HALIFAX – Halifax Selectmen held a brief meeting Tuesday, Oct. 23, where they chose a police chief (see accompanying story), heard about challenges to the local and worldwide recycling industry and held a dog hearing.
Sue Johnston, the town’s recycling coordinator and Todd Koep, of the MassDEP, appeared before the board. According to both Town Administrator Charlie Seelig, and Koep, China has been the processor of about 40 percent of the recycled materials for the world for many years now.
About 12 years ago, according to Koep, the entire world was put on notice by China to clean up their recycling. Too many contaminants were making it through in bundles of recyclables. “It’s not that the Chinese aren’t accepting materials, it’s that they’re not accepting contaminated materials.”
In fact, he says, inspectors from China now inspect all loads here in the U.S. before they are shipped to China, rejecting contaminated loads.
In order to prevent this contamination, materials are being run through MRFs (or Material Recovery Facilities) such as the one in Avon that Halifax uses for its recycling program more than one time (sometimes two or three times), to reach the target of only 0.5 percent contamination.
“Halifax has one of the cleanest streams around,” said Koep. “But, most towns are running 20-40 percent contamination,” he added.
Costs are increasing in the short term, and are up to $72.50 per ton, said Johnston.
When the board asked what to do about the problem, Johnston said she simply didn’t know. “Raise the recycling fee?” she asked, tentatively.
Selectman Troy Garron noted that citizens have to dispose of their trash and recyclables properly.
Selectmen Chairman Kim Roy thanked both Johnston and Koep for the history and their time.
A dog hearing was held in the case of a 1-year-old Halifax puppy, owned by Erika Azuma, of Lake Street. The puppy jumped up on a Quincy woman after she attempted to pet him. Noreen Callahan, the Halifax Animal Control Officer, described the incident.
While the owner’s boyfriend was walking the puppy, a Quincy woman and her Halifax date were walking as well. The woman had her sunglasses knocked off when the puppy, apparently excited, jumped up at her while she attempted to pet him. Callahan noted no reports of a bite, injuries or a hospital visit.
The parties went their separate ways, said Azuma, until the Halifax date called the Town Clerk’s office, not wanting to file a complaint, but wanting “owner information” and threatening to sue, according to Callahan, who said he had left two “long-winded” messages.
Callahan, a warm but stern character, was unusually sympathetic to the owner and the puppy. Although she said the dog had “lunged at the victim,” she also noted that “puppies jump.”
“He’s a big puppy,” said Azuma, a veterinary technician, who attended the hearing with her mother. “And sometimes puppies are going to jump,” she added.
Roy, who historically has taken dog hearings very seriously, asked if the dog was in any kind of training program.
“Yes, since February,” Azuma replied.
This prompted Roy to make a motion to take no action regarding the incident, although Garron, himself an animal lover, interjected and made a motion that a standard letter reminding the owner to keep all vaccinations up-to-date and to ensure the dog is licensed be sent.
The motion passed unanimously.
Azuma and her mother thanked Callahan for her help and thanked the board for their decision.
In other BOS news:
• HOPS received permission to raze the playground at the Halifax Elementary School in mid-November so that they can get a head start on building the new playground when the winter is over. They are still short some money, said Jonathan Selig, of HOPS, and any donations are appreciated.
• Evergreen Beverage, doing business as Twin Lakes Liquors, has had their liquor license revocation hearing continued. They are behind on a tax payment plan, and are being given the chance to catch up by the board.
• The board will next meet Monday, Nov. 5, at 9 a.m. (Note the unusual time and date due to scheduling conflicts.)