Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pedestrian Hit By Car Dies

On Monday, November 29, 2010 Mr. Theodore Hunt 3rd, age: 32, of Middletown died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the motor vehicle versus pedestrian collision that occurred on November 23, 2010 on Washington Street.

The incident remains under investigation by Officer Doug Clark of the Traffic Unit.

Developmental Asset Message of the Week - Integrity

67% OF MIDDLETOWN YOUTH REPORT THAT THEY ACT ON THEIR CONVICTIONS AND STAND UP FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS RIGHT

Do the children in your life act on her or his convictions and stand up for her or his beliefs? Having integrity can take a long time to learn, but the more a child practices this, the more likely she or he will develop this crucial value.

Talk to kids about what integrity means, and what it means to stand up for your own values. Ask them who they see as having a sense of integrity, and who they think backs down from their values in the face of adversity.

Applaud and support family members when they “do the right thing, even when it’s hard.” Maybe your child stepped in when another child was being teased. Or maybe your child admitted to cheating on a test—even though she knows the entire class cheated and she was the only one who got into trouble for her honesty.

Having values doesn’t mean much if you can’t stand up for them—an important lesson to impart upon children. Everyone’s values and beliefs are tested at some point in their lives, and it takes strong conviction to stand up for them in the face of adversity. Help children prepare for these times by encouraging them to have integrity, and set a good example by standing by your own beliefs, even when it’s hard.

Conversation Starters on Integrity:
• What does integrity mean to our family?
• When is it easy to act on your beliefs? When is it difficult? Why?
• What happened the last time you stood up for or spoke out about what you value? How did it make you feel?

Just recently we posted something on our blog about integrity, coaching, and high school sports which you can find HERE. 

Further Research
"One cannot have integrity without also displaying a measure of honesty,” says Stephen L. Carter in his book Integrity. Yet, he contends that integrity is more difficult than just being honest. Carter’s three steps of integrity are:

1. Take time to discern right from wrong.What do you believe? What do you value?
2. Get involved in what you believe and value. Do something about it.
3. Admit publicly what you believe and value while acting on what you say.

...“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” 
~Spencer Johnson 

"Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” 
~Don Galer 

For more information on Developmental Assets, visit http://www.search-institute.org/ and don't forget to also visit Middletown's own http://www.assetpromise.org/ to make your promise to support our youth. Survey data above was taken from the 2006 Search Institute Profiles on Student Life administered to Middletown public school students in grades 7-12.

Holiday Stroll To Benefit St. Luke's

From St. Luke's Eldercare

Don't miss this years Holiday Stroll to benefit St. Luke's Eldercare Services to be held on Thursday December 2nd from 5:30-7:30 at One MacDonough Place.  There will be a silent auction with the opportunity to bid on a wide array of beautifully decorated tabletop trees and centerpieces for your holiday.  Enjoy complimentary hors d'oeurves, wine/coffee bar and holiday bazaar plus fabulous door prizes.  In addition to street parking and the availability in the lot at One MacDonough, additional parking is available in the hospital lot behind One MacDonough Place or at Zion Baptist Church on James Moses Avenue.  For more information contact St. Luke's at 860.347.5661.
 
St. Luke's Eldercare Services provides FREE transportation and support services to seniors and veterans in Middletown, Cromwell, Portland, Middlefield, Durham, Haddam, East Haddam, and East Hampton.

Toy Drive at McDonald's on South Main

McDonalds on South Main Street in Middletown is looking for the community's help in bringing Joy to the Season.  We are working with Middletown Parks and Recreations Department; collecting new, unwrapped toys for children of all ages, to be distributed to needy families in Middletown.  Please consider helping to spread the Joy of the Season and helping those in our community less fortunate.  All donations must be received by December 10th in order to ensure distribution in time for Christmas

We would really like to Spread the Joy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

TALK ON EVOLUTION — TOMORROW EVENING AT FIRST CHURCH

The public is invited to a talk and slide presentation on Evolution by Frederick M. Cohan, Wesleyan Professor of Biology, on Tuesday, November 30, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Room at First Church of Christ, Congregational (UCC), 190 Court Street, in Middletown.

The talk will consider the evidence for evolution, including how whales evolved from hippopotamus-like creatures, some points of controversy among evolutionary biologists, and how evolution can help us understand changes in culture, language, and religion.

Frederick Cohan received his PhD in biology from Harvard University and has been on the Wesleyan faculty since1986. He is generously offering this talk to the public out of enthusiasm for his field of study and its importance related to disease, medical science, and global stresses and food supply.

First Church has organized this program for its intrinsic interest and to demonstrate that faith communities can and need to embrace the discovery and tools of science if we want to be involved in their application in human society.

For more information, call 860-346-6657 x13

Appeal For South Green Holiday Lights



From Claudia DeFrance and Patricia Hutton

On Friday night, our beautiful holiday tree was lit with 10,000 LED lights because of the generosity of the citizens and businesses of Middletown. 
  
In our continuing effort to light the South Green for the holiday season, we are pleased to announce that four additional trees were lit this year on the Broad Street side of the green.


 Our goal is to light more trees on the green. With that said, we are again asking for donations to “Light the South Green Trees.” Your donation can be $10.00 or $10,000!

Three years ago, we initiated the idea of using gift cards;

when a donation is made in memory or in honor of an individual, gift cards are sent to the donor to use as they wish to announce that a light has been lit in the recipient’s name on the holiday tree on the South Green.



 Our South Green is on the National Register of Historic places and deserves to be respected and kept beautiful.  You help to ensure that with each donation made.


