Sunday, September 30, 2012

Body Found at Remington Rand

From the Middletown Police Department

This morning at approximately 6:30am workers from a business located at 180 Johnson Street in Middletown arrived at work and found the body of a Hispanic female approximately thirty years old. The body was found between two buildings. The Middletown Police Department was contacted shortly after the body was found.  The Investigative Services Division is now on scene investigating. The Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad has also been contacted to assist with the investigation.  The cause of death is suspicious at this time.

At this time we will not be identifying the body until the family can be notified.  If anyone has any information about the body found on Johnson Street and circumstances around her death, they should contact the Middletown Police Department.

Due to the ongoing investigation no further information is available at this time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eric Kuhn Group, 3pm Sun. Sept. 30, Canoe Club

Mattabessett Canoe Club presents


3pm, SUNDAY, September 30
Mattabesett Canoe Club at Harbor Park
80 Harbor Drive Middletown CT

Eric’s latest CD “Eden @ the Coffeehouse” will be available for sale.
For more information and musical samples, visit:

ECoin's First Project A Success

Middletown’s Environmental Collective Impact Network (ECoin) reached its first goal, resulting in a positive, measurable outcome for the environment. The group facilitated the retrofit of exit light signs, which replaced incandescent 40-watt bulbs with high efficiency 4-watt LEDs. The initial goal was to facilitate 50 retrofits, and ultimately 86 were done. Once the original goal of 50 was surpassed, the group re-set the goal to 100. However, it was hard to find that many more places around town that had incandescents that need to be retrofitted. The energy efficient exit signs were provided at no cost to local businesses and nonprofits, thanks to a $1,200 grant from the City of Middletown’s Clean Energy Task Force.

The reduced environmental impact of these 86 LED exit lights represents just over $4,000 worth of electricity per year, the equivalent of removing nearly 4 average cars from the road or reducing gasoline combustion by about 2,100 gallons per year. This was calculated using an online estimation tool on the Department of Energy's website. Changing one little thing like an exit sign might seem like a small step, but these signs are turned on and lighted at all times, so the savings really do add up when factored together. In the process of contacting facilities about the LED retrofits, ECoin incidentally introduced some businesses to energy efficiency programs and practices and started additional conversations encouraging businesses to go a step further on their own.

A little less than one year ago, ECoin was established to mutually reinforce the work being done by various groups to preserve the natural environment and improve the general quality of life in our city. ECoin now serves as a unifying force among local environmental nonprofits, city commissions, and representatives from the business community. It was created by John Hall through The Jonah Center for Earth and Art for the purpose of streamlining communications and concentrating efforts on specific goals, thus elevating the real measurable impact of environmental activism in Middletown. Hall explains that it is not always very clear if efforts around education and raising awareness really translate into positive impacts for the environment. He notes that multi-faceted problems call for pooling of expertise and concentrating actions. He stresses the importance of collaboration among members of the environmental community. And while it is a great demand to ask groups to dedicate more time to work together, it will eventually result in positive outcomes.

At regular ECoin meetings, participating organizations share information about their individual projects and support each other’s efforts. ECoin also went through a process of establishing goals and selecting and prioritizing specific projects for the group to work on together. The initial process took several months and entailed meetings with brainstorming for ideas and reviewing and vetting all the proposed projects. The high-level goals identified were energy efficiency, open space land preservation, waste management, low impact design, reduction in pesticide use, and making the city more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

The proponents of these general areas wrote out specific achievable goals that would have a measurable effect on the environment. Next, each proposed goal was ranked using an elaborate scoring system that resulted in a list of projects ranked in order of priority. The criteria for ranking the projects included how well it fits in with the organization's overall goal, how achievable it is, and how easy it is to measure the impact.

Meetings are hosted by the Rockfall Foundation at the DeKoven House. Regular participants in ECoin include the City of Middletown’s Conservation Commission, Recycling Advisory Council, Urban Forestry Commission, and Clean Energy Task Force; South Church’s Earth Ministry; Wesleyan University’s Sustainability Department and the Center for the Arts; Middlesex Community College’s Sustainability Committee; Middletown Garden Club; and the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District. Liberty Bank Foundation, the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and St. Pius X Church have also attended meetings and expressed interest in supporting ECoin’s mission in the future.

In order to respect everyone's time, the group is very disciplined about keeping the meetings limited to one hour. Discussions focus on behavior rather than education. Soon, the group will be moving onto their next project with another specific goal in mind. For more information on ECoin’s activities or meetings, call John Hall at 860-398-3771 or visit to email your question.

