Thursday, December 30, 2021

Happy New Year-2022!


Happy New Year-January 1, 2022. 

How did the New Year's Day holiday come about? Four thousand years ago in ancient Babylon they began the New Year in March to coincide with the beginning of Spring or the Vernal Equinox following the first full moon after Spring's arrival. They celebrated the New Year with a Religious event called "Akitu" that lasted for eleven days which "involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days" according to's article "New Year's." 

It wasn't until Julius Caesar reign during the Roman Empire that he updated the early Roman calendar of ten months and 304 days. In 46 B.C., Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar "by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time," according to This Julian Calendar "closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today," from Julius Caesar began the New Year as January 1st "to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties," according to

Christian leaders in Medieval Europe changed the date of the New Year from January 1st to dates that had more religious value such as December 25th-Jesus Christ birth and March 25th-the Feast of the Annunciation. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII returned New Year's Day to January 1st of each year according to the article "New Year's."

In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic the Center for Disease Control and the Connecticut Department of Public Health are issuing guidelines for safe gatherings during the Christmas & New Year’s holiday season. The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and get your booster shot too. They are advising people to “Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household,” according to their website.


In Connecticut these “Self-Tests” are available at any of the major pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart & Target according to Middletown’s Acting Health Director Kevin Elak & Acting Cromwell Health Director Salvatore Nesci.  Elak stated “They are very hard to find in stores right now.  You will probably have to order it online and have it shipped.”  Call your local pharmacy to see if they have it.


On Tuesday, December 21, 2021, President Joe Biden stated that beginning in January 2022 500 million free home rapid COVID-19 self-tests will be mailed to residents who requests them.  There will be a website that will launch in January 2022 that will help residents requests these kits.


Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani believes people should assess who they will be gathering with for their holiday celebrations and “…consider personal protections based upon the vaccination status of the group.” Juthani stated “If you have a fully vaccinated group of people and fully boosted group of people, I think you’re at your highest level of protection, if you have somebody who’s a little bit more vulnerable in your group … wearing a mask is not a bad idea. That’s a self-preservation measure,” according to Connecticut Public Radio.  Juthani made these comments on November 23, 2021.

For more information about how the New Year's Day holiday began and how to stay safe this holiday season due to the COVID-19 virus please see the following websites:


Wishing Everyone A Happy and Healthy 2022! Happy New Year! Enjoy the videos.



COVID-19 Home Self-Test Kits Distribution In Middletown & Cromwell Has Been Cancelled & Postponed For A Future Date.



Due to supply chain issues regarding the shipment & delivery of the COVID-19 Home Self-Test kits in Connecticut the City of Middletown and the Town of Cromwell has decided to cancel their distributions of these kits that were originally scheduled for Thursday, December 30th in Cromwell and December 31st in Middletown.


Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont stated, “Due to shipping and warehouse delays outside of the State of Connecticut’s control, our state’s anticipated shipment of COVID-19 at-home rapid tests are currently delayed from arriving in Connecticut."

Acting Director of Health for the City of Middletown Kevin Elak stated, "The shipment of test kits have not arrived in CT yet. So, distribution in Middletown will be cancelled for Friday. We will announce a new date once the kits are in CT." 

Public Health Coordinator/Emergency Management Director for the Town of Cromwell Salvatore Nesci and Town Manager Anthony J. Salvatore, Sr. stated“Due to a shipping and warehouse delay, as stated by Governor Ned Lamont, COVD test kits have not been shipped to the State of Connecticut as planned. With this, we extend our sincere apologies to all Cromwell residents as the Town is forced to cancel our planned drive-thru distribution, which was to take place today, Thursday, December 30, 2021 from 2PM-6PM at the Cromwell Town Hall. More information will follow once we receive it and a future distribution date will be planned and shared. We ask residents to have patience continue your trust in our local Government to work on your behalf to promote a safe and healthy community. Please continue to practice prudence regarding personal protective measures against this virus that continues to grow. Continue to monitor our Town social media outlets for more information. Have a safe and Happy New Year!"

For more information, please call the Middletown & Cromwell Health Departments. Middletown Health Department phone# 860-638-4960; Cromwell-860-632-3426.

If you have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, please get your shot.  If you have gotten the vaccine, please get your booster shot.  All individuals age 18 and above are eligible to receive a booster shot if it has been 6 months after your 2nd dose of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals ages 16 & 17 are eligible to receive a booster shot too if it has been six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. All persons over the age of 18 can mix and match their vaccines for their booster shot while 16- & 17-year-old teenagers cannot.  Children ages 5-11 are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

To find out how to get your vaccine please see the following website:


Enjoy the videos.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Ceremony of Light at The Buttonwood Tree, Friday, December 31st

Sixth Annual Ceremony of Light*

at the Buttonwood Tree on Friday,
December 31 @ 1:00 pm
3:00 pm


The Ceremony of Light offers a message of healing and love. Emerging stronger
and closer, we leave behind the dross of 2021 as we embrace the New Year 2022, 

with the power of Oneness. Light represents all of the very best that we are and
can be, as Beings of Light we create our world.

Join us at the Buttonwood Tree in a New Year’s ceremony to honor & affirm our 

commitment to make 2022 everything we could hope for, and Be a community of
Peace, Hope & Truth.

This event is hosted by Annaita Ghandy with a performance by HannaH’s Field duo. 

