Archive for the ‘Middletown Politics’ Category

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)

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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

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

Serenity Returns to Wes Campus….

May 18, 2008

Wesleyan U (CT

In the few days following the tumultuous events of last week (the police student confrontation*), peace has returned to the campus just in time for next weekend’s reunion and commencement celebrations. Following is a portion of the university’s announcement about the 176th Commencement. Senator Ted Kennedy was scheduled to be the speaker but his appearance remains doubtful because of recent health issues.

The 176th Commencement Ceremony (11 AM May 25)
The Commencement Ceremony will be available live by Webcast. Please go to http://wescast.wesleyan.edu for details about how you can view the ceremony.
A live broadcast of the Commencement ceremony will be available in the Memorial Chapel, Patricelli ’92 Theater, Crowell Concert Hall, and Tishler Lecture Hall (Room 150), Exley Sciene Center, rain or shine. The ceremony may also be viewed online. Please check this site for details the week of May 18, 2008.
In case of inclement weather, you may also call the main University number at 860/685-2000 to determine whether or not the University will institute the rain plan for the Commencement Ceremony.

*The student-police clash created great controversy and charges and counter charges are in the air and on the blogosphere. We reported on it on Right of Middle; Wesleying blog has been all over it; Ed McKeon at Cauterwaled weighed in; the student run Wesleyan Argus published a special edition, also see Hartford Courant and Middletown Press.

On April 6 last we reported on an incident involving several students and one Middletown police officer.

Finally, an historical note regarding Wesleyan town/gown, police/student relations: On May Day 1954 following a veterans parade on Washington Street there occurred a near riot on campus. Right of Middle reported (April 30, 2007):

….events of the previous Sunday (Loyalty Day) when some Wesleyan students clashed with police and VFW members during a parade through town and onto the campus. The disturbance garnered nationwide attention, with charges of subversion on campus….An informal band of students with musical instruments began to perform in front of the Delta Kappa Epsilon house. Other students with their instruments joined the band and they all marched on High St to Washington St where they turned around only to find themselves leading the VFW parade which had just come up Washington and turned onto High…..From this point forward confusion reigned. Police, in attempting to clear the streets for the marchers, were accused of undue roughness although it was evident that a number of students provoked the officers. At least one student, Terry Hatter, was taken into custody; other students refused to doff their hats when the flag passed and were rebuked by police.

The commotion continued onto Andrus Field, The Argus reported::

The police then began to disperse the students. the marchers who had been standing on the other side of the stret started to cross the steet, saying something about “un-peace” apparently in reference to the sign. By the time they had reached the other side the students had been herded into the house by the police. The bulk of the paraders had reached Andrus field by this time and were awaiting the start of the speeches. Several inquisitive students had gathered behind Denison Terrace to view the proceedings. It was this time that the German Swastika flag, a trophy brought to Wesleyan by a veteran paratrooper after the war, was seen hanging from a dormitory window. The flag had been brought to the dormitory from the Alpha Delta Phi house, where it had been hanging for about twenty minutes. The Alpha Delta had gotten the flag from students who had been dissuaded from hanging it at the Beta Theta Pi house. (The Argus from the period-pdf)

Ahh youth….Happy Spring and Best Wishes to all new grads,,,We return to serenity below….

College Row-Wesleyan CT

Steadyjohn photos

Meeting 3/25:Community-Senior Center Vets Park

March 24, 2008

Reminder: Meeting on the proposed Community/Senior Center in Veterans Memorial Park. Tues Mar 25 at 7 PM at First Church of Christ, 190 Court St, Middletown.

A Jonah Center bulletin reports:

“Architect Tom Arcari from Quisenberry Arcari Architects in Farmington will discuss conceptual drawings developed over the past two years. The feasibility study committee hopes to have a referendum question on the November 2008 ballot. The total project costs are estimated to be about $25 million.

