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 2018 Memorial Day parade as grand marshal when it steps off at 10:30 a.m. May 28 along Campbell Avenue. Jackson was selected to steer the 2016 and 2017 parades, but they were canceled by rain. This year’s parade has no rain date. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
‘Third time’s a charm’ for Freddy Jackson leading parade
WEST HAVEN, May 15, 2018 — When it comes to serving as grand marshal, it is third time’s a charm for Freddy Jackson, who for the third straight year will try to lead the city’s Memorial Day parade when it steps off at 10:30 a.m. May 28.
Jackson, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422, was originally selected to serve at the helm of the 2016 and 2017 parades, but they were canceled by rain.
This year’s parade has no rain date.
Jackson, now 73, will guide the 45-unit procession of veterans, dignitaries and bands along the 1 ½-mile parade course, which follows Campbell Avenue from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Center Street.
An Army veteran who served in Colorado and Korea in 1963-66 during the Vietnam War era, he embraced the honor with typical grace and humility.
Jackson, back in 2016, said: “To me, it is such an honor to even have been considered to be the grand marshal. It will be the highlight of my life, and it is something I will never forget. I am proud to be the grand marshal for the city of West Haven.”
Fast forward to 2018, and Jackson is grateful to have another go at the parade.
“I really appreciate the honor, and hopefully everything will fall right this year,” he said.
Jackson was tapped by the West Haven Veterans Council, which helps the city organize the annual parade, for his years of service to the Army, his fellow vets and his community, the latter of which is perhaps the cornerstone of the qualifications for grand marshal, council President Dave Ricci said.
Jackson’s contributions to the Veterans Council, the governing body of the city’s veterans organizations, are duly noted.
He is a longtime member of Hughson-Miller Post 71 of the American Legion and served as commander in the early ’90s.
He has also volunteered for years at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital and is a former girls softball coach.
This year’s edition of southern Connecticut’s oldest and largest parade of its kind will feature three marching divisions and a military division, as well as special accommodations for disabled veterans.
The procession will include an eight-seat golf cart carrying former grand marshals that is bedecked with a star gracing the names of those deceased. Other veterans will ride on a float.
“I am hoping that we get a good turnout for this year’s parade, as the weather had an impact on us last year,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said. “And I want to remind people to join us at the end of the parade when a memorial wreath is laid at the World War I Armistice Memorial on the city’s historic Green. This very short ceremony is the essence of Memorial Day, a solemn occasion for all to acknowledge those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.”
Jackson, the youngest of five siblings, was born and raised in Opp, Alabama, a small town 19 miles from the Florida Panhandle.
He excelled in academics and athletics at Ralph Bunche High School, a county high school in Andalusia, Alabama. A standout linebacker, he played on the school’s undefeated state championship football team in 1960.
In June 1963, less than two weeks after graduation, Jackson joined the Army at age 18 and completed basic training eight weeks later at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
He was assigned to the 5th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, and served as a supply clerk.
After amphibious and extreme weather training in preparation for Korea, Jackson was stationed at Camp Hovey, South Korea, where he guarded the Demilitarized Zone, which divides North and South Korea.
“We had some scary nights guarding the DMZ, even a scary day when there was gunfire,” said Jackson, who was a radarman in the 7th Infantry Division on the Korean Peninsula.
The North, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the South, officially the Republic of Korea, have been in a technical state of war for decades.
Jackson praised his three years in the Army.
“I do not have one regret of not going to college,” said Jackson, who acknowledged that he could have gone, but “we did not have a lot growing up.”
“In the Army,” he said, “I had the opportunity to go to Alaska, Tokyo and Korea and meet many good people who inspired me.”
Jackson was honorably discharged as a specialist E-5 in April 1966.
On Aug. 1, 1966, Jackson and his childhood sweetheart, the former Miriam Silas, were married by a justice of the peace in Samson, Alabama.
