Tag Archives: in the middle

MT Cop Explodes Over Sour Gummy Projectile

A somewhat facetious account of a student being harassed by policemen on campus:

Last night when walking down Washington Street at around 12:30 am, Al Fertig, ’10, was eating out of a bag of Sour Patch Kids and threw an orange one which tasted funny into the street. Unfortunately, a policeman speeding past in his vehicle assumed that this projectile was aimed at him, so he pulled over and verbally abused Fertig for about ten minutes, repeatedly calling him an “asshole”, a “punk kid”, and a “douchebag full of shit”, and trying to make him admit to being intoxicated.

Fertig maintained his sobriety and tried to protest that his rejection of the gummy candy had nothing to do with any kind of passive-aggressive hatred towards the Middletown PD, and besides, it was biodegradable, but this guy was having none of it.

The policeman, who introduced himself as “Clark, Officer Clark to you,” told Fertig he was writing him up “for being an asshole”, with no further explanation, and ordered Fertig to “stand in front of my car and don’t fuckin’ move”, while he got inside his vehicle and started to furiously scribble a ticket. Meanwhile, his canine companion was barking furiously from the backseat and baring its teeth.

In the middle of this dressing down, which Josh Gordon ’10 and I watched incredulously, two more police vehicles pulled up and surrounded Fertig, who stood there covered in flashing lights and continued dejectedly to eat his Sour Patch Kids.

The policemen in the other cars appeared bemused, and after a minute of observing the scene one rolled his eyes and kept moving. Minutes later, a black police car with “Supervisor” labeled on the side pulled up, and a policeman who appeared to have some seniority came out to see what was going on. The red-faced Clark seemed to ignore his presence and continued writing, finally exiting his car to yell at Fertig some more (without using the F-word nearly as much) before slapping him with a $200 citation for littering and telling him he “better watch out next time!!”

At that point we were fully prepared to quietly seethe in our rooms and accept this as a token incident of an embittered policeman unleashing his resentment of uppity college kids on us, but upon Google searching him later that night we found that this guy has a history of being incredibly over-reactive towards kids around Middletown.

According to the Middletown Tax Dollars blog, one Officer Douglas Clark of the Middletown PD was involved in an alleged racial bias incident in late April 2006.

A group of teenaged black males were waiting to be picked up by their parents in a parking lot on the corner of Main Street and Liberty Street after performing in a monthly Open Mic night sponsored by Teens with Talent (TwT), a community-based extracurricular organization that helps teenagers develop life skills, when our Officer Clark showed up.

According to Dunlap [one of the guys present at the incident], Clark jumped out of his cruiser and confronted the teens, telling them not to move. Clark’s police dog, which was still in the cruiser, was barking repeatedly, Dunlap said. Clark reportedly told the teens he was responding to a call that teenagers were “jumping at cars.”

Several adult bystanders objected to his accusations, maintaining that the kids were being a little loud but definitely not causing any trouble. One even accused him of singling out the teens because they were black, since the white patrons of Middletown bars were frequently more of a nuisance but ignored by police. Clark ignored them and kept yelling.

White [director of TwT] said she believes Clark ‘made a bad judgement call.’ With all the recent gang violence, she said, she thinks Clark was probably “nervous or scared.” However, White also said Clark is “a young officer,” and that he should attend sensitivity training. The kids felt this is simply “how the police are,” she said. “In every police department, there are a few bad apples,” White said.

The director of Teens With Talent filed a formal complaint with the PD about Clark, but no response was given.

I mean, nobody is suggesting any drastic action here, but if a short, red-faced cop with a crew cut and a really loud dog ever stops someone you know for an inane reason, be aware that he is ALWAYS having a bad day and might really benefit from a secret Valium habit (…or a massive ego check).

Xue @11:46: Postdated to 11:59PM to sticky at top.

In the Middle: Army base alternatives

The U.S. Army wants to build a 40-acre training base in the middle of the largest contiguous forest on the lower Connecticut River—only five miles from campus.

President Roth has something to say about it. So does EON. The WSA. And WesPeace, too.

Do you?

Educate yourself about the issue, then come to a Common Council workshop tomorrow night at City Hall. Bill Warner, Middletown’s Director of Planning, Conservation, and Development, will discuss the 2 to 3 sites that he has identified as being suitable alternatives for the proposed Army training base.

This is a great chance to show your support for Middletown residents, work toward the preservation of some of the most beautiful land in town, and learn more about the city’s plans to keep this 273,000-square foot facility out of Middletown’s rural Maromas region.

Date: Thursday, Feb. 21
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: City Hall

City Hall (I guess it’s technically called the Municipal Building) is only half a mile downhill from Usdan. Directions are available here.

In the Middle: Common Council meeting tonight

There will be a meeting of the Middletown Common Council at City Hall tonight, to discuss the Army’s efforts to build a training base in town.

Resolutions will be submitted supporting the DEP’s efforts to acquire the Freeman Road property currently being sought by the Army, as well as the rest of the NU-owned land in the Maromas section of town.

For more information, check out this article in the Argus. If you want to attend the meeting with me, email me at jlaselva@wes.

