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Adams Board of Health Ready to Finalize Tobacco Regulations

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health wrapped up final edits on new tobacco regulations last week and inched closer to a public hearing.
Members answered some lingering questions Wednesday in regard to the proposed tobacco sales permit and hope to vote on a final draft next month.
"Thank you for going through this with a fine-toothed comb," board member David Rhoads said. "It looks good."
Some months ago, 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.
Earlier this month, there were two issues that caused the board pause -- one being which certification programs would be used for sales clerks.
Rhoads originally wanted these certifications to be exclusively conducted by Tri-Town Health's Tobacco Awareness Program (TAP) but the rest of the board felt this was too restrictive.
Wednesday, Rhoads said not all organizations provide physical certifications like TAP, which was a concern of his.
"I want something that can be put in a book that we can go see," he said. "A piece of paper that said so and so passed the test and is good for two years." 
The rest of the board members agreed that they, too, would like a physical certification but Peter Hoyt said he was still hesitant to limit all certification classes to TAP.
"I agree that it is a great program but I find it hard to believe that other programs will not offer certifications," he said.
The members came to a compromise and decided the board would only allow programs that it approved, giving them more control over standards but not limiting them to one program.
The board also had issues with the state fining structure and feared they were too harsh. It was believed that whoever violates the regulation would automatically be hit with a $1,000 fine.
Town Counsel Edmund St. John III sat in on the meeting and said the town can build in a "ladder of punishment" so the fines are not as harsh for lesser infractions or for employees.
Hoyt said he would run a final draft by St. John and have it ready for a vote next meeting.
The Board of Health would then have to schedule a public hearing.
In other business, the board approved an emergency certification to clear out a drainage ditch and culvert at the Old Stone Mill to solve a cellar flooding issue.
"They need to do something sooner rather than later," Rhoads said. 
Conservation Commission Chairman James Fassell asked for the board's blessing on its own order to give the owners of the Old Stone Mill 30 days to remediate cellar flooding.
He said because of the emergency nature of the situation, the Conservation Commission agreed to waive the notice of intent process and allow the owners to remove silt from the culvert and drainage ditch to allow the river to flow freely again.
Rhoads said he visited the site and noted there is a river that flows through the basement that seems to be backed up.
"There is always a concern putting something in the river that does not belong but the water under that building clearly has been going in that river for ages," he said.
He said there were clear health issues that needed to be addressed. 
"Standing water is not a good thing," he said. "It breeds insects and could promote mold growth."

Tags: board of health,   BOH,   tobacco regulations,   

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New Adams Police Chief, Officers Union Contract Announced Wednesday Night

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Officer Josh Baker reads from a portion of the new three-year union contract that was ratified by the Selectmen on Wednesday night.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday officially introduced new interim Police Chief Troy Bacon in all too common COVID-19 style. 
The appointment of a municipality's top law enforcement officer is usually heavily attended by town officials and accompanied by dozens of handshakes. Because of restrictions in place from the worldwide pandemic, this one was carried out with nary an elbow bump. 
Bacon will assume the post on Tuesday, July 14, after current Chief Richard Tarsa's retirement becomes official at 11:59 p.m. Monday night. Bacon, 44, recently retired from the Frankfort, Ind., police department after 20 years. He had one of his daughters with him this week for a whirlwind tour of the area before she headed back on a plane to the Midwest.
"One thing she said was, 'There's a lot of trees here dad," he answered smiling when asked by Selectman Joseph Nowak about his daughter's first impression of the area. "I told her yes, that's right, that's one of the reasons I applied here. 
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