Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lesser Begins Prestigious Fellowship Today

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

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

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

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!!

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

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

No Dogs, please.

Phone:  (860) 344-9043

Important Finance, Important Government Operations. Tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Legislative Delegation Scores Highly On Environmental Scorecard

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters has released its annual "environmental scorecard" that rates all of the state elected officials. The results this year were subtly different from previous years, when Representative Matt Lesser consistently received 100% environmental friendly ratings, and Senator Paul Doyle and Representative Joe Serra scored slightly lower.

This year, our two state senators each received a perfect score on their environmental votes during the last legislative session.  Doyle and Danté Bartolomeo were rated 100%. Bartolomeo was named a CTCLV 2015 Legislative Champion, for her leadership role in pesticides regulation.

Our two state representatives each fell one vote short of perfect, Joe Serra was rated at 88% and Matt Lesser at 86% on the scorecard.

In the Finance, Revenue and Bonding committee, Serra voted in favor of a bill that, according to the CTLCV, "contained sections that would have created new hurdles to passing important environmental protection regulations." The bill was not passed.

In the Government Administration and Elections committee Lesser voted in favor of a bill that the CTLCV wrote, "contained inappropriate provisions that would have conveyed 100 acres of Silver Sands State Park in Milford for parking, and provided access to private mining interests to build roads through the ecologically sensitive Quinebaug Wildlife Management area." The bill was later stripped of this controversial provision and was passed in a legislative special session.

Despite this, Lesser was also named CTCLV 2015 Legislative Champion, for his leadership role on land conveyance.

For the press release from CTLCV, read below the jump:

Reader's Theater Presents Copenhagen by Michael Frayn

On Thursday, October 1 at 7:00 pm. in The Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown, Reader's Theater will present their first play of this season, Copenhagen, written by Michael Frayn. The play is set in an undisclosed location, with no mention of sets, props, costume, or scenic design. In fact, the play does not offer a single stage direction – leaving the action completely up to the director. The audience learns early on that all three characters (Heisenberg, Bohr, and Bohr’s wife Margrethe) have been dead for years. With their lives now over, their spirits turn to the past to try to make sense of the 1941 meeting. During their discussion, the talkative spirits touch upon other moments in their lives – skiing trips and boating accidents, laboratory experiments and long walks with friends. Reader’s Theater is live drama enacted by professional actors, directed by Richard B. Kamins.
No registration; Reader’s Theater productions are funded by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Monday, September 28, 2015

South Fire Open House Saturday

Fun for the whole family!

The South Fire District will hold its annual Open House on
Saturday, October 3rd, 2015, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, rain or shine.


• Live burn demonstration
• Antique fire trucks
• Firefighter Equipment
• Moon Bounces/Games
• Smoke Trailer
• 911 Simulator
• Poison Control
• USAR Trucks
• Emergency Management Mobile Hospital
• Hunters Ambulance/Choking Charlie
• SPARKY the Fire Dog!
• Food and Fun and MUCH MORE!

The Open House is held in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, which runs from October 4 - 10, 2015.

The theme of Fire Prevention week this year is:
Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP : Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Free Film Screening: DIRT! The Movie - September 28, 2015

Join Us in Celebration of Life-Sustaining Soils!

2015 is the International Year of Soils! Join us in celebration of soils for this documentary film screening presented as part of The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series.  Open to the public and FREE of charge.

Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, DIRT! The Movie brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact of soil, and tells the amazing story of our relationship with living soil. The fate of soil and humans has been intimately linked since we arrived 2 million years can we affect that relationship for the better?

If you have questions, please contact the Conservation District office at 860.346.3282

Sketch of planned Court Street apartment building at Russell Library

Russell Library currently has on display in its lobby an architect’s sketch of the six-story, 89-unit apartment building being erected at the corner of College and Broad Streets.  Hajjar Management Company, the property owner and developer, has provided Russell Library with an architect’s rendering of the completed building.  For the past few months Library staff have received many questions about the project, and the lobby display will help answer these questions.   

The sketch will be displayed in the Russell Library lobby from now through the end of November.

