Monday, December 14, 2009

Rescheduled Schools Meeting Tonight!

Tonight: December, 14th.
Where: Macdonough School Cafeteria
Time: 6:00 pm.

Childcare and Dinner will be provided

What: Come discuss the future of our schools. The focus for this workshop will be North End schools, but the implications could touch all of downtown, as well as property values and quality of life. Everyone should attend this workshop.

Call NEAT if you have questions or need transportation 860-346-4845

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Schools Meeting Postponed

Tonight's Important Schools Meeting is Postponed Until Monday, December 14th at 6:00 pm.

I hope you will be able to attend. We will have childcare and dinner.

Middletown Public Schools hired JCJ Architecture to figure out how to solve school overcrowding at Moody and bring Macdonough School into racial balance with the district's average. Whatever happens, the North End will be affected.

Our kids are at the heart of this study. North End children who attend Moody School may be districted to another school and the lines for who attends Macdonough may change. The report also suggests making Macdonough a magnet school to solve racial imbalance.

NEAT will be hosting a meeting this Monday, December 14th 6:00 pm at Macdonough School to discuss what the neighborhood wants its school to become.

It is very important that you attend this meeting. We will discuss what we want in a school, what we'd like to preserve, what our ideal attendance boundaries would be, and how to keep a community school and conform to the state's mandates.

This meeting will be run by NEAT and you will have the chance to express your views and concerns. Childcare will be provided and there will be dinner for everyone. This is open to anyone who would like to participate, no matter what school your child attends, or even if you don't have children.

The entire North End will be affected by this change, your property values depend on having a good school, your friends and neighbors will be affected.

Please call NEAT for more information or email neat@neatmiddletown.org. You can click here to get the links to the JCJ report.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Food Allergy Info

This is info about food allergies from a group that we have sometimes worked with. I hope this is helpful to you.

Oftentimes when we think about taking care of our health and keeping our families safe, there is one danger that is overlooked – Food Allergies.

Each year, food allergies send about 125,000 Americans to emergency rooms. Most of those serious reactions occur in schools and restaurants, not inside the food allergy sufferers’ own homes.

This shows that there is a serious lack of information out there among the general public about the dangers of food allergies. Could you imagine if there was a similar absence of knowledge about heart attacks or CPR?

Children, who can be unaware of the daily risks posed by the things with which they come in contact, are especially susceptible to the dangers of the outside world. It is often up to the adults in their lives to prevent situations that could trigger reactions. But when the adults are similarly unaware, even schools and playgrounds can suddenly become potentially hazardous minefields.

However, there is some good news. Researchers believe that they are only about ten years away from discovering treatments or even cures for food allergies if they are able to continue their work.

We can help! Write a letter to your congressman expressing support for food allergy research, and encourage everyone to do so as well.

As a community, it is our duty to be educated enough to protect the safety of all of our members. Learn how you can help today at www.faiusa.org.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Board of Education Sponsored Workshop Tonight!

Middletown Public Schools hired JCJ Architecture to figure out how to solve school overcrowding at Moody and bring Macdonough school into racial balance with the district's average. JCJ presented their findings at the last Board of Ed meeting. There, they decided to host two public workshops to help inform the public of the various options.

The first of those meetings will be held tonight, December 1st at Macdonough School at 6:30 pm. The second will be on Thursday, December 3rd at Keigwin Middletown School at 6:30 pm.

The Board of Ed would like public input from the public, so please attend if you can. This WILL affect the North End. Our kids are at the heart of this study. North End children who attend Moody School may be districted to another school and the lines for who attends Macdonough may change. The report also suggests making Macdonough a magnet school to solve racial imbalance. Please attend so that the North End is educated.

Also, NEAT will be hosting a meeting next Wednesday, December 9th (our regularly scheduled NEAT meeting, just a location change) at 7:00 pm at Macdonough School to discuss what the neighborhood wants its school to become. Based on the JCJ report, there are a lot of different options, but they all involve changing Macdonough in some way.

It is very important that you attend the December 9th meeting. We will discuss what we want in a school, what we'd like to preserve, what our ideal attendance boudaries would be, and how to keep a community school and conform to the state's mandates.

This meeting will be run by NEAT and you will have greater ability to express your views and concerns.

If you can only attend one meeting, please attend the December 9th meeting.

Childcare will be provided and there will be dinner for everyone. This is open to anyone who would like to participate, no matter what school your child attends, or even if you don't have children. The entire North End will be affected by this change, your property values depend on having a good school, your friends and neighbors will be affected.

Please call NEAT for more information or email neat@neatmiddletown.org. You can click the links below to download the report from JCJ.

Click here for the November 17, 2009 Presentation from JCJ Architecture (9MB)

Click here for the November 10, 2009 report from JCJ Architecture (3MB)

click here to read about this issue in the Middletown Press

click here to read about this issue in the Hartford Courant

click here to read about this issue in the Middletown Eye

Monday, November 16, 2009

Indira Karamcheti To Read Work of Nobel Laureates

Nobel Literature Discussion at Green Street

Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center Presents
Indira Karamcheti To Read Work of Nobel Laureates

Sunday Salon Series Brings Wesleyan Professor to Discuss Prize-Winning Literature

Middletown, Conn, November 13, 2009—Since 1901, Nobel prizes have become the most prestigious international recognition of achievement. They are earned by a broadly international register of scientists, activists, and authors. Wesleyan Associate Professor of English Indira Karamcheti will read from the several works of recent Nobel Laureates, in addition to leading a discussion of the criteria for establishing Nobel's ideal of the "greatest benefit [to] mankind," as it relates to literature.

This informal lecture takes place on Sunday, November 22 from 2–4pm as part of the Sunday Salon Discussion Series, Green Street’s monthly discussion series for creative minds and curious individuals hosted by Wesleyan University Chemistry Professor David Beveridge. Each monthly salon includes plenty of opportunity for socializing as well as a reception with light refreshments.

Admission is $5 for the general public and $3 for Green Street members, seniors, and students. Green Street Arts Center is located at 51 Green Street, Middletown, CT. To register or get more information, please visit: www.greenstreetartscenter.org or call (860) 685-7871.

About Indira Karamcheti
Indira Karamcheti
, Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies is an important new voice in the field of postcolonial literature. Her broad ranging interests in the geographies of marginality encompass Caribbean and African-American literatures. She received a BA, MA, and PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

About Green Street Arts Center
Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center
, which opened in January 2005, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an after school arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Posters Wanted

Dear Readers of the North End News:

The staff (of 1) at the NEAT office is having a hard time posting here as frequently as you deserve. Can we all pitch in a little? If you have something to say (nicely), news to report, something interesting on your block or an event that deserves attention (all North End related or of interest to the North End specifically), please email me at neat@neatmiddletown.org.

It would be nice to have something new posted everyday. It can just be a great picture of the beautiful tree on your block. Get creative!!

Thanks,

Izzi
Director
NEAT

Thursday, October 15, 2009

First Mayoral Debate Available Online


Wesleyan University has created a video archive of the first mayoral debate between incumbent Sebastian Giuliano and challenger Dan Drew.

You can view the entire debate here.

*Reprinted from the Middletown Eye. Thanks!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meet the Candidates Forum: Tonight!

