Easton Health Officials Discuss EEE Threat, Proposed Regulation

Most town organizations are already taking precautions to avoid mosquitoes, officials say.


Easton health officials said Monday night that a number of factors would play into a decision to enact any type of nighttime activities ban in Easton.

The Board of Health that would give it the ability to enact Orders to protect the public from threats of mosquito-borne illnesses. Even with the passage of the regulation, though, officials stressed that a nighttime activities ban is not definite.

Health Agent Kristen Kennedy said the regulation would act as a "tool in the toolkit" should there be an imminent risk of public health and safety from mosquito borne illness.

"We may never use this regulation," said Board of Health Member Gil Heino.

Board of Health Chair Jennifer Nichols said should the regulation pass, the decision to impose a nighttime ban would be based on the severity of the situation at the time. While the state has currently labeled Easton at a "critical" risk for EEE, the town could be in a different situation in two weeks.

"If the regulation passes we’re going to reassess the situation," said Board of Health member Scott Aronson.

Health Agent Mark Taylor also said any type of ban, should one be enacted, would be for public places like parks or schools and not private residences.

"We’re not going to go into a backyard barbeque and tell them to go inside," he said.

A occurred Monday, Aug. 13. Taylor said the state will likely update the public of EEE or West-Nile positive findings early this week. The update will paint a clearer picture of the spraying's effectiveness.

Officials also acknowledged that organizations in town are already taking it upon themselves to stay protected from mosquito-borne illness. Kennedy said most groups have ended outdoor activities before nightfall and complied with a state-issued calendar depiticting nightfall times provided last month.

"If nothing else, this is really making people think," she said.

"If everyone is in compliance on that list, then we’ve accomplished the goal, which is maximum protection," added Nichols. "We’re following the state's lead on this and I think we’ve been in lockstep with their recommendations."

Nichols also said that in addition to analyzing data found from mosquito sampling and consideration of current procedures from organizations and groups, the Board should listen to feedback from the public.

"I do feel strongly that we need to listen to what people are saying," she said. "I feel we would not be doing our jobs at all if we just blindly went ahead with something."

The Public Hearing in regards to the proposed regulation is on Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Selectmen's meeting room at . For a look at the proposed regulation and a list of nightfall times, click on the attached .pdfs.

