Mayor’s Night Out

Mayor Curt Balzano Leng will be hosting a “Mayor’s Night Out” event on Monday, October 23rd, from 6pm – 8pm at the Board of Education Headquarters, located at 60 Putnam Avenue, Hamden, CT 06517. The Mayor will be available for dialogue and citizen input on neighborhood as well as Town-wide issues in an informal coffee hour type setting.

The goal of this initiative is to provide greater accessibility to the Mayor throughout the community and foster a direct connection with residents. “Mayor’s Night Out” will continue to be held in various Hamden neighborhoods throughout the coming
months.

For further information, please contact Information & Research Officer, Patrick J. Donnelly at (203) 287-7009 or by email at pdonnelly@hamden.com

Hamden Candidate Forum

The League of Women Voters (LWV) to sponsor Hamden Legislative Council Forum and Mayoral Debate

 

ALL Hamden District and At-Large Legislative Council candidates and Mayoral candidates have been invited to participate in the LWV Legislative Council Candidates Forum and Mayoral Debate on Oct. 26th at 7:00PM in the Thornton Wilder Auditorium,  2901 Dixwell Avenue.

Ray Andrewsen, General Manager and Morning Show Host of Quinnipiac University’s community radio station, will moderate the event.

The 1st part of the evening will be devoted to the Legislative Council District and At-large candidates.  Each candidate will be introduced and have 2 minutes to name the district they plan to represent and state the reason they are running.  

The second part of the evening will be devoted to a Mayoral debate between Democratic candidate Curt Balzano Leng and Republican candidate Salman Hamid.

PLEASE ATTEND!   Residents will be encouraged to submit their questions on local town issues at the debate The questions will be asked of the candidates by the moderator.  

Learn about your candidates!  Ask questions! Get Answers!

Free Music Jams in DeNicola Park

The 4th annual free Whitneyville Music Jam series kicks off June 14th with live Bluegrass music in DeNicola Park in Whitneyville,.

The Music Jam series features a different style of music for each of the three dates.

June 14: Bluegrass: Influenced by the music of Appalachia, bluegrass has mixed roots in Irish, Scottish, and English traditional music.

July 12: Klezmer: Soulful Jewish music of Eastern Europe influenced in the 20th century by ragtime, blues, and jazz.

Photo of musicians performing
Klezmer Musicians July 12 at DeNicola Park

 

August 16: Celtic: Traditional music of the Celtic countries – Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany (in France), Galicia (in Spain) and later the United States and maritime provinces of Canada.

Sponsored by the Whitneyville Civic Association, the annual Jam series is anchored by local musicians, but these are jam sessions, so if you play, please bring along your instrument. All jams are acoustic.

Bring a chair and a picnic basket: eating dinner is encouraged! Music begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8.

In case of rain, please check Whitneyville.org for weather updates.

DeNicola Park is on Treadwell Ave. in Whitneyville, across the street from the intersection with Lake Street and features a huge playground, basketball and bocce courts, tall shady trees, and a great open space for picnicking, throwing a Frisbee, and playing tag.

 

 

Congratulations Chief Wydra Letter

Thomas J. Wydra                                                                       July 15, 2017

Chief of Police

Hamden, CT.

Dear Chief Wydra,

On behalf of the Whitneyville Civic Association, we offer our sincere congratulations on your appointment to the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council. It’s good to know that even while serving on this council, you will remain as our chief of police.

The tasks of the POST Council are of great importance and reflect the skill and professionalism you have brought to nearly 25 years of police work. We know you will bring your wisdom and experience to overseeing police training and setting department and officer standards.

Hamden is fortunate to have a local police department that, under your leadership, practices 21st-century policing including up-to-date technology, conflict de-escalation, and mediation training for our officers.

We appreciate your support of the citizens of Whitneyville, including speaking at our Civic Association meetings in recent years. This kind of hands-on community work improves relationships between police and citizens.

We look forward to many more years with our police department under your leadership.

Sincerely,

Dave Bechtel, WCA President

Deirdre Dolan, WCA Secretary

MAY 2017 MEETING MINUTES

Whitneyville Civic Association

At 7:05 the meeting was called to order by President Janet Kazienko.

