Saturday, December 31, 2011

Scenes from Middnight on Main

Middnight on Main 2012 New Year's Eve festival ( was a terrific family-friendly event, well organized and attended, with many excellent performances and happenings. Congratulations and thank you to Community Health Center, all of the sponsors, vendors, sites, volunteers, staff and performers. Here are a few photos from some of the many events on and around Main Street in Middletown tonight (since this only covers a fraction of all that was going on, I hope others can post their accounts and photos). Click on the photos to view a larger image:

model trains at Amato's toy store:
Primate Fiasco brass band at First Church parish hall - dance party!
 A huge crowd of people watched the fireworks on Main:
 It was great to have Main Street open to pedestrians:
Mamoun's falafel was there along with several other food trucks. 
Thanks to Green Street Arts Center for providing a warm place to eat and talk inside.
 LA 8 Sixty salsa band at Church of the Holy Trinity:
2012 ice sculpture by Larry Siragusa, in front of Citizen's Bank:
Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams ( put on an amazing standing-room-only roots-rock show in the First Church sanctuary:

Come on down to Middnight on Main

Middletown's first New Year's Eve Festival starts at 3 pm and the entertainment goes right to midnight. Fireworks are at 6 pm at the corner of Washington & Main (from the top of the Joe Riff's Music building). The intersection will be closed during the actual fireworks display, but Main Street is open to regular traffic for the rest of the day and evening.

For more info and for button sales, see or come down to the Chamber on Main Street.

If you're still up at 11:30 pm, everyone is welcome to join us in front of the Church of the Holy Trinity, for Japanese Taiko drumming and church bells as we ring in 2012. If you're staying home in your jammies, you can countdown with us if you download the free Middnight app for iPhone or droid.

Come celebrate the New Year on Main Street!

News Flash - There's Nothing Here

according to a couple of goofballs, I guess we can just shrug it off, but I was wondering... Did anyone else besides me just hear a caller from Middletown call into Car Talk on NPR, and have Click and Clack the Tapat brothers comment that "according to people we know there is nothing there" ... ?!? Really? Ugh!

Ed Henry Keeps Rolling Along

As we turn the calendar to January 2012, Ed Henry begins his 62nd year as host of "The Polish Melodies Show".  Originally broadcast from the Main Street Studios of WCNX-AM 1150, the show is now heard on WMRD-AM (the call letters changed in 1996 when current Don DeCesare purchased the station) and WLIS-1420 AM in Old Saybrook.

This New Year's Day morning, Mr. Henry will drive 1 mile from his home to WMRD on River Road and will do what he has done since the show began over 6 decades ago - he will turn on the microphone at 10 a.m.  For the next 60 minutes, he will have fun, announce birthdays, celebrate Polish heritage, play waltzes, polkas and oberiks, read ads from his loyal sponsors, pay homage to his friends and family and make his loyal audience smile and tap their feet.  Even when he's not feeling 100%, his hour on the radio rejuvenates him and his listeners.

52 Sundays a year (53 on rare occasions), Ed Henry makes people happy.  As he always says, "I never miss a show" and that's true - in the 15+ years my show has followed his at 11 a.m., Ed only has taken off when the weather has made it impossible for him to get to the studio.  He missed a show once when he and his wife Jean went to Poland and also when his sister passed away. 

61 years - it's tough to contemplate all the events and changes Ed Henry has seen in that span of time but, one thing has not changed; the man loves what he does and that love is shared by many people every Sunday.  Gratuluję!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mercy Loses First Game of Season to Lauralton Hall, 52-41

Mercy was on fire in the first quarter of the Mercy Classic championship game, racing out to a 12-point lead over Lauralton Hall of Milford with ease. Unfortunately, much of the game had yet to be played.

The Crusaders shut down Mercy on the road over the final three quarters, winning 52-41 Thursday night and handing the Tigers their first defeat of the season.

I knew they were a very good team,” said Mercy Head Coach Tim Kohs. “While we played a very good first quarter, we should have been up more. That’s hard to say when we held them to six points, but when we were up 11-0 we had two chances for easy baskets, but we didn’t get them and gave up baskets instead.”

