Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One Month Left To Register To Vote

From the Secretary of the State's office
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today reminded eligible voters in Connecticut that they have almost one month to register to vote in order to cast a ballot in the November 4, 2014 general election.  Specifically, voters who wish to register online or by mail must do so by Tuesday October 21st; and the final deadline to register to vote in-person at town or city offices is Tuesday October 28th.  Secretary Merrill is encouraging every eligible Connecticut voter with a driver’s license to go online at htpps://voterregistration.ct.gov to register to vote securely and quickly.  Secretary Merrill is also reporting that so far in 2014, at least 53,940 new voters have registered, including 15,924 Democrats, 10,303 Republicans and 26,276 unaffiliated voters.  Overall, as of today there are a total of 1,931,880 registered voters in Connecticut, including 706,211 Democrats, 402,840 Republicans, and 803,564 unaffiliated voters. A complete listing of new and current active registered voters by party follows at the bottom of this news release.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Governor In Middletown Today For Riverfront Redevelopment Announcement

There'll be dueling Dans down by the river today.

Governor Dan Malloy and Mayor Dan Drew will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. at the gazebo next to the Mattabesett Canoe Club to make an announcement about Middletown's Riverfront Redevelopment plans. 

The city has been working on plans to redevelop the "South Cove" area of the river once the existing sewage treatment plant there has been dismantled.

In July, when the Middletown Riverfront Redevelopment Commission submitted its final plans, Mayor Drew told the Middletown Press he had begun "preliminary overtures" to the governor’s office to seek financial assistance, but "had a ways to go before delivering a formal application to the state."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pedestrian Killed By Car In Washington Street Accident

Update, 3:15PM, from Middletown Police Traffic Unit
We have notified the next of kin for the female victim in the pedestrian MVA.  Jean Carroll (age 52) was struck by a vehicle earlier this morning.  She was transported to the hospital for serious injuries.  Ms. Carroll later died as a result of those injuries.  Ms. Carroll was a resident of the City of Middletown.
From the Middletown Police Traffic Unit
On Saturday, September 27, 2014 at about 12:56 A.M., a serious motor vehicle versus pedestrian collision occurred at the corner of Washington Street and Broad Street. A 2009 Chevrolet Impala, operated by: Mr. Leonard Sanders, age: 52, of Middletown, was traveling in a westerly direction on Washington Street approaching Broad Street. The vehicle and the pedestrian made contact on Washington Street by Broad Street.

The operator of the vehicle reported no injuries. The pedestrian was transported to Hartford Hospital for life threatening injuries sustained in the collision. The identity of the pedestrian is unknown at this time. The pedestrian is a white female, approximately 40 years old, 5’ 6” tall, 160 lbs. with light brown hair with highlights.

Witnesses to the collision or who might know the identity of the pedestrian are asked to contact Officer Botsacos of the Middletown Police Department’s Traffic Unit (860)-638-4061.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Middlesex Community College Announces Record Breaking Enrollments

Middlesex Community College announced today that full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment is up 5.3 percent over last year. The College’s current FTE enrollment is 1,801, making this the largest FTE enrollment in the College’s 48-year history. FTE is a method used to account for enrolled students that makes them comparable, although some students may be taking a different number of courses.  This semester, there are a total of 3,005 individual students enrolled full and part-time in Middletown, Meriden, and online.

College administrators believe there are many factors contributing to this record-breaking enrollment. Since last fall, students taking courses at the Meriden Center have increased by 6.5 percent and there has been a 13.4 percent increase of students enrolled in online courses. The College has also seen a 6.7 percent increase of full-time students since last fall.

“We are very excited that enrollment has increased this year at Middlesex Community College,” said Dr. Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC. “We have several new certificates and degrees in the fields of health care, engineering, and new media to meet the workforce demands for these industries.  We are also updating and expanding our campus to accommodate our growing student body with the newly completed Center for New Media and the addition of a gathering space for students in Founders Hall. Lastly, we are emphasizing attending college full time so students can stay on course to complete their degrees.”

Middlesex Community College is one of the few colleges in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system to see an increase in full-time equivalent enrollment.

THE KENNEDYS and JOE FLOOD this weekend at The Buttonwood Tree


September 26 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm | $15
Reservations recommended!

Come see Pete and Maura Kennedy!

Although interested in the original rockers, such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbinson and the Everly Brothers, The Kennedys are also influenced by the folk-rock era and, in particular, the Byrds. 

To get more info on the event, click here.
To check The Kennedys more, check out their website.

