Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Russell Library's New Appointments

Brandie Doyle is the new Assistant Director at Russell Library.

Russell Library announced today the appointments of Brandie Doyle as Assistant Library Director and Catherine Ahern as Info Services Department Head.
Brandie Doyle joined the Library in June 2011 as business and career resources librarian and was promoted to circulation department head in December 2013. Brandie has played an important role in helping to redefine the importance of the customer experience in the 21st century. She holds a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from Simmons College.
Catherine Ahern, who joined the Library in 1990, was named Acting Information Services Department Head in February this year after the departure of Jason Neely, who was appointed director at the Enfield Public Library. During her tenure, Catherine has held various positions from which she has helped create a modern public library for the citizens of Middletown and the region. Catherine holds a Masters of Library Science degree from Southern Connecticut State University.
“We are fortunate to have the talent internally to fill these important leadership positions”, said Matthew K. Poland, the Library’s director. “Maintaining a sustainable public library in the 21st century requires inspired leadership like Brandie and Catherine.”
Both appointments are effective Monday, May 30, 2016.

North End Public Forum Tomorrow

From Michelle T. Ford, Planning & Environmental Specialist, City of Middletown.
Middletown on the Move North End Open House
·         Date:  Wednesday, June 1, 2016
·         Time:  Outdoor Open House 11:00am to 3:00pm;  Community Forum: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
·         Where:  Middletown Community Health Center, corner of Main and Grand streets downtown.

Why is the City concerned about the health of residents? What are the opportunities to exercise in the City?  Should there be more or better opportunities for active recreation? Where is it difficult to walk or bike? Why should I think about being more active? How do brownfields impact the health of my neighborhood? How can Middletown be more FUN?

Drop by any time during an open house to help answer these questions and learn about Middletown on the Move.  Explore different ways to make small public spaces more fun and active.  Plenty of games and demonstrations for the whole family!

Discussions during the open house will help shape the conversation during the public forum that evening (7:00 – 9:00pm).  We’ll talk about new spots for public spaces in Middletown and what they might look like.  Child care and light refreshments provided.

Cat Tales ~ Annual Walk-A-Thon/Run ~ Sat, 6/18, 9:30am Reg/Walk 10:15am

Cat Tales will be holding their Annual Walk-A-Thon/Run on 6/18, benefiting Cat Tales and Connecticut Votes for Animals!  Our goal is to raise awareness and much needed funds to keep all species of animals in Connecticut free from harm.  

WHEN:  Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. for Registration (Walk/Run begins at 10:15), RAIN OR SHINE!!
WHERE:  Middlesex Community College, upper parking lot, 100 Training Hill Rd., Middletown, CT
WHAT:  2.2 mile walk (or 4.4 mile run!), trail is easy/intermediate

Please visit http://www.CatTalesCT.org/walk-a-thon-run/ to register and view the details.  To Donate or Sponsor a Cat Tales participant, please see https://www.crowdrise.com/2016CatTalesWalkRun.   To sponsor a CT Votes for Animal walker/runner please visit their website at www.ctvotesforanimals.org

Friendly dogs on a leash are encouraged to join the walk. Adoptable Dogs will be present as well.  We have water stations throughout the trail for.  

For any questions not addressed, see below flyer or email info@CatTalesCT.org or call 860-344-9043.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration for this very important cause!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ OLIVER!! 053116

Gender:  Male

  Breed:    Domestic Short Hair

Color:     Buff

Age:        4 years old

I had a rough life and I'm thrilled that I now have a safe, warm place to stay at Cat Tales. I like to be pet and I like when volunteers talk and socialize with me. I have stomatitis (inflammation in my mouth which can be sore) and need to have regular vet check ups. I sometimes need medicine.  A patient, cat experienced person who'll give me time to adjust to a quiet new home is what I'm looking for. I'd love to be your only pet, or would also do fine with a non dominant cat. Come meet me and see how sweet I can be!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Trump and Sanders to Debate in Parallel Dimension -- The Colonel Carries On #33

By Judy Polan, Queen of the Glitter Folk

Epigraph: “Two things are both true: crime is an extraordinarily complex problem, and good policing can reduce it.” --after David French

The Colonel’s Magic Realism Rejuvenating Cream is now available without tedious side-effect warnings or money-back guarantees! It worked for my British uncle “Skip” of MI6 (retired) who was pretty successful with his “Afghan Boy” disguise, shown below:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree!
May 27-28

Carrie Johnson & Julia Russo / Belle of the Fall

May 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm | $15

Come watch a star studded show opened by Belle of the Fall, followed up with singer/songwriters Carrie Johnson and Julia Russo at The Buttonwood Tree this Friday Night!