Members of ECoin pictured above, clockwise from top left: Katchen Coley, Krishna Winston, Jane Brawerman, John Hall, Jane Harris, Claire Rusowicz, Kim O'Rourke, Sheila Stoane

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friendly Folks Friday at The Buttonwood Tree and Full Weekend Lineup

Tonight North End Arts Rising, Inc. presents their longtime friends, the Lost Acres String Band, at The Buttonwood Tree 
605 Main Street,   860-347-4957

The Lost Acres String Band (violin, guitar, upright bass and vocals) presents an eclectic mix of acoustic music including blues, rags, traditional and contemporary fiddle tunes and folk songs, classic swing and some exotic originals.  Instrumentals and songs by Ray Charles, Little Walter, Kate Wolf, Hank Williams, The Mississippi Sheiks and much more, including originals!

Saturday, three events are offered: 

Community Yoga  (8:30 - 9:45am)

"Aligned with Source" Empowerment workshop   (10:30am - noon)

Evening Jazz Concert with Michael Coppola and Barry Ries    (8 - 10pm)
Michael Coppola website

The duo in jazz seems to be the most intimate capacity… just two players forming the groove, the harmonies, the entire feel all from what they are hearing from one another.

The duo of Barry Ries and Michael Coppola…only trumpet and guitar, will be sure to find new exciting directions for the standard jazz repertoire which they will be performing.
Barry Ries plays both trumpet and drums at the highest levels. He has performed in every major jazz club in the US. Barry has performed with jazz legends such as Gerry Mulligan, Horace Silver, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Duke Jordan, joe Lovano and many more.

Michael Coppola invented the 9 string guitar on which he exclusively performs. At a show at NYC’s Iridium, Les Paul himself once told Michael “you are really on to something, you’re a real innovator”. Coppola’s mastery of the unique instrument has brought him great attention in the jazz guitar world. He has recently played at The Blue Note and the Montreal Jazz festival

Worship services, 10 am and 11 am
Food Not Bombs 1pm

This is your last weekend to see the art exhibit, "What's Our Frame of Reference Portraits by the North End of Middletown, U.S.A."   Photographs by Buster Nelson. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sen. Suzio Opens Campaign Headquarters - All welcome

Suzio represents the 13th District which encompasses parts of Middletown

Vinnie's Jump and Jive Open House

Join us Saturday, September 29th from 1-5pm as we celebrate the life of Vinny Amato with a jumpin' and jivin' Open House!

Come see class demos, chat with instructors, eat some yummy food, and win some amazing raffle prizes!
Schedule of Events:
1:30 Unveiling of memorial to Vinnie Amato
2:00 Chi Yoga with Jeff Hush
2:30 Tango with Judy Phelps
2:45 Jazz it Up with Lynn Agnew
3:00 Swing and Blues Dance demo
3:30 Belly Dance with Gia Khalsa
3:45 Tap Happy with Lynn Agnew
4:00 Country Line Dancing with Jim Gregory
4:30 Raffle drawing

Raffle prizes donated by: ION Market, Pedal Power, Mondo's Pizza Restaurant, Javapalooza, Esca's, Lizzy B's Ice Cream, Cold Stone Creamery, Tschudin Chocolates, PJ Jewelers, First & Last, Fiore's, Stella Doro Restaurant, Tuscany's, Dance Out-Fitters, A & D Hair Stylists, Wild Orchid, Capricorns Florist, Amato's Toy and Hobby

Artie Schiemann, Farmer And City Benefactor, Dies

The City knew Artie Schiemann as the man who so badly wanted to preserve his family farm as open space that he sold the development rights to the City for far less than they were worth, preserving his beautiful land on Bradley Street forever. Everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him knew him as a wonderful gentleman who shared his love and knowledge of farming. My family would stop by his farm to buy turnips--he would proudly walk out to his fields and pull up the best ones he had for us. Others tell stories about harvesting hay or potatoes with him, or about learning the life of a bee hive. He was driving a tractor until just a few years ago, and he was always eager to give a young child a ride through the fields.

Schiemann spent almost his entire life as a farmer in Westfield, leaving only to serve in Italy and North Africa during World War II. He died on September 14th at the age of 93.