Aligned with Source - a workshop for empowerment with Annaita Gandhy

September 27 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm | $5 minimum suggested donation

Topic: Being Your Best. Let's talk about roles—what's your role in this lifetime? What are you doing about it? Throughout this workshop, Annaita will seek to empower, sharing her deep understanding of life, holism and spirituality, enabling you to rise above life's challenges and live a healthy, fulfilled & confident life.

To get more info on the event, click here.
To get more info on Annaita and Aligned with Source, click here.

JOE FLOOD's "Busker's Stories, Blues, Brassens... and Beyond"

September 27, 2014 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm | $13 in advance / $15 at the door
Reservations recommended
Singer/songwriter Joe Flood explains how playing roots music on the streets of the world’s great cities led him to translating the songs of the legendary French songwriter Georges Brassens and onto his current project investigating the work of 19th Century songwriters from his hometown of Middletown.

More info on the event, click here.
More info on Joe Flood, click here.
More info on the Brassens project, click here.

To check out The Buttonwood Tree (where all these wonderful events are happening!), you can check our website or call us at 860-347-4957 or stop by and say hi at 605 Main Street, Middletown CT 06459.

PS:  TBT will be closed this Monday - Thursday for renovations. We hope to be back in shape for our show with Zach Maxwell on Friday, Oct 3rd. Sinan Bakir Saturday, Oct 4th. Both shows at 8 pm, $10.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

D.O.T. Presents Route 9 Plans To Public Tonight

The State Department of Transportation is presenting its plans to overhaul the Route 9, Route 17 interchange in a public meeting this evening, at 7PM, in Council Chambers. DOT officials will be on hand with their plans, and available for informal discussions starting at 6:30.

How the riverfront might look with a changed onramp for 17
The new configuration of the interchange would have a dramatic effect on potential changes to public and private land near the river.  

The Riverfront Redevelopment Commission extensively discussed a proposal to make the riverfront readily accessible from downtown by turning a short stretch of Route 9 into a boulevard, similar to what has been done in many cities cut off from water, including the Westside Highway in New York City.   

Elected officials, including Mayor Drew, have been vaguely supportive of this plan in public, but have not given any indication that they have pushed the DOT in the direction of fostering the easiest Riverfront access.

It is not clear whether this reflects concerns that asking for the ideal might reduce the likelihood of a minimal improvement happening while they are in office.

Council To Vote On $722,750 Bond Today

The Common Council will hold a special meeting today (Tuesday, September 22), to vote on funding for Public Works purchases.  The meeting begins at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers, there is a public hearing at the onset of the meeting.

The first ordinance would approved new borrowing by the city to purchase four large trucks and 16 other items, including filing cabinets ($2500) and leaf blowers ($1000), for a total cost of $722,750. This bond item includes within it $10,000 in legal fees.

The equipment being purchased is all considered "Capital non-recurring". Capital non-recurring expenditures are typically for those items that lead to an increased long term capability for the organization. In this case, the ordinance includes the statement, "The expected useful life of the Project is in excess of ten (10) years." 

The second ordinance under consideration would amend a bond and spending plan that was approved last October. The changes were prompted by a change in the cost of various items on the list. The major items in this bond are two large trucks, a wheel sweeper, and a payloader. The legal fees are $7,500 for this bond.

Go below the jump for detailed list of items to be purchased with the bonds.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tonight: Pedal Power and Eli Cannon's: Bike to Beer

From Pedal Power Bicycles.
Pedal Power's Bikes & Beers Finale is being held on Monday, September 22nd at 5PM in Middletown. We are meeting behind Pedal Power bicycle store on Main St (rear parking lot is accessible from Broad St). The ride rolls at 5PM and will be an awesome, scenic ride through Middletown, Middlefield, and Rockfall. The loop for the ride can be found by clicking here. 
Additional details concerning the ride, and parking can be found by clicking here.

When the ride draws to a close, we will meet at Eli Cannon's on the North end of Main St for our End of Season party. Eli's has graciously offered to open up for us on a night that they are typically closed.

In addition to our Beer Ride, we will have several road groups that will be riding their own routes if you are interested in heading out on your road bike at a faster pace. Those routes will be determined on Monday and can be found here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Planet Hip Hop Festival Concert on Saturday in Fayerweather Beckham Hall (Sept. 20)

Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts, discusses the Planet Hip Hop Festival, curated by Nomadic Wax, taking place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 as part of "Muslim Women's Voices at Wesleyan" in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog

Meryem Saci (third from right) with members of R.A.W.
(Rap Assembly at Wesleyan) at their weekly
freestyle rap cipher on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.
Photo courtesy David Stouck '15.