HannaH’s Field will perform its brand of “groovy gypsy music,” and inspiring guide
Annaita Gandhy will offer caring words of encouragement for all.

Come and be part of this uplifting ceremony--it's a great way to start the New Year! 

See The Buttonwood Tree website for more information

*Previously known as the Fire of Hope Ceremony.

Click the blue dot to hear music by HannaH’s Field.



Speak Out For Middletown's Riverfront


Friday, December 24, 2021



The following is an answer to an aged old question that has been puzzling mankind for centuries.  It was written by veteran newspaper reporter Francis Pharcellus Church of the New York Sun as an unsigned editorial in that newspaper in response to a Letter to The Editor that was written by 8-year-old Virginia O' Hanlon from 115 West Ninety-Fifth Street in New York City.  The date of publication was Sept. 21, 1897. 



“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?





“VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”


For more information about this classic and famous newspaper editorial please see the following website:


Wishing Everyone A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!


Enjoy the videos.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Winter arts classes for ages 3 to 20 start January 3 in Middletown!


Registration is now open for Winter Classes for ages 3 - 20 at Oddfellows Playhouse

Youth Theater in Middletown. Classes start January 3, 2022. All classes will be held

in-person at the Playhouse’s facility at 128 Washington Street. The three classrooms

and theater in the building have all been upgraded with high volume air purification systems,

masking is required, and the Playhouse is following all State and Federal guidelines

to ensure a safe return to in-person programs.

First out of the gate are classes for teenagers, which will start the week of

January 3 and run for six weeks.

“Writing Plays”, for ages 14 - 20, runs Mondays, 7 - 8:30 pm, starting January 3.

The class provides young writers the opportunity to develop short plays under

the tutelage of nationally-recognized playwright Kristen Palmer, culminating

in a New Plays Festival on Saturday, February 12.

Teen actors also have the chance to explore the physical side of acting with

ARTFARM Artistic Director and noted actress/director Marcella Trowbridge.

“The Embodied Actor”, which will meet Thursdays, 7 - 8:30 pm, allows actors to

explore the body as the primary expressive tool for emotion accessibility

and storytelling accuracy.

Visual artists can join “Visual Art Explorations” with Renee Soares, which will

meet Wednesdays, 7 - 8:30 pm. In this high-energy art class teen artists will

explore various media and prepare work for an exhibition at the Playhouse. 

Young people ages 12 - 20 who want to learn about working backstage can

join the “Technical Theater and Design” class, which will meet Tuesdays,

5 - 7 pm, starting January 11. Students in this class will learn fundamentals of

lighting, sound, costuming, scenic design, props, painting and carpentry and will

have the chance to work backstage on this winter’s two main stage productions.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Saturday Circrobatics classes are

available for ages 3 - 5 and 6 - 8. Circrobatics classes start January 8 and continue

through February 26. Circrobatics is a unique combination of circus, acrobatics,

games and creative movement.

All other classes begin the week of January 10  and run for 8 weeks, culminating

in an in-class Share for families the week of February 28. All Stage One and

Two classes run from 4:45 - 5:45 pm during the week.

Stage One classes for ages 6 - 8 include

Creating Comic Books (Mondays) , Circus I (Tuesdays), Musical Mentoring

and Musical Theater Dance and Movement (Wednesdays),

Complete Actor I (Thursdays). 

Stage Two classes for ages 9 - 11 include Musical Mentoring and

Hip Hop Dance (Mondays), Comic Acting (Tuesdays), Circus II (Wednesdays),

and Complete Actor II(Thursdays). Hip Hop Dance is open to ages 9 - 14. 

The Junior Repertory Company (ages 12 - 14) will be mounting a main stage

production of Alice in Wonderland this winter. Rehearsals will be Mondays

and Thursdays, 4:30 - 6:30 pm, starting January 10, with performances March 17 - 20.

Auditions are December 20 & 23, 4:30 - 6:30 pm (if these dates have come and

gone by the time you see this, we encourage you to contact Oddfellows to arrange

an additional audition date).

Circophony Teen Circus, open to ages 12 - 20, is also mounting a main

stage production this winter. The Things That Go Creep is an original circus-theater

piece inspired by classic horror films. Auditions were held in mid-December, but

anyone interested in joining is again invited to contact Oddfellows to arrange an audition.

Rehearsals will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6 - 9 pm, starting January 4, with

performances March 3 - 5. Prior circus experience is not required.

Middletown Public School students may complement their class experience with

Oddbridge, an extended day program which provides transport from Middletown

schools to the Playhouse, a snack, and supervised arts activities, games and homework

help before classes start. Oddbridge extends through the school year, providing special

programs and field trips on early dismissal days or days when regular Oddfellows’

classes are not in session.

For more details on times, tuition and class descriptions, please go to

If you have specific questions, email or call (860) 347-6143.

Tuition varies from $120 - $300, but Financial Aid is available for all programs.

It is Playhouse policy that the arts should be available to every young person regardless of

ability to pay - no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Oddfellows Playhouse, founded in 1975, is Connecticut’s oldest and largest performing arts program for young people. Oddfellows programs are made possible with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD; City of Middletown; The Fund for Greater Hartford; 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; Middlesex United Way; CHEFA Cultural Relief Grant; New England Foundation for the Arts/New England Arts Resilience Fund; George & Grace Long Foundation; and many generous individual donors.