Thursday, April 30, 2015

Walk Against Hunger -- Sunday, May 3, in Hartford

Now That The Snow Has Melted and
Spring Is Finally Here,
How Would You Like To Take A Walk?

Walkathon - CLikc to open PDF

32nd Annual Foodshare
Walk Against Hunger
Sunday, May 3, 2015
140 Garden Street, Hartford
Check-in at 12:30 p.m.
Walk steps off at 2:00 p.m.
FREE Parking at 690 Asylum Avenue

To learn more about the Walk Against Hunger, go to and click on "Register" or "Donate." Be sure to check the box for St. Vincent de Paul Middletown as the benefiting program in your registration to ensure the money you raise stays in the Middletown community. If you have any questions or would like help with the registration process, please contact the Volunteer Walk Co-Coordinator Bob Walsh at 860-463-5061 or
Please, walk or donate as you are able.

Westfield Fire Department Annual BBQ Saturday!

Best food in town, great place to see your friends and neighbors.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Opinion: A Poem to the Mayor and Middletown Common Council, Regarding the BOE Budget

It's been a while since I have had the urge to post anything, but after last night's clear showing of public support for Dr. Charles and the BOE requested budget.... I'm back.  There are a lot of smoke and mirrors regarding the budget.  A lot of number crunching and he said she said. I work with numbers all day every day, and you learn that you can get the numbers to say whatever you want them to, the results mostly depend on the amount of ethics you want to apply to your theories.  I am by no means stating the the Council is being unethical, but I am implying that there is "more than one way to skin a cat".

Under the principal that Good Enough is Neither (see below) I put forth this challenge to the Mayor and the Council. Don't fall peril to partisan politics. There is no reason why, at the local level, you need to behave like your colleagues at the State and Federal level.  In a city where there are such staunch opinions from the left and the right, you need to find a way to shake hands in the middle or you will lose us.  You will be added to the pile of politicians that most of us have gotten to the point of having absolutely no patience for.  

I will speak for myself, a registered republican with an independent mind.  You support the 5.92% increase for the Board of Education, PUBLICLY, and I will support you PUBLICLY, regardless of the party affiliation.  Political suicide? Or maybe political champion!  (If you can find a way to do it with reallocation of funds rather than raising my taxes.... HERO!!!)

I leave you with the same poem I read last night by Cyndy Caravelis.  Really read it, and search out it's meaning.

Good Enough Is Neither

All too often good enough is where all weak hearts stop,
It keeps the very best in each from coming to the top.
Enough implies just getting by and good falls short of best,
So good enough is average stuff and seldom meets the test.

The ones who shine and seem to find success are those who dare,
To charge right past old good enough and show the world they care.
Never being satisfied with just an average plan,
They work and think and push themselves to do the best they can.

Remember that the choice is yours and you alone choose either,
But those who shine are those who know that good enough is neither.

Brian Kaskel 
Concerned Parent of School Age Children


​Cat Tales
Cat of the Week

Wesleyan Farm Celebration Saturday

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

South Fire Budget Vote Today

To the residents of the South Fire District:

This is a friendly reminder that our budget vote is Tuesday, April 29th, from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, at the firehouse.

Please stop by and vote.

Thank you,

South Fire District Commissioners

Monday, April 27, 2015

MxCC Professor Honored as Champion of Science, Technology and Engineering Education

In recognition of her commitment and dedication to science, technology and engineering, Middlesex Community College Professor Mary Rayappan was inducted as an honorary member of the Epsilon Pi Tau (EPT) national honor society.  EPT honored Dr. Rayappan during its annual student induction ceremony held at Manchester Community College on April 17.

EPT selected Dr. Rayappan based on nominations by her colleagues that detailed her contributions to the enhancement and development of engineering and technology education in Connecticut.  Her leadership in these fields was recognized as playing a crucial role in preparing today’s workforce for a healthy economy in the state and throughout the country. 

