Saturday, October 31, 2009


Halloween has always been an important tradition in my neighborhood, so this year I decided to document it and share it with you. All of the costumes this year were totally brilliant!

Candidate Profile: Common Council - Robert Stefurak

Robert Stefurak, Sr (R)
Candidate for Common Council


Retired Teamster

Member of Westfield Residents Association

Host of the Cable Access Show “The Diner”

Married to Karen, Father to Donna, Debbie, Bob, and Michael

Qualifications for position

Zoning Board of Appeals Commissioner

Reason for running

After watching the Democratic controlled Common Council for the past sixteen years, with their wasteful spending and poor budget practices – I could not stand for it anymore.

I decided to run having the knowledge of the average person and being down to earth – unlike the Democrats of the Council.


Improve the relationship between the BOE and Common Council.

Stop bonding for road improvements.

Improve Senior Services.

Candidate Profile: Common Council - Vinnie Loffredo

Vinnie Loffredo (D)
Incumbent Candidate for Common Council


Born and raised in Middletown; graduated St. Sebastian’s Elementary School, Middletown High(MHS), and Marquette University; graduate study at Wesleyan University’s master in arts and liberal studies; certified biology and science teacher; taught at Guilford Junior High School and Middletown High School; directed alternative high school program, School-Within-A -School; worked as an advocate for strong and vital public education at the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) for the past 35 years; currently serve as CEA’s chief lobbyist at the state Capitol.

Married to Dora Glinn; two adult children and one grandchild.

Experience and Qualifications

I became interested in politics and public service as a student at MHS through its annual Mayor-For- A-Day program. The call to public service made by a new, young, and dynamic president, John F. Kennedy, made a very strong impression on me. I have always believed that it’s very important to be an active participant in the political process.

Since the late 1970s, I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve as an elected representative in my community. My first city council term began in the 1970s and continued throughout the 1980s. In 1989, I ran for the remaining term of then - State Representative Paul Gionfriddo, who had been elected mayor. I was elected, completed his term, and was re-elected for a full two-year term. Most recently, I’m completing two additional terms on the city council and seeking re-election for another two years.

During these years of service, I’ve served Middletown residents on many different committees, boards and commissions. Currently, chair Personnel Review and Fire Services Cost Committee, serve as a member of the Public Safety Commission, the Retirement Board, MHS VO-AG Building Committee, and the MHS Locker Building Committee.

Reasons for Running

I care very strongly about our community. I believe that I can make a positive contribution toward Middletown’s continued growth and development. I enjoy working with members of the community, my council colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, as we discuss, debate, and resolve the many issues that come before us.


· Fulfill my fiduciary responsibility and control spending is a priority during these difficult economic times while maintaining essential services.

· Provide taxpayers with a comprehensive review and report of the fire services and the cost- savings recommendations for our three fire districts.

· Complete construction of needed MHS locker rooms for young men and women as well as for competing teams.

· Solve our waste and water treatment issue by having Middletown accepted as a member of the Mattabassett Sewage District.

· Promote responsible economic development while protecting the environment and our natural resources.

· Be responsive to changing community interests/needs.

Break in Weather Makes for Successful Pumpkin Fest

The rains moved out, and an unusually mild Halloween Day made for a successful Pumpkin Fest at Long Lane Farm where Wesleyan students, faculty and residents made music, painted faces, and at organic Halloween treats. An impromptu leaf-throwing fight broke out between Wes students and local kids, and while outnumbered, the youngsters had more stamina and watched as the Wesleyan students fled the fists full of foliage.

Democrats Accuse Giuliano Campaign of Dirty Tricks

On Halloween day when goblins and ghouls prowl the streets of Middletown, the Democratic mayoral campaign of Dan Drew has accused his opponent of haunting the Democratic campaign with dirty tricks.

In a press release, the Dems accused Giuliano's team of misleading senior citizens into thinking that Giuliano was a Democrat, "presumably to trick senior Democrats into voting for a Republican". In addition, the Democrats accused the Republican team of defacing Dan Drew's campaign signs.

In a strong denial of the accusation, Giuliano accused the Republicans of fabricating their accusations from "whole cloth."

In a quotation from the Democratic town chairman in the press release, Democrats denounced the alleged behavior.

“Whether it’s by his campaign or his supporters, Republican Seb Giuliano needs to denounce this outrageous behavior,” said Daniel Russo, Middletown’s Democratic Town Committee Chairman. “It’s disenfranchising seniors, and it’s designed to intimidate them.”

"If they think we have time to be doing stuff like that, they're flattering themselves," Giuliano said in a phone interview. "That's just pathetic. Nobody here is doing anything like that."

Regarding the sign mutilation, Giuliano laughed.

