rev. J.L. Dudley, of this place, and several others.

But the days the most looked forward to were Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday a grand concert was given, under the auspices of the graduating class, by Dodworth's Band. That was a rare treat, and long before the appointed hour the large hall was filled to its utmost capacity by an appreciative audience, including, of course, a goodly portion of the fair sex. The performance was excellent in every respect, and the band, numbering fifteen performers, under the leadership of C.R. Dodworth, was everything that could be desired. Time and space will not allow me to notice any of the pieces in particular; suffice it to say that they were all good.

In the evening, the Alumni of 1838, had a grand supper at the McDonough Hotel, to which a limited number of friends were invited. Prominent among the members present was Mr. Rich of Boston, a gentleman whose benevolence has indebted the Wesleyan University to him in a manner hard to repay.

But Thursday was really the great day, and though it comes regularly every year, it is seldom greeted with as much pleasure as it was this year. At 9 1/2 o'clock the procession left the college, headed by Deputy Provost-Marshal Putnam, and the band; the President in his robes of State, attended by the [illegible] Board of Trustees, and the graduating class, followed. They proceeded to the church, which was thronged inside and outside, and at 10 1/2 A.M. William P. Hubbard delivered the Latin Salutatory. The others followed in quick succession, but it was not until 1:50 o'clock that the Valedictorian, Chas. Albert Barnard, of Maine, delivered his oration.

The speakers, to the number of eighteen, all alluded more or less to the present troubled state of the country and of your City. The orations deserving special attention were those of John Rand, of Massachusetts; Alfred Wright, of Rhode Island; Truman Klimpton of New-York; Joseph Puliman of New-York, and Chas. A. Hids of Connecticut. The degree of B.A. was conferred on George R. Adams, Charles Albert Barnard, A.Bunt, D.C. Wesley, G.C. Cook, E.K. Dexter, G.L. Edwards, O.H. Gernald, R.H. Gidman, J. Hanlon, C.D. Hids, G.P. Hubbard, C.F. Johson, M.M. JOhnston, F.H. Kimpton, A.W. Kingsley, G.A. Newcomb, J. Puliman, J.C. Rand, M.S. Scudder, J.E. Smith, W.S. Smith, T.E. Steele, A.C. Stevens, G.P. Tower and A.A. Wright.

After conferring of the degrees the President spoke a few words with reference to the affairs of the College. He said that the College was never in a more flourishing condition; that $10,000 had been raised for an increase of the library; that Mr. Rica, of Boston, had endowed a professorship, and Mr. John Cutts, of New-Rochelle, had done the same, each giving $25,000 for that purpose. In the evening the President held a dance at his house, which was numerously attended.

And thus ends Commencement week. What it is to New-Haven it also is to Middletown, only on a more limited scale.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

MHS Crew Rows In NEIRA

MHS rowers bring their boat out to the course
Middletown High sent two boats to today's New England Interscholastic Rowing Association Championships on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, the girls first and second eights. NEIRA is the capstone of the season for rowers, and MHS was one of only a few Connecticut public high schools at the meet.

Race officials watch the MHS girls 2nd eight boat as it competes


Editorial comment by David Schulz

Relay For Life Set For Saturday

The Greater Middletown Relay For Life Committee had their final meeting prior to the upcoming event. The Relay 2013 shirts were unveiled and distributed to the 2013 Committee and Team Captains. The Committee has spent numerous hours in organization and preparation for the Greater Middletown Relay For Life that will be held on Saturday, June 1 starting at noon continuing through noon on Sunday June 2 at Woodrow Wilson Middle School Track.

