Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

A Child's Christmas in Wales (MP3 19:42) Click link and listen as Dylan Thomas reads his delightful Christmas story.... A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953). Read it on line here and listen (above) to the author read the story.
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Parking Ban: December 29, 2012

MIDDLETOWN — Mayor Daniel T. Drew has declared a parking ban effective today at noon.

Vehicles must be removed from all city streets and municipal parking lots may be used, including: the corner of Washington/ Broad Streets, Broad Street across from the Russell Library, Melilli Plaza behind Main Street Market

Vehicles left on city streets run the risk of being towed by the Middletown Police at the owner’s expense. If a vehicle is towed during the parking ban you may claim the vehicle by contacting the Middletown Police Department at 860-347-6941. All payments must be paid at the police department before a vehicle is released.

Notes: 1. How come cars located in the Wesleyan area (i.e. High Street, Broad Street, College Street) are never towed?
2.  Please stop plowing all the snow on the sidewalks.
3. After the his unauthorized trip to China, Drew has asked city hall personal to remove snow from the streets with chop sticks.

City to Sell Fragrance

By charter, the Mayor is allowed to appoint an Executive Assistant, and such is allocated for in the budget.
This administration however, has changed the title and whats more relevant the job description to Executive Chief of Staff. Grounds for a precedent pay increase? The Insider has heard that employees have been instructed to use the new title of Chief. 

How to Stop a Gun Ban by Tim D. Enchanter

A Guest blog  By Tim D. Enchanter

For those of you who are not on Facebook, here is a Post and accompanying Comment designed by me to spark conversation and make people think which you may have missed:
 To stop Gun Bans, ask those who want one, "so what I'm hearing you say is that you are unarmed, right?" & watch their expression
Here is something to think about ... I don't own guns ... could never afford one as I always have other more pressing priorities when I have any money ... have never even held a gun ... yet I support the rights of law-abiding citizens to own any guns they want ... and ... I am always armed ... stop and think about that for a minute >:>> ... I do not need a gun if I want to hurt you ... do you need one to stop me ??? ... something to think about before asking to eliminate firarms
           CONSERVATIVE = Limited Government                 
(YOU run Your Life and the government stays OUT of it) 
            REPUBLIC = Representative Government               
         (You Vote for someone who represents YOU)             
          DEMOCRACY = Government BY the People             
               (Your Elected Officials Work for YOU)                    
Everyone Remember to Vote EVERY November                 
Your Vote is Your Responsibility so Vote Responsibly    

Friday, December 28, 2012

City Youth participate in Annual Demonstration Against Drunk Driving

As posted on  the  City Youth Services Blog
Each day in the United States, just under 30 people die as a result of alcohol related car accidents. The Middletown Substance Abuse Prevention Council (MSAPC) will be holding its 7th annual White Out Night on Friday, December 28th to encourage people to be mindful of the dangers of drinking and driving while celebrating on New Year’s Eve. When the group first started this event seven years ago the number of deaths per day was averaging 48 per day nationally.  
This is a youth led event during which participants will be walking down Main Street, wearing self-made white t-shirts with safe driving messages on them. They will also be handing out flyers to shoppers and diners, promoting a safe New Year’s holiday without drinking and driving.  Rushford's school-based youth leadership programs at Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Keigwin Middle School helped to make posters with safe driving messages for the event, and members of Middletown High School’s youth leadership group, Dragons In Action, decorated the t-shirts. The students feel passionate around the mission to convey how important it is for everyone to use good judgment and remain safe this New Year’s.
The group will meet between 5:30pm and 6:00pm in the board room on the basement level of the Chamber of Commerce at 393 Main St.  From approximately 6:10-7pm, the group will be walking Main St., promoting the message.  Come join these Middletown Youth in raising awareness of a very important issue! 
Participating members of the White Out Night event represent the following organizations:  
Rushford Center, Middletown Youth Services Bureau, Middletown Police Department, Middletown Fire Department, Middletown Board of Education, North End Action Team, Woodrow Wilson Middle School’s Rams In Action, Middletown High School's Dragons In Action, Middletown Emblem Club

Thursday, December 27, 2012 Gail P. Whitright


Monday, December 24, 2012

From Number 1: A Parody in the style of SNL

Welcome to our (my) town…. Middletown!
Wherever I go (China, Democratic Convention, The O’Riley Factor etc), I make fun of people because they voted for me and had no idea who I really was. Since I was a Democrat in a town that favors the D party 4-1, it was easy to pull the wool over your (the voters’) eyes.  It was quite Simple really, toss out a few buzz words (taxes!!) and BAM, I am the new number one working two hours a day.   I really don’t have much to say about anything and now, I want to merge departments and bring new ideas to the government that the old mayor wanted to implement.  I was against it back in 2011, but you know what, who am I kidding; the voters are too stupid to figure out my tactics of going to China without council permission.  For the record I am trying to bring jobs over for the Orient- I am sure American companies would prefer to pay U.S. workers $12.00 an hour plus benefits instead of 15 cents a day.


P.S. If you don’t agree with me I will trace your phone or make Guy raise your water bill by accident, not!

