Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Join Us for a Free Screening of the Film, A Plastic Ocean, November 6, 2017

The next film in our series, The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series will be A Plastic Ocean, on Monday, November 6, 2017. The film will be shown at 7 pm at Chapman Hall on the campus of Middlesex Community College in Middletown (directions and public transportation). All films are open to the public and free of charge!

As described on the film's website, A Plastic Ocean documents a four-year global odyssey to explore the issue of plastics in our oceans and their effect on marine ecosystems and human health, including endocrine disruption. The producer, Jo Ruxton, joined an expedition to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre, 1500 miles off the coast of San Francisco, to determine its impact. When the expedition discovered free-floating microplastics instead of an anticipated solid mass that could be contained, she knew she had to begin the film that would become A Plastic Ocean. If it was happening in one gyre, they suspected it was happening in all of them. But the filmmakers needed experts to prove it. Scientists were brought in at each stage to analyze the findings from one part of the story to add their data to the overall report on the five gyres. In the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre the researchers found more plastic than plankton. A Plastic Ocean explains the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.

After the film, we welcome you to stay for an informal discussion.

This film screening is part of The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series, 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.

We hope you can join us! Phone our office at 860-346-3282 for more information. 

Loffredo Urges Support For New Middle School

Dear Middletown Voters:

On Tuesday, November 7th, I am urging voters to support the construction of a new middle school. 

The referendum – Question # 1 – will appear on the ballot along with candidates for the Board of Education (BOE) and the Planning and Zoning Commission. 

The plan calls for the construction of a new three story $87 million Woodrow Wilson Middle School on Hunting Hill Ave in front of the current building. It will qualify for a 56.43% reimbursement from the State. The new school will enroll over 900 students for grades 6, 7 and 8.   This reduces the number of BOE buildings, because Keigwin will be shut down as a standalone 6th grade school. The new three story middle school’s structure will be able to appropriately address the curricular needs of each child as they pass through their middle school years. The new building will bring the 6, 7, and 8 grades into the 21st century with all of the necessary technology, energy efficiency, and air-conditioning. The project will retain the pool and gymnasiums that will be turned over to the City’s Park & Recreation Department.

I’m completing my first 4 year term on the BOE. One of my first assignments was to chair the board’s facility committee. The committee assessed all of the BOE’s schools and determined that Wilson Middle needed to either be completely renovated or replaced with a new facility. After a detailed review by the building committee’s architects and a review by the state’s school facility staff, it was unanimously determined that building new was the appropriate choice.

Prior to serving on the BOE, I served on the Middletown High School building committee that actually oversaw the construction of the building on La Rosa Lane off of Newfield Street. It’s been operating for ten years. All of its bond costs will be paid off in the next couple of years. This project was delayed several years and its original costs went from the original $ 79.9 million in 2003 to $ 106.65 in 2006, a $26.75 million increase. Delays cost money, which is why the time to act is now. I strongly urge you to vote YES for a new 6, 7, 8 middle school. It’s needed, and long overdue.

Vincent J. Loffredo
Chair of Middletown BOE
BOE candidate seeking reelection

Monday, October 30, 2017

Meet the Candidates, TONIGHT!

From WRA Chair, Jennifer Mahr:
Here's a brief outline of tonight's schedule of events for the Westfield Residents Association Meet the Candidates Night:

  • 7:00-7:30pm     WRA Annual Meeting and Executive Committee Election
  • 7:30-7:45pm     Coffee, light refreshments and conversation
  • 7:45-9:00pm     Meet the Candidates Forum
  • 7:45pm     MiddleSchoolYes Committee - 15 minutes to explain the referendum on the ballot and answer audience questions
  • 8:00pm     Board of Education Candidates: 10 minutes for each party, then 10 minutes for questions from the audience. 
  • 8:30pm     Planning and Zoning Commission Candidates: 10 minutes for each party, then 10 minutes for audience questions.

Friday, October 27, 2017


Vintage Players presents “So Bea It,” an original piece written for the Company by Carolyn Kirsch. This quirky little comedy with a heart of gold will be performed at Oddfellows Playhouse on Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 19 at 3 pm.  

The cast includes Jane McMillan, Richard Kamins, Emma Kaskel, Linda Kaskel, Pat Farrell, Cookie Quinones, Gerry Matthews, Carolyn Kirsch, and Billy Johnstone. Mr. Johnstone, an accomplished New York actor with an extensive background on Broadway, is making his debut with the Company.

These performances benefit the children’s programs at Oddfellows Playhouse. For over 40 years Oddfellows Playhouse has provided young people in the greater Middletown area with innovative theater programs that build their self-confidence and help them gain skills that facilitate success in other parts of their lives.

Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Tickets are $25.00 and may be obtained by going to www.oddfellows.org and clicking on “Shows and Events.”  Reservations are recommended. A reception follows the performances.  

Listen to Stephan Allison interview Carolyn Kirsch and Billy Johnstone about the production on River Valley Rhythms on Thursday, November 2, at 4 p.m. on WESU-FM radio.

Voter Registration Deadlines!

From the Secretary of the State.
Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official, today reminded potential voters that the deadline to register to vote in time for this year’s municipal election is Tuesday October 31st.

Potential voters who are eligible to vote can register online up until 11:59pm on October 31st, can hand deliver their applications to their local registrars by 8:00pm on October 31st, or can mail-in applications so that they are postmarked by October 31st.

Registrars of voters across the state will be in their offices on Tuesday October 31st from 9:00am to 8:00pm. Potential voters can also register on Election Day in their towns, please contact the local registrars of voters for details (Election Day Registration voters must be registered by 8:00pm on Election Day).

“Municipal elections are an opportunity for voters to choose the elected officials who will have the biggest impact on their everyday life,” said Secretary Merrill. “If you want to have a say in the future of your town, get out and vote and make your voice heard!”

Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday November 7, 2017 for municipal elections in the majority of Connecticut cities and towns. Secretary Merrill encourages voters to register online at myvote.ct.gov/register, and to see if they are registered to vote and look up where their polling place is located at myvote.ct.gov/lookup.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lesser And Suzio Vote "NO" on Compromise State Budget

The State House and State Senate each passed a bipartisan budget today.

Our city's delegation split its vote, with its most progressive, Matt Lesser (D) joining its most conservative, Len Suzio (R) in opposing the budget.

Vote for SB-1502 Roll Call 
Paul Doyle (D, Senate District 9)           YES 
Len Suzio (R, Senate District 13)            NO 
Joe Serra (D, House District 33)            YES 
Matt Lesser (D, House District 100)       NO
In the Senate, Suzio joined 1 other Republican, and 1 Democrat in voting "NO" (out of 33 Senators). In the House, Lesser joined 9 other Democrats and 13 Republicans, out of a total of 151 representatives,  in opposition.

The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Malloy, who has not indicated whether he would sign or veto the bill. The margin of votes in both the House and the Senate is easily enough to override a veto.

For extensive details on the budget, see House sends veto-proof, bipartisan budget to Malloy, published in CT Mirror.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sliding In The Rain

Slick roads from the night's rain led to a two car collision on Country Club Road Wednesday morning. No one was seriously hurt, and the accident was cleared within an hour.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Invitation to Sing at First Church Christmas Concert

Come Sing with
First Church Choirs
at Christmas


Come practice with First Church choirs and sing for our Annual Candlelight Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 10, 2017!

First Church has two voice choirs—Celebration Singers and Senior Choir. Celebration Singers rehearse on Mondays—Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27, and December 4—at 6:15pm. This group sings contemporary style anthems in four parts. Senior Choir meets on Wednesdays—Nov. 1, 8, 15, 29, and Dec. 6—at 7:30pm, and sings four-part traditional-style anthems.

For more information, contact Minister of Music Shari Lucas at shari.lucas@sbcglobal.net or at the church office, 860-346-6657.
See us also on FaceBook: First Church in Middletown.

The concert lasts about an hour and a half long, and is followed by a buffet-reception for friends and family.

First Church in Middletown 
190 Court Street

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fire At The Dump

The City's transfer station shut its gate today, after the composting wood chips generated enough heat to ignite a smoldering fire. The fire spread to the adjacent grass on the hill above the recycling station.

Several firetrucks responded, and sprayed water on the wood chip pile until the fire was put out.

Middletown Federation of Teachers Endorses Five For Board of Education

From The Middletown Federation of Teachers. 
The Middletown Federation of Teachers is please to announce our endorsements for the Middletown Board of Education for the upcoming election:

Patricia Alston (D)
Edward Ford, Jr. (R)
Sean King (D)
Lisa Loomis (D)
Christopher Sugar (R)

The political action committee believed these were the strongest candidates to advocate for our schools as demonstrated by their thoughtful responses to both our interview questions and their statements at the election forum on October 17 [NOTE: The Eye reported on this forum: Board of Education Candidates Appear At Teachers' Forum]. 

We believe these candidates will best use their diverse knowledge and experience to work with the incoming superintendent to successfully address the challenges our schools face.

Another View of the Mayor: Commentary by John Milardo

COMMENTARY: "And Justice For All," is a regular newsletter released by former city employee, and city union leader John Milardo.  Milardo is retired from his job as a municipal employee of Middletown.  This commentary is offered by Milardo and doesn't necessarily reflect those of others who post here.  Click the pages below to enlarge them for reading.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Witches Speak at Russell Library Tuesday October 24!

