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AUGUST in Town From the Desk of Town Manager Libby Gibson.

What's up in Town Administration?

As summer begins to possibly wind down, our current activities include:

Events

Christening of the USS Nantucket, United States Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 27)

On August 7, 2021, Harbor Master Sheila Lucey, Public Outreach Manager Florencia Rullo and I attended the mast-stepping, christening and launch ceremonies for the USS Nantucket – a United States Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 27), in Marinette, Wisconsin. I updated the Board as to the event on August 18th and we all were extremely proud and honored to accompany ship naming sponsor Polly Spencer as namesake community representatives at the events.

The next formal event involving the ship will be the Commissioning, following completion of ship construction and sea trials. That date is To Be Determined. Stay tuned!

Arthur Cooper Memorial

On Thursday, August 12, Nantucket residents gathered to pay tribute to the life of Arthur Cooper.

At the event, the Nantucket Historical Commission, the Nantucket Land Bank, and the Museum of African American History presented a memorial plaque, installed in the Land Bank’s Garden By The Sea park. The plaque is a gift of Angola Street resident Ms. Maureen Searle.

Arthur Cooper was an African American who freed himself from slavery, came to Nantucket in 1820, and lived on Angola Street. During his life on Nantucket, Arthur became a leader in the black community. In 1822, Arthur and his wife were pursued by a bounty hunter but were protected by the Nantucket anti-slavery community.

Personnel

We have a lot of personnel changes to report this month:

Retirements

Art Crowley: After 31 years with the Town, Assistant Health Director Artell Crowley is retiring. Thank you for all your years of dedication to the health of our community, Art!

Assistant Health Director Art Crowley (left), John Hedden, Health Inspector (middle); Cathy Flynn, Health Inspector (right).

Linda Rhodes: Linda is the ultimate IT professional – dedicated, patient, organized, knowledgeable and always there when needed. She brought many years of experience in private industry to the Town and used this knowledge to build an outstanding IT service department in the public sector. When I came to this department three years ago, I walked into a high performing and professional environment and Linda worked diligently to continue this legacy. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Linda over the years and she will be greatly missed by the team that she built. Of course, we do know where to find her – it is hard to hide on Nantucket! From Karen McGonigle and the entire IT Team. – IT Director Karen McGonigle.

Transfers

Cathy Flynn, transfer to Health from PLUS: Catherine (Cathy) Flynn has been employed with the Town of Nantucket since 2016 and has recently accepted a new position as Public Health Inspector for the Health & Human Services Department. Cathy joined the Town with a background in financial services. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health. During Cathy’s career with the PLUS Department she assisted patrons with HDC applications and building related applications and permits. We look forward to welcoming Cathy to the Health & Human Services Department. Thank you Cathy for your continued service to the Town.

Phyllis Ruguaru, transfer from Finance to DPW: Phyllis Ruguaru has been employed with the Town of Nantucket since 2019 and has recently accepted a new position as Office Manager for the DPW. Phyllis joined the Town with a background in contract administration and purchasing, and relocated to Nantucket from Minneapolis, MN. In 2019, Phyllis has achieved the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Officer credential. We look forward to welcoming Phyllis to the DPW. Thank you Phyllis for your continued service to the Town.

Maria Davis, resignation from NPD: Maria Davis has been employed with the Town of Nantucket since 2010. Maria was first hired are a part time employee in the Community Service Officer Program as a Court Assistant. In 2012 she transitioned to full time in the field of procurement and now completes her career with the Nantucket Police Department as the Administrative Specialist. Thank you Maria for your years of dedicated service to the Town. We wish you well.

Kadeem McCarthy, promotion within PLUS: Kadeem McCarthy has been employed with the Town of Nantucket since 2018. Kadeem currently holds the position of Administrative Specialist in the PLUS Department. At the end of August, Kadeem will be promoted to the position of Land Use Specialist within PLUS with a focus on HDC support. Thank you Kadeem for your dedicated service to the Town.