The couple came to West Haven in 1968 after Jackson visited his brother, Nathaniel Jackson, who lived in the city at the time.
“I had no intention of staying, but I liked West Haven,” Freddy Jackson said.
Jackson immediately found work as a custodian at the then-headquarters of the New Haven Register on Orange Street in the Elm City.
About a month later, he pursued an employment opportunity at Detroit Steel Co. on State Street in Hamden. For the next 21 years, until the company shuttered in 1989, he worked in shipping and also cleaned steel before it was rolled and cut into sizes.
For the past 29 years, Jackson has held various custodial jobs at the Robert N. Giaimo Federal Building on Court Street in New Haven.
He and his wife live on York Street in West Haven and have two grown daughters, Tiffany and Joya, and eight grandchildren.
Jackson stays active directing the affairs of the city’s VFW post, which was established in 1929 and is headquartered at 233 Spring St. He is also a member of New Haven Elks Lodge 25.
The parade will include a flyover by the Connecticut Air National Guard. Jackson will steer the procession from a convertible flanked by the West Haven Police Color Guard.
The 90-minute event, in memory of the deceased members of the U.S. armed forces of all wars, will showcase the city’s array of veterans groups and the 103rd Air Control Squadron.
The procession will consist of five marching bands: Bailey Middle School, Carrigan Intermediate School, the Stylettes Drill Team and Drum Corps, Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy and West Haven High School.
It will also spotlight the traditional contingent of youth organizations and sports leagues, dance troupes and Scout troops, fraternal organizations and service clubs, local and state leaders, police officers and firefighters.
Rossi gives 1-year extension for resident beach stickers
WEST HAVEN, May 15, 2018 — To better accommodate taxpayers, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi has extended the city’s 2016-18 beach parking permits through June 30, 2019.
The two-year stickers had been set to expire June 30.
The extension will save $15,000 in printing fees the city would have incurred if it printed new beach stickers this year, Rossi said.
Delinquent taxpayers are not eligible for the free stickers until their motor vehicle taxes are paid, city officials said.
Taxpayers can check if they owe back taxes and pay online at Tax Collector. They can also pay in person in the tax office on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.
Beach stickers for new, leased and military-exempt vehicles are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays in the tax office. A “new” vehicle means it was registered in West Haven after Oct. 1, 2017.
Each beach sticker includes the vehicle’s license plate number printed on it.
Stickers are for residents whose vehicles are registered in West Haven and are only valid if affixed to the inside lower left corner of the vehicle’s windshield. Commercial vehicles are excluded.
The seasonal benefit entitles taxpayers to free beach parking in the following municipal lots: South Street, Dawson Avenue, Sea Bluff, Bradley Point, Rock Street, Oak Street, Altschuler Plaza, Morse Park, Sandy Point and the April Street boat ramp.
Please note that Palace Street is a pay-for-parking site for both residents and nonresidents. Beach stickers are not valid on Palace Street. Anyone with a sticker should park in a municipal lot.
The fee for a replacement beach sticker is $10 — no exceptions, officials said.
Replacement stickers and 2018 nonresident parking passes are available for purchase from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays in the Department of Human Resources on the second floor of City Hall.
A motor vehicle registration and a driver’s license are required for the purchase of a nonresident beach sticker, which is valid in municipal parking lots only, not the April Street boat ramp.
Otherwise, the daily parking fee for nonresidents is $12, or $1.50 per hour, payable at the parking meters in the Sea Bluff, Bradley Point, Morse Park and Sandy Point beach lots and at the April Street boat ramp. The kiosks accept bills, coins and credit cards.
For beach sticker information, call the tax office at 203-937-3525 or the human resources office at 203-937-3568.
(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
Apraxia Awareness Day
WEST HAVEN, May 15, 2018 — Forest Elementary School kindergartner Nicholas Gorske receives a proclamation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi declaring Apraxia Awareness Day in West Haven on Monday as Principal Thomas J. Hunt looks on.
