City Notes
Halloween on the Green
Pam Strong

Rossi issues statement on the passing of Pamela B. Gardner

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 26, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi has issued the following statement on the passing of West Haven High School Principal Pamela B. Gardner:

“West Haven is heartbroken by the loss of Pamela Bellmore Gardner, a devoted principal and educator and a woman of character and strength. The pride and rock of West Haven High School, Pam brought integrity, wisdom, and a great love of West Haven and its people. I am grateful for her dedication to nurturing young minds and lighting the way for our high school’s bright future. All of us here at City Hall will miss Pam, as will the thousands of Westies she inspired with her heroic struggle against cancer. The residents of West Haven join me in extending our heartfelt condolences to the Gardner and Bellmore families at this difficult time.”

Farmers market

Final farmers market of season moved to Nov. 3 on the Green

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 26, 2018 — Saturday’s farmers market on the Green has been moved to Nov. 3 because of the impending rainstorm.

The final market of the season will take place at Main Street and Campbell Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It will feature state farmers selling homegrown fruits and vegetables and crafters selling their wares.

Breast cancer

Committee gives $25K to YNH for breast cancer programs

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 26, 2018 — From left, Eileen Hansen, administrative manager of women’s oncology services at the Smilow Breast Center at Yale New Haven Hospital; Linda Penn, manager of integrative medicine and the Cingari Family Boutique at the Smilow Cancer Hospital; Alison Marcinek, senior development officer at YNHH; and Camille Servodidio, program manager of women’s oncology services at the Smilow Cancer Hospital, receive a $25,000 check from West Haven Breast Cancer Awareness Committee members Anthony Cordone and Beth A. Sabo and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi on Wednesday at City Hall.

The money, raised at the committee’s 18th annual Icy Plunge for the Cure in January, will maintain funding for patient information binders, which are given to each person diagnosed with breast cancer at Smilow, and for a hospitality cart, which provides snacks and other amenities for patients at the Smilow Breast Center.

The donation will also finance a new laptop for the YNHH Mobile Mammography Van and support funding for mastectomy specialty bras for uninsured patients through Looking Forward, an education and wellness program for cancer patients at Smilow.

Since the first plunge in 2001, the committee has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for breast cancer research and education.

The 2019 plunge, tapped for 9 a.m. Jan. 5 at Savin Rock Beach, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the West Haven Breast Cancer Awareness Program.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Dr. Padilla

Dr. Ralph L. Padilla receives a black “Hispanic American of the Year” jacket from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi at the city’s first Hispanic Heritage Celebration on the steps of City Hall Oct. 19. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Dr. Ralph Padilla honored as city’s first Hispanic of Year

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 26, 2018 — Dr. Ralph L. Padilla, a respected Puerto Rican veterinarian known for giving back to West Haven and its proud Hispanic American community, received the city’s first Hispanic American of the Year award Oct. 19 at the inaugural Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and the new West Haven Hispanic Heritage Committee recognized Padilla, who has owned and operated the West Haven Animal Clinic at 959 Campbell Ave. for 33 years, during a midday ceremony on the steps of City Hall.

The committee plans to bestow the award annually on a Hispanic resident, or couple, who personifies service in West Haven’s thriving Hispanic American community.

At the half-hour event, Padilla, 65, honored his Puerto Rican lineage with dozens of friends, staff and furry clients, as well as loved ones, including his wife of 34 years, the former Yvette Solomon, and his sister.

He was also joined by an array of dignitaries, including state Rep. Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, City Clerk Deborah Collins and Tax Collector Dorothy Chambrelli, along with descendants of folks from Puerto Rico and Latin America.

As the award’s first recipient, Padilla told the crowd that it was fitting he received the honor from the city’s first female mayor. He then thanked his wife and late parents, his staff, his brother and sister, and the residents who have entrusted his care of their pets.

“I also want to thank the Hispanic community,” Padilla said. “I am deeply honored for the award.”

Before the ceremony, he said: “I have always taken pride in my heritage and my profession, and I have tried to give back as much as I have received. West Haven has been very good to me and my family.”

