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Column: Post Pandemic Threats

President Biden announced that the Covid pandemic is over. We shall see if he was right or unduly optimistic. Viruses are unpredictable. A strain that seems pervasive and persistent may change into an innocuous and sporadic variant in a matter of weeks. Alternatively, it can re-emerge with unprecedented virulence.  Unfortunately, we have the technology to hit a small asteroid nine million miles away from our planet, but we still lack the know-how to make a virus harmless. Advances in gene repair and inactivation suggest we are almost there, but we are still at the mercy of Mother Nature, who has had billions of years to devise innumerable biological weapons to humble us.

If Covid-19 is on its way to the virus junkyard, what might we expect to challenge us next? It is autumn, and Jupiter is aligned with the Earth in their orbits around the sun.  Astrologers are making grim predictions based on this planetary positioning, especially since Jupiter is as close to the Earth as it ever gets. Physicians also have new concerns with the advent of autumn. As leaves change colors and hardwoods drop their leaves, Guillain-Barre [pronounced Ghee-Ann Bahr-Ray] syndrome arrives in New England. It may come earlier or later in many parts of the country, but in Connecticut it becomes more prevalent as we develop upper respiratory, that is, upper airway, infections. Two or three weeks after that annoying cough and sore throat, the affected individual develops progressive weakness.  He or she initially develops weakness in the feet and then the legs. The arms may be involved, and in the worst cases, the affected individual cannot breathe independently.

This is a strange and potentially fatal condition that in many ways resembles polio. It, unlike polio which is caused by a virus that attacks nerve cells in the spinal cord, appears to be caused by inappropriate activity in the immune system as a late response to some otherwise innocuous infections. Also, unlike polio, there is no vaccine to protect against Guillain-Barre syndrome.  Like polio, it targets the motor control of muscles that move limbs and enable us to breathe. The paralysis may reach its worst in a matter of days. Laboratory tests on spinal fluid help establish the diagnosis.

While you worry about developing this rare but potentially fatal condition, you can stop worrying (as much) about developing Lyme disease. This infection is well past its peak occurrence rate in the summer.  It is named after our neighboring town of Lyme, Connecticut, because it was there that a very clever nurse recognized that several children in the neighborhood developed an unusual form of arthritis at about the same time. The not so clever doctors treating these children diagnosed them with rheumatoid arthritis, a condition unlikely to appear in a cluster of children at about the same time. Clever nurse suspected an infectious cause for this childhood illness, and blood tests revealed that a germ carried by a tick was responsible. Although many diseases are named after the doctors who first identified them, that a nurse was the responsible healthcare worker moved the powers that be to name the disease after the town.

More likely to be a problem in the coming months is the flu. That many Covid-wary people are still wearing masks is likely to cut down considerably on the spread of this annually recurring problem. Like Covid-19, the flu is caused by a virus, is primarily carried on droplets released in sneezing or coughing, and has a vaccine already being distributed. The skepticism that limited the adoption of Covid vaccines is likely to be repeated in resistance to flu vaccines and result in a few thousand preventable deaths. As victims of the flu struggle to breathe, we can expect to hear the oft repeated vaxx-denier announcement of “I wish I had taken the vaccine.”

Although the rise of a new viral nemesis in the near future appears unlikely, reports out of China concerning research at the now famous Wuhan Institute of Virology are causing sleepless nights among virologists. Wuhan was the Chinese city that appeared to be the site of the first cluster of the Covid-19 virus infections.  Its virology institute was accused of being the source of the virus, but that claim has been generally discredited. What have not been discredited or dismissed are reports in January from this institute that it manipulated a bat virus similar to the highly lethal MERS virus, giving that bat virus the ability to attack human cells. 

The research was intended to establish how these viruses transform from agents infecting bats to agents lethal to humans. Given that the MERS virus kills one-third of the people it infects, it is disconcerting that researchers have devised a technique to transform a bat virus related to the MERS virus into a people-killer virus. The rationale for developing the technique was that this knowledge would enable researchers to interfere with or reverse Mother Nature’s strategies for transforming animal-killer viruses into people-killer viruses.