Donations may be made payable to Light the South Green Trees, c/o Liberty Bank, Attn: Maryann Lentz, 315 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457


Our sincere thanks for your continuing support and our best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous holiday season.

Ze-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Day, Namechecked in Doonesbury

Zonker Harris day, on the Wesleyan University campus, is a day when students gather and not-so-surreptitiously partake in a not-yet-legalized substance.  The scene on Foss Hill is a funky cloud redolent of hippiedom, and named after a character in the Doonesbury comic strip.  Gary Trudeau has taken notice in today's strip.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Church Holly Fair, December 4th

The First Church of Christ, Congregational, in Middletown, holds its Holly Fair on Saturday, December 4, from 9:30 am to 3 pm. This holiday event features a wide selection of Christmas greens, as well as vintage linens, jewelry, ladies' scarves, baked goods and holiday cookies, handcrafts, VT cheese and chocolates, and much more.

A gourmet luncheon of homemade soups, breads, and pies is one of the Fair's most popular attractions.

Special vendors participating in the Holly Fair this year include RavenMoon Designs' nontraditional dream catchers by Ariel Kadish; Kathy Scott, jewelry; Shari Lucas, original photography; Cat Portraits by Cathy Valley; Scentsy Wickless Candles by Annie Harris; Block 'n' Socks, lighted glass Christmas and table decor by Ann Marino; and hand-crocheted baby blankets, mittens, hats, and booties by Corrina.

First Church of Christ is located at 190 Court Street in Middletown. The Holly Fair is handicapped accessible and there is free parking. For more information call John Hall or Lorel Czajka at (860) 346-6657.

M-i-a-o-u, see you there!

From 1885: Yale Beats Wesleyan Sixty-One To Nothing


Below is the first half of an article from almost exactly 125 years ago today, published in the New York Times of November 27th, 1885.
Wesleyan played twice at the Polo grounds during the 1885 season, beating the University of Pennsylvania team 25-18 on November 7th (see image from the Nov. 8 NY Times). Wesleyan would play at least a dozen more games at the Polo grounds over the next 20 years, almost always drawing many thousands of spectators.

Although Wesleyan fielded one of the nation's top football teams in the late 19th century, 1885 was not a good year for Middletown's college against either Yale or Princeton; Wesleyan had already lost two games that year to Yale, by the lopsided scores of 18-0 and 71-0, and as noted in the article below, Princeton pasted Wesleyan by an even greater margin. Wesleyan ended the season with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses.

The top college football program in 1885 was Princeton, with a record of 9 wins and no losses.

Football in 1885 seemed to resemble rugby as much as it resembled modern football. No forward passes were allowed, there were very few ritualistic stoppages of play and the same 11 men played both offense and defense. A touch down was worth 4 points, a field goal 5 points, and there were 2 extra points for kicking a goal after a touch down.

The photograph below is of the 1885 Wesleyan team, courtesy of Wesleyan University Library, Special Collections & Archives. The back of the photo says it was taken before the Yale game, in New York.

--------------------------

A football match was played yesterday afternoon on the Polo Grounds between the Yale and Wesleyan teams. About 4,000 spectators were present and cheered the contestants in their efforts. A number of coaches decorated with the blue of Yale occupied the northern side of the ground. A fairly good assemblage of ladies was present in the grand stand, and a strong-lunged delegation of the ubiquitous Columbia College boys filled the air with enthusiasm and orthography. The opposing teams consisted of the following men:
Yale--Rushers--Wallace, Hamlin, Hare, Peters (Captain), Woodruff, Carter, Corwin. Quarterback--Beecher. Half backs--Watkinson and Bull. Fullback--Burke.
Wesleyan--Rushers--Hawkins, Gordon, Blaine (Captain), Wells, Pike, Fish, Hutchinson. Quarter back--Smith. Half backs--Clark and Manchester. Full back--Beattys.

The game was opened by Yale’s dribbling the ball to Beecher, the wiry little quarter back, who was all over the field during the game. He passed to Watkinson, and the ball was quickly run down near the Wesleyan goal. Wesleyan ran it back very quickly. Runs by Peters and Watkinson and kicking by the latter carried it back to Wesleyan’s ground. Again the Wesleyans, by short rushes and heavy tackling, forced the ball up the field. Then Bull got it and punted it well back. Then Beecher passed it to Watkinson, who made a big run. Another short run by Watkinson and one by Beecher enabled the latter to pass the ball to teh former, who kicked a goal from the field. Score, 5 to 0 for Yale. The ball was started again, but runs by the inevitable Beecher and Watkinson carried it to Wesleyan’s end, and Watkinson kicked another goal from the field. Score, 10 to 0 in Yale’s favor. Now Blaine made a run for Wesleyan, but Yale soon forced it back. Wesleyan sent it up the field and Watkinson kicked it back, when Beecher dodged through the Wesleyan rush line like a flash and made a touch down. Watkinson kicked the goal. Score, 16 to 0 for Yale.

Starting again, Pike made a good run for Wesleyan, but Yale worked the ball back in a few minutes, and Peters, butting through Wesleyan’s rushers like a bull, made a touch down from which the unfailing Watkinson kicked a goal. Score, 22 to 0 for Yale. A few minutes were left in the half, and nothing was accomplished when time was called. The second half opened with good runs by Beecher and Wallace for Yale, the latter making a touch down from which Watkinson failed to kick a goal. Score 26 to 0. Then Peters made a fair catch and being interfered with, Yale got a chance to try for a goal. Watkinson made the kick a little low, and the ball was finely stopped by Wesleyan’s centre rushers. In a few moments, however, Watkinson carried the ball through Wesleyan’s rush line, made a touch down, and kicked a goal from it. Score 32 to 0.

