Corso, Pimer leading Memorial Day parade on May 31
WEST HAVEN, May 18, 2021 — Army Air Forces veteran Frank J. Corso and Navy vet Mike Pimer will lead the city’s Memorial Day parade as grand marshals when it steps off at 10:30 a.m. May 31.
Corso, who turns 100 on July 28, and Pimer, 83, will guide the 40-unit procession of veterans, dignitaries and bands along the 1 ½-mile parade course, which goes up Campbell Avenue from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Center Street.
Corso, who served in World War II in 1942-45, and Pimer, who served stateside in 1955-61 and again in 1962-68, embraced the honor with typical grace and humility.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Corso said of being named one of West Haven’s two grand marshals. “I’m very honored and pleased.”
“I never thought I’d be up there in the front row,” he said, chuckling.
Pimer said he felt great when told he was accompanying his friend Corso as a grand marshal.
“I never would’ve accepted (grand marshal) if weren’t such an honor, especially serving with Frank,” Pimer said. “I’ve known Frank for 50 or 60 years.”
Corso and Pimer were tapped by the West Haven Veterans Council, which helps the city organize the annual parade, for their years of service to the military, their fellow vets and their community — the latter of which is perhaps the cornerstone of the qualifications for grand marshal, council President Dave Ricci said.
“West Haven is very lucky to share Memorial Day with Frank Corso,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said. “With just over 4,000 World War II veterans living in Connecticut today, honoring Mr. Corso with this small tribute reminds us to always remember the Greatest Generation.
“We also welcome an opportunity to celebrate Mike Pimer, his military service and his many volunteer hours in service to our city. The Pimer family is well known for public service, a tradition that Mr. Pimer may have started in 1955 when he enlisted in the Navy.”
Although last year’s parade was postponed because of the coronavirus, this year’s will take place in accordance with federal and state guidelines, city Health Director Maureen B. Lillis said.
“The city will follow all current and future COVID-19 directives by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Public Health to ensure the health and safety of both participants and spectators,” said Lillis, adding that no vendors of any kind are allowed along the parade route.
The 2021 edition of southern Connecticut’s oldest and largest Memorial Day parade has no rain date and will feature three marching divisions and a military division, as well as special accommodations for disabled veterans.
The procession will include an eight-seat golf cart carrying former grand marshals that is bedecked with a star gracing the names of those deceased. Other veterans will ride on a float.
It will also include a flyover by a C-130 Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft operated by the Connecticut Air National Guard.
Corso and Pimer will steer the procession from a golf cart flanked by the West Haven Police Honor Guard.
The hourlong parade, in memory of the deceased members of the U.S. armed forces of all wars, will showcase the city’s legion of veterans groups.
The procession will include the West Haven High School Band, the Lancraft Fife & Drum Corps, the Village Drill Team, the Rock House School of Music, and drummers and cultural dancers from the Philippine American Association of Connecticut.
It will include Miss Connecticut 2021 Sapna Raghavan, Miss Connecticut Outstanding Teen 2021 Aicha Diallo, a junior at West Haven High, and Jeeps from the Connecticut Beach Cruisers.
The procession will also spotlight the traditional contingent of youth organizations and sports leagues, dance troupes and Scout troops, fraternal organizations and service clubs, local and state leaders, police officers and firefighters.
Corso, who has lived most of his 99-plus years in West Haven, was born on Jones Street and moved to White Street when he was 2. He attended Washington School and was drafted by the Army in 1942 at age 21.
He was assigned to the 302nd Fighter Control Squadron of the Army Air Forces on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and served as a radio operator on the ground crew, a team of soldiers who maintained and repaired aircraft.
Corso’s squadron participated in the Allied island-hopping campaign against Japanese forces in the Pacific theater of World War II, including the battles of Saipan and Guam in 1944 and the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
He was honorably discharged as a corporal in November 1945. The Army Air Forces became the Air Force in 1947.
Corso is a member of the Connecticut-based Iwo Jima Survivors Association Inc., formed in 1987, and helped raise money for the National Iwo Jima Memorial in Newington.
In the decades after the war, he worked for his father, Thomas Corso, at Young T. Corso, a banana wholesaler in New Haven that supplied area groceries and markets.
Frank Corso and his wife, Mary Amendola Corso, lived for many years on Center Street and raised two daughters: Ceil Corso Welch and Frances Corso Nardi.
The couple were married for 74 years and witnessed numerous family milestones, including the births of five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, until Mary Corso’s death in November 2020 at age 100.
Pimer, a lifelong Westie, was born and raised on Second Avenue and graduated in 1957 from the old West Haven High School on Main Street.
The day after graduation, he joined the Navy at age 18 — although he enlisted two years earlier as an inactive member — and served at Naval Station Mayport, a major Navy base near Jacksonville, Florida.
