Monday, April 04, 2016

Comings and Goings

UPDATE:  In response to two comments condemning a whistle blower and the Insider for having the nerve to comprehend the written word; the screen shots below are pretty clear.  The way it is presented, it gives the distinct impression the Buttonwood Tree endorses a particular candidate and is sponsoring an event for the benefit of that candidate.

The Insider accepts at face value the explanation given by the Buttonwood Tree and their promise to be more careful in the future "to make sure that any political event we (they) hold has a statement to our position posted with it".

And let's face it; should a local 510c3 organization have given the appearance of supporting a particular Republican candidate, that organization would have been called on the carpet by the Left.

Everyone must play by the same rules.

·          Inclement Weather 
·          TSC Still Under Construction 
·          Coming Soon, a Power Outage 
·          Tattered and Torn 
·          Speaking of Foot-Dragging 
·          The Insider and the Arts 
·          Ramblings
.          March: In like a lamb, out like . . .

 Inclement Weather Expected thru Apr 9

It never fails; as everyone knows, it always rains when Coleman's come to town!

Coleman Bros. Carnival, celebrating its 100th anniversary, launched its 2016 season this week in Middletown and will run thru April 9th.  (weather permitting.)  It is open at it's traditional location on Bernie O'Rourke Dr., just off Washington St. and adjacent to Palmer Field, which has been under water from the flooded Coginchaug River during at least one Spring launch, circa 1983/4.

100 years ago, Dick Coleman bought a steam powered carousel for $250.   Set up under the Arigoni Bridge, rides were offered for a small fee to passers by.  From there, he started booking rides around the area, in addition to promoting sporting events of all sorts.
Over time, he and his brothers, Tom and Tim, (as far as we can tell, he had no bother, Harry), acquired more rides, and concessions became a part of the offering.  In addition to games and concessions, there are today some 30 rides and the carnival employs around 50 people, in season.

Coleman’s oldest ride is a Tilt-a-Whirl.  Dating back to the old days, it is one of their original rides.

Note to Coleman's:  Your web site needs updated and the creepy music has to go. :(

Every kid's first carnival ride.


Kids win every time.

The barkers and their colored balloons.

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain . . .

Not soon enough! Move over, Agway . . .

TSC Still Under Construction

As reported in January, a Tractor Service Center is under construction on Newfield St.  The opening was expected in late spring or early summer, but it looks like they need to get a move on to make that deadline.
TSC site in January.

TSC site, today.
TSC site, today.


 Coming Soon, a Power Outage Near You

Russell St. and Ridge Rd.
While crews are busy about town trimming trees, this disaster-waiting-to-happen is still a disaster waiting to happen.  (This was brought to EverSource's attention in January.)  Given the slope, saturated ground and high winds this past weekend . . .  Just sayin'.

I have to wonder; who establishes the trimming schedule and if there is any consideration or priority given based on the severity of the tangles growing through the wires? Just sayin' . . .

Tattered and Torn

It seems that Wild Bill's could use a new flag.  Happily, the flags at City Hall are flying strong.  Maybe Wild Bill will spring for a new flag, this Spring.


Speaking of Foot-Dragging

In the two months since it was mentioned here, what is rumored to be a Cumberland Farms being built on S. Main St. at Hunting Hill, has changed little.  Evidently the harsh winter has taken its toll on local construction projects.  Though, the backhoe has been moved from one side of the lot to the other.

The Insider and the Arts

We at The Middletown Insider are terribly fond of the arts.  We hope that it is evident from the posts here, that we support such local venues as The Goodspeed Opera House, Art-Farm, etc.; along with the various programs hosted at The Russell Library.  Less known, is that the Editor-in-chief has been a member and subscriber at the Goodspeed since the last century (minus one or two years).  (And I even have a velvet Elvis on the living room wall!)  Because of that fondness and connection, it pains me deeply to write this, but not to do so would be near negligence and dereliction of duty, as a reporter.

Who isn't cheered up when they hear, "Hello, it's Ann Marie, from The Buttonwood Tree!".  But, it
has come to our attention that The Buttonwood Tree is hosting and sponsoring an event to promote and benefit Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.  On their web page, they refer to Sanders as "our candidate".  That would be fine and dandy, except for one small detail; The Buttonwood Tree receives public funding and is a 501c3, tax exempt corporation.

Also brought to our attention, is the fact that Art-Farm has a "Feel the Bern" bumper sticker on it's vehicle.  Normally, that too, would be fine and dandy; you know, "free speech" and all.  But, like The Buttonwood Tree, Art-Farm is also a tax exempt organization.

For such organizations, the rules are different.  IRS regulations clearly state that a 501(c)(3) may not "participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates". reports;  "In order to maintain tax-exempt status, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations cannot engage in political campaigning. Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status should be ever vigilant about this prohibition -- a violation could result in severe consequences.

"A 501(c)(3) organization is absolutely forbidden to directly or indirectly participate in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Violation of this prohibition could lead the IRS to completely revoke your organization's tax-exempt status."

Non-Profit Expert says; "Political campaign activity is directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office. This includes making contributions to political campaign funds or making public statements in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

"For a 501(c)(3), violating the political campaign prohibition may result in revocation of tax-exempt status, and imposition of certain excise taxes."

Personally, I'm willing to give Art-Farm and Buttonwood Tree the benefit of the doubt; that they do not realize that what they are doing may be in violation of federal law and could cost them their tax exempt status.  My heart-felt advice to them is to seek legal council.


Ramblings . . .

Tommy's Restaurant gets a new name and a face lift.

