Thursday, October 31, 2019

New Website Makes It Easy To Purchase Local Farm Food
Healthy PlanEat is a new website where farmers can sell food to local buyers. Using the website, people can pre-order food from local farms to pick up at the farm, farmers market, or pop-up pick-up locations.

There will be a pilot pop-up food pick-up location at Kidcity for the next several weeks. Food can be purchased from Star Light Gardens, a USDA certified organic farm located in Durham, using the Healthy PlanEat website.

Order Sunday through Saturday by 9 pm to pick up on Monday from 3-6 pm at Kidcity (119 Washington Street). Visit to place an order.

Opinion: Seb Giuliano Supports LGBTQ Discrimination

Submitted by Adam Cohen, a Middletown resident and supporter of the Ben Florsheim campaign.
It was a pleasure to attend the student-led Middletown Mayoral Forum
on Tuesday night at Keigwin Middle School. I am thankful for the opportunity to hear the candidates discuss their plans for our town and I am heartened to see young adults produce such a professional and substantive debate.

Toward the end of the forum, the candidates were asked about discrimination, bullying, and growing rates of suicide among our youth. Republican candidate Seb Giuliano teared up in his response, stating that no one should be made to feel excluded or ostracized for their race, creed, socio-economic status, gender, or sexual orientation.

I was surprised this comment came from Mr. Giuliano and I had planned to respond during the audience question and answer portion of the forum, but there were too many questions and not enough time for the candidates to answer all of them.

Last June and nearly a year prior to announcing his candidacy for mayor, Mr. Giuliano in a public Facebook post commented that businesses should be allowed to deny service to the LGBTQ community on the basis of being LGBTQ. He cited cases in which florists and bakers denied service to gay couples for their weddings.

I would like to share a few data points with Mr. Giuliano—
  • A 2016 study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that in the US, 74% of LGBTQ youth report being verbally bullied based on their sexual orientation and 36% reported being victims of physical assault. This is compared to the national average of approximately 21% and 5% respectively (source).
  • Another study in 2016 by the Center for Disease Control found that queer youth are three times as likely to contemplate suicide than heterosexual youth and five times as likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth (source).
  • The National Center for Transgender Equality found that 40% of transgender adults report having made at least one suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having done so prior to age 25 (source).
  • Queer youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to commit suicide compared to queer youth who reported no or low levels of family and community rejection (Pediatrics 123(1), 346-52, 2009).
  • Each instance of LGBTQ victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average (American Journal of Public Health 100(12), 2426-32, 2010)
The effects of LGBTQ discrimination do not stop after high school. In the absence of federal protections, a person can be fired for being LGBTQ in 17 states and evicted in 32. This leaves LGBTQ people open to anti-gay harassment, retaliation, and other forms of abuse.

When it comes down to it, these blind spots in legal protections are not an accident. They exist because yesterday’s bullies grow up to be today’s policymakers. It is disappointing to see Mr. Giuliano feign empathy for the victims of the same damaging policies for which he advocates.

Democratic candidate Ben Florsheim and independent candidate Valeka Clarke have been outspoken regarding their support of the LGBTQ community and their plans to include queer representation in their visions of the future of Middletown. I strongly urge Mr. Giuliano to find a reason why LGBTQ community members or their loved ones should trust him to represent their best interests.

Opinion: Why should I vote yes for an open-space bond?

Submitted by Elisabeth Holder.
Communities with open space are more desirable places to live, have enhanced property values, and reduced municipal expenses.

Open spaces in a city can be put to many uses -- exercise and recreation, encouraging local farming, protecting fragile habitats, preserving water supplies and wetlands for flood control. Middletown has managed to save over 1,000 acres with previous purchases of open-space and development rights, but there are many more lands still at risk.

Our city is truly unique in having both a vibrant downtown, wild forested areas and incredibly rich farmland. From Veteran's Park along the Coginchaug River to the Guida Farm in the South, from Mount Highboy in the Northwest to Maromas in the southeast, Middletown has parks and trails that are used by people who come from out of town, as well those who live locally.  For the last 12 years, we haven't had access to the state matching funds that will enable us to preserve additional areas, which will benefit the city's residents and businesses for decades to come.

A study done for the State of Connecticut found that property values increase in value by 20% or more when they are near a passive-use park. Our city parks are used for hiking, biking, trail riding, cross country skiing, Cub Scout outings, swimming, fishing, and just hanging out. Middletown has more miles of blue-blazed trails than any other town in Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. We have a farm with a local CSA located on city-owned land, which sells fresh greens to citizens almost all year long. As the demand for locally-produced crops increases, our city could provide more land for this purpose.

