By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi is calling on all residents who have been affected by the opioid epidemic to hang a black balloon in front of their homes in observance of Black Balloon Day on Wednesday.
For the second year, Rossi has pledged West Haven’s commitment to recognizing the special day after its co-founder, Diane Hurley, of Peabody, Massachusetts, reached out to the mayor seeking the city’s participation. Hurley’s daughter, Lauren Hurley, is the other co-founder.
Lauren Hurley’s mission began March 6, 2016, after her brother-in-law, Greg Tremblay, a father of four, died of a drug overdose a year earlier.
Hurley’s brother, Sean Hurley, was also a drug addict but has been clean for more than a year.
In the wake of the family’s tragedy, she and her mother have joined forces in the war on drugs.
On Wednesday, the Hurleys are encouraging all West Haveners who have been impacted by drug addiction, including pain-reducing opioid medications, to hang a black balloon outside their homes.
At the request of Diane Hurley, city officials will also hang a black balloon on the steps of City Hall for each resident who has died of opioids. A prayer service will take place there at 10 a.m.
At least 24 residents died of opioids last year, said city Health Director Maureen B. Lillis, referencing a November 2018 report by the state Department of Public Health’s Office of Injury Prevention.
Hurley is encouraging the city’s police and fire departments to participate by hanging black balloons as well.
Rossi said West Haven’s participation is aimed at “shining a light on how the national public health crisis of opioid addiction affects us locally.”
The West Haven Garden Club will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 14, at St. Louis Church on Bull Hill Road at 11:30 a.m. A luncheon will then follow and the program will be Master Judge Trish Manfredi who will be doing a design workshop.
Vendors sought for church fair
Vendors Wanted for Saturday, April 6, from 9-2:30 for the Easter Festival and Craft Fair at the church on the West Haven Green, 464 Campbell Ave. Lunch will include New England Clam Chowder and Chicken Noodle soups. Along with vendors, this year’s festival includes a raffles, a bake sale, kids’ corner and crafts, a multi-room book sale, the White Elephant sale, and pictures with Easter Bunny. To join the excitement, contact the First Congregational Church of West Haven for an application, call (203) 933-6291 or email@example.com.
BPGC plans confab
Bradley Point Garden Club of West Haven will hold its monthly luncheon, followed by a workshop on pressed flower arranging, at noon on Tuesday, March 19 in the lower level of Ora Mason Library, 260 Benham Hill Road. New members are always welcome. Call Marie at (203) 878-8428.
St. Patrick trip
Join the West Haven Senior Center for the following trip: Thursday, March 14 – The Log Cabin St. Patrick’s Day Celebration $67 per person Entertainment by Gerry Malone and The Lads playing Irish classics like “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling and “Danny Boy.” Menu includes welcome hors d’oeuvers, complimentary glass of wine or beer, rolls and butter, Irish soda bread, Irish stew, traditional corned beef dinner, Bailey’s Irish Crème cake, coffee and tea. Bus leaves Savin Rock Conference Center 9 a.m. Departs Log Cabin at 3:15 p.m.
A flyer with further details is available at the office at the West Haven Senior Center 201 Noble St. or you can call (203) 937-3507.
An Al-Anon meeting group invites new members to attend its weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the First Lutheran Church, 52 George St. For information and details, call (203) 506-1464.
Balancing the care of a family member, a household and a job is overwhelming. Meet with a representative from VNA Community Healthcare’s Family Caregiver Support Network for a FREE consultation to discuss your personal care-giving issues, receive tips, guidance and explore solutions. Call VNA Community Healthcare’s Helpline at 1 (866) 474-5230 (toll free) to schedule a private in-person or phone session with one of our family caregiver experts. Consultations are held by appointment at several convenient locations including West Haven, Hamden and North Haven.
