Readers Chime In
To express an opinion on topics important to you send an email to Heathconnects@gmail.com with the subject ChimeIn: TITLE where TITLE is what you want to see as the heading. I will post it with your name. —Pat McGahan
For Those Who Store Grievances
"Those who store up grievances and rancor in themselves are like people who draw water and pour it into a cask full of holes." --Evagrius the Solitary. Fourth century monk in the Egyptian desert.
Submitted by Margaret Freeman
Jelani Cobb in a recent New Yorker Talk of the Town used the term "absurdist thinking." It makes me think of the Select Board information meeting on why the library should move - at least temporarily - to 18 Jacobs Road until Sawyer Hall is made ADA compliant. It is indeed absurdist argument for the library to stay where it is under present circumstances. Bill Lattrell put it succinctly when he pointed out that it is the law. To argue that we should ignore it, as we have done in the past, is to ignore the reason for the law: to make all public buildings accessible to everyone - not just the physically able. To deny people with wheelchairs or walkers access to the library, let alone the stacks themselves, is to discriminate. I little thought when we moved to Heath that this town we love so much would be guilty of such discrimination. —Margaret H. Freeman
Community Action is pleased to announce our Older Adult Home
Modification Program (OAHMP), a new initiative designed for eligible
lower-income homeowners, age 62 and older, living in Franklin and
Hampshire Counties and looking to maintain independence and lead safe
and productive lives in their homes.
Through this program, lower-income older adults can improve general
home safety through no-cost modifications that reduce the risk of falling,
increase accessibility, and improve the home's functional abilities.
If you currently receive Fuel Assistance and could benefit from the
installation of grab bars, railings, temporary ramps, tub/shower transfer
benches, raised toilet seats with hand rails, and stair steps, please contact
To ensure the highest quality programming, Community Action is
partnering with the team at LifePath, who have been providing services
to older adults in support of independent living in our area for over 45
HOMEOWNER MUST LIVE IN FRANKLIN OR HAMPSHIRE COUNTY
HOMEOWNER MUST BE AGE 62 OR OLDER
HOMEOWNER MUST MEET THE INCOME ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES
413-774-2310 Option 4
Community Action OAHMP
PO Box 1432
Greenfield, MA 01302
Managing Waste to Avert Crisis
It seems inevitable that waste will become an increasing crisis. There's too much it, some of it is toxic, and we'll run out of space to store it at some point. Below are some links about the issue.
Global Waste Crisis-a-Rising Threat to the Environment
"The global waste crisis has become an issue of concern worldwide in an age of climate change. The World Bank warns that global waste will increase up to 70 percent on current levels by 2050 unless urgent actions are undertaken. The international financial institution also mentions that global annual waste is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tons over the next 30 years. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also reports, The world produces over 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste every year, enough to fill over 800,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.' ''
"PFAS are a large, complex, and ever-expanding group of manufactured chemicals that are widely used to make various types of everyday products. For example, they keep food from sticking to cookware, make clothes and carpets resistant to stains, and create firefighting foam that is more effective. PFAS are used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, electronics, and military.
PFAS molecules are made up of a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms. Because the carbon-fluorine bond is one of the strongest, these chemicals do not degrade in the environment. In fact, scientists are unable to estimate an environmental half-life for PFAS, which is the amount of time it takes 50% of the chemical to disappear."
Waste to Hydrogen Project Set for California
"The California Energy Commission in a June report said a lack of existing renewable hydrogen production is creating a gap with fast-growing demand for the fuel. The International Energy Agency, also in a June report, said there is a definite need for renewable hydrogen production to meet rising global demand."
It seems that we have lost the ability to have disagreement in Heath without attributing nefarious motives to dedicated public servants. I had hoped that an AT&T blog would be a way to have a reasoned dialogue on the tower. Unfortunately, while there was some learning, the blog became a vehicle to attack the Select Board unfairly. The Select Board can not defend itself while there is ongoing litigation. Unfortunately, I felt it was necessary to remove the blog.
