Thursday, May 28, 2015


VOICE of the CITY 
Airing Tuesdays from 8-9PM

Six years ago this month, I signed on to be a staff member at WESU 88.1FM Middletown. I am so thankful for free form radio and the ability to produce a local arts show where the only rules I have to follow are from the FCC! We feature artists from every walk of life, playing every genre of music. We not only feature artists, but people in the community doing unique things.

You can help do that with a donation
Our motto on VOICE of the CITY, is LIVE and LOCAL... this ain't no commercial radio! 20 years ago I won a competition to be a radio intern personality on a commercial radio station. After a year of  interning for a commercial station I decided that commercial radio was not for me! Too many rules on what you can play, say, and produce. I thought my radio days were over until I came across WESU while writing for the Middletown Press. The rest is history!

For a $35 donation you can get this cool T-Shirt like Mr. Sparks! 

Today I making a personal plea to our guests, and our listeners. Please help support this open-free- form-non-commercial, nonprofit radio station, meet its pledge goal!! We are only $6,000 shy. I know times are tight, believe me! As an artist myself, I allocate funds for artistic investments like WESU. Where else are you going to get your music to be featured? EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS! Even 5 bucks helps. So what are you waiting for? GIVE TODAY (o: WESU DONATE NOW!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Higher Grounds, a place we call home...

"I love Higher Grounds and all the beautiful friendships I have made there over the years. Thank you Kim, for all that you have done for East Hampton and the local community!" JCherry

Higher Grounds at 70 Main Street in downtown East Hampton is more than a coffeeshop, it is a place where people gather, a place like home. We are a community of friends, and we are deeply upset that the town of East Hampton has allowed another coffeeshop to open next-door to our beloved coffeehouse!! In a small town two coffeeshops RIGHT NEXT-DOOR to each other is not only wrong, it's bad for everyone, the town, Higher Grounds, and the new shop. I'd like to share this story as it so eloquently tells the story. 

Special To JCherry Presents
by Kevin Barrett

I just wanted to share an evolving mystery with you, as you’re enjoying morning coffee or sipping on late-night tea.  On a macro-level, the heart of this mystery involves civilized business ethics.  On a micro-level, as it relates to the Town of East Hampton, it involves something much greater.  
The establishment at the core of this mystery is a coffee house known as “Higher Grounds”.  At first glance, Higher Grounds appears to be a quaint coffee shop located just off the main strip in East Hampton.  But when you look closer, pick your head up and venture inside, it becomes clear that Higher Grounds is much more than a quaint coffee shop.  It has developed into a cultural icon in the heart of East Hampton, where people from all ages are allured by the warm, natural and harmonic environment created over the past several years.
Higher Grounds is best described as an Artisan Coffee House.  Not just because organic soups, such as Potato Parmesan, Tuscan White Bean; or sandwiches, such as Ham & Provolone on homemade buttermilk biscuits, Chick Pea, avocado and cilantro Wraps; or desserts, such as, Decadent Ireland Chocolate Orange Cake embraced by Orange Buttercream; are hand-crafted from scratch, but because it embraces, provides an opportunity to enhance and perpetuates local artists in the community it has become a part of.  
Higher Grounds is filled with local artist’s wares and portraits and provides a warm, safe environment for these artist’s to present their creations.  It does this, not for profit, but to stimulate the culture of the local community by allowing such artists to display their work, feel proud of their accomplishments and promote others to understand, harness and enhance their own talents. 
At Higher Grounds, support of local artistic talents extends into music, as well.  Higher Grounds has evolved into a sanctuary where established musicians come to produce acoustic versions of their most treasured pieces.  In keeping with its’ commitment toward enhancing local artistic culture, it provides open-mic evenings where emerging musicians can congregate to share their craft, develop confidence,  and expand their talents.  Whether you’re a teenager or someone slightly (ok, maybe much) older like myself, you’re lured by the atmosphere, comforted by the warm and wholesome sincerity and find yourself contently staying longer than initially anticipated.
The mystery does not lie within the creation of this establishment.  Its’ owner has poured a great deal of continuous thought, energy, commitment and life into Higher Grounds over the years.  Forming her vision and ensuring it evolves and comes to fruition, has required consistent, dedicated and exhaustive attention to detail(s).  Details associated with the menu, its’ organic ingredients, as well as the staff, events and down to earth environment have resulted in the creation of an icon in East Hampton that has stimulated the local artistic culture of this town.  Any patron can enter and experience great comfort through sincere warmth and friendliness, not typical of today’s fast-paced coffee shop. 
What is really mysterious, is that someone is promoting a second coffee shop within the same building complex as Higher Grounds.  Even though our country was founded on, and its’ strength lies in free markets and competition, it stretches the boundaries of sound judgment to find it acceptable to promote a second coffee shop within the same building complex as Higher Grounds.  This truly questions the business ethics of ones involved in promoting this second coffee shop.  These half-baked decisions will prove not only devastating to Higher Grounds, but the cultural stimulus Higher Grounds has provided to East Hampton.  The mystery is perpetuated by the expectation that Higher Grounds will not be able to renew its’ lease as it expires this October.  
I’m confident the current owner of Higher Grounds will persevere as she has done at the current location.  Like before, it will take a great deal of energy, commitment and life to do so.  The biggest loss will be the impact on the local community.  I encourage you to visit Higher Grounds for yourself, they will certainly have something of value for you.  You will quickly understand it’s not just the coffee, tea(s) and wholesome foods they provide, it’s the way they serve you and the warm, friendly atmosphere they have cultured within the Town of East Hampton over the past several years. 
Just Thinking,
Kevin Barrett

