Saturday, July 31, 2010

Claudea Clow, A Tribute

Claudea Clow, 88, of Boston Road, formerly of Farm Hill Road, Middletown, died Thursday, July 22, 2010 at Middlesex Hospital surrounded by loving friends.  
      The only child of the late Claude and Roseanne (Neiser) Clow, she was born in Dallas, Texas but considered Dayton, Ohio her hometown.  Claudea was a sophisticated, independent, self-made woman who lived a fascinating and remarkable life.  She was a graduate of Ohio State University, earning a bachelor of arts degree in European history and a masters degree in political economy in the 1940s.  Bored with studying and with Ohio, she moved to New York City to study classical ballet and flamenco dance at the American Ballet Theater with Igor Schwezoff, formerly of the Original Ballet Ruse, and later with former Ballet Ruse member Jorg Fasting at the The Capital City Ballet in Columbus, Ohio.  While at Capital City, she helped train members of the Ohio State University football team in ballet technique under the orders of Coach Paul Brown, who felt his team was “too earth-bound.” Claudea said she got a kick out of seeing the players “fumble around” in ballet slippers and recalled, “the training did improve the team’s performance...or else.” 

      Claudea’s career as an editor began at the American University Press in Columbus.  When the company was purchased by Wesleyan University in 1953, she was forced to relocate to Middletown, Connecticut, much to her dismay.  She accepted the transfer only because of Middletown’s close proximity to New York City.  In between these assignments and “in the spirit of adventure and poverty,” she took two months off to explore Europe, which launched the beginning of a life-long love of world travel to many exotic locales including Morocco, Africa, India, Japan, Israel, China, Poland, Soviet Russia, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and Singapore.  She made over 30 trips to London during her lifetime, taking in the Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, the theater, and the fabulous shopping in Knightsbridge and Oxford Street.  

      Claudea’s career at the Wesleyan University Press spanned the 1960s and 1970s editing many books and articles.  She was a colleague of author William Manchester for several years, including the time just preceding his work on Death of a President.  They maintained contact throughout that long and difficult writing process.  

      In her later years, she enjoyed her friends at Heritage Commons, listening to National Public Radio, witnessing the restoration of her historic, brownstone home, and many sushi lunches at Japanica Restaurant in Middletown.  She was a patron of the arts including opera, sculpture, and theater, loved fashion, particularly Coco Chanel, Eames furniture, and 20th century Modern design.  She cared deeply for all animals, especially cats.  

      She was predeceased by former spouse Herbert Levine, MD, of Middletown and is survived by a close friend in Middletown.  She will be greatly missed.  

      Burial is planned in a columbarium (a vault to hold cremains) scheduled for installation at Indian Hill Cemetery, Middletown at a later date.  Memorial contributions in her name may be made to the Animals’ Respect and Friendship Fund through the Middlesex County Community Foundation, 211 South Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457.

Westfield Street Resurfacing Project Is Underway

The road project to resurface Westfield Street between Nejako Drive and Camp Street has begun. This stretch of road has not been addressed for quite a while, and it has cracks and potholes in abundance.

The asphalt of the existing sidewalks on Westfield from Ridgewood to Nejako, as well as a short portion of Camp Street, are crumbling and encroached with weeds, they will be replaced with new concrete sidewalks as part of this project, according to Robert Dobmeier, Assistant Director of Public Works. Dobmeier said that the sidewalks would not be extended beyond where they are now, "We don't generally put in new sidewalks where there were none, unless we get a petition from the residents. A lot of people don't want sidewalks in front of their houses."

The complete paving project will cost $479,155, with financing from the 2005 Road Improvement Bond. Storm sewers will be installed, and the existing roadway will have full depth pavement reconstruction. Dobmeier expects construction to last through September.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Local talent returns home....

