Kim Usselman - Director of the Middletown Library

On February 14th we were treated to Kim Usselman’s presentation and some interesting discussions.  Here is a summary of her presentation, “Middletown Library: A Journey Through Time and Vision for the Future” with a link to her slide presentation at the end.

The Middletown Library has a rich history dating back to 1848, evolving through various milestones, including building transitions and renovations. Currently facing challenges with inadequate space, structural issues, and limitations, the library aims to redefine its future.

Envisioning a new, adaptable, and sustainable space, the plan includes spacious meeting rooms, program areas, and dedicated spaces for different age groups, fostering community engagement. The library seeks to enhance outdoor spaces and maintain a commitment to inclusivity. The need for trained staff and adequate resources is emphasized to realize the mission and vision.

The town has plans for a new building including a bond for its construction on the November ballot. Next Steps include forming a Building Committee for expertise, considering additional fundraising efforts, and the creation of a Library Foundation. Plans involve temporary relocation during construction, and community involvement in the decision-making process, reflecting a bold step towards the library's future.  The Library = The heart of any community

Kim Usselman - Director of the Middletown Library JCK 2024-02-15 05:00:00Z 0
2024-2025 Rotary Presidential Theme Announced jck 2024-02-01 05:00:00Z 0

Betty Galligan - Asst. District 7950 Governor - Strategic Leadership Planning

On January 24th, we were honored to have Betty Galligan, the assistant governor for our District 7950, as our guest speaker. Betty has been a longstanding supporter of our club. She brought with her as a guest Sharon Johnson, the District Governor Elect for 2024-25. Betty led the session by highlighting numerous strengths of the Middletown Rotary Club, such as its 71 years of longevity, a robust membership size, our vibrant spirit, a strong club foundation, and the successful events and service activities we consistently provide to the community.

Subsequently, Betty guided us to explore additional aspects, including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Discussions ensued on various ideas raised during the session, with a particular focus on the concern about the continuity of leadership. Many clubs have successfully employed a strategy involving a team of members committed to assuming leadership positions over successive years. This succession plan typically includes the Past President, President, President-elect, and President-nominee. The leadership team collaborates, offering mutual support, sharing expertise, and providing a robust mentoring period for incoming presidents.

Betty played a crucial role in helping the Middletown Rotary Club position itself using this strategy. Angel Gonzalez, a 21-year member of the club, and Chris Semonelli, a former club president, stepped up to become Co-Presidents for the term 2024-2025. The plan includes Cori Kilzi being in line for the presidency after them. This succession plan is expected to strengthen the club in the long term.

Betty Galligan - Asst. District 7950 Governor - Strategic Leadership Planning jck 2024-01-25 05:00:00Z 0

Yolanda Macias - Conexion Latina Newport

On January 10th, we had the pleasure of hosting Yolande Macias, the dedicated Founder and Director of Conexion Latina Newport.  Yolande provided us with heartfelt insight into the invaluable work her organization undertakes for the Latina community in Newport/Middletown. With warmth and passion, she illuminated the comprehensive range of services needed to assist non-English speaking newcomers in navigating their way to a new life here.



Yolanda Macias - Conexion Latina Newport Janice Kowalczyk 2024-01-11 05:00:00Z 0

Lucy's Hearth 2023 Holiday Party

The Rotary Club of Middletown recently hosted its annual Holiday party for families at Lucy’s Hearth, bringing together Rotary members, Interact Club youth, and our Rotary district leadership for an evening of joy and goodwill. We extend our sincere thanks to Pat Burke and Deanna Conheeney for their unwavering dedication and hard work in orchestrating this successful event once again.

Lucy's Hearth 2023 Holiday Party Janice Kowalczyk 2023-12-13 05:00:00Z 0

SUCCESS! Community Coat Drive 2023

On November 8th, the Middletown Rotary embarked on its first-ever month-long coat drive to address the increasing demand for cold weather clothing in our community. The aim was to collect new and gently used clean, warm coats, jackets, hats, and gloves in all sizes, to help ensure that no member of our community would face the winter without the warmth and protection they deserve.

SUCCESS! Community Coat Drive 2023 Janice Kowalczyk 2023-12-08 05:00:00Z 0

Larry Kraman - New Member Talk

Hello, I'm Larry Kraman, a passionate individual with roots in Brooklyn, New York. My journey began at Brooklyn College, where I initially pursued law but discovered my true calling in music. As a recording engineer, I captured every note of the music department's performances and later established a recording studio within the department. My knowledge extended to starting the Newport Classic CD music label, releasing numerous classical pieces.

Anticipating changes in the music industry, I transitioned to filmmaking, producing three full-length films. My story reflects dedication to music, recording, and filmmaking, with a knack for building relationships in the evolving entertainment landscape. I'm always eager to share my enriching experiences and insights. Read more below to find links to his films and enjoy at your own pace.

Larry is eager to leverage his talents and experience to contribute to the club. He's proposing an engaging video project that involves creating short film interviews with each current member. Larry suggests conducting these interviews at my home studio, assuring everyone that it won't be an interrogation. Importantly, no interview will be presented until the subject has had a chance to review it.

The interview process is designed to start with a casual discussion about the member's name, background, and the reasons behind their involvement in the Middletown Rotary Club. Larry will then guide the conversation based on the member's responses.

For any inquiries or clarifications regarding these proposed projects, feel free to reach out to Larry directly.