Find out more about these artists -
Carrie Johnson: 
Listen to Carrie's beautiful song; Tiny Desk Big Bang.
And visit her at her website!
Julia Russo: 
Listen to Julia's original song; Dog and Bone.
And visit her at her website!
Belle of the Fall:
Listen to a wonderful recording; Don't Give Up On Me.
And visit them at their website!

Uri Shaham & Mark Kaplan Quartet

May 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm | $10

The Uri Shaham – Mark Kaplan Quartet is a premier jazz ensemble that interprets The Great American Songbook and jazz classics in a uniquely expansive way.


Mark Kaplan Qaurtet is comprised of:

Uri Shaham - piano
Mark Kaplan - tenor saxophone
David Stoltz - bass
Ralph Rosen - drums 
Take a look at the saxophone stylings of Mark Kaplan!

The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street / PO Box 71, Middletown, CT 06457
www.buttonwood.org / 860.347.4957  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cat Tales Annual Walk-A-Thon/Run on 6/18 - Register online or day of event!

Cat Tales will be holding the 

Annual Walk-A-Thon/Run on June 18th!  

We are teaming up with Connecticut VOTES for Animals for this years Event.  Our joint goal is to raise awareness and much needed funds to keep all species of animals in Connecticut free from harm.  We hope to see you there to support this important mission! 
We hope to see you all there! 

Please visit http://www.CatTalesCT.org/walk-a-thon-run/ to register, and see all the details.  To donate, Connecticut Votes for Animals and Cat Tales have their own donation sites, ours being https://www.crowdrise.com/2016CatTalesWalkRun.  

Feel free to bring your leashed dog as we have water stations throughout the trail.  For any questions not addressed, please email info@CatTalesCT.org or call 860-344-9043.


Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ SEBASTIAN!!

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week!

Gender:  Male
Breed:  Domestic Short Hair
Color:  Grey & White
Age:  4 years old

I'm an extremely mellow, laid-back, sweet, and affectionate cat that loves to be pet and loves attention!  I'm FIV+ but don't worry - it's impossible for humans to catch and is very difficult for other cats to catch.  I will live just as long as any other cat, I just need to keep my 1-2 Vet appointment per year, depending on my new Vet.  I’m a very good boy and I adore the Cat Tales volunteers, but I’ve been patiently waiting for my forever home where I can get all of the love and affection I'm craving.  I'm such a lover and hope you will give me a chance at a forever home!  Please come meet me?

No Dogs / No Children

*To learn more about FIV, please visit http://www.CatTalesCT.org/fiv-felv/

Phone:  (860) 344-9043


Pizza War on June 2

From Michael Piscopiello.
Feed the People Charity Inc. and the Middletown Press will be holding its 5th Annual Greater Middletown Pizza War on June 2, 2016 at Saint Francis of Assisi Church. The event supports Saint Vincent dePaul of Middletown that has provided an array of services to Middletown residents for over 30 years.

Feed the People Charity is pleased to welcome back this year, Pizzeria DaVinci of Higganum, Cromwell Pizza and Pasta, No Anchovies Pizza in Cromwell, Cozy Corner from Durham and Price Chopper of Middletown. We have two new restaurants joining the fun this year, Vero Cucino Rustico in Middletown, and Barb’s Pizza of Cromwell.

The Pizza War starts at 5:00 pm. Donations are $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4, children under 6 eat for free.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Some Behind-The-Library Inspiration

Photo: John Van Vlack from the
News@Wesleyan website.
One of the rites of Spring for non-Wesleyan affiliated, Wesleyan neighbors is commencement weekend.  The streets are full of alumni and families attending festivities.  Cars are parked where they shouldn't be.  Tents bloom on all the lawns, and loud music emanates through the night.  It's like a brainy carnival (following closely on the heels of the Italian carnival that invades Pearl Street every May).

It's been a family tradition to attend Commencement.  Some years, especially the years when my kids were younger, we were more connected to the student body as babysitters walked to the stage in cap and gown.  Lately, we attend just to hear the Commencement speaker.

This year, it was joyous to see punk poet Patti Smith awarded an honorary doctorate, and good friend Sally Bachner receiving one of the coveted Binswanger Awards.

Over the years, we've heard a lot of great speeches from people like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joss Whedon, Amy Gutman and Barack Obama.

But I can't remember being inspired as much as I was this year when Bryan Stevenson spoke. Stevenson is an author, attorney, professor and social justice advocate specializing in bring justice to those on death row.

He asked the graduates to do something many graduates have been asked: change the world.  Then he provided four relatively practical things they (we) could do that would go a long way to making that change.  A 17 minute video of his speech is here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Larry Marino To Be Honored By Chamber Of Commerce

From the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
Chairman Vincent Capece of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2016 recipients of the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Award.

