BOARD OF HEALTH
October 6, 2005
The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Board of Health of the Township of Mahwah, held at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah NJ, was called to order at 8:15 PM by President, Wendy DeSilva. The Opening Statement was read according to the Sunshine Law and was followed by Roll Call.
PRESENT: Mrs. DeSilva
Mrs. Tracey (8:35pm)
ABSENT: Mr. Ackerman
PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Mason, Attorney
Mr. Hopper, Health Officer
Mrs. Homler, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mr. LaMontagne and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the meeting of September 1, 2005 were approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mr. LaMontagne and, seconded by Mr. Wasson, that the Health Activities Report be approved.
Mr. LaMontagne noted a new line item in the report regarding lead notifications. Mrs. Campbell explained this referred to the establishments Mr. Ostrow contacted in regard to the lead exceedance incident. Mr. Hopper emphasized that the lead did not exist in the water supply, but had leached from the plumbing where the samples were taken. Mrs. DeSilva asked where the samples were taken. Mr. Hopper had not been given this information, but they were most likely from homes that had been built prior to 1986. Mr. LaMontagne inquired how frequently the State required the township to test the water supply. Mr. Hopper’s understanding was that testing was done approximately 4 times per year. Mr. Wasson was concerned with private wells and inquired who was testing them. Mr. Hopper stated that it was the
responsibility of the individual homeowner to test not only for lead, but for bacterial contamination as well. From time to time, our department issues press releases to this affect. Mrs. Homler added that the Private Well Testing Act has made more homeowners aware of the necessity and importance of testing their well water.
Mrs. DeSilva inquired if residents were coming in for test kits and/or information on the lead issue. Mrs. Homler replied that we had already distributed several test kits for lead, but that water quality inquiries are fairly common in our day to day operation. We supply residents with lists of State certified labs and fact sheets detailing what they should be testing for and established action levels for different elements.
Mrs. DeSilva requested if all 14 of the unsatisfactory food samples listed on page 4 were taken from the same establishment. Mrs. Homler answered that samples were taken from 2 or 3 different establishments this month. Mr. Harris asked if we only tested salad items. Mrs. Homler replied that we also test dairy items such as custards and soft serve ice cream.
Mr. Wasson asked if the Cumberland Farms site plan was for the Gulf Station property that had previously sold cigarettes in our TASE sting? Mrs. Homler replied that it was the same owner (Murat Ozen) and he was attempting to add a full convenience store. Mr. Harris noted that Cumberland Farms now owns Gulf.
Mrs. DeSilva asked why the court dismissed our case against Janek’s. Mrs. Homler replied that the parents of the minor would not permit the child to testify in court. The prosecutor advised her that he could not proceed without this testimony and recommended a dismissal. Mrs. DeSilva asked if a police officer had accompanied the team. Mrs. Homler replied yes, but prior to the dismissal, she was not aware that he was eligible to testify even though he had not actually witnessed the sale. Mrs. Homler will subpoena the police officer when Travel Centers goes to trial, and Judith Migliaccio from the Paramus Board of Health (who accompanied the team during the sting) will also be available to testify.
Mrs. Homler noted that the exercise proved fruitful in that Janek’s had purchased a “We Card” calendar and an electronic scanning device that ‘reads’ the purchaser’s driver’s license. The device automatically determines and displays if the sale can proceed or not. Janek’s was the only establishment that had asked for and (cursorily) viewed the minor’s identification.
Mr. Mason asked for clarification on the Tobacco Age of Sale procedures; Mrs. Homler gave a brief overview of the operation.
Mrs. Spiech asked Mrs. Homler to describe conditions in the Wah Sing restaurant which had been given an unsatisfactory rating. Mrs. Homler found a severe fly infestation, poor maintenance of equipment, accumulation of grease and extremely poor sanitation. Mr. Hopper met Mrs. Homler at the establishment and together, they convinced the
owner to close voluntarily. The owners worked overnight and accomplished a clean-up that, in Mrs. Homler’s opinion, was nothing short of remarkable. Wah Sing was permitted to open for business the next day. The Board members were gratified to learn of the clean up, but are dissatisfied with the establishment’s habitual disregard for cleanliness. Mrs. Homler assured the Board she would be visiting the establishment again within the month and will be monitoring them more frequently in the future.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mrs. Spiech, that the Health Officer’s Report be approved.
Mr. Harris noted that the Health Officer is still attending many meetings. Mr. Hopper agreed and reiterated that it is a requirement of the Public Health Practice Standards. Mr. Hopper is currently involved in several of the working groups of The Bergen County Health Partnership: The MAPP process (Mobilizing Action through Planning and Partnerships) will result in the eventual development of the Community Health Improvement Plan. The Best Practices group is categorizing all the services that local health departments provide and developing procedural standards for those services. Presently, this group is concentrating on food establishment inspections. Another group is concentrating on education and training of local health department personnel. The full Partnership meets every other month.
