Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day on Long Lane Farm


Grab your family and friends and join Long Lane Farm Students on the farm to celebrate May Day.

Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 12pm - 5pm
Location: Long Lane Farm


Live bands, farmer's market vendors, gardening and farming, crafts, local student environmental groups and free veggie burgers!

Free and open to the general public

A River Passage and Open Space at F&G meeting


Two items on the Finance and Government Operations committee agenda were dealt with quickly on Wednesday night, after the longer discussions over Departmental moving at City Hall and the Omo Mfg Superfund Site. F&G discussed the purchase of land east of Mt. Higby, adjacent to Tynan Park, as open space, and they heard about plans to seek Federal funds for clearing the Cogingchaug River below the Charton Terrace Apartments slide.

Open Space Acquisition
City Planner Bill Warner informed the Council members that the Conservation Commission had voted to recommend purchase of 29 acres of open space from Cynthia Jablonski (this is the same property discussed later Wednesday night by the Planning and Zoning Commission). The resulting discussion took place around 7PM, and the Arts Commission was beginning to get restless at being kept out of their meeting room, so my notes are vague on the response of the Committee. I remember unanimous support for the acquisition.

The Common Council will vote at their Monday meeting on a resolution "Authorizing Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano to sign documents to apply for a DEP matching grant to purchase the 29-acre Jablonski Property on Higby Road for $500,000 with 50% of the funding from the grant and 50% from the Open Space Bond Funds."

Despite the support of both the F&G and the Planning and Zoning Commission for the Conservation Commission recommendation, however, passage of a resolution to this effect on Monday is not guaranteed. The Eye has learned that the Conservation Commission is concerned that members of the Council may not be in support of this resolution.

The Charton Terrace Apartments Landslide
President Obama declared Middlesex County a disaster one week ago, due to the flooding from the storm which began March 12. This makes Middletown eligible to apply for disaster relief funding. Part of the disaster relief can come through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The city can apply for funding to address the debris and dirt which blocked the Coginchaug River when the slope below the Charton Terrace Apartments collapsed. The EWP funding would cover 75% of the cost of clearing the River and removing debris. Planning Director Bill Warner told The Eye that the USDA is doing a Geotechnical report and damage survey which will include cost estimates. He wrote in an email, "once we have the report, which quantifies our 25%, we will start trying to cobble together the funding. DEP indicates that they have funding to help with the 25% for this type of emergency project."

Separately, the owner of Charton is applying for a second time for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for money to address the collapse of the upper slope.

Music and Dance of Bali

On April 30, Green Street Arts Center will host an evening of Balinese music and dance with traditional Balinese ensembles Gamelan Dharma Swara of New York City, and Balinese Angklung of Wesleyan University.

Dharma Swara studies a variety of forms, from ancient dances once performed to entertain the rajas in their palaces, to the loud and virtuosic repertoire of the contemporary kebyar ensemble and experimental seven-tone works performed on the newly created gamelan semara dana. For more information visit http://www.dharmaswara.org/. Dharma Swara is comprised of about 40 individuals who come from a variety of academic, professional, and artistic backgrounds. For this concert we are joined by Shoko Yamamuro, dance coordinator for Gamelan Dharma Swara, Noopur Singha, and students of Wesleyan’s Balinese Dance class led by Urip Sri Maeny.

Wesleyan’s Balinese Gamelan Angklung group performs under the direction of Gamelan Dharma Swara’s music and education coordinator Peter Steele. Steele is a musician, scholar and composer working primarily on Balinese Gamelan music, which he teaches at Wesleyan. He has an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of British Columbia, focusing on compositional developments in contemporary Balinese music. He is also an active performer and composer and has had several of his works performed by Balinese ensembles at the annual Bali Arts festival.

Music and Dance of Bali takes place on Friday, April 30 at 7pm at the Green Street Art’s Center, located at 51 Green Street in Middletown. Admission costs $10 for non-members; $8 for members, students, and seniors; $5 for Wesleyan Staff, Students and Faculty w/ID. For more information or to purchase tickets call 860-685-7871 or visit www.greenstreetartscenter.org.

More on the Omo Manufacturing Hazardous Waste Superfund Site

The Notice of Potential Liability from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the City contains more details on the Walnut Street site contaminated with hazardous waste. City Attorney Timothy Lynch kindly passed along a copy of the EPA notice of March 3rd.

The letter provides a list of chemicals which have been released or might be released from the site: arsenic, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 1,2,3-trichloropropane, 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, 2-butanone (MEK), 2-propanone (acetone), 4-methyl-2-pentanone (MIBK), benzene, chlorbenzene, ethylbenzene, isopropylbenzene, xylene, n-butylbenzene, n-propylbenzene, naphthalene, para-isopropyltoluene, sec-butylbenzene, tetrahydrofuran, toluene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride (VC), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, butylbenzylphthalate, and di-n-octyl phthalate. Organic chemistry names sound sound pretty scary (to me, but then I did horribly in Orgo). However the kinds and levels of chemicals at the Walnut Street site do not rise to the level of the famous Superfund sites like Love Canal. For example, I was calmed when I learned that butylbenzylphthalate is found in traffic cones (on the other hand, maybe I should now fear traffic cones, what do I know?).

The remainder of the six-page notice is mostly legal--determining potential liability for the clean-up.
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) may be required to implement cleanup actions deemed necessary by the EPA to protect public health, welfare, or the environment. PRPs may also be responsible for all costs incurred by the Government in responding to any release or threatened release at the Site, ...
Based on information gathered during investigations of the Site, EPA believes that the City of Middletown is a PRP... as 1) a former owner/operator; and 2) as an arranger, who by contract or agreement, arranged for the disposal, treatment or transportation of hazardous substances at the Site.... Specifically, EPA has reason to believe that the City of Middletown contributed to historical contamination at the Site.
The Eye has made the full notice available HERE.

Unfortunately, the notice is a potent mix of organic chemistry and legal issues, and the Eye research staff is a little shy on expertise in these matters, so if you have any to spare, please help with a comment or an email.

May is here and it is NATIONAL BIKE MONTH!

This is part informational and part editorial, promoting a more bike friendly Middletown.

May arrives on Saturday along with National Bike Month! Get that bike out of the garage, or basement, pump up the tires, check to make sure all is in proper working condition and RIDE to school, work, and all around Middletown! First and foremost it fun, but is is also good for your health, it's good for the environment, and with the price of gas on the rise again, it's a good way to save up for that big splurge at your favorite downtown restaurant. Rumor has it, 4 new bikes racks are headed to downtown, thanks to some funding supplied by our very own Pedal Power on Main St. Still no word if there will be bike parking at City Hall. Currently bikes can be found locked to the handrails of the handicapped ramp, not the best place to lock a bike but currently one of the only places.