In addition to teaching at MxCC, Dr. Rayappan is the College’s academic division director of the School of Allied Health, Business, and STEM. She was educated in India, earning a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and a master’s in business administration. 

“Preparing students for STEM careers has been a major emphasis at MxCC, and our programs have excelled under the leadership of Dr. Rayappan,” Dr. Steven Minkler, MxCC dean of academic affairs, said.  “We are glad to see her inducted into this important honor society – which is a testament to her dedication and quality of work.  We are fortunate to have her as part of our academic team.”

During the ceremony, more than 100 students from the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system were inducted into EPT. These students have achieved excellence in science, technology, and engineering through strong participation, dedication, and persistence.

EPT ( is the leading international honor society for technology.  It recognizes students who have demonstrated academic scholarship and leadership in science, technology, and engineering. The induction ceremony was co-sponsored by the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence.

Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College ( is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System.

Middlesex Country Historical Society Annual Meeting + Riverfront Story

The history of Middletown’s riverfront and its future will be explored at the annual meeting of the Middlesex County Historical Society to be held on Wednesday, April 29 at the newly opened Middletown Senior and Community Center located in the former Eckersley-Hall School, 61 Durant Terrace.  The business portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30 pm with the program to follow at 7:00 pm.

Society Director Deborah Shapiro will begin the program with her lecture, “Down by the Riverside.”  She will trace the history of the waterfront from 18th century private ownership to today’s mostly municipal ownership, highlighting properties from the present-day Harbor Park to city-owned land across from the Rushford Center.  To conduct her research, she searched the land records in the Town Clerk’s Office and then scoured Society archives to learn about the businesses operated by the owners.  The transition of maritime activities from the early agricultural and slave trade to waterfront lumber and coal yards and enamel manufacturing will be richly illustrated with photographs from the Society’s collection.

Shapiro will be joined by Michiel Wackers, the Director of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development who will speak about the future plans for the riverfront as overseen by the Middletown Riverfront Redevelopment Commission.  By the city becoming a member of the Mattabasett District, land now occupied by the Middletown waste water treatment plant will be freed up for development along with other city owned parcels.  Wackers will discuss major aspects of the comprehensive plan.
The Senior and Community Center is handicapped accessible and has parking.  The program is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome.  For further information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Garden Club Celebrates 100 years

From The Middletown Garden Club
On May 19, Mayor Daniel Drew and the Common Council will issue a proclamation naming the day Middletown Garden Club Day in recognition of the club’s 100th Birthday.

Events leading up to the day included the April 24 Arbor Day Dedication of 35 trees planted by the club on Washington St., High St. & Veterans Green.

Members and friends will gather at a Gala at St. Clements Castle in Portland on May 15 to mark the actual date that the club began in 1915. The Gala includes a cocktail hour, dinner, music from ten decades and, of course, flowers. Reservations to the black tie optional ticketed event must be made by May 1. Contact Patsy Mylchreest at 860 398-1391 for more information.
On May 16, Armed Forces Day, the club will dedicate a Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker on Veterans Green. The Blue Star Memorial Marker program was begun by National Garden Clubs, Inc. after World War II and the markers honor all who have served in the Armed Forces. The dedication ceremony is at 11:00 am.

The Club’s final ceremony will be the installation of a bench at the Palmer Taylor nature preserve in Portland on Thursday, June 11 at 5:30 pm. The preserve, which is overseen by the Middlesex Land Trust, was donated by the late Prudence Palmer and her family. Prudence was a Middletown Garden Club member.

The Centennial Celebration started in November with a month-long exhibit at the Middlesex County Historical Society headquarters. Parts of the exhibit, showing the club’s accomplishments and history of community service, continue to be shown, currently at City Hall and beginning May 11 at the Russell Library.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

New Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance Gets Grant

Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance has been awarded a four-year, $100,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support the participation of low-income students and students of color in ICPP’s Master’s and Certificate programs through the ICPP Scholarship Fund.