The Seth Haley Memorial Loan Fund of West Haven provides eligible college students with loans of up to $2500 to help students finish their post high school education. Applicants must be West Haven residents who have completed two or more years of college or post-secondary work or be in their final two years of advanced work. Any West Haven resident attending college or a post high school professional, technical or trade school can be eligible for a loan. Repayments do not begin, and no interest will be charged until one year after graduation. If you are interested in making an application for a loan, please Gert Beckwith at (203) 934-6921, or Ralph Lawson, (203) 934-6442 or write to 170 Ivy St.
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The city honored the extraordinary legacy of African-Americans and the incalculable contributions they have made to shaping the greatness of America at the 23rd annual Black Heritage Celebration Feb. 20 at City Hall.
During the cultural event in observance of Black History Month, the city’s Black Heritage Committee honored West Haven High School senior Brandie James for academic excellence and recognized Millicent Huff Corbett and Patricia Donaldson Turner as African-American Citizens of the Year.
Huff Corbett and Donaldson Turner received a citation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi recognizing their “pioneering good works.”
Reading the citations, Rossi said, “Diversity is the heartbeat of our nation, and your indomitable spirit and inspiring contributions are a testament to the promise of America.”
Huff Corbett is a woman of firsts. A Democrat, she was the first African-American elected to serve on the City Council, representing the 5th District from 1989 to 1991. She was also the first woman to serve in the New Haven Police Department’s motorcycle unit, having been an officer in the Elm City for 16 years.
Huff Corbett is a paraprofessional at Bailey Middle School.
Donaldson Turner, a Republican, served on the Board of Education from 1989 to 1993. She was an assistant teacher at St. Thomas’s Day School in New Haven for 15 years and served as a substitute teacher in West Haven for many years.
Donaldson Turner is a lifetime member of the Greater New Haven chapter of the NAACP.
The hourlong ceremony, held in the Harriet C. North Community Room, featured an awards presentation by Rossi and committee Chairman Steven R. Mullins, the master of ceremonies whose daughter, West Haven High sophomore Nora E. Mullins, sang a spirited rendition of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She was accompanied on the performance by the near-capacity assembly of dignitaries, family, friends and residents.
James, who plans to study law at Temple University next fall, received a Black Heritage Committee certificate of achievement from Mullins, who was joined by Rossi, Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro and West Haven High Assistant Principal John DellaCamera.
James serves as treasurer of the class of 2019 and is co-captain of the mock trial team. She also serves as treasurer of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and is a member of the math club, Theatre Workshop and the international club.
Mullins’ son, Carrigan Intermediate School sixth-grader Steven Christian Mullins, received an award for youth achievement. He is an actor starring in the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots.”
The program included remarks from Rossi, Cavallaro and New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp, the keynote speaker, as well as committee founder Beulah “Bea” Johnson, committee President Emerita Ernestine Jackson and Councilwoman Robbin Watt Hamilton, D-5.
Rossi thanked the committee for its commitment to keeping the Black Heritage Celebration event “relevant and vibrant,” saying: “I know the decorations subcommittee took care in making sure everything was just right. Your volunteerism is truly appreciated.”
Harp focused her remarks on African-American women in public office, asking the crowd of mostly women, “Who better to serve the public interest than women?”
“This latest wave of women in public service could not have come at a better time,” she said, referencing the surge of women in positions of influence at the local, state and national levels of government.
In honor of the monthlong black history celebration, organizers have decorated the walls of City Hall with banners and posters depicting important black leaders and role models worldwide.
The committee has worked since 1996 to promote racial harmony across West Haven, transforming City Hall into an exhibition of African-American art and literature throughout Black History Month to educate residents about black culture.
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called on Congress to fully finance the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund during a news conference Feb. 21 at West Haven Fire Department headquarters.
After alarming news that the fund is running out of money and will cut future payments to 9/11 victims by up to 70 percent, Blumenthal also called on Congress to make the VCF permanent.
Joining Blumenthal for the announcement were Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito and City Council Minority Leader Richard DePalma, R-at large, along with West Haven Fire Department Chief James P. O’Brien and Lt. William Heffernan, District Vice Presidents Steve Michalovic and Bob Smith of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut, and UPFFA member Mike Spoldi.