NEAT will be hosting a "Meet the Candidates" forum Tonight, Wednesday, October 14th at 7 pm at the Green Street Arts Center. It is open to anyone and will be a great chance to meet some of the people running for local office and asking them questions that are important to you.

We have roughly 85% of those running for office confirmed for attendance, including both mayoral candidates.

The format will be informal (no panel, no debate), so you'll have a chance to speak with the candidates that you are most interested in. Local elections affect your everyday life in real and important ways. From how your school is managed to trash pick-up, it is important that you vote and are educated about that vote.

It is important that we show our elected officials that we care so that they care about us! PLEASE come and meet the people who will serve you.

NEAT's goal in this event is to create a chance for everyday residents to interact with the people who will serve them.

As director of NEAT, I am able to do that on a regular basis and find the interactions extremely telling. The point of the event isn't to "catch" the candidates on issues -- we do that enough already. It's to get a sense of who the candidates really are.

To be clear, other groups are hosting debates and panel discussions and we encourage our members to attend those for a different perspective. We wanted to offer something different for the residents of Middletown. So, if pinning a candidate to the wall on an issue is what you'd like to do, this is a great chance to do it in a more personal setting. Or, if you know nothing about the candidates and would like to go to one place to meet them all, this is a good chance for you, too.

Our goal is to encourage a well-educated citizenry. Between other debates and our event, we hope to achieve it.

We will serve dinner and will offer childcare.Call NEAT for more info: 346-4845 or email neat@neatmiddletown.org

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meet the Candidates Forum: October 14th at 7 pm.

NEAT will be hosting a "Meet the Candidates" forum on Wednesday, October 14th at 7 pm at the Green Street Arts Center. It is open to anyone and will be a great chance to meet some of the people running for local office and asking them questions that are important to you.

The format will be informal (no panel, no debate), so you'll have a chance to speak with the candidates that you are most interested in. Local elections affect your everyday life in real and important ways. From how your school is managed to trash pick-up, it is important that you vote and are educated about that vote.

It is important that we show our elected officials that we care so that they care about us! PLEASE come and meet the people who will serve you.

We will serve dinner and will offer childcare.Call NEAT for more info: 346-4845 or email neat@neatmiddletown.org

Friday, October 9, 2009

Macdonough Running Club at the Hartford Marathon

If you're looking for something to do tomorrow, head to Hartford and support Middletown's Macdonough School students and teachers as they run in the Hartford Marathon.

Today, the Macdonough student running club, which includes more than 50 students, took their running skills to Hartford's Bushnell Park to participate in the 2009 edition of the ING Run for Something Better Day. Macdonough students have been training at home and school to run 12 miles during the past month. They each ran their last 1.1 "Final Mile", and crossed over the official ING Hartford Marathon Finish Line in Hartford's Bushnell Park to receive a Finisher's Medal.

On Saturday, nearly two dozen teachers and students will be traveling to back to Bushnell Park to join in the running of the 2009 ING Hartford Marathon as part of the Jeff’s Running Partners program. This program encourages children in Connecticut schools and adults to complete either the 13.1 mile Hartford Half Marathon or the full 26.2 Hartford Marathon as part of a relay team.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mayoral Debate Tonight

Watch tonight's mayoral debate live on the web. It should be good!

http://condor.wesleyan.edu/openmedia/webcast/cast1.qtl

If you're interested in attending, here is the info:
When: Tuesday, October 6th from 8-10 PM
Where: Wesleyan University, specific location to be determined
Format: Co-moderated by a student and faculty member from Wesleyan University

Please consider this invitation an opportunity to engage the Wesleyan community and Middletown residents in this community.

For any logistical questions, please contact Wesleyan Student Assembly member David Markowitz at dmarkowitz@wesleyan.edu or (917) 757-7185

For any other concerns, please contact Wesleyan Student Body President Michael Pernick at mpernick@wesleyan.edu or (917) 653-3401

Friday, September 11, 2009

Open House at Green St. Sunday

Please join us at Green Street Arts Center for our Opening Day, Sunday, September 13th from 2-6 pm for a celebration of our Fall 2009 Program. Opening Day at Green Street will have free classes, including Salsa, Breakdance and Scottish Country Dance, demonstrations of South Indian music and dance, Balinese Music and Dance, Irish traditional music, and participatory workshops including Traditional Tune Sharing for all instruments, Open Mic Writers Out Loud with Cocomo Rock and Al Bower, Writing with Sari Rosenblatt and Comic Book Making with the Comic Book Artists Guild. Special offerings for families with younger children include Music Blossoms with Gwen Pond and Creative Collaboration with composer Brian Parks. Snacks provided! Click here to check out the full schedule of the days' events. Bring yourself, your family and your friends!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Please support NEAT and the City's new blight ordinance at Tuesday's Council Meeting.

You may or may not have been following NEAT's involvement in Middletown's new blight ordinance. So, here's the update.

This past June, (read about it in the Middletown Press) after many years of complaints by residents who were tired of living next to blighted buildings, NEAT held a workshop to discuss the efficacy of Middletown's Blight Ordinance. Many council people, city department heads and community members came together to discuss the pros and cons, the weaknesses and strengths. At that meeting, everyone agreed that the current ordinance is not an effective document, and that over the next few months it would be rewritten based on Bristol, CT's model.

Since then, the document has gone through department review, ordinance review and review by NEAT members. You can read the new draft here.

It is a much more complete document now, with a greater focus on code enforcement. Before, the ordinance was effective in designating a property as "blighted," but it stopped there. There was little in place to help with remedy. This new ordinance is more focused on preventing buildings from deteriorating to a blighted state in the first place.

I urge you to come to the common council meeting this Tuesday, September 8th to sit with NEAT members and (if you're comfortable) speak in favor of this new ordinance which has much tougher enforcement rules and standards.

The meeting is at 7 pm in the council chambers at city hall (245 deKoven Dr.)

NEAT also believes that we need to take this a step farther and create a liscensing program for property owners, where the revenue generated could pay for an additional inspection officer to regularly inspect rental properties in Middletown. NEAT will be working with the city to create a model that works for Middletown.

Please contact NEAT if you'd like more information. Also, you can check out the article in this month's Chronicle (sorry, no link), and there will be stories on this in this weekend's Hartford Courant and next Sunday's New York Times Real Estate Section.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Day for the North End


Today was the first day of school!
Here is a slide show of some great Macdonough moments and some sweet reunions of Moody kids and their families.

Also, my friend Gus (whose parents happen to be videographers!) had his first day of school as a kindergartner. It's a pretty cute video and also shows the Macdonough Surf's Up assembly where the kids sing the school song, are welcomed and the new teachers are honored. Congratulations everyone and have a great year!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NEAT Hiking Club Climbs Mt. Cardigan


A great group of 13 kids and 10 adults from Middletown's North End climbed Mt. Cardigan in New Hampshire's Lakes Region this past Saturday. We stayed at the AMC Mt. Cardigan Lodge and had an amazing time swimming, playing games and learning about animals.

Thanks to the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council for generous support!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Soccer Tournament at Donovan Park!


Soccer teams compete in NEAT tournament
MIDDLETOWN — Six soccer teams competed Sunday for a $500 prize in a tournament organized by the North End Action Team.