Date: Monday, Feb. 4
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: City Hall

Behind the Blog: Why we’re “In the Middle”

The first in an occasional series of entries on Wesleying itself.

Life isn’t easy for the average Wesleying contributor. Serving up over 3,000 page views daily to students, professors, staff, Middletown residents, alumni, news organizations, and countless other groups across the nation and world, Wesleying is in a unique and sometimes difficult position. We influence campus and city opinion, keep students informed about the world around them (both within the bubble and beyond), and aim to keep posting a steady stream of interesting, informative, and fun content that reflects the best that we, the students of Wesleyan, have to offer.

And as you can imagine, that’s not always an easy task.

You, our readers, have always been vocal in your criticism of the parts of Wesleying with which you’ve taken issue. Our categorization of posts, the titles of our entries, our love affair with MGMT and fascination with LOLcats, and disagreeable content (to name just a few) have all caught complaints. And we take your concerns seriously. So in this, the first of an occasional series of entries detailing what makes Wesleying tick, I’m going to address one of the issues that has caused a fair bit of backlash at Wesleying: the heading “In the Middle” that I started using to denote entries pertaining specifically to Middletown.

Just like this entry, you’ve no doubt noticed that some entries on Wesleying start with a specific heading (“Behind the Blog”, for example). Now, I wasn’t one to think that such a thing would cause any consternation among our readers, but apparently some have taken issue with the heading “In the Middle”. For instance, one of the more reasoned commentators has said:

While I think it’s good to pay attention to Middletown events, I feel like giving them the special “in the middle” title does more to separate ourselves from the town rather than keep up involved. I think it should be posted as regular Wesleyan news

If you’re still reading, you are no doubt wondering why I use the heading “In the Middle” for Middletown events. Let the truth be heard:

Anonymous @ 1:15: While I respect your position, I think you’re entirely wrong. Things happening in Middletown are not “regular Wesleyan news” items; rather, they are something different: Middletown news items. I think it’s important to differentiate the two, for two important purposes.

First, the In the Middle heading serves immediately to identify the type of news being posted. It allows readers to easily identify important issues in Middletown, as opposed to the litany of YouTube videos, campus event notices, and opinion pieces (which are all, true, very valuable) that we otherwise post on Wesleying.

Second, this immediate identification and, yes, differentiation, is important precisely because student interest in Middletown is so sorely lacking. The heading points out in a very clear way that it’s not just Wesleyan we should be concerned about; that we are literally living “in the middle” between the bubble-life and the permanent residents of the City of Middletown. And as such, we are not only stakeholders in the politics of the city, but also have a responsibility to give back to the greater community of which we’re a part.

If you could prove that the heading on an article has the tangible effect of separating student opinion from supporting Middletown issues, then maybe we should talk. But judging by the dearth of students I saw at such an important meeting (on the Army’s plans), I don’t think it’s three words that are separating students from Middletown. While your claim might make an interesting theory, you need to bring it out of the realm of concept and actually prove it before I give it any weight.

I think the “In the Middle” heading is a valuable method of denoting news pertaining to specifically to Middletown. It’s a way of organizing information, just like how newspapers separate news into Local, World, Sports, Entertainment, and so forth. It’s organized, it’s straightforward, and it helps those interested in Middletown news find it more readily.

So what do you think? The heading’s not going anywhere, but I realize your thoughts on the heading aren’t, either. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions, not just on this topic but on Wesleying in general.

In the Middle: Army base meeting tonight

The public hearing on the U.S. Army’s proposal to build a training base in Middletown is tonight, from 5:00 – 6:30. Questions from the public will be answered, and the meeting is at the Common Council chambers at City Hall, which is down by the river, next to Route 9.

I’m headed down there tonight. If you’d like to go and invest yourself some more in Middletown, let me know and we can meet up somewhere. Email me before 4:30 at jlaselva@wes.

In the Middle: Prepare your stomachs!

On my run over the bridge this morning, I went past O’Rourke’s, and to my surprise and delight, what did I see, but no more plywood over the windows! I caught Brian O’Rourke outside in his trademark white apron and congratulated him on the rebuilding.

But the best part? Brian says O’Rourke’s Diner will be open in about two weeks! Prepare your stomachs, everyone! And check the O’Rourke’s Diner website for more information.

Freshmen and sophomores who may never have experienced the palate-pleasing joy that is O’Rourke’s: don’t pass up the opportunity to have a delicious breakfast when this gem reopens!

EDIT: Posted by drexmo on the O’Rourke’s Diner forums:

Brian tells us that the anticipated date to reopen is Monday, February 4th!! He also hopes to have extended hours into the evenings, ie dinner, on Thursdays thru Sundays! Spread the word!! Donations still very much welcome!!

Photo from roadfood.com. Check out their site for reviews and many mouth-watering photos of Brian’s dishes.

In the Middle: Snowstorm postpones two events

The meeting at City Hall regarding the U.S. Army’s plans to build a training base in the Maromas section of town has been postponed, according to Ed McKeon at Caterwauled. We’ll provide another update when we find out the new time and date, which The Man says should be announced within a few days.

