City Notes
Tree planting

Tree planting in Painter Park to mark centennial of state’s ‘Arborist Law’

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 16, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and Tree Commission members will plant a white oak at the main entrance of Painter Park on Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary of Connecticut’s “Arborist Law.”

The 9 a.m. event is part of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association’s Centennial Oak campaign to expedite the planting of a white oak in each of the state’s 169 cities and towns.

The Quercus alba American white oak — the state’s official tree — has been designated by West Haven officials for planting at the park’s main entrance, just off Kelsey Avenue. The tree has been donated by CTPA through Planter’s Choice Nursery of Newtown.

During the ceremony, tree warden Leo Kelly will join Commissioners Rose Beloin, Gail S. Burns, John Haas, Robert Marra and Michelle Matteo to present Rossi with a plaque from CTPA commemorating the historic planting.

The Arborist Law primarily focuses on professional arboriculture, defined as work done to improve the health of individual trees on public and private property.

Rossi is working with Kelly and the commission to improve West Haven’s Tree Management Plan and tree inventory process, along with implementing a sustainable and safe treescape in the heart of downtown.

CTPA, organized in 1922 and based in Wallingford, is an educational association dedicated to advancing the care of Connecticut’s trees. The association’s more than 780 members are mostly composed of licensed arborists, tree wardens and tree care professionals.

According to its website, CTPA aims to accomplish its purpose through educational events, regular workshops, and outreach and publicity, as well as through the example provided by its membership.


West Haven poet laureate holding Fall Poetry Extravaganza on Nov. 2-3

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 16, 2019 — The Fall Poetry Extravaganza presented by West Haven’s poet laureate, Tony Fusco, will take place from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 2-3 at the Yale West Campus, 100 West Campus Drive, Orange.

The program is open to the public with free parking.

Fusco, a lifelong resident who in April was appointed the honorary position of poet laureate by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, will read poems from his newest book, “Don’t Make Me Laugh,” at 1 p.m. Nov. 3.

Read the official News Release.

See the Schedule.

As the city’s first official poet, Fusco will appear at readings and conduct workshops as an advocate for the reading and writing of poetry.

A graduate of West Haven High School, he has a master’s degree in creative writing from Southern Connecticut State University and is co-president of the Connecticut Poetry Society.


Flashlight Halloween Haunt set for Oct. 22 at Painter Park tennis courts

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 16, 2019 — The Department of Parks and Recreation is holding its annual Flashlight Halloween Haunt on Oct. 22 at the Painter Park tennis courts, 190 Kelsey Ave. The rain date is Oct. 28.

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; 6:50 p.m., ages 6-7; and 7:05 p.m., ages 8-10.

Participants should register 10-15 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.

Flu shot clinic

Oct. 18 flu clinic moved to Johnson Community Center at 201 Noble St.

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 16, 2019 — The Health Department is moving its Oct. 18 flu clinic to the Johnson Community Center at 201 Noble St.

The walk-in clinic, originally set for the Savin Rock Conference Center, is from 9 a.m.-noon and for city residents 18 and older.

The following insurances are accepted: Medicare, Aetna and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Insurance carriers Cigna, ConnectiCare, UnitedHealthcare and Medicaid are not participating.

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

People can also pay by cash or check. The private pay rate is $40 for a quadrivalent flu shot and $65 for a high-dose flu shot for those 65 and older.

Skeleton Fest

Skeleton Fest spooking West Haven through Oct. 31

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 16, 2019 — West Havens first spooktacular” event, Skeleton Fest, is underway through Oct. 31. The festival highlights fun Halloween activities in a citywide celebration.

The event is being held as part of the city’s ongoing sustainability efforts to become certified under the SustainableCT initiative.

See the official Skeleton Fest Poster.


Aniello Cappetta receives an embroidered “Italian American of the Year” jacket from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi at the city’s 21st annual Columbus Day Celebration on the steps of City Hall on Friday. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Aniello Cappetta feted as West Haven’s Italian of the Year

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 11, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi presented Aniello Cappetta with a blue jacket embroidered with his new title, Italian American of the Year, as part of festivities marking West Haven’s 21st annual Columbus Day Celebration on the steps of City Hall on Friday.

Cappetta, who owned and operated Cappetta’s Italian Imports in Allingtown for nearly a quarter century, was showered with words of praise from Rossi for his “inspiring contributions in shaping the tapestry of our Italian American community and the narrative of our diverse city.”

At the 20-minute ceremony, Cappetta, 71, 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.

He also received an official statement from senior adviser Jimmy Tickey on behalf of Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and an Italian flag from Paul M. Frosolone, president of the West Haven Italian American Civic Association, and Josephine Matera, former president of the association’s 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.

“Thank you to the mayor; it’s a big honor for me,” said Cappetta, who lives on Pagano Court, a cul-de-sac off Jones Street near First Avenue. “Thank you, America, and thank you, West Haven!”

As the sound of Italian music filled the air during the late morning cultural event in honor of the Italian explorer, Cappetta saluted his ancestry with dozens of his closest friends and loved ones, along with an array of city officials, members of the Allingtown and West Shore fire departments, and descendants of folks from the old country clad in red, white and green.

“I’m very proud of my father,” an emotional Donato Cappetta told the crowd before exclaiming, “God bless America!”

Rossi also presented a mayoral citation to Aniello Cappetta, who, in addition to his son, was joined by his daughter Rosa Armellino and four of his grandchildren, all waving Italian flags.

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 Cappetta, saying: “Your indomitable spirit and meritorious good works are a testament to the promise of America. You are living proof of the American dream!”

Cappetta, one of 13 siblings, was born and raised in the town of Acerno in the province of Salerno, Italy. He served in the Italian air force and also worked as a carpenter.