Shelby Campbell, promotion within WWC: With Shelby’s background in finance and her business education she is a tremendous asset to Wannacomet. She has been with Wannacomet for eighteen months and in that time has become a certified Massachusetts Public Purchasing Officer. We are excited for her promotion and future at Wannacomet. – Mark Willett, Water Department Director

Meanwhile, we are finalizing a proposed staffing program for Parks & Recreation for the FY 2023 budget, including a new director/coordinator position; additional seasonal staffing to monitor playing field use in “real time” and, associated equipment such as a vehicle. Despite a non-binding vote at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting to “re-establish a Parks and Recreation Department”, that vote did not have an accompanying appropriation to fund this proposed initiative.

Achievements

Public Heath Director Roberto Santamaria is now a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps!

From July 16 through July 30, Roberto attended the officers' basic course of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Roberto was commissioned as a Lieutenant JG in the very first class (ever) in the Uniformed Service Ready Reserve program and was the executive officer (XO) for the class (OBC 128/ RR 01). Roberto will continue to serve as a Ready Reserve officer with the requirement to deploy to areas of great public health concern, as needed.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is an elite team of more than 6,000 well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the nation's public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. Driven by a passion for public service, these men and women serve on the frontlines in the nation's fight against disease and poor health conditions. As one of America's seven uniformed services, the Commissioned Corps fills essential public health leadership and service roles within the nation's federal government agencies and programs.

Congratulations!

To Assistant Town Manager Rachel Day, who had a baby girl (Reese Simone) on August 14, 2021. We can’t wait to meet Reese very soon!

Affordable Housing Initiatives

Housing continues to be a pressing matter for the community. With the median home price now in excess of $2.3 million, and the real estate market on pace to set another record after last year’s $1.9 billion in transactions, it is not only a pressing issue yet an existential one when it comes to our year-round community. The erosion of our year-round community is occurring at a pace far more rapid than the erosion of our shores.

The Affordable Housing Trust (AHT) and the Town’s Housing Director, Tucker Holland, have been busy across multiple fronts during the course of the summer. Here are a few highlights:

  • A new one-year period of Safe Harbor under the state’s Chapter 40B regulations was achieved as of June 11th, and carries us to this date in 2022.
  • Acceleration of a portion within Richmond Development Group’s planned project along Old South Road, made possible by the AHT, is set to add an additional year of Safe Harbor this fall, carrying us to June 2023.
  • The AHT-funded project at 31 Fairgrounds Road in collaboration with Housing Nantucket and local developer, Billy Cassidy, has received Historic District Commission approval of 75% of the buildings to date, and approval of the final 25% is expected shortly. This project with 22 rental units dedicated exclusively to year-rounders is slated to be up and running in the next 12 months.
  • Habitat for Humanity working with the Housing Director, AHT, Housing Nantucket, the Housing Authority, and the Department of Housing and Community Development, achieved having their first three units eligible for inclusion on the Town’s Subsidized Housing Inventory. The three units, planned for Benjamin Drive, were material contributors to the current Safe Harbor period.
  • The 64-unit project at 6 Fairgrounds Road (“Ticcoma Green”) has received tax credit awards and other subsidy from the state in excess of $16 million. With the neighbor lawsuits now behind us, this project is set to move forward pending filling any financing gap brought on by the increased construction costs which have materialized during the three-year delay caused by the nuisance appeals.
  • Early planning for development at 135 + 137 Orange Street, where 24+ units could be developed under local zoning, and at Vesper Lane, where the AHT recently acquired property from the University of Massachusetts is underway. With the Vesper Lane property, the AHT is working closely with Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which owns adjacent property.
  • A field trip to the Vineyard in July involving representatives from the AHT, Nantucket Land Bank, Town Administration and others has brought energy and further focus to two important areas: 1) collaboration between our Land Bank and the island housing entities, as the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and MV housing entities have done on 14 occasions, and 2) the establishment of a Community Land Trust to create, in particular, more ownership opportunities for year-rounders at a variety of income levels, much as the Island Housing Trust has done on the Vineyard.

A lot of the work that has been done to date and is in the works presently focuses on creating quality, stable, affordable rental stock. The demand is there. There are 1,000 households that have applied to Richmond for the rental product Richmond is creating. And with respect to managing our Subsidized Housing Inventory (the state 10% requirement), the biggest bang for the buck comes from rental (as long as 25% or more is restricted at the 80% Area Median Income level or less, 100% of the units in the development count toward our 10% requirement). Now we also want to focus on providing opportunity to members of the year-round community to have a longer-term stake in the ground through ownership via the Land Trust model. This has worked successfully on Martha’s Vineyard and in number of other locations around the country. It is an important piece in solving the housing puzzle on Nantucket. Stay tuned for more information across all these efforts and more in upcoming e-newsletters.

