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....

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    
==========================================

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

December 27, 2012

2012:Year of the Middletown Woman

Looking back at 2012, one thing is for sure- women have taken the City by storm and good, bad, or other wise have influenced the community in a variety of arenas where their male counterparts hadn't dare tread. Education, politics, arts, business, and social justice are only a few areas that City women have made contributions and made citizens wake up and take notice more so than in years past. The Insider would like to take a brief look back at the year's past headlines and the  "Most Influential Middletown Women of 2012" in random order. If there is anyone we may have forgotten please add in the comments section!

#20. Charitble Chicks: M-town is blessed to have many women (many of whom are not mentioned) who run non profits in Middletown that in 2012 made notable strides in furthering their cause.  #20 Wendy Black Nasta, Artists for World Peace who co founded with #20.1 Priscilla Harnesk of Cold Stone Creamery, a special MXCC Scholarship for Art Students this past year. # 20.2 Brenda Woods, founder of Ryan Woods Autism Foundation fought for and won  initially denied funding for an after school program. # 20.3 Deb Bagley, founder of C.A.T.A.L.E.S. had a particularily hard year keeping the charity a float but, guided her team thru  with flying colors.

#19. Karen Nocera, Park & Recreation Inclusion Specialist:   Nocera has created and continued numerous City wide programs to include children of all abilities. Under her direction and co-operation with Marco Gaylord, the Unified Theater was created to include special needs and non special needs students to work together and be involved in the performing arts. From breakfast with Santa, a City wide toy drive for the needy, to Easter egg hunts, Nocera is an asset to many. The program for special needs currently individuals serves 20.

#18.  Saint Susan Bysiewicz:   After this Middletown native lost her party's nomination for office, the Insider made a little joke as a play on words on our facebook page " Bye Bye Bysiewicz." Why? 1. Because a myriad of  critics claim Bysiewicz just wants to win an office, any office after several lost elections.  2. Because it's political satire, so why not? Well, none the less, comments from readers who went to kindergarten with Susan, to 5th cousins twice removed from Susan piled in calling us unusually callous and insensitive. Duh, we are both of those things, but not unusually so by any means! No other politician has received so many comments  after we poked fun at them. Apparently, some folks are off limits. Word on the street is Susan will be canonized at St. Seb's.
LOLZ. Click to enlarge.

#17. Congresswoman "Red" Rosa DeLauro: DeLauro, champion of the program to "Pamper the Poor" (coined by Glenn Beck) with free diapers, won her gazillionth year in office. When Delauro isn't fighting on the front lines against natural arsenic in rice, she manages to make it to Middletown.  DeLauro only visits when there is a chance the public won't be able to ask her questions, but she can pose with some poor people. Why is she making our list? Local media and Mayor Drew manage to name drop her at least once a week falsely attributing anything beneficial to Middletown solely to her. Middletown so and so got such and such grant, thank you Rosa. The sun managed to rise again over Middletown, thank you Rosa.

#16. Lisa Santangelo: She sees you  when you are sleeping, she knows when you're awake. Former Democratic Town Committee chairwoman,  appointed Deputy Registrar of Voters and right hand to Mayor Dan Drew. Respect my authoritaay! 

#15. Barbara Senges and  14.Nancy Haynes- The Matrons of the BOE Regime under Michael Frechette. Frechette, although still on the books at the BOE receiving $300 an hour in consulting fees, currently teaches classes on fiscal responsibility at  Central Connecticut State University to future superintendents. We have heard hide nor hare of his lady back up singers who took "early retirement. "We wish this class at CCSU was a joke, but even we couldn't make this one up!

#13. The Elected Women of the Board of Education- We would like to hear more from you! Where are you? And come on Sheila Daniels- stop abstaining! Things are improving, but we want to see some hair fly! Transparency huzzah!

#12. Apryl Dudley :  The brave PTA mom that wrote the infamous letter that blew the lid off the situation at Farm Hill Elementary School regarding unlawful restraint and seclusion of special needs and non special needs students. Many parent's of special needs students found her choice language the letter offensive, despite, others praised her efforts for speaking up. What began was the "Scream Room" media frenzy. Tensions flared from parents on all sides of the issue. Ultimately, conversations about Board of Education funding, student oversight, and mistreatment of special needs students - which had been long over due came to pass. An issue uniting all parents, besides the best interest of students arrived: the elephant in the room that the Board of Education Administration had been long turning a blind eye to communication with parents.