Jimmy Donnelly August 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Pay close attention to the BOH member and agent's careful wording of their statements. Simply put, this is a gateway to further regulation and greater BOH authority.
Janet Sroczynski August 21, 2012 at 01:16 PM
The wording of this proposed regulation will be interesting, especially with proposed casinos in the area. The threat of EEE and the recent aerial spraying, adding chemicals to the fresh drinking water supply and the filtration ability of the Hockomock Swamp water-shed area and aquifer. The major fresh drinking water supply in this whole region.
Scott Aronson August 21, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Scott Aronson August 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
NOT REAL??? A CONSPIRACY??? Explain that to this man's widow: Raynham civic leader dies from EEE http://articles.boston.com/2011-09-06/news/30119569_1_aerial-spraying-mosquito-eee
JC August 21, 2012 at 07:40 PM
This is a significant overreach by the Easton Board of Health. At most, they should be only distributing information and issuing “alerts”. The attached regulation is written very vague. My guess is to give the Board a wide scope of what they can do. Not to mention, they cite the section (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, Sections 31) that refers expanding upon to the minimum requirements for “subsurface disposal of sanitary sewage”, to expand the reach of the Board of Health. Easton citizens should be wary about such regulations enacted by the members of this department. I am hoping that something can be done to block such “over the top” regulation. If not, and they continue to push this forward, then something should be done about the employment of these individuals.
Janet Sroczynski August 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Today's Boston.com article also mentions the Hockomock Swamp. 1) http://www.boston.com/whitecoatnotes/2012/08/20/second-batch-human-biting-mosquitos-infected-with-eastern-equine-encephalitis-found-north-shore-/OpSSHQ18E2tgq4QxQTGBYP/story.html Article entitled: "White Coat Notes" - News from the Boston area medical community. "Second Batch of Human-Biting Mosquitos Infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis Found on North Shore."
Meredith Keach August 22, 2012 at 12:23 AM
According to Mass Audubon there have been less than 100 confirmed cases of EEE in humans in MA in the past 75 years. Last year alone over 300 people died as result of an auto accident. If the BOH moves forward with passing this regulation (JC is correct in that the mass law reference send you on a trail to something about septic systems) we as a community will be giving them the ability to regulate, modify, cancel ANY outdoor activity on public or private land forever moving forward. There is no limitation whatsoever in the regulation and it's punishable by a fine of $1,000 a day. What they are currently doing by notifying the public is working. On Sept 4th we will have our rights as individuals to make informed decisions for ourselves and our families taken away because the board plans to pass it with or without public consent.
David Mills August 22, 2012 at 12:57 AM
would have to agree with Meredith's comments. I'm sure the board is well intentioned, but loose regulations can be easily interpreted differently by future boards. Why can't BOH determine if the spraying was successful before visiting an extreme measure. This summer had unusual weather, and perhaps we won't have this situation in the summers to follow. BOH should keep in mind that overreach has consequences.
Janet Sroczynski August 22, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Board of Health Members: Position: Term Ends: Jennifer Nichols Chair 2015 Gil A. Heino 2014 Scott Aronson 2013 Staff: Mark Taylor REHS/RS Public Health Agent Kristin Kennedy REHS/RS Public Health Agent Tim Meyers Health Inspector Kit Minsky Executive Assistant Telephone: 1.508.230.0620 Fax 1.508.230.0629 Source: Town of Easton Website http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/Part1/TitleXVI/Chapter111/Section31
Jimmy Donnelly August 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I'd like to see a move to clear the BOH of it's current members.
Janet Sroczynski August 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM
@Jimmy Donnelly - you might want to read the other article on the Easton/Patch.com website entitled: "Government: Proposed Bylaw Amendment Would Prohibit Smoking on Most Town-Owned Properties" (see Fees too)...by @Patrick Maguire on May 8, 2012. Currently there are "Zero" comments in the comment section; however...the same "Chair" on the Easton Board of Health - Jennifer Nichols, is also the individual quoted throughout the article. It falls under the category of "We the People" - and our individual Legal Rights and Personal Freedoms.
Janet Sroczynski August 22, 2012 at 09:43 PM
@Jimmy Donnelly - some additional reading for you/others: 1) http://www.wickedlocal.com/easton/news/x1629586631/Easton-health-officials-propose-regulation-for-EEE-curfew#axzz24JEAtqAO -regarding Easton counsel/attorney Jason (Jay) Talerman c/o Blatman, Bobrowski & Mead, with offices in Concord, Millis, Newburyport and Scituate, Massachusetts. Telephone for Millis office: 1.508.376.8400 or email at: bbmatlaw.com -per his own 01/24/2012 memo online. Read Lisa Mead/partner-biography on LinkedIn-works with him regarding Easton. Search: Easton EEE-threat and Curfews. 2) http://www.wickedlocal.com/easton/town_info/government/x2068982864/Easton-selectman-vote-to-change-their-town-counsel-of-20-years#axzz24JEAtqAO - article from 12/20/2012 by Vicki Ann Downing, article entitled:"Easton Selectman Vote to Change Their Town Counsel of 20 Years." Also read: Easton and 40B's. Hence the reference above, regarding Board of Health. See subsection of the law with link provided above....MGL:Massachusetts General Laws/Chapter111/Section31. Jason (Jay) Talerman Blatman, Bobrowski & Mead, LLC Attorneys at Law 730 Main Street, Suite 2B Millis, MA 02054 telephone 1.508.376.8400 fax 1.508.376.8440
JF August 23, 2012 at 02:11 PM
When our "Board of Health" moves to pass such a police state law like this, its time to get a new board of health. What a nightmare! This article says its not for private places, but the law does not say private or public! A road is a public place. Walking down the street during this martial law over mosquitoes would get you arrested? Is this still the USA??? What the Hell is the matter with you people?? Further,"We may never use it" pfff ya right! government does not pass laws it does not intend to use. Time for a new BOH
JF August 23, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Raynham civic leader dies from EEE September 06, 2011 That was a year ago! More people have been killed by every other cause than this. Really, nobody has died in the last year from WNV or EEE. When was the last case of WNV?
JF August 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
*Health Agent Kristen Kennedy said the regulation would act as a "tool in the toolkit" should there be an imminent risk of public health and safety from mosquito borne illness.* So this "tool" would be used under what circumstances??? They wont say what the minimum condition to "activate" this martial law in Easton is? What would possibly justify forcing everyone in Easton to stay inside their homes or be fined $1000 a day? What happens if we dont pay this fine? jail? Isnt prison more dangerous than a mosquito? Really now... *"We may never use this regulation," said Board of Health Member Gil Heino.* ya, but if there is suddenly an invasion of millions of EEE mosquitoes for some reason in Easton they will be able to use this?? What exactly are they concerned is going to happen? Certainly not EEE or WNV which like 2 people have got in the last 5 years!?!?!
Janet Sroczynski August 23, 2012 at 03:41 PM
@JF - Read under "Martial Law and Curfews" -google a search, and apply Black's Law Dictionary, to get you/others started reading. Or visit: 1) http://www.bc.edu -Law School or 2) http://www.harvard.edu -Law School/Law Library. Again, this is another "Over-Reach" by the current administration. Time to vote them out of office! Or they could voluntarily turn in their Resignations. That would be a good, wise start for quite a few of them. Current Population of Easton is over 23,000 people. And a few "out-of-towners" who: 1) Do not live in Easton 2) Do not vote in Easton 3) Do not pay taxes in Easton 4) Do not have children in the school(s) in Easton 5) Are trying to "run" Easton. And we in Easton, are: 1) Paying their Salaries in Easton 2) Paying for their Pensions in Easton 3) Paying our Taxes in Easton 4) Have children going to school(s) in Easton 5) "We The People" - need to continue to run Easton.
JF August 23, 2012 at 03:44 PM
This is the stuff they just sprayed the whole town of easton with ... twice now: http://thyroid.about.com/library/weekly/aa072600a.htm Pesticides Targeting West Nile-Carrying Mosquitos May be a Thyroid Danger Widespread Spraying Taking Place in New York City and Boston another link: http://www.flcv.com/AnvilTox.html Study of Insecticide Neurotoxicity Yields Clues to Onset of Parkinson's Disease: http://www.mdpestnet.org/Pyrethroid_studies.htm
Jim C August 23, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Dear Mr. Scott Aronson , I'm under the assumption that some of the recent "over the top" bans (this and outdoor smoking ban...and I'm no smoker) have been driven by the recently re-elected Board of Health Chair - Jennifer Nichols (April 2012...term expires 2015). However, since you are the next Board of Health term that expires (in 2013), I'd like to plead to you to please reconsider going forward with this regulation. The Board of Health should stick to issuing notices, notifications and alerts on EEE. People are aware of EEE and taking reasonable precautions. I promise, that this continues to go forward, I will do everything that I can to make sure the Easton Voters are aware of this "power grab" by the Board of Health when your term expires (in 2013). What you are trying to do is unreasonable and un-American.


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