This Saturday, audiences have a rare opportunity to witness performances by three international Muslim women in hip hop, including Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci, the Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh, and Tavasha Shannon a.k.a. Miss Undastood of Queens, New York.

The Planet Hip Hop Festival is an anchor event of Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan, a year-long exploration of Muslim women in performance. Each of the performers to be featured is Muslim or of Muslim heritage, has a distinct set of personal experiences, and is embedded in a particular place, society, and cultural tradition. This yearlong program is our way of inviting audiences to celebrate the complexity of Muslim women today, while at the same time exploring the historical and cultural context from which these women have emerged.

Anyone who writes poetry, raps, or sings is invited to attend three workshops this Saturday from 11am to 5pm in World Music Hall, before the evening concert in Fayerweather Beckham Hall at 9pm, where the women will be joined on stage by the Nomadic Wax Collective, a live backing band that will include bass, drums, keys, guitar, and a DJ.  The evening concert will be hosted by Boston's Mr. Lif.

Performer Meryem Saci has been on campus all week visiting classes. In preparation for her visit to Wesleyan, she worked with Professor of French and Letters Typhaine Leservot to design a module for her class Negotiating Gender in the Maghreb. Likewise, Ms. Saci collaborated with Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk on the curriculum for his course Muslim/Western Engagements in Film and Performance.

Ms. Saci will lead the first of Saturday’s workshops, Music is Medicine: Hip Hop Therapy for the Bifurcated Soul, which will unpack the therapeutic and spiritual benefits that music can provide. A refugee herself, Ms. Saci moved from Algeria to Canada at the age of thirteen where she quite literally found her voice. Drawing from her own history and life story, she will explore what it means to be a refugee, an artist, and a Muslim woman.
I wish I had been at the R.A.W. (Rap Assembly at Wesleyan) weekly freestyle rap cipher on Wednesday night where Ms. Saci joined a circle of students rapping and singing together. Believe me when I say that she, like the other performers in this Saturday night’s Planet Hip Hop Festival concert, will strike a chord deep within you.

Planet Hip Hop Festival
Curated by Nomadic Wax
Afternoon workshops and evening performances by international Muslim women in hip hop, including the U.S. debut of Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci as a solo artist, the New England debut of Washington, D.C.-based and Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh as a solo artist, and Tavasha Shannon a.k.a. Miss Undastood of Queens, New York.  The evening concert will be hosted by Boston's Mr. Lif, and will also feature the Nomadic Wax Collective, a live backing band that will include bass, drums, keys, guitar, and a DJ.

Meryem Saci Workshop: Music Is Medicine—Hip Hop Therapy for the Bifurcated Soul
Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11am
World Music Hall, 40 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
$12 per workshop; $30 for all three workshops. FREE for Wesleyan students!

Maimouna Youssef Workshop: Freestyling through the History of American Music—Improvisation 101
Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 1:45pm
World Music Hall, 40 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
$12 per workshop; $30 for all three workshops. FREE for Wesleyan students!

Miss Undastood Workshop: The Art of Rhyme—Exploring Islam and Hip Hop through Verse Writing
Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 3:30pm
World Music Hall, 40 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
$12 per workshop; $30 for all three workshops. FREE for Wesleyan students!

Planet Hip Hop Festival Concert
Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9pm
Fayerweather Beckham Hall, 55 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
$18 general public; $15 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Have You Seen This Grave Robber?

A Middletown Police Department press release, unedited.  There ought to be a statue against stealing statutes.
On Sunday, September 14, 2014, Middletown Police were called to investigate a theft of a statute placed at a grave site at Calvary Cemetery. The cemetery is located at #307 Bow Lane. The family of the deceased recently placed a camera near the grave site of their loved one to identify the person(s) vandalizing the gravestone. What was captured on video from Saturday, September 13th, 2014, was a white female operating a white SUV who stops, exits her vehicle, picks up the statute, and places it in her vehicle. The female stands in front of the gravesite momentarily, walks past it, and then returns to her vehicle to leave the area with the stolen statute.

The statute of the angel is valued at approximately $100.00, but the sentimental value is priceless. Middletown Police asks for the public’s assistance in identifying this female. Officer Robert Kraeger can be reached at 860-638-4000 x310 or at rkraeger@middletownctpolice.com.
Update from the Middletown Police, 9:40PM

The Middletown Police Department would like to thank the media outlets for assisting us with the investigation into the stolen statue from Cavalry Cemetery. After the media aired the video and/or the still photographs, the detective bureau received several phone calls identifying several possible suspects.

