Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Suzio Ducks and Defends, In His Attacks On Abortion Access

Suzio reiterated his goal to restrict abortion access, in a town hall meeting in Middlefield last night.

He faced considerable opposition from residents in attendance.

His Middlefield town hall was just as well attended as the town hall at Russell Library last week, with over 150 people in the room. It was about evenly divided between college age residents and older residents.  Some of the latter were there to support Suzio.

Suzio tried to ensure that as many topics as possible would be addressed, which had the effect of stifling questions on abortion rights. This met resistance from those who wanted Suzio to address concerns about his attempts to legislate women's health.  Their repeated attempts to ask questions were loudly shouted down by Suzio's supporters.

Susan Bysiewicz, who as state legislator in the 1990s represented many of the residents in the room, wanted to know Suzio's overall views on a woman's right to reproductive freedom. She reminded him that the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision was based on the right to privacy, and a case from our state, Griswold v. Connecticut.

She asked him if he supported the state statute that codified a woman's right to reproductive freedom, passed in 1992.

Suzio refused to state his position. Instead, he made a fool of himself by talking about his marriage and spewing nonsense about a desire to reach "consensus". Few in the room saw this as honest; "consensus" means agreement, harmony, concurrence, accord, unity, unanimity, solidarity, a concept that this man from Meriden either fails to understand, or cynically uses to obscure his cowardly refusal to tell his constituents what he believes.

If you think this correspondent is being too harsh, judge for yourself with the transcript below, or watch the video on Facebook (starting at about 1:21:30):
Bysiewicz.  ... So what I think a lot of people in this room are very concerned about, when they see a parental notification bill is that that is put into the legislature to cut back on women's right to privacy, to be left alone, to make decisions about health care. So my question to you is, do you support the Roe v. Wade statute that we codified in our state statutes because that is something that is very critical, particularly as we look at what is happening in Washington and the rights that could be cut back at the federal level. 
Suzio. Well, if you're asking me do I support the Roe v. Wade decision which goes back to 1973, 44 years ago. When you think about it, you would think that after 44 years of the law being, quote, settled, that there would be no more arguments left about it. But the country, as far as I can see, is very divided about it. And it's been divided about the issue because debate and discussion have been suffocated and prevented.  And all I know is this, Susan. I learned in life that I have a very successful marriage. I've been married to this beautiful woman for 46 years. [Points to woman in crowd] Don't hide your head! And I've learned that there's give and take, and you've got to learn to, um, when you have differences of opinion, you can't stamp your foot and say it's my way or the highway, because, you know what, the other person might accept it reluctantly but it's still going to be fuming there, under the surface. And what's been going on is the debate that would lead to a consensus about abortion has been stifled by the legal issues. I would like to see, in the next 10 - 20 years, I would like to see a consensus, an over-reaching consensus in Connecticut about this issue. Because the public by and large is divided about Roe v. Wade. I think any kind of resolution in Connecticut though the statutes should be resolved through the same process of developing consensus about it and I don't believe there is consensus about it right now.  
Bysiewicz. But it's been the law since 1992! 
Suzio. I would love to have a robust, respectful debate about these issues because then we can develop a consensus and then we can have it really be settled.
Bysiewicz. But I don't think we have a consensus on your bill. 
Two Middlefield residents who are practicing physicians were in the audience.  One of them, Matthew Huddleston, is the part time health director for the town of Middlefield. In response to Suzio's attempts to insert government control over women's health decisions, he had this to say.
Huddleston. I find it insulting that the legislature assumes that I am not capable of providing professional care to the patients that come to me and giving them advice about abortions. ... I'm a doctor and I'm very pragmatic. I've seen no data that forcing women to have ultrasounds or parental notification decreases abortion. I've never met a woman who was happy about having an abortionYou want to decrease abortion? Increase sex education in the schools, fund Planned Parenthood. Open the conversation. Don't have limits.  
Video of the 90 minute meeting is available on Facebook.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ BUGSY!!

, infested with maggots. After much care from the vet and my own strong will, I am fully recovered and ready to go home with you.  

