Saturday, August 30, 2014

Opinion: Conservation Group Fails Fairness Test

The following was submitted to The Eye by Molly Salafia. The Eye welcomes all signed articles.
To the Editor,

I was troubled to learn of the "bipartisan" Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) endorsements of local candidates for the State Senate and House.The issue is that not one of the local Republican candidates received the League's questionnaire. Specifically those representing districts which include Middletown, Angel Fernandez (R-100th District), Linda Syznkowicz (R-33rd District), and Len Suzio (R-13th District) did not receive CTLCV's survey; a fact confirmed by campaign representatives upon my inquiry.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Middlesex Community College Foundation Hosts Third Annual Red Moon Fest

On September 6, the Middlesex Community College Foundation will host its third annual Red Moon Fest. The Red Moon Fest is an evening celebration that benefits Middlesex Community College students and programs. The event includes a live and silent auction, a performance by a local jazz trio, and features an assortment of wine, beer, savories, and sweets. The event will be held in Chapman Hall from 6 – 9 p.m. For sponsorship, advertising, auction donations, or to purchase tickets ($60 each), contact Corey Martell at 860-343-5701 or visit
This year, the Red Moon Fest is also a celebration of the Health and Life Science Initiative at the College. This new initiative is a federally-funded program to expand health and life science learning and training opportunities for MxCC students. Portland residents Dr. Virginia Nunez Olson and Dr. Robert Olson, co-owners of Pieper-Olson Veterinary Hospital, will serve as 2014 honorary co-chairs. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be dedicated to enhancing this new program.
Live auction items include a seven-night vacation at the Beso del Sol Resort in Florida (airfare not included), seven-nights at a Cape Cod resort, a long weekend in Maine during peak foliage season, a South African Safari (airfare not included), and two opportunities to name a street on the MxCC campus for one year.
The silent auction features a variety of items donated by local businesses including restaurant gift cards, artwork, hotel stays, museum visits, and tickets to sporting events and theater performances. Additional items will be added to both auctions through the event date.
The MxCC Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt public charity dedicated to the support of Middlesex Community College and its students, who come from throughout Middlesex, New Haven, and Hartford counties. The Middlesex Community College Foundation raises funds to support for student scholarships, faculty development, instructional and technical equipment, public lectures and programs that contribute to the quality of life here in Connecticut.

Summer Sounds Series in Harbor Park! The Middletown Symphonic Band - September 2


The Final Performance of the Series is taking place under the pavilion located between the Mattabesset Canoe Club and the City Boathouse. This location is about 200 yards south of the location we've been using this year. There is lawn seating around the pavilion.

The Middletown Symphonic Band closes out the 2014 Summer Sounds season with a concert of popular tunes celebrating their 35th anniversary on Tuesday, September 2nd.

Kickin Chicken, serving chicken/fish/pork chops/sandwiches and more, will be onsite offering food to feed your body while the music feeds your soul.

Performances take place at Harbor Park this year. It's a great place to hear the music, enjoy the views of and along the Connecticut River, and have a picnic! It's all free and brought to you by the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Rain location is the South Church sanctuary at the corner of Main and Union Sts. across from the South Green. If unsure of the weather/location, visit for an update.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ SABLE!!! Support your local all feline non-profit, no-kill rescue and shelter!! ADOPT TODAY!!

My name is Sable!
Can I Come Home With You?

I am an 11-year-old female kitty and I am best described as dainty and sweet! I am a bit shy when you first meet me, but once we are friends, I will greet you with a sift meow and will be so happy when you pet me.

My friends at Cat Tales tell me I should be in a fancy cat food commercial because I am so beautiful with my long, black fur and pretty yellow eyes.

I will be content as the only cat in the house, however if you have a cat-friendly dog, that’s okay with me!  Children and loud noises scare me, so I would do best in a quiet home.

If you are looking for a sweet, new kitty, please come and meet me, Sable!

Please call Cat Tales at (860) 344-9043 or

Email: to inquire about Sable!

