BOH Risks Lawsuit With Menthol Cig Ban

The Marion Board of Health wasn’t aware of just how controversial its decision was to classify menthol cigarettes as flavored tobacco and ban them from sale in Marion, but on August 23 Cheryl Sbarra, senior staff attorney for the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, told the board members that the tobacco industry would likely sue the Town should they move to ban menthol cigarettes.

According to Sbarra, the Marion Board of Health’s action to amend regulations to classify menthol cigarettes as flavored tobacco products and ban them from sale would make Marion only the third municipality in the entire country to do so.

Although there is no legislation that prohibits the Board of Health from banning menthol cigarettes, she cautioned board members that Big Tobacco, once the smoke clears, will probably come after the Town with legal action.

“I just want you to be aware of that,” said Sbarra. “You might want your town counsel to be aware of that.”

Sbarra said the City of Chicago moved to ban menthol cigarettes as flavored tobacco products but, in order to circumvent significant legal issues, used language restricting the sale of menthol cigarettes only to stores outside of 500 feet of a school.

“They were sued,” said Sbarra. “I think they won in the lower court, but they’re having a problem enforcing it now because of how they defined ‘schools’.

Sbarra said the robust tobacco lobby has managed to keep menthol cigarettes from being classified as flavored tobacco, so far.

“I think that they will probably sue you because this (menthol cigarettes) is such a huge part of their business,” Sbarra stated.

Having said that, Sbarra indicated that if the Board of Health chooses to move forward with the ban, then various anti-tobacco entities in the United States might reach out to provide legal representation and assistance in the event of a lawsuit.

“I think there would be a lot of legal support for you if you did,” Sbarra said.

The board has two options, said Sbarra.

One is to go ahead with the reclassification of menthol cigarettes to be included in the town tobacco regulations and banned from sale in town and risk a lawsuit.

The second option would be to amend the regulation language to classify menthol tobacco as flavored tobacco products and restrict the sale of them to adult-only tobacco retail stores, of which there are none in Marion.

“It would still be very controversial because it’s menthol,” said Sbarra. She recommended that the board follow the language in the City of Providence’s tobacco ordinance, which restricts menthol cigarette sale to adult-only retail stores, because it has been upheld in both the First and Second Circuit Courts. The tobacco industry lost both times and did not appeal to the Supreme Court.

“We can try,” said Board of Health Chairman Betsy Dunn. “If they sue us, then we’ll decide.”

Board of Health member Jason Reynolds, who first proposed banning menthol cigarettes as flavored tobacco products, agreed with Dunn.

“I say we hold the hearing, and we can always alter it afterward,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds looked over a list of other towns and cities in Massachusetts that have banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, but which did not classify menthol cigarettes as ‘flavored.’

“Wimps,” said Reynolds defiantly.

Sbarra also warned the board that it might need to hold the public hearing for the ban of menthol cigarettes at a larger venue because attendance for controversial public hearings such as these can attract a significant turnout from the public, as well as legal representatives of interested parties.

The board is looking at September 27 as a tentative public hearing date for the new menthol cigarette and flavored tobacco product regulation.

Also during the meeting, the board discussed its proposed synthetic marijuana sale ban regulation, which it hopes to pass after a public hearing on September 13, tentatively.

The board received feedback from Town Counsel Jon Whitten about naming the Marion Police Department in the regulation as the enforcing body of the new law without Town Meeting approving the motion, but Sbarra told the board otherwise.

Sbarra said that as long as the Board of Health uses language designating itself and the Marion Police Department as enforcing agents, the new regulation could be approved by the board with only a public hearing on the matter.

The next meeting of the Marion Board of Health is scheduled for September 13 at 4:30 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry

MRboh_082516

Ryan C. Adams

Ryan C. Adams 32, of Rochester passed away peacefully, at his home, surrounded by his loving family, on Saturday August 6, 2016.

Born in New Bedford, Ryan grew up in Rochester and attended Rochester Schools. He was the beloved and cherished son of the late Russell Adams and Crystal A. (Westgate) Adams.

Ryan leaves behind his mother Crystal & her companion Bill Bailey. Ryan is survived by his siblings, his brother, Patrick R. Adams and his sister, Faith Adams. Ryan is also survived by his grandmother, Yvonne Adams of Acushnet and his many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was predeceased by his grandparents; Abiel and Christine Westgate and Russell C. Adams.

Ryan was a computer guy and he like to play computer games. He also enjoyed reading and was an avid photographer. Mostly Ryan was a home body and he loved his family and was happiest when with them, especially during a family clam boil. Ryan was a sweet soul and never complained, he always had a beautiful smile on his precious face.    He is and will be terribly missed by those who knew and loved him.