Special Common Council Meeting Dec 13, 2012

Special Meeting Present
Absent Also Present Meeting Called to Order
Call of Meeting Read
Public Comment Opens
Public Comment Closes Motion to Adjourn
A special meeting of the Common Council of the City of Middletown was held in the Council Chamber on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Mayor Daniel T. Drew, Deputy Mayor Robert Santangelo, Council Members Thomas J. Serra, Ronald P. Klattenberg, Grady L. Faulkner, Jr., Philip J. Pessina, Joseph E. Bibisi, Linda Salafia, Todd G. Berch, and Deborah Kleckowski; Corporation Counsel Daniel B. Ryan, and Common Council Clerk Marie O. Norwood.

ABSENT Council Members Gerald E. Daley, Mary A. Bartolotta, and Hope P. Kasper Five members of the public

The Mayor calls the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

The Call of Meeting was read and accepted. Mayor Drew declares the Call a Legal Call and the Meeting a Legal meeting.

They Chair opens public comment and asks if any member of the public wishes to speak at this time on any topic other than the retirement incentive, which will be addressed at the next meeting and states comments should be limited to five minutes.

The Chair closes public comment at 7:06 p.m.

Councilman Serra moves to adjourn and is seconded by Councilman Pessina. The vote is called and it is unanimous to adjourn with six aye votes. The Chair declares the meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m.

MARIE O. NORWOOD Common Council Clerk

Norad Tracks Santa Clause

Looking for Santa in his bright red hat and amazing sled with reindeer?  Click on Norad Tracks Santa at the link below

Have Arthritis? Help Out with Their Study!

Do you or a loved one suffer from arthritis?
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To access the survey please click on the link below. If the link is not active please cut and paste the link in your web browser. If you are unable to access the survey please send us an email to
Thank you for your interest in Focus Forward.
Claudia Taylor Focus Forward 515 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 110 Fort Washington, PA 19034 Privacy Policy:
*The survey includes some screening questions to make sure you qualify for this particular study. If you do qualify, and complete the entire survey, the survey incentive will be credited to your account.
Do you know a colleague or friend that you think may want to participate in market research studies? Focus Forward will pay you $0.25 for every survey your registered friend or colleague completes! It's quick and easy– and no limit to what you can earn. Just log in to your account at, and click on the “My Referrals” link along the top.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

ECSU: Victoria Leigh Soto Memorial Scholarship Fund

By now I am sure that you are all aware that Eastern alum Victoria Soto '08 lost her life protecting her children in Sandy Hook Elementary School along with 25 other innocent victims.  

Over the past week, we have struggled as a society to understand how such an unthinkable act could happen and have found solace in the heroic acts of the first responders and those that gave their lives to protect the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School. 
On Eastern's campus there is an inspiring sense of pride in Vicki's heroic actions that morning, and we know our alumni share that feeling as well.  We have received countless communications from our alumni, faculty, staff, and students expressing their pride.  More than 300 people on campus gathered at the clock tower on Monday afternoon for a vigil to remember Vicki and all of those who lost their lives last week.  President Nunez and Father Larry both spoke, and everyone joined in the singing of Amazing Grace.  It was a very moving moment for everyone. 
To honor Vicki, Eastern has created the Victoria Leigh Soto Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund to support students studying to be teachers who have unmet financial need.  We have been amazed at the response of Vicki's Eastern family and friends.  To date, the University webpage honoring Vicki has had nearly 6,000 visitors, and we have received nearly 250 individual gifts to the scholarship fund. 

The photo of the candles below was taken at Monday's vigil on campus.  Like those candles, the Eastern community stands united, and we all shine brightly to honor Vicki's memory.  

Our Victoria Leigh Soto Scholarship Fund site can be found here.  Please reach out to your own personal social media networks and ask your own friends and families to honor Vicki's memory through this scholarship.

You can also receive timely updates from the alumni office on our Alumni Association Facebook page.

Vicki Soto represents the very best of Eastern, and I'm proud to be part of the university family she loved so much.
Regards from Willimantic, 
Michael J. Stenko
Director of Alumni Affairs
Eastern Connecticut State University
83 Windham Street
Willimantic, CT 06226

Saturday, December 22, 2012

FlashBack: Clinton Requests $60 Million to Put Cops in Schools


Today, the same elite media who no doubt send their own kids to private schools that employ armed security, just can't stop howling ridicule at the NRA's idea to give every student in America those same protections. Because the NRA's idea is so appealing, as I write this, the media's going overboard, mocking it as bizarre, crazy, and out of touch.

This is how the media works to silence and vilify the opposition and to ensure that only their ideas control The Narrative. The media doesn't care about securing our schools; they only care about coming after our guns and handing Obama another political win.
The media also doesn’t care how wildly hypocritical they look.
In their zeal to rampage this left-wing agenda, the media has apparently forgotten that back in 2000, on the one-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting (which occurred with an assault weapons ban in place), President Clinton requested $60 million in federal money to fund a fifth round of funding for a program called "COPS in School," a program that does exactly what the NRA is proposing and the media is currently in overdrive mocking:

Clinton also unveiled the $60-million fifth round of funding for "COPS in School," a Justice Department program that helps pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to help make them safer for students and teachers. The money will be used to provide 452 officers in schools in more than 220 communities.
"Already, it has placed 2,200 officers in more than 1,000 communities across our nation, where they are heightening school safety as well as coaching sports and acting as mentors and mediators for kids in need," Clinton said.
The media is not only so driven to ensure Sandy Hook is used to win this round on gun control that they've become morally blinded to what really needs to be done to immediately secure our schools; they've lost their grip historically and politically.
Think about it: The media is entering a new year attempting to convince parents that their children will be less safe with a policeman in their school.
Off the rails doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Interesting Perspective from a MI Reader

White Out Walk: Meriden SADD Chapter

Posted by Meriden Repubican Town Committee

3rd Annual White Out Walk

Friday December 28, 2012 

5 P.M.
Presented by Meriden SADD
Walk with us to raise awareness of dangers of Drunk Driving

Directions: Walker will meet at Meriden City Hall at 5:00 P.M. and walk down East Main Street to hte Meriden Police Station. Walkers will wear white and hand ot red ribbons along the route to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving.