Open-space purchases can reduce municipal costs, while development increases costs. City Planner Bill Warner emphasized that for every $1.00 of tax revenue from residential development, municipalities typically spend $1.30 on services. International studies have show that cities can save an average of 38% on infrastructure – on roads, sewer, and water lines -- and an average of 10% on operational costs – for trash pickup, snow removal, police, ambulance and fire services -- using open-space purchases and smart growth policies.

The costs of suburban sprawl are becoming ever more evident; saving open space is one of many tools that city planners can use to encourage more efficient and more sensible development. Please vote yes on the Open-Space Bond question on November 5th.

Opinion: Florsheim Brings Experience And Skills

Submitted by Lisa Loomis.
I support Ben Florsheim because he shares my values and concerns about climate change, education, and equity. Since President Trump is not a leader on climate change, it is even more essential we elect local leaders who are. Ben is that leader. On education, Ben will support a charter revision to allow the superintendent to hire non-certified staff including custodians, nurses, cafeteria workers, and secretaries. Currently, the mayor fills those positions, and mayors have rewarded their friends with jobs rather than the best people. I know as an educator and a BOE member all the adults in a school play a role in making that school successful, and for district leaders to make our schools more successful, they need to be able to hire the people they believe are the best for the job. Finally, Ben’s commitment to equity is evident in many of his policy proposals, from his commitment to expanding affordable housing to developing the riverfront by prioritizing citizen recreational access. The riverfront should not be a something a lucky few can profit from but a place everyone can enjoy. Past mayors have talked about developing the riverfront; I believe Ben is the mayor who will get it done.

Why do I believe that? Because of Ben’s experience and skill-set. Ben’s experience in Senator Murphy’s office has been primarily about 2 things: listening and building coalitions. That’s what we need our next mayor to do to move Middletown forward. The reason route 9 has not been addressed adequately is because leaders haven’t listened to citizens. Instead, they develop a plan in isolation and then present it to the citizens who point out all the problems with it. To get this done right, we need a fundamentally new approach, which is to bring citizens and experts together to talk about the various challenges and identify a solution that works for everyone. That is the approach Ben will bring to this issue and many others.

The other piece of Ben’s experience in Senator Murphy’s office that is extremely valuable is the fact that he has traveled and worked with municipal leaders all over the state. Because of this, he brings a fresh perspective to Middletown. He’s seen what’s been done in other municipalities that would help Middletown if brought here, such as utilizing the See Click Fix app. Also, 2 big issues facing Middletown are route 9 and riverfront development, which both connect us to other municipalities. Ben’s regional experience is an asset in addressing these. His regional experience will also help him identify where and how Middletown can work with surrounding municipalities by sharing services, for example, to lower taxes.

Lastly, I want to mention Ben’s commitment to accessibility and transparency of government. He’s given out his cell phone number and has refused to accept donations from city contractors. I want a mayor who will open city hall to all, not just the well-connected.

Please join me in supporting Ben Florsheim for Middletown’s future.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Opinion: Florsheim Has Leadership Style To Lead City Into Future

Submitted by Gene Nocera, Councilman.
On September 10, the voters of Middletown witnessed a stunning grassroots victory of the Florsheim Campaign, as he came in first place out of four Democratic candidates for mayor.

I am proud to support Ben Florsheim for mayor and I want to tell you why. Ben and his energetic, experienced Row A Team are the embodiment of the change that our great city needs at this time.

Ben is committed to our city and to ensuring our future is bright. That’s evident in the issues he has placed front and center in his campaign, starting with education. After a career as a teacher and a principal, I know firsthand how important city leadership is to our schools. We need a mayor who will work with our superintendent and Board of Education, not fight with them at students’ expense.

Ben will focus on improving our infrastructure, fixing our roads the right way and making Middletown friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists. I serve on the Public Works Commission, and Ben understands how important complete streets are for our economy, our downtown, and the riverfront. He will plan thoughtfully, work tirelessly, and communicate with the public.

His commitments are not just words or wishes, but a “call to action” for all of us to join together for our common good.

It’s easy to think that concepts like leadership never really change much from generation to generation, but it couldn’t be further from the truth-- as experts in the field of leadership remind us over and over again.

Leadership styles reflect cultural norms, and a lot has changed in the last 30 years. Leadership style drives change and growth and Ben Florsheim is the candidate to lead Middletown into our future.

Please join me in supporting Ben Florsheim for Mayor on November 5, 2019.