Veterans Park is located to the west of Washington Street, behind Palmer field. The urban wildlife habitat along the Coginchaug River between Veteran’s Park and the North End Peninsula and the Floating Meadows has been a focus area for the Jonah Center for the past several years.”

The short video below shows the Coginchaug River where it flows between Palmer Field and Veterans Memorial Park.

Army Base Meeting at Wesleyan, Sun Feb 17….

February 16, 2008

From Wesleying blog:

Have you heard that the Army plans to build a new base on Freeman Road in Middletown, which is very close to campus? Want to learn about the environmental risks posed by the location selected for the base? Want a chance to make your voice heard on the issue, or do you just want to learn what all the fuss is about?

Come to the WSA meeting this Sunday at 7PM in Usdan 108 to hear the Mayor of Middletown, Sebastian Giuliano, speak about the Army Base. Also a representative from the CT River Watershed Council will be speaking on the issue and will share information about the environmental concerns.

There will be opportunities to ask questions to both speakers and there will also be a chance to submit inquiries directly to the Army.

As always, the first 10 minutes of the meeting will be an open forum for student concerns. Please feel free to contact wsa@wesleyan.edu with any questions or concerns.

See our previous posting about the workshop in council chambers next week.

A One Float Parade….

January 13, 2008

The moving of buildings, large and small, is a tradition here in New England. Years ago thrifty Yankees would recycle their buildings in many ways. Post and beam houses were disassembled and erected elsewhere. Entire buildings were jacked off their foundations, lowered onto log rollers, hitched to large teams of oxen or horse and taken to their new location. When lumber was cheap and iron nails dear, old houses would be burned for their nail content! Today, methods have changed but the tradition of moving buildings continues. The building moved yesterday, a former Methodist church built in 1853, was moved 2 blocks from #9 Liberty St. to #47 Rapallo Av. here in the city. Further North on Main St, the building next to O’Rourke’s Diner, also a church, was moved to that spot many years ago. Much more recent is the dismantling of the 18th century mill on Washington St. near West. St., and just several weeks ago, the dismantling of an 18th century house on West St, just above the Gulf station. These buildings have been preserved and will be erected elsewhere.

This particular move required much planning and co-ordination among the consulting overseer, the moving contractor, various utilities, and the CT DOT. Traffic lights street lamps, and utility lines had to be temporarily taken down or protected from the huge building which would take over most of Main Street for its passage. This preliminary work was done early Saturday evening and traffic was rerouted to enable the crews to work unimpeded. All was ready around 1:30 AM Sunday morning and the building was then seen to inch its way off the corner lot, over the curb, and onto Main Street. Once there and heading North one could measure its progress in inches per hour! It was a fascinating spectacle, one that attracted quite a few observers despite the late hour. All in all, a slow motion parade with only a single float; not something you see everyday! Oh, and this building will be converted into four low income housing units on Liberty St as part of the revitalization of the city’s North End, and will make way for commercial development of its former site at Liberty and Main.


Middletown North End Action Team (N.E.A.T.) Community Organizer Lydia Brewster

The North End Action Team is a grassroots advocacy group that began in the spring of 1997.
Purpose of N.E.A.T.as a non-profit community organization, shall, through its members and the Advisory Board, organize and mobilize the residents in the neighborhood, empowering them through a process of democratic decision-making and direct action, to address particular issues affecting the neighborhood. This corporation will propose neighborhood initiatives, design and produce communal events and fulfill the function of watchdog at City Hall and in the state government. N.E.A.T. shall not endorse political candidates or parties.

Our Mission:
The North End Action Team is a neighborhood advocacy group consisting of residents and stakeholders of the North End neighborhood of Middletown, Connecticut. It’s mission is to enrich and advocate for neighborhood interest.


