Friday, November 30, 2018

Green Holiday Party

​Join The Rockfall Foundation for our Green Holiday Party on December 9th from 1 to 5pm. Delicious seasonal food and beverages will be served--including mulled wine and hot cider. Rockfall Foundation members and their guests are free. Non-members: $20. 
We'll have a silent auction with a fun set of items to bid on--a perfect way to get some of your holiday shopping out of the way!  Auction items include gift certificates and more from Cinder + Salt, ION, MONDO, Essex Steam Train, The Rolling Doughnut, Miss Kelly's Bakery, Spoke + Spy, Off the Hook Phone Repair, Penny Lane Pub, Denali Outdoors, The Cooking Company, and Mohegan Sun.
Location: deKoven House Community Center, 27 Washington St., Middletown, CT
Please RSVP here: http://events.r20.constantcont...

The mission of The Rockfall Foundation (TRF) is to promote and support environmental education and conservation in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.​

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sophocles' Antigone speaks Truth to Power at Oddfellows

                                                     Rehearsal photo by Adam Welsh
The Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents Sophocles’ classic and timely drama Antigone November 29 – December 1 and December 7 & 8 in Middletown.

Directed by ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge, this version of Antigone is based on adaptations by 20th century theater icons Bertolt Brecht and Judith Malina. The journey of teenage Antigone going against her leader’s dictate and burying her brother evokes contemporary colors of questionable decision-making in our leadership, a connection to the strength of women holding men accountable for their actions and for what is right, and there is a strong resonance with the heartbroken and courageous students of Florida’s Parkland High School who have been standing up and speaking Truth to Power.

“The largest voice in Antigone”, says director Trowbridge, “is that of the many-faced Chorus. The Greek chorus represents both the witness and the psyche, the people in a community- and the differentiated parts within our Selves. When faced with injustice, do we speak up? Do we remain silent? What choices do we make, and what matters?”

The Teen Repertory Company is Oddfellows’ senior performing company, comprised of young people ages 14 – 20 who work with professional directors and designers to present challenging and provocative theater to the community. Antigone features scenic design by Tony Palmieri, lighting design by Nora Matthews, costume design by Christian Milik, properties design by Pam Lang and sound and music design performed live by Jordan Dykstra.

All performances are at 7:30 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown. Thursday, November 29 is a “Pay-What-You-Can” Preview. Friday and Saturday evening performances on November 30, December 1, 7 & 8 are $15 for adults and $8 for students. Reservations are recommended.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to or call (860) 347-6143. 

This Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company production is supported by the Connecticut Office of the Arts; Middletown Commission on the Arts; Middletown Youth Services Bureau; The Stare Fund; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch; Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation; Liberty Bank Foundation; Community Development Block Grant Program; and many generous individual donors. 

Oddfellows Playhouse is a non-profit youth theater, founded in 1975, which promotes the growth of young people – in skills, knowledge and self-confidence – through the performing arts. Oddfellows was named “Best Children’s Theater” by Connecticut Magazine 2015 – 2017.

First Church Holly Fair
Saturday, Dec. 1st 

9:30am – 3pm

190 Court Street in Middletown

This year's Holly fair features nicely priced holiday wreaths & centerpieces, made with fresh, local greens, and a sit-down gourmet luncheon, with home-made breads, soups, and pies.

You'll also see finely crafted gifts, gently-used jewelry, original art prints and select holiday children’s books; baked goods and gourmet soups to take home. And Santa will visit 11-1pm!

First Church is open & affirming,
Accessible to all. Come with family, friends, partners, and children. 190 Court Street in Middletown, 9:30am-2:30pm.