In 2009, Schiemann was honored by the City for arranging for the permanent protection of his family farm. He was praised as one of the kindest neighbors and gentlemen anybody has known. But he was also perhaps the most modest. When asked why he wanted to preserve the land, he told The Eye's Ed McKeon, "I did it because I thought about my mother and father and how much they loved the farm, ... And I did it because it made me feel good."

In Schiemann's obituary in The Courant, it is suggested that donations in his honor be made to The Middlesex Land Trust, which works to preserve land in our city and elsewhere in the county.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trucking Terminal To Add Maintenance Facility

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans to construct a shop for washing and repairing trucks at a large trucking terminal on Middle Street. The terminal was built and operated by Yellow Freight Trucking until a few years ago, when Yellow Freight was bought by Estes.

The economics of international and domestic shipping now make the Middle Street terminal attractive to Estes, and they have plans to reopen it.

Estes' plans were presented by Tim Coon, a civil site engineer. The Westfield Residents Association presented a letter to the Commission, in which they praised Yellow Freight for having built a well-designed terminal and being a good neighbor, but also asked the Commission to consider a requirement that the hours of operation be restricted to the daytime. Planning Director Bill Warner explained that this was not legally an option for the approval of the expansion, and Coon explained that trucking was a 24 hour a day business.

The Commission gave unanimous approval to the construction of the maintenance building.

Tribute to “Silent Spring” author, Rachel Carson

50 years ago, government scientist Rachel Carson recognized that widespread pesticide use on crops and in back yards was causing devastation in some biological communities.  She wrote about this scientific finding in a compelling book, “Silent Spring”, published in 1962.  It was a turning point in environmental awareness, and environmental regulation, but it did not happen easily.

Thursday night, September 27, 2012, acclaimed actress Kaiulani Lee brings Rachel Carson to life in “A Sense of Wonder” at Oddfellows Playhouse.  “A Sense of Wonder”, a one-person play written by Ms. Lee, has been performed by her at venues across the country and abroad, including at the United Nations, Congress, and The Smithsonian.  The play celebrates Rachel Carson and her work, and reveals a strength of character that allowed Ms. Carson to defend her science against an onslaught of opposition mounted by a chemicals industry fearful of the business consequences of her revelation – an onslaught attempting to discredit Ms. Carson personally, and the quality of her scientific studies.

The play is sponsored jointly by the Connecticut Groundwater Association and the Connecticut Society of Women Environmental Professionals.  Many of the members of these two organizations owe their profession and environmental awareness to Rachel Carson.

“To me, Silent Spring’s  legacy is the realization that environmental science and business were, and often still are, uncomfortable bedfellows.  There are ongoing efforts by business to weaken the environmental scientist’s ability to discover and investigate pollution, and the environmental scientist must have the perseverance and backbone of Rachel Carson to not give in to special interests” said Dennis Waslenchuk, CGA President and organizer of the tribute. 

The production runs one night only, Thursday, September 27, 2012 beginning at 8:00 p.m.  Limited general public tickets are available at $20.  Tickets can be reserved for “Will Call” by calling 860-443-7638.  Please do not call Oddfellows, as we are not handling the reservations.

Need Election Info?

This event is open to everyone! We'll have info on ballot questions, voter registration forms and candidates will be there to answer your questions.

Songs and Sounds of the Swing Area Coming to Middletown

Jazz singer Linda Ipanema and Her Band, with feature guest baritone Stan Edwards, will take their audience on a sentimental journey in a tribute to the great songs, singers and bands of the great swing era on Saturday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be held in the state-of-the-art MHS Performing Arts Center at 200 LaRosa Lane, and it is being brought to Middletown by the Greater Middletown Concert Association as the first performance in its 2012-2013 Series of six performances.

Ipanema will sing swingtime tunes with her current band drawn from some of the best players in the New York City metropolitan area, She has been in show business most of her life including Broadway musicals, films, TV shows, cabarets, comedy clubs and outdoor festivals. As a long-time member of the prestigious Actors Studio, Ipanema has performed in plays as well as musical performances.

Edwards, Ipanema’s guest soloist and husband, came from a stint in the US Army, where he was chosen to tour at various Armed Forces bases, to a 7-year association as Master of Ceremonies singer at the legendary Village Gate in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Later he was a headliner at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, Frank Sinatra’s favorite spot, where he was dubbed “Mr. Manhattan.”
Rave reviews have followed this swinging ensemble throughout the country as they bring the sounds of many performers from the Dorseys to Middletown’s Tony Pastor and from Frank Sinatra to Rosemary Clooney. They help their audiences live the excitement of an enchanting era of swing!

