Thursday, August 31, 2017

Circophony Circus Training for Teenagers starts September 12

Circus training for young people is alive and well in Middletown, the self-styled circus capital of Connecticut.

Starting September 12, young people ages 12 to 19 will have the opportunity to receive professional training in circus arts through a unique program with a nearly thirty-year history. Circophony meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 to 9 pm, from September 12 through November 16. The program culminates with a “Fall Circus Showcase” on Friday, November 17, and Circophony members will then have the chance to audition for Circophony’s Spring Production. All classes take place at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

The Fall Training program is open to all teens, regardless of circus experience, who are willing to commit to the ten-week, five-hour per week program. Training will include many aspects of circus and performance, including acrobatics, tumbling, juggling & object manipulation, balancing & equilibristics, unicycling, stilting, strength & flexibility, physical comedy, clowning and ensemble performance. The program does not include aerial training, but Circophony members are regularly provided with opportunities to enroll in specialized workshops, take field trips to professional circus performances, and participate in Regional and National Youth Circus Festivals through the American Youth Circus Organization.

Circophony is a collaboration between the Middletown-based Theater Company ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater. The program is directed by ARTFARM Executive Director Dic Wheeler, who started the Children’s Circus of Middletown in 1988 and has been teaching, directing and performing circus and theater around the United States, Europe and South Asia since 1980.

“Circus provides incredible opportunities for young people,” says Wheeler. “It offers the physical training of sports without the competition, but also is a collaborative art form in which uniqueness and personal quirks are seen as assets. By working together in circus, kids can do things that at first seem totally impossible. And once you have performed the impossible, you can do anything.”

Wheeler leads the program with Assistant Director and Head Coach Allison McDermott, a life-long circus performer and a graduate of the Professional Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts. The two will be joined by guest artists throughout the Fall program, and will create an original Circus Theater performance with the Company which will premiere in March.

Tuition for the ten-week program is $250. To enroll, go to For more details about the training structure and content, contact Dic Wheeler at, or visit

City Food and Drink Among The State's Best

Connecticut Magazine found much to love about our city's food and drink purveyors, naming 6 city institutions as "Best of Connecticut".

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Free Sensory Nature Walk On September 21

The Rockfall Foundation's monthly Meet Your Greens: Middletown Green Drinks series continues on Thursday, September 21st with a unique opportunity to explore the Highlawn Forest Trail. As part of the Artists on the Trail program sponsored by the New England Trail, artist Bibi Calderaro will lead the walk. Bibi uses a distinctive approach to bring awareness to one’s surroundings and draw attention to the multiple ways one may connect with the land. Gather at 5:30 pm for a low-impact, 60-minute walk with refreshments immediately following in the CT Forest & Park Association headquarters.

Highlawn Forest Trail
Park at Connecticut Forest & Park Association
106 Meriden Road
Rockfall, CT 06481

The event is free, however, reservations are requested. To register, please contact the Rockfall Foundation at 860-347-0340 or

Side Street to Main Street Looking For New Candidates for Minority Entrepreneurship Program

From the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting candidates for the Fall 2017/Winter 2018 Side Street to Main Street Business & Leadership Development Program scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. To participate, all interested candidates must attend the Mandatory Class 21 Program Orientation and Application Submission Meeting, on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 7:00 PM, at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, 393 Main Street, Middletown, CT.

Now entering its 21st  year, the Side Street to Main Street Business & Leadership Development Program is a one year long entrepreneurial and business development course, with a rigorous curriculum, designed to assist minority small business owners in the community, who have not had formal business training, to become more successful by developing the attitudes, skills and qualities necessary for effective business ownership, and success, taking them from the Side Street to the Main Street of the business community.

Since the inception of the Program in 1997, over 248 people have graduated from the Side Street to Main Street Business & Leadership Development Program, which has been fully funded and supported by Aetna, Inc., and it has been a successful and most effective way in which we have encouraged the development and growth of small, minority-owned businesses, which are now part of the business community.

“I would like to thank Aetna for its outstanding support of the Side Street to Main Street Business & Leadership Development Program. Aetna is an outstanding corporate citizen. I am proud of the work that this program is doing for our local business community, and it would not be possible without the support of Aetna," said President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Larry McHugh.

For more detailed information and to register for the Mandatory Class 21 Program Orientation and Application Submission Meeting, Email:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Middletown Overdose Death Leads to 30 Months Sentence For Heroin Dealer

From the United States Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut.
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that, YACOV OCASIO, also known as “Little,” 21, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing heroin. Judge Thompson also ordered OCASIO to perform 150 hours of community service.

