City, chamber rolling out GPS app to promote more business
WEST HAVEN, April 18, 2017 — The city and the Chamber of Commerce are partnering with a Bridgeport mobile application company to help West Haven businesses enhance their online marketing presence.
The startup company, URHere, has rolled out an advanced smartphone app that functions to help people find their way, whether they are indoors or outdoors, said its founder and CEO, Mark Lazarus.
Lazarus, a cybersecurity expert, said the cost-effective program, which combines maps and indoor GPS into one application, allows businesses to plug their name and connect with patrons for improved satisfaction.
To boost customer engagement, the creative app enables business owners to post their own video or audio commercials and photos.
Lazarus said the app, available to the public as a free download on Apple’s App Store and within two months on Google Play, also tracks foot traffic for businesses and displays bus routes.
“URHere gives users access to a menu of easy-to-use operations to locate businesses and destinations and rate their experiences,” said Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, who owned and operated GoldWorks, a jewelry repair and retail shop at 499 Campbell Ave., for nearly three decades before taking office in 2013.
For instance, Lazarus said, to promote a social event or special sale offer, a business can post a commercial, coupon or flyer via URHere and anyone with the app will receive a notification about the event or special.
Merchants can also send a link of their business or social media account to a potential customer’s Apple or Android smartphone, Lazarus said.
“My administration is dedicated to making our city a better place to live, work, shop, dine and stay,” O’Brien said. “URHere is a surefire marketing strategy to showcase your business while helping to bolster and stimulate tourism in our city.”
The URHere program is being financed by the Department of Planning and Development — to the tune of $5,000 per year — as a tool to give city businesses a shot in the arm, said Joseph A. Riccio Jr., commissioner of planning and development.
“We are constantly exploring new initiatives to foster and increase business, economic development and tourism in West Haven,” Riccio said. “I believe this innovative app can make businesses stronger and more prosperous.”
The URHere contract provides the city with 10 beacons, with additional beacons costing $300 each.
The lithium battery-operated beacons, which contain information relevant to where they are installed, are being deployed in popular public areas, including City Hall and parks.
Riccio said the city can also use the 2-by-2-inch beacons to publicize news and events.
To help decrease the cost of online marketing for chamber-member businesses, chamber Director Alan R. Olenick has negotiated a reduced rate with Lazarus that supplies each business with one free beacon for a $45 monthly subscription to URHere.
The service costs $100 per month for non-chamber members, Lazarus said.
Lazarus said the service includes uploading commercials and photos to the URHere website portal and receiving a beacon to blast out notifications. He said subscribers will also receive data on how many people visited their establishment and how many people they sent messages to.
“This is an exciting mixture of technology and business engagement that will give business owners direct marketing with their customers,” Olenick said. “More and more people are finding information immediately on their cellphone. The app will allow marketing directly to the consumer, and hopefully that will create revenue from increased sales.”
Chamber members are encouraged to sign up for URHere by contacting Olenick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-933-1500.
At 6 p.m. April 25, Lazarus will demonstrate URHere for chamber members at App’s Ristorante, 283 Captain Thomas Blvd., to help them get started with using the website portal.
For non-chamber members, Olenick and Lazarus plan to hold a sign-up event in May.
“I would like to thank Mayor O’Brien for being a visionary for making this partnership possible,” Lazarus said. “I believe URHere will help businesses in West Haven move forward and make them more competitive in the marketplace. It is a true honor to work with the mayor and his team, and I look forward to working with the businesses of West Haven.”
For information about URHere, contact Lazarus at email@example.com or 203-561-4944.
Way to Go!
SOUTHPORT, April 18, 2017 — From left, Debra Rich and her son, Zachary Pagnani, 15, present the Way to Go award on behalf of the West Haven Interagency Network for Children to Mark Nilson, an occupational aide at Giant Steps School, 309 Barberry Road, on April 5. Nilson was nominated by Rich, a member of the West Haven Parent Support Group, who said: “Mark is passionate about working with the kids and understands their needs and how to reach them. He is also a mentor through the state Department of Developmental Services.” 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)
Beautification Committee seeks volunteers, schedules meeting
WEST HAVEN, April 18, 2017 — The West Haven Beautification Committee is seeking volunteers to help with planting and organizing community cleanups.
Committee Chairwoman Marilyn Wilkes will hold a meeting for new and current members from 7-8 p.m. May 18 in the basement conference room of City Hall, 355 Main St.
Those unable to make the meeting can join the committee by calling Wilkes at 203-415-4712.