Don't like to ride alone? Check out one of the links below to find others to ride with. Pedal Power sponsors both road (Mondays at 6:00) and mountain bike rides every week. There are slow riding recreational groups (8-12mph) with fewer hills, and a fast riding racing group(16-20 mph), with lots of hills, plus a couple of in-between speed groups. If you're looking for a nearby recreational ride on Wednesday night check out
Cycling Concepts in Rocky Hill. If you'd like to try a May Day 100k; head up to their Glastonbury location on Sunday, and choose between the 60 mile route and the 25 mile challenge. If you can't make the May Day 100k then put their ever popular Two Ferry Metric ride on your calender for September. This ride comes through Middletown before heading to the Chester Hadlyme Ferry then heads north to take the ferry from Glastonbury back to Rocky Hill. Another ride option is CT AMC group bike rides. One more locale option is to sign up for the Middletown Adult Education, Bicycle Ride Series (on Rail Trails) which starts May 8. The course provides you with a bike if you do not have your own, and meets 7 Saturdays throughout the summer.

If you just want to head out on your own, but need some ideas of where to ride check out Connecticut Bike Routes. The web site is a free service hosted by 3 CT based cycling enthusiasts. There are over 250 CT routes with a choice of mileage, terrain, and region. If that doesn't get you where you think you want to go, you can try the new Google Maps "by" bike which debut March 10 of this year. If you want to know more about the folks who cajoled google into offering the bike mapping go to Bike there' for a safer, healthy, happy world. I can't vouch for their bike mapping ability, it's too new.

In honor of National Bike Month, I completed the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) scorecard posted below to assess if Middletown is ready to apply for the Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The score was a paltry 3 out of 17. The first step in improving this score without bringing any cost to the city would be to create a Bicycle Advisory Committee, a step many, including myself
have been advocating for; as well, the Downtown Parking Study Final Report made the same recommendation in 2008. The first job of the committee would be to create a comprehensive bicycle plan for Middletown, followed by the creation of a map of suggested bike routes across town with links to the rest of the region. Other CT towns have bicycling advisory committees working to improve their town's bike culture, in doing so they have documented an increase in the numbers who bike and walk to work and school, they've also noticed less congestion and parking complaints. I'd like to see Middletown become the first town in CT to achieve the LAB Bike Friendly Community designation, or even the second or third; Simsbury, West Hartford, and Glastonbury even Hartford are way ahead of us, as are some of the Gold Coast Cities further south.

In the meantime plan on taking part in the annual Bike to Work Week May, 17-21st, if you can't ride the whole week, then plan to ride on Friday the 21st on Bike to Work DAY along with thousands of others across the city, state and country. So dump the pump, and ride away. Hopefully by then the new bike racks will have been installed, and appointments made, and the first meeting held of Middletown's Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Also on May 19th, the World Wide Ride of Silence will take place to honor those who have been injured or killed while riding on public roadways, and to bring attention to the need to SHARE THE ROAD. Middletown has participated in the past by having a short silent ride along River Road. We will do so again by meeting at 6:45 in Union Park for a 1/2 hour slow (under 8 miles an hour) procession down River Rd. in solidarity with these aims. All are welcome.

Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood has spoken out in favor of, and blogs often about his support for increasing funding for sidewalks, bikes, trains, streetcars and other common sense transiting options. In March, Congresman Blumenaur introduced H.R. 4722 the Active Community Transportation (ACT) of 2010. It's time for Middletown's politicians to join the fray and become more pro-active on multi-modal transiting options. Please join me in celebrating Bike Month in Middletown, with advocacy and planning for, a more bike friendly Middletown.

More to come during Bike Month.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

EPA Superfund Site on Walnut Street Is Cause for Concern at City Hall



The Finance and Government Operations Committee heard from Planning Director Bill Warner that the Environmental Protection Agency is aggressively pursuing the cleanup of a toxic waste superfund site between Route 9 and Walnut Street. The city may bear a multi-million dollar responsibility for the cost of this clean-up, because the site was used as a city dump in the 1950s.

The site was formerly owned by OMO Manufacturing Company, which was famous as a manufacturer of "dress shields" (advertisement photo from The Courant in 1896), and also made rubber and plastic apparel.

According to Warner's presentation, in 1935 OMO deeded 12 acres to the city, and in 1957 the City deeded some of this land back to OMO. When the city returned the land, they retained dumping rights, "Said property is conveyed subject to the right of the City of Middletown to continue to use said area for dumping purposes until the said city of Middletown shall have acquired other dumping privileges." The land is currently owned by JR Marino, who bought it in 1999, the property has an assessed value of about $600,000.

Warner allayed concerns that contamination on the site might get into the water supply. He said it is over 2,000 feet from the aquifer recharge area, and that both the Water Department and the EPA have tested water samples and found no contaminants. The EPA began to investigate the site for contamination in 1990, and some time after that placed it on the superfund cleanup list. However, it is not on the "National Priorities List" of dangerous sites.

The EPA is aggressively pursuing assessment of contamination on the site, and has already spent $400,000 on this. They have budgeted $2M for the cleanup, but Warner said the EPA made it clear to the city that this preliminary estimate could be exceeded, depending on what they find in the site.

By law, any entity found to be responsible for contamination is also responsible for the cost of clean-up. The committee extensively discussed the process of finding other "Potential Responsible Parties" (PRPs) to get the City off the hook for the millions that might be spent on clean-up. Warner expressed little hope that the City would have in the 1950s recorded what was put in the city dump and by whom, much less retained those records.

Unless other PRPs can be found, the City will be the PRP with the deepest pockets, an alarming prospect for the City's finances. Councilman Gerald Daley suggested the state as a PRP because they may have moved some of the dumped material in building Route 9.

Warner explained that the City has the right to undertake the clean-up itself (with EPA supervision), and that this would likely be considerably less expensive than letting the EPA take the lead on clean-up. Although alarmed at the cost of an EPA-led cleanup, the Council members were not enthusiastic about the City taking on a complex toxic fund clean-up. Additionally, they balked at putting about $150,000 into the budget for next year to retain an environmental professional.

Warner cited the experience of Southington, which paid $3.8M out of a $30M clean-up cost for toxic waste at their closed landfill. The payment was about 20 years after the clean-up had commenced.

Council members Daley and Klattenberg expressed a preference for letting the EPA undertake the clean-up, with a hope that the bill would not come due for a long time, and that other PRPs would be found, and that insurance might cover some portion of the bill. The matter will be considered at a special meeting of the Common Council in the middle of May.

F&G Supports IT Department Move


The Finance and Government Operations Committee gave its support to a proposal from Information Technology Director Bill Oliver and Mayor Sebastian Giuliano to move the IT department to new quarters in Riverview Plaza. The plan could allow the movement of the Parking Department from the Police Station to City Hall.

Oliver explained that the IT department had insufficient office space, the servers for the city have insufficient power, cooling, storage, and space, and there is no backup power available to keep the city's website available in the event of a power failure to City Hall. He presented several options for new locations, two of them on upper floors of Main Street Market and two in Riverview Plaza.

The Committee agreed with Oliver that moving IT into the soon to be vacated Dialysis Center on the ground floor of Riverview Plaza made the most sense of the available options. The space is about 8,000 square feet, and would cost the City about $73,000 per year in rent. The advantages of this location are the extra space for city storage, the central location, and the common wall with the police station, which might allow emergency power sharing and data cable access.