Held at Donovan Park, behind Macdonough School, the tournament was lively, even in the hot afternoon sun. Sounds of Latin music and the smell of hot dogs grilling wafted down the street as spectators gathered along the fence and passersby watched from the sidewalk.

NEAT offered free food and cold drinks to the players, who formed their own teams for the double-elimination tournament. There was so much interest, they had to turn people away, said Nick Petrie, community organizer with NEAT.

Petrie said he would like the tournament to become an annual event.

NEAT also holds basketball tournaments at the school on Fridays, and the soccer tournament was organized to reach out to the large Latino community in the North End, said Petrie.

NEAT is a neighborhood organization dedicated to improving quality of life in the North End.
Jennifer Sprague

Reprinted with permission from the Middletown Press.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Soccer Tournament at Donovan Park TODAY!

Sunday, August 23 at 1:oo pm

Today, NEAT, in partnership with North End Business, Paradise Luxuries, will be hosting our first evern soccer tournament at Donovan Park, next to Macdonough School between Spring and Stack Streets. I hope you can make it!

We have six teams of eleven competing for a prize of $500! There promise to be some great athletes, so come to enjoy the games, eat some food and enjoy the music Kevin at Satelite DJ.

I hope you can make it!

Click here to see the poster.

Friday, August 21, 2009

North End Farmers Market now 10-2 pm

Come down to the North End Market! Running Fridays throughout the summer, the North End Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods and other CT Farm products. We changed the time since it was clearly high traffic at lunchtime.

It is being held on the big, wide sidewalk in front of It's Only Natural Market and runs from 10-2 (note the time is different than on the poster, I'm working on that!). Stop by on your lunch break.


All farms are WIC Certified and, you may use your EBT Card.
Also, we're always looking for more farms, so please contact NEAT if you know of a good one or are a good one! 346-4845 or neat@neatmiddletown.org

You may click on the poster to enlarge it.
Poster design by North Ender, Katie Marrotte

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Basketball (and soccer!) at Donovan Park


(click here to see pictures of May tournament)


Friday, August 21 at 6:oo pm

This Friday, August 21st, we will be the last basketball tournament of the summer at Donovan Park, next to Macdonough School between Spring and Stack Streets. I hope you can make it! Music will be run by Kevin at Satelite DJ. We'll be cooking hot dogs, too.

No need to sign up in advance, just show up with one or two friends or come alone and we'll put you on a team.

Also, on Sunday, we'll be hosting a soccer tournament from 1-6pm. It's a similar event, but while this is a family event, the games are for adults. There will also be a kid game if there are enough people who want to play, so bring your shin guards! Come to play or watch the game.

call 346-4845 or email neat@neatmiddletown.org for more information.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oddfellows Playhouse Fall classes now enrolling!

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater is now enrolling for fall classes. If you haven't received your fall class brochure yet you can find information about fall classes on our website www.oddfellows.org or click here to be directed to the PDF of the program brochure.

There are limited spots available so call the playhouse to register today (860) 347-6143

As always generous financial aide is available - please call Oddfellows to find out more.

See you at the Playhouse

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Way To Report Issues in the North End

You may use this "SeeClickFix" map to report issues in the North End of Middletown. You can add issues like street lights that are out, crime, garbage (bulky waste, etc), or hazards of any kind.

This is intended to be helpful. Please respect people's privacy and be kind to your neighbors! This is a way for the city of Middletown to see where there are issues.

9th Annual Garden Party

The North End Action Team hosted its 9th annual Garden Party in the Erin Street Community Garden on Thursday night. All day the threat of rain loomed, but as has happened for the last three years, the skies turned blue at 5:30, right on cue.

This year, NEAT gave its annual college scholarship to recent graduate Steven Kovach with a scholarship of $500 to start college this fall. Steven has been in NEAT programs for the last 10 years and is active in the North End Youth Programs, is on the city's Design Review and Preservation Board and is a great role model for other Middletown kids.

Overall, the garden looked great and the food was amazing (Thanks to: Fusion Bakery, Tandoor, Typhoon, Public Bar and Grill, Empire Pizza, Sweet Harmony CafĂ©, It’s Only Natural Restaurant, Tschudin Chocolates, Order on Court, Tavern at the Inn at Middletown, Javapalooza, Puerto Vallarta, Firehouse Steakhouse, Mikado, O’Rourke’s Diner, Thai Gardens, Fiorie, Fred Carroll and Ann-Marie Cannata, Young's Printing, Minuteman Press, Metro Spirits, Forest City Wine & Spirits and Patty Palace.

Thanks to all who attended!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Presecription Help TODAY!













DO YOU NEED HELP PAYING FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS?

If you are uninsured or struggling, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance may be able to help. Come find out if you may qualify for one or more of 475 patient assistance programs, many of which offer free or nearly free prescription medicines for those in need. There's a fast, free and convenient way to see if you may qualify… The "Help Is Here Express” is Coming! TODAY!!Monday August 17 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm In front of the North End Action Team’s Office 668 Main Street, Middletown.

The “Help is Here Express” is equipped with computer terminals and phones so people can find out (for free) if they may be eligible for help. Trained specialists will be on board to make sure the process is quick and easy.

Call NEAT for more information at 346-4845 neat@neatmiddletown.org

*Bring a list of your prescriptions with you*
Sponsored by America’s Pharmaceutical Research Companies and the North End Action Team

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Garden Party Thursday

This Thursday, August 13th, NEAT will be hosting its 9th annual Garden Party and Fundraiser at the Erin Street Community Garden.

This is a wonderful event, with passed hors d'oeuvres, a live band, and a beautiful community garden to spend (what promises to be) a great summer evening in.

The event is a fundraiser for NEAT, so there is a suggested donation of $30 for an individual and $45 for a family, but we encourage residents to come by and help host the party. If you volunteer, there is no donation required.

This is a wonderful party hosted by the North End for the city, so bring family and friends and celebrate the many accomplishments of the neighborhood!

Please call NEAT if you have any questions (860-346-4845)

Click Here to watch the video of last year's party (created by North End Resident Dan Nocera)

Click Here to see pictures of last year's party

Friday, August 7, 2009

Enrollment for Green Street Arts Center’s AfterSchool Program is now Open


Middletown, Conn., August 4, 2009— The Green Street Arts Center of Wesleyan University is now registering students for its AfterSchool program. Serving families in the North End neighborhood as well as greater Middletown and the Middlesex region, the program operates 5 days a week from 3pm to 6pm and enrolls students ages 7 to 14. Students receive a nutritious snack and homework assistance in addition to a variety of arts enrichment classes. Two class periods are offered Monday through Thursday; one class period is offered on Friday with a second period devoted to a community meeting for students to share what they’ve learned and show what they have accomplished. Students aged 15-18 interested in our new AfterSchool mentorship program are encouraged to contact Green Street as soon as possible to ensure their place.

There are over fifteen different courses available for students to choose from, including Breakdancing, African Drumming, Creative Movement, Comic Book Creation, Drawing, Musical Collaboration, Sound Editing, and Web Design. Students are welcome to consider registering for individual arts enrichment courses or for the full program. This year, Green Street Arts Center is also partnering with the Help Yourself Foundation to offer Science and Arts enrichment program for third grade students. Students in the Help Yourself program will attend a specially designed science curriculum on Mondays and Wednesdays and arts classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Contact Artistic and Education Coordinator Sarah-Jane Ripa at (860) 685-7860 or sjripa@wesleyan.edu for more information or to arrange an interview for you and your student.

Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, which is celebrating its fifth year, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an afterschool arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing. Visit www.greenstreetartscenter.org for more information.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good News at Macdonough Featured in the Courant

Middletown's Macdonough School Closing Achievement Gap

By MONICA POLANCO
The Hartford Courant

August 6, 2009

MIDDLETOWN —

Macdonough School, which officials once considered closing, is now being highlighted as an example of how to close the education achievement gap.

The school, which has the highest number of poor students of the eight elementary schools in Middletown, showed the greatest improvement locally on the Connecticut Mastery Test this year.

This result builds on its previous year's performance. In 2008, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, an advocacy group, placed the school on its Top 10 list of most improved schools in the state and will likely do so again this year, said Marc Porter Magee, the group's chief operating officer.

"It's a real leader for the state," Magee said. "It's the kind of school that other principals should be visiting to find out what's working."

This year, more Macdonough students placed at the highest level on the CMT and fewer scored at the lowest level than last year, school officials said. Before last year, the school had historically placed last in Middletown. But this year, the school's third-graders scored the highest in the city in the CMT's writing category, with 97 percent reaching proficiency or higher. Last year, the school's fifth-grade writing scores were No. 1 in the city.

Districtwide however, with the exception of reading, Middletown's scores were flat, said Assistant Superintendent Barbara Senges. The number of all test-takers in grades 3 through 8 who attained the more advanced category of "goal" in reading was 9.1 points higher than the state average from 2006 to 2009, she said. The number of city students who achieved the category of "proficient" in reading was 8.1 points higher than students across the state during the same period.

Those numbers, she said, should soothe parents who worry that advanced students will suffer when teachers give more attention to weaker readers.

It's The Teachers
Jon Romeo, the school's principal for the past three years, attributed his school's improvement to the teachers, who last year began working with one another in earnest to identify and target their students' weaknesses. The school also has benefited from student volunteers from Wesleyan University and from the advocacy of the North End Action Team, which has sought to help parents better express their needs to school and city officials.

That collaboration, Magee said, has turned the school into a community project.

"Everyone in Middletown should feel good about what they're accomplishing," he said.

With its wealthy swaths, pockets of poverty and large achievement gap, Middletown is a microcosm of Connecticut, Magee said. Statewide and nationwide, there is a consistent gap in test results between students of color and white students. In Connecticut, African American and Latino students generally score about 30 points lower than their white peers. Students of color fare somewhat better in Middletown, where they score about 20 points behind white students.

Macdonough's principal and teachers, some of whose students face such disadvantages as poor access to medical care and insufficient academic support at home, hold key answers for other educators who also are grappling with the achievement gap, Magee said. The school is among the state's top performing schools when ranked according to the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. About 80 percent of Macdonough's students qualify for that program.

"If every school was doing what Macdonough is doing, Connecticut would go from having the largest achievement gap in the country to having the smallest gap," Magee said. "The way the gap is going to get closed is through principals like Jon Romeo, who day in and day out ... focus on catching kids up and setting the ball higher and higher."

Macdonough's success also demonstrates that student test results — which were originally used as an accountability tool and considered oppressive — can help teachers understand their students' comprehension and become an effective teaching tool, Magee said.

From Disney To Harry Potter
Some of the students who have benefited most from Macdonough's collaborative teaching style are Alezei Rosario, Mekhi Mickens and Carlos Perez — all of whom started out at the CMT's lowest reading level in the fourth grade and placed just one level below "advanced" the next year, Romeo said. The boys will enter sixth grade next month.

Alezei, 11, who began by reading relatively simple Disney books such as "101 Dalmations," advanced to reading Harry Potter books. At school he worked with an aide; at home he read to himself and his sister, now 5. He said that the Harry Potter series satisfies his craving for adventure and commotion.

"I just kept on and kept on reading," he said. "I started reading in school and reading on the school bus."

Kym Ciccia, a Macdonough teacher who helps struggling students in reading and math, said the school's success has boosted the morale of its students. She credited Romeo with helping to turn around the school's test scores.

"It's definitely just a feeling that we can succeed and we can do better," Ciccia said.


















Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The daVinci's Amazing Rowing Machine Takes 3rd Place in the CT River Raft Race!!


Last Saturday, a team from the North End, led by captain George Frick, took part in the annual Connecticut River Raft Race. It is such a fun event, and our boat (made 5 years ago by a group of North End youth) a funky yellow catamaran type boat, is one of the coolest on the water.

The crew took first place in their division and third place all around. Congratulations!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Break Dancing and Funky Music Tonight!

(Click on poster to enlarge it)

Enjoy the pleasure of a summer evening during North End Nights, a free night of for people of all ages.

This weekly series of participatory arts workshops held outdoors the Green Street Arts Center continues tonight, Thursday, July 30th with a FREE Break Dancing led by Bryan Giles at 5:30pm.

Pop, lock, break and stop with Bryan Giles as he teaches you the fundamentals of Break Dancing. At the end of the workshop exhibit your skills in a cypher. Bryan is known regionally in the Break Dancing circuit and teaches at Vinnie's Jump and Jive as well as Green Street's Afterschool Program. Bryan is a member of the break dancing squads Of Shadow and Earth as well as, Losst Unnown, and he is a founder of Battle Royale, a yearly tournament held in Middletown CT. Check out students taught by Bryan performing at Snap, Crackle, Pop!

At 6:45, enjoy the music of the Melvin Sparks Band in the Luis Lopez Herb Garden or stop by the Buttonwood Tree book sale or the MAC650 Gallery to see The As Yet Un_named Show featuring Tracy Lynch, Andre Rochester, James Day, Melissa Williams, Matt Graham, Dan Rubenbauer, Mark Robinson, Corey Pane, Kasia Gawkoska, Anjre Kerr and Caitlyn Nadolny. You can also stop by the Buttonwood Tree from 5:00 on for the book sale. For more information on North End Nights, visit www.neatmiddletown.org.

Also, click here to download your North End Pass for discounts at North End restaurants and retailers.

This Pass is good at any and all participating businesses on any of the four Thursdays in July. Light refreshments will be served; in the event of rain, the 5:30 workshops will take place indoors at the Green Street Arts Center.

These events are Co-sponsored by the North End Action Team, the Green Street Arts Center, the Community Health Center, the Buttonwood Tree and the MAC 650 Gallery with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jewlery Making Tonight

(Click on poster to enlarge it)

Enjoy the pleasure of a summer evening during North End Nights, a free night of for people of all ages.

This weekly series of participatory arts workshops held outdoors the Luis Lopez Herb Garden (corner of Green and Main Streets) continues tonight, Thursday, July 23rd with Jewelry Making, led by Cookie Quinones at 5:30pm.

Afterward, enjoy the music of R & B Band, Shaded Soul in the Luis Lopez Herb Garden or stop by the MAC650 Gallery to see The As Yet Un_named Show featuring Tracy Lynch, Andre Rochester, James Day, Melissa Williams, Matt Graham, Dan Rubenbauer, Mark Robinson, Corey Pane, Kasia Gawkoska, Anjre Kerr and Caitlyn Nadolny. You can also stop by the Buttonwood Tree from 5:00 on for the book sale. For more information on North End Nights, visit www.neatmiddletown.org.

