Monday, August 30, 2021

MIDDLETOWN’S CLEAN ENERGY TASK FORCE Kicks off Funding Campaign and HeatSmart Program


The City of Middletown, through its Clean Energy Task Force (CETF) and its CHEER Middletown program, has partnered with SustainableCT’s Matching Grant program and People's Action for CleanEnergy (PACE) to provide important energy-related programming in the City of Middletown.

CHEER is CETF’s program helping local residents address health and safety barriers in their homes in order to facilitate energy efficiency improvements and improve access to lower cost renewable energy. The HeatSmart program helps residents explore ways to improve how they heat and cool their homes by using efficient, electric heat pump systems.  Together, the programs provide information and resources including educational events, home energy assessments, and connections with energy and remediation experts as well as local heat pump installers. 

Both programs kicked-off on July 22, 2021 with a meet and greet at the Powder Hollow Brewery on Washington Street in Middletown. A banner announcing the programs is currently hanging above Main Street.

CHEER is expanding their program through the funding campaign to provide additional outreach and improvements to more homes in Middletown. To date, the program has accomplished nearly $100,000 in improvements. The project’s organizers are calling on the community to join the initiative by donating to a crowdfunding campaign or volunteering in the effort. If the campaign reaches its $15,000 goal by its deadline of September 22, 2021, it will receive a matching grant of $15,000 from Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund, an innovative funding resource for public, community-led sustainability projects. For project details and to donate, please visit:

HeatSmart Middletown provides information about energy audits and heat pumps. Middletown residents can sign up at Residents are encouraged to register for the program to receive support and evaluation of the application of heat pumps in their home.

Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim notes the benefits of the programs. “Energy Efficiency and electrification of heating and transportation are consistent with the Middletown Energy Plan and an essential element to achieving a carbon-free economy. The HeatSmart and CHEER programs help the City and our residents achieve these important goals.”

The funding campaign will be active through September and the HeatSmart program runs through the end of 2021.


For more information please contact Michael Harris, the Middletown Energy Coordinator at 860-638-4854, or Ray Evans at 860-740-2901.

Friday, August 27, 2021

2021 Saint Sebastian's Church Centennial Anniversary Celebration Is Delayed Until May 2022 Due To COVID-19 Pandemic


The 2021 Saint Sebastian's Church Festival Centennial Anniversary Celebration has been cancelled and for the second year the festival will not be held due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Church organizers are not calling it a cancellation but rather a postponement of the feast until May 2022. There will not be any outside celebrations including the Annual "I Nuri Run" and the Laser Show on Saturday. The only remnants of the feast that will continue will be the High Mass in honor of Saint Sebastian on Sunday, September 19th and a church raffle.


Reverend Father James Thaikoottathil stated, "External feast celebrations are canceled for this year." The Tri-Chairmen and the Feast Secretary Dr. Gene Nocera, Salvatore Nesci, Frank Marchese & Karen Nocera stated "We hope your great anticipation for the Feast of Saint Sebastian can wait a little longer; we're postponing our Feast planned for September to May 2022. We're waiting to celebrate together after the latest coronavirus crisis has passed in our community and we can safely congregate in our usual large groups setting in and outside the church. Mass will be held on Sunday, September 19th at 11 a.m... No other activity is planned on the church grounds. Thank you for your understanding and we pray for your continued safety."


Nocera explained why the feast committee postponed the festival until next May 2022. "It is clear that with the Delta Variant that we had to come up with some strategies to control but it is a small site. Our site is not a site that we can control who comes in and who goes out. A small site and a big crowd."


The High Mass on Sunday, September 19th will still be broadcast on local radio stations WLIS/WMRD AM 1150 & 1420. 

Nocera said for the mass parishioners would have to wear their mask during the service and possibly social distance too. "Masks will be required or recommended of course. At this time, we haven't heard of restrictions of the size in the church. This could happen. Our Health Director recommends mask wearing in all public places indoors. We are recommending parishioners wear masks during the mass."  The mass will be celebrated by “Diocese of Norwich Bishop Michael Cote and will be Co-Celebrating the mass with priests from Connecticut,” according to Nocera.  


