Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Inland Wetlands to Deliberate on New Road, 5 Houses Near Old Mill Road

The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency will continue its consideration of an extension of Nathan Hale Road, and the construction of 5 new houses. Nathan Hale crosses Phedon Parkway, which is off of Old Mill Road. 

The 5 lots are part of a 9-lot subdivision originally approved nearly 100 years ago, in 1928. The development would move the wetlands along the west side of the development area creating a new channel that can handle a 100-year storm to replace the existing drainage swale. A new pond will be created on the southern side of the property. 

The Agency first heard the application at its September meeting, and held a special meeting to conduct a site visit later that month. The public was given opportunities to speak at the September, October, and November meeting.  Nearby residents expressed concerns that the development would make existing drainage issues worse, the developer assured them that the proposed changes would actually improve drainage.  

At its November meeting, the Agency closed the public hearing, but kept the item open to be discussed and voted on at its meeting this Wednesday. 

Inland Wetlands and Watercourses.
Wednesday, December 1, 7PM. 
In-person only meeting, Council Chambers. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

City Government Public Meetings This Week

Municipal government meetings this week, all meetings are open to the public:

  • General Counsel Commission, special meeting. Tuesday, Nov. 30, 5:30PM, via WebEx (see agenda for details). The agenda includes an update on the recruitment of an HR specialist.  Agenda
  • Finance and Government Operations Commission. Wednesday, Dec. 1, 6PM, via WebEx (see agenda for details). This commission discusses significant items that will appear on the next meeting of the Common Council. Agenda
  • Inland Wetlands and Watercourses. Wednesday, Dec. 1, 7PM. Agenda is not posted yet.
  • Zoning Board of Appeals. Thursday, Dec. 2, 5:30PM, via WebEx (see agenda for details). The ZBA considers whether to grant a variance to the zoning code. It will consider one application to build a handicap ramp and walkway within the property set backs at 13 Wall Street, and another to build a shed within 5 feet of the property line at 181 West Street. Agenda

Free Screening of Contagion with Panel Discussion, December 11 at 3pm

We are excited to announce that The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series, is starting up again with a special Saturday afternoon screening and panel discussion!  

Contagion will be the featured film, followed by a discussion highlighting the connection between environmental disturbance and pandemics, as well as technological and historical perspectives, with Wesleyan professors Fred Cohan, Ishita Mukerji, and William Johnston. The event will take place on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 3pm, at the Goldsmith Family Cinema at Wesleyan University. The cinema is located at 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT.  

As always, the film is open to the public and free of charge. Wesleyan is a vaccinated campus and full vaccination is required to attend. In addition, masks must be worn in all indoor spaces.  Please preregister at ctrivercoastal@conservect.org, and complete this form prior to attending.

We hope you can join us for our first film in almost two years! For more information, phone the Conservation District office at 860-346-3282.

Also--please share/post this announcement!

The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series was begun in 2015. The series is co-sponsored by the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Middlesex Community College, Middletown Garden Club, The Rockfall Foundation, and Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts, College of the Environment, and College of Film and the Moving Image.  Contagion is the 22nd film in the series. Previous films include: Elemental, Watershed, Dirt! The Movie, Chasing Ice, The End of the Line, The True Cost, Dukale's DreamXmas Without China, Merchants of Doubt, Racing to Zero, Forgotten Farms, A Plastic Ocean, Just Eat It, Comfort Zone, Sacred Cod, Death By Design, Growing Cities, Anthropocene The Human Element, Ice on Fire and Artifishal.






Oddfellows Playhouse Announces Circus Auditions

 Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM announce auditions for Circophony Teen Circus’s mainstage Circus-Theater production, The Things That Go Creep...

Auditions will be held on Wednesday, December 15, 6 - 8 pm, at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown. They are open to all young people ages 12 - 20. Prior circus experience is not required, but some background in physical training, dance, movement, sports, parkour or performance can be helpful.

Auditioners are asked to arrive a few minutes early to complete audition paperwork, to dress to move, plan to stay the entire two hours, and to prepare a short performance piece that showcases your skills and personality (one minute maximum). Everyone who auditions and commits to the rehearsal and production schedule will be cast in the show.

Rehearsals will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9 pm starting January 4, 2022. There will be Technical rehearsal & daily rehearsals, Feb 26 - March 2. Performances will be March 3, 4 & 5 at 7 pm; March 5 at 2 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse.

