City Notes
O’Brien taking his message to streets of West Haven

O’Brien taking his message to streets of West Haven

WEST HAVEN, March 27, 2017 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien is taking his message to the streets — literally.

On April 6, O’Brien will spend the day walking the streets of West Haven and talking with constituents about the most pressing issues facing the city.

“Mayor O’Brien’s West Haven Walk & Talk” will visit a number of businesses, organizations and schools, as well as municipal buildings and departments, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:35 p.m.

The rain date is April 7.

“This walk will be a wonderful opportunity to reach out to our constituents across the city and hear their concerns and ideas,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien, who will at times be joined by City Council members and business owners, will walk through neighborhoods in each of West Haven’s 10 districts, covering 12.8 miles in just over 11 hours, he said.

O’Brien said he is encouraging council members to meet up with him at as many stops as possible, adding that at-large members — Democrats Ronald M. Quagliani and David C. Forsyth and Republican David Riccio — are welcome to join him anywhere on the route.

“I’m planning this walk to ensure we make at least one stop in every single district,” O’Brien said. “For this reason, I’m asking residents to reserve part of April 6 to join me when I’m in your district. Whether you would like to walk with me or meet me at one of the stops or both, I would greatly appreciate you joining me for part of this exciting event.”

The tour’s full schedule, with times and locations, is available at Walk & Talk Itinerary. All times are approximate, O’Brien said.

At 7:30 a.m., O’Brien will start the walking tour with Councilman Russell E. Aldrich Jr., D-1, at Jerri’s Luncheonette, 564 Campbell Ave.

From the diner, O’Brien will stroll up the city’s main thoroughfare to the Veterans Affairs Hospital, 950 Campbell Ave., where he will meet Councilwoman Stacy Riccio, D-4, at 8:20 a.m., followed by Councilwoman Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5, at 8:50 a.m. at the John Prete public housing complex, 1187 Campbell Ave.

At 9:25 a.m., O’Brien will meet council Chairman James P. O’Brien, D-6, at The Atwood, a new $18 million, 90,150-square-foot mixed-use development at 222 Boston Post Road, which is set to open in the fall. They will be joined by a representative of project developer Forest Road Manor LLC.

At 11:45 a.m., after various stops, the mayor will meet Councilman David G. Russell, D-7, at Vertical Church, 225 Meloy Road.

O’Brien will then walk to police headquarters, 200 Sawmill Road, and break for a half-hour lunch with officers and others in the department’s community room before meeting Councilwoman Tracy A. Morrisey, D-8, at 1:15 p.m. at Mackrille Elementary School, 806 Jones Hill Road.

He will stop at 1:45 p.m. at Bailey Middle School, 106 Morgan Lane, before meeting Councilwoman Louise Martone, D-10, at 2:20 p.m. at Pagels Elementary School, 26 Benham Hill Road.

The tour will then proceed along the shoreline, stopping at 3:30 p.m. at the West Shore firehouse, 860 Ocean Ave., and at 4:25 p.m. at the Surfside public housing complex, 200 Oak St.

After chatting with constituents at three restaurants — Biagetti’s, Duffy’s Tavern and Z’s Corner Cafe, respectively — on Campbell Avenue, O’Brien will stop at 6:15 p.m. at Zuppardi’s Apizza, 179 Union Ave., where he will meet Councilman Ralph A. Eberle, D-3.

O’Brien will wrap up the tour at 6:35 p.m. at City Hall, 355 Main St.

Residents’ input sought for draft Harbor Management Plan

Residents’ input sought for draft Harbor Management Plan

WEST HAVEN, March 27, 2017 — The Harbor Management Commission will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 5 at City Hall, 355 Main St., to reveal its draft Harbor Management Plan.

During the informational meeting, held in the second-floor Harriet C. North Community Room, the commission and its Westport coastal consultant, Geoffrey Steadman, will present the draft plan to the public and answer questions about it.

People are invited to comment on the draft, even though it is not a public hearing.

After the meeting, the commission will consider all comments from residents and others, make any necessary revisions to the draft, and forward it to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for any reactions prior to a formal public hearing of the commission in June.

The commission prepared the draft with authority provided to the city by state law.

To take effect, the City Council must adopt the plan as specified in the West Haven Code of ordinances.

To help people prepare for the meeting, they can view the draft plan at Harbor Management.

Mayor Edward M. O’Brien said the Harbor Management Plan will guide the most appropriate uses of West Haven’s navigable waters and intertidal areas for recreational, commercial and conservation purposes.

“The Harbor Management Plan should help the city take a more active role in managing its waterfront,” O’Brien said. “I commend Chairman Eugene Pacapelli and the hardworking members of the Harbor Management Commission for their efforts on the plan.”

