Monday, June 30, 2014

Crowd Performance Art on the River

The Jonah Center's Performance Art Paddle on Saturday, June 28, involved over 100 individuals, including 22 Macdonough School students, photographers, teachers, NEAT staff, financial sponsors, the Middletown Police and Fire Departments, and paddlers from as far away as Vermont.  Photos of the event can be viewed at

Friday, June 27, 2014

Italian Guitarist, Beppe Gambetta, Makes Rare Appearance in Middletown at The Buttonwood Tree

The Buttonwood Tree is once again hosting an international, world-class performer, Beppe Gambetta, from Genoa, Italy on Saturday night. Seating is limited, reservations are suggested for both weekend shows. 

Friday night TBT hosts local musical stars for an 8 pm show:
Frank Critelli and Friends
CD Release Celebration
Featuring  Frank Critelli, vocals and guitar; Don Horton, Bass; Mark Mirando, electric piano;  Jim Stavris, drums and Michael Arafeh aka "Bumpy Chimes", guitar (who also produced the CD at the Coffeehouse Recording Studio, right here in Middletown). $10 cover fee includes the new CD!  Reserve your seat here 

June 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

$15 in advance / $20 at door

 With the horizon's line as a challenge and attraction, Beppe Gambetta is continually composing his personal mosaic of sounds and flavours. From his unique background as an Italian musician in love with both American roots music as well as the music of his native country, Beppe has travelled the world and even crossed the “Iron Curtain” to dazzle and charm music enthusiasts everywhere. After eleven CDs, DVDs, teaching books and collaborations with many other top-flight musicians, Gambetta is increasingly known as one of the true live master innovators of the acoustic guitar.

It is the smile that is the key for reading the musical universe of Beppe Gambetta. An open and disarming smile that is also the contagious and irresistible smile of a person who invites you to a musical journey with light heart and curiosity. The destination, as for any traveller, is not totally defined because it is beautiful, at the very last, to find ourselves where we never would expected to be.

While Beppe still lives in his native Genova, he travels to North America at least four times a year. He has performed in prestigious festivals in the U.S. and Canada such as Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, Merlefest in North Carolina, the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas and those in Winnipeg and Edmonton. He's appeared on such radio shows as All Things Considered and E-Town.

Beppe has performed in prestigious rooms like the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In his career he has performed with some great heroes of the folk scene, such as David Grisman, Gene Parsons, Doc Watson, Norman Blake and with the band Men Of Steel: an international guitar summit (Dan Crary, Tony McManus and Don Ross) of different guitar schools with complex musical interactions. A tour with banjo player Tony Trischka resulted in his 1991 live album Alone and Together.[2]

Reserve your seat here

The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center is located at 605 Main Street, Middletown.   860-347-4957

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Scam-Slam Alert

Hold that Line!

Telemarketer (from 877-283-9928) posing as AT&T caller center rep offers a deal that sounds too good to be true, and it is (i.e., too good to be true).

Offering is a deal to lower your AT&T home phone and high-speed internet cost by half, etc., etc., replacing your current setup with wi-fi digital service, all because of copper wiring gone bad. All you have to do is verify your address.

Well-spoken person, very tempting offer. Do not bite!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Photographers Needed for Kayak and Canoe Spectacle on CT River June 28

This year’s Jonah Center canoe and kayak paddle will create a living art work on Saturday, June 28, launching from the boathouse ramp at Harbor Park at 1 p.m.

We are looking for amateur and professional photographers to capture the event either from the Arrigoni Bridge’s south sidewalk or from the Harbor Park boardwalk, or both. 

After launching and a short paddle up river to Wilcox Island, all the boaters will “raft up” in a rosette near the southern tip of the island, just under the Arrigoni Bridge. We will then float slowly in formation under the bridge to be photographed from above.

We will then then paddle upstream around Wilcox Island, exploring its many small beaches and access points, before re-gathering at the southern tip. This will give photographers time to relocate to the boardwalk of Harbor Park (north of the Mattabessett Canoe Club restaurant). When the boats return to the boathouse in close formation to the launch area, photographers will capture the sight. Photos made available to the Jonah Center or the City of Middletown will be used to promote the riverfront and preservation of the river as a natural and recreational resources.

Approximately 20 Macdonough school 4th graders will participate in the event, thanks to the generosity of donors and paddle volunteers.  Paddlers need to provide their own boats, paddles, drinking water, sunscreen, and life jackets. Participants will be required to register at the launch site and are asked for a $10 donation to the Jonah Center to help cover insurance costs. The entire activity should take approximately 2 hours.