Tonight The Buttonwood Tree will be alive with memories and sounds of Nathan Knowles and Wendy Boardwell. Wendy Boardwell, a former Middletown High School student, who sang in Michael Gosselin's chorus, will come back to Middletown tonight. She attended CCY Wesleyan in 1986, and is an alum of Oddfellows' Playhouse. But tonight she is joined by Nathan Knowles in a concert starting at 8 pm. Join us for some music and conversation. Doors open at 7. $10 suggested donation. Wendy Bordwell, Salem NY resident, has been involved with the local music scene for more than a decade…in cabaret performances with Kevin McGuire at Hubbard Hall and the Cambridge Hotel, as the duo "Tom and Wendy," as well as joining forces with Nathan Knowles on his album "The Vermont Line". Powerful vocals drive her performances, while her light finger-picking and acoustic guitar accompany. She studied Voice and Music at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and earned a B.F.A. in theater from Bennington College. She has also been the driving force behind the community concert series “Summer Sounds of Salem” since its inception in 2007. Their performances are highlighted with original compositions, which are rooted in their love of the area....making mention of local people, familiar roadways and area landmarks. Nathan Knowles represents the very best of Americana music. He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and performer appearing throughout the Tampa Bay area, and touring the Northeast through the 2010 summer. His music has been enthusiastically received by audiences throughout the U.S. Nathan is from the New York/Vermont region, where he built a reputation as one of the most versatile entertainers in the area. His music can be found on his CD's "Songbird" or "The Vermont Line". Nathan has performed with talents such as John Hartford and The Dillards to Bo Diddley, and opened for Jerry Jeff Walker and Bad Company. His vast knowledge of various musical styles allow him to put his own stamp on the songs of artists such as John Prine, Delbert McClinton, Louis Armstrong, Steve Earle,Jackson Browne and Van Morrison. -- submitted by Anne-Marie Cannata Executive Director N.E.A.R., Inc. / The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center

Today at the Market

The North End Farmers Market runs Today and every Friday from 10 am - 2 pm in front of It's Only Natural Market, 575 Main St.

North End Farmers' Market returns today, Friday from 10 to 2 with the same great line-up of farmers, O'Rourke's Diner, Linda's Sweet Memories, and Whey Better Soaps.

Jerkfish Restaurant will sell authentic Jamaican food for lunch, and the Vecchitto's truck will be back (the forecast is warm and sunny, perfect for Italian ice!) String Band Madness will return with their sweet, old-timey sounds.

Despite steady rain, many people gathered last week at the market to buy local produce, hula hoop with Crystal Pistritto's beautiful hoops, and listen to the Wesleyan Ghanaian Drumming Ensemble. Rain or shine, the market goes on!

In the news: The Kids Market was featured in the Hartford Courant this week. Read about it here.

Also, if you haven't already, please join us on facebook! "Like" the North End Farmers' Market and use this as a forum to discuss recipe ideas and share photos.

NEAT's Director and NEFM Market Master, Izzi Greenberg was on CT Outdoors radio show on WMRD this week. Click here to listen to the audio. They talked about the North End, the Farmers Market and other programs in the community.

Mural Complete, Artist En Route to Guatemala

With a planned finish date of Friday last week, I found Marela Zacarias on Saturday morning bemoaning a day lost to rain.

"I don't mind the heat.  I like the heat," she said.  "But I can't work in the rain."

Despite the delay, Zacarias finished the work in time for a planned trip to her hometown of Mexico City, and then onto Guatemala where she will be working on her sixth wall mural installation this year.

Check out the mural while you're at the Farmer's Market today.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

F&G Commission Queries Audit Firm About BOE

BlumShapiro accountant Joseph Kask answers questions from commission member Ron Klattenburg at Wednesday's F&G meeting as City Finance Director Carl Erlacher looks on.

At Wednesday's monthy meeting of the Finance and Governance Operations Commission, representatives from the city's audit firm BlumShapiro answered questions about an audit currently underway at the Board of Education.

While the audit is an annual event at the BOE, auditors have been directed to examine areas of interest based on complaints made to city hall and to members of the Common Council.

"We would extend our regular procedures where there are concern that have been brought to our attention where there might be a problem," according to CPA Joseph Kask, Director of Governmental Services for BlumShapiro.

Rell Visits City to Support Food Drive

From the Governor's Office 

Attending the event were, from left to right: Mayor Sebastian Guiliano, State Rep. Matthew Lesser, Gov. Rell, State Rep. Joseph Serra, Middletown Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger, State Sen. Paul Doyle.

 Governor M. Jodi Rell today visited the Middletown Fire Department on Cross Street to promote Saturday’s statewide Day of Caring & Compassion, when several fire stations around Connecticut will serve as collection centers for donations of non-perishable food to help replenish the state’s two main food pantries.  The Governor said the goal is to collect as much non-perishable food as possible. Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank will organize pick-ups from the fire stations later in the day – and from there it will go to food pantries and people in need all across Connecticut. For more information on fire stations near you that will be collecting food, visit

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Schoolhouse Rock at IDS

Council to Consider Coginchaug Channel Clearing

The Finance and Government Operations Commission will discuss a proposed Resolution that city workers unilaterally open the channel in the Coginchaug which was blocked by a landslide below Charton Apartments on March 29th.

The landslide has caused a significant blockage of the Coginchaug, causing the river to rise by as much as 4 feet in Veterans Park, and threatening the health of hundreds of riverbank trees. The draft resolution cites the threat to the trees on the river bank, but more specifically notes the very real possibility of flooding at Palmer Field and the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame.

