First Congregational Church is hosting its annual Christmas Fest on the Green on Saturday, Dec 7, from 9 to 2:30. The festival will have exciting craft and candy vendors, lunch, bake sale, and a kids’ activity table and surprise tree. Our Book Sale, Clothes Closet, and White Elephant sale will all be open as well. We’ll have decorated trees, wreaths, and other items being raffled off. Have your picture taken with Santa between 11:30 and 2. There is a collection of food for WHEAT. Questions? Contact First Congregational Church at (203) 933-6291.
The West Haven Italian-American Civic Association is sponsoring a Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 10-1 at the Cielo Banquet Hall, 85 Chase Lane. Cost is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Children 10 and under eat free. All Children must be registered with name, age and sex. RSVP by Dec 11. Contact: Rich Frey, (203) 215-8698 or Lisa Aguzzi, (203) 927-6467. The buffet-style breakfast includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee and juice.
The First and Wesley United Methodist Church parish is sponsoring two holiday events the weekend of Dec. 7-8. A Living Nativity (an outdoor re-creation of the Christmas story), is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2-4. This is a Christmas gift to the community. Experience the story of Christ’s birth by seeing the manger scene with costumed characters. During the event, parishioners will distribute free gifts (hats/mittens) to children, provide hot chocolate, and host a children’s craft area.
The next day, the 2nd annual Praise & Worship Concert “Light of Hope, is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The concert is free and includes a wide variety of sacred music. *Your generous freewill offering will be used for the many ministries of the church. There’ll also be 17 handmade light-up snowman couples (approx. 7”x6”x6” each) available to purchase to benefit the church.
Breakfast with Santa
First Lutheran Church is sponsoring Breakfast with Santa at the church, 52 George St, on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9-12.There will be activities and photos with Santa. Tickets available at door For more info, call Kyla (203) 859-2088
New Life Church located at 255 Jones Hill Road. invite you and your children (ages 5-10) to its first Christmas Celebration on Dec. 14, from 10-1:15.The Christmas Celebration will include: Decorating of gingerbread houses, 10:15-10:55; Reading of Christmas story, 11-11:15; Candy Cane Craft, 11:20-11:40; Snack time of Christmas cookies and juice, 11:45-12:10; Story of the Birth of Jesus & a gift for the Children, 12:15-1:15.Please RSVP, (203) 934-3022. Please leave your name, phone, and the number of children. A confirmation reply will be made. An adult must be present with the child during the festivities. An adult area with coffee, tea and cookies will be available during the activities, but adults are welcome to stay with the children.
The West Haven Garden Club will have its Holiday Bazaar on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 9-2. It will take place at the West Haven City Hall, 355 Main St. The bazaar will have handcraft items, Christmas tree raffle, plants, and bake sale plus so much more. This is to include money, which is being raised for a bench for a child shot in Newtown. The bench will be put at the pink playground on the beach.
Atlantic City trip
F. Seniors and Friends are running a trip to Atlantic City on Jan. 6-8, at Resorts Casino. Cost of the trip is doubles, $235; triples, $229, single, $319. Four meals, two shows and slot play included. Reservation must be with a deposit is $50 person with final payment due Nov. 29. Call Fred Morgillo, (203) 389-5808, or (203) 927-4249.
The West Haven Italian-American Civic Association Senior Center is seeking new members to join its Tuesday senior gathering. Join a group of friendly seniors in an afternoon of good company, with Bingo, cards, trips to casinos and conversations with like-minded people and more. We meet at the club, 85 Chase Lane, each Tuesday from noon to 3. The cost is just $3 per week to cover expenses. We offer refreshments at no additional cost. Call Sherri Torre, (203) 932-2893 for further information.
Senior Center trips
Join the West Haven Seniors on the following scheduled trip: All trips leave from Savin Rock Conference Center:
Monday, Dec. 9 — The Westchester Broadway Theatre – “The Edwards Twins” New Holiday Themed Show! Direct from Las Vegas identical twins Anthony and Edward make musical legends come alive for this holiday performance. Sonny & Cher, Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis and Barbara Streisand just to name a few of the acts re-created by the talented twins. Enjoy lunch at the theatre before the show. Cost $90 due by Nov. 1. Bus leaves Savin Rock Conference Center 9:30. Departs Westchester approximately at 3:45.
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 Liberty Coin Club of West Haven, organized in1962, will host a Coin Show on Sunday, Oct. 20, and Dec. 15, at the Elks Club, 265 Main St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. Anyone with an interest in buying, selling or collecting coins, or with questions about coins, is welcome to attend. Expert dealers and collectors will be on hand.
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 call Ralph Lawson, (203) 934-6442.
The West Haven Youth Hockey Mite C team played its first two games of the season. On Saturday, the Westies lost 5-3 against a tough Wallingford Hawks squad. Evan Harrison played well in goal, supported by Joey Mondo and Julius Stokes. Jax Guarino scored the first goal of the season for the team, and Tony Parise added the second, before Guarino picked up the third.
Ben Trenchard worked hard to get the puck and created a few scoring chances that forced the Wallingford goalie to make some great saves. Brady Salkins and Kyle Johnson showed off their growing stick-handling skills as they worked the puck down the ice.
On Sunday, the Mite C Blue Devils were back in action against a skilled Greater New Haven Mite B team. New Haven dominated early, but Guarino made some fantastic saves in goal. Mondo and Stokes worked hard to get their team back into the game. Trenchard played a great defensive game, as Harrison, Salkins, Johnson, and Parise tried to put the puck into the back of the New Haven goal.
The West Haven Squirt A travel hockey team defeated Greenwich A, 7-, in a convincing victory at Dorothy Hamill Rink on Sunday. The Blue Devils played with grit and determination for three periods en route to winning their ninth game of the season.
Forward Cameren Lipford (3 goals), center Tyler Silva (2 goals, 1 assist) and forward Aedan Guarino (2 goals) led the offensive charge for the Westies, with goaltender Alex Werle stopping 24 shots to smother the Cardinals’ offense.
In the first period, Silva put the Blue Devils up, 1-0, crashing the net and rebounding Lipford’s shot off the Greenwich goaltender. The Cardinals tied it on a power-play goal at 1:46 of the period.
Early in the second, Lipford caught a pass from Silva and fired a wrist shot from inside the right faceoff circle to put the Westies up 2-1. Silva made it 3-1 at 9:27 of the period on a rebound assisted by defenseman Andrew Grillo.
At 6:18 of the second, Lipford went coast-to-coast to give the Blue Devils a three-goal lead. Lipford then scored his third of the contest on a power play, launching a wrister from inside the right blue line at 2:56 of the period.
At 2:16 of the second, Werle made a highlight reel-worthy save. While lying on his back, he reached behind his body with his stick on the ice and batted a shot away, robbing a Greenwich goal.
Grillo and fellow defenseman Kyle Guarino complemented Werle’s tremendous defensive efforts and blocked several shots as well.
At 0:02 of the second, Aedan Guarino scored in front of the net to put the Blue Devils up, 6-1.
The Cardinals scored twice to start the third, cutting the Westies’ lead to 6-3. Aedan Guarino put the game out of reach at 3:45 of the period with his second goal of the contest on a rebound from forward Ryan Walsh. The Cardinals scored a final time at 1:35 of the third to pull within three.
The West Haven Peewee A travel hockey team went 2-1 over the weekend with a pair of convincing wins and a close loss. The Westies knocked off New Canaan A, 9-2, and Greater New Haven A1, 9-6, but dropped a 4-3 decision to Greenwich Skate A. The Peewee A squad is now 11-13-1 overall and 10-9-0 in CHC action.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils traveled to the New Canaan Winter Club’s outdoor rink for a game under the bright afternoon sun. New Canaan jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes before the Westies righted the ship.
Sean Studley broke into the New Canaan zone and fed Ronnie Mastroni to get West Haven on the scoreboard. Mastroni later connected with Mike Page for a one-timer with only twenty seconds remaining in the period to tie the game at two.
The Blue Devils erupted for four second period goals to take over the game. Studley fed Mastroni again in the opening minute. Brady Price found Page for his second goal of the game, Studley buried a wraparound goal, and Alex Bowery jammed home a rebound of Chris Consorte’s shot to give the Westies a 6-2 lead.
In the third period, Price roofed a wrist shot, Mastroni returned the favor and assisted Studley for a one-timer, and Page’s shot deflected to Price, who fired it in to close the scoring and give West Haven the 9-2 win.
Greg Galasso started in goal and made four saves, before falling ill and leaving the game. Jacob Silva relieved and shut out New Canaan the rest of the way with 15 saves. After shaking off the start, the Westies’ defensemen- Leo Mazuroski, Ryan Pniewski, Matt Kelly and Jonathan Charbonneau- were stout.
On Sunday morning at Edward L. Bennett Rink, the Westies hosted Greenwich Skate Club and fell behind 3-0 in the second period before mounting a comeback attempt.
While short-handed, Studley dug out the puck and hit a streaking Mastroni who converted a beautiful wrist shot. Greenwich extended the lead to 4-1 in the third period when, with just over five minutes remaining, the Westies pulled Silva and added the extra attacker.
Page found Dylan Bosworth at the right point and he fired one over the goalie’s shoulder. With the Westies’ net still empty, Bosworth again shot from the point and Studley redirected it in to cut it to 4-3. The equalizer could not be found though and time ran out on the Westies. Silva made 23 saves in goal.
On Sunday afternoon, the Westies headed to the Northford Ice Pavilion to face Greater New Haven and won, 9-6.
Consorte opened the scoring with a laser assisted by Studley. Matt Kelly then scored on a power play with assists to Bowery and Bosworth. The Warriors came back with three straight goals to open the second period and went up, 3-2.
Page quickly tied the game when he converted Studley’s drop pass. GNH then scored twice more for a 5-3 lead, but Consorte scored less than ten seconds later when Bosworth won the face off to him. The Westies tied the game with 29 seconds left in the period when Studley’s shot was saved and Bowery swept in the rebound.
West Haven scored four goals to start the third period and ice the game. Page chipped in Matt Kelly’s pass, Price was foiled on a wraparound attempt, but Studley knocked in the rebound, Bowery found a streaking Studley for a wrist shot, and Mastroni converted a breakaway with assists from Kelly and Bowery.
Galasso started the game and made 13 saves while Silva finished up with 10 saves.
The West Haven Peewee AA travel hockey team has finally arrived atop the CHC ratings as it continues to ride a winning streak which has earned the team rights to the number one rating in the state. The Devils opened the weekend in Long Island against the Nassau County Lions AA on Saturday, looking to avenge an earlier season loss.
John Donohue gave the Devils a 1-0 lead in the first when he beat the Lions goaltender. Nick Eberhart added to the lead off a beauty started by Thomas Porto behind the net who fed Nicky Steven before he put a pass on Eberharts tape for a goal and a 2-0 lead.
The Lions tried to claw their way back but ultimately fell to West Haven, 4-3. John Donohue finished with a hat trick, including the game-winner. Tyler Donroe, despite allowing three goals, played extremely well as he was tested early and often.
On Sunday, the Westies hosted New Canaan (ranked 3rd in CHC) and posted a 6-3 victory at the Bennett Rink.
Donohue delivered again after picking up a loose puck and going the rest of the way shorthanded with 7:23 remaining in first for a 1-0 lead. Donohue scored again 4:15 into the second period, adding to the lead with a power play goal and he completed his hat trick five minutes later for a 3-0 advantage.
Porto opened the third by battling to win possession along the boards, before scoring for a 4-0 lead. New Canaan bounced back to cut the deficit in half, before Nicky Stevens scored off an assist from Eberhart for a 5-2 lead. Leading 5-3 with 33 seconds remaining in the game, Billy Mascari sent a backhand pass across the slot to a wide open Porto, giving West Haven the final margin of victory.
Nate Kempton tended net, completed the game and was outstanding along the way. The Devils are now riding an 18-game winning streak.
The West Haven Bantam A travel hockey team swept three games this weekend, topping Greater New Haven, Long Island Mustangs, and Southeastern. Bryan Hong was the story in goal all weekend as he came up with several big saves in each of the three games.
The Westies opened the week with a 5-3 victory over Greater New Haven Friday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink. Michael Madera and Dave Brown led the offense with two goals apiece, while Colin Deane added two assists.
Brown gave West Haven a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal 1:19 into the contest, before Madera broke a 1-1 tie in the second period when he knocked in a rebound of a Deane shot. With the game even at two, Brown scored off an assist from Cade Simone for a 3-2 advantage with 5:05 to go in the second.
Cam Delvecchio gave West Haven a 4-2 lead in the third off assists from Jayden Spreyer and Mickey Dowd, and Madera increased the lead to three off an assist from Deane with 1:12 to go.
The Westies won their second of the weekend with a 7-1 victory over Long Island in West Haven Saturday afternoon. Spreyer led the way with three goals, while Dowd and Delvecchio each had a pair of assists.
West Haven took a 3-0 lead in the first as Spreyer opened with an unassisted goal 3:02 in, then scored off an assist from Dowd 2:27 later. Delvecchio made it a 3-0 game off assists from Dowd and Matt Wezenski with 28 seconds left in the first.
Simone increased the lead to 4-0 off an assist from Madera 1:14 into the second, before Matt Stevens scored off assists from Kyle Droney and Josh Gyolai 2:29 later. Chris Adkins scored off an assist from Simone, and Spreyer scored off an assist from Delvecchio with 2:54 left in the second.
West Haven capped the weekend with a 4-1 victory over Southeastern in Norwich Sunday afternoon. Spreyer gave West Haven a 1-0 lead 32 seconds in off assists from Dowd and Delvecchio, before Brown scored with 9:16 left in the opening period off a helper from Will Giaquinto.
The Westies increased the lead to 3-0 when Madera fed Simone in front with 3:58 to go in the middle period. Spreyer capped the scoring off an assist from Dowd.
Dante Hardt and Gabe Mongelli played well offensively, while Sean Bosworth, Haygen Axelrod, and Jason Alling played well defensively.
The West Haven Bantam B travel hockey team faced off against Echo B in a non-CHC game on Saturday and posted a 4-1 victory. The Westies were led by a hat trick from Zack Fonda and a goal from Danny Johnson. Ashley Welch assisted on all three of Fonda’s goals and Carson Lee and Taylor Alfano would also contribute assists.
On Sunday, the Westies played East Haven in a rematch from earlier in the season and played to a 4-4 tie. The Blue Devils fell behind early in the first, but tied the game when Fonda connected from Lee and Yousaf Ullah. The Westies also received goals from Lee, off an assist from Fonda, and Yousaf Ullah, which was unassisted.
West Haven fell behind, 4-3, with 5:32 left in the third period and goalie Austin Fruin was pulled with under 1:30 for an extra attacker. Ashley Welch drew the face off back to Taylor Alfano on the point who got off a high shot which found its way to the back of the net for the tying goal.
Fruin fended off an eight second attack by East Haven to seal the tie for the Blue Devils.
Notre Dame High School is dedicating the 2019 Green Bowl on Thanksgiving morning to the late Dr. John Aversa and his family. Dr. Aversa passed away this past summer, leaving a legacy of service to so many, including Notre Dame students and athletes.
An official on-field dedication ceremony will take place at 10:00 am Thanksgiving morning at the 2019 Green Bowl. John’s wife Ellen, as well as additional members of the Aversa family, representatives of Notre Dame’s Administration and Athletic Department, including President Robert Curis, Athletic Director Jason Shea , former Athletic Director’s Joe Tonelli, and Tom Marcucci, and the Notre Dame football team will be present for the ceremony.
Notre Dame fans are encouraged to arrive in time for the ceremony, which will take place on the sideline near the 40-yard line on the side of the field nearest the bleachers.
Dr. Aversa always made time for Notre Dame High School as it reminded him of his own high school experience. No matter how busy his schedule was, if a Green Knight student-athlete needed medical attention, he made sure to see him. He also volunteered as the team physician for our football and hockey teams and was a constant on the football sideline and in the hockey rink, loving to watch our teams play.
The entire Notre Dame community was saddened by his passing and deeply appreciative of his passion, compassion, and dedication to our students and athletic teams. Dr. Aversa was a treasure to all who knew him, especially to his family. That is why it is our honor and privilege to dedicate the 2019 Green Bowl to Dr. John Aversa and his family.
The West Haven football team continues to battle in the 2019 season. Unfortunately for the Westies, they have not been able to pick up the victories.
In its fifth contest of the season decided by eight points or less, West Haven dropped to 2-7 with a 22-21 loss against Xavier Friday evening in Middletown.
The Falcons dealt the Westies another heartbreaking loss, scoring in the final seconds, then adding a two-point conversion for the win.
West Haven has lost four in a row, three of those contests by six points or less, and two in the final minute of the games.
The Westies scored twice on the ground and once by way of a fumble return for their three touchdowns. Andre Rentas and Jordan Berrios ran in two touchdowns, and Tamayo Ferreira had the fumble return for the score.
The West Haven Seahawks 8U team (12-0) beat the Mount Hope Cowboys (11-1), 7-0, in the New England Pop Warner semi-final on Saturday. The game matched the Connecticut and Rhode Island 8U (7-and 8-year-old) state champions.
The game was held at the athletic facilities of LaSalle Academy in Providence. The Seahawks and Cowboys both utilized fast and physical defenses.
The Seahawks scored in the second quarter on a 28-yard Tristian Crawford touchdown run that included three broken tackles.
The Seahawks’ defense held a very talented Cowboy offense off the scoreboard. William Pastore, Jacari Harris, Mason Booker, Jayden Spell and Kayden Desruisseaux leading the way.
The Seahawks will travel to play the Massachusetts champion Dorchester Eagles (12-0) for the New England Pop Warner Football Championship on Saturday.
The game will be played at the Manning Bowl, Lynn, Mass. (time TBA). The 8U level is only competitive to the regional level and the winner of the regional championship Saturday does not travel to the National Pop Warner Championships this year.
By Josh LaBella
While Republicans did pick up the tenth district council seat in this past election, they did not complete the Hail Mary it would have taken to win the mayoralty and many of the down ballot positions.
In light of the continuation of this decades-old trend of losses, the question must be asked: what will it take for Republicans to start winning big in Connecticut’s youngest city?
Republican Town Committee Chairman Patricia Libero said the party is “starting to lay the foundation” for its future. She said the party has been working on registering more voters as well as recently starting the process of rewriting the bylaws of the committee.
She also said they have been trying to bring young people into the fold. This comes in the form of the RTC starting to work with the West Haven High School chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative non-profit nationally famous for some controversial demonstrations and speakers it has had on college campuses.
Libero said Turning Point students from the high school helped with RTC campaign work this election as the University of New Haven College Republicans.
“We’re trying to bring more and more young people into the party,” said Libero. “We did have a few young people running this time. It was really great.”
According to Libero, young people “infuse a great energy” into the party. She said because of the “mass exodus” of young people from the city and state, it is important to show young people they can make a difference.
The chairman also said the fact that there was a Republican mayoral primary was exciting, adding it has not happened in her life. She said it gave the RTC energy heading into the general election.
She said candidates Michele Gregorio and Steven Mullins both had a lot of enthusiasm for the city. Libero added that Gregorio got a “considerable” number of votes given the four-to-one advantage democrats have vis-à-vis registered voters.
“I think that she did really well,” said Libero. “I hope she continues on and choses to run again in two years.”
According to Gregorio, that is not likely.
