Archive for the ‘middletown ct’ Category

The Great October Gale (October2-4,1841)

October 3, 2016

“…In the east part of Middletown, Conn., as much as two feet of snow fell. The trees, in full leaf, ‘broke the forest and shade trees in an extraordinary manner.’ The oldest residents of the town couldn’t remember seeing any snow so early and so destructive…”
Read more…

october-gale-storm

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Wayne Winsley for Congress-Connecticut 3RD CD

August 18, 2012

Third Congressional District Candidate Wayne Winsley

A gathering of some 20 Middletown Republicans and others were on hand Saturday August 18th for a “Meet and Greet” with Wayne Winsley, 3rd Congressional District candidate for U.S. Congress. The event was hosted through the courtesy of the newly opened Michael’s Deli at 83 Broad Street and was sponsored by Middletown Republican Town Committee. Mr. Winsley is planning to defeat the long entrenched Rosa DeLauro.

Wayne Winsley Thanks Hosts Chris and Helena of Michael’s Deli

The group was also pleased to welcome Deborah Klekowski, Republican candidate for CT 100th District, which embraces most of Middletown. The two term Republican member of the city council hopes to win the seat currently held by Matt Lesser.

Deb Klekowski with town Republican Chair Ken McClellan

Middletown Republicans wish to extend a vote of thanks to the folks at Michael’s Deli and wish them great success with their new addition to the city’s culinary delights.

Michael’s Deli-William Wilson Presiding at the Door

Read more from Middletown Patch

This article originally appeared at Middletown Insider (081812)

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!):

The Hazards of Restaurant Reviewing – Why Amateurs Fail

August 11, 2011

A Pan Seared Sea Scallop

The following review of the Mattabesset Canoe Club restaurant in Middletown by Matthew F. Donahue appeared recently in Middletown Patch:

Wandering the shops of Main Street, my path lit by the glowing neon open signs of local eateries, I often find picking a venue to indulge in Middletown’s latest gustatory creations difficult with so many options. One night I found myself wandering the beaten path of Main Street, venturing down the off-shooting street, deKoven Drive, heading toward Harbor Drive and happening upon the old Harbor Park Restaurant.

As it has recently opened under new ownership as the Mattabesett Canoe Club, I decided to give the new place a peruse.

As I walked through the park toward the restaurant with one of my closest friends, Kaila Madera, the outline of the Canoe Club’s exterior came into focus and it was evident at once: the entire building was renovated and business was looking up, as seen by the crowded parking lot. Pleased with the aesthetic changes to the exterior and sunset in the horizon lighting the Connecticut River with golden rays, we approached the door with excitement; we aren’t the type to skip a meal and seafood always tops my list of favorites.

The hostess greeted us with a warm smile, asked us where we would like to sit and led us upstairs to sit at an outside balcony table. Guided by the light of a flickering candle centered in the table, we perused the menu and found ourselves crippled with indecision. As the waitress approached, we both looked blankly at the menu and by the time she arrived, we decided to order multiple menu items, splitting each dish. Sampling never hurt anyone, right?

Starting off with some shrimp and a couple of fresh oysters, we were ready to tackle the rather large meal about to arrive. We started off with seared sea scallops drizzled with a balsamic reduction glaze served over risotto. After getting past the idea of the origins of sea scallops, I thoroughly enjoyed the lightly grilled wonders, noting the nice contrast between the sweetness of the risotto and tartness of the balsamic reduction.

After nearly licking my plate clean and prodding my seafood-apprehensive friend to be a little more adventurous, we welcomed our second course: pan-seared swordfish served alongside a fresh mango gastrique, served over a house-made succotash that featured snow peas and roasted vegetables instead of lima beans.  The mango gastrique, a sauce composed by carmelizing sugar and then adding vinegar, fresh fruit and juice, highlighted the perfecly cooked swordfish steak’s robust flavor, while adding a tangy kick at the same time.

Even more pleased with the pan-seared swordfish steak than the other dishes, we both agreed that it was a great combination and a must-have the next time we happened at the Canoe Club.

