Archive for the ‘Community Events’ Category

Editorial Cartoon Bashes Middletown and Insults St. Sebastian

October 23, 2011

Statue of Saint Sebastian on grounds of St. Sebastian Church: John Brush Photo

A recent editorial cartoon by Bob Englehart of Hartford Courant has caused considerable consternation here in Middletown. Of course editorial cartoonists, as well as editorialists in general, always run the risk of offending some person or group and Mr. Englehart’s “McMahon as Martyr” piece, which appeared in The Courant on Oct 20, was no exception.

Some background: Acting (Police) Chief Patrick McMahon was demoted and suspended for cause by Mayor Sebastian Giuliano earlier this month. The immediate cause was stated to be the mayor’s loss of confidence in the chief whom he had previously supported for a permanent post as chief of the department. McMahon reportedly was seen imbibing an adult beverage  while armed and in uniform ( a no-no according to the mayor). Mayor Giuliano was not pleased with McMahon’s responses when questioned about the alleged drinking.

The mayor’s support for McMahon and the countervailing lack of such support by other city officials, principally Democrats on the Common Council,  has been a matter of controversy for many months. Finally, a citizen initiative was undertaken by local activist Ed McKeon who managed to secure enough valid signatures to place the issue of McMahon’s promotion on this year’s election ballot. (The ballot question has most likely been rendered moot by the demotion but this is still being investigated.)

Englehart’s cartoon caused distress on two counts.  Firstly, he sullied the reputation of the city with his comment about the cartoon; ” …Stay tuned for more soap opera from Middletown, a town just like yours but really screwed up”. Secondly, and here is where he really stepped into it, he suggested that viewers of his cartoon should check the box as to who was the  Middletown’s official martyr, Patrick McMahon or Saint Sebastian, whose namesake church is a prominent feature on Washington Street.

Well, this prompted a vigorous response from former Deputy Chief (Police) and present Common Council member Phil Pessina, a parishioner at St. Sebastian Church. Mr. Pessina’s objections were presented in great detail in letters that appeared in Middletown Patch and in The Middletown Eye. Excerpts from Mr. Pessina’s letters:

“To Bob Englhart…I am very upset and disappointed with your choice of cartoon characters concerning the recent developments involving our former Acting Police Chief and your lack of sensitivity towards our city’s Catholic residents and our beloved Patron Saint ‘Saint Sebastian’. Your pen has struck a direct insult to both our residents of Italian descent and our parishioners of Saint Sebastian Church…Your insinuation that our town is all “screwed up” is unfounded and based upon your personal feelings. Just because we have a challenge to deal with in our city government, it doesn’t give you the right to besmirch our community…Your reader poll comparing an individual and a saint, is very disturbing and a direct insult towards the parishioners of Saint Sebastian Church who have a deep, devote faith in their patron saint who was put to death because martyrdom for the Christian people.”

Mr. Pessina concludes with a request for an apology on behalf of the people of Middletown and particularly the parishioners of St.Sebastian Church. He also requests a retraction of the offending cartoon.

Phil Pessina Leads I Nuri Procession,Feast of St. Sebastian, May 16, 2011: Credit C. Day

Mr. Englehart, who lives in Middletown and attends South Church, describes his political leanings as “progressive/moderate”, whatever that means; as for his religious beliefs he says; “Congregationalist-hell, we’ll marry anybody who’s in love!” 

Bob Englehart Self Portrait

Middletown Republicans Poised to End Democrat Domination in the City

October 21, 2011

P & Z Candidate Molly Salafia with Matt Scarrozzo, MRTC Chairman

The February 2011 special election that brought Len Suzio to the Connecticut Senate was an early sign of dissatisfaction with long term Democrat domination in Connecticut. In the case of the district (Senate District 13) won by Suzio it had endured Democrat control for 36 years according to the Hartford Courant’s calculations. At the time of Suzio’s win I wrote, in another venue:

“One can only hope that Suzio’s election is a harbinger of reform to come. Recent developments in other states suggest that a nationwide retreat from reckless spending, unfunded mandates, and impossible entitlements is in the offing. The turnout for this election was remarkable for a special election and I imagine that taxpayer concerns here and the news from other states spurred voter participation yesterday.”

The hope today among Middletown Republicans is that the movement away from Democrat domination in local politics can continue with the election of a full slate of able candidates on Nov. 8, 2011. The Republican slate for Middletown is headed by incumbent Mayor Seb Giuliano who has been in office for six years during which time he has been faced with a Democrat majority on the Common Council and Board of Education.