Breed:Domestic Short Hair

Color:Brown Tabby

Age:6 years old

When Animal Control found me, I was
​ i
The volunteers say that 
​I'm one of the sweetest girls you will ever meet; very loving and affectionate and like to sit in your lap. I love to talk to you and will sometimes stick my tongue out at you
to make you 
laugh! Since I am a snuggle girl, it would be so awesome to curl up on the couch next to you and in your bed with you every day. Please adopt me soon, I'm waiting

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Saturday: Researching Immigrant Ancestors

From the Godfrey Memorial Library.
Godfrey board member Albert Fiacre will guide participants in a search for their homeland, including demonstration of how to locate:
  • ship manifests,
  • naturalization records and
  • vital records in their country of origin
New researchers will learn how to get started, what information is available, how to find it, and how to use it. More seasoned researchers will benefit from tips on search methods and helpful websites and databases. The presentation will include examples for using Family History Centers to find original foreign vital and church records. Participants will have time after the presentation to research at the library. Please bring your laptop.

Presentation is held February 4 at 9:30 a.m. at Godfrey Memorial Library (134 Newfield Street), free to Godfrey Premium Members or $10 a session. No pre-registration necessary.
Call 860-346-4375 for more info.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Squad, Fam Is Goals! On Fleek, No Swerve. Bye, Felicia -- The Colonel Carries On #68

By Clementine Castle  

Epigraph: “If you like to watch popcorn pop in super-slow motion, you may be overdoing the cough syrup.” --Joy Davidman

👻 If this is a mild winter, a lot of insects may be active earlier and more numerously that if there’d been ten consecutive below-zero days.

👻 Middletown’s Main Street, with its wide sidewalks, is like that of a Midwestern town more than like a typical New England town.

👻 “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Deport him, and you’ll never have to feed him again.” --The Bible According to Groper

Community Health Center Provided Free Dental Care For Uninsured

From the Community Health Center.
Dental care providers from Community Health Center, Inc. provided free dental care to people in need and without insurance at its Middletown site last Saturday as part of the Mission of Mercy program.

“We provided 37 patients with an array of services from exams, X-rays and cleanings to fillings, dentures and extractions,” said Sheela Tummala, chief dental officer for CHC, who participated in and organized the event. “With the support and service of our volunteers, we were able to help many of the patients in need within our community.”

CHC provides dental care to its patients regardless of their ability to pay, using a sliding fee scale for those without Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. It periodically holds Mission of Mercy dental clinics to provide services to those who are not patients.

“The nurses and doctors are good; and because sometimes I have a job and sometimes I don’t, it can be difficult for me and my family to pay for my teeth. This helps,” said Noemi Campos, who received dental treatment at the event.

Thirteen staff members, including dental providers, dental assistants, hygienists, and patient service associates volunteered their time and services for the event while staff from CHC’s Healthcare for the Homeless helped schedule appointments and provide transportation.

Tummala said CHC will hold five more Missions of Mercy at different sites around Connecticut this year.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Russell Library Introduces Kids and Teens Overdrive

When you access Overdrive, this is how it appears.

We are excited to introduce dedicated young adults and children’s digital Reading Rooms on our Overdrive downloadable eBook and audiobook service!    

Simply select KIDS or TEENS from the Overdrive menu at the top of the screen or access the Collections menu.   

OverDrive is one of the top-rated eBook apps available for iOS, Android, Chromebook, Mac OS, Windows, and Windows Phone. Over 30,000 Libraries now provide the service for their patrons, and Russell Library is one of them!

By clicking on Kids, you can choose from a variety of new ebooks and audiobooks.

More Trees, Nicer Streets

Tuesday, January 31, 7 p.m.
The deKoven House
27 Washington Street

Learn how you can help make improvements in your own neighborhood by increasing the number of trees, slowing traffic, and making streets more usable for walkers, bicycle riders, and wheelchairs. Progress is already happening around Middletown. The program is co-sponsored by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the Rockfall Foundation.

Presenters will be Jim Sipperly, staff to the City of Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission, and John Hall, co-chair of Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Suzio Draws Large Crowd At Town Hall

Photo by Karen Swartz
Our city's state senator, Len Suzio, staunchly defended his efforts to restrict abortion access in Connecticut, in a packed town hall meeting in Russell Library last night.

