Friday, July 31, 2015

Ed Henry

I have written about Ed Henry in the past, usually in January when his radio program, "The Polish Melodies Show", celebrated its anniversary. The program began its Sunday run in 1950 on WCNX-AM1150 in Middletown as a 30-minute blast of polkas, waltzes, and obereks, expanding to 60 minutes along the way (and 2 hours for a few years in the 1990s.) WCNX became WMRD-AM when Don DeCesare purchased the station in 1996, adding WLIS-AM Old Saybrook later that year.

Mr. Henry, as we politely called him, turned 88 this past March, 2 months after the show began its 66th year. And, he continued to show up at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday in bad or good weather until he passed away suddenly Saturday night July 18th. Ed Henry was buried last Friday in the Veterans Cemetery on Bow Lane after a High Mass at St. Mary of Czestochowa Church in Middletown.  I was asked by Jean Henry, his wife of 62+ years to deliver one of the eulogies (Mr. DeCesare gave the other.)  The text of mine is below.

In one’s lifetime, you may be lucky to meet 2 or 3 people who change your life for the better.  For me, Ed Henry was one of those people. I was born and raised in Middletown and our family listened to WCNX-AM1150 just about every day and, some days, from sunrise to sunset.  I first started paying attention to the voice that was Ed Henry’s on Saturdays when my sister tuned in to the Top 30 Show.  Soon, I was the one sitting close to the huge floor radio to check out this music I was beginning to enjoy.    To be honest, I did not discover the Polish Melodies show, which began its run the year after I was born (you do the math), until I came back to Middletown after college to work alongside my father in his business.  The small radio he kept in the store was always tuned to AM1150 and, on those Sunday mornings I helped with bookwork or washed the floors, we’d listen to Ed.
            I finally entered the wondrous world of radio one day in the fall of 1996 to do my very own show. Now the station had the call letters of WMRD.  Originally, my show aired at 2 p.m. on Sundays but I soon realized that was not the most opportune time for a Jewish music and culture program.  Owner and General manager Don DeCesare figured the only solution was to move the show to the morning and, to manage that move, Ed Henry would have to relinquish the second hour of Polish Melodies.  To my undying gratitude, he said yes without a question or a hint of annoyance.
            I soon became part of the Sunday Morning Crew and, even better, one of the Ed Henry Singers. Slowly but surely, I arrived earlier each week so that I could sit in at the beginning of Ed’s hour, creating sound effects, cracking wise and generally creating a friendly mayhem.  And, Mr. Henry loved it, the crazy voices, the head bump, the horse hooves, the chicken clucks….remember, I grew listening to AM radio in the 60s before it became innuendo and shock jocks and right-versus-left.
            Over the years, the crew of 2 Eds (chief engineer and unsung hero Ed Litos is the younger of the Eds) and me grew to include a former radio station engineer and Navy veteran Don Meno who became the Birthday Man – Once in a while, the entire Crew would go out to Sunday dinner with Bill Glynn, who had been station manager at WCNX in the early 1950s and, basically, Ed’s boss, along with Ro Badeau (Roland), who was Ed’s engineer before Mr. Litos took over. O, the stories Ed and Bill told.
            Here’s what I discovered about Ed Henry over the past 19 years. He never said a bad word about anybody, he loved his family (especially the grandchildren and now the great-grandchildren), he loved the United States, and he loved his radio show and especially his audience.  And that audience loved him right back. And, for a little station, Ed Henry had quite the coterie of grateful listeners over the years (even more became fans after Don D acquired WLIS in Old Saybrook).  Once we started streaming on the Internet, people who had moved out of state could now listen on Sunday morning and, even better, with On-Demand, people can listen 24/7.
            More than anything, you should know that Ed Henry liked to have fun on the radio. He celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, taught the Crew to sing “Stolat” and to applaud good deeds. He liked to sing along with certain songs, such as “I Love Everybody”, Bobby Vinton’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”,  “God Bless America” as well as the many Polish prayers he played through the Holidays.
            Yet, the two items that will stay with me more than anything is his sign-on “Is It Sunday Yet?”, ringing out of the speakers at high volume at 10 a.m. and, the ultimate memory, the song that closes the show every week.  Many of you already these words -  “I don’t want to go home, I don’t want to go home. I’m having too much fun” – I have to admit, I used to think that was a younger Ed Henry singing – “I don’t want to go home, I don’t want to go home, the band has just begun” – see, this 60 minute radio show was what Ed truly enjoyed, not that he didn’t want to spend time with Jean and his family, but – “I don’t want to go home, I don’t want to home, I’m having too much fun” – truer words have never been written or sung. By the third verse, “I” has become “we” and everybody in the building and listening on the radio is singing right along – “The whole gang is here. We’re full of good cheer/ Ohh, we don’t wanna go home!”
            That’s the essence of the Polish Melodies Show and its host.  We are having fun, Ed has filled us with good cheer, he has made us smile, made us laugh and, be honest, why you would want the party to stop?  When you look around, this world is rife with danger, loaded with sadness – let’s have a good time for an hour – the world can wait – reality is always in your face – let’s smile for a few minutes.
            That’s what I learned from Ed Henry. Savor your time on this planet.  Even as your body falters, stay young in your head, enjoy as much as you can, because, even though “you don’t wanna go home”, you have to. Even though what awaits you may be negative or intolerable, if you remember  “the whole gang is here” and will be every Sunday at 11 a.m., some of that “good cheer” may get you through the days and the week until it’s Sunday yet again.