The Committee members were supportive of moving IT, but were concerned about the second part of the package, which was a proposal to move the Parking Department from the Police Station to the vacated IT space in City Hall. Oliver explained that the Mayor, the Police Chief, and the Parking Director supported this move, but Committee members said they wished to hear from the Parking Committee and Downtown Business Disrict, both of which they thought had strongly supported keeping the Parking Department in the Police Station.

F&G agreed to support the option of requesting $48,000 in the upcoming budget to secure a lease on the Riverview location.

P&Z Commission Supports Garden Project, Open Space Aquisition


The Planning and Zoning Commissioners gave unanimous support to a proposed lease of city land to Middletown United Fathers for a community garden, at the P&Z meeting Wednesday night. Larry Owens (pictured) told the Commission that Middletown High School students would be doing the soil testing, and that half of the 30 plots have already been paid for and five more were reserved. Middletown United Fathers is a group of primarily men of color which formed 3 years ago to mentor boys into manhood. They collaborate with other groups Middletown High School and have adopted Macdonough Elementary School for mentoring programs.

The Commission also unanimously supported the purchase of 29 acres of land adjacent to Tynan Park on Higby Road. The purchase would be funded in part with City open space funds from a bond referendum, and in part from State DEP funds. The land owner is Cythia Jablonski, who was a P&Z Commissioner before resigning two years ago. Jablonski received approval to subdivide her Higby Road land to build a cul de sac and housing development. The Conservation Commission recommended purchasing three rear lots, two of which would have held houses. The Commissioners unanimously supported the acquisition, Chairman Quentin Phipps exclaimed, "29 acres for $250,000 of city funding on open space is a home run!"

The Common Council will take up the purchase at their May 3 meeting.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oresteia



















Tickets are going fast for The Oresteia at Oddfellows. Seating is limited, so call today to make your reservations!

ALL SHOWS START AT 7PM

Thurs April 29
Fri April 30
Sat May 1
Thur May 6
Fri May 7
Sat May 8

860-347-6143---call today!

It's a Good Magazine



You see before you my well-thumbed copy of GOOD Magazine. Last year, I recommended the Transportation issue to readers of the Middletown Eye, but this Spring's issue is even more fun.

GOOD magazine is an unusual publication, more intent on forming an online community of contributors (www.good.is) than on selling subscriptions. Seasonally, they tackle a different issue that affects the quality of life here on the planet. The current issue, titled "Here comes the neighborhood", offers hundreds of ideas about how to make our communities more enjoyable places to live.

For example:

•The town of Port Townsend, Washington formed their own lending network, so that local people can invest in local businesses. So far, they've helped create a dairy, a bike shop, and a nightclub in their town.

•There are federal "Transportation Enhancements" funds that can help a neighborhood to buy and then demolish billboards in their community.

•Tyson's Corners in Virginia is in the midst of a giant experiment with de-sprawling, turning shopping centers and multi-lane highways into neighborhoods.

One piece that was particularly appropriate to the recent debates on the Middletown Eye was an article entitled "Agriculture is the New Golf."

Shucks - we're out here working to get the old golf, and there's already a new golf! Wake up, Middletown!

If you're wondering how to get your hands on a copy of GOOD magazine (which incidentally was co-founded by Max Schorr from Wesleyan's class of 2003), I'm afraid I'm not much help. None of the Middletown stores carry it, as far as I know, but you can drive out of town to find it at a certain big box natural food chain store. Or, you can join the GOOD magazine website.

Rockfall Awards Dinner May 6th

The Rockfall Foundation to Honor Four County Environmentalists at 75th Anniversary Celebration

The Rockfall Foundation will recognize the outstanding volunteer service of four Middlesex County residents at its 75th Anniversary dinner celebration, “75 Years Green.. and Growing,” to benefit the Green Grants Program on May 6th at the RiverHouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam. Katchen Coley, Raul de Brigard, Jeanne C. Dilworth and Tom ODell will each receive a special Rockfall 75th Anniversary President’s Award for life-long dedication and exceptional contributions to the natural environment.

“These remarkable individuals are well known to many of us not just in the county but statewide for their creative, sustained and effective efforts,” according to Rockfall President Brian McCarthy. “They have given selflessly over the years to help protect our natural heritage while personally urging us to be involved and committed in our towns and neighborhoods.”

Katchen Coley, local and state-wide environmental advocate and catalyst for open space preservation, has served for more than 20 years on the Middletown Conservation Commission, where she has helped establish open space protection for more than 15,000 acres of land. She has been recognized for her service on the Conservation Commission of the Middletown Garden Club by the Garden Club of America. She has served on the Long Hill Estate Parkland Committee in Middletown, has been an active member of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and an effective advocate for preservation of the Maromas section of Middletown. At the state level, Coley currently serves on the Steering Committee for the CT Land Conservation Council, a state-wide coalition of land trusts and other conservation organizations dedicated to preserving open spaces throughout the state.


Raul de Brigard, of Higganum, will be honored for his contributions to land conservation and river protection. He has served on the Boards of many conservation organizations, including the CT River Watershed Council, Trust for Public Land, the CT River Assembly and the CT River Gateway Commission. De Brigard is currently on the Steering Committee for the CT Yankee Conservation Project, which is working to have up to 500 acres of the site of a recently decommissioned nuclear power plant placed into conservation.


Portland resident Jeanne C. Dilworth will be recognized for her leadership in development, preservation and revitalization of the Brownstone Quarries and the Town of Portland. A founding member of the non-profit Brownstone Quorum, she played a major role as President in establishing the Portland Brownstone Quarries as a National Historic Landmark and as a park linking Portland’s downtown to the Connecticut River. She served as Chair of Portland’s Brownstone Festival, Vice-Chair of Portland’s Ethics Commission, and Portland’s representative on the Connecticut River Assembly.


Tom O'Dell of Westbrook will be honored for his leadership in environmental protection and education in both Westbrook and throughout the county. He is founding president of the CT Association of Conservation and Inland Wetland Commissions and has been chairman of the Westbrook Conservation Commission since 1972. ODell is currently chairman of the CT River Coastal Conservation District and represents this organization on several organization Boards, including the CT Land Conservation Council.

”Friends, family and colleagues can express their appreciation while raising funds to help support and grow Rockfall’s annual Green Grants Program,” says foundation Executive Director Virginia Rollefson. The Rockfall Foundation’s environmental education and planning grants to organizations and towns have been helping to green and grow Middlesex County since 1972. “This event marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign to raise awareness and support for the grants.”


75 Years Green…and Growing, a Celebration to Grow Our Grants cocktail hour and dinner buffet, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 6 at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Landing in Haddam. Tickets are $75 each. Corporate and table sponsorships for ten guests per table are $750. Additional Patrons’ donations are being accepted in honor of the four award recipients, as well as donations from those who wish to support the evening but are unable to attend.