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano

A Year’s Output of Our Planet’s Chromium MInes Visible Here: Motorcycle Mania 2011

August 12, 2011


Thousands of motorcycles with their drivers and passengers. plus thousands more spectators filled the entirety of Main Street and some of the surrounding streets with a sea of chromium and brilliant paint. This was Motorcycle Mania 2011, an annual event in Middletown, Connecticut for the past several years. Follow are a sampling of photos from the event.

I don’t know what motorcycle they rode in on but I am pleased they agreed to be photographed (obligatory eye candy)!

Note: Click on any photo to enlarge

There were a great variety of machines on display including Harleys of every description, Honda comfort bikes, Spyder trikes, and conventional  trikes; also spotted was a single Ducati and a Victory. There were quite a few female drivers but always solo and of course the usual pairing of guy driving and gal holding on in back.

No motorcycle rally would be complete without a cast of colorful characters and this event was no exception:

Bikes and more bikes:

The End (time to partay!):

America Haters or Drunk Teens (or both!)

July 6, 2011

Reposted today from Steady Habits:

During Memorial Day Weekend Andy Bordick of Hebron repainted the iconic Eagle Rock on Rte 66 in Hebron, Connecticut. Sadly, over the just ended Independence Day Holiday Weekend vandals defaced the Eagle with red paint, creating a bloody mess. The vandal’s  political intent can be inferred by a close look at the top and bottom photos! Reportedly the damage is to be repaired today.

Bloody Vandalism – Independence Day Weekend 2011
Andy Bordick Repainting Eagle Rock on Rte 66 in Hebron – Memorial Weekend 2011

Bloody Vandalism – Independence Day Weekend 2011

Middletown Reads – Connecticut Reads

July 2, 2011

Encouraging our Youth to Read is of Utmost Importance – The Summer Reading Programs Statewide and Here in Middletown are Most Welcome – Public Must be Vigilant to Prevent Politically Slanted Textbooks from Entering the Curricula – Some Questions About Gender

The July issue of The Chronicle (Middletown’s Community Newspaper) carries an article by Karena Garrity about a Bookmobile that will travel about the city offering used books to students. The project,  sponsored by Middletown Public Schools, is called Middletown Reads.

In addition to the Bookmobile there is a contest offering a free Kindle e-Reader to the student, in grades 6-12, who creates the best project relating to a book or books read over the summer.

The winning project will be the one that best illustrates the student’s connection to the material read. Graphic works on paper or even audio or visual material are suggested. Entries are to be submitted on opening day of the 2011-2012 school year. for more information go to this link or email Ms. Buchanan at buchanana@mps1.org.

According to The Chronicle the Bookmobile will operate on Wednesdays through August 17 driven by the principals from each of the eight elementary schools in  the city. According to Donna Marino, partnership coordinator for Middletown Public Schools; “…studies have shown that if we can keep students reading over the summer months they are less likely to slide back academically.”

Credit: Catherine Avalone - The Middletown Press

Unfortunately the web site at Middletown Reads does not yet include details about the Bookmobile schedule merely stating; “Information about the book mobile on the way!”

Connecticut Governor's Summer Reading Challenge

Middletown Reads is part of the statewide effort Connecticut Reads sponsored by the CT Department of Education and the The Connecticut State Library.

I do have a question about the statement of purpose posted at the Middletown Reads home page where is stated;

“The theme for Connecticut’s summer reading program is One World, Many Stories. Middletown has embraced this idea with the understanding that any book has the capacity to take the reader somewhere new. To this end, the recommended lists contained on these pages promote stories about different countries, cultures, races, genders, socio-economics situations.”  (emphasis added)

Huh! Promoting “stories about different…genders”. What does that mean? Last time I checked there were two genders, male and female. If this simply means stories about men and women, or boys and girls, all well and good. Just wondering though…

To illustrate the extremes to which this “gender” business can be taken is a recent report regarding a school in Sweden where teachers have eliminated “gender” from their vocabulary and school activities.

 “At the “Egalia” preschool, staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys…The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden’s efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward…Some parents worry things have gone too far. An obsession with obliterating gender roles, they say, could make the children confused and ill-prepared to face the world outside kindergarten…” 

Brave new world here folks! A more sober, but still very liberal view, also from Sweden, can be read here.

One final note about politically slanted textbooks. I can only caution vigilance towards textbooks that  examine culture, government and public service in the U.S. and other countries but subtly promote foreign political systems while disparaging the U.S.

One such book, ““Social Studies Alive! Our Community and Beyond” became the subject of controversy in the Frederick, Maryland public schools where a parent complained; The entire slant of the book is you’re getting used to the idea of government running your life…Government is setting the rules. We’re all going to live by it, and we’re all a collective society”

Source: Washington Times, June 22, 2011

Also see Middletown Press, June 30

Connecticut and Mattabesset River Paddle-June 18

June 6, 2011

Bill Yule, Naturalist at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, will be our educator on this paddle. We will stop for commentary and questions at Wilcox Island, the confluence of the Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, the open water of the Boggy Meadows, the proposed site of Middletown’s kayak launch, and at a sandy beach on the Coginchaug. Bill spent many hours paddling and exploring this area as a child, so he has observed its character and changes over a number of decades.

