Sunday, April 26, 2015

Garden Club Celebrates 100 years

From The Middletown Garden Club
On May 19, Mayor Daniel Drew and the Common Council will issue a proclamation naming the day Middletown Garden Club Day in recognition of the club’s 100th Birthday.

Events leading up to the day included the April 24 Arbor Day Dedication of 35 trees planted by the club on Washington St., High St. & Veterans Green.

Members and friends will gather at a Gala at St. Clements Castle in Portland on May 15 to mark the actual date that the club began in 1915. The Gala includes a cocktail hour, dinner, music from ten decades and, of course, flowers. Reservations to the black tie optional ticketed event must be made by May 1. Contact Patsy Mylchreest at 860 398-1391 for more information.
On May 16, Armed Forces Day, the club will dedicate a Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker on Veterans Green. The Blue Star Memorial Marker program was begun by National Garden Clubs, Inc. after World War II and the markers honor all who have served in the Armed Forces. The dedication ceremony is at 11:00 am.

The Club’s final ceremony will be the installation of a bench at the Palmer Taylor nature preserve in Portland on Thursday, June 11 at 5:30 pm. The preserve, which is overseen by the Middlesex Land Trust, was donated by the late Prudence Palmer and her family. Prudence was a Middletown Garden Club member.

The Centennial Celebration started in November with a month-long exhibit at the Middlesex County Historical Society headquarters. Parts of the exhibit, showing the club’s accomplishments and history of community service, continue to be shown, currently at City Hall and beginning May 11 at the Russell Library.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

New Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance Gets Grant

Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance has been awarded a four-year, $100,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support the participation of low-income students and students of color in ICPP’s Master’s and Certificate programs through the ICPP Scholarship Fund.

Founded in 2010, the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance is a center for the academic study of the presentation and contextualization of contemporary performance, and offers an interdisciplinary, graduate-level education in innovative and relevant curatorial approaches to developing and presenting time-based art. The Institute, housed at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, now offers a Master of Arts in Performance Curation, which will launch in July 2015, in addition to a ten-month, post-graduate Certificate, now in its fourth year.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tips for Advanced Genealogical Research

This program was originally scheduled for January 2015 but was postponed due t inclement weather.
The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut presents Godfrey Memorial Library Director Beth Mariotti, who will speak on the multitude of resources available online and how to use them, on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 1:30 at Godfrey Memorial Library, 134 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT. 

Get tips for:

·         Discovering which documents are available online

·         Using databases

·         Successful Google searches

·         Free sources such as ICONN and

·         Managing online documents

Free and open to the public.  For additional information, please visit our web page.

Opinion: South Fire District Budget: VOTE YES!!!!

Submitted by South Fire District Commission members. The Eye welcomes all signed opinion pieces. See also the opinion piece from the Dan Penney, adjacent to this one.
 As Fire Commission members, we urge you to vote "YES" on the Budget on Tuesday April 28th.

Voting is from 6 AM to 8 PM at the firehouse on Randolph Road.  We believe the budget is a fair balance between our responsibility to provide you with adequate fire, rescue and EMS service, and our desire, as taxpayers, to keep taxes as low as possible.  

Opinion: South Fire District Budget: VOTE NO!!!!

Submitted by Dan Penney. The Eye welcomes all signed opinion pieces. See also the opinion piece from the South Fire District, adjacent to this one.
To the editor:!! ! ! ! ! ! ! April 22, 2015

The South Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners has scheduled voting on the proposed 2015 - 2016 budget for Tuesday, April 28, 2015 from 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the South District Firehouse.

Why vote NO?

Arbor Day Celebration Today

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Buttonwood Hosts Legendary Songwriter Eric Taylor and NHIC

This weekend at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center:

Eric Taylor is a master storyteller and has been one of the finest southern songwriters for the last four decades. Influencing such well-known artists as Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett (both of whom have covered several of his songs) and Steve Earle, Taylor tours extensively throughout North America and Europe. He has appeared on Austin City Limits, Late Night With David Letterman, NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Mountain Stage” and BBC Radio.

A mesmerizing performer whose shows will leave you wanting more.

“I’m always the opening act when I’m around Eric. I love his voice, and he has a great narrative quality and sense of detail. He sort of takes you out of your own reality and into the reality of his songs. It’s good writing no matter how you cut it.” – Lyle Lovett

“Eric Taylor is an enormous talent..poet, actor and truly one of the great writers of our time. His thoughtful and humorous introductions for his songs is great theater..and beautifully frame the gritty songs he sings. The evening with Eric was truly an enriching experience.” – R. Ralston, Coolwater Ranch Concerts                                                             

Seats will be limited, $15 in advance / $18 at the door 
(no free seats will be available for this show)
Read more / Reserve your seat here

Also this weekend:
Aligned with Source workshop "Miracles in Your Life"  10:30-noon includes guided meditation $5.

NHIC - New Haven Improvisers Collective
Reveal their new CD, ELECTRONHIC - full of improvised jazz  Saturday, April 26, 8 pm $10.
Read more and Reserve your seat here

North End Block Party Saturday

The North End Block Party is happening this Saturday, April 25th, from 1 to 4PM, taking place at Donovan Park at the Macdonough School - 66 Spring Street.

It is a free, family-friendly event for all, right after NEAT’s Annual Pride Day. There will be a celebration of the North End’s vibrant community and a chance to get to know your neighbors, along with food, games, kid-centric activities and live entertainment. Families will also be coached on how to create a family health history.

The AmeriCorps members and The North End Action Team (NEAT) have joined forces to create a neighborhood block party to unify a wonderfully diverse community. The goal is to create community engagement as well as supporting activities that generate health and wellbeing in the North End community. A number of city businesses, as well as the Middletown Police Department, will also be volunteering their time or donating activities and food.