I have been attending Select Board meetings for over two years. I know how hard these folks work outside the Select Board meetings putting in their time to meet with engineers, electricians, plumbers, FRCOG members, attending several meetings both with town bodies and outside committees. They do this public service, which is sometimes thankless, for a love of Heath.
I am grateful to a Board that has a strong desire to do what is best for all the Heath community, are dedicated, and willing to sacrifice personal and family time on our behalf. I also know from my experience attending Select Board meetings how much thought and personal angst goes into decision making to do what’s right and best for the town.
Please be cognizant that there are two sides to every story and do not pre-judge and possibly libel our Board who is prevented, due to litigation, from speaking on their own behalf. From my personal experience our board members are dedicated, trustworthy, respectful of all Heathans, and I am grateful they are guiding us.
PUBLIC STATEMENT~~FINAL (12/17/2021)
After careful consideration and considerable deliberation, the Select Board has determined it would be in the best interest of the town to resolve the litigation titled New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC d/b/a AT&T Mobility v. Town of Heath, et al. This litigation involves an application by AT&T for a special permit to construct a 180 foot telecommunications tower at 0 Rowe Road and the Planning Board’s decision denying that special permit. The Planning Board’s denial was based upon the application of the Town’s Zoning Bylaw, which allows for telecommunications towers at a height up to 110 feet. The litigation challenging that decision was brought in federal district court, alleging that the denial violates the provisions of the federal Telecommunications Act. That Act prohibits the Town from taking action that would effectively prohibit the expansion of telecommunications service. While the Select Board respects the decision of the Planning Board in seeking to enforce the provisions of the Town’s Bylaw, the Select Board also recognizes the burden this litigation would place upon the Town’s financial and administrative resources, and the risk to the Town, especially in light of the clear mandate of the federal law.
The Select Board, with input from the Planning Board, entered into settlement discussions with AT&T. Those negotiations centered on reducing the proposed tower height, obtaining data demonstrating an actual gap in cellular communications coverage, arranging for installation of the Town’s public safety transmitters on the tower, payment of outstanding consultant fees, securing a removal bond should it be necessary to remove the tower, and compliance with other laws and regulations. AT&T has already provided the requested data and agreed to reduce the base tower height to 120 feet, pay for installation of the Town’s public safety transmitters, pay outstanding consultant fees in the amount of $2500, provide a removal bond, and comply with applicable laws, codes, and regulations.
It is important to note that the federal law (the so-called “Spectrum Act”) allows for an increase in tower height of 10% or up to 20 feet, whichever is greater, above what is otherwise allowed. Thus, a 110 foot tower height, as already allowed by the Town’s Zoning Bylaws, may be immediately increased to 130 feet. AT&T has agreed to a tower height of 120 feet, limiting the total height to 140 feet, meaning that the compromise resolution allows for an increase of only ten feet above what is effectively allowed by the Zoning Bylaws, and avoids the possibility of a 180 foot tower at that site. The additional benefits in the resolution address public safety needs as well as reimbursement for some of the Town’s costs in the application process.
The Select Board thanks the Planning Board for its efforts in seeking to protect the interests of the Town in accordance with the Zoning Bylaw. Resolution of the case recognizes the impact of federal law on local law, and the emphasis of the federal law on assuring wireless service coverage throughout the Town, the Commonwealth, and the nation. The negotiated resolution takes into consideration the Town’s Zoning Bylaws allowing towers of up to 110 feet, minimizes impacts on the Town under federal law, brings recognizable public safety benefits, and eliminates the cost and uncertainty of ongoing federal court litigation.
Acronyms & References
List of Acronyms and Terms Used at Select Board Meetings. This is a living document and is by no means comprehensive—it’s a foreign language.
American Rescue Plan Act Final Rule
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
Federal government programs for COVID relief.