Pimer was a member of the elite Harbor Defense Unit and served aboard a mine-sweeping boat that defended harbor and coastal areas with controlled mines and other measures. He was a frogman, or diver, whose duties included laying mines and cables, “so nobody blew up our ships,” Pimer said.
He was honorably discharged as an engineman third class in October 1961.
Less than a year later, Pimer rejoined the Navy as a reservist and served for six years. He was honorably discharged as a petty officer in September 1968.
Not much has changed, however, since Pimer’s Navy days, noting that he still dives regularly.
“It keeps me young,” said Pimer, who served in Flotilla 24-11 of West Haven’s Coast Guard Auxiliary for 55 years.
Pimer’s passion for marine navigation is evident in his lifework.
For 46 years, he owned and operated Professional Sea Service Inc., a West Haven watercraft company that transported Coast Guard and immigration personnel and cargo to and from ships outside of New Haven Harbor.
He also owned and operated Underwater Swimmers Inc., a dive shop at Main Street and Kelsey Avenue, for a number of years.
For 16 years, he enforced the regulations governing the use of New Haven Harbor as the joint harbor master of New Haven and West Haven.
His oldest son, Robert Pimer, has since followed in his footsteps and succeeded him as West Haven’s harbor master in 2015.
Mike Pimer stays active in the community and on the sea. His expertise in all things marine navigation has made him an indispensable member of the West Haven Harbor Management Commission.
He and his wife of 58 years, Susanne Bradley Pimer, live in the West Shore neighborhood of Warner Avenue. They have three other children, Bradley and Eric Pimer and Gail Pimer Glover, as well as 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Before the parade, all participants and spectators are urged to review the following guidelines:
— Participants and spectators must wear face masks and maintain social distancing of 6 feet, per CDC and DPH guidelines.
— The city has the right to refuse a group or an organization from participating at the time of the parade if those guidelines are not followed.
The brick Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park, West Haven. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh, File)
Dedication of brick Veterans Walk of Honor on May 29
WEST HAVEN, May 12, 2021 — In accordance with federal and state guidelines, members of the West Haven Veterans Council and city officials will dedicate the 13th phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor at 5 p.m. May 29 in Bradley Point Park.
All veterans are invited to participate in the seaside ceremony, which will feature a presentation of the colors, an invocation and taps, as well as remarks by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and Veterans Council President Dave Ricci.
The public is also invited. The city will follow all current and future COVID-19 directives to ensure the health and safety of both participants and spectators.
Rossi’s executive assistant, Louis P. Esposito Jr., will serve as the master of ceremonies.
In November 2006, the Veterans Council began the first of 13 campaigns selling bricks to memorialize vets on the 100-yard Walk of Honor between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials.
The bricks, which cost $75, have charcoal lettering for personalized messages.
About 2,850 bricks have been installed so far, including 130 for the 13th phase and 51 for the 12th phase, which was dedicated May 25, 2019. Last year’s ceremony was postponed because of the coronavirus.
In May 2015, the dedication of the eighth phase included the dedication of a granite stone in memory of Veterans Council President Lorelee “Lori” Grenfell, who died Feb. 19, 2015, at age 60. The memorial was crafted by Giordano Bros. Monuments of West Haven.
The Walk of Honor’s first phase and the city’s Korean War Memorial were dedicated in May 2007.
In May 2008, the walkway’s second phase and a memorial in honor of World War II Army Pfc. William A. Soderman were dedicated.
Soderman received the Medal of Honor after he distinguished himself in December 1944 while defending an important road junction near Rocherath, Belgium.
Four years after his death, on July 1, 1984, the flagpole in Bradley Point Park was dedicated in Soderman’s memory.
City Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo has overseen the construction of all phases of the walkway, which was built by City Point Construction Co. of West Haven.
Sabo has also supervised the design and placement of the granite Korean War and Soderman memorials, which were made by Shelley Bros. Monuments of Guilford.
Also in 2008, 14 grave markers signifying every war in U.S. history and peacetime were dedicated. The markers are mounted on granite posts.
Subsequent dedications have been held amid much fanfare, attracting hundreds of veterans and their families from all corners of the state and beyond.
Apraxia Awareness Day declared in West Haven
WEST HAVEN, May 14, 2021 — (Pictured): Forest Elementary School second grader Nicholas Gorske receives a proclamation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, left, declaring Apraxia Awareness Day in West Haven on Friday.
Shown with them are, from left, Forest Principal Thomas J. Hunt; Nicholas’ aunt, Aryanna Gorske; second grade teacher Shayne Fischman; his mother and grandmother, Anna Gorske and Judy Torello; paraprofessional Cynthia Russello; speech language pathologist Jennifer Sandberg; Katie Burdzel, a speech language pathology intern at Southern Connecticut State University; and special education teacher Elena Ermini.
