West Haven Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announces West Shore Fire Department Deputy Chief Rafael Zayas, left, as the city’s Hispanic American of the Year on Thursday, Sept. 7, at City Hall. Joining them are West Shore Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman Robert Bruneau, third from left, and Public Works Commissioner Tom J. McCarthy. Rossi and the West Haven Hispanic Heritage Committee will honor Zayas at noon Friday on the steps of City Hall, 355 Main St. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
Deputy Fire Chief Zayas named city’s Hispanic of Year
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 12, 2023 — West Shore Fire Department Deputy Chief Rafael Zayas will receive the city’s Hispanic American of the Year award at the fifth annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced.
Rossi and the West Haven Hispanic Heritage Committee will honor Zayas, the son of Puerto Rican-born parents, at noon Friday at City Hall, 355 Main St.
The committee bestows the award annually on a Hispanic resident who epitomizes service in West Haven’s thriving Hispanic community.
“It’s a proud moment being here in West Haven — I wasn’t expecting this award,” said a humble Zayas, who will mark his inaugural year of service with the West Shore Fire District on Oct. 1.
Zayas, 48, will celebrate his Puerto Rican ancestry with dozens of friends, loved ones and firefighters, along with an array of dignitaries and descendants of folks from Puerto Rico and Latin America.
Committee members and West Haven officials led by Rossi will escort Zayas to the steps of City Hall for his special recognition. A Latin-flavored lunch will follow.
West Haven’s diversity is its strength, Rossi said, and Zayas is a testament to the American dream.
“I am thrilled to announce Deputy Chief Rafael Zayas as our Hispanic American of the Year,” Rossi said. “He is an outstanding individual, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the community with the West Shore Fire Department.”
In observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, West Haven recognizes the important legacy of Hispanic Americans and the inspiring contributions they have made to the culture and history of the United States.
Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on the civic and cultural life of America through their strong commitment to faith and family, hard work and public service. They have enhanced and shaped the national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, which traces its roots to 1968, begins each year on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days during that period.
The term Hispanic refers to Puerto Rican, South American or Central American, and other Spanish cultures or origins regardless of race. On the 2020 census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic or Latino origins could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.”
Rossi said Zayas personifies the noble qualities of serving his vibrant community and carrying on the proud traditions of Puerto Rico — as well as the rich tradition of Puerto Ricans in the fire service.
Zayas retired last year from the New Haven Fire Department after nearly a quarter century of service as both a firefighter and officer, including most recently as a deputy chief and a battalion chief.
While on the job in the Elm City, he received five unit citations for work at fires.
For two decades, Zayas represented his fellow Puerto Rican smoke eaters as a member of the New Haven Hispanic Firefighters Association.
As the association’s president from 2014 to 2021, he was instrumental in organizing Thanksgiving food giveaways, toy drives and Three Kings Day celebrations in Greater New Haven’s Hispanic community. He also distributed back-to-school supplies and organized a scholarship banquet for high school seniors from New Haven.
Rossi lauded the civic-minded Zayas, whom she called a man of faith and service, for his devotion to the city and its robust Hispanic community.
Zayas is also known for his volunteerism at his house of worship, Christian Community of Restoration to the Nations, or CCRN, a nondenominational Christian church in Hamden.
At the City Hall event, Rossi will present him with a Puerto Rican flag and a mayoral citation for his good works.
Zayas will also receive an embroidered “Hispanic American of the Year” jacket from Rossi and a General Assembly citation from Milford Democratic Sen. James J. Maroney, the Senate’s deputy majority leader whose district includes West Haven, on behalf of the city’s delegation.
The cultural event will include remarks by Public Works Commissioner Tom J. McCarthy, the master of ceremonies. Before a blessing, Ana Garcia will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Puerto Rican national anthem, “La Borinqueña,” followed by remarks by Rossi.
Zayas was born in New Haven to Domingo and Raquel Zayas. His father hails from the town of Orocovis in central Puerto Rico and his mother from the town of Hatillo on the island’s north coast.
Zayas was raised with his older sister and younger brother on Spring Street in New Haven’s Hill neighborhood and graduated from Wilbur Cross High School in 1992.
