Monthly Archives: October 2012

Energy Committee

Exciting and fascinating information at Energy Committee last night –

  • Town administrator of Dartmouth was the guest, and he explained how that town, for a small investment (he estimated it at $35K) encouraged private third party development of seven solar photovoltaic installations, most on privately owned land, with the town reaping major economic benefits via the town entering into power purchase agreements. As a result, Dartmouth will be saving an estimated $7 m. over 20 years.  The town merely zoned to allow the PV arrays anywhere in town, and then just issued RFP’s to third parties to provide PV generated power to the town via the power purchase agreements.  Private developers then approached the town to provide the power on privately owned sites (15-20 acres) via the power purchase agreements.  The town then contracted with those third parties to obtain the PV power for 20 years at 8 cents/KWH, which the utility is required to buy at 12 cents/KWH.  The utility issues credits to the town for the PV electricity, enough credits such that the town pays for its own electric needs via those credits.  It works because the town’s long term stability  and credit worthiness is an essential element for the third parties looking to contract for the power purchase agreements – private parties in place of the town would not allow the deal to happen.  $35K invested, plus time of town officials, and it returns $7 m.  The Dartmouth town administrator left us all the documents they used to make it happen.  Mike Sullivan wants us to start by pursuing a PV array on 2 acres of town owned land next to the Waste Water Treatment Plant and questions whether we have any 15-20 acres sites on which private PV arrays could be built.
  • Mike Sullivan reported that the big news from the DEP review of the Waste Water Treatment Plant energy efficiency was that Medfield was already the most energy efficient of the 23 plants they had audited.  Kudos to those running the WWTP for what they have already done for the town.

Town’s Sandy planning underway

Email yesterday afternoon from Mike Sullivan –

FYI, Will forward additional information as received. Meeting tomorrow with Chiefs, Ken and Bob Maguire at 12;30 p.m. to get latest update from Taunton NOAA meteorologist and to plan for storm. Started cleaning culverts and lowering boards on dams today and getting equipment ready for use. Talked to NSTAR and they are bringing in additional crews for power restoration and clean-up. Mike


From: “Mannion, James A (CDA)”
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 4:53 PM
Subject: Situational Awareness Statement #4

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Hurricane Sandy Situational Awareness Statement (SAS) #4

Date:  October 25, 2012

Time:  4:30 PM

Situation:

Hurricane Sandy, currently a Category 2 hurricane, is located in the Bahamas and is projected to move northward off the eastern Florida coast tomorrow into Saturday. It remains too early to determine Sandy’s precise track for early next week, but the probability of Sandy going out to sea is now very low. Current computer models are showing an increasing degree of confidence that Sandy will impact northeastern United States as a strong tropical storm, with a current projected landfall between Monday night and Tuesday morning. It is important to note that Massachusetts is still well within the margin of error for the predicted track.

 

National Weather Service now has a high degree of confidence that New England will experience significant impacts from Sandy regardless of the location of the landfall.  With landfall south of New England, Massachusetts is still likely to sustain significant impacts from this storm including damaging winds, associated power outages, and freshwater and coastal flooding.

 

A landfall in New England will bring a 3 to 5 foot storm surge to south- and east-facing coasts of Massachusetts. These storm surge totals are in additional to normal tide levels (although we are not expected to see astronomically high tides during this event). A landfall in New England will bring even greater impacts to the region, with Massachusetts potentially experiencing a historic degree of freshwater and coastal flooding, wind damage, and associated power outages.

 

Potential impacts of Sandy include:

 

High Seas: Sandy is predicted to cause unusually high seas (25 feet or greater) off the coast of New England beginning Sunday and peaking Monday and Tuesday. Seas will be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, even for large vessels.  Winds are expected to be at least gale to storm force occasional hurricane force gusts.

 

Winds: Damaging winds and associated widespread power outages lasting as long as a week are likely if Sandy makes landfall across Massachusetts. Wind damage will be exacerbated in southern New England as most trees still have foliage at this time of year. If Sandy makes landfall in or tracks near southern New England, isolated wind gusts of up to Category 2 hurricane strength (96-110mph) are possible.