The Event is open to all members of the Public!

Contact Infor: Krystle Blake 203-238-6800 or

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mayor's Task Force on Efficiency Report

    Outlined is Mayor Drew's plan to consolidate City departments and positions! Enjoy-

     The report drafted in April, was not given to the Council - ie all the Council not just the Democrats in the know- until a few weeks ago. The title of the report of "bi-partisan" is very coy seeking as there was 1 token Republican on the slate of 11 "chosen ones".

      The Insider's favorite part is the end in which there is a big thank you to Mayor Drew for allowing them to participate on the committee! All the recent early retirement buy-outs have been in lieu of the final plan the Mayor would like to implement. Will it really save money? Hard to say  because which positions will remain unfilled and which will have to be filled is still unclear. One thing remains clear- some cronies may be getting new jobs for Christmas, and those who did not necessarily drink the kool-aid of a certain party may get a lump of coal.

The Insider has done a series of commentary pieces on the impact of this plan previous published here:

More analysis to come!

Donate Directly to the Families of Victims: Sandy Hook

Submitted by K. McClellan

From "The Newtown Bee" 

Mailing Address Established For Families Of Victims

Newtown Post Office has set up a special address for those who wish to send cards, notes or gifts to the families of the victims of the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Cards and gifts should be mailed to:

For The Families Of Newtown,
PO Box 3700,
Newtown CT 06470.

Postmaster Cathy Zieff says that any mail received at that address will be forwarded to the Board of Education, along with any mail that has been sent addressed to Sandy Hook School.

“We spoke with the board this morning and they told us they have crews of people who are working on sorting all of that mail,” Ms Zeiff said Tuesday, December 18. “They will open outer envelopes only, to determine which family the contents should go to, and make sure each family receives the mail that is meant for them.

$2 Humor

Reader submitted:
I think we need to quit saving our $2 bills and bring them out in public.
The younger generation doesn't even know they exist!
On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat.

I have a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figure with the $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about irritating anyone for trying to break a $50 bill.

Me: 'Hi, I'd like one seven-layer burrito please, to go.' Server: 'That'll be $1.04. Eat in?'
Me: 'No, it's to go.' At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny.
Server: 'Uh, hang on a sec, I'll be right back.' He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within my earshot.

The following conversation occurs between the two of them:

Server: 'Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?'
Manager: 'No. A what?'
Server: 'A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me...'
Manager: 'Ask for something else. There's no such thing as a $2 bill.'
Server: 'Yeah, thought so.'

He comes back to me and says, 'We don't take these.

Do you have anything else?'

Me: 'Just this fifty. You don't take $2 bills? Why?
Server: 'I don't know.'
Me: 'See here where it says legal tender?'
Server: 'Yeah.'
Me: 'So, why won't you take it?'
Server: 'Well, hang on a sec.'

He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I'm a shoplifter, and says to him, 'He says I have to take it.'

Manager: 'Doesn't he have anything else?'
Server: 'Yeah, a fifty. I'll get it and you can open the safe and get change.
Manager: 'I'm not opening the safe with him in here.'
Server: 'What should I do?'
Manager: 'Tell him to come back later when he has real money.'
Server: 'I can't tell him that! You tell him.'
Manager: 'Just tell him.'
Server: 'No way! This is weird. I'm going in back.

The manager approaches me and says, 'I'm sorry, but we don't take big bills this time of night.'

Me: 'It's only seven o'clock! Well then, here's a two dollar bill.'
Manager: 'We don't take those, either.'
Me: 'Why not?'
Manager: 'I think you know why.'
Me: 'No really, tell me why.'
Manager 'Please leave before I call mall security.'
Me: 'Excuse me?'
Manager: 'Please leave before I call mall security.'
Me: 'What on earth for?'
Manager: 'Please, sir..'
Me: 'Uh, go ahead, call them.'
Manager: 'Would you please just leave?'
Me: 'No.'
Manager: 'Fine -- have it your way then.'
Me: 'Hey, that's Burger King, isn't it?'

At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people staring at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect.

A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.

Guard: 'Yeah, Mike, what's up?'
Manager (whispering): 'This guy is trying to give me some (pause) funny money.'
Guard: 'No kidding! What?'
Manager: 'Get this. A two dollar bill.'
Guard (incredulous): 'Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?'
Manager: 'I don't know. He's kinda weird. He says the only other thing he has is a fifty.'
Guard: 'Oh, so the fifty's fake!'
Manager: 'No, the two dollar bill is.'
Guard: 'Why would he fake a two dollar bill?'
Manager : 'I don't know! Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?'
Guard: 'Yeah.'