Ryan services will be held at South Coast Chapel Mortuary, 158 Middleboro Rd.(Rt.18) East Freetown, Ma. 02717. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend on Saturday Sept. 10, 2016 for a Memorial Service at 11:00 am with a Gathering of Family & Friends to follow.

Ryan’s family would like to thank Dr. Eric Wong and his team at the Brain Tumor Program, in the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston.

A very heartfelt thanks from Ryan and his family to the staff of the Cape Cod VNA / Hospice for the love and compassionate care they provided during this trying time.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Ryan’s memory can be made to : Brain Tumor Program, Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, please visit their website at bidmc.org

York Steps Down From Rochester ConCom

The August 17 meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission proved to be a tame affair with several uncomplicated hearings handled.

At the end of the meeting, Chairman Rosemary Smith announced that longtime Conservation Commission member Christopher York was stepping down from his seat. Smith said that due to relocating out of the area, York would be leaving the commission effective immediately.

Associate member Daniel Gagne, who has been monitoring commission hearings and learning the wetlands rules and regulations for nearly a year, was accepted to fill the slot vacated by York.

Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon said, “It has been a real pleasure to work with Chris.” Smith added, “You will be missed.

York smiled and said, “I had a great time.”

Smith asked York to submit a letter of resignation. The letter will be forwarded on to the selectmen.

A Notice of Intent filed by Joseph Rocha, 237 Walnut Plain Road, and a Request for Determination of Applicability from Don Collasius, 172 Braley Hill Road, both received approval to move forward with septic improvements and construction. Rocha’s NOI was needed, Farinon explained, versus a simple RDA filing due the location of Rocha’s septic system in relation to Doggett’s Brook.

A continued hearing from August 3 for the NOI filing by James Fraser and Katherine Hanson, 361 Snows Pond Road, for construction of a studio structure and repair of bordering vegetated wetlands previously disturbed received an Order of Conditions after its third and final hearing on this night.

The RDA filing by Center Village Condominiums represented by Carol Hardy, 7 Benjaman Drive, received a negative determination with standard conditions. The association sought and received permission to expand a driveway area and install outside lighting within a 100-foot buffer zone.

Lastly, Hipolita Almeida, 464 Walnut Plain Road, represented by engineer Rick Charon, received a negative determination of applicability for grading work to improve his driveway area and prepare the site for future garage construction.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for September 7 at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Town Hall meeting room.

By Marilou Newell

ROcc_082516

A Salute to John Williams and the Boston Pops

On Friday, August 26, the Marion Concert Band will close its 2016 season with a concert featuring the music of film composer John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The program, which includes a clarinet soloist as well as several pieces performed by the Pops, is as follows:

Them Basses – G. H. Huffine

Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna – F. von Suppé

Strike Up the Band – G. Gershwin

Second Concerto for Clarinet (move 1) – C. M. von Weber

Daniel Moniz, clarinet

Olympic Fanfare and Theme – J. Williams

Belle of the Ball – L. Anderson

Star Wars Medley – J. Williams

Clarinet Escapade – R. Ward

Raiders of the Lost Ark Medley – J. Williams

Mancini! – H. Mancini

Theme from E.T. – J. Williams

The Stars and Stripes Forever – J. P. Sousa

Daniel Moniz, clarinet soloist, performs regularly with several local ensembles. He is the principal clarinetist of the UMass Dartmouth Wind Ensemble and a member of the Swansea Community Musicians. He performs regularly with the St. Cecilia Band from Fall River and has been a member of the Marion Concert Band since 2005.

The concert, under the direction of Tobias Monte, will begin at 7:00 pm at the Robert Broomhead Bandstand, Island Wharf off Front Street in Marion. The concert is free and open to the public. “Like” us on Facebook at “Marion Town Band” for up-to-date announcements and rain cancellation notices.

Foundation To Fund Safety Signs

During the August 16 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen, the committee researching road signage for improved bicyclist and pedestrian crossing at Mattapoisett Neck and Brandt Island Roads met to discuss their findings.

The committee, comprised of Bonne DeSousa, Police Chief Mary Lyons, Highway Superintendent Barry Denham, along with residents Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Ketchel, shared several types of illuminated caution and speed signs that could be installed to assist motorists as they approach the crossings.

In a surprise turn of events, DeSousa said that after the June selectmen meeting when the committee was first charged with coming up with solutions, the subsequent news coverage was seen by the executive director of the Howard Stillman Bates Foundation, Maureen Butler.

