Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Board of Ed Holds First Meeting With New Members

In its first order of business, the Board of Education nominated and elected Chris Drake (D) as chair, Cheryl McClellan (R) as Vice Chair and Marilyn Rios (D) as Secretary.  All votes were unanimous.

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

The Coconuts

Comedy Rock Band

This special show is an all originals Coconuts show.
New England’s Legendary Comedy Rock Band
Comedy Rocks! Hilarious Parodies, Sing-Alongs & Good Ol’ Rock ‘n’ Roll. More than just a comedy show…More than just a band…The Ultimate Baby Boomer Party Band!
Johnny Eagle (vocals, blues harp, kazoo, percussion), Joe Beetz (guitar, vocals), Sal Monella (bass guitar, vocals, trumpet)

Friday November 24th | 8-10pm, $15

Andrew Biagiarelli Trio / My Girl My Whiskey & Me

Reggae / Calypso / Bluegrass

Andrew Biagiarelli is going on tour for the release of his new album! Andrew Biagiarelli spent his early 20s traveling the American West with just a backpack and a guitar.  Jamming around bonfires from Alaska to Colorado, he absorbed all the varied influences of his friends on the road.  With a sound ranging in style from folk and blues to jazz-infused, his music is as varied as the landscapes of the American West.  While living on a sailboat in the Caribbean, he assimilated reggae and calypso rhythms into his approach to songwriting.  A natural storyteller, he weaves a tapestry of songs and tales of his travels into his live performances.

My Girl My Whiskey & Me is currently based out of Greenville, SC. In June of 2017 they began a tour called “50 in 52”, attempting to reach all 50 states within one year. Melding progressive and traditional bluegrass seamlessly, this mandolin, and guitar duo is not an act to miss! Coming soon to a state near you.
Saturday November 25th | 8-10pm, $15

Thursday, November 16, 2017

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree


Someone You Can Xray & Brian May

Electric Blues

Someone You Can Xray: Is a CT-based rock fusion band for everyone!   From electric blues & country, to funk and psychedelic improvisations, hilarious stage antics and surprise instruments, there’s always a surprise!

Brian May: Brian May is making his fourth appearance at The Buttonwood Tree and has been performing around Ct., New England and New York State for the past 50 years. This show will feature all original songs, with influences of roots, blues and some folk rock. Vocal harmonies a plus with excellent instrumentalists from both acts.

 Friday November 17th, 8-10pm | $12

Teen Open Mic


Teens, looking for a place to perform? A place to recite your latest poem? How about your newest original scene? Or, a time-tested monologue? If so, The Buttonwood Tree Teen Open Mic is FOR YOU!
Be a part of Buttonwood’s first ever open mic specifically for teen performers ages 12-18. Perform any type of artwork: you can use our piano or bring a guitar, ukulele, or other instrument to play! Cover your favorite song or perform an original! Whether it is your first time performing or you are an experienced teen musician, poet, or artist, the Buttonwood Tree is a positive, supporting environment for teens to perform. Parents and friends are welcome to come support!

Thanks to Matt at the Middlesex Music Academy, a back line of a full drum kit, bass amp and guitar amp can be provided with advance notice. Email or call us to make arrangements.

Saturday November 18th, 3-5pm | $5

Seat Of Our Pants (SOOP)

Contemporary Acoustic Folk

Seat Of Our Pants (SOOP) has been playing their own brand of contemporary acoustic folk by the “seat of their pants” for the past 5 years, and having a whole heck of a lot of fun doing it…but don’t let the name fool you. Carolyn, Jeff, Mark, and Mike have the whole package with tight vocals, guitar, bass, violin, percussion, and two CDs under their belts. They deliver a fabulous combination of original material and unique covers of current and not so current tunes, with genuine ease and grace. And they are no strangers to the stage at The Buttonwood tree, with 3 previous standing-room-only appearances since 2013. From their humble beginnings at an open-mic, to appearances at places like The Bread Box, The Vanilla Bean, to taking 1st place this Summer in the Open Mic Competition at The Majestic Theater in West Springfield, SOOP has attracted a word of mouth following in Connecticut and beyond that continues to grow.

Friday November 18th, 8-10pm | $10

First Church in Middletown Annual Christmas Concert, Sunday, December 10, 4 pm

Candlelight Christmas Concert

First Church
in Middletown
190 Court Street 

Sunday, Dec. 10th
4 o'clock pm

The Candlelight Christmas Concert at First Church is a calm and wondrous, late-afternoon service. It's a good time to unwind during this busy season, and think about your own Christmas joys--we think you'll enjoy it.

On SUNDAY, December 1O, at 4:00 PM, First Church (UCC) in Middletown hosts its annual Candlelight Christmas Concert. The concert is free and open to the public (donations are appreciated).  