The Things That Go Creep..., directed by Circophony Director Allison McDermott, is an original circus theater piece inspired by classic horror films. The Show will include acrobatics, movement, juggling, balancing, stilting, unicycling, comedy and other circus skills. This is a great opportunity to stretch your personal limits in a supportive, non-competitive environment, get serious circus training, and be part of creating a new and imaginative show. 

To register for the audition, or for more information, call (860) 347-6143 or email info@oddfellows.org. Tuition for Circophony is $300. Financial aid is available for anyone who needs it. No one is turned away for inability to pay. Circophony Teen Circus provides rigorous circus training and performance opportunities to young people, and is a collaboration between Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM.

If you are unable to make the audition date, please contact info@oddfellows.org to set up an alternative audition date!

Monday, November 22, 2021

City of Middletown Announces Grants for Agricultural Initiatives

The Middletown Commission on Conservation and Agriculture announces grant funding to support development of agriculture and farming in the City. The Commission is accepting proposals for this grant funding as part of Middletown’s broader efforts to promote agriculture. Grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $25,000, until all available funds have been allocated.  The source of the funding is the most recent Open Space and Recreation Bond, approved by the Middletown residents in 2020. As recommended by the Commission on Conservation and Agriculture, bond funds may be utilized for agricultural uses and improvements.

The grant funds are intended for projects that will improve current farming operations; develop new farming initiatives; improve food access and distribution; support infrastructure needs; implement sustainable agricultural practices and emerging technologies; and promote community education about farming. We will have a special interest in supporting beginning farmers, veteran farmers, and farmers from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.

Examples of projects we will fund include:

·         New equipment or repairs for existing agricultural equipment

·         Repairs, additions or renovations to buildings and infrastructure used for agriculture

·         Purchase of land for agricultural purposes

·         Purchase of livestock  

·         Expansion of, improvements to or development of community gardens or CSAs

·         Development of new markets for sale of agricultural products

·         Consultant expense associated with new agriculture start-up and investments

·         Technical assistance for conservation planning and implementation of new practices, including local match required for other grants

·         Diversifying agricultural operations

·         New agricultural business opportunities  

To apply for a grant, please contact James Sipperly, Environmental Planner with the Middletown Department of Land Use, to request an application form at 860-638-4593 or James.Sipperly@middletownct.gov.  The deadline for submitting applications is December 30, 2021, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. 


Methadone Clinic Denial Overturned in Court

The Middlesex District Superior Court has ruled that the Planning and Zoning Commission in October of  2020 improperly denied approval to a methadone clinic on Washington Street. Judge Rupal Shaw said that the City Charter and the bylaws of the Commission violate State statutes which state that approval requires a simple majority. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission has 7 seated commissioners, and the Charter states, "A quorum shall consist of six commissioners and decisions shall be taken by affirmative vote of no less than five commissioners."  The Root Center's application was denied because it received only 4 affirmative votes.

The state statute on Planning and Zoning reads, "Such regulations and boundaries shall be established, changed or repealed only by a majority vote of all the members of the zoning commission..." The city attorney argued that this language does not prevent towns and cities from specifying a higher standard, and zoning regulations are a local concern. Judge Shah disagreed, she cited a variety of higher court rulings about interpreting state statutes, one of which reads, "Where the words of the statute are plain and unambiguous the intent of the [drafters] in enacting the statute is to be derived from the words used.” 

The Commission has until December 2 to file an appeal. It meets with the Chris Forte, the city attorney representing it on Tuesday, November 23 at 7PM. All of these discussions will be in executive session, to discuss the litigation. 

If the Commission does not appeal the decision, or fails to win such an appeal, it must revisit the Root Center's application for a methadone clinic. 

The application process had two parts, a legislative change to the zoning map to allow a Substance Abuse/Mental Health (SMH) floating zone to be applied to the Washington Street site, followed by a site plan review to evaluate whether the Root Center's plans conform with the requirements of a special exception for the SMH zone. Because the Commission considered the application to apply the SMH floating zone to have been denied, it unanimously voted to deny the site plan review. 

If the court's decision stands, the Commission must now consider the much more narrow question of whether the site plan conforms with the requirements for a special exception within the SMH zone. 

Notes: The author was Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission at the time of the Root Center application, he voted in favor. This story has also been covered by CT Examiner.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Superintendent’s Attorney Requests Review of City by State NAACP

The Attorney for Superintendent of Schools Michael Conn3r has written to  Scot Esdaile, President of the Connecticut NAACP, to request its involvement in an investigation of how the city has handled the investigation of allegations made against Conner and other leaders in the schools administration. 