Friday, May 15, 2015

The 8th Annual Thank The Lake Day

    Joseph FireCrow

Thank The Lake Day is an annual event that takes place at Sears Park in EastHampton every third Sunday in May to give thanks to Lake Pocotopaug. “It’s about raising awareness, we need to pay attention to our planet,” explained Priscilla Connors producer and founder of Thank The Lake Day. Connors is a dynamic and creative women. She is owner of Positively Clean, a unique cleaning service company out of East Hampton, who offers nontoxic organic cleaners and sacred space clearings. Sacred space clearing is a way of using energy to clear a home, building, or natural landscape of negative energies. With a variety of techniques Priscilla clears the land’s energy, and then cleans the home or business with organic nontoxic supplies that she makes with pure essential oils. “If you know about Reiki, this is the easiest way to explain it. It’s Reiki for the land, using symbols and co-creating, by working with the land and the earth’s magnetic grids to bring your property to it’s highest frequency and vibration,” explained Priscilla. Encouraged by her husband to write down her cleaning recipes and sacred space clearing techniques she wrote a book, The Field Guide To Vibrational Cleaning. “Positively Clean addresses the self, the home, the community, and our sacred Earth.”

When Priscilla and her family brought a home on Lake Pocotopaug she fell in love with the lake and it’s natural beauty. Lake Pocotopaug whose name was derived from the Pequot Indians is a 512 acre natural lake. Back in the early part of the 20th century Lake Pocotopaug was a resort community that attracted hundreds of tourists during the summer season. Unfortunately the lake has seen better days. Each year there are large algae blooms. According to Wikipedia,“In recent years the lake has become a place of ecological study due to the large scale algae blooms that resulted in 2000. Tests have shown that longstanding shoreline development and fertilizer use are causing increasing issues.” In the early spring and summer the lake is clear. From the beginning of July to the end of the season the lake is green with algae, “ The algae blooms because of the phosphor. It’s like a green infection,” explained Connors. The phosphor comes from water runoff. Lake Pocotopaug is in a watershed and whenever people use toxic chemicals there is runoff into the lake. Gas powered motor boats add to the problem as well. The algae was so bad one year that there was a large fish die off. In an effort to help clean the lake and educate the community, Priscilla put her space clearing techniques to work and produced Thank The Lake Day, now in it’s 8th consecutive year. The first year of Thank the Lake Day Priscilla did a sacred space clearing of Sears Park. The following year Sears Park was awarded a large grant to improve the park. “Ever since then, every year, there’s always something a little bit more done to the park to improve it. That’s what happens with sacred space clearing, it may happen right away, or it may take a few years, but there’s always positive change.” 

When the idea to produce Thank The Lake Day came to Priscilla, she reached out to Joseph FireCrow. FireCrow is a renowned Native American flute player, he won a Grammy as guest artist on David Darling’s “Prayer For Compassion”, as well as seven Native American Music Awards. Connors met FireCrow while attending various Native American Pow Wows. A Pow Wow is a gathering of North America’s Native people.  Priscilla explained, “When I got the idea for Thank The Lake Day, Joseph FireCrow immediately came to my mind. I contacted him and I said, our lake is in peril, we need to bring awareness to the people about it, and educate them on the watershed and better ways to maintain it organically, and he said, “Absolutely!” Now eight years later Joseph FireCrow still comes to share his flute, drum and stories to raise awareness about the importance of the planet’s health. For FireCrow, caring for our community goes beyond our backyard, and this caring is essential for our environment today. So many people are detached from the earth. Using his flute and drum Joseph shares stories and songs from his ancestors. “The Flutes that I play evoke strong emotions and thought.” He went on to describe how music can be a means to open people up, to connect them to each other, and the planet. “ The drum represents the heartbeat of grandmother earth. The heart beat of our people. When we drum we are the earth,”  he said. Since the first Thank the Lake Day eight years ago Joseph and Priscilla have seen the water change on Lake Pocotopaug, the return of wildlife, and more people coming each year. “ I would not imagine it would be where it is today. The involvement from the community all the artists and artisans that want to be there to share in our humanity, and how we connect with our grandmother earth, and with all the animals. I am simply amazed!”

Festivities begin at 1PM with local music, yoga, and vendors. There will be food for sale by Higher Grounds. Stop and Shop donates flower petals to spread on the lake. Also, Positively Clean will be hosting a soap drive to benefit East Hampton’s Food Bank. For more information visit Thank The Lake Day on FB, or visit

Wednesday, May 13, 2015