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.

Town Clerk Notice

Town of Blandford
Town Clerk Notice

Received on June 27, 2019 with approval from the office of the Attorney General pertaining to the Annual Town Meeting May 6, 2019, Case No. 9365,

Articles # 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34 (Zoning) and Articles #2, 27 and 28 (General)

Pursuant to MGL Ch. 40, sec. 32, required posting/publishing.

Article 29 – To delete Sec. XV, temporary moratorium
Article 30 – To amend Zoning Bylaw Sec. XIII: Definitions, Marijuana all inclusive
Article 31 – To amend Zoning Bylaw Sec. XII, schedule use of table to provide for Marijuana Establishments
Article 32 – Insert new section XVI in Zoning Bylaws “Adult Use Marijuana Establishments”
Article 33 – To amend Zoning Bylaw Sec. III by deleting current boundaries of residential district and inserting new boundaries
Article 34 – To amend Zoning Bylaw Sec. III by deleting boundaries of business district and inserting new boundaries
Article 2 – To amend General Bylaws Sec. II(C), Town Moderator, by inserting the following new provision: Authority of the Town Moderator: If in consideration of a warrant article at Town Meeting a two-thirds vote is required by statute for passage of such article, the Moderator may declare the vote to be a two-thirds vote without a count, provided, however, that if the vote is immediately questioned by seven or more voters, a count shall be taken.
Article 27 – delete Ch. V. heading Liquor-Gaming and replace with V. Liquor-Gaming-Marijuana
Article 28 – Amend Ch. V. to include prohibition of public use of Marijuana pursuant to the Massachusetts General Laws.

Claims of invalidity by reason of any defect in the procedure of adoption or amendment may only be made within ninety days of such posting.

The full text of the AG letter and bylaws are available at Town Clerk’s office during regular posted office hours and copies are available at the Porter Memorial Library.

Clerk for Treasurer/Collector Job Opening

The Treasurer/Collector for the Town of Blandford is searching for candidates to fill a part-time Clerk position. The compensation for this 15-18 hour a week position is $15.00 an hour. Full job description can be found here.

Applications may be submitted electronically or mailed/dropped off at the Blandford Town Hall. Please send resume with a cover letter and 3 professional references – addressing the job requirements via email here. Or to this mailing address: Town Hall, 1 Russell Stage Road, Blandford, MA 01008. Submitted applications are to be to the attention of Sara Hunter, Treasurer/Collector. Closing date for all applications is July 19, 2019 – position will remain open until filled.

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.