The turnout far exceeded the expectations of Russell Library or Senator Suzio and his staff. When it was clear that the Hubbard room would not hold the crowd, Suzio held court in the larger periodicals reading room, with the floor area as well as the walkway above packed with well over 150 city residents.

Suzio spoke briefly about the state's $1.5B deficit for the next fiscal year.  He blamed it on state worker pensions, and called the state finances, "not bad but catastrophic."  He went on to talk proudly of his efforts to prevent any studies about a mileage tax, and his efforts to increase state spending on prisons.

Suzio took questions from the audience for about an hour. Almost all of the questions revolved around Suzio's support of new laws that would restrict access to abortion in Connecticut. Many of them were from young women who wondered why men like Suzio would presume to legislate women's reproductive decisions.

Elise Springer asked Suzio a direct question about the broader issue of government control over women's reproductive choices.
Can you affirm that you generally ... support, people’s autonomy over their own bodies, including what happens in a person’s uterus? That is, apart from constraints here and there, such as your bill about parental notification, do you basically support choice?
He did not answer her question.

The gathering revealed a great divide between Suzio's beliefs and those of nearly everyone else in the room. This was perhaps best encapsulated in the crowd's response to Suzio's justification for mandating parental notification before a minor can have an abortion.
Suzio. I want an adult, who has their best interest at heart, and I don't want someone who is involved in actually performing the procedure, to be that person. I don't think they're necessarily neutral in that situation. You want someone to look and say, 'given this child's situation, here's the best way to handle that.' That to me is actually the most open approach to the whole thing. I'm not dictating that this young child has an abortion or doesn't have an abortion, I want a process to make certain that that child gets the best possible adult input into her situation and if it's not her parents, and probably everybody in this room can agree that in the ideal world it would be the parent, right?
Chorus of residents. NO! NO! NO!  
Suzio (incredulously). In the ideal world??!!?? 
Chorus of voices. NO! NO! NO!  It should be the person.
Suzio (incredulously). Yeah, but a 13 or 14 year old???!!??? 
Chorus of voices. YES! YES! YES! It's not 1950.
Suzio (stunned). Hold on, hold on.  Look, I'm happy to discuss this issue, and let's have a dialogue. But we all know... Look, today in the state capitol there was a hearing in the sentencing commission and they were talking about young men who have been incarcerated committing terrible crimes. And they were focused on very young people, talking about 17, 18, 19, 20 years old. And their argument was that we should treat them differently, that we should treat them as juveniles, ... because their brains haven't been fully formed, they're not capable of making the kind of decisions, a mature decision a fully formed adult would do.
Resident. Are you saying having an abortion is a crime? 
Video of the first part of the town hall is available on Facebook, the above exchange starts at the 10:40 mark.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Join Us for a Free Screening of the Film, Merchants of Doubt, February 6, 2017

The next film in The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series, Merchants of Doubt, will be shown on February 6, 2017 at the Goldsmith Family Cinema in the Center for Film Studies, on the campus of Wesleyan University, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT.  Parking is available in the lot at the cinema (directions).

As described on the film’s website, Merchants of Doubt was inspired by the acclaimed book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. The film provides a satirical exposé into the conjuring of spin in America, and the secretive group of charismatic, pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of manufacturing doubt concerning the facts, and spreading confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals, to pharmaceuticals, to climate change. 

We hope you can join us for this illuminating film!  As always, the film is open to the public and free of charge. There will be time for informal discussion after the film.  If you have questions, please contact our office, 860-346-3282.  

The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series was begun in 2015 by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College Environmental Science Program, The Rockfall Foundation, and Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts and College of the Environment. Merchants of Doubt is the ninth film in the series. Previous films include: Elemental, Watershed, Dirt! The Movie, Chasing Ice, The End of the Line, The True Cost, Dukale's Dream, and Xmas Without China.

The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Middletown, CT, works to conserve the natural resources of towns in the lower Connecticut River watershed and coastal areas.  For more information about District technical and educational programs and services, visit our website at www.conservect.org/ctrivercoastal