A post-event, Latin-flavored lunch was catered by culinary arts instructor Andrew Randi and students of the culinary arts program at Gateway Community College in the First Congregational Church of West Haven’s Fellowship Hall, opposite City Hall on the Green.

In observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which ended Oct. 15, the city recognizes the important legacy of Hispanic Americans and the inspiring contributions they have made to the culture and history of the United States.

Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on the civic and cultural life of America through their strong commitment to faith and family, hard work and service. They have enhanced and shaped the national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.

Hispanic Heritage Month, which traces its roots to 1968, begins each year on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during that period.

The term Hispanic, or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South American or Central American, and other Spanish cultures or origins regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic or Latino origins could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.”

West Haven’s diversity is its strength, Rossi said, and Padilla is a testament to the American dream.

She said he epitomizes the noble qualities of serving his community and carrying on the spirited traditions of Puerto Rico.

Padilla’s good works practicing veterinary medicine include aiding the West Haven Animal Shelter in times of need. Working for the shelter pro bono, he has been its go-to veterinarian for dealing with the prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries in animals, both domestic and wild.

A mentor to many young, aspiring veterinarians who have interned in his office, the humble, casually dressed Padilla lives by the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated.

Rossi lauded the civic-minded Padilla, whom she called “a man of integrity and wisdom,” for his wholehearted devotion to the city and its vibrant Hispanic American community.

She presented him with a Puerto Rican flag and a black jacket embroidered with his new title: Hispanic American of the Year.

Rossi also read a mayoral citation praising Padilla’s “enduring contributions.”

“As a Puerto Rican business owner and resident of West Haven, your remarkable story is treasured by our city,” she said. “I am grateful for your contributions in shaping the tapestry of our Hispanic American community and the narrative of our city.”

The cultural event included remarks from mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies. Before a Hispanic blessing by Victor M. Borras of Gateway Christian Fellowship, Maribel Aguilar-Meza sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Puerto Rican national anthem, “La Borinquena.”

Padilla was born in New York City in 1953 to Ralph L. Padilla, a World War II veteran who served at age 16 in the U.S. Army Tank Corps in the Philippines, and the former Adelaide Rubino, a homemaker.

After the war, his father, a native of Naranjito, Puerto Rico, was one of the first Puerto Ricans to serve on the New York City Police Department, retiring after a decorated career of 28 years.

Padilla is a graduate of Archbishop Stepinac High School, an all-boys Catholic school in White Plains, New York. He earned an associate degree from the State University of New York at Farmingdale, a bachelor’s from Cornell University, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

After receiving his veterinary license in 1981, Padilla worked at Fairport Animal Hospital in Bridgeport until 1985. In March of that year, he moved to West Haven and purchased the West Haven Animal Clinic, across the street from the Veterans Affairs Hospital.

He is a longtime member of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association, the New Haven County Veterinary Medical Association and the Fairfield County Veterinary Medical Association.

Padilla and his wife live on Ocean Avenue in West Shore. They have three children — Kurt L. Padilla, 33, Anna L. Padilla, 32, and Gregory J. Padilla, 27 — and a 2-month-old granddaughter, Neave M. Padilla.

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Lou Esposito and Mayor Rossi

Mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies, opens the program with Mayor Rossi. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

The national anthem

Maribel Aguilar-Meza sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” as Mayor Rossi and her executive assistant, Lou Esposito, look on. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

The Puerto Rican national anthem

Maribel Aguilar-Meza sings the Puerto Rican national anthem, “La Borinquena.” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Mayor Rossi reads the citation

Mayor Rossi reads a citation honoring Dr. Padilla for his “enduring contributions.” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Mayor Rossi presents the Puerto Rican flag

Dr. Padilla is presented with a Puerto Rican flag from Mayor Rossi. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Mayor Rossi pauses with the Padillas

After the ceremony, Mayor Rossi pauses with Dr. Padilla and his wife, the former Yvette Solomon. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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.


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

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