"If anyone is defacing Dan Drew's signs," Giuliano said. "It's Tom Serra. Have you seen his frankenstein signs? They're made from some old Serra campaign signs, and some new Dan Drew signs, and they look ridiculous."

Happy Halloween Middletown Style

So I guess you could call this piece an editorial or a personal account. I don't really know which, or the purpose, but I grew up in Middletown and now in post-college years have found myself back here again. I suppose this town and experiences here have influenced my observations of the darker side of life, or should we say the lighter side of death? Today is Halloween, which has brought about a flood of memories for me.
I think it was when I was about 7 or 8 when, back in the mid 1990's, my dreams of what my adulthood would became a little more realistic and a lot less fantastical: I was not going to grow up magically be a movie star, turn blonde and be given a pink corvette by a boyfriend who looked like "Ken." I think this is when I became gravitated toward people who didn't travel with the pack, and who were a little out side of the norm, and thus the attraction I have always felt to the unique. At the time m y best friend and I started a "Mystery Club" because we were obsessed with the PBS show "Ghostwriter;" granted we were the only members.
I was never a brave kid. I spent days with my grandmother in the house my grandfather built. After someone broke into the home in the middle of the day when no one was home, that's probably when I became aware of malice. The idea that someone or something could be present when you were not expecting it, that invasions of my sense of safety were possible. What if the robbers weren't really gone but hiding in or watching the house? If unwanted persons could come into my bubble then why not other more scary things? I remember being too scared get up at night when I slept at Grandma's to go to the bathroom alone; she finally got a little upset and said, "Trust me there are no such thing as ghosts, If i died tomorrow and you stood on my grave and cried for me to get you a glass of water, you would die first waiting." This made me laugh and things were good for a while.
I went to Sunday school for a few years growing up, right on Main Street at First Baptist Church. Mostly because Mom thought I should be "well rounded", herself a Protestant, and because it was a great baby-sitter for a few hours. I mostly stopped going when we started going camping weekends, and when I realized other kids' parents usually went with them, not just dropped them off. Plus they stopped doing arts & crafts in the upper grades, bummer for me. The main issue was my parents unique conflict of beliefs, something which I now am proud of, and has made me be more open minded . It was the 1990's when the show "The X Files" began, which revitalized my Dad's interest in conspiracy theories. I suppose this too fueled my desire to be with the "out" crowd rather than the "in." He began taping documentaries on the JFK assassination, accounts of UFOs, and Nostrodamus. I think for the first time I saw my Dad read a book. I remember at night being upstairs and hearing the strange sounds from the TV show coming from the living room, and being scared. A teacher in 2nd or 3rd grade also watched the show and one science class discussed what our world would be like if there were other beings other than just us. This resulted in a week of me not sleeping, and a visit to school by my parents. I think to let the teacher know about how scared I had gotten and so Dad could meet another person who believed "the truth is out there." One night after not sleeping again and thinking I was hearing the hum of a spacecraft outside my window, I cornered my parents and demanded the truth: "Were there aliens? Would they take me?" Being an only child you are raised between being over protected and treated as a mini adult in a lot of ways. Mom said of course not. Dad said well yes, anything is possible, but if they took me they would bring me back. After more tears and waking them up, I think my parents got together and came up with the conclusion that if there were aliens, they only abducted people who wanted to go for a ride; and never took kids, and that it took a lot of gas to get to earth so they really didn't come too often.
Getting my license brought new freedom and places to explore. My '87 Delta Oldsmobile took to the roads around Maromas and Connecticut Valley Hospital many nights packed with friends ( car fit 7 can you believe it?) hoping we would see something. Well, we saw nothing. I got an slr camera and began taking pictures in black and white of the buildings hoping to capture an orb or a face in a window. Nothing. But I did get very artistic shots and started noticing the architecture and began falling in love with it, but just didn't know it yet. This strange magnetic attraction, and desire to feel a buildings essence pushed me towards my major in college, and the field I am in today.
I still drive around the CVH campus. I got plans of some of the torn down buildings from the state. One day home from break I drove through campus and saw that some of the buildings were being demolished.
I swear to this day I saw a building completely cut in half vertically, cross sectioned. From the car I thought i could see the exterior skin maybe 2 feet away from another interior concrete structure; each exterior window looked as if was false, with 2-3 small rooms behind it. I'd never seen a building from any of my field trips in college or text books that was being demolished quite this way; in pieces like a dissection. Was I seeing cells where the patients were held in secret areas behind a seemingly innocent fascade made to look like a brick Victorian? I planned that I would come back with a camera when it was brighter out. I went back the next day to take pictures and much to my dismay the building was leveled, a pile of rubble. I will never know if my childhood beliefs about the hospital on the hill had gotten the best of me, or I had seen something I was not supposed to. Either way I think I like not really knowing. During a lecture I recently attended I got the chance to ask Lorraine Warren, famed demonologist, about CVH, and she gave a clear answer of her never finding evidence of anything strange on the campus.
I waited 22 years to find MY answer to what happens to the human spirit when it passes over. I still don't know what the real explanation is, if I am crazy or somedays if I even believe my own memories of what I think I experienced. With time memories become ghosts themselves, traces of the true event. I watched my grandfather die of lung cancer over a 2 month period 3 years ago. He went to church every week. He never smoked. I watched a lively healthy person leave this world breath by breath day by day. I now know the body is only a shell of something else, what else I don't know. He waited to die a week so my younger cousins could visit from across country. He waited an half hour to die so that I was well on my way home from his home, and I wouldn't have to watch the final painful moments. His brain was consumed by cancer, doctors said he didn't know where he was anymore, he lost the ability to speak 3 weeks into the end, but his last words whispered to me the night he passed were "I'll see you tomorrow little one."
My grandfather had a passion for gardening. 2 weeks after his death I went outside to deadhead the roses in my parents yard. Again I have no idea why I felt compelled to do this at all. It was the summer. That day i saw more bumble bees than ever. Chipmunks. 4-5 squirrels. A robin, in August? Ok odd. But i didn't think anything of it until I was attacked, yeah attacked by a monarch butterfly. Usually butterflies tumble through the breezes just out of reach, but this one swarmed around my head, followed me through the yard, landed on my arm. I swatted and it kept at me like a wasp. I said "Ok! Ok I know you're here." The monarch flew off, gaining in height until it was out of site.
Happy Halloween.

