Archive for the ‘Jonah Center’ Category

The Coginchaug River: Today and Tomorrow….

March 9, 2008

Today: Above video is record of my weekly walk along and around the Coginchaug in my neighborhood.

Tomorrow: (well, actually March 15) Coginchaug River Cleanup at Middletown North End Peninsula (recycling center) Saturday March 15 –  10 AM to Noon; Jonah Center’s John Hall reports:

The Jonah Center needs volunteers to help remove a lot of junk (fishing camp debris, old tires, plastic bottles, etc, ) from the bank of the lower Coginchaug adjacent to the recycling center. It is important to do this now, while there is no poison ivy growing, and before spring floods carry this stuff into the river.

Directions to Site: Go through the gate into the Middletown recycling center (at the intersection of North Main and Johnson Streets) in the North End. Bear to your left and park near the brush and wood chip piles.

If you plan to help with this effort, we suggest that you let John Hall know by visiting the Jonah Center web site and emailing from there or call (860) 346-6657 x 13, so he can inform you in case the event needs to be postponed due to weather or high water conditions.


Here’s a photo showing just a sampling of what was collected in the cleanup in July ’07:
Back for Another Load

Army Base: Common Council Workshop Feb21

February 15, 2008

The public is welcome at a Middletown Common Council workshop concerning the siting of the proposed U.S. Army Reserve Center. The date is Feb 21 at 7 PM in council chambers.

See our earlier posting for more details on the proposal; also more from Right of Middle here.

Jonah Center News….

February 8, 2008

The following Jonah Center bulletin, received today, is reposted as a public service:

Jonah Center News


Municipal Building, Room 209

Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 4:30 pm

The City of Middletown is exploring various options to expand Community Gardening and needs to hear from everyone who is interested. Even if you can only stop in for a few minutes and sign in, it would be wonderful! Let’s promote and get involved in “urban agriculture” in Middletown. This is reconnect us with the soil and help everyone learn about the food-growing process. NEAT and Nehemiah Housing are involved in this.

Please forward this notice to anyone who might be interested in community gardening.


The city and DEP are working with the Army to find a more suitable site for the new training base. There will be a Common Council “workshop” meeting about alternative sites coming up soon, perhaps on Thurs. Feb 21 at 7 p.m, but this schedule is only tentative and not confirmed. We’ll keep you posted


The “Floating Meadows” between Middletown and Cromwell and the Maromas section have been identified as possible “focus areas” of the Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge, sections of which cover the entire Connecticut River Watershed. If you are interested in helping to promote these two local areas for the Conte Refuge, reply to and put “Conte Refuge” in the subject line. We need people to send in “comment sheets.”


There will NOT be a Jonah Center meeting or program in February, due to the many other meetings and events taking place. Our next program meeting will probably be held on March 18.

Vote Yes on Farmland Preservation Nov 6

November 3, 2007

Question 2. on the Nov 6 Ballot in Middletown reads:

“Shall the $2,000,000 appropriation and bond authorization for acquisition of open space and farm lands, as adopted by the Common Council, be approved?”

Previous bond sales totaling $8 million have helped finance the purchase of nearly 700 acres of woodlands and recreation space in the past 18 years – land that likely would have become housing subdivisions had it not been preserved.This new measure would focus on the preservation of farmland.

If approved by the voters, the additional $2 million could trigger up to $4 million in matching state grants, allowing the city to buy or preserve a total of 500 more acres.

“We have a very good track record with the state; in well over 90 percent of our applications, we’ve won the matching funds,” Middletown Conservation Commission member Michael Ennis said. “Open space purchases pay for themselves over time by saving tax dollars, and all of that develop able land is like fruit [hanging] from a vine, waiting to be plucked.”

In these instances, the city either buys the real estate or the development rights. The latter option allows a farming family to continue to work their land if they choose…… Every hour, another acre of land is chewed up by developers. To demonstrate these numbers and to honor land which has been preserved, Middletown Conservation Commission Member Michael Ennis rose before dawn, and three minutes before sunrise, he began a sit-in at The Guida Farm Conservation Area, a 100-acre pasture that was once a dairy farm.
At 7:13 a.m., Ennis arrived on the open meadow, spread out his blanket and began a sit-in. Each hour and a quarter, he moves an acre and marks the 40,000-square-foot area with orange cones. Each year, 7,000 acres of land are developed, Ennis said. That translates to 19 acres a day, or one acre every hour and a quarter. “This is more or less the amount of land we lose every day, open space, to developers,” Ennis said, indicating the rolling green meadow around him.