Nicholas has childhood apraxia of speech, or CAS, an uncommon speech disorder in which a child has difficulty making accurate movements when speaking.
He was joined at the morning presentation by his mother, Anna Gorske, his brother and cousin, Issac Gorske and Laura Hines, and his paraprofessional, Cynthia Russello.
An hour later, Rossi traveled to Haley Elementary School to present third-grader Ethan Kubicko with a proclamation also recognizing Apraxia Awareness Day.
Surrounded by his classmates, Ethan, who also has CAS, was accompanied by his parents, Jason and Maggie Kubicko, and his grandparents, Rich and Kathy Carew.
He was also joined by his speech therapist, Denyse Miller, his teacher, Christina Sasso, and his principal, AmyJo Palermo.
To raise awareness of the speech disorder, both students recently contacted Rossi — Nicholas by email, Ethan by letter — about declaring the special day in the city.
Rossi said: “It is imperative that there be greater public awareness about childhood apraxia of speech in our city among community members, physicians, educators, policymakers and elected officials. Our deepest respect goes to the thousands of affected children and their families for their determination and resilience in the face of great adversity.”
Mayor Rossi presents Haley Elementary School third-grader Ethan Kubicko with a proclamation recognizing Apraxia Awareness Day in the city on Monday. From left are Ethan’s speech therapist, Denyse Miller, his parents, Maggie and Jason Kubicko, and his grandparents, Kathy and Rich Carew. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
Sandy Point named 11th best beach to visit in New England
WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2018 — West Haven is home to one of the best beaches to visit in New England, according to Globe Magazine, published by The Boston Globe and Boston Globe Media.
West Haven, specifically the Sandy Point Beach & Bird Sanctuary, was ranked 11th out of “The 20 best beaches to visit in New England,” according to an article written by Patricia Harris and David Lyon, who are frequent contributors to Globe Magazine. The article was published May 2 as part of the magazine’s Summer Travel edition.
“West Haven being named to such a prestigious list of New England’s best beaches to visit is wonderful news, but I’m not surprised,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said. “Many of our residents, particularly the volunteers from the West Haven Watershed Restoration Committee, provide stewardship for the ‘Important Bird Area,’ a designation granted by Audubon Connecticut. And Audubon supporters monitor and protect the nesting areas. All of these efforts are an investment in Sandy Point’s conservation.”
Rossi added: “I know our city prides itself on being home to the longest stretch of publicly accessible shoreline in Connecticut and one of the state’s best locations to observe rare shorebirds at Sandy Point. All West Haveners should be proud of this special distinction by Globe Magazine.”
Globe Magazine, which publishes six issues per year, is available online and in the Boston Sunday Globe.
Harris and Lyon wrote that Sandy Point was best for “birding, fishing, trails.”
“Sandy Point is one of many natural resources that contribute to a better quality of life for our residents and is an economic driver for developers looking to invest in the city of West Haven,” said Fred A. Messore, the city’s commissioner of planning and development.
Topping the list of New England’s best beaches was the Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown and Truro, Massachusetts.
West Haven’s Sandy Point was preceded by DuBois Beach in Stonington, ranked 10th, and followed by Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, ranked 12th.
When highlighting Sandy Point, Harris and Johnson wrote: “A 1.7-mile recreation path ties together West Haven’s sandy beaches on Long Island Sound. On the eastern end, the sand spit known as Sandy Point is one of the prize locations on the Connecticut Coastal Birding Trail. Save the swimming for nearby Bradley Point and Morse parks and take the binoculars to Sandy Point to watch the shorebirds. A colony of sharp-tailed sparrows nests in the adjacent tidal marsh. The entire sanctuary is also a major stopover for spring and fall migrants. Surfcasters like the point at night during striper season.”
Read the full article at Globe Magazine.
City property owners reminded to observe blight regulations
WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi is reminding property owners to comply with the city’s blight regulations during the warmer months.