During the High Mass the original statue of Saint Sebastian will be unveiled.  This item from Sebastiano Marchese was the statue that “… the devotees carried in the procession on the first feast in 1921,” according to Father James Thaikoottathil.


The local, state and community leaders have been notified that the feast has been postponed and they are still free to come for the High Mass on Sunday according to Nocera.


There is a possibility after the latest COVID-19 Delta Variant surge has cleared that there may be a way to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary according to Nocera. "There could be. We may have a dinner, but it hasn't been planned. Our main concern is the safety. We are monitoring the positivity rate. In Middlesex county it is 4% right now per 100 individuals. It is predicted it will rise to 6-7% in the next 30 days."


"A Century of Devotion" an exhibit about the Saint Sebastian’s Festival will open towards the end of September 2021 at the Middlesex County Historical Society located at 151 Main Street in Middletown. The time and dates will be announced according to Dr. Jesse Nasta, Executive Director.  Nasta stated the exhibit will be up until June 2022.


Dr. Anthony Fauci stated on Monday, August 23, 2021 if most eligible people get vaccinated, we could have some control of the COVID-19 Virus by the Spring of 2022.  If you already had your COVID-19 Vaccines, please do not forget to get your booster shot when it’s time.


If you have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 Virus, please get your shot.  Please click on the links below to find out how to get yours.


Enjoy the video.





The Rockfall Foundation hosts Repair Café in October - Volunteers Needed!


In cooperation with City of Middletown Recycling & Public Works and RiverCOG, The Rockfall Foundation will be hosting a Repair Café on Saturday, October 16 at The Rockfall Foundation at the deKoven House Community Center in Middletown. Skilled volunteers will help fix and teach you how to fix your things—saving you money and keeping items working and out of the garbage. Tool use and help is free. Participants are responsible for obtaining any necessary replacement parts.

What do you need fixed?
Electronics & electrical
Sewing & Mending
Knife Sharpening (in limited quantities)
Small Appliances (no TVs or large appliances)
Smart Phones & Tablets
& more!
Coffee and snacks will be served. Please bring your travel mug.

Volunteer with us!
Are you handy? Are you the person friends and family members come to with broken items? Have a skill to offer? We are looking for volunteers skilled at fixing household items like the ones listed above! Any repair skill is welcome—including sharpening knives, patching jeans, and getting toasters to pop without burning the English muffins!
To volunteer call 860-347-0340 or email

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

TODAY, August 26, the Ethyl Lee Ensemble, with Kitty Kathryn, at Spear Park, 6-8pm

        ~ Summer Sounds ~
                 Middletown City Arts Concert

Thursday, August 266-8 pm
at Middletown's Spear Park,
Main & William Streets

The Ethyl Lee Ensemble performs, 
with Kitty Kathryn!

The weather looks hot, but there's lots of shade at Spear Park.

So bring your chairs, blankets & coolers, and chill! 

The Ethel Lee Ensemble is noted for playing a variety of enjoyable music, including jazz, blues, rock and roll, and Motown. This talented group includes Ethel Lee, vocalist, Ralph Whittle, keyboard, Steve Bulmer, bass, Ed Brainerd, trumpet, Mark Barowsky, saxophone, and Clark Seibold on drums.

Once known as Connecticut's Sarah Vaughn, Kitty Kathryn is Middletown's Music Ambassador. Pianist Doug Schlink will accompany her.

Thank you for supporting live music!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Cats in the Castle, a fundraising event benefiting homeless cats and kittens 9/11/2021


Cat Tales presents the Annual Cats in the Castle, a fundraising event benefiting homeless cats and kittens.

WHEN: Saturday, September 11, 2021 from 6-10PM

WHERE: Aqua Turf Club, Plantsville, CT

WHAT: Appetizers, Dinner, Beer & Wine, Desserts, Silent Auctions, Raffles

INFO: 860-344-9043


Your attendance saves lives! All funds raised go directly to homeless cats and kittens under the care of Cat Tales Non-Profit Rescue in Middletown, CT. Must be 21 years or older to attend.