For more information, or for a last minute update in case of inclement weather, call John Hall at 860-398-3771 (mobile). For directions to the launch site, point your location device or browser to “76 Harbor Drive Middletown CT.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Major Accident Shuts Down Washington Street

Washington Street was closed to traffic in both directions on Friday evening, from Newfield Street to High Street, as a result of a multi vehicle collision. At 8PM, police were interviewing witnesses and reconstructing the accident cause. There did not appear to be any serious injuries.

Songwriter for the Stars Appears Tonight at The Buttonwood Tree

Hugh Moffatt

June 20 -  8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

$12 in advance  //  $15 at door  (Cash or check only)

As a special request from a Buttonwood friend, Hugh Moffatt will make a rare visit to CT. He delights folks with stories and song and takes the listener on a journey our of time. The intimate setting of The Buttonwood Tree is perfect to get up close and personal with this wonderful man.

The list of artists who have recorded Hugh Moffatt’s songs is international and multi-dimensional. They range from Patti Page to Jerry Lee Lewis to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Alabama, and Johnny Cash and include pop, country, bluegrass, traditional, and gospel artists from around the world. These recordings include the chart-topping country singles “Just in Case” by Ronnie Milsap, “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You” first by Joe Sun and then by Dolly Parton, and “How Could I Love Her So Much” by Johnny Rodriguez, and the Southern Gospel hit “Roll Away the Stone” by Wendy Bagwell and the Sunlighters.

As a performing artist, Moffatt has released ten albums and toured extensively around the world. His albums are LOVING YOU, TROUBADOUR and DANCE ME OUTSIDE (duets with Katy Moffatt) for Rounder Records, THE LIFE OF A MINOR POET for Watermelon Records, LIVE AND ALONE for Brambus Records in Switzerland, THE WOGNUM SESSIONS (The Hugh Moffatt Trio) for Strictly Country Records in the Netherlands, GHOSTS OF THE MUSIC for Brambus, and SONGS FROM THE BACK OF THE CHURCH and ONLY ALONG FOR THE RIDE on Sohl Recordings. Sony Australia also released a 17-song compilation from his first two albums under the title, THE WAY LOVE IS.

He is, with composer Michael Ching, the librettist for two one-act operas and one full-length opera. The one-acts are KING OF THE CLOUDS, commissioned and premiered by Dayton Opera in 1993, and OUT OF THE RAIN, commissioned jointly by Opera Delaware, the Kansas City Lyric Opera and Opera Memphis and premiered by Opera Delaware in 1998. These operas have each had multiple productions and continue to attract new audiences.

Moffatt and Ching’s first full-length opera, Corps Of Discovery, A Musical Journey, commissioned by the University of Missouri and based on the Lewis & Clark expedition, premiered in May of 2003 in Columbia, Missouri. Opera Memphis produced the professional premier in April of 2004, and the University of Idaho presented the Northwest premier in the fall of 2005. The Fargo Opera toured their own production throughout North Dakota in May of 2007.
In 2010, Opera Memphis presented the first performances of Gluck’s classic opera, Orpheus and Euridice, with a new English translation by Moffatt and Ching.

Whatever the medium, Hugh Moffatt continues to put music and words together to create works of beauty and emotional impact.

 Reserve your seat here

Saturday night enjoy the International Flavor of Jazz by:

Omar Tamez & Angelica Sanchez Duo

June 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm       $10

DSCN5693 copia An intimate duo, Omar Tamaz and Angelica Sanchez have a unique and rare communication. They take the listener to many different places through a combination of improvisation and original composition. Tamez and Sanchez work well together, slowly weaving their lines into an unpredictable tapestry. The music that the duo creates is haunting, dream-like, floating, unsettling yet somewhat calm.

 “Omar is an incredible powerful performer with uniquely harming stage presence…” —Aaron Mace, Church of the Friendly Ghost, Austin TX

“In her piano playing as well as her compositions Angelica Sanchez seeks out the lyrical heartbeat within any avant-garde storm.” —The New York Times

Visit Angelica's website or Visit Omar's website

TBT is at 605 Main Street, Middletown. Parking is free and plentiful. Refreshments including beer and wine are served by donation, thanks to McEwen Construction and Ken Burtis. 860-347-4957

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cat Tales ~ FILL-A-TRUCK Challenge Event!! Help feed our Shelter Cats!! Walmart, Cromwell 9am to 3pm

Meow! My Name is Griffin!
Do you have a home for me?

I'm Griffin. I am an 8 year old male orange and white tabby. I love attention from my human friends. If you are not giving me attention, I will gently paw you to ask you to pet me. I can’t help it…I am very playful!
I will be shy when you first meet me, so I need a patient person who is willing to give me time to adjust to a new home. I get along well with other cats, but need a home without children or dogs.
I am FIV+, but don’t let that deter you. All you have to do is take me to my annual vet exams, just like any other cat.
If you want a cat to pet, hold, and cuddle, I am the cat for you!
Cat Tales is seeking permanent adoption for me and will tell you the best way to take care of me.