Previous plans to correct the problem would have used Federal and State funding to clear the obstruction and recreate the channel. However, the Natural Resource Conservation District, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, refused to fund any work on the channel unless work was done on the upper slope to ensure that there would not be a repeat landslide.

The draft resolution provides extensive background to the "bureaucratic entanglement" which is preventing any work. "There is general agreement that the upper slope fix will be in excess of $75,000 for design and $750,000 for construction." Ted Charton, owner and manager of the Charton Apartments, insists that the work he has already done on the slope will prevent any future landslides, but he has not hired an engineer to evaluate this. Neither Charton, nor the city, state, or federal government are willing to fund work on the slope. Thus, the channel remains untouched since the slide.

When the city proposed to the DEP that city workers create a diversion channel through the landslide debris without fixing the slope, Amey Marella, Commissioner of the DEP, responded that the City needs all relevant state and federal permits, and must address the upper slope in conjunction with any work. However, further discussion with her Chief of Staff has led the city to believe that a river diversion plan could be authorized if a plan is prepared by a geotechnical engineer.

The proposed Council Resolution would authorize $15,000 to retain this professional engineer.

Perhaps the most controversial part of the resolution is the proposal that, "if the State and Federal authorizations are not secured in a timely manner, the Common Council authorizes the Mayor, pursuant to under [sic] CGS 7-146, to enter into the channel to remove the debris and release the backed up water, with or without State and Federal authorizations."

Charton told me that he had been prepared to tell his contractor to do just that, but he could not do it without the necessary permits. In fact, on June 28th, Charton was given a cease and desist order in which he was ordered to "Halt all regulated activity immediately and secure necessary permits to remove the obstruction from the channel and stop the upstream flooding."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hartley Increases Parking Revenue, Sets Site on Garage for Melilli

I suspected Parking Director Tom Hartley was a good hire when on an early morning walk (somewhere around 6 a.m.) in the late Spring, I saw him driving a beat-up city van accompanying a Parking Department employee as they collected coins from meters on Main Street.  Obviously, Hartley wanted to get a street's-eye view of revenue from the meters.

A few months later I was standing at an event in front of Amato's with the mayor and deputy mayor and looked across the street as Hartley went meter to meter checking the new automated, card-accepting meters on Main Street.

Then, recently, I heard that against odds, Hartley was advocating for building a parking garage not on the site of the current arcade, behind the Police Station, but on a portion of Melilli Plaza behind Main Street's main commercial strip.

"The numbers hold the answer," Hartley said to me when I visited him in the new, tiny Parking Department office in the basement of City Hall.  "Some years back the city did a parking study, and if you look at what's said, it seems obvious where we need to put the parking."

In raw numbers, currently the Melilli lot (even after its current makeover) provides 1.63 spaces for every 1000 sq. ft. of commercial space it services in the blocks around the lot.  The arcade currently offers 12.99 spaces for the same 1000 sq. ft. of commercial space.

The discrepancy is obvious, and Hartley says it makes space to build more parking where it's needed, and that's the site of the current Melilli Plaza lot.

Hartley says a five story parking garage in part of the lot closest to Washington Street, with modest retail space at street level, will give the city 550 spaces where it needs them most.

"My goal as Parking Director," Hartley said.  "Is to drive economic growth by providing appropriate parking where it's needed, because you want parking to support the growth."

Hartley has to convince city leaders that abandoning the building of a garage on the arcade site, and putting it on a lot that is currently being improved to the tune of $1 million, is a good idea.

"We will lose very little of the proposed improvements," Hartley said.

In his view, lighting, cameras, safety features and parking controls could all be used in the new garage, and in the remaining lot space on Melilli plaza.  What would be lost is the new blacktop covering the 113 spaces, in the Northernmost portion of the lot, where the garage would be built.

"In addition, we would retain the revenue from the arcade," Hartley said, indicating that in the demolition and construction of a lot on the arcade site, the revenue from its 366 spaces would be lost.  Hartley admits that needed repairs would have to be made to the current arcade.

"And we need that revenue," Hartley said.  "That revenue, and the revenue from the new garage will help to pay for the 20% match the city needs to acquire federal funding for garage construction."

Armed with statistics and parking revenue projections, Hartley hopes to convince the Economic Development Committee and eventually the Common Council to pursue a switch in construction sites.

Since Hartley started there has been a significant increase in parking revenues to the city.

The Parking Department exceeded expectations and delivered $660,000 in revenue ($450,000 net) to the General Fund.  He projects $815,000 in revenue for the current fiscal year.

"I expect parking to generate the funds to help us improve parking in the city - resurfacing, lighting, emergency call boxes.  Parking is the first impression made on visitors to the city, and I want it to be a good one," Hartley said.