Source: Middletown Press

Here is cover photo from the November issue of The Chronicle picturing members of the Guida family of Sunshine Dairy and member of the Lee family from Lee Farm. These farms, along with others, could qualify for preservation if the bonding is approved. Credit: staff photographer Tom Keyes, Sr

Here is a portion of an article from the same issue about the farms: (see also our previous posting Farmland Preservation News and Jonah Center page in the sidebar)

Open Space on Nov 6 Ballot

October 18, 2007

      Help Preserve Middletown’s

      Farms and Open Space

    On the Nov. 6 ballot, there will be a question asking voters if the city should borrow up to $2 million for acquisition and preservation of farmland and open spaces.  This could preserve hundreds of acres.

    These City funds may be matched by up to $4 million in State or Federal funding.

    Vote ‘YES’ on Question # 2 November 6

    • To help preserve the scenic and rural character of our city.
    • To help protect wildlife habitat and the health of Middletown’s environment.
    • To help save the city money.  Residential development actually costs much more in city services than it generates in taxes.
    • To help preserve working farms and local agricultural products and jobs. Over 4,000 acres of Middletown farmland have been lost in the past.
    • To help provide outdoor recreational opportunities for Middletown residents.

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More Information:

Tags: open space,nov 6 election,ballot question,farmland preservation,middletown ct,sample ballot,jonah center

O’Rourke’s Diner News….

October 15, 2007

MIDDLETOWN – With a new roof and floor foundation installed, construction is underway at O’Rourke’s Diner.
Work on the burned building began three weeks ago, said Larry Marino of Marino Crane. Marino estimates the diner will be rebuilt in three or four mouths.
The diner suffered a fire in August of last year, was closed due to damage and was not covered by insurance. Marino is one of many in the community who rallied in support of the historic eatery, raising about $200,000 to go toward the building’s restoration.
In August, the Common Council unanimously approved a $25,000 grant toward the restoration project and acknowledged O’Rourke’s place in the history of Middletown. In business for more than 60 years, O’Rourke’s fed masses from Middletown and beyond.

Middletown Press (10/08/07)

Meanwhile star chef Brian O’Rourke is guest chef at It’s Only Natural Restaurant (ION) where he presides over Sunday brunch.
More info: O’Rourke’s Diner

Wesleyan Connection

Also , Wesleyan’s Center for Film Studies will present a benfit screening of the film “Diner” on Sunday October 21 at 7:30 PM in the Goldsmith Family Cinema on campus. Tickest are $10.00 for students and $15.00 for the general public including seniors. All proceeds go to help rebuild O’Rourke’s Diner. The 1982 film was written and directed by Barry Levinson. Box Office: 860.685.3355 for tickets.

The You Tube video below is the hilarious “Popcorn” scene from the film.

Save the date: The next meeting of the Jonah Center will be on Tuesday, October 16, at 7 p.m. at First Church, 190 Court Street

Tags: o’rourke’s diner,wesleyan,ion,it’s only natural,brian levinson,diner,film benefit,jonah center

Coginchaug River Cleanup: Sept 29

September 21, 2007

It’s a beautiful little river, let’s clean it up!

As part of a “source to sea”effort, The Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are organizing a Coginchaug river clean-up on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 AM to 12 Noon . This activity is in conjunction with a study of the Coginchaug River watershed that is underway. Volunteers should meet at Veterans Park in Middletown on Saturday morning. The city Parks Department will provide bags, gloves etc.

Here is information from the Connecticut River Watershed Council about the multi-state effort to clean up the Connecticut River and its tributaries.

Saturday September 29, 2007
Join hundreds of individuals, clubs, troops, students, and businesses to clean up the Connecticut River and its tributaries! We started doing this in 1997 to take care of our favorite local treasure. The Source to Sea Cleanup is fun and it involves people of all ages and abilities working together to do something good for their community. So mark your calendars and we’ll see you on September 29th!

CRWC coordinates events in all 4 states of the watershed on or near the date of the cleanup. We try to help groups get started and give them assistance and supplies when possible. If you’re busy on September 29, you can conduct your own cleanup on another day.

New posting today on our Jonah Center page.

The Coginchaug River Today 9/23/07 (video)