TEWKSBURY — At the April 18 Tewksbury Board of Health meeting, newly elected member Maria Zaroulis was welcomed by the board. Zaroulis unseated incumbent George Ferdinand, who served one term. Incumbent member Anthony Boschetti was re-elected for another term.
During the board’s reorganization, Chairman Ray Barry was elected chairperson again, Robert Scarano was voted vice chairperson, and Zaroulis was voted as clerk.
The first order of business was a return visit by John Gallant and his daughter, Susan Mathurin, of Mac’s Dairy Farm. Gallant was ordered by the board to correct several violations on the premises which had persisted and been reported upon multiple times.
Health Director Susan Sawyer reported that “a lot of progress” had been made in addressing the issues, including the installation of a new floor, clean up of various areas, removal of old equipment, and the purchase of new stainless steel food prep tables.
In addition, Mathurin stated that a dumpster fence was in the process of being constructed, and that new bathroom vanities were being installed. Chairman Barry stated that he was glad improvements were happening but for Mac’s to not rest, and to continue to bring the building and operation up to the proper standards.
Gallant stated “we are trying… it’s been our life for 37 years… you should see a lot of progress in the next few days.”
Maria Ruggiero, the Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative program director for Tewksbury, presented work she has been doing with Tewksbury teens. She discussed a proposal for a teen anti-drinking public service announcement campaign and the creation of a portable 5’x5’ vinyl mural.
The SADD club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) will create positive social messages to reach young people and raise awareness about the issues of underage drinking, bullying, vaping, and texting while driving. She said that there will also be a town hall meeting to present an underage drinking awareness call to action, organized by students, to include the community as a whole. This would be at the end of May.
Ruggiero also mentioned a billboard campaign as another outreach activity.
The board voted a two month moratorium on issuing licenses for body art practitioners and establishments, noting that license applications were approved but that practitioners are not staying in town. In the absence of national and state standards, decisions are left to municipal boards of health. The board is creating a working group to update the town’s body art regulations.
The industry has changed and the regulations need to reflect high standards and changes in the industry such as microblading and permanent makeup. The board will also discuss capping the number of outlets.
The board is going to be reviewing its fee structure for permits over the next few months in an attempt to bring the fees in line with what the administration of the permits actually costs. Health director Susan Sawyer indicated that a calculation for fees, based on number of visits to a premise, manhours required, and additional factors including a risk category, was being proposed to ensure the fee structure more accurately reflects the actual outlay by the town.
Sawyer selected some sample communities for comparison and will set up a working group to examine this further.
Sawyer reported that Northeast Foods/dba Burger King near Home Depot is coming back into compliance with respect to timely repair protocols of their equipment.
Breakaway Ice Rink has cleaned up their bathrooms and are back in compliance with their permit, as well as improvements with their air quality testing and reporting.
E Market/dba 7-Eleven on Shawsheen Street is working with a food safety consultant to improve their training.
Heatherwood obtained a permit for soft serve ice cream, which had not previously been secured. They also have not yet submitted an emergency plan to the town. There has been a management turnover at Heatherwood and Sawyer was pleased to see that the independent living facility is trying to come into compliance. Heatherwood had previously had issues with a broken water pipe and did not report it to town health officials.
The facility was providing bottled water to cook with and flush toilets and did not have handwashing available in the kitchen, a situation which engendered much concern by Tewksbury health officials. Sawyer said that Heatherwood is not covered by state or federal rules.
The board described it as “effectively a dormitory for seniors.” Managers are hired as couples and are “rental building” managers, not necessarily trained in any type of senior living or Board of Health compliance issues.
Sawyer announced new food code training for businesses in the community, and the hope to partner with other towns to offer as many sessions as possible. Sawyer also mentioned the upcoming Bike Rodeo and Health Fair which will take place at Tewksbury Memorial High School, June 9 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.