Wednesday, March 21, 2018

William Corvo: Route 9 Proposal Is Bad For City

Opinion submitted by former Common Council member William Corvo. The Eye welcomes all signed opinion pieces.
I have completed a review of the latest proposed designs to remove the traffic signals on Route 9 and the “Intersection Improvements along Main Street”. It is my understanding that the key issue driving the need for these changes is the traffic congestion on Route 9 at rush hour caused in part by the lights located on that highway. At the time the highway was designed and built the reason the lights were included at the current locations was to make sure that access to downtown Middletown would be maintained. Middletown merchants made public comments about the need to keep downtown Middletown accessible. The concern was that a freeway without lights would basically end up bypassing Middletown, which at that time was the commercial center for northern Middlesex County as well as the County seat.

The proposed modifications to the traffic signals on Route 9 proposed in Project 0082-0218 proposes to improve safety and improve access to downtown Middletown by removing the two traffic lights. The modification of access to Middletown from Route 9 South eliminates the exit at Washington Street while leaving the Hartford Avenue exit and the exit into DeKoven Drive at the foot of Martin Luther King Drive intact. This works well for vehicles moving on Route 9 South to go down county. It creates a myriad number of problems for people wishing to access downtown Middletown and who are seeking to head west in Middletown and towards Middlefield and Meriden.

The Route 9 South exit at Hartford Avenue remains unchanged so that it will provide access to the Arrigoni Bridge and the northern part of Main Street. In order to go west towards Washington Street traffic will have to run the gauntlet of traffic lights and crosswalks heading south on Main Street to Route 66. Nothing really changes here because that is the current situation. Most drivers have avoided using this route to access Washington Street for these reasons.

The Route 9 North exit proposed for Rapallo Avenue results in a “fly-over” design from Route 9 North over Route 9 South landing in the former “railroad yard” and crossing over tracks running parallel to Route 9 South and the railroad tracks heading west. Route 9 North’s exit dumps into a revised Rapallo Avenue which will become a one-way street heading west but will remain a two-way street heading east into DeKoven Drive. Street parking will be maintained on both sides of Rapallo Avenue. The Rapallo Avenue area has had major improvements to housing on the southern side of the street. Homeowners in these newly remodeled homes will now be directly across the street from a major Route 9 highway exit into Middletown.

In order to move west drivers will come to a halt at Main Street where Rapallo Avenue has a right turn only lane to head north towards the Arrigoni Bridge and St. John’s Church. In order to head south onto Main Street drivers will be confronted with oncoming traffic from Grand Street which is slightly offset to the South of Rapallo. Current conditions at this intersection are dangerous because of the “offset” situation with Grand Street being slightly south of Rapallo at the Main Street intersection.

This proposed design change I believe only exacerbates an already dangerous situation and will create major traffic congestion problems for those coming into Middletown from Route 9 North at this location.

The heavy concentration of both Route 9 South and Route 9 North traffic funneling into Middletown’s North End at this location will result in a “ball of traffic congestion” at the intersection of Hartford Avenue near St. John’s Church and O’Rourke’s Diner. The most current design does not appear to show the new development of a major office building at Grand Street in proximity to Main Street. This should be reviewed for impact on new traffic flow from Route 9 North’s exit with traffic heading south onto Main Street.

In order to help reduce congestion on Main Street heading south from Rapallo Avenue Project 0082-0319 proposes building “sidewalk bump-outs” and eliminating existing parking spaces on Main Street.

The concept of the “bump-outs” is supposed to improve the visibility for the pedestrian and motorist using the street. The actual result of the bump-out will be an increased cost of maintenance for the City of Middletown since it will require snowplow operators to maneuver around the bump-outs located at the intersections. Currently the snowplows are able to move freely up and down Main Street to remove the snow from the parking spaces. The removal of the parking spaces at Main Street and Washington Street and at other locations proposed by this “bump-out” methodology provide no new parking spaces for customers of Middletown’s stores and restaurants.

I believe the Route 9 South design will also result in intense congestion in the DeKoven Drive corridor as drivers will use this road as a way to get back to Washington Street to head west towards Middlefield and Meriden.

