Thursday, May 31, 2012

Trails Day Preview/Kickoff on Friday Afternoon

"Trails Day" seems to be an increasingly inaccurate name for this event. For years now, it's actually been TWO days, Saturday AND Sunday. Now the Connecticut Forest & Park Association is getting a jump on things Friday afternoon. How long before it becomes "Trails Weekend"?
Regardless of how long it lasts, it is still all about trails. And the CFPA is celebrating by opening up 3 miles of new hiking trails behind their headquarters out on Route 66 (just over the town line in Middlefield). Anyone in the Middletown area who likes to take a woodland stroll should check out the new Highlawn Forest Trail. It's a conveniently close get-away-from-it-all. Friday afternoon may be a good time to start getting acquainted with it. See below; for more info about Trails Day, check the CFPA website,

CT Trails Day Kickoff, Open House, and Highlawn Forest Trail Dedication 
Friday, June 1 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
CFPA Headquarters, Rockfall (Middlefield)
Join CFPA, the president of the American Hiking Society, the U.S. National Park Service, state legislators, REI, Eastern Mountain Sports, The Connecticut Woodcarvers Association, and the sponsors of Connecticut's Trails Day weekend for an afternoon of celebration as we dedicate our new 3-mile trail system in the Highlawn Forest behind the CFPA headquarters. Take a walk and explore the 280-acre forest, find out about CFPA and its programs, learn about safe hiking, learn more about Connecticut Trails Day events in your area, and check out the latest outdoor gear.

Bowlapalooza is Back

You are invited to the 5th Annual Bowlapalooza!! Wesleyan Potters Friday, June 1, 2012 6-9 pm
Tickets are just $15 and with every ticket you take home a handcrafted item. Come early for the best selection from the Bowl or Palooza table. Please join us for Food, Drink, Live Music and Silent auction. Call the Pottery Office (860) 347-5925 to reserve tickets or stop by the Gallery/Shop at Wesleyan Potters to purchase tickets ahead of time. Limited tickets available. 350 South Main St., Middletown

Trails Day this weekend

20th Annual Connecticut Trails Day Celebration  Saturday & Sunday, June 2 and 3    The big weekend is finally here! Come out to discover new places and experience the outdoors with family, friends, and neighbors. CFPA has served as the American Hiking Society's Connecticut state coordinator for National Trails Day since 1993, and each year just keeps getting better. This year's theme is "America's Largest TRAILgating Party." Invite a friend to join in the fun and take part in one of the 201 events. Visit for more information and to view the event booklet and online supplement.

Sunday at First Church: June 3 ~ First Sunday after Pentecost

June 3, 2012
orning worship10 o'clock am

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

The mission of First Church is to engage and support people in worship, learning, fellowship, and service, so that all may find in our community the Spirit of the living Christ.  We are an Open and Affirming Church: All are welcome into the full life of our community regardless of their race, age, gender, nationality, marital status, economic situation, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation. We welcome you to worship with us this Sunday. Child care is provided. For more information on our church, its programs and affiliations at

Performance Workshop This Weekend

Performers of all types (actors, artists, writers, salespeople, musicians, etc.) are invited to a weekend long workshop in Middletown, led by an international leader in performance theory:

Young Leaders in Politics Panel Today - United Way

The United Way Young Leaders' Society "Young Leaders in Politics" panel is being held Thursday May 31 2012 at the Daniels Family Commons, Usdan Center  on Wesleyan Campus.
There will be a networking reception from 5:30 to 6:15, and the panel will begin promptly at 6:15. Jeff McDonald from Wesleyan will welcome attendees, then introduce Justin Carbonella, Young Leaders' Society Chair. Justin will have some brief remarks and then introduce Jeff Stoecker, our panel moderator.  Tomorrow's panel consists of BOE member Ryan Kennedy, Treasurer Quentin Phipps, Representative Matt Lesser, and P& Z Commissioner Molly Salafia.

$7.5M In Bonds To Be Voted On

The Finance and Government Operations Commission last night voted unanimously to send 9 separate bond issuances to the Common Council for approval.

Bonds are a loan to the city by bond investors, they are not intended to pay operating expenses. The city generally uses them for capital items with an expected use of 10 years or more.

All bonds for more than $750,000 need to be approved in a referendum by the voters. Consequently, it has been common practice for the Council to split expensive projects into multiple pieces which individually are below that threshold.

During discussion of one of the Keigwin School items, Councilman Tom Serra pointed out that if the money was taken out of the operating budget, it would lead to an increase in the mill rate, "I think this is a better way to go."

Finance Director Carl Erlacher explained to the Commission that the city was in an excellent condition to borrow money, even with the anticipated cost of joining the Mattabessett Sewer District. He said that the city is retiring about $10M in bonds every year, and that the current indebtedness was about $61M. He said that based on the annual tax receipts of the city, it could borrow as much as $750M, "we are doing extremely well."