The VCF has already approved 22,323 claims for survivors and their families for physical injuries as a result of their involvement at New York’s ground zero, including exposure to toxins.
According to the most recent VCF report, there have been 366 claims filed by individuals living in Connecticut, with 136 individuals living in the state already receiving funds.
With cancer rates for 9/11 responders on the rise and the fund set to expire in 2020, the VCF is more important than ever, said Blumenthal, who was also joined at the midday news conference by more than a dozen firefighters from the Elm Street department, which serves the First Fire Taxation District, also known as the Center District.
Blumenthal fought for the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act in 2015, which made the World Trade Center Health Program permanent and reauthorized the VCF through 2020.
Because of an increase in claims, however, the VCF is close to running out of money, Blumenthal said, forcing benefits to be cut by 50 to 70 percent to ensure that all eligible individuals receive an award.
O’Brien and Heffernan are among 35 West Haven firefighters who served at ground zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack and now participate in the WTC program, which ensures proper medical treatment and monitoring of more than 33,000 first responders and survivors who have 9/11-related illnesses.
Of the 35 firefighters, 23 are from the West Haven Fire Department, seven are from the West Shore Fire Department, and five are from the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown, O’Brien said.
Last Congress, Blumenthal was an original co-sponsor of the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, which would permanently reauthorize and finance the VCF as well as provide benefits to those who saw them reduced as a result of the current funding shortfall.
The West Haven Bantam A travel hockey team played in its Connecticut Hockey Conference Tier 3 State Tournament this weekend at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
In their first game of the tournament on Thursday, the Blue Devils took on the CT Riverhawks and skated to a 3-2 loss. The game went back and forth, with both teams having multiple scoring opportunities.
After a scoreless first period, the Riverhawks got on the board in the first minute and a half of the second period, taking the first lead of the game. The score would stay 1-0 until the beginning of the third, when David Brown scored the first goal of the tournament for the Westies with a short- handed goal after going top shelf from the circle.
Matt Morgan scored a breakaway goal for the first Blue Devil lead of the game after Colin Deane gave Morgan a beautiful feed on the goal. After going up 2-1, the Riverhawks scored two unanswered goals, with the game winner being scored with less than a minute left.
Brendan Smith made some unbelievable saves to keep the Westies in the game, with one phenomenal save on a 2-on-1 going post to post and snagging the puck in his glove late in the third.
Dante Hardt, Joey Honcz and Carl Murgo player well in the loss.
On Friday night, the Blue Devils took on the Stamford Sharks and came away with a needed 5-2 win.
After a sluggish start, West Haven was finally able to get on the board midway thru the first period off an unassisted breakaway goal from Morgan. After getting their first goal of the night, the Blue Devils were able to keep the momentum on their side.
Morgan scored his second unassisted goal of the game with 5:32 remaining in the second. Brown then went to score two of his own goals back to back within two minutes of each other, one of them being a nice tip in in front. Murgo then scored a great goal within the last six minutes of the contest, skating end to end and shooting at his target with his head up.
The Sharks scored two quick goals in the last five minutes of the third after gaining momentum back late, but it was not enough to overcome the Westies.
Smith played spectacular in goal, making some great saves and doing a good job deflecting pucks into the corners. Honcz, Kevin Gardner and Jayden Spreyer all played well in the win.
Saturday brought two games for the Westies at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
The first game was the final contest in round-robin play and had the Blue Devils losing a tough game, 4-2 to the Southeastern Seahawks.
After going down 2-0, the Westies got on the board after an unassisted Morgan goal midway through the second period. The Seahawks would go on to score two more, but Justin Pniewski was able to get West Haven on the board for their second goal, with an assist coming from Matt Wezenski. After applying pressure the remainder of the game, West Haven was not able to get the score evened up.
Smith did everything he could to keep the Seahawks off the board in goal, giving a valiant effort. Brown, Wezenski and Cade Simone player well in the loss.
After making it into the quarterfinal round by winning a tie-breaker, the Blue Devils took on a gritty Greater New Haven Warriors team, coming out with a 4-1 victory in the Warriors home rink, with all four Westie goals coming in the first period.