Letter to the Editor: Vote for Florsheim, Vote for Vision and Hope

Dear Editor,
The current election in Middletown offers us a great opportunity to continue and expand our town’s evolution as a diverse, progressive, family-friendly community in the heart of Connecticut. Ben Florsheim is a young man with energy, vision, excellent listening skills, compassion, and good instincts. I can imagine him, in partnership with a strong Democratic majority on the Common Council, guiding us together into an era of strong schools, a vibrant waterfront, progressive environmental policies, community resilience, a rich business environment, exciting arts, and a community that embraces and values all of its members.
That is the Middletown that I have loved for the past 40 plus years. This is the community that I have worked to make stronger, to bring together, to nurture – a community that has a regional reputation as a great place to live for people of all ages and backgrounds.
I want to keep it that way, and that’s why I’m voting for Ben and the democratic team.
I know Seb Giuliano and I like him. He is an educated man and a lover of arts and literature. We have that in common. We differ, however, on just about everything else – I think that Climate Change is a real thing that we owe it to our children to be actively preparing for. I think our schools, starting with pre-school, need to be supported if we want to continue to be a great community. I think that the most under-resourced members of our community deserve a helping hand from those of us who are more fortunate. I recognize the value that immigrants and refugees bring to our community and our country.
It takes a community to build a community. The negative tone that Seb and his proxies have injected into the campaign is really disturbing. The unsubstantiated innuendos, the fake stories dropped by campaign staff and consultants, the fuzzy inferences put out to fester doubt about his opponent and his team – it feels more like the strategy used by the Trump Administration than the way that we are used to being with each other here in Middletown. Seb may have done this job before, as he likes to say, but he was also voted out of office before – the mean spirit of his campaign should probably remind us why we chose not to re-elect him last time.
Let’s vote for Vision and Hope, for an energized and exciting future for Middletown, a future where we all work together in a positive way to make our town, and our world, a better place. Please join me in voting for Ben Florsheim on November 5.
Dic Wheeler

Giuliano Campaign Associate Distributes Counterfeit Facebook Post Aimed at Slurring Council Candidate Bobbye Knoll Peterson

Bill Perkins, who has identified himself as a District Captain for Republican Seb Giuliano's mayoral campaign, has repeatedly distributed a counterfeit Facebook post which attributes an untrue quote to Common Council candidate Bobbye Knoll Peterson that she didn't write.

Counterfeit Facebook post.
Perkins posted the fake Facebook post on the Facebook page of the Middletown Eye, and in other places, including his own home page.  The post doesn't use the same font or kerning as any standard Facebook post.  Knoll has expressed a strong denial that she was responsible for the post.

Perkins earlier posted falsely that Diana Martinez, Ben Florsheim's campaign treasurer, was a "meanace (sic) and a criminal."  Perkins has spent the past several weeks posting false, defamatory and insulting posts and memes about Florsheim, and members of the Democratic slate.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Last Mayoral Forum, Tonight, Tuesday October 29 7PM, Keigwin

Live video feed here, beginning at 7PM.

Opinion: A Look At Giuliano's Leadership By Those Who Know

Hope Kasper, in a letter to the Editor
published during the last Giuliano administration
Sebastian Giuliano has a record as mayor that is perhaps best evaluated by those who served in government with him, and who are now closest to him. Hope Kasper, Gerry Daley, and Phil Pessina are current or former members of the Common Council, they served while Giuliano was mayor. Kasper is a Democrat turned Republican, Daley is a life-long Democrat, and Pessina is a long-term Republican.  Each of them has been very open about Giuliano's performance as mayor.

After experiencing 6 years of Giuliano as mayor, Kasper wrote a number of letters to the editor in which she expressed deep misgivings not just about his decisions, but about his values.

In 2010, as the city was just beginning to think about the following year’s election, Kasper decried an effort by city workers to encourage residents to switch their voting registration to Republican, “Mayor Giuliano, why are you condoning such brazen abuses of city resources?”

The following summer, with the 2011 election season well under way, Kasper questioned Giuliano’s nepotism, …”he’s hired his own daughter and one of his sons to work for the City of Middletown in the Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments … hiring your own children is questionable …”.

Kasper excoriated Giuliano for abuse of his office, “Hiring his own children to work for the city at taxpayer expense is only one of Giuliano’s questionable personnel moves as mayor.”

Kasper went on, “Patronage is the gasoline that makes this [Giuliano] administration go. … It’s a question of control, power, and ultimately, money. It’s about who gets to hand out jobs and favors to friends.”

Phil Pessina, in a letter to the Editor about Giuliano
Kasper also questioned Giuliano’s role in spending city money to purchase a building from his own church, while services to seniors were cut, “… in each year I’ve been on the Council, Mayor Giuliano has cut and eliminated funding for programs at the existing senior center even while raising taxes. What is the purpose of renovating this property at high cost after cutting the programs designated to attract clientele?”