 

Coastal Flooding: Both east- and south-facing coasts in southern New England have a high risk of minor to moderate coastal flooding beginning Sunday afternoon and lasting through Tuesday.  Moderate to major coastal flooding (up to 3 to 5 feet of storm surge) and significant beach erosion is possible if Sandy makes landfall in southern New England.

 

Rain/Flooding: While it is still too soon to determine where the heaviest rain focus will be, confidence is rising that southern New England will see potentially flooding rainfall from Sandy.  In a worst-case scenario, southern New England could receive as much as 7.5 to 8.5 inches of sustained rainfall, with pockets of 8.5+ inches.

 

The latest 5-day forecast map from the National Hurricane Center is included below.

 

State Actions:

MEMA is actively monitoring the storm and initiating preparedness activities. This afternoon, MEMA held a coordination meeting with state agencies. Tomorrow, MEMA will start holding daily coordination calls with local public safety officials and conducting pre-incident planning with select Emergency Support Functions.  MEMA will continue to monitor Sandy’s progress and issue additional SASs at least daily until the threat to New England has passed.

 

MEMA’s Activation Status: MEMA is currently at Level IV (Steady State).

 

Information for Local Officials:

MEMA encourages local officials to monitor Sandy’s progress and predicted track closely and undertake preparedness activities such as:

 

  • Reviewing emergency plans and procedures
  • Assessing areas that may be subject to flooding and developing plans for communicating with, and potentially evacuating people in these areas
  • Updating emergency contact lists
  • Testing communications and warning systems
  • Reviewing emergency contracts and available resource inventories
  • Testing generators and ensuring emergency fuel supplies for them
  • Assessing local emergency shelter readiness and capacity.

 

MEMA also strongly urges local officials to review their Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) inundation maps to pre-identify areas particularly at risk from storm surge flooding.  SLOSH maps and other hurricane preparedness resources can be found on MEMA’s website at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/home-sec-emerg-resp/plan-prep/natural-hazards/hurricanes/.  Please note that you will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer to access the online SLOSH maps that are available through MEMA’s website.

 

Hurricane Preparedness Tips for the General Public:

  • Stay informed by monitoring the storm via the media.
  • Be sure to have a well-stocked Family Disaster Kit in the event you lose power or are isolated for a number of days.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters. This storm brings the potential for torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
  • Secure outdoor items such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and potentially become a projectile.
  • Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.
  • Keep your vehicles fully fuelled.
  • Have a certain amount of cash available.  If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.

 

Ping4alerts!:

MEMA encourages smartphone users to download the free ping4alerts! app. This app is available free of charge for iPhone and Android phones and receives severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA based on the user’s location.  Learn more at http://www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

 

Online Resources:

For additional information and resources, visit:

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at www.mass.gov/mema (Hurricane preparedness tips and other preparedness information are available through the “Hurricane” link on MEMA’s homepage).

MEMA’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA

MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA

Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov

National Hurricane Center website at www.nhc.noaa.gov

National Weather Service/Taunton at www.weather.gov/boston

National Weather Service/Albany, NY at www.weather.gov/albany

Mass211 at www.mass211.org

 

Joe Kennedy is coming back to Medfield

Joe is going to be stopping by the Blue Moon Cafe (236 Main Street) this SUNDAY – October 28th  at 11:30am.

Facts on why medical marijuana will be bad for Medfield youth

WaylandCares appears to be similar to the Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) group with whom I have been meeting for the past year, and WaylandCares authored the following position paper.  This is a good summary of the sort of information that MCAP provided to me and that really caught my attention.  It ultimately convinced me that medical marijuana will be bad for the brains and lives our Medfield youth.

==========================

Ballot Question 3:  Medical Use of Marijuana

In November, voters will have the opportunity to vote on Ballot Question 3, Medical Use of Marijuana.

We are opposed to Question 3 because the language of this proposed law will cause problems for our young people.