This prosecution is part of an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury to users.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on August 26, 2016, Middletown Police and emergency medical personnel responded to a Middletown apartment on the report of a possible overdose and found an unresponsive 28-year-old male lying in a bed. Medical intervention was unsuccessful and the victim was pronounced dead. Officers located and seized one torn baggy, commonly used to package heroin, from the victim’s pants pocket. Officers also seized the victim’s iPhone.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Connecticut subsequently determined that the victim died from acute heroin and fentanyl toxicities.

The investigation revealed that, on August 25, 2016, the victim arranged to purchase heroin from OCASIO, and then drove to Hartford to complete the purchase.

In November 2016, investigators conducted a controlled purchase of heroin from OCASIO.

OCASIO was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on January 18, 2017. On February 24, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the Middletown Police Department. The Tactical Diversion Squad includes participants from the New Haven, Hamden, Greenwich, Shelton, Bristol, Vernon, Wilton, Milford, Monroe and Fairfield Police Departments, and the Connecticut State Police.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Spector and Jocelyn Kaoutzanis, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Calistro, with the support and assistance of the Middlesex State’s Attorney’s Office.

Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning Fall Courses Announced

Click here for the fall 2017 Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL) brochure.

Eight short courses and an all-day Saturday course, Rise of the Right: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and the Age of Extremism are being offered.

Online registration is available.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cat Tales ~ Cats of the Week ~ Nettie & Luna

Cats of the Week 
Luna & Nettie (A Bonded Pair)

Breed:Domestic Short Hair
Color:Black & White
Age:11 (Luna) & 10 (Nettie)

Hi there. We're Luna and Nettie, sisters from the same house but not litter mate sisters. Sadly, our owner passed away and we had no where to go. We are at Cat Tales now, very scared, sad and really want to be in a forever home. Our owner was elderly and didn't pick us up so we are not really used to it. With time and affection we may be okay being picked up. We really need to go on a diet because we are extremely over weight. We really need to stay together since we have never been separated and we love each other so deeply. We only know each other in this world so we ask that we are not separated. We are both very sweet girls and love to be pet. We love affection and would love to sit in bed or on the couch with you. We do need a quiet home who will give us time to adjust to all this chaos. Please adopt us both today! 

Phone:   860.344.9043
Watch our TV commercial:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Are You Ready for a Thin, Cold Love? --The Colonel Carries On #98

by Barney Rate and Barbie Kendoll

Epigraph: “About 60 per cent of Britons live within 20 miles of where they lived when they were fourteen. More than 30 per cent of Britons younger than 18 have never seen a live cow. We’re not the people we used to be, and yet we are.” --Sir Harry O. Triggerman

Epigraph 2: “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” --Sen. S.I. Hayakawa

On Wednesday, as I was crossing a great expanse of blacktop in the hot sun, I heard a scream from the sky and looked up. Five vultures were circling lazily above me, and one apparently screamed hello. It was an odd feeling.

It reminded me that this series of “Popcorn By The Colonel,” under the name “The Colonel Carries On,” is nearly over (this is #98; #100 will be the last).

Transcontinental television coverage of the total eclipse was weird. About one minute per hour was of the eclipse itself (very dramatic!). The rest had the camera on the crowds in city after city. It was like Hamlet with the Prince making a cameo appearance or two.

Even if you never took any Latin, you probably know at least half the following sixty or so Latin words and expressions (if you care, you can Google any you don't know):

A priori, ad hoc, ad hominem, ad infinitum, ad libitum (ad lib), ad nauseam, anno domini (A.D.) (ante bellum has been Englished as antebellum), ante meridiem (a.m.), bona fide, carpe diem, caveat emptor, cogito ergo sum, corpus delicti, Deo gratias, deus ex machina, e pluribus unum.

Errare humanum est, et alia (et al.), et cetera (etc.), ex cathedra, ex libris, ex officio, ex post facto, exempla gratia (e.g.), exeunt omnes (a stage direction), flagrante delicto, gloria in excelsis Deo, habeas corpus, habemus papam (“We have a pope!”), ibidem (ibid.), id est (i.e.).

Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (I.N.R.I. -- there’s no letter "J" in Latin), in absentia, in camera, in extremis, in loco parentis, in memoriam, in perpetuum, in situ, in terrorem, in toto, in utero,  in vino veritas, in vitro, lingua franca, mea culpa.

Memento mori (used as an English noun, a "reminder of death," lit. "remember that you must die"), mutatis mutandis (adapted as needed, lit. "with the necessary changes having been made"), non compos mentis, non sequitur, (Pater Noster would go here, but it's been Englished as "paternoster") per annum, per diem, per se.