A local person of interest was identified. Shortly thereafter the person of interest contacted the Middletown Police Department. She agreed to come into the police department for an interview. Upon her arrival at the police department the suspect turned over the statue and was cooperative with detectives. The suspects name is being withheld at this time as detectives are still investigating the larceny.

Anyone with additional information pertaining to this incident is encouraged to contact the MPD Major Investigations Unit at 860-638-4140.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Public Input Needed for CT Wildlife Action Plan

Tuesday, September 30, at 7 p.m.
At the deKoven House
27 Washington Street in Middletown

The Jonah Center for Earth and Art invites the public to a talk and slide presentation by Julie Victoria on her work to update the CT Wildlife Action Plan, including the need for public input and support.  Julie Victoria is a widely known and respected wildlife biologist who worked for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for over 32 years, specializing in raptors, shorebirds, invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians. Co-sponsors of the event are: Connecticut Forest & Park Association; Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District; Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program; and the Middletown Resource Recycling Commission.

Participation by conservation partners, academic institutions, and the public is key to making the revised Wildlife Action Plan an effective tool for conserving Connecticut's diversity of wild species for future generations. Come to learn how you can make a difference. The overview presented at this talk will inform participants who may want to attend a facilitated workshop on November 6, to be hosted by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association at 16 Meriden Road, Rockfall CT 06481. For more information, go to www.thejonahcenter.org

A $5 donation will be requested at the door to help cover program expenses

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ Cameron!! Please adopt me today. Come visit me at Cat Tales!!

Cat Tales 

My name is Cameron and I am 6 year old with orange and white fur. Aren't I so cute?  My owner lost their home and could no longer care for me so I am back at Cat Tales and very confused. I am such a loving boy and really want to be in a forever home. I would do very well as the only pet, but would probably be okay with another non-dominant cat.  Once I know you I purr for attention and love to be pet. I am such a sweet guy and can't wait for you to adopt me. Please hurry!
(Note: No Dogs, No Children)

Please call Cat Tales at (860) 344-9043 or
Email: Info@CatTalesCT.org to inquire about Cameron.

Cat Tales is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, no-kill rescue organization 
in Middletown's only all feline cat rescue and shelter.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DOT Announces Public Meeting For Route 9 On-Ramp Alterations

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) will conduct a Public Informational Meeting for the Reconfiguration of Route 17 On-Ramp onto Route 9 North (Project No.82-309).

When: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Where:                 Middletown City Hall, in the Council Chambers (1st floor),
245 Dekoven Drive,
Middletown, Connecticut
What:                   An open forum with Department staff will begin at 6:30 p.m.
with a formal presentation at 7:00 p.m. 

"This is an important change for Middletown and the State really needs to hear from residents whether about they support this potential solution,” said Rep. Matt Lesser (D- Middletown). “The current on-ramp is one of the most accident-prone intersections anywhere in Connecticut and it limits access to our city's waterfront."

The Public Informational Meeting is being held to afford a full opportunity for public participation and to allow open discussion of any views and comments the community may have concerning the Reconfiguration of Route 17 On-Ramp onto Route 9 North.

The meeting facility is ADA accessible.  Deaf and hearing impaired persons wishing to attend this meeting and requiring an interpreter, must make arrangements by contacting the DOT’s Office of Communications at (860) 594-3062 (voice only) at least five working days prior to the meeting.  Language assistance is provided at no cost to the public, and efforts will be made to respond to request for assistance.

Details of the proposed concept: This project is designed to develop a plan that will enhance the safety of vehicles at the on-ramp of Route 17 onto Route 9 North, which has a high frequency of accidents. The proposal includes the widening of the existing bridge immediately north of the stop-controlled on-ramp to accommodate a full length acceleration lane and remove the stop-control condition. The widening of the Route 9 Bridge would be facilitated by the relocation of the intersection of Union Street, Harbor Drive and River Road currently located under the bridge. This intersection would be moved further east across Sumner Brook, which would require the construction of two new bridges, and the realignment of the three intersecting roadways.

This concept also proposes to close the existing on-ramp onto Route 9 North located at the north end of Harbor Drive and transform Harbor Drive into a local access road with on-street parking, and various pedestrian amenities.

This project will be concluded at the end of the public comment period for the public informational meeting. At that time, the DOT will consider the initiation of another project to move forward with the design and construction of this concept.