Ambassadors Arbo And Downs

Rani Arbo and Dave Downs were named Music Ambassadors for the city, in a ceremony in City Hall on Wednesday. Mayor Drew and Stephan Allison, coordinator of the City Arts Office, introduced the two musicians, who have been performing in our city and beyond for several decades.
Mayor Drew, Stephen Allison

Arbo sings, fiddles, and strums with her band Daisy Mayhem, playing small venues and large festivals to great acclaim all over North America. This summer she sang at the Art Farm production of King Lear, at Middlesex Community College, and at the Lunenberg Folk Harbor Festival in Nova Scotia, among many other places.  Daisy Mayhem's most recent recording is Some Bright Morning, released by Signature Sounds to widespread critical acclaim. The band describes it as agnostic gospel revival music.

Downs is a singer and songwriter who has performed at coffee shops around the city. He is a prolific writer of songs that chronicle the history and places of Middletown. Despite his now elevated status as a Music Ambassador, Downs said he is unwilling to relinquish his title as CEO of CHUSA (the Connecticut Highly Unsuccessful Songwriters Association). Dave was profiled last year in a highly unsuccessful media outlet.

Allison credited Mayor Drew as the creative force behind the award, and announced that the City Hall telephone system would be playing recordings by these two musicians for the next year.  When callers are on hold, they will henceforth no longer be subjected to music which the Mayor called "horrible", but will instead hear loops of music by Arbo or by Downs.
Dave Downs, Stephan Allison, Rani Arbo

Arbo and Downs each gave a broad thanks to the city for its support of the arts. Arbo's remarks focused on the community of artists that call our city its home.
This is a great place to be an artist, a great place to be a musician. The fact that the city has collectively put the arts community forward, not just the two of us, but the whole arts community, as an ambassador for the town to bring people here, and taken time and money to celebrate--it says a lot. It brings new people to town. It gives people who live here many ways to celebrate their collective culture ...
It’s collaborations with Wesleyan, with chorales, and there’s classical music and jazz and herb gardens. The amount of effort that Middletown puts forth is not lost on anyone. And it’s a pleasure and honor to be part of that community and to share and to benefit from the feeling of being in an arts community, which not every town can offer.
The ceremony closed, fittingly, with an Arbo-Downs duet, an inspired rendition of the Irving Berlin classic, Blue Skies.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Auditions for Circophony Youth Circus September 9

Performers of all variety between the ages of 12 and 18 are encouraged to audition for Circophony Youth Circus Company.  Auditions for the 2014-15 season will be held Tuesday, September 9, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

Circophony is a select youth circus company committed to providing first class training to aspiring circus performers while creating an exciting new show which will tour to schools, clubs, fairs, corporate events, festivals, and perhaps even the 2015 American Youth Circus Festival.
Circophony is a collaboration between ARTFARM and Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater. The Company is open by audition to young people ages twelve to eighteen. Prior circus experience is not required.
Young people selected for the Company receive a rigorous combination of circus training, physical conditioning and rehearsal/production experience. Members are expected to arrive punctually, attend all rehearsals and performances, work hard, be strong team players, and train independently outside of rehearsals.
If you do not have circus experience, a background in dance, gymnastics, theater, cheerleading, parkour, hooping, magic or serious physical activity is helpful. The show is directed by ARTFARM’s Executive Director Dic Wheeler, who has been performing, directing and teaching circus in the United States and Europe for thirty years. Dic is the founder of the Children’s Circus of Middletown and ARTFARM’s Circus for a Fragile Planet, and is a member of the American Youth Circus Organization and American Circus Educators Association. Circophony’s Lead Trainer is circus performer and teacher Allison McDermott, an acrobat, aerialist, graduate of the Professional Track Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Vermont, and Director of the Advanced Circus Program at the Children’s Circus of Middletown.
Circophony is in its third season, though the Oddfellows Traveling Circus has been around since 2001. The 2013-14 show was Circus in Wonderland, a circus inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and the previous season Circophony toured Circophony’s Vaudeville Circus, a celebration of Vaudeville.
General Auditions for the Company will be held on Tuesday, September 9, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Auditioners should call or email to pre-register, arrive early, dress to move, and plan to stay for the entire two hours. Each auditioner must prepare and present a one minute solo performance showcasing your best circus skill or skills. Solo should have an entrance, series of events/tricks leading to a climax, and an exit. Music, props, costume are all encouraged. Show us what you can do and demonstrate your ability to create original material.
Circophony’s new show will open in December at Oddfellows Playhouse, then be available for touring through June. Rehearsals will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6 – 9 pm, starting September 16. Tuition for the entire season is $300.
For more information about auditioning for Circophony or booking the 2014-15 touring show, contact ARTFARM ( or Oddfellows Playhouse (