Persona non grata, (post mortem and post partum would go here, but they've been Englished as postmortem and postpartum) post meridiem (p.m.), post scriptum (p.s.).

Pro bono [publico], pro forma, pro rata, pro tanto, pro tempore (pro tem), quid pro quo, quod vide (q.v.), quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.), requiescat in pace (R.I.P.), semper fidelis (semper fi).

Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR), sic semper tyrannis, sic transit gloria mundi, sine die, sine qua non, (sub poena has been Englished as subpoena) (sub rosa has been Englished as subrosa) tempus fugit, "Veni, Vidi, Vici," via dolorosa, vice versa, videlicet (viz. = “namely”).

All that having been said, English is still a Germanic language, a German Christmas tree festooned with ornaments from other languages, Latin being the commonest because of the Norman Conquest and a second wave of Latin imports later.

Stick with “when pigs fly,” since “when bears climb trees” won’t do any more. Will someone please buy this Ukrainian brown bear a backscratcher?

Seventeen-foot-tall man walks into a bar, says, “Ow! I barked my shin!” Bartender says, “That’s a doggone shame.” Tall guy beats bartender to a paste. The paste says, “Good thing I didn’t say, ‘How’s the weather up there?’ Might have irritated the guy.”

“Cop Explains How It Feels To Live Every Day In Fear Someone Might Record You Brutalizing A Civilian” --Onion headline

“I’m not Joan Baez and I make no apologies for that fact.”

Hypograph: “Art makes stones stony. It defamiliarizes things so we can perceive them anew.” --lost the citation

Hypograph 2:
Big bugs have little bugs
Upon their backs, to bite ‘em
Little bugs have lesser bugs,
And so on, ad infinitum.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Fines Forgiven at Russell Library in September

Nothing Can Keep Us Apart – Not Even Late Fees
During September patrons can return overdue items with no fines at the Russell Library

Russell Library announced today that it will forgive fines to welcome patrons and materials back to the Library. Throughout the month of September, patrons can bring in their overdue materials, whether they are five days or five years late, and the Library will waive fines and collection fees

“We hope to reconnect residents of all ages with one of Middletown’s greatest resources,” said Russell Library Director and CEO Matt Poland. “Russell Library is one of the best public libraries in Connecticut because of innovative initiatives like fine-free youth library cards, the fine forgiveness program and our wide assortment of materials and available technology. By welcoming back generations of patrons and restocking the shelves, we are building a stronger Middletown with new opportunities for learning for all citizens.”

The Library expects to “welcome home” hundreds of outstanding items as well as welcoming back hundreds of patrons whose access to library materials has been blocked by overdue fines. From September 1 to September 30, late fines will be waived on all books, CDs, DVDs, and other materials, no matter how long overdue. If an item has been lost, the patron will only be responsible for the replacement cost, and all fines will be forgiven.

“This program allows the Library to recover assets but it is also meant to give people with overdue materials a chance to start over with a clean record, no matter how long the items have been checked out or the reasons for not returning them,” said Library Director and CEO Poland. “It aligns with our commitment to lowering the barriers to library use and providing basic access for all citizens, especially those most in need of our services.”

In June, Russell Library implemented a fine-free youth library card in an effort to eliminate impediments face by children during the years when they are learning to read and then reading to learn.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ask the Experts Gardening Q&A to be Held at Erin Street Community Garden

Calling all gardeners and those interested in starting your own garden! Join us at the Erin Street Community Garden on Wednesday, August 30, 6-7 pm with a panel of experienced local farmers and gardeners for an informal question and answer session. The garden is located at the corner of Erin Street and High Street in Middletown.

Do you wonder how to get a garden started, what to plant in the fall, the safest ways to manage garden pests, how to put your garden to bed for the winter, whether you should test your soil, how to grow better fruits and vegetables, and more? Bring your questions on any gardening topic!!

Contact Jane Brawerman, with the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, 860-346-3284, for more information about the event. 

The Gardening Q&A is the first of several summer/fall activities being held as part of a Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District project to enhance urban agriculture in Middletown, funded by a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts. Project partners include Forest City Farms, Long Lane Farm, the City of Middletown, Middletown High School Agricultural Science and Technology Program, North End Action Team, the Macdonough and Farm Hill School Family Resource Centers, and the FoodCorps program. September/October events include the Put Local on Your Plate! series—three cooking demos featuring local chefs, focused on easy ways to incorporate local seasonal vegetables in your meals, to be held at the Community Health Center in Middletown.

The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Middletown, CT, works to conserve the natural resources of towns in the lower Connecticut River watershed and coastal areas.  For more information about District technical and educational programs and services, visit us at, or