One improvement many merchants and parkers have lauded are some test meters on Main Street which accept credit and debit cards, along with change.  These meters, installed free-of-charge, with no obligation by the IPS Group, on a trial basis,  also allow the Parking Deparment to get instantaneous reports because the meters report results via SIM card to a centralized data base.

"When I came to the city for my job interview it was pouring rain," Hartley recalls.  "I remember seeing an elderly couple standing in the rain fishing in their pockets for change, and then having to run into a restaurant to get some to feed the meter.  That wasn't a good thing, and I hope we can change it."

Connection Hosts Cook-Off For A Cause, Seeks Restaurant Participants

From the Connection 

The Connection at our Cook Off for a Cause on Thursday, August 26, from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at the Polish Falcon Grove at 144 Prout Hill Road, Middletown. The Jon Peckman Band will be there, he’s the drummer for Jeff Pitchell, so they should be awesome. We’re going to have give aways and so far we have 9 confirmed restaurants participating in the cook off. We’re shooting for 12, so if there’s a restaurant that you think has great chili, let me know so we can contact them. The event is going to be catered by the Lincoln Culinary Institute, and they’ll be cooking barbecue chicken, veggies, side salads, cornbread and more.

The tickets are only $25, which gets you food, giveaway tickets, and two tickets for cold beer or wine. And there will be plenty soda, water and lemonade. You can get tickets on line

It should be a really good time, only made better if you can all come!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Music Outdoors and In

Tuesday July 27:
The MCA-sponsored "Summer Sounds" series presents The Ken Morr Band at 7 p.m. on South Green.  Expect to hear folk and folk/rock, sweet sounds for a Summer evening.  In case of rain, the show moves indoors to South Church. The event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday July 28:
The United States Coast Guard Band (9 of whom are pictured here on a Japanese tour) are this week's musical offering in the "Music at the Mansion" series at Long Hill Estate, 421 Wadsworth Street. If you've never heard the USCGB, what a treat - these fine musician can and do play just about any kind of music you could imagine, from Broadway to folk music to classics to flag wavers. The event is free and open to the public.  The grounds open at 5:30 and the band begins to play at 6:30 p.m.  If you want a taste of the ensemble's music, go to  For more information about the Mansion, go to

Thursday July 29:
This is the poster for "Guys and Dolls", the Middletown Teen Theater production opening on this night and running through Sunday August 1 at the Performing Arts Center in Middletown High School, 200 LaRosa Lane.  Performances are 7 p.m. through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.  The youthful cast is working hard and the show should be loads of fun.  For ticket information, go to

"Writers Out Loud!: Cream of the Crop" features a number of writers from the Middletown area who have been in a workshop, submitted their best work and will be presenting these pieces at 7 p.m. in the Green Street Arts Center. Cocomo Rock and Al Bowers have been working with the writers and I have the honor of presenting the best pieces to come from their efforts.  For more information, call 860-685-7871.

The Russell Library continues its "Courtyard Concerts" series with the Indra Jazz Trio at 7 p.m. Originally from New York City, vocalist Indra Rios-Moore began working with bassist Thomas Sejthen and saxophonist/clarinetist Benjamin Traerup in 2006 and moved to Denmark the following year. The trio's eclectic repertoire ranges from jazz standards to classic blues tunes to folk and "r'n'b." Indra has a rich voice, husky, dark, with a fine range and dramatic presence.  Joining them on several tunes will be vocalist/fiddler/Middletown resident Rani Arbo.  To find out more about Indra and her music, go to  The concert is free and open to the public.

Not quite the Weekly Eater....

I'm certainly no food critic but here's my attempt at it. A couple of friends and I just ate at the recently opened New England Emporium in the Main Street Market. The atmosphere inside is beautiful yet casual, comfortable and relaxing. The food was delicious. We each picked a different crepe and a drink and this little snack shared among friends was about $22. The crepes were all very fresh and light, not salty or heavy, and with very good flavor and seasoning to the filling. The fresh buckwheat flavor of the crepe itself shined through. The crepes are a good size with plenty of extra folded over edges. The sweet and sour crepe was a simple lemon and honey crepe that was not too sweet and not too sour but just the right amount of each, and the lemon piece that garnished it was cooked to a candied perfection and I even ate the peel. The breakfast crepe had a lot of light and fluffy fresh scrambled eggs with a nice bit of sweet red pepper, and the chicken and havarti crepe was exquisitely creamy without being greasy or heavy. The market area has tons of items made locally (around New England) that I have not seen sold anywhere else around Middletown and environs so its a nice place to find some unique things. I will definitely be back to explore more of the menu again later.