There are currently 34 teams with over 520 registered participants. The Greater Middletown Relay includes participants from Middletown, Cromwell, Portland, East Hampton, Middlefield, Durham and Rockfall. Relay is an overnight event full of entertainment, activities, and moving ceremonies to Celebrate Cancer Survivors, Remember loved ones lost, and Fight Back against cancer.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Middletown Kiwanis Awards Annual College Scholarships

On May 22nd, the Middletown Kiwanis Club conducted its annual scholarship presentations.  The Middletown Kiwanis through its Foundation each year gives a graduating senior from each of Middletown's four high schools a $2,000 college scholarship. A $500 scholarship is also awarded to a local high school senior attending Middlesex Community College in the fall. Of the fore-mentioned recipients one is selected to also receive the A. Merton & Arline W. Bozoian $500 scholarship.

The event MC was Kiwanis member Karen Nocera. Each student was accompanied by a school representative who described the qualities and accomplishments of their schools recipient. Kiwanis President Christopher Conley then made the scholarship presentations. Starting with the $2,000 awards:
  • Melike Tomak, a graduating senior from Middletown High School who will be attending Central Connecticut State University in the fall.
  • Majesty Reyes, a graduating senior from Vinal Technical High School who will be attending University of Hartford in the fall.
  • Maria Grant, a graduating senior from Mercy High School who will be attending Elon University in North Carolina in the fall.
  • John Cyr, a graduating senior from Xavier High School who will be attending Clark University in Massachusetts in the fall.
  • The Kiwanis scholarship committee also selected Majesty Reyes of Vinal Technical High School to receive the $500 Bozoian scholarship. The two benefactors of this yearly award, A. Merton & Arline Bozoian were very involved in the education of the young people of Middletown. Mr. "Ozzie" Bozoian, as the former principal of Middletown High School and Mrs. Arline Bozoian, as a school and Central Office administrative assistant. They left an endowment to assist young students for several years to come.
  • The recipient of the $500 scholarship for an incoming Middlesex Community College freshman was Karina Hernandez a senior from Middletown High School.
The Middletown Kiwanis Foundation's annual golf tournament proceeds are used to help fund the annual scholarship awards. The tournament will be held in August. Anyone interested in playing or in  being a sponsor should email for more information.

Congratulations to this years scholarship recipients.

How They Voted: Illegal Immigrants And Driver's Licenses

The State House of Representatives voted 74-55 to allow people in the country illegally to obtain a CT driver's license. Here is how our representatives voted (or not):

Joe Serra (D, House 33rd): ABSENT
Matt Lesser (D, House 100th): YES

The bill now goes to the State Senate.

Watch Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (May 24-June 9)

Be the first to discover who will be performing at Wesleyan! During the 2013-2014 season, Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts will be celebrating their 40th anniversary (the CFA opened in September 1973). On February 14, 2014, the 39th annual Crowell Concert Series presented by Center for the Arts and the Music Department will feature a concert by the Gold Medalist of this year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which begins this weekend. You can watch the entire Van Cliburn competition online for free, and be the first to discover who will be performing an evening of classical and Romantic music at Wesleyan on Valentine's Day 2014!
The sensational victory by pianist Van Cliburn (1934-2013) at the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958 heralded a new confidence in the quality of American music-making, as well as a new era in cultural relations between East and West.

The 14th edition of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which has been dedicated to the discovery of the world's finest pianists every four years since 1962, starts today, and concludes on Sunday, June 9, 2013, at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas.

Happy World Turtle Day!

Barrie Robbins-Pianka informs us that it is World Turtle Day, and forwards this photo of one of our city's most beautiful residents, a spotted turtle.

Who Doesn't Like to Eat and See a Broadway show?

If you like to munch, mingle, and make donations that support the best youth theater in Connecticut, we’ve got the event for you! If you missed it last year—Oddfellows is willing to forgive you for that— or came and hoped we would do it again, you are in luck. On Thursday, June 6 from 6-9 pm, Oddfellows Playhouse will be hosting Food Improv: Where the Performing Arts Meets the Culinary Arts- Take 2!, at the Wadsworth Mansion.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Xavier High School Takes Center Stage

Xavier High School's theater alumni are in the spotlight this week.  Matthew J. Pugliese `00, Executive Director of Oddfellows Playhouse announced that Thursday, May 23rd will be "Xavier Night at the Oddfellows Playhouse." Several factors led to this very special event. Xavier alumnus Steve Scionti `81 will be performing his one-man show "Hear What's In The Heart - A Shoemaker's Tale." In a cooperative effort between Matt Pugliese, Steve Scionti and Xavier's Director of Advancement Matt Strekel `99 arrangements have been made for a "meet and greet" reception following the performance. In addition, $2 of every ticket sold for that performance will be donated to Xavier's Annual Fund.