I strongly suggest that an alternative Route 9 North exit be examined by DOT. It should be located at the southern entrance to Middletown in proximity to the harbor area. By using this alternative the congestion in the North End would be eliminated. The area I am suggesting for the 9 North Exit would cross over a former municipal waste dumping area that has been partially remediated. It would avoid proximity to housing and would improve access to the Harbor Park area from Route 9 North. Drivers would have several options to head west including Union Street and DeKoven Drive. The Union Street intersection would enable drivers to use a number of alternative routes to head west which include Main Street at the South Green or heading west on Pleasant Street into Broad Street or Church Street to High Street. The result would be that providing alternative routing would lower congestion.

To summarize, I believe the proposed designs work well for elimination of traffic lights on Route 9 for those interested in heading north and south. I also believe that the design does not work well for drivers interested in heading west of Route 9 into Middletown and towards Middlefield and Meriden. The proposed modifications to Main Street will result in an intense increase in congestion in Middletown’s North End at Rapallo Avenue and Hartford Avenue. The proposed “bump-outs” and elimination of parking spaces will result in a negative impact on the maintenance of Main Street during inclement winter weather and will impact negatively on consumer access to Middletown’s stores and restaurants.

Upcoming Events with Wesleyan's Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life

Interested in breaking issues in public life and joining a gathering of academic and nonacademic speakers and audiences to consider ideas and events that are of pressing importance? Consider attending an event with Wesleyan's Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. All events are free and open to the public.

The Proof is in the Pudding: Putin's Pivot to Asia
March 26, 4.30 pm
, Public Affairs Center 001, 238 Church St.

Dr. David Abramson, Senior Analyst in the Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia at the U.S. Department of State will discuss the drivers of Russia’s outreach in Asia and its prospects for success.

Politics, Policy and Social in Social Justice in Venezuela
April 02, 12:15-1:15, Center for Global Studies, Fisk Hall, 262 High St.
A conversation with Antonio Machado Allison, Professor, Universidad Central de Venezuela.
Come to learn about what is happening on the ground in Venezuela.

              The 27th Annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression
              April 05, 8:00 pm, Memorial Chapel, 221 High St.
 Join Wesleyan alumni, parents, faculty and students for a lecture entitled “GUN NUTS & SPEECH FREAKS: A Guide to the Alt-constitution” by John E. Finn, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Government at Wesleyan University, where he taught courses in constitutional theory and public law, as well as in cuisine and    popular culture.

 Haiti: Migration and Globalization
April 11, 12:00-1:00,
Center for Global Studies, Fisk Hall, 262 High St. Alex Dupuy will focus on the domestic and global political and economic factors that transformed Haiti into an exporter of labor to the United States and other countries in the hemisphere in the twentieth century and beyond.

To stay up to date, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any questions, email

Highway and Main Street Plans: Public Presentation Tomorrow

Removal of Traffic Signals on Route 9 and Main Street Improvements

MARCH 22, 2018 AT 7:00 PM

Tomorrow the Connecticut Department of Transportation will present its new plans for traffic through our downtown.

The plans would lead to the most significant change in traffic in our city for at least a generation. All of the Route 9 northbound autos and trucks that currently pass through downtown on Washington Street would instead enter the city via a new elevated highway ramp ending on Rapallo Avenue; if heading west the DOT believes they would travel 3 blocks south on Main Street, and turn right onto Washington. In order to handle the increased traffic downtown, the DOT proposes to narrow Main Street at cross-walks, allowing for shorter and safer pedestrian crossings and consequent shorter stoplight cycles. 

The full description is HERE.