On Tuesday, October 24 beginning at 6:30pm, two poets, Ginny Lowe Connors and Sherri Bedingfield, will be doing a tandem reading from their books on witches in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library.

Ginny Lowe is the author Toward the Hanging Tree: poems of Salem Village, a collection of poems written from the perspective of those who were hung as witches in Salem, Massachusetts.  

'This is a never-before attempted, delightful collection of poems relating to the entire story of the Massachusetts witchcraft outbreak of 1692. Through Ginny Lowe Connors’ poetic artistry merged with solid research of historic facts, we glimpse the human heart’s response to terrifying events.” --Richard Trask, historian, expert on the Salem Witch Trials.

Sherri Bedingfield’s book, The Clattering: voices from Old Forgarshire, Scotland, centers on a single, true story of a woman accused of witchcraft in 17th century Scotland.

'With vivid and beautiful imagery, The Clattering provokes the conscience of the present with voices from the deep past. Bedingfield creates an enchanting world of rich emotion and concrete sensory experience where the lines between what's real and imagined are as intriguingly blurred as they are in life.” —David K. Leff

This reading is part of Russell Library's Authors Talk series, funded by The Friends of the Russell Library. The next Author Talk will be Edward A. Hagan speaking and reading from his book, To Vietnam in Vain

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Waiting for Hillary

When tickets went on sale for a booksigning at Wesleyan/RJ Julia for her recently released "What Happened," they sold out in a matter of hours.

The enthusiasm was evident today as eager supporters lined Main Street in Middletown Saturday morning beginning just after 7:30 a.m.   By ten the line stretched from the bookstore, down Main Street and around the corner to the steps of First Church on Court Street.

At ten thirty, the Secret Service as called in to sweep the bookstore, and Clinton was scheduled to arrive just before 11 a.m. to begin the signing.

Photo by D. McMillan

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Spotted Around Town: Backyard Sailing?

Certain Freeman Road residents did not let the small size of their pond limit their ambitions, anchoring a sailboat in a pond that is barely more than twice the length of the boat itself. 

Maybe they are just getting ready for climate change and the rise in sea levels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Board of Education Candidates Appear At Teachers' Forum

City voters will elect 4 new members of the Board of Education on November 7th, and each party is fielding a full slate. The Middletown Federation of Teachers hosted a lively forum for the candidates on Tuesday evening. All 8 candidates attended, along with about 30 members of the public.

Members of the audience and the teachers' union asked candidates to discuss the skills and experiences relevant to the Board of Ed, to address the divisive and anti-education policies of Donald Trump, to address school financing, the Common Core standards, and how as a Board member they would interact with the Common Council in budget discussions. The forum lasted for over two and a half hours, what follows is a small sampling of the views of each candidate.

Ed Ford (R) is a proud graduate of Middletown High's class of 2015. He said his youth and recent experience in our public schools would allow him to bridge different constituents of the school system, "I would be able to offer the experience I went through myself. ... I will be able to provide a freshness [to the board]." In response to a question about how he would approach members of the Common Council to ask for more resources for the schools, he said he would prepare extensively before meeting with them "I will have data that support the school needs, I would present the research."

Jon Pulino (R) is an English Literature teacher at Maloney High School in Meriden, with a masters degree in educational technology. He emphasized his experience as a teacher, "I go [into school] every day. ... The point is I go to work. ... We need to work together." Asked what the most important leadership attribute is for a Board member, he said, "You have to do all your diligence."

Chris Sugar (R) is a lawyer who works in the area of labor relations; he has been a community member of the Middletown BoE policy committee since 2016. In response to a question about whether he supports Donal Trump and his policies, he simply said, "I did not vote for him." He said he was an advocate for social justice, and made it clear he would do what he could to oppose Trump's policies that hurt Middletown education and children.

Kevin Kelly (R) is a retired nurse, he worked at psychiatric institutions, including Connecticut Valley Hospital. He said, "I'm running because I have the skills to work with people." In response to a question about his racial attitudes, he boasted that he has grandchildren of multiple races, and friends from throughout the world, "Personally, it's never been an issue." He said he voted for Donald Trump.

Pat Alston
 (D) is retired from a career as an equal opportunity employment specialist, and she now works as a real estate agent and runs an after-school program for children of all ages. Of families thinking about where to make a home, she said, "I want to make Middletown a 'go-to' town, where [people say] they have the best schools."