Individual tickets for this concert are $30 (front half of the auditorium) and $25 (rear half of the auditorium). Group and student prices are available. Subscription tickets can be purchased to cover a six-performances 2012-2013 Series at $125 (front) and $120 (rear) or a three-performances only Concert Series at $65 (front) and $60 (rear). The three-performances concert series includes the Fireworks eight-piece instrumental ensemble (February 10) and The Morgans Irish program (March 10), along with Songs and Sounds of the Swing Era (September 29).. Three operas are included in the six-performances series subscriptions. They are the French opera Carmen by Bizet (October 28), the South American tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires by Piazzolla (February 23), and the Italian opera Don Giovanni by Mozart (May 11). The three-performances Opera Series by itself is $90 (front) and $85 (rear). Call 860 347-4887 or 860 346-3369 for further information or to purchase tickets or subscriptions. The website is

River Cleanup this Saturday

COME ON! Get your feet wet, your hands dirty, and make the rivers cleaner! 

Join thousands of individuals, clubs, troops, students, towns and businesses to clean up the Connecticut River and its tributaries. The Source to Sea Cleanup is a one-day, coordinated effort in four states to highlight a cleaner Connecticut River. We’d love your help! Come to your local CT River watershed cleanup for the COGINCHAUG RIVER at: 


hosted by Middletown Regional Agricultural Science and Technology Center 
Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District 
Questions? Contact: Ms. Courtney Johnson, 860.704.4599 ext 4049 


Ms. Jane Brawerman, 860.346.3282 

Dress for messy work, e.g. boots, long pants, long-sleeved shirt. 
Bring water, extra clothes, and friends and family too!!
Cleanup supplies (trash bags and gloves) will be provided.

A program of the Connecticut River Watershed Council -

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Expert on Monticello to Speak at Wesleyan

"A Rich Spot of Earth" Author Peter Hatch to speak at Wesleyan Wednesday, October 3rd at 7:00 p.m.

Peter Hatch, Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, has  meticulously restored Thomas Jefferson’s 2400 acre landscape.

As Director since 1977, Hatch has been responsible for the maintenance, interpretation and conservation of its famous horticultural and vegetable gardens. He has written several previous books on Jefferson’s gardens, and is an advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House kitchen garden. 

Location: Room 107, Shanklin Lab, 237 Court Street
Date & Time: Wednesday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Parking for the event is available on campus in parking lot C or on Lawn Avenue.
Reviews of A Rich Spot of Earth:
"Beautifully illustrated, authoritative....It is wonderful to find out that the man who contributed so much to the republic in which we live also set his contemporaries - and posterity - such a salutary example in other ways as well."--Martin Rubin, Washington Times
Sponsored by the Middletown Garden Club, the Rockfall Foundation, and Wesleyan University

Cash Mob Today at Echo Trading Co., Main St. Market

The occasional Middletown Cash Mob event is back today at 4:30 PM at Echo Trading Co. located in the Main Street Market complex.

Echo Trading Co. is a green boutique offering unique clothing, footwear, accessories, jewelry and gifts. Bring $20.00 and a friend, support a local business, and pick up some early holiday gifts (or just a little something fun for yourself!).

According to the event website, an afterparty will follow at It's Only Natural Restaurant, located just down the hall in the Main Street Market.

(Info from the Cash Mob event website)

What is a cash mob?

Cash mobs encourage members of a community to make a change and help support a local business. Mobbers typically spend 10-20 dollars at the business being mobbed, which creates an immediate economic stimulus. Not only are cash mobs helping local businesses achieve financial success, they are creating everlasting customers and uniting people of the community.

What type of business is being mobbed?

The Echo Trading Co. is a green boutique specializing in natural fiber clothing, footwear, jewlery and accessories.

Why is this business worthy of a cash mob?

This boutique is sure to please all who love the planet. Time passes quickly while browsing through the store's enchanting and environmentally friendly selection. Echo Trading Co. is an unmatched boutique in the region.


1. A commitment to spend $20.00 or more on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 4:30pm.
2. Bring a friend.
3. Spread the good news at work, church, Facebook, and through Twitter.
4. Celebrate your purchases and participation at the cash mob afterparty at ION Restaurant.
5. Meet two new friends.
6. Cast a ballot for the next merchant who should have a Middletown Cash Mob.
7. Have fun!