Advances in reshaping viruses are useful and inevitable, but there is an unavoidable risk that transformed viruses inadvertently or purposely released into the general population will devastate humanity. The arrival of the bubonic plague (the Black Death) to Europe in 1347 led to tens of millions of deaths from 1347 to 1349.  A carefully crafted virus could spread more quickly and kill more rapidly than the plague germ that eradicated between ¼ and ½ of the population of Europe in those 3 years. What the folks at the Wuhan Institute have found is a way to weaponize a highly lethal virus. They have created a fuse for a bomb that they have no way of defusing. 

The risks associated with this accomplishment outweigh any possible benefits in the short term. A sociopathic dictator, of which we have had and currently have several, could use this lethal innovation to randomly kill millions of people when he or she feels threatened. The naivety of the scientists striving to make a virus more transmissible to humans is reminiscent of that exhibited by many of the physicists working on the Manhattan Project who were confident that the horrific weapon they were developing, the atomic bomb, would never be used against a target populated by tens of thousands of noncombatants. The atomic bombs dropped on two Japanese cities killed tens of thousands of people without regard to age, gender, or military status. The purposeful manipulation of viruses to make them deadly for people may be the tool used in future conflicts to devastate entire nations.

Dr. Lechtenberg is an Easton resident who graduated from Tufts University and Tufts Medical School in Massachusetts and subsequently trained at The Mount Sinai Hospital and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan.  He worked as a neurologist at several New York Hospitals, including Kings County and The Long Island College Hospital, while maintaining a private practice, teaching at SUNY Downstate Medical School, and publishing 15 books on a variety of medical topics. He worked in drug development in the USA, as well as in England, Germany, and France.




From a Seedling, a Great Tree Grew in Easton

It was a sad day yesterday when we watched the crew from White Hills Tree Removal in Shelton slowly dismember and take down the great spruce tree that has adorned the southeast corner of the Bradley-Hubbell House for as long as any of us could remember. At an estimated 100 – 110 feet in height, it was surely one of the tallest of its kind in Easton. It had survived numerous tropical storms, dozens of Nor’easters, more than a few blizzards and ice storms, and over a half dozen hurricanes. But it was no match for the tremendous bolt of lightning that struck it a few weeks ago, blowing parts of its upper trunk some 80 feet from where it so proudly stood and causing several of its limbs to smolder and smoke.

Tree removal day at the Bradley-Hubbell House. September 30, 2022.

An otherwise healthy tree, it then faced the likelihood of a slow death from the lightning damage. Given its close proximity to both the historic 1816 Bradley-Hubbell House and the busy Black Rock Turnpike, the danger of it slowly shedding branches, or simply snapping during a future storm was simply too great to chance. After some lengthy discussions between the Historical Society of Easton – which restored and manages the property, the State of Connecticut, and Aquarion, it was decided the tree had to be removed.

The earliest known photograph of the tree is likely the one the Historical Society has from the mid-1940’s. At the time, the tree was about the perfect size for a Christmas tree – about 8 to 10 feet in height. That would have likely meant it was planted sometime in the mid to late 1930’s, most likely by the resident of the property, Franklin Hubbell, the then superintendent of the Aspetuck Watershed for the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company.

1940’s. The beginnings of a long life for the Bradley-Hubbell Spruce.
Almost 80 years later!!!

In addition to his managing the watershed, Hubbell’s knowledge of agriculture became the impetus behind the founding of the Aspetuck Valley Orchard operation that grew from a small orchard of apple trees planted atop Flirt Hill, into a large-scale enterprise that produced apples, peaches, pears, and a wide range of summer vegetables that were processed and sold at Easton’s well-known Apple Barn about a half mile north of where Hubbell resided. He also oversaw the sawmill that the BHC operated on the opposite side of Black Rock Turnpike about halfway between his house and the Apple Barn. It was Hubbell’s contributions to the town, both as an employer who gave many of Easton’s youth their first job, and his service to Easton as a public servant which included his tenure as First Selectman, that got his family name added to the Bradley-Hubbell House.

Ironically, Franklin and Helen Hubbell’s daughter Patricia passed away this summer. She grew up in that house and had nothing but fond memories of her childhood there. An accomplished author, poet, and artist, many of the books she wrote for children contained passages that described the immediate area. The tiny building that sits behind the main house was built by Hubbell as a playhouse for Patricia and her older sister Jean. Patricia often referred to it as her “museum,” a place where she collected and displayed various items of nature along with her books and crafts.