Gerry Daley is a Council member who has served under multiple mayors, he knows Giuliano well. While Giuliano was mayor, Daley expressed concerns about his role in giving away city property to a well connected friend. In his capacity as Chair of the Economic Development Commission, Daley wrote to Giuliano, “Questions were raised concerning your apparent action in giving City property (i.e. a brownstone wall) to an individual … your action may actually violate … City ordinances or State laws since the brownstone that you gave away had value.”

Daley has objected strenuously to Giuliano’s unwillingness to work collaboratively with other elected officials. During deliberations over the budget, which is the responsibility of the Council, Daley said that Giuliano was withholding information and blocking the Council from exercising its responsibility, "I don't know how we as a Council can work with a budget where that information is not readily available,"

Daley said that Giuliano was an autocrat in his dealings with the Council. "This is not a dictatorship," Daley said of one of Giuliano's rulings as chairman of the meeting. "This is a democracy."

During one of Giuliano’s many legal and personal disputes with the Board of Education, Daley
Gerry Daley and Hope Kasper, in a letter to the DTC
voiced fury over Giuliano's actions. "I feel it was a reckless action by the Mayor and Police Chief to station police at the Board of Ed building."

Phil Pessina has also served on the Council while Giuliano was mayor, and with him on the Council. Pessina echoed Daley’s concerns, writing in 2013, “Seb’s interest for Middletown is his own best interest, filled with Mediocrity and personal politics; NOT putting “Middletown First” but attacks a Senior Councilperson, Joe Bibisi.”

Pessina elaborated, “Our party is being led by Seb Guiliano, Ken McClellan, Bill Wilson in the wrong direction, … apparently they do Not want to put “Middletown First”!”

Kasper and Daley whole-heartedly agreed about Giuliano, writing, “If the Mayor wins a fourth term, he will surely have the opportunity to rule – and ruin – our City that will be unprecedented.”
The above quotes are the words of those who know, they are almost entirely from letters to the editor, or government documents written by Daley, Kasper, or Pessina. Read more in the sources below.
The author agrees with the opinions expressed by Kasper, Daley, and Pessina above. He is supporting Ben Florsheim.

Opinion: Lets keep Middletown Moving Forward

Brandon Chafee, a lifelong resident of Middletown, civil engineer, and treasurer of the Middletown DTC. 
Being born and raised in Middletown has given me the opportunity to watch the town grow as I have. Middletown has changed substantially for the better during my lifetime. Main St, once a place people avoided, has become a thriving destination. The river front is on the verge of generational change with the prospects of clean up and development. Our public school system is on the rise and people in surrounding towns see Middletown as a desirable place to move. Things are looking good for our town, and Ben Florsheim is the best choice for mayor to continue with this progress.

Ben wants to preserve the natural beauty of Middletown’s riverfront while making it accessible to all residents.  His vision for a combination of parks, recreational facilities, and light development would mean that all people could access and enjoy the riverfront. This will add to the growing list of reasons to visit and move to town. Giuliano’s plan seems to be some sort of privatization scheme that will push for large commercial developments on a seasonal flood plain.

Ben wants to foster Middletown’s public school system, building on the progress that has been made in recent years.  Ben understands a strong school system leads to a strong community, increasing property values, and makes Middletown a desirable location for those with kids or dreams of starting families.  Contrary to that, Giuliano recently pushed for an amendment to the city’s latest budget that would have flat lined education funding jeopardizing the progress we’ve been making.

Ben wants to analyze town functions and determine where we can save money and help reduce redundant charges to tax payers. He is the only candidate positioned to come in with a fresh set of eyes and be able to improve processes and create efficiencies for tax payers.  Ben has no family connections or network of friends at City Hall, freeing him from conflict of interest on that front.  Giuliano on the other hand has openly bragged that he’s “related to half of city hall”. Giuliano had six years as mayor to improve processes at city hall, so what exactly did he accomplish in that time?

Ben has run an honest campaign based on vision and policy.  I have yet to hear Giuliano or his surrogates articulate what his vision for our city is except empty platitudes like “growing the grand list”.  Despite all the talk of his former experience as mayor, I haven’t heard them speak of any tangible accomplishments he had during that time.  Not a single one.  Despite all the accusations that Ben will raise taxes, Seb has a proven record of raising taxes over $11 million while he was mayor. 

Giuliano’s camapign seems to spend more time talking about Ben and spreading outright lies than talking about what Seb has accomplished or what he wants to do. Over the last month our town has witnessed a level of vitriol and toxicity that is unbecoming of our community’s character. We don’t need these divisive politics and Trump like tactics in our town. We are better than this Middletown. 

For these reasons I am supporting Ben Florsheim for mayor, the ROW A Slate for common council, treasurer, board of education, planning and zoning, and board of assessments and appeals on November 5th.  I hope you join me in casting a vote to move our town forward and continue with the great progress we have made!