Again the ball was started and short runs by Wallace and a big one by Peters carried the ball well into Wesleyan’s ground, where Woodruff shot through with it and made another touch down for Yale. Watkinson again kicked a goal. Score, 38 to 0 in Yale’s favor. Away went the ball again, Beecher, Hamlin, and Watkinson making good runs, and then the old reliable Watkinson kicked another goal from the field. Score, 43 to 0 for Yale. When it was started again a bad pass by Wesleyan gave the ball to Beecher, who flew down the field and made another touch down. Watkinson came up smiling and kicked a goal. Score, 49 to 0 for Yale.

After a good run by Pike for Wesleyan Watkinson tried another field goal, but missed it. Soon afterward, however, Peters carried the ball through the Wesleyan’s line and touched it down. A goal was kicked by Watkinson. Score, 55 to 0 for Yale. Hardly was the ball started again before Beecher had made another touch down and Watkinson kicked a goal. A little unimportant play concluded the game, making the final score 61 to 0 in Yale’s favor. Princeton beat Wesleyan 76 to 0, but the Yale team did not play in its best form yesterday. The game was Yale’s last for this season.

Durham Comes to Middletown, Thursday December 9


Broad Street Books Hosts Local Author
When: Thursday, December 9
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Broad Street Books (at Wesleyan University)
Address: 45 Broad Street, Middletown, CT 06457
Call (860) 685-7323 for more information.


Local author Sarah Atwell of the Durham Historical Society will be signing copies of their new postcard history book, Durham: 1900-1950


Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Ballet to Bring You In Out of the Cold

nutcracker 


Tickets are still available for the Albano Dance Company presentation of "The Nutcracker" this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center of Middletown High School, LaRosa Lane.  This is the second year for the event, sponsored by the Greater Middletown Concert Association, and you can still why the Albano production is one of the best.
For tickets, call 860-347-4887 and, in a pinch, there should be some at the door. These "sugarplum fairies" are quite adorable!


Last Night on Main Street

I was just one of a few hundred people who came to Main Street last night to celebrate the lighting of holiday trees and to meet Santa.

The Middletown High Band led us down Main Street...


...past the Middlesex County Historical Society....


...to the South Green, to watch the lighting of the tree...


...and then back to the chamber for photos with Santa and the lighting of the Chamber tree...


...and after a detour to Wesleyan Potters (inexplicably NOT on Main Street) to warm up at the opening of their holiday sale, we returned to Main Street for the lighting of the tree at Eli Cannon's....


...and an unanticipated snow storm:



Barkeep, a round of Hot Chocolate for everyone!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Inspirational Exhibit Opens Today


Need a little creative inspiration? With nearly 250 different artists’ works on display, the 55th Wesleyan Potters Annual Exhibit & Sale is the place to be! At 10 am this morning the doors opened and the crowds arrived. This yearly event attracts more than 10,000 visitors from across New England.

Preparations for this stellar event begin early in the year, during which the co-operative members of Wesleyan Potters and 200 additional juried artists succeed in producing a spectacular array of crafts that cover the spectrum from classic to contemporary, simple to extraordinary. The exhibit includes jewelry, sculpture, pottery, basketry, weaving, wood, paper crafts, photography, toys and more. Interesting and challenging work is coming out of all fields of craft, decorative arts and design.

This 55th Annual Exhibit & Sale has something for everyone, ranging from functional pottery to large scale sculptures. There is something beautifully handmade for every customer, young and old, regardless of budget. For the more budget-conscious collectors, smaller items such as hand-crafted ornaments at $5 and original wearable art are available for less than $100. For the savvy collector, one can invest in a piece of art by nationally-known artists that will appreciate in value for years to come. Come shop and be inspired!

The 55th Annual Exhibit & Sale begins today, November 26 and closes on Sunday, December 12. The sale hours are 10 am to 6 pm every day, and 10 am to 9 pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Tonight is the collectors and artists reception from 6-9 pm. Additionally, the following Friday evenings feature “CafĂ© Nights” with musical entertainment and refreshments. Wesleyan Potters, Inc. at 350 South Main St. (route 17) in Middletown, CT November 26 – December 12 for a wonderful and joyous Holiday shopping experience! For more information call 860-347-5925 or on the web at www.wesleyanpotters.com.

Enough of the "Knock It Down" Philosophy

(The Portland Street property in question photographed in May 2010)

COMMENTARY

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-Albert Einstein

(Editor's note: one would think that a glimpse into recent past history would provide a demonstration that destroying vintage buildings in our downtown neighborhoods is not the path to progress.  Stand at the police station and gaze across the street at the vacant lot where the beautiful Victorian City Hall used to stand - a building, by the way, for which the Police Station serves as pale imitation.  Streetscape is important in urban renewal.  Think of what the revived Harlem would be like if every abandoned building had been leveled as blighted during the sad days at the end of the 20th century.  People enjoy Middletown's Main Street precisely because it largely survived the wrecking ball of urban renewal.  We cannot make downtown neighborhoods better by eliminating existing housing stock and replacing it with modern apartment blocks like Wharfside Commons, or by creating vacant lots.  Detroit is not an example we want to emulate.  Architect Catherine Johnson has spent years studying urban development, livable cities, smart growth and workable density.  Here are her thoughts on the city's plans to demolish two houses in a tough neighborhood because no one in city government has enough imagination to find a different solution to a difficult problem.)