“We applaud the overwhelming majority of property owners who maintain their properties; however, to be fair to them, property owners who violate the ‘Blight Prevention’ ordinance under Chapter 129 of the West Haven Code are subject to fines,” Rossi said.
The ordinance, adopted by the City Council in 2012, gives the city more control when targeting properties in disrepair.
It defines property owners as “any person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge or possession of any private property in the City of West Haven to maintain such premises.”
The comprehensive ordinance defines blighted premises as any place that is “dilapidated,” a fire hazard, the site of illegal activity, threatens community safety, or has damaged or missing walls, roofs or floors.
It prohibits piles of trash, abandoned or inoperable boats or motor vehicles, overgrown grass and weeds, as well as other negative elements that cause the “serious depreciation of property values” or hinder the enjoyment of properties elsewhere.
Under the ordinance, grass, weeds or similar vegetation, excluding flowers, fruits and vegetables, may not “reach and remain at a height of eight inches or greater for a period of 10 days or longer.”
It also tackles graffiti and unkempt swimming pools.
Violations carry a $100 fine per offense per day.
The ordinance is enforced by the city’s property maintenance/zoning enforcement officers and police.
For the first offense, officials will issue a violation warning, with the second offense resulting in a citation.
If a citation goes unpaid, officials can put a lien on a property for any unpaid fine imposed by the city from the date it was levied, which can result in a foreclosure.
Citations issued are reported to the Fire, Building, Police, Public Works and Health departments and the zoning and corporation counsel’s offices.
To report a blight complaint, call the Building Department at 203-937-3590 and provide as many details about the complaint as possible. The department will respond in a timely manner. Complaints are kept confidential.
Scholarship offered in memory of West Haven schoolteacher
WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2018 — The city’s Breast Cancer Awareness Committee is accepting applications for a scholarship fund it founded in memory of a third-grade Savin Rock Community School teacher who died of breast cancer.
The 16th annual Susan A. Ruickoldt Scholarship Fund will award $2,000 to a female high school senior from West Haven who plans to continue her education.
Candidates must submit an application form, an official transcript and a class rank, as well as a 250-word essay on achievements and goals and a 250-word essay on the importance of breast cancer screening and education.
Applicants must also submit a letter of acceptance from a postsecondary school and a letter of intent to attend the school.
Applications are available in the guidance office and physical education department at West Haven High School, 1 McDonough Plaza. They are also available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays in the Department of Human Resources at City Hall, 355 Main St.
Applications are due by 5 p.m. May 24.
Applications available for Summer Youth Employment Program
WEST HAVEN, May 4, 2018 — Applications for the Summer Youth Employment Program are available through May 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 9-Aug. 3, 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 applications with all required documents from 9-11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the high school and from 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Bailey. No applications will be processed after 3 p.m. 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 or phone if more information is needed.
Public invited to review, comment on regional Hazard Mitigation Plan
WEST HAVEN, April 27, 2018 — The South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) invites the public to review and comment on the Draft South Central Region Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan.
The plan is aimed at identifying and assessing natural hazard risks, such as flooding, hurricanes and winter storms, and determining how to best minimize or manage those risks.
Read the official news release at SCRCOG.
The draft plan is available for public review April 30-May 14 on the project webpage at http://scrcog.org/regional-planning/regional-hazard-mitigation/.
For more information and to comment on the plan, contact City Engineer Abdul Quadir at 203-937-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Driver safety course offered June 6
WEST HAVEN, April 27, 2018 — The West Haven Senior Center will offer an AARP Driver Safety Program from 5:30-9:30 p.m. June 6 at the Johnson Community Center, 201 Noble St.
The program is designed to help sharpen driving skills, develop strategies to adjust to age-related vision changes, develop hearing and reaction times, and learn about the effects of medication on driving performance.
Participants must complete the class to receive a certification for insurance purposes.
The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers, payable to AARP.
To register, call the senior center at 203-937-3507.