Metered parking is Saturdays during December in city parking lots; there's also, covered parking across the street at MiddleOak garage. For more information, call the church office at (860) 346-6657. Or find us at

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

City Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing From Brother and Law Firm

From the office of the United States Attorney, District of Connecticut

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Stephen T. Gionfriddo, 68, of Middletown, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to fraud charges stemming from a scheme in which he embezzled more than $500,000 from his former employer, and then stole nearly $400,000 from his brother to pay back his employer.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Gionfriddo was hired by a Rocky Hill law firm as a paralegal in approximately August 2013.  Beginning in approximately December 2013, Gionfriddo caused the firm’s bookkeeper to prepare checks payable to various of Gionfriddo’s creditors by misrepresenting that the funds were needed to pay client expenses.  Gionfriddo also intercepted numerous checks payable to the law firm or to the firm’s clients, endorsed the checks over to himself, and then deposited the checks into his personal bank account for his own use.

In July 2017, Gionfriddo forged the signature of one of the firm’s partners on a Notice of Certificate Maturity in order to cancel a certificate of deposit (CD) in the name of one of the firm’s clients, and then mailed the form.  When the $112,748.21 distribution check representing the proceeds of the client’s CD was mailed to the firm, Gionfriddo intercepted it, forged the signature of the payee, and converted it to his own use.

Through this scheme, Gionfriddo stole $543,372.21 from the law firm and its clients.

In late September 2017, the principals at the law firm confronted Gionfriddo about the theft of funds, and Gionfriddo promised to repay the firm.  On October 3, 2017, Gionfriddo called the Thrift Savings Plan (“TSP”), a defined contribution plan for federal employees, and impersonated his brother, who had worked for the federal government and maintains a TSP account.  During the call, Gionfriddo obtained information about how to effect a hardship withdrawal of money from the account and have it sent to a bank account he controlled.  Gionfriddo also was advised on that call that TSP would issue a Form 1099 in January as a result of the hardship withdrawal.

On October 4, 2017, Gionfriddo faxed a form requesting a withdrawal of $195,000 from his brother’s TSP account for “medical expenses.”  Gionfriddo directed the TSP to deposit the funds into a bank account that he controlled.

In an effort to conceal this scheme from his brother, Gionfriddo contacted the U.S. Postal Service and had his brother’s mail held for the entire month of January.

Gionfriddo also stole from his brother’s bank and investment accounts in the total amount of $201,518.

Gionfriddo was arrested on a criminal complaint on June 12, 2018.

Gionfriddo pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.  Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for February 12, 2019, at which time Gionfriddo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count.

Gionfriddo was convicted of federal wire fraud and mail fraud offenses in 2006 for embezzling more than $633,000 from clients while acting as their attorney.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Middletown's All-Weather Ice Skating Rink Opens Saturday!


at Harbor Park
November 24!

Rink will be open every Saturday and Sunday, and also on Friday, December 28
Rink Hours 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
One Saturday a month the rink will  open from 5:00pm - 8:00pm with a fun theme.
These Saturdays are
Saturday November 24
Saturday December 29
Saturday January 26
Saturday February 23
Saturday March 30

Rink will close sometime in the spring.

Middletown Residents:
  Adults                 $5.00
  Kids                    $3.00
Non Residents:
Adults                            $8.00
Kids                               $3.00
Season Pass:
Resident Family Pass          $25.00
Resident Individual Pass     $15.00
ICE SKATE RENTALS    $4.00 a pair
For non season pass holders

Courtesy of Middletown Recreation Services
61 Durant Terrace
Web Address:
Our on-line registration:
Middletown Recreation Services

Mayor to Teach Spring Semester Undergrad Course at Wesleyan

For the second time, Middletown mayor Dan Drew will be teaching a course at Wesleyan University. This Spring, Drew will teach "Group Psychology in Politics: Local, State and National Perspectives."  The half-credit course is open to undergrads and will meet for three hours every Friday from 1:20-4:10 PM, from January 24th through March 8th.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Cat Tales ~ Cats of the Week

Cat Tales ~ Cats of the Week

Name:Tucker & Mouse
Breed:Domestic Short Hairs
Color:Black & White / Orange Tabby
Age:8 months old

Hi, We are Tucker and Mouse. We are brothers who are very bonded and must be adopted together. We're extremely sweet, outgoing, affectionate boys. We like to be held when we are in the mood and we love to play! We'll be ready for adoption at the end of November, once we've been fully vetted. But don't wait! You can adopt us now and take us home in December!  