Attorney Thompson suggests that members of the Common Council are motivated by disagreements over the vision and direction of education, not by the anonymous complaints, "Some city officials despite having no authority over this matter has sought to inject themselves into this process in such a way as to possibly impede the Board of Education’s investigation and to castigate Dr. Conner’s character and reputation."

Thompson goes on to say about city officials, "Some of [their] recent statements imply that Dr. Conner is not worthy of due process..." 

The letter suggests that the Middlesex County NAACP Branch does not have the independence necessary to conduct an investigation of the potential racial implications of the city's actions. The Middlesex County NAACP is headed by Faith Jackson, who works for the city as Director of Equal Opportunity & Diversity Management.

The full text of the letter is below the break.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Commentary by David Roane: Enough is Enough!

(The following is an opinion piece by David Roane, a longtime Middletown resident, veteran and member of the Charter Revision Commission.  His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other members of the Charter Revision Commission or other Middletown Eye authors or editors.) 

TO: Editor Middletown Eye.

I attended and heard the comments at the City of Middletown Common Council meeting, particularly during the session on questions directed to the City Director, where the City EEO Director was called to answer specific questions pertaining to her investigation and interviewing of personnel (past and present) of the Middletown BOE and a newspaper article calling for and agreeing with the allegations by anonymous, disgruntled current and past school employees  who want School Superintendent investigated. These are/were the same alleged allegations that came from four (4) unions, representing school employees, who are calling for the removable of our city’s first Black Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael T Conner.

The call to removed Dr. Conner from his position as Superintendent is based solely on lies, misleading statements and, hearsay that were reported in the Middletown Press newspaper by the City EEO Director.

Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Faith Jackson said she found evidence of alleged “inappropriate” workplace treatment and conduct of “harassment, bullying, and intimidation” toward Board of Education personnel. Director Jackson, when questioned about the release to the newspaper stated that, “the City Attorney approved and OK’d the release”

Upon furthering questioning of Ms. Jackson regarding the number of people she spoke with and/or those she interviewed; Ms. Jackson admitted that she did not interview them all. The Director was questioned about one of the people she interviewed. Director Jackson admitted, she did not talk with the person, and what she reported was from a third party.

Director Jackson’s so called departmental findings about what she reported was fabricated lies! WHY?

During the Common Council meeting, the assault on the Superintendent continued by the racism faction of this city, led by members of the republican party and even individuals of the democratic party and, some racist parents, who now are changing their demand for the Board of Education to investigate. Now, calling for the matter be turned over to State of Conn. Board of Education? Is it because the B. O. E. voted to give its’ chairperson, (a POC) the responsibility over the investigation? They covered it up by using the word “administration” Yet, calling out by names of two again, Black and Brown persons. Once again, proving to me that this is nothing more than a modern day hanging of a person/person only because he is a Black man, and now, including a Black Woman and Brown Man.

The Black and Brown Community, along with our city’s nonracist white community, needs to ban together by saying “enough is enough,” and demand that the Superintendent be put back in the position for which he was hired and excels in. Let us move on and be about the business of making sure that all of our children in the City of Middletown are educated!

David Roane 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Municipal Meetings This Week

The following municipal meetings are some of those scheduled for this week:

Public Safety Commission, regular meeting

Tuesday, November 16, Board of Education, Special meeting

  • Tuesday, November 16, 6:30PM
  • Common Council Chambers, City Hall
  • Agenda

Economic Development Commission

Commission on the Arts, Regular meeting 

Urban Forestry Commission

  • Thursday, November 18, 4:30PM
  • Room 208, City Hall
  • Agenda

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Researching Your Immigrant Ancestors


 ZOOM Godfrey Genealogy Club

Saturday, November 20, 2021

1:30 pm (EST)

On Saturday, November 20, Al Fiacre will present “Researching Your Immigrant Ancestors.”

 Al will cover the types of resources best suited to finding out about your ancestors' move to this country. Different time periods call for different types of resources, which Al will demonstrate.

Al is Chair of the Godfrey Board.  In 2018, he was the winner of the National Genealogical Society’s competition: “Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book.” He also was the winner of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists Certificate of Achievement for the best genealogy in 2019. Al earned his Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in 2016.

Godfrey Premium members can register for free at the following email: zoomregistration@godfrey.org

If you are not a Godfrey Premium member and want to attend the presentation, you can pay $10 via PayPal (send to Godfrey Memorial Library). Then register using the above email.

