Human Remains - June 1, 2017

5th Edition

June 1, 2017

 

This is a grave topic (intentional pun) intentionally timed for Memorial Day, with all due respect, to relate burial grounds, veterans, and public health. I hope you find it interesting.

By now, most of the veteran gravesites have been flagged. It was a cold rainy season to fulfill this annual obligation. The charge to this office is done mostly by volunteers every year at this time, as it is done collectively across our nation of cities and towns. The tradition in Danvers glues our heritage to our youth. For example, prominent Revolutionary War Patriot Samuel Holten rests in peace with his extended family less than a mile from Town Hall; A small American Flag was placed at his gravesite earlier this week by one of the many Danvers Girl Scouts who do incredible volunteer work on this laborious project. Judge Holten can be viewed in the foyer of Town Hall as he leaves for the Continental Congress, of which he would preside.

Not two miles from the Holten Cemetery lies the Endicott-Russell burial grounds where decedents of prominent colonial Governor John Endicott are buried. Many corpses in that graveyard were Revolutionary War veterans and are identified with a small American flag as well.

These are but two of an estimated 2,392 veterans buried in 17 private and abandoned cemeteries across Town plus one cluster of Jewish Cemeteries located off Buxton Road. And this office tries to locate and show respect by placing an American flag upon their resting site before Memorial Day. The volunteers do it because of their deep devotion and curiosity. While I also hold these men and women in deep regard, it is the Law of the Commonwealth that requires me to fulfill my obligation. For example, when a veteran is buried, a certified copy of the veteran’s burial permit shall be maintained by the veterans' graves officer, appointed under section 9 of Chapter 115. This Massachusetts General Law also requires cities and towns to maintain veterans’ graves and to have a flag placed on all veterans’ graves for Memorial Day. This law was passed in 1861, around the beginning of the Civil War.

About this same time, the germ theory of disease was being developed by Louis Pasteur. The disease control ramifications of this development caused Massachusetts to also pass general laws in the 1800’s to protect the public health from improper disposal of human remains. Chapter 114 of those Massachusetts General Laws requires local boards of health to license funeral directors, approve the location of cemeteries and issue burial permits. (In 2015, with the development of the electronic burial permit system maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Danvers determined that it was more efficient to simply allow the Town Clerk to issue burial permits.)

So, May concludes with my consciousness raised for the sake of honoring veterans and, what is typically overlooked in our journey through life, public health reasoning behind the proper disposal of human remains. How lucky am I to have a career with such a diverse scope of interest regardless of the season?

I Want You! - May 23, 2017

4th Edition

May 23, 2017

 

From a Letter to the Editor authored by Peter Mirandi published in the Salem News,  May 23, 2017.

The famous poster stating, “I Want You”, is perhaps the most successful marketing tool in American history. A war machine was recruited time and again with a request from Uncle Sam, in his stars and stripes top hat.

This is a patriotic appeal too. An appeal to answer the call of our civic duty. It targets children and adults of all ages; it matters not if you are male or female or if your abilities are limited. You need only the patriotic means to assist your Town, City or neighborhood in preparing to remember the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Next week volunteers of every stripe will help decorate gravesites of veterans.

Then comes Memorial Day and it is now that I ask you to conjure the image of Uncle Sam. This appeal is for civilian veterans to rise to the occasion and march like we did in boot camp or on drill fields, decks, or in battle. We must again answer the call. Spectators are always moved by the site of the men and women who served to protect our way of life. Perhaps now, as much as ever, Uncle Sam calls, “I Want You” to keep the local spirit stirred.

I urge you, regardless of your military experience, to seriously consider that our duty carries on. Please answer the civic call to march on Memorial Day and for that, a grateful community thanks you.

Peter M. Mirandi

Veterans Service Officer

Danvers, MA

What do I know? May 5, 2017

This premier newsletter is an attempt to establish clear parameters, and ultimately many facts, around the scope of services provided by the Division of Health and Veterans Services. The Danvers Homepage, which held its kickoff in April 2017, dares visitors to “Ask Us Anything” and my gut is telling me that I need to prepare a response to residents intending to ask us anything by the means of a search engine.

So, let’s start with a few notes on what I know about teams. Scholars have studied teams and synergy (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) and I know that outcomes improve with the employment of a well-functioning team of dedicated employees. I also know that Danvers is fortunate to have a well-functioning team of dedicated employees. Finally, I will share everything I know about our intentions, our skill sets, and our contact information.  It is our intention to build your trust through a worthy website for you to “Ask Us Anything”!

Mark Carleo is our environmental public health inspector. He is a Registered Sanitarian with a BS and is a full-time employee right here in Town Hall but spends much of his time in the field. His broad scope of work is defined under Massachusetts General Law. You may count on a report specific to some of those tasks in the future but for now, it is most important to know that he is a critical team member authorized to act on behalf of the Danvers Board of Health. Assisting Mark with his many inspections, complaint investigations, and permitting functions is our part-time sanitarian, Melanie Dineen.

Judith Ryan is our public health nurse. She is a Registered Nurse with an advanced nursing education, having earned her BSN, and is a full-time employee working directly out of the Danvers Senior & Social Center. Judith spends part of her day performing routine duties with the Supportive Day Care Program. She is also directly responsible for managing reportable diseases, representing the Danvers Board of Health in prevention and public health preparedness programs, and performing other associated duties required of her throughout the day. Examples of these programs and duties will be shared from this site soon with a recap of the 2016/2017 influenza season immediately forthcoming. I promise.

Jean Marcotti is our animal care specialist and inspector of animals. She has received specialized training and has an AS degree specific to animal care. Jean works on a part-time basis mostly from her home and in the field but she receives calls 24/7 from this office or directly from the Danvers Police Department. Jean also manages Strays-in-Need and plays a role in the management of our Canada Geese population, our doggie day care facilities and our barns too. But primarily, Jean is involved to some extent with any trouble caused by the 1,521 dogs licensed in Town as of today. As is the case with the other elements of our Public Health programs, you may count on more specific details in future newsletters.

Lisa Westrate is our social outreach worker with specialization in veterans’ services, especially those benefits described in Chapter 115 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Lisa is a full-time employee also working directly out of the Danvers Senior & Social Center. Lisa holds a BA degree and is a SHINE Counselor. She is extremely well-versed in outreach programs to veterans but routinely assists in the management of services offered to seniors as well. She has been instrumental in the development of our veterans’ affairs services to the point where Leanne Puleo had to be recruited and employed on a part-time basis to assist her.

I know that every team member described above has a sincere cause to help our community and a belief that they can make a positive difference in the lives of our residents, especially our resident veterans.

I know that this team is provided with training opportunities and other tools necessary to do the job.

I know that President Woodrow Wilson is credited with the quote, “We should not only use the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.” And, I know we will dedicate our collective brains to help you navigate the Danvers Website – a website that dares you to “Ask Us Anything”.

Now comes the most important question: Do you want to know more?

Visit us and Ask Us Anything.

-Peter M. Mirandi 

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