The Tigers led 18-6 following a Liz Falcigno free throw to begin the second quarter. But for the remainder of the period, Lauralton Hall went on a 16-6 run to get within a basket at the half, 24-22.

Mercy seemed to be regaining its composure as they scored the first two buckets of the second half, but it was imagined. The Crusaders limited Mercy to four points through the remainder of the quarter and earned a 34-42 lead on Cassie Gildea’s bucket to close out the quarter.

Lauralton Hall was able to take the lead by controlling the game in a multitude of ways. The Crusaders defense limited Mercy’s offensive flow and forced the Tigers into poor shots, the team used offensive movement to consistently find open shots, and Lauralton Hall easily controlled the boards on both ends.

Lauralton Hall controlled the fourth quarter.

“I think maybe fatigue got to us,” said Kohs. And they rebounded better as the game went on. I will say that Gildea is as good of a player as I’ve seen this season. She’s a menace on defense. She was on Maria {Weselyj} and did a great job. We just couldn’t handle her.

After closing to within two at 37-35 with 6:55 left to play, the Tigers didn’t score again until a traditional three-point play from Falcigno with 1:51 remaining, a score that only served to cut the deficit to 44-38. From there Lauralton Hall scored the next six points at the line to put the game away.

Lauralton Hall turned its defense up even more in the final quarter and refused to permit Mercy a strong look at the basket. Tiger offensive positions were rushed and frequently ended after one poor shot, leaving a possible comeback dead in the water.

“Offensively we found out we are nowhere near where we need to be,” said Kohs. “I’m not disappointed in that we competed and played very hard. But we did not play well. I’d like to play teams like that 20 teams a year. We’ll get better.”

Maria Weselyj led Mercy with 14 points. Jordan Nappi and Liz Falcigno each had 10 points, and both were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Cassie Gildea scored 14 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Michelle Desantis had 10 and was the Mercy Classic’s MVP.

Mercy next plays at Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden on January 6.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Park & Rec Winter Schedule

Middletown Parks and Recreation Department

Upcoming programs – 860-343-6620- Register NOW., click on Departments, then Parks & Recreation to view the complete Fall and
Winter Brochure. Programs require pre-registration.

Youth Swim Lessons - $40/child, Jan 14 – Feb 11. (5 Saturdays) Register now.

Hoops and More- Fridays (ages 8 – 15) through March 30th, 6-9 pm. FREE

Recreational Swim – Sundays, Jan. 8 – Mar 25 at WWM, $2 or use Vets Pool Pass

25+Open Basketball – Sundays, (Jan 8 – Mar 11) 1:30 – 3:30 at WWM -$5

Men’s Basketball League – Fridays (35+) (6:30 – 9pm) Snow School

Dance it Off -(ages 13+), Wednesdays 6-7pm. $35 at Wesley School

Co-Ed Drop in Volleyball- Weds 6:15 pm, $20 Snow School (18+)

Friends and Fun Programs- Baking, Arts & Crafts, Dance, Movie Days (ages 8 – 18)

Judo (6-adult) – Mondays and Wednesdays ($40) 6:30 – 7:30pm

Badminton – Thursdays 8pm, $35 resident, $45 non-res. Begins January 5th

Golden Lion Martial Arts – (6-adult), Thursdays, 6 – 7:30pm ($40/ 3 month)

Lap Swim - Mondays and Thursdays (8:00p – 8:45 pm) at Wilson Middle, $10/ 3mo

Water Fitness - Mondays and Thursdays (ages 18+) 7 – 8 pm at WWM (60+ free)

Adult Exercise – Mondays and Thursdays 7 – 8pm (at WWM) ages 18 + (60+ free)

Weight Lifting – Monday and Thursday evening (at WWM) ages 18 + (60+ free)

Wesleyan Indoor Walking Program – ages 50+ (Free) Must register and wear pass.

Family Movie – FREE movie on the big screen, Keigwin Auditorium, January 20th

Sledding – at your own risk is permitted at Veteran’s Memorial Park. No supervision.