Please call Cat Tales at (860) 344-9043 or
Email: to inquire about Griffin!

Connecticut Broadcasters Association Awards Scholarship Funds to MxCC Student

The Connecticut Broadcasters Association has selected an incoming Middlesex Community College student as one of its annual scholarship recipients. Cobi O’Connell of Essex received the award because of her proven talents and desires to pursue a career in broadcasting. She will formally enter the Broadcast-Cinema associate’s degree program at MxCC in the fall.

O’Connell recently graduated from Valley Regional High School. During her senior year of high school, she has earned college credits at Middlesex Community College by taking a course in computer graphics through an articulated class at Valley, known as the College Career Pathways program.

“I chose to join the College Career Pathways program to expedite my college career by earning college credits while I am still in high school, which will get me into the industry sooner,” said O’Connell. “I’m really excited to be coming to Middlesex and I am honored that I received this scholarship.”

O’Connell already has a head start in the industry. She currently works as a private contractor for Paulson Training in Chester where she edits training videos and she directs two public access shows in Westbrook. After graduating from MxCC, O’Connell’s ultimate career goal is to direct a broadcast in Connecticut.

“Cobi O’Connell was one of 10 Connecticut Broadcasters Association scholarship awardees, selected from more than 110 impressive entries from all over the state by a judging panel of Connecticut radio and TV station managers,” said Don DeCesare, president and general manager at WLIS-AM and WMRD-AM, and a past chairman of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association. “Cobi is an exceptionally impressive young woman. She's already completed numerous college credits during her high school years and enters Middlesex Community College able immediately to concentrate on study in her chosen field, which is broadcasting and communications," added DeCesare. “We are so pleased to assist her financially as she moves toward a career in Broadcasting." DeCesare also was the 2014 Commencement speaker at MxCC.

In 2012, another Connecticut Broadcasters Association scholarship honoree, Shavandalice Davis of New Britain, selected MxCC to pursue her studies toward a career in broadcasting.

This year, the Connecticut Broadcasters Association ( presented $50,000 in scholarship funds to students pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications, marketing, engineering, or electronics. Awards are made to Connecticut residents who are entering their first, second, third or fourth year of study in a broadcasting-related area at any university and college in the country.

Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College ( is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. In all it does, Middlesex Community College strives to be the college of its community. By providing high quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, the college enhances the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. MxCC, recently named a "Great College to Work For" by “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at the main 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, the shoreline, and online.

Since its establishment in 1955, the Connecticut Broadcasters Association has been a respected industry leader in legal, governmental, education and community issues on both the State and National levels. Members include broadcast TV stations, radio stations, vendors and companies with a business interest in broadcasting, educational facilities, and individuals with involvement in the broadcasting industry. Member radio and TV stations also participate in Connecticut Broadcasters Association public service campaigns supporting the work of the Connecticut National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Connecticut Department of Public Safety’s Office of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications – Emergency Alert System (EAS) and AMBER Alert programs, among other efforts. For more information about the Connecticut Broadcasters Association and its annual Scholarship Program, visit or call (860) 305-2038.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"It's Fun Just Being" Popcorn by The Colonel #100 of 100

Who cannot be heartened that scientific study of moon rocks has given fresh support to the Giant Impact Hypothesis of Moon formation? When we were little, another alluringly named theory was still in the running: Captured Wanderer.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Wangunk Meadows Field Trip Next Saturday

Natural History Field Trip to Wangunk Meadows in Portland with Mattabeseck Audubon and CT Botanical on June 21, 2014, Saturday 10 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. Free and open to the public

This continues the habitat assessment and botanical/natural history inventory of an area began last Summer. The site includes 647 acres of state wildlife management area, and has been designated a focus area of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge. Habitats include reverting and cultivated fields, marsh and some hardwoods. Bring binoculars and be prepared for wet feet.

Directions: From the west, cross the CT River into Portland on Route 17/66. Continue straight through traffic light on Route 17A/Main St. Follow detour signs at the intersection of Rte 66 and 17 to get to route 17A. Take left on 17A to the Portland Fair grounds on the right (north). From the east, at intersection of Route 66 and 17, go north on 17 about 2 miles to Route 17A. Left on 17A, fairgrounds a short distance on the right.

The leaders are Sigrun Gadwa, CBS Botanist, 203 484-0134 and Alison Guinness, CBS member and MAS president, 860 873-9304.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Middletown Ranks #2 in Bike Walk CT Survey.

Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee urges everyone who lives and/or works in Middletown to fill out Bike Walk CT's survey on local conditions for walking and bicycling.  This will help us identify areas where sidewalks, intersections, and streets are most in need of improvement. Your participation in the survey will also be a sign of public support for these efforts. Currently, Middletown’s participation in the survey ranks #2 in the state, behind West Hartford, with Hartford and New Haven nipping at our heels.  If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please go to and check out the standings; then complete the survey as someone who  lives or works in Middletown.  The survey closes at the end of Sunday, June 15. Thanks!

Friday, June 13, 2014

“Power of the Purse” silent auction fundraiser June 26

Jean D’Aquila, chair of the Middlesex United Way Women’s 
Initiative, with Carol Wallace, CEO of Cooper-Atkins 
Corporation in Middlefield, at last year’s Power of the Purse 
fundraiser and silent auction. 
MIDDLETOWN – The sixth annual Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative “Power of the Purse” fundraiser will take place June 26 at the Mattabessett Canoe Club. “Power of the Purse” features a silent auction with themed purses, totes, designer handbags, and more – packed with great items like tickets to comedian Jeff Dunham including transportation, concert tickets, Red Sox tickets, wine and dinner packages, spa packages, and more.

The Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative celebrates the power of women to bring about positive change in our community through philanthropy and service. Proceeds from “Power of the Purse” benefit the work of the Women’s Initiative to strengthen the lives of women and children in Middlesex County in the areas of early childhood development, empowering young women and financial stability.

Last year’s event sold out. Tickets are available at online or from any member of the Women's Initiative for $35 and include dinner and live music. For information and to donate silent auction items, contact Middlesex United Way at 860-346-8695 or See examples of auction items on Twitter at @MiddlesexWomen.

West Coast meets East Coast in Middletown's "Living Room"

It was both and much more than a family affair and an international delight on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center this week.  Room was made in the schedule to allow for two touring bands from California to display their musical genius to our community, which holds live concerts every weekend. This weekend's events are listed below.

The Parlor Sessions created an atmosphere of a living room on stage, extending that warm, inviting feeling TBT's intimate space usually conveys, hence one of it's nicknames. "Middletown's Living Room". Fortunate patrons gathered with the family and friends of Amy and Pete Zipf on Tuesday night for a concert with Zipf's brother and his band, The Parlor Sessions.
Five children attentively participated with nearly 30 adults, which for a Tuesday night, was terrific turnout. The four gentlemen sang their original songs in soothing harmony and got the audience involved when they closed with a dynamite version of Bob Dylan's song, "Handle With Care". 


Wednesday night's group, the Jessica Fichot Quartet, featured four musicians from around the world - two from France, Ecuador and California. Jessica, a lovely soprano, sang not only in French, but also in Spanish and English. They performed originals and a fun cover of a Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" and Fichot did a wonderful job of translating and describing the songs she sang, sometimes accompanied on her toy piano. The generous audience was quite pleased to hear wonderful musicians in the special space at The Buttonwood Tree. 
Folks passing by often come in after hearing the music on the outdoor speakers. Due to the casual nature of TBT, folks are invited to "Come in for a listen" and all are welcome regardless of ability to pay. Refreshments are available and a free book is allotted every patron making the suggested donation.

Tonight the wildly popular singer-songwriter, Don White, will be performing at 8 pm. Somewhat of a comedian onstage, he brings out the lighter side and gives a fully entertaining show. Seats are still available and reservations may be made online or by calling 860-347-4957.  

Saturday is CT Open House Day around the state. TBT will host the fun Rockabilly band, The Whiskey Rebels from 2-4 in a free outdoor concert and will be giving away all sorts of books. The evening concert will again have an international flavor, when Omar Tamez and Angelica Sanchez perform in a jazz duo for the 8 pm show. The Buttonwood Tree is located at 605 Main St. Middletown.

Ladies Aid Serves Up Strawberry Shortcake Heaven

Enough for anybody
The Ladies Aid Society of the Third Congregational Church did it again, serving a bounty of strawberry shortcakes to grateful residents.  Two large biscuits, an ocean of strawberries and a mountain of whipped cream were enough to satisfy the hungriest patrons.

This year they started with 720 quarts of strawberries from North Haven, 105 quarts of heavy cream, and 1500 biscuits.
Lorraine Andrews serves up some yum

Help Make Middletown Streets More Bicycle- and Pedestrian-Friendly

Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee urges everyone who lives and/or works in Middletown to fill out Bike Walk Ct’s survey on local conditions for walking and bicycling.  This will help us identify areas where sidewalks, intersections, and streets are most in need of improvement. Your participation in the survey will also be a sign of public support for these efforts. Click . It will only require a few minutes of your time. The survey will close on Sunday night, June 15, so this is the time to act!