Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Middlesex Community College will be hosting a memorial service on Thursday, September 8, from 12:15 – 12:35 p.m. to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The public is invited to this event, which carries the theme of “Rebuilding.”

The ceremony will be held at the 9/11 Memory Tree, a mimosa tree located at the gazebo near the upper parking lot on campus that was planted in 2002 to mark the first anniversary of the attacks. At that time, the MxCC community dedicated the tree to honor those who lost their lives, the survivors, and those who work for the healing and safety of others. A plaque is planned for the tree that reads, “Just as rain, sun and soil will nourish this tree, we must nurture peace in our hearts and minds through our words and actions.” At Thursday’s event, a ceremonial wreath will be laid at the Memory Tree, and the community will join in singing “America the Beautiful.”

MxCC President Dr. Anna Wasescha will deliver remarks about this historic date, and the significance to MxCC students, many of whom were in elementary school when the attacks occurred. Professor Christine Ruggerio will read the poem “The Names” by Poet Laureate Billy Collins. This poem was published on the first anniversary of 9/11, and was read by the author on the PBS program, “Online News Hour with Jim Lehrer.” Professor Ruggerio teaches the poem in her creative writing course, and is consistently moved by the powerful words and imagery by the master poet. She even remarks on the physical shape of the poem on the page, which forms a tower.

Joseph Macknicki, IT Technician at MxCC and current chairman of the College Council, organized the event. As a veteran, he welcomed the opportunity to give the MxCC community an opportunity to revisit what happened on 9/11 ten years ago. The ceremony will focus on positive steps for the future, particularly in light of the rebuilding of the Freedom Towers on the World Trade Center site inNew York City.

For more information, contact Daisy Trahan at 860-343-6921.

Mayor Keeps Day Shelter Open after hurricane Irene

From South Fire District
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano announced that the city will be opening a shelter for local residents in the cafeteria at Middletown High School. The shelter will be open daily from 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM. People will not be allowed to sleep overnight. Lunch will be served at noon and dinner at 5:00 PM. Bottled water will be available all day. People will be allowed to use showers. Power will be available to charge small electrical devices (laptops, phones, etc.). Pets will NOT be permitted.

Residents, who have wells, may bring buckets and jugs to fill up on fresh water. The Mayor said the shelter is opening to accommodate those who have been without power. He added that the shelter will remain operational as long as needed.

There will be a MAT bus designated to loop run from the terminal to the MHS Day Shelter from 11am - 7 pm.

Middletown Framing Grand Re-Opening

We are Finally Happy to Announce our Official Grand Re-Opening!
After a long, cold, agonizing 2011 winter & the natural disaster that caused the roof to collapse, then the subsequent demolition of the entire building that housed our business, the tragedy and the misfortune that our family lived through in the past 7 months; we would now like to thank all of you who were kind enough to help us get through this life changing experience and all you loyal customers for your Understanding and Patience. Thank you all very much!

Celebration will take place at our New and Permanent location
502 Main Street in Middletown, CT 06457.

~Please Join us for our OPEN HOUSE ~
Everyone is welcome!
Thursday September 1st from 4 pm - 8 pm
Friday September 2nd from 4pm-8 pm
Saturday September 3rd from 4pm-8 pm

Light food & refreshments will be served.
We will be ready to assist and accommodate all your framing needs.
Looking forward seeing you all, brightest blessings and love!

Thank you!
*~Dmitri, Rusa, Nikolai~*

Dmitri & Rusa D'Alessandro
Middletown Framing LLC
502 Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457

September 3 Moonlight Paddle Cancelled Due to Flooding

The Jonah Center river paddle previously scheduled for Sat. Sept. 3, at 5 p.m. is cancelled because of record flood levels, the dirty condition of the water, and the strong currents.
We will try to find another date when high tide, the availability of the launch site at Harbor Park, and perhaps a rising moon coincide for a fall paddle.
Our new mission in the Floating Meadows is to search the area for the presence of the invasive waterchestnut that threatens tidal inlets along the Connecticut River and to document and remove these plants where they are present.
The Jonah Center’s next program meeting is Caring for Your Trees and Shrubs, with arborist Jane Harris, on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. at First Church of Christ, Congregational, 190 Court Street.

