City Notes
Mario and Francine Coppola

Mario and Francine Coppola. (Contributed Photo)

Mario and Francine Coppola named Italian Couple of Year

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 2, 2018 — The West Haven Columbus Day Committee will honor its Italian Couple of the Year at the city’s 20th annual Columbus Day Celebration.

Mario G. Coppola, who owned and operated Mario & Joseph Men’s Shop on Campbell Avenue for 30 years, and Francine Iannotti Coppola, former director of West Haven Adult Education, will receive the committee’s Italian-American of the Year award Friday at City Hall.

The award is bestowed annually on an Italian resident, or couple, who personifies service in West Haven’s close-knit Italian-American community.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be recognized for this award,” said Francine Coppola, speaking on the couple’s behalf. “West Haven has been our home for 45 years, and we are happy to support the city and its Italian community.”

The Coppolas, who have been married for 45 years, will fete the Italian navigator and observe their ancestry with scores of their closest friends and loved ones, along with an array of dignitaries and descendants of folks from the old country clad in red, white and green.

Accompanied by Italian music, members of the West Haven Italian-American Civic Association will escort the couple to the steps of City Hall at 11:30 a.m. for their special recognition.

A lunch will follow in the First Congregational Church of West Haven’s Fellowship Hall, at 1 Church St. opposite City Hall on the Green.

In the indomitable spirit of Christopher Columbus, the Coppolas are a testament to the promise and greatness of America.

“I am pleased to recognize Mario and Francine as West Haven’s Italian Couple of the Year,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said. “Mario’s personal narrative is the essence of the American dream. He immigrated to the United States as a young man. With drive and determination, he established himself as a successful business owner. Francine is a dedicated public servant who committed herself to education. Through a different path, she expressed her commitment to the community by supporting adults who sought to improve their lives through educational advancements.”

Rossi added, “The Coppolas represent all the positive contributions that Italian-Americans make to our economy, our society and to our collective American culture.”

Columbus, a son of Genoa and an experienced seaman, set sail aboard three Spanish ships across the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 1492, a bold expedition that pushed back the boundaries of the known world and opened up a new continent for future generations.

Mario Coppola, born in the town of San Salvatore Telesino in the province of Benevento, Italy, immigrated to the United States at age 16 with his father, Francesco, in 1961.

After settling in West Haven, they opened Coppola Tailor Shop at Elm Street and First Avenue in 1963.

Three years later, Coppola was drafted in the Vietnam War. He served stateside for several years in the Army Reserve and trained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Lee, Virginia.

In March 1972, Coppola and his longtime friend and business partner, Joseph DeFrancesco, established the first Mario & Joseph Men’s Shop in Branford. Four years later, they opened the West Haven shop, at 495 Campbell Ave., with both locations thriving for many years.

Coppola, a respected business owner, closed the West Haven store in 2006 after DeFrancesco retired. He closed the Branford store when he retired in 2015.

Coppola said he met DeFrancesco while taking an English class at West Haven Adult Education, the same program Francine Coppola led years later for two decades.

Along with the Adult Education program, which is mostly based at West Haven High School, she was the English as a second language bilingual director and the fine arts coordinator for the Board of Education. She retired last year.

She also served as president and vice president of the Connecticut Association for Adult and Continuing Education, or CAACE.

Rossi will present the Coppolas with a citation recognizing their civic-minded contributions and good works — noble qualities that epitomize the city’s top “paisano” and “paisana” of the year.

The couple will receive an Italian flag from Paul M. Frosolone, president of the Italian-American Civic Association, and Josephine Matera, former president of the Italian-American Ladies Auxiliary, as well as a jacket embroidered with their new title, Italian-American of the Year, from Rossi.

The cultural event will include remarks from mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies, and Italian musical selections by Vinnie Carr.

Before an Italian blessing, West Haven High School sophomore Nora E. Mullins will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by a rendition of the Italian national anthem by Liz Levy and a greeting from Rossi.

Francine Coppola, born in New Haven and raised in Hamden, is the daughter of an immigrant father and the granddaughter of immigrant paternal grandparents from the province of Caserta, Italy.