FOR WANT OF A SCREW, IS A NEIGHBORHOOD LOST?
Commentary by Catherine Johnson, Architect & Town Planner

The mayor, after a discussion with city planner Bill Warner, has approved the demolition of two houses at 20 Portland St. The planner stated in a Hartford Courant article that no one would buy the building and that kids are breaking in. He said that the only recourse is demolition.

This is a terrible decision, with terrible consequences.

I think the mayor and the city are not being well served because of an incomplete set of facts and personal opinion from a planner who cannot imagine an alternative. The only actual problem is the planner’s perception: he has a hard time imagining anyone would want to live downtown. He writes in the city plan of development in the chapter he originally entitled The Urban Dilemma: “As evidenced by the success of the Village district, there is a segment of the population that wants to live in a more urban setting.  However most will only invest in areas that have potential, have stabilized and are on the upswing.”

Just because the city planner can’t imagine living in an urban setting, doesn’t mean no one else can. 
If the building is erased, the message this will send to everyone else on that street is, “The city doesn’t think you’re worth it! We aren’t going to help anyone fix these houses up and we aren’t going to fix the street up either.” Is this the message the mayor wants to convey?

The message to potential investors (homeowners, landlords) is "We can't figure out how to prevent crime, so if we knock enough buildings down, maybe the criminals will go away."

We can’t take a building down because someone can’t screw in a piece of plywood big enough to keep a child out. The effort so fare to secure the premises is spectacularly laughable.  I think my mom could do a better job than what has been done thus far.

Instead of turning the building over to someone and starting the upswing for that little street, the decision is demolition?  Look at Providence and Northampton where blighted buildings were deeded to artists who became, as they often are, the forward platoon of revival.

Middletown has been using a portion of its federal Community Development Block Grants to demolish buildings instead of, as intended in the title of the program, rebuilding community. The amount of grant money dispersed is based on the proportion of people in the neighborhood living below the poverty line. However, our city planner, takes every chance he gets to erase buildings and opportunities for regular people to make a living, and to find a place to live downtown.  I think it’s time to do something different with this money.

What other cities do is advertise for a buyer and then GIVE THEM the money that would have gone toward demolition to jumpstart the renovation or to secure it until renovation (mothball it). The building is sold for $1.  The goals are simple:

 - get the building off the city’s hands
 - give the building to someone who will look after it.
- get the building occupied as soon as possible
 - get the property back on the tax rolls.

Then do it again to another building.

New Haven has had a very successful record over the past 10 years of private reinvestment in their historic housing stock. I think because the city government has a very thorough understanding and appreciation of the value of their walkable neighborhoods, which offer a wide variety of housing to a diverse population, they know that when they support one building owner, they start a chain of successes. They don’t put money toward demolitions, instead they have an entire support system that educates people about options, connects people to programs, grant money and technical support. Instead of looking at the sizeable number of houses as a liability, they decided to look at it as an opportunity to attract new residents.

This lot offers something few lots in town offer: two houses on a single lot. A couple came to me a few years ago looking for this exact setting: one for them, one for their parents, small enough to be environmentally and economically sustainable, within walking distance of the college. They couldn’t find a lot that allowed them to do this new in the city, so they bought a lot out of town. We lost them.

Another scenario would be that someone buys the houses, lives in one and works in the other. I can picture one house opened up entirely in the interior and renovated as one open space, like a loft. Throw in a 2-minute walk to O’Rourke’s or Eli’s for lunch, and baby, that’s my idea of a workday.

What’s missing here is a lack of imagination, not to mention a lack of knowledge.
At the very least, the city is entitled to a second opinion. How about we take this chance to experiment? We already know what happens when we demolish (NOTHING), how about we try something else? I personally volunteer to chair the effort to find a new owner to turn it around. I like old buildings, and I am committed to helping people make the best of theirs.

The city is sending the wrong message if it demolishes these houses. I think it’s time to stop the “lobotomy” approach to managing housing stock and start to reinvest in these neighborhoods. It would take very little effort to turn this street around if the buildings stay, but a gargantuan effort if the buildings are removed.



One final argument, and a green one.  The most environmentally positive approach to creating housing is to use existing stock.  The environmental equity is in the timbers.  Most of the energy has been expended to build something that has lasted at least a century.  The trees have been felled and the timbers cut.  Developers argue that to renovate is more costly than to build from scratch, but when this environmental equity is figured into the equation, the renovation, is by far the most economic route.

I consider the mayor a reasonable man. I think he hasn’t been given all the facts nor has been presented other options. I invite him and all of you to take a ride down there over the weekend to see the houses for yourselves. They are both in good condition, with better roofs than my own. I agree not every person should be a building owner. We shouldn’t push people into homeownership who aren’t cut out for it. But for those who want to start somewhere and have a modest income, these two houses seem to be a perfect place to start. Let’s give them that chance. Let’s start the chain of success here in Middletown.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dodd Serves Thanksgiving Eve Lunch at Soup Kitchen

From Anne-Marie Cannata

Senator Dodd was in the North End on Monday to welcome the new Community Health Center Building, and on Wednesday, he was back with family and friends!  Maybe he likes it here in Middletown?  Dodd and his daughters served lunch at St. Vincent de Paul Middletown's soup kitchen and chatted with patrons. (Note the kitchen's new name). Smiles were all around and when offered an Event Calendar for the kitchen's neighbor, The Buttonwood Tree, the kind Senator decided to pay TBT a visit.  Ron Krom, Executive Director of St. Vincent De Paul Middletown, Dodd's host for the day, directed the family entourage to Buttonwood before they made their way to the new Amazing Grace Food Pantry for a tour. The Pantry, one of four legs of St. Vincent De Paul Middletown's, is now located in the North End and will be celebrating its Grand Opening in several ways. (see below)

