Town Projects and Initiatives

Joel Barlow High School entrance
The street entrance of Joel Barlow High School showing the new paver stones and curbing installed during the summer of 2019.

There’s been a lot of discussion around town regarding a few items that Easton Democrats thought were important to address. We realize that it’s hard to get information from a town website that is fairly basic, and since we don’t have a newspaper or a local news outlet that is interested in sharing our small town updates… our residents are left in the dark about projects and initiatives around town. The Easton Democratic Town Committee (DTC) wants to change that. 

We want to lead with transparency and take a proactive approach on important items that can affect us all.

With this in mind, we’d like to highlight two items that have come to our attention in an effort to foster dialog and encourage healthy conversations, update our residents so they can make informed decisions, and work with our neighbors on finding solutions that improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Easton home.

The concerns that residents have brought to the attention of our leadership are…

1. Belgium blocks and granite curbing at Joel Barlow High School

    • Our Region 9 Board of Ed created a detailed PDF regarding the “Barlow Campus Improvement Project” which had board member and community support. Please feel free to click on the link above for more information on how the reps came to their decision, and a great resource for Region 9 parents and the community is the presentations page of the Region 9 part of the ER9 website. This is where you can find this PDF, go back to previous months meetings, and learn more about the improvements at Barlow.
    • Also, did you know that you can watch all of the Region 9 Board of Education meetings via YouTube? That’s right, they’ve been uploading them for some time now in an effort to ensure that parents and the community can stay informed on decision making and other discussions pertaining to Joel Barlow, finances, etc. You can subscribe to get updates when a new video has been added.
    • As you’ll see detailed and discussed in all of the presentations and links provided, low cost today is not always the least amount of cost over time. The advantage of a lower initial cost is negated by durability, longevity, and reusability. 

2. The Fields on Morehouse Road and interest from Sacred Heart University 

    • On 9/4/19 at our monthly Democratic Town Committee meeting Bob Lessler communicated to our members that the Board of Selectmen had just been informed about interest in the fields located on Morehouse Road adjacent to the soccer and baseball fields from Sacred Heart University. This interest was discussed at the next BOS meeting, and you’ll notice in the agenda from 9/5 that there is mention of a presentation of a proposal in item #7. And as shared in the minutes from 9/5, there are three components of the proposal (8 tennis courts, an artificial turf field hockey field, and a walking or hiking trail). 
    • After a vote, it was moved to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further discussion on 9/9, and as stated in this PDF of the minutes the commission recommended a favorable response, and determined that the proposed uses are consistent with the Easton Plan of Conservation and Development from 2018 – 2028.
    • The Easton DTC recommends a public information session to the Board of Selectmen about the proposed items, including the construction and maintenance (all would be built and maintained by SHU) so the community can be part of the conversation on the leasing of our land and the build out of this facility, and what the pros and cons are for Easton residents and our quality of life.

Do you have other questions or concerns that you’d like to share with us? Finding nonpartisan solutions is important to us, and we’ve put together this form that you can fill out to submit your feedback to share with the Easton DTC and your elected Democratic officials. Also, you can sign up for our newsletter via the form above or by using the button below too. 

Stay tuned for updates on the South Park Ave bridge construction, and a path from Helen Keller Middle School to Silverman’s Farm that may be in the works in the future. We look forward to hearing from you!

Spotlight Feature Series: Meet Tara Donnelly Gottlieb, Candidate for Board of Finance in Easton, CT

Why do you believe that you are a good fit for this role?

Everyday, I work with individuals from every walk of life to find resolutions to complex financial challenges. In Easton, I would do so by listening to our residents to ensure that our solutions echo our values. As a real estate executive, I understand what drives home values and know how to preserve and grow that value. As a CPA, I understand the need for revenue generation, and I truly believe that we can work together for the benefit of our town and to preserve its charm while tackling this issue. As a mom, I understand the importance of a high quality education. After all, my husband and I chose to raise our family in Easton because of the amazing schools. I have a vested interest in the future of Easton.

Why did you decide to run for Board of Finance and why now?

My career in finance was a well thought out path. I majored in Accounting, earned an MBA in Finance and became a CPA. As my career progressed, I fell in love with the real estate industry. So much so that I went back to school and earned a Masters in Real Estate from NYU while working full time. This part of my life has more or less made sense.

Advocacy and politics is not a path I planned to find myself on. I grew up in Bridgeport, the third generation in my family to do so, with all of my great grandparents having been born in Ireland. My parents owned an Irish family jewelry store. They were hard working, simple, and perhaps two of the kindest people I’ve ever known. In 2005, I had just graduated from Fairfield University and moved to NYC, when I received the phone call that would forever change my life. Our family store in Fairfield had been robbed. Upon arriving at Bridgeport Hospital, I would learn that during the robbery, both of my parents had been shot multiple times. Neither survived.

