|By Levon Kinney|
WILBRAHAM With a new year come new proposals for regulating the sale of tobacco to minors. Sarah McClogan, the tobacco agent for Wilbraham and 11 other towns brought a proposal based on the action of surrounding communities to the Board of Selectmen at the Jan. 8, meeting.
According to McClogan the town's current regulations have been in place since 2001.
"State statistics show that suspension of permits for sale of tobacco really have an effect on business owners," McClogan said.
Fines and suspensions under the current laws are as follows. The first infraction of a tobacco sale from a store to a minor calls for a warning. The second and third sales infractions warrant a $200 fine and a suspension of seven days for the second and 30 days for the third.
The new proposal would boost the first infraction to a $100 fine, the second infraction will stay at a $200 fine but includes a tobacco violation hearing and may involve a suspension for seven days, and the third violation would be a $200 fine and a definite suspension for 30 days. If there were a fourth and fifth violation a 120-day suspension and a one-year suspension would follow.
"Are any retraining stipulations for violators in the proposal?" Selectman Patrick Brady asked.
"No," McClogan replied. "There are very few towns if any that may have that stipulation."
McClogan said there were mostly wording changes and that if each town makes these changes than it will be easier for chain stores to train their employees.
After reviewing the proposal the Selectmen decided to wait and make a motion next week after further review.
Two men were interviewed for positions on the town's technology committee. Paul Malandrinos and Allan Campbell who both happen to work at Mass Mutual met with the board.
Malandrinos is a graduate Magna Cum Laude from American International College and has lived in Wilbraham for six years.
"I have been thinking about how to get involved in my town," Malandrinos explained. "I have systems experience including six years maintaining mainframes, and eight years deploying servers."
"Your background seems well suited for the experience needed on the committee," Selectman James Thompson commented.
Campbell was second to be interviewed. A graduate of UMASS, he has been working for Mass Mutual for several years as a senior technology architect.
"What exactly is a Senior Technology Architect?" asked Thompson.
"I investigate what technologies to invest in and what technology should be used by the company," Campbell replied.
"This is an ad-hoc committee," Brady explained. "The group will take a look at what this and other towns are doing with technology."
Campbell asked if there were any specific issues that the committee should look for.
Town Administrator William Fogarty said that right now the town is switching over to a new server with new email and financial software. One of the things to look at is what technology should the town be investing in.
The Selectmen appointed both Campbell and Malandrinos to the committee.
The Wilbraham Police Department has been authorized to hire a new police officer with the retirement of Officer Dennis Laplante.
A proposed Annual Report would highlight the agricultural history of Wilbraham.
"I think this is a great idea," Chairman David Barry said. "Anybody who is just going through the town may not know the history that agriculture has played in the development of the community."
A Materials Recycling Facility grant was approved by the board, which will go towards two picnic tables at the Spec Pond facilities and promoting the town's recycling facilities.
The Jan. 8 meeting was Fogarty's last official Board of Selectmen meeting. A small ceremony was held after the meeting where Fogarty received a plaque for his 15 years of service to the town.
"We haven't always agreed," Thompson joked. "But I value the 10 years we have worked together."