His father worked in the maintenance department at the former St. Regis Health Center in the Elm City, and his mother worked in the food service department at New Haven Public Schools. Both are retired and live in Hamden.
Zayas is a graduate of Gateway Community College.
He and his wife of nine years, Catalina Guzman Zayas, have a 1-year-old son, Ethan, and live in West Shore.
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Expo to promote public safety education in Grove on Oct. 7
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 12, 2023 — The city will join West Haven’s three fire departments to mark the eve of Fire Prevention Week at an exposition of all things fire, emergency management, public safety, police and health in Old Grove Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7.
The third annual West Haven Fire, Emergency Management, 911 ERS, Police & Health Expo will bring together families and first responders — firefighters, police officers, EMTs, health care professionals — from around the state for hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations to promote public safety education.
The free public exhibition will include music by Tony V.
For all the details, see the Flyer.
Bulk pickup week underway; e-waste drop-off Oct. 14
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 11, 2023 — The final bulk trash pickup week of 2023 is underway.
West Haven residents are reminded to separate metals, recyclables and regular trash from bulk trash and put them out no more than 24 hours before pickup. Violations carry a $100 fine per daily offense, Public Works Commissioner Tom J. McCarthy said.
Residents are also reminded to “Put a Lid on It!” and use lids on all trash cans. Rain-soaked trash costs West Haven 10 times more at the dump, said McCarthy, adding that using trash can lids will save the city money by reducing the weight of trash and cost of tipping fees.
Bulk items include couches, chairs, tables, carpeting, padding and fencing, which may not exceed 6 feet in length. No building materials, tires, mattresses, propane tanks or hazardous waste are accepted.
Options for disposing of building materials include renting a dumpster or bringing the materials to a disposal facility for a fee.
Tires and mattresses are not considered bulk trash and will not be collected.
Tires can be brought to Town Fair Tire, 63 Boston Post Road, Orange, for a fee of $2.75 per tire.
Mattress drop-off at the city garage, 1 Collis St., has been discontinued because of public safety concerns.
To dispose of mattresses moving forward, residents must buy mattress bags from the Department of Public Works and put them out for pickup on their weekly curbside collection day, not bulk pickup week. The bags cost $20 each for the first two and $35 each after that. They are payable by cash or check and are available in the public works office on the third floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.
Residents should take note that mattress pickup will end Oct. 1 and resume April 1, 2024.
Hazardous waste can be dropped off for free at HazWaste Central, 90 Sargent Drive, New Haven. HazWaste is open Saturday mornings through October.
Propane tanks can be brought to Taylor Rental, 304 Boston Post Road, Orange, for a fee of $10.60 per tank.
The amount of bulk trash per collection is limited to 6 cubic yards, which is equal to a pile of trash about 6 feet long, 6 feet wide and 4 ½ feet high.
Homeowners are required to rent a dumpster or hire a junk removal service at their expense if trash exceeds 6 cubic yards. Otherwise, trash exceeding 6 cubic yards will be left at the curb, and a $100 fine per daily offense will be imposed, McCarthy said.
To prevent a potential fine, property owners should familiarize themselves with the city’s trash guidelines at Public Works.
Bulk trash must be generated by the customer at the residential unit where it is collected. Trash will not be collected if it is generated by anyone other than the resident of the home.
Bulk items must be separated and orderly. Do not place them next to a mailbox or utility pole or close to a fence, McCarthy said.
Also, do not place bulk items in front of a vacant lot or home — they will not be collected, he said.
Details at Bulk Trash Pickup.
In addition to bulk trash, the city picks up metals, including household appliances, also known as white goods, and toilets. To schedule a pickup on their curbside collection day, residents must call the Highway Department at 203-937-3644 or 203-937-3585. Appliance doors must be removed.
Leaf bags are picked up from Oct. 1-Dec. 15. The bags are picked up on residents’ weekly collection days. Leaves and grass clippings must be in separate biodegradable paper bags and will not be accepted if they are in plastic bags.
The city also picks up brush that is cut into 3-to-6-foot lengths and tied in small bundles, no more than 70 pounds. Logs and stumps are prohibited.
