Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Energy prices are rising, as our readers have probably noticed.  The Jonah Center urges our readers 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 is $50, and $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. Those who take advantage of HES services will learn about low cost, subsidized insulation options.  Visit EnergizeCT or call 877-947-3873 to get started.

Who’s Walking In Portland

Cora Chenier is a proud and happy walker.

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, but especially on elementary school children. It’s an age of rapid development – intellectual, social, and emotional. When students had 3 days per week of “virtual” classes from home, learning was limited. Children’s development was restricted just when it needed stimulation through adventure, growing independence, and socializing with classmates. Continue reading

Traffic Calming in Portland

First Selectman Ryan Curley was the first to sign the Pace Car Pledge.

By Amanda Foley

Portland’s Complete Streets Group (CSG) invites Portland residents to participate in the Pace Car program by signing a pledge to drive safely, courteously, within the speed limit, and to share the road with pedestrians and cyclists. A Hartford Courant article published on 3-19-22 stated that the number of pedestrians struck and killed by cars on Connecticut roads has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Factors cited include speeding and distracted driving. Portland Complete Streets Group has introduced this Pace Car program as a traffic calming initiative to address these factors. Continue reading

Close Lyceum Road & Protect Wildlife Habitat

This article (not including the update at the end) originally appeared on June 9 in the Middletown Press.

Lyceum Road in May 2022. Photo credit Jon Morris.

Over the past winter (2021-22) Middletown’s Department of Public Works proposed to close Lyceum Road, a 3/10-mile road south of Randolph Road, between Millbrook and Chamberlain Hill Roads. It crosses Sumner Brook (below) and its surrounding floodplain. For years, the road has been in chronically poor condition due to its low elevation and frequent flooding. Continue reading

Dams of Middletown — Past & Present

A Jonah Center tour of local dams included the remains of Middletown’s first dam on Pameacha Brook near Sumner Brook. Photo credit: Trevor Davis

MIddletown’s First Dam (Stroud’s Dam) at an earlier, unknown date.

Recently, discussions about the removal of several dams from Middletown waterways have arisen. The primary reasons for dam removal are 1) to allow fish migration 2) to prevent flooding upstream from the dams, and 3) because several dams are in danger of failing.  The dams in question now are along the Sumner Brook watershed and Sawmill Brook (west of Route 91).

Back in 2013, Wesleyan Professor Elise Springer (then a Jonah Center board member) developed a survey and map of Middletown’s dams and their history. A significant factor in Middletown’s development in the 17th and 18th centuries was the availability of water power for grist mills, saw mills, and manufacturing.  View Professor Springer’s website Dams of Middletown, Connecticut — Past and Present Dams.

Our Black Bear Neighbors

Bears are a wonderful part of the earth’s community, and they can coexist with humans very nicely. But it is critical that we do not become a source of food for bears. Birdfeeders and unsecured trash containers are tempting to bears and can lead to bears’ presence becoming problematic. Having said that, enjoy this video captured by Tom Humphreys in Portland.

Who’s Running In Portland?

Since 1980, Bob Sequenzia has been running and walking on the Air Line Trail, even when it was an overgrown dirt path prior to its reconstruction for public use in 2016. He runs year-round, but when there is deep snow on the ground he runs a loop on local roads — Job’s Pond, Middle Haddam, Penfield Hill, and Pepperidge. He enjoys the feeling of accomplishment from finishing a run. He starts out with his wife Barbara, also an avid exerciser, before they diverge onto their different routes. Since the pandemic began, Bob has ramped up his routine to 6 days a week, covering 30-35 miles per week on average. Continue reading

Talking Trash with the City’s Recycling Coordinator

As most of you are aware, the state is bracing for a trash disposal crisis.  In CT we are losing the capacity to handle our waste in-state, which will increase the impact on the environment and increase costs for everyone.

It is Important we take action at all levels – government, businesses and individuals. Here are some updates. Continue reading

Help Us Make A Better World

Who’s Walking In Portland?

 “Every day, weather permitting, I walk up and down High Street on the sidewalk across from my house,” says Ben Foley. “When the weather is nice, I like to go to the Portland Reservoir or the Air Line Trail.”

As many Portland residents know, when Ben was 14 years old, he survived a stroke caused by a rare arterio-venous malformation (a type of aneurism) that resulted in partial paralysis and weakness on his left side. Recovery from that was slow and difficult, but with hard work in physical therapy, he regained the ability to walk a significant distance with a cane by the time he finished high school. By the time he finished college, he walked everywhere on campus. Continue reading

Excellent Riverbend Exhibit at Main Street Market

by a Middletown resident

Middletown city representatives have been working hard to provide information about the RIVERBEND development planned for Middletown. The project is being developed very carefully, with information, opportunities to provide input, and time for discussion along the way. The successful completion of the project could help make the best of Middletown and its thriving Main St.

The  Riverbend exhibit is adjacent to Perk on Main, in the Main Street Market mall at 386 Main Street and provides up-to-date information on the development, all in one place.

The exhibit has everything needed to begin to understand the current state of planning for Riverbend project.  It provides information in various formats, from maps and photos to descriptions & illustrations of proposed stages of development. And it’s meant to evoke the kind of thoughtful  input  hoped for from Middletown residents.

The exhibit is a clear indication that people involved in planning the  project really want & value your input: Without your input they’re not going to be able to consider your thinking on this very important development brewing in our up-and-coming community.

Middletown values your opinion and input. I urge you to  look at this excellent exhibit and leave your feedback on the yellow pad.  Other information is available at  Return to the Riverbend, on the City of Middletown’s website.  Also see Dan Haar’s article in the February 26, 2021 issue of Connecticut Magazine, “What’s next for CT’s struggling cities? Middletown’s Main Street may show the path forward.”