Wednesday Food: Harrisa

With the garden on the Devoto farm positively overflowing with tomatoes, and the joint minds of its members unable to come up with another variation on tomato soup, I realized it was time to hit the food web. By this I don't mean the grammar school shark-eats-fish-eats-baby-fish-eats-plankton type thing, but the network of food blogs and recipe archives that turn the internet from a time eating monster into a useful, creative, and reliable friend. Within a few minutes of idle browsing, I found I had clicked my way down a path that ended up on the page of a food blog called "The Wednesday Chef". She had a recipe (involving tomatoes, of course) that she absolutely swore by; she claimed you could eat it on potatoes, pasta, beans, scrambled eggs, and sardines on toast. I furthered the credentials behind this dish by mixing it with humus, putting it in a salad, spreading it in a sandwich, and eating it straight out of the bowl with a few corn chips.

If some of you are still in the dark, let me help you out. Harissa is a (condiment, I suppose) originally from Northern Africa, reminiscent of a chile sauce, except perhaps a little more versatile and less of a "sauce". It is an ingredient used heavily in North African cooking, but western cultures have started to adopt it and (I'll attribute this piece of gossip to Deb from Smitten Kitchen) it was even spotted on a table in  a cafe in Paris.

So, if you too are suffering from a tomato epidemic, I would try this simple recipe that can be made in bulk and stored easily, and is sure to add extra kick to anything you pair it with. 

Hurricane Irene Business Assistance

From the Planning Department Newsletter.
The State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development has established a program to assist businesses negatively impacted by Hurricane Irene are eligible for assistance, including bridge financing and loans covering uninsured losses, through DECD. Highlights of this assistance include:
  • Loans of up to $200,000 to companies for storm-related damage, including property, machinery and equipment, and working capital;
  • Loan guarantees of up to $200,000 will be provided to banks and other lenders to spur local lending to businesses impacted by the storm;
  • Grants will be available to businesses for assistance in disaster recovery, such as temporary help and training; and
  • Technical assistance, linking businesses to a wide array of state and federal resources.
Agricultural businesses are eligible for funding.
Information for all services can be obtained by calling 1-860-270-8215. or HERE

Planning Conservation & Development Dept. Newsletter

Middletown Planning, Conservation & Development Newsletter- August 30, 2011
Hurricane Irene Business Assistance
The State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development has established a program to assist businesses negatively impacted by Hurricane Irene are eligible for assistance, including bridge financing and loans covering uninsured losses, through DECD. Highlights of this assistance include:
  • Loans of up to $200,000 to companies for storm-related damage, including property, machinery and equipment, and working capital;
  • Loan guarantees of up to $200,000 will be provided to banks and other lenders to spur local lending to businesses impacted by the storm;
  • Grants will be available to businesses for assistance in disaster recovery, such as temporary help and training; and
  • Technical assistance, linking businesses to a wide array of state and federal resources.
Agricultural businesses are eligible for funding.
Information for all services can be obtained by calling 1-860-270-8215. or go to
Local Economy-.Unemployed jumped up to 8.9%. Hiring in July was up slightly, but not enough to offset increases in unemployment.
Housing- Foreclosures have decrease again for the 4th straight month. Sales continue their weak trends, but a housing correction should be reaching an end. The real estate market likely will not see sustained gains until employment rebounds.
Web Presence- Web presence for Middletown has increased for a second month. Searches reveal a hot new restaurant downtown, Mondo.
Zoning Board of Appeals
Thursday, September 1 - CANCELLED
You can find agendas, minutes and legal notices at
If you would like to be removed from this mailing list, please email your request to

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Schools Opening Delayed Until Tuesday

With several schools without power, the BOE posted this on their website late this afternoon.

Second Round Opening for After School Funding

The Middletown Youth Services Bureau Advisory Board will be opening up a second round of funding to after school programs as part of the Education Incentives Challenge Grant process. A total of $15,000 has been left available and applicants for this round will have their requests fixed at $2,500. Applications above or below $2,500 will not be accepted.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, September 20th at 10am, and funding recommendations will be made by the board on Friday, September 23rd. Organizations with programs that were funded in the first round are not eligible to apply for this second round. Questions regarding submissions can be sent to Justin Carbonella at or he can be reached at 860-854-6030. For information on the grant and to access the RFP please follow this link:

Middletown Cooperative Preschool Open House

River Flooding at Thirteen Feet; Crest at Sixteen Feet Expected At 9 PM

Dan Cronin has had quite a first year in his owning and management of the Mattabassett Canoe Club,  formerly known as Harbor Park.  His business partner passed away shortly after they leased the building.  A strong spring freshet flooded the restaurant days before opening day on Easter weekend, and now, just days before an expected busy holiday weekend, flooding from tropical storm Irene has the Connecticut River at flood stage.

"Three days before the Labor Day weekend," Cronin said Tuesday morning.  "The timing couldn't have been worse."