Larry Kraman - New Member Talk 2023-11-29 05:00:00Z 0

Shawn Brown - Middletown Town Administrator

Shawn Brown, the Middletown Town Administrator, gave a talk to the Middletown Rotary Club on October 11, 2023 regarding the 2023 Middletown Middle-High School Bond Referendum. The presentation highlighted the importance of the upcoming bond referendum for constructing new, modern, and efficient educational facilities, benefiting all students and ensuring the future readiness of Middletown schools.  Read more for the key points from his presentation:

Shawn Brown - Middletown Town Administrator Janice Kowalczyk 2023-10-12 04:00:00Z 0

Erin Dollard - Newport Hospital Foundation

Erin O'Gara Dollard, Senior Philanthropy Officer at the Newport Hospital Foundation, recently addressed our club to shed light on an important partnership between Newport Hospital and Bradley Hospital. The aim of this partnership is to raise $5 million for the development of an eight-bed adolescent behavioral health unit at Newport Hospital. This unit will provide essential services for young individuals aged 12 to 18 suffering from acute mental health disorders.

Erin Dollard - Newport Hospital Foundation Janice Kowalczyk 2023-10-04 04:00:00Z 0

Dennis Sheehan - Artificial Intelligence & Economics

"Dr. Dennis Sheehan, retired professor of Economics at the Smeal College of Business gave an energizing talk on the advancements in generative AI, describing its ability to generate text and images much more cheaply than humans. Dr. Sheehan went on to describe the possible impact of AI on the economy, focusing on whether AIs will take over most jobs and create more economic inequality. He discussed some reasons for optimism, followed by a lively question and answer period with attendees.  A particular topic of interest to Rotarians was, "will AI increase or decrease the economic gaps between the developed world and the developing world."  
Dennis Sheehan - Artificial Intelligence & Economics Janice Kowalczyk 2023-09-28 04:00:00Z 0

Our First Bingo Night

On September 8th, the Middletown Rotary Club held its first Bingo Night at Vasco da Gama Hall. The event, organized by Deb Bryan and Lois Murray, was a huge success. Laughter, excitement, and a strong sense of community filled the air as participants enjoyed the games and the camaraderie.
Our First Bingo Night Janice Kowalczyk 2023-09-27 04:00:00Z 0

ED Crowley - Hunger Services for Martin Luther King Food Pantry

Ed Crowley plays a crucial role within the MLK food distribution team. Given our Club's longstanding support for the MLK organization, Ed insights into how MLK collects food items from various sources and efficiently distributes added nicely to our previous understanding.  Ed actively manages the collection of food from numerous suppliers and ensures the smooth distribution of these items to a wide range of organizations and individuals. 
ED Crowley - Hunger Services for Martin Luther King Food Pantry Janice Kowalczyk 2023-09-27 04:00:00Z 0

Dick Bernardi - Whistleblowing in the Classroom

Dick Bernardi presented insightful research done by he and his students on the topic of whistleblowing in the classroom, shedding light on the importance of transparency and accountability in educational settings and on how this transfers to real life.
Dick Bernardi - Whistleblowing in the Classroom 2023-09-27 04:00:00Z 0

Our International Activities

The Middletown Rotary Club supports various International charitable initiatives.  Recent support includes

  • The Water for Cambodia Project which had its beginnings in the Middletown Rotary Club (2002) builds and installs household biosand water filters, wells and latrines to protect rural citizens from waterborne diseases.

  • Polio Eradication - Rotary’s efforts have reduced Polio cases worldwide by 99.9%. Only two countries remain endemic. 

  • The Rotary Foundation helps Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment, and alleviating poverty.

Our International Activities 2023-09-18 04:00:00Z 0
Paul Harris Fellow Dinner 2017-03-08 05:00:00Z 0

Helping people with disabilities make their own music

Music has been an important part of leading an ordinary life for students at the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris in Lublin, Poland. Founded by Rotary members, the school serves 20 students with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and visual impairments. The Rotary Club of Lublin-Centrum-Maria Curie-Sklodowska has provided funding with help from Rotary Foundation Matching Grants and the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, which houses the school.
After their son Mateusz was born with underdeveloped eyes, Mariusz and Joanna Kania looked for ways to help him be active. When he showed an aptitude for music, they looked for a teacher and were thrilled to find the Paul Harris music school.
Helping people with disabilities make their own music 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

Finding Safe Haven

For years, Angalia Bianca had slept in abandoned buildings throughout Chicago. She stole. She did drugs. She spent time in and out of jail for forgery, theft, trespassing, and possession of narcotics. But after she landed in prison for the seventh time, something changed -- Bianca knew she wanted a better life. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.
After serving her time, Bianca sought help from a local homeless organization, A Safe Haven, and moved to its shelter in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Bianca followed the program closely -- she attended all the required meetings, passed drug tests, and volunteered at every opportunity.
Finding Safe Haven 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

Saving lives in Ghana

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person sees Ghana and our work in a different way.

A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu. The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches. It was good to see the pastors of most of the eight churches, and I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.
Saving lives in Ghana 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0

India celebrates three years without polio

Throughout India and around the world, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone: India has gone three years without a new case of polio. The last reported case was a two-year-old girl in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. To mark this historic triumph, Rotary clubs illuminated landmarks and iconic structures throughout the country with four simple but powerful words, "India is polio free."
The three-year achievement sets the stage for polio-free certification of the entire Southeast Asia region by the World Health Organization. The Indian government also plans to convene a polio summit in February to commemorate this victory in the global effort to eradicate polio.
India celebrates three years without polio 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0