Tonight is Janet’s last meeting after her two years in office. Janet thanked the board and said she learned a lot on the job, but she’s happy to be passing the baton. She said her husband, especially, is relieved her tenure is over.

  • Conflict with Ridge Hill PTA meeting. Our meeting will potentially move from the 2nd to 3rd Thursday of the month.
  • Library Fundraiser. Dave Bechtel said the Library fundraiser brought in $2000, and was a lot of fun and great for the community. Maureen Armstrong will work on a check ceremony with the town library board. New trees were recently planted as part of the refurbishment.
  • Treasurers report: $1,664.81 and $3,848.82 in our accounts, including the library fund raiser monies.
  • Dave Bechtel was unanimously elected President. Connie Matheson was unanimously elected Vice-President.

Guest Speaker. State Representative Michael D’Agostino spoke.

  • D’Agostino is still trying to change the mechanism for distribution of state funds to schools. The state was ready to announce the new budget, when it learned that quarterly-filer taxes were seriously below projections. Now looking at a 2.5 billion dollar deficit.
  • Over the years, the state did not regularly put money aside to fund the pension obligation. Little is left for discretionary spending. The political reality is that taxes are unlikely to be raised.
  • However, there could be a sales tax increase and regional tax assessments, as are done in other states and are being discussed. No matter what else happens, educational taxes pay for more than just math and English teaching, so Rep. D’Agostino is hoping funds can be diverted from other pots to communities that need it.
  • Budget cuts will hurt state workers who may be laid off, resulting in depleted services and municipal aid.
  • We might not have a budget on June 7, which would give the governor plenary power, and might not be a bad thing since he is not running again.

Citizen Input and Questions.

  • Deirdre Dolan asked if legalized marijuana or toll roads are being considered as potential revenue sources. “Legalized marijuana is interesting,” Rep. D’Agostino said. “I think it will come back into the budget because the money will just end up in Massachusetts or Vermont.” Toll roads could also happen but the money can only be used for transportation which would make the transportation fund solvent, perhaps $100 million in the first few years. Reps from border towns like Danbury don’t like them.
  • Closing the hedge fund loophole will not happen. No appetite in the Senate and the Governor will veto that.
  • Connie Matheson asked, “Should we be making phone calls to support your formula for fairly supporting all the schools?” D’Agostino suggested calling Martin Looney to make sure Hamden gets its educational funding. Courts found that the way Connecticut distributes its educational funds is unconstitutional. This case is now at the state Supreme Court, and the new methodology Rep. D’Agostino is working on would change the formula so ring suburbs like Hamden would get more funding. The new formula forces districts of 1,000 or less students to join with larger districts or lose their funding.
  • Michael Ross noted that we are going to have 380 new households when the new development at Mather and Dixwell opens. What kind of impact will that have? Rep. D’Agostino said it will trigger redistricting as well as adding taxes to the town pot. But a lot depends on whether some of those kids have special needs. The new development is not family housing though; the units are small, single bedroom efficiencies.

Adjournment: President Bechtel adjourned the meeting at 9:00.

 

 

Books & Booze? Well, Who said Book Lovers Can’t Have Fun?

WCA Logo

This Friday: Support your local library, the heart of our Whitneyville community, and celebrate Spring at the same time. Join friends and neighbors on Friday, April 21st from 6-8 pm at The Playwright Banquet Room, located at 1232 Whitney Avenue. Enjoy complimentary appetizers, a cash bar and readings by Hamden’s own Poet Laureate Franz Douskey. Lightheartedly called “Books & Booze” (with alcohol optional of course), proceeds will be used by the Whitneyville Branch of the Hamden Public Library to support expanded programming and provide additional resources for residents and families in the community.

Tickets for this event, sponsored by the Whitneyville Civic Association, are $30 per person with proceeds benefiting our branch of the library. You can RSVP and reserve tickets by emailing Dave Bechtel at dpbechtel@hotmail.com .
Library fundraiser flyer
A fundraiser for the Whitneyville Branch of Hamden Public Library

Meeting Minutes: March 9, 2017

Minutes of March 9, 2017 meeting of Whitneyville Civic Association Held at Board of Education Building 60 Putnam Ave., Hamden

President Janet Kazienko called the meeting to order at 7:08.