#11. Jane Flanders Majewski- Who can forget this brave mother's compelling and emotional testimony to the Board of Education regarding the mistreatment - some of which was physical- of her special needs son? Majewski became the un-official spokes person for local parents of special needs students bringing their difficult plights navigating the Middletown school system to light. Her child's story was one of many that had gotten swept under the rug by the past school administration after the closing of the self contained program for the most intensive cases at Spencer School. Majewski and her family participated in a news broad cast by ABC focusing on student withstraint issues on a national level. Majewski continues to fight for all students and push for better education for special needs pupils. Her son is now in a special school outside of the district that can better address his needs.

#10. Christine "Ballsy" Bourne- Bourne spoke up when no one else dare against then Superintendent Dr. Michael Frechette, Nancy Haynes, and Barbara Senges. Bourne, then City Treasurer & payroll supervisor at the BOE noticed that over $1 million dollars was missing from the budget. Bourne brought this to the attention of then Mayor Giuliano who called for an investigation into the BOE finances. The superintendent basically said - no way are you looking at my books! Bourne was terminated by the BOE for being a whistle blower and calling into question  excessive overtime practices, and "differences in accounting." Haynes "allegedly" struck Bourne when she went to call her Union representative when she was not allowed access to her desk; a lawsuit is still pending. Bourne had long been an active Democrat and held the elected position of City Treasurer for several terms. When sh*t hit the fan,  the Democratic Town Committee stripped Bourne of her nomination for Treasurer replacing her with a more complacent nominee Quentin Phipps. Bourne's recourse? Run for mayor against the Democrats chosen Manchurian candidate !  The Insider has heard  reports of a new movie series called "Bourne Ultimate Finances" that has started filming. It is about  average  mom turned super hero and who's memory of  $1 million in budget money is erased by an over zealous superintendent and his pair of heckling slap-happy femme fatale cohorts disguised as office workers. The Bourne character then remembers the missing money, and is sent on a wild goose chase where she must dodge a town full of unsavory nutso characters.

#9. Councilwoman Hope "Hopeless" Kasper - aka "Nepotism Nancy"- In an deal to cover up the wrong doing at the Board of Education and make nicey- Democratic Councilwoman Kasper concocted a deal with the Serracrats. She sucessfully got her son-in law, a former real-estate agent Josh Berger with no financial budget analysist background hired at the BOE as just that. The position was specially created for him. Kasper, who was on the hiring committee claimed to have no knowledge her son-in law was going to get he position. She attempted to have him get teacher benefits. Flash forward a year, and as part of the negotiations with the City to settle some of the many grievances  Union 466  employees had mainly with Frechette, it was insisted that removing the illegal hire Berger was a deal breaker for everyone. Hmmm.. Sadly, this was before her re-election in fall of 2011, and although pointed out by many, Kasper won back her seat despite. Now, as having received the special favor for her family member, Kasper rolls over and backs whatever the Democrats ask her too come Council voting time.

#8. Lea Tomaszewski- Tomaszewski is a former Middletown Press journalist who know writes wonderful non political articles for the Middletown Patch. She has proven the GOP is now the the Brand New Party-

#7. Cassandra Day - Ms. Day is a former Middletown Mess Editor. Since her departure, Day has become the editor and chief contributor to the Middletown CT Patch online news blog. While other so called news outlets pretend conservatives in Middletown don't exist, editor of the Mess  (#7.5) Viktoria Sundqvist  remains the lap dog of the Democratic party, and yet still another blog has a side bar with links to the DeLauro and Lieberman websites yet claims impartiality and journalistic standards. The Insider writes truth, yet we don't pretend to have impartiality or journalistic standards so lets not kid ourselves, at least we aren't in denial. Day, on the other hand,  actually practices real journalism. And good, fair, impartial, balanced, and entertaining journalism to boot. Good job Ms. Day

36. Callie Grippo - Fearless and fiery are two words that describe this mother and business woman to a T. Grippo challenged state capital antique Senator Joe Serra for a seat in the 33rd District. Grippo lost, but pleasantly shocked everyone taking 1/3 of the vote, giving Ol' Joe something to look forward to- a long overdue retirement.

#5. Lucy McMillan: McMillan, an administrator in the mental health field, is wife of blogger and BOE member Ed McKeon. She is also the chairmain of the MiddNight On Main event being sponsored by the Community Health Center. New Years 2011/2012 was the first event that gathered over 5,000 people. This year the event will likely draw even more to the family friendly celebrations. The woman who makes the magic happen is McMillan. Very cool.

#4. Anna Neumon - Most people won't know Ms. Newman, but it has to be said that behind every good man is not one but possibly a number of good women. That is true for Senator Len Suzio who not only has a wife, daughters, but also a spectacular unflappable campaign manager named Anna Neumon.  Neumon and her lady posse helped Suzio give Dante Bartolomeo a run for her money when she falsely accused Suzio of voter intimidation and poll calling. Bartolomeo flung the mud during a press conference on the steps of Meriden City hall last election. Suzio rolled up with Newman and crew and calmly dismissed the charges, which Bartolomeo admitted she had no proof of. Bartolomeo won by approximately 200 votes, and had her campaign treasurer work the polls election day...  Bartolomeo  has still offered no apologies to anyone.