Local Republicans Again Aim Attacks at the Wrong Person

COMMENTARY: Bobbye Knoll Peterson is a Democratic candidate for Common Council.  She also manages the Ben Florsheim for Mayor campaign.  Political slurs have been aimed at a family member.  Here's her response directed at Republican mayoral candidate Seb Giuliano.

Yesterday on Joey Fresh’s podcast questions were raised about my bonus kid. This was shocking and unfair for several reasons. 
Let me be very clear, I don’t blame Joey Fresh for the misinformation and you shouldn’t either. 
Let me also share what has been the messaging of Ben Florsheim’s campaign, our time is best spent contacting voters with our message for Middletown, not engaging with everything else that is out there.
Gabriella Forrest is an incredible woman, an incredible friend, and an incredible gift to this family. As with the rest of my family (and the family of candidates on either side of the aisle)she should be off limits.
Given the last six months my family has endured, there was a question of if I should run for office this cycle. I knew they’d be exposed to ugliness. However, I also knew then and I know now, that they are strong.
Here is the open letter I sent to Seb and key members of his ticket yesterday regarding the attacks on Gabby. It is worth noting that the comment referred to in the podcast was a comment that was sent in a private response to a text message sent from Seb’s campaign and not a public comment.

I’ve intentionally avoided contacting you because thus far the lies and mud that have been slung have been slung at Ben, Ed, or I - and we chose this. We knew that campaigns get nasty and we’ve seen the culture of the Republican Party shift over the years.
Where I’d have trouble remaining silent is when for the third time your campaign misidentifies a women and drags her personal life into social media because of sloppy research and a real willingness to disregard the truth. Where I absolutely refuse to remain silent is when you bring my family into it.
Today Ben Florsheim appeared on a podcast with local business owner Joey Fresh. When Republican’s started posting to “tune in” my "spidey" sense knew that there was something amiss. However, Ben is a man of his word and committed to having an honest conversation regardless of my concerns about intention. He genuinely wants the truth to be at the forefront and welcomes all chances to talk to voters.
During the course of the conversation there were several questions asked and implications made about Gabby Forrest. It appears that Mr. Fresh had information from a response to the texts you’ve been sending out to registered Democrats and some other information that would be accessed by a campaign but was confused with another Gabriela (confusing women seems to be a theme of your campaign).
Let me clear a few things up for you.
Gabby has been mine since she was 17. She is as much one of my children as the three who are naturally mine.
Gabby is living back at home because after the loss of her brother and best friend my oldest son Evan, she needed her family. She needed to be close to her younger brothers. Gabby is living at home right now because after the loss of her mother before her 11th birthday the loss of a best friend and sibling made her want to be with family.
Having Gabby home with our family as we try and put the pieces back together has been the best for all of us.
You knew who my Gabby was. We’ve been Facebook friends for years and she’s in all the family pictures and posts and after all at one point I had enough respect for you to invite you to my birthday party - one that Gabby helped plan, but mostly you knew who she was because when you came to my son Evan’s wake in May you offered her your condolences.
You also remembered that Ben had a partner named Gabriela De Golia while at Wesleyan. She was also very engaged in local politics and is on the Democratic list you keep sending emails to.
But, As evidenced with the post about Diana, apparently women sharing a name is enough to attempt to sow seeds of doubt.
Let me be clear, I do not blame Joey Fresh. 
I am confident that he believed that information received from someone who was running for mayor would be vetted. This simply was not. It seems foreign to most of us that someone who purportedly wants to serve this city is so willing to mislead its voters.
Much like the rumor that Ben lives in New Haven, or any of the other spaghetti theory mistruths you’ve had forwarded by surrogates this was something that you hoped folks would just take at face value. Another way to sow seeds of doubt instead of talking issues.
Living in a community together we know each other’s families. We see each other at the Diner, I know your grandson Leo likes cars. 
I know your family, you can count on the fact that they are off limits. I need you to know that my family is also off limits. 
It was unfair to get this message from a young woman who has dealt with so much and I won’t tolerate it.
“I was rattled earlier, for SURE. I felt blindsided, I cried in my car, and I shook a little bit. Then I remembered that nothing they could say or do can scare me because I’ve seen the absolute worst thing can happen, and somehow I am still standing.”
If the Republican ticket really is for all of the residents of Middletown they’ll disavow the attacks on Diana Martinez, the questions about Gabby Forrest and the other misinformation intentionally spread to voters.
“Bobbye Knoll Peterson”

Middletown Earns Highest Honor in Sustainable Connecticut Program

The City of Middletown is among the Connecticut municipalities to be recognized on October 30th at the New Britain Museum of American Art for achieving certification as a Sustainable CT community.  The City met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious Silver certification. 

Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient, and inclusive, announced its 2019 certified communities this week. 