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Now for Some Good News: Wood Bison Not Extinct

The Good News: Wood Bison are thriving amidst the massive Alberta Oil Sands project and the United States could become energy independent and claim the title of the world's leading producer of liquid energy. (details below)

                                              Male Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae)

Two articles in the Eurasia Review caught my attention today. I learned that Wood Bison, the largest terrestrial animals in North America and long extinct in the U.S., have been brought back from the edge of extinction and may be found placidly grazing near the massive Alberta oil sands project in Canada. This formation contains the third larges proven reserve of crude oil in the world. 
The last woods bison in the United States was apparently shot by a hunter in West Virginia around 1835. For many decades, the woods bison was presumed extinct – until an airplane spotted an isolated herd in the muskeg swamps north of Alberta, Canada...The bison living at the oil sands recovery site are direct descendants of the remnant herd found in 1957. They were busily browsing about 300 yards from a huge diesel shovel that loads 400 tons of oily sand at a time into a lineup of huge trucks. The trucks carry the sand toward a giant “cooker” where the oil is steamed out...
The oil sands extraction methods are twofold: surface mining with shovels and trucks;  drilling and steam extraction from the deeper beds. As one area is exhausted the Canadian government reclaims title to the land and complete restoration of the landscape is undertaken.
...The tar sands are a geological marvel: an 84,000 square miles deposit – an area the size of Kansas – but the sand is soaked with 5–25 percent heavy petroleum. In total, the Alberta sands are estimated to contain 169 billion barrels of oil, making it one of the largest petroleum deposits in the world. Experts say the oil sands’ operations could produce 465,000 U.S. jobs in construction, refining, petrochemicals and other sectors by 2035, if President Obama finally lets the Keystone XL pipeline go forward...(emphasis added)

The oil sands article led  to another in the same publication asserting the U.S.could become the world's largest supplier of liquid energy surpassing, at some point, the output of Saudi Arabia. U.S. output of liquid energy is increasing with the development of oil shale formations in North Dakota, Utah, and Colorado. October 2012  oil production in North Dakota hit 747,239 barrels per day, The Green River oil shale formation in UT and CO, yet to be tapped, is estimated to contain upwards of three trillion barrels dwarfing the output of OPEC.

                                                            Shale Oil Exploration Rig in Rifle CO

Westfield Fire Continues to Help Sandy Hook

 In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Westfield Firefighters collected over $8,000 in donations for victims families. They continue their efforts this week. Below are reader submitted photos taken at Westfield Fire.
Flags are at half staff all over Connecticut in honor of victims.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Support Advice from SCSU: Dr. Peter F. Troiano

Dear Students,
     My office has received numerous telephone calls and e-mails asking questions and offering suggestions on how we, as a campus, might respond to the terrible tragedy in Newtown last Friday.  As we prepare to depart for the holidays and perhaps an extended period of rest and relaxation, I want to address three major areas of concern.  I am happy to continue these conversations during and after the semester break.
     First, many of you are looking for resources and support.  As always, any SCSU student who is feeling overwhelmed and would like to speak with a counselor should contact SCSU Counseling Services at (203) 392-5475.  If you are looking for resources to help you and your family manage the sorrow and distress you may be experiencing, the American Psychological Association has put together some excellent resources, available at:  In addition, for information on how to talk to small children about this type of tragedy many are turning to the wisdom of the late Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) at:
     Second, many of you are interested in helping to organize a campus-wide response and have raised important social and political issues that a national event such as this one is bound to bring to the forefront.  The Dean of Students’ Office will be working with individuals and departments on campus to address these issues and to consider ways we, as a campus, might reach out to the families of the victims.  In the meantime, a memorial services is scheduled for tomorrow, December 19, at 3:00 p.m. outside the Adanti Student Center Ballroom.
     Finally, many of you have raised concerns regarding safety on campus.  I want to assure you that the safety and security of every individual on campus is our most important concern.  University Police are highly trained to respond to potential threats and emergencies and have established strong partnerships with the New Haven and Hamden Police Departments, as well as the State Police and FBI.  These agencies have trained our personnel to deal with a variety of situations, including incidents that may involve an active shooter.  SCSU has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan which is managed by the University Incident Management Team, comprised of University Police, administrators, faculty and staff from all segments of the campus.  The plan may be accessed at: and contains detailed instructions on what to do in a variety of emergency situations. In addition, SCSU has several methods of communication used in campus-wide emergency situations and drills, including the SCSU Alert system (text, e-mail and voice) and a siren/public address system.
     During a tragic time like this, I think of the values that bind our university together.  One of the most important is our compassion for one another.  Many of you are grieving, especially those of you who knew the victims.  This is a time to reach out to each other, talk to each other and try to help each other cope with the senselessness that too often is a part of our daily lives.  Our thoughts go out to the families, friends, neighbors and all the members of the Newtown community who are so deeply wounded by this unspeakable tragedy.  We pray for their comfort and well-being, as we honor and remember the victims.

Dr. Peter F. Troiano
Interim Vice President for Student and University Affairs
Southern Connecticut State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 392-5550

City FOI Request - A Call for Transparency

William Wilson, vice chair of the Republican Town Committee submitted the letter below last week to City Hall (and the Insider) as an FOI request.   In April of 2012, upon his return to from China (of which he was not asked to go on, nor did he approach the Council with this venture prior, but asked to join the trip), Mayor Drew promised the Common Council on record he would provide a detailed report of his tax payer funded trip and findings regarding the supposed possible sale of the Aetna property to unnamed Chinese companies . 
Wilson also asked a variety of other relevant questions about where your tax money is going as well. 
The Insider has been told Wilson has received a copy of the Mayor's plane ticket, but no other answers have been provided. All we want for Christmas is peace on earth and government transparency, how about you?
To: The Town Clerk of the City of Middletown,

I am sending this letter as an FOI request to be answered by the appropriate parties within the City of Middletown. I would like the all the relevant reports that will answer the questions below.