            My friend, you’ve done quite a lot to make our world a happier place. Bless you and may Jean, sons Robert and James, daughter Suzan, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren be comforted that you brought so much joy to so many people for such an amazing number of Sundays!   Thank you for this honor. 
            Ed, rest easily among the stars.

(By the way, the show will continue for the foreseeable future with Chief Engineer Ed Litos and me co-hosting.)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Middlesex Community College Hosts Manufacturing Open House Aug. 5 and Aug. 13

Manufacturing in Connecticut is a $25 billion industry with more than 160,000 jobs in place, according to the 2014 Survey by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA).  This makes manufacturing the single largest contributor to the state’s economy, with thousands of new jobs ready and waiting to be filled by skilled workers.  To learn how to train for a career in manufacturing or increase skills for job advancement, Middlesex Community College invites prospective students its upcoming Manufacturing Open House events - August 5 and 13.

Manufacturing provides almost 11% of all job opportunities in the state, which represents a wonderful opportunity for workers right now and in the foreseeable future,” said Hubert Godin, manufacturing program coordinator.  “Our program prepares graduates for positions as CNC machine operators, inspectors, and tool and die apprentices, and gives graduates the opportunity to earn better than average pay with full benefits and a better future.”

The open houses are for anyone interested in a manufacturing career and how to gain the basic skills and knowledge through MxCC’s Manufacturing Technology certificate or associate degree programs.  These programs are designed for those looking for entry-level skills as well as workers looking to upgrade their skills.

The open houses will be held at the Manufacturing program’s new home at the recently renovated facility at H.C. Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden. Courses at Wilcox Tech will begin this September. The open houses will be held on Wednesday, August 5 and Thursday, August 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wilcox Tech located at 298 Oregon Road, Meriden. Each open house will feature a presentation of MxCC’s manufacturing program. 

For more information, please contact Carolyn Sommer at 860-343-5749 or

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ SMOKEY!!

Cat Tales presents... Cat of the Week!


Sex: Female
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Color: Grey
Age: 10 years old

Hello, my name is Smokey!  I am a very sweet, pretty girl. My owner could no longer care for me and I am confused and overwhelmed as to why I am at Cat Tales.  If you are patient with me, I will get to know you and open up my heart.  I love to be pet and absolutely crave attention. I am very affectionate to all my human friends. I'd love to curl up with you in bed or on the couch. I don't seem to mind children if they are gentle with me, so kids over 7 should be fine. Please adopt me, give me that second chance and I'll unconditionally love you forever!

No Dogs

Phone:  (860) 344-9043 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Call for Middletown's First Poet Laureate

Mayor Daniel T. Drew and the Middletown Commission on the Arts present a
Call for Nominations for Middletown's First Poet Laureate

Submission deadline is Friday at 4:30 p.m. on September 18, 2015.
Download or print the Poet Laureate Nomination Form and review the Description and Selection Process.

Suggested to the Mayor in a letter by two Macdonough School students of teacher John Ferrero - Sasha Zipf and Todd Archer in September of 2014 and acted upon by the Mayor and the Middletown Commission on the Arts, the City is seeking it's first Poet Laureate.