Each year, the chamber presents this award to individuals who serve as an inspiration to others, and are recognized by the Middlesex community as unselfishly giving his or her time and talent to produce a lasting benefit to the area. The Distinguished Citizen Committee chose the recipients from a list of over 230 nominees.

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce proudly announces that the 2016 recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Award are:
  • Larry W. Marino
  • Darlene Briggs
  • Chandler J. Howard

Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “Once again, our Distinguished Citizen Committee has chosen three outstanding individuals. They are committed to making Middlesex County a better place to work and live, and we are extremely proud of all of them.”

The 2016 Distinguished Citizen Award recipients will be honored at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce 2016 Annual Awards Dinner to be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell.

Larry W. Marino
Born in our city, Larry Marino always divided his life into three parts. The first part of life is devoted to education, the middle third of life is devoted to work while the last third is dedicated to helping others. Larry believes that you always should do what you are capable of to help others and that is something he has lived his life a testament to.

Larry attended college at Loyola University of Chicago getting a degree in English while spending his last two years abroad at the university’s Rome Center campus. Upon graduation, he wanted to make a difference and he immediately signed up for the Victoria Teacher Selection Program, which gave him the opportunity to teach school in Queensland, Australia. During his time in Australia, Larry found time to coach a women’s and girls’ softball team. He also published stories and poems written by his students and performed in local theater productions. Larry holds a teaching certificate from Central Connecticut State University and holds a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

When Larry returned to the United States, he began his business career joining his father as part of the S.G. Marino Crane Service Corporation as Chief Administrative Officer. As one of two officers in the company, he grew a $2 million regional crane rental house into a $45 million crane and rigging services company, servicing the energy, power, industrial and infrastructure markets operating in 37 states in the U.S. and the Caribbean Islands. He developed strong banking relationships as well as strong vendor relationships with major manufacturers and suppliers, this was the catalyst to secure recapitalization with Capital Funding Group at GE Capital Corporation.  His stewardship of S.G. Marino Crane Service Corporation led the organization for sale to Barnhart Crane, a $250 million leading equipment services provider.

During Larry’s business career he knew that community involvement was essential to a vibrant and rewarding life. His company provided crane and truck rental to local non-profits in need and has sent volunteers and distributed bottled water during natural disasters in the United States.  Additionally, he worked with a team to help develop a better bobsled for the U.S. Olympic Team which resulted in Gold and Silver Medals for the men and women.

Larry is an active participant in many local non-profits. As Exchange Club President, Larry chaired a local triathlon to raise funds for the prevention of child abuse. Through Rotary International, Larry’s family invited a young man from Venezuela to stay with them for a year as he completed his studies at the local high school. He has served on the Community Foundation of Middlesex County Grants Committee and was an Encore! Hartford Fellow. He was a founding member of the Portland Soccer Club and coached little league and soccer for 10 years in Portland. As Larry’s business grew he became an active member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. It was Larry’s honor to serve as Chairman of the Chamber’s Board in 2005.

A spark was lit in Larry when O’Rourke’s Diner, a 60-year-landmark in Middletown’s North End succumbed to a fire in 2006 when a steamed cheeseburger machine was left on overnight. The owner, Brian O’Rourke, unfortunately did not have fire insurance, but Larry made a commitment to Brian, the mayor and the loyal customers that he would help bring the diner back. A committee was formed and diner was rebuilt within seventeen months.

In Larry’s current role he serves as Director of Facilities and Safety at Adelbrook Behavioral & Developmental Services where he helps the non-profit which provides services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental disabilities, and mental health conditions and gives children and young adults the chance to live and work in the community.

When not working, Larry spends time with his wife Jane and four sons Daniel, Andrew, Christopher, and Ross. He enjoys hiking, tennis, books and theater and roots for the New York Giants and the Detroit Tigers.    

Darlene Briggs
Growing up in Cromwell, Darlene Briggs was the first child of Ronnie and Bob Brigg's six children. She has fond memories of her childhood, remembering that most days were raucous and that level of revelry continues today.  On Sunday mornings, the Briggs family occupied almost the whole pew at St. John's Church. Darlene attended Cromwell Schools.

As a teenager, Darlene could not wait to "get to work." Starting at the Belden Library, she was also a summer Park & Rec camp counselor, washed pots and pans at a convalescent facility, flipped fast food burgers, and enjoyed the glamour of operating a spotlight at a dinner theater.  It was also during Darlene's teenage years her father passed away, which years later set the stage for the Briggs-Pomfret merger combining a family of six kids with a family of five kids.