Around Middletown in 80 Days - Day 68

Vinnies Jump & Jive Halloween Costume Ball
Beckham Hall

After staying up late celebrating All Hallow's Eve with the Phantom of the Opera, Phileas will continue to scare up some fun in his final days in Middletown. Look for Phileas tonight to be in costume at Vinnie's Jump and Jive "Swingen Hallowe'en Ball at Beckam Hall, Wesleyan University. Tickets are available and open to all. Everyone will be dancing to the J-Street Band with Josh Fialkoff. Beginners lesson 7-8 pm. Dancing from 8-11 pm. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. Phileas is a nod to classic literature will appear at midnight wearing the Mask of the Red Death.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Buttonwood Receives Grant from Liberty Bank

submitted by: Anne-Marie Cannata
The Liberty Bank Foundation has graciously awarded a $2,000 grant to
North End Arts Rising, Inc. for the Food Not Bombs food sharing
program which happens Sundays at The Buttonwood Tree on the corner of
Liberty and Main Streets.

It is with great honor and privilege that NEAR, Inc. accepts this
grant from Liberty Bank Foundation to support this worthy program.
Food Not Bombs offers freshly-prepared vegetarian dishes and
fellowship to anyone who wants it. They often have fresh fruit &
vegetables for folks to take with them and when it rains or snows we
move inside, sometimes sharing some music.

Shortly after 1997 when NEAR, Inc. had found it's new home in the
renovated Arriwani Hotel (formerly the Arrigoni Hotel and the March
Inn), a generous and kind-hearted Wesleyan student named Charles
LeGuerre brought Food Not Bombs to The Buttonwood Tree's front porch.
Being both a dedicated volunteer to the bookstore and FNB, Charles
made the decision to share the meal with others at the very place we
do today. This meal sharing program has served countless people over
the years and has joined people from many walks of life.

Those who have a compassion for others are welcome to join us as Food
Not Bombs prepares food at First Church of Christ, 190 Court Street,
Middletown around 11:30 am every Sunday.

The Liberty Bank Foundation has been a supporter of North End Arts
Rising, Inc. for many years and in many ways. We know that their
hearts are with us as they award this funding to support all of us who
seek to aid the hungry of our community.

submitted by:
Anne-Marie Cannata
Executive Director N.E.A.R., Inc. /
The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center
605 Main Street / PO Box 71
Middletown, CT 06457 / 860-347-4957

(Neale Donald Walsch)

Eye on the Air, October 30

The Last Word - Democratic and Republican Candidates for Mayor

Eye on the Air, Friday October 30, 1-2 PM, WESU, 88.1 FM.

Host: Ed McKeon. Guests, Republican incumbent candidate, Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and Democratic challenger Dan Drew. The premise will be to explore areas not covered in the (9) debates and candidate forums which have occured. The candidates will appear separately. Dan Drew will join Ed from 1-1:25 and Mayor Sebastian Giulano will join Ed from 1:30-1:55.

Candidate Profile: Common Council - David Bauer

David Bauer (R) Incumbent Candidate for Common Council

Born, raised and educated in Middletown.