Founded in 2010, the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance is a center for the academic study of the presentation and contextualization of contemporary performance, and offers an interdisciplinary, graduate-level education in innovative and relevant curatorial approaches to developing and presenting time-based art. The Institute, housed at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, now offers a Master of Arts in Performance Curation, which will launch in July 2015, in addition to a ten-month, post-graduate Certificate, now in its fourth year.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tips for Advanced Genealogical Research

This program was originally scheduled for January 2015 but was postponed due t inclement weather.
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut presents Godfrey Memorial Library Director Beth Mariotti, who will speak on the multitude of resources available online and how to use them, on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 1:30 at Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT. 

Get tips for:

·         Discovering which documents are available online

·         Using databases

·         Successful Google searches

·         Free sources such as ICONN and

·         Managing online documents

Free and open to the public.  For additional information, please visit our web page.

Opinion: South Fire District Budget: VOTE YES!!!!

Submitted by South Fire District Commission members. The Eye welcomes all signed opinion pieces. See also the opinion piece from the Dan Penney, adjacent to this one.
 As Fire Commission members, we urge you to vote "YES" on the Budget on Tuesday April 28th.

Voting is from 6 AM to 8 PM at the firehouse on Randolph Road.  We believe the budget is a fair balance between our responsibility to provide you with adequate fire, rescue and EMS service, and our desire, as taxpayers, to keep taxes as low as possible.  

Opinion: South Fire District Budget: VOTE NO!!!!

Submitted by Dan Penney. The Eye welcomes all signed opinion pieces. See also the opinion piece from the South Fire District, adjacent to this one.
To the editor:!! ! ! ! ! ! ! April 22, 2015

The South Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners has scheduled voting on the proposed 2015 - 2016 budget for Tuesday, April 28, 2015 from 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the South District Firehouse.

Why vote NO?

Arbor Day Celebration Today

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Buttonwood Hosts Legendary Songwriter Eric Taylor and NHIC

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center:

Eric Taylor is a master storyteller and has been one of the finest southern songwriters for the last four decades. Influencing such well-known artists as Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett (both of whom have covered several of his songs) and Steve Earle, Taylor tours extensively throughout North America and Europe. He has appeared on Austin City Limits, Late Night With David Letterman, NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Mountain Stage” and BBC Radio.

A mesmerizing performer whose shows will leave you wanting more.

“I’m always the opening act when I’m around Eric. I love his voice, and he has a great narrative quality and sense of detail. He sort of takes you out of your own reality and into the reality of his songs. It’s good writing no matter how you cut it.” – Lyle Lovett

“Eric Taylor is an enormous talent..poet, actor and truly one of the great writers of our time. His thoughtful and humorous introductions for his songs is great theater..and beautifully frame the gritty songs he sings. The evening with Eric was truly an enriching experience.” – R. Ralston, Coolwater Ranch Concerts                                                             

Seats will be limited, $15 in advance / $18 at the door 
(no free seats will be available for this show)
Read more / Reserve your seat here

Also this weekend:
Aligned with Source workshop "Miracles in Your Life"  10:30-noon includes guided meditation $5.

NHIC - New Haven Improvisers Collective
Reveal their new CD, ELECTRONHIC - full of improvised jazz  Saturday, April 26, 8 pm $10.
Read more and Reserve your seat here

North End Block Party Saturday

The North End Block Party is happening this Saturday, April 25th, from 1 to 4PM, taking place at Donovan Park at the Macdonough School - 66 Spring Street.

It is a free, family-friendly event for all, right after NEAT’s Annual Pride Day. There will be a celebration of the North End’s vibrant community and a chance to get to know your neighbors, along with food, games, kid-centric activities and live entertainment. Families will also be coached on how to create a family health history.

The AmeriCorps members and The North End Action Team (NEAT) have joined forces to create a neighborhood block party to unify a wonderfully diverse community. The goal is to create community engagement as well as supporting activities that generate health and wellbeing in the North End community. A number of city businesses, as well as the Middletown Police Department, will also be volunteering their time or donating activities and food.

