By Josh LaBella
While the start of Monday’s City Council meeting saw the body commending youth cheerleading groups who placed nationally, the public session saw three different union representatives calling for an apology for what they saw as an incindiary post made on Facebook by a council member.
The council opened their meeting by awarding the coaches and cheerleaders of the Midget Football League’s West Haven Sea Hawks junior varsity and pee wee cheerleading teams each with a citation recognizing the team’s national ranking. The teams competed in the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships during Dec. 1-8 at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Council Chairman Ron Quagliani told the thanked the teams for continuing to represent West Haven at the national level.
“You’re kind of our UConn women in a West Haven-type dynasty,” said Quagliani. “You are our ambassadors to the greater community when you are competing at regionals, when you are competing nationally. You are representing West Haven and we are very proud of that.”
The next part of the meeting saw Corporation Council Lee Tiernan going over the legal protections a councilor has while serving in their role and the ones which fall outside of those bounds. The presentation was seemingly in response to a comment made by Seventh District Councilwoman Portia Bias on Facebook.
In the post, which the councilwoman shared to the Facebook page West Haven –The Way It Is, she referenced a document the mayor had given the council and audience at the previous council meeting, which showed payouts at termination.
“I’ve also been following Councilwoman Morrissey’s investigating city personnel buyback schemes, which proved well worth her efforts when I read the spreadsheet handed out by Mayor Rossi showing clearly those on the take and many others not,” said Bias, who attached a photo of the document. “It is wrong the city asks its residents to bail out its illegally paid out $1.387 million…”
As a result of the post, three union representatives came to the meeting to give statements during public session. Eric Peterson, who represented Local 681, said the post was “way out of line.”
“As the president of Local 681 I am making a very clear statement that those employees upon retirement, layoff, resignation or death were entitled to payments they received based on years of service and contract language,” said Peterson. “This individual’s statements indicating that what the employees received were, in fact, illegal payouts is completely (baseless) and condemning to say the least.”
Peterson went on to request an apology from Bias, whom he did not name. He said the statement was demeaning to those who chose to serve the public in West Haven.
Joseph DeGrand, an Allingtown firefighter and Local 1198’s union representative, said the payouts were part of their collective bargaining agreement.
“I find it extremely concerning that members of the council would openly declare that employees of the city of West Haven were involved in a buyback scheme or that public servants were on the take,” said DeGrand. “The motives of such an individual could not possibly be to serve the public, but rather to incite more hatred, resentment and conspiracy at a time when the community has had enough.”
Bias offered no apology during the meeting or on Facebook as of press time.
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
I have been waiting for someone to fix the clock on the Allingtown Green. Can you tell me when this is going to happen?
Ruth L Allingtown Green:
I have been contacting the Councilman for your district, Peter Massaro with your request on the clock on the Allingtown Green.
Councilman Massaro updated Gripe Vine with this reply, “The clock on Allingtown Green is in the process of being fixed. The state is giving St. Representative Mike DiMassa a big problem on who’s fault it is and who should fix the clock. I just spoke to him on Saturday, March 16th, 2019 about this I haven’t forgotten about it. This is one of my main issues.”
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
It’s going to get warm out. What are they going to do in West Haven on the green when people come there with their dog and let them do their business on the green and then walk away from it and leave it without picking it up. ? Kids will be playing there and stepping and falling into IT. I have seen this.
Although there is a sign on the green, it is faded, and no one can see it. There is only one sign.
Chris M- Green
Dear Chris M-Green:
Although there is a sign on the green indicating proper dog visiting, perhaps another sign that is clear and easy to read would be an advantage to visitors to the green.
I have forwarded a request to Councilman Aaron Charney to look into your complaint. Once again, please let me know when a second sign appears as well as better clarity on the existing signage.
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
There is a house on Timberline Drive that has been vacant for many years and is becoming increasingly dilapidated. It is an eyesore and a safety issue. Can this property become attractive once again?
L Dee Timberline Drive
Dear L Dee:
Gripe Vine notified Peter Massaro of this complaint. According to Massaro, “About 3 Timberline Drive, the house was vacant but now someone purchased the house and they are doing repairs on the house; new windows, doors and roof.”
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
Stop raising taxes! Go after West Haven residents or all who register their cars out of Connecticut illegally, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maine, Vermont, etc.
BB West Walk
Dear BB West Walk:
Research provided the following information:
West Haven has a Vehicle Immobilization (Boot) Program that is in effect.