There are only a few tickets remaining for this special evening.  To purchase your tickets online go to Oddfellows Box Office.  When you get to the checkout screen, enter the discount code "xavier."

The show which Steve Scionti has  performed across the country, including 2 nights last summer at Wesleyan University, will be in Middletown for a limited number of performances. You may read more about the Steve and the show in an article that appeared in the Middletown Press.

Hear What's In The Heart - A Shoemaker's Tale
Thursday, May 23, 2013, 7:30 PM - 8:45 PM
Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown, CT 06457

A Different Kind Of Grease Next To Five Guys

The framing and paneling is up on a new building on the north side of Washington Street, between the Five Guys Burger joint and the Citgo gasoline station. The new building incorporates several walls of what was probably an old service station.

 It will house a new Mobile 1 Lube Express, an oil change service station. It is being built by the same person who owns the Mobil Oil change on Newfield Street.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

“Aligned With Source” A Workshop for Empowerment

Annaita Gandhy-150x150Every Saturday morning from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

$5 sugg. donation

Annaita is a Spiritual & Holistic Healer who moved to Connecticut from India. Experienced in applying varied healing modalities to a wide range of situations, her primary focus has been to heal through empowerment.

Community Yoga

Every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 10 am.

Guided by Yoga Instructor, Terri Johnson, RYT
Saturdays 8:45am-10:00am for Beginners and Intermediates

Saturday Morning Qigong (Chi Kung)

 Qigong Poster No Dates
Every Saturday morning from 7:30 - 8:30 am

Kirtan with Shubalananda

June 5, 2013
7 - 9 pm
Free / donations accepted

Shubalananda Saraswati (Larry Kopp) is bringing his spiritual musical performance called kirtan to The Buttonwood Tree. He has been performing kirtan, a form of yoga, for many years. Kirtan also includes a musical aspect, similar to our own American gospel music. He has pioneered the practice through his magazine “Time & Space, a Kirtan Journal” and his book, Kirtan Wallah. Both the practice and his band have become extremely popular.
His band includes Ashley Flagg, a classically trained singer and expert harmonium player, Anna Sobel, one of the most outstanding American female tabla artists, and Bob, an excellent bass player. Their kirtan is not only unique, but they rock! They are based in Northampton, MA, and travel up and down the coast leading kirtan at yoga centers five nights a week, from Portland ME to NYC to Boston and beyond.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 7.04.22 PM 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Take A Hike! Family-friendly Fun at Wadsworth Falls State Park for CT Trails Weekend

Celebrate CT Trails Day weekend by joining The Rockfall Foundation and Everyone Outside for local fun and exploration at Wadsworth Falls State Park and the Captain's Field. This is perfect for families with kids of all ages.

Date: June 2 Time: 1 p.m. to 4:30 pm; Rain date: June 9.

Everyone Outside naturalist, Lucy Meigs, will lead us on a fun 2- to 2.5-mile family hike followed by light refreshments provided by Rockfall. We will look for interesting plants, trees, creatures and their homes and do a treasure hunt for a letterbox on our route through these beautiful woods.

Meet at the Big Falls parking lot (not the main one) for Wadsworth Falls State Park, which is just north of Connwood Foresters (39 Cherry Hill Road, Middlefield). Extra parking will also be available at Connwood Foresters for hikers.

Heavy rain postpones to June 9th at 1:00 PM. We will contact all who have registered in the morning of June 2 if we need to postpone for weather.

Pre-registration is RECOMMENDED
. For questions and to register contact Rockfall at or 860-347-0340. To register on the weekend of the hike contact or 860-395-7771.