Please register by 4:00 pm Friday, November 19.

Thom Pattavina Elected Chair of Planning and Zoning

 The annual election of officers by the Planning and Zoning Commission went rapidly and smoothly this year. Clearly the two caucuses had met and come to an agreement about who would be in each position. Each vote was unanimous, 7 - 0.

  • Chair, Thom Pattavina
  • Vice-chair, Nick Fazzino
  • Secretary, Shanay Fulton
  • Representative to the regional council of governments (RiverCoG), Catherine Johnson
  • Alternate representative to RiverCoG, Kellin Atherton.
The City Planner, Marek Kozikowski, reported that staffing in the Land Use Department was improving, with an administrative assistant starting November 22nd, and the Environmental Planner returning to duty. He said there were 8 applicants for the position of Deputy Planner, these are being screened by the Human Resources Department. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Newly Elected Officials Sworn in to Office

Newly sworn in elected officials
 The biennial meeting of the Common Council last night was the occasion for the swearing in of newly elected officials. Mayor Ben Florsheim presided over the ceremony for the first time, and he kept it short and to the point. 

Debra Guss, Emily Jackson, Jon Pulino, and Charles Wiltsie were sworn in as Board of Education members. Pulino is beginning his second term, all others are new to the Board.

Shanay Fulton, Sebastian Giuliano, and Nick Fazzino were sworn in as full Commissioners on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Fazzino is a long-serving commissioner who was re-elected, Fulton is vacating her seat as an alternate to become a full commissioner, and Giuliano is beginning his first term on the Commission. Hillary Thompkins was sworn in as an alternate commissioner.

Mayor Florsheim opened the ceremonies with what he said was the best advice he received two years ago upon his election, "First, you never know what will come. Second, no matter what [it is] we will navigate it if we work together."

The benediction was by Father Russell Kennedy of St. Francis of Assisi Church, who gave an equally short speech, below in its entirety.

As you know, we live in a time of discourtesy, a time of not respecting other people's opinions and for these new people I pray for their safety. I pray they will not be physically or verbally assaulted, and that they will have the strength to follow their convictions and do their jobs as they have. I thank you for coming and I ask for God's blessing on you and your families. Amen. 

More photos below the jump.

Council Member Ed Ford Denounces Racism in the Leadership of the Middletown Republican Town Committee

Click on photo to hear Ed Ford's comments.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Bugsgiving--A Celebration of Edible Insects

Free food from famous chef! One of the world's most renowned chefs will be in our city this month, to share tastes of delicious insect-based dishes. Chef Joseph Yoon of Brooklyn Bugs! has been featured on PBS Nova, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, BBC, Popular Science, Live with Kelly and Ryan and much more. 

Yoon founded Brooklyn Bugs in 2017 with the mission to normalize edible insects, and works closely with museums, universities, and institutions to fundamentally change the way we can reimagine them as a sustainable, nutrient dense, and delicious source of protein.   
  • Saturday, November 20th, 2pm-4pm 
  • Lawn outside of Alpha Delta Phi (185 High Street), bring a chair or blanket
  • Tickets: Free with RSVP! RSVP here
  • Bugsgiving is open to anyone with proof of vaccination and masked children under 12.  

This Bugsgiving event is organized by Wesleyan senior Megan Levan.  Levan is writing her thesis about the current status of entomophagy in the United States and the potential avenues for increasing the accessibility and affordability of an entotarian diet. 

According to a report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, edible insects have enormous potential when it comes to the future of food security. At Bugsgiving, there will be activities, prizes, presentations, and more! Attendees should bring a chair/blanket and their friends and family for our Bugsgiving picnic.

The event is sponsored by Wesleyan’s Green Fund, College of the Environment, and Office of Sustainability to give people a chance to taste some delicious insects!

More information:

Saturday, November 6, 2021




Who Is eligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot?  According to the Center for Disease Control people who are eligible are those who are 65 years and older, long-term care residents and staff, people age 18 and above who have underlying medical conditions, and who work or live-in high-risk settings such as first responders, healthcare workers, school personnel, and grocery store workers.


Why do I need a Booster Shot if I had the initial COVID-19 Vaccine?  According to the CDC studies have shown that vaccine effectiveness has decreased since you received it and may be less effective against the Delta Variant.