Her father turned the playhouse into a tool shed for his garden after his daughters were grown and out on their own. Sometime after his death in 1996, the diminutive structure was vandalized. After the Historical Society of Easton took the property over in 1999, it was described as the “ice house” and was included in the master plan for the renovation and restoration of the property. It served as a garden shed for many years for the Easton Garden Club that continues to maintain the beautiful garden that sits just south of the Bradley-Hubbell House today. Until very recently, it has languished in stoic silence as the rest of the property has seen a slow but continuing restoration.

Patricia Hubbell sitting on her front porch of her little “museum” in the 1930’s

One of Patricia’s last wishes was that her beloved playhouse/museum be restored. The Historical Society of Easton is intent on granting that wish. This summer, in addition to replacing the roofs on the main house and barn, the playhouse also received a completely new roof, the first step in bringing the little building back to life.

While that magnificent spruce may no longer be here to enjoy, the little playhouse in the backyard is beginning to get the attention that it so desperately deserves. Anyone wishing to help move this project along is encouraged to donate to the Historical Society of Easton to make it happen as soon as we possibly can.

Donations can be made securely online using a credit card by visiting: Donations and Patrons – Historical Society of Easton Connecticut (historicalsocietyofeastonct.org).

Or those who would prefer to donate by check can do so by making it out to: The Historical Society of Easton CT, and sending it to PO Box 121, Easton, CT 06612. As always, no amount is either too small or too large.

Gallery of the removal of the BHH Spruce Sept. 30, 2022.




A Message From First Selectman Bindelglass

Updated Sept. 30

Books

Good afternoon,

Regarding the situation at the Easton Village Store, nothing has changed from my post two weeks ago. Water samples from the firehouse and Easton EMS have been collected by the health department and the results are pending. The environmental consultant hired by the owner will be digging monitoring wells this month and the samples collected will help if the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will require any remediation.

This weekend we have two events that you do not want to miss. The Library kicks off their book sale today with a Special Kids Book Sale from 3 – 5 p.m. Book sale hours this weekend are Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Easton Police Department will be holding their annual dare race tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at SSES. For more information, please go to https://runsignup.com/Race/Info/CT/Easton/TheEastonPoliceChase5K.

The Senior Center will be holding a flu vaccination clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 5th from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Spaces are still available, please contact the senior center at 203-268-1145 to make an appointment.

There will also be an additional flu clinic at the Easton Public Library on October 25th from 2 – 3:30 p.m. conducted by the Aspetuck Health District https://wwhd.org/.

Have a great weekend,

Dave




Column: Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of Americans has been declining in recent years. This applies to Americans of every skin shade, ethnic extraction, and national origin. Men have been hardest hit, but women are also exhibiting a progressive decline in longevity. This may surprise citizens who have long embraced the myth that America has the best healthcare in the world, but for those of us working as healthcare providers, the decline in average life expectancy is neither unexpected nor inexplicable. Our country has some of the best medical institutions and healthcare providers in the world, but access to these facilities and people is extremely variable. In recent years, each innovation intended to spread health assets more evenly across the country has been attacked and nullified by local and national legislative bodies with considerable energy and enthusiasm.  Financing and programs offered to all states to improve healthcare have been rejected by many states for reasons apparent only to the most unapologetic politicians.

There are numerous methods for determining average life expectancy. Consequently, there is considerable variability in the number arrived at using different methods. What is consistent with all methods adopted is that Americans are dying sooner than they did 5 years ago. Of course, there has been a dramatic improvement in average life expectancy in our country over the past century, but most of these gains are attributable to advances in sanitation, water treatment, sewage management, antibiotic and vaccine developments, techniques to identify treatable diseases earlier in their courses, and more federal enforcement of standards for the development of drugs and medical devices.

In 2019, the average citizen could expect to live 78.8 years. In 2020, this figure dropped by 1.8 years, and in 2021 it fell by another 0.8 years. The drop in life expectancy during those 2 years, 2020 and 2021, was the largest decline experienced in the U.S. during the prior century. Men had a much steeper loss in life expectancy than did women, but women also participated in this shortening of life expectancy. The difference in average life expectancy of American men as compared to that of American women is now the greatest it has been since 1996.  Women generally survive about 6 years longer than men.

