Thursday, October 31, 2013

Robert Blanchard: Democratic Candidate For Planning And Zoning

Full name: Robert S. Blanchard, 25

Education: B.A. Syracuse University

Work: Executive Aide, Office of the Attorney General 

Why do you want to hold public office in Middletown?
Public service is an important part of who I am. Growing up, my parents always pressed service to your community (not necessarily through politics), upon my sister and me. Whether it came through coaching athletics, involvement in the local church or assisting with children’s camps and afterschool programs, I was always taught to give back any way that you could. I would be truly honored to serve the people of Middletown. 

What experience do you bring to the table? 
My first job in high school was at a small, local business. It was a great experience, and I saw first-hand how involved the small business owners were in our community. Small business growth and development is critical to balancing our tax base and easing the strain off on Middletown residents, and local land-use matters have a direct impact on the ability of small business to grow and thrive.
I’ve dedicated my career to public service. For me, the rewarding part of my experience in public service involves interacting with constituents and trying to work within the laws, programs and regulations of the state/city to help those who may be seeking assistance or simply looking for someone to listen and then guide them in the right direction. I will bring this same accessibility and level of constituent service and energy to the people of Middletown if elected.  

What do you think the town’s most pressing issues are?
I’ve spent a great deal of time during this campaign speaking directly to the people of Middletown, learning what matter most to them and how they would like to see our community grow. When I talk to voters, much of what we discuss revolves around these three critical issues:
·      Continuing to diversify and revitalize our downtown.
·      Thorough and smart planning for our riverfront.
·      Ensuring that we are not developing for the sake of developing and instead working with what we have, rather than spending what we do not.
These three issues can have a significant and positive impact on the quality of life for residents in town. 

We have done an excellent job at revitalizing our downtown. If you stroll down Main Street on a weekend night, our restaurants are thriving with folks from in and out of town. However, years ago that same street was full of families doing more than just dining. 

Middletown was once home to department stores such as Bunce’s and Woolworth’s and was THE local place to shop. Now, we have let the malls in Meriden and Farmington take those nights and dollars away from us. We need attract more, diverse businesses and retail establishments to Main Street in order to help create jobs for local residents and grow our local economy. 

Our riverfront represents one of the next big projects in Middletown. It is a beautiful area and very attractive for tourism. We can look at ways in which other communities have balanced economic growth with cultural opportunity. The two things that we need to keep in mind are making sure that the riverfront projects are financially sustainable and built on longevity. A thriving project that brings in new residents and creates a space for entertainment along the river would help support and compliment local businesses along Main Street and bring the city together for community events. 

Lastly, as a community moving into the future, Middletown needs to be careful and strategic about how and where we develop. Middletown is lucky enough to have beautiful parks and open green space intertwined throughout its urban communities. We must ensure that we protect those. 

We do not need to disturb the beauty of this quintessential New England town. Not only can we not afford to do it economically but also we cannot afford to do it environmentally. We need to continue work to fill the vacancies downtown and elsewhere as well as finding ways to reuse older manufacturing facilities. What was done with the Remington Rand factory is an excellent model for what we can do with other factories in town. Blighted or neglected areas can offer unique opportunities for remediation and redevelopment.

What do you love most above Middletown? 
What I love most about Middletown is how diverse the entire city is, yet it still has a tight-knit small-city neighborhood feel to it. It’s largely the reason I chose to make Middletown my new home. 

What do you like to do for fun? 
I enjoy taking my rambunctious rescue dog, Winslow, to Veterans Memorial Park for some outdoor exercise. As a Philadelphia native, I also love to go to Neon Deli for the best Philly cheesesteak in Middletown (and all of Connecticut!). I try to get some exercise of my own by playing basketball at Moody Elementary School. I also enjoy kicking off Saturday mornings at Ford News Diner or O’Rourke’s. 

How can resident keep up with you?
Middletown residents can always reach me on my cell phone, (860) 538-5425, or through email, If elected, I intend to be responsive and accessible to all residents in town.