  • Owner Spotlight: Chris Fiore owner of Wine 101 gave a presentaion about the new business at 1220 Whitney Ave. Unit C. Chris said that he met his partner, Carol Cyr, giving wine tastings to raise money for their childrens’ school. But as they did, they came to believe that wine classes should not be pretentious and, if done right, can open people up to new ideas and learning to be passionate about what they like. The two launched a business which grew through word of mouth as they gave tastings in peoples’ homes. Their store brings in small, eclectic wines and exposes people to new tastes. Customer service is the highest priority. The store also carries craft beer, spirits, and cheese, but the main product is the wine.
  • Elections: Janet announced that elections will take place at the May meeting. The President’s position is open.
  • LED Light Follow-Up: The bulb standard that UI would like is 4,000k, and no alternatives in terms of bulb warmth (measured in k) were previously considered for municipal use. But due to citizen education and activism, now UI is looking at 3000k LED lights, which Hamden may be able to get by waiting until UI has them. Mayor Leng wrote a letter to UI and has been vocally supportive of the warmer lights.
  • Lighting Change: Janet reported that Hamden Hall is requesting a lighting change for their athletic fields that could affect other parks. The town’s next meeting is April 14th.
  • Library Committee: Dave Bechtel reported that the Whitneyville Branch of the Hamden Public Library has a lot of structural issues. The town passed a capital budget with $40,000 for the two branches, and maybe a $15,000 carry over from last year. Also, there will be a tree planted at the branch on Arbor Day which is also when WCA has its spring clean-up. A fundraiser and friendraiser to be held April 21 at the Playwright is also planned. The event will be called Books and Booze.
  • Summer Music Series: A committee met, and decided to stick with the same set-up of three different events in the evenings once a month in June, July, and August at Denicola Park. There were a lot of new ideas that could appeal to a more diverse crowd. The next committee meeting is at Janet’s house on March 19 at 5:00 pm.
  • Backyards for Wildlife: National Wildlife Foundation has a program that is being brought to Whitneyville.  Deirdre Dolan announced that citizens can start anytime by going to the NWF website and signing up. All that’s needed is food, shelter, and water sources for wildlife to qualify to be certified. An effort will be made to advertise to all residents, especially younger people with families who can’t make it to WCA meetings, so they will sign-up   Information sessions can be arranged at the library and at the Hamden Earth Day event.
  • Traffic Committee: Mark Foran spoke about meeting with Mayor Leng and Police Chief Wydra about traffic in the Whitneyville area. They discussed a new roundabout at Ridge and Hartford Turnpike that should make this intersection safer. The town has done a lot of work in Whitneyville, and is now looking at other neighborhoods that need attention. The Traffic Committee has compiled a preliminary list of other traffic calming issues which was discussed. A final draft of this list may be posted on the WCA website.
  • Gardening committee: Liz Hellwig set dates for work at the Pocket Park. May 7, June 11, July 9, Aug. 13, and Sept. 10, all at 8:30 am.
  • Dues: WCA Dues are due and Deb Weckerle can accept them any time.
  • Judy Gordon requested that we ask our government representative to discuss impacts of the budget cuts we will most likely see as a result of expected cuts to the federal budget. Janet agreed that was an excellent idea.

Meeting adjourned by Janet at 8:30

January 2017 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes of the Whitneyville Civic Association

January Meeting, held at the Board of Education building 60 Putnam Ave., January 12, 2017

President Janet Kazienko called meeting to order at 7:08.

Janet said Travis Pittman of Salad Palace was invited to speak and will do so when he gets here.