1.How many discharges from the sewer treatment located at 100 River Road have there been in the last 5 years?  How many gallons per discharge into the Connecticut River during that time?

2. Please provide me the relevant reports to disclose any and all spills into the Connecticut River stemming from Middletown's sewage treatment plant and relevant systems dating back five years. Have
there been any other spills as documented by the City of Middletown into the Connecticut river where sewage has been discharged or overflowed? Please provide any and all  bypass reports.

3. Please provide documentation to answer the following question: Have there been any fines due to discharges or spills during the past five years to the Water and Sewer department? If so, when, why and for what amount?

4.Please provide information regarding billing oversight at the Water& Sewer department. How many billing complaints have been filed in the past five years? How many customers have been misbilled? Please
provide a record of this and the remedy.

5. Please provide receipts& expense report for the Mayor's trip to China. Please also provide the detailed summary report he told the Common Council he would provide at the Common Council meeting immediately following his return. Please include a detailed list of whom he met with.

6. Please provide copies of the documents prepared by the architect hired by the Mayor to do drawings of a proposed addition to house the senior center at City Hall.

7. Please provide a list of open commission seats as of the date of this letter. A list is provided to the Common Council at the Mayor's request but not to the public.

All subsequent data provided may be returned to me as printable pdf files in digital format on CDs I will provide, in lieu of paper copies at the City's earliest convenience.

Sincerely, William Wilson
                Middletown, CT 06457     
Mayor Dan Drew
Common Council Clerk, Marie Norwood
Town Clerk City of Middletown, Sandra Driska
Director Guy Russo, Water & Sewer Department
Republican Town Committee Chair Ken McClellan

Clean Energy Task Force: Today is the Last Meeting of the Year

Class: Clean Energy Task Force

Start time: 12:30 PM
End time: 2:30 PM (2 hours)
Location: City Hall Room 208 (Conference Room)
Occurs: This instance occurs on the third Wednesday every month from 3/21/2012 to 12/19/2012.
Details for the entire event:
Contact the Public Works Department for meeting information.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Talk to the Kids: Community Health Centers

Talking with children about the recent school shooting in Sandy Hook 12/14/12
Dr. Tim Kearney, Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Community Health Centers, Inc.

All of us as parents and those who work with children wish that we could protect them from the knowledge of the tragedies that occur in the world around them and from the impact that this knowledge has on them. Unfortunately we cannot; especially in this age of constant news feeds and social media. We must therefore help them to develop the skills to cope with what happened and structure their world to make their response as manageable as possible.

Like adults, children need accurate information about what happened. Give them the facts as they are know, and correct details as more information becomes available. Deliver this information in age appropriate ways. Young children just need the basics – “someone came into a school in Sandy Hook and shot some of the people there, adults and children were hurt and some died”. Be guided by their response as to how much information to give them beyond that. Older children are more likely to be curious and ask more questions, again, let their interest be your guide as to how much to go into it.

Common concerns children will raise include:
1. wanting to know where it happened. Younger children will assume it is right around the corner, and may think that a police car or ambulance going by their window is responding. Given them an accurate sense of the distance and if possible tie it into a reference that will make sense to them. “Do you remember the mall with the merry go round in Danbury? That is about an hour drive from here. It happened in a town near there.”

2. Wanting to know if it is over or not. Seeing the news over and over children may think it is still going on, or has happened in lots of places or lots of times. Reassure them with accurate information. “There is just one shooting today but the TV keeps talking about it and it seems like there are many different ones. There is only one and it is over now.” Turn off the TV and do not subject your children to more information that they need about this.

Middletown Memorial Walk for Sandy Hook Friday

Middletown Walks for Sandy Hook
A memorial walk  will take Friday December 21 at 9:15 am starting at the YMCA at the corner of  Union & Main Street in Middletown. Anyone wishing to participate is asked to wear green and white in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Walkers will walk for 27 minutes as a symbolic gesture to honor the 27 victims of the tragedy. There is a facebook group which everyone is welcome to join and pass along, "WORLDWIDE WALK 27 On 12/21/2012- Middletown CT" created by resident Callie Grippo.

"At the end of the walk, we will release bubbles in honor of the fallen innocent children & teachers," said Grippo.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Job Westfield Fire Department: Over $8,000 Raised for Sandy Hook

WESTFIELD- On December 16, 2012 approximately $8,800 was raised by members of  Middletown and surrounding communities as a donation to the victims' families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.  The event was set up by the Westfield Fire Department which adapted their customary "Fill the Helment" style way of raising funds for this very serious cause.

 According to 

"The principal architects of the event were Lt. Matt Holmes, Lt. Matt Caffrey, FF Jake Peterson, FF James Figueroa, FF Kevin Mosca, EMT Lucas Kennedy, EMT Ed Bonviso and Alysia Bonviso. Safety Officer Stephen Hughes provided a significant amount of logistical support. The event received the full support of Chief John Lockwood, Deputy Chief Joe Augeri and Assistant Chief Bill Balch.  Additionally, Commissioner Sid Harmon was on hand to provide the full support of the Westfield Fire District."

