By Dan Shine
New Haven: Home of the First Telephone Exchange in the World
New Haven’s East Creek is no longer in existence. However for generations it served its settlers and inhabitants faithfully: First it was employed by the Quinnipiac Indians who used it for catching fish and shellfish. Later it served the Puritan followers of John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, who arrived here in 1638 and stayed for 30 years before moving on to found Newark, New Jersey. And it would serve the many newcomers who followed them. Extending from New Haven Harbor, East Creek ran alongside the southern end of State Street. In those bygone days, oceangoing vessels could proceed upriver as far as the intersection of State and Chapel streets.
Eventually, East Creek was drained and piped away, and the riverbed was used to support the railroad tracks extending from New Haven north to Hartford and east to New London and Providence. And the land surrounding the creek eventually evolved from farming community to carriage manufacturing community, as well as bedroom community for New Haven’s newest crop of immigrants. On nearby Wooster Street, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, just a stone’s throw from where Frank Pepe would introduce New Haveners to pizza in 1925.
In its time, East Creek witnessed numerous transitions and innovations, as clever New Haveners moved the world forward with their numerous inventions.
We today take the telephone for granted, as we have for our whole lives; but in 1887, the U.S. Mail was the common medium of communication, and telegraphic service was a faster but much more expensive alternative.
By that year, East Creek was just a memory. And then one evening in 1887, a public demonstration took place in an opera house near the corner of Chapel and Olive Streets. It showed a fascinated audience the power of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. This demonstration captured the public imagination and sowed the seeds for what would become a revolutionary device for personal communication. Prior to this demonstration telephones, invented by Bell in 1875, were owned by private persons or businesses who leased telephones in pairs to connect, for example, one’s home with a business. In these cases, it was necessary to arrange for telegraph contractors to string privately-owned wires between the two locations.
Back to our story: one of those in the audience at the opera house that night was George W. Coy. He was employed by the Franklin Telegraph Company and associated with the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company, located a block away at the corner of State and Chapel Streets. Coy reasoned that if these telephone devices were to be installed here and there, in homes and businesses, and if a method could be found for connecting any one telephone with any other, the problem of intercommunication would be solved.
What Coy did next made the idea a reality: He created a rudimentary telephone switchboard that allowed a central office to connect multiple persons, thus allowing each subscriber the advantage of having to buy only one phone in order to connect to a potentially infinite number of other subscribers. He built the switchboard with carriage bolts, handles from teapot lids, wire, and other spare parts. The 21 original subscribers to the exchange each paid $1.50 per month. All calls were made through the central office, where a telephone operator (Coy, at first) connected the person initiating the call to the party that he or she wished to reach. Direct dialing and telephone numbers would not become common until the 1920s; by that time, telephone communication had become familiar and commonplace.
The first telephone directory was printed in 1878, and listed fifty subscribers in this new and exciting venture. The first telephone booth was installed the next year, at about the same time as the first female operator was hired. This occupation would be reserved for “women only” for decades. The first crank calls took place in Rhode Island in 1884, and as the story goes, were a prank played upon undertakers. But we digress…
Thus was born the New Haven District Telephone company; it would operate from the Boardman Building along what was once the bank of East Creek, just across the creek bed from the opera house where a revolutionary idea had once taken shape. The new company would ultimately become part of the Bell System, which linked all of the local telephone companies into a nationwide network. The Bell System would dominate telephone communication for more than 100 years, until it was broken up by court order in 1984.
By Josh LaBella
Bob and Barbara Newkirk lead a life steeped in the traditions of New England. The couple has run B&B Farms for 21 years – one of the last farms in West Haven.
Bob has lived and worked on the land for over 50 years; B&B Farms being the most recent incarnation of businesses on the land. He said he and his wife, whom he called his partner in life and in business, knew farming would be hard work and little pay when they started but that it has been a good life.
“We didn’t know the big box stores were going to kick us in the butt,” said Newkirk. “But we just kept on plugging along.”
