Monday, February 29, 2016

Riverfront Boathouse Design Workshop Tuesday

From Michiel Wackers, Director of Planning, Conservation, and Development
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 7:00 PM, Council Chambers

Please join us to help design the new community boathouse for the Riverfront. This community facility will be the heart of the riverfront and we need your input.

You can sign up via Facebook  or email.

Exhibit of Puppets at Russell Library

A puppet character from The Mount Puppets' production of The Old Wives' Tale.
Puppets from the Ray Mount Collection at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will be on display in the lobby case of the Russell Library March 1st through March 31st 2016 as part of Russell Library's participation in ArtFarm's Shakespeare 400, honoring the quatercentenary of William Shakespeare's death.

Ray and Betty Mount began their company in San Francisco in the early 1950's. In 1959, they moved to Branford, Connecticut, where they continued to perform their shows throughout the northeast.

Ray adapted The Old Wives' Tale by George Peele for the puppet stage in 1962, bringing it to schools and colleges in Connecticut and other states. The puppets and properties from The Old Wives Tales as well as some of those from their 1955 production of Rapunzel will be exhibited.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Free Film Screening of The End of the Line--Monday, February 29, 2016

Don't forget...the next film in The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series will be The End of the Line, about the devastating effects of overfishing. The film will be shown on Monday, February 29 at 7:00PM at the Powell Family Cinema in Wesleyan University's Center for Film Studies, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT (directions and parking information).

We hope you can join us! As always, the film is open to the public and free of charge. Following the film, we invite all to stay for refreshments and an informal discussion. Please contact the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District office at 860-346-3282 with any questions.

The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series was begun in 2015 by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program, The Rockfall Foundation, and Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts and College of the Environment. The End of the Line is the fifth film in the series. Previous films include: Elemental, Watershed, Dirt! The Movie, and Chasing Ice.

Writing Workshop with Steve Liskow at Russell Library this Saturday

Steven Liskow
This Saturday, February 27 at 2:00 pm, Steven Liskow will teach a writing workshop in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library.

One of the most overlooked and crucial decisions concerns who actually tells your story. Different narrators or perspectives can add texture or weaken your impact, and they all have special advantages and demands. Using recent examples, Steve helps you understand how to choose the narrator who can give your story that extra punch.
A former actor, director, and English teacher, Mr. Liskow is now a member of the International Thriller Writers and Private Eye Writers of America and serves as a mentor and panelist for the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
His short stories have earned an Edgar nomination, the Black Orchid Novella Award, and two Honorable Mentions for the Al Blanchard Story Award.
The Whammer Jammers, his first self-published novel, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. The Kids Are All Right, his most recent Zach Barnes novel, is a finalist for the Shamus Award for best Indie Novel from the Private Eye Writers of America. Blood On The Tracks, the first 'Woody' Guthrie Novel, won Honorable Mention in the Writer's Digest Self-Published Novel Awards for 2014. The second book in that series, Oh Lord, Won't You Steal Me a Mercedes Benz, appeared in April 2015.
Drop-in, no registration required.

This workshop is sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

911 Returns To Normal

From Mayor Drew.
I am writing to inform you that our 911 system is working. The faulty router that caused the failure has been replaced by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications.

We are now taking emergency and non-emergency calls in our Middletown dispatch center.

Thank you and have a great evening.

911 system update

From Mayor Drew.
I’m writing with an update on the status of our 911 system.

We have determined that the problem was caused by the failure of a state-maintained router, the purpose of which is to connect our system to the wider 911 fiber-optic infrastructure.

A new router is currently being re-programmed in Hartford by the Connecticut Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications. It will be delivered here this afternoon and installed in our dispatch center by state and utility officials.

Our dispatch staff is working closely with state officials and AT&T staff and we expect to have our system operational later today.

In the meantime, all Middletown and Portland 911 calls are being answered by Middletown dispatchers working out of Cromwell’s dispatch center.

Additional information is available at the City of Middletown’s homepage at

Thank you and have a wonderful day.

-Mayor Daniel Drew

911 phone system is down.

Message from Mayor Daniel T. Drew

Our 911 phone system went down around 1:00pm on February 25, 2016. The phone company is on site and is in

the process of routing Middletown’s 911 calls into Cromwell.

