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Adams Board of Health Mulls Dog Ban, Hears More on Tree Dispute

By Gregory FournieriBerkshires Correspondent
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health is mulling a ban on dogs at the town's athletic fields.

"Dogs are relieving themselves of their solid waste on the athletic fields and players and spectators are stepping in it," Code Enforcement Officer Mark Blaisdell told the board last week.

Dog excrement in public areas has been a complaint raised regularly with the board. Two years ago, it was a buildup along the Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail that came to light as the snow melted that had town officials urging residents to clean up after their pets. 

The board tabled the discussion of the matter for now. Board member Peter Hoyt asked for the animal control officer to be present at the next meeting for clarification on enforcement of the possible regulation in the future.

Board members also held off on making any decisions on a neighbor dispute over trees until town counsel could weigh in.

The issue dated to May when two neighbors at 5 and at 7 Summer St. — John Sherman and David and Diane Krol, respectively — brought their  quarrel to the board. The Krols are concerned with five trees on Sherman's property that hang into their property. They invited a certified arborist to inspect the trees, who recommended that all five trees be removed because they represented a moderate risk.

"We do have a loss of activity in our yard due to these trees," said David Krol. "We can't use it the way we want to. It certainly impacts the value of our house. We certainly don't want to live with this threat."

Krol also appealed to the board's humanity: "The risk is real. Humans are involved. We just want to live with peace of mind that we can use our property the way we want."

Sherman, who was visibly irritated during the previous meeting when this came up, said, "I live with 10 trees that belong to another person doing the exact same thing to my house and I live with no fear. I think this is false fear from a bunch of people who think they're tree whisperers." Moreover, Sherman had a tree removal expert examine the trees and recommended that they stay up.

Sherman argued that "those trees right now are filled with beautiful foliage," saying "it's one reason I bought the house, so I find [that] taking those trees out is a needless intrusion."

Chairman Dave Rhoads took pictures of the trees on the respective properties and presented them to the board Wednesday. A stone wall separates the properties, which can cause structural conflicts because the roots of the trees cannot grow into the wall.

Krol noted that there could be serious liability on the part of Sherman if a tree were to fall on their property and injured or killed a member of his family. Hoyt wondered if the Board of Health or the town of Adams could be held liable for damages if the board decided that Sherman could keep the trees and one or more of them fell onto the Krols' property.

Hoyt suggested that the board wait to make a decision until its next meeting (either July 7 or 14), at which he suggested town counsel be present to address that concern.

In other business, the board is back up to full strength with Joyce Brewer being appointed to the open seat on Wednesday, joining as the third member of the Board.

Also, Specialty Minerals asked the board to review and approve a project for a landfill at 260 Columbia St. Mark White of Environmental Partners gave a presentation explaining that there are several co-products to the limestone production carried on by Specialty Minerals that need to be treated as solid waste because of environmental and health regulations.

The current landfill facilities are approaching their capacity, necessitating this new project. After little discussion, other than to thank White for a thorough presentation, the board unanimously approved the project.

Tags: BOH,   poop,   trees,   

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BART Announces Three New Trustees

ADAMS, Mass  Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public School announces three recent additions to its Board of Trustees: Tom Bernard, Alison Bost, and Yina Moore.

Bernard, the former mayor of North Adams, is currently the President and CEO of Berkshire United Way. For the past 18 years, he has worked with various cultural, higher education, and public service institutions in Berkshire County and Western Massachusetts. 

Bernard has experience in development and institutional advancement, government relations, finance and administration, strategic planning, economic development, communications, K-12 education, and community philanthropy.

Bost is the former Deputy General Counsel of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. She has over 23 years of experience as a lawyer representing clients in various matters, including litigation, appeals, labor and employment matters and legal ethics and professional responsibility matters.

Bost also served for many years on her firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, including as Vice-Chair. Alison currently also serves on the Board of Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc.

Moore is the Founder and Executive Director of Adams Theater, which is currently under development to become a multi-functional performing arts center that will play a key role in revitalizing downtown Adams, MA. She has professional experience that combines nearly two decades of work at investment banks, architectural firms, and non-profit organizations.

Yina was a Director of the Fixed Income Strategy Team at Credit Suisse in New York City before obtaining a Master of Architecture Degree from Harvard University. Working predominantly in the Berkshires, Yina is passionate about the interdisciplinary work between economic development, design, and cultural development. 

They join the following in their service as BART Trustees: George Ambriz; Rhon Ernest-Jones; Milton Ferguson; Marcel Kouame; Catherine McKeen, Vice Chair; Gina Puc, Chair; Fred Puddester, Treasurer; and Steve Simon, Secretary. 

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