The Eye has published an opinion piece opposing this plan (The DOT Plan: Bad for Middletown), we welcome any other signed opinion pieces, or comments, and encourage all to voice their opinion at the meeting.  If you can't attend the meeting, send written testimony to

Below are computer graphic images of the proposal (click on images to enlarge)

Overview of the project (click to enlarge)

Main Street, with narrowing at cross-walks

Re-design of St. John's Square, and the Rapallo/Main/Grand intersection

At the intersection of Main and Washington Street, crosswalks remain long
Most Main Street pedestrian crossings would be shortened from 85 feet to 55 feet

An elevated highway offramp puts all northbound traffic onto Rapallo Avenue

The highway offramp might have a parking lot

The highway offramp, viewed from Rapallo

Aerial view of elevated highway offramp ending on Rapallo

Southbound highway is elevated to allow northbound traffic
to pass under and enter without stoplight

Southbound entrance to highway from Washington Street

Northbound highway.
All of the southbound traffic is elevated, to allow a northbound on-ramp

Aerial view of highway 

Left lane exit is elevated, Northbound. This ends on Rapallo

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Parking Ban Announced

Public Works Director William Russo has said this ban does NOT apply to Main Street.  When the parking ban has been lifted, this post will be removed as soon as possible.

Comfort Zone Next Film in Free Environmental Series

The next film in The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series will be Comfort Zone, about what climate change means locally, in our own backyards. The film will be shown on Monday, April 2, 2018, 7 pm at Chapman Hall on the campus of Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Road in Middletown, CT (maps, directions and public transportation). All films are open to the public and free of charge.
"Is climate change a scientific problem? An engineering problem? A psychological problem? All that, and more?"
As described on the film's website, Comfort Zone takes an in-depth look at global climate issues in our backyards. Though set in upstate New York, it illustrates the types of effects that can happen anywhere. The three residents and filmmakers each provide their own perspective. Kate worries about her children growing up in a different, more challenging world than the one she grew up in. For Dave, the climate problem is an internal crisis that each person must approach from the inside out. And Sean focuses on the science behind the greenhouse effect, and looks at possible solutions.

Please save the date and join us for this engaging, consciousness-changing, and often funny film that presents climate change from a personal perspective, and challenges us to confront our own connection to this global problem.

After the film, we welcome you to stay for an informal discussion.  

We hope you can join us! Phone our office at 860-346-3282 for more information.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cat Tales Names First Recipient of their Advocate for Animals Award

Cat Tales, Inc.
PO Box 901
Middletown, CT 06457

Contact: Darlene Scirpo – Communications Director, CITC Committee Member


Cat Tales Names First Recipient of their Advocate for Animals Award
Middletown, CT - March 19, 2018

Gail Petras, Senior Animal Control Officer Middletown Police Department is the first recipient of
the Cat Tales Advocate For Animals Award.

The Advocate for Animals Award (AFA) honors a person who significantly influences
the quality of animals’ lives through personal commitment to animal welfare within their
community. This person also supports Cat Tales’ mission through their actions and
contributions of time, funding, knowledge, expertise, or professional experience.

“We at Cat Tales believe it’s essential to the success of animal rescue to acknowledge those
who support animal welfare in our community, “ says Deb Bagley, President of Cat Tales.
“Gail embodies all the qualities of this award every day in her work. Because of her efforts,
she deserves this recognition.”

The award will be presented at the annual Cats in the Castle fundraising event, Saturday,
April 14, 2018 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT, 6PM. For details or to purchase

CATALES, Inc. dba Cat Tales is a Connecticut-based, non-profit organization dedicated
to protecting the quality of life and improving the well being of abused, neglected and
abandoned cats and kittens within our community. Cat Tales Non-Profit Rescue is a
501(c)(3) organization since 1999.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Walk With A Doc -- Middletown Kick Off April 8

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Kalinowski

Walk With a Doc is a free, community based walking program.  It is designed to provide a safe, welcoming environment to help people become more physically active, learn about health and wellness, and join a social group to provide and benefit from support and encouragement. 

For more information on this nation-wide program, visit 

The DOT Plan: Bad for Middletown

Public Meeting:  Thursday, March 22, at Middletown High at 7 pm.  The public is welcome to comment.  Details of the DOT plan are available here, here and here 

This Thursday evening, the DOT will be in town to hear Middletown’s reaction to their proposal to make changes to Main Street and the North End so the traffic lights on Route 9 can be removed.   