Taking a break from seafood, we took a breather and then sampled a small piece of slow-cooked braised pork shank, sitting atop a parsnip puree and served with slender and tender asparagus shoots. The pork fell off of the bone with ease and its tender meat was welcomed with warm hungry mouths, but the four to 12 hours of cooking did not prove as satisfying as first thought, although perhaps this was because our portions were merely samples of the entire dish.

About ready to burst, but ready to tackle another plate, we savored the taste of an unlikely pair, rosemary and blueberry, in our next dish: salmon toasted in rice paper served over a blueberry and rosemary red wine sauce. Apprehensive how the strong flavors of rosemary and blueberry would mesh, we slowly forked small bite-fulls into our mouths. I was pleasantry surprised how well the rosemary complemented the blueberry and red wine reduction, while contrasting with the crispy crunch of the salmon’s wrapping and cool cucumber chunks.

Kaila disagreed. Not a huge fan of rosemary and fennel, she thought the blueberry sauce was overpowered by the rosemary; however, upon completion of the dish, she still deemed the dish satisfying and even stabbed a few fork-fulls of mine!

Cleansing our palette with a fresh summer salad, we were about to throw down our napkins and call the meal a done deal when our waitress recommenced their new pineapple crème brûlée and we could not resist the temptation. We were not disappointed, either, even though we were definitely full, we somehow found enough room to eat the entire crock of crème brûlée, dipping small pieces of biscotti into the custardy delight.

Fresh pineapple chunks proved refreshing and a nice alternative to a dish that usually remains rather bland with just a splash of vanilla.

Accompanied by an acoustic show, a great view and the best of company, our night out at Mattabesett Canoe Club was one to never forget!

Pork Shank, Parsnip Puree, and Asparagus

Our response:

Matthew Donahue, our young scout on the prowl for gustatory delights, just happened upon the Mattabesset Canoe Club while venturing on an “off-shooting” street. The ghost of the Middletown Yacht Club loomed as though reborn and aesthetically changed, the fleeting rays of sunlight reflected off the river enhancing the enchantment. Scout Odonahue and his companion were hungry and hardly ever known to skip a meal.

They were escorted to a balcony table by a smiling hostess. The table with its center candle provided the perfect atmosphere for a couple’s dining pleasure. The menu was presented and, what to their wondering eyes did appear but a plethora of visual and gustatory delights for eye and palate. They perused and perused but could not decide so when the moment of truth came our intrepid scout declared; “We’ll try everything, sampling never hurt anyone, right?”

And so it went, course after course, sample after sample, tidbit after tidbit, on and on with the balsamic reductions,mango gastrique, the rosemary and blueberry sauce until our explorer was about to lick his plate clean while simultaneously bursting.

Our explorers were about to throw up…or rather throw down… their napkins. but the meal was not quite “a done deal yet” because the waitress “recommenced” their new pineapple crème brûlée. (I don’t pretend to know exactly when the Canoe Club “commenced” their pineapple crème brûlée but I am pleased that it is being offered again)

Feeling “definitely full” our brave pair “… somehow found enough room to eat the entire crock of crème brûlée”

Moral: Food writing and restaurant reviews are fine fodder for satire, and even ridicule, which of course was not our intent.

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

Middletown Hard Hit by Snow: Roofs and Buildings Collapse

February 6, 2011

Photobucket

John Brush Photo

Darrell Lucas Video (Feb 2, 2011)

Reposted from Middletown Patch:

“Mike DiPiro clearly seemed to feel he was the luckiest man alive.

DiPiro co-owns an accounting firm, Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, at 505 Main St. He was on the second floor when he heard something crack on the floor above. He and an employee, Chris Conley, went up to investigate.

The century-old brick building, a former school, had a gym on the third floor. DiPino and Conley got there just in time to see 2-foot thick ceiling beams bending and cracking. “I said ‘Chris! Run!’ and we grabbed our jackets and ran in front of Luce where we called 911.”

DiPiro and Conley were the only ones in the building. At around 10 a.m., as they watched firefighters string caution tape along the front of the building, they heard another crack. The third floor crumpled into a cloud of brownish dust.

“A fire guy said ‘Run!’ and we ran; we were lucky we didn’t get hit by bricks.” A fireman’s helmet fell off and was crushed in the rubble…”

Photobucket

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The 120 year old structure was solidly built; some details of the construction including the two foot thick ceiling beams can be seen in the above photos.