Reservations and as well as Patrons’ donations can be made anytime before April 29. Details are available on the News and Events page of Rockfall’s website www.rockfallfoundation.org. You can also call the office from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm; or email Claire Rusowicz, crusowicz@rockfallfoundation.org.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in Middlesex County. Founded 75 years ago by Middletown philanthropist Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth, Rockfall is named after the falls in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants program, the foundation sponsors educational symposia, and preserves and manages open space property, and maintains and operates its headquarters – the historic deKoven House at the foot of Washington Street - as a community center with meeting rooms and office space for locally-based environmental groups.


Contact: Virginia R. Rollefson, Executive Director, The Rockfall Foundation

(860)340--0340; vrr@rockfallfoundation.org

CHC Radio, Wednesday April 28

On WESU, 88.1 FM and wesu.org

Westfield Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue


The annual Westfield Volunteer Fire Department Chicken Barbecue is this Saturday, 4 to 7PM, at the Fire Station on East Street.

It is a great community gathering. Longtime as well as newer residents mingle and catch up on family news with their neighbors. Everybody enjoys the great food (chicken, corn, slaw, and pie) cooked and served by the firefighters. Meanwhile the kids get a chance to see the firetrucks and other equipment up close, and to meet real volunteer firefighters.

Cancer Survivors Day on Sunday, May 16, 2010

submitted by Peg Arico:

The Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center will host its annual Survivors Day on Sunday, May 16, 2010, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This gathering celebrates life and honors the courage of all cancer survivors. It is estimated that there are currently more than 12 million cancer survivors in the United States. A cancer survivor is anyone living with a history of cancer — that includes newly diagnosed survivors as well as long-term survivors. Family members (especially children), friends and anyone else who plays an important role in a cancer survivor’s life are encouraged to attend.

The day will feature special guest, comedienne and cancer survivor, Brenda Elsagher. A colorectal cancer survivor diagnosed at the age of 39, Elsagher relied on her humor, faith, friends and family, along with good medical care, to get through it. Elsagher has won the title of Twin Cities Funniest Person, been named the Newsmaker of the Year for the Women’s Press, and has received the Golden “Mic” Award from the American Cancer Society and the Advocacy to Action Award.

Music will be provided by The Kerry Boys, two dynamic and popular Connecticut Irish balladeers who have been performing together for over 20 years. Their humorous, high-energy show will have listeners clapping and singing along in no time, engaging the audience from start to finish with their wide collection of traditional and original songs.

In addition, Hope Douglas, from “Wind Over Wings,” will conduct a special program, entitled “Soaring with Hope,” using several wild birds rescued by her organization. As a special treat, there will be tethered hot air balloon rides, weather permitting. Integrative medicine practitioners will offer massage, Reiki and reflexology to guests.

The formal ceremony will feature remarks by Middlesex Hospital oncologist Susanna Hong, M.D. A cancer survivor will also share his personal story. Special recognition will be given to Andrea Malon, M.D., medical director of the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center.

All cancer survivors who attend will be given a special gift. There will also be food, door prizes and fun activities for children, including a bouncy house, face painting and the Magic of Christopher.

Attendees are welcome to bring a non-perishable, canned food item to the event, which will be collected and donated to the local food pantry.

The event is free, but registration is requested by calling (860) 358-2062.

South Fire District Budget Approved

The South Fire District budget was approved by a vote of 554 to 438.

Frechette Makes Case Against Mayor's Proposal at Budget Meeting

Superintendent of Schools Michael Frechette threw down the gauntlet in his opposition to Mayor Sebastian Giuliano's proposed budget at Tuesday's Common Council budget workshop

"Everytime the city oversteps its authority," Frechette said.  "Yeah, we're going to fight it.  The amount of time and energy we waste is incredible."

This year's budget proposes an increase of $859,000 over last year's budget, a 1.28% increase.  The mayor proposes taking $13 million from the Board of Education budget to be controlled by the city.

Giuliano has proposed that the city take authority for non-education employees in local 466 and the MMPA, including department managers, custodians and certain administrative staff.   Giuliano cites city charter language, and an interpretation by city attorney Tim Lynch in defense of his claim.  Frechette cited state statute Tuesday.

"The Board of Education is an agent of the state unlike any other department in the city," Frechette said after reading several state statutes which give the Board authority independent of the city.

Frechette's conclusions were challenged by Council member Phil Pessina, but other Council members, including those of Ron Klattenburg and Vinnie Loffredo appeared designed to allow Frechette to make his case against the mayor.

Frechette also said that the budget as proposed defies a state statute which forbids a city from dipping below a "minimum budget requirement" which Frechette said, quoting a state statute, demands that the city not propose a budget for 2011, that is less than the budget passed for the BOE in 2010.

Board of Education chairman Ted Raczka defended the Board of Education budget saying that it considered the needs of education in the community.

"This 1.28% increase is the only board budget in the region that is under 3%," Raczka said.

Frechette indicated that 88% of his budget goes to salaries, and that the Board of Education had successfully negotiated a 0% increase in salaries across the board for teachers, administrators and central office.

The Common Council also heard presentations from the Parks and Recreation Department, Senior Services, Youth Services, the Parking Department and the Police Department.

While the Police Department budget presentation was expected to be contentious, a preliminary budget session with the majority and minority leaders from the Council seemed to smooth the way for an acceptable budget request by Acting Chief Patrick McMahon.

Born Learning Trail Installed at Snow School

Standing by one of the signs on the Born Learning Trail at Snow Elementary School are: Kristen Roberts, Comcast VP of Public Relations and Community Investment and Middlesex United Way Board member; Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano; Doug Guthrie, Comcast Senior Vice President of Comcast's Western New England Region; Jill Davoll, Middlesex United Way Director of Communications.

 From the Middlesex United Way

More than 650 local Comcast Connecticut employees and their families and friends volunteered to improve Snow Elementary School in Middletown and six other sites in the state as part of Comcast’s ninth “Comcast Cares Day” on April 24, 2010. More than 55,000 Comcast volunteers participated in this annual day of service across the country. 


Comcast employees partnered with Middlesex United Way in honor of the organization’s 75th anniversary to install Middletown’s first “Born Learning Trail” at Snow Elementary School. Volunteers also performed other outdoor landscaping duties. A Born Learning Trail is a set of fun, physical learning activities that parents or caregivers can play with young children in an outdoor setting, arranged on a walking trail. Volunteers painted stencils on the trail and posted signs along the way with activities for caregivers and children to do together.


Born Learning is a United Way public engagement campaign that helps parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. Tools include educational materials, activity ideas, and the Born Learning Trails which take advantage of the critical early years when children are still developing. Comcast is sponsoring and installing this trail in honor of Middlesex United Way’s 75th anniversary in 2010. The trail at Snow Elementary School is the fourth Born Learning Trail in Connecticut.
 
“We’re so honored to partner with Middlesex United Way and Snow Elementary School to work together to improve our community,” said Doug Guthrie, Comcast Senior Vice President of the Western New England Region, which includes Connecticut.  “I’m grateful to the 650 Comcast Cares Day volunteers in Connecticut who donated their time to help to help make such a big difference today.”