 The site also adds that there are a couple of funds set up for the Sandy Hook families, but the WFD wants to call on the Sandy Hook fire chief before a decision is made on what charity to donate to.

City Governmen Re-Org: Part II

 A follow up to our first post :City Government Re-Org - Part I
The Insider staff has been reading over Mayor Drew’s Report on Government Re-Organization put together by his Task Force on Government Efficiency aka a bunch of buddies he meets with at night at city hall. 

The City Re-Org report has never been officially distributed to members of the Council, and therefore is not available to the public in an attempt to get it passed without full transparency!!

Yet again, only 2 of the 4 Republican Councilmembers - Deborah Kleckowski and Linda Salafia kept fiscal responsibility in mind when voting against the retirement package recently passed by the Council. This set of golden handshakes, although Councilmen Tom Serra refuses to call it that, are a precursor to the adoption of the re-organization plan. As quoted in an article about the vote published by the Middletown Eye blog, Salafia expresses her concern for taxpayer's wallets:

“We haven’t seen a list from the task force of those who are leaving or a cost analysis of leaving these positions. The city is doing this process backward.”
“I have a problem with how they did the math. The city will have to fill these positions eventually. We are not going to save money. My constituents will be outraged by this program. Many of them already have a negative view of the pensions our city employees have.”Read full article here.
The objective of the task force appears to contain a predetermined remedy for what were yet-to-be discovered problems. Salafia points out that many of the positions will still have to be filled and thereofore the cost savings is a false assumption. Kleckowski cited departments becoming dysfunctional as a concern. In a previously published letter from the actuaries hired by the City to City Finance Director Carl Erlacher, the actuaries expressed concerns that the pension fund be in trouble as early as 2014. Apparently, Mayor Drew knows better than the professionals.

The package is available to read here:

The smoking gun letter from the actuary is here:
C. Merging Legal, Personnel and Human Resources. About the stupidest idea in this report. The creation of conflicts of interest alone should be reason enough to reject such a proposal. As with IT, every city function has a legal component attached to it. Why is Personnel different?

The City Attorney is the City's lawyer. Its duty is to represent and advise ALL departments. All of the functions listed by the task force, which are not already within the legal department (i.e., risk management, claims) are substantive city services or administrative/management activities that are not particularly suited to the legal profession. If it can be said that personnel management is an appropriate function for a lawyer, then why not city planning? Or snow removal? Or sidewalks and streets?

Also, the claim that a labor relations division will better handle labor negotiations, day-to-day employee matters and disciplinary actions is one that doesn't hold water. More seriously, however, it contains legal and ethical dilemmas. First, the Municipal Employee Relations Act (MERA) makes the chief elected official - the Mayor - the recognized negotiator for the City. The mayor can designate whoever he chooses to do the actual negotiating, but he is the one responsible for the finished product. The mayor is free to name the City Attorney to a negotiating team or as the sole negotiator. He has always had that authority and this proposed merger doesn't add anything!

The city deals with four unions. Mayor Giuliano’s negotiating teams were different, depending on which union was involved, but they always included a lawyer.
A very sticky problem with the merger is the idea that the City Attorney will "assist the Mayor and other City managers and supervisors in day to day employee relations, including disciplinary actions." When the City Attorney is engaged in such functions, how will the Mayor and the "managers and supervisors" know which hat he is wearing - his lawyer hat or his manager hat? Again, the Mayor, the directors and superintendents have always had the ability to seek the assistance of the City Attorney in resolving legal issues arising from the exercise of their official duties. This proposal doesn't enhance that role. To the contrary, it impedes it. What "manager" will be confident in seeking legal advice from an office that has the power and duty to discipline him or her?

If this is such a wonderful concept, what other Connecticut towns are doing it? Has the task force made this inquiry?

D. Public Works Department merging with Park & Recreation:. the idea of reassigning parks maintenance duties to the Public Works Dept. The prospect of significant upgrades of positions, however, nothing to suggest that the functions are incompatible.

E. Merging Senior Services and Recreation into one department is something that had been contemplated also by the previous Republican administration, but had not gotten much traction with the Council (it wasn't the Dems idea).

F. Merging Arts & Youth Services: Mayor Giuliano had also proposed the inclusion of Youth services and Arts within a new department. Names like "Community Affairs", "Arts and Leisure Services" or Arts, Culture and Community Services", but there was always one interest group that either didn't like the name or didn't want to be included with one or more of the other groups. The opposition always appeared more subjective than based on any real facts.

G. Vital Statistics remaining in Health Department. Vital Stats in Health seem weak. First, other than for keeping vital stats, the Health Department has no significant need for a large vault. Simply relocate the Health Director's office from its present location and turn that space over to the Town Clerk. It is already used for vitals, so very little would have to change.

The argument is made that we are a "hospital" town and the only other two Connecticut towns whose vital stats functions are not in their town clerks' offices are also "hospital" communities. There are certainly more than three cities in Connecticut that are host communities to hospitals. Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, New London, New Britain, Norwich, Danbury, Waterbury and Meriden are examples of cities which host hospitals; many host more than one. Yet, no more than two in the whole state, in addition to Middletown, follow this pattern. All of the others don't seem to be finding the presence of hospitals to be a significant problem for their town clerks.

