City Notes
Participants sought for Memorial Day parade

Freddy Jackson, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422, kneels beside the granite U.S. Army insignia marker May 11, 2016, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Bradley Point Park. Jackson, an Army vet who served in Colorado and Korea in 1963-66, will lead the 2017 Memorial Day parade as grand marshal when it steps off rain or shine at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 29. Jackson was selected to steer last year's parade, but it was canceled due to rain. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Participants sought for Memorial Day parade

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — The city is seeking veterans, civic groups, fraternal organizations, service clubs and marching bands to participate in the annual Memorial Day parade, which steps off rain or shine at 10:30 a.m. May 29.

Participants must register and list required special accommodations.

Transportation is provided for veterans who are unable to walk the 1.5-mile parade course, which follows Campbell Avenue from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Center Street. To make arrangements, call the mayor’s office at 203-937-3510.

The parade grand marshal is Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422 Cmdr. Freddy Jackson, an Army veteran who served in Colorado and Korea in 1963-66 during the Vietnam War era.

Jackson was originally selected by the West Haven Veterans Council to lead last year’s parade, but it was canceled due to rain.

Participation forms are available in the mayor’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St., where they are due April 21. Forms can also be emailed to parade organizer Erin Sweeney at or faxed to 203-937-3705.

Registration opens March 21 for Park-Rec day camps

Registration opens March 21 for Park-Rec day camps

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — Registration opens March 21 for residents and nonresidents for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Tiny Tots Camp (ages 3-4), Junior Day Camp (ages 5-6) and Painter Park Day Camp (ages 6-12).

Director Bill Slater said the department is offering four two-week sessions this summer, starting June 19.

For locations, dates and fees, go to or call 203-937-3651 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

In-house work saves money for new park maintenance digs

In-house work saves money for new park maintenance headquarters

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — Mark E. Paine Jr., left, the assistant to Public Works Commissioner Dominic Perrotti, far right, updates Mayor Edward M. O’Brien on the cost-effective interior work being done by city crews Thursday at the new Department of Park Maintenance headquarters in Veterans Memorial Park at 129 Bull Hill Lane. To save taxpayers money, the city is performing the drywall, electrical, framing and tile work in-house. The 3,500-square-foot prefabricated steel building, which is expected to open in early March, was erected in two months by Granby-based Steel and Concrete Construction Services, a subcontractor of United Steel Inc. of East Hartford. The $250,000 project, which includes a bathroom, an office and two drive-thru bays for loading, was financed at no cost to residents, thanks to Local Capital Improvement Program funds from the state Office of Policy and Management. The Public Works Department’s former facility in the park, which previously housed the federal Nike site, was converted into locker rooms and a bathroom as part of the recent Veterans Memorial Field upgrades. For the past year, the department has been operating out of the highway maintenance garage at 1 Collis St. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

BonTempo sworn in as West Haven police commissioner

BonTempo sworn in as West Haven police commissioner

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — City Clerk Deborah Collins swears in former city Deputy Police Chief Peter BonTempo to the Board of Police Commissioners on Thursday at City Hall as Mayor Edward M. O’Brien looks on. BonTempo, who retired from the department in 2000 after a decorated career of nearly 23 years, succeeds Commissioner Andrew J. “Bud” Giaquinto Jr., whose five-year term expired Jan. 31. (City Photo/John W. Lewis)

Cultural event celebrates West Haven’s black heritage

West Haven High School seniors Lauren Lewis and Sai Maurice, holding certificates, receive Black Heritage Committee awards for outstanding leadership from, from left, John W. Lewis, executive assistant to Mayor Edward M. O'Brien, Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro and Principal Pamela B. Gardner during West Haven's 21st annual Black Heritage Celebration Wednesday at City Hall. The cultural event is presented in honor of Black History Month. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Cultural event celebrates West Haven’s black heritage

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — The city honored the rich legacy of African-Americans and the enduring contributions they have made to the diverse history and vibrant culture of the United States at the 21st Black Heritage Celebration Wednesday at City Hall.