The years that followed were challenging – processing grief while navigating New York City on my own as a young professional. It was not an easy time. I am very grateful for wonderful family and friends that provided so much support. As the culture in our country began to change and reports of shooting deaths became more and more common, my first reaction would always be a feeling of heartbreak, understanding in a way that only a survivor can, the pain that the victim’s family would endure. I would then find myself wondering, why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? Eventually asking myself – what am I doing about this? It was not long after that I became a volunteer for Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. I became the local Survivor Member lead and eventually a National Fellow for Everytown for Gun Safety. In this role, I share my story as a gun violence survivor to ensure that others receive the emotional, financial, and legal education and resources that they need to help improve their lives and futures. My volunteer work has direct and positive impact in the lives of others. I understand the importance of giving back and I am excited to blend my extensive experience in finance and giving back to Easton, the town that I love.

In this video taken in September, I addressed the crowd at a recent Senate Recess Rally held in New Haven, to urge Congress to act on gun safety legislation.

I want to be someone whom you can have open and honest discussions, and feel comfortable having the hard conversations too. Conversations that we’ll encounter as we try to move our town forward in the months and years ahead.

We can’t find solutions to these local and national problems that we are facing, unless we are willing to meet in that place of discomfort and work together – in unity – towards our goals.

What is something that others might not know about you?

I grew up in a running family. I competed in my first 4 mile road race at the age of 8. The sport was an enormous part of my upbringing. Starting at such a young age, it became a way of life. On vacation? Explore the town on a jog. Need to chat with dad? Throw on some sneakers and head out for a run together. It was not something I thought much about doing, I just did. After running cross country in both high school and college, I tackled my first marathon while living in New York City. During training for my second marathon (San Francisco), I suffered a knee injury that would set me back, a lot. Moving on from long distance running was not a welcome change, but I had no choice. Around the same time, I met my now husband. He is an avid skier. I had skied once, ever. Learning how to ski after 30 is not the most common or ideal time to learn. I spent the better part of the first two winters terrified, lots of children zooming by me, and just trying not to fall (because getting up could take awhile). After many, many hours and lessons, there was a point that it clicked. I went from fear, to sort of enjoying it, to loving it. I’ve worked my way up to handling the slopes in Vermont as well as out west and I’m very glad I stuck with it. My favorite part now is watching my fearless, young, daughter speed down the bunny hill. I’m savoring these years, as I know it won’t be long before I can no longer keep up with her!

Thank you to my family and friends for supporting my efforts to run for the Board of Finance in Easton. I have enjoyed connecting with so many of our neighbors already, and if any of you would like to support my campaign — I need volunteers to display lawn signs in Easton! Please email Devon and I at: EastonDemsBOF@gmail.com with your name and street address and we’ll get them to you ASAP! Also, check out a sneak peek of the blue and white sign design below and if you’d like to support my campaign I’d appreciate any donations to help offset costs as well. I look forward to meeting you all and serving our great community. 

I'm a CPA, financial executive, advocate, and mother of two, and I am committed to securing a for Easton.

Press Release- Slate of Candidates

DTC Candidate Slate

7.31.2019

Press Release

EASTON, CT — The Easton Democratic Town Committee is pleased to announce its slate of candidates for the 2019 Easton municipal elections on November 5th. Candidates were endorsed at a special meeting on July 22nd held at the Easton Public Library.

David Bindelgass Work Photo

David Bindelglass

David Bindelglass, who is running for first selectman, is an orthopedic surgeon and Chief of Orthopedics at Bridgeport Hospital, and in private practice at the Orthopedic Specialty Group, where he is also a member of the Executive Committee. He has served as President of the Medical Staff and as a member of the Board of Directors at Bridgeport Hospital. Bindelglass was elected to the Easton Board of Education in 2015, where he also currently serves on the Easton-Redding-Region 9 Joint Health Insurance Committee. His experience in promoting Easton’s education system, and his many years of caring for the elderly will be key strengths in this upcoming term.

Bindelglass was greeted with an enthusiastic round of applause as the endorsement vote was completed. He took to the podium to thank the enrolled members taking note of local Democrats active growth, enthusiasm, and motivation to serve the community.  “This is a huge step forward. We have a full slate of capable candidates and we should all be proud of this commitment to Easton’s future,” Bindelglass said to the inspired crowd that evening.

"Whether it's schools, seniors, taxes, or protecting the beautiful rural nature of our town, it all comes down to leadership - facing our challenges and solving problems. By working together we can protect what makes Easton extraordinary while taking charge of our future,” said Bindelglass.

Bob Lessler

Joining Bindelglass will be incumbent Selectman Bob Lessler, who brings a wealth of institutional memory and experience to the Democratic ticket and has been endorsed to run for an eleventh term of stalwart service to the Town of Easton. His past roles also include the Board of Finance, the EMS and Firefighters Tax Abatement Committee, as well as the Helen Keller Middle School Building Committee. Both Lessler and Bindelglass hope to enact positive change in Easton, while maintaining the elements of town that make it such a desirable place to live. 

Devon Wible

Devon Wible has been endorsed to run for the Board of Finance (BOF). This will be her first time running since her appointment to the BOF position in June. Wible is very involved in the Easton community serving on the Board at the ECC, and as membership chair on the PTO. She brings a deep understanding of education and financial management, as Vice President of Academics for Catapult Learning.