Conclusion: Finally, the task force criticizes former Mayor Giuliano for filling positions occupied by those who had announced their retirements. They claim that this had violated the "spirit" of the Charter prohibition on making appointments between the election and the swearing-in. This makes no sense; some positions need filing as the job cannot go undone. Does Mayor Drew operate on the premise that he is going to lose the next election? Maybe he should and, likewise, the Common Council should reject this proposed "reorganization" because the "new administration" may not want it. Turn around is fair play.

Remembering the Homeless

December 21st: NATIONAL HOMELESS PERSON'S MEMORIAL DAY! Please come out and support our community's most vulnerable residents by attending the Middletown event for National Homeless person's memorial day. St. Vincent DePaul and the Community Health Center will be holding a Memorial Service & Candlelight Vigil to remember the homeless individuals who have died in our county this year. The event will take place at the Church of Holy Trinity 381 Main Street Middletown, CT 06457 on 4PM Friday, December 21, 2012, the First Day of Winter & Longest Night of the Year. Help us fight to end homelessness in our through acknowledgement, generosity, and political advocacy. The Memorial asks us to remember that: Health care is a human right. Housing is a human right. Physical safety is a human right. Remember our neighbors and friends who have died without homes. Remember why they died. For more information, or to help out, please see contact information below:
Asya Tsarkova at the Community Health Center, Inc. (860) 224-3642 ext. 5551 or Lydia Brewster at St. Vincent De Paul, (860) 344-0097 ext. 18.

From the Desk of Elsa M. Nunez: ECSU Presient

Office of the President

December 17, 2012

Dear Family and Freinds:

On Friday, December 14, Eastern Connecticut alumna Victoria Leigh Soto, an Eastern 2008 Alum, lost her life protecting her first-grade students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, from the assailant who shot and killed 20 children and seven adults that day. Victoria is being recognized literally across the world for her heroism that day. I want to thank all of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have offered their condolences and their thoughtful suggestions for keeping Victoria's memory alive. It is heart-warming to know that Eastern is coming together in the wake of this horrific loss. I will be in touch with Victoria's family soon to develop appropriate ways to honor her. In the meantime, I am immediately announcing the creation of the Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund at Eastern to support students studying to be teachers who have unmet financial need. Donations may be directed as follows:

Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund
ECSU Foundation, Inc.
Eastern Connecticut State University
83 Windham Street
Willimantic, CT 06226

ATTN: Kenneth J. DeLisa
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
I will be in contact with her family to plan an appropriate memorial service for her at Eastern. I will alert the University community as soon as those plans are finalized. In the meantime, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. The unspeakable act at Sandy Hook has permanently impacted the lives of the victim's families and the Newtown community. To them, and to the people who knew and loved Victoria, we extend our deepest sympathies, and will continue to seek ways to honor Victoria so that her spirit and memory will never be forgotten. God Bless.


Elsa M. Núñez

From: Debbie Kleckowski- Re: Support on Monday

For those who need a place to pray, or to have someone to talk with, Pastor Clow of Grace Luthern Church on Randolph Rd will be available at 9am. The Church will be open for people to relect, pray or to talk with the Pastor.

Thank you to Grace Luthern for hosting a Vigil this evening. Those who attended were very appreciative.

God Bless,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coping: What Do We Tell our Children- From ABC

Published on Dec 16, 2012
ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, and Father William Hamilton.

Mayor: Safety Message via Honeywell Alert

This weekend, we held a joint meeting with the mayor’s office, Middletown Public Schools’ central office administration and Middletown Police Department command staff to review and improve our existing plans to secure our children’s welfare and safety.

We reviewed our existing emergency response protocols in light of the heartbreaking tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and made additional plans to increase security at each of our schools. Some changes will be visible and some will not.

Students, parents, faculty and staff will witness an increased police presence in and around Middletown’s schools in the coming weeks. We have also formulated additional plans for increased police presence in and around Middletown’s schools on a permanent basis. Additionally, a number of other security measures are being implemented.

Our top priority is to provide our students, their families, our staff, and our community with a safe learning environment.

The tragedy suffered in Newtown puts into perspective the preciousness of our loved ones and that we must never take for granted their presence. We mourn for the children who were taken in the dawn of their lives, the families whose unimaginable grief can never be assuaged, and the community whose heart will bear enduring scars.

We can only hope and pray that they find comfort in the memories of those they have lost and in their spirit of unity. We invite you to join us for a vigil on the South Green Monday at 7 p.m., in memory of the people who lost their lives.


Mayor Daniel Drew
Superintendent Patricia Charles
Police Chief William McKenna

Governor Malloy's Speech: 12/15/2012

Yesterday an unspeakable tragedy occurred in the community of Newtown. 20 beautiful children and 7 wonderful adults lost their lives.
All of Connecticut’s people – indeed the people of the world –weep for the immeasurable losses suffered by the families and loved ones of these victims.
Though we could all try, when something as senseless as this occurs, there’s precious little anyone can say to the families of the victims that will lessen the horror and sense of loss they feel. We could say we feel their pain, but the truth is we can’t.
When tragedies like this occur, people often look for answers, an explanation of how this could have occurred. But the sad truth is, there are no answers. No good ones, anyway.
We have all seen tragedies like this play out in other states and countries. Each time, we wondered how something so horrific could occur, and we thanked God that it didn’t happen here in Connecticut. But now it has.