Also, click here to download your North End Pass for discounts at North End restaurants and retailers.

This Pass is good at any and all participating businesses on any of the four Thursdays in July. Light refreshments will be served; in the event of rain, the 5:30 workshops will take place indoors at the Green Street Arts Center.

These events are Co-sponsored by the North End Action Team, the Green Street Arts Center, the Community Health Center, the Buttonwood Tree and the MAC 650 Gallery with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Friday, July 17, 2009

North End Market Today!

Beginning today and running on Fridays throughout the summer, the North End Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods and other CT Farm products.

Today is the first one, so we're just getting the hang of it, but as the summer progresses, we hope to add more and more farms.

It is being held on the big, wide sidewalk in front of It's Only Natural Market (thank you to them and to Peter Harding!) and runs from 8-1. Stop by before work or on your lunch break.

It's a perfect day for it!

All farms are WIC Certified and (after today), you may use your EBT Card.

You may click on the poster to enlarge it.
Poster design by North Ender, Katie Merrotte

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rhythmic Fun at North End Nights: Thursday

(Click on Poster to Enlarge it)
Enjoy the pleasure of a summer evening during North End Nights, a free night of for people of all ages.

This weekly series of participatory arts workshops held outdoors at the Green Street Arts Center (51 Green Street), the Luis Lopez Herb Garden (corner of Green and Main Streets).

North End Nights continue this Thursday, July 16th with African Drumming at 5:30pm in the Luis Lopez Herb Garden. Afterwards, enjoy a concert featuring Wesleyan University's African Drummers in the Luis Lopez Herb Garden or stop by the Buttonwood Tree or the MAC650 Gallery to see The As Yet Un_named Show featuring Tracy Lynch, Andre Rochester, James Day, Melissa Williams, Matt Graham, Dan Rubenbauer, Mark Robinson, Corey Pane, Kasia Gawkoska, Anjre Kerr and Caitlyn Nadolny.
For more information on North End Nights, visit www.neatmiddletown.org./www.neatmiddletown.org">www.neatmiddletown.org.

Also, click here to download your North End Pass for discounts at North End restaurants and retailers.

This Pass is good at any and all participating businesses on any of the four Thursdays in July. Light refreshments will be served; in the event of rain, the 5:30 workshops will take place indoors at the Green Street Arts Center.

These events are Co-sponsored by the North End Action Team, the Green Street Arts Center, the Community Health Center, the Buttonwood Tree and the MAC 650 Gallery with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts.Arts in the Garden and North

Monday, July 13, 2009

Conference for women business owners

For more information or to see the conference schedule, click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

North End Nights!

(Click on poster to enlarge it)

Enjoy the pleasure of a summer evening during North End Nights, a free night of for people of all ages.

This weekly series of participatory arts workshops held outdoors at the Green Street Arts Center (51 Green Street), the Luis Lopez Herb Garden (corner of Green and Main Streets) begins tomorrow, Thursday, July 9th with a Photo Scavenger Hunt at 5:30pm in front of the Green Street Arts Center.

Afterward, enjoy the music of The 3:27's in the Luis Lopez Herb Garden or stop by the MAC650 Gallery to see The As Yet Un_named Show featuring Tracy Lynch, Andre Rochester, James Day, Melissa Williams, Matt Graham, Dan Rubenbauer, Mark Robinson, Corey Pane, Kasia Gawkoska, Anjre Kerr and Caitlyn Nadolny. You can also stop by the Buttonwood Tree from 5:00 on for the book sale. For more information on North End Nights, visit www.neatmiddletown.org.

Also, click here to download your North End Pass for discounts at North End restaurants and retailers.

This Pass is good at any and all participating businesses on any of the four Thursdays in July. Light refreshments will be served; in the event of rain, the 5:30 workshops will take place indoors at the Green Street Arts Center.

These events are Co-sponsored by the North End Action Team, the Green Street Arts Center, the Community Health Center, the Buttonwood Tree and the MAC 650 Gallery with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

North End Nights this Thursday


Click image to see more detail

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NEAT in the NEWS

There have been some major successes in the North End over the last week. Check out these links to articles about NEAT's efforts over the last few weeks:

Middletown Press Article about Wednesday night's Blight Meeting

Middletown Press Article about Monday's North End Homeownership Groundbreaking Ceremony

Hartford Courant's Article about Monday's North End Homeownership Groundbreaking Ceremony

Middletown Eye Article about Monday's North End Homeownership Groundbreaking Ceremony

NEAT's Director, Izzi Greenberg on WESU Radio: Listen online to the archive of "Eye on the Air". The topic was Middletown School Districts policies and how they affect the North End.

BASKETBALL BLOCK PARTY AT DONOVAN PARK

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(click here to see pictures of May tournament)

Friday, June 26th at 6:oo pm This Friday, June 26th, we will be hosting a very fun, very informal basketball tournament at the park. This isn't about impressing people with your skill, it's about having fun with your neighbors.

So, bring a friend, a kid, a spouse. This time, we'll have a DJ, as well. Walk on down to the park. Play some b-ball. Eat a hot dog, we'll be cooking out. Bring a blanket and just lie out in the grass. This is a time for fun. At last month's event, there were roughly 200 people!

Over the last few years, NEAT has become involved in issues around Donovan Park (click here for directions.). Something that has come up over and over again is that people just need to USE the park more. So here's your chance.

No need to sign up in advance, just show up with one or two friends or come alone and we'll put you on a team. C'mon North Enders (and everyone else!), we need to start enjoying this amazing space in the middle of our neighborhood! call 346-4845 or email neat@neatmiddletown.org for more information.

Friday, June 19, 2009

NORTH END HOMEOWNERSHIP GROUNDBREAKING

NORTH END HOMEOWNERSHIP GROUNDBREAKING

MIDDLETOWN, CT— North End Homeownership, a partnership between Nehemiah Housing Corporation and the Broad Park Development Corporation will break ground on fifteen units of affordable homes this Monday, June 22nd, at 11:00 am.

In the fall of 2006, Nehemiah Housing Corp and Broad-Park Development Corporation of Hartford agreed to implement the home-ownership component of the North End Redevelopment plan. The development will provide 17 scattered-site units for home owners. All the properties will target households whose income is below 80% Area Median Income (AMI), or approximately $60,000 for a family of four. Nehemiah has secured funding for 15 of the 17 units. The remaining two units will be developed by Middlesex Habitat for Humanity to serve households below 50% area median income.

This project is a critical piece of the North End’s continued revitalization. It is the culmination of many years of work for residents, non-profits and community stakeholder groups to improve the living conditions, safety and long-term success of Middletown’s North End. Homeownership is a critical component to stabilizing the neighborhood and has been the focus of neighborhood advocates for many years. This project is long in the making and promises to be an exciting next step.