Wadsworth Falls State Park was created through the generosity of the Rockfall Corporation and its founder, Clarence S. Wadsworth, who owned the 267 acres of land as part of his holdings that included Long Hill Estate. According to his wishes, this land, the "Rockfall Tract of Great Falls Region," was donated to the state of CT shortly after Wadsworth's death in 1942. Rockfall is named after the beloved rock falls in the park.

The Captain's Field is 16 acres on Cherry Hill Road that abuts Wadsworth Falls State Park and is owned by The Rockfall Foundation.

Neil Gaiman To Join Amanda Palmer for On Stage Conversations at Wesleyan

It's now confirmed that Neil Gaiman, renowned author of a series of graphic novels featuring The Sandman, and sci-fi novels like American Gods, will join his spouse, Amanda Palmer on stage for a fundraiser at Wesleyan on Friday, May 24.

As reported earlier here, Palmer, a Wesleyan grad and extremely-popular singer, songwriter and recording artist, is scheduled to appear in "Words and Music" a concert and conversation to benefit financial aid.

Tickets are limited, but still available, here.

"The World Is Covered With a Fine Patina of Fungal Spores": Popcorn by The Colonel #45

Believing that marauding feral mutant boars, possibly from space, may signal the End Times, shy people are finding the nerve to go up to their crushes for the first time and, if not actually speak to them, make hand gestures of the “give me money now” sort.

South Carolina Broadcasters To Make Two Appearances

From Bill Revill

Tuesday evening at 6:30, live in the WESU studios on "Acoustic Blender," the South Carolina Broadcasters will be stopping by during their Northeast tour (they'll be back in town Saturday night at the Buttonwood Tree!) If you don't know their sound, the Broadcasters harken back to a sound of the bygone days of old time traditional country music. Their tight harmonies are reminiscent of the great family bands from the early days of radio when musicians would sing into a single microphone.

“We just sound like we sound,” says David Sheppard. “And what they sound like”, says Virginia State Folklorist, Jon Lohman, “is an arresting trio of fine musicians, playing the music they love the only way they know how, resulting in a sound that melds a seasoned artistry with playful exuberance....There is a sense of immediacy to The Broadcaster’s sound, which can bring old chestnuts to new life, while providing new originals with the patina and soul of the well-worn hills that inspire them.”

Tune in this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and hear them as stop by and visit us at "Acoustic Blender" on WESU, 88.1 FM and streaming live at And tune in every Tuesday evening at 6:30 for the best in eclectic roots on "Acoustic Blender!"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unhealthy Air Forecast for Middletown on Tuesday, May 21

Visit DEEP's Air Quality Forecast website for more information.

Former Managing Editor Of Middletown Press Dies

The Middletown Press has a loving tribute to Ann DeMatteo, who had a long career in local journalism, most recently as the managing editor of the Press. DeMatteo died of cancer on Sunday, she was 55 years old.

Rosa DeLauro released the following statement, "Ann was a remarkable woman who we have lost much too soon. Ann demonstrated a unique courage as she shared her own battle with cancer with her many readers, making her columns a beloved feature. She informed, inspired and encouraged many of us to become more involved with our communities. Ann touched the lives of many and she will be deeply missed by all of those fortunate enough to have known her."

Police To Target Seatbelt Scofflaws This Week

From the Middletown Police Department

As motorists take to the roads this Memorial Day holiday, city Police are urging everyone to buckle up. Beginning May 20, 2013 law enforcement officials will be out in full force, taking part in the 2013 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization and cracking down on motorists who are not belted.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 52 percent of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. As noted, deaths involving seat belt nonuse are more prevalent at night than during the daytime. According to NHTSA, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 during the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

In 2011, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide according to NHTSA. While this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 20 through June 2, officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.