Gerry Daley: Incument and Democratic Candidate for Common Council

Name, Age: 

Gerald E. Daley, 61 years old

*Bachelor of Arts in Political Science - Fairfield University
*Graduate Studies, UCONN MBA program

Human Resources Administrator, State of Connecticut Department of Developmental Services

Why do you want to hold public office in Middletown?
I was born and raised in Middletown along with my five brothers and sisters.   I also raised my family here.   So I care about the betterment of our community because of my many family members and friends who live here.   I think Middletown is rich in natural assets – like the river; institutional assets – like Wesleyan, Middlesex Community College, Russell Library, Middlesex Hospital and Community Health Center; and human assets – our diverse population.  Building on these assets, we have many opportunities to foster economic development and enhance the quality of life in Middletown.   I have had a strong interest in government, especially municipal government, ever since college and I think my many years of experience make me very qualified to help Middletown progress and prosper.

What experience do you bring to the table?
I am serving my tenth term as a member of the Middletown Common Council, I previously served three terms as Deputy Mayor and two terms as the Majority Leader of the Council. I have been Chairman of the Economic Development Committee since 1993.  I am also a member of the Public Works Commission, Ordinance Study Commission, and the City Commission governing the Eastern Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority.   I currently chair the Middletown Riverfront Redevelopment Commission and earlier this term chaired the Mayor’s Bi-partisan Task Force on Efficiency in Government. I previously chaired the Government Operations and Program Review and Insurance and Claims Committees, as well as the City’s Redevelopment Agency, and previously served on the Finance and Government Operations Commission, the Water Pollution Control Authority, the Personnel Commission, and the Harbor Improvement Agency.  So, I have served on most Common Council committees.    Also, I served as Administrative Assistant to Mayor Anthony S. Marino from 1975 to 1979, and from 1980 to 1981 was Chairman of the Management Study Committee on the Structure of Middletown's Government and have a strong understanding of the City Charter and Ordinances as well as our finances and budget process.

What do you think are the City's most pressing issues?
The most important and essential responsibilities of any municipal government are public safety; maintaining our physical plant and infrastructure – roads, utilities, and parks; economic development and sound fiscal management; and providing high quality education and community services.  Based on my experience, my priorities and areas of focus: 1) economic development to broaden the tax base and create jobs; 2) control spending to deliver essential services with quality and efficiency; 3) protect our investment in infrastructure – not only facilities like roads, utilities, and capital equipment, but also our organization / employees – we need to plan for the future.

What do you love most about Middletown?
Our diverse population, our great location and access to highways, the natural beauty of our community – the river and our rolling hills and open spaces, our vibrant downtown, our great institutions of learning, our convenient medical facilities, and the variety of settings where people live – from downtown, to suburban, to farm / rural.

What do you like to do for fun?
Spend time with family and friends, read, exercise, watch sports and movies.

How can residents keep up with you?
City of Middletown e-mail address –, or call the Council Clerk's office 860-638-4980. Also Twitter: @gerrydaley or Facebook:

Vincent Loffredo, Board of Education Candidate.

From Vinnie Loffredo, Democratic candidate for the Board of Education. The Eye welcomes letters to the editor from candidates or anybody else, please submit to 
Full name, age Vincent John Loffredo, 69

Graduate of St. Sebastian’s elementary and Middletown High schools
Marquette University Bachelor’s Biology/Education
Wesleyan University graduate studies MALS Program

I’m a former teacher of general science at Guilford Jr. High, and of biology and general science at Middletown High where I also directed an alternative high school program, School Within a School.

For the past 39 years, I’ve been employed by the Connecticut Education Association where I currently serve as Director of Government and Political Relations.

Why do you want to hold public office in Middletown? 
 I believe strongly in public service. Over the past several decades, I’ve served as a member of the city’s Common Council and as a State Representative for Middletown’s 33rd district in the Connecticut General Assembly. My desire to serve continues today as a Democratic candidate for the Board of Education.

I’m a very strong supporter of public education. Our community must provide its children with the best educational opportunities that it can in order for them to have a successful, productive and fulfilling future. Our world is changing very rapidly with new technology, international competition and job opportunities that require high skills in math and science. These demands raise many questions: Will the graduates of our schools have the necessary skills to meet these and other changes and challenges? Will our teachers and administrators have the resources to provide our children with the educational opportunities they will need to be successful? As a community, are we willing to do our part financially to help assure our children’s future success? Are we prepared to work and invest in helping every child to be ready for school through high quality preschool? How do we help assure that our children do not pass through the grades without having successfully demonstrated that they are prepared to move onto the next level? Are we graduating students from high school with the appropriate skills to succeed in college, technical schools, or the job market? These are just some of the questions that I’ll be working to answer with my fellow board members, other local, state and national officials, parents, students, teachers, administrators and all other interested members of our community.