The groundbreaking event will include:

  • Department of Economic and Community Development’s Commissioner: Joan McDonald
  • Middletown Mayor: Sebastian Giuliano
  • Middlesex Chamber of Commerce: Larry McHugh, President
  • Liberty Bank: Chandler Howard, President & CEO
  • Connecticut Housing Finance Authority: Diane L. Smith
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation: Lesley Higgins-Biddle
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development: Julie Fagan
  • State Senator: Paul Doyle
  • State Representative Joseph Serra
  • Nehemiah Housing Corporation: Michael Taylor
  • Broad-Park Development Corporation: Raquel Rivera
  • North End Action Team: Izzi Greenberg

The event will take place on Monday, June 22nd at 11:00 am in the parking lot of 47 Rapallo Ave, Middletown with a rain location of the Green Street Arts Center, 51 Green Street, Middletown.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Register now for the Children's Circus of Middletown

The Children's Circus of Middletown presented by Oddfellows Playhouse as part of the City of Middletown's kids Arts program, is back for its 21st season. This 5-week, half day program for 200 youngsters ages 8-14, provides training in such skills as stilting, juggling, clowning, acrobatics, unicycling, dance and visual arts, all leading up to a gigantic outdoor performance with a live circus band. A full day Advanced Circus Programs offers experienced performers, ages 12-15, the oppertunity to take their skills to a higher level. The Circus is open to all Middltown residents and non- Middletown residents on a space-available basis. The Circus is sponsered by the Middletown commision on the Arts and the Middlesex United Way.

The circus camp runs from June 29th to July 30th. The Circus show is July 31st at 5 p.m. There are limited spots available for the a.m. session (9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) and the p.m. session (12:30 to 3:00 p.m.) the cost for the entire 5 week program is $125 for the first child, $75 for the second child, and $50 for each additional child. GENEROUS SLIDING SCALE & FINANCIAL AID IS AVAILABLE TO FAMILIES THATQUALIFY.

There are bus stops at Macdonough School (Pease Avenue), The corner of Green Street & Dekoven Drive & Rose Circle.

To register for the summer circus please call the Arts office - 860-343-6620 ext. 201

Friday, June 5, 2009

5th Annual Green Street Arts Festival


Join the students, friends and teaching artists of Wesleyan University’s Green Street Art Center for a day of indoor and outdoor creative fun in celebration of the Center and Middletown’s North End. Green Street teaching artist Jocelyn Pleasant and her jazz band C. Dzen’s Reign kick off this year’s Arts Festival, which also includes performances by afterschool students and teachers in breakdancing, hip hop, salsa, movement, tap, “Shared Ability” dance and African drumming. Exhibitions by Green Street’s Flash Forward Photography Meet-Up, children’s art classes and others will be on display. Green Street’s Peer Education Performance Project will perform The Struggle, a theater piece which they wrote and directed themselves. Special guest performers include Pretty Boiiz, a rap duo whose members both graduated from Middletown High as well as Green Street alumna the ThoroEnergy dance group.

The Arts Fest will also be the official unveiling of the Green Street Community Mural Project, a large mural created by afterschool Students, community members and mural artist Marela Zacarias on the corner of Main and Green Streets.

Other festival activities include: Video screenings of Green Street’s Intergenerational Oral History Project, Digital Animation and Photojournalism classes, and face-painting by Samantha Lee. The festival takes place on Saturday, June 13 from 1–4pm at 51 Green Street in Middletown. Admission is free. Please call 860-685-7871 or visit www.greenstreetartscenter.org for more information.

Visit http://www.prettyboiiz.com/ for more information on the Pretty Boiiz including video and audio.

GREEN STREET’S EVENING OF SCREENPLAY READINGS

DIRECTED BY AWARD-WINNING, CONNECTICUT FILMMAKER JUSTIN LIBERMAN AND FEATURING WORKS BY LOCAL ASPIRING SCREENWRITERS
Middletown, Conn, June 4, 2009—Join Green Street teaching artist and award-winning Connecticut Filmmaker Justin Liberman as he directs an evening of screenplay readings celebrating the work of local aspiring screenwriters, who were students in his class at Green Street this past year. Two of the writers, Michael Ennis and Sara Hallisey have been accepted into the 2009 Connecticut Film Festival Screenwriter’s Immersion Program.

The program includes excerpts from: Bobby and Dawn by Michael Ennis; Copperhead by Sara Hallisey; An Interrupted Life by Kristen Kuczenski; Date in a Box by Guy Russo and Med School by Mark Sabo. Actors include: Joseph LeMieux, Fallon Saldo, Enza Giannone and Janis Astor del Valle.

The event takes place on Thursday, June 11, from 7-9pm at the Green Street Arts Center, located at 51 Green Street in Middletown. Suggested donation is $5.A reception immediately follows the readings at MAC 650: an art space located at 650 Main Street, Middletown. For more information, call 860-685-7871

Justin Liberman graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2002 and lived in Los Angeles for five years where he directed three award-winning films and several commercials. At the outset of his career, Liberman worked with acclaimed film directors Michael Mann on Collateral and Miami Vice and David Mamet on his upcoming film Red Belt. Liberman is currently in pre-production on the feature film Three Can Keep A Secret If Two Are Dead. A former resident of Middletown’s North End, Justin is relocating to New York City this fall to attend Columbia University’s graduate program in Film.

Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, which opened in January 2005, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an after school arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

School Redistricting Study:URGENT!!

Over the past few months, the Middletown Board of Education has been working with an architecture firm, JCJ, to figure out a short-term solution to overcrowding at Moody School and a long-term solution to redraw the lines for the entire district. On Tuesday night, JCJ recommended that the Board of Ed take no action for the upcoming year, as it would cause too much disruption for just one year, when a broader solution is on the horizon.

Over the last few days since the meeting, I've been speaking to NEAT members and recieved many requests for a letter that people could use as a template to voice their opinion to the Board of Ed. So, I've included a draft email below. You can copy and paste it into an email from your personal account and send it to:

Frechette, Michael , Senges, Barbara , John Hennelly , boskes@mps1.org, boydb@mps1.org, Daniels, Sheila , gillc@mps1.org, Renee Johnson-Thornton , Keiser, Jay , VoteRyan06@yahoo.com, tedvr@cttel.net, russoj@mps1.org, neat@neatmiddletown.org



The Letter is below. I encourage you all to take the few minutes and send this email. It is important that the board understand how many people are concerned about this issue. If they only recieve two letters, it will send the wrong message that North End residents don't care. We do care, you've told me that you care, now tell the Board of Ed.



I am available to answer any questions by phone (860-346-4845) or by email (izzi.greenberg@neatmiddletown.org). Please feel free to call if you want more information or clarification.



Thank You for taking the time on this. It's really important. The board will be meeting on Tuesday to make a decision at 7:00 pm at the High School Cafeteria. NEAT will be carpooling and childcare will be available by request.

Izzi

ps. you can read more about this issue at the following links:

http://middletownpress.com/articles/2009/05/28/news/doc4a1e06672905e294445110.txt
http://middletownpress.com/articles/2009/05/26/news/doc4a1cac254a317454258759.txt
http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/2009/05/board-of-education-unhappy-with.html
http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/2009/05/board-of-ed-delays-decision-on-leveling.html



Dr. Frechette, and Members of the Board:

As a member of the North End Action Team (NEAT), I support the recommendation made by JCJ at this past Tuesday's Board of Education meeting. Although many North End kids attend Moody school and are affected by overcrowding, it is in the best interest of the entire city to wait until JCJ's full report is complete to make any changes.