“Many thanks to Comcast and its employees for installing the first Born Learning Trail in Middletown,” said Kevin Wilhelm, Middlesex United Way Executive Director. “This early learning tool is a wonderful addition to the community and will help parents and caregivers engage children in critical but fun developmental activities. The Born Learning Trail will help to ensure school readiness for children.”

“Snow School is very appreciative of the time and efforts put forth by the many volunteers from Comcast today. The hard work that Comcast employees, their families, and Snow School volunteers demonstrated will be enjoyed for years to come by the Middletown community,” said Jim Gaudreau, Principal of Wilbert Snow Elementary School.  “By working together, we were able to not only build a family learning trail that will be enjoyed for decades by families in Middletown, but we were able to clean up our school's grounds and make them even more inviting and welcoming to families.”



Potter Dismissses Student Judicial Boards at Violence on Campus Forum

An audience of 200, predominantly female, listened in rapt horror and simmering anger as a panel of experts on campus violence against women, recounted their personal stories of assault to underscore the ongoing problem of rape, stalking and physical violence against women on college campuses.

Hosted by Fox61 news anchor Laurie Perez, the panel, which included Wes grad and author Jacqueline Friedman, former news anchor Janet Pekinpaugh, director of sexual assault services at George Mason University, Connie Kirkland, and Wesleyan American studies professor Claire Potter, spoke from personal experience about the effect assault can have on a life.


"It isn't fair," Kirkland said.  "That a thirty minute rape, a fifteen minute rape, a five minute rape can have a devastating affect on a woman that can last for years.  It isn't fair that a few days of physical beating can last for thirty years."

Kirkland was reflecting on Peckinpaugh's confession that she had been a victim of assault early in her first marriage.

It's tough to speak about this," Peckinpaugh said, her voice breaking.  "Because when your a victim, you feel like a victim."

Friedman spoke frankly about her assault seventeen years ago at Wesleyan and how the administrative attempted to convince her not to speak out about her rape.

"Rapists, not even college rapists are confused," Friedman said of her research on the topic.  "They are repeat offenders.  Research shows that rapists are really clear.  It's the rest of us who aren't clear."

Potter, who herself was a victim of rape, and encouraged any student who has been a victim to speak with her, delivered a withering criticism of on-campus justice.

"At Wesleyan we get an email every time someone gets their wallet stolen," Potter said. "We do not get an email when someone reports they are sexually assaulted.  I think Student Judicial Boards for rape are ridiculous.  Rape is a crime.  We should not be adjudicating this on university campuses.  We should not have university professors deciding if a person should get one or two semesters off for assaulting someone, when they should be doing time."

An article in the Wesleyan Argus by members familiar with the rape investigative process at Wesleyan said that there were four reported rapes this year at the university, and all but one had indicated that the rapist was guilty.  The final reported rape, is presumably, one reported by a woman student two weeks prior in the same student newspaper.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Snow in Middletown



That's Middletown - Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem Win Parent's Choice Award

Sunday, our Middletown neighbors Rani Arbo and Scott Kessel brought their great band Daisy Mayhem to the Wadsworth Mansion to celebrate Daffodil Day, and while there, announced that the band's family album Ranky Tanky, had won a coveted Gold Seal Parents' Choice Award.

The Parents' Choice people have been giving their seal of approval to children's books, toys, tv shows, videos and music since 1978.  Some of the criteria for selecting their gold seal winners includes: Those who write original songs and stories deliver intelligent, inventive lyrics; they craft and tell a captivating story, in words and music. They create magical worlds that kids believe – and want to live in – if even for only a few minutes. Their stories and songs may be imaginary; their creativity and talent is anything but...The Parents’ Choice Awards evaluation process is a lengthy and confidential one. We don’t offer “feedback” to producers or manufacturers because we don’t work for them. We work for parents, caregivers, librarians and educators. 

Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem are a local presence, but they have a national reputation.  Arbo began performing with the now-defunct, but well-loved band Salamander Crossing, and formed Daisy Mayhem after that band broke up, with Salamander partner Andrew Kinsey, guitarist Anand Nayak and percussionist Scott Kessel, who also helps build displays at KidCity.

After releasing three critically-acclaimed "adult" albums, the band decided to dip their toes into the "kids and family" market, striving to create an album that kids would love, and that could be enjoyed equally by parents, who would inevitably hear the album over, and over and over.  The result is Ranky Tanky, and, mission-accomplished.

I'll Have Some Stinging Nettles With A Side of Daylilies

Expert Food Forager Zaac Chaves to Lead Expedition on Wesleyan Campus 


Join expert mushroom identifier and practicing vegan freegan Zaac
Chaves on an expedition around Wesleyan in search of wild foods this
Thursday, April 29th, at 4:15pm.

Zaac writes that "we could potentially find gourmet ostrich ferns, the
sweet tasting and invasive black locust flowers, the sour japanese
knotweed, the herbally sought after solomon's seal(and eat the shoots
without killing the plant), ever popular ramps, stinging nettles - one
of my favorites which are iron rich and used against anemia, daylilys
which are very common in central CT and a good survival food, the
cultivated gourmet stropharia mushrooms which favor our area, and if
we are lucky maybe the rare and elusive black morel."

In addition to his foraging expertise, Zaac  is one of the only known
people to have bicycled to Quebecois regions of Tundra forestry (where
trees end), a two-month solo journey, during which he picked wild
mushrooms and ate primarily "found" calories.

He is a frequent volunteer with Sun One Organic Farm and with the
recovery work of abused and neglected animals brought to The Woodstock
Farm Animal Sanctuary. Amidst this work, he says he remains "critical
of the pride surrounding green-consumer identity and of the
agricultural foundation of life-to-waste decisions, stemming from the
premise of domestication."

So come walk and talk with Zaac and find some tasty wild plants while
you're at it! Meet outside of Weshop (small campus grocery store past
Olin Library on Church St.)

For more information on other WesFRESH events this week, see
http://wesgreenscene.blogspot.com/

Old Mill Road Closure


Old Mill Road be closed to traffic from Rte 66. Detour signs are in place and residents will have access to Old Mill Road from Westfield Street. The closure will be on Tuesday April 27, 2010 and continue for approximately 6 weeks.

Sgt. Craig Elkin
Traffic Bureau Supervisor

Tonight! For career trainers and job seekers: A Reading/Discussion Group & Pizza Party

Tuesday, April 27th, 6:15 - 8:15 pm Meeting Room 2, Russell Library

This reading group will prepare members for the May 4 workshop given by the renowned Orville Pierson, a top authority on career networking and employment, called How to Start and Run the Original Job Hunting Accountability Group, the Job Search Work Team. The reading/discussion tonight will be on the last chapter of Orville Pierson's book called The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search. The last chapter is called "Team Up for a Successful Search: Leading Job Search Work Teams." Photocopies of this chapter are available free at the Information Desk at Russell Library. If you would like to come, please register at the Information Desk or by calling 860-347-2520. For any special accommodation, please contact Michelle Foyt at 860-347-2528 ext. 121 or mfoyt@russell.lioninc.org.