The concert features classical and traditional, as well as Gospel and spiritual selections from our choirs, our bell choir, and the Court Street Singers men's choir; as well as Christmas readings and carol singing. A buffet reception will follow the concert in the Parish Hall.

FIRST CHURCH in Middletown is at 190 Court Street, in Middletown, and there is plenty of free parking nearby. For additional information about First Church programs, please call our office manager at 860-346-6657. 
(Or see us at FirstChurchMiddletown.org or on FaceBook, First Church Middletown FB.)


Comcast Public Access TV Studio Open House Friday

From Elizabeth Walden, Public Relations, Comcast, Western New England
Comcast is opening the doors of its local Public Access TV Studio, located at 199 Shunpike Road, Cromwell, CT to residents of our city (and Cromwell, East Hampton, Portland, and Middlefield) on Friday, November 17th  from 6:00pm to 8:00pm for the studio’s Annual Open House.  Refreshments will be served.

At the open house, residents will be given a tour of the production studio, which includes three cameras, an audio console and a character generator for graphics. The equipment will be set up for demonstrations and guests will leave with a basic understanding of television production.

During the year, Comcast hosts workshops at its public access studio for community residents, local non-profit groups and municipal employees, allowing them to learn the various aspects of television production, including the operation of cameras and other equipment, directing and hosting programs and covering local events and public meetings. Training is also provided on an individual or group basis.

Through the workshops and trainings, attendees will learn to produce, write and tape their own local television programs for local access channel 15. Public access television runs the gamut from government meetings and educational programming to talk shows and youth group activities and sports.

Community members interested in becoming public access television volunteers can register for the workshops at the open house or by calling the studio directly at 860-613-3035.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Celebratory Swearing-In

The Reverend Ed Ford senior delivers a benediction.
Council chambers in Middletown were filled with friends, family, colleagues and dignitaries as newly-elected municipal officials were sworn into their offices Tuesday evening.

"May they prove worthy of the confidence placed in them by their citizens." - Father Russell Kennedy

It was the biennial meeting of the Common Council, for the express purpose of the swearing-in, so most Council members were present, Mayor Dan Drew presided, and guests included Republican State Senators Len Suzio, Toni Boucher and George Logan.  Also attending were chairmen of the towns Democratic and Republican town committees, Sal Nesci and Bill Wilson, respectively, and the newly-hired Superintendent of Schools Michael Conner.  Members of the current and past Boards of Education and Planning and Zoning commission were also in the room.

For an off-year election in which only eight candidates were elected, the room buzzed with excitement before and after the event.
Susan Allison.

"Choose any bank...down by the river sideways...and contemplate its bend and the wending ways of folks who came here in unending streams."  - Susan Allison.

The evening began with an invocation from Father Russell Kennedy from St. Francis of Assisi, followed by a reading from Middletown poet laureate Susan Allison of her poem about Middletown, "Choose Any River."


The swearing-in of all newly-elected officials followed immediately.  On the Board of Education, Ed Ford (R), Sean King (D), Lisa Loomis (D) and Jon Pulino (R) were sworn in.  On the Planning and Zoning Commission, Stephen Devoto (D), Nick Fazzino (R) and Corrine Dorsey (R) and Tyrell Brown as Republican Planning and Zoning alternate were sworn in.

Surrounded by family, Ed Ford is sworn in by Mayor Dan Drew.
Part of the excitement came from the early publicity afforded two young African-American men elected to town committees as Republicans.  Ed Ford was elected to the Board of Education and Tyrell Brown was elected as a Planning and Zoning alternate.  The young men shared roles as President (Brown) and Vice President (Ford) of their high school class, are close friends and are said to be the youngest Republican African-American to win office in Connecticut.  Ford is a junior psych major at CCSU, and Brown is a junior business major at SCSU.  WTNH featured the pair in a news story after the election, and was present for the swearing in, but the local coverage was superseded by national coverage when the pair was featured on Fox and Friends in the Fox New NYC studios. (editor's note: the fact that these capable young men were elected is reason for celebration for their party, and for Middletown, but it should be clarified that their "win" in "deep blue Connecticut" as characterized on WTNH and Fox, came only as a result of minority party representation rules.  The minority party (in this case, Republican) on any board in Middletown, must be represented.  In Middletown, the majority party is Democratic, which means that of the nine members of the Board of Education, three must be Republican, or another minority party.  On Planning and Zoning the Dems hold four seats, and Republicans three).

Sean King and family.

Lisa Loomis and family.

Jon Pulino and family.
Stephen Devoto and wife Joyce Powzyk.

Corrine Dorsey and family.

Nick Fazzino.

Tyrell Brown and family.

"It's that love, that grace, that mercy that we seek tonight." - Reverend Ed Ford, Sr.