Pniewski scored the game’s first goal off a rebound in front of the net, with the assist coming from Sean Bosworth off a shot from the point. Dante Hardt then scored the game’s second goal, with Spreyer getting the assist. Pniewski scored his second of the contest off an unassisted goal. Brown scored a goal off a rip from the top of the circles, with Cole getting an assist. The Warriors were able to get one in the second, but could not get back in the game.
Smith made some great saves while getting pressured in the crease. Pniewski, Morgan, Honcz and Murgo all played well in the game.
With the win against the Warriors, the Blue Devils advanced to the tournament semifinals, where they lost a nail-biter in overtime by a 3-2 score to the Yale Bulldogs.
Cole scored their first goal of the game off a shot in front, and got the Blue Devils the all important first goal lead of the game. After a back and forth second period, the Bulldogs went to score back to back goals within a minute of each other with five minutes remaining in the game.
After pulling Smith for the extra attacker, Brown scored the game-tying goal off a slap shot from the top of the circles with a minute remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime. After the Westies pressured the Bulldogs in their end for the first four minutes of overtime, Yale was able to score the game-winning goal to end the Blue Devils CHC Season.
Smith played his best game of the tournament, keeping his team in the lead for the majority of the game. Wezenski, Deane and Murgo all played well in the loss.
The Gunning Law Huskies captured the West Haven Girls Basketball tournament championship with a 21-10 win over the Rings End Bruins Friday night at Seth Haley. The Huskies finished the year with a record of 16-1.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter as Finley Gunning hit for 10 points in the quarter and Cashlin O’Neill added two points. Samira Huckaby raced in with a layup off the tip in the second quarter to extend the lead. The Bruins battled back in the second quarter as Noelle Lawrence scored five points, including a three-pointer as time expired.
The third quarter saw both teams turn up the defensive pressure. Finley Gunning added another hoop while Sara Went and Samantha Boyd answered with baskets for the Bruins. Emma McFarland and Sophie McFarland put the game away for the Huskies with hoops in the fourth quarter. The ball handling of Molly Gunning and defense of Elena Cortes held the Bruins without a basket for the quarter. Neveah Stegall hit a free throw for the Bruins.
Members of the Huskies: Molly Gunning, Taryn Walker, Katie Mondo, Elena Cortes, Samira Huckaby, Haleigh McCarthy, Finley Gunning, Sophie McFarland, Emma McFarland, Sophie Empric and Cashlin O’Neill.
Member of the Bruins: Samantha Boyd, Sara Went, Emily Hartshorn, Trinity Campbell, Jada Turner, Abby Wynus, Neveah Stegall, Camilla Murphy, Noelle Lawrence, Gillian Wynus and Diajah Taylor.
In the semifinals, the Huskies rode 15 points from Cashlin O’Neill to lead them to a 23-11 win over the fourth seeded Shoreline Dental Cardinals. Elena Cortes, Finley Gunning and Taryn Walker also scored for the Huskies. Madden Evangeliste, Cristel Miguel and Parish Rutledge all scored key baskets as the Cardinals.
The Bruins got to the finals by revenging an earlier loss to the third seeded West Haven Drug & Alcohol Panthers with a 23-10 win. Sara Went exploded for 14 points in the win for the Bruins. The Bruins also got scoring from Camilla Murphy, Noelle Lawrence, Jada Turner and Neveah Stegall. Ciara Harp, Jocelyn Silber and Jaecianna Mitchell accounted for all the Panthers scoring.
The first time Hamden and West Haven met this season, Hamden put on an offensive display and cruised past the Westies. Knowing West Haven was not going to let that happen again, the Green Dragons used an offense which saw 12 different players gather points in a 6-4 Division I victory over the Westies at Lou Astorino Rink Monday evening.
Sophomore Conor Gethings was the only Hamden player with multiple points as he had a goal and an assist, while 11 other players recorded one point. Hamden goaltender Donald Moorcroft made 19 saves, including several key stops in the third period with the Westies looking to rally.
