Update for 12/11/2020
Unfortunately, the number of people in our town with COVID continues to increase. However, the rate per 100,000 over the two weeks ending Dec. 5 did fall to 32.3 which is a small ray of hope. Again, I can only tell you there continues to be an increasing strain on our hospitals, which I observe every day. Short of the vaccines, which will hopefully allow us to reach some normalcy by summer, the only way to help our community and our own lives is to try and stem the increase in the number of those infected.
That means not only masks and social distancing, but isolating those who have been exposed or are positive. The rules for quarantining are published on the town website, attached to last week’s post. They must be followed. Please cooperate with contact tracers, who reach out to those of you who test positive and others who are in contact with them. The reaction to the decision to return schools to all distance learning shows how frustrated people are with the disruptions in their lives after all these months, but only we have the ability to make our situation better. Please cooperate and follow the rules, particularly for when to quarantine and for travel.
Last week I focused on the hardships that the pandemic had caused for our school children and their families. Even though I no longer have children in town, our young people have always been a priority for me. I feel our kids are our most cherished resources, and we need to do everything we can to protect and nurture them. That being said, there are great hardships for many of our residents. There are still 183 residents who remain on unemployment. While this is down from a peak of 412, it is well above the pre-pandemic number which was in the 40s. Our hearts go out to all who are struggling emotionally and financially from the pandemic, especially in this holiday season. We have previously listed resources to seek help, but a kind word or helping hand from a neighbor goes a long way.
We met this week with the Greater Bridgeport Regional Recycling Inter-local group. One thing that came out of the meeting is that the cost of recycling, especially glass, continues to rise and is a town expense. Bringing your bottles and cans to EMS is a win for everyone. The town saves money on recycling costs and EMS gets added revenue, so please try to do this. There is a contactless bin in the back of the building.
Also one of the byproducts of the pandemic is that many of us have taken on a sort of nesting instinct. Whether it is cleaning up our yards or more serious renovations more of us than ever are doing work on our properties. As in everything else we do please try and be considerate of your neighbors, especially in regard to noise. Evenings and weekends, we should all be able to enjoy the peace and quiet of our beautiful town.
Our Department of Public Works continues to work on cleaning up the trails at Paine open space where a number of trees were damaged in the August storm. As a town we have never had a clear plan for maintaining the trails in this jewel of town property. We have always gotten by on the generosity of volunteers, but a more formal plan is needed, and I am working on putting that together.
One of the great improvements in town life this year was the reemergence of the Easton Courier as an online news source. It has provided news and human interest as well as a valuable format for residents to express their opinions on a variety of topics. As your First Selectman, one of my greatest challenges is trying to reach as many of you as possible, to keep you informed about what is happening in Easton. The Courier has been a great partner in this effort. Many of us remember the regrets we had when the old paper Courier ceased to exist. While some may question my support of their appeal for donations to continue to provide so much information to our town, I feel the request is justified. I hope you will access the Courier at https://eastoncourier.news and subscribe, and you can contribute at Easton Courier Community Journalism Project Donation Page.
I want to let you know that Easton Police responded to two burglaries on Tuckahoe Road. Both residences were entered by force. One was entered by breaking a window, the other was entered by prying open a door. Cash and jewelry were taken from both residences, and one had a firearm stolen. I urge all our residents to be vigilant in securing valuables in your homes. Easton Police Chief Richard Doyle said in response to the break-ins: “If you have a security alarm system, make sure you arm it, and please call the police immediately if you see any suspicious activity.” Be careful to lock cars and not leave keys or valuables inside.
In spite of the pandemic the beauty of Easton has not been diminished. Sunrises and sunsets are beautiful this time of year. Many have decorated their homes in spectacular fashion for all of us to enjoy. Our farms continue to flourish. Bundle up, take advantage and enjoy.