If you have an emergency and can’t get through, please call the non-emergency numbers at the appropriate


Middletown Police: (860) 638-4000

Middletown Fire: (860) 638-3200

South Fire: (860) 347-6661

Westfield Fire: (860) 632-2690

Hunter’s Ambulance: (860) 346-9627

We will have calls re-routed to Cromwell and will get 911 back online as quickly as possible. I’ll keep you

posted. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February 24-March 1 at The Buttonwood Tree

This Week at The Buttonwood Tree
The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457 / 860.347.4957 

 SWITCH (Factory) it up and get JOLLY (Beggars)! Fantastic performances to finish up February at The Buttonwood Tree

2016 Musical Residency: The Grays

February 24 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm $5
The Grays
ELECTRIC GYPSY TRIBAL JAZZ The Grays is an original jazz-funk music project, which mixes electrified gypsy jazz with odd-time tribal funk beats. The group features Justin Vood Good on guitar, Hans Lohse on percussion, accordion and vocals, Tracey Kroll on drums and electronica, Pat Burro on acoustic and electric bass, and Steve Fava on ambience sculpting and sound production. Grays offers deep grooves and dynamic improvisation for listening as well as dancing, and encourages audience participation.

Middlesex Drum Circle

February 25 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm $5
Middlesex Drum Circle at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT
A group of people that enjoy a good drum rhythm, especially when put into a circle. No reservations are necessary, extra percussion instruments will be available, though you are encouraged to bring your own.

Switch Factory

February 26 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm $12

Switch Factory brings its signature brand of instrumental improvisation and down-home vocal harmonies from the Litchfield Hills of CT to the Buttonwood Tree stage for a review of the band's original material and its wide repertoire of covers from the legends of American songwriting.
Nat Worden: Guitar, vocals, harmonica
Todd Stoughton: Mandolin, vocals
Jason Perkel: Guitar, vocals
Jona Ziac: Bass

NEW CLASS: Transitional Tai Chi

Mike McEwen
Instructor: Mike McEwen Reduce stress by relaxing the body with movements of breath. Raise the body's vibrations to tap into the Supreme Ultimate YOU! Incorporates: Tai Chi warm up, stretching and exercise. Qigong Balancing Energy simple movements. No registration needed. Donations to The Buttonwood Tree are welcome.

Aligned with Source

February 27 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm $5
Aligned with Source: Guided Meditation led by Annaita Gandhy
Topic: Feb. 27: Channeling Higher Frequencies Workshop: Aligned With Source: Hosted by Annaita Gandhy A Spiritual & Holistic Healer from India, Annaita is experienced in applying varied healing modalities to a wide range of situations. In these inter-active workshops, Annaita seeks to empower, sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, enabling you to rise above life's challenges, live a healthy, fulfilled & confident life. Life is never easy and change must come from within.

Jolly Beggars

February 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm $10

The Jolly Beggars bring the rich tradition of Celtic folk music and storytelling to modern day audiences. Based out of Connecticut, their traditional songs and musical arrangements have exposed many to the joys of Celtic music.They tell traditional stories from Irish folklore and intersperse their musical arrangements with traditional reels and jigs. Characterized by their tight harmonies and use of guitars, mandolin, tin whistles, octave mandolin, mandola, tenor banjo, double bass, bodhran, spoons, and more.

Anything Goes Open Mic

February 29 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm $5
**Please note the earlier start time. Hosted by Nora Canby, John Way, Ashley Hamel, Karen Stein, Claude Masse or possibly a guest host. Doors open at 6. $5 donation suggested Get your jitters out with our warm and accepting audience. Rehearse a story, share your poetry, sing a song or dance your heart out! All ages are welcome. Piano and congas are available. 