I can't resist adding a plug for another gem here. It is important to note that when you enter the Main Street Market and you smell an intoxicating aroma of butter and sugar wafting through the air, it is coming from Fusion Bakery down the hall. Their pastries are indescribably delicious. You may never settle for Dunkin Donuts again after tasting Fusion's cinnamon rolls, "honey snails", custard pastries, danishes or scones. I highly recommend trying out both of these little eateries.

Cover Your Ash

Thanks to Allan's Tree Service

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) today announced that federal agricultural officials have confirmed the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in nearby Saugerties, New York (about 25 miles from the CT border).  EAB is an extremely destructive plant pest and it is responsible for the death and decline of over 25 million ash trees in the United States in urban and forested settings since June 2002.  EAB should not be confused with the Asian Longhorned beetle, recently discovered in the Boston and Worcester areas of Massachusetts.
“This discovery is certainly a concern,” said Christopher Martin, DEP Director of Forestry.  “The close proximity to Connecticut definitely places our Ash trees at risk”.  Visual signs or symptoms of infestation include D-shaped holes, bark splits, and crown die back. White ash is most prominent in the northwest corner, the very southwest corner, and east central sections of Connecticut.”
“CAES is currently surveying for EAB, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), and other forest pests and will intensify these efforts in northwestern Connecticut”, says Kirby Stafford, Vice Director of CAES and State Entomologist. “The State of Connecticut has quarantine regulations in place for EAB and ALB.”
White ash comprises approximately 3% of all trees in Connecticut or about 22,408,000 trees. EAB disperses readily on its own, but like other exotic pests it can be spread when infested firewood is transported to new areas. EAB was found in a campground in Saugerties suggesting firewood was the most likely source. The next nearest infestation is over 200 miles west of Saugerties in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.  
DEP and CAES urge citizens not to transport firewood. EAB spreads quickly on its own and can be easily inadvertently transported in untreated firewood and other forest products.  Buy firewood locally at or near the campground, burn all firewood at your campsite before you leave, and never bring firewood home.  For those who use firewood to heat their homes, your firewood ideally should be from only a few miles away, or at least in the same county.
DEP is asking Connecticut residents to report possible EAB infestations to CAES or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ).  Early detection, although difficult, is the best defense against further infestation.   Residents suspecting they have seen EAB should report their findings to CAES at (203) 974-8474, (203) 974-8485, or (digital photos of suspect insects are very helpful).  Residents can also report sightings to APHIS via their website at
Trees affected include:
·        White Ash
·        Black  Ash
·        Green Ash
Previous infestations have occurred in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Canada

DEP and CAES are a bit vague on what will happen should EAB be found in the state - unlike ALB, the goal is not eradication so the extreme measures such as arehappening in Worcester will not likely occur regarding EAB.  The effort would be on management, which likely means restrictions on movement of ash in any of its potential forms (nursery stock, logs, etc.) out of the area where EAB has been found and an extensive public information campaign.  Note that the Saugerties find was in a campground.  Of course, most of the searching for EAB is done in campgrounds so that somewhat skews the result, but there are strong indications that firewood is a major culprit in the spread of this insect.

The Young People's Center for Creative Arts

YPCCA 2010 Presents:

"Les Miserables" School Edition

Show times:

Thursday 7/29/10- 7 P.M.

Friday 7/30/10- 7 P.M.

Saturday 7/31/10-7 P.M.

Sunday 8/01/10-2 P.M.

Tickets are available at for all shows, or at the door the evening of the show.

Prices are:

$12.00 for Adults

$10.00 for Seniors and Children ages 6-16

Children under 5 are free!

All shows will be performed at East Hampton High School, 15 North Maple Street, East Hampton, CT. 06424

Guys & Dolls at Middletown High: Thursday Through Sunday

Sunday, July 25, 2010

From 1925: Take the Steamer to New York

The following advertisement is from 85 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on July 25, 1925.

What a delightful and cooling trip this would make on a sultry summer evening: leave Middletown in the evening, sleep in a comfortable stateroom, have breakfast in New York, do a little shopping, take in a show, spend the night and return the following afternoon!

If you had caught the steamer on Saturday, July 25, 1925, the next day you could have gone to Ebbetts Field and seen the Brooklyn Robins beat the New York Giants, with Dazzy Vance throwing a complete game 4-hit shutout.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rolling on the River

Many Eye readers know of the monthly get-togethers known as “Meet Your Greens,”
a local variant on the “Green Drinks” themed events in many cities. Inspired by Claire Rusowicz, Director of Development at The Rockfall Foundation, and executed with great flair and verve by local environmental consultant and co-coordinator, Jennifer Weymouth, “Meet Your Greens” has just celebrated its first anniversary.