For more on the national Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tour of 5 Historic Middletown Dams

This morning, in a walk organized by the Jonah Center forEarth and Art, about 30 brave, sure-footed souls visited a series of historic Middletown dams, guided by Professor Elise Springer of Wesleyan University.  The tour included the large Russell Mill Dam (pictured here, near the Hartford Courant Building on East Main Street) and Middletown’s first dam (also pictured, just upstream from where Pameacha Creek crosses Mill Street), built by Thomas Miller to power a grist mill in the 1650s.

Many of those who took part in the tour commented on how hidden from view the local waterways are, and how visiting them reconnects us with Middletown’s geography and history.

To receive information about future walks and other programs of the Jonah Center, visit and send us a message.

St. Mary's Strawberry Festival June 11

Terry Dykas, Hilda Forneris, and Marj Dudek,
at last year's festival
The St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish Ladies Guild is sponsoring a strawberry festival on Tues. June 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parish hall, 79 South Main St. 

Strawberry shortcake featuring native CT strawberries with real whipped cream will be served in two sizes – large and small – along with coffee and juice. Orders will be available for eat-in or take-out. Walk-ins are welcome.

The price is $4.50 for a small, and $5.50 for a large.

To place an advance order to eat-in or take-out please call Agnes at (860) 347-7638 or Jean at (860) 346-0049. To place an order on June 11 (the day of the festival,) please call the parish hall at (860) 347-1224 anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Proceeds from the strawberry festival help to fund the Ladies Guild’s good work projects throughout the year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Three Exciting Concerts, Poetry and Free Classes This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

Poetry, yoga, Qigong, free meals and empowerment workshops are not the only thing going on at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center this weekend. Three amazing, exciting groups are lined up at their usual under-priced door fee of only $10. Read more about these classes and the Free Poets Collective presentation on Saturday here: Buttonwood's Upcoming events

Tonight (May 17)
Pesky J. Nixon   - 8 pm -  read more about this "Bombastic yet brilliant" group here:  PJN website
Pesky J. Nixon

Joe Fonda performs on May 18th with two of Italy’s greatest jazz musicians: Carlo Morena on Piano and Michele Salgarello on Drums. This trio plays hard swing jazz with a pinch of European romanticism. Also at 8 pm.  reserve your seat here - more info

SUNDAY, May 19th  at 7 pm - KLEZWOODS   -  We'll make some room for dancing for this lively band. In the Hartford Courant: Owen McNally's article

Joe Kessler (Violin)
Sam Dechenne (Trumpet)
Daniel Linden (Trombone)
Jim Gray (Tuba)
Michael McLaughlin (Accordion)
Tev Stevig (Guitar)
Brian O’Neill (Percussion)
Grant Smith (Drumset)
Klezwoods is an amalgam of strings, horns and percussion that melds the spirit of traditional klezmer and Balkan music with modern grooves, improvisation and original repertoire.  Every player comes from a different background, which creates the band’s unique sound and style.  They originally got their start some years back when local Cambridge, MA haunt, Atwoods Tavern, wanted music for a “Klezmer Christmas” event.  Since that fateful day, Klezwoods has played The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., The Helsinki Klezmer Festival in Finland, and tours regularly all over the Northeast playing festivals and concerts!

visit Klezwoods' site here

All performances, classes and workshops take place at The Buttonwood Tree in the former Arriwani Hotel, 605 Main Street, Middletown.  860-347-4957

Amanda Palmer Returns to Wesleyan to Benefit Financial Aid

Palmer performs "Ukele Anthem." (photo:Bill Flood)
Wes grad, and world-renowned singer, songwriter and performer, Amanda Palmer will return to Wesleyan for a concert to benefit financial aid at the university.

This is the second time in a year that Palmer has returned. The first was a surprisingly intimate appearance on Foss Hill for the Humanity Festival in April.

This appearance, billed as a "Concert and Conversation" will take place Friday May 24, 9 PM,  at the Crowell Concert Hall during Wesleyan's Reunion and Commencement Weekend.  More info here.  Tickets are now on sale.

Palmer, who rocketed to international acclaim with her band, the Dresden Dolls, is no stranger to fundraising.  In a Kickstarter campaign for her last album (which has since become controversial), Palmer raised $1.2 million.