Another vanishing icon.
Another restaurant on Coe Ave.
closed its door. Rich seems to
have no luck with this property.


March: in Like a Lamb, Out Like a . . .

In this SNL skit from their first season, weatherman John Belushi explains how March comes in and goes out in various countries.  Did you know that there is one country where March goes out like an ant; a teeny tiny little ant.  The episode aired on March 13, 1976.  How many remember seeing this?


  1. Really great post. Certainly my heart goes out to businesses not doing so great under this economy. I am a huge Coleman fan & the slice of history is intriguing. That being said I am disappointed my donations to Buttonwood & Artfarm are being used to support a politician. I will no longer be so eager to donate to either & hope they mend their ways.

    1. To all who care - The Buttonwood Tree (North End Arts Rising, Inc) does not now, nor will we ever endorse any candidate for any office. We are NOT a political organization. We DO, however, offer space to folks of our community who are willing to pay our space rental fees. The "Feel the Bern" event was such a situation. We simply rented them space, we did not "sponsor" or the event.

    2. PS - We will be more careful in the future to make sure that any political event we hold has a statement to our position posted with it, at least on our website where we have control of text. Peace -

  2. Do ArtFarms and Buttonwood get city funding?

    1. Yes, through the City Arts Commission

  3. Worth sharing, this thoughtful comment was posted to the Middle Town Face Book page, by Mike.

    As long as Cumby's is up and running before Starbucks I will be happy. $1 gigantic ice coffee that tastes better than anything Starbucks can produce.
    (Looks like the fuel tank is in now so they can most likely get this thing going.)

    - I've lived here 8 years and heard of the Colemans Curse and I cannot remember a year that it hasn't rained (now snowed) since I've lived here

    - TSC will most likely decimate Agway but show me some competition and they can stay in the game.

    - The trees were just cleared across from my house last week and judging from the tree trunk section that grew around the "guy wire", the trees haven't been touched in 35 years. Also the oldest poll on the street and I doubt anyone even saw it ever because every other pole was replaced 4 years ago.

    Progress continues.... And please, respect the Stars and Stripes. Bring the tattered one to your local Fire Dept and they will take care of it respectfully. Then head on down to your local store, find the one that was made in the USA and raise her high and proud!

  4. Our city budgets are in shambles and all the Democrats want is more money on Education & higher taxes. Treasurer Quentin Phipps couldn't even show up for the bond rating meeting but gets $4,000 to do nothing. Beat those for the Children Drums! Population in the schools has gone down but no one wants the budget cut. It's $20k to educate a kid in Middletown ridiculous!

  5. I agree, we need more coverage of the budget & why the heck the BOE is crying for more money. In my job lack of work people get laid off, if there are less students why shouldn't some teachers be cut?

  6. Now I get it; Tom, Dick and Tim. No Harry.

  7. Federal Election Commission -

    I. Filing a Complaint

    Any person may file a complaint if he or she believes a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Laws or Commission regulations has occurred or is about to occur. The complaint must be made in writing and sent to the Office of General Counsel, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20463. The original must be submitted along with three copies, if possible. Facsimile or e-mail transmissions are not acceptable. A complaint must comply with certain requirements. It must:

    Provide the full name and address of the person filing the complaint (called the complainant); and
    Be signed, sworn to and notarized. This means that the notary public's certificate must say "...signed and sworn to before me...," or words that connote the complaint was affirmed by the complainant, (such as “under penalty of perjury”).

    Furthermore, in order for a complaint to be considered complete and proper, it should:

    Clearly recite the facts that show specific violations under the Commission's jurisdiction (citations to the law and regulations are not necessary);
    Clearly identify each person, committee or group that is alleged to have committed a violation (called the respondent);
    Include any documentation supporting the allegations, if available; and
    Differentiate between statements based on the complainant's (the person who files the complaint) personal knowledge and those based on information and belief. Statements not based on personal knowledge should identify the source of the information.

  8. To The Buttonwood Tree: Thank you for your comments, clarification and promise to be more careful in the future about statements made on your web site.

    It was the "meet and celebrate our candidate" comment that caught the eye of our whistle blower. I see that has also been corrected on your web site.

    People of all political leanings enjoy the arts and the Middletown area has some of the finest arts venues in the country. The arts should be an area where we can all come together to bond as a community to enjoy our community's diverse cultural offerings while putting aside the sometimes heated rhetoric that can so often divide us.

    I wish you much success in the future.

    PS Congratulations to Ann-Marie on her recent nuptials!

  9. You should have asked them about it before smearing their name.
    But that's typical of this "blog"

  10. If someone hadn't have brought this "blog" to the attention of The Buttonwood Tree, their reputation would have continued to be smeared.
    Some "reporter" you are! Ever hear of FACT CHECK??
    (Or SLANDER??)

  11. Ok Buttonwood, why then was there a whole Press article about the 'Been event that stated the Buttonwood sponsored? Seriously if the shoe were on the other foot..Good job for this blog calling it like it is!


  12. To Anonymous at 2:42 and 9:18, Screen shots can't be posted in comments, so please take a look at the updated post. You will see from the way it is written, it gives the clear appearance that Buttonwood is sponsoring the event and endorsing Sanders.

    Their web site, which has since been corrected, says, "Central Connecticut Berners and Bern-curious voters meet to celebrate OUR candidate". That language is unambiguous.

    Their Face Book post as well makes no mention of the event being put on by another entity. This event seems to have been scrubbed, completely.

    This post isn't the first time The Buttonwood Tree has been mentioned in the Insider.


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