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Around Southampton: Sharps disposal program up and running

  • The quilt doanted by Norris School students depicts Southampton landmarks, including Canal Bowling Lanes, Sheldon's Ice Cream, Center Cemetery and Conant Park. Photo courtesy of Robert Floyd.
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Southampton residents with syringes, needles and other sharp medical items can now dispose of them for free at the Board of Health office at Town Hall.

Health Agent Adam Kinney said the program, which cost the town about $500 to get up and running, has long been a goal of the Board of Health. It allows residents to comply with a state law that went into effect July 1 that bans the disposal of sharps like needles in household trash and landfills.

“A lot of people don’t know where to get rid of them,” Kinney said. “It’s not as simple as taking the trash to the disposal site.”

The program started in the beginning of March. Residents can bring in their sharps — only in official sharps disposal containers — and put them in the sharps disposal box in the health office. A resident can also get new sharps disposal containers for free at the office with some form of identification that proves he or she lives in Southampton, he said.

When the box in the health office is full, a Houston company called Sharps Compliance Inc. will come pick it up and the needles and syringes will be used as fuel for electric plants, he said.

The box will be available for residents when the health office is open Mondays through Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kinney said.

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Administrator search

A committee tasked with assisting in the search for the town’s next head administrator is working to narrow down the pool of 19 applicants to recommend fewer candidates to the Select Board.

The committee was originally directed only to remove ineligible applicants from the pool, but Select Board and screening committee member Edward J. Cauley said that only brought the number of candidates down to 17. The Select Board directed screening committee Chairman John Martin at its March 26 meeting to reduce the field more.

“Right now we’re working on getting it down to around 10,” Cauley said. “My feeling is we should reduce it down even further, to four or five. I think it will be time-consuming for the board to deal with all these candidates and it will just prolong this further.”

The town administrator position has been vacant since August 2011, when the town’s first administrator, Diana Schindler, left to take a different job. Her assistant, Regina Shea-Sullivan, has been serving as interim administrator since.

Cauley said that the Select Board voted to reduce the educational requirements so candidates without a college education could apply, but nearly all of the candidates are highly educated.

“We’re looking at finding the preferred candidates now and finding out the accuracy of their applications,” he said.

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Town quilt

A new quilt hanging in Town Hall features colorful images of Southampton landmarks, but the decision about which places made the cut and how they were depicted was up to a group of second-graders.

The William E. Norris School class picked the locations, drew pictures to represent them and helped piece together the quilt last spring. After hanging it in the school for the last seven months, the students — now in third grade — decided to donate it to the town.

Six of the students presented the quilt they made to the Select Board at its March 26 meeting, along with their former teacher, Cynthia Diemand, and Anne Vaillant, a mother of one of the students who volunteered her quilting skills for the project. She recreated the students’ pictures on the quilt squares, which the students then sewed together.

“There’s kind of a class tradition of making quilts and donating them to hospitals,” Vaillant said of Diemand’s classes. “But then they got interested in making a story quilt, and decided as a group to do a story or map of town.”

She said her daughter, Suzannah Buehler, now 9, came up with the idea after learning about how slaves created maps on quilts to guide escaped slaves to safe houses on their way north in the 19th century.

Among the places depicted on the quilt are the Canal Bowling Lanes, Sheldon’s Ice Cream, Center Cemetery and Conant Park. “It was really fun to see how they wanted to represent them, some of them were really abstract,” Vaillant said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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