2 term member of the Common Council – have served on:

· Board of Health

· Citizens’ Advisory Committee

· Senior Services Committee

· Shared Services Committee

· Water Pollution Control Authority

· Public Works Commission

· Public Safety Commission

· Economic Development Committee

o Parking Study Sub-Committees (2)


· Re-Development Agency

· CVH Advisory Committee

· Contract Compliance Committee

Qualifications for Position

Willingness to show up prepared for long meetings and listen to other people's opinions.

Reasons for running

I have identified many people in Middletown who would do a great job as elected officials. Sadly, theu are not running for office, but I am. I believe that I can do a better job on the Common Council than most other candidates running for this office.

Most candidates for office can say the right things, and profess that they want the right goals for Middletown, but there is a profound disconnect between their words and their actions. We don’t spend your money as if it were our own, and we favor the interests of the few in too many of our decisions. The clearest indicator of this is that Middletown’s Grand List has grown slower than all surrounding towns in the last decade, when we are blessed with so many resources.


· Require the budget process to project revenues and expenses five years out. Middletown’s budget should always be in the first year of a five-year budget plan. This will mandate that the Common Council, the Mayor’s office, and municipal directors have a common understanding of the direction of City services beyond the current year. City departments will have to articulate and publicize their operational strategies for all to see.

· Implement a citywide plan to deal with the economic pressures of increasing energy costs that is built up from the bottom up, neighborhood by neighborhood. This plan will help Middletown find ways to thrive with less energy and significantly help to attract jobs, and keep our youth from emigrating from Middletown

Candidate Profile: Common Council - Grady Faulkner

Grady Faulkner Jr. (D)
Incumbent Candidate for Common Council

I have lived in Middletown for more than 20 years after deciding this was the place to live and raise my family. I moved here because the City offers a diverse mix of urban, suburban and rural living as well as a rich cultural population.

I have served on the Council now for 3 and a half years now and enjoy the challenges in maintaining the things that attracted me to come and live here. My role on the Council is in Chairing the Insurance & Claims committee and serving on Citizens Advisory, Board of Health and the Youth Services Bureau.
I am a community ACTIVE person and have served on several non profits including Oddfellows Youth Theater, The Connection, MCSAAC, Middlesex Community College and the NAACP. In addition I worked on the organizing committee for the Middletown Community Conversations held last January throughout the City.

Qualifications for position
I am a resident who cares about the place I live and the people who make up my community. I bring my skills and creativity to the Council as an Accountant by trade and as a passionate Youth advocate; especially the teen to 25 population which needs both a voice and to know that the community does care about them and realizes they need our full support.

Reasons for running
I feel I can make a difference by being on the Council and making sure that those who have withdrawn from participating, find the initiative and motivation to re-engage in the community. The City cannot afford to have significant groups of citizens not contributing to the direction and prioritization of City affairs and initiatives. While we all lose access to new ideas and insights, we also invite estrangement and negativity when citizens isolate and create alternate societies that may prove to be counter to the unity which is essential to a healthy community.

I would like to continue to boost citizen engagement, improve the robustness of our Youth Services Bureau and the 40 Developmental Assets initiative and continue improving the development of Accountability controls and metrics so we can continually improve city operations and cut the cost of operating our local government.

H1N1 Flu Clinic Next Thursday

NOTE ADDED, FRIDAY 11PM, from Fire Chief Edward Badamo of South Fire District: Please be advised that appointments are no longer being taken for next Thursday's H1N1 Flu Clinic in Durham. However, there is a possibility that some additional vaccine may be available next week. People interested in trying to get vaccine should call the Durham Health Department at 343-6732 on Monday for more information.
This week's H1N1 flu vaccination clinic was completely booked, and to meet the demand for shots, another one has been scheduled for next week, note that reservations are required. From a Middletown Department of Health Press Release:
The fifth in a series of H1N1 flu clinics sponsored by MDA 36 has been scheduled:
Thursday, November 5
12 noon to 8:00 PM
The “Cow Palace” at the Durham Fairgrounds
The clinic is open only to residents of Cromwell, Durham, Haddam, Middlefield, and Middletown.

Participants must be 2 through 24 years of age in good health, or 25 through 49 years of age and live with or care for infants younger than 6 months of age, or are health care (including school nurses) or emergency medical personnel (licenses required). Also, individuals with long-term medical problems and pregnant women may receive the vaccine but must have written approval from their health care provider.

The H1N1 vaccine will likely be administered by intramuscular injection. People who have a severe allergy to eggs should not receive the vaccine. Parents or guardians should check with their health care provider to determine if the vaccine is appropriate for their child. The H1N1 vaccine is not effective against seasonal influenza.

The clinic is free and by reservation only. Proof of age and residency will be required.

Directions to the Cow Palace: Take CT Route 17 (Main Street) to the southern end of the Town Green. Use the entrance to the Town Hall (sign), and then proceed straight down the hill to the large green building.

