City Notes
‘Topping off’ completes steel framework for new high school

‘Topping off’ completes steel framework for new WHHS

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 12, 2018 — City and state leaders sign a white-painted I-beam before it is erected on Thursday to mark the ceremonial “topping off,” or completion, of the steel framework for the addition of the $130 million reconstruction of West Haven High School.

Pictured, from left, Board of Education Vice Chairman Robert J. Guthrie; City Council members Peter V. Massaro, D-6, and Majority Leader Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5; West Haven High School Building Committee Clerk Dwight Knowles; Councilman Mitchell L. Gallignano, D-4; Mayor Nancy R. Rossi; committee Chairman Kenneth Carney; mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito; state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; City Clerk Deborah Collins; school board member Patrick R. Leigh; and Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro.

Others attending the morning ceremony included state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven; council members Aaron Charney, D-3, and Tracy A. Morrissey, D-8; and school board members Chairwoman Rosemary Russo, Secretary-Treasurer Susan Walker, Patricia B. Libero, James W. Morrissey, Karen B. Pacelli and Rosa Richardson.

The symbolic signing of the steel beam was preceded by a signing by most of the senior class’s 364 students.

The signed beam was then rigged by ironworkers from Proiron LLC of Callegari Drive, hoisted by a large crane, and set by two workers atop the school’s future media center.

Designed by Antinozzi Associates of Bridgeport to accommodate 1,598 students, plans for the reconstructed high school include building the addition and renovating the existing building. The total finished project has an area of 265,959 square feet, officials said.

The completed school will offer a cutting-edge media center, advanced STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — classrooms and laboratories, and upgraded public areas for the school and community. The fully air-conditioned building will have lower maintenance and operating costs while also offering enhanced access and security.

Officials said the project’s construction phase, also known as Phase III, is composed of three major “subphases” to allow the school to offer a full academic curriculum throughout the project.

Gilbane Building Co. of Glastonbury is the project’s construction manager, with Amar Shamas serving as the project executive. The Capitol Region Education Council of Hartford, or CREC, is overseeing the construction financing.

Officials said the construction phase, which began in April, is expected to take about three years to complete, with a projected occupancy of new spaces in fall 2019 through 2021. Site restoration work is expected to continue until spring 2022, they said.

Officials confirmed the project is on schedule and on budget.

The project’s first subphase includes constructing the food services, building services, tech-ed shops, media center, auditorium, music and arts classrooms, and administrative offices to permit the transferal of building uses, thereby opening other parts of the existing building for renovation or demolition.

The second subphase calls for renovating the existing eastern three-story building after demolishing the existing cafeteria and media center.

The third subphase includes demolishing the existing auditorium and music spaces, renovating the northern wing of academic spaces, and demolishing the existing gym and southern academic building.

In addition to Carney and Knowles, the West Haven High Building Committee includes Vice Chairman Jerry Calabritto, Principal Pamela B. Gardner, Gary Perdo, Kenneth DiStasio, Dan Haslegrave, former Board of Education member Mark P. Palmieri and Assistant Principal Dana Paredes.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


Mayor Rossi signs her name on the I-beam. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Metal plate

A metal plate signed by West Haven High School Principal Pamela B. Gardner was welded to the steel beam by ironworkers from Proiron LLC of Callegari Drive. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


The signed I-beam is hoisted by a large crane and set by two ironworkers atop the school’s future media center. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Flashlight Halloween Haunt set for Painter Park tennis courts

Flashlight Halloween Haunt set for Painter Park tennis courts

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 12, 2018 — The Department of Parks and Recreation is holding its annual Flashlight Halloween Haunt Oct. 25 at the Painter Park tennis courts, 190 Kelsey Ave. The rain date is Oct. 29.

The free event, for city residents, includes a candy corn guess and a contest for best costume. Trick-or-treaters must bring a flashlight and a candy bag to search for ghoulish goodies.

