Photo by Laurie Kenney
Photo by John Hall
The linden planted on November 15 near the corner of High St. and Wyllys Avenue honors Krishna Winston’s fifty years at Wesleyan as a professor of German Studies, an administrator, and, for the last ten years, also a professor in the College of the Environment. The Jonah Center celebrates this tree planted adjacent to a public street because Krishna has been an environmental leader in our wider community for many years. She has served on the Jonah Center’s Board of Directors since 2012 and as its president since 2014. Wesleyan’s replacement of lost trees along High Street, once renowned for its thick elm tree canopy, supports the Jonah Center’s Replace Our Trees campaign in Middletown.
The sponsors of the planting, the German Studies Department and the College of the Environment, chose the linden, sometimes referred to in English as a plane tree, because of its significance in German culture. When planted in the center of a village, a linden would serve as the focus of a community’s social life. The ancient Germans often conducted trials in the shade of these long-lived trees, considered sacred to the Norse goddess Freya. In German medieval poetry the linden often appears in association with love, perhaps because of its heart-shaped leaves. Other associations with the linden include fertility, friendship, loyalty, healing, and peace.
The linden’s fragrant blossoms make a delicious tea, which strengthens the immune system, combats inflammation, and can provide relief from colds and the flu. Krishna’s linden joins several others on the Wesleyan campus. Its location was chosen because of its proximity to Fisk Hall, home to German Studies, and the College of the Environment, both on the east side of High Street.
In recent years, the City of Middletown has removed dead and dying trees at a much faster rate than the city has planted new trees. Due to the Emerald Ash Borer, about 300 dead ash trees currently need to be removed, according to the Urban Forestry Commission. A line of dead ash trees along Church Street between Broad and High (shown here) is one striking and sad example. Only 20-30 trees will likely be planted city-wide in the current year, given the available budget. Removing a large tree is far more expensive than planting a younger, smaller tree. For this reason, the urban forestry budget is being exhausted by the need for tree removals.
Climate change is playing a role in this process, just when trees are more urgently needed to mitigate climate change. Invasive plants, changing insect populations, and damage by vehicles are additional negative factors. Continue reading
The Jonah Center reminds residents to take advantage of the State’s Home Energy Solutions (HES) program, and other low-cost, high-return opportunities to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. This program, subsidized by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, reduces home utility costs, on average, by $200 per year. The co-pay for HES has been reduced to $75 for those who participate by Dec. 31, 2019. The usual co-pay is $149, or $0 for income-eligible residents (up to 60% of the state’s median income level). Your home will have air leaks sealed, energy-efficient light bulbs and shower heads installed, and insulation evaluated. Low cost, subsidized insulation options are also available. Every HES visit earns your municipality credits towards energy efficiency grants that your community can use to improve its energy portfolio. The Jonah Center continues to partner with New England Conservation Services, the company that actually performs the service. Call NECS at 877-389-7077 or visit their website at https://www.neconserves.com/ for more information.
Below is a picture of the first page of the November 5 ballot for Middletown. Circled in red is the question on open space. A majority of YES votes on this question will allow the City of Middletown to borrow up to $5 million (over a period of years) to acquire or preserve open space and farm land. The last such question on open space was passed in 2007, and those funds were exhausted years ago. The Jonah Center strongly urges voters to go to the polls on November 5 and to vote YES on Question #1 (the only question on the ballot). Sometimes voters overlook the questions at the top, so look for it on your ballot. Please tell your friends about this matter. Thank you.
Sidewalks are being replaced in Portland. The Town has completed nearly $1 million in sidewalk replacements funded by the Town’s voters through a ballot referendum in 2017. The Jonah Center’s recommendations of a “road safety audit” and the state’s Community Connectivity grant program led to an additional $200,000 in funding for the Town’s sidewalks.
Shown in the picture here is work underway on a stretch of new sidewalk on the northwest side of Main Street between Russell Street and Arvid Road.
Lily Herron (daughter of Kathy and Bob) turned 16 this summer. As a sign of hope for the world, Lily’s party invitation requested no presents and that instead her friends make a donation to the Jonah Center. What an inspired young woman, and what an example for others! Her idea was very well-received and resulted in a collective donation to the Jonah Center of $226. This came in the month of August when our income is usually zero. Thank you Lily! And congratulations to Bob and Kathy for nurturing a child into a young adult who wants to do something good for the world rather than accumulate more stuff for herself. See? There is hope!
The town of Portland is holding 2 public hearings on Thursday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 27, both beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Library, to provide information and public conversation regarding the purchase of properties at 222, 230, and 248 Brownstone Ave. A Town Meeting vote to authorize purchase of the properties will take place on Wednesday, September 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Brownstone Intermediate School at 314 Main Street in Portland. Continue reading
On Tuesday, August 27, at 2 p.m., the City of Middletown held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new multi-use trail that begins at the Long Hill Road soccer field, just west of the intersection of Long Hill Road and Long Lane, and ends at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street. The trail is the first part of a city-wide network of trail and bike routes envisioned by the Bike Route & Trails Plan 2017 developed by Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee.
By Jane Harris, Middletown Arborist
Middletown, historically known as the “Forest City”, has been losing trees for many years at a faster rate than it has been planting them. With a small fixed budget for both tree removal (Public Works) and for tree planting and forestry services (Urban Forestry Commission), Middletown generally takes down between 50 and 75 dying or diseased trees per year. In the same period, twenty to thirty young trees are planted. In 2019, the number will be well over 100 trees taken down. And, because the Urban Forestry Commission saw a need to spend several thousand dollars on safety pruning of old and historic trees, even fewer new trees than usual have been planted. Continue reading
Over the summer, volunteers contirbuted about 170 person-hours of labor removing invasive water chestnut from the Floating Meadows between Middletown and Cromwell. It was a huge and heroice effort, especially by those who joined multiple work parties. It was also a fun and gratifying activitiy. The weather, wind, and water level conditions were mostly favorable this year. Unfortunately, we were still not able to remove all the plants, especially those located back in the shallows where the wild rice grasses are very thick. We were successful in keeping the main channel of the river open. Water chestnut is showing up in other locations along the Connecticut River, so the threat is spreading.
We will be back on the water next June with reinforcements and renewed energy.