Help The Climate, Help Yourself

Home Energy Solutions (HES) work crews have a slow period in summer, but you can take advantage of that by calling the Jonah Center’s partner, New England Conservation Services at 1-877-389-7077. Mention the “Jonah Center Promotion” and schedule a home visit.

Home Energy Solutions is a state-sponsored program funded by utility rate-payers like you. Yes, you have already paid into the fund that will pay for these services. Why not take advantage of them.  Even if you have had HES at least 3 years ago, you may be eligible to benefit from it a second time.  John and Susan Hall have actually had 3 HES visits at their home, spread over 8 years.

For every sign-up we get that results in a completed visit, NECS will donate $50 to the Jonah Center. Not only that, but for visits made before August 31, the customer co-pay will be reduced to only $124.

To see a video about Home Energy Solutions, click here.

During a Home Energy Solutions assessment, a team of courteous technicians perform a number of tests to locate energy inefficiencies in your home, including pinpointing drafts and air leaks. Once identified, the technicians perform weatherization services that include caulking and installing insulation and weather strips. The technicians will also swap out traditional incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency replacements, and install low-flow water devices on showers and faucets to help reduce your hot water bill. The value of these improvements to your home is estimated to be $1200, on average.

Portland Sidewalks Project Groundbreaking Ceremony

On June 27, 2018, members of Portland’s Sidewalk Committee and Board of Selectmen held a  ground-breaking ceremony for the $1 million sidewalk improvement project.  Approximately 2 miles of cracked and uneven sidewalks in the Town’s central residential area will be replaced with brand new concrete sidewalks over the next year or so.  John Hall and Bob Herron (Jonah Board member & Treasurer) are co-chairs of the Sidewalk Committee.

PIctured above (left to right) are Bob Herron, Selectman Ralph Zampano, First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield, John Hall, Selectman Jim Tripp, Selectman Lou Pear, Director of Public Works Bob Shea, and former Selectman Fred Knous.

Paddle With A Purpose — Water Chestnut Removal

On Sunday, July 8, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, paddlers will return to the Floating Meadows to remove emerging water chestnut plants. This invasive species endangers our local freshwater marshland. Since plants are still small at this early stage in the season, removing them now saves much labor later in the summer.  The Jonah Center is grateful to our partner, the Connecticut River Conservancyn for staffing this work party and covering the event with their insurance policy. All participants will need to sign CRC’s liability waivers and paddle at their own risk.  The starting point is the canoe and kayak launch at 181 Johnson Street in Middletown. For information on possible last minute cancellation, check back on this post or call 860-398-3771.

New This Year: At the Jonah Center’s request, the City of Middletown has installed a port-a-potty at the boat launch for the entire summer paddling season! The Public Works Department has also improved the facility in other ways you will notice. Thank you Director Russo and Middletown’s Department of Public Works.

Common Council Re-Funds Environmental & Arts Positions

On May 29, at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, hundreds of citizens showed up to protest the FY2019 budget which did not contain funding for the Environmental Specialist and Arts Coordinator positions.  The arts community was represented by numerous adults who were nurtured by the Summer Circus program, including a young woman named Jasmine who entered the Council Chambers on tall “giraffe stilts.”  She had to duck to get through the door, and the camera needed to move up to capture her head and face.  The testimonies were eloquent and passionate.

In the end, the Council voted 7-3 to sustain the Mayor’s veto of the relevant line items.  8 votes were needed to override the veto.  But the struggle is not over. The positions still need to be evaluated, and refilled.

The Jonah Center and members of the environmental community remain concerned about the future of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development, which has 2 vacant positions and is struggling to complete urgent, necessary work.

 

John Hall’s Letter To The Common Council on Environmental Specialist Position

To: Members of the Common Council

I am writing to you with great concern that the Planning & Environmental Specialist position in the Dept. of Planning, Conservation, and Development may not be funded in FY2019. I understand the revenue/expense/general fund balance situation that the City faces, but eliminating the ES position would be a serious additional setback to a PCD Department that has already been damaged and has functioned very poorly over the past few years. More important, given the services and grant receipts that come with the P&ES position, eliminating this position would be financially detrimental in the long run. Continue reading

Victory For Snapping Turtles in CT Legislature!

The Jonah Center’s efforts to protect Snapping Turtles from commercial trapping was successful. The campaign began in 2012 and faced many discouraging moments along the way, but now we rejoice in victory for the ancient and majestic snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina 

Our primary turtle advocate, Barrie Robbins-Pianka (who took all of the photos above) deserves major credit for the inspiration and investigative work behind the campaign.  State Representative Matt Lesser was our legislative advocate. Wesleyan Professor Barry Chernoff provided scientific testimony. Many of you, Jonah Center advocates, sent emails and made phone calls to members and leaders of the legislature across the state.  All of this finally added up to critical mass and so, at last, our state will protect snapping turtles from commercial trade. Governor Malloy has signed the bill into law. 

To read one of the most compelling and informative testimonies sent to legislators (from Tim Walsh of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich), click here.

New Hope For Snapping Turtles

For the first time, a bill protecting Common Snapping Turtles from commercial trapping in Connecticut has passed in the CT General Assembly’s Environment Committee. The vote tally was 29-0.  In previous years, we could not even get a vote for Snapping Turtles in the committee. This bill also addresses commercial trade of Red-Eared Slider Turtles.

Now we need citizens to email their State Rep to bring attention to this bill.  Below is a sample message that you can cut and paste.  Additional talking points and Reps’ email addresses are further down this post. Please “Bcc:” John Hall so we know you took action. Continue reading

Winter Snowshoe Expedition — February 17th

The Middletown Conservation Commission is sponsoring a snowshoeing expedition at the Guida Farm Conservation Area on Saturday, February 17th with an alternative date of Saturday, February 24th. If there is no snow, a conventional hike will go forward on the 17th. The hike will begin around 9:30 at the intersection of Coleman Road and Round Hill Road – at the parking lot across from the T-intersection with Coleman Road.

If the weather is truly inclement — bitterly cold, heavily raining or seriously snowing — the ramble will be postponed until the 24th. Call 860-301-1980 for an update on the hiking plans. Continue reading