Prizes are awarded for best costume in each age group.

The hunt schedule is 6:05 p.m., ages 3 and younger; 6:25 p.m., ages 4-5; 6:45 p.m., ages 6-7; and 6:55 p.m., ages 8-10.

Participants should register 10 minutes before their hunt time and must show proof of residence. Only one adult may assist a child in the hunt for ages 3 and under; all other age groups hunt unassisted.

Trick-or-treaters are asked to bring nonperishable items for the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, which provides food for residents in need.

Mario and Francine Coppola feted as city’s Italian Couple of the Year

Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, right, reads a citation honoring Mario and Francine Coppola as West Haven’s Italian Couple of the Year at the 20th annual Columbus Day Celebration on the steps of City Hall Oct. 5. (City Photo/David W. Richards)

Mario and Francine Coppola feted as West Haven’s Italian Couple of the Year during ceremony on steps of City Hall

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 9, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi presented Mario and Francine Coppola with matching jackets embroidered with their new title, Italian-American of the Year, as part of festivities observing West Haven’s 20th annual Columbus Day Celebration on the steps of City Hall Oct. 5.

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, are the second couple to receive the award after Giuseppe and Theresa DePalma in 2016.

The Coppolas, who have been married for 45 years, were showered with words of praise from Rossi for “enriching the proud legacy and vibrant culture of our Italian-American community.”

At the 45-minute ceremony, the couple received a General Assembly citation 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 city’s delegation. They also received an Italian flag from Paul M. Frosolone, president of the West Haven Italian-American Civic Association, and Ellen Marazzi, former president of the West Haven Italian-American Ladies Auxiliary.

The West Haven Columbus Day Committee recognizes an Italian resident, or couple, each year who personifies service in the city’s close-knit Italian-American community.

As the sound of Italian music filled the air during the late morning cultural event in honor of the Italian explorer, the Coppolas saluted their ancestry with dozens of their closest friends and loved ones, along with array of dignitaries, including North Haven First Selectman Michael J. Freda, and descendants of folks from the old country clad in red, white and green.

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 also presented a mayoral citation to the Coppolas, who were accompanied by their son, Mario F. Coppola, of Orange, and their daughter, Christina Coppola DeCrescenzo, of West Haven. They were also joined by their four grandchildren.

Before an Italian blessing from Michael Abbott, director of ministry at Notre Dame High School, Liz Levy sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Italian national anthem, “II Canto degli Italiani.” The renditions were followed by a greeting from mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies.

Rossi then delivered heartwarming remarks about the Coppolas, saying, “Your extraordinary story is treasured by our city,” and “your fearless spirit and inspiring good works are a testament to the promise and greatness of America.”

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.

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

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Mario and Francine Coppola

Mario and Francine Coppola receive matching jackets embroidered with their new title, Italian-American of the Year. (City Photo/David W. Richards)

Painting class

Painting class at senior center

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 9, 2018 — The Allingtown/West Haven Senior Center will offer a painting class for residents 55 and older from 12:30-2 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Johnson Community Center, 201 Noble St.

The fun, step-by-step class, instructed by Marrissa Russo of Make Your Own Masterpiece, will teach participants to create their own masterpieces.

Art supplies are provided, including canvas, paint and brushes.

The fee is $25 and required in advance. To register, visit the senior center or call 203-937-3507.

Medicare speaker set for Allingtown/West Haven Senior Center

Medicare speaker at senior center

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 9, 2018 — A representative from Banker’s Life will discuss Medicare and the open enrollment process from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Allington/West Haven Senior Center, 201 Noble St.

The representative will also talk about how Medicare works and the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.

Elderly Services Director Sharon R. Mancini said it is important for people on Medicare to understand their options.

Open enrollment begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 1.

Banker’s Life is an insurance broker that can write policies for various companies; however, it is not allowed to write them at the senior center. Anyone who wants to use their services can make private arrangements with the broker.

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.

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.

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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