What experience do you bring to the table? 
 Throughout my adult life, I’ve been a strong advocate of public education as a teacher, elected official, and as an employee of the Connecticut Education Association.

What do you think the town’s most pressing issue is? 
 Having the necessary resources for the community to continue to successfully meet its current and future challenges.

What do love most about Middletown?
It’s people. We are a very diverse and caring community.

What do you like to do for fun?
Reading, cooking, celebrating with family and friends, viewing sports events, canoeing and kayaking.

How can residents keep up with you? 

Friends of the Wesleyan Library Book Sale Saturday

Homecoming Weekend 
Saturday, November 2, 2013
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Olin Memorial Library, 252 Church Street

3500+ academic and popular, donated and ex libris books.

Most books priced $1-$5. Special books $10+. Cash and checks accepted.

Bring friends and enjoy browsing the excellent selection. You never know what treasures you will find!

For more information, contact

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This weekend at the Buttonwood Tree...

Friday, November 1

Mattabesset String Collective
8 pm, $10

Mattabesset is a 5-piece acoustic ensemble playing an eclectic mix of bluegrass, blues, folk, country and rock, all in a string band style. The band has played in various configurations around central Connecticut for over ten years.  Its present lineup includes Barry Chernoff (guitar), Marc Eisner (mandolin), Rebecca McCallum (fiddle), Chad Reddick (bass), and Gil Skillman (banjo, cuatro, and dobro).

Describing a recent show on Wesleyan’s campus, the student newspaper wrote, “Perhaps it was the cozy, casual atmosphere, or the self-effacing and vivacious charisma of the performers, but… that night was all but burning with friendly energy against a nimble soundtrack of bluegrass and classic rock… in my mind, no words could ever quite describe the sound.”

Reserve your seat!

Saturday, November 2

Stan Sullivan & Friends
8 pm, $10

Singer-songwriter, guitar instrumentalist and blues player Stan Sullivan celebrates 50 years of playing music and 25 years of volunteering at Roaring Brook Concerts. The 2011 Roxbury Pickin’ and Fiddlin’ Fingerstyle Guitar Champion has won songwriting and guitar playing awards in CT, AZ, NH and KS. He has opened shows for Richard Thompson, Cheryl Wheeler, Greg Brown and John Hammond.

Reserve your seat!

Sunday, November 3

Food Not Bombs
1 pm, free

“Cooking for Peace and Social Justice”

Food Not Bombs shares food about 1 pm in front of the Buttonwood. Anyone is welcome. Consider yourself invited to help us prepare vegetarian food at the First Church on 190 Court Street at 11:30 am.

Great Make Believe Improv Show

7 pm, $5

Here at GMBS Headquarters, the improv keeps coming in, and we’re slaves to the production line. Made from 100% fresh suggestions and sharp wit harvested from years of experience, we are committed to delivering a product of the highest quality that you and your family will enjoy!

Fill-A-Bus Nov. 2 for Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project

MIDDLETOWN – Nonperishable food donations for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project (MCTP) will be collected at a Fill-A-Bus event Saturday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Price Chopper in Middletown.

The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project was established three years ago to ensure that all Middletown families who couldn’t afford to purchase a Thanksgiving meal could still enjoy a feast on Thanksgiving. Made up of volunteers from nonprofit organizations, businesses, faith communities, and civic groups and funded in large part by the Middletown Rotary, the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project will assemble baskets of food for 700 families this Thanksgiving.

A list of items needed will be available at the store during the collection times.

Monetary donations are being accepted to purchase necessary food and non-food items essential to this effort. If you wish to contribute, checks can be made out to “Rotary-MCTP” and sent to MCTP, c/o Fellowship Church, 1002 Saybrook Rd., Middletown, CT 06457. For more information about contributing a donation, please contact Lara SantaMaria at Fellowship Church at 860-346-1181 or

The planning committee for the  Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project includes representatives from Community Renewal Team, Cross Street AME Zion Church, Fellowship Church, Heritage Commons, Liberty Bank Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Middlesex United Way, the Middletown Interfaith Community, Middletown Kiwanis Club, Middletown Police Department, Middletown Public Schools, Middletown Rotary Club, St. John Roman Catholic Church, St. Luke’s Eldercare Services, St. Vincent De Paul Middletown/Amazing Grace Food Pantry, The Salvation Army, and Wesleyan University.

