Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Teens Come up with Powerful Solution for Heating & Cooling with Heat Pump in Oakland, CA, School System.

Middle school students in Oakland, CA,* one of the most diverse cities in the USA, found a way to lower emissions with cheaper heating & cooling at their school. The students did all the work: research, interviews, countless presentations, and consultations with an architecture-design firm.
Their solution -- use of a heat pump.

Article from The Guardian, by: Sonja Singh
Monday, 10 June 2024. 10 o'clock EDT
* Oakland, CA, a city where people look forward to riding public transit,
   including busses. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

ZOOM Genealogy Club - Saturday, June 22, 2024


Host:  Godfrey Memorial Library, Middletown, CT

Presenter:  Diana Crisman Smith

Time:  1:30 PM ET

Diana Crisman Smith will talk with us about the types of genealogical societies out there, and why you might want to join one or more of them. Diana has been researching her ancestry since age 10, speaking since 1980, and writing, teaching, and researching for clients since the late 1980s. She has written extensively on genealogical topics both for books and magazines, and has won numerous awards.

The Zoom presentation will take place at 1:30 pm (ET) on June 22.  Please register by 4:00 PM Friday, June 21.  The invite will be sent out on that Friday.

Godfrey Premium members can register for free at the following email: zoomregistration@godfrey.org

If you are not a Godfrey Premium member and want to attend the presentation, you can pay $10 via PayPal (https://www.paypal.com/us/home) with the payment sent to Godfrey Memorial Library.  Then register using the above email.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Let Me Bore You With The Details (The Plan for Rt. 9)

I'm hoping this is helpful for folks who haven't had a chance to digest the latest plan for Route 9. There are online maps, there have been video presentations. But just in case a plain old description helps, that's what I've written below.

In the meantime, the Common Council meets tonight to vote (UPDATE: VOTED YES UNANIMOUSLY) on asking the DOT to pause and consider community concerns about the plan, which were raised during two hours public commentary on May 23rd.

Also, if you would like to submit comments in writing to the DOT, they have moved the deadline to tomorrow, Friday, May 31st.  Send your thoughts by email  to DOT.Rte9Middletown@ct.gov and please cc Mayor Florsheim at mayor@middletownct.gov and gene.nocera@middletownct.gov.

And now, a description of the plan, using local reference points, with my commentary included:

From Route 9 North, if you are coming from Higganum:

The plan eliminates both lights on Route 9 North, meaning no left turns either to the Portland Bridge/Hartford Avenue or to Washington Street/Route 66.  It creates a new Rt9N exit about a mile to the south of downtown (before the bend in the highway.)  The exit would be between Bow Lane and the Rt 17 connector, around the area of Maplewood Terrace/Walnut Street, leading to a rotary on River Road in front of the old sewage treatment plant.  The DOT predicts a future count of 4500 vehicles a day using this exit, including trucks. The floodplain, Sumner Brook and a superfund site are all impacted. This also contradicts the riverfront planning we've done for recreational amenities and attractions in this area.
Everyone who currently uses the lights on the Northbound highway to turn left would instead be on River Road, along the waterfront, and would then come to the corner of DeKoven and Union Street (by the old Middletown Plate Glass); then they would make their way to the Portland Bridge or up toward Meriden by using the local roads.  DeKoven to Rapallo would carry much of the traffic headed to the Bridge; as with the last DOT plan (which was stopped in 2018 by community resistance), this plan converts Rapallo to a one-way street to hold the cars heading to the Bridge, adds pollution in a crowded area, puts more pressure on cut-through traffic on Ferry/Green, and damages businesses and residents on Rapallo and the area.
Aside from the impact to local residents, this plan means that for any driver who uses the lights from Rt9N to get to the Bridge, there is added travel time, especially compared to off-peak times, because they would always have to navigate local streets and intersections instead of using the highway.
For cars that usually use the Northbound light to head up Washington Street toward Meriden, they would now find the quickest path would be up Union/Church/Cross street, through the Wesleyan campus; or possibly, to take a right on DeKoven until William/MLK or Court Street, then taking Pearl or High to eventually make a left onto Washington Street.  In other words, the neighborhoods beyond downtown would have new cut-through traffic from this change, with damage to property values and increased risk to pedestrians.
Some of the cars taking the new exit would go up Union and turn right onto Main Street, either to get to Rt. 66/Washington Street, or to get to the Portland Bridge.  Adding cars that do NOT want to be Main Street, with people who are just trying to get somewhere else, is a negative for our businesses.  It hurts the important qualities of easy diagonal parking, slow speeds and walkability which make our business district possible.  Very few Connecticut downtowns stayed alive after DOT projects "improved" the highway for cars instead of for communities (think Meriden, Waterbury, Hartford, New Britain, Norwich, etc.)  Middletown has been lucky to have easy access from Route 9, without ramps and flyovers to erase the community.  Under this plan, removing the lights takes away the simple and clear access we've enjoyed, and increases the volume of through traffic and hurts walkability, while lowering the number of exits into our downtown.