The COVID-19 Vaccine Booster shot will be distributed at 800 locations in Connecticut according to the Department of Public Health’s website. The COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster Shots are FREE.  To find one please go to https://portal.ct.gov/Vaccine-Portal?language=en_US.  


When you schedule your appointment for the booster shot don't forget to bring your COVID-19 Vaccination card you received after your first shot.  The Department of Public Health stated that there is an adequate number of vaccines available.  


According to the Connecticut DPH website "Furthermore, the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States continue to be remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant."  They mentioned that all severe cases of people who contracted the disease, are hospitalized and death are among the unvaccinated. Please do not become this fatality.  The CDC states people can now mix and match their vaccines.  

On Tuesday, November 2, 2021 the CDC gave its approval for children ages 5-11 to get the Pediatric COVID-19 Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine.  According to the CDC’s website it states “Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19 using the safe and effective vaccines already recommended for use in adolescents and adults in the United States.”


 CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky stated “Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19. We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine. As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.” 

To find out how to get your COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Shots and to read the CDC’S recommendation about getting children ages 5-11 vaccinated please click on the links below:








Please Get your COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster Shot.


Enjoy the videos.














Thursday, November 4, 2021

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

The Buttonwood Tree 
605 Main Street, in Middletown


The Buttonwood Tree Presents:

    This month, get down & enjoy one of TBT's proof-positive neighborhood shows!  Folks you know making art you'll enjoy!  Event descriptions are excerpted from The Buttonwood Tree online calendar. Click on event links in text for more information. 

November 4 - November 30

November Art Exhibit: “Art From the Heart”
Collected Works by Futures, Inc.

Future’s Art Reception

Thursday, NOV 11, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

NOV  6    

  9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Reiki Level 2 Class with Eileen Anderson RN

 10:30 am - 12:15 pm

Align with Source Workshop with Annaita Gandhy - The Measure of UnConditional Love - what is being triggered?   


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A Tale of Two Brians: Brian Wolfe and Brian Larney

NOV  7    

  6:30 am - 9:30 pm

Weekly Improv Workshop

For more information on Buttonwood programs, please see our calendar at Buttonwood Calendar 11-2021.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Oddfellows presents A Midsummer Night's Dream


The Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company is staging Shakespeare’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream November 11 - 20 in Middletown.  

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in Middletown.
Performances will be at 7 pm on November 11 -13 and 19 - 20, as well as a matinee at 1 pm on November 20.
Seating is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the greatest comedies ever written, featuring a royal wedding, misguided

lovers, mischievous fairies, and a clumsy group of manual laborers attempting to stage a play. The intersecting

humors of love, magic, attachment, loyalty and free will make this a family friendly comedy that evokes as much

laughter today as it did over 400 years ago. The 17 members of the Teen Repertory Company, all between the ages

of 14 and 20, bring this spectacle to life with enthusiasm, acrobaticism and broad physicality.

The play is directed by ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge, who has performed and directed many

Shakespeare plays at Oddfellows, ARTFARM and around the country. Set Designer is Tony Palmieri; Lighting

Designer is Jon-Paul LaRocco; Costumer Designer is Christian Milik; Sound Designer is Joseph Getter; Properties

Designer is Caleb Warner. Circus and Contortion Choreography is by Allison McDermott and Naja Muller.

Tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are are $15 for adults and $8 for students. “Big Heart” tickets for $25 are

available for anyone wanting to support Oddfellows’ work with young people, the arts and social justice. Tickets

may be purchased at www.oddfellows.org, or by calling (860) 347-6143. Due to COVID restrictions, there will only

be 50 seats sold for each performance, so pre-purchase is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment. Masking

is requested of all audience members and staff, and non-vaccinated attendees are asked to get a negative test result

within 3 days of the performance which you are attending (honor system).

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, founded in 1975, is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. The

Playhouse offers classes, performance opportunities and events for young people ages 3 - 20, with an ongoing

commitment to Equity and Accessibility. Winter session of classes and productions starts January 10,  and will

include a Teen Rep New Plays Festival, a Junior Repertory Company production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, an original Circus-Theater piece by Circophony Teen Circus, and much, much more. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is made possible thanks to support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts;

Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD; The Fund for Greater Hartford; City of Middletown; American Savings

Foundation; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Middletown Youth Services Bureau;

Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation; Thomas J. Atkins

Memorial Trust Fund; Middlesex United Way; New England Foundation for the Arts/New England Arts Resilience

Fund; CHEFA Cultural Relief Grant; George & Grace Long Foundation;  and many generous individual donors.