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Informational Workshop: September 10 at deKoven House Community Center

The Rockfall Foundation invites grant proposals from nonprofit organizations, towns, and schools to support environmental education, conservation and planning projects that will impact Middlesex County. The deadline for receipt of completed applications is in November, 2014 and awards will be announced in February, 2015.

            Grants will be awarded for projects that contribute to the general environmental education of the public, promote environmental planning, contribute to the preservation of the Connecticut River watershed, or fund an internship with a non-profit organization for an environmental project. Special consideration will be given to projects that engage youth (preschool through college) or are multi-generational.

                Proposals must have ties to Middlesex County in order to be considered.  This includes projects or programs based in Middlesex County as well as applicants based in Middlesex County.  Proposals that focus on the Connecticut River corridor or Long Island Sound will also be considered as long as there is a demonstrated impact on Middlesex County. 

            All those who are interested in submitting a proposal are invited to an informal grants informational workshop on Wednesday, September 10th at 5 p.m. at the deKoven House Community Center, 27 Washington Street, Middletown.  Registration is appreciated but not necessary.

      Detailed guidelines and eligibility requirements as well as a grant application can be obtained from the foundation's website, , or by calling the foundation's office at 860-347-0340.  To register for the workshop, or for additional information about Rockfall grants, contact Tony Marino, Grants Administrator,, or phone (860) 347-0340. 

            The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut's oldest environmental organizations. Rockfall's mission is to be a catalyst-- bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the natural environment of Middlesex County and region.

Another Beautiful Evening for Music at Harbor Park

Summer Sounds Series in Harbor Park!
Elite Syncopation - August 26

Elite Syncopation covers late 19th century/early 20th century jazz including ragtime. The quintet has been touring the United States from coast to coast for over a decade, performing their unique interpretations of ragtime and early jazz.

Kickin Chicken, serving chicken/fish/pork chops/sandwiches and more, will be onsite offering food to feed your body while the music feeds your soul.

Performances take place at Harbor Park. It's a great place to hear the music, enjoy the views of and along the Connecticut River, and have a picnic! The area is well-lit. There is limited parking at the park but plenty of additional free parking in Melilli Plaza (after 7 p.m.) and the walk under Route 9 gets you into the park.

It's all free and brought to you by the Middletown Commission on the Arts. Questions/inquiries, contact the Arts Office at or 860.638.4510.

Monday, August 25, 2014

MCA/City Arts Creates Music Ambassador Program

The Middletown Commission on the Arts/City Arts & Culture Office has announced the inaugural awardees of the title Music Ambassador for the City of Middletown.

Dave Downs and Rani Arbo are the City’s first ambassadors.

A ceremony proclaiming 

Dave Downs Day on August 27
Rani Arbo Day on August 28

will take place in the
Mayor’s Office
Room 209
Municipal Building (City Hall)
245 Dekoven Drive
11 a.m.
Wednesday August 27, 2014

The public is invited to the ceremony.
Please call the Mayor’s Office at 860.638.4801 if you plan to attend.