Darlene enrolled at Central Connecticut State University and majored in graphic design. She accepted a summer job in an A/V production house and it was "off to the races." That first job led to freelance opportunities at other graphics houses, advertising agencies, and corporate in-house departments.
A position opened at the Southern New England Telephone (SNET) Customer Communications Center in New Haven and this began Darlene's 12-year "inside corporate" adventure. Her team was responsible for the production and management of multimedia extravaganzas, customer presentations, sales meetings, awards programs, proposals, marketing and advertising for Network, Yellow Pages, Corporate Communications, and Wireless.

Darlene met her husband, David Kittle at SNET.  A colleague/friend Tony Palermo suggested that the town of Westbrook might be a good fit for the couple. Darlene and David signed up for a buyout from SNET and started their company, Cominfortainment -- communications, information and entertainment. They expanded the services they previously provided "inside" to the outside world. As part of larger teams, they manage and create content for sales, awards, shareholder, town hall, and analyst meetings country-wide.  Their company also creates and manages trade show, web and collateral materials. Clients include pharmaceutical, technology, industry associations, non-profits, and finance.

When they started their business the couple's accountant was the company's first advisor. Two of his suggestions were to take the summer off and join the Middlesex Chamber. They began attending Westbrook Division meetings. It was at those meetings that Darlene met and joined forces with "Mad Scientist and Sorcerer" Gerry Dyar. The sorcerer's apprentice rose to Chair of the Westbrook Division, Board of Directors and to serving on the Executive Committee. Another important chamber assignment was delivering her dad #2, Bill Pomfret to the member breakfast at 7:45 instead of 7:59 for the pledge of allegiance.

It was Darlene's distinct honor to become Chairwoman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in 2013-2014. Her post Chairwoman duties include representing the Chamber on the River COG. Through her continued involvement, Darlene hopes to bring the lower-county perspective to the Chamber.

As a business owner, chamber member and a Westbrook citizen she is an active member of the Town Center Revitalization/Economic Development Commission, Ad Hoc Energy Committee, Youth Assets and her favorite, the Tree Lighting Committee.

When not in "client land" you may find Darlene shuttling snacks and chairs to the beach for their family and friends, out and about in her neighborhood or on the links with the "Golf Devils."

Chandler J. Howard
Growing up in Stratford near the Bridgeport border, Chandler Howard sought leadership opportunities his whole life. Starting at the age of nine, he delivered the largest newspaper route in the town of Stratford. The route got so large that Chandler got his first taste of entrepreneurship by paying a few neighborhood children with bikes to join him in subdividing the route to ensure on time delivery and service.

Drafted in the military at the age of 18, Chandler became a soldier in the jungles of the Vietnam War. When he left the military he jumped right into community service. He started a counseling center when he noticed that many Vietnam veterans were returning in a bad emotional state. Talking with veterans and their families, it was at that point he first noticed that he was good at communicating with other people.  When officials noticed his clinic and discovered that he was practicing without a license, Chandler had to retire his services, but the experience stuck with him. His work at the Red Cross in which he became volunteer of the year, drew the attention of People’s United Bank chief Nick Goodspeed who offered him a job as a part-time teller.

The teller job began Chandler’s long career in the banking industry. Attending college at night to earn his bachelor’s degree at the University Connecticut, Chandler rose through the ranks at People’s, becoming a senior regional manager in the span of 20 years. He also earned a Masters of Finance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and developed as a manager. He joined Fleet Bank as an Executive Vice President in 1996 overseeing 6,000 people in the Northeast region after the merger with Bank of America in 2004. During his time at Bank of America, Chandler was a Consumer Executive for the Upstate New York/Connecticut/Northeastern Pennsylvania Division. After leaving Bank of America, Chandler led a community bank start-up based in New Haven.

Chandler assumed his current position in 2007 as President and CEO of Liberty Bank, Connecticut’s largest and oldest full-service mutual bank with $4.1 billion in assets.  Chandler led the Bank to a 30 percent increase in branch locations, acquisition of two competitors, and expansion into Hartford and New Haven counties, and steady growth in new households. He oversaw an enterprise-wide core system conversion to improve customer experience and back-office efficiency. During this time, assets have grown by 25 percent, and overall financial results have significantly surpassed those of the average Connecticut-based bank; Liberty Bank was recognized as a Top Workplace in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and the Liberty Bank Foundation was recognized on a national level by the American Bankers Association for innovative service to the community. In 2014, he was named Leader of the Year by the Hartford Courant and Fox61.

Known for his involvement with community organizations, Mr. Howard has received numerous awards, including the Hartford Courant’s Tapestry Award for his personal and corporate commitment to fostering diversity; the Champion of Children Award from the Village for Families & Children; the Corporate Leader of the Year Award from the Christian Activities Council; and, most recently, the Whitney M. Young Service Award from the Boy Scouts. He is always a strong, visible supporter for the United Way.  Chandler Howard served as Chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in 2013.