There are obvious and not so obvious reasons for our declining life expectancy. The Covid-19 pandemic played a role, but resistance to vaccinations that were free and widely accessible played an even larger role. After the development of the first Covid vaccines, nine out of ten Covid deaths occurred in people who were unvaccinated. Refusing vaccination was promoted as a sign of religious fervor or political commitment. Claims that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent were predictably resurrected along with long discredited studies meant to undermine the acceptance of vaccination programs. The motivation behind many of these false claims remains obscure.  For some media hoaxsters, it helped expand listener or viewer audiences by spreading lies that fit with the prejudices of their audiences.

The reliance on “thoughts and prayers,” rather than vaccines, accounted for nearly one million American pandemic deaths in 2020 and 2021. The flood of Covid related illnesses overwhelmed many hospitals and caused collateral deaths and disease by the diversion of hospital resources away from the problems healthcare providers customarily manage. People with heart attacks, strokes, cancer and accident-related problems found themselves competing for resources with unvaccinated Covid sufferers.

Even without the deaths attributable to the Covid pandemic, American life expectancies were decreased by several less obvious but more familiar problems. Accidents and “unintentional” injuries, including those from illicit drug overdoses, had a major impact on life expectancies in recent years. From the beginning of April, 2021, to the end of March, 2022, more than 109,000 Americans died from overdoses. Death from illicit fentanyl consumption has increased as deaths from Covid have decreased. 

The traditional causes of American mortality, which include heart disease, stroke, cancer, motor vehicle accidents, firearm murders, suicides, chronic liver disease (think alcohol), and various non-gun homicides, continue unabated. Despite advances in the diagnosis and treatment of all of these problems, other than homicides, over the past two decades, the United States has hit a limit on life extension. The underlying problem is partly limited access to healthcare resources.  An increasing number of Americans cannot get or cannot afford good, consistent healthcare. Some of the reduction in life expectancy is self-inflicted. Americans continue to shorten their lives with illicit drug use, chronic alcoholism, and gun violence.

Those who believe that the American healthcare system will provide them with the longest life expectancy in the world are simply wrong. By most current measures, the United States ranks 46th in terms of average life expectancy in comparison to other countries. Some assessments rank it below 54 other countries. Currently, the average lifespan of an American ranks below that of an Estonian and just above that of a Turkish citizen. This poor ranking is not a function of the ethnic or national background of our diverse population. We are, for the most part, a nation of immigrants, and the average life expectancies in many of the countries from which our citizens or their ancestors originated are longer than those of the average American. The average life expectancy of a citizen of Japan is over 85 years; that of a citizen of Italy, 84 years; of Greece, 82 years; of Slovenia, 81 years; of Chile, 80 years.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed bills that created Medicare and Medicaid. These initiatives were opposed by the medical establishment and numerous state legislatures. Despite efforts to kill these programs, they became entrenched in the American psyche as irrevocable “entitlements” for the elderly and the poor.  Subsequent efforts to expand these programs have had some success (e.g., unlimited access to renal dialysis) and some resounding failures (e.g., the “public option”). Unless American lawmakers allow the development of a more equitable and rational healthcare system (dare I say Medicare for all) we may soon see the life expectancies for our citizens to rival that of Belarus (74 years) or North Korea (72 years). Part of the American dream is for our children to have longer lives than we, their parents.  If we can break our illicit drug habits, curb our alcohol consumption, wean ourselves off guns, learn to drive less recklessly, and trust science more than superstitions we may yet realize that part of the American dream.

Dr. Lechtenberg is an Easton resident who graduated from Tufts University and Tufts Medical School in Massachusetts and subsequently trained at The Mount Sinai Hospital and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan.  He worked as a neurologist at several New York Hospitals, including Kings County and The Long Island College Hospital, while maintaining a private practice, teaching at SUNY Downstate Medical School, and publishing 15 books on a variety of medical topics. He worked in drug development in the USA, as well as in England, Germany, and France.




Board of Selectmen Meeting of September 15, 2022

The Board of Selectmen held its regular meeting on Sept. 15. After approving the minutes from the Aug. 25 meeting and approving twelve tax refunds as recommended by the tax collector, the board moved to hear unique agenda items scheduled for the meeting.