While most of the monthly events have been in restaurants around and about the county, the occasion of this birthday warranted something more exciting. RiverQuest, a locally-owned and environmentally-minded excursion company, leaped into the breech. Their offer: come along on their spanking-clean, newly renovated boat, and see Middlesex County from the river’s point of view.

Twenty-five or so green folks were unable to resist the offer, and arrived toting astonishing quantities of food and beverages. Not to be outdone, host and hostess Mark (Captain) and Mindy (First Mate) provided lavish snacks and unobtrusive nature commentary. Want to know how many pairs of eagles Connecticut boasts right now? They can tell you.

In tune with the celebratory nature of the evening, Mother Nature served up dazzling blue skies, refreshing breezes, the occasional cirrus cloud, an early-rising gibbous moon and, finally, a spectacular sunset. A young osprey looked back at our multiple pairs of binoculars with a look that said, “Big deal!”

To us featherless bipeds, it was a big deal, and a sweet deal – many thanks to RiverQuest!(RiverQuest, aka Connecticut River Expeditions, runs daily from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam. Go to for more information.) “Meet Your Greens” meets monthly, except in August and December, on the third Tuesday of the month. Venues and presentation topics are posted a week in advance on Rockfall’s website You can join the group’s –e-mail list to receive e-notices by contacting Claire at crusowicz@rockfallfoundation.orgYou can even join us on Facebook! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Freedom to Worship

Please permit me a moment of blasphemy, but I wear my Eli Cannon's "beer gods" gear with pride.  We have many good restaurants in the Mid, and I enjoy eating at some with great pleasure, but my favorite spot on Main is Eli's.  The grub is decent.  The atmosphere is appealing (except when they blast the early century rock as the clock ticks toward eleven).  The staff is terrific.  It's walking distance from my house.  The beer selection is amazing.  And there's no place I'd rather be sitting on a summer's eve then in an Adirondack chair on Eli's back deck.

Next week the beer selection will be even more amazing than usual.

To my surprise it's the second annual Beer Gods week at Eli's.  How did I miss the first?

Here, pun intended, from Eli's Facebook page, is what's on tap.

Tuesday Night - "Out with the Old and In with the NEW" promo featuring New England Brewery. We will be featuring Atlantic Amber (OLD) and Alpha-Weizen (NEW) along with Elm City Lager, Sea Hag IPA, 668 Neighbor of the Beast (NEW) and a very special limited Ghandi-Bot CASK conditioned firkin! Get here early - Matt and Rob will be here to mingle!

Wednesday Night - "Are You Firkin Kiddin Me?! Night" featuring four different cask conditioned ales. Blue Point Oatmeal Stout, Blue Point Hoptical Illusion, Shipyard xxxx IPA, and whatever is left from New England's Ghandi-Bot.

Thursday - First up from 1-4pm Saranac will be holding open interviews for those interested in part time work as a new promo rep. Details will be posted on our wall.
Starting at 5pm - we are hosting Live Mural Art with Matt and Adam - come check them out while they create a new masterpiece on our fence out back.
Starting at 7pm - 3 Olives brand vodka will be holding a promo to announce our very own winner for this year's bartender challenge. Since the entire bar staff will be here promoting their own creations - we are welcoming back 3 "retro" guest bartenders - Brandon, JD, and Leslie!

Hope to see everyone at some point this week to celebrate the beer gods everywhere!

Farmers Market Today

The North End Farmer Market will DSC_0183run today, Friday from 10-2 in front of It's Only Natural Market.

We are looking forward to another exciting market this Friday! Tandoor will be selling Indian food for lunch, and Crystral Pistritto will be back with her famous hula hoops. She sold out last time, so now is your chance if you didn't get one!

Our great line up of farms, Linda's Sweet Memories and O'Rourke's will also return. Guest vendors for the week are Paoletto Farms from Trumbull, CT, which sells homemade honey and honey-based body care products, and Urban Oaks Farm, a non-profit farm from New Britain, CT. Local resident, Deb Flynn will also be selling her beautiful handmade decoupaged items.

Last week, we enjoyed desserts from Linda's Sweet Memories and purchased soothing, aromatic soaps from Whey Better Farm. The Atticus Kelly Quartet entertained us with jazz as we ate lunch from Iguanas Ranas, and kids participating in the kids' market program enthusiastically bought fresh fruits and vegetables. You can read more about the program in the Middletown Press: "North End Kids Market lets local children take part in buying produce at farmers market."

Guest restaurant:Tandoor Indian Restaurant (Lunch is from 11:30-1:30)

Guest Vendor: Paoletto Farms, Deb Flynn Decoupage, Urban Oaks Farm, Crystal Pistritto Hoola Hoops

Recipe of the Week: Babaganoush

Music: Wesleyan Ghanaian Drumming Ensemble (11:30-1:30)

Meet Your Farmers: each week, we will profile a different vendor from the market.DSC_0418 This week, it's Leah Beckett of Beckett Farms.

