In recent years, the City of Middletown has lost trees at a much faster rate than the city has planted new trees. To address this issue, the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the City of Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission invite the public to a special meeting on Tuesday, October 15, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Middletown’s Council Chambers, 245 deKoven Drive. (See information on the petition below.)
The Jonah Center is also gathering signatures on a petition in preparation for the city’s budget hearings in the spring. We plan to ask for at least $50,000 in additional funds to support an increase in tree-planting from 20-30 trees per year to at least 100 trees per year. Read more and sign the petition here.
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
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.
Since China quit buying recycled materials from the United States, the recycling market and many recycling facilities in our country have been thrown for a loop. Materials pile up, and contamination of recyclables (including putting things in the recycling bin that cannot be recycled) has wreaked havoc. Here’s an opportunity to get the situation straight. We need a healthy, viable recycling system. Here’s now you can help.