Newkirk said they have done a lot of rebuilding on the property to fit their business’s needs. What was once a gift shop became their home after a Christmas Tree Shop opened in Orange. They also had to downsize their greenhouse after Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart came in and took profits from their flower sales.
“I didn’t want to give up on my property,” said Newkirk, joking that he probably should have if he had known the future.
B&B Farms is on Jones Hill Road. It is open from May to then end of October and then open after Thanksgiving to sell Christmas trees. The 15-acre farm has animals such as a horse, a rabbit and goats. They sell flowers, vegetables and an assortment of delicious homemade ice creams. Newkirk said tradition is important to him.
“We’re the last working farm in West Haven,” said Newkirk. “We have Simone’s [Golden Acres Farm] which is a greenhouse and then Latella’s [J Latella & Sons Piggery] which is a slaughterhouse. We wanted to keep some of the tradition going because West Haven at one point was a very big farming community.”
Bob said he also worked construction on the side to make ends meet. He said it was not uncommon for he and Barbara to work 20 hours a day. It can be a thankless job, according to Newkirk, but it is very rewarding. He called it a labor of love.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Newkirk. “I am originally from Seymour. My grandfather had a farm up there where we milked cows. We just try to keep some of the past going so the kids can see what it was.”
Newkirk said they hosted around 800 school children from the surrounding area in 2018 for hay rides and pumpkin picking. He said he can tell that young people have not been exposed to the farming lifestyle.
“A lot of people enjoy coming up here,” said Newkirk. “They find it relaxing. Sometimes I feel like I’m providing a service.”
Farmer Bob, as some call him, said they could not do it without the support of the West Haven people. He said he is also happy to see they are getting new customers from outside of town. He said there is a trend in the farming business which has seen more people supporting small local farms.
Newkirk said recently he has had a lot of “executives” and people in high paying jobs visit the farm to talk to him about how they would go about starting a farm. He said he lets them shadow him for a day.
“They want to get back to nature,” said Bob. “They are tired of the hustle and bustle.”
Thee farmer said he works hard but enjoys the lifestyle, adding that he never has trouble putting his “head on the pillow.” He said he is proud of what he has.
“My father always said, ‘You came into this work with a good name and that’s all you’ve got to take with you,’” said Newkirk. “I’ve always tried to live to that.”
Dear Eleanore Turkington:
One of the other subjects that I see come up repeatedly is the lack of enforcement in the parking area along our beach and the lack of enforcement of the rules along the walk/path. I walk on the path at least four times a week and never see an officer on the path.
My wife and I were walking about a week ago and were amazed that a motorized skateboarder was buzzing along at a high rate of speed, faster than most bikes for sure. Bikers DON’T use the bike path and plenty of walkers also block the bike path.
We have dog walkers that use long leashes when it states a six-foot reach. We have dogs being walked on the beach. I was amazed one day to see someone unleash their large dog only to watch as it chased after a heron.
I live in the West Shore where everyone has a barking dog, so I go to the walkway for some peace and exercise where the rules of the walkway are only for those of us who are considerate of others. Until there is a direct police presence everyday not when someone calls and the response time is so long its useless. If a few tickets were written maybe things will change but unfortunately, I guess upper level administration can’t address that. This is of course the new normal. They don’t enforce anything unless you call about it. Blinders seem to be on the leaders of the city. If readers expect change it will never happen voting the same people into office. Ask yourself if West Haven in better or worse shape. Do people like paying some of the highest taxes and getting so little?
All you have to do is look at the budget pie chart and see that the BOE eats up ½ of your tax dollars. I never had a child in the West Haven school system, yet I pay for that just like the family of six. What is being done to lessen that burden on the ones who already paid our fair share, I would rather see my tax dollars go for enforcement of building codes and zoning violations and better police department.
How about a new roof on the conference center next to Jimmies? If the city can’t take care of its own roof it’s sad.
We’re looking to move between dogs, high taxes and a city that has a not so nice reputation anymore for accomplishing anything positive for its taxpayers its not an easy sell.
LW. Boardwalk Stroller
Sgt. Charles Young from the West Haven Police Department provides us today with a answer relating to policing the boardwalk.
