Body Art Regulations Approved

            Marion Board of Health member Albin Johnson asked Marion Health Agent Shallyn Rodriguez if the board’s proposed regulation, including a one-time usage of pencils in body-art businesses resulted in “any blowback.”

            Rodriguez, reporting to the board during its March 21 public hearing on amendments to the regulation “Guidance for Body Art Establishments,” said she sent a draft of the regulation to area businesses but had yet to receive any reactions.

            Hoffer recommended one more tweak to require a hot-air hand dryer opposed to paper towels. “A lot of restaurants are using that now,” he said.

            With the town’s plan to schedule business permits for renewal at the end of the calendar year, Marion Health Director/Nurse Lori Desmarais asked if the Health Department should prorate permit renewals due to expire during 2024.

            Board Chairman Dr. Ed Hoffer agreed it would not be fair to charge a full year’s permit fee from a company with a permit needing renewal in June, for instance.

            With that, Hoffer and Johnson voted to approve the regulation as circulated by Rodriguez. Dr. John Howard, the third member of the board, was unable to attend on March 21.

            During the board’s review of correspondence, Health Director/Nurse Lori Desmarais reported that a follow-up letter to Lighthouse Liquors, 664 Mill Street, had resulted in the payment of one installment of a fine levied for serving a minor but that the second and third installments were past due as of the March 21 meeting.

            Johnson suggested a next step of asking the proprietor to “come in and explain.” Hoffer suggested Desmarais give it a week and then request an appearance at the board’s next meeting on April 11.

            The board took note of the Immediate Response Action (IRA) completion report and Permanent Solution with Conditions statement regarding an oil spill at 16 North Great Hill Drive. The spill was noted by Hoffer to be “above ground” and by Johnson to consist of an estimated “23 tons.”

            After sending a letter regarding a failed Title 5 septic system at 38 Rocky Knook Lane, Desmarais told the board she has heard from the installer following Monday’s percolation test. The property is unoccupied, and the home is being renovated by Designer Home Properties.

            Hoffer said that Eversource Energy has sent out a 2023-27 Five-Year Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) for eastern Massachusetts, an annual plan to remove trees.

            Desmarais let the new owner of property at 1121 Point Road know on February 12 that a Title 5 septic system would be required. The house was sold on January 5.

            In her update to the board, Rodriguez reported on Chapter 2 housing inspections and complaint updates, including a visit to 110 Old Knoll Road where a sump pump has failed. Rodriguez said excavators were present upon her visit and discussed the situation. She said an engineer was hired to put chambers in the back of the home to mitigate the escaping water and reported some improvement according to neighbors. The owner, reports Rodriguez, says he’s doing all he can to make sure the sump pump does not drain onto adjacent properties.

            In her update to the board, Desmarais reported on a failed Title 5 septic system at 2 West Drive, where she said no one is living. A plan submitted in July 2023 indicates that the property will connect to town sewer. Plans were sent to Weston & Sampson in December, and a revised plan was to be submitted on March 27. Other neighboring properties are looking to hook up. The building commissioner’s approval is waiting on clearance from the Board of Health.

            The town received two requests for COVID-19 vaccine on the morning of the March 21 meeting. The minimum order from the town is 10 doses. Southcoast Public Health Collaborative money can be used for vaccines, so Marion will seek reimbursement from the collaborative.

            In a Community EMS update, Desmarais reported on a recent presentation on allergies, and another one is in the works for May that will address dog bites.

            Hoffer noted that a hospital in Florida is besieged with hundreds of bats, after which Johnson recalled that the meeting room in the Town House Annex Building where the board sat on March 21 used to have a problem with bats.

            Johnson recalled that the upper floor of the adjacent Elizabeth Taber Library now occupied by the Marion Museum of Natural History “many years ago” sustained the collapse of its ceiling from the weight of the bats’ guano (partially decomposed excrement). Johnson said the town’s only cases of rabies in humans have been from bats.

            Thanks to the Public Health Excellence Grant, there will be a training scheduled in April and May for members of the collaborative, school nurses, EMT’s and other first responders.

            Desmarais suggested some of the $5,000 be appropriated to replace the department’s plotter (large printer). Desmarais reported that Town Administrator Geoff Gorman was quoted approximately $9,000 for a replacement of the equipment shared by other departments.

            Mosquitoes, if standing water, can apply for help on their own property.

            A new Plymouth County program scheduled for winter months will allow residents to call and request the county to remove up to 10 tires. Notification will go out to residents in October.

            Hoffer suggested that the board recommend that the Town of Marion withdraw from the Marion-Rochester Health District, which only exists at this point to administer the lone employee’s pension. Johnson said the district existed before the Marion Board of Health.

            The next meeting of the Marion Board of Health will be scheduled for Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 pm at the Town House Annex Building.

Marion Board of Health

By Mick Colageo

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