From Route 9 South, if you are coming from Cromwell:

On the Southbound lane of Route 9, the plan creates a hump to elevate one lane of the highway to pass over the intersection with Hartford Avenue (that's the concrete-walled ramp from O'Rourke's Diner to Route 9).  The hump on Route 9 starts roughly around Miller/Bridge street, then rises to its full height where Hartford Avenue meets the highway, and then, in a distance of about 500 feet, goes back down to grade level to pass under where the Railroad Bridge crosses Route 9.  There would be an exit lane on the right side so that Rt9S cars could get to Hartford Avenue up toward St. John's Square - then right toward the Bridge or left onto Main Street, heading to Route 66/Washington Street. One increase in volume at this Route 9 exit is that it would now carry ALL the cars headed to points West, because the other exit to Route 66, at the base of Washington Street near Melilli Plaza, would be eliminated.
For cars that come down Hartford Avenue, heading North to Hartford, they would pass under the hump and merge into the fast lane on Route 9 - and the DOT is proposing adding a new lane to Route 9 North for a distance to make this less dangerous; but ultimately, it's a left lane merge on a full-speed highway.  For cars that come down Hartford Avenue and want to head south on Route 9, they would merge into the full-speed traffic coming off the hump, in the area of where the highway passes under the railroad bridge. As noted, the exit to Washington Street in the area of DeKoven House/Vecchitto's would be eliminated.
Cars would still be able to enter Route 9 South at the bottom of Washington Street, but they would now have to accelerate up to the highway speed, and that puts them in conflict with cars who are on Route 9 South and slowing down to take the exit by the movie theater, to DeKoven/MLK Drive, which connects to William Street.
Of course, all construction presents risks to local communities and business districts, but construction of the hump on Route 9 South will be a significant disruption, projected to last 3 to 4 years. The hump covers the space of Route 9 itself and there's little room for detouring traffic due to the bridge supports for the Railroad bridge and the Arrigoni Bridge. It will be especially difficult, both night and day, for residents of Miller/Bridge/Portland Streets, and for maintaining full access to downtown and to the Bridge and Rt 66.

The overall plan ignores the decades of data that shows projects like this hurt local economies, and put the highest burden on neighborhoods with low-income residents and people of color.  The research shows that ultimately, they don't even solve safety or congestion problems on the highway itself, because accidents now happen at higher speed and the "faster" route draws new commuters and higher volume, and encourages development to sprawl away from urban centers.  People who pass through might sometimes have shorter travel times during rush hour, at least for a while, but those who are diverted through our neighborhoods will not see those gains. The DOT is not considering ways to make the highway safer that would avoid these negative impacts for Middletown. The estimates of improvements in safety don't consider the increase in risk on our local streets and the cost that we will bear.
Please join us in asking DOT to find better ways to make the highway safer, without transferring the burden to Middletown.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Learn to Row Day! Saturday, June 1st


Learn to Row with Central CT Rowing!
Saturday, June 1, 10 am to 2 pm

Sign-up at CentralCTRowing.com
or, call Middletown Rec at (860) 638-4500

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Relief in 4 Minutes for Chronic Hip Pain

*Snake Hips Tucker
(1920s-30s dancer)

Worth a Try: Exercise
for Easing Hip & Leg Pain

If you're of a certain age and have spent much of your working life at a desk, chances are you'll eventually experience tight hips, with symptoms of tightness or pain, a change in your gait (the way you walk) or both. And frustration because you don't know know how this happened or how to fix it.

Resolution for hip & leg pain may be less complicated than you think. My recent discovery and practice of targeted exercise videos on youtube (Silver Sneakers & others) has resulted in an apparent complete recovery from what seemed on its way to debilitating pain in legs and hips. I also have an inclination to spread the good word of something that might help.** 

Try these exercises, click to view: 
4-Min Stretch Routine for Hip Mobility  

Lower Body Workout for Active Exercisers**

About Tight Hips (from Healthline.com) What does it mean to have tight hips? A feeling of tightness across the hips comes from tension around the hip flexors. The hip flexors are a group of muscles around the top of the thighs that connect the upper leg to the hip. These muscles allow you to bend at the waist and raise your leg. (Some of the main hip flexors are the Iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, sartorius.)