The board appointed Jacob Conover to the Agriculture Commission to fill the unexpired term of Irv Silverman who recently resigned. There are vacancies on several other boards and commissions. Anyone interested in serving should check the town website for specific openings or contact the First Selectman’s office.  Expressions of interest can be submitted directly to the First Selectman’s office or to the Democratic or Republican Town Committees. Please note that a simple letter and brief biographical statement is all that is necessary for you to be considered.

The board reviewed and unanimously approved the text of a conservation easement for the remaining approximately ten acres of property located at 18-22 South Park Avenue. This is all of the remaining town owned portion of this well-known property that has been the subject of discussion for a very long time. The key change from earlier drafts is that the portion of the property that will be leased to the current tenants has been reduced from just over four acres to just under three acres. Now that a recordable document exists, a Town Meeting can convene to decide whether or not the provisions of this easement are acceptable. If the Town Meeting approves the easement, it will be recorded on the land records.

The board discussed possible consequences of various actions that could occur between now and the time the town formally adopts an easement. For example, what if a contradictory citizen petition is filed in the interim and what if the current document is rejected by the town? We also discussed why a second vote is now required. A Town Meeting, and likely machine vote referendum, will be scheduled later this fall.

Unfortunately, we are advised it is too late to put this on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election for federal and state offices. Further, because the registrars of voters are now engaged in the work required for the Nov. 8 election, which involves much pre- and post-election day work, any referendum will slip until late November or early December. Please take a moment to review the document which is available from town hall or on the town website. The substantive terms are only three pages long and not terribly complex.

The board heard public comment on two topics: June Logie and Dori Wollen offered comments on the soil contamination matter at the former Easton Village Store. June Logie, Dori Wollen, Jeff Becker, Dwight Senior, Andrew Kupinse and Leslie Minasi offered comments on the conservation easement for South Park Avenue.

First Selectman David Bindelglass gave an update on the soil contamination matter at the former Easton Village Store. As previously reported, the work and reports that were promised by today’s meeting were completed and filed. No exigent steps have been recommended. The previous recommendations for monitoring of certain wells in the area are being implemented. If additional remediation or other steps are warranted based on results from this monitoring, that work will be done.

The First Selectmen discussed the conservation easement for South Park Avenue and committed that he would not vote to send any contradictory citizen petition to the Town Meeting before the Town Meeting/referendum on the current proposal.

He reported that the Senior Center is likely to be a bit stricter about Covid precautions as the colder weather moves in. These restrictions may be stronger than the current CDC guidelines but no decisions have been made for now.

Selectman Kristi Sogofsky discussed the conservation easement for South Park Avenue and committed that she, also, would not vote to send any contradictory citizen petition to the Town Meeting before the Town Meeting/referendum on the current proposal.

Selectman Bob Lessler thanked the Easton EMS for another successful fireworks display last Saturday night.

He commented on the conservation easement noting that the board has an obligation to anticipate and think through a range of possibilities that could ensue between now and the time a conservation easement is approved by the voters.




The Friends of the Library to Host Annual Used Book Sale

The Friends of the Easton Library will host their annual Used Book Sale at the Easton Public Library on Saturday Oct. 1 and Sunday Oct. 2 from  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friends’ members in good standing can arrive early at 8:30 a.m. to get a head start on the sale. 

As an added feature, this year the children’s book section will be available for perusing and buying on Friday Sept. 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. to give an opportunity for parents/caregivers and their children time to browse and shop their section only.  School teachers of those grades are also welcome to join these youngsters.  Children must accompany adults to be eligible for this private shopping experience. 

Last year’s Friends of the Library Used Book Sale. Photo courtesy of Beth Cliff

Books in good condition, DVDs, and CDs are available for purchase. Trade paperbacks sorted alphabetically by author – great mysteries and fiction plus non-fiction reads on a wide variety of topics, young adults, children’s picture books! – all will be ready for new ownership. To support the environment, prices will be reduced at noon on Sunday and by the close of the sale there will be a “fill a brown bag for $10”  promotion to complete the day.

