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The Board of Health says it will determine how a cap on tobacco sellers will be structured but said Wednesday it was willing to hear the concerns of the Selectmen.

Adams Board of Health Says It Controls Tobacco Decisions

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health aims to hold a hearing on capping tobacco permits in the near future and reiterated that it is their decision to make.

 
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.
 
"We need to find a mechanism where we can negotiate and find an optimal solution," Rhoads said. "But when the rubber hits the road, the decision sits with the Board of Health."
 
Last year, the board agreed to set a cap on the amount of permits allowed in town for selling tobacco products. It has yet to come up with a discrete number or whether it should be tied to proportionally to the population.
 
There was also some talk of allowing a few additional permits to accommodate possible new business as well as considering adult-only permit under a different permit structure.
 
Bush has aired his concerns over the cap in the past and Wednesday echoed these comments. He felt the cap was unfair to potential business.
 
"I am not for cigarettes by any means but I am pro business," he said. "By putting a cap on it, I think we are hurting ourselves."
 
Bush said the cap could lock convenience or big-box stores out of town even where there is no commercial activity. Unlike Pittsfield, he said, there are few potential locations for a new business in Adams.
 
"We don't have the range Pittsfield does, we don't have that advantage," he said. "We are Small Town USA."
 
Bush suggested not setting a cap but looking at permits on a store-by-store basis. He said he agreed that he did not want tobacco stores clustered. He also suggested sending the item to town meeting.
 

Rhoads said the Board of Health is concerned with public health and acknowledged that the Board of Selectmen may have other priorities. He noted that at times these priorities will conflict. 

  

Health board members are willing to listen to selectmen's concerns but at a future meeting. He said experts in the field will be invited and Bush can make his own statements.

 
"We can make this regulation as long as it is state law ... this is a negotiation but exposure to youth is part of it," he said. "We will have that discussion."
 
Rhoads did ask that the board members review an updated draft of the proposed regulations.
 
In other business, the board also tabled a discussion on 40U ticketing and whether or not the Board of Health would be the appeals mechanism for the ticketing process.
 
40U tickets allow the town to roll unpaid fines into a person's property taxes if they go unpaid for a determined amount of time. This is an alternative to chasing fines in court.
 
These tickets can be appealed within 21 days of issuance.
 
The board's main concern was that it would hear all possible 40U ticket appeals not just those pertaining to public health.
 
Code Enforcement Officer Mark Blaisdell said this would be the case but because he will be the only one writing these tickets, they all would be health concerns.
 
The board felt OK with this role but wanted a full board present before making a decision.
 
"That doesn't sound too onerous," Rhoads said. "We have heard appeals before on fines."
 
Chairman Peter Hoyt was not present Wednesday.
 
The Board of Health will hold a meeting with local trash haulers to help inform their hauler regulations in March.
 
A letter was sent out to haulers asking if there was a desire to hold a meeting.
 
"We wanted to float that out there to see what they would like," Rhoads said.
 
The board agreed on March 11 but noted it was willing to change this date depending on the haulers' schedule.

Tags: board of health,   tobacco regulations,   

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Adams Resource Officer Makes Spirit Week Videos

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Officer Dabrowski has a lot of sports jerseys for Jersey Day. 

ADAMS, Mass. — Police Officer Nicholas Dabrowski spent last week connecting with homebound Hoosac Valley Elementary pupils through a series of daily broadcasts. 

Schools have been closed for two weeks and won't reopen until May because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. But Dabrowski, the school resource officer, wanted to make sure no one missed out on some school spirit. 
 
"Social media has been so negative and I'd just wanted to let the kids know we're thinking of them and give them something to do each day," he said.
 
Dabrowski said although he tends to keep to himself he does have a "goofy side." One night during dinner, his wife encouraged him to utilize this to let the kids know he was thinking about them.
 
"My wife knew that I missed my time at the school," he said. "Much of our dinner conversations are centered around my conversations with the kids at lunch."
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