Ethan Kubicko, a sixth grader at Carrigan Intermediate School, also received a mayoral proclamation for Apraxia Awareness Day.
Nicholas and Ethan have childhood apraxia of speech, or CAS, an uncommon speech disorder in which a child has difficulty making accurate movements when speaking.
To increase awareness of the speech disorder for the fourth straight year, the students recently contacted Rossi about declaring the special day in West Haven.
“The city encourages public awareness of childhood apraxia of speech and recognizes that it is essential for families of children with apraxia and the professionals who support them to achieve the needed services for those learning to use their own voices,” Rossi said.
(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
Rossi virtual town hall meeting on Zoom scheduled for 6 p.m. June 1
WEST HAVEN, May 12, 2021 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and her staff invite residents to participate in a virtual town hall meeting on Zoom at 6 p.m. June 1.
The community event is aimed at fostering communication and transparency between City Hall and West Haven residents.
Residents can join the virtual town hall at the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9493755050. The meeting ID is 9493755050.
The meeting is sponsored by the mayor’s office and the University of New Haven Mayor’s Advisory Commission, a collaborative, student-driven task force founded in 2015 to strengthen town-gown relations.
The MAC is led by Killian Gruber, a junior studying political science, and adviser Chris Haynes, an associate professor of political science and national security.
All members of the community are encouraged to participate in the town hall and ask questions. The moderators are UNH student Cassie Napoli and Haynes.
Participants can send questions before the meeting by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also ask questions on Zoom by using the “Raise Hand” function.
Those watching the town hall on Facebook Live can also submit questions.
Participants are allowed one question with a one-minute time limit. At the beginning of the question, they must state their name and the subject of their question, with all comments related to the city or government of West Haven.
Moderators will use the “Thumbs Up” function to give the person speaking a 10-second warning. Participants must keep all dialogue courteous and respectful.
For more information, call the mayor’s office at 203-937-3510, or send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Centennial Boat Parade honoring West Haven’s 100th anniversary
WEST HAVEN, May 12, 2021 — A fleet of more than 100 boats are expected to set sail and parade across the West Haven seaboard at 1 p.m. June 12 to christen the community’s 100th anniversary.
The West Haven Centennial Boat Parade, presented by the City of West Haven Centennial Celebration Committee, will pay homage to the community’s nautical heritage and 3 miles of publicly accessible beaches on Long Island Sound — the crown jewels of West Haven, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said.
The parade will follow the city’s coastline from the jetty off Sandy Point in New Haven Harbor to the Oyster River in Baybrook, said West Haven Harbor Master Robert Pimer, who has charted the course for the committee and will help steer the procession.
Rossi is encouraging city residents to descend on the beaches along Beach Street, Captain Thomas Boulevard and Ocean Avenue for a front-row view of the boating spectacle.
“I cannot wait for our residents to witness this one-of-a-kind boat parade along our very shore,” said Rossi, who will join Pimer at the helm aboard his harbor master boat. “This event is a tribute to the enduring history and legacy of West Haven as a true maritime community.”
Organizer and committee member John Biancur said he expects over 100 boats of varying sizes to participate in the free parade, including motorboats, personal watercraft, and sailboats from the Prospect Beach Fish & Game Club and the City Point, Pequonnock, Waucoma and West Haven yacht clubs.
The procession will also include rescue boats from the West Haven, West Shore and City of West Haven Allingtown fire departments.
Biancur pointed out that the parade is not limited to just yacht club members. It is open to all watercraft operators, provided they meet at the West Haven jetty at 1 p.m. and follow the Police Department’s patrol boat throughout the route.
“The committee is reaching out to the boating community to take part in this unique event,” Biancur said. “We are also inviting as many people as possible to come down to our beaches and see our parade.”
Skippers are asked to decorate their boats in patriotic colors, including displaying American, Connecticut or West Haven flags.
The rain date is June 13 at 2 p.m.
Although the parade will celebrate West Haven’s 100th anniversary, the official centennial kickoff ceremony is June 24. Details are forthcoming.
The committee is planning a series of commemorative events to observe the 1921 birth of Connecticut’s youngest town, said Rossi, the honorary chairwoman.
Rossi expands City Hall’s reopening
WEST HAVEN, May 14, 2021 — In accordance with state and local COVID-19 guidelines, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi is enhancing the phased reopening of City Hall to better serve residents.
Beginning Monday, City Hall’s phase one reopening will expand to include additional hours and offices for in-person appointments on the first floor, Rossi said.
Phase two, which includes in-person appointments for second-floor offices, will take effect a week later, starting May 24, she said.