“On behalf of the City of Middletown, we are delighted to participate in the Sustainable CT program and receive its highest honor, a Silver Certification. More than that, Middletown’s team is recognized for driving genuine and innovative sustainable practices that will serve the City for a long time”, said Mayor Daniel T. Drew.

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, Middletown demonstrated significant achievements in actions in nine sustainable impact areas ranging from inclusive community building, thriving local economies, and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing.  Middletown successfully completed actions included recognition of strong Complete Streets progress, energy planning, arts and culture, implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency, .

“The Sustainable CT program has helped us take stock of our strengths and opportunities while driving positive sustainable actions, including a focus on equity and its importance for creating a sustainable future”, said Michael Harris, the City’s Energy Coordinator.

Certification lasts 3 years, with the state’s first cohort of municipalities certified in 2018.  Collectively, forty-seven municipalities, over 27% of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification.  Certified communities span every county and include some of Connecticut’s largest cities and smallest towns.

“Congratulations to our 2019 certified Sustainable CT communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, which administers the program.  “We are inspired by your leadership and eager to share your accomplishments in building efficient, thriving, and resilient communities.”

A program that empowers municipalities to create high collective impact for current and future residents, Sustainable CT is managed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Sustainable CT is philanthropically funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund.

The City of Middletown and other certified communities will also be recognized on December 3 at the Annual Convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

For more information, visit

Sing at this year's Candlelight Christmas Concert

to Sing

First Church
Candlelight Christmas Concert

We love having people sing with us
for the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert and invite you to sing with one of our choirs. This year's concert is on Sunday, December 15, at 4 pm.

Celebration Singers' (contemporary & gospel songs) rehearsals are on Mondays--November 4, 11, 18, and December 2 and 9, 6:15-7 pm. The Senior Choir (traditional & classical selections) practices on Wednesdays--November 6, 13, 20, and December 4 and 11, 7:30-9 pm. Both choirs are directed by First Church Music Minister Shari Lucas.

For more information, please contact the church office manager at 860-346-6657 or at

First Church is located at 190 Court Street in Middletown and is an open and affirming (O&A) congregation. All are welcome and ample free parking is available nearby. 

Opinion: I Trust Florsheim To Lead

Submitted by Dr. Anthony Mangiafico
Ben Florsheim is the leader that Middletown needs now. He’s run a positive campaign since the beginning and he will govern in the same way he has run for office—by listening to all of you.

Middletown’s elected officials serve four-year terms, more than most towns, and a lot of good can happen in four years. But a lot of bad can also happen in four years. There are going to be plans set in motion for the riverfront that once started, cannot be undone. We’ve got one shot at getting this right, and I trust Ben’s leadership and vision on this endeavor.

Ben has made education central to his campaign. But Ben knows that education does not start in kindergarten and end in high school. We need to support universal pre-k so all students have an equal opportunity to succeed. However, we also need to fully support our local adult education program. Not all students graduate from high school, and adult education provides individuals with a second chance at success. When a student earns a GED or high school diploma or learns to speak English, new doors open to these students. With a small investment in these adults, Middletown would reap the benefits down the line. It takes about $10,000 a year to educate each K-12 student. However, it takes about $1,000 to educate an adult education student for one year. Think about that return on investment—for $1,000, Middletown now has residents that can go find jobs or better paying jobs, purchase cars and homes, spend their money in shops and restaurants and then pay back that $1,000
investment in taxes.

A vote for Ben is a vote for a riverfront that works for all of our residents and continued support for education, pre-k to adult.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Guided Hike at Windswept Ridge

November 9 at 10 a.m.
Rain date November 10 at 1 p.m. 

Join The Rockfall Foundation and Essex Land Trust for a 3 mile loop hike on Windswept Ridge Preserve in Essex. Traverse ridges, ravines and wetlands, enjoying glacial boulders, bog walks, and a seven-trunk tulip tree along the way.  Intermediate level hike with easy sections and one very steep section gaining 150 feet.

Free. All are welcome.  No dogs, please.  Bring sturdy hiking boots/shoes, tick repellant and water. Hiking poles optional. Threat of morning rain postpones to the next day, November 10th at 1pm.

Trail head location: Meet behind Essex Financial, 176 Westbrook Rd. (Route 153), Essex, CT 06426

Directions: From Route 9, take exit 3. Follow signs for 153-S/Westbrook. Essex Financial is a little more than a mile, on the right, after turning onto 153-S.

Carpool is available from Middletown. Contact
Contact hike leader Jeff Croyle for other questions:

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, The Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.  In addition, The Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations. 