During the annual event in observance of Black History Month, the city’s Black Heritage Committee paid tribute to West Haven High School seniors Lauren Lewis and Sai Maurice for outstanding leadership and recognized city police Officer Marcus Tavares and the late West Haven Fire Department firefighter Ransford “Smitty” Smith Jr. as its African-American Citizens of the Year.

On behalf of her husband, who was on the job for more than six years before he died of cancer in December, Christina Smith, choking back tears, accepted a mayoral citation from John W. Lewis, executive assistant to Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, recognizing the late Smith’s “exceptional devotion to the integrity of the City of West Haven and its vibrant African-American community.”

Lewis, the father of Lauren Lewis, represented O’Brien, who was unable to attend.

Reading aloud the citation, Lewis said Smith’s “leadership and service have safeguarded the residents of the First Fire Taxation District.”

Tavares, who has been on the force in West Haven since retiring from the New Haven Police Department in 2014 after a 20-year career, was also presented with a mayoral citation from Lewis.

“As a member of our city’s finest, you have made inspiring contributions to the life of West Haven, protecting it in every corner, and have enriched the tapestry of our diverse community,” said Lewis, reading aloud the citation.

The one-hour program, held in the Harriet C. North Community Room, featured a rendition of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” sung by the West Haven High chorus under the direction of Phyllis Silver. The chorus was then accompanied by the near-capacity assembly of dignitaries, family, friends and residents, along with an array of police officers and firefighters, on “Hymn to Freedom,” a 1963 recording by Canadian jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson.

The ceremony was led by Bailey Middle School eighth-grader Nora E. Mullins, the mistress of ceremonies, on behalf of her father, Program Chairman Steven R. Mullins, vice chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, who was also unable to attend. She was assisted by city police Commissioner Deborah Wright.

It included remarks from Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro, keynote speaker Anthony Campbell, acting chief of the New Haven Police Department, and committee President Ernestine Jackson.

Committee founder Beulah “Bea” Johnson read aloud the poem “The Voice of a Negro Woman.”

Lauren Lewis, who is deciding where she will pursue her college education in the fall, and Maurice, who plans to study mechanical engineering at Andrews University in Michigan, received a Black Heritage Committee certificate of achievement from West Haven High Principal Pamela B. Gardner, who was joined by John Lewis.

Lauren Lewis, vice president of the high school Class Council, is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Smith College Book Award. A peer advocate, she is also captain of the soccer and basketball teams.

Maurice, co-leader of the school’s Governance Council, has volunteered as a deacon and pianist at the Brooklawn Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bridgeport.

Campbell, who received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, empowered the pair of student honorees and the many other young attendees to help people and to follow their dreams.

“I encourage you to hold fast to your dreams,” said Campbell, citing the poem “Dreams” by American poet and social activist Langston Hughes.

Campbell, who was motivated by his own dreams, was unsure if they were still achievable after suffering a life-threatening injury that left his future uncertain with New Haven’s finest.

While on duty 11 years ago, Campbell was initially paralyzed on his right side after a convicted felon intentionally struck his vehicle, he said.

But he never doubted himself and his future, Campbell said, and with grit and resolve, he steadily regained his health, fighting his way back to a desk assignment in 22 months and to patrol duty in 30 months.

He eventually rose through the department’s ranks to his current post, all the while keeping his eyes on the prize.

“The future is dependent on what we do now,” Campbell said.

In honor of the monthlong black history celebration, organizers have adorned the walls of City Hall with banners and posters depicting important black leaders and role models worldwide.

The committee has worked since 1996 to promote racial harmony across West Haven, transforming City Hall into an exhibition of African-American art and literature throughout Black History Month to educate residents about black culture.

To view the photo gallery, click on Scenes from the 2017 Black Heritage Celebration.

City’s TOD plans featured in CCM magazine

City’s TOD plans featured in CCM magazine

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — West Haven’s transit-oriented development plans are featured in the February issue of Connecticut Town & City.

The city is highlighted on Page 28 of the Economic Development section of the magazine, which is published monthly by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

“The city of West Haven has all the ingredients to move forward some economic development goals that center around transportation, people, infrastructure, and governance,” according to the article, titled “Right Track: West Haven transit-oriented development plans move forward,” which contains quotes from Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and Assistant City Planner David W. Killeen.