Kasper Endorses Russo-Driska, Joins Democrats for Sandra

Submitted by Stephen LaRosa, Democrats for Sandra 2015

Democrats for Sandra 2015 spokesman, Steven LaRosa today announced that Democratic Councilwoman Hope Kasper has added her support and endorsement to Republican Mayoral Candidate Sandra Russo-Driska.  Kasper was purged from the Democratic ticket in July and forced an unsuccessful primary bid to remain on the Common Council.  Kasper indicated that she felt her positions taken against current Mayor Dan Drew led to her getting dumped from the ticket.
“I am very much supportive of Sandra Russo-Driska becoming the next Mayor of Middletown.” said Kasper.  “I have known Sandra for years and unlike the current incumbent of the Mayor’s Office, Sandra doesn’t require a loyalty oath from fellow elected officials as the price for continued participation.  She is inclusive versus abusive; she embraces new ideas and concepts regardless of party affiliation; she is collaborative rather than confrontational, and she is seeking a return of fiscal accountability to the day to day governance of our municipality.”  Kasper noted that the disrespect shown by Drew has not only targeted her, but also long time Council Majority Leader and former Democratic Mayor, Thomas J. Serra,   Kasper went on to observe that the current Administration is not watching out for the best interest of the taxpayers.  Specifically she cited:

·             Drew has promoted the elimination of retirement Ordinances that have worked well for City taxpayers and City retirees for the past 60 years that have had no cost to the taxpayer for at least the last 25 years for general government workers.  Drew acted against the advice of the City’s Actuary and used general government pension funds to offset the general operating budget while underfunding the police pension fund.

·             Drew acted irresponsibly in regards to the safety of police officers and city employees who utilize the municipal parking garage.  Recommendations made by the engineering report have been ignored.  A female employee was injured by falling concrete, and thousands of dollars have been paid to employees and others for damage to their cars parked in the lower level of the arcade. 

·             Drew failed to follow through on seeking quotes from the State’s insurance program now being offered to municipalities; he has failed to provide any information to the Insurance & Claims Commission regarding the 13 town coalition that includes Middletown, and no audit information been provided.  No questionnaires have gone to employees in an attempt to cut costs by soliciting their input regarding issues with the current mail order drug prescription program. 

·             Drew has done nothing to address citizens’ noise complaints, brought forward to the Public Safety Commission, living in the vicinity of the Higby Police Firing Range.

·             Drew permitted the hiring of an employee without approved funding in place an action brought forward to the Common Council, and also laid off an employee, a practice that has successfully been avoided for many years.  Meanwhile it was recently reported that he wants to create a new municipal position of “Waterfront Czar” at an undisclosed cost to taxpayers.

Kasper concluded, “Middletown cannot afford another four (4) years of a typical politician in the Mayor’s Office who regularly displays his arrogance and disdain for the opinions of others, is fiscally irresponsible and beholden to Dan Malloy and the Hartford political”good old boys” fraternity.   I have worked with Sandra and know her to be a person of good will and open-mindedness who understands the need to put people first, not politics. I am confident that Sandra will devote her considerable energy to making Middletown great  rather than be preoccupied with shameless self-promotion  I ask all of those voters who have graciously supported me through the years to cast their votes for Sandra.  Just this afternoon, a female supporter of mine showed up at my house with a bouquet of flowers.  She said how sorry she was for me and for the City and questioned what she could do.  I told her to support Sandra in November.”

Republican Mayoral Candidate, Sandra Russo-Driska, was honored and excited to have the endorsement of Councilwoman Kasper.  “I have known Hope throughout my career with the City.  We have always worked together in the best interests of Middletown, regardless of political affiliation, as City employees, labor representative, and now as members of the Common Council.  I am both humbled and gratified to receive Hope’s endorsement, as no one works harder or cares more deeply for this City than Hope.  Her knowledge of the municipal budget; insurance and claims and the City’s pension system is considerable, and I expect to call upon her as Mayor to continue to share her expertise. This endorsement embodies what my campaign is all about - embracing good ideas, regardless of party and bringing people together to work for the common good of our community.”