Ice Skating – at your own risk is permitted at Butternut Hollow, Swales Pond & Ravine Park.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Members of the newly elected board of directors for the Middlesex Community College Foundation are: (back row, l-r) Jay Keiser, Mark Benigni, vice chairperson, George Eames, chairperson, Garrett Birdsey, treasurer, Richard Muniz (front row, l-r) Marci Swede, Sheila Iglesias, Ellen Long, Julé A. Crawford, Judith Felton, and Anne Cassady, secretary.

The Middlesex Community College Foundation board of directors elected three new officers: George M. Eames IV (president of Lee Manufacturing in Wallingford) as chairperson, Dr. Mark D. Benigni (superintendent of schools in Meriden) as vice chairperson, and Anne Cassady of Durham (professor emerita from MxCC) as secretary. Additionally two long-time, active Middletown residents, attorney Julé A. Crawford and retired realtor Jay Keiser, were elected to the board of directors.
As chairperson, Eames will oversee the ongoing activities of the foundation, which includes fundraising and resource development to support scholarships, campus projects and academic programs at MxCC.  

“Middlesex Community College contributes a great deal to the 18 towns in our service area by preparing individuals for immediate employment in high-demand fields including manufacturing,” said Eames.  “It makes sense for the business community to support this college so it can continue to fulfill this vital role.”

Garrett Birdsey, assistant manager of Liberty Bank’s Higganum branch, and Sheila Iglesias, assistant vice president and manager of TD Bank in Middletown, joined the foundation board earlier this year.  Birdsey serves as the foundation’s treasurer. 
The MxCC Foundation bid farewell to three outgoing board members who have been longstanding supporters of the foundation and the college: David R. Hampton (MxCC class of 1972) of Meriden, Roger Brewer of Rockfall, and Michael Waller of Middlefield.

Dr. Anna Wasescha, the new president of MxCC, expressed her enthusiasm for the new board and appreciation for the exiting volunteers.  “We are fortunate to have such exceptional support in our community,” she said.  “The work of the foundation is far-reaching and has a direct and indirect affect on countless lives, on and off campus.  Even in the short time I have been here I have seen the impact of this organization – from opening our new interactive classroom in the Jean Burr Smith Library to hosting a wildly popular 5K road race – and know they are capable of great things for our school.  I look forward to working closely with the foundation’s new board of directors as we tackle some great challenges together.”

White Out Night 2011


White Out Night 2011, a set on Flickr.

If you see a group of people wandering around Main Street tonight, it most likely will be the Middletown Substance Abuse Prevention Council and students from MHS' Dragons In Action and WWMS' Rams In Action. We may even be joined by some friends from Middnight on Main, since we're asking for people to have a safe New Year and they're providing a great way to have one. Wave, smile, or lend us a friendly honk if you see us.

Above are some pictures of Dragons In Action preparing for the event.

The Early Bird Gets the Soup

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to be the first person in town working on Middnight on Main these days. My phone pinged at 4:45 am with my first text of the day, and 5:38 am brought my first email from Lucy McMillan, the coordinator for this leviathan event.

We're sweating the small stuff here. And the occasional big stuff too**.

There are charts of the 200 volunteers and where they go, maps showing where we will put signage and bus stops, and about a thousand other details that we hope to iron out in the next 3 days, 17 hours, and 25 minutes.

What that means for you, dear reader, is that Middnight on Main might just be the most music, dance, laughter and entertainment ever packed into four blocks of our Main Street. Hopefully, you'll consider joining us, if not for one of 100 events at 21 venues, then for the rooftop fireworks at 6 pm or the countdown to 2012 in front of Holy Trinity Church.

You probably already know this, but the whole schedule and info about button sales is at, or you can download the Middnight app on your iphone or droid.

But here's what I wanted to share this morning: my 4:45 am text was from the legendarily-early-riser Brian O'Rourke, who is the first presenter at a 3-hour segment of afternoon cooking demonstrations at one of the Middnight venues. I wrote up his plans for his 3 pm opener:

Feel that chill in the air? How 'bout a nice bowl of soup? Even better, what if it's made from scratch in your own kitchen, with some local ingredients to make it even fresher? Brian O'Rourke of O'Rourke's Diner is ready to share his secrets on what makes a spectacular soup, chowder, gumbo, or stew! Is it the roux? The broth? Where does the flavor really come from? Brian knows - and you can too! Part of Middnight on Main, Middletown's first New Year's Eve festival.

