The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 5, 2010

Board of Health shorts, October 26

Candidates interviewed. Two possible candidates for the open slot on the Board of Health (BOH) came to the October 26 meeting. Chair Jeff Brem welcomed Dr. Elizabeth Nelson and Mr. Vallabh Sarma. Both are submitting letters of interest to the board. Nelson works at Lahey Clinic and moved to Carlisle last June with her husband and two children. Sarma has worked in management, primarily in the computer field. He gave a nod to Nelson and said, “Public health and a doctor . . . it’s kind of a match here.” Brem thanked them for attending the meeting. “We appreciate the interest you both have,” and he expressed hope that they will both find a spot on a town board or committee. He said that the Selectmen will appoint the candidate, who will finish out the term vacated by Chris Deignan. At the end of that term the position will be an elected three-year position and will be voted on at the polls. Health Agent Linda Fantasia said they will arrange a meeting with the Selectmen and will check on the remaining length of Deignan’s term.

Excessive noise discussion. Chestnut Estates developer Lou Baldoumas, representing Rainbow Builders, attended the meeting at the request of the BOH to discuss complaints about excessive construction noise (see “BOH confers with DEP, builder on noise issue,” October 8). During five weeks in the summer, Baldoumas said, they had been using a hoe-ram to break apart oversize pieces of ledge. “They don’t get flat otherwise,” Baldoumas said, “They’re not coming out perfect.” A hoe-ram, also called a “breaker,” is a huge hammer connected to an excavator. Baldoumas said that he “hopes by the end of the week the major ledge work will be done.” He said after October there would be “sporadic hoe ramming, and maybe more blasting.”

BOH member Cathy Galligan said, “The duration has been problematic. Some people couldn’t use their yards during the entire summer.” Baldoumas said that blasting would have reduced the noise, but the delay to using blasting was due to the requirement to survey all structures within a 1,000-foot radius from the site. “Meantime, we had work to be completed,” he added. BOH member Bill Risso asked if abutters will be informed of further hoe ramming. Fantasia said abutters were told they could call to find out when hoe ramming would occur.

Risso said to Baldoumas, “Thank you for working with us. It is difficult for contractors; they usually turn their backs.” Baldoumas replied that he is moving into the community, “We want to be good neighbors and friends.” [Note: this reporter is an abutter of Chestnut Estates].

Farming practices policy. The board discussed whether a policy should be crafted relating to the use of fresh manure on food plants. Concerns had been raised about Carlisle Farmers’ Market produce, which had come in contact with straw previously used for animal bedding. BOH Intern Kathryn Kinsel, a graduate student in epidemiology at the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health, completed a review of potential health concerns relating to mulching with used, un-composted straw bedding. The bedding in question came from Tricia Smith’s goat farm.

Kinsel reported that after an earlier BOH meeting there was an exchange of emails between the board and farmers who used the straw. She broke down the points made in the emails and addressed the concerns. One email, she noted, was from BOH member Mark Caddell “simply stating that the practice [of using the bedding] should cease due to the risks of Salmonella and tetanus.” Kinsels said her research showed the risk from tetanus to be extremely low and would have to be from an injury to a farmer who is using the bedding. She did conclude that there was a small risk of contamination of vegetables with bacteria, unless the bedding is worked into the soil.

She concluded by recommending that the bedding be worked into the soil 100 days before harvesting produce to allow the material to decompose. She also noted that washing produce for 30 seconds was effective in reducing contamination. Since Brem had to leave the meeting, the board decided to hold future discussions on forming a policy.

Senior flu clinic. Fantasia reminded the board of the Senior Flu Clinic, to be held on November 12, from ten a.m. to noon. The vaccine is supplied free under the Medicare reimbursement program. The board discussed holding a second flu clinic and charging $25 per shot. Although around $8,000 is left in grant funds from the H1N1 vaccination program, it cannot be used to purchase the regular flu vaccine, explained Fantasia. The board did not make a decision on whether to hold an additional clinic.

No quorum at end of meeting. After Galligan left the meeting Fantasia warned the board they did not have a quorum. The meeting was ended without a vote of adjournment. ∆

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