More H1N1 flu clinics are expected to be scheduled for other segments of the population as vaccine becomes available. The clinics are sponsored by Mass Dispensing Area 36 comprised of the City of Middletown and the Towns of Cromwell, Durham, Haddam and Middlefield.

For more information or to make a appointment, please call 860-343-6732.

Around Middletown in 80 Days - Day 67

Hearts Pounding/Skins Taught
Memorial Chapel 8 pm
$4 General Admissions; $2 Wesleyan Students

Phileas will make yet another trip to explore the arts offerings of Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts. Phileas will spend the evening in Memorial Chapel. First he'll take in an exciting exploration of repertoire for percussion and keyboard instruments, featuring compositions by faculty and student composers and friends. Alvin Lucier "Hands" and "Sizzles", Neely Bruce "Vistas", and other works and premiers by Jay Hoggard, Ron Kuivilla and others, including the rock concerto for organ, "Tryptych" of Giovanni Mikhailov.

And since Phileas is from a classic novel that will be retold with a new twist at Oddfellows Playhouse in only a few more days...he'll stay in his seat and take in a horror classic that is being retold with live organ accompaniment at 10pm.

Halloween Silent Film: Phantom of the Opera
With live organ accompaniment

Friday, October 30, 10pm

Memorial Chapel
- Free admission

The annual Halloween silent film featuring Phantom of the Opera with live accompaniment by student organists. Costumes encouraged! Phileas will be dressed as a Wesleyan student.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friday Music & Dance (October 30)

My apologies that this information is getting to all of you so late.

There are so many events happening on Friday October 30 that an arts aficionado might have a hard time making a choice. I'm not sure staying home is an option.

The Yale Russian Chorus, Mark Bailey, Artistic Director, performs at 7 p.m. in Crowell Concert Hall. The group's repertoire features music that spans from the twelfth century to the twenty-first, and stretches across Eastern Europe from Slovakia to Georgia, including a variety of sacred and secular settings. These include ancient chant, folk songs, and works by Tchaikovsky, Bortnyansky, Kedrov, and Chesnokov, to name a few. The 16-man chorus has been in existence since 1953 and has performed in venues around the world. This concert is free and open to the public. For more information, go to

The Buttonwood Tree presents singers-songwriters Gail Wade and Brooks Williams in concert at 8 p.m. The duo has played the venue several times in the past few years and always draws a crowd. Williams is one of the finest acoustic guitar players on the planet and Ms. Wade has a fine voice and a strong songwriter. They will play separate sets and a few tunes together. For more information, call 347-4957.

The Fall Faculty Dance Concert, featuring new works by the Wesleyan dance faculty, takes place at 8 p.m. in the '92 Theater Friday and Saturday evenings. Faculty members Rachel Boggia and Iddi Saaka will perform solo and duet works in collaboration with several guest artists. For ticket information, go to or call 860-685-3355.

"Hearts Pounding and Skins Taut" is a concert taking place Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. in Wesleyan's Memorial Chapel featuring music for percussion and keyboard instruments. The program includes music composed by Wesleyan faculty members Ron Kuivila, Alvin Lucier (pictured), Neely Bruce and Jay Hoggard as well as works by Christian Wolff, Xiaoyong Chen and Giovanni Mikhailov. Go online at the Wesleyan address above for more information.

Despite Promises to Close, Juvenile Training Center Expands Services

A state bonding request scheduled for consideration and approval Friday indicates the state is planning an $8,000,000 renovation of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School on Silver Street, East of Connecticut Valley Hospital.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) is planning to renovate one of the six cottages at the facility, and create a physical segregation from the other cottages, with separate recreational and educational facilities. The segregated cottage will handle the younger students.

"Essentially it's a segregation of the middle school kids from the high school kids," according to Josh Howroyd, a spokesman for DCF.

The renovations will occur within the current boundaries of the CJTS.

In 2005, Governor Jodi Rell pledged to close the facility and tasked the State Department of Public Works to find an alternate use for the $57 million facility.

According to a 2005 Hartford Courant article:

Rell said she is shutting down the 4-year-old Connecticut Juvenile Training
School and replacing it with two smaller regional facilities for boys and one
for girls that advocates said are long overdue.

If the legislature backs Rell's plan financially, one of the largest projects
of Gov. John G. Rowland's scandal-plagued administration will close down and
Connecticut's ailing juvenile justice system will get a fresh start.

"You cannot help but be terribly saddened by the failure of CJTS to fulfill its
promise ...," Rell said. "But as a leader, I cannot allow the failure of this
institution to continue. As a leader, I cannot fail these young men again."

Rell is seeking to close the school by 2008. The state Department of Public
Works has 90 days to come up with other uses for the site.

The facility was not closed as planned because the state legislature did not come up with the funding of smaller regional centers.

(DCF photo.)