Over the last few months, you asked for citizen participation in this process. We participated. We came out to your workshops in great numbers, and at great inconvenience, because our schools and our children are important. Our voice informed JCJ's recommendation that you work toward a long-term solution and avoid a short-term band-aid. Should you ignore JCJ's advice and act on an unrecommended plan, you would also be ignoring us -- your constituents. That move would send a clear message to residents and taxpayers that our participation, input, and time isn't important.

That said, Chairman Raczka has said in the Middletown Press that doing nothing is not an option, and that moving students around is. We don’t think that's a solution.

Moving any student to another school affects not only the child, but his or her family, school, and neighborhood. Such significant disruption should only occur based upon a comprehensive look at the entire city. Since you are considering a long-term redistricting next year that would again move students, it would be irresponsible and inconsiderate of you to put students in the position of having to change schools twice in two years.

NEAT members have said all along that what is important is that:

1) No child should have to move twice and whatever solution is agreed upon for the upcoming school year disrupt as few kids as possible.

2) You can't solve a problem at one school by creating a problem at another. Macdonough should not become overcrowded so Moody doesn't have to be; it would be unfair to take North End families out of one overcrowded school and place them into another.

3) The North End is a neighborhood. To the extent possible, its children should learn together in the same schools and should not be spread out among many.

You should listen to the consultants you have paid to advise you. Please keep our concerns -- and our children -- in mind.

Thank You,


Name___________________


Address_________________

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Housing and Mortgage Education Seminar

You Are Invited to Join
Congressman Chris Murphy in New Britain
for a Housing and Mortgage Education Seminar

Housing and Mortgage Education Seminar
Saturday, May 30
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
New Britain City Hall, Room 504
27 West Main Street, New Britain

As home foreclosures are on the rise, Congressman Murphy’s housing and mortgage education event is aimed to help Connecticut residents learn how to go about getting a mortgage they can afford and how to get help if they are having trouble paying their mortgage.

Murphy has invited experts from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Britain Neighborhood Housing Services, Fannie Mae and McCue Mortgage.

If you have any questions, please call the Congressman’s
New Britain office at (860) 223-8412
or his Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-4476

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reclaiming the North End of Harbor Park, Sat. May 30, 8 a.m.

Learn about invasive plants while we remove them from a prime Middletown location. The Jonah Center calls for volunteers to help with this unique partnership opportunity that is closely related to our own mission.

Lunch and BBQ included. To make sure we have enough food, it is important that we know who is coming by Tuesday the 26th. Please reply to Lisa Santangelo at enws@comcast.net

Below are the background and details.

The Lions Club and crews from The Connection's AIC (Judicial Branch Community Service Work Crews) will be cleaning up the historic north end of Harbor Park. Japanese knot weed, Japanese sumac, bittersweet and other invasive plants have taken over the fencing and shoulder of the northern most 600 feet of the park. This screening from public view has attracted activities inconsistent with the stated "Waterfront Mission" which includes "A waterfront that serves as a focal point of community activities for people of all ages and interests throughout the year." and "Increased public awareness of the region's River-related culture and history." This area was once the landing for the ferry-boat that commerce between Middletown and Portland and the steamboat that took residents to Hartford and New York City.

Volunteers should wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves and gloves. Note that there is poison ivy in the area, so people who are highly allergic should not participate in this work day. Sun screen and sun glasses are recommended, as well as alcohol-containing hand gel to remove any plant oils we may contact.

Since we will be cutting, trimming and raking, volunteers are asked to bring clippers (short and long handled), small saws (hand, bow or sling) and rakes. (Make sure to mark your tools.) We will have coffee and donuts at 8:00, then do a sweep of the litter before the crews arrive with the heavy tools between 8:15 and 8:30. A box lunch will be served at 12:00. We will finish the day with a BBQ around 3:30 or 4.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday Night Hoops

Last night, about 200 kids, parents, community members and teachers came out to Donovan Park for the first North End Nights Basketball Tournament, hosted by Macdonough School and the North End Action Team. The games were serious but friendly, the hot dogs were cooked to perfection, thanks to the grilling skills of Deputy Police Chief, Pat McMahon and the expertise of Elsie Arnold and Laura Hall, and everyone had a great time. It was a perfect night. In fact, it was such a success, that we've decided to run these once a month throughout the summer. Mark your calendar for the third Friday in June. 6:00 pm.

Thanks to the Park and Rec department for supplying the hoops, the city for supplying the grill and Macdonough for the support. And, especially to all of the great kids and families who came out to enjoy one of the nicest evenings of the year so far. Here is a slideshow of pictures for you to enjoy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GREEN FEST SUNDAY

There is a wonderful FREE event happening at Middlesex Community College this Sunday, May 17. The Middlesex County Libraries are presenting a GREENFEST from 1 pm to 4 pm as part of the "Greening Our Valley" initiative.The Festival is sponsored by the Connecticut Library Consortium and the Middlesex County Community Foundation. There will be preformances and vendors and a presentation by NEAT community gardner, Patrice Barret.

There will be all kinds of activities, giveaways, and discussions on green living, and the Artfarm Circus for a Fragile Planet goes on at 3 pm. Check out www.greeningourvalley.org for more info! Hope to see you there. All ages are welcome!

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT AND BLOCK PARTY AT DONOVAN PARK: TONIGHT!

Tonight, Friday, May 15th, we will be hosting a very fun, very informal basketball tournament at the park. This isn't about impressing people with your skill, it's about having fun with your neighbors. So, bring a friend, a kid, a spouse.

Walk on down to the park. Play some b-ball. Eat a hot dog, we'll be cooking out. Bring a blanket and just lie out in the grass. This is a time for fun.

Over the last few years, NEAT has become involved in issues around Donovan Park (click here for directions). Something that has come up over and over again is that people just need to USE the park more. So here's your chance. If you want to sign up, though, email neat (neat@neatmiddletown.org) or call 346-4845.

We'll take any single person and put you on a team, or you could sign up as a team of three. Any age, size, gender-- anyone. C'mon North Enders (and everyone else!), we need to start enjoying this amazing space in the middle of our neighborhood!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop!!

Snap, Crackle, Pop! is a percussive dance collaboration featuring students from the Green Street Arts Center after school program and Wesleyan University. Performance includes tap, step, breakdancing, Appalachian clog, and sword dancing. The show is Monday, May 11 at 7pm in Wesleyan's Crowell Concert Hall. Admission is free and there will be no tickets, so make sure to get there early to guarantee your seat! Contact Alex at 615-289-1057 or ahartley@wesleyan.edu with questions.

Lots of North End kids doing great things, come out and support them!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Basketball Tournament Postponed

Friday night's basketball tournament at Donovan Park will be postponed until next Friday, May 15th because of safety concerns.
Please come next week!
If you'd like to sign up to play, email NEAT at neat@neatmiddletown.org.
6:00-7:30 pm.

Monday, May 4, 2009

NEAT AND MACDONOUGH HOST BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT AND FAMILY NIGHT AT DONOVAN PARK


On Friday evening, May 15th, NEAT will be hosting a very fun, very informal basketball tournament at Donovan Park. This isn't about impressing people with your skill, it's about having fun with your neighbors. So, bring a friend, a kid, a spouse. Walk on down to the park. Play some b-ball. Eat a hot dog, we'll be cooking out. Bring a blanket and just lie out in the grass. This is a time for springtime fun.