Cronin conceded that restaurant owners along the river in Vermont had it worse.

"Someone's always got it worse," he said.  "We'll work through this, and maybe even get open for a day this weekend."

Middletown Environmental Resource James Sipperly, who was standing along a flooded River Road, by the restaurant said that the river was at about 13 feet above flood stage, and would probably rise another 3 feet.

Water and sewer department director, Guy Russo said that some wells along River Road would be underwater, but that they had already been shut down and are not connected to the city's water system during the flood.

"The water out of the faucet throughout the hurricane has been more pure than any bottled water you can buy," Russo said.

He also indicated that the River Road sewer plant would not likely be flooded during this event.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Touchy Wildlife

Yesterday afternoon I walked along Saw Mill Road to Bell Street to Boardman Lane to see how Highland Lake and Bradley Brook were handling Irene's aftermath. While on Boardman Lane, I almost stepped on this little garter snake, and then was surprised when he coiled and lashed out at me several times like he was going to bite me. His little mouth couldn't have opened wider than the diameter of a dime, and he was so little my golden retriever didn't notice him, even when I stopped to take a picture (don't say anything rude about my dog...).

For such a little guy, he sure acted tough, and I was left with the thought that perhaps he was a little spun up by the weather too. Then I doubted my snake identification skills, and I had to look closer to see if I was mistaken in my initial estimation of his identity. I didn't see any rattles, and he sure looks like the garter snake in the "Snakes in Connecticut" DEP guidebook (don't ask why I have a copy of this). I've just never seen a garter snake act that way, and it was very funny to watch.

He eventually slithered off the road into the bushes, and my oblivious dog and I continued our walk. We were not accosted by any other animals on our return journey, although I did keep my eye on the beaver hutch as we passed by...

Emergency Shelter Closed And Mayor Warns of Flood Dangers

From the Health Department
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano has just announced that the city has closed its emergency shelter. As of 3 P.M. on Monday, the shelter was empty. If people still find themselves in need of a shelter, they are encouraged to contact the regional American Red Cross at 860-347-2577 or INFOLINE at 211.

Additionally, the Mayor would like to inform everyone that due to the exceptional amount of rain that has occurred over the past few days, the Connecticut River is in danger of flooding to levels that have not been realized in a few years. Flood stage for the Connecticut River in Middletown is usually 8 feet. It is estimated that the River will crest to approximately 16 feet by Tuesday afternoon. This will affect not only the Connecticut River, but its tributaries as well.

Extreme caution should be used when approaching any standing water on a roadway. What may appear to be docile standing water may actually have a strong current below. The best policy is not to drive though any standing water.

Anyone with questions should call (860) 883-7564.

Street Tree

Madam Nirvana sent in a photo of a tree across Saybrook Road...

Farm Hill and Bielfied Elementary Schools Categorized As "In Need Of Improvement," Must Offer Choice; Students to Be Shifted To Wesley

In a public email exchange acquired by the Middletown Eye, Barbara Senges associate school superintendent, recently revealed that Bielfield Elementary and Farm Hill Elementary have been designated "in need of improvement," under federal No Child Left Behind regulations.  Both schools failed to meet federal standards for Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) two years in a row, and as such, must offer choice to parents of students attending the school.

Last week, Superintendent Michael Frechette indicated that these results were "under embargo" by the Connecticut Department of Education, and as such, he was not allowed to comment on them.

However, Senges' email, distributed to the entire Board of Education, school administrators, some school principals, and some residents, gives specific information on the designation, and the school administrations' response:

"A little over a week ago, we were notified by the State Department of Education that as Farm Hill and Bielefield (both Title I schools under NCLB) are now identified under NCLB (No Child Left Behind) as “In Need of Improvement”, that we were required to offer school choice to a school that made AYP and had available space. Wesley fit the bill. The State also indicated that as we had only a limited number of spaces available at Wesley, that we should offer the seats to those students at Farm Hill and Bielefield designated as Title I (Free or Reduced Lunch Students achieving below grade level). Students at Bielefield and Farm Hill in grades 3 and 4 who fit this profile were called and offered a few available seats."

At least one Board of Education member was incensed enough about receiving the information three days after the most recent BOE meeting.  In a response to Senges, Sheila Daniels wrote:

"Why was the issue mentioned below not brought to the attention of the Board at Tuesday night's meeting? Waiting until after the fact to inform the Board or having the Board be informed by a member of the public is not good practice."