Since then, the legislature has redefined the age of juvenile adjudication. Currently, individuals are tried as juveniles if they commit a crime before their 16th birthday. Next year that threshold rises to age 17, and in 2011, it rises to age 18.

"I saw the handwriting on the wall," Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said today. "As soon as the legislature passed the law which raised the age of juvenile status to 17, I knew they would never close the place down. "

"With the change in age of juvenile adjudication we will see a modest rise in the number of juveniles coming through the CJTS," Howroyd said.

The facility was designed to handle 200 juveniles who had been adjudicated, but currently operates at between 100-120 youths. The DCF expects the modest increase to keep the population below the original maximum number.

"It was designed as a maximum security facility, and it's the only one of its kind in the state," Giuliano said. "Where else are they going to put those kids."

Howroyd explained that serious felonies, such as murder cases, allow juveniles to be tried in adult dockets, and those individuals are incarcerated in adult facilities. In addition, juveniles awaiting trial are held in juvenile detention facilities in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.

Juveniles held at CJTS are typically at the facility for less than a year, and receive education and job training.

"We're trying to break the cycle of crime," Howroyd explained.

The initial bonding request is for planning, testing and developing architectural drawings for the renovation.

Candidate Profile: Board of Education - Stephan Gaarder

Stephen Gaarder (R)

Candidate for Board of Education


My Family and I moved to Middletown ten years ago from out of state. My wife Susan Hadley is a family physician, my daughter Nora is in eighth grade at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, and my son Jascha is in third grade at Farm Hill School. I work as a program evaluation consultant helping healthcare, education, and social service organizations measure and improve program effectiveness. My wife and I are committed to public school education and we both believe that Middletown is a terrific place to raise a family.


I have served for six years on the Middletown School Readiness Council and Five years of the Opportunity Knocks Coalition for Middletown Children. I serve on the Opportunity Knocks steering committee, have been an active member of the Farm Hill School PTA for eight years including two as its Treasurer during which I secured a $5,000 grant for new playground equipment. I also served as Treasurer of my children’s preschool for two years.

Qualifications for position

My formal training and experience in program evaluation with its focus on what works and why as well as the twelve years of full-time work teaching at the university level give me a unique combination of skills and perspective to be an effective member of the Middletown Board of Education.

Reasons for running

To be an effective advocate for the educational interests of Middletown children; to be a voice for transparency, integrity and reason on the school board; to ensure that the long-term interests of Middletown are served by acting as a proper “check and balance” on the actions of central administration.


Ensure that we serve the educational needs of all Middletown school children

Improve the morale of school district staff

Pumpkin Festival on Saturday

The farm is located on the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street. For more information, call 685-3733.

Candidate Profile: Board of Education - Stacey Barka

Stacey Barka (R) Candidate for Board of Education


Resident of Middletown for 3.5 years.

Hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

Business Analyst by occupation

A Licensed Massage Therapist and member of American Massage Therapist Association (AMTA).

Currently a member of the North End Action Team Advisory Board member.

Active member in N.E.A.T. community programs such as Erin St. Community Garden, NEAT Hiking club, Youth Committee, Block by Block Committee, quilting club.

Member of the International Institute of Business Analyst (IIBA) – Hartford chapter.

Married to Njie Barka.


Working within the community to foster and build stronger community relations.

Working with NEAT to identify ways in which the community can get involved and advocate for the needs of the community.

Qualifications for the position

Open mindedness and willing to have dialogue on issues impacting the school district.

Independent thinker

Reasons for running

Goal as a member of the Board of Education is to promote increased partnership with the schools, parents and community to enhance the student’s overall educational experience by building a solid foundation for learning and living in a very diverse community.

Support and enable student to succeed to their highest potential in an every changing and challenging global environment.


Build better relationships with the teachers in the district and supporting them in the challenges they face in their efforts to increase the students’ academic performance.

Budget transparency and the ability to know exactly where and how funds are spent.

Candidate Profile: Board of Education - Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy (R) Incumbent candidate Board of Education

Attended Spencer, Keigwin, WWMS, and MHS (2005)
- Currently attend CCSU working on a MA in Organization Communication
- Graduate with a B.A. in Communication from CCSU.
- Graduate with an A.S in General Studies from MxCC.
- Former SGA CCSU Senator
- Class president of the MHS 2005 class


-Member of the Middletown Board of Education,
Communication committee
- Member of the Long Hill Estate Authority
- Member of the Recycle Task Force

Reason for running

Having served as a member of the Board of Education for six-months I have made public the short-fallings of the Board under the leadership of Ted Raskca. I will continue to do so by showing the wasteful spending of the majority of the board who wish to cut teaching positions and raise class size. I pushed for a budget that the community wanted, and that was in support of our teachers. I also spent time at our schools, talking to teachers, sitting in on classes, and meeting with principals to see and hear first hand the problems that our schools are facing.