Phil Pessina: Middletown First Candidate for Common Council

From Phil Pessina, incumbent and Working Families candidate for City Councilman. The Eye welcomes letters to the editor from candidates or anybody else, please submit to
3 Term Councilman, Retired Deputy Chief of Police for the City of Middletown who has over 40 plus years of service to Middletown, serving on several major Committees & Commissions, all within my legislative role for our city government.

My Education: a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, from the University of New Haven and a 1966 Graduate of Middletown High School

My Work: Deputy Chief of Police, Associate Director of Security for Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven

Why do I Want to Continue to Hold Public Office in our City of Middletown.
As I look forward to being elected for my 4th term on the Common Council, I do so with a great amount of personal pride for our Middletown community I have protected, established the foundation for Community Policing, working to improve the Quality of life within our city residential neighborhoods, fostered and taught Drug & Alcohol Prevention Education and Safety to our city youth and children and presently working towards the completion and opening of our New Senior Community Center; serving in my present capacity of Vice Chairman of the building Committee.

I have always taken my Oath of my Elective Office very seriously to affirm and declare to discharge my duties to the best of my knowledge, skill and judgment; an oath to the Residents of the City of Middletown, who we work for and Putting “Middletown First above politics”!

Parent Leadership Training Institute Events

From Rebecca Deotte.
The Middletown Public School district, in collaboration with the Connecticut Commission on Children and funding from the Parent Trust Fund will be offering free program, Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), to individuals interested in becoming leading advocates and empowered organizers for children and families. Participants finish their PLTI classroom experience with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare themselves as community leaders. Alumni have stated, “This is not just a program it is a life changing experience.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Did the Great Pumpkin Die With Charles Schulz? Popcorn by The Colonel #68

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was a perfectionist and labored over his journalistic prose. One night he was unable to make his notes cohere by deadline, so he faxed his raw drafts to his editor, expecting to be fired. They published the draft as was, complete with crossouts, circles and arrows. It created a sensation. Thompson thought, "Heck, if they're going to pay me for my drafts, why ever agonize again?" It was a turning point in his life. He got away with it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rockfall to Honor Marcy Klattenberg at Grants & Awards Celebration

Environmental educator and conservationist, Marcy Klattenberg, has been selected to receive the 2013 Certificate of Honor award from The Rockfall Foundation. The life-achievement award will presented at the foundation’s 2013 Awards and Grants Celebration, to be held at 6:00 p.m. on November 14,  at the deKoven House Community Center. 

Marcy is being recognized for her decades of work as an environmental educator for Regional District 13, where she has served as Director of the Outdoor Education Center for over 25 years, up until her retirement last year.  She is also being honored for her significant volunteer contributions to such local organizations as the Mattabeseck Audubon Society, where she currently serves as Vice President, and the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate. Marcy was one of the founding members of the Mansion’s Parklands Committee and was key to developing the estate’s hiking trails, trial maps and interpretive signage.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Eric Kuhn Group Canoe Club Oct 27 at 6 PM

Friends: The Eric Kuhn Group returns to the Mattabessett Canoe Club this coming Sunday, October 27 at 6 PM. The blues, the news—you snooze you lose! 

With special guest Edward Snowden for an exceedingly limited engagement on cowbell. That ain't no polyrythm, it's Morse code! 

The Canoe, once Harborpark, is 80 Harbor Drive in Middletown, 860 347 9999. No cover, and very few covers. See you then! 

Health Care Reform: Images and Realities of Costs, Quality, and Access

Wesleyan will host a public forum, "U.S. Health Care Reform: Images and Realities of Costs, Quality, and Access,” Friday, November 1 from 4.00-5.30 pm, in the Powell Family Cinema on Washington Terrace.

Three of the country’s leading specialists in health policy, economics and health communication will address the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act, and consider how political messaging by both proponents and opponents of the ACA is helping shape public opinion and frame the terms of the debate. John Dankosky, News Director of WNPR and radio host of “Where We Live” (CT Public Broadcasting Network) will moderate a question/answer discussion with the panelists and audience following the presentations.