All NEW adoptions* come with the 30 day gift of medical insurance provided by Trupanion® - Medical Insurance for your Pet. *some exclusions apply.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Classical Music at Russell Library on Saturday, November 17 at 1:30pm

Jia-Yi He
Classical harmonica player Jia-Yi He will be accompanied by a string quartet as he plays a wide selection of masterworks this Saturday at Russell Library beginning at 1:30pm.

Born in Beijing, China, Jia-Yi He began playing harmonica when he was ten years old. Though he learned to play other instruments, harmonicas are what he has chosen to play professionally. He has performed all over the world, both as a solo act and with orchestras, and his harmonica music has accompanied a number of movies. He has played at the United Nations and for a New York Mets' game at Shea Stadium. 

This concert is part of the Immigrant Artist series sponsored by the Friends of the Russell Library and the Middletown Commission on the Arts. 
The performers for the concert are:
Jiayi He, harmonica
Brian Roach, violin 1
Shannon Prouty, violin 2
Dylan Lomangino, viola
Matthew Rescsanszky, cello

The program includes such pieces as: 

Arioso                                J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750)
Clarinet Polka                     Karol Namyslowski (1856 – 1925)
Oh! Susanna                      Stephen Foster (1826 – 1864)
Flight of the Bumblebee      Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 – 1908)
Spring of Xinjiang (1956)    Yao Zhong (Two 20th century Chinese composers)
Fairy Couple (1954)            Huangmei Opera
Juke                                  Walter Jacobs (1930 – 1968)
Liebesfreud (Love’s Joy)      Fritz Kreisler (1875 – 1962)
Blue Danube Waltz              Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899)
Comedians’ Galop               Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904 – 1987)
Spanish Gypsy Dance          Pascual Marquina Narro (1873 – 1948)
Amazing Grace                   John Newton (1725 – 1807)
Turkish March                     Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)


The Vintage Players Ensemble Company performs an evening of one-act comedy pieces, You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running by well-known playwright Robert Anderson and Israeli Security by Vintage Players alumna, Terri Klein.

Robert Anderson’s three short plays, directed by Carolyn Kirsch, introduce a variety of charming characters who, as befuddled as they may be, attempt to negotiate the human condition. The result is a mirror held up to our own behaviors, both recognizable and filled with humor.

Terri Klein’s one-act play, Israeli Security, directed by Jenny Lecce, presents the hilarious and heartwarming difficulties a Connecticut couple encounters at the El Al ticket counter.

The talented cast includes: Patricia Farrell, John Hall, Susan Hall, Nat Holmes, Debra Hunt, Billy Johnstone, Naomi Kamins, Richard
Kamins, Linda Kaskel, Terri Klein, Jenny Lecce, Gerry Matthews, and Jane McMillan. Lighting is by Tate Burmeister.

A musical interlude will feature Aidan and Dermot McMillan. Vintage Players alumnus Bob Alexander returns to sing several original songs with his daughter, Jennifer Alexander.

Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Performances on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 are at 7 pm.

All proceeds from these performances benefit the children’s programs at Oddfellows Playhouse. For over 40 years Oddfellows Playhouse has provided young people in the greater Middletown area with innovative theater programs that build their self-confidence and help them gain skills that facilitate success in other parts of their lives.

Tickets are $25 and may be obtained on the Oddfellows Playhouse website.  Reservations are strongly recommended. A reception follows each performance.  

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Holiday Book Sale by The Friends of the Russell Library November 16-18

A photo of last year's Holiday Book Sale by the Friends of the Russell Library. 
From Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18, The Friends of the Russell Library will be selling books in the Activity Room of the library. The sale is open when the library is open, 9:00am - 6:00pm Friday, 9:00am - 2:00pm Saturday, and 1:00pm - 5:00pm Sunday.

The Holiday Book Sale is unique among book sales, since it includes puzzles, card games, DVDs, CDs and other materials. People looking for those "stocking stuffers" or something for the hard-to-buy-for person may find a great bargain.