“In response to your question about the frequency and type of patrolling the boardwalk/shore area, during the summer months we staff the boardwalk with a team of officers assigned to shore patrol as well as complimenting the shore patrol unit with a Patrol Officer when needed.
As far as the remainder of the years when there is no longer the high foot traffic or large numbers of vehicles in the area lots, we send Patrol to the area to conduct both walking patrol and to provide a police presence as needed. The times of these assignments are often but random as they are dictated by call volume and officer availability. If there is a call for service (assistance) to the shore/boardwalk area, a car is sent to investigate ASAP.”
Coming up…plastic shopping bag comments…barking dogs and noise control in-law apartment ordinances….abandoned fruit truck..broken street curb on Captain Thomas Blvd…trash behind store piles up …Andrews Street parking lot ..dead tree on Nonquit Street and much more.
Send your gripes, issues and comments to email@example.com or write to Gripe Vine c/o West Haven Voice, 840 Boston Post Road Box 4, West Haven, 06516. Please include your name, address and phone number kept in strict confidence with me. You can also submit through our online form.
By Rich Lowry
Greta Thunberg needs to get a grip.
The celebrity teen climate activist addressed the United Nations and excoriated the assembled worthies for coming “to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Someone may have stolen her childhood, but the guilty parties can’t be found at Turtle Bay. A 16-year-old from Sweden, Thunberg thundered, “I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” which would have been easy enough to achieve, beginning with not taking two weeks to sail across the Atlantic last month in a jet-travel-eschewing publicity stunt.
Greta Thunberg is the leading edge of a youth movement against climate change that is being promoted and celebrated by adults who find it useful for their own purposes.
Kids are powerful pawns. The catchphrase “for the children” has a seductive political appeal, while kids offer their adult supporters a handy two-step. The same people who say, “The world must heed this 16-year-old girl” will turn around and say to anyone who pushes back, “How dare you criticize a 16-year-old girl.”
There’s a reason that we don’t look to teenagers for guidance on fraught issues of public policy: Kids have nothing interesting to say to us. They just repeat back what they’ve been told by adults, with less nuance and maturity.
Much of their climate advocacy boils down to the plaint that all parents know well: “I want it, and I want it now.” As a National Geographic headline put it, “Kids’ world climate strikes demand that warming stop, fast.”
Behind the foot-stomping is the idea that a long-running global phenomenon can be quickly stopped, if only adults cared as much as the kids. This fails to account for such recalcitrant factors as costs and complexity, but when do children ever think of those? (And who can blame them? They’re children.)
Instead, the youthful climate activists claim they’ve been sold out by their elders. Greta Thunberg put it with her usual accusatory starkness at the U.N.: “You are failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal.”
This is laughable. By no global measure of social and economic well-being have we failed kids. According to HumanProgress.org, the global poverty rate fell from 28% in 1999 to 11% in 2013. Life expectancy increased from 63.2 years to 71.9 years from 1981 to 2015. The same benign trends hold for hunger, child labor, literacy and so on.
If climate change proves a significant challenge, today’s youth will have more resources and technology to grapple with it than any other generation in the history of mankind.
Of course, the adults they listen to don’t tell them any of this. Instead, they feed the kids a diet of apocalyptic warnings that children repeat back as if they were urgent insights. One speaker at the youth climate rally said we have just 18 months — yes, only until the beginning of 2021 — to forestall irreversible environmental harms.
This is nuts, and it’s the adult enablers who are ultimately responsible. As for the kids, they’ll be all right. One day, they will grow up, even in a warming world.
Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.(c) 2019 by King Features Synd., Inc.
Radical Left mirrors Reconstruction GOP
In 1866, the Radical Republicans, led by Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, attempted to remove then-President Andrew Johnson over his firing of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, in violation of the Tenure of Office Act – an act that certainly violated the separation of powers between the Legislative and Executive branches. The act was one of the ways the faction wished to remove Johnson from office.
The Radical Republicans sought to punish the South for the Civil War, and treat it as conquered territory, unlike Abraham Lincoln, who sought a less bellicose plan of bringing the states back. The Radical Republicans gained a majority in the House, and passed several very restrictive acts; and, while it did give impetus to Constitutional Amendments that protected the former slaves, the tactics arguably led to the post-Reconstruction racial problems that plagued the South for a century afterwards, something historians have debated for decades.
The Radical Republicans were known for their intransigent, almost religious fervor, when it came to Reconstruction. Anyone who thought a more measured – or at least less triumphalist – plan was best was considered an enemy to be vanquished. There was no room for discussion. It was a matter of absolutes. The Tenure of Office Act was passed in order to hamstring President Johnson, and force a confrontation that would lead to his ouster. The fact the plan failed by only one vote in the Senate is remarkable.
Here we are 153 years later, and the same forces are at work: A segment of the Democratic Party – the socialist wing – has taken control. In numbers the faction is smaller than the total Democratic majority, but in taking over the party’s messaging, they have frozen out more moderate voices.
As in 1866, a large swath of the media has sided with the socialists. Horace Greeley was a leading voice for the Radical Republicans, and most of the media today gives voice to the socialist agendas of the extreme Left in the Democratic Party. Johnson was despised because he believed in a different path than the leaders of Congress. Can anyone think otherwise when it comes to the Democrats and President Donald J. Trump? We think not.
Trump, notwithstanding his brashness and ego, has a very different view of the world and the nation than does the extreme Left. He is pushing an America First agenda, which sees the nation as a force for good. He also sees that open borders and farming out our industries to foreign lands as a betrayal of our own people.
The Democrats, meanwhile, particularly the radical Left, see the nation as illegitimate, and its founding as a sin that must be, somehow, atoned. Our Constitution, our foundational institutions are all without merit, primarily because of slavery. The nation must be reestablished under a more equitable structure they say. And, their platform has, like the Radical Republicans, taken on a quasi-religious fervor, with anyone opposing them seen not as benign, but as evil.
The nation was heading toward this revision with Barack Hussein Obama, and was going to continue for at least four or eight more years under Obama 2.0, Hillary Clinton. She was going to continue the push toward government control and the brave new world.
Trump’s sin was that he won the election and was elected by 63 million heretics that refuse to allow the “fundamental transformation” of the nation.o
The ersatz impeachment inquiries – Congress isn’t following its own rules – that were announced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi are a capitulation to the radical leftists with one difference. Not following the established protocols for impeachment, Pelosi is playing a game of endless committee investigations, with no plan of actually having people get on the record. She’s hoping the ploy will mollify her base.
It’s a cynical move by a party that still refuses to see it was rejected in 2016. Like the Radical Republicans, they will harm the nation in an attempt to gain political power.
Well honeybunch, here we are in October already. Another month that jest flew by the boards. Here in the Asylum by the Sea, the leaves are beginning to turn in earnest, there is a chill in the morning air and things look like they are gonna be heating up as we git closer to next month’s election. As far as things around here, the new office seems to be OK. We are settlin’ in, though, there are still one or two things to take care of in a housekeeping sort o’ way. Other than that, the usual suspecks are around, so you know things are normal.
Interesting. The GOP had its foist primary since Nixon was in office, and it seems like the factionalism and back-biting that affecks the majority party is contagious. Sammy Bluejay came by t’other afternoon to say that assurances to the contrary, there are strange things happening in the Republican Party: factionalism.
Now, that is not a problem when it comes to the Demmies cuz, let’s face it, they make up the majority. The factions, goodness love ‘em, are part of a bigger group, and despite the fack that they are constantly at each other’s throats, people don’t pay much attention. They jest vote with the Dems, and hope that things will git better. We are a community made up of people who don’t much play politics unless they hafta.
When yore the majority, the numbers are perty much on yore side, excep’ when it comes to primaries, then yew hafta git the numbers out – at least to vote for yore side. Herroner, ole Mayor Nancy, got the majority of Dems to vote her way, and remained the candidate.
Meanwhile, the GOP, having about 3,500 registrants can’t have the same luxury. You tick someone off, or they decide to not git involved, and it could affeck the messaging you are trying to bring out. Sammy indicates that the party was really split, and, like the GOP is prone to do in these parts, doesn’t knit back together, but pouts.
Sooooo, effen yew thought the smallish GOP would find common ground amongst its fellow, think again. They are not a happy bunch, and the leadership is said to be unhappy with the results. That could spell trouble — more trouble — for Michelle Gregorio, the standard-bearer.
Speaking of the Demmies, the word is out that a group of O’Brien supporters and Collins supporters have approached the Gregorio campaign. Yew knew that was gonna happen. It always does. Sooo, Dems for Gregorio, or O’Brien Supporters for Gregorio or Collins Supporters for Gregorio are being formed, mostly by way of social media Iyam told via Iva Lootey.
Iva sez that Gregorio’s handlers were approached and told that they can support the candidate, and can do whatever they want…it is a free country (somewhat) after all. I guess the biggest concern is that they might try to work by themselves rather than in concert with the GOP, and that was said to be verboten.
Any and all campaign people will have to work with the campaign – witch is only right. They have a right to help, but they don’t have a right to be on their own. No one knows exackly how that is gonna play out, but one would think that the boys and girls disaffected by the outcome of the Democratic Primary will play by the rules.
Meanwhile, the campaign, setch as it is, is going forth apace. That’s a nice way of saying that nuthin’ much is happening. It’s been quiet. One would think by now there’d be some fireworks, but not so much. Effen this turns out to be a rose garden campaign, where the incumbent don’t hafta do much, then there is no need to go any farther, cede the election and move on to other things.
If, however, there is a good fight betwixt the ladeez, then we’re ready for a good campaign. Unfortunately, it’s not been sooner, but later that we’ll see the aforementioned fireworks. Gregorio is the outsider lookin’ in and has to force isshew and force debate. Rossi is the incumbent and don’t hafta do much but present her record, and say things about staying the course – which she has done.
Let’s hope thing git a bit more dynamic than they’ve been soooo far.
Well, it’s another week, and another no show for the developers of the Haven. As I have told yew before, the developers have been very close to the vest when it comes to tellin’ people whot they are going to do, effen they are gonna continue with the development as outlined, or whether the plans have changed. The people in the Actors Colony are jest as flummoxed as the rest of us. We are told then when questions are posed, they are met with a deafening silence and glare as if asking the question is some offense against humanity.
Tennyrate, whilst we’re all waiting for the thing to begin, what is there is exposed to the elements and is being taken over by Mother Nature. It’s very interesting to watch how vegetation just creeps along when no one is paying attention. Though, if asked, Cobina is sure the homeowners adjacent to the plots of land are paying very close attention.
Over the months we’ve had fires. There is a large contingent of various vermin, and there is always the problem of squatters trying to hole up in one of the abandoned buildings. With the coming of the colder months, we can see an uptick of that you can be sure.
Sooooo, the question before the house is when – even a nice guess would be interesting – the bull dozers and back-hoes or even a wrecking ball will be seen in the environs of Water Street in the next little while? The homeowners wanna know, the taxpayers wanna know, and the people over in the Actors Colony definitely wanna know.
And whilst we are at it, we can always ask about Beach Street. Madame Olga was glaring into her crystal and sez that she sees something, though she ain’t sure what. That’s always refreshing. One would think Her Spookness would have an idea.
Tennyrate, it seems that old Olga sees that work is being done to make sure the street gets lifted up seven feet…though that is still months in the offing. The city announced a few years back the state wants to lift the roadbed up so when hurricanes sweep through as they did a few years back, the pipes and setch under the road don’t git exposed. It was quite something when it happened.
One wonders effen that’s the reason the sale of three or four former business sites are being delayed or not happening at all. The former Chicks, Debonair and Captain’s Galley have been vacant for years, and up for sale, but nobody seems interested. Meanwhile, like the Haven area, the buildings are exposed and unused, at least as far as the Debonair and Chick’s. That means the area is literally going to seed. Grass or weeds growing in cracks in the pavement, the place starting to show the wear of no maintenance, and the whole area looking rundown.
It would be nice to know that things are moving along in some respect so that things can get finished sometime before the century turns over.
With that bit o’ chatter, I’ll close this time till next, mitt luff und kizzez,
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Iris Milagros Diaz, a public-spirited steward of West Haven known for giving back to its thriving Hispanic American community, will receive the city’s Hispanic American of the Year award at the second annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration.
The West Haven Hispanic Heritage Committee will fete Diaz, the daughter of parents hailing from Guayama, Puerto Rico, on Friday at City Hall, 355 Main St.
The committee bestows the award annually on a Hispanic resident, or couple, who personifies service in West Haven’s vibrant Hispanic American community.
Diaz said she is proud of her new distinction as well as her civic accomplishments, saying that her family and community’s love is the driving force behind her success.
“One must lead by example,” said Diaz, who won the Miss Puerto Rico of New Haven Pageant in 1988.
Diaz, 50, will honor her Puerto Rican lineage with dozens of friends and loved ones, along with an array of dignitaries and descendants of folks from Puerto Rico and Latin America.
Committee members and West Haven officials, including Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, will escort Diaz to the steps of City Hall at 11:30 a.m. for her special recognition.
A Latin-flavored lunch provided by local restaurants will follow in the First Congregational Church of West Haven’s Fellowship Hall, at 1 Church St. opposite City Hall on the Green.
West Haven’s diversity is its strength, Rossi said, and Diaz is a testament to the American dream.
“For the second year, I am pleased to present the Hispanic American of the Year award to a well-deserving resident,” Rossi said. “Allingtown fire Commissioner Iris Diaz has a long record of community service in West Haven. She embodies the generosity and warmth that Puerto Ricans are known for.”
In observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through 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 public service. They have enhanced and shaped the national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the 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 and Chile also celebrate their independence days during that period.
The term Hispanic 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.”
Rossi said Diaz, a resident of West Haven since 2000, epitomizes the noble qualities of serving her community and carrying on the spirited traditions of Puerto Rico.
She is a member of the Latino Haven Committee of West Haven and was the Hispanic Society of West Haven’s public relations representative from 2004 to 2009.
A member of the Yale Latino Networking Group, she has been an ambassador and a steering committee member of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven since 2015.
After her reign as Miss Puerto Rico of New Haven, Diaz was a pageant coordinator, mentor and judge for many years.
Rossi lauded the civic-minded Diaz, whom she called a woman of faith and family, for her wholehearted devotion to the city and its robust Hispanic American community.
Rossi will present her with a Puerto Rican flag and a mayoral citation for her myriad good works.
Diaz will also receive a black jacket embroidered with her new title: Hispanic American of the Year.
The cultural event will include remarks from mayoral Executive Assistant Lou Esposito, the master of ceremonies. Before a blessing, Maribel Aguilar-Meza will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Puerto Rican national anthem, “La Borinqueña,” followed by a greeting from Rossi.
Diaz was born in the South Bronx, a borough of New York City, and moved to New Haven with her family at age 15.
Raised by her “single, strong, independent” mother, Nancy Cruz, Diaz said she knew early on that she wanted to help make a difference in her community.
Diaz’s community involvement began in 1985 as a volunteer for the American Red Cross helping veterans at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Three years later, she graduated from The Sound School, a regional vocational aquaculture center in New Haven. She earned an associate degree in science from Gateway Community College in 1993.
Diaz, a 27-year employee of Yale University, is a clinical trials research recruitment coordinator at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, a department of the Yale School of Medicine. She specializes in educating area residents on the importance of increasing minority representation in clinical trial studies and protecting their privacy and rights.
Diaz’s contributions to West Haven include serving as vice chair of the Charter Revision Commission and sitting on the Board of Fire Commissioners of the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown. She is the first Hispanic to serve on the fire commission and was its chairwoman in 2016-17.
Diaz has also volunteered at other organizations through the years, including the West Haven Girl Scouts, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and the New Haven Diaper Bank.
She lives with her mother on Tuthill Street in Allingtown and has two grown children, Mark Anthony and Jessica Goodwin.
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By Josh LaBella
With the mayoral election only weeks away, the Voice published its editorial last week, which highlighted three areas of importance for the two candidates to solidify their platforms.
Incumbent Mayor and Democrat Nancy Rossi replied to the Voice with her positions on the city’s financial situation, the proposed revisions to the city charter and the quality of life in West Haven.
Rossi responded to the question of West Haven’s financial crisis by pointing out what she has accomplished so far as well as what she plans to do if reelected. She said economic development and tax base growth are top priorities in her administration.
According to Rossi, the financial situation she inherited was brought on by deficits totaling near $18 million during the O’Brien administration. Rossi said the Municipal Accountability Review Board was brought in days after she took office in result of O’Brien issuing deficit bonds in the final week of his term.
The incumbent pointed to balanced budgets and meeting the set tax collection rates as evidence the city’s financial situation is improving under her stewardship.
“My administration has delivered two balanced budgets and we reduced the tax collection rate before our proposed budgets were sent to the MARB or City Council for review and approval,” said Rossi. “The tax collection rates in my first two budgets have been met and exceeded. The city has a positive fund balance (rainy day fund) for the first time in more than 13 years.”
Rossi also said the nearly $30 million growth in the grand list and the Bond Rating Outlook being upgraded from negative to stable indicated financial progress. She also wrote her administration had “worked hard to move stalled economic development projects forward while marketing the city for new investment and commercial growth.”
“We are selling three vacant schools for $875,000 and those historic properties will be repurposed and put on the tax rolls,” said Rossi.
The mayor said her administration has proven to developers that the city is serious about saving money, balancing the budget, implementing cost saving measures and making structural changes and employing cost saving efficiencies.
“My administration understood from the beginning that fixing the financial situation by improving our finances and gaining the confidence of potential investors and developers would drive the success in economic development,” said Rossi. “Economic development will generate the necessary resources to begin addressing our aging infrastructure, investment in public safety and health and of course fund quality of life issues and concerns.”
Vis-à-vis charter revision, Rossi said she fully supported the changes recommended by the Charter Revision Commission. Rossi started the process soon after being elected and said the changes laid out are big and needed.
“The major changes would be making the mayor part-time and the chair(man) of the City Council, the hiring of a qualified city manager and require qualifications on appointed commissioners, the treasurer and the City Clerk,” said Rossi. “I support the proposed changes in the city charter and I am very much looking forward to the proposal going to the public for a vote.”
For the final question, regarding quality of life, Rossi said the city has “so much potential.” She said the city needed to get its “financial house in order” before looking at implementing new quality of life proposals which would require funding.
She wrote of the importance of education, public safety and health of citizens, adding that these aspects of a municipality come into play when an investor or developer is deciding when to move in or start a project. Rossi said improving quality of life will draw people to West Haven.
“Now that the city has a fiscal plan there will be so many more opportunities,” said Rossi, “and the funding necessary, to add and improve upon the quality of life in West Haven.”
In a story last week concerning the renegotiation of the Child Development Center lease, it was stated Mayor Rossi ordered the termination of the lease. She ordered the renegotiation of the lease. The Voice regrets the error.
A group of 19 students from West Haven High School and Bailey Middle School got to meet RL Stine and other best-selling authors at the Saugatuck StoryFest in Westport on Sept. 28.
WHHS freshman Maxwell Leatherman presented Stine with sculptures of two of the author’s famous characters, the “Abominable Snowman” and “Slappy.” Leatherman gave the author one to keep, and kept the other, which Stine signed.
The students also listened to panels during which the authors gave writing tips.
Stone, best-selling author of the young adult book “Dear Martin,” encouraged students to learn basic grammar rules so they can then write in whatever style they choose.
Aside from meeting the author of the iconic “Goosebumps” series, the students were able to chat with best-selling authors Nic Stone, Jerry Craft, Tiffany Jackson, and Ibi Zoboi. Festival organizers gave each student lunch and a book of their choice from the event’s book store.
“You have to learn the rules before you can break the rules,” Stone said.