It’s a great plan - except for Middletown.  It solves the Route 9 traffic problem, but it does so at our expense.

I’m not a neutral observer on this issue.  I’ve lived in the North End of Middletown since the late ‘90s and I love it here.  I run a business downtown.  I love walking to work, going to restaurants and joining with my neighbors - both residents and businesses - in making our town better. 

But I really hate when a plan comes up that threatens the progress we’ve made.  This is that kind of plan.

In brief, this plan removes the light at Exit 15, where Route 9 meets Washington Street.  Instead, there’s a new left flyover lane from Route 9 Northbound which brings the traffic from Route 9N onto Rapallo Ave and then Main Street; this requires changes to Downtown Middletown to keep the traffic flowing.  (Another part of the plan removes the stoplight at Exit 16/Hartford Avenue, which isn’t addressed in this post).

Here are a few problems with the plan to remove the Exit 15 light, in no particular order:

The new flyover lane from Route 9 lands on Rapallo Avenue

This is a lousy thing to do to the people who live on Rapallo and the surrounding streets.  Not coincidentally, this is a racially diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhood.  There’s a regrettable history of putting highway ramps in marginalized neighborhoods - if you’re not aware, please google it.  This ramp is an overpass, a level higher than DeKoven Drive and the railroad - a truly imposing structure.  Cars on Main Street can no longer turn onto Rapallo, which will add new traffic to Green & Ferry as the only way to get to DeKoven Drive.  

New, unhappy traffic on Main

This plan re-directs the Exit 15 traffic which currently heads up Washington Street and sends those cars to the corner of Rapallo and Main.  Most of these people are just trying to continue up Washington, towards Meriden and other points West.  Or maybe they’re trying to get to the center of Main Street.  Either way, they’re now blocks away from where they want to be.  Currently, traffic coming from Rapallo to Main is relatively light and even so, it’s a factor in the gridlock that happens at rush-hour at the messy intersection of Main/Grand/Rapallo.  The new plan surely adds time and aggravation for everyone already driving on this stretch.  More congestion, more road rage, more delay.  Which leads to the next two issues:  short cuts and bump-outs.

Pressure to cut through the North End

This new plan will push more cars to find short-cuts to avoid Main Street.  As it is, cars zip through the North End trying to get further up Washington, using Spring, Grand or Liberty, and then Pearl or High. This has gotten worse in recent years.  It’s made drop-off time a hazard at Macdonough School and a regular thing to have your side-mirror knocked off your car when you’re parked on the street.  It’s not good for quality of life, and that’s not just bad for people who live here - all of Middletown needs the North End to be a healthy and livable neighborhood.  The DOT apparently anticipates this added pressure on the North End, because they’re proposing widening Grand Street where it meets Main.

The bump-outs on Main

For the sake of making the cars flow faster on Main, the DOT wants to make the pedestrian walk-light cycle shorter by adding bump-outs on Main Street.  A “bump-out” brings the sidewalk/curb out to the end of the parked car at intersections so it takes less time to cross the street.  Local government has considered this idea a few times over the years - initially favorably but always rejecting it after study because there are a few reasons it doesn’t easily suit our Main Street.  One is that we ease traffic congestion by informally letting cars use that “bump-out” area to wait while making a right turn, so that drivers behind them can continue on Main.  Another is that snow removal is complicated in this congested area, and adding another set of obstructions adds to cost and trouble for plowing.  A third reason is that essentially expanding the sidewalk at every corner adds a lot of new real estate for the city to take care of, in terms of plantings, shoveling and maintenance - and that funding would have to come from somewhere.  Bump-outs could have advantages for Main Street - but since it’s an ongoing cost (both financial and operational) that we would have to absorb, it’s something that we should weigh from our own perspective, not as a way to help the cars go faster. 