Gregorio said the main issue the party needs to work on is unity. She stated that the Mullins faction of the RTC did not come back into the fold after the primary and said she had little support from the party leadership.
“Steve never came back on board,” said Gregorio. “People say they are going to do a lot of things [after the primary] – but that never happened. I was the one getting blamed for the lack of party unity when, in fact, Steve was basically staying away from the party, running his own tomb.”
Gregorio said the people who “spoke the loudest” about unity after the RTC caucus were the people that “worked the hardest” against her. She said many of the republicans not in her camp are compromised by their relationship with the city government and “didn’t lift a finger” to help her or other republican candidates in the general.
“The future of the Republican Party?” said Gregorio. “Those people need to walk away from the town committee. Because they are so compromised that it clouds their judgement when it comes to opportunities to get people nominated. It doesn’t matter if it was me or not.”
The former mayoral candidate said the party cannot rebuild until there is a “whole new gamut” of people on the RTC. She said “nothing” will change until that happens.
“I told my team, unless I raised a boatload of money, had a professional campaign manager and had a group of people in the party working towards the same goal with a full ticket… I don’t see [herself running again],” said Gregorio.
Mullins, who also said that party unity is a key issue that Republicans need to resolve, unequivocally denied Gregorio’s claims. He said he campaigned for her and other candidates in Allingtown. He also said that Libero is doing “a magnificent job” and should continue to be the person leading the party as it moves forward.
He pointed to the party winning the tenth district City Council seat as a major accomplishment. Mullins said their focus should continue to be beating democrats in elections and unifying the party. He said it was up to the chairman to find out what that unification looks like.
Regarding support for Gregorio’s campaign, Libero said through her experience working on previous campaigns with the former mayoral candidate she knew Gregorio to be a “strong, independent woman” who knows how she wants things done. Libero said she followed Gregorio’s lead and helped her when asked but deferred to her judgment.
“If her perception is that I did not help her, I’m sorry for that,” said Libero, who added she could not speak to the alleged lack of support from the Mullins camp. “I know how she is. She likes to control it. She likes to run. She’s large and in charge.”
Libero said there is always work to be done in terms of party unity. She said unity has been an issue since the 14th senatorial primary in which people “took sides.”
“We’ve been trying to unify and work together as time goes on,” said Libero. “I think we need to remain focused on raising money and getting good people elected. Because it’s local, sometimes feelings get hurt. We need to get passed that. I think we all want unity, but sometimes its difficult to get unity.”
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The annual lighting of the Christmas tree on the Green will herald an evening of merriment Saturday.
The six-hour holiday festival will begin at 2 p.m. with Christmas music, food trucks, face painting, train rides and wreath decorating, as well as craft and artisan vendors.
The event is presented by the city, the First Congregational Church of West Haven and West Haven United, an organization aimed at bringing the city’s volunteer groups together.
Lou Esposito, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi’s executive assistant, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
The festivities, featuring a cast of costumed Christmas characters, will continue at 3 p.m. with the opening of Santa’s village and eight craft stations on the Green, where children can decorate wooden ornaments, write letters to Santa, and make cards for U.S. troops overseas and those at the Veterans Affairs Hospital on Campbell Avenue.
At 3:15 p.m., West Haven High School junior Nora E. Mullins will sing the national anthem, followed by a half-hour play by the West Haven High Drama Club at 3:30 p.m.
The ceremony will continue at 4 p.m. with performances by the West Haven High dance team, holiday carols sung by the St. Lawrence School chorus and performances by the Top Hat Dance Academy.
Along with hayrides, kids can ride on a vintage firetruck from the West Shore Fire Department.
The activities are free, but people are asked to bring nonperishable items for the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, which provides food for residents in need.
For a $5 fee, youngsters can also take a ride on the Roaming Railroad, a trackless train sponsored by the West Haven PTA Council.
Shortly after 5 p.m., the West Haven High and Seahawks cheerleading teams will perform, followed by Yuletide classics sung by the Bailey Middle School chorus and a singalong led by Victorian carolers from a portable stage on the Main Street side of the Green.