In 1970, at the age of 22, Cappetta and his wife, the former Palma Malangone, also a native of Acerno, left their home in southwestern Italy and came to America for “a better life and to start a family.”

After the couple settled in New Haven, he worked for a construction company in West Haven.

In 1972, Cappetta and his wife opened their first restaurant, Mama Lucia’s in Ansonia, becoming the first family members to open a food establishment.

The couple sold the restaurant in 1976. For the next eight years, they worked in housekeeping at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven while raising their four children: Luigi, Rosa, Donato and Maria.

The couple moved their brood to West Haven in 1983.

A year later, Cappetta and his wife started a new venture and opened LP Video on Route 1 in Allingtown. The store, which sold Italian American films, introduced the couple to the great people of West Haven, he said.

In 1989, the couple returned to the food service business and opened Cappetta’s Italian Imports across the street from LP Video. The business at 188 Boston Post Road started as a deli and specialized in food items from Italy.

A few years later, Cappetta’s expanded to offer pizza and other Italian specialty foods and provide catering services.

Before long, the business that Cappetta and his wife built in the heart of Allingtown became “the go-to spot” for home-style and hard-to-find Italian foods.

Although he handed it down to sons Donato and Luigi in 2013, Cappetta, whose wife passed away in 2016, still spends time at the neighborhood institution, now Cappetta’s Italian Imports Pizza and Catering.

Cappetta’s propensity for community service includes serving as an ambassador of his rich heritage.

He is a longtime member of Club Napoli in Northford and the Italian American Club of East Haven.

Cappetta’s name will join the 20 previous Columbus Day recipients on a plaque in City Hall.

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


Liz Levy sings the Italian national anthem, “II Canto degli Italiani,” as Mayor Rossi and her executive assistant, Lou Esposito, look on. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


Michael Abbott, director of ministry at Notre Dame High School, offers an Italian blessing as Mayor Rossi and her executive assistant, Lou Esposito, bow their heads. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


Aniello Cappetta is presented with a General Assembly citation from, from left, state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, on behalf of the city’s delegation as Mayor Rossi looks on. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


Aniello Cappetta receives an official statement from senior adviser Jimmy Tickey on behalf of Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


Mayor Rossi presents a citation to Aniello Cappetta for his contributions to the civic and cultural life of West Haven. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

I-A Club

Aniello Cappetta receives an Italian flag from Paul M. Frosolone, president of the West Haven Italian American Civic Association, and Josephine Matera, former president of the association’s Ladies Auxiliary. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)


After the ceremony, Mayor Rossi and her executive assistant, Lou Esposito, join Aniello Cappetta and his family. From front left, Palma Rose Cappetta, Donato Cappetta, Mariella Cappetta and Luciana Cappetta. From back left, Kristyn Cappetta, Salvatore Cappetta, Lucia Germana, Filomena Malangone, Rosa Armellino, Donato Cappetta, Kristina Cappetta, Caterina Malangone and Anna Malangone. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

Tree pit

A crew from Tri State Flexi Pave Inc. of Danbury installs a new flexible, porous pavement material in one of Campbell Avenue’s 60 tree pits on Oct. 4. The Flexi-Pave product allows air and rainwater to pass into soil to keep street trees healthy while providing a low-maintenance solution to weed and unplanned vegetation growth and removal. (City Photo/Leo Kelly)

60 tree pits on Campbell Ave. getting makeover

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 7, 2019 — The city is renovating 60 tree pits along Campbell Avenue to prevent trip hazards and protect street trees.

City sidewalk inspector Ernie Chiarelli and tree warden Leo Kelly are coordinating the removal of brick pavers and debris in the tree pits from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Brown Street to make way for the installation of Flexi-Pave, a porous pavement made with shredded car tires and a urethane bonding agent.

The recycled product is the definition of environmentally friendly, according to its manufacturer, K.B. Industries of Clearwater, Florida.

Kelly said the porous pavement material has been proven to clean rainwater as it passes through.

He applauded the treescape project, saying that safeguarding city trees on lower Campbell Avenue has been an arduous task.

For several years, rainwater has been washing mulch and topsoil out of the tree pits into the street gutter, according to Kelly, and the brick pavers have been restricting tree growth.

He said the flexible pavement product allows air and rainwater to pass into soil to keep street trees healthy while providing a low-maintenance solution to weed and unplanned vegetation growth and removal.

“Tree health and a safe, stable surface for pedestrians are of the utmost importance,” Kelly said.

The work is being done by Tri State Flexi Pave Inc. of Danbury and funded with a state Local Capital Improvement Program grant.

Chiarelli said he expects to complete the project, which began last week, by the end of the month. Residents should note the “No Parking” signs in the work areas.

Anyone with questions about the project can call the Department of Public Works at 203-937-3585.


Revaluation underway for homeowners in West Haven

WEST HAVEN, Oct. 3, 2019 — West Haven has hired the appraisal company Vision Government Solutions Inc. of Hudson, Massachusetts, to perform the city’s state-mandated 2020 revaluation.

Data mailers are being sent to residential property owners to verify property information. It is essential that all data mailers are returned.

In the coming year, Vision data collectors will verify information on file with the city assessor’s office and visit properties recently sold, with open building permits or with known physical changes.

All data collectors will be wearing an ID badge, and their vehicles will be registered with the West Haven Police Department.

Homeowners are encouraged to ask for identification before letting anyone into their homes. Those questioning the identity of a data collector can call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 203-937-3900 or the assessor’s office at 203-937-3515 for further confirmation.

For more information on the revaluation process, call the assessor’s office at 203-937-3515.

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