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.” 

 

 

Change Solar Regulations To Achieve Climate Goals

A key goal of Connecticut’s climate change mitigation plan is to “decarbonize the electricity sector” by 2040. This will require, among other measures, rapid expansion of solar power, which now accounts for 2.5% of the electricity produced in our state. The challenge is daunting. So far, we are not on track to meet it.

But a key opportunity lies in the vast square footage of commercial rooftops and parking lots. So let’s do it, right?

Unfortunately, state regulations currently place a 50 MW cap on new commercial solar projects and the Shared Clean Energy Facilities (SCEF) program is capped at 25 MW. SCEF allows low- and moderate-income ratepayers to own part of a solar system and enjoy the economic benefits. These two caps, together, permit only 78,000 megawatt hours of solar electricity to be added each year. That is less than .2% (two-tenths of one percent) of the electricity generated in Connecticut — hardly a path to decarbonize the grid.

Read the entire article in the CT Mirror

To help change solar regulations, send us a message through the “Contact” button in the menu bar above.

Newfield Corridor Trail Options Being Explored

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.)

Continue reading

Middletown Open Space Purchases 2019 – 2021

By Elisabeth Holder – Chair of the Acquisition Committee of the Middletown Commission on Conservation & Agriculture

Since the $5-million-dollar Open Space Bond was passed by voters in 2019, about three quarters of the money has been spent to acquire properties. Middletown’s Commission on Conservation and Agriculture has been inspecting properties for sale using a 14-point criteria evaluation while balancing costs and benefits to Middletown residents.  Each property was assessed using the same criteria, such as the presence of aquifers and water bodies, distance to high-density census tracts, and suitability for different kinds of recreation. Once a total score has been tallied, the properties with the highest scores were appraised, and discussions were pursued with the owners regarding possible purchase by the city. Whenever possible, grants and additional funding sources were used to offset the purchase cost.

In the last two years about 275 acres have been added to the 1,100 acres of open space in Middletown that had been preserved in previous years. This represents a 26% increase in conservation lands. Continue reading

Butternut Street & Park Accessibility Improvements

Governor Lamont has announced that improvements to Middletown’s Butternut Street and Park will be funded in the amount of $580,000 through the CT DOT Community Connectivity grants program. Phases 1 and 2 of the project include a sidewalk from West Street to the park and completion of a paved walking trail around Butternut Pond for park users. Phase 3 of the plan (which may not be fully funded by this grant) calls for a realignment of Thomas Street to allow for a larger parking lot, needed because the recently improved park attracts many users.

Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee and the Jonah Center began advocating for this project several years ago, since Butternut Street has no sidewalk even though the park is heavily used. Butternut Street links the Wesleyan campus and West Street. This is a priority area in the city’s Complete Streets Master Plan. The Governor’s Press Release on this and other projects can be found here.

 

Who’s Walking In Portland

To promote healthy activities like walking and bicycling, Portland’s Complete Streets Group and the Jonah Center celebrate those who serve as an example for others. Monica Jensen, a recently retired nurse, walks 4-5 miles a day, usually early in the morning, through her neighborhood, past the town schools and community centers such as the library. Sometimes she takes her granddaughter’s service dog, Liberty, out to the Riverfront Park.

As an RN who managed programs to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and strokes, Monica said, “The health benefits of walking and biking motivate me, but I’m also inspired by my mom, aunts, and uncles who have stayed active and thrive into their 80s and 90s. My grandchildren inspire me, too. I want to be able to sled, bike, play with them, and someday dance at their weddings. Continue reading