Pictured above, Board of Health Members and Health and Human Services Staff. Front: Dr. Roland Hewes; second row from left: Dr. Tariq Khan, Mark Tarbrake, Christine Schuyler, Dr. Lillian Ney, Dr. Elizabeth Kidder; and back row from left: Mark Stow, Dr. John Tallett, Dr. Tom Erlandson.
MAYVILLE, N.Y.:-- Chautauqua County is honored to recognize Roland Hewes, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) for his exemplary volunteer service on the Board of Health of the Chautauqua County Health District from August 9, 1968 to January 17, 2020. At the February 6, 2020 meeting of the Chautauqua County Board of Health, Dr. Hewes was recognized by fellow Board members and Department of Health and Human Services staff. He was also presented with a Chautauqua County Certificate of Appreciation signed by County Executive PJ Wendel.
“Dr. Hewes has always been an active and concerned member of the Board,” said Christine Schuyler, County Director of Health and Human Services. “His dedication to Public Health has contributed to significant advances in our Sanitary Code and positively impacted the overall health, safety and well-being of generations of Chautauqua County residents and visitors.”
Dr. Hewes graduated from Cornell University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1956 and after five years of private practice, he was appointed Western Regional Supervising Veterinarian by New York State in 1961. He was responsible for monitoring domestic animal populations for disease that could potentially impact human health. Dr. Hewes was embedded with the Environmental Health team of the Health Department in Mayville just three years after the County Health Department was created in 1965. He was consulted on numerous County and regional animal issues and his calm and professional demeanor made him a pleasure to work with.
“From the first day that I served with the Board in 1982, Dr. Hewes always represented the institutional memory and calm voice of reason for our deliberations,” said Robert Berke, M.D., former County Health Commissioner and current County Physician. “His service to this County is something to be recognized as truly remarkable.”
Over his 51 plus years on the Board, Dr. Hewes served in numerous leadership positions including twice as Board of Health President. He was instrumental in tackling many significant issues during his tenure. Of great significance is the work around Chautauqua Lake which started in the late 1970s when the Board of Health took bold steps in placing a moratorium on further development along the lake because of inadequate sewage treatment. This supported the creation of what is now the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District (SCCLSD). Several areas along the lake were either served by antiquated, inefficient sewer plants, as in Lakewood and Celoron, or failing on-site septic systems, as in Bemus Point and Greenhurst. In 1980, the highly efficient SCCLSD treatment plant was completed to serve these and other areas around the lake. When blue-green algae in the lake became an issue in the 2000s, the Board took steps to mandate minimum lot sizes for development and implemented mandatory septic inspection programs for dwellings within 250 feet of any lake in the County. Again, this bold step supported the SCCLSD West Side Sewer extension that will extend public sewers from Lakewood to Stow, scheduled for completion in 2023.
One of Dr. Hewes’ personal achievements was bringing free rabies animal vaccination clinics to every town in Chautauqua County. In addition, the Board of Health has taken on tough Public Health issues that have had impacts statewide. The Board was the driving force behind lobbying for and enforcement of the Chautauqua County’s 1988 Local Law that restricted smoking in restaurants and entities open to the public. Fifteen years later, New York State took action of its own with the adoption of the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2003. While this protected employees from secondhand smoke, it also presented new challenges, particularly from angry tavern owners. The Board took its enforcement responsibilities very seriously by levying significant penalties for non-compliance as well as establishing strict criteria for waivers and policies for smoking rooms that were separately ventilated. These policies included no waivers for new businesses and non-transferable waivers for existing businesses, which will eventually eliminate all smoking rooms. Chautauqua County was also one of the first counties in the state to include the regulation and inspection of tattooing and body piercing in its Sanitary Code and to implement Tobacco 21, blazing the trail for the state to pass similar measures to protect the public’s health.
“Dr. Hewes has given so much of himself and his time to public service, making Chautauqua County a better place to live, work, and play. Thank you Dr. Hewes!” added Schuyler.
For more information on the Chautauqua County Board of Health visit www.chqhhs.com