Farmers' markets are all about knowing where your food comes from. Whereas supermarkets shelves are stocked produce that is often picked up to two weeks in advance from industrial-scale farms, farmers' markets are much more intimate. Your produce is local, probably picked by same person that is selling it, and you are free to ask questions to the farmer.

Leah Beckett, Glastonbury CT

Leah's favorite product: Lemon Basil

Most popular: Blueberries

Why are local farms important?

"Know your farmer, know your food."

How is this growing season?

"Good, dry--rain is helpful, so hopefully it rains again soon. Last summer was extremely wet. Unfortunately, apples arent ready yet because it's been so hot."

What is your favorite part about working on the farm?

I really enjoy working with the guys from Mexico. I learn a lot from them and respect a lot."

I also really like going to farmers' markets--it's great to interact with the people and the vendors! You can just click the button below.

The North End Farmers Market is now on facebook! "Like" our market and use this as a forum to discuss recipe ideas, share photos, and make suggestions.

Also, you can vote for our market in America's Favorite Farmers Market contest! Click the button to vote.
Local Food and Local Farms

Instruments Needed for New City Music Program

From Emily Troll

I'm starting up a community music program in Middletown this fall. And I'm desperate for instruments! I have a very small budget, so I was thinking that before I went out to buy stuff, I might just see if any of my musically-inclined friends had used instruments they might want to get rid of.

My definition of instrument is quite broad. Kazoos are instruments. Actually, kazoos are awesome. And if you have a banjo that you always meant to play but know you never will, maybe this would be a good home for it! Instruments should be in playable condition as I am no repair expert.

Instruments will be used communally for the most part - to facilitate jam sessions by providing a variety of musical possibilities. On occasion, I will rent an instrument out for a few dollars and a signed agreement to be nice to it, both of which will be returned when the instrument is returned to the program.

If you have lonely instruments looking for some music-making - PLEASE send them my way! Just shoot me an email ( and we can talk details. All donations are tax deductible. You'll receive a thank you letter from my organization which is an official 501-c3.

Thank you so much for your support!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Boy Scouts Seeking Auto Enthusiasts

Man Arrested for Domestic Violence and Drugs

From the Middletown Police Department 

On 07/22/2010 at approximately 0001 hours the Middletown Police Department Patrol division midnight shift responded to a reported Domestic Violence disturbance in progress at 121 Saybrook Road. 1st Floor. Police arrived on scene and conducted an investigation. James S. Timbro of that residence was arrested for Domestic Violence. It was also learned that he had several firearms registered to him inside the residence that were not involved in the actual incident. While officers were searching the residence in order to safe keep the firearms a room was located in the basement where several marijuana plants were located along with grow lamps. James Timbro was charged with Assault 3rd Degree, Strangulation 2nd Degree, Unlawful Restraint 1st Degree, Cultivation Of Marijuana Without A License, and Possession of 4 Ounces or More of Marijuana. James Timbro was held on $100,000.00 dollars bond and is due in court Thursday.

5K Draws Crowd for Post Storm Race

The crowd was a bit thinner after storms strafed Central Connectiut Wednesday, but hundreds showed up to run, and cheer on runners in Middletown's annual Citizen's Bank 5K Road Race.

Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, who was the only person wearing a tie at the race, said that there were many calls about downed trees and branches but that the city avoided the major power outages experienced in other cities.

One local distance runner, Kevin Markowski, made good time in the race despite narrowly avoiding being crushed by a huge section of an ancient sugar maple that stood in his yard on Erin Street.

"My neighbor saw the whole thing happen, and she said I pulled up about two minutes after the tree fell," Markowski said.  He made it to the race despite a visit by the Fire Department because the fallen tree had blocked part of the roadway.

"Who said Middletown didn't have fireworks this year," said Chamber of Commerce president Larry McHugh as he worked his way through the throng of runners.

Brendan Callahan of Middletown was the first runner to cross the finish line in a time of 16:15 while Kelly Flannigan (who was celebrating a birthday on race day), also of Middletown was the first woman to finish.