Westfield Fire to Collect Money For Sandy Hook Victims Today

Middletown-  It has been announced by the Westfield Fire Department officials, “That in lieu of the of the tragedy which occurred Friday at Sandy Hooks Elementary School, the department and their supporters will be collecting funds for the families that lost loved ones in the senseless massacre which occurred to our neighboring town in Connecticut. We will be collecting monies at our station the reminder of the day.” 

Sympathy Over Connecticut Shool Shooting Stretches Globe

Note: This article originally appeared in USA Today's December 16, 2012 Digital edition which can be located at
Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minster on Sandy Hook shooting:"(The attack was a) senseless and incomprehensible act of evil."

BANGKOK (AP) — Images of a tearful President Barack Obama speaking after a shooting rampage in Connecticut resonated around the world, with many outside the United States expressing hope Saturday that America's latest school massacre would prompt the country to strengthen gun control.
Shock and sympathy were the initial reactions to the rampage that left 28 people dead, including 20 children at an elementary school. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the attack as a "senseless and incomprehensible act of evil."
"Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken," Gillard said in a statement, referring to the U.S. leader's emotional expression of condolence.
The gunman killed his mother at their home before opening fire Friday inside the school in Newtown, Connecticut, where he killed 26 people, including 20 children, police said. The killer, identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, then committed suicide.
Australia confronted a similar tragedy in 1996, when a man went on a shooting spree in the southern state of Tasmania, killing 35 people. The mass killing sparked outrage across the country and led the government to impose strict new gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles.
Gillard's sentiments echoed those of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he "was shocked and deeply saddened" to learn of the "horrific shooting."
"My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones," he said. "It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them."

SCSU Patrick J. Dilger: Shooting Victims with Ties to Southern

From the Desk of Patrick J. Dilger, Director of Public Affairs SCSU:

The University is deeply saddened to report that several of the teachers and administrators killed during Friday's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown had ties to Southern.

Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung earned a master's degree in special education in 1997, and a sixth-year certificate in educational leadership from Southern in 1998. School psychologist Mary Sherlach and teacher Anna Marie Murphy took graduate-level classes during the late 80s and early 90s, and teacher Victoria Soto was currently taking classes toward a master's degree in special education.

Our community's thoughts and prayers are with these individuals and all who died or lost a loved one during this tragedy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Words. Tragedy in Newtown.

We at the Middletown Insider are deeply saddened to hear of the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Ct  that took 26 innocent lives.
There are just no words for such a tragedy of this magnitude.

Prayer Vigil held by Grace Lutheran Church: Grace Lutheran Church-Randolph Rd. Sunday December 16 at 5pm.

The congregation has graciously opened their doors and is welcoming parishioners and non parishioners to attend a special service Sunday evening.


From Commissioner M. Salafia

Hello Mr. Warner & Mr. Wackers,

I appreciate the Jonah's Center and First Church making available
space for a presentation on the Planning & Zoning Department's
suggested changes to the zoning code, and subsequent plans for
Middletown's river front that will be taking place tonight. I also
appreciate the Department's efforts to inform citizens. I also realize
this is not the first time this presentation has been held.

I would like to ask that this evening's presentation be repeated on
public property- such as a school, the library, or council chambers as
an official event posted with the Town Clerk so that the public is
ensured prior notification and more have the opportunity to attend who
may otherwise feel uncomfortable at a private location. I feel a
public location will further give opportunity for commissioners to
become educated on this issue. Also, if it is an official presentation
or special meeting, commissioners like myself do not have to worry
about collusion issues if we all were to attend.

If it could be at a time when other concerned committees such as
Design Review and Citizen's Advisory meet this would be most
beneficial; I am especially concerned that the Common Council will not
be able to attend at its current time. I myself work outside of
Middletown and leave work at 5;30 pm and cannot attend a meeting
beginning at this time, like many other working citizens for example.
I strongly encourage this presentation to be repeated at the Mayor's &
Common Council's mandate of meetings being held after 7 pm on a
weekday in a public space for the public's benefit.

Thank you,

Molly Salafia, Assoc. AIA, LEED GA
PZ Commissioner

Letter from Pat Charles: Guide to Addressing Concerns

Dear Parents and Staff,
Parents have called today asking for information about how to talk with their children following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Below is guidance that may be helpful.
Patricia Charles, Superintendent

To guide parents through difficult discussions about school violence, the National Mental Health Association offers the following suggestions:

*Encourage children to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to prompt them by asking if they feel safe at school. When talking with younger children remember to talk on their level. For example, they may not understand the term “violence” but can talk to you about being afraid.

* Talk honestly about your own feelings regarding school violence. It is important for children to recognize they are not dealing with their fears alone.

* Validate the child’s feelings. Do not minimize a child’s concerns. Let him/her know that serious school violence is not common, which is why these incidents attract so much media attention.

*Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school. Explain why visitors sign in at the principal’s office or certain doors remain locked during the school day. Help your child understand that such precautions are in place to ensure his or her safety and stress the importance of adhering to school rules and policies.

*Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults (a friendly secretary, trusted teacher or approachable administrator) your child can talk to if they feel threatened at school.

*Recognize behavior that may indicate your child is concerned about returning to school. Younger children may react to school violence by not wanting to attend school or participate in school-based activities. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school performance to decline.

*Keep the dialogue going and make school safety a common topic in family discussions rather than just a response to an immediate crisis. Open dialogue will encourage children to share their concerns.

* If you are worried about your child's reaction contact the school or a mental health professional.

Source: National Mental Health Association

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