Proceeds of the sale go to supporting the wishes and needs of the library that fall outside their current budget. Last year this included supporting the Summer Reading Program, providing free museum passes for library patrons, supporting the One Book One Town Program, and refurbishing the back patio for social functions with new pavers and umbrellas. 

The library is in planning stages to determine this year’s support. If you have a wish of your own let the Friends of the Library know at friends@eastonlibrary.org.  

A hardy troupe of Friends volunteers have been working throughout the summer and early fall to sort and categorize generous donations that have been left off at the library. (Donations are no longer accepted.) Friends thank Jesse Lee United Methodist Church who graciously allowed them to sort and store books there.

Volunteers are needed from Sept. 27 to 29  for set up and display, including Tuesday evening Sept. 27 at Jesse Lee, as the Boy Scouts physically move all the boxes that currently stored there back to Morehouse Road. No lifting required, just some gentle supervision. If you can help please contact Phyllis Machledt at pmachledt@gmail.com

There is also a need for merchandisers on Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday to display everything, sort and alphabetize. If you can spend an hour, please fill out the available slots on the spreadsheet here: https://tinyurl.com/eastonfriendsvolunteers1.

Questions? Feel free to contact the President of the Friends directly, Beth Cliff, at encliff@gmail.com, or by text at 1.774.219.1620.  Others to reach out to include Ann Denton, George Hajek, Phyllis Machledt, Christine Lee, Kelly Byrne Skarupa and Lynn Zaffino, the Library Director. 




A Message From First Selectman Bindelglass

Updated 9/23/2022

Good afternoon – 

This week we were fortunate to receive a Small Town Economic Assistance Program Grant from the state of approximately $240,000 which was designated for resurfacing of our tennis courts and lining them simultaneously for pickle ball. This was a long-term project which the board of finance had approved and for which approximately $60,000 had already been put away. These funds come from the fees which the Parks and Recreation Department had saved from fees it collected for field use and programs which the department runs. It appears that this is a reimbursable grant which will, by policy require a board of finance approval of the entire amount and subsequent town meeting. I would like to thank Justin Giorlando, our land use consultant who handled our application and Danielle Alves the director of Parks and Rec. From a Park and Rec perspective this is one of our first projects, pickle ball, aimed specifically to benefit our seniors. We continue to look at opportunities for funding to allow us to do projects to improve our town while not having to rely on your tax dollars.

The dare race will be held Saturday, October 1st, 9:30 a.m. at SSES. For more information, please go to https://runsignup.com/Race/Info/CT/Easton/TheEastonPoliceChase5K.

Join us in running the first ever Easton’s Lady in White 5K at Christ Church on Saturday, Oct. 29th. Runners will enjoy a beautiful course on North Park Avenue while enjoying the fall foliage and learning historic facts along the way! On site, there will be pumpkin decorating, face painting, a fun run and shuttle run for kids 12 & under so please bring the family! Registration information can be found at  https://runsignup.com/Race/CT/Easton/EastonWhiteLady5K.

SAVE THE DATE: The hazardous waste collection day is scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 307 Indian Ledge Park Drive next to BMX facility. Easton residents may participate and will be required to show their CT Driver’s License.

Enjoy the beautiful weather,

Dave




Easton PD Moves to Electronic Ticketing System

The days of waiting in your car for what feels like an eternity while a police officer writes out your traffic ticket will be over soon.

The Easton Police Department is moving away from handwriting traffic tickets to an electronic system that allows officers to print out tickets on the road and send a copy to the court via wireless technology.

In June, the Easton Police Department was awarded a $35,954, 25 E-Citation grant to implement a new electronic ticketing system. The reimbursable grant covers five mobile computers for patrol cars, five e-citation printers, mounting and hardware installation.  An additional $25,778,00 approved by the Board of Finance in July for the department to purchase the software to run the mobile computers was voted on during a special town meeting on Sept.6.

At the special town meeting, Police Chief Richard Doyle said many police departments are moving toward an electronic ticketing system.

With the technology, police officers will be able to access data from a driver’s license and registration as well as photographs right away, Doyle said. The gathered data will automatically transfer to the Centralized Infraction Bureau via the state’s Judicial Information Technology Division. 