The story, which includes a color photo of the West Haven Metro-North Railroad commuter station, highlights the city’s plans for its TOD zoning district for the area surrounding the train station, an initiative aimed at “encouraging a more walkable, bikeable, mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly environment,” O’Brien has said.

“With nearly 5,000 residents per acre, West Haven is the fifth densest city in Connecticut behind Bridge­port, Hartford, New Haven, and New Britain. It has the infrastructure in place. There is vacant former industri­al space located just blocks from the train station,” according to the article.

To read the full story, click on Right Track.

Volunteers sought for osprey, shorebird monitoring

Volunteers sought for shorebird monitoring

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — The Connecticut Audubon Society is holding a training session for volunteer bird monitors.

The session, for those interested in monitoring piping plovers and other shorebirds, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday at the society’s Stratford Point office, 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford. The snow date is Sunday.

To register, email the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds at

Details at Shorebirds.

For details about the sessions, go to

Chamber breakfast discusses city’s Legislative Agenda

Chamber breakfast discusses city’s Legislative Agenda

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — From left, state Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven; state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven; Mayor Edward M. O’Brien; and West Haven Chamber of Commerce Director Alan R. Olenick pause during the chamber’s Legislative Breakfast Feb. 21 at Apple Rehab, 308 Savin Ave. Chamber members conferred with O’Brien and West Haven’s state delegation to discuss the city’s 2017 Legislative Agenda and the impact of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s recommended budget, which was presented to the General Assembly Feb. 8. (Contributed Photo)

Passing the flag; Columbus Day parade set for 1 p.m. Oct. 8

Passing the flag; Columbus Day parade steps off Oct. 8

NEW HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — With preparations underway for this year’s Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade in West Haven, West Haven Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, right, accepts the traditional passing of the Italian flag from Hamden Mayor Curt B. Leng on Oct. 5 at the 2016 Heritage Dinner presented by the Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven at Anthony’s Ocean View, 450 Lighthouse Road. Hamden was slated to host last year’s Italian-American cultural event, but it was canceled due to rain. The 2017 Columbus Day parade, the largest of its kind in New England, steps off at 1 p.m. Oct. 8 along Campbell Avenue in West Haven. The two-hour parade, which rotates among six municipalities, was previously held in the city in 2011 and 2006. (Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven Photo/Paul Criscuolo)

Couples celebrated

Couples celebrated

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 28, 2017 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, center, joins Frank and Joyce Flegler, of West Prospect Street, during the city’s 27th annual Valentine’s Day party Feb. 14 at the Savin Rock Conference Center. The Fleglers, who have been married for 56 years, were among 25 city couples married at least 50 years who were honored at the afternoon event, which was presented by the mayor’s office. The couples received chocolates, roses and a photograph of themselves in a frame. The party featured music by the Clam Diggers. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Way to Go!

Way to Go!

MILFORD, Feb. 28, 2017 — From left, Claudine O’Donnell, an occupational therapist at KidSense Therapy Group, 209 Cherry St., receives the Way to Go award Jan. 24 from Kyle Scarpulla, 15, his grandmother Viola Waldo and his mother, Kenia Waldo, on behalf of the West Haven Interagency Network for Children. O’Donnell was nominated by Viola Waldo, a member of the West Haven Parent Support Group, for keeping her grandson busy with interesting activities during their appointments. Waldo said, “The activities, besides being interesting, are also always related to building skills that Kyle will use in his daily life.” The Way to Go program honors teachers, therapists and coaches who go “above and beyond” to help children and establish better relationships with families and providers. (City Photo/Robert S. Morton)

Bulk trash pickup week, e-waste drop-off day in March

Bulk trash pickup week, e-waste drop-off day coming in March

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 8, 2017 — The next e-waste drop-off day is March 4, and the next bulk trash pickup week is March 6-10.

City officials said the two services are not the same, however, and are reminding residents to take note of the difference.