The three panelists are:  
Don H. Taylor, Jr., Associate Professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Duke Medical Center. Professor Taylor’s papers have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, BMJ, Health Affairs, The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and Social Science and Medicine. His ongoing research is in the area of patient decision-making and Medicare hospice policy, and he is currently writing a book on the role of health care policy in developing a long-range balanced budget in the U.S. He was named a member of the HRSA Negotiated Rulemaking Committee that was created by the Affordable Care Act to reconsider how the federal government identifies Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas.  

Austin Frakt, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Medicine. Since 2003, Dr. Frakt has served as a Health Economist in Health Care Financing & Economics at the VA Boston Healthcare System. He joined the BU School of Public Health as Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in 2007 and the BU School of Medicine in 2011. Dr. Frakt’s primary research interests include the policy, utilization, and financing of public health care programs with a recent focus on VA and Medicare prescription drug policy. His presentation will address economic questions about the ACA and its effects and explore possible implications for costs, access and quality of health care of cost shifting, payer and/or provider consolidation and changing structures of competition.  

Sarah Gollust, Assistant Professor of Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Gollust is a political scientist whose research focuses on the intersection of media, public opinion, and population health. Dr. Gollust received her BA in Biology from Wesleyan in 2001 and her PhD from the University of Michigan. Her dissertation work examined the political implications of media framing of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Gollust’s presentation will address the significance of media/marketing strategies in framing the country’s current national debate over “Obamacare.”

Music of the World and more

The John Funkhouser Trio - Mr. Funkhouser (piano, keyboards), Greg Loughman (acoustic bass), and Mike Connors (drums) - return to The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street in Middletown.   This Saturday's show is the band's 3rd appearance in the venue in the last 2 years; this time around, they are celebrating the release of "Still" (Jazsyzygy Records), the JFT's 3rd release and first in 4 years.

If you have ever seen and heard the JFT (pictured left) in person, you know how much energy they bring to a live show.  Yes, each musician has technique to burn (and, there are moments when they let it rip) but they're also extremely musical.  The material on the new CD ranges from a Latin-inspired romp through Thelonious Monk's "Little Rootie Tootie" to a blues-drenched rendition of "House of the Rising Sun" (featuring a long but emotionally rich bass solo from Loughman) to a long and satisfying journey through the Rodgers/Hart standard "My Romance."  There are also 5 Funkhouser originals including the often fiery opener "Indigo Montoya's Great Escape" (named for the pianist's cat) to the multi-sectioned "The Deep"(1 of 3 tracks featuring guitarist Phil Sargent and 1 of 2 featuring the wordless vocals of Aubrey Johnson). Ms. Johnson also appears on "Leda", a ballad that turns up-tempo, propelled by Connors' splendid drum work. The CD closes with the haunting and mysterious title track; it features a fine bass solo, a hint of George Harrison's "Within You, Without You" in the melody line, atmospheric guitar, more splendid drum work and a mesmerizing piano solo.

The John Funkhouser Trio is, often, wildly inventive and great fun to watch and listen to - they can also play with grace and sweetness.  The Buttonwood gig starts at 8 p.m. tonight.  Go to for more information and to reserve a seat (or 2).  To learn more about Mr. Funkhouser and his talented comrades, go to  

On Sunday evening, the Buttonwood welcomes Jussi Reijonen and his Un quartet for an evening of music inspired by American jazz, Middle Eastern and African rhythms and the desire to create music that stitches these various influences into a warm, inviting, quilt of sound.  Reijonen, born in Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle in northern Finland, spent his formative years traveling from Scandanavia to the Middle East to Africa.  At an early age, he gravitated towards music and now plays fretted and fretless guitars as well as the oud.   He relocated to Boston where he earned degrees from the Berklee School in 2011 and the New England Conservatory; he has studied with pianist Ran Blake, percussionist Simon Shaheen and guitarists such as Mick Goodrick, David Gilmore, David Tronzo and David Fiuczynski.  