Many people have tight hips, including both people who spend several hours a day sitting as well as regular gym-goers and professional athletes. Some people are more prone to tightness in that area of their body, too. Tight hips may put you at increased risk for injury due to the increased demands on tissues that aren’t moving properly. Before going to a physical therapist or doctor for treatment, try some of these exercises and see how you respond. Practice slowly and carefully at first, and see your doctor if you feel a need for reassurance.

More advanced stretches**
7 Stretches to loosen up tight hips

 *If you've found relief with these moves, look to youtube.com for Silver Sneakers' exercise routines. If your insurance plan offers Silver Sneakers, take a look & see if you can log in to get
started at 

*Snake Hips Tucker
(1920s-30s dancer)

Earl 'snake Hips' Tucker (1905-1937)

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Teen Repertory Company Presents: As You Like It

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents Shakespeare’s As You Like It May 16 - 25. All performances will be held at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown.

As You Like It, written in 1599,  is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and accessible comedies. The play mostly takes place in the mythical Forest of Arden, and director Dic Wheeler has placed the production in a world which he refers to as “Clown Contemporary”. The fast-paced production features politics, love, exile, cross-dressing, great music, misplaced passion, wrestling, and includes some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches ( including “All the world’s a stage…”) and, in the protagonist Rosalind, the largest role that he wrote for a female character.


The play, which features a cast of 19 performers ages 14 - 20,  is directed by Oddfellows Artistic Director Dic Wheeler, with original choreography by Marcella Trowbridge. Costume Design is by Christian Milik, Scenic Design by Tina Hurlbert, Sound and Music by Joseph Getter, Lighting Design by Aaron Wescott, and Properties Design by Pam Lang, 

Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for kids and students. “Big Heart” tickets are available for $25 for anyone who really loves and values theater and its impact on the lives of young people.

Thursday, May 16 is a “Pay-What-You-Can” Preview

Tickets may be purchased at https://www.ticketleap.events/tickets/oddfellowsplayhouse/as-you-like-it.

For more information, call (860) 347-6143, email info@oddfellows.org, or go to www.oddfellows.org.


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Earth Day News: The Ocean Cleanup Bags 10,000,000 kg of Trash!


Yes, you read that right! Last week, on Earth Day, we achieved a significant milestone: surpassing the 10,000,000 kg*

(≈ 22,046,200 lbs) mark of trash extracted from oceans and rivers worldwide! As we prepare for a global scale-up, this groundbreaking achievement reflects the hard work and progress of our team since we removed our first million kilograms of trash in 2022. 

*Approximately the same weight as the Eiffel Tower! Read more about this achievement in our latest press release. 

10,000,000 kg of trash has been removed from oceans and rivers | Our biggest catch in Guatemala | New Podcast Episode: Relationship Building | Global Plastics Treaty: the stakes of legacy plastic 
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The Ocean Cleanup
An excavator is loading trash into a truck to clean a river

Yes, you read that right! Last week, on Earth Day, we achieved a significant milestone: surpassing the 10,000,000 kg* (≈ 22,046,200 lbs) mark of trash extracted from oceans and rivers worldwide! As we prepare for a global scale-up, this groundbreaking achievement reflects the hard work and progress of our team since we removed our first million kilograms of trash in 2022. 

*Approximately the same weight as the Eiffel Tower! 

Read more about this achievement in our latest press release
Another achievement was accomplished recently: Interceptor 006 captured our biggest river catch ever – allowing us to cross the threshold of 10,000,000 kg. Our 2-boom Interceptor Barricade in Guatemala prevented 1,400,000 kg (≈ 3,100,000 lbs) of trash from flowing into the Caribbean Sea in one single evening.  

You can watch the impressive footage of the trash flood right here: 
Youtube thumbnail of a river in Guatemala filled with trash
You can also learn more about Interceptor 006’s catch in this article
Charlotte smiling at the camera next to Interceptor 019
Charlotte de Jong, Business Development Manager at The Ocean Cleanup shares the challenges she faced, working on the deployment of Interceptor 019 in Thailand (deployed in March). 
Trash collected in the System 03


Government officials from around the world gathered in Canada last week to continue discussing the UN Global Plastics Treaty, aimed at defining solutions to plastic pollution. We at The Ocean Cleanup fully support this effort and offer data, expertise, and insights for an ambitious treaty that tackles not only plastic production but the whole lifecycle of plastic. 

Read our blogpost to discover why cleaning up ocean plastic is an essential part in solving plastic pollution.
Thank you for your continued interest in our mission to rid the world's oceans of plastic. Stay tuned for more updates on our progress.


The Ocean Cleanup Crew

P.S: Have you checked out our new fundraising platform yet? 
Contribute to the mission with your expertise
Help us scale our cleanup operations in rivers and oceans.
© 2024 The Ocean Cleanup. All rights reserved.