Bonds greater than $500,000 require two separate votes by the council, the first of these will likely take place at the Council Meeting on Monday.

Here are the bonds under consideration:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Full Weekend of Events at The Buttonwood Tree May 31-Jun 2

The Buttonwood Tree has a full weekend of shows lined up. 
The air-conditioning is also up and running now!

Double Bill: Chelsea Berry & Ryan Tennis 

Thursday May 31 
7:30 pm

Chelsea Berry is a singer/songwriter with incredible edge, power, and finesse. Her presence has been described by listeners as “compelling… she draws the entire house into her world like moths to a flame.” Her vocals are controlled, smooth, and intensely powerful. Her original lyrics are reminiscent of the folk music of the sixties.

Chelsea was born and raised in Alaska, and made her way through Montana, Nashville, and Chicago before settling in the Boston area 3 years ago. Her music is played regularly on Sirius XM’s The Loft radio, and she has been played on Boston’s 92.5 The River, WXGR and WSCA in Portsmouth, NH, and many other stations in the Northeast.

Ryan Tennis
The charming authenticity of Ryan Tennis' sound has drawn comparisons to Paul Simon, Ben Harper and Martin Sexton; surprising likenesses for a former All-American college football player turned singer-songwriter. While his disarming lyrics and sing-able melodies display a rare sensitivity, the intensity of his live performances hint at his grid-iron past. Tennis credits Philadelphia’s music scene with inspiring his sense of groove. He’s organized a monthly series of “Clubhouse Concerts” in his home featuring standout musicians and reaching beyond the traditional folk scene. “What I learned from a couple years of listening to and playing with other Philly artists,” Tennis says, “is that if it feels good — and if it’s true — then it’s good music.”

Cece & Ruth and The Birch Creek Band
Friday June 1
8 pm
Reservation suggested
The two bands will celebrate 15 years of performing together with songs and stories from "way back when" up to some newer material. Cece & Ruth's ballads will be nicely balanced by sublime instrumentals by Birch Creek Band. Members of the band are Kevin Gallagher playing dobro, guitar, bass & mandolin, Sandra Lynn on mountain dulcimer, and Aleks Miglowiec on flute, piccolo and bass, along with the duo: Cece on bodhran, pennywhistle, harmonica & banjo, Ruth on guitar & bass.
Cece & Ruth bring you songs of love, war and peace, hearth and home, and of the people from the American West to the Celtic Isles. Milk maids and their young swains, cowboys, kings and paupers, sailors, witches, sea-sprites and monks inhabit these ballads.
Visit their website here:

The band “Birch Creek” was formed in the summer of 2009 and is based out of the hills of Connecticut. They met at an outdoor Farm Aid concert held at a local farm, and their musical styles have meshed nicely ever since and have produced an eclectic repertoire of instrumental pieces. Their music contains a delicate blend of the sweet sounds of the mountain dulcimer, bouzouki, mandolin, guitar, and of course the signature sound of Aleks, their incredible flutist who takes center stage as she packs the most punch in their music. They perform everything from age old Celtic instrumentals from the Isles to a handful of smoky backwoods tunes and love what they do.
Visit their website here:

Katie Pearlman & Cathy Kreger will perform music from their new CDs

Saturday June 2
8 pm

Katie Pearlman and Cathy Kreger will perform music from their new CDs. Katie has assembled an all-star group of musicians for her third album, Girls Like Us. Girls Like Us is a concept album of songs about women, based on true stories from the book Note to Self, by Andrea Buchanan, of surviving hardship and heartache. This is definitely Katie’s best collection of songs and her soulful vocals have gotten a bit sweeter. Perhaps the change of instrument (drums to guitar) has had an effect…albeit for the better. One listener compared her to the late and honorable, Harry Chapin. On this album, Katie does what music does best…she offers inspiration during hard times.Existing members; Jeff Pearlman (keys), Joe Cesare (elec. guitar), and Tom Bowler (bass) are joined by Jimmy Fleming (Fiddle, Mandolin), and Chris Howard (drums). Local singer/songwriters, Cathy Kreger and Jessie Haynes, also appear on the album singing background vocals.This is the first album that Katie is leading her band on acoustic guitar, instead of from behind the drums. While her newly expanded group has more of a folk and country sound, Katie sticks to her rock roots, offering an album that many will love.
More info. at

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Construction on Saybrook Road, To Repair Gas Leak

The mayor's office reports that there is a gas leak on Saybrook Road, between Randolph Road and
Tryon Street. Construction will be ongoing until midnight. He asks that motorists avoid the construction area. However, access to residence and commercial establishments will be available at all times.

The gas is contained and there is no danger to the public.

Mayoral Benefit Gala Tickets Available

From the mayor's office.
Mayor Daniel T. Drew is reminding all members of the community that the seventh annual Mayoral Benefit Gala, to benefit Amazing Grace Food Pantry and Middletown High Goes to the Symphony will be held on Saturday, June 2, 20l2 at 7:00 pm. at the Middletown Elks Lodge.

