MV Agricultural Society’s 2022 calendar approved

Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society’s 2022 calendar was unanimously approved by the West Tisbury Board on Wednesday, February 2, albeit reluctantly by Board Chairman Skipper Manter.

The Agricultural Society presented a long list of events they have planned for 2022, such as weddings, artisan fairs and other activities. West Tisbury Town Administrator Jeniffer Rand said a review committee, consisting of herself, the West Tisbury Conservation Committee, the building inspector and the Vineyard Conservation Society , reviewed the list and approved it for presentation to the Board. Rand said the list was similar to previous years.

Manter was not in favor of the number of events planned by the Agricultural Society.

“Looking at this list…it looks like an awful lot of occurrences on a residential property,” Manter said. “I don’t believe I’ve voted for any of those endorsements yet.”

In previous years, Manter made his objections known and abstained from voting. But with a two-member board following the death of board member Kent Healy, Manter had to make a choice.

West Tisbury board member Cynthia Mitchell offered to endorse the list as it is “substantially the same as the previous year”.

Rand said that “a year or two ago” when the city attorney was present, Manter said he wouldn’t raise this issue again. Mitchell pointed out that now that it’s just her and Manter on the board, they face “a practical problem.” Manter said he didn’t want to “compromise his beliefs”, although he would accept it by not voting.

Lauren Lynch, the new executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, said the list hasn’t changed and is basically the same as last year.

“What happens now? Mitchell asked.

“Let me think for a minute,” Manter replied.

After some back and forth, Manter decided to second the motion to approve the list of events.

“Put my personal opinion aside, seek the best of the city and the agricultural society – Just once…I will vote yes,” Manter said.

In other news, the board unanimously approved Ann Rosenkranz’s request for a non-binding ballot question. Rosenkranz collected 10 signatures for the ballot question asking Holtec International, owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, decommissioned in 2019, not to dump nuclear waste in Cape Cod Bay. Massachusetts federal leaders — Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, as well as U.S. Representative Bill Keating — also voiced their opposition to Holtec’s dumping of nuclear sewage into the bay in a letter they wrote in January.

“In evaluating the appropriate method of disposal, Holtec must consider public concerns regarding and perception of the release of irradiated material on Cape Cod, particularly when viable alternatives are available,” the letter states.

Rosenkranz said she attended two meetings on the issue. “Everyone at both meetings was very adamant that Holtec not dump this water. Tritium cannot be filtered, it bioaccumulates, it will affect bottom feeders, shellfish beds… around Duxbury and [Plymouth], the 60 right whales that are found in the area,” Rosenkranz said. “I’ll say one thing. Holtec assured us that they wouldn’t dump any of this water. It’s actually 100 million gallons, in Cape Cod Bay in 2022.”

Rosenkranz mentioned alternative methods Holtec could use to dispose of nuclear waste, such as trucking it to safer sites or evaporating the water (although that’s not ideal due to rainfall). Additionally, she said that because the water cooled the nuclear plant’s fuel rods, other unknown chemicals may be in the wastewater, such as cesium.

“I don’t see why anyone would vote against deciding not to dump this water,” Rosenkranz said. “It’s the fastest and cheapest way for Holtec to get rid of that water, and let’s not do it.”

The board agreed that this was a public issue and that it should move forward. Rosenkranz said she was working to gain approval from other towns on the island.

Council unanimously approved the creation of an exploratory committee on the implementation of municipal broadband for the city. Three volunteers are needed for this committee.

Amalia H. Mercado