Moments of Gratitude

February 29 @ 8:00 pm - 8:15 pm Free
Moments of Gratitude
Sharing our gratitude to build positive energy and encouragement! Donations welcomed

Laughter Yoga + Vegetarian Potluck

March 1 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm $5
Mylene Poitrois
Every first Tuesday Laughter Yoga is at 6 pm, and a Vegetarian Potluck follows at 7. Some benefits of laughter yoga include: Easy and fun exercise for health and happiness, reduces stress instantly, strengthens immune system, keeps you in a good mood and cheerful throughout the day, oxygenates your brain and makes you feel more energetic, keeps positive mental attitude in difficult times, burns calories and even increases memory. Love Donations welcomed

NEW CLASS: Color Me Calm

March 1 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Color Me Calm Flowers
COLORING IS FUN…FOR ADULTS! This is the latest and most popular trend among adults proving that coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! Adults around the globe have picked up on it, are getting together and are having fun. Why: ---it reduces stress ---you have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment ---it gives you a break from the daily routine ---it is a wonderful way to socialize ---it taps into your inner “muse”---even if you can’t draw.

William H. Foster Speaks on African Americans in World War II at Russell Library

One of the photos on display at Russell Library.
On Thursday at 7:00 pm, William H. Foster will discuss African Americans who served in World War II in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library. The exhibit of black and white photographs featuring African Americans service in the military during World War II will be on display through the end of February. 
Professor Foster is a long-time researcher of images of African Americans in print and has been an expert commentator for CNN News and National Public Radio. In November, he presented at the AltCom Comics Festival in Malmo, Sweden and the 2012 Comics Forum in Leeds, England.
Russell Library is located at 123 Broad Street in Middletown, CT. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ JACK!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ JACK!!

Gender:  Male
Breed:  DSH
Color:  B & W
Age:  2 years old

I was rescued as a stray in Middletown but am now safe and sound at Cat Tales. I am a friendly and entertaining cat who would make a great addition to your family. I will have you in stitches as I leap and spin to chase cat toys. I am very affectionate and love to be held and snuggled. I enjoy the company of children and am very adaptable to new situations. My ideal home is as the only cat but I may adapt to sharing the house with another young, adventurous kitty. Dogs make me very anxious and I need to be in a dog-free home! I'm handsome, adventurous, and heart-warming and I'm waiting to meet you!

No Dogs, please.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

“Putrid Piffle” Has Been Translated As “Rotten Nonsense” -- The Colonel Carries On #19

by Lefton “Lefty” McGee

Epigraph: “I no like nobody but I polite everybody.” --Yolanda Squatpump

The greatest novel ever is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. The problem with disagreeing is that you you have to specify a novel that’s better and no one can.

Which is not to say W&P can’t be improved, or at least mined. On the model of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, how about War and Peace and Zombies?

Opera lovers: don’t miss “Cosi fan tutte, or They’ll Do It Every Time” with music by WAM and libretto by Jimmy Hatlo. Now playing in Sarasota, Florida.

The European Union is largely unarmed.

Real men don’t follow celebrities on Twitter.

Real men don’t dance the Hully Gully unless they just bought a new or used car at a really great price. Then even the Boogaloo is permissible.

Dan McLaughlan writes: “The highlight of my law school career was when Justice Scalia accepted an invitation from our Criminal Law class to come debate our professor, Alan Dershowitz. They stood literally toe to toe, and it was the only time I ever saw either argued to a standstill. Scalia, predictably, at one point whipped out his pocket Constitution and declared theatrically that Dershowitz was asserting ‘something that isn’t in my copy!’” --Dan McLaughlin

“Scalia was visiting the law school at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. A student mentioned to him, ‘My roommates and I bought some fish. We named one after you.’ Scalia said, ‘Oh, so you called him Nino, did you?’ ‘No,’ said the student. ‘We call him Justice Scalia.’ ‘Well, what about the other fish?’said Scalia. Replied the student, ‘Justice Scalia ate them.’” --Jay Nordlinger

Genetically modified manatees are still cute.

77 Years of Middletown Radio!

WESU is celebrating its 77th season providing alternative radio to the greater Connecticut area! WESU, one of the oldest college radio stations in the country, kicked off its new spring season this past week with exciting new and old shows, hosted and produced by over 100 dedicated community members and Wesleyan University students. This season, the station is thrilled to host exciting events for the community, including the annual Spring Record Fair on the Wesleyan University campus in April!