A kids' fun run preceded the adult race.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Over The River and East on Route 66

I grew up listening to AM radio, a much different aural landscape in the 1960s than it is today. Music permeated my late afternoons and evenings. A large number of my friends were enamored of the British groups and, through them, discovered Blues and folk music.  With the advent of FM radio and "free-form" playlists (another thing of the past, save for college stations), one could hear a set of cuts from artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Traffic, Cannonball Adderley, Cream, Spirit and The Mamas & The Papas.
As rock music became "really big business", radio station playlists shrunk to the point were the most "popular" songs and/or groups were heard numerous times during the day because...well, that's what the listeners really want.  So, radio stations found their niche and stayed there until their ratings dropped then the station would find a new niche (the higher the ratings, the more it cost to advertise.) It became harder and harder for local groups to get radio play and many groups started to plays lots of "covers" so that they could still get gigs.
But I must admit that I still like rock music and, even though I write about jazz and have a Jewish Music radio show, every once in a while I just need to hear something with a hard beat, hot guitar or wailing sax and lyrics I need to strain to hear (think "Exiles on Main Street" by The Rolling Stones.) 

Several years ago, I met Kevin Day and Jason Krug who had just released a CD under the monicker "DayDrug."  I liked the "poppy" tunes, the strong rhythms and guitar work, and the irony in the lyrics.  Both played in various bands or did solo gigs and were "DIY-ers" (do it yourself.)  Composer/guitarist Day has a sextet known as Gigglejuice and they have just self-released a new recording, "Driving Around In Circles."  The use of acoustic guitar and saxophone may remind some of the Dave Matthews Band - that influence is there but I hear echoes of 70s British group like Family or the West Coast sound of Arthur Lee & Love.  The agile rhythm section of Brendan Kearney (bass) and Juan Rivera (drums) plus the fine percussion work of Chill-i Tulimieri (who adds didgeridoo to one song)gives the music its heartbeat and solid bottom while the saxophone and flute playing of John Higgins permeates the tunes (he plays behind the vocals and doesn't just wait for his solo.) The blend of the two guitarists (Day on acoustic and Justin Jackson on electric) really fills out the sound - they understand the give-and-take that gives tracks such as "D Minor" and "You Draw Me In" its dynamic tension. The latter track plus "Frozen In Time" are true burners and under the right circumstances, could be hit singles (do they even have those anymore.)

Recorded at home in East Hampton and mastered by Michael Arafeh at The Coffeehouse Recording Studio in Middletown, "Driving Around In Circles" is quite enjoyable and no throwback to earlier eras in rock music (influenced by, yes - imitation, no way.) To find out more, go to  Even better, the group is playing this Saturday night (July 24) at The Governor's Tavern, 26 East High Street in East Hampton.  Call 866-578-8508 for the time the band hits the stage. 

An acoustic version of the band will be appearing at the 2010 Heirloom Tomato Fest, held on Sunday August 22 on the grounds of Upper Forty Farm, 86 Nooks Hill Road in Cromwell. For more information, call 860-632-9029. 

Road Race On Despite Storm

The Citizens Bank 5K Road Race is on according to race coordinators John Bysiewicz and Bob Holzberg.

The start of the race will be delayed until thunder and lightning has moved through the area, and will be delayed in fifteen minute increments.

"It's unfortunate," Holzberg said.  "We were on track for having a record year."

At 5:45 PM racers were arriving and were being registered for the run.

Wind and lightning strikes caused damage throughout the state, and Middletown was hit hard by pounding rain, hail, high winds and lighting.

Bysiewicz Urges Seventeen Year-Olds to Register for Historic Vote

In a press conference held at Middletown City Hall today, Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz urged eligible 17 year-old residents to register to vote in the state party primaries to be held on August 10.  Only 17 year-olds who will be 18 before the General Election date of November 2 are eligible.

"Because of an amendment to the state constitution, this is the first time seventeen year-olds are eligible to vote in a primary election," Bysiewicz said.  "What we're trying to do is get the word out to some 10,000 seventeen year-olds who are eligible."

Deadline for party registration is August 9.  It is also the deadline for any unaffiliated voter to register with a party to become eligible to vote in the primaries.

Bysiewicz held the press conference in Middletown, because there is particular resonance with this community in the effort that led to the passing of the amendment.  Middletown legislative representatives Matthew Lesser and Gail Hamm were instrumental in passage of the amendment.  In addition Liz Gionfriddo, daughter of a former Middletown mayor, was a student at Mercy High School and collected and submitted signatures to the legislature for passage of the amendment.  Gionfriddo, who spoke at the press conference, is now 21.

Mazhar Bokhari, a seventeen year-old graduate of Kingswood-Oxford, who is heading to Syracuse University, also spoke at the press conference.

"In the 2008 elections we had a good amount of young people come out and vote," Bokhari said.  "And this amendment will encourage even more young people to vote."

Bokhari's government class teacher, Dr. Ann Serow, encourage all 60 of Bokhari's classmates to register to vote.

"Our country's not in that good a shape right now," Bokhari said.  "We are going to be growing up in this bad economy.  Voting gives us the chance to elect people who will help fix up the state, and the country."