“It is important for us to get the secondary scoring,” Hamden’s Eddy Fracasso said after finishing with an assist. “We had several guys come up big tonight. That is good for the team. It gets the whole team rolling.”
The Green Dragons, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, were rolling from the start, outshooting West Haven 15-5 in the opening period, and using a pair of 5-on-3 advantages to build momentum, before scoring twice in 50 seconds for a 2-0 advantage.
Up two men, and after West Haven (10-10) had already killed a two-man down situation, A.J. Luedee found himself alone in front and beat West Haven goaltender Jared Pliszka where he made no mistake off assists from Fracasso and Gethings.
Just 50 seconds later, the lead was a pair of goals as Jack Shane scored off assists from Tyler Routh and Alex Hernandez.
“We got off to the quick start with the two goals,” Fracasso said. “We knew West Haven was not going to let us run away with it. We knew they were going to come back. We knew we had to pick it up.”
The Westies cut the deficit in half with 4.8 seconds left in the opening period. Richie Greene’s point shot was deflected in front by Kevin Moriarty, before Moriarty put in the loose puck to get the Westies within 2-1.
“We fell behind early,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We have shown we can come back and we will need that in the playoffs. We had some opportunities, but we didn’t cash in.”
Hamden (11-8) scored the only goal of the second period when Alan Cozzolino scored off a scramble in front with an assist going to Alex Ponzio, before the Green Dragons opened up the contest in the third period.
Craig Cesare gave Hamden a 4-1 lead 3:46 in and Michael Gethings added to the mix 38 seconds later for a 5-1 advantage, before West Haven stormed back.
“Playing teams like West Haven helps us for the postseason,” Fracasso said. “It gives us an extra boost. When we play the big teams like West Haven, we know we have to play together and be ready.”
Led by Kaden Morgillo, the Westies rallied back. Morgillo got West Haven within 5-2 off assists from Nico Bruneau and Colin Hines 1:04 later, before Niko Kyle scored off assists from Nick Boanno and Moriarty with 2:52 remaining.
Trailing by two, Morgillo again tallied off an assist from Sean Dupre with 35.5 seconds to go to get West Haven within 5-4, but the Westies could not get the equalizer.
“At 5-1, we got some life,” Morrell said. “We are going to need that. We know we can come back. It has happened a few times this year where we came back. Now, we have to rest up and get ready for the postseason.”
Conor Gethings sealed the win for Hamden as he scored into an empty net as time expired.
To top off the Wizards’ undefeated season, they were crowned Yankee League Champions after scoring more than1000 total points during trials and championships. The final meet of the season will be the All-Star Pentathlon.
From championships, the top three swimmers in each event qualify for the pentathlon. The pentathlon is a unique meet, in that all the swimmers compete in the same five events: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and a 100-yard individual medley. The times from all events are added up and the swimmer from each age group with the fastest cumulative time wins.
This year 45 Wizards advanced to All-Stars, and five others qualified at alternates:
Katherine Ayala, Lauren Blake, Carli Cassone, Anya Celmer, Collin Charron, Nathan Charron, Eliezer Chulco, Jacob Collete, Sophia DeLauri, Madysen Elias, Emily Eschweiler, Leonarkis Espronceda, Kaelyn Falanga, Morgan Falanga, Sean Fitzpatrick, Sophie Fonck, Jillian Goldbeck, Aryanna Gorske, Gabriel Gyurkovics, Madison Hobart, Lauren Hoeppner, Raymond Listori, Andrew McLarty, Leahn Mendoza, Linnette Mendoza, Erin Morton, Kaleigh Morton, Aarya Mulmi, Cam Nash, Anna Piskura, Evan Piskura, Camila Procino, Hannah Rascoll, Jaxson Ryan, London Ryan, Sophia Shubin, Ella Sutton, Kaylee Taulty, Emma Tirollo, Winter Valdivieso, Kaya Vital, Lucas Vital, Carly Weber, Molly Wilson and Lucas Yavagnilio. The alternates are; Christian Ayala, Aubrey Holthaus, Jacob Ilama, Dylan Morrissey and CJ Sutton.