(image from the Echo Trading Co. Facebook page)

Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society Anniversary Celebration

Mayor Dan Drew, to Speak at Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society Anniversary Celebration

The Middlesex United Way’s Young Leaders Society is holding its official 1st Anniversary Celebration at the Shadow Room on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 5:30 pm. Mayor Dan Drew will be the featured speaker discussing why he believes it is important for young professionals to connect to community groups that offer opportunities for professional development and involvement in the communities in which they live and work.   
Anyone looking to learn more about the Young Leaders Society is welcome to attend this free networking event bringing together current and future Middlesex County leaders, all while enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and an evening of fun.
The Young Leaders Society is a unique and dynamic group providing community involvement, personal development and networking for individuals or couples 40 years of age or younger who live and work in Middlesex County. The mission of the Young Leaders Society is to create opportunities for young professionals to get involved with Middlesex United Way, connect with colleagues and community leaders and give back to advance the common good.

The Shadow Room is located at 170 Main Street. If you have questions regarding this event, please call Middlesex United Way at 860.346.8695.

To learn more about the Young Leaders Society, visit or

Coginchaug River Cleanup; Calling all Volunteers!

Join the fun, be part of a "source-to-sea" effort, and help clean the river! On September 29, 2012,
from 10 am to 12 pm, the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District and Middletown Regional
Agricultural Science and Technology Center are leading a Coginchaug River cleanup at Veterans Park in Middletown. The cleanup is being held in conjunction with the Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup.

The City of Middletown Parks Department has generously offered to contribute gloves, garbage bags
and other supplies, and will help by disposing of trash and recyclables. Any additional donations from businesses to help with the cleanup, such as food and drinks for the volunteers, would also be very much appreciated.

Source to Sea Cleanup is an annual four-state community cleanup of the Connecticut River and tributaries coordinated by the Connecticut River Watershed Council. As a volunteer you will be one of thousands working watershed-wide on the same day to clean up our watershed. If you would like to participate as a volunteer or make a donation, please contact the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District at (860) 346-3282, or email

The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Inc., a nonprofit organization based in
Middletown, CT, works to conserve the natural resources of towns in the lower Connecticut River
watershed and coastal areas. For more information about District technical and educational programs and services, visit our website at

Monday, September 24, 2012


The Rockfall Foundation will kick off the 40th anniversary of its grants program with an informal Grant Information Workshop on Tuesday, October 9th.  The goals of the grants program are to preserve and enhance the environment in Middlesex County and to increase public knowledge of, and respect for, its natural resources.  Representatives of nonprofit organizations, towns, and schools who seek support for environmental education, conservation and planning projects are encouraged to attend the Workshop, which will be held from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the deKoven House Community Center, 27 Washington Street.

Detailed grant guidelines and eligibility requirements as well as a grant application can be obtained on the web at the “Green Grants” page of the Foundation’s website,, or by calling the Foundation's office at 860-347-0340.  To register for the workshop, or for additional information, contact Tony Marino, Grants Administrator, at, (860) 347-0340.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is November 9, 2012 and awards will be announced in mid-February, 2013.

Established in 1935, The Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut's oldest environmental organizations.  Its mission is to be a catalyst  –  bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the county's natural environment.

Artists for World Peace Partnering with Tanzania Orphanage

Wendy Black Nasta, Founder and Executive Director of Artists For World Peace, will be the speaker at the Thursday, September 27 meeting of the Greater Middletown Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women). The public is invited to this program which will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Wasch Center, 51 Lawn Avenue, Middletown.

Good Hope Orphanage Center in Kibosho-Umbwe, Tanzania, is one of a number of sustainability projects that Black-Nasta has designed and Artists for World Peace has funded. The Tanzanian founder of the orphanage, Josephine Machuwa, and Black-Nasta are partnering and changing the lives of thousands of villagers in this remote village in the foot hills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. A large accomplishment there has been the building of a community health center. 2500 villagers will be receiving medical attention, some for the first time. Black-Nasta has pointed out that hundreds of artists and supporters around the world have enabled Artists for World Peace and their International Peace Belt to continue to change lives wherever they travel…one child, one village, one project at a time.

For any additional information about this program or AAUW call 860 346-0862.

Agriculture Student’s Star Shines Brightly

Kacey Reinholtz, 2012 graduate of the Middletown Agriculture Science and Technology program located at Middletown High School, was named the 2012 FFA Regional Star in Agricultural Production at a ceremony held at the Big E on September 15, 2012. Kacey is the daughter of George and Kathy Reinholtz of East Hampton, CT.