In 1907, overcoming hardship and strife through the everlasting values of strength and sacrifice, faith and family, her father, Mario Iannotti, then a child, and his parents left their home in the town of Piedimonte Matese seeking a better life in America, settling in New Haven before later migrating to Hamden.

The Italian parents of her New Haven-born mother, Rose Onofrio, hailed from the village of Faicchio in the province of Benevento.

After graduating from Hamden High School in 1968, Francine Coppola earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from Southern Connecticut State University. She also received a sixth-year diploma in administration and supervision from SCSU.

Her degrees and skills propelled her to a lengthy and rewarding career that began in 1973 teaching special education in West Haven. Her unwavering commitment to nurturing young minds became a hallmark for her success as an educator and administrator in the years that followed.

Mario and Francine Coppola’s propensity for community service includes serving as ambassadors of their proud heritage.

They are long-standing members of the San Leucio Society of New Haven. He served a stint as vice president and she as secretary-treasurer.

He was grand marshal of the 2011 Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade in West Haven and is a member of the Italian-American Civic Association.

He is also a longtime member of the West Haven Rotary Club, having served on its board of directors, and is a former recipient of the Jimmy Fund award.

She served on the board of directors of the West Haven Community House.

The Coppolas live on Botte Drive in West Shore and have two children and four grandchildren.

Their son, Mario F. Coppola, of Orange, is a junior partner at the law firm Berchem, Moses & Devlin and serves as Norwalk’s corporation counsel. Their daughter, Christina Coppola DeCrescenzo, of West Haven, is a special education teacher at Carrigan Intermediate School.

The couple’s name will join the 19 previous Columbus Day recipients on a plaque in City Hall.

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Bulk trash week

Bulk trash pickup week, e-waste drop-off day set for next week

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 2, 2018 — The final bulk trash pickup week of 2018 is Oct. 8-12.

Residents are reminded to separate metals and recyclables from regular trash and to put out trash no more than 24 hours before pickup. Violations carry a $100 fine per daily offense, Public Works Commissioner Tom McCarthy said.

Bulk items include couches, chairs, tables, carpeting, padding, fencing and small amounts of bundled lumber, which may not exceed 6 feet in length. No building materials, mattresses or tires are accepted.

McCarthy said that although mattresses were formerly considered bulk trash, the city is no longer picking them up.

Most mattress retailers, however, will remove and recycle mattresses when a new mattress is purchased. Mattresses of any amount can also be dropped off for free from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays at Park City Green, 459 Iranistan Ave., Bridgeport.

The city is also no longer picking up tires on residents’ curbside collection days because of rising disposal costs, McCarthy said.

According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there are no statutes that require tire retailers to take waste tires, but most will when a new tire is purchased.

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

Homeowners are required to rent a dumpster or hire a junk removal service at their expense if trash exceeds 6 cubic yards. Otherwise, trash exceeding 6 cubic yards will be left at the curb, and a $100 fine per daily offense will be imposed, McCarthy said.

To prevent a potential fine, property owners should familiarize themselves with the city’s trash guidelines at Public Works.

Bulk trash must be generated by the customer at the residential unit where it is collected. Trash will not be collected if it is generated by anyone other than the resident of the home.

Bulk items must be separated and orderly. Do not place them next to a mailbox or utility pole or close to a fence, McCarthy said.

Also, do not place bulk items in front of a vacant lot or home — they will not be collected, he said.

Details at Bulk Trash Pickup.

For electronic items, including TVs, the final e-waste drop-off day of the year is Oct. 13.

Residents can drop off electronic recyclables — typically anything that contains a circuit board or needs a battery — from 8 a.m.-noon at the city’s highway maintenance garage, 1 Collis St.

Anything that has refrigerant, including air conditioners and dehumidifiers, is not accepted. Those items are considered white goods, and residents are asked to put them out for pickup on their weekly collection days.

The e-waste drop-off is free for residents who have such items as TVs, hand-held video games, computers, monitors, copiers, scanners, microwaves, toaster ovens and other small appliances.

Details at E-waste Drop-off.