During Championships, three team records were broken. Collin Charron set a new record for the boys’ 11/12 50-yard backstroke record, and Anya Celmer set the mark for the girls’ 15 and over record for the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.
For more information on the West Haven Wizards, visit www.westhavenwizards.org The spring season is just around the corner Registration will be opening in March 2019 through the West Haven Parks and Recreation. The spring team is an eight-week stroke clinic, it is a great opportunity for new swimmers to learn all four strokes and the fundamentals of swimming, or to refine their skills.
Hockey beats NFI on Senior Day, basketball beats Hillhouse in SCC quarterfinal round, Alex Barbour competed in CIAC State Open Wrestling Meet, and swimmers hosted Xavier on Senior Day.
Hockey — Following the always bittersweet and emotional senior day festivities, the goal was simple for the 2018-19 hockey team – send off its eight seniors with a win in their final regular season game at the Bennett Rink. Three third-period goals, a few huge saves by David Anania, and a penalty kill to start the final period all led to a 5-1 SCC/SWC Division I win over visiting New Fairfield-Immaculate on Satirday.
Tom Ashmore, John Michael Childs, Rory Andriole, Michael Card, and Connor Faughnan all scored for the Green Knights. Notre Dame fell to Darien 7-3 earlier in the week, despite goals from Jack Luzzi, Card, and John D’Errico. They entered Tuesday’s regular season finale at ND Fairfield with a 9-9-1 record.
Basketball — Staring down the barrel of a four-point halftime deficit and possible early exit from the SCC Tournament, the Notre Dame basketball team turned its defense up a notch and became downright stingy as the top-ranked Green Knights rallied to beat Hillhouse, 56-44 ,in a quarterfinal game at Branford HS on Saturday.
Notre Dame (20-1) held the ninth-seeded Academics to four points over the first 10 minutes of the second half to flip the score. Notre Dame used a 15-4 third-quarter scoring advantage to take the lead, resulting in their third win over Hillhouse this season. Connor Raines then broke out of a slow scoring day with a nine-point fourth quarter as the Green Knights stayed comfortably ahead and made enough free throws to cruise to a 12-point win. Raines led Notre Dame with 14 points. The Green Knights had two other -figure scorers as Trevon Setzer-Smith and Zach Laput added 12 and 10 points respectively.
Wrestling — As a result of his fourth-place showing at the CIAC Class L Meet, Alex Barbour qualified for the CIAC State Open Meet. He was seeded 13th in his 182-pound weight class for the competition that started on Friday at the New Haven Athletic Center.
Unfortunately, Barbour lost his first two matches in the double-elimination bracket, albeit both incredibly close matches. Barbour lost, 12-10, to Bacon Academy’s Leonardo Amoro, who was the Class M fifth-place finisher.
Barbour would look to keep his tournament and season alive in the consolation round, but would lose another close battle. This time, he lost a 13-12 decision to New Britain’s Izaiah Medina. Barbour will return next season, along with a slew of other wrestlers for head coach Richard Anderson. In fact, 22 of the 26-man roster will be back for next winter season.
Swimming — Notre Dame swim coach Mike O’Brien let his seniors hand in what events they would like to compete in for their final dual meet of the regular season. As a result, co-captains Bill Hinckley and Jonathan Farricielli both won their event and set personal best times as well. However, the Green Knights fell, 100-71, in their meet with Xavier.
Hinckley and Farricielli were part of four winning events for the Green Knights. Farricielli won the 50 freestyle in 24.81. Hinckley won the 100 freestyle in 51.64. The other Notre Dame wins came from Sean McDermott, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.72. The 400 freestyle relay team also won the final event as Malachi Blatchley, Gavin Kanlong, Colton Varholak, and Michael Iasalvatore in 4:15.42.
You can get all the latest athletic news, scores, and more by following @NDWHAthletics on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope while frieNDing the @NDWHAthletics Facebook group.