More detailed information is available at the DOT’s Office of Engineering, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, Connecticut, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., excluding holidays.  Plans are also available for review at the Middletown City Hall – Town Clerk’s Office, 245 Dekoven Drive, Middletown, Connecticut. Anyone wishing to discuss the project may contact Mr. William W. Britnell. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Friends of Russell Library Monthly Book Sale

The Friends of Russell Library will hold its September book sale in the children's activity room of the library at 123 Broad Street this weekend on Friday from 9 to 6 and on Saturday from 9 to 5.  The library will be closed on Sunday.  A large variety of fiction is available, all published after 2006, as well as non-fiction in many categories, and books for children of all ages.  All proceeds go towards library programs and materials.

Mushroom Program Saturday, September 20, Haddam Neck, 9 a.m.

Please join the Haddam Land Trust  on the Pine Brook Preserve in Haddam Neck on Saturday, September 20th at 9:00 am (1-2 hrs).

Amazon guide and Mycologist Gerry Miller will walk with us in search of  mushrooms growing along the edges of the brook and throughout the preserve. After we find and pick the wild mushrooms Mr. Miller will identify what we have harvested and how to tell the edible from the poisonous. This will be a unique chance to learn about mushrooms from an expert on the subject.

Free and open to the public.  Please bring a basket or bag to hold the mushrooms you collect.

Pine Brook Road is approximately 5 miles south of Cobalt on Route 151. It is a little over a mile north of the
Route 151-Salmon River bridge coming from the south. Follow Route 151 to Pine Brook Road and go to the end
of the road.

UConn Master Gardener Program Accepting Applications for 2015

The UConn Master Gardener program is now taking applications for 2015 class beginning in January 2015 at the Middlesex County Extension Center in Haddam.


Students enrolled in this program receive training in an extensive range of horticultural and environmental topics, including botany, plant pathology, entomology, integrated pest management (IPM), herbaceous and woody ornamentals, edibles, turf grass, invasive plants, and diagnostic techniques for the home gardener.


Following formal classroom instruction, Master Gardener students receive hands-on training in the Extension offices or the Bartlett Arboretum; they are supervised in researching a broad range of horticultural questions, including identifying insects and plants, diagnosing plant diseases, and providing sound cultural recommendations.  In addition, interns engage in a wide range of community outreach projects. Examples include community gardens, horticultural therapy, educational booths for programs ranging from Earth Day celebrations to agricultural fairs, and working with the CT Invasive Plant Group, just to name a few.


Please see our website for additional information. 

Middlesex Community College to Celebrate Constitution Day

Middlesex Community College will celebrate Constitution Day with an art exhibition, a singing of the National Anthem, perspectives from a Holocaust survivor, and a musical rendition of the Bill of Rights. This vivid and unique opportunity is free and open to the public.
The kick off event on Sunday, September 14 is the Commemoration of the 200-Year Anniversary of the National Anthem. This event features a history of “The Star Spangled Banner,” a personal testimonial from a survivor of Nazi Germany, readings of original poems on freedom from high school students, and a singing of the national anthem. K-12 student artwork will be on display as well. The program will take place 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.in Chapman Hall, located at Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown. The K-12 Student Art Exhibition will be open from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. For more information, contact Professor Judith de Graffenried atjdegraffenried@mxcc.edu.
The second event is a concert performed by Neely Bruce, professor at Wesleyan University. The performance is titled “The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets” and features the singing group Festival Harmony. The performance will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17 in Chapman Hall room 808, located at Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown. This event is made possible with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts and the Middlesex Community College Student Senate. For more information, contact Professor Rebecca Loew at rloew@mxcc.edu.
“The U.S. Bill of Rights plays a central role in American law and government and we are delighted to have this opportunity to reflect on the content and significance of this document through the medium of superb music,” said Rebecca Loew, assistant professor and coordinator of “The Bill of Rights” performance. “Civic engagement is a core principal of democracy and part of our responsibility as educators is to prepare students to effectively participate in our democracy.”
Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College (mxcc.edu) 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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Lobby Book Sale is Back

As of September 9, Russell Library patrons can once again purchase books from shelves at the rear of the main lobby.  There is a good selection of fiction, non-fiction, and children's books, and the prices are reasonable:  $1.00 for hardcovers books and $.50 for paperbacks.  A box on top of the shelves is provided for payment by the honor system.  The books will be replaced regularly, so be sure to
snap up that novel you've always wanted to read, or a cookbook that looks intriguing.  All proceeds go towards library programs and materials.