While the district is required to offer choice to parents whose children attend a school labeled "in need of improvement," Senges explained that the school administration decided to arbitrarily offer choice to a set of parents and students, some of whom were late kindergarten registrants, others of whom are low-performing "Title 1" students, which Senges describes as "(Free or Reduced Lunch Students achieving below grade level)." The late kindergarten registrants were informed that they could chose a different school because of potential overcrowding in classrooms.

In her email, Senges indicates that the state gave the district the latitude to offer choice to a limited number of parents and students.

Last year's elementary school redistricting was expected to create achievement issues in some elementary schools, and other elementary schools in Middletown are reported to have failed to reach AYP last academic year.

Severe Connecticut River Flooding Predicted For Wednesday

The National Weather Service is predicting that the Connecticut River will crest at 16 feet in Middletown on Wednesday.  This is considered to be major stage flooding.

Photos from MHS Band Fundraiser Food, Fun Festivities

Saturday the MHS Band Booster sponsored Food, Fun & Festivities vendor and craft fair went on as scheduled, shortened by 2 hours due to the rain and impending storm.

A bounce house greeted visitors.

The photo below is an original sculpture (below) by local Dave Klein. It is a figure representing a POW and enclosed in a branch cage as to pay homage to Vietnam Veterans. Klein's daughter Julianna (above) sold original jewelry the family had made from semi precious stone and recycled materials.
Visitors had the opportunity to purchase tickets to dunk friends and teachers in a dunk tank outside.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mayor Rescinds State Of Emergency

Mayor Sebastian Guiliano will be lifting the state of emergency effective for the first shift for each of the city's bargaining units. The Mayor declared the state of emergency prior to Hurricane Irene's arrival. The Mayor said that all municipal employees should report to work on their normal schedules.

The Mayor went on to say that city workers and emergency personnel will be assessing damage within the city and clean-up efforts will begin as soon as possible.

After the Storm Residents Walk to View Damage

Housebound families escaping the confines inflicted by the hurricane, converged on Long Lane after the rain stopped.  There, dozens of large old trees were felled by wind from the storm.  The street was completely impassable as the century-old trees were tossed spectacularly, like so many toothpicks.

West Street was also closed with a large tree leaning precariously on utility wires.

At the old high school on Pearl and Court, now senior housing, a large tree fell and crushed four cars parked in the lot behind the building.

Irene Leaves a Trail of Downed Trees on Long Lane

Some images below of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene at the Wadsworth-Kerste deBoer Arboretum along Long Lane. One neighbor said she'd counted 29 downed trees. The last four photos are from a property near the intersection of Pine and Wadsworth, about 500 meters east of the Arboretum. Some trees seem to have snapped midway up.

Porch Destroyed on Hunting Hill

Photo by Joanne Jukins

A falling tree destroyed this porch on Hunting Hill.  By looking at photos on the internet, Middletown, in general, was spared.

MxCC Closed On Monday

College Closed on First Day of Classes

Middlesex Community College (MxCC) is closed Monday, August 29 due to the threat of Hurricane Irene. This closure affects the Middletown Campus, the Meriden Center and classes held at Old Saybrook High School. If the College is not operational beyond Monday, it will attempt to make closure announcements through its normal media outlets, on its website, and through its emergency notification system. Should those outlets not be accessible students are encouraged to call the College switchboard at 860-343-5800 choosing option 1 to hear the College’s status.

MxCC students can also register anytime to receive text messages for emergencies and weather related closings, delays, or early release through the myCommnet Alert system by creating an account on myCommnet and clicking on the associated links. Students able to access Blackboard Vista (the College’s Web-based management and delivery of course content site that allows faculty to supplement their on-ground course with online components) can check the crn number of classes in which they are registered to see if their professor/s have posted a message.

Students, who already have their textbooks, are encouraged to become familiar with the introductory sections in preparation for when classes do start.

The two days of late registration are delayed until the college opens and will be held the first two days that classes are in session. Dr. Anna Wasescha, president of Middlesex Community College said, “I hope everyone in Irene's path stays safe, and I look forward to seeing all our students at the start of the fall 2011 semester.“

United Way Seeking Request for Proposals for Housing-Related Initiative

Live United Horizontal copy

Middlesex United Way thanks Webster Bank and Harding Development Group, our 2010/11 Gold Sponsors, for Living United.


August 24, 2011

Middlesex United Way is making available a one-time grant to support a new or existing housing-related initiative. This housing initiative must be consistent with Middlesex United Way’s Five Year Goal to increase the ability of individuals and families to attain affordable housing. While not necessary, proposals that support the goals of the Middlesex County Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness will receive additional consideration.

There is a total of $10,855 available for this opportunity. The award period will be from January 2012 – June 2012. Funding beyond this time period is not guaranteed. Organizations may submit more than one proposal.