Under phase one, City Hall will be open for business Monday through Friday by appointment only and limited to the first floor.
Residents can make an appointment for the Building Department, assessor’s office, tax office and city clerk’s office from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays by contacting the office at https://www.cityofwesthaven.com/directory.aspx. Appointments should be made by 3 p.m. the previous day.
Because the registrar of voters office operates on a part-time basis, residents can make an appointment from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday and Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday by contacting the office at https://www.cityofwesthaven.com/directory.aspx. Appointments should be made by 3 p.m. the previous day.
Those unable to make an appointment inside City Hall can do business at the service windows outside the assessor’s and tax offices on the Campbell Avenue side of the building and the window outside the city clerk’s office on the Savin Avenue side.
Under phase two, City Hall will be open for business Monday through Friday by appointment only and limited to the first and second floors. Details for phase two are forthcoming, Rossi said.
To enter City Hall for an appointment, visitors must use the west entrance on the Savin Avenue side, wear face masks and show ID to the security guard, Health Director Maureen B. Lillis said.
Visitors must sign in with the guard, noting the time and location of the appointment, and sign out when business is done. They must also maintain social distancing, including staying 6 feet away from others, Lillis said.
Residents are encouraged to continue using online payments and the drop box at the 355 Main St. entrance of City Hall.
To request a free recycling bin, call the Department of Public Works at 203-937-3585. A staff member will leave a bin with the guard at the west entrance.
Sound Health publishes 12th edition
WEST HAVEN, May 12, 2021 — For the latest COVID-19 vaccine information and resources, stay connected and engaged during the pandemic with Sound Health, the Health Department’s newsletter.
Read about all things public health at Sound Health, Volume 12.
Charging kiosk for electric cars coming to City Hall
WEST HAVEN, May 7, 2021 — (Pictured): Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and city grants writer Doug Colter join seniors of the electrical department at Eli Whitney Technical High School in the parking lot of City Hall on May 6.
The student electricians, instructed by department head and master electrician Mike Siefker, are installing West Haven’s first charging kiosk for electric cars.
The 240-volt charger was donated by Enfield manufacturer Control Module Inc. under a pilot program sponsored by the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition Inc.
Rossi has agreed to have the charger installed in the City Hall parking lot for public use.
Once the two-week project is finished, electric car owners can use the charger for free because it is connected to an existing solar array atop the adjacent, future West Haven Center for the Arts, Colter said.
The city, however, will monitor the usage cost and may install a pay station if the usage exceeds what it earns from the rooftop solar photovoltaic system, he said.
The charger installation is a cooperative effort between the West Haven Department of Public Works and the Hamden school’s electrician training program.
(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
City Council slates spring cleanups
WEST HAVEN, April 20, 2021 — Each City Council district will hold spring cleanups over the next few months. The cleanup efforts will be led by each district council member in cooperation with Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and the Department of Public Works.
Details at Spring Cleanups.
Applications available May 3-28 for summer youth jobs in West Haven
WEST HAVEN, April 20, 2021 — Applications for the Summer Youth Employment Program will be available from May 3-28 in the athletic director’s office at West Haven High School and the main office at Bailey Middle School.
The four- or five-week summer program, which begins July 5, is aimed at funding positions for low-income city residents ages 14-21.
Students must return applications with all required documents to their school office.
Students who attend other schools must download an Application.
Downloaded applications with all required documents are due by noon May 28 to coordinator Jim Eagan, Summer Youth Employment Program, Department of Human Resources, 355 Main St., West Haven, CT 06516. Applications can also be inserted into the drop box at the Main Street entrance of City Hall.
No applications will be accepted after May 28.
Students must also include copies of information, such as a birth certificate and Social Security card, as well as documentation of household income.
Family income is based on the number of people per household and is required to be within 185% of state poverty income levels.
Incomplete applications will not be processed. Applicants will be notified by mail or phone if more information is needed.
Every Friday is #FunFactFriday on W. Haven centennial Facebook page
WEST HAVEN, April 9, 2021 — The City of West Haven Centennial Celebration Committee has launched a new series called #FunFactFriday to promote the community’s 100th anniversary this year.
Every Friday, the committee will post tidbits celebrating historical events, people and places in West Haven from the past 100 years on its official Facebook page, City of West Haven Centennial Celebration - 1921-2021.
The page is administered by the city and edited by Dan Shine, one of the foremost authorities on West Haven history. Like the page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CityofWestHavenCentennialCelebrationCommittee.
The historical facts are compiled from various West Haven Library references by staff members Taylor Cordova and Kiana Arevalo under the supervision of Executive Director Colleen Bailie.
The committee is planning a number of commemorative events, starting June 24, to observe the 1921 birth of Connecticut’s youngest town.