At The Buttonwood Tree, Dodd's daughters displayed their own musical talents as they both desired to play the baby grand piano. So play they did, while Dad chatted with Executive Director of TBT / North End Arts Rising, Anne-Marie Cannata. She gave him a quick lesson on what the nonprofit arts organization does as The Buttonwood Tree, and showed him the artwork of Tammie Reiss, whose very first show hung on the walls. He seemed sincere in stating his affection for the small gallery, a "breeding ground for artists", and offered his help toward funding. One must wonder, just what can be done?

Celebrate the new Amazing Grace Food Pantry:

Saturday, November 27, 2010: Amazing Grace Food Pantry Open House, 16 Stack Street, Middletown, 9:30 a.m. with an Ecumenical Celebration & Liturgy of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. A reception of pizza, soda and cake will follow at the Soup Kitchen, 617 Main Street.

also ...
Thursday, December 9th, 4-6 p.m. Grand Opening at Program and Ribbon Cutting at 5 p.m. Amazing Grace Food Pantry, 16 Stack Street, Middletown, CT.

Deerfield Farms Open House Saturday

From 1852: A Middletown Turkey to New York

The following is an excerpt from a news round-up from 1852, published in the Hartford Courant on December 4, 1852. Those were the good old days, when an editor would be handsomely remembered with a turkey or two!
----------------------

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Salvation Army and Kiwanis Distribute Thanksgiving Turkeys and Baskets

On Wednesday, the Salvation Army distributed approximately 40 Thanksgiving turkeys with all the fixins to individuals and families in need.

The baskets were contributed by individual Kiwanis members and by municipal groups and other local groups, and were distributed to families who picked them up at the Salvation Army headquarters on Main Street.

Holiday on Main Street Kickoff Friday

From the Middletown Chamber of Commerce

Daniel Ostrow, Chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Central Business Bureau, announced Holiday On Main Street will kick-off on Friday, November 26 from 1:00 p.m to 8:15 p.m. The Holiday on Main Street Committee, chaired by Al Santostefano and co-chairman Rich Greco, in conjunction with the City of Middletown and the Commission on the Arts, invites everyone to ring in the festive season by attending the four tree-lighting ceremonies along Main Street, Middletown.

The first tree-lighting will be the Tree of Lights, which will take place on the South Green in the Veterans Memorial Gazebo at 5:45 p.m. Middlesex Hospital’s Hospice & Palliative Care program is in charge of lighting the tree and  each light of the tree will shine in honor or remembrance of a friend or family member.

The second tree-lighting at 6:00 p.m. will be the big tree on the South Green and will be led by Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and Santa Claus.  Also on hand on the South Green will be the Middletown High School band and chorus along with the Woodrow Wilson Middle School chorus. Last year, over 1,000 people were able to enjoy the holiday sights and sounds on the South Green and more are expected this year.  The Carol Sing will begin at 5:00 p.m. prior to the tree-lightings.

After the tree is lit on the South Green, there will be a parade up Main Street led by Santa to the Middlesex Chamber where the tree on the roof will be lit at 6:15 p.m. for the third tree-lighting of the night followed by free pictures with Santa.

At 8:15 p.m. there will be festivities in front of Eli Cannon’s Tap Room at 695 Main Street for the fourth and final tree-lighting of the night.  Here, Santa will arrive to light the tree and there will be elves on hand to provide all children with complementary popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate and other treats.

Also, until 8:00 p.m., there will be free horse & carriage rides and hayrides along Main Street for the entire family.

Each tree-lighting is free of charge to the public.  Holiday on Main Street continues on Saturdays November 27, December 4, 11, and 18. Stay tuned for more events during the month of December!

Holiday Plans?


Oddfellows presents David Sedaris’ witty and sardonic holiday treat, The SantaLand Diaries, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. Well-known local actor Tony Palmieri as Crumpet the Elf brings to life this humorous account of a Christmas elf’s experience in Macy’s department store. This show, directed by Jeffery Allen, is intended for mature elves. Performances are 7:00 pm on December 16 & 17, 7:00 & 9:00pm on December 18 and 2:00 pm on December 19. Tickets are $25 and $10. For more information and reservations, call (860) 347-6143 or visit our website at www.oddfellows.org.

Many of the professional artists involved in this production are donating their services to Oddfellows in order to make this a fundraising event. With 50% of the students in our fall classes receiving scholarship aid, it is as important as ever to raise the funds to keep Oddfellows’ doors open and lights on, especially as we enter the cold winter months! We hope that the SantaLand Diaries is a Christmas event enjoyed by the entire community.

Energy Workshop To Achieve Tax Credits

From the Clean Water Fund/Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge

On SATURDAY, 12/4 from 3 - 5 PM at the Portland Senior Center, the Portland Clean Energy Task Force and Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge will host a workshop to help residents benefit from soon-to-expire federal Energy Star tax credits. A 30% tax credit (up to $1,500) for making energy-saving home improvements is expiring at year's end. The workshop will cover which energy-saving technologies are covered by this tax credit, will provide guidance on choosing the most cost-effective options, and will walk residents through state rebate and federal tax credit paperwork. Home Energy Solutions companies Lantern Energy and New England Conservation Services will be on hand to offer practical advice about adding insulation and replacing heating and air conditioning systems and appliances.