According to the tax department in West Haven, “If you are booted, you will need to pay your full tax delinquency to the City of West Haven Office of the Tax Collector and a separate boot fee of $150 to the Vioalert driver.
The boot fee must be paid by money order or bank check only and made payable to “Vioalert” to have your vehicle released (boots are usually released within 1 hour).
For a payoff figure, you may call the collecting agent, TaxServ, at 866-497-2427 (toll free)
Gripe Vine Readers, you may submit your questions, gripes and comments to email@example.com or mail them to Gripe Vine c/o The West Haven Voice, 666 Savin Ave. You can also submit via our online form. Please submit your name, address and phone number when you send your gripes. They will be kept in strict privacy with me.
This week, your Historian defers to the words of beloved West Haven Historian Harriet North; the following article originally appeared on Jan. 12, 1984:
When I was a young girl, my mother would tell me to do something, and if I didn’t immediately spring into action, she would say “Get a move on, you are slower than molasses in January! That is how I feel this day after all the excitement of parties, gifts of rich food, nuts and candies and having no strength to stay away from them. I’m in slow motion.
For those who don’t know the meaning of the “slow molasses: I will tell you that at one time years ago, every good housewife and cook had a jug of molasses in the pantry. (Not many homes have a pantry today.)
We went to the grocery store with a stoneware jug with a wire handle on it. The barrel of molasses had a spigot on it and if the weather were very cold it took a long time to fill our jug, thus the expression. Today we buy our molasses in glass containers.
We used molasses for candy, Indian meal pudding and of course the Saturday night baked beans. Think how good those baked beans were, a big pan of beans cooked all day in the coal stove, a big piece of salt pork in the middle, an onion on two on the sides.
They weren’t much like the ones you buy in cans now. On a cold January night what better than baked beans, home-made brown bread, and some apple pie? We are never too young or too old to store up memories.
The picture that I show this week was drawn by Robert Jameson Kennedy. I have used it as it shows the Paier School of Art sign over Feinson’s store. The accredited Paier Art College started here in West Haven by Edward Paier and his wife Adele. She was the niece of “Sol” Dannenberg who had a store down on Campbell Avenue. I was reminded of this picture when I remembered that the Creche that we have on our Green every Christmas was done by Mr. Paier.
In the background you will notice Herzog’s Men’s Shop and Wood’s Hardware Store. On the right of the picture may be seen the two chimneys of the house that was torn down to make way for the Telephone Company building. This structure was once used as a courthouse and the famous Malley murder case was tried here. Two Malley brothers allegedly murdered one Jennie Cramer. She was found dead on the beach at Savin Rock. They were never found guilty. I guess that papers all over the country heard about West Haven and its famous case.
The best of friends always find a way to stay together. Just ask a pair of former West Haven High hockey stars.
High school hockey may have ended for Brendan Serenson and Pete Richetelli, but that has not stopped the lifelong friends from playing together. With the hopes of playing in college still fresh in their minds, the pair has connected again in Junior hockey.
Playing this past season for the Connecticut Rangers, Serenson and Richetelli recently concluded their Junior hockey days, losing in the second round of the postseason.
While the loss may be bittersweet, it is also a new beginning for the pair as collegiate academics and hockey now await.
For Serenson, the goalie will take his talents to Roger Williams College where he will study Business Management and stop pucks in goal.
“I have already taken some classes online,” Serenson said two years removed from high school. “I was not really sure what I wanted to do (after high school). I thought I knew. I knew I wanted to keep playing hockey. I wanted to play at a higher level. I wanted to play Juniors to see where that would take me. I’m happy with where I’m going.”
Richetelli, who finished with 95 career points in high school and had 72 points this year for the Junior Rangers, will face a big decision in where his college days will take him. He is still in the process of determining where that path will be.
“Long term, I would like to play four years of college,” Richetelli said. “It is definitely a little different. I want to play as long as I can and enjoy it.”
While each were All-State selections in 2017 at West Haven, both Richetelli and Serenson found out the difference in speed of the game from high school to Juniors relatively quickly. Serenson had to get used to the play in front of him, while Richetelli had to pick up his pace to keep up with his opponents.
Not only were game speeds different, but so to were practices. Both believe that transition helped their overall games.
“The speed is the biggest difference,” Richetelli said. “It took a couple of games to adjust. Everyone works hard and fast. It pushed you to the limit.”