Orville Pierson's May 4 Workshop takes place in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. Pre-registration is required. It is slanted to help career professionals as well as job seekers. Orville Pierson is the Senior Vice President of Lee Hecht Harrison, one of the largest outplacement companies in the world. This past year, his book called Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job is the authoritative text on career networking.

Free Live Music, Eating Discounts, at Cardinal's Night on Main Street


Main Street Restaurants hope to be flocked by Cardinals this Wednesday night, as many of the restaurants will be giving substantial discounts to Wesleyan students, faculty, staff, and in fact to anybody wearing Wesleyan garb. Discounts will be given at virtually every eating establishment between Thai Gardens and Iguanas Ranas.

A free outdoor concert, featuring four different Wesleyan bands, will be part of the attraction. The music will be at Riverview Center, from 6-9PM, and feature August West (funk and jam), It's Chinatown (punk), Bones Complex (covers of popular songs) and Linus (rock and blues).

Marie Kalita-Leary, Director of the Downtown Business District, told me that Cardinal's night is a great opportunity for the Wesleyan community, especially the students, to come downtown, hear some music by Wesleyan bands, eat dinner, and see what Main Street is all about.

There will be free shuttle from Wesleyan, although with good weather forecast, students are likely to make the 10 minute walk from campus to downtown. Main Street may very well be hopping with Cardinals.

The participating food establishments:
  • Tuscany – 20% off
  • Firehouse Steakhouse – 10%off
  • Sweet Harmony – Free Dessert with $25.00 purchase
  • Iguanas Ranas – Free soda (can or Mexican soda) with $10.00 purchase
  • Thai Gardens – 15% off
  • Esca - 20% off
  • Tandoor - 10 % off
  • Osaka – 15% off
  • It’s Only Natural (ION) Restaurant – Psychic Reader (minimal cost 5-9PM), Local organic specials for the evening, 10% off
  • Mikado – 10% off
  • Feng’s – 10% off
  • Tschudin Chocolates- Free sample of Royal D’Chocolat with comfit tomato
  • First and Last Tavern 15% off any entrĂ©e

Monday, April 26, 2010

Students Clarify Rape Reporting Process at Wesleyan

In response to an unusual signed student essay about being raped on campus, published in the Wesleyan Argus, two students, involved in the process of reviewing such reports, have written an explanation of the process in the same student newspaper.

One sentence of note indicates that there have been four rapes reported to the administration this year and that three of the accused have been found to be in violation ("most cases find the accused to be in violation: this year, three out of four cases have found the accused in violation. The administration takes the task of determining the validity of a claim of sexual assault very seriously and they will not convict a student of sexual assault unless a solid case can be made against them.")

Sunday, a former Wesleyan student, Jaclyn Freidman, wrote an essay for the Hartford Courant in which she recounted her experiences of being raped on campus.

Freidman will be a panelist at a Key Issues Forum on Campus Violence titled "The Person You Thing You Know: Signs and Solutions of Campus Violence" sponsored by the Hartford Courant on Tuesday, 6-7:15 PM.

EG Salon Opens on Melilli Plaza

From the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce

Salon owner Georgi Moskey Marino, owner Ellie Gagnon, and Middlesex Chamber president Larry McHugh.  (Seated, center)  Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano.

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, announced that the Chamber held a grand opening event for EG Salon at its location at 1 Melilli Plaza in Middletown on April 16, 2010.

The salon, owned by Ellie Gagnon and Georgi Moskey Marino, featured a grand opening with prizes, raffles, giveaways, free styling labs, and demonstrations.  One of the featured prizes was a drawing for free haircuts for one year.  Food and beverages were also provided.

Durham's Szewczyk to Run Against Lesser

From John Szewczyk

Durham Selectman has John Szewczyk has officially announced his candidacy for the 100th Legislative District.  The district covers Middletown, Middlefield, Rockfall, and Durham.  Szewczyk had a very successful exploratory phase where the response from residents was “overwhelmingly positive”.

“The number of Democrat, Republican and Independent voters from the entire district that have already pledged their support has been truly amazing.  My track record as a fiscally disciplined, non partisan consensus builder who will work for all residents regardless of political party has been very welcomed”. 

“It has been a pleasure listening to so many residents over the past few months from the entire district.  The residents of Middletown have been very supportive.  I look forward to meeting every resident in the district in the coming months.”  

Szewczyk, 32, is a lifelong resident of Durham, a 1999 graduate of Trinity College with a degree in Education and Political Science and a 1995 graduate of Coginchaug Regional High School.

In 2007, Szewczyk won a decisive victory to Durham’s Board of Selectmen and quickly became the voice of fiscal discipline.  In fact, Durham is one of the few communities in Connecticut where property taxes actually decreased in the past two years.  During his time on the Board of Selectmen, a Senior Property Tax Relief Program has come into existence along with an Agricultural Commission and Ethics Commission.

In his professional life, Szewczyk is a highly decorated Police Officer for the City of Hartford, CT where he has received numerous commendations in his eight years of service.

Szewczyk has also received a great deal of support from numerous pro-education constituents because of his strong advocacy for improving education in the area.  As a Selectman, John Szewczyk began visiting local schools on a regular basis listening to students talk about what local issues were important to them.  He also coached for nine years in Regional School District #13.  He is also a strong supporter of making Connecticut Public Colleges and Universities more affordable.


Szewczyk is a firm believer in hard work, personal responsibility, equal opportunity, and fiscal discipline.  He has continually been a strong advocate for small business and for promoting job creation in the region.  As a Selectman, he has been one of the biggest supporters for increasing state aid to municipalities such as Middletown, Middlefield and Durham.  Szewczyk believes that fiscal discipline and lowering taxes are needed at the state level stating “the individual, and not the government, can best decide how to spend his or her hard earned dollars”.

Szewczyk stated he is looking forward to a strictly positive campaign based solely on issues, ideas and ways to improve the quality of life for all residents.

South Fire District Budget Vote on Tuesday


Residents of the South Fire District will vote Tuesday on a proposed $4.3M budget for the coming year. The budget is 12.1% higher than the current year, largely due to increases in salaries, insurance, and capital and non-recurring account expenses.

The proposed mill rate is 3.486, a 3% increase from last year's rate of 3.377.

Voting is Tuesday, April 27, from 6AM to 8PM, at the South Firehouse.

The Return of the Chestnut

There was a time when Middletown's lovely streets were lined with majestic elm and chestnut trees.  That was, of course, before the triple plague of chestnut blight, dutch elm disease, and power companies who ruinously trim branches so they don't touch wires which ought to be buried in the street in the first place.

On the first weekend of May, for the second year, a group of intrepid planters will be working to plant a blight-resistant variety of chestnut trees around Middletown.  And volunteers are needed.