The Block Party features family friendly games like kickball, basketball and bingo, activities like hula hooping, bouncy houses, gardening and face painting activities as well as a BBQ, all for free! In addition, all Block Party attendees will be entered to win a raffle featuring prizes from city favorites including but not limited to Krust, Eli Cannon, NoRA and Mondo!

"The Bald Soprano" (through Sat. Apr. 25)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to stage manager Julia Tyminski '17, and Albert Tholen '15 and Grace Nix '15, who are performing as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in the Wesleyan University Theater Department production of Eugène Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano," which runs through Saturday, April 25, 2015 in the CFA Theater, in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog.

Wesleyan University's Theater Department presents "The Bald Soprano."
Sitting (left to right): Sara Fayngolz '17, Natalie May '18, Peter McCook '16, Grace Nix '15.
Standing (left to right): Edward Archibald '17, Albert Tholen '15. Photo by John Carr.
In 1950, Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco wrote The Bald Soprano, one of the seminal plays of Theater of the Absurd. He was inspired by the cliché dialogues between the imaginary Mr. and Mrs. Smith in an English phrasebook for beginners. Albert Tholen ’15 and Grace Nix ’15 play Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the production by the Wesleyan University Theater Department, directed by Professor of Theater Yuri Kordonsky.

“We are a proper British couple with a twist,” says Ms. Nix with a sly smile.

The entire play takes place in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in their home on the outskirts of London. “It’s a drawing room drama,” says Mr. Tholen. “One that goes horribly awry.”

With The Bald Soprano, Mr. Ionesco rejected coherent plot, character development, and the concept of realistic drama. Through dark and daring humor, the play discusses the futility of meaningful communication in contemporary society, and the tragedy of language in a universe driven by chance.

Twelve Good Reasons to Support the School Budget

Ed McKeon is a member of the Middletown Board of Ed.  This opinion piece reflects his opinion alone, and not those of the board, or any other member of the board. 

An edited version of this piece appeared in the Middletown Press.

The threadbare 30-year-old MHS marching band uniforms.
The Superintendent has made her budget request known.  She’s made it clear that we need a 5.92%, or $4,509,832 increase in the school budget to continue providing quality education to students in Middletown.  The mayor calls a 3.02% increase is full-funding.  Reports say several members of the Common Council agree.  On April 28 the Council will consider the thoughts of the public before they make a final decision.

As chairman of the budget committee for the BOE, I support a fully-funded budget, at 5.92%, which will allow the district to make real educational progress for Middletown’s students.

Here are 12 good reasons you should attend the April 28 meeting and speak in favor of the Superintendent’s budget.

  1. Your house will be worth more.
You don’t have to take my word for it.  Ask any real estate agent.  What’s one of the first things a family asks about before buying a house in town?  Right -- schools.  The value of your home, and even your commercial property, is directly tied to the quality of schools in your community.  So, if an elected official consistently underfunds schools, that official is eroding the value of your property.  Providing adequate education funding is a sign of fiduciary responsibility.

  2.  The state is about to disappoint us once again.
The governor, in releasing his budget, crowed that once again he was not cutting funding for education.  That’s not exactly the truth.  The governor proposed no cuts to the infamously complex, and notoriously unfair ECS (Educational Cost Sharing) formula.  I won’t waste your time trying to explain it, but I can tell you that the formula is some $600 million underfunded statewide.  Another recent study showed that some wealthy communities are overfunded by the formula, while others, like Middletown, are significantly underfunded.  In Middletown’s case, we receive $12 million less than we ought to under current circumstances.  As for the flat-funding proposed by the governor, it ignores inflation, contractual obligations and the costs of mandates imposed by the state itself, so, flat-funding is actually a cut.  Finally, while ECS remains flat-funded, the governor’s budget proposes cutting more than $300,000 for other items Middletown’s school district is obliged to pay for, including youth services, adult ed, internet costs, and the Interdistrict Cooperative Math Academy.  The legislature is toying with the ECS formula, the MBR (minimum budget requirement), and the redistribution of auto taxes, all of which, if passed, are likely to have negative unintended consequences for Middletown.  House Speaker Brendan Sharkey admitted that the legislature ought to be funding special education costs at 100%, but won’t, because the state doesn’t have the funds (leaving municipalities to foot the bill).  The legislature doesn’t appear to have the courage or the will to fix education funding once and for all.  They’ve passed the buck, once more, to local taxpayers.