My goal when elected with a Republican majority is to create an open BOE where residents feel their needs are being met. This will be done in a open and honest way. We (the Republican majority) will stop cutting teaching positions, make sure all students are able to learn, and most importantly televise our meetings from a location that fits our needs(the common council chambers)!!!

Around Middletown in 80 Days: Day 66

Mercy High School
1740 Randolph Rd

Phileas Fogg thinks Mercy High School is a cool school...seriously though, it is. Mercy was one of high schools in Connecticut chosen by Channel 3 Eyewitness News to be highlighted in morning news special.

What are some of the attributes of Mercy that makes it stand out as exceptionally cool? The attention to service, both in AND out of the community of Middletown is one example. Not only do Mercy students volunteer at local organizations (such as Oddfellows Playhouse and Amazing Grace Food Pantry), but as a school they also donate money, clothes, school books, and hygiene products to girls worldwide- from Haiti to Africa.

Phileas appreciates a young, bright mind with a caring attitude and a smiling face to go with it-- which is why he is spending October 29th at Mercy. Is Mercy somewhere you want to check out too? Stop by the Open House on Sunday, November 8th at 2:00 p.m. for a presentation by administration and a student-led tour of the school. The entrance exam for the Class of 2014 is Saturday, November 14th from 8:00 – 11:15 a.m. Register at

Video Archive of Final Mayoral Debate

Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and Democratic challenger Dan Drew met Wednesday night at First Church in a final exchange of views before Tuesday's mayoral election. Common Council candidates also gave provided short highlights of their goals, and their reasons for running.

After nine such meetings the candidates were well-practiced in answering questions about expected topics like taxation and governance. During the meeting last night we learned everything from the candidates preference for a dinner out (Dan Drew - The Firehouse, Giuliano - Esca or Forbidden City), to their views on the demolition of the Shiloh Baptist Church.

The video below is the entire event, at this point, unedited. You can move the bar on the timeline to get to any point in the event.

Dialysis Center on Main Street Approved

The empty building on the corner of Main and Williams Streets, which formerly housed Pelton Drugs, will soon house a dialysis center for patients with kidney disease. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special exception for this use at their meeting on Wednesday evening. The developer plans to use about 15% of the space for retail, 15% for office space, and the remainder for patient treatment.

Da Vita Dialysis
The Da Vita Corporation, which purchased the successful dialysis center in Riverview Plaza, decided that they wanted to operate in a larger space on Main Street. They turned to BL Companies, which built the Rite Aid Building on the other end of the same Main Street block as the Peltons building. When Rite Aid moved from the Pelton's store into this new building, it left the former Pelton's store empty. With the approval of the dialysis center, BL will purchase the building from the current owners, and then lease the building to Da Vita. Ralph Wilson represented the owner, in the application to use the building as a dialysis center.

Bob Landino, president of BL, talked about his company's
previous efforts to rent the empty Pelton's building, "It's very difficult to find tenants who would choose a large size building on Main Street versus one on Washington Street." He said even small retail spaces on Main Street were difficult to rent, pointing to one in their own Rite Aid Building, which has not yet been rented.

Landino said that after the Da Vita Corporation turned to them to develop the Pelton's building, they presented a design to the Planning Department with no retail space at all. After discussions with City Planner Bill Warner, they compromised and designed 2,000 square feet of the 14,000 square feet building as retail space. Landino said he was not optimistic that they would be able to rent even those smaller spaces, "We aren't counting on this retail to pay the mortgage."

The vice president of Da Vita explained that the corporation has 1600 dialysis centers nationwide, with 32 divisional offices. He said Da Vita would like to move the divisional office from Avon to the new center on Main Street because it is central, and provides easy walking to restaurants and other shopping on Main Street. He said the average spending by the corporation on public relations, meetings, and entertainment in cities with divisional offices is about $450,000 per year. The Inn at Middletown, the immediate neighbor of the dialysis center, will get business from Da Vita, and Wilson presented the commissioners a letter of support for the dialysis center from the manager of The Inn.

Public Comments and a Decision
Larry McHugh, president of the Chamber of Commerce, gave his strong support for the dialysis center. He spoke to the importance of having this medical care available in Middletown, "It's a quality of life issue." He also praised Da Vita for their size, and marveled over their desire to move to our city, "It's a Fortune 500 company that wants to relocate their headquarters from Avon to Middletown. From Avon to Middletown!" He also praised the work of BL Companies, calling their Rite Aid Drive-through pharmacy building "a home run."

