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PRESENT:    Donna McCarthy Culbert, Director of Health, Dr. Robert Grossman, Chairman; Board Members:  Joan Crick, Audrey Grasso, Bernard Meehan, Dr. Draper, Medical Advisor



Bernie Meehan made motion to accept the meeting minutes from June 23, 2009.  Audrey Grasso seconded.  Motion approved.     

Reports of Officers and Director of Health


Bridgewater Fair

Ms. Culbert informed the Board Members that the Bridgewater Fair took place on August 21-23, 2009 this year and was successful as far as the Health District was concerned.  Ms. Culbert noted that Food Safety went well under the supervision of the Health District Food Service Inspector, Suzette LeBlanc, and that she maintains a cooperative working relationship with the food service vendors for that event.  

Newtown Health and Safety Fair

Ms. Culbert shared a copy of the program from this year’s Newtown Health and Safety Fair (September 26, 2009) with the Board Members.  Ms. Grasso commented on the fine preparation of the Health Fair program. Ms. Culbert explained that this year the Health and Safety Fair lost some past participants (vendors) but gained new ones in their place.  

Ms. Culbert stated that a good cross-section of health related activities were offered such as health screenings, information and activities.  Ms. Culbert acknowledged that many people helped in the facilitation of the Health Fair.  Dr. Grossman asked about the cost to participants.  Ms. Culbert explained that the Health Fair was a free event offered to the residents of the Town of Newtown and surrounding communities.  Dr. Draper asked about the cost to exhibitors.  Ms. Culbert replied that the exhibitor’s pay a fee of $50.00 if they are a privately run business, and that non-profits are asked to make a donation of $10.00 per table to cover the cost of advertising.

Ms. Culbert explained that most of the preparation work for the fair is in-kind services, time and energy donated by the school janitorial staff and organizational committee members, as well as   local restaurants providing free lunch for the vendors.  Dr. Draper asked if there were cost overruns.  Ms. Culbert replied no, not this year.  
Newtown Health District
Board of Health Meeting Minutes
September 30, 2009
Page 2

Tick Borne Committee

Ms. Culbert explained that a new Tick Borne Committee for the Town of Newtown has been created and turned this agenda item over to Dr. Grossman.  

Dr. Grossman began by informing the Board members that he was the Chair Person for the newly formed Newtown Tick Borne Committee.  Dr. Grossman stated that Newtown’s First Selectman, Joe Borst, wanted to form a committee to make recommendations as far as tick borne diseases are concerned and how to lower the incidence of those diseases.  Dr. Grossman noted that the committee has begun their meetings on a weekly basis.  Dr. Grossman explained that there are twelve members on the committee and that they are beginning to meet with guest speakers, i.e., experts in the field, as to what they feel are the best recommendations to lower the incidence of tick borne diseases.  Dr. Grossman added that the topic of tick borne diseases is not without controversy.  Dr. Grossman further added that there are two sides – the one that sides with the elimination of animals, and the other side that doesn’t.  It was Dr. Grossman’s belief that while the two sides may never agree, there would be some sort of meeting of the minds.  Dr. Grossman stated that Kirby Stafford would be attending next weeks’ meeting, October 7th.  Dr. Grossman noted that Georgina Scholl is scheduled to speak at a meeting in the next several weeks and that other speakers are also being considered.    

Ms. Grasso asked if the public could attend the meetings.  Dr. Grossman replied that the meetings are opened to the public and held at the Newtown Library on Wednesdays evenings at 7:45 P.M.  Dr. Grossman stated that one of the agenda items was public participation, but limited to a very brief statement.  

Ms. Crick asked who was on the committee.  Dr. Grossman replied himself, Dr. Peter Licht, Maggie Shaw, Kim Harrison, Mary Gaudette Wilson, Dr. Michelle McCloud, Mark Alexander, Pat Boily, Kirk Blanchard, Neil K. Chaudhary, David Delia and George Miller.  Dr. Grossman explained that these are people who are interested in Lyme Disease and have a personal experience with it, as well as some are animal rights activists.  Dr. Grossman noted that the committee has had three meetings, with a fourth meeting scheduled for tonight, September 30.  Dr. Grossman stated that they are well attended by the committee with some public participation as well.  Dr. Grossman stated that the meetings have gone well and have begun with committee members agreeing on the agenda, the topics they wish to cover and the speakers they would like to invite.  Dr. Grossman also stated that there is a support committee that includes Dr. Draper, Donna Culbert, David Shugarts and several other people, depending on the discipline.

Newtown Health District
Board of Health Meeting Minutes
September 30, 2009
Page 3

Roxbury Picking and Fiddling

Ms. Culbert shared with the Board Members that the Town of Roxbury was the site of the Roxbury Picking and Fiddling event held the second weekend in July.  Ms. Culbert noted that this was a large event.  Bernie Meehan added that the Roxbury Market catered the event and worked with the Newtown Health District, Suzette LeBlanc, seamlessly.  