Sean King (D) said that he moved to the city expecting to stay just a few years, "but we fell in love with the city and our schools." He repeatedly emphasized the importance of communication, for his own education in making decisions on the Board of Education, and for the community to understand those decisions.  He pointed to the data he would use to determine whether the schools have what they need, and promised to advocate forcefully to make sure the schools were appropriately supported. He also discussed the importance of communicating with children to help them overcome the destructive effects of the rhetoric and policies of Donald Trump.

Lisa Loomis (D) is a teacher in Hartford, she is also a candidate for a doctorate in Educational Leadership. She said she has a pair of passions in life: education and working for social justice; and she has a pair of goals for the Board of Education: narrow the gap that exists between the achievements of white students and the achievements of students of color, and improve the social and emotional growth of all students. Her answers focused on the students.

Vinnie Loffredo (D) is also a proud Middletown High graduate, he taught at his alma mater before having a long career working for the Connecticut Education Association, a public school lobbying organization. The only incumbent to seek re-election, he has served as Chair of the Board of Education for the past two years. He touted his extensive relationships with the Common Council, where he served for many years.
NOTE: the author is a Democratic candidate for Planning and Zoning, and thus part of a slate that includes all the above Democratic candidates. He does not pretend to be unbiased. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Buttonwood Tree Hosts George Washington Carver Project and The Kennedys!

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree will prove special for those in attendance with jazz music to honor the historic inventor, George Washington Carver, and an anniversary celebration. Join us to create your own magical moment!

Avery Sharpe and Kris Allen honor one of America's Greatest scientists, African American great, George Washington Carver. The Duo project that Avery and Kris have put together to honor Mr.Carver, will consist of original music written by Kris and Avery, based on the life work of this great scientist

October 20th, 8-10pm | $20

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.
 This week's topic: Heart Chakra
 October 21st, 10:30am | $10 suggested donation

The Kennedys are celebrating 20 years of marriage and performing together, so love will be in the air, even more so than usual. With over 13 couples now married or such, who met at TBT, it's proven to be a great place to rekindle or make new relationships.

October 21st, 8-10pm | $20

Bonnie Bryne LeMay, an award winning impressionist painter will be holding an art reception at The Buttonwood Tree. LeMay's art has been described as "Passionate", "Thought-Provoking", and "Calming".

October 22nd, 3-5pm

Celebrate the Fall Harvest and More at Forest City Farms!

Come down to Forest City Farms on Sunday, October 22 at 1 pm to celebrate the CT River Coastal Conservation District's 70th Annual Meeting and Fall Harvest Day! The farm is located at 1100 River Road in Middletown.

Learn about the farm’s efforts to enhance their farmland for agriculture, the many conservation practices put in place, and plans to make the farm an educational community‐based resource to engage families and children. After a brief business meeting and conservation awards ceremony, we welcome you to stay for refreshments, conversation, and the Fall Harvest Day activities. There will be a variety of family‐friendly activities taking place, including walking tours led by Gabe Russo (see flyer below). For more information about our annual meeting, including our award winners, see our flyer. RSVP to Kathy King at 860.346.3282 or ctrivercoastal@conservect.org.

Forest City Farms is a small organic farm on City-owned land along the Connecticut River in Middletown, focused on contributing to the local sustainable food community.  The farm is owned and managed by Gabe Russo with support from many of his family members. A wide variety of heirloom produce and culinary herbs is grown at the farm, and sold at farmers markets and to restaurants, distributed in local farm shares, and donated to the local soup kitchen and food pantry.

The Fall Harvest Day is 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.  Funding for a pilot program to plan and hold two on-farm educational events at Forest City Farms, the secondof which is the Fall Harvest Day, was provided in part by a generous grant from The Rockfall Foundation, Middletown, CT.

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 www.conservect.org/ctrivercoastal, or www.facebook.com/ctrivercoastalcd/.

Board of Education Candidate Forum: Tonight, Tuesday October 17. 6:30 PM, MHS

The Middletown Federation of Teachers (MFT) is once again hosting a forum for the candidates for the Board of Education on the November 7 ballot.

The forum takes place tonight, Tuesday October 17, at 6:30 PM in the auditorium of the Middletown High School on LaRosa Lane.

Candidates from both parties have been invited to give their views on education in Middletown.

An Eye Looks Into The Mirror

The new blog in town.
We at The Middletown Eye are thrilled to see another blog that covers local news and culture. The Middletown Mirror began to publish stories of our city on September 19th. 

So far it has published stories on Middletown High football, Xavier High Football, the new Sliders sports bar on South Main, and the playing field and parks improvements under way at Pat Kidney Fields and Woodrow Wilson Middle School.

We hope all of our readers will also take a look to see the Mirror's reflections on our city.