During the singing of the national anthem, Board of Education member Lisa Loomis took a knee in quiet protest and solidarity in seeking racial justice and equity, and the need for the community to continue discussion of the topic.  Loomis' gesture went unnoticed by most in attendance.  She released a public statement on her decision: "It is my understanding that in recent weeks some Middletown High School students have been wrestling with whether or not to take a knee during the national anthem. In my view, one purpose of education is to empower children. Another purpose of education is to foster critical thinking and a free flow of ideas, and encouraging respectful dialogue about complex issues is an excellent way to do that. I believe the “taking the knee” protest offers a good opportunity for this, but based on my discussions with community members, I do not believe we, as a district, have taken advantage of this opportunity. I took a knee tonight to encourage district and school leaders to facilitate a respectful dialogue about the complexities of this issue so our students feel like their voices have been heard."

On a lighter note, a clerical error meant that Planning and Zoning commissioner Stephen Devoto's name was printed on several of the certificates awarded the newly elected officials, instead of their own names. Devoto, who is a regular contributor to the Middletown Eye, denied that it was an attempt to gain control of any commission or that Russian election interference was involved.

The official ceremony ended with a benediction by Edward Ford, senior, father of the new Board of Education member Ed Ford. But family and friends milled about for another hour congratulating the new officials and celebrating with cake and cannolis.

The Return of the First Church Holly Fair!

Our holiday arrangements of fresh pine and
holly are hand made and make lovely gifts.
First Church

Holly Fair 2017
Saturday, Dec. 2

9:30am – 3pm

190 Court Street

The First Church Holly Fair
returns this year, featuring specially selected Holiday Vendors. We'll have gently-used Jewelry, original art prints (internationally known artist), children’s holiday books, baked goods,cookies by the pound, and gourmet soups to take home, and arrangements of holiday wreathes and centerpieces all made by hand with fresh, local greens.

A sit-down gourmet luncheon of homemade soups, breads, and pies is one of the fair’s most popular attractions; a classic Christmas video will be shown, and Santa Claus will attend from 10:30am to 1:30pm. The fair runs from 9:30am to 3pm. Admission is free and open to all. First Church is open & affirming. Come with friends, family, and children.

First Church of Christ (UCC) is located at 190 Court Street in Middletown. The church is handicapped accessible, and free event parking is available across the street at Middle Oak parking garage. For more information, call the church office at (860) 346-6657. Or see us at firstchurchmiddletown.org.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Policy For Safe Sidewalks & Snow Removal

City residents should take note of a new policy, and new ordinance, on sidewalk snow removal.  In the past, property owners could be fined for failure to remove snow and ice from sidewalks after snow storms. Under the new policy, those who fail to remove snow and ice within 24 hours after a storm will still be fined, but the fine will increase for each violation.

Also, and perhaps most significant, in the past the fines did not always accomplish the goal of getting the sidewalk cleared, leaving the situation still dangerous for children walking to school and for other pedestrians.  (Perhaps some property owners found it more convenient to pay the fine than to get the work done. Maybe they didn't pay the fine.) But under the new ordinance, the City may hire someone to remove the snow and bill the property owner for the job,  then place a lien on the property if the bill is not paid.

Below is the actual text of the ordinance.  It's another step toward safer walking conditions--in other words, Complete Streets--in Middletown!

LIVING WELL: Wellness Fair at First Church

The Living Well
is a morning of alternative activities for healing and recovery.

Come & discover healthy ways to change.

Saturday, Nov. 18
First Church in Middletown 
190 Court Street.

First Church in Middletown will host a community Wellness Fair--
The Living Well, on SATURDAY, November 18th. Registration begins at 8:30am and a
dmission is FREE. Displays will feature healthy ways to change for relaxation and recovery.

Demonstrations and conversations, counselors and teachers
will describe various healing activities, including 

         Music therapy     REIKI     Art therapy   
    REFLEXOLOGY        Cooking for health     Meditation     
Essential oils       TAI CHI     Chiropractic care
First Church is located at 190 Court Street. It's the church without a steeple across from Middle Oak parking garage, a block up from Main Street in Middletown, CT. For additional information, call the Church Office: 860-346-6657 or see FirstChurchMiddletown.org. First church is open and affirming. Come and bring your friends, family, and children.

Newly Elected Officials To Be Sworn In Tonight

The 8 officials elected to office in municipal elections will be sworn in during the biennial meeting of the Common Council, tonight at 7PM in Council Chamber, City Hall. As with the last swearing-in ceremony, the meeting will feature poetry and prayers.

After a reading from Susan Allison, Poet Laureate, and an invocation from Father Russell Kennedy, Pastor at St. Francis, Mayor Drew will administer the Oath of Office or Affirmation of Office.

This Council Meeting will end with a benediction given by the Reverend Dr. Edward C. Ford, Sr, of the Waterbury church Bread of Life Evangelistic Ministries

There will be light refreshments after the religious and government ceremonies are finished.

click to enlarge