During bulk trash week, crews will not pick up electronic items, including TVs. They will only pick up such bulk items as couches, chairs, mattresses, tables, carpeting, padding, fencing and small amounts of bundled lumber, which may not exceed 6 feet in length.

The amount of bulk trash per collection is limited to 6 cubic yards, which is equal to a pile of trash 6 feet long, 6 feet wide and 4 ½ feet high.

More details at Bulk Trash Pickup.

For electronic recyclables, which are defined as typically anything that plugs in or needs a battery, residents must drop off those items from 8 a.m.-noon at the highway maintenance garage, 1 Collis St.

The collection is free for residents who have such electronic items as TVs, hand-held video games, computers and monitors, copiers and scanners, microwave and toaster ovens, dehumidifiers and other small appliances.

More details at E-waste Drop-off.

Applications due March 15 for 10th phase of Brick Campaign

Applications due March 15 for 10th phase of Brick Campaign

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 8, 2017 — The West Haven Veterans Council has launched the 10th phase of its popular Brick Campaign.

In November 2006, the council began the first of 10 campaigns selling bricks to memorialize vets on the 100-yard Veterans Walk of Honor between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials in Bradley Point Park.

The bricks, which cost $75, have charcoal lettering for personalized messages.

To download an application, click on Veterans Brick Application.

Applications are also available in the mayor’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St. For details, call 203-937-3510. Applications are due March 15.

The dedication of the 10th phase of the brick Walk of Honor is set for 5 p.m. May 27.

About 2,500 bricks have been installed so far, including 135 for the ninth phase, which was dedicated last May and 104 for the eighth phase, which was dedicated in May 2015 along with a granite stone in memory of Lorelee “Lori” Grenfell, longtime president of the Veterans Council, who died Feb. 19, 2015, at age 60. The memorial was crafted by Giordano Bros. Monuments of Derby Avenue.

The walkway’s first phase and the city’s first 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 Fresh Meadow Road.

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 that signify every war in U.S. history and peacetime were dedicated. The markers are mounted on granite posts.

Elderly, disabled homeowners offered tax relief

Elderly, disabled homeowners offered tax relief

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 8, 2017 — Assessor Ann Marie Gradoia is accepting applications for tax relief programs for elderly and disabled homeowners.

Residents can apply for the programs, based on their 2016 incomes, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, Feb. 15-May 15, in the assessor’s office on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

The state elderly and disabled homeowners program offers tax reduction benefits depending on income and marital status.

To qualify, the applicant or spouse must be 65 or older by Dec. 31, 2016, or permanently and totally disabled as defined by Social Security.

Income limits, including Social Security, are $42,900 for a married couple and $35,200 for a single person.

To qualify for the West Haven senior tax freeze program, the applicant must be 70 years old by the end of the previous calendar year and have lived in the city for 20 consecutive years.

Income limits, excluding Social Security, are $50,000 for a married couple and $35,000 for a single person. Those eligible for the program must reapply each year.

The state tax freeze program is only for residents already enrolled with incomes not exceeding $6,000, excluding Social Security.

Applicants who receive railroad retirement benefits must include the taxable portion.

The assessor’s office is also accepting applications until Oct. 1 for additional veterans exemptions. The maximum income is $42,900 for a married applicant and $35,200 for a single applicant.

Taxpayers can appeal real estate, personal property and supplemental motor vehicle assessments

Taxpayers can appeal real estate, personal property and supplemental motor vehicle assessments

WEST HAVEN, Feb. 8, 2017 — The Board of Assessment Appeals will hear appeals of real estate and personal property assessments on the 2016 grand list by appointment during March in the assessor’s office at City Hall.

The board will also hear appeals of motor vehicle assessments on the 2015 supplemental motor vehicle grand list that received a tax bill due Jan. 1.

Any property owner who wants to appeal an assessment must submit a written application to the board. The assessor’s office must receive the completed form to have it stamped in by 5 p.m. Feb. 17.

Applications are available in the assessor’s office on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St., or by calling the office at 203-937-3515. To download an application, click on Board of Assessment Appeals.

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