At 6 p.m., Rossi will greet revelers and announce the designers of her Christmas cards and the winners of West Haven United’s ornament-making and merchant window-decorating contests.
The cheerleading teams will then escort Santa and Mrs. Claus to the stage, where they will join Rossi and her special guests to set the tree aglow.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a 1935 Mack pump firetruck from the West Haven Fire Department.
The city’s official Christmas tree is encircled by five smaller evergreen trees adorned with fluorescent-colored lights.
Before returning to the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet visitors and pose for snapshots in their workshop until 8 p.m. Organizers will offer the photos with Santa as a free digital download online.
Starting Wednesday, people can view and download their photos on the city’s Flickr page at https://goo.gl/EkLxZz. The internet address is case sensitive.
Just steps from Santa’s workshop, boys and girls can drop off their wish lists at St. Nick’s official U.S. Postal Service mailbox.
Huge electric snowflakes will decorate The John C. Ireland Bandstand, and Victorian streetlamps bedecked with angels blowing on trumpets will illuminate the walkways.
The decorated Green will also include an inflatable snow globe that children can go in and have their pictures taken.
Volunteers from the West Haven Chamber of Commerce will hand out free hot chocolate, and vendors will sell food and novelties.
The vendors will include the First Congregational Church and the food trucks of Franco’s Fried Dough-Licious, Hungry Bear, Ruethai’s Kitchen and Ted’s Steam Machine.
Also, volunteers from West Haven United will sell hot apple cider, coffee and hot chocolate.
After the lighting, live seasonal music from The Rock House School of Music and Off the Hook, “Connecticut’s premier party band,” will fill the air.
If it rains, the lighting will go on at 5 p.m. Monday.
The story of Gabby Murillo is one of perseverance and community support. The 23-year-old returned home last Thursday after spending over five months in hospitals.
Murillo is a West Haven resident who was participating in her dream internship at Disney Orlando when a June 16 car accident left her paralyzed from the shoulders down. Her C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae were injured as well as other nerves being completely severed. Since the June 15 accident, Gabby has undergone multiple surgeries.
Thursday was an “emotional homecoming” for the Murillo family, who said they appreciated the immediate support they got from the community. Gabby said she was happy to be home and her parents said it was a huge relief.
“We were at Gaylord for six weeks. We were at Shepherd for 13 weeks. Orlando Regional Health was three weeks,” said Gabby’s mother Amanda. “She’s done a wonderful job progressing.”
Gabby is no longer using a trach or a diaphragmatic pacemaker, a device which helped her breath. She is also no longer in need of any medication.
Amanda said it got lonely during their time at the hospitals in Orlando and Atlanta, where she stayed with her daughter the entire time. She described the Murillo family as a close one, enjoying Sunday dinner, and said not being together was hard. She said the family has been focusing on the positives.
Gabby’s father Eric said the immediate outpour of emotional and financial support was unbelievable. The family started a GoFundMe page in order to pay for Gabby’s wheelchair, medical expenses, she and her family’s travel and lodging expenses as well as the addition that needed to be built to accommodate Gabby when she returned home. To date it has raised over $128,000.
“That was a God-sent from the people that donated,” said Eric. “Their heart opened up and they enabled us to do what we did. To be able to have the addition, to be able to get the stuff that we need to get to her, it’s an ongoing expense.”
The family said probably would have had to declare bankruptcy if it was not for the financial support they received. They also said they would not have been able to make their house accessible to Gabby and would have had to move.
The family moved to West Haven almost 34 years ago and said they love the town and the community. But Westies were not the only ones to answer the call for help. The Murillos said they received support from around Connecticut, the country and the world. Gabby said the support was “empowering and motivational.”
The Murillos said the Facebook group, “Gabby Murillo’s Road to Recovery,” has been a great support. Gabby’s sisters said members frequently make inspirational posts relating to how Gabby has inspired them. There is at least one person from each of the 50 states in the group, and many from other countries.