ATM: Annual Town Meeting
CH: Community Hall, Town municipal building,, 1 West Main St
JR: Jacobs Road, Town municipal building, 18 Jacobs Rd, Town Offices
SH: Sawyer Hall Town municipal building,, 1 East Main St, Post Office & Library
BUC: Building Use Committee
Town committee to oversee building use.
CARES: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
FCCDC/CDC: Franklin County Community Development Corp
CCG: Community Compact IT Grant
CDBG: Community Development Block Grant
COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment
Chapter 70: State aid program to public schools under DESE.
DESE: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
EEAC: Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee
FRCOG: Franklin Regional County of Governors
HAY: Hawlemont Agriculture and You
A collaboration with local farmers and community members where children engage in hands-on learning as they care for animals, nurture gardens, and develop new skills in a real farm setting.
MLB: Municipal Light Board
Municipal Light Board manages the Heath Broadband Network (Municipal Light Plant -MLP).
The Heath Municipal Light Plant (MLP) is managed by the Heath Municipal Light Board (MLB) and the MLP Manager, with the purpose to oversee the building and operations of a fiber-optic broadband network for Heath homes.
MTRSD: Mohawk Trail Regional School District
School district for Heath students. The elementary school is Colrain and secondary (7-12) is the MTRHS.
MVP: Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness
The MVP grant provides support for cities and towns in Massachusetts to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects.
Regional Animal Control: Franklin County Regional Animal Control
Sue Lively is Heath’s rep
SOA: Student Opportunity Act
Mass Gov act to improve inequitable gaps for ethnic and racial groups.
TMS: TMS Educational Solutions
The Management System, consulting firm used by MTRSD to calculate school assessments.
WRAP: Winter Recovery Assistance Program
"Provides cities and towns with funding to improve their transportation networks in response to harsh winter weather. Funds must be spent by June 30, 2023."
Carson Ovitt, Carpenter, CH doors
Roger Harris, Project Engineerer for Rise Engineering, Green Communities Grant, Community Hall HVAC
Paul Harnett, Plumbing
Letter to SB Regarding Wi-Valley Tower
October 13, 2020
Town of Heath
1 East Main St.
Heath, MA 01346
Dear Select Board members,
The purpose of this letter is to express my opposition to WiValley constructing a 60-foot utility pole on South Road, including wires and fixtures and underground laterals, cables and wires above or intersecting public ways, on South Schoolhouse Road in Heath, according to the petition from the FHMS Four Town Broadband Network.
I believe that Heath should reject this proposal for the following reasons:
According to the press release issued April 3, 2019 a grant was issued to bring broadband to 96% of residents in the towns of Florida, Hawley, Monroe, and Savoy. The grant was awarded for “creative, flexible solutions.”
(http://www.townofhawley.com/wp-content/uploads/docs/Broadband/Four-Towns/MBI-Four-Towns-Wireless-Funding-Press-Release.pdf). I think that the FHMS and WiValley should be tasked with coming up with just such a creative solution for the households impacted. In the next hearing they should also be asked as well if they have already achieved the 96% level without the Heath pole, which should also minimize its importance for achieving their goals. Keep in mind that their goals in any case do not take into account the negative impact to Heath, as outlined above.
The Select Board, as stewards of the Town of Heath’s interests, should also consider that residents of Legate Hill in Charlemont filed a lawsuit in consideration of the negative impact on scenic beauty and property values; the location was eventually deemed unsuitable but the issues were similar (https://www.recorder.com/Legate-Hill-residents-file-lawsuit-over-WiFi-25706649).
I understand the importance of internet access but believe that the four towns and WiValley should come up with a solution for those homes without marring the beauty of our landscape and putting us in harm’s way.
There are many complex issues that you face related to town finances, building use and more. I appreciate the work you do and the time it takes. This is a much simpler issue. Just say no.
Thank you for your consideration.
222 South Road
Heath, MA 01346