From Jane Harris:

Volunteers are needed to help plant about 190 chestnut trees on Saturday, May 1st., from 9 am to 1 pm.  The Middletown Urban Forestry Commission and the Middletown Garden Club are collaborating with the CT Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation to build an experimental orchard of hybrid, blight-resistant American chestnut trees on city land near the Higby Reservoir.
 
The work is not heavy, but it would be helpful to have a dozen or so volunteers who can fill previously dug holes with growing medium and sprouted chestnuts. A few small trees from last year's test planting need to be relocated also.
 
If you can help, please email treefanatic@gmail.com or call 860-306-2709. Please plan to bring a kneeling pad, gloves and a trowel. There may be some poison ivy, although I have not seen any this year. Directions will be emailed to anyone who can join us.  Note: because of the fragile nature of the nuts, children under 12 should not attend the planting.
 

Thesis Films Coming Up

One of the things I like about this time of year, other than rhubarb, lilacs, magnolia blossoms and the outdoor tables being opened at Eli Cannon's is that graduation nears at Wesleyan.  That means that after a temporary upswing in early morning noise on Pearl Place, it will suddenly grow very quiet (it was meanly noisy this weekend).

It also means that the latest crop of film studies students have completed their theses films which are shown over the course of a single weekend at the Goldsmith Family Cinema.  This year, it's May 8th for the films actually shot on 16mm film, and May 9th for the "films" shot on digital video.

Not every film is a potential Student Academy Award winner, but they are universally interesting, and you never know when you're going to see the work of the next Joss Whedon.


Wesleyan Senior Thesis films 2010 from Reilly Park on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Snow School Cleanup

Spring clean ups were happening all over Middletown Saturday, including a (post) earth day spring cleaning at the Wilbert Snow Elementary School.  Members of the Snow School community joined employees of Comcast Cable and Principal Gaudreau to spruce up the school playground including planting flowers, painting  and installing an interactive trail.  Local politicians, including Mayor Guliano, and state representatives representing Middletown were in attendance.
 
Submitted by Paul Zakarian

From 1920: Wesleyan Students Also Wear Overalls

The following article is from exactly 90 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on April 25, 1920. The grainy photograph is from the Courant article, the bottom one depicts members of an Overalls Club in South Carolina.
---------------------
"Old clothes or overalls, seven days a week while in Middletown except for a special occasion or when entertaining young ladies on the campus." is the edict which the undergraduate body at Wesleyan University is following 100 per cent strong. Any man caught wearing anything resembling new suit, or even a three-piece suit of the same material, will be punished by immediate ducking in the swimming pool--new clothes and all. Wherefore, the simultaneous disappearance of "good" clothes and the tradesmen who were wont to exchange five dollar bills for "old" suits.

The wearing of old clothes and overalls and clothing of like disrepute is not altogether a modern fad at colleges, but, according to plans at Wesleayn, the complete change of wear will be something new. Formerly, it was the somewhat incongruous style at colleges to wear old "flannels" on the outside, with silk shirts and fancy stockings peeping through the holes in the outer garments. But now, apparently, the apparel is to be "old and ragged" from the verleat (sic?) undergarment to the rakish hat on the head.

For years Yale men--at least the seniors--have been wearing clothes that made the campus in Spring resemble a gala day on the stage of the Folles Hergere, for members of the graduating classes went around in their class' uniforms, which might be a sailor suit, a soldier's uniform, a ballet dancer's regalla or the adornments of a Fiji islander.

One day not so long ago a "prof" complained because some of his sedate seniors in Horace and Catullus came in their class sailor suits. At the next gathering, the seafaring men attended class in evening dress, with high hats, patents, canes and all, as object lesson to the professor. After that, he preferred to take his satires and love lyrics in company with sailors. Quite appropriately, too, for who knows more of love or can better use satire than a lusty roamer of the Spanish main!

Following a general agitation among the Wesleyan undergraduates, the members of Psi Upsilon Fraternity were the first to pledge themselves to wear old clothes. Under the leadership of George R. Larkin '20 of Pittsfield, Mass., heads of various fraternities drew up rules to which their members were asked to subscribe.

Members of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity agreed to don overalls and jumpers but the supplies of local merchants were limited so that many of the fellows were forced to resort to less picturesque attire. Several dozen pairs of denims have been ordered and the overall army will be fully mobilized before the end of the week, it is expected.

Beta Theta Pi Fraternity seconded the requirements of the Psi Upsilon men, although they have not been able to locate enough overalls to go around. The Delta Kappa Epsilon men have agreed to wear old clothes around the campus and in classes and have gone one step farther than the others, stating that they will buy no new clothes until the first of July.

With the advent of warm weather, white "flannels," golf suits and portions of old uniforms resurrected from the old S.A.T.C. days have become popular [the Student Army Training Center was a World War I program at Wesleyan to help students be prepared for war]. Clean linen has not been placed on the blacklist of wearing apparel. The decision not to buy new suits this spring comes just at the time when the students are being asked for their quota in the $3,000,000 endowment campaign which the university is conducting and many of the students have stated that they will be able to increase their pledges with the money which they would have been forced to spend for clothes.

The Psi Upsilon members who have shown partiality to overalls, some of whom appear in the picture, are as follows:--
Everitt, Lauer, Webb, Henson, Crowell, Abbott, Heur, Robertson, Hubbell, Parson, Jackson, Stone, Stevens, Chapin, Fitzgerald, Whitely, Merritt, Williams, Hoyt, North, Woodruff, Mueller, Ott, Strickland.
----------------
The students at Wesleyan were probably making a serious political statement which the Courant trivialized by portraying as a college prank. In the spring of 1920, there was a populist movement to wear denim to protest the high prices of clothing. On April 14, 1920, the New York Times reported the organization of the National League of Overalls Club, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with chapters all over the country. Another article in the New York Times, from April 23, 1920, gives some of the context for the Overalls Movement:
OVERALLS PARADE TO OPEN A REVOLT
Assured of the success of tomorrow's economy parade, which grew out of New York's adoption of the overalls "strike" against the high cost of necessities the Cheese Club announced yesterday that at the conclusion of the demonstration it would turn the movement over to a permanent organization, with the object of waging a continuous drive against profiteering.
Evidences of sympathetic support from persons of all sorts and the growing disposition of all classes to join in the protest brought about this decision, it was explained. At the same time it was learned that a number of men and women of substantial position, long identified with various efforts at economic betterment, stood ready to lend aid and countenance, once they were satisfied the community was interested seriously.

Picture from an article in Appalachian History.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Get Out Your Umbrellas and Get Out - A Little Rain Never Hurt Anyone

Despite the weather forecast, Daffodil Day can be a success,
because WE ARE MIDDLETOWN

Sunday, April 25, 2010, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

FREE

The Friends of Long Hill Estate and the Long Hill Estate Authority will host their annual Daffodil Day on Sunday, April 25, 2010, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate, 421 Wadsworth Street, Middletown. This family event will be held rain or shine and there is no charge for admission.

