Middletown Forms Panel To Honor Kleen Energy Power Plant Victims

Community leaders are working on two efforts to honor the six men killed by the Feb. 7 explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant.

The common council Monday night created a committee that will decide how best to honor Peter C. Chepulis, 48, of Thomaston; Ronald J. Crabb, 42, of Colchester; Raymond E. Dobratz, 58, of Old Saybrook; Chris Walters, 48, of Florissant, Mo.; Kenneth Haskell, 37, of New Durham, N.H., and Roy Rushton, 36, of Hamilton, Ontario.

The committee will comprise five to nine members, possibly including city representatives, relatives of the men who died and trade unions whose members were building the plant.

Councilwoman Hope Kasper, who had asked the council to create the committee, said she expects to have more information in April.

Meanwhile, a group planning a fundraiser for the families of the victims will meet at 5:30 tonight at the police department's community room, 222 Main St.

Organizers are seeking donated food for the April 17 fundraiser at Middletown High School, which will include a raffle, buffet dinner and ceremony, said John Milardo, president of the Middletown Managers and Professionals Association.

"We're trying to get everything we can ... for free; that way we make as much money as possible for the families," Milardo said.

The group will discuss several items, including an offer from the owner of the Lions Den, a fitness and martial arts center, to hold an amateur "fight night" to raise money for the event. "They want to get volunteers from the unions, train them for a couple of weeks, then hold the event," Milardo wrote in an e-mail.

Also, a group of Occupational Safety and Health Administration workers has offered to play light dinner music on April 17, Milardo said. Milardo's group hopes to sell 600 to 1,000 tickets, at $20 each. Proceeds would be deposited into the Families of Kleen Energy Tragedy Fund at MiddConn Federal Credit Union, 213 Court St., then distributed to the victims' families, he said.