Reinholtz was eligible for Regional FFA Star consideration after she was named the 2012 Connecticut FFA State Star this past May. She submitted an application detailing her experiences raising dairy goats and demonstrating leadership in the FFA program, and participated in an interview this past weekend. Kacey represented the state of Connecticut in the Regional FFA Star program, which is open to agriculture students throughout the Northeast region which consists of 12 states ranging from Maine to North Carolina.

Reinholtz, is currently a freshman at Delaware Valley College in Pennysylvania, where she is majoring in Animal Science. She is also a member of the Mattabeset FFA Chapter, the youth leadership organization associated with the Middletown Agriculture Science and Technology program based at Middletown High School. The Middletown Regional Agriculture Science & Technology Program is available to high school students from Chester, Clinton, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, East Hampton, Essex, Guilford, Haddam, Killingworth, Madison, Middlefield, Middletown, Portland, Rocky Hill, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. The National

FFA Organization is the nation’s leading agricultural youth leadership organization with over 7,000 FFA chapters in the United States, serving 540,379 FFA members. For further information about the program, please call (860) 704-4599 or on the web at .

Compost Happens: The Lazy Composting Method

Please join the Middletown Resource Recycling Advisory Council on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in Hubbard Room, Russell Library for a workshop about composting; including setting up and managing a home compost system with minimal effort.

You'll learn how personal composting can be practically effortless!

Jennifer Weymouth, a UConn Master Composter Intern and Middletown resident, will discuss the differences between active and passive composting, demonstrate different types of composters, and answer your burning questions. Free with raffles and refreshments!

For more information:
Contact the Middletown Recycling
Coordinator at 860-344-3526 or for
more information.

Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Music Department present “Voices of Afghanistan”

The 38th annual Crowell Concert Series presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Music Department opens with the New England premiere  performance by the group “Voices of Afghanistan” on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall on the Wesleyan campus. The concert also serves as the initial event of the year-long campus and community-wide exploration “Music & Public Life.” 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Tale of Two Beetles

In my job as a professional tree fanatic, I have recently attended two educational sessions on alien tree beetles, the Asian Longhorned beetle (left) and the Emerald Ash borer (right.) A brief report herewith:

Both of these insects are believed to have arrived in the U.S. via infested packing materials in shipments from Asia. Their expansion in the Northeast can be traced back to major shipping ports of entry, although the nearest outbreak of the Asian Longhorned beetle, in Worcester, MA, is an anomaly. The Asian Longhorned beetle has not yet been found in Connecticut, but the Emerald Ash borer turned up in Prospect in July.

Both beetles have caused large areas of the country to be under quarantine by the USDA and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These quarantines restrict the transport of nursery stock, firewood, logs, mulch or wood chips both in and out of the controlled areas. Currently in Connecticut, only New Haven County is under quarantine, but scientists at the Agricultural Experiment Station are convinced that at least the Emerald Ash borer will be widespread in the state very soon.

Though these are just two of the 350,000 beetles known to science,both have been exceptionally destructive. In Michigan alone, over seven million ash trees have been destroyed by the EAB. The ALB, a more omnivorous beetle, known to destroy thirteen genera, including maple, ash, horse chestnut, elm, mountain ash, birch, poplar, willow, sycamore, cherry, elm, katsura and hardy mimosa, is responsible for millions more tree deaths.

While the USDA’s response to the ALB has been to clear-cut both infested and target trees of the ALB, the plan for EAB is to try to create equilibrium by slowing the beetles’ spread and by treating the target trees.

So far, the Asian Longhorned beetle has been eliminated in several regions, including New York City, New Jersey and Chicago, by means of tree cutting. Early detection is thought to be the best defense.

Both beetles can kill a tree in three to five years. While the ALB bores deep into its host tree, the EAB larva lives and feeds just under the tree’s bark, creating wavy lines where it has fed on the growing portion of the tree, known as the cambium. Ash trees locally often exhibit signs of Ash decline, an umbrella term that covers response to air pollution, drought, various fungi, and a mycoplasm-like organism that infests many ash trees.

This pervasive decline will make discovery of the EAB problematic, since so many ash trees already look, as Dr. Kirby Stafford of the Experiment Station said recently, “crappy.”

So what’s to be done? For local residents who value their trees, including those poor, benighted trees growing along the right of way, careful inspection is the best defense. The ALB chews its way out of its host tree, leaving a round exit hole a quarter inch or more in diameter (see above). The EAB, being much smaller, burrows out through a distinctive D-shaped hole, about an eight of an inch wide (below).

