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Local experts share work experience with students

LAKEVILLE — Salisbury’s resident State Trooper Will Veras had a group of middle school students poised to summon Dexter, a German shepherd, from the police SUV.

On the count of three, the students chorused “Come on Dexter!” and as if by magic, the dog opened the car door and ran toward the ball Veras was holding.

Friday afternoon, May 19, was Career Day at the middle school at Salisbury Central School.

Representatives from all walks of life came to share their experience with the students.

Ed Norton, an affable Environmental Conservation officer from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, leaned nonchalantly against a muddy all-terrain vehicle.

He explained the ATV was dirty because it was used recently in the search for a missing Appalachian Trail hiker in Kent, and he hadn’t had a chance to hose it down.

Norton said that he is responsible for 43 towns in the western part of Connecticut.

“I’m on the night shift,” he said. “I work nights, weekends, holidays.”

EnCon officers respond to boating accidents and problems in state parks.

And anything else that might fit their remit.

“If you can think of an animal in Connecticut, I’ve handled it.”

Norton added that EnCon officers are police first, and must go through the police academy.

Inside the middle school building, chef Jeff Scarpa told a group that in his younger days in the business he worked hours similar to Norton.

“I worked long hours, holidays,” he said.

Hours and reimbursement vary widely in the food service business, Scarpa said.

How much someone earns and what hours they work depends on whether the job is at a restaurant, an institution, or a caterer.

Interior designer Katie Baldwin, surrounded by fabric samples, told her listeners that she often designs a room around one particular piece.

She held up a neutral, taupe-colored piece of fabric and started holding more colorful samples against it.

“That’s the thing about design,” she said. “There are no rules.”

Back up on the hillside, Veras revealed how Dexter managed to open the car door. Veras had a remote device on his belt that opens the door.

He said Dexter is trained to find missing people, whether they are lost in the woods or absconding criminal suspects.

The dogs are also trained to sniff out evidence.

“One dog is worth five troopers,” Veras said with a grin.

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