  3.  It’s a scrape-by budget.
At at 5.92% increase, the 2015-2016 school budget is another scrape-by budget.  It makes some improvements in the schools, and it avoids any significant cuts.  What most people don’t realize is that Superintendent Pat Charles delivered the 5.92% budget to the board after making more than $800,000 in cuts.  Those cuts include: Art and Music department head; a guidance Counselor at Keigwin; 1.5 New Custodians; district-wide new plumber, electrician, HVAC; athletic cuts to WW Cross Country, WW Fall Cheerleading, WW Unified Sports, WW Intramurals, MHS Fall

Conservation Commission And Inland Wetlands Seek Citizen Volunteers

The Planning, Conservation and Development Department is seeking volunteers for two committees.

The Planning, Conservation and Development Department is seeking citizen volunteers to fill vacancies on two advisory panels. There are currently four vacancies on the Conservation Commission and five vacancies on the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission.

The Conservation Commission is an advisory panel to the Common Council on open space acquisition and management, and meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission grants, denies, or limits activities within and proximal to inland wetland resources within the City and meets the first Wednesday of each month at City Hall at 7 p.m.

Anyone interested in serving on any of the committees should contact Planning Director Michiel Wackers at or by phone at 860-638-4840.

Appointments to city committees must be made by the mayor and confirmed by the Common Council, as well as comply with the minority representation requirements under State Statute.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week! ~ NATHAN 042215

Cat Tales
Cat of the Week!


Malloy Budget Gives Middletown More

The State Legislature is currently working on the biennial budget. They received a budget from Governor Malloy that is not in balance, and the legislators do not share the same priorities as the governor.

Municipal leaders throughout the state are concerned that legislators may cut from the $3.2 billion in state aid to municpalities, in order to fund other priorities [CT Mirror article: CT municipalities fear they may finally take a budget hit].

Middletown may have even more to fear, since Mayor Drew's budget is based on a large increase in state aid.

Two of the largest types of state aid are payments made to substitute for property taxes on state-owned property, colleges and universities, and hospitals. Our city has a large amount of non-taxable property, owing to the presence of Connecticut Valley Hospital, the Juvenile Training Center, Middlesex Hospital, and other large and otherwise valuable properties, hence the large amount of payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) funding

In Malloy's Fiscal Year 2016 budget, Middletown would be the 4th largest municipal recipient of this kind of state aid, slated to receive $10.3 million, an increase of $3.6 million compared to last year.  Although many municipalities would see their aid cut, Middletown would receive a 54% increase over last year, by far the largest increase among the top 10 recipients (see table above).

The City's Director of Finance, Carl Erlacher, said that the large increase was a result of the property revaluation that occurred this year, "[Since] the governor's budget put the same amount as last year in for PILOT, we got a larger share at other cities expense. The last few years we lost funds to other towns who revalued their properties.

Wesleyan's Earth Month events this week

Wesleyan has a jam-packed Earth Month schedule this week and next.  Check out the events below, and hopefully you'll be able to join us!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two Talks by Professor Brian Stewart

Winter Is Over, But It Will Come Again!

Middletown Shred Event, Sat. April 25

MxCC Professor Recognized as Best in Connecticut Community College System

Dr. Lin Lin, assistant professor and coordinator of the Computer Engineering Technology program and the Engineering Science Program at Middlesex Community College has received the Teaching Award for MxCC as well as the System-wide Teaching Award for all 12 community colleges in the state.  The awards, which recognize outstanding teachers who also contribute significantly to improving their programs or departments, were presented during the April 15 meeting of the Board of Regents for Higher Education for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.