Serenson had two solid seasons in Juniors as he played for the Junior Wolfpack out of high school, posting an .890 save percentage and a 4.00 goals against average. Moving over to the Rangers his second year, Serenson posted similar numbers for a team which advanced to the second round of the postseason.
Richetelli was the opposite side of the ledger as his responsibility was to put the puck in the net. The former Westie obliged as he had 14 goals and 25 goals for 39 points his first year, and 28 goals and 44 assists for 72 points this past year.
“I think I was more adjusted this year,” Richetelli said.
Richetelli, who started looking into Junior teams his senior year of high school, quickly decided on Junior hockey after being approached by Jim Hankel. While undecided on a college, Richetelli knows the next level is more of a job than recreation.
“It is definitely more of a job,” Richetelli said. “In Juniors, everyone has a role. If you mess up, they will sit you. You have to work hard or you will not play.”
Said Serenson, “I feel Juniors helped me. It made me develop as a hockey player and as a person. I made great friends, and I learned what it takes to be successful as a student and an athlete.”
While Juniors helped both raise their game and their success level, it also reunited the All-State players from West Haven High.
“It was good to get to play with Pete again,” Serenson said. “It was nice. We have been playing together so long. It was great to have a friend there. I knew he had my back everywhere and on the ice.”
What was also nice for the lifelong friends was their ability to share their experiences with both families as each have been by the other’s side since they started skating.
Said Richetelli, “It meant a lot to play with Brendan. We have played together since youth hockey and all through high school. We were able to go on road trips and spend a lot of time together. We got to do that with our fathers too, so that was special to do one last time.”
For the lifelong friends, they are finding out the next level is a business. They are also proof you can have fun and still work hard.
Books and clothing sales
The First Congregational Church will host its firstf the year monthly used book sale and Clothes Closet sale on Saturday, April 6, between the hours of 9-3. The Easter Fest will also be held on this date.
After the long and cold winter there will be many books for you to read and clothing to buy at very low prices. For information, call (203) 933-6291.
The Agency on Aging of South Central CT is sponsoring a self-care education program for family caregivers, designed to provide you with tools and strategies to better handle the unique challenges you face. The free workshop series consists of six sessions held on Tuesdays, 1-3:30, April 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28 and June 4, held at the Agency on Aging of SCC at 117 Washington Ave, Suite 17, North Haven.
To register call or e-mail Jan Simmons at (203) 785-8533 x. 3162, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also register online at: www.aoascc.org/forms/ptc/.
Senior Center trips
Join the West Haven Senior Center for the following trip:
Wednesday, June 12 – The Good Speed Opera House “The Music Man” $99 per person enjoy lunch at the Gelston House, American bistro just steps from the Goodspeed. Bus leaves Savin Rock Conference Center 10 a.m. Departs Goodspeed approximately at 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 31– The Westchester Broadway Theatre “On Your Feet” enjoy lunch at the theatre before the show Cost $90 Bus leaves Savin Rock Conference Center 9 a.m. Departs Westchester approximately at 3:45 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 the Senior Center (203) 937-3507.
The annual Easter Fest and Craft Fair, sponsored by First Congregational Church on the Green, is set for Saturday, April 6, 9-2:30, at the church, 464 Campbell Ave, The fair features handmade candies & crafts, a bake sale, and an Easter Basket raffle, as well as White Elephant shop and Book Sale downstairs, and Clothes Closet upstairs. A light breakfast is offered as well as lunch. The Easter Bunny will visit us between 11 and 2. Kids can have their picture taken with the bunny, get a free Glitter Tattoo, enjoy our crafts/activities table, and get a prize from our big pink tree!
Vendor spaces are still available for the festival. Contact our church office for an application or information, (203) 933-6291 or email@example.com.
The Harugari German-American Club, 66 Highland St., is sponsoring three events: Friday March 15, at 6 p.m. St.Patrick’s Day Family Dinner Members $15 non-members 17. Cash Bar. Live Music. For Reservations please call Barbara Pokora at (203) 640-3656 For more information go to Harugari.org.
Saturday March 23 open house and Bierfest from 4-10 p.m. Free admission
Sunday, April 7, at noon. Brunch at Duffy’s Tavern 241 Campbell Ave. Please make reservations by calling Sue Lanziero at (203) 623-9093. For more information go to Harugari.org.