As a community coalition working to prevent youth substance abuse, an essential priority is to reduce teen marijuana use through environmental strategies that decrease access to marijuana and increase perception of harm of the drug.  Current research shows:

  • There is a direct correlation between “medical” marijuana initiatives and decreases in perception of harm and social disapproval. States that have “medical” marijuana programs have among the lowest perceptions of harm among youth in the nation.[1]  The 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey reports that 22.7 percent of U.S. high school seniors thought that there was a great risk of harm from smoking marijuana occasionally, down from 26.6 percent in 2003.[2]  Efforts to pass “medical” marijuana initiatives further normalize marijuana use among youth and thereby lessen the perceptions of its dangers and negative effects, which will result in increases in youth marijuana use.
  • State that have legalized marijuana as medicine are experiencing widespread use and abuse of marijuana.  States with “medical” marijuana laws have higher marijuana abuse and dependence rates almost twice as high than states without such laws.[3]
  • Medical marijuana is being diverted to youth through increased supply and easy access.  The 2008-2009 State Estimates of Drug Abuse show that four of the top five states, and 14 of the 18 states with the highest percentage of past month marijuana users ages 12-17 are states with “medical marijuana” programs.[4]  A 2012 study shows that among adoles­cents in substance abuse treatment in Denver, Colorado, 74% had used someone else’s medical marijuana a median of 50 times.[5]
  • Marijuana is addictive. The National Institutes of Health found that the earlier marijuana use is initiated, the higher the risk for drug abuse and dependence. Those who begin using the drug in their teens have approximately a one-in-six chance of developing marijuana dependence.[6] In fact, children and teens are six times likelier to be in treatment for marijuana than for all other illegal drugs combined.[7] Addiction rates among 12-17 year olds are among the highest levels nationally in states that have “medical marijuana” programs.[8]
  • Marijuana use negatively impacts adolescent brain development. A study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the National Institute on Mental Health, found that adolescents and young adults who are heavy users of marijuana are more likely than non-users to have disrupted brain development. Researchers found abnormalities in areas of the brain that interconnect brain regions involved in memory, attention, decision-making, language and executive functioning skills.  A new, 2012 study indicates an average eight-point drop in IQ among teens who use marijuana.[9]
  • Marijuana Use Negatively Impacts Academic Achievement.  Youth with an average grade of D or below were more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth with an average grade of A.[10] The more a student uses drugs such as marijuana, the lower their grade point average is likely to be and the more likely they are to drop out of school.[11]
  • Marijuana use negatively impacts employability.  More than 6,000 companies nationwide and scores of industries and professions require a pre-employment drug test, according to The Definitive List of Companies that Drug Test (available at www.testclear.com). 6.6% of high school seniors already smoke marijuana on a daily basis would fail any required pre-employment drug test at the more than 6,000 companies that require it. “Medical” marijuana initiatives would exacerbate this problem.
  • States that have approved “medical marijuana” use have experienced costly highway safety issues. 20% of crashes in the U.S. are caused by drugged driving.[12] Marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims. The Colorado Department of Transportation found that after passing “medical marijuana” legislation in the state, drivers who tested positive for marijuana in fatal car crashes DOUBLED between 2006 and 2010.  In 2010, six cities in California conducted nighttime weekend voluntary roadside surveys and found that the percentage of drivers who tested positive for marijuana (8.4%) was greater than the percentage that were using alcohol (7.6%).[13]

Massachusetts’ youth already smoke marijuana at a rate 30% higher than the national average, where one in three high school students currently smoke marijuana.  Our local youth marijuana use rates reflect the state numbers.  Ballot Question 3 to legalize marijuana as medicine would increase both access to marijuana, and social acceptability of the drug – and the research clearly shows that these two variables have direct causal link to increased teen marijuana use.

WaylandCares cannot support legislation that has the strong, likely potential to increase youth marijuana use.

This experiment is failing in other states.

We know from other states that have passed “medical” marijua­na laws, that this is a failed public health and safety experiment. Marijuana is illegal under federal law. Let’s not join the states that are now spending enormous resources to address the legal conflicts, addiction and exploitation that Question 3 would promote. Real compassion means real medicine determined through scientific process. Drugs should not circumvent the rigorous study, clinical trials and research that determines what true medicine is, and they should be dispensed properly through our pharmaceutical system. Anything less puts our public at risk and results in unforeseen, unintended consequences that are harmful to people and the communities in which they live.