  • A Bocce Court seems to have showed up in Denicola Park, Michael Ross announced. As Past President of the WCA, he spoke to the Mayor about it, and is trying to find out where it came from.  Janet asked if anyone wanted the WCA to officially react to this, and there was no request made to do so.
  • Library Committee: Dave Bechtel said the committee is following up on the Mayor’s promise to spend $40000 on both braches of the library. Dave said the committee has a great plan, and the Whitneyville branch is now open on Saturdays with consistent hours. The committee is planning a fundraiser, tentatively called “Books and Booze” at the Playwright in early spring.
  • Travis, owner of Salad Palace, talked about the cancer scare that inspired him to change his diet and then opened up Salad Palace to bring healthy food that can change your health, even reverse diabetes. The website is thesaladpalace.com. The menu features many types of healthy salads, smoothies, and juice, and there is a new menu coming up.
  • Janet said she is hoping to see a committee get together to work on changes to the summer music programs that the WCA has offered in the past. She is looking for new ideas. Marc Levenson said he is interested in getting involved.
  • Bob Pattison spoke about the new municipal LED lighting programs going on across the country, which often creating bright, even blinding light in neighborhoods. LED is good, he said, but the color makes a big difference. Light is measured in Kelvin; bright LEDS are heavy on the blue color, and new health studies highlight some of the issues in reference to circadian rhythm disruption and other health hazards. AMA recommends 3000K or lower, warm vs. bright lighting. UI currently wants to use the 4000 Kelvin lights. Marty Mador, head of the towns Energy Use and Climate Change Commission said he is not sure if the lights have been purchased, but Hamden might be getting these lights in May.
  • Dale Kroop, Hamden’s Economic Development Director, said energy is an issue that has been handled ad hoc. He would like to see the Energy Use and Climate Change commission work toward an action plan. Janet said she had contacted Teresa Eller at UI, but she could not come, but when Dave Bechtel and Michael Ross went to her, she made it clear that UI is working with towns, yet asking municipal leaders about lumens, but not color. Danny Kazienko stressed that it is not the brightness, it is the color, the blue color, that is disruptive.
  • Traffic Committee: Mark Foran said the committee had no report but was seeking input from residents. Marty mentioned issues with Augur, Street. Mark said Augur really has been left out on some of the changes and yet has some real issues. A chicane was proposed for that street, a good idea but it was never implemented. It would be at a 25 mile per hour speed limit. What Mark would like to do is create a visual representation of what this would look like. The Traffic Committee will be meeting sometime in the next month.

Deb Weckerle announced a book giveaway for teachers.

Jen Brosious announced several benefit events that are upcoming at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons and the Yoga Center.

Janet adjourned the meeting at 8:20.

 

September 2016 Members Meeting Minutes

Minutes of September 8, 2016 Meeting of the Whitneyville Civic Association

Held in the Board of Education building on Putnam Ave. in Whitneyville

President Janet Kazienko called the meeting to order at 7:05. Janet introduced the board members and said the WCA is always looking for new committee members.

Dave Bechtel gave an update on the Library Committee, which has been doing a lot of work. The committee has held four meetings to develop a plan to refurbish the Whitneyville branch of Hamden Library. The committee had a walk through. Kari, who has experience in this type of work, created a plan that included library restoration and landscape improvements. The idea is to keep the budget to a minimum so it can feasibility be done by the town. The plan also shows development phases so the town could approve and fund in phases.

The committee sent out a survey, where they learned that the number one community priority was improving the exterior. They were hoping to present the plan to the mayor, but instead presented it to Julie Smith who will take the information back to the mayor. As of this meeting, the committee hasn’t heard back from her, although they have been emailing and working to get a response.

The committee will focus next on marketing and fund raising. The committee offered copies of the plan to people at the meeting.

Some library news: Saturday hours have been initiated starting this Saturday. The hours are 10-1.

Mayor Curt Leng responded to the committee report with some news: The town has some funding for libraries. “Not enough,” but the mayor said the town has allocated, “50,000 for both neighborhood branches,” but the town is not ruling out other options such as moving the library into the Board of Ed building.

The traffic committee report was up next. Janet said she was really excited about the work this traffic committee is doing as “it is a standing committee, not just putting out fires.” She encouraged everyone to read the report. Anyone interested can email any member of the board for a copy.

Deb has envelopes for people who need to pay their membership dues. The cost is $10 per household.

Whitneyville Fall Festival will take place on September 10, Janet announced. The WCA will have a table.

A three-part WCA event called Summer Music Slams were mostly successful this past summer, although “there were a few bumps,” Janet said. Over the winter these events will be recalibrated to ensure that they are even more appealing to the neighborhood.

The Hamden Land Trust has a wine tasting coming up.