The sun is not even up yet, and I'm ready for broth instead of breakfast....hmm...I wonder if Brian makes a morning soup?

In case I forget to say thank you in the next few days, let me express my gratitude to all the people who've been volunteering these past 11 months to create an event that will show the whole state how much fun we can have on Main Street, Middletown. Sure, it might be cold. It's hard to know what to expect at a first-time festival. We'll make our share of mistakes. But, to quote Elsie: what good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play! It should be a good show.

**(According to Lucy's 5:38 email, we apparently put the wrong group's photo on our website for one of the performers...the first person to guess which one it was and write into the Eye comments gets a free Middnight button!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Around the Garden

The weather outside is frightful, even if it isn't the kind of frightful we expect for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Rain, wind, more rain, gustier winds – that’s been the story for the past few weeks.

What’s a gardener to do? Prepare for unseasonable weather – all year ‘round! Years ago, I kept a garden journal, occasionally writing down temperatures, storm data, and the dates of the first daffodils. Today the Environmental News reported that, in 2011 alone, 2,941 extreme weather records were broken. Somehow, it doesn't seem worth keeping a notebook anymore – other groups are doing a more through job of documentation.

The National Resources Defense Council predicts that Connecticut will experience more extremes: more wet weather and likely flooding as well. Urban areas will bake in the summer, with more triple-digit days in summer, leading to drought. Ironic, isn't it, that we need to prepare for floods and droughts in the same year? Temperature extremes are among the hardest things for most plants to adapt to: when buds begin to “break” (open), plants have evolved to expect certain predictable events to follow. Spring is supposed to come through with lots of gentle rain and mild temperatures. Lately, spring has provided sporadic, heavy rain, accompanied by high temperatures or rapid plunges below freezing.

All of these oddities create less than ideal circumstances for plants. When plants normally pollinated by insects or birds deviate greatly from their normal timeframe, those insects or birds might not be present to perform their services. We don’t care too much if fuchsias don’t get pollinated – after all, they aren’t going to give us another year’s blooms anyway. If the dogwoods and the magnolias have their buds blasted by a late freeze, we are pretty annoyed. Those plants are supposed to put on a show for us!

But, if we happen to be robins or starlings, and the dogwoods don’t produce any berries, what then? And if the apple or peach crop fails, the local growers weep; we, of course, can “always” get our apples and peaches from the supermarket – which gets produce from Washington State, or Japan, or Australia. But what happens when crops fail on several continents at once? What happens when China needs wheat, because drought has wiped out their crop? Can we envision a time when China wants some quid pro quo for bailing out our economy – to the tune of our entire wheat or corn supply?

So, here are a few resolutions to adopt for 2012 – small things we can do to keep our planet green:

1) Buy only the food you need, preferably not processed food, and use it all. If you have the room, grow some vegetables yourself. At least 25% of the food purchased in the U.S. today is wasted – as in, goes to a landfill or incinerator.

2) Start a compost pile, bin or container of some sort. Dozens of web sites tell you how. Middletown’s Recycling Coordinator, Kim O’Rourke, is a wealth of information on the subject, and she regularly offers compost bins for sale at a very good price.

3) Hoard water! Kim is also responsible for bringing 55-gallon water barrels to Middletown, along with the connectors to hook them up to your downspout. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have rainwater to spare after “Alfred”! Water that would otherwise contribute to urban flooding can be used to grow trees or shrubs – or your vegetables!

4) Hoard more water with a rain garden. Check out the University of Connecticut’s excellent web site on the hows and whys of absorbing some of that runoff.

5) Spend some time this winter looking at seed catalogs and plan your vegetable garden early. Comstock, Ferre in Wethersfield and Select Seeds in Union, CT, offer high-quality heirloom and native seeds. Unlike seeds purchased from England or Oregon, you can be pretty sure these are plants that will thrive in Connecticut.