*Cat Tales, in conjunction with the Aqua Turf Club, is planning this event with all recommended safety measures and in compliance with current State of Connecticut, Federal | CDC regulations.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

POSTPONED: The Ethel Lee Ensemble performs NEXT Thursday

 Summer Sounds ~
Middletown City Arts Concert

Thursday, August 26, at Spear Park,
Main & William Streets
6-8 pm

The Ethyl Lee Ensemble,
with Kitty Kathryn!

Bring your chairs, blankets & coolers, and chill! 

Ethyl Lee sings with the Ethel Lee Ensemble,
and Kitty Kathryn, NEXT Thursday, August 26, 6-8
at Middletown's Spear Park. 

Be sure to check for change of plans at  

The Ethel Lee Ensemble is noted for playing a variety of enjoyable music, including jazz, blues, rock and roll, and Motown. This talented group includes Ethel Lee, vocalist, Ralph Whittle, keyboard, Steve Bulmer, bass, Ed Brainerd, trumpet, Mark Barowsky, saxophone, and Clark Seibold on drums.

Once known as Connecticut's Sarah Vaughn, Kitty Kathryn is Middletown's Music Ambassador. Pianist Doug Schlink will accompany her.

Thanks for supporting live music!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Just Announced! Studebaker John with Liviu Pop at The Buttonwood Tree

The Buttonwood Tree is excited to announce the return of Chicago Blues giant Studebaker John together and master drummer Liviu Pop to their stage.

Searing slide-guitar and howling electrified harp are the hallmarks of Chicago Blues, and Studebaker John is a home-town boy who is taking that tradition into the future. Inspired by Hound Dog Taylor and JB Hutto, John can thrash out a boogie while playing a lead-guitar line on top; he has a light but penetrating voice; he writes great songs, and his tone on the ‘Mississippi Saxophone’ has a spacious feel, reminiscent of ‘Shakey’ Horton.

Liviu Pop is a versatile drummer who plays a wide variety of genres, including blues, soul, funk, jazz, electronic and experimental. He was inducted into the Connecticut Blues Hall of Fame in 2018. He has played much of New England, the United States, and Europe. He has performed with a variety of blues artists, including Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay, Lucky Peterson, Debbie Davies, Lil’ Dave Thompson, and Toni Lynn Washington.

This duo performance is really dynamic and allows the artists to display their remarkable intensity and sensibility in creating a very soulful and unique musical texture. Like last time when the duo performed at our venue, we are sure this event will be again, a memorable experience.

The duo will be performing on September 15 from 7:30-9:30pm at The Buttonwood Tree. Tickets are $25 and are now on sale at

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

CHEER Fundraiser Hits 50% of Goal!

 The CHEER funding campaign has reached 50% of its fundraising goal!!! Thank you for all the generous donations.

Go here for more info:

RJ Ruotolo Jazz Quintet

 The RJ Ruotolo Jazz Quintet takes the stage at The Buttonwood Tree on Friday August 20 from 8-10pm.

RJ Ruotolo has been in the music business since 1965 and holds a Music Education and Performance Degree- B.A. from The Berklee School of Music, Boston. MA. He has been an active Composer and Performer for over 50 years throughout the Northeast, and has several CD’s available for public purchase. He is currently leading his new ensemble in 2021 performing Classic Modern Music compositions along with his excellent ascap manuscripts. Ruotolo is a seasoned professional who strives for communication between his music and his audience’s. His music is energetic, creative and danceable.

Featuring Patrick Casey on trumpet, J.D. Herzog on Tenor Saxophone, T.J. Thompson on piano, Ken Hatfield on guitar,  and Esdras Lubin on bass.

The concert will be held at The Buttonwood Tree at 605 Main Street. Tickets can be purchased online at

Monday, August 16, 2021

Lifting up Prayers

 Lifting up prayers for all people in Kabul. And Haiti.

