EAST LONGMEADOW – At its Oct. 14 meeting, the Board of Selectmen approved the town’s status as a Purple Heart
Community and appointed Selectman William Gorman as the board’s vehicle liaison.Veterans Service Agent John Comerford
said a Purple Heart town designation does not cost the town any money and it is used to honor military personnel who received the medal. Purple Heart Day is held annually across the nation on Aug. 7.
In order for a municipality to become a Purple Heart Community, at least one person is required to have received the medal within a town or city, he explained.
“I go to the senior center every Tuesday and there’s at least one Purple Heart license plate,” Comerford noted. “I have no idea who that belongs to but I wish I did because I’d like to shake his hand.”
There are more than 750 communities throughout the country that recognize Purple Heart medal recipients, he added. Local communities include Longmeadow, Northampton, Holyoke, Ware, Chicopee, Granby, and Ludlow.
Gorman was also appointed vehicle liaison, the duties for which include reviewing surplus municipal vehicles to repurpose them before they are potentially sold at auction.
“I know there’s one vehicle; we needed a vehicle and a couple of them broke down here and we had no vehicles,” Gorman explained. “They already auctioned the vehicle off so that left one of these people that needed it without a car.”
In other business, the board discussed a community innovation grant that funds the salary of shared public health nurse Angela Kramer
. The grant was approved last year and this year but will not be available for a third year because the shared grant will no longer be offered. This year’s grant expires March 31, 2015.
Kramer is a public health nurse for Brimfield, Blandford, Ludlow, Granville, Hampden, and East Longmeadow. Also, when needed she is a health nurse for Monson, Tolland, Montgomery, according to minutes from a Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
meeting on Sept. 9.
Town Administrator Nick Breault said the next step involves a determination by the municipalities as to whether Kramer should continue her work as shared public health nurse. If approved, the municipalities would discuss funding for the position.
“The figure given before, $111,000, that incorporated an expansion of the grant, which included hiring people to conduct the community health assessment survey,” he added. “And another project that was for a community health educator.” Kathleen Conley Norbut
, community health educator, left the position and there is currently about $13,000 that could be appropriated to pay for Kramer’s services, Breault explained. The amount could potentially pay for two to three months of Kramer’s wages.
The community health assessment survey consists of approximately 38 questions and is vital for the town receiving funding to control the spread of diseases such as rabies, Gorman said.
“Each town is sending in their own survey; they’re all alike but being sent from each town so we know exactly what we need in our own town here,” he added.
Also, the board discussed recent updates regarding the potential creation of a Hampden County regional dispatch center. The State 911 Department awarded a total of $100,000 in August to the police departments of East Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Hampden, Longmeadow, and Ludlow.
“Everybody wants it in their town so it’s not as simple as [it seems],” Board of Selectmen Chair Paul Federici said.
A request for proposals (RFP) has been sent out for a state certified consultant and during the week of Oct. 5 there was a meeting in Longmeadow, featuring a conference of vendors for the RFP, Breault explained.
“As a result of that meeting, the timelines had to be pushed back a bit,” he added. “And what will happen next is a date will be set for a meeting where all of the people who submitted an RFP will make presentations to all of the towns all at the same time.”
That same day, the communities will likely vote on who will be chosen as the state certified consultant, Breault said.