Residents can bring grass clippings as well as bagged leaves and untied brush to the compost site, 1 Kimberly Ave., from 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays and 6:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays. The first cubic yard of compost is free with proof of residence. Additional compost costs $25 per cubic yard. Residents must bring buckets and shovels.
For a $50 fee, the Public Works Department will deliver up to 2 cubic yards of compost to homes in West Haven.
For electronic items, including TVs, the final e-waste drop-off day of the year is Oct. 14.
Residents can drop off electronic recyclables — typically anything that contains a circuit board or needs a battery — from 8 a.m.-noon at the city garage.
The city is partnering with Take 2 Inc. of Waterbury, a state-approved recycler and collector of universal e-waste devices, to collect residential electronic items on a quarterly basis.
The collection is free for residents who have such items as computers, monitors, printers, keyboards, modems, computer mice, tablet computers, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, photocopiers, fax machines, scanners, video game machines, digital media players, personal digital assistants, stereo equipment, telephones, cellphones, cameras, microwaves and other small appliances.
Anything that has refrigerant, including air conditioners and dehumidifiers, is not accepted. Those items are considered white goods, and residents are asked to schedule a pickup on their curbside collection day by calling the Highway Department.
Details at E-waste Drop-off.
For the e-waste drop-off, residents are asked to heed the following guidelines:
— Stay in your vehicle.
— Vehicles will be spaced out. Event workers will remove electronics from your vehicle. There should be no interaction between residents and workers.
— No mattresses or box springs will be disposed of at the moment.
— No smoke detectors, ballasts or hazardous waste — lighter fluid, liquids, paint — will be accepted.
— Electronic items left curbside will be tagged with information on the e-waste schedule and must be removed, or face a potential fine.
For the latest news and information, subscribe to the city’s Facebook page at West Haven City Hall.
Board to hear appeals on vehicle assessments in City Hall, 1st floor
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 11, 2023 — The Board of Assessment Appeals will meet in open session from 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 in the assessor’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St., to hear appeals of motor vehicle assessments on the 2022 grand list.
Any owner of a city-registered vehicle claiming an aggrieved assessment can issue an appeal at the hearing.
Arena Rock Tribute will celebrate the music, performance and spectacle of the ’70s and ’80s from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 30 in Old Grove Park on Palace Street in West Haven. The show was rescheduled from July’s Savin Rock Festival and is now part of the city’s new “Fall Foliage Concert Series.” (Publicity Photo)
‘Fall Foliage Concert Series’ continues Sept. 30
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 11, 2023 — The city’s “Fall Foliage Concert Series” will continue at 7 Sept. 30 with Arena Rock Tribute, celebrating the music, performance and spectacle of the ’70s and ’80s.
The new concert series, held in Old Grove Park on Palace Street, will culminate with American Honey on Oct. 13.
The two-hour concerts are free and sponsored by the city and the Department of Parks and Recreation.
American Honey specializes in modern country hits and ’90s pop rock favorites.
The Arena Rock show was scheduled for the Savin Rock Festival in July but was postponed by rain.
American Honey will play a mix of modern country hits and ’90s pop rock favorites from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 13 in Old Grove Park on Palace Street in West Haven. The show is part of the city’s new “Fall Foliage Concert Series.” (Publicity Photo)
Family Resource Fair for special needs families slated for Sept. 20
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 8, 2023 — The West Haven Interagency Network for Children in conjunction with the city Department of Youth and Family Services will hold its 2023 Family Resource Fair from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 20 at the West Haven Community House, 227 Elm St.
The free event will give families of children with special needs an opportunity to learn about resources and services while meeting other families.
The fair will include representatives from the following agencies and programs: American Job Center, Early Learning Program-Gateway CT State Community College, FAVOR Inc., Constellation Kids ABA, Rape Crisis Center, Carelon Behavioral Health, West Haven Community Development Administration, City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown child safety car seat installation program, Connecticut Department of Developmental Services, West Haven Health Department, Bridges Healthcare Inc., WHEAT Inc., West Haven Lions Club, West Haven Police Department, West Haven ERS-911, West Haven Public Library, Team West Haven-Connecticut Special Olympics, Shoreline Wellness, West Haven Department of Parks and Recreation, Love146, Connecticut Child Identification Program and West Haven Board of Education.