Middlesex United Way’s Affordable Housing Impact Team comprising local volunteers will review all requests, conduct site visits as needed, and recommend one or more proposals for funding.

Proposals will be rated on the following criteria:

· How it will increase the ability of individuals and families to attain affordable housing;

· Demonstrate need for service/program;

· Identity/description of target population;

· Number of people served/impacted;

· Ability to demonstrate measurable outcomes/results;

· Financial accountability for project and for overall organization; and

· Ability to implement the initiative within 2-4 weeks of notice of funding.

To download a Fund Request Form with more information and a list of required documentation All requests must be submitted by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 30, 2011 to

All interested organizations are encouraged to consider submitting a proposal even if they feel you don’t meet all of the above stated criteria and/or if their proposal prioritizes different criteria. New, creative ideas that demonstrate potential will be considered.

There will also be a Technical Assistance session for organizations held on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at Middlesex United Way. Contact Ed Bonilla for more information and to register at (860) 346-8695

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.

A Short Damage Survey Through Downtown Middletown

Trees down on College Street, and in the Middlesex Mutual lot.  Trees blocking William Street at Main.  and a leaning pole on South Green.  Plus numerous small branches down all over downtown streets.  Central News was open, but not much else.

Irene Causes Scattered Power Outages

Connecticut Light and Power reports that 40% of its 22597 customers are without power in Middletown. Many of those are in Westfield. There are at least three trees across lines on Westfield Street, and a snapped telephone pole on Rte 3 near Charton Apartments.

Tree Down, Corner of Pearl and Washington

This large old tree fortunately missed a house on the Northwestern corner of Pearl and Washington, and did not fall in traffic lanes, but it's stopping traffic, as cars repeatedly stop to snap cell phone photos.  We heard the thuderous fall about 90 minutes ago.

From 1938: Panic Rules At Hospital For Insane

The most damaging hurricane to hit the Northeast was the "New England" storm of 1938, which hit on September 21.

The following is a reprint of an article appearing in the September 22, 1938 issue of the Hartford Courant. The first photo is from the Wesleyan Special Collections and Archives Blog, the second two are selections from a separate one-page spread in the September 22nd Courant.

In subsequent months, the Courant reported that Wesleyan had lost 315 trees, and was actively planting new ones to replace them (most of the large trees on campus today were planted in the fall of 1938).

Inmates Run Wildly in Wards While Storm Rages; Middletown Reports Ruin
More than 2000 inmates of the Connecticut State Hospital for the Insane, driven into a panic when the hurricane ripped roofs off four hospital buildings, ran wildly through the wards of the hospital for several hours Wednesday afternoon, according to [illegible].

All available nurses, doctors, and attendants were called into service to quiet them. It was impossible to quiet the patients until the wind died down.

All employees of the hospital were put on 24-hour duty. Dr. Roy L. Leak, superintendent of the hospital, said the damage will run into thousands of dollars. Only a couple of trees remained upright on the hospital property. Roof made of large sheets of tin and in some cases whole blocks of the roof rafters, measuring 15 feet square, were blown a distance of 150 feet.

College Chapel Damaged.
The belfry of the Wesleyan College chapel was blown down and fell through, tearing off most of the roof. The building is almost wrecked. A number of students in chapel at the time were uninjured. The campus, one of the city's most beautiful spots, was in ruins, and all the trees were down.

American Legion workers assisted police in directing traffic. There was almost no phone service, the only exchange that could be reached being Hartford. All roads to and from the city were closed and hundreds of tourists and truckmen were marooned here. Hotels and boarding houses were taxed to capacity.

In the meantime the river continued to rise rapidly and during the heavy winds the fleet of boats off the Middletown Yacht Club were blown from their moorings, several, including T.M. Russell's sloop, "Felisi," being blown ashore at Portland.

Main Street was considerably damaged by falling trees and the road to the Middlesex Hospital was blocked by trees uprooted in the storm. Trees blocked the only entrance to the hospital and men worked throughout the night to clear the path in the event the ambulance was wanted. Several cars were struck by trees.

Dozen Autos Crushed.
More than a dozen automobiles were crushed by falling trees, but only one injury was reported. Mrs. Burton R. Camp was slightly cut when caught in her light car on High Street in front of the residence of President James L. McConaughy of Wesleyan. The roof of the Honors College at Wesleyan was also ripped away.

