Common Council Considers Two Bond Referenda

Middltown logoOn Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., Middletown’s Common Council will consider 2 bond referenda likely to appear on the November ballot: One bond is for additional funding for the Mattabessett Sewage Treatment project. The other is to make long overdue improvements to City parks and athletic facilities.

The proposed Parks Bond would fund improvements including sidewalks, bikeways, and crosswalks at parks and schools recommended by the Complete Streets Committee. Possible projects include engineering costs for a multi-use trail connecting the Mattabessett Bike Trail terminus at Tuttle Place (Westlake Area) and Veteran’s Park; bike-ped improvements along River Road between Harbor Park and Silver Street; and bike route signage and street markings to make Middletown more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Complete Streets improvements are aimed at the following goals: safer and more frequent walking and bicycling; achieving the clear health benefits of these activities; reducing traffic congestion and air pollution; and better quality of life.

A controversial proposal included in the Parks Bond is the replacement of 9 natural grass athletic fields with synthetic turf fields. Synthetic turf is opposed by many members of Ecoin (Environmental Collective Impact Network) who favor natural turf maintained by organic methods, like those successfully used in Branford and other communities. The chemicals contained in synthetic turf, the heat generated on their surfaces, damage to the underlying soil and groundwater, and the required maintenance of these fields raise serious concerns. For more information on the health, environmental, and financial risks of synthetic turf, visit Ecoin’s post on this topic here.

As of Aug. 12, 2015, the Jonah Center Board of Directors has not taken a position on any of these questions, although the Complete Streets Committee, chaired by John Hall and Beth Emery, is clearly in favor of improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists included in the Parks bond.

Sunset Paddle in the Floating Meadows — Aug. 22, 5 p.m.

Header 2015-07The Jonah Center invites kayakers and canoeists to paddle the Floating Meadows on Saturday, August 22, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., ending at sunset. We will follow the Mattabesset River upstream, assisted by an incoming tide, and view the 1000 acre marshland’s bright green wild rice grass in late afternoon light at the most spectacular time of year. Redwing blackbirds and swallows will likely be very active, with a half-moon high in the sky.

The outing will start and finish at the new Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch at 181 Johnson Street in Middletown’s North End (next to the recycling center). Paddlers need to provide their own boats, lifejackets, water and snacks (if desired). Pre-registration is not required, but participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver and photo use permission slip. The Jonah Center requests a donation of $10 for each participant.

For more information, contact John Hall at 860-398-3771.

July 11 River Paddle Cancelled

2011 June paddle bannerThe Jonah Center’s River Paddle on Saturday, July 11, has unfortunately been cancelled.  In the meantime, we encourage you to use the new canoe and kayak launch at 181 Johnson Street, in Middletown. (See the post below for more details.)  If you wish to be on the Jonah News Email list to learn about future paddles and other events, you may sign up using the form on the left side of this page.

Sorry about this change of plans.  We’ll announce another paddle as soon as we are able to make plans.

 

Canoe & Kayak Launch Ribbon Cutting — Fri. June 5, 3 p.m.

Kayak Launch Markup 2013-06-18The Jonah Center’s earliest and longest-lasting project has born fruit. After 9 years of planning, proposal writing, grant writing, negotiations with City officials, set-backs, objections, more site-seeking, and much waiting, the Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch on the Coginchaug River is now open for use.
The official ribbon-cutting by the Mayor will take place on Friday, June 5, at 3 p.m., to coincide with the end of the Macdonough School Canoe Trip led by the Jonah Center and our volunteers. Continue reading

Riverfront Encounter — Sat. May 9, noon to 5 p.m.

Riverfront Encounter imageWesleyan’s Center for the Arts and College of the Environment, in collaboration with the Jonah Center and many other organizations, invite the wider community to this eco-arts event in Harbor Park, Middletown, on May 9.

Music, exhibits, food, activities for children, boat rides, rowing instruction, environmental action tent, and more.

For a full list of activities, click here. 

Making Portland More Bike-Ped Friendly

CS image 7The Complete Streets Group of Portland invites the public to an information sharing session on Thursday, May 28 at 7 p.m., at the Waverly Center (formerly Senior Center). After a brief overview by Kathy Herron on the Complete Streets movement along with the group’s mission and goals, the public will be asked to share their thoughts on areas in town where it feels safe and pleasant to walk or bicycle, as well as dangerous intersections, high-speed traffic roads, school walking routes, etc. – that they would like to see become more pedestrian/bicyclist friendly. Continue reading

Jonah Center Favorite — Two Talks at Wesleyan by Prof. Brian Stewart

Earth Day Rant 2015“Sustainability by Number”

Thursday, 23 April, 4:30 p.m.
Exley Science Center Room 58

Through its exuberance, humankind has dug itself into an enormous hole, one that requires some quantification to try to grasp. Through numbers, we will examine the size of the hole and its rate of growth. Giant problems require giant solutions; we will explore the form these solutions might take — and the form they probably will not take.

“Stop Drilling Down!”

Tuesday, 28 April, 7 p.m.
Exley Science Center, Room 150

“Drilling down” is a metaphor for probing a question ever more deeply, learning more and more in the process. It’s what academics do, and it’s a good thing to do — right? Only if we also take the time to synthesize what we and others have learned in an attempt to grasp the whole picture. This talk is an attempt to do just that, examining the human situation from a physical perspective. Continue reading

Cash Lane Slim – Downshift – Live In Concert March 21 @ 7 p.m.

Cash Lane SlimThe Jonah Center of Earth and Art is pleased to sponsor the return of Middletown’s Cash Lane Slim in an exclusive one-night performance. Doors will open at 6:30 PM, and the 2- hour show will begin at 7 PM on Saturday, March 21st in the main hall of the Community Health Center, 675 Main Street in Middletown, CT.

Songsmith and guitar master Cash Lane Slim takes you on a trip through the heart of Americana with a blend of folk, rock, blues and ballad; an energizing mix of originals and standards with his unique interpretation and voice. Continue reading

Damn Those Ice Dams

Damn those Ice DamsA Workshop on Home Insulation: How to prevent winter ice dams, incentive programs for home insulation and air sealing. These programs (Home Energy Solutions and Home Performance With Energy Star) provide a wide array of subsidized home energy improvements and attractive financing opportunities.  For more details, click here.

Wed. April 22, 7 p.m. at the deKoven House, 27 Washington St. Middletown.

Co-sponsored by Middletown’s Clean Energy Task Force and the Jonah Center.

For more information, call 860-638-4854 or 860-398-3771 (mobile).