Also, Anonymous has noted that the Middletown Straw Poll has been postponed, and will now take place on Saturday, January 26, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM, at the Holy Trinity Church at 381 Main Street. More info here.

Enjoy the snow (I know I am), if you’re in New England!

In the Middle: Army eyes M-town for new home

Unless you’ve driven down Route 3 and seen the little sign with the little letters announcing its presence, you’ve probably never known that the Army’s 1205th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion has its base in Middletown. Quite apart from this installation, the U.S. Army also wants to make Middletown the home of a new centralized training base to take the place of various bases that are closing, or have closed, across Connecticut.

Due to its centralized location and available tracts of land, the city apparently makes a terrific spot. But the local media makes it seem as if it may be otherwise. Says the Hartford Courant:

A proposal to build a 200,000-square-foot Army training center on 40 acres of open space in Middletown is prompting concern among some residents.

Well, that’s natural. Any time something that big wants to plop itself down on a tract of city land, someone’s going to have an opinion. And in this case, plenty of people do. From the Army to the mayor, rural residents to environmentalists, local business interests, and everyone in between, the Army base is arousing passions across the city.

According to Ed McKeon of Caterwauled (relevant entries here and here), the Army is looking at a wooded area in the south of the city, along Saybrook Road, known as Maromas. The Russell Library has a webpage about Maromas, calling it a “sparsely settled district” on the banks of “the Connecticut River in the southeastern section of Middletown.”

McKeon himself doesn’t seem too pleased with the proposed development:

It would be a convenient way to open the Saybrook Road corridor to commercial development. The Middlesex Chamber of Commerce is apparently very interested in this possibility, and so, is supporting the idea of the Army Training Base. But take a ride to Groton, and examine the kind of commercial interests which spring up around such a site – bars, liquor stores, convenience stores, gas stations, chain restaurants, dollar stores. Is this the kind of development Middletown wants? And is Saybrook Road where we want it to exist?

And Middletown residents are already debating the Army’s plans on the online discussion boards. Even the New York Times has gotten in on the action, chronicling the base development from the viewpoint of residents of the Maromas section of town:

A few months ago, when Wesleyan University announced that it would create 10 scholarships to encourage military veterans to study here, school officials and students talked of welcoming them with open arms.

A few weeks later, when the Army Corps of Engineers began inspecting land a few miles away from the Wesleyan campus to build a new, 200,000-square-foot regional training center for reservists, the spirit was not so warm.

The Army’s plans call for the new base in Middletown, aiming to “enhance military value, improve homeland defense capability, greatly improve training and deployment capability, create significant efficiencies and cost savings, and [further] the Army’s Force Structure Plans and Army transformational objectives.” And according to the federal Base Closure and Realignment Commission, Middletown will be the host of the base, whether it likes it or not. So the only question is, where do we put it?

A lot of issues exist here, not least the character of Middletown’s rural sections and the environmental concerns posed by wiping out a large section of the city’s remaining forests. And as McKeon points out, the economic development that the base would bring might not be as beneficial as the local business community thinks. But as Major Giuliano was quoted in the Times, “You don’t want to say no to the Army.”

As part-time residents of Middletown, what do you think about the military’s plans to locate the base here? What power does the Planning and Zoning Committee, on which Matt Lesser ’09 sits, have in influencing the Army? And is it even the place of Wesleyan to have a voice in this proposed development?

EDIT: Right of Middle also mentions the base development and points out that there is a meeting at City Hall tomorrow (Monday, January 14) at 5:00 PM to discuss the Army’s plans. If you’re interested and on campus, you may want to check it out.

Photo by Master Sgt. Michael L. Lachman; courtesy of the U.S. Army.

In the Middle: MHS gets 200-kW fuel cell

While Wes students were pushing for President Roth to sign the Presidents Climate Commitment, Middletown was one-upping us by pushing for a radical solution to rising energy consumption: the installation of a 200-kilowatt fuel cell at Middletown High School. The Hartford Courant reports:

By next fall, Middletown High School will be powered by fuel cell technology thanks to an $800,000 state grant to cover the costs of installation.

The fuel cell will generate electricity, heat the swimming pool and ultimately save taxpayers money, according to school and state officials. Gov. M. Jodi Rell said about $800,000 in state funds will go toward the project.

“Middletown, in 2005, was one of the first municipalities in Connecticut to commit to a clean energy campaign,” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said. “We are pleased to help Middletown move forward with this installation project.

The Middletown Press reports that the town is getting the electricity savings on the cheap, as well:

The project will cost a total of $1.6 million. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund contributed $940,000. Additional grants of $1.7 million bring the city’s cost for the project to about $14,096, Jackson said.

The 20% of MHS’s energy that will be provided by the fuel cell will save the city money and reduce its dependence on the pollution-generating power grid at the same time.

Clearly, saving money and saving the environment can go hand in hand. And with concern over carbon emissions and global climate change mounting at the same time as Wesleyan’s efforts to reduce the financial burden for students, might not it make sense to look at implementing infrastructural changes at Wesleyan, to both save money and save the environment?

So what can Wesleyan do to achieve those ends? What are your ideas?