The sky-light at the Middlesex Hospital was blown off and the entire roof on the two-family brick dwelling of Mrs. Anna Donofrio, 616 High Street, was left hanging. Mrs. Donofrio and the family of N. Witenberg were in the house at the time the terrific gust lifted the roof from over their heads. No one was injured, however. Trees fell against numerous other houses on side streets west of Main Street. The roof of the old Sanseer Plant on the east side of Main Street Extension and the tar paper atop the Middletown Silk company were ripped away. Trees on all streets west of Main Street were uprooted or snapped off like toothpicks, falling in all directions. The entire length of High Street, Washington Street in the Washington Green section, and South Main Street were the hardest hit.

Axel Packard, manager of the Connecticut Power Company, said that energy is still reaching the Columbus Avenue and Water Street substations and that he hopes to have some service restored on local lines by Thursday noon. Service at the hospital will be restored first. Cromwell and Portland were also badly hit by the storm, hundreds of trees and poles being torn down.

Church Tower Ripped.
Creating the most concern was a huge rip in the tower of the First Congregational Church on Court Street and the swaying of the 200 foot spire in the wind. One policeman was stationed nearby to give the alarm if it should start to go. On Middletown's Main Street, plate glass in the windows of the Sears Roebuck and Company, the Hub Radio, Page and Warner, and the Parkview Pharmacy, were blown in by the force of the gale. Hands of the clock atop the Municipal Building were blown from one side out through the other. A large billboard over the Parkview Pharmacy and a similar sign on the Mason block were ripped away. The Middletown Fire Department's hook and ladder crew was called to the latter building to remove the debris. Several other signs on Main Street establishments were tor4n away or damaged badly.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Open Air Market Rescheduled for October

From the Wadsworth Mansion

The Wadsworth Mansion Open Air Market planned for Sunday,  August 28th  has been rescheduled for October 23rd from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00p.m.  Hurricane predictions prompted the organizers to select another date for the annual market that draws thousands of people to the historic estate in Middletown, CT. 

Waiting for Hurricane Irene

Being over prepared is always better than being under prepared. Today at Stop and Shop many shoppers were in a frenzy stocking up on items in preparation. As of 3:00pm today the store wa
s out of propane; it is a good idea to call ahead to see if the store has gotten another delivery. Not to insight panic, but as you can see in the photos of the beverage isle , and the paper products isle, bottled water and paper towels are particularly popular items.

This afternoon I plan to curl up and finish reading "The Great Hurricane of 1938" by Cheri Burns which I have found to be a phenomenal read taking the reader thru an hour by hour account of the hurricane that devastated New England and killed nearly 700 residents on September 20th of 1938.What I really like about this specific book as opposed to the few others arecalling the event, is that Burns includes a bibliography of all the
direct quotes she took from newspaper accounts of the day.
I blogged about my grandfather's recollection of the hurricane last year before Hurricane Earl: recalls the jubilation when a chicken truck tipped over on Court Street scattering poultry which found their way to many hungry residents' dinner tables as a result.
Will Irene be a hundred year storm? Let's hope not. Be safe.

Saturday snapshot

While waiting for Irene, it may be good to remember what we've weathered already this year. Be strong, everyone. And be safe.

MHS Band Fundraiser: Fun Food Festivities! Vendor & Craft Fair

Saturday, August 27 · 10:00am - 4:00pm

Middletown High School
200 Larosa Lane
Middletown, CT

To benefit the Middletown High School Band

Food, dunk tank, moon bounce, spin art, face painting, raffles, can/bottle drive, car wash, vendors and crafters!!
Vendors will include Tupperware, Party Lite, Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Creative Memories, Madison Handbags, A Touch of Health (get a massage!), Rani's Henna Temporary Tattoos, Lyric Hill Farm, Jafra, Jessica's Diaper Cakes, Quilters Haven, Mary Kay, Grand Slam Sports, Perceptions Photography, Thirty One, Dan Kline Wire Scultpure, Stained Glass Creations, Usborne Books, Bella's Baubles, Stampin' Up, Coins and Gold Exchange (bring your gold and get paid!), Pampered Chef, Celebrating Homes, Juice Plus, Custom Hoops by Beth, The Whey Station (gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches), Gourmet Cupboard, DeLovelies Bakery, Willow House, Longaberger, Summer Brook Valley Farm Alpacas (bring the little ones, they're bringing LIVE alpacas!), Carly Rose Boutique Design, Paul The Ice Cream Man, Shari Lucas Photography, Vegetable Ivory & Organics, Futures/Good Cause Gifts, Paul Mitchell School, MHS Project Graduation, Middletown Reads Book Mobile, Wildtree, Karyn's Cards & Gifts, CT Whalers, Jackie Williams 3-D Origami, Chic & Sassy Magnets, LMM Design-Studio Jewelry, John Casablanca's of CT, Emerald Earth Designs, Beauti Control, Saddle DownTack & Gathering Crafts/Gifts, Gemini Hawk's Nest and more to come!