Guests are encouraged to enjoy the meadows planted by volunteers over the last decade with thousands of daffodil bulbs. Some daffodils may still be in bloom. Throughout the day there will be docent tours of the historic Wadsworth Mansion. The afternoon's activities include a trail walk at 1:00 p.m. with Marcy Klattenberg. From 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Ranger Russ from Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset State Park in Madison will introduce snakes and turtles to children teaching them to appreciate these animals and not fear them. Also from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. the Bushy Hill Nature Center will demonstrate the art of fire starting.

For musical entertainment, at 2:00 p.m. Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem will be playing from their new release Ranky Tanky, a collection of songs written for children but, when performed by daisy mayhem, they are songs for all ages. Rani Arbo is a fiddler, lead singer and founder of daisy mayhem. Andrew Kinsey plays double bass, banjo and joins Rani on vocals. Anand Nayak plays guitar and sings. Scott Kessel plays something he calls Drumship Enterprise, a drum fashioned from recycled cans, boxes and a suitcase. He also sings. The four are described as having superb musicianship, impeccable taste, and charismatic vocals. They previously performed at Music at the Mansion, a summer series of free outdoor concerts.

Daffodil Day is co-sponsored by the Friends of Long Hill and the Long Hill Estate Authority.

River Cleanup Pushes North

Lisa Santangelo, the intrepid and ubiquitous volunteer and Chairperson of Middletown's Democratic Town Committee supervised a crew of local volunteers, Alternative Incarceration Workers and municipal volunteers to move the Harbor Park cleanup about another hundred yards north along the Connecticut River Saturday.

The event was co-sponsored by the Middletown Lions Club and the Jonah Center.


The crews, with chainsaws and loppers, took down junk trees, vines and risked poison ivy to remove bramble and trash.  They moved beyond the solid brownstone walls and past the old ferry launch to clear access to the river.  They also planted day lilies and ferns along the fencing where clearing opened the view of the river last year.

Standing room only at The Buttonwood Tree!


Standing room only at The Buttonwood Tree! Over 40 people, including 2 children and even a dog filled the house last night (4/23) for the Triple Bill of Glenn Roth, Sarah Blacker and Lara Herscovitch, the CT State Troubadour. Sarah started the first set off with her song, O Holy Night, and it surely was a wholly enjoyable night for all present
- and THAT'S MIDDLETOWN!
Each performer sang 3 songs during the first set, well, sort of. Lara, claiming it a perk of being the State Troubadour, snuck in an extra song - a short love song that had the audience laughing all the way through. Lara explained a little bit about the application process that she went through to be considered and chosen as the state Troubadour and it was no easy undertaking. After the break Sarah brought her black lab, Beasley, up on stage, to the delight of the children. The two youngsters came at the suggestion of their guitar teacher, a friend of Lara's. They all drove an hour to get here, and were thrilled with the show. I spoke with the teacher after the show, who told me he wanted the kids to come to not only hear the instrumentation of the artists, but also to see the paths a musician can follow. It's not all about being a "
Britney Spears" they learned. The night ended with a mellow sweet version of Bill Withers' Lean On Me which Lara eloquently introduced with a quick talk about how important community is and how important The Buttonwood Tree is for keeping a sense of community alive right here. Tonight, Saturday, Lys Guillorn and Christina Antipa take the stage during and after a special Riverwood Poetry performance by Shijin, a 6 woman ensemble. The Arts are Rising in the North End!

Union Spurns Dem Councilman's Suggestion of Deferred Pay Increase

Responding to a request by Democratic Majority Leader and Council member Thomas Serra to consider a deferment of pay increases, the Middletown Managers and Professional Association has informed Serra that they only consider the mayor a legitimate representative for pay negotiations.

Pot By Mail Scheme Thwarted

From the Middletown Police Department

On April 23, 2010 the Street Crime Unit (SCU) along with the State Wide Narcotics Task Force (SNTF), and the US Postal Inspector conducted a joint narcotic investigation. After MPD Narcotic canine Rika alerted to a package a search and seizure warrant was obtained. Located in the package was twenty one pounds of marijuana which was located upon executing the search and seizure warrant.  

Upon further investigation it was determined that the package containing the marijuana was bound for the address of 238 Ridgefield Dr, Middletown, CT. Detectives would substitute the package of twenty one pounds of marijuana with an alternate substance.

The investigation provided the following information:  Jose Nunez allowed Jose Rivera-Baron to accept packages of marijuana at his residence. Nunez was observed conducting counter surveillance in the area of 238 Ridgefield Dr. Rivera-Baron accepted the package which he believed still contained twenty one pounds of marijuana.

Rivera’s brother Alberto Rivera and Arturo Guzman were observed leaving Nunez’s apartment and operating a blue Chevrolet Cobalt rented from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in which they and Rivera-Baron were to leave in.


As  SCU, Middletown Detectives, SNTF, and Middletown PD patrol units converged on the address Rivera-Baron was in possession of the package as Guzman and Rivera were about to pick him up and drive out of the apartment complex. All parties were detained and the residence at 238 Ridgefield Drive was secured.


The street value of the seized marijuana seized is approximately $80,640.00.

Jose Nunez DOB 10/10/85 was subsequently arrested for the following charge and released on a $25,000.00 Non-Surety Bond:
Conspiracy to Possess over Four Ounces of Marijuana 
 
Jose Rivera-Baron DOB 1/7/83 was subsequently arrested for the following charges and held on a $500,000.00 Bond:
Conspiracy to Possess over Four Ounces of Marijuana
Conspiracy to Possess Marijuana With Intent to Sell
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana With Intent to Sell

Alberto Rivera DOB 2/14/84 was subsequently arrested for the following charges and held on a $500,000.00 Bond:
Conspiracy to Possess over Four Ounces of Marijuana
Conspiracy to Possess Marijuana With Intent to Sell
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana With Intent to Sell
Arturo Guzman DOB 1/20/85 was subsequently arrested for the following charges and held on a $500,000.00 Bond:
Conspiracy to Possess over Four Ounces of Marijuana
Conspiracy to Possess Marijuana With Intent to Sell
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana With Intent to Sell
Rivera- Baron, Rivera, and Guzman all failed to provide sufficient identification and were held on additional detainers by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Any citizens willing to give information concerning possible illegal activities are encouraged to contact Sgt. Rich Davis of the Street Crime Unit at (860) 344-3259. All information will remain anonymous.

Student Publishes Essay About Rape at Wesleyan

A Wesleyan student who has reported being raped on campus has authored a report of her experience for the Wesleyan Argus.  According to her account, "The rapist went unpunished by the administration and still walks this campus. There is nothing stopping him from raping someone else."

Assistant Director of Student Life, Scott Backer said he couldn't comment on the situation, saying "it has come to the attention of the university and it's a judicial matter."

"Wespeak articles are essentially editorials," Backer said.  "What she wrote in her Wespeak is her way of coping with the experience."

Backer said it is up to the individual who is assaulted to report the assault to the Middletown Police.

Wesleyan is the site of a Key Issues Forum on Campus Violence titled "The Person You Thing You Know: Signs and Solutions of Campus Violence" sponsored by the Hartford Courant on Tuesday, 6-7:15 PM.