Due to limited capacity, advance registration is requested. Please email
cmunroe@cleanwater.org
to reserve a seat.

Pedestrian Hit Crossing Washington Street

From the Police Department
On November 23, 2010 at approximately 5:30 P.M., a serious motor vehicle
versus pedestrian collision occurred on Washington Street (Route 66) in the
area of Bernie O’Rourke Drive.

The preliminary investigation indicates that a 1996 Mitsubishi, operated by,
Mr. Salvatore Formica, age: 53, of Middletown, was traveling in a westerly
direction on Washington Street. The pedestrian, Theodore Hunt 3rd age: 32,
of Middletown, crossed into the path of the vehicle and was struck.

As a result of the collision, Mr. Hunt was transported to Hartford Hospital
by Hunters Ambulance and is listed in critical condition. Mr. Formica was
uninjured.

The investigation is continuing by Officer Doug Clark of the Traffic Unit.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Developmental Asset Message of the Week - Equality and Social Justice

53% OF MIDDLETOWN YOUTH REPORT PLACING HIGH VALUE ON PROMOTING EQUALITY AND REDUCING HUNGER AND POVERTY

As we watch the images on television of people starving or suffering from a terrible injustice, the pictures may stir something within us. But that stirring can easily be lost once we turn off the television and walk away. Kids who are concerned about equality and reducing hunger and poverty may or may not know what life is like for those who suffer from these conditions, but they do discover that it’s a good idea to care for people—all people. They care about people they don’t know,who live a world away and who may have many critical needs. They want to do something to make the world a better place.

IT IS POSSIBLE FOR ONE PERSON TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

On a cold December night in 1983, 11-year-old Trevor Ferrell saw a TV newscast about people living on the streets. Those images stirred a compassion deep within Trevor and he pleaded with his parents to take him to downtown Philadelphia so he could give his blanket and pillow to the first homeless person he met. In ensuing weeks, with the help of family, classmates and neighbors, Trevor made nightly trips into Philadelphia to distribute food, clothing and blankets to the needy. Through hundreds of generous citizens and businesses, this little "campaign" soon grew into places to stay and an entire array of services. The dream and compassion of one small boy has taken on a life of its own and become an integral part of the vital services offered to the estimated 24,000 homeless of Philadelphia. For more information about Trevor's Place, visit http://www.trevorscampaign.org/ 

As many of you know, we have a widely used food pantry in this community called Amazing Grace. Their Families Feeding Families program might be a great way to sustain this message with a young person...

Three additional ideas for building this asset within your family could be:

1. As a family, discuss your views about equality and social justice. Choose one cause to follow and help.
2. Together, write a letter to the editor about a social issue that concerns you.
3. Model this asset by continuing to care for all people.

"When one helps another, both gain strength.” - Ecuadorian proverb

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable." -Anon.


For more information on Developmental Assets or to make a promise to Middletown youth, visit www.assetpromise.org

Holiday Alpaca Farm Tour


Summer Brook Valley Farm invites the public to tour the Alpaca Farm on Saturday and Sunday November 27 & 28 from 10am to 4pm. The Alpaca Farm Tour is a great way to kickoff the holiday season for the whole family.

The farm is located on Margarite Road Extension in Middletown.
Directions are available by clicking on "Visit the Farm" in the left panel of the farm's website:

or call the farm at 860-346-7232

Albano's Nutcracker at MHS Performing Arts Center Saturday

From the Greater Middletown Concert Association

THE GREATER MIDDLETOWN CONCERT ASSOCIATION IS BRINGING
THE WORLD-FAMOUS HOLIDAY CLASSIC BY TCHAIKOVSKY!
ALBANO'S NUTCRACKER BALLET
ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY!

 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2010, 3:00 P.M.

MHS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, 200 LaRosa Lane, (opposite 680 Newfield Street), Middletown

The spectacular and beloved "Albano's Nutcracker" will come to the new MHS Performing Arts Center for ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY on Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. This is the full-feature performance that is being presented at the Mohegan Sun and Central Connecticut State University’s Welte Hall for some higher ticket prices.  Through the Greater Middletown Concert Association, the ballet is coming to Middletown for the first time and at a cost that is affordable for the whole family.

Presented at its finest under the direction of the renowned Joseph Albano and Company, the large "high-tech" 700 seat theater of the new Middletown High School will easily accommodate the elaborate scenery and theatrical effects of this fabulous Nutcracker production, for which "Albano's Nutcracker" is noted. It is performed to the music of a superb live orchestra—a special treat for all music lovers, and features solo international dancers. This holiday ballet classic by Tchaikovsky is a treat for young and old alike and is not to be missed!  

Make it your family’s tradition.  ORDER EARLY FOR BEST SEATS. 

Further information is available by visiting the Greater Middletown Concert Association's web site at Telephone (860) 347-4887 or 346-3369, or via email at bmwa@aol.com.

Financial Literacy Seminar Decemeber 2

From the Middlesex United Way


The Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative is hosting a free financial literacy workshop called “Understanding Money & Credit” on Thursday, December 2 from 9:30-11:00 a.m. The session will take place at Middlesex Community College in Chapman Hall. Anyone is welcome to attend and breakfast will be provided.

“Understanding Money & Credit” is a training module from Money Management International, a nonprofit credit counseling agency dedicated to providing financial education to help people improve their lives. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Rosa Carrero, Community Outreach Office at Liberty Bank and Women’s Initiative member, and Sheryle McMillan of Money Management International.