Earlier this year, Reijonen self-released his debut CD, "Un", recorded the basic group (plus guests) that is accompanying him at The Buttonwood.  Actually, one could say his group is akin to the UN (United Nations) as it brings together the guitarist from Finland, pianist Utar Artun from Turkey, Swedish-born bassist Bruno Raberg and Palestinian percussionist Tareq Rantisi. The CD and the live show features a large percentage of original music plus a mesmerizing performance of John Coltrane's "Naima" (played so softly, one needs to lean into to hear the interactions.)  You can hear African rhythms in the guitar melody solos on "Toumani (Blues for Mick)" and the pulsing desert sounds swirling through the CD opener "Serpentine."  Reijonen's arrangement on the latter track incorporates the melodic piano work of Artun, echoing the phrases of the leader's oud.  "Nuku Sie" is a duet for fretless electric guitar and acoustic bass that is trance-like, beautiful, and slow to unfold (at times, sounding somewhat like Miles Davis's "In A Silent Way".)

Jussi Reijonen's music reflects the myriad travels of his youth as well as the relative quiet of his native land (although his place of birth bills itself as the "hometown of Santa Claus!)  The Buttonwood Tree's intimate performance space should lend itself nicely to Reijonen's music, the audience seated close to the musicians who will need little amplification for their music to resonate throughout the room.  For reservations, go to or call 860-347-4957.  To learn more about the artist, go to   

Friday, October 25, 2013

What’s Going on this Sunday – Community Workshop and Free Performance?

Bread and Puppet Theater pulled into Middletown in their funky full-sized school bus late last night and they will be here until Monday morning. The nine puppeteers are staying with the Middletown Theater Company ARTFARM as the second part of an artistic exchange between the two groups.  And there are ways that you can join some of the fun while they’re in town! For free!
Today both companies are spending the day in residence at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford. Tonight Bread and Puppet will be giving a free public performance at the school at 7:30 pm of “The Fifty Years Cabaret”. The Cabaret consists of five short shows created at various times in the iconic theater company’s fifty year history. Reserve your free seats at
Sunday, however, is the day to join the action in Middletown. From noon to 5 pm, the two companies will collaborate to offer a unique Community Workshop focused on Creating Original Issue-Oriented Work. Called Arse Kicking Puppetry, Ding Dongs and the Radical Farming of Art, the workshop will share techniques that each of the Companies have developed to create new theater work. Participants will act, write, move, make music and ultimately create several short new pieces to share with the public at 4:30 pm. The fee for the workshop is $50, and there are a few places still available. To claim a spot, email as soon as you can. Theater experience is not required – this workshop wants and includes a diverse community of visual artists, educators, activists, musicians, poets, dancers and just plain folks (18 or over) with something to say and a desire to gain tools to help you be heard.
The Curious, but perhaps less adventurous, may prefer to just come see the workshop’s final outcome, The Arse Kicking Free Show at 4:30 pm. The show, made up of very fresh, locally-grown material, should be entertaining as well as thought-provoking. The show is free, but the groups will pass a hat.
Both the Workshop and Show take place at The Barn at Prout Hill, a partially renovated barn with a little platform stage behind it at 64 Prout Hill Road. The venue, owned by Middletown musician and sculptor Michael Pestel, is charming and evocative, absolutely beautiful at this time of year. It is, however, outdoors, and it is the end of October, so dress warmly! Then share some apples and cider with us after the show.
Made possible by a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters, this collaboration is a rare theatrical event, one of those cool and unique things that make Middletown “an arts town” and a great place to live. Come be there as it happens. Come join the fun.

Shred it Up!

Middletown is hosting a second Shred Event tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 26th from 9am – 12 noon at the Water and Sewer Department.  The event is being sponsored by the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Government.  You MUST be a resident of one of the following towns to participate and you will be asked to show ID.

Deep River
East Haddam
Old Lyme
Old Saybrook

In order to make sure we can accommodate everyone who comes these are the rules:

·         No more than five boxes or bags will be accepted from each vehicle.
·         No business documents will be accepted.
·         Please only bring sensitive documents – pay stubs, bank statements, pre-approved credit card offerings, your personal medical records, tax forms, anything with SSN or credit card numbers.   
·         No newspapers, inserts, general junk mail, greeting cards, books, big metal clips, folders or magazines.

Thanks for recycling!!


Kim O’Rourke
Recycling Coordinator
245 Dekoven Drive Room 210
Middletown CT  06457

Photos From Unity Day

City schools are celebrating Unity Day today, to help raise awareness of the long-term effects of  bullying, name-calling, and meanness.  Students, teachers, and staff were asked to wear orange to show their support.

