West Haven Irishwoman of the Year Kelly Canning Ruickoldt. A second-generation Irish-American, Canning Ruickoldt will receive the "Irish Person of the Year" honor at noon March 17 on the Campbell Avenue side of City Hall. (Contributed Photo)
Canning Ruickoldt named city’s Irishwoman of the Year
WEST HAVEN, March 6, 2017 — Kelly Canning Ruickoldt, an enthusiastic promoter of Irish culture and tradition, will receive West Haven’s Irishwoman of the Year award on St. Patrick’s Day at the city’s 26th annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.
The West Haven St. Patrick’s Day Committee will fete Canning Ruickoldt, the granddaughter of immigrant grandparents from the town of Mohill in County Leitrim, Ireland, by hanging a green street sign designating City Hall’s Campbell Avenue entrance “Kelly Canning Ruickoldt Square” for a year.
Last year’s awardee, Board of Education and Democratic Town Committee Chairman James W. Morrissey, will take home his sign at the start of the ceremony.
The “Irish Person of the Year” honor is bestowed annually on an Irish resident, or couple, who epitomizes service in the city’s ardent Irish-American community.
“I am very thankful to the St. Patrick’s Day Committee for selecting me as the 2017 recipient of the West Haven Irish Person of the Year,” said Canning Ruickoldt, grand marshal of the 2014 Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade, who will toast her Irish lineage with scores of her closest friends and relatives, along with a passel of shamrock-clad dignitaries and descendants of folks from the Emerald Isle.
“I am beyond excited and proud to receive this honor,” she said.
Accompanied by Celtic music played by a bagpiper, members of the Police Department and West Shore Fire Department emerald societies will escort Canning Ruickoldt to the Campbell Avenue side of City Hall at noon March 17 for her special recognition.
A corned beef and cabbage lunch will follow in the basement conference room of City Hall, 355 Main St.
In 1906, at the ages of 18 and 21, respectively, Canning Ruickoldt’s paternal grandparents, Francis Joseph Canning and the former Catherine Louise O’Brien, left their homeland in search of a better life in the U.S., eventually marrying in 1912 and finding their way to New Haven’s Bishop Street eight years later.
“My grandfather came to America with only $10 in his pocket, but through hard work and determination, he made a promising future for himself and his wife and four children,” said Canning Ruickoldt, whose grandfather toiled for the New Haven Gas Light Co.
The St. Patrick’s Day Committee, led by Chairwoman Joanne Conlan, includes the lifeblood of West Haven’s Irish-American society, such as members of the Irish-American Club and former honorees, as well as former and current city, fire and police officials.
“As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we pay tribute to the extraordinary good works of the Irish people to the character, culture and vibrancy of the United States,” Mayor Edward M. O’Brien said. “In the spirit of Erin’s patron saint, let us recognize the indelible mark that generations of Irish-Americans like Kelly Canning Ruickoldt have made in shaping the life of our country and the story of our community.”
Canning Ruickoldt hails from an ancestry whose legacy is stitched into the tapestry of the American fabric.
From celestial green shores, millions of daring Irish sons and daughters set out across the Atlantic Ocean seeking a brighter day in the New World, overcoming hardship and strife through the enduring values of strength and sacrifice, faith and family.
Canning Ruickoldt, a longtime Westie, is known for her propensity to give back to the city and its deep-rooted Irish-American community.
She is a dedicated member of the Irish-American Club and served as president from 2008 to 2010, vice president from 2006 to 2008 and secretary from 2004 to 2006.
She also wears many hats on the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, sitting on the executive board and the general and ball committees and serving as chairwoman of the committee’s annual “Tip a Past Grand Marshal” benefit.
O’Brien lauded the civic-minded Canning Ruickoldt, whom he called “a woman of principle,” for “devoting her time, talents and energy to the Irish-American community.”
O’Brien will present her with an Irish flag and a mayoral proclamation citing her passion for all things Irish and “inspiring contributions to our local identity.”
Canning Ruickoldt, a 1976 graduate of West Haven High School, will also receive a jacket embroidered with her new title: Irishwoman of the Year.
The rich culture of Ireland touches all aspects of American society, including in West Haven where it continues to flourish because of celebrations honoring St. Patrick.
Bagpiper Jason Hall of the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums will lead the opening procession, followed by remarks from master of ceremonies David Coyle.
The Rev. Mark R. Jette, who serves St. Lawrence and St. Paul churches, will offer an Irish blessing. Michael Enright, Canning Ruickoldt’s son, will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Irish national anthem, “Soldier’s Song,” followed by a greeting from O’Brien.
Joined by her husband of eight years, Doug “the Rake” Ruickoldt, and her children, including daughters Rebecca Enright and 2005 Parade Queen Melinda Enright Cinolauro, Canning Ruickoldt will then pull off a shroud revealing the rectangular sign.
Canning Ruickoldt said her step “bonus sons,” Douglas J. Ruickoldt and Councilman Nicholas W. Ruickoldt, D-2, will also accompany her at the ceremony, along with her son-in-law, Anthony Cinolauro, her 9-month-old grandson, Benjamin Cinolauro, her two sisters, Karen Ramos and Holly Bonzagni, and her two brothers, Michael and Peter Canning.
Canning Ruickoldt was born in New Haven in 1957 to Francis “Buddy” Canning, a telephone company worker, and the former Joan Hines, a homemaker.
After the Cannings moved to West Haven in 1960, Canning Ruickoldt and her siblings were raised in a single-family home on Prospect Avenue in West Shore.
The Irish Catholic clan “enjoyed all that West Haven offered and spent many wonderful years at Savin Rock and the West Shore beach,” she said.
For the past 27 years, Canning Ruickoldt has been employed by the West Haven Community House as Head Start’s office manager, where she enjoys interacting with children, especially dressing as the Cat in the Hat while reading to kids of the school readiness program.
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. May 29 along Campbell Avenue. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 203-937-3705.
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 www.whparkrec.com or call 203-937-3651 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
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.
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)
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
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.