To learn more, please contact Tucker Holland, Housing Director, at tholland@nantucket-ma.gov.

Visit to the Vineyard in July 2021 – with Island Housing Trust Executive Director Philippe Jordi and MV Bank President James Anthony.

COVID

Town of Nantucket COVID Vaccination Programs

The Town of Nantucket 1st Way Vaccination Clinic (School Admin Site) will continue its vaccination efforts throughout the month of September. Since last week, the Heath Department began administering the third dose to individuals that meet the criteria. If you think you meet the criteria or your clinician has referred you, these are the steps to follow:

  • Email Community Health Clinical Administrator Heather Francis at hafrancis@nantucket-ma.gov (please allow 24-48 hours for a response)
  • Schedule phone screening for eligibility
  • Schedule appointment for vaccination.

Do not come to the clinic; eligibility depends on immunocompromised status.

Other sites offering COVID vaccines on-island

  • Dan's Pharmacy: COVID vaccine wait-list open. Currently providing Moderna vaccine. Wait list available on the website, call in requests at (508) 825-9100.
  • Health Imperatives: Offering Johnson and Johnson. Call (508-228-9189) or visit www.healthimperatives.org/Nantucket to schedule an appointment.
COVID in Numbers

Every week, we report the total number of vaccinations administered on Nantucket (on Mondays), the results of COVID presence in Nantucket's Wastewater (on Thursdays), and the Testing Positivity Rate (reported daily). Visit COVID in Numbers for updated information.

Community Resiliency

Coastal Resilience

The Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee, together with Coastal Resilience Coordinator Vince Murphy and Public Outreach Coordinator Florencia Rullo, have created a new Public Comments page. Any comment, large or small, on any coastal resilience issue can be made through his page. The main function is to get comments to the committee. Other information such as name, email and location of interest are optional, meaning that comments can also be anonymous if people choose. The types of comments sought can be about the Coastal resilience plan, as it is developing or after it is delivered. Any locations or project in the plan that are of concern to the public can be submitted through this new tool. Comments on the committee actions or potential topics for committee discussion can also be submitted. Or just any Coastal Resilience Comment that you feel needs attention. Comments will go to committee members to review at the regular Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee meetings as appropriate. Committee meetings are typically the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 10 am on Zoom, where your comment may be addressed, and further actions explored.

Aerial view of the Brant Point Lighthouse and Hatchery

Culture & Tourism

  • The Nantucket Cultural District Work Group members continue to work on developing a new website and robust calendar for the District. The work includes developing and implementing a marketing initiative to get the word out about the District and its partners. We expect to launch the new site in 2022. The District’s social media presence is re-emerging. If you haven’t signed up for the District’s Instagram or Facebook pages, please do! We’re on Facebook and on Instagram.
  • The District submitted its application for renewal of the five-year designation as a Cultural District and we learned that the renewal was awarded by the governing board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council at its August 25th meeting!
  • The Information Aides at 25 Federal Street, the Straight Wharf Kiosk, and the Airport continue to greet visitors and provide maps, to suggest activities and to recommend restaurants. This has been a busy summer for the lodging industry. We’ve seen many nights and most weekends where every lodging establishment is full. And, the Cisco Brewery Van schedule continues to be one of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Programming at Children’s Beach has wrapped up for the summer. This year, visitors and residents could enjoy morning yoga, Saturday morning puppet shows, and Sunday afternoon concerts.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Actions

ACCORDING TO AMY: Month of August

According to Amy highlights the island’s past using Amy Jenness’s book, On This Day in Nantucket History. The goal of this project is to specifically highlight dates, events, individuals, etc. to share information on Nantucket’s diverse history in order to acknowledge lesser known accounts of the island’s past. Using Jenness’s book and accompanying research, According to Amy will recognize moments of the past that deserve recognition through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion.