The Ocean Cleanup
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Rotterdam, 3011 AD

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Oddfellows Playhouse presents "The Storm in the Barn"


Oddfellows Playhouse Maplewood Senior Troupe is staging Matt Phelan’s novel The Storm in                 the Barn May 2 through 4. The production will be presented at 7 pm nightly at Oddfellows                         Playhouse, located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. 

The Storm in the Barn is a tale of a farming family struggling to survive the Dust Bowl and

the Great Depression. Jack, our young hero, discovers that the disappearance of the rain may not be of normal circumstances, but something much more sinister and supernatural. He must face his fears and find confidence within himself to save not only his family, but perhaps the world. This production of The Storm in the Barn             is brought to life by a cast of 7 young actors, ages 11 -16. 

Directed by Allegra Green and Jakeis Jenkins, The Storm in the Barn                         features scenic design by Dan Schmidt,             costume design by Christian Milik, lighting design by Aaron Westcott, sound design by

Trey Moore, properties design by Pam Lang, and technical direction by Myke Halpin.

The dramatic adaptation was written by Eric Coble.

The Storm in the Barn is produced by special arrangement with


Performances will be at 7 pm on May 2  - 4. Tickets for The Storm in the Barn are

$5 for students and $10 for adults. “Big Heart” tickets for $25 are available for anyone

wanting to support Oddfellows’ work with young people, the arts and social justice.             Tickets may be purchased at


Additional information is available at www.oddfellows.org or by emailing info@oddfellows.org             or calling (860) 347-6143. 

The Storm in the Barn               is made possible thanks to generous support from the City of Middletown,

Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund, George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation,

American Savings Foundation, Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD,

Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middlesex County Community Foundation,

The Fund for Greater Hartford, Liberty Bank Foundation, Middletown Youth Services Bureau,

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention), Middlesex United Way,

many generous individual donors, and you, supporting youth arts in Connecticut by

purchasing a ticket for this performance.

ZOOM Genealogy Club - Saturday, April 27, 2024


Presenter:  Pam Vestal

Topic:  Tracking Down Your Eastern European Ancestors, Part II

Time:  1:30 PM

Pam gave the first part of this presentation in March.  There is still plenty you can learn from this session, even if you don’t have any Eastern European ancestors!

Pam comes to us from Oregon, thanks to the wonders of Zoom.  Here is her description of her presentation:

In spite of the many wars, boundary changes, and political and natural catastrophes, an astonishing number of records exist for our Eastern European ancestors, both here and abroad. We'll explore strategies for finding their places of origin, uncovering their original names, finding and requesting records, extracting and understanding their information, and dealing with foreign languages.

Please register by 4:00 PM Friday, April 26.  The invite will be sent out on that Friday.

Godfrey Premium members can register for free at the following email: zoomregistration@godfrey.org

If you are not a Godfrey Premium member and want to attend the presentation, you can pay $10 via PayPal (https://www.paypal.com/us/home) with the payment sent to Godfrey Memorial Library.  Then register using the above email.


Live Stream Link—Bach's Mass in B Minor on Saturday, from Yale's Institute of Sacred Music

Live Stream Bach's Mass in B Minor from Woolsey Hall,  
Saturday, April 27, 2024 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

For more information see

Friday, April 19, 2024

Jugalbandhi - North & South Indian Classical Music by Raga Club

Raga Club of Connecticut invites you to a special North & South Indian Classical Music Jugalbandhi concert with four master musicians: 

K.J. Dileep - Carnatic violin

Shadaj Godkhindi - Hindustani Flute

V.S. Raghavan - Mridangam

Anubrata Chatterjee - Tabla

4pm Sunday, April 21, 2024
CVHTS Narayana Auditorium
11 Training Hill Road, Middletown, CT 06457

Annual membership and information about events hosted by Raga Club: http://www.ragact.org/
Tickets for non-members are $30 at the door or here: https://www.zeffy.com/en-US/ticketing/b56cea94-43fd-4470-bbd9-a588dbf19731

Thursday, April 4, 2024

PEACE Resource Project: Symbols, Prayers, & Invocations in Rainbow Colors

Beautifully Crafted Items with

Symbols, Prayers, & Invocations

for Peace in our Time.

Pivot to the Positive

(Image above is a composite.)

Bumper Stickers, Magnets, Posters
suitable for use in fund-raising
and group gatherings.


PIVOT to the POSITIVE!                                 
Martin Luther King Community

Click here: 
Shop Online:  Peace Project Online
New for Spring 2024 Season

     peace & goodwill. 

                    PIVOT To The POSITIVE!