Carnival Day At The John J. Nerden Regional Training Center Camp.

RTC Camper DJ Kleczkowski throws the ball at the Dunk Tank During Carnival Day at the RTC Camp.

RTC Camper Cisco Keyes throws the ball at the Dunk Tank during the Carnival Day at the RTC Camp.



It was Carnival Day at the John J. Nerden Regional Training Center Camp in Middlefield on Friday, July 23rd. It was everything that one would expect at a typical carnival but better. They had games, food, karaoke and even a Dunk Tank where a staff member acted as the "Dunkee" so the RTC Campers could try their luck and dunk the staff person. Multiply all of this by two and the result was an extraordinary day filled with smiles, laughter and high fives. 


The camp serves people with intellectual disabilities and campers can start attending when they are 6 years old. According to Director Sue Chenard of Meriden she said the camp does not place an age limit when they have to stop attending camp. "People can keep attending past age 60. Our oldest camper is 67-Rose Macri of Meriden." The camp began its season June 21st and ended on August 6th. Its hours were Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


The RTC Camp served 50-75 campers a day with 15 full-time staff and approximately 45 volunteers as "Counselors in Training" according to Director Chenard. She stated "Not all of them(volunteers)come every day" due to other commitments. 


Where do the campers come from? Chenard said "We serve many campers from all areas of the state. Not many camps like the RTC Camp." She did point out that the Meriden & Wallingford are the biggest areas, but they get campers from Middlefield, Durham, Middletown & Guilford. 


The camp is funded from the towns the campers come from as well from service clubs like the Kiwanis Clubs, the Meriden & Middletown Civitan’s, the Elk Clubs of Meriden & Middletown and the Meriden Knights of Columbus according to Laurie Nerden-Russell, the President of the Camp's Board of Directors.


How had the COVID-19 Pandemic affected the camp? "It hasn't affected the spirit of the camp. We try to make things as normal as possible so our campers will have a great experience. We do have to wear masks inside the buildings. We practice social distancing at camp, and we use hand sanitizers," stated Chenard.


Even though the camp season ended on August 6th this does not mean the end of fun for the RTC Campers.  Throughout the year the RTC Camp has activities for their campers.  According to Director Sue Chenard it is “By invitation only for the older group of campers.”  In October they have a Halloween party at camp.  The other activities take place in the Meriden-Wallingford area. In November it is an outing to a movie theatre, December-Christmas Party, and the other activities take place in February, March & May.


For more information about the RTC Camp please visit or call 860-349-9826.  Their mailing address is P.O. Box 2617, Meriden, CT 06451.


L-R: Staff Noah Kleczkowski & RTC Camper Evan Kane throws the bean bag during Carnival Day

L-R: RTC Camper Clinton Parente receives the ball and encouragement from RTC Staff Noah Chambers during the Milk Cans game at the RTC Camp Carnival Day.

RTC Camper Evan Kane Gets Ready To Throw The Ball At The Dunk Tank During Carnival Day.

RTC Camper Sofia Rake throws the ball at the Dunk Tank during Carnival Day at the RTC 
RTC Camper Luke Walston gets ready to throw the ball at the Milk Cans during the Carnival Day at the RTC Camp. Walston did knock the cans down.

L-R: Staff Member Noah Chambers watches as RTC Camper Clinton Parente Aims For The Milk Cans
L-R: RTC Camper Clinton Parente gets pointers about how to knock the Milk Cans down from RTC Staff Noah Chambers.

RTC Camper John Bennett putts during a game of Miniature Golf at the RTC Camp's Carnival Day.
L-R:  RTC Staff Noah 
Kleczkowski Watches As RTC Camper Logan King Throws The Bean Bag 
Through The Hole During Carnival Day At The RTC Camp.
"There It Goes!" RTC Camper Clinton Parente Throws The Bean Bag Flying To The Hole While RTC Staff Noah Kleczkowski Watches From Behind.

Enjoy The Videos