August 1ST: Birthday of Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell was born on Nantucket on August 1, 1818. Mitchell displayed an interest in astronomy and a talent for mathematics at a young age. Her father, the prominent William Mitchell, also a talented astronomer, taught her himself.

In 1836, Maria Mitchell became the first librarian for the Nantucket Atheneum, and for the next twenty years, she pursued her interest in math and astronomy while employed there. Her discovery of a comet in 1846 was due in large part to her self-education. The discovery made her an instant celebrity, and the king of Denmark awarded her a medal… In 1862, she began teaching at Vassar College, where she taught until she retired at age seventy, and she died in 1889.

August 11TH: Frederick Douglass Speaks at Atheneum

Frederick Douglass

On August 11, 1841, Frederick Douglass spoke at the antislavery convention held in the Nantucket Atheneum’s Great Hall. “It was with the utmost difficulty that I would stand erect, or that I could command and articulate two words without hesitation and stammering,” he later wrote.

Leaders in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society invited him to join their cause, and within five years, Douglass had an international reputation as a powerful orator. He wrote three autobiographies, edited several newspapers, took a leading role in the women’s movement and served for over half a century as an untiring advocate for racial justice.

Douglass returned to Nantucket to lecture four more times: at antislavery conventions in 1842 and 1843, on the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 and in 1881 on his experiences in the abolitionist movement. On his final visit in 1885, he revealed with deep sentiment that he “had not come to ask a hearing, but to stand once more on the island of Nantucket.” Frederick Douglass died on February 20, 1895, at seventy-seven years old.

August 19TH: Birthday of Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant, an African American abolitionist, businesswoman and entrepreneur during the California gold rush, was born in 1814. Raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and educated on Nantucket, Pleasant met William Lloyd Garrison in Boston and joined the abolitionist movement.

By the 1860s, she was living in San Francisco, where she owned a restaurant and was an investor. She owned 920 Washington Street (in the heart of today’s Chinatown), the meeting place of some of the city’s most prominent politicians. She helped share early San Francisco and is thought to have covertly amassed a fortune close to $30 million. Mary Ellen Pleasant died in January 1904.

MEET NEET: “The People Who Make This Island Run”

Meet NEET is a pilot initiative by the Town of Nantucket’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Office. The Nantucket Employee Empowerment Team (NEET) was created to empower employees to recognize and utilize their skills, to provide exceptional customer service to the Nantucket community. The vision for this initiative is to recognize members of our community for their work. Meet NEET aims to share with the public general information about “the people who make this island run.”

GOAL: There are approximately 400 full and part-time individuals who work for the Town of Nantucket. The goal of Meet NEET is to identify and learn about the unsung heroes who work to keep their departments performing at optimal capacity. Another goal of this initiative is to acknowledge community members who volunteer on boards and committees for their contributions to civil service and Town operations.

INITIATIVE’S OBJECTIVES: The five initiative objectives are: (1) acknowledge Town employees and volunteers, (2) embrace workplace diversity, (3) build community comradery, (4) collect qualitative data on DEI, and (5) seek ideas for improvements in Town operations. These objectives were created to demonstrate how the participants’ input will be valued. The objectives will also be used to develop metrics, exemplify benchmarks reached, and/or used to create other avenues for engaging employees and the community.

PARTICIPANTS: Participation is completely voluntary. All participants will be selected and interviewed by the DEI Director. Participants will have an opportunity to review their write-up prior to publication in the Town Manger’s monthly electronic newsletter.

QUESTIONS: The questions proposed to participants will cover five areas: (1) living on Nantucket, (2) employment/volunteering experiences, (3) DEI hopes, (4) favorite recreational activities, and (5) food for thought. The questions will vary depending on the participant’s role and responsibilities. Generally, the questions aim to unearth information about the individuals, their work, and life on Nantucket, which their colleagues and neighbors may not know but find useful and get to know them better.

DURATION: This is a pilot project for September 2021 to December 2021 only. Four individuals will be interviewed during the initiative’s duration, with one person’s story acknowledged per month in the DEI section of the Town Manager’s newsletter. This initiative may continue depending on community feedback or on the recommendation of Town leadership.

Energy Office News

August Energy Efficiency Events a Success!