All participants on Rockfall Foundation hike outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. If you would like to read the Liability Waiver before you choose to participate on an outing, please contact

Saturday: Godfrey Memorial Library - Genealogy Club

Date: Saturday, November 02, 2019
Time: 9:30 - 11:00 am
Where: Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street
Topic: “Doing Genealogy Research at the Mystic Seaport Museum”
Speaker: Paul O’Pecko, V.P. of Research Collections & Library Dir., Mystic Seaport Museum

Paul O’Pecko will be joining us to talk to us about the museum’s resources of interest to genealogists and family historians, and how and when to access them. The museum’s Collections Research Center (CRC) is the nation’s leading maritime research facility. Located across the street from Mystic Seaport, the former J. Rossie Velvet Company houses the museum’s collections and offers safe and easy access to maritime researchers and scholars.

Artifacts at the CRC include more than two million examples of maritime art, tools, buildings, imprints and other documents, photographs, ship registers (1,000), audiotaped oral history interviews (600), videotaped interviews (200), and historic and contemporary maritime-related video footage (1.5 million feet). Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about one of Connecticut’s premier research facilities and how it can help genealogists and family historians.

Open to the public. Free to Godfrey Premium Members. $10 per session for all others. Attendees will have time after the presentation to do research at the library.

For more information, call (860) 346-4375

Opinion: Wesleyan Students Should Not Vote For Mayor

Submitted by James M O’Connell
In an article published on September 16, 2019 in The Wesleyan Argus student newspaper, a student is quoted as saying, “I was aware of the election, but I wasn’t really thinking about the logistics of voting. However, for myself, and a few of my friends as well, it is tricky navigating the role that we should have in Middletown politics. Is it more relevant for me to deal with the Wesleyan administration than it is the Middletown government? If I felt like the student population was having a big effect on elections, I would feel kind of funny about that, because most of our budget is private and most of what we experience is the community that is regulated by the school’s institutions rather than by the local government. I think the local government should be primarily concerned with Middletown not students, so I chose not to vote for that reason.”

I can’t say it any better than she did.   I also agree with another woman from the class of 2020 who said, “I don’t think this a perfect scenario by any means, with Wesleyan being very disconnected from Middletown but then supplanting itself into Middletown local politics.”

There really are some pretty smart young people at Wesleyan.   And they recognize that Middletown voters, not Wesleyan, should choose our next Mayor.  Vote for Seb Giuliano and the Row B team on November 5th!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Opinion: Show Gratitude And Respect For Giuliano

Submitted by Councilman Phil Pessina, Republican Candidate for Reelection
As both a Veteran and Senior serving on our Common Council, it has always been both my strong belief and advocacy, to strongly support and respect these two groups.  They are the living foundations of our City of Middletown through their sacrifices which have contributed so much to our community and nation!

I know that Seb Giuliano has been a strong advocate to both our veteran and senior communities, by his committed service to our Community of Middletown. He is a proud father and grandfather who has lived in Middletown for over 60 years.  It was during these years he became a Vietnam era veteran – having attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1971 to 1973; being a senior regularly assigned Army Soldier.

As Chairman of the Recreation & Senior Services Commission for our city, this letter of support is to acknowledge with much gratitude for his recent pledge, that one of his first initiatives if elected Mayor, will be to help seniors on fixed incomes by revisiting the current Senior Tax Relief Program.  Seb & I heard this issue clearly at a recent Senior Mayoral & Council Forum we both attended and his response to this issue was very clear.  He understands that the current program provides a local tax discount to senior residents on fixed incomes, but the income thresholds have not been looked at for several years.  Seb intends to expand the program to provide tax relief to a greater number of senior residents who are struggling to make ends meet

Therefore, with this forthcoming election, it is perfectly clear to me that the voters in our community should elect a Mayor who identifies with our Veterans and Seniors, through his genuine respect and caring for them; being true to his campaign slogan: “Proven Effective Leadership!

Let’s show our gratitude and respect for him by voting for Seb and our Row B Team on November 5th.

Giuliano Campaign's False Attacks Under Scrutiny

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Ben Florsheim denounced the Giuliano campaign's repeated false attacks on the treasurer of his campaign, Diana Martinez. The misinformation campaign was started by Joe D'Ambrose, whose company has been paid over $10,000 by the Giuliano campaign, in part for public relations. D'Ambrose attacked Martinez for having been convicted of a misdemeanor, not aware that it was a different Diana Martinez.

The attacks were repeated almost 2 weeks later, when on Thursday the self-described "district 1 captain for Seb Giuliano for Mayor campaign", Bill Perkins, claimed "Ben's campaign treasurer is a meanace (sic) and a criminal."