Forty-eight students who have illustrated academic excellence, leadership, fellowship, and service were inducted into the Beta Gamma Xi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Middlesex Community College.  MxCC President Dr. Anna Wasescha and Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Steven Minkler participated in the formal induction of these students during a ceremony at Middlesex Community College held on May 9.  Students were chosen for their academic achievement and success as leaders in service and fellowship on the MxCC campus.

As members of the chapter, students organize and participate in campus-wide events such as distributing food baskets and gifts to area families, registering voters, assisting at blood drives, and serving as ushers and greeters at formal functions on campus.  This year, chapter members collected food and books that were distributed to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and local children’s organizations.  Members also develop fundraising events each year for the Phi Theta Kappa scholarship program. 

“These extraordinary students came here to Middlesex Community College for a short while in what will be their long lives,” said Dr. Anna Wasescha, MxCC president.  “And while they were here, they shined.  I salute their curiosity, their persistence, and their courage.  The best part of the Phi Theta Kappa induction ceremony, for me, is knowing that these students are going to go out into the world and change it for the better.  We congratulate all new Phi Theta Kappa inductees and wish them every success.”

The ceremony was organized and conducted by chapter advisors, Dr. Lin Lin MxCC instructor of information systems and computer programming; Patty Raymond, professor of business administration and marketing, and chair of MxCC’s Business Division; and Jennifer Jacek, MxCC mathematics instructor. Lisa Gangone, president of MxCC’s Beta Gamma Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and George Eames IV, chairman of the Board of Directors of the MxCC Foundation, made remarks during the induction event.

“Since MxCC chartered its chapter of this international honor society in 1996, we have been inspired by the dedication and motivation of our student members,” Raymond said. “We appreciate the tremendous support the chapter receives from the College, the MxCC Foundation, and the overall MxCC community.  This is an important organization that will affect these students positively during their college years and far beyond.”
Inductees were (listed here with hometowns):

Jessica Accardi, Guilford
Flavia Bird, Meriden
Paul Blanchet, Guilford
Peter Blanchet, Guilford
Clifton Brann, Groton
Michael Brown, Middletown
Zackary Capitao, Middletown
Amy Carpenter, Wallingford
Mariah Chadukiewicz, Cromwell
William Cormier, Moodus
Karen Cortese, Wallingford
Colin Cunningham, Madison
Canddy D'Amico, Westbrook
Michael Damone, Northford
Eileen Daniels, Middletown
Christopher Dearstyne, Avon
Annamaria DiCesare, Wallingford
Nicole Doody, Madison
Matthew Doolittle, Middletown
Joseph Foster, Meriden
Jason Goetz, Middletown
Lindsay Grote, Deep River
Amanda Guerrette, Wallingford
Hollie Kinney, Meriden
Dorota Klukowski, Newington
Melissa Kowaleski, Middletown
Gordon Lewis, Cheshire
Theresa Malone, Higganum
Marion Martin, Deep River
Mara Matteucci, Colchester
Amber McBurney, Meriden
Amy Mettica, Meriden
Elizabeth Milner, Chester
Craig Molter, Middletown
Mariel Nowack, Middletown
Florian Orleanu, Cromwell
Linda Remillard, Wallingford
Allison Rodman, Higganum
Alicia Sbona, Cromwell
Devki Sheth, Meriden
Sandra Soby, Higganum
Elizabeth Spash, Middletown
Adam Stiles, Middletown
Benjamin Sumner, Higganum
Keith Tang, Wallingford
Carolann Tate, Portland
Elizabeth Wagner, Groton
Jennifer White, Higganum
Paulina Wiaderski, Meriden
Donna Zambrano, Cheshire

Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College ( is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. In all it does, Middlesex Community College strives to be the college of its community. By providing high quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, the college enhances the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. MxCC, recently named a "Great College to Work For" by The Chronicle of Higher Education, offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at the main 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, and online.