In addition to new titles,  the sale offers a range of collectible and antiquarian books. For example, a set of books by Mary C. Crawford, including the The Romance of Old New England Roof Trees are on sale for a fraction of what they would cost online.

For the bibliophile interested in Connecticut history, there's a first edition of Ella: A Biography of Governor Ella Grasso by Susan Bysiewicz. Other history buffs may enjoy the History of the Democratic Party from Jefferson to Cleveland by Chandos Fulton, offered on Amazon for $75, but available at the book sale for much, much less.

The prices for the newer books are $3, DVDs are $2, Music CDs are $1, and Children's Books are 75 cents!

One of the collectibles on sale at the Holiday Book Sale!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Middletown Protestors Join Others In Nation to Protect Mueller Investigation

Communities across the country called on activists to take to the streets in a call to protect the Mueller investigation after the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by the president. The protest, marching under the theme of "Nobody Is Above the Law" began at Middletown's City Hall and marched, escorted by MPD, to the South Green.  Between 70-100 marchers participated.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Today through Saturday: Royal Yogyakarta Court Residency at Wesleyan University

Don’t miss these exciting free events during the Royal Yogyakarta Court Residency at Wesleyan University:

Javanese Dance Lecture Demonstration
Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 11:50am
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall

Lecture and demonstration by former Wesleyan visiting artist Dr. Suharti, with participation of the visiting court dancers.

Symposium: Enacting Ethnicity and Nationalism in Indonesian Performing Arts
Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 9am
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall

Featuring keynote by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X; Professor of Theater Ron Jenkins, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Sumarsam, Anderson Sutton '71, and others.

Wayang Golek Puppet Play
Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:30pm
World Music Hall
FREE! Tickets required.

Yogyakarta Court Puppeteer Ki Gondo Suharno and the Court of Yogyakarta gamelan group perform in collaboration with the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble, featuring three-dimensional puppets made of wood and cloth.

Visit the Center for the Arts website for more information.
First Church Middletown
Holly Fair
Saturday, Dec. 1st 

9:30am – 2:30pm

190 Court Street in Middletown

FIRST CHURCH Holly Fair features: reasonably priced holiday wreathes and centerpieces, made by hands, with fresh, local greens. Also, crafty gifts made by specially selected holiday vendors, gently-used jewelry, original art prints, children’s holiday pop-up books; as well as baked goods, cookies-by-the-pound, and gourmet soups to take home.

You can also enjoy a sit-down gourmet lunch of homemade soups, breads, and pies. A classic Christmas video will be shown, and Santa Claus! will visit from 10:30am to 1:30pm. 

The fair runs from 9:30am to 2:30pm. Admission is free and open to all. First Church is open & affirming. Come with family, friends, partners, and children.

First Church is handicapped accessible; free metered parking is available, on Saturdays, i
n city parking lots during the month of December. For more information, call the church office at (860) 346-6657. Or find us at

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cat Tales ~ TWO Events on November 17th!! Ladybug Boutique Shopping Spree & Book Signing at AGWAY of Middlefield

Cat Tales ~ Announcing 2 Events on Saturday, November 17th!

Join Cat Tales at Ladybug Boutique on Saturday, Nov 17th from 10am to 4pm at 122 College Street, Middletown for the "Annual Shop As You Drop Shopping Spree"!  Support a local small business owner and Cat Tales at the same time. Up to 20% of the total sales for the day will be donated to Cat Tales! Complimentary snacks and wine are available. Visit Ladybug Boutique on Facebook at\

“Tales for Tails” Book Signing, Product Launch, & Adoption Event with Chicken Soup for the Soul author Jeanne Blandford on Saturday, November 17th from 11am to 3pm at AGWAY of Middlefield. Author, Jeanne Blandford will be holding a Book Signing and Product Launch Event and ALL PROCEEDS from book sales will be donated to Cat Tales Non Profit Rescue of Middletown, CT. Cat Tales will also be holding an adoption event and collecting shelter supplies. For more information on the event and to RSVP for the book signing, visit: