By Ann Kiessling, Ph.D.
At its October 3 meeting the Board of Health welcomed a pair of new eateries, postponed its discussion of new Keeping of Animals Regulations until its November meeting, and posted its schedule of flu clinics for Bedford residents.
New Eateries Approved
Niral Ghandi, owner of the Subway shop in Bedford Marketplace, and a Bedford resident, told the Board at its Oct 3 meeting that his shop was closed for a little over a year as the shopping center renovations were completed, but he is glad he waited it out. The board voted unanimously to approve his food establishment permit. He stated his employees are all trained by Subway University in safe food handling and routine premises cleanliness.
Sonya Kalajian described the snack shop associated with Learning Express, the new toy store in Bedford Marketplace, as a catered coffee and pastries location for folks visiting the Learning Express children’s area. The board voted unanimously to approve their food establishment permit.
Keeping of Animals Regulations
Health director Heidi Porter reported on her meeting with attorney Cheryl Sbarra of the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards relative to the proposed Keeping of Animals Regulations for Bedford. The plan is for a follow-up meeting to develop a revised set of Keeping of Animals Regulations for discussion at the November Board of Health meeting. The Massachusetts Association of Health Boards has been working with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation for several months to develop guidelines for local Boards of Health who feel it necessary to implement Keeping of Animals Regulations. Approximately 41 of the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth have implemented Keeping of Animals Regulations, usually in response to a local problem.
The Bedford Board of Health began deliberations of revisions to its Keeping of Animals regulations last February. Two revisions have been posted on the Board of Health website and were the subject of public comment at the June and September meetings. Brad Mitchell, Chair of the Littleton Board of Health and a member of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, attended the June meeting of the Bedford Board of Health to provide livestock expertise, and was instrumental in Attorney Sbarra’s review of Bedford’s Keeping of Animals Regulations.
The town of Reading recently revised its Keeping of Animals regulations with the assistance of Attorney Sbarra and Mitchell. https://www.readingma.gov/sites/readingma/files/file/file/section_02_keeping_of_animals.pdf
Flu Shot Update
The Board of Health provided 131 flu shots during Bedford Day, and plans additional flu clinics (https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/news/2016-flu-clinic-schedule) with the goal of immunizing as many Bedford residents as possible. Health director Porter reminded the board that the nasal spray form of flu vaccination is no longer recommended for children because of poor efficacy, so they also must receive shots.
Other Board of Health news:
- Health agent Katharine Dagle graduated from the year long Local Public Health Institute’s Foundation Course.
- Summer intern Shayla Brown’s report on efforts to compile data about opioid abuse determined that the best sources of information are the local Fire and Police departments, not nearby hospitals nor the State Police. Her report will be presented at a future meeting. The one social worker shared by several police departments, including Bedford’s, may be insufficient for reasonable follow up to opioid overdose victims.
- Education about drug and alcohol abuse is a topic of the Bedford school’s Wellness Council which meets four times a year. Dr. Ruth Potee, a substance abuse expert, will speak at Bedford High School in January, 2017.
- Mosquitoes collected at the Hayden Lane sampling site tested positive for West Nile Virus, the first positive report in Bedford in 2016.