#3. Councilwoman Linda Salafia: Newbie to the political scene, but not to the challenges faced at the City. This City pay-roll manager retiree and once 466 Union VP is no stranger to the negotiation process. Often times she is the voice of reason on the Council floor where the men fall short or asleep. Dynamic duo Kleckowski & Salafia crunched the numbers for the Republican's alternative budget that would not have raised taxes on citizens. Councilmen Pessina and Bibisi were also instrumental in its conception, however, left the ladies high and dry come voting time, choosing to vote in favor of the Spendacrat version. Salafia's sharp eye for numbers, propensity for sticking to the facts and the rules makes her an advocate for the people - and their wallets. Her mouthy daughter, PZ Commissioner (#3.5) Molly Salafia, didn't fall far from the same tree. Recently,  Linda Salafia called Mayor Drew out for lecturing her after she made a motion during a Council session, making a point that he was in violation of Robert's Rules of Order. Visibly perturbed by the questioning of his authority, Mayor Drew often "forgets" to call on Salafia. Salafia called out the frivoulous spending of $25,000 on It's Only Natural store to compensate the business for Arrigoni Bridge construction that,in the end, concluded ahead of schedule.

2.
Councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski: Kleckowski and counterpart Councilwoman Linda Salafia are often the voices of financial reason and fiscal responsibility on the Common Council being the more than often the 2 to vote for logical measures to save tax payers money.  Kleckowski called into question the changing of the job description of the city attorney as not being done according to protocol. Kleckowski has championed issues regarding special needs students who parents sought her out for help navigating the system, and public safety concerns. Unfortunately, Kleckowski  was defeated for state representative for the 100th district this last election cycle. The Insider hopes she makes a come back and chooses to run again!

1. Dr. Patricia Charles: Despite having been given a ridiculously ginormous contract & mileage stipend (that will top $250K in 2014 and continue to grow) better than any other department head, and literally, $75,000 in perks better than the former Superintendent Michael  "It's for the Children" Frechette's, the Insider has to say we support Charles. If anyone can save us, it will take a smart & powerful woman like Charles no doubt. Charles inherited a mess at the Board of Education Admin, and we have faith that she can straighten it out and make Middletown schools shine for good things. Godspeed  Dr. Charles, may the force be with you!

Propositionusa.com: Gail P. Whitright

 - PROPOSITIONUSA.COM - TO BRING OUR COUNTRY BACK AND TO HELP OUR VETERANS - 200,000 OF WHICH ARE HOMELESS AND 18 A DAY COMMIT SUICIDE - PLEASE JOIN US!!! 1/1/13 - BY "WAVING THE AMERICAN FLAG" (IN YOUR HAND) ON MAIN STREET OR YOUR STREET - PLEASE GO TO OUR WEBSITE PROPOSITIONUSA.COM AND JOIN US!!! 1/1/13  -Gail Whitright
www.propositionusa.com

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.

Thanks,
Mayor

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
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COMMON COUNCIL MIDDLETOWN, CONNECTICUT DECEMBER 13, 2012
COMMUNITY MEETING
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.
ATTEST:

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 http://www.noradsanta.org/en/track.html




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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

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 krlblak@rushford.org

December 21, 2012

Mayor's Task Force on Efficiency Report

    Outlined is Mayor Drew's plan to consolidate City departments and positions! Enjoy-
https://docs.google.com/open?id=1XulRAxwXDIMppNvRE_tJ0lbh9H-0DCvjbB6Sewl8prarfOQGUgd3djxHmijS

     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:
http://www.middletowninsider.com/2012/12/city-governmen-re-org-part-ii.html

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

12/20/2012
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!
MIDDLETOWN TRUE STORY:
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.'
CONTINUED:

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.
http://www.middletowninsider.com/2012/12/good-job-westfield-fire-department-over.html

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: www.apa.org/index.aspx.  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: www.fci.org/new-site/par-tragic-events.html.
     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: www.southernct.edu/emergencypreparedness 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     
cc:
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.

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.

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 www.westfieldfire.net: 

"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: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1OYjxtLEgUwUm9EZ1gzYUdsODQ

The smoking gun letter from the actuary is here:   https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1OYjxtLEgUwUm9EZ1gzYUdsODQ
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. TsarkoA@chc1.com (860) 224-3642 ext. 5551 or Lydia Brewster at St. Vincent De Paul, lydia@svdmiddletown.org (860) 344-0097 ext. 18.