Paddlers need to provide their own boats, life jackets, paddles, drinking water, and snacks. Advance registration is not necessary, and there is no charge for the event. You may call 860-398-3771 for more information or in case of possible cancellation due to weather.

Reposted from The Jonah Center for Earth and Art

Middletown Photographer Jason Neely Exhibiting at New England Emporium Starting Jan 14

January 16, 2011

Four New England Landscapes-Jason Neely

Reposted from Middletown Patch

  • Jason Neely, a Middletown photographer, is displaying his work at the New England Emporium beginning on January 14th.  The New England Landscapes series is made up of twenty photographs taken in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut–including many from Middletown.

    Jason’s work was featured in the August 2009 issue of National Geographic magazine and was also used by the band Weezer on their 2010 release “Raditude.”

    A portion of all sales will go to the Middlesex Cancer Center.

Exhibit and Dining Space at New England Emporium

Jason Neely Photographs Exhibited at New England Emporium

Educational Paddle-Connecticut R & Boggy Meadows-Sat June 5

May 31, 2010

Jonah Center News

Educational Paddle

Saturday, June 5,

Launch time: at 9 a.m from Harbor Park near the boathouses.

Leader-Contact person: Beth Emery, ctladycyclist@gmail.com

Be part of the CT Trails Day Celebration and have a paddle! This event, co-hosted by the CT Forest and Park Association and The Jonah Center for Earth and Art, will take place in the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the Boggy Meadows where those two rivers converge. The tour departs from Harbor Park on the CT river in Middletown, Sat. June 5 at 9 a.m. Paddlers will return to the starting point between 12 and 1 p.m. Conditions permitting there will be 2 stops along a river bank. Paddlers need to provide their own boat, paddle, lifejacket, drinking water, snacks, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing.

River historian and environmental journalist Erik Hesselberg will provide us with a historical overview of how these rivers have been used, traveled and misused over the years. Trip participants will be encouraged to pick up plastic bottles, cans, and other debris as part of the Jonah Center’s ongoing effort to beautify and protect our local waterways.

This event is free and advance registration is not necessary. CT Forest and Parks requires that you sign a waiver form to participate.  Call (860) 984-6178 for more information or to learn about a possible last minute cancellation due to weather conditions or river waters above flood stage.

In the Mattabesset River,August 2008

Here we head upriver towards the two bridges

Middletown Honors The Greatest Generation: Our WW II Vets

May 25, 2009

(this post also appears today at Right of Middle)

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The 2009 Middletown Connecticut Memorial Day parade and ceremonies were dedicated to our World War II veterans, The Greatest Generation.

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Marty Reardon Sr., (pictured below) commander of the 7th District of the American Legion, will speak. After 15 years as commander, Reardon is stepping down.

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The keynote address was given by U.S. Army Captain Gluth, who heads the recruitment services office in New Haven.

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Am enthusiastic crowd lined both sides of Main Street to watch the hour long parade. There were contingents of marching bands, little leaguers, boy and girl scouts, fraternal and service organizations, military formations, farm tractors, and of course, a selection of fire apparatus, old and new, from Middletown and several nearby towns. Our mayor, Sebastian Giuliano, and the Connecticut Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, and Rep. Rosa Delauro were on hand as well as other local politicians.

Joy Ride Middletown Ct Memorial Parade

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The last photo is from the ceremony at the South Green where the wreath laying took place. Pictured are two vets in colorful biker regalia. Mayor Sebastian Giuliano is visible (grey suit) on the platform, between the men.

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And finally, a video of some of the parade:

Lots of Tea and a Drop of Life

April 13, 2009

After the various Tax Day Connecticut Tea Parties you might want to check out this free Earth Day  presentation at Wesleyan:

https://i1.wp.com/h1.ripway.com/johnbrush/Earth%20Day%20Event.jpg

More information about film maker Shalini Kantayya

From Kantayya’s blog (4/11)

To mark World Water Day, I am launching the a DROP of LIFE Campus Tour, to bring attention to the world water crisis. Designated in 1992 by a United Nations General Assembly resolution, World Water Day is an international observance and call to action to bring attention to the problem of insufficient access to clean, safe drinking water. Using my film a DROP of LIFE as a spark to inspire discussions about the world water crisis, the tour celebrates World Water Day, Earth Day, Women’s History Month, and Asian American History Month.

Shalini Kantayya

Shalini Kantayya