The West Haven Senior Center is making a trip to Mogehan Sun on Wednesday, May 8. Cost is $25 with $15 free bet and $15 food voucher or free buffet. This trip is in conjunction with The West Haven Housing Authority. Pick up times are as follows: Morrissey Manor 8 a.m., Savin Rock Conference Center 8:15, Surfside 8:30, Union 8:45, and John Prete 9. Those picked up at Housing Authority sites, please make reservation with Yolanda (203) 933-9449. Those picked up at Conference Center please register at the West Haven Senior Center or call (203) 937-3507. Bus leaves Mohegan at 4.
Golden Oldies Review
The 37th edition of the Golden Oldies Review is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at the Cielo ballroom, 85 Chase Lane, from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Michael Hoover presents “Memories of Elvis” at 9:30. DJ Charles Rosenay will provide music. Also featured is Carla Gemma Tickets are $30 per person with door prizes and raffle. Proceeds to benefit MDA Call Geri Caccavale (203) 795-5473 or Lucy Prokop (203) 468-2528 for tickets.
Shore Haven scholarships
The Shore Haven Junior Baseball League will be accepting scholarship applications for current high school seniors pursing further education. The league will be awarding three scholarships in the amounts of $250 in honor of Sal Arminio, Dave Terese, Sr., and Mario J.Argentino, plus the Joseph Morrell, Sr., Scholarship.
All applicants must have participated in the league for two years for the first three scholarships. Applications must be returned by May 15 to: Charles Gunning, 125 Central Ave., West Haven, 06516. For information can be obtained from area guidance offices or by calling (203) 934-9740.
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.
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
By Bill O’Brien
Special to the Voice
The 59th anniversary of the Casey-O’Brien Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete awards dinner will be Friday, March 29 at Fantasia Banquet Facility, North Haven at 6:30.
This year’s recipients from West Haven and Notre Dame high schools, respectively, are Joe Manning, and Kamron Bell. In all 29 athletes will be honored for their academic and athletic excellence, leadership and citizenship.
“Once again we will be honoring an outstanding group of young men,” said Bill O’Brien, chapter president. “Their accomplishments in the classroom, on the field, and in the community bring honor and distinction to their parents, their schools and their communities.”
In addition the chapter’s Distinguished American Award will be presented to Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven. He has served as a state senator, representing the 34th Senatorial District since 2003. A partner in the law firm of Fasano, Ippolito, Lee & Florentine in New Haven, he graduated from Hamden Hall in 1977 and was chosen as a scholar-athlete by the chapter before entering Yale, where he lettered .
The chapter’s Award of Merit will be presented to Southern Connecticut Conference Commissioner Al Carbone as theSCC completes its 25th year. Other award winners include Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi, who was chosen Chapter Coach of the Year, and former WHHS athlete and Milford resident Scott Kelly, an 18-year member of the New haven Football Officials Association, who has officiated in eight state playoff games.
Tickets may be purchased for $50 by calling Donna Limone, (203) 481-8375.
It just wasn’t meant to be for the 2018-19 Notre Dame hockey team.
The dreams of adding the 8th state title in school history and another banner in Alumni Hall were dashed in a 5-2 loss to Fairfield Prep in the CIAC Division I state championship game in front of a sold out and frenzied crowd at the Ingalls Rink at Yale University on Tuesday, March 19.
After an even start by both teams, the Jesuits struck twice late in the first period to take control of the game. Thomas Quinn scored a rebound goal with 4:24 left in the first period and Fairfield Prep led 1-0. That lead doubled when a Jesuits rush led to an errant shot that redirected off a Green Knight stick into the net for a 2-0 lead with 46 seconds left in the period.
The Green Knights, who had won five in a row coming into the game, saw their deficit grow to three when Jack Esse added a rebound goal just 2:29 into the second stanza.
Notre Dame got on the scoreboard and back in the game on a nifty goal by Rory Andriole. The play started with Kevin Millea keeping the puck in the zone. It caromed to John D’Errico ‘21, who one-timed a perfect pass to a rushing Andriole. His shot beat Jake Walker and the Green Knights were within 3-1 with 4:49 left in the period.
That momentum didn’t last long as Fairfield Prep regained a three-goal lead just 45 seconds later when Mason Whitney was alone in front of the net and redirected a pass into the open net for a 4-1 lead after two periods.
The teams traded third period goals with Colin Bella giving Fairfield Prep a 5-1 lead before Charlie Andriole squeaked one through the legs of Walker after a length-of-the-ice rush to pull Notre Dame within 5-2 with 6:16 left in the game.