Middletown Press article

Thomas Serra, Common Council Candidate

Name, Age
Thomas J. Serra,  67 years old

*Bachelor of Science, Eastern Conn. State University
*Master of Arts, University of Connecticut
*Sixth year certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational administration, University of Connecticut

Retired Technical High School Principal

Why do you want to hold public office in Middletown?
To serve the community I grew up in, raised my family in and love very much.

What experience do you bring to the table?
Since 1974, I have gradually participated in almost all of the appointed commissions and committees of the city of Middletown's government as well as served 10 terms as a councilman and one term as mayor.  Also, additional experience as a teacher, coach, athletic director, vice-principal, principal, and my past experience as a carpenter in Local Union # 24.

What do you think the town's most pressing issues are? 
The most important issue and goal of an elected official is to strive to provide the best possible services for the least amount of cost at all times.  I wholeheartedly ascribe to this philosophy. Other priorities are: 1) To strive to expand the grand list by attracting new businesses thus aiding the bolstering of city revenues; 2) Properly fund education and public safety endeavors; 3) Promote rational economic development and open space preservation; 4) Plan for and support needed infrastructure maintenance projects including but not limited to, roads, parks, buildings and water & sewer endeavors.

What do you love most about Middletown?
Its diverse and caring people, its diverse institutions, businesses, establishments and its diverse topography.

What do you like to do for fun?
To be with my family especially my grandson, travel, exercise, and watch sporting events.

How can residents keep up with you?
City of Middletown email address --, or call the Council Clerk's office 860-638-4980

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Rooftop Garden collaboration at Community Health Center, Inc. leads to volunteer award
On Thursday, October 17th, MARC: Community Resources held their 58th annual meeting at the Middletown Elks Club where members from the Middletown Garden Club (MGC) were recognized with the “Volunteer of the Year” award. MARC: Community Resources, is a multi-faceted organization that serves hundreds of adults and children with disabilities in employment, vocational, elderly, recreation and habilitative programs. Last winter, an opportunity to have MARC host one of their recreation groups on the Community Health Center, Inc. rooftop was just an idea that quickly became supported by The Middletown Garden Club and brought to life in such an amazing way. 

“To say that it was an enjoyable and satisfying experience is an understatement -- we became friends, working our way into one another's hearts,” said Melissa Roberts, one of the project leaders from the Middletown Garden Club. “I trust this is just the beginning of a long relationship between our two organizations.  We are so thankful that the Community Health Center made this rooftop garden project possible.”

The Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) of Middletown opened their comprehensive primary care facility in May of 2012.  The new building on the north end of Main Street includes a “green rooftop” with several garden plots added in the blueprint to be utilized by the community. As we fast forward more than a year and a half later, the outcome of gardening with other Middlesex County organizations has surpassed our expectations immensely. The Middletown Garden Club is a large organization with members across Middlesex County that was founded in 1915. The club as a whole focuses on a variety of conservation, horticulture and civic projects. Five Middletown local members agreed to partner with MARC: Community Resources this past spring and it instantly turned into a learning and growing experience for all individuals involved.

The MGC took on the role of planning what vegetables, herbs and flowers to add in each of the rooftop garden beds and with the financial support of the Community Health Center, Inc., the first day of “Garden Club” began in April. From then on, every Tuesday, members from The Middletown Garden Club, Staff and Consumers of MARC and various CHC AmeriCorps members spent an hour on the roof learning, sharing and gardening together.

MARC: Community Resources follows their mission statement of empowering adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to realize their dreams and make choices about their lives. For one hour per week, the core group of volunteers from MGC brought their knowledge, patience and compassion with them.  From April to October, the weekly gardening continued and the benefits of the program included: newfound knowledge of horticulture, responsibility & ownership of maintaining a garden and sharing of what these beds were producing. Depending on the week, different participants were able to take vegetables and herbs home along with regularly donating to Amazing Grace Food Pantry. The groups also came together in August to prepare a meal using freshly picked produce in the CHC kitchen.

“What a thrill it was for MARC to collaborate with the Community Health Center and Middletown Garden Club in this unique rooftop garden project,” said Lisa Christensen, the Director of Adult Recreation for MARC. “Words cannot describe how beneficial this program was for everyone involved.  The knowledge shared, the time given and the end results of gardens and friendships that grew were just priceless.  We are all looking forward to continuing this partnership next year”, said Christensen. The selection of the Middletown Garden Club members for the Volunteer Award just reiterates the fact that they’re a unique group of woman who have helped fulfill one of CHC’s ongoing goals, building healthier communities and we are beyond grateful for their support.