[1] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), State Estimates from the 2008- 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health

[2] Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (December 14, 2011). University of Michigan, 2011 Monitoring the Future Study

[3] Cerda, M. et al. (2011). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Found at http://www.columbia.edu/~dsh2/pdf/MedicalMarijuana.pdf; and Wall, M. et al (2011). Adolescent Marijuana Use from 2002 to 2008: Higher in States with Medical Marijuana Laws, Cause Still Unclear, Annals of epidemiology, Vol 21 issue 9 Pages 714-716

[4] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), State Estimates from the 2008- 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health

[5] Salomonsen-Sautel, S. et al (2012).  Medical Marijuana Use Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Vol 51, Issue 7, pages 694-702

[6] Wagner, F.A. & Anthony, J.C. (2002). From first drug use to drug dependence; developmental periods of risk for dependence upon marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol. Neuropsychopharmacology, 26, 479-488.

[7] The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. CASA white paper, Non-Medical Marijuana II: Rite Of Passage Or Russian Roulette? 2008.

[8] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), State Estimates from the 2008- 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health

[9] Mieir, Madeline, H., et al (2012). Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Midlife.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  Published on line at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/08/22/1206820109.abstract.

[10] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

[11]Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E.. University of Michigan, 2011. Monitoring the Future Study

[12]  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010.

[13] Office of Traffic Safety, California, 2010. Press Release: “Drug Use Rises in California Fatal Crashes”.External link, please review our disclaimer.

Wayland BoH to its BoS – oppose medical marijuana

The Wayland Board of Health sent the following memo to the Board of Selectmen yesterday:

To: Fred Turkington, Town Administrator, Board of Selectman
From: The Board of Health
Date: October 23, 2012
Subject: Medical Marijuana-Ballot Question #3

At their regularly scheduled Board of Health meeting on October 22, 2012 the Board voted all in favor of the following statement:

The health and well-being of Wayland residents is of the utmost importance to the Board of Health, and the introduction of a potential new marijuana supply line is seen as running contrary to this aim. The
Board of Health opposes Ballot Question #3 and urges the Board of Selectman to do the same.

Town planner

Exceptional town employee Norma Cronin, Senior Secretarial Administrator to, but really the heart, sole, and glue of both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals is retiring.  The town has opted to try to replace her (we who have worked with her know she cannot be replaced) with a town planner.  See here the town planner ad posted in the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s monthly magazine The Bulletin.

Medical marijuana at BoS

Excellent presentations at last night’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen by our school superintendent, Bob Maguire, our police chief, Bob Meaney, and resident Carol Read, who coordinates Needham’s substance abuse program.  They laid out with facts and data the clear case of the dangers from the medical marijuana ballot initiative and for the town to take action against the medical marijuana ballot initiative.  The facts and data are

  • Marijuana use has been proven to be bad for the brains of young people, as it can significantly decrease their IQ, while increasing their likelihood for substance abuse and mental health issues, and

    Medical marijuana usa

    Medical marijuana usa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • In states where medical marijuana is adopted, use rates by youth increases.

After the convincing presentations, I made a motion to have the Town of Medfield take an official position, based on the facts and data presented, in favor of the safety of our youth, to oppose the medical marijuana ballot initiative.

Motion = The Town of Medfield opposes passage of the initiative ballot question #3 authorizing medical marijuana, because medical marijuana would be too dangerous to Medfield’s young people.

There were only two selectmen present, as Mark was away.  My colleague, Ann Thompson, refused to second my motion, thereby vetoing it, stating that she had not made up her mind.

I feel badly that a selectman dismissed our town’s two department heads, where they were so clearly

  • concerned, educated, and passionate about the issue,
  • had taken their time to share their expertise with the Board of Selectmen, and
  • made such a clear recommendation in favor of what the town should do.

I think that as selectman we should by default first look to support the people who run the town, especially when they display such a clear picture, with such obvious concern and passion.

For more see the Patch article.

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