“Fairfield Prep is the bar of high school hockey. They’ve won 18 state championships. That’s the level we need to achieve,” first-year Notre Dame head coach Larry Vieira told GameTimeCT.com. He added, “Notre Dame hockey is used to this type of environment. We need to get this team past that bar. It’s a wonderful step. In terms of the game, I felt that our youth showed up a little bit.”
Notre Dame applied pressure the rest of the game but couldn’t get closer. Moments later, the Green Knights were denied when a Millea blast was saved by Walker. Ryan Ahern dinged the post on a rebound and Ian Hayden wrister sailed wide.
The Green Knights pulled Smith with 2:29 left and had several chances. Walker made a nice save on a Charlie Andriole shot. A Tommy Ashmore wrister from wall was saved and Jack Luzzi’s backhand attempt was kicked aside.
Notre Dame fought until the bitter end and had another scoring chance in the waning seconds but a Millea blast was denied and John-Michael Childs couldn’t knock home the rebound on the doorstep.
The Jesuits outshot Notre Dame 29-24. Smith made 24 saves while Walker made 22.
The public is invited to the Grand Reopening of the West Haven Veterans Museum and Learning Center at 30 Hood Terrace on Saturday, April 16 from 10-2. There will be a brief program at 11:15 to celebrate the return of the restored portrait of “Stubby, the local World War I Hero,” the war dog for whom the recent animated documentary was created.
Visitors will also be introduced to the newly constructed Edward N. Silver Media Center donated by the West Haven Rotary Foundation. There will be informal tours, door prizes and light refreshments. The first 50 families will receive a commemorative gift.
The museum, also known as the 102nd Infantry Regiment Museum, is a 9,000 square foot exhibit hall featuring many rare and unique articles and artifacts. The docents are all either formal military or historians who are extremely knowledgeable about the displays, uniforms, rosters and art.
There is no fee, but donations are welcome to support the museum which is 100% volunteer operated.
By Josh LaBella
Bill Heffernan describes himself as a busy man. Heffernan, who holds the rank of lieutenant at the Center fire district, wears many hat and is involved with a myriad number of groups and projects in and outside of West Haven.
As historian of his fire department, Heffernan said he combs through “dusty vaults at City Hall” and the minutes of the board of fire commissioners, going back to 1919, to piece together the history of the fire districts in West Haven.
“We’ve been doing a lot to bring this stuff forward,” said Heffernan. “The fire department has been a hot button topic and I’ve been doing some presentations around town… to try and get the real information out there.”
Heffernan said a lot of residents have misinformation about the history and reasoning behind West Haven’s fire districts. He said the city has always had multiple departments; even before the city was incorporated in as a town and then city in 1921 and 1961, respectively.
In his office across the street from the fire department, Heffernan had consolidation studies on the fire departments dating back decades. He said they all said pretty much the same thing.
“Don’t bother doing it,” said Heffernan. “It’ll cost a fortune.”
Aside from being a firefighter for 27 years, Heffernan also serves as a president of the board for the West Haven Community House, is on the board for the Village Improvement Association – which is the library system’s board of directors, is a member of the West Haven Historical Society and was the chairman of the 125th anniversary board in 2013. He said he always tries to help with things that are going on.
According to Heffernan, he could retire but he is not finished yet. He said he has projects left to do, including getting the fire museum up and running.
Recently, Heffernan has been serving as technical advisor for Tacoma FD, a comedy show about firefighters. It is produced, in part, by his cousin and West Haven native Kevin Heffernan of Super Troopers and Beerfest fame. He said he had been telling his cousin to do a show about firefighters for years.
“He ignored me for about 15 years,” said Heffernan. “I said, ‘Listen, firefighters have great stories. We do some funny stuff.’ There’s always some gag going on. We are always pranking each other. The calls that we go on are ridiculous sometimes.”
Heffernan said during the filming of Super Troopers 2 Kevin called and said truTV wanted him to write a pilot episode for a show about a firehouse. He said he spent most of the fall flying out to California to sit in on the script writing and to make sure the show was true to the firefighter life.
“It’s a comedy but you don’t want the guys to look stupid,” said Heffernan. “It’s Tacoma. It rains every day. It’s the wettest city in America. So, there’re not a lot of fires. Mayhem ensues.”
Heffernan said a lot of the stories in the show come from his time as a firefighter and he worked to make sure the antics of the characters were still in line with what firefighters would actually do. On Wednesday, he and his wife went to the premiere and walked the red carpet. The show premieres Thursday night at 10:30.