….Except at the corner of Washington & Main

The DOT has proposed bump-outs at all the Main Street corners except the intersection of Washington and Main - there are no bump-outs planned on the Esca/Luce’s side of the street.  Instead, some Main Street parking is removed and the pedestrian area is pulled back to make more of a rounded corner for turning cars/trucks.  Ironically, this is the one intersection that could really benefit from bump-outs if your goal is to shorten the walk-light cycle - it has by far the highest volume of pedestrians, and making that cross easy and pleasant is critical to the economic health of Main Street.  But the DOT has rightly seen that it’s not a practical place for a bump-out because of the high volume of turning cars and particularly, large trucks.  All I can say is that this corner is a delicate balance that works right now - pedestrians get their time to cross diagonally and (most of the time) trucks can manage to navigate the turn.  The DOT proposal makes things better for the vehicles passing through town, but worse for pedestrians and nearby businesses. 

Lost Opportunity for Middletown, Part One:

Middletown has spent the past two decades (at least) working to make downtown a more vibrant and interesting place to work and live.   It’s long, slow, expensive work - but we’ve made tremendous progress.  A national trend is on the upswing where people want to move back to the urban core, and Middletown is generally poised to be a top choice in Connecticut - we’ve got access to jobs, shopping, culture, and a variety of residential types.  This type of area is also where businesses want to locate, hopefully providing even more jobs for both current and new residents. But the DOT plan gives priority to through-traffic, making cars more important than pedestrians, bicycles and people who want to park and shop. The kind of positive change we’ve made in Middletown comes from making lots of small, good decisions and resisting negative ones - and this DOT plan hurts that progress.

Lost Opportunity for Middletown, Part Two:

There’s one argument against removing the lights on Route 9 which has nothing to do with this particular plan.  Middletown is unlikely to ever have a first-class riverfront park in that area if Route 9 becomes a typical 65-80 mph highway - that’s because parks just don’t locate on the shoulder of a whizzing highway.  Maybe that’s ok - maybe the convenience of commuters is more important - but we should accept that the two goals are at odds (unless the cars are in a tunnel, which is a very expensive answer to the wait-time at the lights).  Cities all over the world have realized that the old pattern of having a high-speed highway next the river is a terrible waste of a civic resource.  In those places, cities have actually added stoplights to make those former highways act more like streets.  One example is the West Side Highway in Manhattan, which enlivens mid-town by creating easy access to a string of parks, running paths and tourism venues along the Hudson River, like the Intrepid and Chelsea Piers (while carrying a much higher volume of cars than Route 9).  

Isn’t there anything good about this plan?

The DOT makes the argument that this plan will cut back on accidents and injuries.  Hard to argue with that; we all wish there were fewer of those.  Highways are dangerous - but highways at higher speeds are more dangerous - so in the future, this area may have fewer incidents but with a much higher risk for injury and multiple vehicles. 

As for traffic, sadly it's a reality in Connecticut.  The plan to eliminate the lights will add to the congestion of the Cromwell merge, and do nothing to solve the frequent bumper-to-bumper traffic on Route 91 - so I think it's fair to question whether the actual gains for commuters outweigh the risks for our city.

The one rational argument I’ve heard for removing the lights is to eliminate the pollution from idling cars - and yes, in the short term, making the cars go faster is good for the environment.  

But in the long run, making it more convenient to commute longer distances to work is not good for the environment.  Instead, let’s build on the positive work that has been done to make Downtown Middletown a place where people of all income levels will want to live - to enjoy our walkable neighborhoods, our easy-to-get-to jobs, our restaurants and culture, our terrific local school.  Maybe, someday, even our revitalized riverfront.  Let’s support all the towns in Connecticut in their effort to offer both employment and great living experiences, because putting our resources into just making the cars go faster is a road to nowhere.
Please speak up about the effect of this plan on our town at the DOT meeting at Middletown High, Thursday, March 22nd at 7 pm.  If you can't attend the meeting, send written testimony to

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Statewide Candidates Forum To Feature Top Democrats Next Saturday

From the Middletown Democratic Town Committee


Wethersfield Republican Announces Campaign For One of City's State Senate Seats

From Prep Baseball Report
From Tyler Flanigan,
Early yesterday, Republican Tyler Flanigan announced his candidacy for Sen. Paul Doyle’s seat in the 9th district, which includes half of our city.

