TEWKSBURY – Tewksbury Council of Health met on October 20, 2022, in Tewksbury Town Hall. Member Susan Amato was not present.
Substance abuse prevention coordinator Maria Ruggiero of Front Line Initiative, a regional mental health collaboration with the Toxbury Police Department, discusses Substance Abuse Prevention Month and the city’s drug abuse status.
After a demonstration of Narcan reverse overdose spray, board member Charles Rowe asked Ruggiero for her position on the recent approval of a retail marijuana license at Town Meeting, adding that he expected the board of health to have a greater role in developing the articles.
“I’m a little upset that we haven’t been so intensely involved,” he said.
Ruggiero said the new licensing structure, which provides three marijuana licenses for retail sale in the city, will make it easier for people to get marijuana, but added, “It doesn’t matter what I think or what you think. What matters is making sure our kids don’t try it until they’re old enough.” Old enough and their minds are being developed.”
Ruggiero is already planning education as part of an elementary materials grant aimed at reducing addiction among young people; She would also like to see a certain percentage of clinic profits go to prevention efforts. Marijuana is regulated at the state level by the Cannabis Control Commission; In Massachusetts, people under the age of 21 are not allowed to buy, own, or use recreational marijuana.
The board turned to the fee schedule to update the language regarding regulations for body art apprentices, member Bob Scarano once again raised the issue of retail marijuana, and Health Director Shannon Gillis asked whether marijuana retail stores should purchase a food permit to sell donuts or gummies filled with marijuana.
Gillis said prepackaged merchandise does not require an additional permit. The Council approved the fee schedule.
The board reviewed the animal retention permit for Roberto Anguilla from 1015 South Saint Anguilla and his family had recently moved from Plymouth, a right-to-farm community, and they have many years of experience raising animals on their property. The family has rehoused its goats, but plans to keep eight chickens and three ducks that are seen as family members.
A 2018 city policy change allows residents to keep up to 12 chickens and no roosters fencing on their property. Animal control officers reported positively about the Ingoglia setting and a neighbor seemed to share that the family had taken excellent care of her dog and were trustworthy looking after the animals. The council approved the request.
The Board reviewed non-compliance issues at 175 Kendall Road. Owners Michel and Giusepina Saladino are not complying with the 2019 order letter issued by the Department of Health that revoked the permit for animals on the property and removed the required animal structures.
The city realized that the owners owned several untied dogs, rabbits, and chickens on the property without a permit. The board gave owners 10 days to get rabbits and chickens off the property, with an animal control check likely any day after November 1. The board made plans for a compliance review in November to avoid going to court to settle the issue.
Gillis informed the board that a letter was sent to the owners of 199 Marston Street, the site of ongoing animal-keeping issues on the property. City Councilor Kevin Felley has spoken with the owners’ attorney, and court cases are still ongoing regarding the power of attorney over the property. When the cases are resolved, the remaining horses and goats will be removed from the property.
Gillis reports that the city has set up a flu clinic at a seniors’ center and vaccinated 87 residents. Residents of the home looking for vaccinations can call City Hall to make an appointment. The city also offers bivalent enhancers for the omicron variant of COVID-19; The Ministry of Health is currently working on completing home vaccinations and will host a Senior Center Boost Clinic on November 4. Residents can reach the Seniors Center for more information at (978) 4480-640.
Residents will also be able to pick up COVID-19 tests from city hall or call delivery if they are infected. Gillis also shared that the department is in a food permit renewal season as the city moves to OpenGov, an online platform where residents and businesses can complete permits, renewals and payments online.
“They can see the whole process online,” she said.
Gillis reported three cases of West Nile virus in Middlesex County last month, and urged residents to be vigilant as they could be susceptible to the virus until temperatures reach freezing.
Gillis also shared that the Department of Health is working with fire departments and buildings to close the Jade East Restaurant at 433 Main Street. Departments are collectively closing the establishment due to food law violations, building compliance issues, and fire concerns. They spoke to the owners about the changes that would need to be made to reopen the restaurant; The restaurant was closed a year ago due to similar issues but conditions have not improved.
The next meeting is scheduled for November 17, 2022. Residents may find pre-recorded meetings at youtube.com/TewksburyTV. The meeting can be watched on Comcast 99 and Verizon 33 or in person at City Hall.
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