Participants will receive a free workbook to help them on their path to financial stability. Also, the first 50 people in attendance receive a padfolio with calculator. During the session, participants will:
·      Assess their current financial situation;
·      Learn how to set financial goals;
·      Understand the cost of credit; and
·      Create a budget based on their income.

Middlesex Community College is located at 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown. The workshop takes place in Chapman Hall, sides C & D. This workshop is sponsored by the United Way Women’s Initiative with additional support from Liberty Bank and Middlesex Community College.

For additional information, please contact Jill Davoll at Middlesex United Way, (860) 346-8695 or jill.davoll@middlesexunitedway.org.

The United Way Women’s Initiative is a group of caring women dedicated to creating opportunities for a better life for all women and children in Middlesex County by giving, advocating and volunteering in support of them. The Women’s Initiative focuses on strengthening three key areas affecting the lives of women and children: early childhood development; empowering young women; and financial stability.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Junior Repertory Auditions


Oddfellows' Junior Repertory Company will begin auditions and rehearsals for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on Tuesday December 14 and Thursday December 16 from 4:30-6:00pm. Students interested in being involved on-stage or behind the scenes can call 860-347-6143 to register.

Rehearsals:
Tuesdays & Thursdays, January 4-March 10, 4:30-6:30pm

Performances:
March 10-12, 7:30pm

The Salvation Army Angel Program


The Salvation Army Angel Program

The Salvation Army has signed up over 200 families to receive Christmas Baskets including food and new toys for all the children 12 and under. All these families live in Middletown, and will come to the Salvation Army on December 21 to receive their baskets, which will help them to have a better Holiday. We have one more sign up day, and we help families in
need all the way up to Christmas, so these numbers will increase.

This is how you can help!! JCPenney's has teamed up with The Salvation Army to make it very easy for you to assist The Salvation Army make this Christmas a good one for your neighbors in need. All you have to do is go to WWW.JCPENNEY.COM, and click on Be An Angel. You will then be directed to pick an angel that represents a child from the area you live in. (in this case, Middletown). If you order from JCPenney they will ship it to TSA for free.

You can also drop off new toys, or pick up an angel tag at The Salvation Army at 515 Main Street.

Community Health Center Celebrates Groundbreaking

In the waning days of his tenure as Senator, Chris Dodd returned to Middletown to help the Community Health Center celebrate groundbreaking for its new headquarters on the corner of Main and Grand Streets.

Dodd praised the efforts of the Community Health Center, and pointed to the founders and leaders of CHC as models for the students from Macdonough Elementary School who attended the ceremony.  Mark Masselli, CEO of the Community Health Center also reminded the students that Macdonough has been a pioneer with CHC, acting as the site for its first in-school health program, and being the kick-off location for Recess Rocks, an anti-obesity program which has now been adopted by schools across the country.

The new headquarters will house clinics as well as administrative offices for the Community Health Center, and will be a LEED certified building, using innovative approaches to energy conservation and sustainability.

Also attending were Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, who noted that "doing things because they're hard to do" was a quality of the American people, and connected everyone from those who first imagined traveling to the moon, and the founders of CHC who imagined that health care should be available for all.

State Senator Paul Doyle, State Representatives Joe Serra and Matt Lesser, Common Council members Ron Klattenberg and Macdonough principal Jon Romeo were among the many notable community members who gathered to help CHC celebrate their latest milestone.

The Incident in the Lobby

(A still image of the survelliance video on the day in question.  None of the parties involved appear in this image.)

Mayor Sebastian Giuliano has said he will appoint Acting Police Chief Patrick McMahon to the position of permanent Police Chief for the Common Council's reconsideration. 

The decision comes amidst accounts of the potential candidate's alleged "incendiary personality," and "bullying actions" reported to the Middletown Eye.

When asked about these allegations, the Acting Chief has categorically denied each one.

One of these allegations concerns an incident that happened in the Police Headquarters' lobby in July.  When asked about the incident, Acting Chief McMahon's explanation contained distinctly different details from those provided by several sources.  McMahon said that the account presented to the Eye unfairly represented the actual event.  He also said that he had surveillance video of the incident, and would be happy to provide a viewing to the Eye.

The Story on the Street

In essence, with some slight difference in detail each time the story was conveyed, the allegation is that a juvenile female went to the Police Station to visit a boyfriend who had been arrested in a drug and warrant sweep (Operation Expanded Shield).  When she was denied the visit, she asked to file a complaint, and she claims she was confronted by an angry and belligerent policeman (later identified as McMahon), who bullied her, shouted at her and taunted her with the complaint form.  She claimed, according to accounts, that McMahon lifted the chair she was sitting in and threw it against the wall, and then had her arrested.


McMahon's Response

According to McMahon, the juvenile did arrive at the front desk to see her jailed boyfriend, a man in his mid-thirties who had been picked up in the sweep (Operation Expanded Shield).  McMahon said the juvenile demanded that the front desk officer admit her to lockup, and when denied, she immediately became abusive, cursing and crying.

The Acting Chief who was with his staff on break from the sweep, heard the shouting in the lobby and emerged to see what was happening.  According to him, he came out to the lobby, spoke to the juvenile and told her that she could not see her boyfriend because she was not family, a clergy member nor legal representation.  He claims she continued to curse and shout at him, and demanded to file a complaint.  He retrieved a complaint form and brought it to her, he said, to explain it.  McMahon said she tried to snatch it from his hand.  He pulled it away and sat down to explain to her how to fill it out.