Flanigan is currently a Political Science student at the University of Connecticut, with intentions of completing the accelerated law program, while minoring in Public Policy.

While only 19 years old, Flanigan is a political veteran. Tyler got involved at the age of 14, volunteering for Republicans across New England.

A former Division One baseball product, Tyler balanced being one of the top athletes in the region while working for legislators across the state, region, and country. Tyler got his breakthrough at the age of 16. That year, while working with the Massachusetts Republican Party and Rep. David Vieira, Flanigan prepared recommendations regarding the opioid epidemic for the state’s health curriculum framework. The findings were submitted to Governor Baker. Word quickly spread of Flanigan’s abilities, and later that month, he consulted Sen. John Reagan of New Hampshire, a member of the state’s newly formed task force against the abuse of opioids. Since then, Tyler has branched out, assuming different roles in different regions.
From campaign web site

A writer for a State Rep. in Oklahoma, a real estate policy analyst for a State Senator in Idaho, a social media consultant for a Senator in North Dakota, and a legislative aide in Rhode Island, Tyler took on all challenges and approached them with innovative new ideas and an open mind. Back at home in Connecticut, he worked on three federal campaigns, all while maintaining his status as a contributing writer for Democracy Chronicles, an online political publication based out of New York City. In recent months, Flanigan gave his go at campaign finance for federal candidates throughout the country who are preparing for the midterm elections.

Tyler comes from a long line of dedicated Connecticut servants. His 2nd Great Grandfather, James E. Flanigan, was an orator for the East Hartford Democrats. His Great Grandfather, James J. Flanigan, was also an orator for the East Hartford Democrats. His grandfather, Robert J. Flanigan, was a well-known Republican writer in Wethersfield. His great uncle, James J. Flanigan, was a 14-year political veteran, known for his work in educational policy. His third great uncle, Capt. Thomas F. Flanigan, was a prominent member of the Hartford Democratic Party. On both sides of the aisle, the Flanigan family has served their communities at the local level.

“I’m ecstatic with the level of energy in the 9th district. I guarantee no candidate will have more energy, more tenacity, and more fire then I will in the coming months. I have devoted my adolescent and adult years to serving constituents. That part of me will never change. I look forward to fighting for hard working families in Hartford and providing a voice for those who haven’t been heard. This is our time,” Flanigan said early Thursday morning.

Friday, March 16, 2018

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

Dan Liparini Trio

Dan Liparini is a guitarist, composer, and arranger based in Hartford, CT. As a student at the Hartt School of Music he had the opportunity to study with Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Rene McLean, Chris Casey, Rich Goldstein and other great musicians. Since graduating in 2013 he has stayed busy as a sideman in a number of bands, playing everything from Latin-Jazz to R&B and Folk. As a leader and a sideman he has performed at venues across the Northeast including the Sidedoor Jazz Club, Infinity Music Hall, Bowery Electric, Pianos, Nectars and many others.
His music is based in the tradition of the guitar trio but also draws influence from blues, rock and electronic music; a crossroads where the music of Thelonious Monk and Jim Hall meets the music of The Beatles and Radiohead. The music is tied together through its simplicity, and the trio uses each song as a template to explore different sounds and textures.
Dan regularly performs around Connecticut and New York as a sideman and a bandleader.
The Dan Liparini Trio is:
Kirk Woodard- Drums
Matt Dwonsyzk- Bass
Dan Liparini- Guitar
March 16th | 8-10pm | $10

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.

March 17th | 3-5pm | $5

Lost Acres String Band

Special St. Patrick’s Day Concert!

Gordon Swift (violin), Paul Howard (guitar), and Jon Swift (upright bass) play and sing an eclectic mix of Irish fiddle tunes, blues, a haunting Hispanic ballad from the old Southwest, a classic number by The Mississippi Sheiks, swing tunes from the 1930s, and exotic originals.