The addition was constructed primarily by Baybrook Remodelers, who donated the bathroom. DeRosa Builders coordinated donations of materials and labor from six other companies who did the excavation and concrete work, roofing and painting.
The construction started in September and finished about two weeks ago. The family said they never thought she would get to be home for Thanksgiving.
“There’s a spiritual part of this too,” said Eric. “That comes together with everything. The spiritual part is amazing. You feel the blessings and prayers from people.”
Eric went on to say the situation has made it easier to push the little things that used to irritate them aside. He said that it’s important not to take anything for granted. He said his daughter being safe is both a spiritual and medical miracle.
“I thank God every day, because this could have been worse,” said Amanda. “A spinal cord is a very serious injury. But I don’t know, since this happened, I’ve just had this feeling in my heart that she’s going to overcome this.”
Eric said the family is taking the situation day by day and is still adjusting. As of now, Amanda is Gabby’s full-time caretaker. But eventually she will have to go back to work and they will need to hire someone.
Gabby said she wanted to thank everyone for the support she received. An early childhood education major, she made a special point to highlight the cards she got from children in the West Haven parks and recreation department, which she said meant a lot.
By Dan Shine
West Haven Green, 1920s
Part VIII – Conclusion
On the southeast corner of Campbell and Main was the what is today known as the Altschuler Building; built in 1825, it is the oldest “larger” building in West Haven. Over the years, it has housed a courthouse, a jail, a post office, a morgue and a library. During the 1920s, West Haven Bank and Trust was located there; the bank failed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, taking all of Katherine Held’s family’s money with it, for these were the days before the advent of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That building is reputed to have its own howling ghost, that of murder victim Jennie Cramer, but that’s another story for another day.
For many years, the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company—better known as the A&P — occupied different locations on the block between Main Street and Curtiss Place. At that time, it was one of the “larger” grocery stores in West Haven.
Also in that block was the Cameo Theater, one of several West Haven movie houses which enjoyed great popularity during the years before the advent of television.
Generally, the other businesses occupying that block included a barber, a meat market, two bakeries, two grocery stores and a hardware store. In those days, you could walk to one of the many stores on Campbell Avenue, and buy every item that you could possibly need!
At the south corner of Curtiss Place stood the telephone company building, on the site where it still stands today, connecting telephone calls for West Haveners.
By the 1920s, Church Street had been cut through to Campbell Avenue, dividing the old Burial Ground, and causing the removal of Christ Church; and also by this time, that church was rebuilt in stone, standing on the south side of Church Street, and to the west of the Burial Ground.
Katherine Held recalls that next door to Christ Church stood the home of Harry Ford and Sarah Welch; later it would become the home of First Church’s Sexton Jimmy Coyne.
To the west of that house stood the home of Reverend Johnson of Christ Church.
In front of those homes, and even until late in the twentieth century, stood small stone obelisks with iron rings affixed to them. These served as hitching posts for those who came into town in buggies and on horseback.
On Savin Avenue, to the north of Church Street stood the home of John Lynch, civil engineer and influential local politician. Next door stood the home of the Wells family, with its wraparound porch that the neighborhood children enjoyed playing on. In the early years of the twentieth century, this property was a dairy farm, which at the urging of the town fathers was later moved to a more rural area in Seymour.
Two houses from the Wells House was the First Church parsonage; at that time it was the home of Reverend Wilbur Johnson. Although Rev. Johnson added 350 new members to the church in one year, and was responsible for assembling the fifth largest Sunday School in the country, he was forced out for “improprieties” and left West Haven in disgrace.
At the corner of Savin Avenue stood the Poli house, as it still stands today. The Poli family at one time owned 30 theaters and various other properties around the United States; Sylvester Poli was at that time the largest theater owner in the world. Today the Poli house is occupied by the West Haven Historical Society.
It is the sincere hope of these writers that these homes and business facilities, which represent such a significant part of West Haven’s history, will be retained and maintained for the benefit of future generations.
Thanks to Steve Hildrich for his help with this part of the story