No-Cost Appliance Recycling: The Town’s Energy Office, in partnership with National Grid, hosted an appliance recycling event on August 7th, which collected over 30 old, inefficient dehumidifiers and refrigerators for off-island recycling. By recycling inefficient appliances and replacing outdated models with ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, you’ll reduce your energy consumption and receive Mass Save rebates up to $125. But that’s just the beginning. When you safely recycle your appliances, you also:

To learn more about how to recycle your outdated appliances at a future Nantucket event, including a free pick-up of old refrigerators and dehumidifiers at your home, please visit: ngrid.com/nantucket or call 1-877-889-4761.

Small Business Energy Assessments: On August 16-18, Complete Energy Solutions, National Grid’s lead energy efficiency provider for small businesses, traveled to Nantucket to conduct free energy assessments for the island’s small business community. Over three days, they completed 70 business assessments, identifying over 536,935 kWh, or $63,035, in potential savings through energy efficiency upgrades for lighting, HVAC, weatherization, and refrigeration. Businesses that were audited and qualified through the program, are eligible for a limited-time incentive up to 100% from National Grid on select efficiency solutions.

Are you a small business interested in receiving a no-cost Mass Save energy assessment? Please call 1-833-237-2677, or click here to schedule.

The Town of Nantucket’s Energy Office is a proud partner of the Mass Save program on Nantucket. For questions regarding how to save energy in your home or business, please contact: Lauren Sinatra, Energy Coordinator at LSinatra@nantucket-ma.gov.

PFAS

On Tuesday August 17, 2021, the Town hosted an online listening session to discuss, gather public input, and listen to concerns about PFAS chemicals and contamination on the island.

The listening session included updates project and information about current and planned actions to address PFAS on Nantucket. The PFAS internal team gathered the questions received during this meeting and is working on responding to them.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in products such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam.

Sewer Department Projects

Surfside Road Sewer Improvements Project

Work within the roadways is scheduled to resume September 13, 2021. The contractor is planning to begin with installation of the 8-inch force main from the new pump station (53 Surfside Rd. – Assessor’s Map 67, Parcel 218.1) to Miacomet Ave, followed by completing the gravity sewer main installations between First Way and Vesper Lane and 250 feet of gravity sewer in Bartlett Road to the west of the intersection with Surfside Road.

Prior to the summer hiatus, the contractor installed gravity sewers in Surfside Road from Miacomet Ave to First Way – approximately two-thirds of all new sewers to be constructed in Surfside Road and Bartlett Road under this project. During the summer road work hiatus, the contractor has been working on constructing the new sewer pump station at #53 Surfside Road. Final connections and surface restoration are scheduled for the spring of 2022 once the new pump station is in operation.

Due to heavy traffic in the corridor and a return to full time in-person learning at the public school campus the Select Board approved a waiver of the noise ordinance bylaw to allow construction within the roadways to be done in the evening hours. For the safety of the crew and public full road closures are in effect during roadway work, which is scheduled to take place Mondays through Thursdays from 4pm – 2am. Local businesses will remain open and accessible during evening construction hours. Police detail officers are on site to assist with access to local homes and businesses. The contractor will be installing temporary trench pavement every Friday (weather permitting) between 9am – 2pm (single lane closure only) to avoid school drop-off and pickup times.

The public is urged to visit the project webpage for more information, including weekly schedule updates, crew location, road closures, and detour plans for Phases 1-3 throughout the duration of this project. The Sewer Department can also be reached at (508) 228-7200 x7800 with any questions.

Sea Street Pump Station Sewer Force Main No. 3

The Town is implementing a sewer project that includes the installation of a new sewer force main that will connect the Sea Street Pump Station (SSPS) to the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility (SSWWTF). For more information, visit the webpage dedicated to this project.

Our Island Home backyard

Our Island Home

On August 13, two Our Island Home staff members tested positive for COVID. We are happy to report that as of today, Tuesday, August 31 no one else has tested positive and we are slowly opening back up to family members and visitors, vendors, and volunteers.

Saltmarsh Senior Center News

Mask are required at all times inside the facility. All morning fitness classes are being zoomed. All afternoon activities are in person at the Saltmarsh. Call 508-228-4490 with questions.

Thank you for reading the Town of Nantucket Monthly e-News. We hope you enjoyed it!
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Public Outreach Manager Florencia Rullo
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