Tickets are selling quickly and there is less than one week left to purchase them.

Diamond Sponsors this year are: Nora Cupcake, Eli Cannons, Pratt & Whitney and Rose Kallor and we thank them for their dedication to supporting our community, as well as the many other donors to our benefit!

Please Contact the Mayor's Office at 860-344-3401 to purchasing tickets.

Video: Memorial Day Parade

If you missed Monday's Memorial Day Parade (or just want to relive it) have no fear -- The Eye was there.
The video captures some of the sights and sounds of the festivities.  It's about 2 minutes long.  Enjoy.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Parade Pictures

The Memorial Day parade featured many of our city's finest, bravest, and respected citizens. These included marching bands from Keigwin, Woodrow Wilson, and Middletown High, youth sports teams, police, veterans organizations, and firefighters from the Westfield, South, and Central Fire Districts. Near the front of the parade were our elected officials and Middletown's own Susan Bysiewicz, who is running for the U.S. Senate. Enthusiasm for the parade was high, especially among the children who scrambled to get candy thrown by the marchers.

More photos below:

House and Garden Tour, Saturday, June 9th

Sunday, May 27, 2012

From 1912: Memorial Services Held At Westfield

The following is an extract of an article of 100 years ago, published on June 3, 1912 in the Hartford Courant.

Memorial Day began to be observed immediately after the Civil War, as a way to honor those who died fighting to free slaves and preserve the Union. In 1912, "veterans" would have referred primarily to those who served in the Civil War. Memorial Day has since become an occasion to honor those killed in other wars since the Civil War, and has moved from May 30th to the last Monday in May. The latter change has virtually changed the meaning of the day, it has gone from a occasion of memorial to one of holiday.

Westfield was in some ways separate from Middletown ("The veterans left this city for Westfield...."). Not only was the center of Westfield at least 5 miles from downtown, but Westfield residents at that time had an independent school district and church.

Middletown, Monday, June 3.

Mansfield Post Also Attends Church at Cromwell
The closing exercises of Memorial Day, as observed by Mansfield Post, No 53, G.A.R. were held in Westfield yesterday afternoon and services were held in Cromwell in the evening. The veterans left this city for Westfield at 1 o'clock and on their arrival there decorated the graves in Minor Cemetery. The "boys in blue" were assisted in their work by school children. Services were held in the church and the children sang patriotic songs. The address was made by Rev. Elmer A. Dent of New Haven. In the evening the veterans went to Cromwell on the 6:23 trolley and held services in the church there.

Middletown Fire Laddies Enjoy Shadbake at Benson's Grove

The members of the O.V. Coffin Hook and Ladder Company held their annual shadbake at Benson's Grove in the Maromas District. The trip was made in a 'bus and in teams and an enjoyable day's outing was had by the "ladder climbers" and their friends.

E.D. Hubbard and Sister Injured At Boston
It is reported that E. Dyer Hubbard and his sister, Mrs. Clarence S. Wadsworth, both of this city, were injured in an automobile collision near Boston the early part of the week. Mr. Hubbard has returned to his home here and although able to be about, is considerably bruised as a result of the accident. It appears that they were passing a street in their auto when another one ran into them, throwing them out and badly bruising them. The auto that came out of the side street and collided with them was badly wrecked. Mrs. Wadsworth is not yet able to be about, as the result of the injuries suffered at the time of the accident. Another sister of Mr. Hubbard was on the car and was also badly shaken up.


The baccalaureate sermon at the commencement exercises at Wesleyan University will be preached Sunday, June 16, by President Shanklin and the university sermon will be preached in the evening by Bishop Hendrix. Both sermons will be preached in the First Methodist Church.

H.H. Sherman and daughter, Miss Helena, who were injured by being thrown out of their carriage a few days ago, are recovering from the shock and no serious results are anticipated.

Workmen on Saturday put in the glass in the windows to the new store of Clark & True. The store front and the interior fixings, when completed, will make it one of the handsomest and most convenient business houses in this city.

The organizers are still busy among the Italian textile workers. A meeting was held in the Italian theater in court street Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Help Us Take Macdonough School 4th Graders Out On The River

The Jonah Center is working with Macdonough School and the North End Action Team (NEAT) Hiking Club to include a small group (about 8) 4th graders on our river paddle on Saturday, June 30, at 9 a.m. This paddle will introduce these neighborhood youngsters to the natural wonder that surrounds their neighborhood.

To make this possible, we are looking for Jonah Center Friends who can help in one of 2 ways:

· Carry a Macdonough School 4th grader as a passenger in your canoe. (Those who can do this will not be asked to pay the $10 per person “insurance donation” that is requested from other participants.)

· Sponsor a Macdonough 4th grader by making a $30 donation to cover the insurance costs for transporting one student.

If you can assist in one of these ways, just reply to this message, please visit and send us a message with with “Paddle Help” in the subject line.