6) Consider joining a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm this year. Several organic growers in the area supply members with organic fruits and vegetables from late June to early October.

7) Eat meatless meals one day a week.

8) Plant a tree – or two or three. No room? At least plant a shrub that will feed some birds – viburnums are ideally suited to Connecticut. Look for native plants when you plant trees and shrubs – they will acclimate better to our climate with less need for water and fertilizer.

9) Keep your lawn at three or four inches in height: taller grass shades out weeds. When you mow, use a mulching mower so that all that green nitrogen goes back into your own lawn.

10) Mulch your trees and shrubs with wood chips – and don’t forget that Middletown is rich in wood chips right now. If you must have weirdly colored mulch – and that is food coloring, not Nature – save it for top-dressing. Mulch widely but not deeply: two to three inches is plenty, and keep it away from trunks and stems. If your landscaper tries to build mulch volcanoes around your trees, hire a different landscaper.

Happy New Year!

I got what I wanted for Christmas!

I wanted to pass on the good news that the long-standing graffiti on Hartford Avenue* was painted over just before the holiday weekend. It came up at a recent downtown meeting, and Public Works and the Mayor's Office reacted quickly.

I'm sorry that I don't have an "After" photo for you - but here's one from "Before." That tag has been up since at least last Spring - many thanks to the city workers who took care of it! (Note: it's not actually their job - the wall belongs to the State DOT, who were informed of the graffiti many times.)

*Hartford Avenue is the entrance ramp to Route 9 between St. John's Church and O'Rourke's Diner.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Middlesex United Way Announces Six One-Time Grants to Local Programs

December 21, 2011

For more information contact: Jill Davoll, Middlesex United Way, 860-346-8695 or jill.davoll@middlesexunitedway.orgMiddlesex United Way Announces Six One-Time Grants to Local Programs

(Middletown, Conn)…Middlesex United Way is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has approved a total of $24,950 to six programs working in the areas of school readiness or affordable housing. As Middlesex United Way continues to address the underlying causes of serious community conditions, United Way volunteers and staff seek to support programs focusing on prevention.

In United Way’s focus area of Housing, two programs were selected to receive funding and help United Way increase the ability of individuals and families to attain affordable housing, one of the organization’s Five Year Goals for the Common Good. They are:

· Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness – $5,428 for their Homeless Prevention Fund to provide immediate assistance to those at risk of losing their housing. This critical support is part of an overall plan to end homelessness as it helps with the short term needs of families while long term community based solutions are implemented.

· Middlesex Habitat for Humanity – $5,427 for their “Brush with Kindness” program that helps to preserve local homeownership by partnering with homeowners struggling to restore and maintain a safe and decent place to live.In United Way’s focus area of Education, four programs were selected to receive funding and help United Way increase children’s readiness to learn by school entry, one of the organization’s Five Year Goals for the Common Good. They are:

· Middlesex Hospital to support the implementation of Child FIRST – A one-time award of $10,000 to be used as part of the required $25,000 matching funds received by primary funder, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Child FIRST is a nationally recognized program providing prevention and early intervention services for very high risk children and families to decrease incidences of abuse and neglect, and emotional, behavioral, developmental, and learning problems.

· Best Beginning in Clinton – $1,500 to improve technological capacity of their Early Childhood Council by purchasing a computer and printer, and with any remaining funds to implement a back-up system for their database.

· Cromwell Board of Education – $1,100 for the implementation of a Math Readiness Program for preschool children, their families, and their caregivers.

· East Haddam Board of Education – $1,495 for outreach to low-income, hard-to-reach families in East Haddam to ensure they receive valuable information, resources, and materials through their Early Childhood Council.

Programs receiving United Way funding undergo a review by volunteers to ensure the support will be used wisely and efficiently. After approval by United Way’s team of volunteers on the Community Impact Council, the recommendations are brought to the organization’s full Board of Directors.

Middlesex United Way is advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income, health and housing – the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. You are invited to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. That’s what it means to Live United.

Middlesex United Way is a locally-based organization serving the towns of Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thought I heard something....

