The Jonah Center has long envisioned what major landscape art installations would do for our community. Below are some examples to stir your imagination. (Clockwise from upper left: Face of the Earth by Vito Acconci at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, MO; Wave Field by Maya Lin at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY; Low Building With Dirt Roof by Alice Aycock at Storm King; Ball Made From Sticks by Strijdom van der Merwe, Stellenbosch, South Africa.)
During the 2022-23 academic year, Wesleyan film students under the leadership of Professor Sadia Queraeshi Shepard produced a short documentary film, The Pameacha Problem, on the citizen campaign to save the pond. The City of Middletown had been planning to turn the pond into a stream and wetland area by removing the deteriorating dam. The film is a good example of using the aesthetic tool of film to tell the story. The film may be viewed here. An article about the film in the Middletown Press can be viewed here. The Jonah Center was instrumental is getting the students interested in this community issue.
Is this adorable bunny, enjoying a feast of plantain, a New England Cottontail or an Eastern Cottontail? If you can tell which, let us know. Notice the ear action. Thank you, Phil LeMontagne, for providing this closeup video to our viewers.
Progress on route determination and design of the Newfield Corridor Trail between Tuttle Road and Mile Lane has been delayed over the past year due to several issues. First was an archaeological survey required to determine if the route crossed the remains of a Wangunk settlement believed to be somewhere in the vicinity. That survey has been completed, with no Native American settlement remains identified.
The current delay involves a proposed land swap between the city and a local developer who wishes to build 2 apartment buildings off Kaplan Drive, just east of Lawrence School.
Beavers are wary of humans, so they are not easy to observe in the wild. But of course there are other ways to get acquainted with our non-human neighbors. Local wildlife photographer Phil LeMontagne shared with us this video taken last winter during one of his hikes in the Maromas section of Middletown.
Here are some reasons to reduce your meat intake.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: Livestock farming, particularly cattle production, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Animals produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Also, the production of animal feed and the energy-intensive processes involved in meat production contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Conserve Energy: For every 100 units of energy input into beef production (including the energy used for growing and processing feed, animal maintenance, transportation, etc.), only 3 to 20 units of energy are available in the form of edible beef.
Lower water usage: Livestock farming requires large amounts of water for animal hydration, feed crops, and processing. By consuming fewer animal products, we can conserve water resources, especially in regions facing water scarcity.
Decreased water pollution: Livestock farming generates substantial amounts of manure, which can contaminate water sources if not properly managed. The runoff from animal farms can carry pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus into rivers and lakes, causing water pollution and harming aquatic ecosystems.
Reduced deforestation: Large-scale animal agriculture often leads to deforestation, not only to create grazing land, but also to grow animal feed crops such as corn and soybeans. Deforestation contributes to the loss of biodiversity, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and reduces the earth’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Health benefits: While not directly related to the environment, reducing meat consumption can have positive effects on your health.
At its February 8 meeting, Middletown’s Public Works Commission voted unanimously to consider only the repair or replacement of the Pameacha Pond dam. The decision was enthusiastically welcomed by members of the Save Pameacha Pond group who have been organizing and speaking out since last spring. The minutes of the Feb. 8 meeting of the Public Works Commission may be found here. Continue reading
When Eversource argues before PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, for an increase in electricity rates, the cost of that proceeding (to hire attorneys and experts) is paid by us, the ratepayers as a cost of doing business. Okay, fair enough. But then, if Eversource appeals the decision, ratepayers pay for another round of attorneys and experts. It’s another so-called a “recoverable expense.”
Here’s another hint about Eversource’s professed devotion to its customers. Eversource pays various lobbying and trade groups to represent the interests of Eversource shareholders and management in meetings with state agencies and the legislature. Very often, those interests are directly opposed to the interests of ratepayers, but ratepayers are forced to pay those expenses too.
PURA’s new Chairperson, Marissa Gillett, is shining a bright light on these practices. She is a true ratepayer advocate and she is bringing change to the way public utilities, ie.monopolies, are regulated in Connecticut. SB 966, An Act Concerning Procurement of Standard Service Electricity and the Regulation of Public Utilities, if passed, will put an end to a number of ways in which ratepayers have to pay expenses that benefit management and shareholders to the detriment of ratepayers. This is one of many bills that the Jonah Center has supported through written testimony in the current session of the Connecticut General Assembly. As you might guess, Eversource and Avangrid (the holding company of United Illuminating) have testified in opposition to SB 966.
Since the market for single-stream recycling trash collapsed several years ago, tip fees for single-stream recycling can be greater than for regular trash. This creates a temptation for waste haulers to dump recyclables into the trash. According to investigators working for MIRA (Hartford’s Materials Innovation Recovery Authority), at least one waste hauler has been video recorded dumping “blue bin recycling” in with the regular trash in order to pocket the cost difference. A recent article in the Connecticut Mirror by Mark Pazniokas describes the situation and the enforcement challenges.
Thanks to Congressman Joe Courtney, the recent $1.7 Trillion federal spending bill that passed in December 2022 includes a grant of $1.4 million for the Town of East Hampton to complete the 1800-foot gap in the Air Line Trail. The RiverCOG and the Jonah Center worked to support East Hampton in the funding request back in 2020-21. This gap in the trail could not be completed in the 2017-2019 period along with the sections on either end of the gap due to the creek running through the gorge, the presence of utility poles and a power line, and the high cost of construction because a boardwalk will be required.
Prior to the grant award, Eversource and the Town of East Hampton agreed to share the cost of re-locating Eversource’s power lines to bypass the gorge, which in turn will allow the poles to be removed. The re-routing work should be completed by the end of January, according to the crew working on the site on January 18, 2023. Continue reading
A study to determine the best route for the Newfield Corridor Trail is underway. Design and construction of the trail was funded by the 2015 Parks Bond, and assigned a budget of $4 million. This multi-use bikeway will be an extension of the Mattabesset Bike Trail southward from Tuttle Road to Veterans Park. (To access a Google Map of the Newfield Corridor Trail options that you can zoom in on to see details, click here.)