Over the last few years, NEAT has become involved in sprucing up Donovan Park (the park next to Macdonough School). Something that has come up over and over again is that people just need to USE the park more. So here's your chance.

If you want to sign up, email NEAT (neat@neatmiddletown.org) or call 346-4845. We'll take any single person and put you on a team, or you could sign up as a team of three. Any age, size, gender-- anyone.

Or just come down and enjoy the evening.

C'mon North Enders (and everyone else!), we need to start enjoying this amazing space in the middle of our neighborhood!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Raising Healthy Kids

Raising Kids Isn't Easy is back, and with a new project. Did you miss our Community Meetings? Well here is your chance to add your option about Middletown!

We are talking to parents about
• Early Education
• Health Care
• Support for Family’s

Spotlight on Families will be on air on Comcast Access Channel

As a thank you for your generous support, you will be receiving dinner, childcare, and your choice of a gift card or a gas card.

Please contact Marilyn Dunkley 759-2945
Beverly Lawrence 759-2894
Dates: May 1st, 2009 - Friday
May 8th 2009 - Friday

Sponsored by, Middlesex Coalition for Children.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green Street Mural Project

The Green Street Arts Center is launching the Green Street Community Mural Project, an eighteen month-long art program that will culminate in a large public mural, to be installed in the spring of 2009 on the corner of Main and Green Streets in the North End. The Green Street Community Mural Project is made possible by a $10,000 grant from Citizens Bank and the Citizens Bank Foundation, who are the project’s lead sponsors.

Led by mural artist Marela Zacarias, the project’s participants are a diverse group of Middletown children, their families, professional artists, Wesleyan students, and other community members. A core group of students in Green Street’s Afterschool Program will work with the artists on the project regularly.

The primary goal of the Green Street Community Mural Project will be obvious to every driver and pedestrian who passes Green Street. According to Zacarias, “This mural will brighten Main Street with the colorful art of our students. It will also help to raise awareness of the wonderful activities that the Green Arts Center offers for the Middletown community.”

Over the summer of 2008, themes were finalized and designs drawn up by current Green Street students. In the words of Ms. Zacarias, “The ideas for the murals come from a variety of sources: The group that I work with (in this case, ten 4th graders), the wall and its particular characteristics (location, size, windows, etc), and my own artistic interpretation. Sometimes I feel like a channeling device: All the information comes through me and it comes out as visual images on a wall.”

The advance work of the Mural Project crew wrapped up last fall and this winter is the execution. This entails priming, painting, and sealing plywood panels that are to be permanently screwed into the brick on the north side of the building at the intersection of Main and Green Streets.

An important objective of the project lies, not just in the finished product, but in the process. The Green Street Community Mural Project intends to provide hands-on artistic and civic education to young people who desperately need both—like the ones who first sparked an idea in the mind of Green Street Artistic Director Janis Astor del Valle in autumn of 2007.

According to Astor, the seed of the Mural Project was planted by a group of young vandals. The Middletown Press ran an article about the teens, who had been arrested in Middletown for graffiti in public spaces. Recalling TATS CRU, a group of Bronx-based professional muralists whose work in aerosol changed the perception of graffiti as art and who she’d met while working at a youth development organization in the Bronx, Astor felt inspired to approach the Middletown Youth Services Bureau’s David Blumenkrantz and Justin Carbonella. Thus the Community Mural Project was born, charged with the mission of channeling the youngsters’ creativity from blight into beauty.

The final unveiling will take place at the annual Green Street Arts Festival in June 2009.

About Marela Zacarias
Zacarias graduated from Kenyon College with a major in Social Movements through Art and Religion. She did her thesis on Mural Art as a Tool for Social Change, and has gone on to teach mural art in Washington, DC, Mexico City and she is now teaching in New Britain and Hartford, Conn. Since graduation in May of 2000, she has become a recognized artist, having painted more than a dozen murals in the United States and Mexico.

Visit http://marela.org/ for more information.

About the Green Street Arts Center
Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, which opened in January 2005, is a vibrant center for arts education, serving residents of the neighborhood and the region. It is a project of Wesleyan University in collaboration with the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team (NEAT). Programming in the former schoolhouse at 51 Green Street includes an afterschool arts education program and a wide range of affordable classes and workshops for children and adults in music, dance, visual arts, theater, sound recording, media arts and creative writing. Visit http://www.greenstreetartscenter.org/ for more information about Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clarification on Today's Middletown Press Article

Dear Friends,

An article published in today’s Middletown Press (DARE Program Slashed From Proposed Budget) wrongly took words that were not mine and attributed them to me.

In the article, it appears as though I was speaking about tonight’s city budget hearing. In fact, I was not interviewed for the story. The information attributed to me was actually taken from an email I received (and forwarded to NEAT’s members) from Dic Wheeler, of Artfarm.

I do believe that it is important that people come out and speak about the proposed budget, but NEAT’s positions is slightly different from Artfarm’s. I’d like to take a minute to explain our positions.

NEAT is most concerned about funding to the Summer Arts Programming and the City's Matching Grant Program.

As for summer arts, families that live in the North End would be most affected by any changes to the sliding scale that is offered for summer arts programming. Many North End kids take part in those programs, run through the city Arts Office (including the Summer Circus), and wouldn't be able to if not for the financial aid that is offered. For many parents, the summer program is the only affordable option, giving kids a chance to participate in summer programming, and parents a way to work. It must be maintained.

Additionally, NEAT receives funding through the Middletown Commission on the Arts and the Youth Services Bureau for our Arts in the Garden Series and our Youth Leadership Initiative. If the matching grants and after school challenge grants ratio is changed to 4:1, small organizations like NEAT (there are a lot of us in Middletown!) would be unable to participate, leaving some effective, well-deserving programs unfunded.

I do urge each of you to come out to support the much-deserving groups in Middletown that are working hard to ensure that every city child has access to quality arts programming. And, though it wasn't my idea, I encourage you to show your unity and wear red.

Thank You,
Izzi Greenberg
Executive Director
North End Action Team (NEAT)

North End Clean Up a Success

It was a great day in the North End on Saturday where 150 people volunteered to do some spring cleaning. There were volunteers from the NEAT/Wesleyan Mentoring Program, Earth Ministries out of First Church, the Middletown Garden Club, and a group of youth doing a "30 Hour Famine" from East Hampton and Haddam. There were also other individuals from Middletown who came in to lend a hand as individuals. Residents got a chance to work alongside Dan Drew, who is running for Mayor this year, and Councilman Santangelo, who is a North End resident. Even the kids had fun working alongside the principal from Macdonough School, Jon Romeo, who spent hours helping out at the Erin Street Garden.

Most importantly, though, were the many residents who organized the day, spread the word to their neighbors, and went door to door, helping to clean the sidewalks and yards of their neighbors. It was a great event that helped the community, but more importantly, helped to build community.

Here's a slideshow of some of the people that were out that day. I'm sorry I didn't make it to all corners of the neighborhood with my camera....there were some great scenes to be seen...

A big thanks to Sherwin Williams Paint in Cromwell for donating supplies, to Kim O'Rourke and the City of Middletown for picking up the extra trash and helping with logistics, to Dominoes, Sammy's Pizza, Alpha Pizza House, and Jerry's for donating Pizza for the Lunch, and to all of those who came out to help.