In addition to all the above businesses providing raffle prizes, there are also some local businesses nice enough to donate more raffle prizes: Haiti's Back Porch, It's Only Natural, Lyman Orchards, PJ Jewelers, Puerto Vallarta, Wendy-Black Nasta, Suburban Stationers, Ace Hardware and Joe Riff's Music.

A variety of local businesses and vendors are doing special online sales with portions of their profits going to the Band. Check out who is in
volved on the Band's facebook page listed below. Contact the Band via the facebook page if you're a vendor who'd like to open an online fundraiser for the band and organizers will add your link to th
e group's facebook page.

Students will be exhibiting crafts for sale. An example is
MHS Sophomore Jackie Williams, who will be selling her 3-D Origami creations at our vendor/craft fair! She will also be selling paper cranes and donating money to tsunami victims in Japan.

Music Festival Downtown Next Saturday

Full details HERE

Friday, August 26, 2011

Emergency Shelter getting ready to open

From Louis Carta: The Emergency Shelter at Middletown High School, located on LaRosa Lane off of Newfield Street (Route 3), is scheduled to open Saturday night at 8:00 PM. Any questions on the shelter or the city's response to Hurricane Irene can be directed to Louis Carta of the City of Middletown Health Department. Mr. Carta can be reached by telephone at (860) 398-1824.

Lesser Hails Power Plant Safety Law Signing

From the office of State Representative Matt Lesser.
State Representative Matt Lesser (D-Durham/Middlefield/Middletown) joined Governor Dannel P. Malloy at the State Capitol today for a signing of a new law improving safety at power plants in Connecticut.

Lesser, a member of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee, noted the law incorporates recommendations of the Thomas Commission, which was formed in the aftermath of last year’s explosion at the Kleen Energy construction site in Middletown.

"We can never repair the damage done by the Kleen explosion a year ago. I hope that this new law will bring some comfort to the survivors and the families of the victims, who will know that we will never see this disaster repeated. We owe this to them and the people of Middletown," said Lesser.

Under the law, the use of flammable gases to conduct “gas blows” at power plants is banned. Gas blows, which use highly pressurized natural gas to clean pipes of debris, were found to have caused the Kleen Energy explosion. The new law sets a fine of up to $100,000 and up to two years in prison for violations.

As part of the license requirements of all future power plants, new electricity plants will be required to pay for special inspectors to assist local fire marshals in reviewing building plans and conducting inspections of the sites. The law also requires the Connecticut Siting Council to consult with the Departments of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and other agencies before approving any plans.

Health Department Complaint against 438 East Main Street

Editorial Note: The below letter was sent to the Eye and we are posting in its entirety as it was sent to us. Nothing written in this letter has been researched or verified by the Eye, nor has the letter been edited. The letter expresses the opinion and experience solely of the person who wrote it.


My name is Jackson LaRose. I am the owner and inhabitant of 438 East Main Street. Last year, the health department lodged a complaint against the condition of my property, which they claim is a "potential harborage for vermin". The reason being is that I haven't mown my lawn, because I am attempting to repair my soil based upon accepted Permaculture practices. As such, the grasses and other broad-leaf annuals (chicory, dandelion, etc.) in my yard grown taller than they had deemed safe. They sent me a legal order that I cut the offending plants. I appealed in front of the State Board of Health, lost my appeal, and asked the Health inspector and city attorney what I needed to do to be in compliance. The health inspector's answer was,

"Cut everything."

I wasn't sure to what height, if trees and shrubs also counted, garden flowers, vegetables, etc.

After my repeated requests for more clarification, she became frustrated and referred me to the City Attorney. He told me that I could either mow or mulch. I chose to mulch, and spread town provided mulch on my property over the winter. In the spring, almost all of the grass species were gone (smothered by the mulch), allowing the broad-leaf annuals to spread. I thought this would be satisfactory, because grass is the only type of plant mentioned in the legal order, and the remainder who came up through the mulch are widely considered to be wildflowers (chicory, goldenrod, dandelion, yellow hawkweed, etc.).