The president turned to the topic of a recent gun shot incident on Ralston Avenue connected to a late-night teen dance at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons, 1253 Whitney Ave. Janet said she the WCA wish to remain neutral on the issue while allowing citizens and WCC representatives to speak their opinions and be heard by Mayor Leng.

Laine Harris, owner of the WCC property, introduced himself and offered to answer questions.

Liz Hellwig said she had attended a meeting with the Mayor on this subject with representatives from all sides of the issue where Mr. Harris had shared new policies that he said would prevent an incident like this from happening agin. She asked if Laine could share these new policies with everyone at the meeting.

Laine passed out printouts of these new policies and elaborated on them, stressing all of the efforts being made by the WCA to make a positive contribution to the community and increase safety at all WCA events.

Mickey Koth, also a Ralston Ave. resident, said the teen dance on August 4 was inappropriate and should never have been approved in the first place. She described the incident as terrifying. “As a resident of Ralston Avenue,” as long as the WCC operates and holds events, she said, “I am scared.” Ms. Koth wanted to know more about the grant that the WCC had recently won, and if this meant that the state would be paying for development at the site.

Leah Glaser, WCC Board member and a Whitneyville resident of many years, said the grant will be used to hire preservation specialists who will guide the WCC on how to preserve the historical integrity of the building. “It has nothing to do with development,” she said. The Town of Hamden had to be the official applicant for this grant as the WCC was not yet a 501(3)(c) as designated by the IRS.

Richard Kissel said he knew there would be issues at the WCC even before the gunshots. He said he gets concerned when he hears that because the air conditioning is fixed, now there won’t be any problems. The WCC management shows a lack of understanding of how to run events, something Mr. Kissel is very experienced with. The WCC is not here for the neighborhood, he said. They are here to make money for the sake of their members. There is a serious lack of communication on the WCC’s part, and no knowledge of how to effectively communicate.

Next, Eric Hensey spoke. He said he doesn’t live on Ralston and he can’t understand what it must have been like for the neighbors who lived through this. He said he moved to this area for the community, and such a strong sense of community is a rare thing. Mr. Hensey said he understands what Laine is trying to do, and if the WCC isn’t here it would create a negative impact on the community. “Laine understands that no one should be scared,” Mr. Hensey said, and he is hopeful that the WCC can be successful.

Deb Weckert, who owns the house next to the public parking lot, said she has been trying to “be in the middle.” She never called the cops when music was too loud at the WCC, but she got the idea that this party was going to be a questionable event even before it started due to poor planning. Sending the kids into the neighborhood to “get permission” to hold the dance was a terrible idea. Now she has lost all trust in the WCC, and feels they are walking “a fine line.” Now she, “lives in fear, and she knows that she is “just one of a group of very angry neighbors.”

Marta Borates lives on Ralston, three doors from WCC. There have been liquor bottles on her property. Her car was broken into. “ This is a very caring neighborhood,” she said.

Mark Denelo, a long time resident, said this was his first time at a WCA meeting. He said. The fact that Laine is here says something.” The WCC is a growing and thriving business community that will require some accommodation as it grows.”

Mr. Kissel said he is still not seeing any movement on safety, and he feels no more reassured then when he first came to the meeting.

Mayor Leng, sees the WCC as a positive for the town and tried to work with the people involved to make sure that the noise ordinances, although it is not enforceable, was being followed. The police department has broad jurisdiction over nuisance issues. The changes WCC is putting into place: the time when events end, the parking, and changes to public lots to accomodate events – should make a difference, whether or not police are required, at events.

Mayor Leng said he doesn’t think there will be many events where police will be needed, but the town has agreed to have an officer at the end of the night for certain events. Whitneyville is a special neighborhood. The WCC can be part of that, he said.

The Mayor reminded everyone to report all suspicious incidents, and said he offers himself or his constituent services person 24 hours a day if there are any problems.

Leah Glaser said that although “this incident makes me sick,” she believes that the historical buildings are crucial for the future of the neighborhood.”

Marta Borates suggested better lighting and asked the Mayor to consider this idea.

Andrew Shapiro, a coworker at WCC, said hearing shots fired in your neighborhood is horrible, but the WCC will improve, and over time this situation will be better.

Janet said she thought the meeting had gone well, and asked people to stay after the meeting to ask each other questions that had not already been answered.