Gail Hamm Dies

Gail Hamm represented the southeast part of Middletown in the State Assembly from 1999 to 2011, when district boundaries were redrawn. She died this morning at the age of 62.

Patch has more on her life and career, along with reactions from local leaders.

Planning and Zoning Commission, October 23

The Planning and Zoning Commission had four public hearings scheduled last night, but three were either withdrawn or tabled.  The Commission approved a special exception and site plan review for an expansion and sports field improvements at Xavier High. It also approved a modest increase in the size, and mandated improvements in the lighting, of a large parking lot behind High Street.

Withdrawn, tabled, and tabled.
A proposal for a 3-lot subdivision on East Street, that generated considerable concern about traffic and water flow, was withdrawn. City Planner Bill Warner told the Commission that the developer will later submit a new proposal. Commissioner Dan Russo said he hoped that the developer would address the concerns raised in the original proposal. Warner assured him that the developer had paid attention.

A proposal for a 15-lot subdivision at Country Club Road and Massa Tom Road was tabled until the December 11th meeting. Warner said that the developer was still working to address the issues raised by Inland Wetlands.

A zoning code text amendment on "Sale or Dispensation of any form of medical marijuana" was tabled until the December 11th meeting.

Xavier expansion

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This week at The Buttonwood Tree...

Friday, October 25

Klezwoods & Jeni Joi
8 - 10 pm, $12 in advance/$15 at door

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!

Reserve your seat!

Saturday, October 26

7:30 - 8:30 am, free

Practicing Qi Gong will help relax your body and mind by combining simple, gentle stretching movements with focused breathing.

Community Yoga
8:45 - 10:00 am, free

From the thousands of practice hours on the mat, Terri Johnson brings a deep understanding of the yoga experience to her classes. She will be teaching a unique and varied Vinyasa Flow style as it allows her to unify her appreciation of the benefits of the different types of yoga.

John Funkhouser Jazz Trio
8 - 10 pm, $10

Pianist/composer John Funkhouser returns to the Buttonwood with his trio for a concert celebrating the release of his 4th CD, Still. A band of Musicians Without Borders, Funkhouser’s trio incorporates all kinds of music into its modern jazz sound: Indian classical, heavy metal, deep blues, avant-garde, Western classical, and funky grooves.

Reserve your seat!

Sunday, October 27
Food Not Bombs
1 - 2 pm, free

Cooking for peace and social justice! Food not Bombs welcomes you to a free vegetarian meal outside of the Buttonwood Tree. Food for people, not profit!

1 - 2 pm, free

Rumpus provides a fun, free, rhythmic space to be liberated from everyday life. Enter into a natural, tribal, and energetic place where the rhythm takes hold and being part of it becomes second nature.

Jussi Reijonen: Un
7 - 9 pm, $8 in advance/$10 at door

Bringing together four seasoned musicians from Finland, Turkey, Sweden and Palestine, Jussi Reijonen: Un traverses the boundaries between musical cultures, paying tribute to the traditions of American and Scandinavian jazz and the folk musics of the Middle East and Africa in its search for new sounds and textures.

Reserve your seat!

A Fine Prospect at Wadsworth Mansion

The Middletown Garden Club presents A Fine Prospect, a flower show at the Wadsworth Mansion, 421 Wadsworth Street in Middletown, on Wednesday, October 30th from 1-5 pm. Admission is free.

The show features floral arrangements that interpret Colonel and Mrs. Clarence Wadsworth’s elegant lifestyle and the mansion’s flawless architecture and impressive landscape. In addition to floral arrangements crafted by Master floral arrangers from Connecticut and Rhode Island, the show will include a horticultural display of flowers and plants grown by exhibitors; a conservation exhibit will highlight the work of the club and community leaders to restore the Wadsworth Mansion.

At its peak, in 1934, the estate hosted more than 1000 guests who attended the wedding reception of the Wadsworths' son and daughter in law.  Now, the magnificently restored city-owned estate is the site of showers, weddings, parties, concerts and corporate and charity events.

The public is welcome to enjoy the flower show at the Mansion on October 30th. Directions can be found here.