Mr. Hopper finds the process worthwhile and result oriented albeit, time-consuming. His upcoming appointment (on November 16) as President of the New Jersey Health Officer’s Association for 2006 will require additional commitment to meetings and planning.
Regarding Mr. Hopper’s letter to Dr. Kavanagh, Mr. Wasson asked Mr. Hopper to confirm that our vets were only receiving a $3.00 reimbursement for each animal vaccinated. Mr. Hopper affirmed the $3.00 amount, adding that we also supply the serum, the needles and the vaccine certificates. Mr. Wasson asked if running a yearly clinic (as Dr. Kavanagh suggested) was feasible. Mr. Hopper replied yes, but that clinics were not as “user-friendly” to residents as the ability to visit a participating vet at a time of their choosing and convenience.
Mrs. DeSilva was concerned about the report of smoking in the High School. Mr. Hopper responded that one of the police officers had requested guidance in dealing with this issue. Mr. Hopper supplied copies of the pertinent legislation and suggestions on how best to
enforce the law. The Commissioner of Health and the Acting Governor would like to increase the minimum age for tobacco purchase to nineteen. It is hoped that this will further reduce the presence of cigarettes in the schools.
Mrs. Spiech offered her assistance at the Flu Clinic which Mr. Hopper gratefully accepted. He requested that any member who would like to assist arrive at the Senior Center between 12:30 - 12:45.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Officer’s Report was unanimously approved.
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mr. Wasson, unanimously agreed by all present to pay the bills for September.
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEES
Copies of Mr. Ackerman’s report on the School vending machine and lunch offerings were distributed to the members. Mrs. DeSilva was disappointed with the High School menu, but found the elementary school menus to be more or less satisfactory. The middle school fell somewhere in between the two but, offered at least one healthy alternative daily.
Mr. Harris requested direction as to what steps the committee should take next. Mr. Hopper suggested that first; the committee should meet independently to discuss the report. Further steps may include speaking with someone knowledgeable in nutrition (ie. our Health Educator) and ultimately arranging a meeting with Pomptonian to present their recommendations.
Mrs. Tracey suggested that the committee ascertain if there are statistics available on overweight students in the Mahwah school district; this information may be useful in any presentation made to Pomptonian and/or parents.
Mrs. DeSilva stated that the new food pyramid released by the U.S.D.A. calls for an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables when the population was not even meeting the requirements of the old pyramid.
Mrs. Spiech noted that the associated cost of following the pyramid might be a factor for some families. Mrs. Tracey agreed, adding that “healthy” foods are generally perishables, precluding the ability to “stock up”.
Mr. Mason inquired if Pomptonian disclosed the caloric and/or nutrional value of the items they were preparing. Mr. Hopper stated that a dietician would be responsible for preparing the menus, hence the information existed; whether or not Pomptonian made it available was another matter.
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
September 7, 2005, To: Dr. Kavanagh From: John Hopper
A response to Dr. Kavanagh’s August letter, accepting his resignation as a participating vet effective December 31, 2005, and expressing gratitude for his many years of service to the Township.
JULY 2005 APEX REPORT
An evaluation mandated by the Public Health Practice Standards. Mr. Hopper explained the methodology of the evaluation and stated that overall, the report reflects favorably on the progress our district is making toward compliance with the Practice Standards.
ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 3730
It is expected that Acting Governor Codey will endorse this bill supporting smoke-free indoor air in public and workplaces. Casinos will probably be exempted. Mrs. Spiech inquired who would enforce the law if it passes? Mr. Hopper stated that Local Boards would likely be empowered to enforce the law.
Mr. Harris is concerned about the ability of New Jersey residents to evacuate in the event of an emergency and asked Mr. Hopper to comment on the State’s level of preparedness. Mr. Hopper stated that the emergencies he and others in the public health sector are planning for would more likely entail quarantines, not evacuations. Mr. Hopper continued that he has never seen an evacuation plan for Bergen County
but, cautioned this should not be interpreted to mean one did not exist. The Office of Emergency Management or the County Police could well have such a plan, but they have yet to share it with public health officials. Mr. Hopper informed the Board that this particular concern is on the agenda for the next Public Health Practices meeting.
The Board entered into a broad discussion on the logistics and improbability of a successful, large scale evacuation especially if the event called for immediate action.
RESOLUTION 05-14 - ORDINANCE 05-116 on final passage
Introduced by: Mr. Wasson
Second by: Mrs. Spiech
Roll Call: 6 Ayes
RESOLUTION 05-15 - In support of Assembly Bill No. 3730
Introduced by: Mr. LaMontagne
Second by: Mr. Wasson
Roll Call: 6 Ayes
RESOLUTION 05-16 - Appointment of Jeffery C. Mason as Board Attorney
Introduced by: Mr. Harris
Second by: Mrs. Tracey
Roll Call: 6 Ayes
The next meeting is scheduled for November 3, 2005.
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