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Energy assistance offered in West Haven

City offers energy assistance

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 2, 2018 — The city will begin accepting applications Oct. 15 for the federally financed Connecticut Energy Assistance Program in the Department of Human Resources on the second floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

Appointments for all heating sources can be made, starting Oct. 1, by calling 203-937-3572.

Applications will be processed by appointment Mondays through Thursdays. No walk-ins will be accepted.

Applicants who have difficulty speaking English are asked to bring a translator.

Eligibility for assistance is based on the income and assets of an applicant’s household. To qualify, applicants must provide pay stubs, including monthly Social Security benefits and pension checks, for the last four weeks for all household members 18 and older.

Applicants must also provide documentation of assets — recent bank account statements for all accounts for all household members — along with a current utility bill, Social Security numbers and birthdates for all household members.

Driver safety course offered in West Haven

Driver safety course offered Nov. 14

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 2, 2018 — The West Haven Senior Center will offer an AARP Driver Safety Program from noon-4 p.m. Nov. 14 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.

Allingtown, West Haven senior centers mark 50 years

Elderly Services Director Sharon R. Mancini, right, receives a proclamation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Allingtown and West Haven senior centers during a luncheon Wednesday at the Cielo Banquet Ballroom. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Allingtown, West Haven senior centers mark 50 years

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and members of the city’s General Assembly delegation honored the 50th anniversary of the Allingtown and West Haven senior centers with fitting tributes during a luncheon Wednesday at the Cielo Banquet Ballroom.

Rossi presented a proclamation declaring the centers’ golden anniversary to Elderly Services Director Sharon R. Mancini in the company of more than 200 members, board officers, staff and volunteers gathered in the Chase Lane banquet hall.

Reading the proclamation, Rossi said, “Since 1968, our senior centers have empowered older residents by providing them with quality services to stay active and healthy, to continue learning, and to stay connected with friends and community members.”

Mancini, who has managed the centers for a quarter century, said they merged in June 2015 to form the Allingtown/West Haven Senior Center on the second floor of the Robert A. Johnson Noble Community Center, 201 Noble St.

“We now have one unified senior center, building on the past to create new beginnings,” Mancini said.

Mancini received a General Assembly citation marking the occasion from state Reps. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, on behalf of the delegation. She also received a City Council citation from Chairman Ronald M. Quagliani, D-at large, and Councilwoman Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5, on behalf of the council.

Members of both senior centers observed the milestone by dancing to the music of Vinnie Carr, who received a citation from Rossi for “providing musical entertainment for more than 40 years” for the centers.

Rossi, reading the citation, said, “On behalf of the countless seniors whose lives you have touched, we truly thank you for all the memories.”

The four-hour, afternoon event included congratulatory remarks from city Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo, who oversees the Department of Elderly Services. Sabo has been a city employee since 1977.

The West Haven Senior Center traces its beginning in 1968 to the First Congregational Church of West Haven on the downtown Green. A year later, space was made available in the basement of the then-newly built City Hall, 355 Main St., where the center operated until November 2003. It moved to the Johnson Community Center on Dec. 1, 2003.

The Allingtown Senior Center began in Allingtown fire headquarters, 20 Admiral St., before moving in 1977 to the then-newly renovated Allingtown Community Center, 1 Forest Road, where it remained until June 2015.

Vinne Carr

Vinnie Carr is presented with a citation from Mayor Rossi for “providing musical entertainment for more than 40 years” for the Allingtown and West Haven senior centers. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

UNH commission, Watson aid WHEAT

UNH commission, Watson aid WHEAT

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Rose Majestic, executive director of the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, second from right, receives an oversize check for $4,120 from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, left, on Wednesday at WHEAT.

Joining the presentation are, from left, Westies Care Chairman Phil Liscio; Chris Haynes, adviser to the University of New Haven Mayor’s Advisory Commission; MAC Chairman Marcin Stankevitch; Moira Watson, vice president of marketing and communications at Watson Inc.; mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito; and Christina Cole, marketing and communications assistant at Watson.

The money, raised by the UNH commission and Westies Care at the fourth annual WestFest celebration Sept. 8 on the Green, will benefit WHEAT’s food pantry at 674 Washington Ave., which provides meals for residents in need. Westies Care was aided by Vertical Church and the First Congregational Church of West Haven.