“Impossible to pigeonhole … an unpretentious mood-booster … ranges confidently through several different styles, all handled with aplomb.” – Fiddler magazine

Gordon Swift has played in fusion, rock, folk, and country bands, and he led an electric quartet playing original work in New York City for several years. He studied South Indian classical violin in India and holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. Gordon blends musical influences from around the world into a distinctively American violin/fiddle style.

Paul Howard is a long-time member of the Americana/string band Last Fair Deal, with whom he has recorded four albums. Paul runs Valley Music School in Avon, CT and is a founding faculty member of the National Guitar Workshop with five music instruction books to his credit. He is an eclectic guitarist bringing influences from swing, old-time, bluegrass, and folk/rock music; he’s also an accomplished vocalist.

Jon Swift is a veteran of the New England bluegrass and roots music scene. He was a founding member of the popular bluegrass band Traver Hollow, playing bass and singing with the group for 13 years. He has also sung and played bass or acoustic guitar in several other groups, as well as performing solo. Appearing here on upright bass, Jon lays down a solid foundation for the band.

 March 17th | 8-10pm | $10

Contact Us

The Buttonwood Tree | 605 Main Street | PO Box 71 | Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 347-4957 |

Annual Irish Night and St. Patrick's Day Dinner Dance Saturday March 17

The Middletown Lodge #771 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has announced plans for its annual Irish Night / St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance celebration to be held Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the Middletown Elks Lodge on Maynard Street.  The cocktail hour will begin at 6:00 PM, with the Middletown PBA Pipes & Drums and Irish Step Dancers from the Griffith Academy of Irish Dance performing at 7:00 PM.  A traditional Irish corned beef dinner will follow at 7:30 PM with music and dancing until 11:00 PM.  Tickets are available from Gerry Daley at (860) 347-9315.
As it does every year, the Elks have selected someone to be honored as their Irish Member of the Year.  
Middletown Elks Irish Member of the Year – Captain Sean Moriarty
Middletown Lodge #771 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has announced the selection of Captain Sean Moriarty as 2017 Irish Member of the Year. 
Sean Moriarty moved to Middletown in 1980 and graduated from Middletown High School in 1984. He attended Middlesex Community College and has earned his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Sean began his public service when he joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1985 as a Military Policeman. He then served in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War in 1990.
Following in his family’s occupational footsteps, Sean has been enjoying a 30-year-career in law enforcement. His grandfather Cornelius Moriarty was a police officer in New London from the 1930s to the 1960s. His father, Thomas was a captain in the Connecticut Correctional system. Sean’s uncles and cousins were also New York City police officers.

Sean was hired at the Middletown Police Department in 1987 and rose through the ranks from Patrolman, Sergeant, and Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain in 2011. He currently manages over 80 officers on three shifts and various police units. Sean has experience investigating major crimes, overseeing the SWAT team and scuba unit, and reconstructing major motor vehicle accidents.
Recently Sean worked with Middletown Elks Lodge 771, bringing the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program ® to the Middletown school system. It teaches children in pre-K to 4th grade four easy steps of what to do if they find a gun: “Stop, Don’t touch, Runaway, Tell a grown up.”  He is currently working to bring the program to a new generation of students.

Sean has served as a basketball coach for the Haddam Recreation Department and referee for its soccer league. He also coached boys and girls Haddam-Killingworth Travel basketball teams.
Sean has been involved in town politics since 2007 in his hometown and is currently on Haddam’s infrastructure committee.  He currently serves as a Trustee at his church.

Sean is a proud American/Irish citizen, having just earned his dual citizenship in Ireland.  He has traveled extensively to his families’ homeland and maintains relationships with friends and cousins in Dublin, Killarney, and Ballinskelligs.  His father’s side comes from County Kerry and his mother’s side is from County Antrim and County Cork.

Sean is married to Tanja Buzzi Moriarty and is the father of two grown children, Erin and Christopher.  We honor Sean Moriarty as Irish Member of the Year not only for his rich Irish heritage, but for his service to the Lodge, his distinguished public safety career, his community service to both Middletown and Haddam, his good humor and friendship, and his commitment to family.   Those are the qualities that make him a true Irishman!