Healthy Steps is a harm reduction syringe exchange program out of Berkshire Medical Center that began in 2017. It works primarily with active-injection drug users to discard used needles and provide them with sterile supplies in hopes of preventing the transfer of HIV and Hepatitis C.
Late last year, the Board of Health agreed to implement a new regulation that would limit the amount of tobacco sales permits allowed in town. The new regulation would not affect those already selling tobacco products.
Board members Kevin Lamb, acting as chairman, and October Cellana spent 90 minutes debating the board's authority over what they saw as determining essential versus nonessential work before Lamb motioned for a vote — and Cellana declined to second.
The board had no real update Wednesday on its proposal to limit the number of tobacco purveyors but after some pushback from Selectman James Bush, Vice Chairman David Rhoads said members are willing to negotiate but the decision is theirs.
Several questions regarding code compliance and intended versus actual use of the building were raised by the building inspector and the Board of Health on Tuesday night. These issues will be addressed at a special meeting tentatively scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.
John and Tracy Sheerin plan to open a cigar lounge and humidor at the former Rascal's on North Summer Street. The board on Wednesday voted to extend the shot clock on their permit process to March 31, giving them time to properly apply for the permit the town mistakenly gave them in October.
The enforcement actions arise out of a November sting operation conducted by the Police Department against the store that resulted in eight criminal charges against one of its three full-time employees.
The Board of Health is trying to craft rules around microblading that both ensures public safety while also not being overly restrictive.
The Health Department took up the issue in January after the city received multiple inquiries about opening a microblading practice. It's a relatively new trend similar to tattooing. It is a beauty service in which less permanent ink is injected into the skin for such things as eyebrows or eyeliner. It has been growing in popularity and when the questions a
City Council President Peter Marchetti is asking that the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project be more proactive.
The request comes after the Board of Health agreed last year to limit the number of adulticide sprayings. Marchetti particularly called for more catch basin treatments, citing that in 2014 and 2015 there were 3,922 and 3,820 catch basins treated respectfully whereas in 2017 and 2018 those numbers dropped to 3,460 and 3,407.
The Board of Health believes it needs to do more to promote public health. The county routinely ranks toward the bottom of the annual community health rankings. There are issues with a high rate of premature death, food insecurity, and children living in poverty. E-cigarette usage among teens is increasing. The rate of marijuana usage among teens is higher than most of the state. Children are more at risk for lead poisoning here than elsewhere.
Two more homes have been added to the demolition list.
The Board of Health issued orders of demolition for 33 Circular Avenue and 217 Robbins Avenue. The two adds to a list of homes the city demolishes because of unsafe conditions.