State of Connecticut – Public Health Implementer Bill

Ms. Culbert explained that late Thursday night, September 24th, 2009, the CT State Legislature passed the Implementer bill for the budget for public health funds.  Ms. Culbert stated that when the Board members met in June, the per capita funding amount was unknown; the figure had gone back and forth several times and was a hotly debated subject.  Ms. Culbert added that the amount of monies that were going to be disbursed to local public health were reduced and that it was a matter of how it would be shared amongst the Health Departments.  Ms. Culbert explained that what ultimately happened is the language in the bill changed and dictates that Health Districts meeting certain criteria would receive cuts anywhere in the amount of 11 to 15 percent. Ms. Culbert noted that one Health District is not being funded at all because they did not meet the criteria - to have at least 3 towns in their District and/or a population of 50,000.  The oldest, original health district is not funded.  Ms. Grasso asked who that was.  Ms. Culbert replied Weston/Westport.  

Ms. Culbert informed the Board that the State eliminated funding completely for full-time Health Departments with less than 50,000 residents served.  Ms. Culbert explained that this bill affects the members of the HVCEO group that the Newtown Health District does a lot of work with, i.e., Brookfield, Redding, Ridgefield, Bethel, New Fairfield, New Milford and Sherman.  Ms. Culbert stated that Danbury would still receive money because they meet the population requirement.  

Ms. Culbert shared with the Board members that she has been in contact with Pamela Kilby-Fox and the Commissioner of Public Health and has discussed with them her frustration with this new legislation.  Ms. Culbert stated that because of the reduced funding, the HVCEO area Health Directors have to figure out how to get on the same page because financially they are at a disadvantage.  Ms. Grasso asked where Chris Lyddy stood on this subject.  Ms. Culbert replied that Chris Lyddy supported this bill.  Ms. Culbert explained that she spoke at length with Mr. Lyddy and that when the language was first presented, Health Districts with less than 50,000 residents served would receive zero funding, there was no and/or language.  

Newtown Health District
Board of Health Meeting Minutes
September 30, 2009
Page 4

Ms. Culbert informed the Board that Mr. Lyddy stated to her that he was going to fight for whatever funding those Districts could get.  Mr. Lyddy further explained to Ms. Culbert that when he cast his vote he looked at what he thought was the best thing he could do for the residents of Newtown.  Mr. Lyddy added that he was pleased because he thought he was able to get a significant amount of money for Newtown Health District residents.      

Ms. Culbert explained that the District is taking an 11 percent cut or about $7,200.  Dr. Draper asked what the District received last year.  Ms. Culbert replied about $65,000, and that this year’s figure with the new language is $58,000.  Mr. Meehan asked if the Commissioner responded to her e-mail.  Ms. Culbert replied no, but Ms. Kilby-Fox did.   

Ms. Grasso asked why the State was pushing this agenda.  Ms. Culbert replied that it was their response to efficient delivery of public health services.  Ms. Culbert agreed that while there are benefits to regionalization, she preferred the working structure of the HVCEO organization whereby local health districts and departments maintain their own jurisdictions and look at public health issues collectively, sharing assets and personnel.  Ms. Culbert added that she did not want to discredit regionalization as a concept, but that it has to evolve and be tailored to meet the needs of the different areas of the state.  

Ms. Culbert noted that Governor Rell issued Executive Order 26 in the spring and created a council of select people to look at Public Health regionalization.  Ms. Culbert explained that this group will be meeting on Friday, October 2, and that she is considering going to at least listen and may be able to speak at it.  Ms. Culbert stated that she is part of an Ad Hoc Group for that council, but that the members of that group are not on the same page.

Ms. Culbert stated that while this legislation is a done deal, it will be an adjustment for area Health Districts and Department.  Dr. Grossman added that if enough of these Districts and Departments develop public health problems then the State is going to have to take notice and remedy that.  

Mr. Meehan asked how the area representatives for Roxbury and Bridgewater voted.  Ms. Culbert responded that representatives Cain and O’Neill voted no on this legislation.  

Newtown Health District
Board of Health Meeting Minutes
September 30, 2009
Page 5

H1N1 Power Point Presentation

Ms. Culbert explained to the Board members that she presented the following H1N1 Power Point presentation to the Mayors and First Selectmen of the HVCEO regional group two weeks ago.  

Ms. Culbert stated that the District is updated daily on H1N1 and H1N1 vaccine availability.
Ms. Culbert began the Power Point presentation.  

Ms. Culbert closed the presentation informing the Board members that she is updated daily on the H1N1 virus and vaccine availability and expecting an update this afternoon.  Ms. Culbert explained that the details concerning the H1N1 virus such as the amount and type of vaccine available, clinic settings and priority lists would be shared with the Board members when that information became available.  Ms. Culbert stated that when the vaccine is received, it would be limited to the priority groups at first.  

Dr. Grossman asked the Board members if there was any further business.  Having none, Mr. Meehan made a motion to adjourn.  Seconded by Audrey Grasso.  Motion approved.  Meeting adjourned.

Submitted by:

Maureen C. Schaedler            ?
Administrative Assistant