N.E.A.T.’s storefront headquarters at Main St. and Rapallo Ave Middletown


Sign announcing the project featuring the major tenant It’s Only Natural Market


Developer Peter Harding (r) and Nehemiah Housing Corp.’s Michael Taylor (c)

In 1986, Middletown community members formed Nehemiah Housing Corporation to develop and operate a range of housing options for families and individuals who are unable to find quality affordable housing. Nehemiah builds communities by developing affordable housing for families and individuals with resident services and quality property management, as appropriate, with a focus on Middlesex County.


The happy new tenants: Don and Ann Marie Sataline owners of It’s Only Natural Market


Brian Cigal of TimberFrame Barn Conversions enjoys coffee and snacks provided for workers and spectators at N.E.A.T. headquarters by Lydia Brewster (r)


N.E.A.T. hospitality!


Workers dwarfed by the huge building and its carriage! John deNicholas (l) , Nicholas Bros., supervising.


Hydraulically powered aircraft type wheels and tires inch the building forward


Halfway into Main Street, starting to turn and head North


Moving North on Main Street; estimated speed an inch a minute!


Paul Cigal (r), overseer of project with Joe deNicholas, of Nicholas Bros.,the moving contractor,

I spoke with Paul Cigal today about his professional experiences and his involvement in this moving project:

Over the last 20+ years in the building trade and historic preservation field, I’ve had experience coordinating projects that involve moving buildings on wheels; with cranes; and by taking apart, moving by flatbed truck, and reassembling at a new location. My friend and former partner, David Berto, is involved in this Middletown project with N.E.A.T., and he contacted me to ask if I would participate in this one. These types of challanging projects are just what I like to accomplish and I jumped at the chance. Working for Peter Harding as project coordinator, I solicitated bids from the trades, applied for and secured the many permits required for the move, and completed tons of paperwork. I’d guess I talked with more than 100 people over the course of two months in order to move this house.

Contact Paul Cigal at paul@convertabarn.com

Go to the Nicholas Bros. website to see some of the amazing array of other buildings they have moved.

(all photos and video credit ConservaCity)

Hartford Courant articles yesterday, and earlier.

Also see Caterwauled blog for 7/3/07 ,8/9/07, and 10/1/07. for discussion of some of the controversy regarding this project.

Open Space/Farmland in a Landslide!

November 7, 2007

Middletown’s ballot question #2….

“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?”

…was approved overwhelmingly; 4731 Yes – 1489 No. It is likely that an enthusiastic turnout by Wesleyan students and faculty was an important factor in the approval. The Jonah Center’s John Hall notes:

 

Farms and Open Space were the biggest vote getter on Tuesday.

4731 voted “yes” and 1489 voted “no.” No other question or candidate got that many votes. This shows what Middletown residents want to save our city’s rural areas.

Thanks to everyone who helped our effort by spreading the word, getting out the vote, or working at the polls. It paid off!

In other election news, a candidate for an Alternate Planning and Zoning seat, Wesleyan student Matthew Lesser, pulled in more votes than Mayor Sebastian Giuliano. Giuliano was running unopposed which may have contributed to his lower vote tally. Lesser noted in a recent email….

I don’t know yet how many students voted. Those figures will be available at some point from the Voter Registrar’s office (they may be available now from the Town Clerk, but I haven’t had a chance to check). I do know that about 400 Wesleyan students are registered to vote in Middletown.

We had good turnout from them and from Wesleyan faculty and staff as well (as indicated by strong results in the 14th Precinct around Wesleyan and in the faculty-heavy Snow School Districts), but Democratic candidates did well yesterday throughout the city.

I’m glad to see you were supporting the open space referendum. I’m happy to see that it passed, not the least because it shows that not every issue is partisan. The College Democrats were very active in promoting the open space and sewer bond issues on campus, and I know those issues propelled a lot of people to the polls.

Other Middletown news see: Alert Middletown Officials Stamp Out Wigwam


Tags: Middletown ct open space,middletown ct referendum,matthew lesser,sebastian giuliano,middletown election,wesleyan university voters,middletown ct election districts

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)