Farmers market open Thursdays and Saturdays
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 8, 2023 — The Tony Inzero Farmers Market has opened its 2023 season next to the Oak Street Beach parking lot off Captain Thomas Boulevard.
The market, nestled on the right side of the beach lot, includes state farmers selling homegrown fruits and vegetables and crafters selling wares from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through Oct. 14.
It features artisan breads by Hoffman Unlimited LLC, sauces and jams by Chile King LLC, and salts, oils and vinegars by Dash N’ Drizzle.
The farmers market is partnering with ArtsWest CT this season to showcase a variety of entertainment, such as live performances and unique demonstrations, at the Saturday markets.
The market also includes more than 20 different vendors, crafters, organizations and food trucks during the season.
The Thursday markets feature What the Truck?! BBQ, in addition to ice cream at both markets.
Parking is available in the Oak Street municipal lot and on Palace Street. Oak Street is on the senior shuttle route and the CTtransit route. In addition, a van will run from the West Haven Senior Center, 201 Noble St., to Oak Street at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays.
The Department of Elderly Services is distributing reusable farmers market cards to eligible city residents. Residents 60 and older who meet income requirements are eligible for $24 vouchers in the form of electronic cards. For information on the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, call the department at 203-937-3507.
The farmers market is sponsored by the city and has operated since 2000. It was dedicated in 2010 in memory of Anthony F. “Tony” Inzero, a leader in the downtown business community who co-owned Flower Affair on Campbell Avenue for many years and was a founding member and longtime president of the West Haven Business Association.
To participate in the farmers market or for information, contact Killian Gruber, the market’s manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-937-3510.
For the latest news on the market, go to West Haven Farmers Market.
NEBCO developer pulls out of city
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 6, 2023 — Rock Street Brewery LLC has pulled out of a deal with the city to relocate New England Brewing Co. to the former Savin Rock Conference Center, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi confirmed.
Rossi said she was told by Marty Juliano, NEBCO’s director of business development, on Sept. 4 that a revised lease agreement proposal between the city and developer Doug Gray, the principal of the Delaware-based limited liability company, was off the table because of a lack of support from “some City Council members, a few Land Trust of West Haven members and an appeal filed by the owners of Jimmies of Savin Rock restaurant.”
Most of the city’s residents and businesses supported the brewery project, Rossi said, with many residents speaking in favor of the project at council meetings.
Juliano, a native of West Haven, also told Rossi that the Woodbridge craft brewery apparently has two other offers to relocate elsewhere in the works. He did not specify where, the mayor said.
“Many residents say they want development, and I brought them a development they could be proud of — but a few City Council members and a couple of Land Trust members, along with the Jimmies’ owners’ appeal, tanked it,” a disappointed Rossi said.
On Aug. 31, 2022, the City Council unanimously approved the original lease agreement between the city and Rock Street Brewery to relocate NEBCO to the prime waterfront location at 6 Rock St.
At the time, the 60-year ground lease allowed for the city to maintain ownership of the 4.38-acre property while allowing the developer to demolish the existing conference center and construct a 46,165-square-foot building that would include a brewery, a taproom and event space.
According to the agreement at the time, Gray would pay the city rent and serve as the brewery’s landlord at its “forever home” on the Savin Rock shoreline overlooking Long Island Sound.
That all changed a short time later, however, when the owners of Jimmies at 5 Rock St. initiated litigation with Gray contesting setbacks to the property, adjacent to the Savin Rock landmark off Captain Thomas Boulevard.
To prevent a lengthy litigation process, Gray revised the original plans to encompass the footprint of the existing structure. As a result, the scale of the project was significantly reduced, especially the square footage, Rossi said.
Gray then proposed amending the original lease agreement with the city to reflect the modified plans, which included renovating the existing building instead of demolishing it.
The modified plans also included the elimination of the production component of the project, essentially making it a tasting facility without the original “Brewed in West Haven” concept.