Those involved in law enforcement hail the electronic ticketing system as a safer way for officers to issue tickets. Between 2017 to 2021, 17 law enforcement officers in the country were struck while conducting a traffic stop, according to a study conducted by the Washington, DC -based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Electric ticketing is also safer for motorists who have to remain on the side of roadways waiting for an officer to hand them a ticket.

Handwritten tickets can take 15  to 20 minutes or longer to complete. Electronic ticketing cuts that time down to between 4 to 5 minutes, according to I Tron, a Victor, NY- based company that specializes in data capture hardware and software for law enforcement and the public/ governments sector.

The patrol car computers covered with the E-citation grant will give Easton Police officers access to more information. Currently, Easton Police officers conduct all motor vehicle, registration,  license, and criminal record checks through the Police Dispatch Center, which limits what information the officer can obtain, First Selectman David Bindelglass stated in a message.




New Officer Joins Easton PD

John Asik, who previously served in the Bridgeport Police Department for 5 years, was sworn in by Easton Police Commissioner Richard J. Colangelo on Sept. 15.

Asik, 45, a longtime resident of Milford, graduated from Joseph A. Foran High School. He received a nursing diploma from Bullard-Havens Tech, which adds an uncommon and extremely valuable skill set to the department. For 18 years Asik specialized in kidney dialysis nursing at the Davita Kidney Care Center and has kept his nursing license current.

“I loved nursing and have always wanted to spend my career serving,” Asik said. “My dad spent many years in the Navy serving our country; I wanted to serve my community.”

John Asik’s swearing in ceremony took place on Sept. 15.

Asik decided to leave nursing and become a police officer. “Policing was always in my heart as a kid,” he said. “The opportunity to join the force was on my bucket list.”

Chief Richard Doyle noted that Asik will bring “great humanity to the department because of his professional background and his big heart.”

Asik said that his fellow officers have already made him feel right at home. “Chief Doyle has been awesome,” he said. “In fact the whole department has been so welcoming. Being in such a friendly community is great and I’m really looking forward to giving back.”

Photos courtesy of the Easton Police Department




Don’t Recycle Those Black Plastic Takeout Food Containers

Next time you order takeout, be sure to throw the black containers in the trash instead of your recycling bin.

The black plastic containers might seem recyclable, as they do have a recycling triangular arrow logo on the bottom, but beginning last year they are no longer accepted in Connecticut’s mixed recycling program.

In June 2021, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection decided that black plastic containers should be taken off the IN list and moved to the OUT list. Black plastic items include mushroom, and frozen food trays and nursery/plant pots.

Black platic containers are no longer recycled in Connecticut

“Black plastic containers were not moved to the “NO” list lightly,” Sherill Baldwin, an environmental analyst for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection stated in an email

The reason that Sherill along with the DEEP official are pushing Connecticut residents to stop recycling the containers is because black plastic is a contaminant in the recycling stream, which “costs municipalities and residents money in addition to reducing the value of the commodities coming out of our (Materials Recovery Facilities) MRFs .”

 Green Matters also states that “Since black plastic is non-recyclable, it most likely ends up in a landfill, whether it was directly trashed by a consumer or it found its way there inadvertently through the recycling stream.”

Sherill outlined that the DEEP’s Materials Recovery Facilities have been struggling to keep up with manually removing these black plastic containers at the front of the line, as they have seen an influx of these containers since the start of the pandemic. This is due to the increase in people ordering takeout and putting these containers in their recycling bin, unaware of the change in Connecticut’s recycling guidelines.

The DEEP is currently working with municipal recycling coordinators to get the message out to the residents. Their staff also provides recycling workshops to educate residents on what materials can and cannot be recycled in Connecticut.

JR  Bria, head of operations of  Residential Waste Systems, which recycles Easton’s trash, said most residents are conditioned to recycle their trash. So, when they see the recycling label on the black containers they put them in the recycling bin by habit.

“Consumers just want to do the right thing, but sometimes they end up over recycling,” Bria said.

He said the best way to be certain an item can be recycled is to check the website

RecycleCT.com. which lists what materials can be recycled. The website has an update telling residents that “Since 2021, black plastic containers, including take-out, mushroom, and frozen food trays and nursery/plant pots are not accepted in CT’s mixed recycling program. Thank you for putting black plastic containers in the trash.”