The Block Party features family friendly games like kickball, basketball and bingo, activities like hula hooping, bouncy houses, gardening and face painting activities as well as a BBQ, all for free! In addition, all Block Party attendees will be entered to win a raffle featuring prizes from city favorites including but not limited to Krust, Eli Cannon, NoRA and Mondo!

"The Bald Soprano" (through Sat. Apr. 25)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to stage manager Julia Tyminski '17, and Albert Tholen '15 and Grace Nix '15, who are performing as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in the Wesleyan University Theater Department production of Eugène Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano," which runs through Saturday, April 25, 2015 in the CFA Theater, in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog.

Wesleyan University's Theater Department presents "The Bald Soprano."
Sitting (left to right): Sara Fayngolz '17, Natalie May '18, Peter McCook '16, Grace Nix '15.
Standing (left to right): Edward Archibald '17, Albert Tholen '15. Photo by John Carr.
In 1950, Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco wrote The Bald Soprano, one of the seminal plays of Theater of the Absurd. He was inspired by the cliché dialogues between the imaginary Mr. and Mrs. Smith in an English phrasebook for beginners. Albert Tholen ’15 and Grace Nix ’15 play Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the production by the Wesleyan University Theater Department, directed by Professor of Theater Yuri Kordonsky.

“We are a proper British couple with a twist,” says Ms. Nix with a sly smile.

The entire play takes place in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in their home on the outskirts of London. “It’s a drawing room drama,” says Mr. Tholen. “One that goes horribly awry.”

With The Bald Soprano, Mr. Ionesco rejected coherent plot, character development, and the concept of realistic drama. Through dark and daring humor, the play discusses the futility of meaningful communication in contemporary society, and the tragedy of language in a universe driven by chance.

Twelve Good Reasons to Support the School Budget

Ed McKeon is a member of the Middletown Board of Ed.  This opinion piece reflects his opinion alone, and not those of the board, or any other member of the board. 

An edited version of this piece appeared in the Middletown Press.

The threadbare 30-year-old MHS marching band uniforms.
The Superintendent has made her budget request known.  She’s made it clear that we need a 5.92%, or $4,509,832 increase in the school budget to continue providing quality education to students in Middletown.  The mayor calls a 3.02% increase is full-funding.  Reports say several members of the Common Council agree.  On April 28 the Council will consider the thoughts of the public before they make a final decision.

As chairman of the budget committee for the BOE, I support a fully-funded budget, at 5.92%, which will allow the district to make real educational progress for Middletown’s students.

Here are 12 good reasons you should attend the April 28 meeting and speak in favor of the Superintendent’s budget.

  1. Your house will be worth more.
You don’t have to take my word for it.  Ask any real estate agent.  What’s one of the first things a family asks about before buying a house in town?  Right -- schools.  The value of your home, and even your commercial property, is directly tied to the quality of schools in your community.  So, if an elected official consistently underfunds schools, that official is eroding the value of your property.  Providing adequate education funding is a sign of fiduciary responsibility.

  2.  The state is about to disappoint us once again.
The governor, in releasing his budget, crowed that once again he was not cutting funding for education.  That’s not exactly the truth.  The governor proposed no cuts to the infamously complex, and notoriously unfair ECS (Educational Cost Sharing) formula.  I won’t waste your time trying to explain it, but I can tell you that the formula is some $600 million underfunded statewide.  Another recent study showed that some wealthy communities are overfunded by the formula, while others, like Middletown, are significantly underfunded.  In Middletown’s case, we receive $12 million less than we ought to under current circumstances.  As for the flat-funding proposed by the governor, it ignores inflation, contractual obligations and the costs of mandates imposed by the state itself, so, flat-funding is actually a cut.  Finally, while ECS remains flat-funded, the governor’s budget proposes cutting more than $300,000 for other items Middletown’s school district is obliged to pay for, including youth services, adult ed, internet costs, and the Interdistrict Cooperative Math Academy.  The legislature is toying with the ECS formula, the MBR (minimum budget requirement), and the redistribution of auto taxes, all of which, if passed, are likely to have negative unintended consequences for Middletown.  House Speaker Brendan Sharkey admitted that the legislature ought to be funding special education costs at 100%, but won’t, because the state doesn’t have the funds (leaving municipalities to foot the bill).  The legislature doesn’t appear to have the courage or the will to fix education funding once and for all.  They’ve passed the buck, once more, to local taxpayers.

  3.  It’s a scrape-by budget.
At at 5.92% increase, the 2015-2016 school budget is another scrape-by budget.  It makes some improvements in the schools, and it avoids any significant cuts.  What most people don’t realize is that Superintendent Pat Charles delivered the 5.92% budget to the board after making more than $800,000 in cuts.  Those cuts include: Art and Music department head; a guidance Counselor at Keigwin; 1.5 New Custodians; district-wide new plumber, electrician, HVAC; athletic cuts to WW Cross Country, WW Fall Cheerleading, WW Unified Sports, WW Intramurals, MHS Fall

Conservation Commission And Inland Wetlands Seek Citizen Volunteers

The Planning, Conservation and Development Department is seeking volunteers for two committees.

The Planning, Conservation and Development Department is seeking citizen volunteers to fill vacancies on two advisory panels. There are currently four vacancies on the Conservation Commission and five vacancies on the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission.

The Conservation Commission is an advisory panel to the Common Council on open space acquisition and management, and meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission grants, denies, or limits activities within and proximal to inland wetland resources within the City and meets the first Wednesday of each month at City Hall at 7 p.m.

Anyone interested in serving on any of the committees should contact Planning Director Michiel Wackers at or by phone at 860-638-4840.

Appointments to city committees must be made by the mayor and confirmed by the Common Council, as well as comply with the minority representation requirements under State Statute.