Earlier this week I received a packet from the City Attorney. Contained within was a lawsuit for violating the order of the city. They threatened to sue me for $119,500 ($250 a day from the pre-appeal deadline of Jun. 21, 2010) plus any legal fees. I called the attorney to ask why I had been sent this, and he claims I had not complied with the order. I tryed to remind him of our conversation last November concerning the mulch, of course, he conveniently "did not recall", but he also said it did not look like I mulched at all from the pictures he saw (although there is clearly hardly any grass in my yard anymore, and mulch clearly visible). I asked what he wanted me to do, and he referred me to the Health Inspector. I asked her again what she would like me to do. Again,

"Cut everything."

I asked her for some guidelines I could follow in the future to avoid the threat of such a large lawsuit. Her only answer was,

"You know what to do, it has to go."

She also mentioned no "weeds" (but would not specify what she meant by that vague term), and that all flowers had to be "landscaped" (again, no definition of terms). She also refused to put anything into writing (statement of compliance, guidelines, etc.) She is coming by my house Monday morning to do a walk through so she can point out what she means, since she is either unwilling or unable to do so over the phone.

I am now afraid that this woman has become the overlord of my property. I don't want to wonder every time I adjust the flora of my yard, whether or not the specter of this outrageous lawsuit will return to haunt me. It is also my belief that the health inspector has taken our past exchanges personally, and will keep me "under the microscope" out of her dislike for me.

I spoke to the ACLU, and they advised me to get my story out to some local media outlets. I'm hoping you can bring some light on what I feel is an unjust situation.

- Thank You,

Jackson LaRose

438 East Main Street

Middletown, CT 06457

Editorial Note: The above letter was sent to the Eye and we are posting in its entirety as it was sent to us. Nothing written in this letter has been researched or verified by the Eye, nor has the letter been edited. The letter expresses the opinion and experience solely of the person who wrote it.

State Embargoes School Scores until 8/31

The Middletown Eye learned today that the State has embargoed the results of Middletown's CMT scores as compared against federal benchmarks until next Wednesday, August 31st. Rumor has it that two Middletown schools failed to met AYP or Adequate Yearly Progress, but when asked, Superintendent Michael Frechette stated he couldn't talk about anything because the State told him he couldn't discuss it. "It's not my rules, but I can't talk about it, " Frechette said in a phone interview.

Frechette also couldn't comment on which Middletown school would have to offer parents "free choice" of any school in the district as a result of schools failing to meet AYP.

It should be noted that all Middletown schools passed State benchmarks, but the Federal benchmark is calculated differently and includes different information than the State's. I've been told this calculation is incredibly complex and impossible to explain, and I haven't found anyone who actually knows anything about the process.

That said, there should be more information available next week.

Wadsworth Market postponed to October 23

According to their website,, the Open Air Market at Middletown's Wadsworth Mansion has been rescheduled to October 23. (It had been set for this Sunday but the date has been moved due to Hurricane Irene).

Rubber Chicken Results

The 1st Annual Rubber Chicken 5K Cross Country Race to raise fun and funds for Oddfellows Playhouse drew nearly 200 runners to the grounds of the Wadsworth Mansion and raised $9,100 for Oddfellows Playhouse. Thank you to everyone that came out and participated. Mayor Sebastian Guiliano welcomed runners and was spotted cheering on runners along with Senator Len Suzio. Just some familiar local runners in the crowd include Michiel Wackers, Lucy McMillan, Bruce Macleod and Suzanne Javorski. Mercy High School coach John Hastings started the race off.

Top Race finishers on the men's side were Xavier High School alum Chris Zablocki, 23 from Essex (15:57), Wesleyan alum Marc Robaczynski, 36 from New Hartford (16:13) and Tom Holowka, 26 from New Haven (17:09). On the women's side the top finishers were Brittany Heninger, 22 from Bristol (19:47), Alyssa Selmquist, 20 from Northford (21:34) and Jaime Seligmann of Newington (23:18).

The team competition was heated, with over 10 teams registered. The top men's team was a young group of Blue Dragons from Middletown - which may mean good things for the coming cross country season. The women's team was a group of Young Grasshoppers. The top coed team was comprised of Marc Robaczynski, Brittany Heninger, David Ricciuti, Will Graustein,
Peter Hawley. The winners all received rubber chickens, second place finishers received a delicious rotisserie chicken courteousey of race sponsor Price Chopper.

Special thanks to Pratt & Whitney, Precinct 13, Dzialo,Picket&Allen, P.C., the Wadsworth Mansion, Mercy High School, Triple Frog, Crossfit Religion, Done on the Run, LLC., Fusion Bakery, Edward Manuel Merrill Lynch, CT Rental Center, Joseph Bibisi, Javapalooza, Price Chopper and Illiano's Ristorante and Pizzeria.

Thank you to everyone that helped, ran, cheered and supported the event. We look forward to doing it again next year.