WESU is also celebrating many exciting birthdays this year: “Caffe Italia,” which plays Italian music, news, and culture, is turning 10 this year, airing every Saturday from 7am­8am. Also, “The Vault,” featuring techno music with DJ Anton Banks, is turning 20 this year and is airing every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesday night from 9:30­11pm. WESU is also featuring exciting talk and public affair shows for its spring season, welcoming new programming like “All About” with Isabel and Emily, which features a new guest every week discussing something they are passionate about, and saying goodbye to long­running shows like “Romancipation” with Dr. Love and DJ Smooth, who give advice on dating and love. WESU currently has more homemade shows than it has had in years, and they are getting more and more national recognition; WESU’s “For Women Over 40” with Cyma Shapiro, a contemporary lifestyle talk show, has recently been picked up for syndication across the country by Pacifica!

The spring season can be heard over the airwaves at 88.1FM or streamed online at You can also keep up to date on the station and its shows via Facebook (@WESUMiddletown) and Twitter (@WESUtunein). The entire WESU spring schedule can also be found online at WESU’s website and a print program guide will be distributed at select locations around the area and mailed to station donors in the coming weeks.


Established in 1939 in Middletown, Connecticut, WESU is one of the oldest non­commercial radio stations in the United States. WESU is funded by the Wesleyan Student Budget committee, Wesleyan University, and generous listener and community support. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Week nights and weekends WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative programming featuring everything from rock and hip hop to jazz, electronic dance music, soul, funk, and blues, along with innovative public affairs programming.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000­watt transmitter located atop the Wesleyan University science tower in Middletown, CT with a potential to reach over one million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio, online through their website

Friday, February 19, 2016

West African Dance: A Workshop with Abdou Sarr at Russell Library

Abdou Sarr

On Sunday, February 21, 2:00pm in The Hubbard Room of the Russell Library Abdou Sarr will give a workshop and demonstration of West African dances. Mr. Sarr is a master teacher of the sabaar and djembe dances from Senegal, West Africa will be giving a demonstration/workshop in the Hubbard Room. Abdou Sarr is an extraordinarily dynamic performer. He is currently dancing and teaching in arts-in-education settings in the Northeast. Mr. Sarr teaches private classes, and performs with several artist groups. The workshop contains much more than learning Senegalese Djembe or Sabaar dances. The students’ experience will include learning and practicing West African dancing, some singing or call and response, hearing about Abdou Sarr's childhood in Senegal, why he values education and why he dances. He will also teach some basic Wolof phrases.
All ages and abilities are welcomed. Drop-in, no registration.
This program is being sponsored with funds from The Friends of the Russell Library.

New Certified Phlebotomy Technician Program Launches at MxCC

 Middlesex Community College launches a brand new Certified Phlebotomy Technician program for people interested in pursuing a non-degree, healthcare profession or who are looking to expand their nursing skills.  The program includes 120 hours of classroom instruction and extensive lab training in drawing blood, as well as an internship at Middlesex Hospital’s Outpatient Center in Middletown.  Upon completion of the program, students earn a certificate from MxCC and qualify to sit for the American Medical Technologist (AMT) national phlebotomist certification exam.  Classes begin April 1 and are held for nine weeks on Fridays and Saturdays.  Registration is open now and can be completed online at or by visiting MxCC at 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown or at The Meriden Center at 55 West Main Street in downtown Meriden.

The new program was created to meet growing demand for phlebotomy courses by local residents, as well as demand by local hospitals, medical offices, and labs for trained, experienced phlebotomists.   The job outlook for this career is extremely high according to the U.S. Department of Labor (25 percent growth expected vs. seven percent average). The DOL also notes that “almost all employers look for phlebotomists who have earned professional certification” even in states that do not require it.

The course content was heavily researched by Bice Carrabbia a registered medical assistant (RMA) and an AMT-registered phlebotomist.  She has worked in phlebotomy since 1974 and has taught phlebotomy for the Hartford Job Corps., at Capitol Community College, and at MxCC.  Carrabbia says the most important element for success as a phlebotomist is having empathy for each patient, so that is emphasized in all course content.  

The program includes safety and universal precautions when working with patients and blood, as well as understanding lab tests and other procedures.  Class size is limited to 20 students so students receive individualized attention and access to all medical supplies.