In addition to being recognized for their valuable artistic and creative contributions, the Music Ambassadors’ music will become the featured ‘music on hold’ for all City phones. While the City strives to answer calls promptly and avoid putting someone on hold, when those occasions do occur the music you will hear is that of our local artists, Dave Downs or Rani Arbo.

The City endeavors to elect similar ambassadors annually, highlighting the great talent that exists within our city limits.

Inquiries: call the City Arts Office - 860.638.4510,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Construction to Begin on Kayak and Canoe Launch

After many years of uphill struggle, construction of the boat launch on the Coginchaug River adjacent to the City’s recycling center is scheduled to begin on September 22. 

The Jonah Center wants to thank the members of CRAG (Coginchaug River Access Group); Joe Samolis, Chief of Staff for Mayor Dan Drew; Bill Russo, Director of Public Works; and Michiel Wackers, Director of Planning, Conservation, and Development for the critical roles they each played. Pat Munger Construction Company in Branford is the contractor.

The most critical part of the launch, the paved ramp leading into the water, will be constructed this fall. Other amenities such as information kiosk, paved turnaround, and solar lighting, will have to wait until more funds become available.  

For the full story of the boat launch project, visit the Jonah Center website here 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Middletown Musician, Steve Crabtree, Debuts Country Band at The Buttonwood Tree , JAZZ Saturday

 Tonight at 8 pm - Friday 8/22 - TBT hosts the local band, Cart*wheel. They're a lively bunch playing COUNTRY music and will keep your toes tapping!

Erin Harmon – guitar, vocals
Frank Carta – pedal steel
Hugh Smolin – bass
Steve Crabtree – guitar, vocals

Saturday the lineup at TBT is:

Aligned with Source Workshop -  10:30 - noon. Topic: "Merging With All That Your Are". Includes guided meditation and Q&A.

Concert with Dan Arcamone Jazz Group -
Dan Arcamone – guitar
Sean Nowell – saxophone
Henry Lugo – bass
Joe Abba – drums
Quote by David Geller on previous TBT concert:
"Arcamone thoughtfully watched over his quartet, directing them toward some intense sounds. He was able to use his guitar’s versatility to expand the four-piece band into somewhat of a mini-orchestra, creating woodwind and organ-like imitations and mind-bending outbursts. ...
The audience was clearly passionate about the music, with frequent ovations after solos. The quartet’s vibrant style created a radiance that engulfed the diverse crowd."

Congratulations to Rani Arbo and Dave Downs!
They are first Middletown Music Ambassadors, a new program initiated by the City's Commission on the Arts (the MCA). Maybe one day Steve Crabtree will be among those honored with this title! Both Rani and Dave have performed at The Buttonwood Tree in the past.

TBT is located in the former Arriwani Hotel - 605 Main Street.   860.347.4957
Free parking is plentiful along Main Sreet, behind It's Only Natural market and at the corner of Grand and Main. Refreshments are available including desserts Slambovian coffee, beer, wine and natural soft drinks.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cat Tales ~ Kitty of the Week ~ TRIXIE ~ Non profit, no kill feline rescue & shelter ~ Adopt Today!

Kitty of the Week


HI!!  My name is Trixie.
Take Me Home With You!

I am an adorable, 1-year-old female kitten. I am very petite but full of energy! I love to play and thrive on attention!

I will take my paw and pat the Cat Tales volunteers heads from my cage to let them know I want to play and be held.  I am so happy when people are around to give me attention and I give lots of affection in return.

I am a special needs kitten - I am FELV+ (people cannot catch this). I get along well with other cats, but they should be FELV+ too, or I’d do great as an only pet. I prefer a home with children over 8 years old. A cat-experienced person or family who will be mindful of my health and well-being is best.  

Cat Tales is seeking permanent adoption for me and will tell you the best way to take care of me.

If you want the happiest, most lovable kitten around, come meet me, Trixie!

Please call Cat Tales at (860) 344-9043 or

Email: to inquire about Trixie!!
Visit our website at