The committee is composed of volunteers who plant flowers and care for designated locations across the city, including litter cleanups, during the spring and summer months.
“I believe that everyone can make a difference and everyone has a role to play in environmental stewardship,” said Wilkes, founder and president of the West Haven Community Garden, which is behind the former Molloy Elementary School at 255 Meloy Road. “From picking up a piece of trash you see on the street to caring for your home to planting gardens throughout the city to recycling — it all builds our sense of community and helps our city.”
Wilkes said several Saturday cleanups around the city in April, May and June have been organized and need volunteers:
—April 29, 9-10 a.m., Colonial Boulevard brook.
—May 13, 9-11 a.m., Savin Rock Beach and walkway, with Land Trust of West Haven.
—May 20, 9-10 a.m., Jones Hill Road.
—June 10, all day, “Keep Your Street Neat” Campbell Avenue event.
—June 17, 9-10 a.m., Minor Park area, Allingtown.
To sign up for a cleanup or for information, contact Stacey Giaquinto at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-494-5190.
Student participants will receive community service credit, said Wilkes, who sits on the Land Trust board of directors.
The committee welcomes input from residents about other areas needing attention, she said.
The committee can also help publicize resident-organized litter cleanups, Wilkes said.
Mayor, Democratic Town Committee chairman hosting blood drive May 2
WEST HAVEN, April 7, 2017 — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and Democratic Town Committee Chairman James W. Morrissey will hold an American Red Cross blood drive from 1:30-6:30 p.m. May 2 in the basement conference rooms of City Hall, 355 Main St.
For details, view the Red Cross Blood Drive Flyer.
For an appointment, call 800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.
Team Tom raising money for MS Walk April 30 at West Haven High
WEST HAVEN, April 7, 2017 — Tom Conroy, a program coordinator at the Department of Parks and Recreation, is seeking donations for his team, Team Tom, for the upcoming walk for multiple sclerosis.
The annual Connecticut MS Walk is set for 10 a.m. April 30 at West Haven High School.
Registration in the school cafeteria starts at 9 a.m.
The 2- or 5-mile route runs in part along the Savin Rock beach walk.
Conroy, 62, was diagnosed nine years ago with MS, a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system.
To raise money for MS research, Team Tom is selling tie-dye T-shirts for $15. To buy a tee, visit the department’s Painter Park office, 190 Kelsey Ave., or call Conroy at 203-937-3651.
Team Tom has collected more than $35,000 for the cause since 2009.
To make a donation or become a team member, click on Connecticut Fights MS.
Final public informational meeting tapped for Coastal Resilience Plan
WEST HAVEN, April 6, 2017 — Members of the public are invited to the third and final meeting in the development of the city’s Community Coastal Resilience Plan.
The informational meeting is set for 7 p.m. April 20 in the Harriet C. North Community Room on the second floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.
At the first meeting in July, attendees, including residents and business owners, discussed the types of coastal hazards West Haven will face in the future, said David W. Killeen, assistant city planner.
During the second meeting in February, Killeen said attendees learned about the available methods of adapting to the city’s changing coastal environment to become more resilient to tidal flooding, storm surge, sea level rise and erosion.
At the final meeting, officials from the city and its engineering consultant, Milone & MacBroom Inc. of Cheshire, will review and discuss the draft Coastal Resilience Plan, including recommendations for adapting to long-term coastal risks, “with an emphasis on protecting people, buildings and West Haven’s infrastructure,” Killeen said.
Officials will also talk about the plan’s implementation and possible funding sources for suggested projects, he said.
The draft, along with presentation slides and notes from previous meetings, is available for viewing by clicking on Current Planning Initiatives and scrolling down to the Community Coastal Resilience Plan section.
Anyone with questions about the draft plan or public informational meeting can contact Killeen at email@example.com or 203-937-3500, ext. 3007.
Applications available May 1-31 for summer youth jobs in West Haven
WEST HAVEN, April 6, 2017 — Applications for the Summer Youth Employment Program will be available May 1-31 in the athletic director’s office at West Haven High School and the main office at Bailey Middle School.
The summer program, which runs July 17-Aug. 11, is aimed at funding positions for low-income residents ages 14-21.
Students must pick up and drop off applications at their school office.
Drop off forms Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-11 a.m. at the high school and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 a.m. at Bailey. No forms will be processed after May 31.
Students who attend other schools must pick up applications in the Department of Human Resources on the second floor of City Hall, 355 Main St., where the completed forms must be returned between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.
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 percent of state poverty income levels.
Applicants will be notified by mail if more information is needed.
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 by 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 by 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.