Trees infested with ALB often have piles of sawdust or frass at their base. Many trees will show a significant amount of dieback in their upper canopy. Hotlines have been established for both beetles, but it is a good idea to check the internet to verify what you think you are seeing.

For ALB, the best website is: the hotline number is: 1-866-702-9938             .


For EAB, the best website is: and the hotline number is: (203) 974-8474.

Much has already been learned from other states’ experience with these two beetles. Surprisingly, the biggest factor in preventing the spread of the two beetles is not moving firewood away from the site where it was cut. This is the major reason for the quarantine, since these insects can live in cut wood for up to a year.

So, if you are buying firewood, make sure you know where it was cut, and avoid wood from New Haven County or anywhere outside of Connecticut.

Popcorn by The Colonel #10

Essay Question: Compare and Contrast
Murphy’s Law and Catch-22.
Be Concise But Comprehensive.

“C” students would do the best job running the world, including Middletown.

September 19 was International Talk Like a Pirate Day in Middletown and elsewhere. Hope yours was good, matey.

A Middletown friend says she sings poorly. She says when her son was little, and she sang to him, he would say, “Don’t sing, Mommy, don’t sing.” Children are heartless.

From 1912: Middletown Has But One Criminal Case

The following article is from exactly 100 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant on September 23, 1912.
Reading this article, one understands how academics in the fields of languages and literature might make a career out of reading murder stories in the tabloids. What does it say about 1912 society when a murderous crime is but a lapse from the straight and narrow for the individual, and not a mark on the peaceful nature of our city? What does it say about the language of the Courant that this can all be said in three (very long and full!) sentences?
Alas, I could find no more in the archives about either Mr. Baroni or Mr. Peirson.

Louis Baroni Charged with Murderous Assault.
Eighteen cases are on the docket for the criminal term of the superior court, which will open in this city tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock before Judge William L. Bennett, and that Middletown citizens have been of a peaceful nature during the past few months is shown by the fact that only one of those who will be put to plea is from this city. This one individual, whose lapse from the straight and narrow path has caused the only blot on Middletown's record since last spring, is Louis Baroni, who is charged with murderous assault on Antone Olsen, a foreman at Pierson's greenhouse in Cromwell. Young Baroni's father, who is supposed to have been the principal in the case, made his escape immediately after the affair, and has not been captured, although a reward of $140 was offered by A.N. Pierson.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Russell Library Strategic Plan Public Forums

Bringing Together People and Ideas for the Future

When people and ideas come together this fall to participate in Russell Library's planning project, good things will happen for the Library and for all of Middletown.

Everyone who cares about Middletown and Russell Library can be part of the Library's planning project.  You and your ideas are welcome because those ideas will shape the future.  Attend one of the Library's Public Forums on either Wednesday evening, October 10, at 6:00 p.m., or on Saturday morning, November 10, at 9:00 a.m.

The forums will be led by Alan Gray, a planning consultant with extensive experience in libraries, the business world, and in education.

Middletown Would Miss The Press

This is a commentary that represents solely my opinion. It is in no way meant to represent the opinion of The Eye, or any other of its volunteer correspondents.
This opinion follows Ed McKeon's articles on the financial decisions that led to the second bankruptcy declaration by the owners of the Middletown Press, and the related issues in local journalism, as well as Molly Salafia's article, "I Won't Miss The Press".

The Middletown Press continues to play a vital role in the life of our city, and it would be a great loss if it ceased to exist. I say this in part for reasons generally applicable to the press and democracy, but also for reasons specific to The Press and Middletown.

When elected officials know that the voters are, or will be, informed about their actions, their decisions are more likely to be in the best interest of those voters, because votes are more likely to be based on what the elected officials are actually doing. As long as The Press is paying a professional journalist to watch and to report to us what is happening in City Hall, in the Police Department, in Water and Sewer, in the Board of Education, etc, The Press is providing a vital service to our municipal democracy. At the national level, I would make this same argument about Mother Jones and The Wall Street Journal (and if pushed, even about thoughtless and partisan sensationalists).

The Buttonwood Tree's Bevy of Offerings starts NOW

The doors are open all day on Fridays to welcome you to browse our bookstore or delve into the intriguing art exhibit. After you pick up your veggies at the market next door, stop in! You may also wish to come by after 6pm to choose your seat for the concert tonight - which may be full - as we welcome five fantastic musicians and record live. Here's a brief rundown of our weekend's events, but do go to the website for details and to reserve your seat.