Looks like it's already Christmas here in Middletown, just past midnight - I thought I heard something up on the roof, so I'm just waiting for NORAD to come up here on the laptop...

We spent Christmas Eve in our usual pursuits - first to the South Church Christmas pageant. In what may become a new tradition, South Church celebrated at 4 pm, which meant that we entered the church in daylight, and then watched the stained glass windows move from bright to rosy purple, and then to dark during the hour - it was lovely. The pageant featured Bob Englehart playing a grandfather answering his grandkids request for "the Christmas story."

The biggest laugh of the night came when Bob started: "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house...." till the kids said "No, not that Christmas story! The other one!" I don't want to spoil it for you if you don't know how it turns out, but there were animals, twinkling stars and even some audience participation, when we were called upon to play the townspeople returning to Bethlehem. Our line was "Taxes, taxes, taxes!"

Our next stop was the annual Christmas Eve fondue party at our neighbors, with a separate pot of cheese for the growing gluten-free contingent - and my friend Melissa showed off her favorite Christmas gift so far - a friend knitted her these "texting gloves" - which I never heard of, but she wasn't the only one in the room sporting a pair.

Maybe the Eye needs to revive the idea of a fashion column, so I can stay up to date!

Finally, we put bedtime off a little longer and hit the dessert party at Clover Nook, a charming house in town which lives up to its name. The party traditionally runs late into the night, with an endearingly stable group of old friends (many with their now grown children and their friends in tow). It's a collection of musicians, teachers, writers, theater people and other creative folks who've called Middletown home since at least the mid-'80's, and it's always interesting to hear what they've been instigating. More than a few promised they were coming to Middnight on Main - and that was nice to hear!

As usual, the table at the party was packed with chocolate cakes, pumpkin muffins, cookies and other goodies. We always bring the pecan pie that my brother faithfully sends us every year from Houston - it tastes at least as sweet as it looks, but my favorite part is the box it comes in, which proclaims "You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you're in Texas!"

'Course, we can thank our lucky stars here in Middletown too ! Whatever holidays you celebrate - at whatever time of year - I hope yours are wonderful. Joy to the world! (all the boys and girls!)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Menorah Lighting Tonight

Union Park, Corners of Main and Pleasant Street, Middletown, CT, FREE

The Chabad Jewish Center has announced plans to host a free, open-to-all holiday event at Union Park in Middletown. The program, celebrating the festival of Chanukah, will be held on the fifth evening of the holiday – Saturday, December 24, at 7:00pm. Union Park is located at the Corner of Main Street and Pleasant Street, across from Rite Aid.

In addition to the kindling of a giant, 9-foot Menorah candelabra, hot cider and warm potato “Latkes” (pancakes) will be served. There will also be festive music and free raffles. The whole community of the Jewish faith or otherwise is invited & welcome to this special celebration, free of charge!

For more information regarding this program, or Chanukah in general, please call Rabbi Yosef Wolvovsky at (860) 659-2422, email

Middletuners Chorus entertains at Capitol Holiday Celebration

Middletown State Reps. Joe Serra & Matt Lesser hosted the Middletuners, Middletown’s senior chorus, at the State Capitol for a holiday celebration Dec. 23
From the State Representative's office.

First Church: Christmas Eve Services

First Church of Christ
Congregational (UCC)
190 Court St.
Middletown, CT

Christmas in the Barn

Christmas in the Barn at Daniel’s Farm, on Millbrook Rd., a rustic stable setting for Christmas Eve worship.

You are invited to bring a carrot as a Christmas gift to the horses on Christmas morning. Please also bring a flashlight to help guide you to the barn from the parking area, which is unlit. Daniels Farm is on Millbrook Road, 1.2 miles south from Randolph Road.

4:45 p.m. — Gather for hot cider and fellowship

5:00 p.m. — Service begins, with carols, message, Communion

Traditional Candlelight
Communion Service

10:00 p.m. — in the sanctuary at First Church. Special music with choir, carols, message, Communion, and candlelight.