John Brush Photos

Amatos Toy and Hobby – 70 Years in Middletown: A Look at a Man’s Hobbies and Some History of Railroading in CT

August 1, 2010

The photos in this post were made July 25, 2010 in Middletown CT at Amatos Toy and Hobby store on Main Street. (click to enlarge any photo) The event is described in an article in The Middletown Press:

“MIDDLETOWN — More than 150 members of the National Lionel Operating Train Society attended a private showing of a 3,000-square-foot train exhibit at the 70th Anniversary celebration of Amato’s Toy and Hobby Store Wednesday evening.

The train exhibit includes seven operating model train layouts and local railroad memorabilia along with the never-before displayed, extensive pre-war Lionel train collection of Amato’s owner and founder, Vincent Amato.

“The visual of what everyone has put together is really neat,” said Diane Amato, Vincent’s daughter and coordinator of the event. “When you see this room, you will be amazed….”
www.middletownpress.com/articles/2010/07/14/business/doc4…

Amatos Toy and Hobby is located at 395 Main Street; Middletown CT 06457

In addition to the wonderful layouts of operating model trains of various gauges there were showcases of Mr. Amato’s collections of trains and other toys. Also, much memorabilia and information about early railroading in Middletown. So, I have included some historical photos and information later in this post.

Vincent Amato, Prop. and Train Collector Extraordinaire

O'Rourke's Diner - Main Street, Middletown

One of the seven model train layouts

Model Train Layout with Winter Motif


Mr. Amato's Personal Collection of Lionel Standard Gauge Trains

Shipyard Scene in Miniature

A few words and photographs about early railroading in Middletown and central Connecticut: From the late 19th century and well into the 20th Middletown was a busy railroad center with several North/South and East/West lines passing through the city. In 1888, for example, 29 passenger trains passed through here on a daily basis. Even though all passenger service was discontinued by the middle of the 20th century there is still active freight service in the city. The most interesting reminder of the glory days of railroading in Connecticut Valley is the iron swing bridge connecting Middletown with Porland. This bridge was constructed in 1884 to carry the so called “White Train” of the New York and Boston Airline RR across the Connecticut River, and thence through the rolling hills of eastern Connecticut to Massachusetts and on to Boston. (see photo below)

The White Train commenced operations in 1891. Popularly known as the Ghost Train. It was made up of gleaming white coaches trimmed with gold. The parlor cars’ interiors were finished in mahogany and furnished with velvet rugs, silk curtains and upholstered plush chairs. The train’s schedule was so well advertised that people came from miles around to wait at stations or crossing to see it go by. The fast express was replaced in 1895 by the Air Line Limited.(see 2nd photo below) The Airline Railroad fell into decline because of the need for heavier equipment and longer trains which could not navigate the steep grades and numerous curves. Although the name Airline Route gives one the impression of a straight and level roadbed, this was not the case here.

Airline Railroad Swing Bridge Connecticut River-Middletown to Portland

The White Train or Ghost Train

Four of the early Middletown Train Stations (none remain)

Railroad Man and His Dog - Middletown Depot

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House (1828)

May 9, 2010


Samuel Wadsworth Russell House (1828)

Originally uploaded by Steadyjohn

Samuel Wadsworth Russell House (1828)

High Street, corner Washington Street; Middletown, Connecticut. May 7, 2010.

This Greek Revival masterpiece was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001. This house is frequently cited as one of the premier examples of Greek Revival Architecture in the Northeast. The house remained in the Russell family for five generations and was finally deeded to Wesleyan University in 1937.

Samuel Russell (1789-1862) became fabulously wealthy in the China trade in the early 19th century. He smuggled Turkish and Bengal opium into Canton and brought back fine porcelain, silk, and tea to Europe and the United States. In 1828 when his house was built Russell was in Canton, and his friend Samuel D. Hubbard worked with Mrs. Russell to supervise the building of the house. In 1831 Russell returned to Middletown and his new home where he resided until his death in 1862.

Source 1: Historic Buildings of Connecticut

Source 2: Wikipedia

Additional Photos from the site:

Iron Gate and Shadows

Samuel Russell House (1828)