Pacapelli said: “The commission has been working on this plan for almost two years now, and we are anxious to present this draft to the public April 5. We have asked for public input throughout the process and have been grateful that so many West Haven residents and businesspeople value the city’s waterfront as its most significant asset.

“Last year, for example, we conducted an online community survey addressing the waterfront and harbor management area and had more than 575 responses,” he said. “Nearly everyone who responded indicated that the shoreline and access to it is most important to the quality of life in our city.”

Anyone with questions about the draft plan or public informational meeting can contact Assistant City Planner David W. Killeen at or 203-937-3500, ext. 3007.

West Haven toasts Canning Ruickoldt as Irishwoman of the Year

Mayor Edward M. O'Brien helps Irishwoman of the Year Kelly Canning Ruickoldt pull off the shroud revealing the green street sign designating the Campbell Avenue side of City Hall "Kelly Canning Ruickoldt Square" for the next year at West Haven's 26th annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration Friday. Looking on are, from left, Canning Ruickoldt's son, Michael Enright, her husband, Doug "the Rake" Ruickoldt, and O'Brien's administrative assistant, Erin Sweeney. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

City toasts Canning Ruickoldt as Irishwoman of the Year

WEST HAVEN, March 20, 2017 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien presented Kelly Canning Ruickoldt, an ambassador of all things Irish, with a jacket embroidered with her new distinction, Irishwoman of the Year, as part of festivities marking West Haven’s 26th annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration outside City Hall’s Campbell Avenue entrance Friday.

Canning Ruickoldt, a second-generation Irish-American, received other gifts of appreciation and words of praise from O’Brien for “devoting her time, talents and energy to the Irish-American community.”

In addition to O’Brien reading a mayoral proclamation citing Canning Ruickoldt’s “character and principle … (in) shaping the narrative of West Haven’s Irish-American society,” the ceremony featured the unveiling of a green street sign designating the Campbell Avenue side of City Hall “Kelly Canning Ruickoldt Square” until next year’s celebration, when she will pass her title to a fellow person of Irish ancestry.

At the start of the half-hour event, last year’s recipient, Board of Education and Democratic Town Committee Chairman James W. Morrissey, received his rectangular sign to take home.

The West Haven St. Patrick’s Day Committee recognizes an Irish resident, or couple, each year who epitomizes service in the city’s ardent Irish-American community.

“I love being Irish, and this recognition is such an honor … and truly a blessing for me,” said Canning Ruickoldt, grand marshal of the 2014 Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade, who also received a General Assembly citation from state Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, on behalf of the city’s delegation.

As the sound of Celtic music played by a bagpiper filled the bitter cold air during the midday cultural event in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, Canning Ruickoldt toasted her Irish lineage with more than 200 of her closest friends and relatives, including her husband, children and siblings, along with a sea of shamrock-clad dignitaries and descendants of folks from Erin.

“Thank you for supporting me in everything I do for the Irish,” she told the crowd. “Love and peace!”

Canning Ruickoldt, a 1976 graduate of West Haven High School, is the granddaughter of immigrant grandparents from the town of Mohill in County Leitrim, Ireland.

In 1906, at the ages of 18 and 21, respectively, Francis Joseph Canning and the former Catherine Louise O’Brien left their homeland in search of a better life in the United States, eventually marrying in 1912 and finding their way to New Haven’s Bishop Street eight years later.

O’Brien also presented an Irish flag to Canning Ruickoldt, who was accompanied onstage by her husband of eight years, Doug “the Rake” Ruickoldt, and her son, Michael Enright, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Irish national anthem, “Soldier’s Song.” A short distance away, flanking City Hall’s snow-covered grounds, her daughters, Rebecca Enright and 2005 Parade Queen Melinda Enright Cinolauro, and her two sisters and two brothers looked on with great pride as their mother and sister was feted.

Canning Ruickoldt was also joined by her step “bonus sons,” Douglas J. Ruickoldt and Councilman Nicholas W. Ruickoldt, D-2, as well as her son-in-law, Anthony Cinolauro, her 9-month-old grandson, Benjamin Cinolauro, and her 10-year-old step “bonus grandson,” Salvatore Cinolauro.

The opening procession was led by bagpiper Jason Hall of the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums and members of the Police Department and West Shore Fire Department emerald societies. It was followed by remarks from master of ceremonies David Coyle, who welcomed the capacity gathering.

After an Irish blessing from the Rev. Mark R. Jette, who serves St. Lawrence and St. Paul churches, O’Brien delivered heartwarming remarks about Canning Ruickoldt.

“Her propensity to give back to West Haven and our deep-rooted Irish-American community is a testament that the American dream is big enough for everybody,” O’Brien said.

Canning Ruickoldt is a dedicated member of the West Haven 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.

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.

To view the photo gallery, click on Scenes from the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

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. 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 or faxed to 203-937-3705.

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