Butler reached out to DeSousa saying that Bates enjoyed bicycling his entire life and that improving the crossings was something that the foundation could support. DeSousa called the foundation’s contribution “substantial.”

The types of illuminated signs under consideration are flashing beacon with a proximity sensor that would warn motorists when someone was in the crosswalk and flashing radar speed feedback signs with the capacity to collect traveling speed data. The costs associated with the safety signs run between $3,500 and $9,000 and could be powered by either solar or direct electrical access.

The Board of Selectmen opted to have electrical power brought to the sign locations since this would allow additional safety equipment to be added at a later date.

Selectman Paul Silva said, “If it means saving someone from being hurt, I’m all for it.”

Town Administrator Michael Gagne said that the town could probably fund part of the project from free cash at the November town meeting.

The posted speed limit at the crossings was also discussed. DeSousa said that studies have shown that, “If you are hit at 40 miles per hour you have a 1 in 10 chance of survival, at 30 miles per hour 5 in 10, and at 20 it is 9 in 10.” She made the point that lower speeds save lives.

Resident Cindy Johnson lobbied the selectmen to try and do something about posted speed limits on Route 6, urging a lower rate of speed from Prospect Road to Main Street. Gagne said that he and Representative William Straus would be meeting with Massachusetts Department of Transportation representatives to discuss such issues with Route 6.

One of the topics Gagne and Straus plan to bring up at the MassDOT meeting is the possibility of adding a sidewalk to the south side of Route 6 near the intersection of Route 6 and River Road. “I think that would be fantastic,” he said.

The selectmen and committee members also discussed the need for safety signs when the bike path eventually crosses Park Street and North Street in the future.

Earlier in the evening, the selectmen along with Chief Lyons recognized the heroic efforts of Alex Turner, Lakeville, and Chris Nicolosi, Mattapoisett, when on July 30 they aided police officer Adalberto Cardoso, Jr., when a pedestrian fell from the trestle bridge near the YMCA camp.

Shallow water made assistance by the fire department rescue boat impossible. Turner and Nicolosi were in a small Carolina skiff and were able to assist the officer who had scrambled down the slope to the injured party. The boaters brought the victim to shore at the landing on Mattapoisett Neck Road where emergency personnel were waiting.

Turner and Nicolosi received citations for their efforts with Cardoso saying, “Your willingness to help made our jobs easier.” Chief Lyons added, “It was exceptional what you did.”

Then Chief Lyons and the selectmen turned their attention to Cardoso as he was appointed as a full-time Mattapoisett police officer.

Chief Lyons said that Cardoso had completed his police academy training in Florida and had been working for the last year in Mattapoisett becoming familiar with local laws and regulations. He was given the police oath with his new bride and family standing by.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is tentatively scheduled for September 20 at 7:00 pm in the Mattapoisett Town Hall conference room. Beginning in October, the board will resume its regular monthly schedule of the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

By Marilou Newell

MTsel_081816

Sippican Hotel and Casino

David Pierce, Vice President of the Sippican Historical Society, will present a lecture on the history of the Sippican Hotel and Casino, which stood in the heart of Marion Village during its Golden Age. The hotel had 200 rooms, and families from Boston, New York, and elsewhere would stay there for the entire summer. The building was eventually torn down in 1929. Pierce will discuss postcards and photographs from the Society’s archives and from Curator Pete Smith’s book, A Picture Postcard History of Marion, Massachusetts.

The lecture will be held at the Marion Music Hall on Thursday, August 25 at 7:00 pm. It is free and open to the public.

Dog Walk-A-Thon Parade

Eagle Scout Freemin Bauer will hold a Dog Walk-A-Thon Parade on Saturday, August 27 from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon, rain or shine. Sign up available at the Mattapoisett Hammond Street Tennis Courts. The $20 cost to walk a dog (two-dog limit) comes with a T-shirt. No dog, no problem: Dog-Gone-Walk-A-Thon, same time, same place. The cost is $10 to walk, an extra $5 for a T-shirt. There will be two routes: one for large dogs and one for small dogs. All proceeds go to the Fairhaven Dog Shelter. Poop bags will be provided. Rules: no running; no wheels (skateboards, roller blades, etc.), pull-back leashes. Dogs must be on a leash, no free walking. Baby carriages are allowed, but you must be holding the leash. Hope to see you there.

Fairway Golf Tournament

The Fairway Golf Tournament sponsored by The Church of The Good Shepherd will take place on Saturday, September 10 at the Little Harbor Country Club in Wareham. Shotgun start is at 8:00 am; the cost – $75 per person or $280 for a foursome – includes golf and lunch, raffles and prizes. Join us as we raise money for The Church of The Good Shepherd’s Outreach Ministries that benefit the community. Contact Natecia Alfonso for more information at 774-260-1924 or natecia17@gmail.com.

Thomas E. Bigham

Thomas E. Bigham, 58, of Fairhaven, passed away Sunday, August 21, 2016, at home after a period of declining health.

Born in Orange, NJ, son of Esther F. (Chiasson) Bigham and the late Harvey G. Bigham, he lived in Mattapoisett prior to settling in Fairhaven 26 years ago. He was a communicant of St. Joseph’s Church in Fairhaven.

Thomas enjoyed reading, collecting comic books, walks to Fort Phoenix and visits to the Millicent Library.

He is survived by his mother; two brothers, his twin, Timothy P. Bigham and his wife Frances of Swansea and Terrance J. Bigham of Fairhaven; two sisters, Tracey A. Travers and her husband Frank and Trina M. Bigham and her husband Teerachai Srisirikul all of Fairhaven; five nieces and nephews, Kai Srisirikul and his wife Stephanie, Elle and Brennan Srisirikul, and Joanna and Ross Travers.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, August 25, 2016, at 10:00am, in St. Joseph’s Church, Fairhaven, followed by interment in River-Side Cemetery, Fairhaven. Visitation will be in church from 9:30-10:00am prior to Mass.

Arrangements are by the Fairhaven Funeral Home, 117 Main Street, Fairhaven.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Thomas’ name to the Millicent Library, 45 Center St., Fairhaven, MA 02719.

ZBA Questions Innkeeper’s Honesty

Owner of the Silvershell Inn, Kate Hill, told the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals on August 11 that she was currently renting out two rooms to guests, as per her Special Permit to operate the bed & breakfast; however, after Hill left the meeting and the board browsed a website for B&B rentals, they found what they considered a total of four different rooms advertised for the Silvershell Inn.

Hill is seeking a Special Permit to now rent three rooms at her inn, the maximum allowed by the town bylaw. Hill was granted the Special Permit to rent two rooms back in August 2015 and now wants to add a third, which appeared to already be advertised on the B&B’s website, said board members.

The house, located at 460 Front Street, is limited to four bedrooms under the sewer regulation. Hill and her husband, who reside at the house, had a total of five bedrooms, forcing Hill to convert one of the rooms, the “pink room,” into a sewing room, Hill said. Building Commissioner Scott Shippey, present that evening, said that satisfied the four-bedroom sewer regulation.

Hill said she also offers the entire house for rent to guests, which she said was why the website appeared to advertise three bedrooms, which includes a third floor suite and a “family unit,” which consists of the pink room and the “blue room” that connect and share one bathroom.

Before she left, the board considered Hill’s request for a reduced fee for the application. She hoped the board would consider it an amendment to a prior filing instead of a new filing, but later after a board discussion, they decided the fee should be set as a new application.

Board members hovered around Chairman Marc LeBlanc’s iPad as he pulled up the website that features the three rental options: the green room, the third floor “Fo’c’sle Suite,” and the family unit. But they then explored a B&B website and found Silvershell Inn advertising what appears to be four rooms.

“There’s nothing to prevent the owner from booking her two rooms and then getting a phone call … and renting out four or five,” said LeBlanc.

“How do you police it?” asked Shippey hypothetically.

“You can’t,” said LeBlanc.

The board then moved over to the inn’s Facebook page and read the reviews, with one review describing the daily use of the inn’s pool.

“She said they never use it,” said board member Michelle Smith. “Those were her words tonight.”

When the board granted the Special Permit in 2015, one of the conditions was not allowing guest use of the pool until the Board of Health approved it, but the board was not certain if Hill had that approval.

“So there’s some concerns here,” said LeBlanc, who then questioned Hill’s honesty about her inn operations.

Returning their attention back to the number of bedrooms, Smith suggested Hill be ordered to remove the door from the pink room, now considered a sewing room, to prevent it from being considered a rentable bedroom.

Board member Kate Mahoney suggested the board refrain from granting the three-bedroom Special Permit until Hill could prove full compliance with the original two-bedroom permit, and even revoke the permit if Hill was not in compliance.

“My gut would be to not put that cart before the horse,” said LeBlanc, but he suggested the board could deny the permit for the third bedroom if they found Hill in violation of the first permit.

The board had closed the public hearing earlier in the evening and took the matter under advisement. They made no decision that night.

Also during the meeting, the board acknowledged former Chairman Eric Pierce’s resignation from the ZBA, citing future travel obligations that would prevent him from attending meetings on a regular basis.

The next meeting of the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for August 25 at 7:30 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry

MRzba_0811816