The donation will help WHEAT at a time when it is most needed by providing 100 items of food per week for a year, Majestic said.

The festival proceeds were generated from the sale of food, bracelets for inflatables and T-shirts, as well as from a dunk tank, and were matched by Watson, a major sponsor of WestFest.

Watson, founded in 1939 and based at 301 Heffernan Drive, is a high-quality supplier of products and services for enhancing human health and nutrition worldwide, including products and ingredient systems for the food and supplement industries.

WestFest is organized yearly by the MAC, a collaborative, student-driven task force formed in March 2015 to strengthen town-gown relations. The UNH commission is led by Stankevitch, a junior political science major, and Haynes, assistant professor of political science.

Westies Care Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity, was founded by Liscio in 2009 in memory of his son, Daniel L. Liscio, who died of diabetic shock more than a decade ago. To honor his undying spirit, the Liscio family established a scholarship program and organized community outreach projects in Daniel Liscio’s name.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

New sidewalks for arts center project

New sidewalks for arts center project

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 27, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, her executive assistant, Lou Esposito, and Public Works Commissioner Tom McCarthy look on as a concrete mixing truck prepares to pour concrete to lock in the newly installed precast concrete curbs for a sidewalk replacement in front of the long-planned arts center, the West Haven Center for the Arts, at 304 Center St. on Sept. 24.

The work, which will include a horizontal inset of stamped concrete that resembles red brick pavers, is being done by West Haven’s sidewalk contractor, Elm City Materials Inc. of Spring Street, and supervised by city sidewalk inspector Ernie Chiarelli.

The new sidewalks are being financed with unused state Local Capital Improvement Program funds from previous years, which were discovered by Rossi’s administration.

Rossi said she is committed to moving the arts center project forward, saying a first-class cultural arts center would complement West Haven’s 5-year-old Metro-North Railroad commuter station and The Haven, a $200 million, 261,182-square-foot luxury outlet center, as destinations that drive economic development for the downtown business district.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

West Haven Parent Support Groups set open house, resource fair

West Haven Parent Support Groups set open house, resource fair

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 21, 2018 — The West Haven Local System of Care’s Parent Support Groups will hold an open house and resource fair from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the West Haven Community House, 227 Elm St.

The event, sponsored by the West Haven Parent Support Group, Autism Family Support Group and Spanish Parent Support Group, will give families of children with special needs an opportunity to learn about new resources and services while meeting other families.

In addition to the three support groups, the fair will include representatives from the following organizations and agencies: ASD Fitness Center, Special Needs Undergraduate Swim Lessons, Connecticut Dental Health Partnership Family Services of Connecticut, Bridges HealthCare, Shoreline Center for Autism & Developmental Disorders, Yale Child Study Autism Program, Shoreline Behavioral Health & Wellness, Clifford Beers Marne Street Clinic, Behavioral Management, West Haven Police Department, The Kennedy Center, FAVOR, West Haven Pharmacy, and Kidsense.

Flu clinic on tap for Oct. 24 at Savin Rock Conference Center

Walk-in flu clinic on tap for Oct. 24 at Savin Rock Conference Center

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 19, 2018 — The Health Department will hold a flu clinic sponsored by the Orange Visiting Nurses Association for city residents from 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 24 at the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.

The walk-in clinic will accept the following insurances: Anthem, Medicare, Aetna and Connecticare.

Insurance carriers United Healthcare, Cigna, Oxford and Medicaid/Husky are not participating.

Residents should bring all insurance cards and wear a short-sleeved shirt.

People can also pay by cash or check.

Also, the private pay rate is $40 for a quadrivalent flu shot and $65 for a high-dose flu shot for those 65 or older.


Land damaged by Superstorm Sandy can be enrolled into easements

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 19, 2018 — The U.S. Agriculture Department is accepting a third round of applications from eligible landowners who want to sell the development rights of properties along Connecticut’s coastline that were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Funds are available through USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Floodplain Easements Program, which is managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, known as NRCS.

