Massachusetts sees a rise in foodborne illness caused by Cyclospora

Residents reminded to follow food safety guidelines

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging residents to practice safe food handling practices following an increase in reported infections of Cyclospora, a foodborne illness that causes gastrointestinal symptoms, mainly diarrhea, that can sometimes be severe.

Since May 1, 2019, there have been more than 100 reports of Cyclospora infection cases in the state, when, over the past three years, DPH has received between 18 and 33 reported cases. Most cases this year have occurred in greater Boston, but infections have been reported in residents across the Commonwealth. Other states have also reported increases in the number of cyclosporiasis cases; the cause of the outbreak is not yet known.

Read the full press release from the Massachusetts Department of Health here.
Learn more about cyclospora here.

Cooling Station in Town Hall (7/20 & 7/21)

In response to the forecast for excessive heat and humidity this weekend, the Council on Aging room, in Town Hall, will be open this Saturday and Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm as a local cooling center if any resident needs a place to cool off. Be sure to stay hydrated and check on the wellbeing of family, friends, neighbors, and pets/animals.

Broadband Update

The Blandford Municipal Light Plant (MLP) has chosen Whip City Fiber, a division of Westfield Gas & Electric, as our Internet Service Provider (ISP). Blandford will own the network. Anyone who had paid $49 to WiredWest in entitled to a refund by submitting a written request to WiredWest (please see the home page for form and instructions).

The Broadband committee is working closely with Whip City, and holding bi weekly meetings. The network has been designed, pole applications have been submitted to both Eversource and Verizon. The system Hub will be located on North Blandford Road at the new cemetery maintenance building. The base for the Hub is in place, and the actual structure should be in place by mid to late summer.

There are some 20 other towns using WG+E as their ISP, and the utilities are working on each town in sequence. We should start seeing crews in town late in the year.

We are currently paying the utilities and WG+E with the state funds allocated. At some point Blandford will need to borrow funds to continue the project. That authorization has all ready been passed in Town Meeting.

Construction should begin late this year or early 2020. About 60 days prior to that WG+E will conduct marketing sessions and promotional campaigns. At that time, applications for service will be available on the Westfield Blandford web site. Homeowners who subscribe and pay for their network connection at that time will pay the discounted rate. This will include service to the house. If one subscribes after the crews have completed work in that section of Town they will pay additional hook-up fees.

The Blandford MLP is in the process of determining a “drop policy” for setting service and connection fees. Pricing will be based on WG+E Fees, insurance, bond payments, etc., and are unknown at this point. WG+E will offer 1 gigabyte of internet access with an option for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone service. All above and below ground services will be included, and homeowners will be consulted prior to construction.

Westfield will construct the entire network, test it, and then start implementing fiber to the home within the five Fiber Service Areas in the Town. Homes will be “lit up” as each area is completed. Based on current projections, Eversource and Verizon priorities, and weather concerns, we anticipate service to begin being implemented in mid to late 2020.

Documenting our Historic Resources

The Blandford Historical Commission is working to document our town’s historic resources. An intern from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will be in our area on select weekdays during the month of May to take photos of building exteriors from the public right of way. These photos will go with historical research that we are compiling and are for reference only. The photos will not be used for monitoring property conditions or code compliance and will not restrict any owner from pursuing future restoration, alterations, additions, or demolitions according to current Town of Blandford procedures and permits. If you have any questions, please contact the Blandford Historical Commission.