He says she continued to be abusive, and left the premises.  The chief stayed in the lobby speaking with a man whose nephew had also been arrested in the sweep.  While they were talking, the juvenile returned and McMahon says she continued to be abusive, cursing and crying as she sat on a waiting room bench.  The chief approached her, and said he told her to leave, and when she refused, he grabbed the corner of the bench, slid it across the floor, in an arc, so it was facing the exit and, he said, he told her again that she had to leave. According to the Acting Chief,  when she continued to refuse, and continued to shout and curse, the chief approached the man he had been speaking with in the lobby to ask if the juvenile's behavior was disturbing the man. The man said it was, and the Acting Chief called a female officer who came into the lobby, cuffed the juvenile and arrested her for breach of peace.

I viewed the video, and because it has no audio track, I could not confirm the words exchanged between McMahon and the juvenile.  However, it appeared that McMahon did not taunt the juvenile with the complaint form.  It's also clear that he moved the bench, sliding it counterclockwise to face the door.  It was not lifted from the ground, nor slammed to the wall or floor.  McMahon's body language did not appear particularly aggressive, though a part of the action was off camera.  The juvenile appeared agitated throughout.  There was no visual indication that the Acting Chief touched the juvenile until the female officer needed some assistance in having her cuffed.

Reports are that the breach of peace charge issued in the arrest was thrown out of court.

The juvenile has not, so far, filed a complaint against anyone on the police force, including the Acting Chief.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pricing Carbon Conference Day Two: James Hansen Speaks


Wesleyan's Pricing Carbon conference started Friday and concluded on Sunday (see previous post on Day 1 here http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/2010/11/mckibben-keynote-speaker-at-pricing.html ). It was an ambitious attempt to bring many minds together to brainstorm a new approach to pricing fossil fuel consumption to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while minimizing the economic impact on individuals. In terms of attendance and the enthusiasm of its participants, it was an enormous success. In this post, I will try to give a glimpse into the discussions that went on.

Day Two of the conference included multiple plenary sessions and workshops, with name-brand speakers including Wesleyan's own Gary Yohe, NASA-Goddard's James Hansen, and three U.S. Congressmen. I will restrict my coverage to the first two speakers, though there were many more excellent presenters, along with numerous workshops devoted to special topics.

Starting things off was Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Science and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He introduced the Wesleyan Statement of Principle:
  1. Price carbon as transparently as possible
  2. Return the revenue to consumers
  3. Make careful adjustments over time
The needs to provide predictable long-term price expectations and to adjust carbon pricing based on results achieved must be carefully balanced. He cautioned against thinking that economics could solve all problems, disagreeing with the argument that one just needs to get the price of carbon right and everything works itself out. You can't put a price on lives (though some try) or species extinctions. He favored the more limited notion that economic incentives often are an effective way of changing behavior and achieving societal goals.

Yohe pointed out that the world is already committed to a one-degree (Celsius) temperature increase, and halfway to a two-degree increase. He used an analogy with water flowing into a vessel with an undersized drain: to keep the level from rising, it isn't enough just to slow down the rate at which the vessel is being filled; it is necessary to slow the rate to what can be accommodated by the drain. In the case of Earth, only so much carbon dioxide can be "digested" in a given amount of time.

Finally, Yohe warned against the latest argument for inaction. Having given up on the claim that global warming is not occurring, some now say that warming is occurring, but it is too expensive to do anything about it. How much is it worth to have a climate similar to the one in which civilization developed?

James Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS), is known to many as the man who defied a Bush-administration "gag order" in 2005. He gave a description of the state of science regarding the role of carbon dioxide in global warming. The news is not good. He also claimed there is a wide gap between what is understood (by scientists) and what is known (by the public).


Hansen didn't mince words: global warming is a planetary emergency. Even if fossil fuel burning were to stop today, there is much warming in the pipeline. He said that the "safe" level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is currently thought to be 350 parts per million (hence the name of Bill McKibben's organization 350.org), and we are well beyond this level now, close to 390 parts per million.

There exist tipping points, beyond which the climate could be destabilized and temperature rise could become much more rapid. Hansen offered three examples:
  1. Ice Sheet Disintegration. Ocean warming melts arctic and antarctic ice shelves, and glaciers surge as a result, accelerating the drainage of ice from the continents.
  2. Species Extermination. Shifting climate zones either make species' habitat disappear or change its geographical location faster than the species can migrate. [An example: the pika, a Rocky Mountain rodent, is being driven to higher elevation as the climate warms, but its food supply is not moving up the mountain at the same rate]. Hansen said climate zones are moving northward at 50-60 kilometers per decade.
  3. Frozen Methane. In the tundra and on continental ice shelves, trapped methane can be released by thawing. Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so much less is needed to have a significant impact.
Hansen pointed out that there have been times in Earth's history when temperature has risen 5-6 degrees Celsius, and that these temperature rises have been accompanied by extinction of up to half of Earth's species.

Hansen's talk was dense, with much technical information selected to convince the audience of the seriousness of the problem, although this particular audience did not need much convincing. He also spoke passionately about intergenerational justice, showing pictures of his grandchildren and describing his concern for their future as a major force driving him to speak out publicly. Hansen's power point presentations and much other information can be found at


I hope this has conveyed some of the flavor of the conference. There was much more, and if there is interest I will post more on a future occasion. In particular, the many students in attendance, especially those associated with the group Students for a Just and Stable Future, were a source of energy and inspiration.