Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Middletown Considers Adding Public Bus Stop At Farm Hill School


June 23, 2010

Clara Sancho, who does not own a car, has been largely unable to visit her son's elementary school for four years, but she hopes the Middletown Transit District will help change that by adding a public bus stop at the boy's new school, Farm Hill Elementary School.

School officials and the North End Action Team have asked that the bus stop be added so North End parents — whose children have been reassigned to Farm Hill as part of recent redistricting changes — can become part of the school community. One hundred fifteen students from the North End and the Traverse Square public housing development will attend the school in September.

More than 40 people attended a transit district public hearing last week to try to convince the transit district's board of directors that Farm Hill needs a bus stop.

"There's overwhelming support for the change," said Thomas Cheeseman, the transit district's administrator. "It's a logical move."

The board of directors is also considering adding other bus stops in Middletown — at the new Price Chopper supermarket on 855 Washington St. and along the medical corridor at 400, 410 and 412 Saybrook Road — and one in Cromwell at PriceRite, 136 Berlin Rd.

Cheeseman said he thinks the board will vote next month.

Supporters say the proposed Farm Hill bus stop would be a crucial link between school and home for parents without cars. They said it would allow parents to more easily attend parent-teacher conferences, parent teacher association events and pick up sick children.

School administrators encourage parents to become involved in their children's schools because they believe it improves academic achievement, said Pat Girard, Farm Hill's principal.

Izzi Greenberg, NEAT's executive director, said North End parents also want to fight the misperception that they don't care about their children's education because they don't attend school events.

Greenberg said that neither Farm Hill nor Van Buren Moody Elementary School — which some North End students attended — has a public bus stop or sidewalks.

The proposed change, Greenberg said, would give North End parents more self-respect, smooth their transition into a new school community and "level the playing field."

Sancho, a mother of three, said she has relied on the kindness of people such as Greenberg to drive her to Farm Hill but would love to travel there on her own. The school is about 2 miles from the North End.

Sancho's trips to her son's current school, Moody, have not always been smooth. Once, Sancho said, she took a taxi. The cab driver drove in circles around a construction detour and got lost, she said. At the end of the trip, which should have been three miles, the taxi meter read $50. Sancho had $20.

The driver threatened to call police, but Sancho gave him the $20 and walked away.

This fall, she hopes to avoid such drama.

Reprinted with permission from the Hartford Courant

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Farmers Market Starts July 2

We're getting ready to start the 2010 season for the North End Farmers Market on Main St.

We have an amazing group of farms this year including Cicarelli Farms from Northford, George Hall (Ogre Farms) Organic Farm from Simsbury, Beckett Farms, Chaplin Farms, Gotta's Farm, Roses Berry Farm and Beltane Farms.

Additionally, there will be guest vendors each week selling soaps and other gift items. We'll have samples, recipes and more!

If you'd like to volunteer to help make the market a success, please contact NEAT at 860-346-4845 or

Otherwise, just prepare yourself to shop!!
The market runs Fridays from 10-2 and begins on July 2nd. It will go from July 2 through October. The market is happening in front of It's Only Natural Market, 575 Main St.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Come Support Farm Hill Bus Stop

There will be a public hearing tonight at 6:30 pm at the MAT Station on Main St. to determine if MAT (Middetown Area Transit) will put a bus stop at Farm Hill School.

The city bus currently doesn't stop at Farm Hill School. Next year, new families will be attending the school, many with barriers to transportation. Without access to the school, it is difficult for families to be involved in parent-teacher conferences, PTA or simply picking up a sick child.

NEAT has been in discussions with MAT (Middletown Area Transit)and they are in the process of reconsidering their routes. Their policy is that in order to make changes to a route, there must be a public hearing to determine if there is a need.

The public hearing will be held tonight, Wednesday, June 16th, at the MAT station on Main St (just two shops north of Javapalooza) at 6:30 pm.
If you'd like to walk down with the North End group, you can meet us at 6 pm at the Green Street Arts Center parking lot. You can bring your kids, and in fact, it is probably better if you do. If it is raining, a bus will pick us up at 6 at the Green Street Arts Center and at 6:15 in the parking lot of Broad St. Books on Williams St. You can wait under the awning of both places.

If you don't feel that you are personally affected by this, just come and sit with your neighbors and help them get the access that they need. The more people we can get in the room, the more likely it will be that they create a stop at the school. This opportunity may not come up again for a few years, so we must act now!

NEAT will provide sheets with talking points to help you out if you wish to speak.