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!