Friday, 8 pm    Double Bill: Frank Critelli, Michael Arafeh & Don Horton / Daphne Lee Martin & Jim Carpenter.   Rock/folk and surprises, including a free Frank Critelli cd recorded live at TBT!

Saturday, September 22:

8:30 - 9:45 am  Community Yoga (free / donations welcome)

1 - 5 pm  CHINESE BAMBOO BRUSH PAINTING Class - Adult beginners welcome. (reserve your space, $45.)   Materials included. Easy to learn, versatile to use to create your own projects.

8 pm    Jasmine Lovell-Smith's Towering Poppies - Album Release Tour for Fortune Songs.  Jazz Quintet

Jasmine Lovell-Smith is a composer and saxophonist from New Zealand, currently based between New York City and Middletown, CT. Born to an American mother, a trained opera vocalist, and a Kiwi father, the voice was her first instrument. After discovering jazz in high school, Jasmine took up the saxophone and went on to graduate from Massey University (Wellington, NZ) in 2006 with a Bachelor of Music (1st class Honors) majoring in jazz saxophone performance and composition. She was awarded a full Honors scholarship on the basis of exceptional academic achievement.
As a composer/arranger, Jasmine’s works have been performed by such groups as the New Zealand Youth Jazz Orchestra and the New Zealand High Schools Jazz Orchestra. She has also performed widely in New Zealand and North America with a variety of ensembles. In 2008 Jasmine was selected as a participant in the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in Alberta, CA, and in 2010 she attended the School for Improvisational Music Summer Intensive in Brooklyn, NY. Jasmine seeks to create music that is lyrical and memorable, balancing intuition and spontaneity with carefully crafted structures. Some of her interests include setting poetry to music, polyphony and composing for woodwind instruments. She is also an experienced educator, and has worked as an Artist Tutor in the New Zealand School of Music’s undergraduate jazz program.
Jasmine relocated to New York City in the summer of 2010, where she leads her own quintet, Towering Poppies. Towering Poppies released their debut album in August of 2012, which was described as a “dynamite debut” by UK jazz critic Stephen Graham. Towering Poppies performs regularly in New York at such venues as Seeds, the Douglass St Music Collective and the Launchpad.  Jasmine is also a member of the collaborative world/folk/improv trio Pangaea, and co-leads the “Common Wealth” sextet with saxophonist Angela Morris. She recently began studying towards her Master of Arts in Composition at Wesleyan University.

Sunday,  September 23
10 - 11 am  Rev. Ronnie Bantum
11 - 12 noon  Pastor Sandra Steele
1 - 2 pm  FOOD NOT BOMBS   (free vegetarian lunch)
7-9 pm  IMPROV Rehearsal(free)

Monday, September 24
Bookstore and Art Gallery open  11am - 10 pm
Anything Goes Open Mic with J-Cherry - 8 pm ($3-5 suggested donation)

Wednesday, September 25
NEW PROGRAM!  KARAOKE with Deni - Come sing to your heart's content!!  7-9pm  (free)

Preview for next weekend: Lost Acres String Band (Friday, 8 pm)
Michael Coppola Jazz and Blues Band (Saturday, 8 pm)

COME GET CONNECTED at  The Buttonwood Tree - to great music and art, to your highest Self, to friends new and former ... and to unlimited possibilities!


Veterans, dislocated workers, and the under-employed who are pursuing careers in health and life sciences will have more educational opportunities at Middlesex Community College thanks to a new $1.2 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The grant is part of a larger $12 million consortium grant awarded to MxCC and four other Connecticut institutions to provide targeted certifications, industry-recognized credentials, and associate degrees in growing health and life sciences occupations.

“We are so pleased to have received support for this Health and Life Science Career Initiative,” said Dr. Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC. “These fields are strong and expanding sectors in our economy and we want to prepare our students to succeed in them.  We will be collaborating with our sister Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to ensure that the programs we offer are directly relevant to the workplace and that they offer our students what they need to be upwardly mobile in their chosen careers.”

Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College ( is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Board of Regents for Higher Education. The school offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at the main, 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, and online.  The Chronicle of Higher Education named MxCC a “Great College to Work For” in 2012. The college promotes understanding, learning, ethics, and self-discipline by encouraging critical thinking.  Current enrollment exceeds 2,900 full and part-time students, and 1,600 continuing education students.