Jennifer Alexander, who has worked for many years to vitalize downtown, spoke out against giving an exception to allow non-retail use of a Main Street building. She said that if an exception were granted because this developer was unable to find a tenant, other property owners might also look for exceptions allowing them to turn their Main Street retail space into offices. She also questioned why other properties, away from Main Street, were not being considered by Da Vita:
What benefit does this project bring to the property values of our Main Street, to the viability of our downtown district? It's simply not true that there is no other place that would make a suitable home for this tenant. The main benefit is to the developer, and that's not a good enough reason for a special exception.
Commissioner Catherine Johnson expressed concerns that the loss of retail space would create a 'gap' in the block, reducing the mutualism between retail and natural pedestrian flow. Other commissioners were more enthusiastic, and the special exception was approved by a vote of 6-1.
Commissioners Impervious to Walgreens' Request
The Walgreens Drive-through pharmacy on Main Street Extension, currently under construction, requested a change in the conditions under which they received approval. Through the CPH Engineering firm, represented by Herbert May, they asked to be relieved of the requirement that 10 parking spaces be on a pervious surface (this reduces storm run-off pollution). Their justification for the request was that they had reduced the impervious paving elsewhere on the parking lot and drive-through areas. The Commission unanimously guffawed, rejecting a change in conditions on an approval that was only granted earlier this year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Flu Trumps Art and Mr. McRae Honored

The Middletown Teen Theater production of "The Crucible", scheduled for this Thursday and Friday at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, has been postponed until further notice due to the H1N1 virus that has struck the school system and, especially, the cast. No "makeup" dates have been announced.

Last night (Tuesday October 27), Willard McRae was honored with the Liberty Bank Community Diversity Award for his many years of championing the cause of diversity in the Greater Middletown area. It's a well-deserved honor for a person who has never been afraid of rolling up his sleeves and getting involved, doing the work that needed (and still needs) to be done to make this city a better place to live - for everybody.

Besides winning the award, he was furthered honored by the Bank, which has chosen to change the name of the distinction to the Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award. A classy move by a classy organization and a wonderful tribute to a good man.

Mayor and Common Council Forum: Webcast

We will attempt to webcast tonight's candidate forum with mayoral candidates Sebastian Giuliano and Dan Drew and with candidates for the Common Council.

You should be able to log into the debate here.

Online TV Shows by Ustream

Around Middletown in 80 Days - Day 65

Neon Deli
130 Cross Street

Craving a philly cheese steak, a noramel pannini, or maybe you just want a cool drink or a hot coffee? Come to Neon Deli, located on the corner of Cross St. and Vine St. and have some fun. Fran and Cynthia Galle have been slicing up salami for Wesleyan students and Middletown locals for 20 tasty years. They also collect change each month for a different charitable group in Middletown. Stop by and grab a cup of coffee on this rainy Wednesday.

And its worth pointing out...Phileas has only 15 days to go as he finishes up his whirlwind trip around Middletown and before he takes the stage at Oddfellows.

Thursday H1N1 Flu Clinic Completely Booked

The Middletown Health Department has announced that the H1N1 flu vaccine clinic scheduled for tomorrow between 3-7 PM at Council chambers in town hall is completely booked. There are no more appointments available.

Health Department personnel are advising residents to call the office this Friday at which time they hope to have information about a flu clinic in early Novemenber, and the guidelines for distribution of the vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control.

Earlier today, the Health Department announced yesterday that St. John's Parochial School would suspend classes for the remainder of the week.

Public school parents have been notified that school activities surrounding Halloween celebrations have been cancelled.

Candidate Profile: Planning and Zoning Commission - Quentin Phipps

Quentin Phipps (D) Incumbent Candidate for Planning and Zoning Commission


I am
lifelong resident of Middletown, and son of Ms. Queen E. Williams. I currently reside on Andrew Street, where I bought my first home in 2005, after being raised in Woodbury Circle. After graduating from the Middletown Public School system, I attended Bryant University of Smithfield, Rhode Island. In college I was an INROADS intern and upon graduation continued in the banking sector. I am currently a branch manager for Guilford Savings Bank. I serve as the President of Connecticut Young Democrats, Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council Board of Directors Vice President, Oddfellows Youth Theatre Board of Directors Development Chair, and as an active member on the Middletown Democratic Town Committee, Middletown Young Democrats, and with the Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE)


This is my second election for public office in Middletown. I am running to become a full Planning and Zoning Commissioner. In 2007, I filled a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning commission.. In November 2007 I was elected to my first full term as an alternate planning and zoning commissioner.

Reasons for running

I am looking to bring a strong fiduciary business sense, clear development philosophy, and a spirit of altruism and service to the commission. I am fortunate to be able to serve my greater community so that I may utilize my skill set as a pragmatic manager, consensus builder, and clear communicator. Given these talents and a clear vision for the City of Middletown and the Planning and Zoning Commission, I feel a responsibility to give back to the community that has helped develop and nurture me.


I have pledged to ensure the timely adoption of a revised plan of development and to provide more educational workshops to help demystify the process and jargon of the planning and zoning to commission to encourage greater community engagement and participation.