Tara Donnelly Gottleib

Joining Wible as a first time candidate for the BOF is Tara Donnelly Gottlieb. Gottlieb brings her expertise as a Certified Public Accountant, as well as her strong advocacy and leadership skills from her involvement within the Everytown Survivor Network and Moms Demand Action communities.

The two candidates, together, bring a unique perspective with a focus on education, strategic planning and financial management, all of which will be crucial in the upcoming budget season as spending levels and the education budget are back in the forefront of discussions.

The Democrats also endorsed Walter Kowalczyk for Tax Collector, Katy Reed and Karen O’Brien for the Region 9 Board of Education, Jon Stinson and Katy Reed for the Easton Board of Education, Veronica Rozo and Douglas L. Bilinski MD for the Library Board, Lise Fleuette and Stephanie Christie for the Zoning Board of Appeals, Scott Charmoy for the Board of Assessment Appeals, and Gloria Bindelglass, David Katz, and Irv Silverman as Constables.

The Easton Democratic Town Committee Chair, Nanette DeWester, expressed her enthusiastic support for the slate and excitement about the future of Easton under Democratic leadership.

“Easton is a special place — unlike any in Connecticut.  We are at a crossroads and must choose leadership that both safeguards our unique community and fosters a healthy future for us all.  I know that all of the Democratic candidates will make the right choices to lead us there.  It’s time to have an active government that examines the choices facing Easton and plans for the future.”

-Nanette Dewester, DTC Committee Chair

To learn more about the Easton Democratic Town Committee’s mission, leadership, and how to get involved, please visit: https://www.eastondems.org.

Easton Democratic Town Committee slate of candidates pictured from left to right:  Lise Fleuette, Stephanie Christie, Katy Reed, Devon Wible, Douglas L. Bilinski MD, David Bindelglass, Scott Charmoy, Gloria Bindelglass, David Katz, Bob Lessler, and Veronica Rozo. (Candidates not pictured: Tara Donnelly Gottlieb, Walter Kowalczyk, Karen O’Brien, Irv Silverman, and Jon Stinson.)

MEDIA CONTACT

Sarah Lehberger
Communications Chair
Easton, CT Democratic Town Committee

Email: contact@eastonctdems.com
Phone: 646-425-7696

Categories OG

Connecticut’s Second Capital

Connecticut's Second Capital

Thanks to the efforts of three Easton women, Easton may soon be known as the official  ‘Christmas Tree Capital of Connecticut.’   Here’s why that’s a boon for our town.

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By Stephanie Christie

If you reside in Easton chances are high that you moved here for one of these reasons:  small, high quality schools, rural living, access to public open spaces and local farms, scenic vistas, nearby beaches, and a ‘relatively’ easy commute to several metropolitan areas as well as more elbow room than in neighboring communities. 

We may be a small town, but our appetite for connecting through nature, and nurturing its abundance, is mighty. 

“We may be a small town, but our appetite for connection through nature, and nurturing its abundance, is mighty.”

There are over 20  farms in the town of Easton, of varying sizes and crops, more than 7,700 acres of protected open space, over 1.3 square miles of water which are mostly reservoirs owned by the Aquarion Water Company, and only 7,700 or so residents.  That’s a lot of wiggle room. While this may present some challenges balancing our tax burden, it is not without prodigious benefits.

From June through October Sport Hill Road is abuzz with tourists visiting for a taste of our lifestyle, venturing north on day trips from New York or Stamford, just to pick berries, apples, and pumpkins, and to give their kids a sense of the country and some fresh air.  Moving into winter months the atmosphere quiets, but for that brief period between Thanksgiving and January, when Easton’s roads again swell with out-of-state licenses and Christmas trees doubling as hood ornaments. 

Several years ago Easton resident, Lori Cochran-Dougall, realized while working on a town committee, that Easton was pretty unique for its abundance of Christmas tree farms.  True, many rural communities have tree farms, but typically those are designated long-growth farms for lumber.  Easton residents have disproportionately chosen to grow Christmas tree varieties, and leverage their proximity to one another, to build a town-wide market for the holiday staple. According to our Town Hall 9 of the 30 working farms in our small town focus on Christmas trees, lead by the massive property on Maple Row.  

Seeing the market opportunity for what it was, Cochran-Dougall, a seasoned marketer, began campaigning to achieve the Christmas tree capital designation for Easton in 2016.   In 2018 she partnered with fellow Eastonite and graphic designer, Allison Deyo Taylor, to develop a logo which they then printed on signs and posted throughout town in November-December of 2018.  

Stephan with tree_with logo

Now our newly-elected State House Representative for District 135, Eastonite Anne Hughes, has thrown her support behind the initiative. Hopes are high that we will receive official status by the end of 2019.  For Easton and our farms this provides a unique marketing opportunity to drive sales and tax revenues from additional traffic and retail sales during the holiday season, and there are a number of ways they could join forces to co-market for better results.    

For many proud Eastonites who are not farmers, it simply reaffirms another of our town’s unique strengths.  We know when our small enclave works together, that we can achieve great things.

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