• Nominees must be at least 18 years of age at the time of appointment
• The poet Laureate must have a strong desire to be actively engaged in the community by performing his or her own work and/or sharing his or her own work and talent with the public.
• Poets may self-nominate or be nominated by a Middletown resident.
• Nominees may not be MCA Commissioners or Staff.
• Nominees must be full time Middletown residents for at least one year prior to the nomination date.
• Nominees must be experienced in the field of poetry and able to fulfill the required duties of the position.

Poet Laureate Opportunities:

• A reception in his or her honor.
• Promote awareness of poetry in Middletown by participating in city and statewide events as an official representative of the City of Middletown.
• Promote at least one public event per year or as requested by the Mayor and/or the MCA.
• Foster public appreciation of and participation in poetry and literary arts activities in schools, colleges and the local literary community.
• Represent Middletown within the Connecticut Coalition of Poets Laureate.

Terms of service:

• The City Poet Laureate will serve for a term of 3 years with the possibility of renewal.
• As an official representative of the City of Middletown, the Poet Laureate must maintain Middletown residency during his or her term.
• The City Poet Laureate will be a nonvoting Member of the Middletown Commission on the Arts.


To be considered for the position of Middletown's Poet Laureate, along with the application form, please provide the information requested below as attachments (Word, PDF, JPEG) to the City Arts Office.
Submission deadline is Friday at 4:30 p.m. on September 18, 2015.
Download or print the Poet Laureate Nomination Form and review the Description and Selection Process.

• Resume or CV
• A selection of work samples in print or online
• An expression of intent including specific availability for fulfilling the role
• Contact information for three personal references

Any questions can be directed to Stephan Allison, Coordinator, City Arts Office, email, phone 860-638-4510.


Following the review and interview process, the MCA Poet Laureate Selection Committee will make its recommendation to the MCA who will formally request the appointment by the Mayor. We hope to appoint the Poet Laureate in October, 2015.

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

Friday, we present the Electric Folk duo Layers and Frames whose unique music sound combines modern electronic technique with retro folk-rock style.

Saturday brings Hiroya Tsukamoto to The Buttonwood Tree! He uses sound to create a vast landscape of wonder and brings his audience along for the ride. He will also be hosting a guitar workshop at The Buttonwood at 4pm Saturday afternoon.

Want a peek at the month ahead? Check out our August Calendar!

NB: Our website has been experiencing technical difficulties and we currently cannot process reservations through it. If you wish to make a reservation, you may do so by emailing us at or calling us at 860-347-4957.

605 Main Street
Middletown, CT 06457

Click below to learn more!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Middlesex Community College Hosts Ophthalmic Medical Assisting Open House

Middlesex Community College will be hosting an Ophthalmic Medical Assisting Open House on Thursday, August 6 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Chapman Hall Room 613. Professor Raymond Dennis and Professor Rose Malczynski will speak to students about an Ophthalmic Medical Assisting career.
At the open house, prospective students will learn more about the Ophthalmic Medical Assisting certificate program, which offers students the academic and hands-on training needed for a rewarding career providing eye care assistance, an industry expected to have strong job growth.
This one-semester certificate program offers hybrid courses with online coursework during the week and hands-on training on Saturdays. To learn more and to register for the open house contact Carolyn Sommer at or 860-343-5749.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Sounds Series - The Musical Cavaliers at Harbor Park! - July 28

The City Arts Office/MCA present the annual Summer Sounds series on Tuesdays at Harbor Park from July 7 through September 1. The shows begin at 7 p.m., there's plenty of parking in the Municipal parking lot at Melilli Plaza (it's free after 7 p.m.). From the parking lot, it's a short walk to the park via the Harbor Park pedestrian tunnel.

Remember that in case of inclement weather the show will go on in the sanctuary of the South Church located at the corner with the YMCA and the City's South Green (Union Park), Main & Pleasant Streets.

Here's the line-up for 2015, starting with this Tuesday's show!

July 28
The Musical Cavaliers - standards/polkas

Aug. 4
Nekita Waller Band - Motown pop/soul favorites

Aug. 11
Bootstrap - instrumental riffs on rock/soul hits

Aug. 18
Kenn Morr Band - Americana/folk-rock

Aug. 25
Elite Syncopation - ragtime/early jazz

Sept. 1
Middletown Symphonic Band - popular tunes

For Your Career: Leveraging LinkedIn at Russell Library

Career expert Jan Melnik

On Tuesday July 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Hubbard Room of the Russell Library career expert Jan Melnik will present Leveraging LinkedIn. Melnik will demonstrate how to optimize your use of LinkedIn and Facebook. There is no registration required.