During the public comment session of the City Council meeting at City Hall on Aug. 28, some council members and residents voiced concerns about the proposed lease agreement amendment.
“I am extremely disappointed that some council members and business owners chose to publicly embarrass Mr. Gray and Mr. Juliano at that meeting, which I think is shameful,” Rossi said.
NEBCO, founded by Rob Leonard in Woodbridge in 2002, brews Sea Hag and other popular India pale ales at 175 Amity Road in Woodbridge. Sea Hag is the No. 1-selling craft IPA in Connecticut.
The brewery development was announced by NEBCO executives and city and state leaders in West Haven on Nov. 1, 2021. The proposed multimillion-dollar project had been touted to create up to 100 jobs and generate hundreds of thousands in permit fees and long-term lease payments for the city.
According to city records, the Savin Rock Conference Center opened in April 1997 and closed for renovations in February 2019. The building, constructed in 1971, previously housed The Casino and Harbour Mist restaurants and originally Phyllis’ Restaurant.
WHSC offers Foxwoods trip Nov. 8
WEST HAVEN, Sept. 1, 2023 — The West Haven Senior Center is offering a bus trip to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard on Nov. 8.
Enjoy the new Pequot Woodlands Casino at Foxwoods featuring 430 slot machines, the new high-limit slot room with 130 state-of-the-art machines and the newly opened Wahlburgers restaurant, as well as shopping at the Tanger Outlets.
No casino packages are offered at the moment.
The trip costs $35. Payment is due Oct. 13.
The bus departs at 8:30 a.m. from the Veterans Memorial Park parking lot at 91 Bull Hill Lane, the former Nike site, and leaves at 3 p.m. from Foxwoods.
Non-senior center members and nonresidents are welcome. To reserve a seat, call the center at 203-937-3507.
West Haven Senior Center plans Stonington Vineyards trip Oct. 11
WEST HAVEN, Aug. 18, 2023 — The West Haven Senior Center is offering a bus trip to Stonington Vineyards on Oct. 11.
The trip includes a one-hour wine tasting and a keepsake glass, followed by a visit to Olde Mistick Village, where attendees can shop and have lunch independently.
The trip’s final stop is at the historic B.F. Clydes Cider Mill, the oldest operating steam-powered cider mill in the U.S., which offers cider doughnuts, hard cider, wine and other treats.
The cost is $120. Payment is due Sept. 25.
The bus departs at 9:45 a.m. from the Veterans Memorial Park parking lot at 91 Bull Hill Lane, the former Nike site, and leaves at 4 p.m. from Mystic.
Non-senior center members and nonresidents are welcome. To make a reservation, call the center at 203-937-3507.
West Haven Vietnam vets sought for new section of memorial ‘wall’
WEST HAVEN, Aug. 18, 2023 — Current and former city residents who served in the Vietnam War are sought by the West Haven Vietnam Memorial Inc. Committee to have their names inscribed on a new section of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Bradley Point Park.
To qualify for name recognition on the memorial “wall,” Vietnam veterans must apply and meet the following requirements:
— Applicants must live or have lived in West Haven. Veterans living in West Haven must provide proof of residence, such as a utility bill.
— Applicants must have served in-country during the Vietnam War.
— Applicants must have been honorably discharged from military service. A DD214 form (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) is required.
— Applicants must share potential costs, if any.
The committee does not have a formal application. Veterans must mail all documents, which are due Jan. 1, 2024, to West Haven Vietnam Veterans, City Hall, lower level, 355 Main St., West Haven, CT 06516.
Those with questions can call Bill at 203-521-2356, Steve at 475-655-2993 or Paul at 203-500-2159.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial includes a black granite wall inscribed with the names of those from West Haven who served or gave their lives in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975, along with three white flagpoles draped with the American, Connecticut and prisoner-of-war flags.
The memorial, dedicated Nov. 12, 2003, also includes a black granite map of the four battle districts of Vietnam bearing the inscription “All Gave Some, Some Gave All,” as well as five bronze insignia markers atop black granite posts representing each branch of the U.S. armed forces.