Florsheim tied these repeated attacks to other local campaigns, in which Selectwoman Cathy Osten of Sprague and Mayor Erin Stewart of New Britain were attacked by their opponents, “Three days ago, after online death threats were posted about a Democratic first selectwoman and sexist comments were posted about a Republican mayor, political leaders from both sides of the aisle were forced to condemn the uptick in hateful online rhetoric that has come to characterize this election season,”

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Florsheim also connected the attacks on Martinez to national events, “[with] disinformation spread by political campaigns ... in both local and national news, one would think that a candidate running on ‘Proven. Effective. Leadership.’ would be especially mindful of the type of rhetoric his campaign is engaging in."

Both D'Ambrose and Perkins are associated with the Giuliano campaign.

“Instead, in the midst of all this, Seb’s [paid] consultants and ‘district captains’-- individuals who proclaim proudly and publicly that they are working for Seb’s campaign-- are continuing to spread false, absurd, and defamatory claims about their neighbors and would-be constituents on Facebook."

The Giuliano campaign has not responded to a voicemail left early Saturday afternoon.

The Middletown Democratic Town Committee condemned these continued attacks by representatives of Councilman Seb Giuliano’s campaign for mayor.

“This kind of baseless attack is exactly what we see on a national level and exactly what we don’t want in Middletown,” said Vice Chairperson for the Democratic Town Committee and Florsheim Campaign Manager Bobbye Knoll Peterson.

Chairperson Rob Blanchard echoed Peterson’s frustration over the sort of campaigning that has become more prevalent this cycle, “Statewide we are seeing continued attacks on women by Republican candidates and their surrogates ... a page right out of the Trump playbook."

Blanchard said that city residents do not what want these kinds of attacks in our city, "Our democracy functions best when we display honesty, respect and dignity towards all citizens ... I am confident that voters in Middletown agree and will not stand for this.”
Disclosure: the author is a member of the Democratic Town Committee and a supporter of Ben Florsheim for Mayor.

Westfield Residents Association Candidate Forum, Monday October 28, Keigwin Auditorium

Here's the lineup.

Keigwin Middle School Auditorium 
99 Spruce Street, Middletown

7:30pm - Meet the Candidates Forum begins

The confirmed list of attending candidates:

Mayor: Seb Guiliano and Ben Florsheim

Common Council: Gene Nocera, Darnell Ford, Jeanette White, Vincent Loffredo, Phil Pessina, Tony Gennaro, Linda Salafia, Jon Pulino, Ed Ford, Jr., Hope Kasper, Mike Marino, Matthew Scarrozzo

Treasurer: Tami Kapacziewski

Board of Education: Tami KapacziewskiDelita Rose-Daniels,

Board of Assessment Appeals: Vinny Szynkowicz

Planning & Zoning Commission: Elizabeth Emery, Molly Salafia

Planning & Zoning Alternate: Shanay Fulton

Middlesex to Hold A Day of G.I.F.T.S

Submitted by Middlesex Health
On November 2, Middlesex Health will proudly hold A Day of G.I.F.T.S. (A Day of Gathering Information for the Transgender Community to Support Health and Wellbeing). This event is free and open to anyone who is transgender and gender non-conforming and members of their support system, such as parents, guardians or primary caregivers, partners or spouses and close friends.

A Day of G.I.F.T.S. will be held in the Bardenheier Building at Middlesex Hospital, 28 Crescent Street in Middletown, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Featured at the event will be medical experts, businesses that offer products specifically for the LGBTQ+ community and community resources. There will be several guest speakers throughout the day, including Dr. Christine McGinn. Dr. McGinn is a well-known plastic surgeon, with formal training in transgender surgery, at the Papillon Gender Wellness Center in Pennsylvania.

Those interested in attending this special event are asked to register. To learn more about A Day of G.I.F.T.S., and to register for the event, visit

About Middlesex Health’s Transgender Medicine Program
Middlesex Health provides the best possible care to all of its patients, including its LGBTQ+ patients. Middlesex launched a comprehensive Transgender Medicine Program in 2016. Middlesex’s network of medical providers works with transgender persons to meet specific needs, and services are coordinated throughout the health system.

In recognition of its efforts, Middlesex Health is consistently named an “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Vote YES on Question 1 to preserve MIddletown's Farms and Open Space

On the Nov. 5 ballot, there will be a question asking voters if the city should borrow up to $5 million for acquisition and preservation of farmland and open spaces.  This could preserve hundreds of acres.

Vote ‘YES’ on Question # 1 

·       To help preserve the scenic and rural character of our city.
·       To help protect wildlife habitat and the health of Middletown's environment.

·       To help save the city money.  Residential development actually costs much more in city services than it generates in taxes.

·       To help preserve working farms and local agricultural products and jobs.  Over 4,000 acres of Middletown farmland have been lost in the past.

·          To help provide outdoor recreational opportunities for Middletown residents.