Select Board: December 13, 2021 Meeting

Holliston’s Select Board (SB) met on Monday December 13, 2021, convening at 7:00pm.  Chair Tina Hein reported the absence of SB Clerk John Cronin from this meeting.  As a quorum was present the SB proceeded through its entire agenda.

Matthew Stone, Holliston Police Chief (below), shared with the Board a recent life-saving event to which four HPD Officers responded.  Stone described the incident as follows.  At approximately 11:00 am on December 2, 2021, an emergency call came in for a medical emergency at the Holliston CVS. By the time the first two officers arrived, the CVS Pharmacist had begun chest compressions.  The victim was not breathing.  The officers moved in to continue the compressions.  Two additional officers (and an off-duty EMT) responded and attached an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and provided oxygen.  The victim was transported by Holliston and Medway ambulance personnel. 

Following this incident, each officer (including newly sworn in Officer Keefe – on his second day) went back out on patrol.  Chief Stone highlighted the preparation and professionalism of the Department’s officers who respond to all manner of calls every day. The Board complimented Chief Stone for his leadership.

The patient has recovered and was able to meet his lifesavers at HPD headquarters on Monday, December 13th.

Chief Stone presented each officer on scene with a Life-saving Award.

Lifesavers: (L-R) Officer Heney, Officer DiGiorgio, Officer Keefe, Officer Downing. The officers are joined by their patient who was able to attend the award presentation.

HCA Request of Zen Growing for 72 Jeffrey Ave

Following an earlier meeting with the SB, the Principal for Zen Growing and Attorney Blake Mensing (below right) returned to answer several questions posed earlier by the Board.

Also on hand was Town Counsel, Jay Talerman to offer guidance when needed.

Mr. Valchuis presented an updated slide deck that included key personnel who have verbally agreed to join him at Zen.  Previously, the Board was concerned about locating a marijuana cultivation / manufacturing facility in close proximity to other businesses frequented by the general public – odor was a major concern.  In response, Mr. Valchuis focused on how the physical facility would be built to contain the air / odor within the facility.  Security of the facility within such a high-traffic area also had been raised by the SB at the first meeting.  Valchuis and Atty. Mensing spoke to the way product is safely transported from the facility. 

Excerpted slides below lay out the current plans for building and maintaining an odor-free (outside) secure business compatible with its neighboring businesses.

Atty. Mensing added that any vehicles transporting Zen product will be unmarked as required by State law.

Mr. Sparrell and Mrs. Hein thanked Mr. Valchuis for the updated information and questioned the petitioners, and still had some lingering concerns especially regarding the relevant experience of the company’s future leaders.  Fire Chief Michael Cassidy asked two safety related questions.

The petitioners are holding a public Outreach Meeting, THIS WEDNESDAY, in the Gilman Room at the Holliston Public Library at 6:00pm.  Residents are encouraged to attend and learn more directly from Mr. Valchuis.

The Board requested that Zen return to a future meeting to provide additional responses to the Board’s concerns.

Coronavirus Community update

Fire Chief Michael Cassidy was back in his regular spot as he is most Monday evenings these days.  The message from the Chief is that cases are multiplier much more rapidly. 

  • In the past two weeks our total case count has risen from 1056 to 1101!
  • 102 booster doses were administered at the Holliston Sr. Ctr.
  • If you are eligible for vaccination and / or boosters, PLEASE get the shot(s) to reduce the spread. 
  • Mixing vaccines from different companies is safe and effective.
  • Over-the-counter tests are available – they are reliable.  Out-of-pocket expenses may be covered by Health Care Spending Accounts or Flexible Spending Accounts
  • He encourages testing in advance of holiday travel / gatherings
  • More information on self-testing will be available on the Town website soon

CARES Act / ARPA Programmatic update

The Town’s accounting of how it utilized the $1,317,000 granted through the CARES Act was sent to the State on the due date of December 3, 2021.  No money was returned to the State as unused.  Great work by our Emergency Management Director and Town Administrator.  The Board thanked Chief Cassidy for his “consistent work” to spend our CARES grant properly.

The ARPA Steering Group will next meet after Representative Dykema and Senator Spilka meet with the SB in January.  At that point the Town should have a cleared picture of what Federal and State infrastructure moneys are headed our way.

Warrants: – The Board approved the weekly warrant of $1,176,266.47

Public Comment:

  • Mr. Sparrell:
    • Please note the information regarding trash pickup and recycling center hours (below)
  • Mrs. Hein: In answer to her pop quiz at last week’s meeting regarding the bird of prey she saw near the recycling center, she has heard from two resident ornithologists that it was likely a juvenile osprey. 

Comments from Town Administrator:

Board Business:

  • Awarded the contract for the Goodwill Park Design/Engineering. The contract is not to exceed $50,000 and is awarded to Chemini Architecture, a subsidiary of Rodenheiser.
  • Authorized the Correction to thee Host Community Agreement (HCA) with NE Cannabis and 4Front.  This is to clean up language that was approved in 2018 by the Select Board at that time.
  • Approved the reviewed minutes from the November 15, 2021 meeting.

Other Business:  None

The meeting was adjourned at 8:23pm.

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Chris Cain