First Church is an open and affirming church. Wherever you are on Life's Journey, you are welcome. Join us on Christmas Eve, or in the New Year. We welcome you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

First Church: Christmas Day and New Year's Day Services

First Church of Christ
Congregational (UCC)
190 Court St.
Middletown, CT

This year, with both Christmas and New Year holidays landing on Sunday, the First Church congregation will join for worship with South Congregational Church.

Dec. 25 — Christmas Day
On Christmas morning we will join for worship at South Congregational Church, 10 a.m. (No service at First Church.)

Note: The traditional Community Christmas Dinner begins at 12 noon at First Church.

Jan. 1 — New Year's Day
On New Year's Day, we again join with South Church for worship at First Church, 10 a.m., with guest minister, the Rev. Ruth LeBar (with communion).

Asset Message of the Week(s)

Hi folks, I neglected to put last week's Asset Message on the Eye so here are our last two. Have a great holiday weekend.

Middletown Youth Services Bureau: Asset Message of the Week - "The Ask": Some of you know that I’m involved with a “Young Leaders” group based out of the Middlesex United Way. As we were planning a social event fo...

Middletown Youth Services Bureau: Asset Message of the Week - Survey Reflections: Last week, we went through the process of resurveying Middletown youth using the Search Institute’s Profiles of Student Life survey. The adm...

Middletown Loses Home Opener to Tolland

If there’s one lesson a fan can take away from Middletown’s 63-59 loss to Tolland in the Blue Dragons home opener Tuesday night, it’s that a team can’t win if it doesn’t play with superior fundamentals. It’s awesome if your team to controls the boards with ease. It’s even better if your top player, senior Mikie Rhodes, supplies 24 points and 17 rebounds and leave his all on the court. But an advantage in one or two areas of the game doesn’t make up for a lack of perimeter defense, offensive execution or composure. The winning formula was absent for Middletown in a defeat that dropped the team to 2-2 on the season. Tolland is now 1-1.

The inconsistent play of the Blue Dragons was on display from the opening tip. They were only trailing by one point at the end of the first quarter but quickly fell further behind as the first half continued and outside shots weren’t falling. Meanwhile, Tolland players repeatedly scored on open layups off of beautifully executed cuts, and made the same outside shots Middletown was missing. It didn’t matter that Middletown was grabbing rebounds left and right if the squad couldn’t take full advantage of them.

After going into halftime down six, the Blue Dragons put together a strong comeback effort throughout the second half. Middletown’s superior speed and strength slowly but surely wore down their opponent and caused them to have a number of poor offensive series. All the momentum was going Middletown’s way, and when they pulled to within one at 56-66 with three minutes remaining in the fourth a win seemed inevitable.

However, Tolland kept going back to the same style of play that had worked for them all game in the closing minutes, and that style continued to pay off. Tolland executed a few backbreaking layups as the clock ticked down and put pressure on the Blue Dragons with their crisp passing and smooth flowing offense. They frequently coaxed Middletown into fouling and made their shots at the line. Tolland gave Middletown little room for error as it made its comeback, and ultimately there just wasn’t enough of it.

Middletown did not execute well enough in the closing five minutes to ever grab the land and completely establish control. The squad failed to deny penetration to Tolland on offense and was forced into committing reckless fouls as a last resort. Even as the Blue Dragons grabbed nearly every rebound in site, they were unable to convert a significant amount of their second-shot opportunities. Most glaringly, Middletown struggled at the line down the stretch and shot just 5-10 from the charity stripe for the contest. After closing to within one, the Blue Dragons allowed Tolland to convert on a three-point layup, and would only score one more field goal, going on to lose by four.

Shawn Strickland had 12 points and five assists, and Taji Owens pulled down 16 rebounds for Middletown. Overall, the Blue Dragons committed 19 turnovers while only earning 9 assists.

Taylor Fortin scored a team-high 19 points for Tolland. Teammate Brad Smith added 16, and Matt Grospitch scored 15.

“Tolland is a very patient team. They run their offense and don’t take bad shots,” said Head Coach Dave Sytulek. “We tried to pick up our defensive intensity in the second half but just ran out of time. I hope this loss taught us that we need to come out with that intensity at the very start of every game.”

Middletown will host Pomperaug Thursday.