Applications are accepted through Oct. 10.

Read the official USDA News Release.

For more details, view the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Flyer.

City-Wide Open Studios

City-Wide Open Studios showcasing art projects in West Haven

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 19, 2018 — Artspace, the nerve center of New Haven’s contemporary arts scene, is pleased to announce the 21st year of City-Wide Open Studios with Wellbeing as its festival theme.

The single largest concentration of exhibiting artists statewide is unique in the region for bringing together more than 400 artists across a network of participating sites during the month of October.

Read the official City-Wide Open Studios News Release.

UI’s Vegetation Management Program resumes

UI’s Vegetation Program resumes

WEST HAVEN, Sept. 13, 2018 — The next phase of United Illuminating’s Vegetation Management Program kicked off Sept. 11 in Allingtown.

The five-year program, which began in 2014, is designed to reduce the amount of vegetation that UI says threatens power lines during storms.

UI is targeting trees and limbs within 8 feet of either side of power lines.

According to the Orange utility, tree reduction will increase public safety, reduce road blockage, improve roadside sight, and reduce tree-related power outages.

UI’s tree service contractor, Asplundh Tree Expert LLC of East Windsor, will not trim or remove privately owned trees without the owner’s consent, except when they are in contact with the utility’s energized conductors and present an imminent danger, UI said.

Trees on public property are under the control of West Haven’s tree warden, Leo Kelly.

Tom McCarthy, the city’s commissioner of public works, said Asplundh will remove all wood within 10 business days of pruning or removal.

The tree work, which was reviewed and approved by Kelly, will follow in the West Shore and Center districts and end in the spring, UI said.

Tree service crews, working from Orange trucks, will have police assigned for safety and traffic control.

See the list of streets affected by the Vegetation Management Program. Details at UI’s VMP.

RWA bringing advanced metering infrastructure to city

RWA bringing advanced metering infrastructure to West Haven

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 7, 2018 — About 13,000 Regional Water Authority customers in West Haven will have the water industry’s latest metering technology installed starting next month, joining the 50,000 customers in the RWA’s water district who have already received the upgrade.

The system will allow the RWA to accurately read customers’ water meters by securely transmitting a low-powered signal from an AMI endpoint, a small device connected to the meter, to the RWA’s office.

The technology will upgrade how the RWA receives water consumption information, eliminate the need for manually reading customers’ meters, provide early detection of water leaks, and largely eliminate estimated water bills.

The RWA will deploy the new metering system to every customer in its 15-town service area over the next two years.

The RWA hired Contract Callers Inc., or CCI, to install the new advanced meter reading devices. Installation generally takes less than an hour and involves attaching the AMI endpoint to the customer’s existing water meter, usually where the existing meter reading device is located.

Read the official RWA News Release.

Watch the RWA Advanced Metering Infrastructure video on the official RWA YouTube channel.

For more information, visit the RWA website at or the CCI website at

Farmers market

Farmers market open Thursdays, Saturdays on West Haven Green

WEST HAVEN, July 30, 2018 — The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is open for its 19th season on the Green.

Through Oct. 27, the market at Main Street and Campbell Avenue features state farmers selling homegrown fruits and vegetables from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

It includes crafters selling their wares.

The Thursday markets showcase food trucks, including 744 Express and Spuds Your Way, dishing up such savory favorites as baked potatoes, lobster rolls and pulled pork sandwiches. Each truck offers a weekly special.

Farmers market

Farmers market vouchers available

WEST HAVEN, July 20, 2018 — Farmers market vouchers are available at the West Haven/Allingtown Senior Center, 201 Noble St.

To receive $18 in vouchers, the income limits for those at least 60 years old are $30,451 per year, or $2,537 per month, for a married couple and $22,459 per year, or $1,871 per month, for a single person.

Each voucher booklet contains six $3 vouchers.

When picking up the vouchers, eligible residents must show proof of income and sign a receipt confirming they meet the income guidelines. For proof of income, residents can show a gray Connect Card from the state.

The Tony Inzero Farmers Market is on the Green from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 27.

For information about the voucher program, call the Department of Elderly Services at 203-937-3507.

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