Nantucket Current, June 23, 2021



View in browser    |   Wednesday June 23, 2021

B y  J a s o n   G r a z i a d e i

Photo by Kit Noble

GOOD MORNING NANTUCKET: Seward Johnson’s sculpture of Mr. Rogers was unveiled last night in the Harborview Gallery at The Dreamland. It was one of Johnson’s final works before his death at age 89 in March 2020. The late Fred Rogers, of course, was the beloved creator and host of the famed children’s television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He owned a home on Nantucket at Smith’s Point and was a well-known summer resident of the island. In the photo above, Rogers’ longtime friend and island photographer Beverly Hall sits with Rogers’ son, John Rogers, and Michelle Keeler, who spearheaded the concept, is next to the sculpture. It will be moved to the Dreamland’s lobby this weekend where it can be viewed by the public, and the theater is submitting an application to the Historic District Commission for permission to move it out in front of the Dreamland for nine months of the year. 

Town Considers Purchase of
Downtown Tank Farm

Photo by Kit Noble,

The town is exploring the possibility of acquiring the downtown fuel tank farm property from Winthrop Nantucket Nominee Trust. The parcel is just one-third of an acre, consisting of the aging fuel tanks previously operated by Harbor Fuel before it moved its operations out of town, but it is a key property for the potential redevelopment of the waterfront area known as Harbor Place. “There are exploratory discussions as to possible acquisitions of that property by the town and/or other parties for public use,” Town Manager Libby Gibson told the Current yesterday. Those discussions have happened behind closed doors in executive session, Gibson said, due to the sensitive nature of the topic. The tank farm property is the last vestige of Winthrop’s once sprawling portfolio of downtown island real estate, which it acquired from the late Walter Beinecke’s Sherburne Associates in 1986.


Steamship Did Not Pay Ransom

Photo by Cary Hazlegrove,

In the aftermath of the still unsolved ransomware cyber attack on the Steamship Authority that hijacked its computers and crippled its reservation system earlier this month, there have been few details about the state of the investigation by the FBI. But during yesterday’s Steamship Authority Board of Governor’s meeting, some new information emerged, including general manager Robert Davis emphatically denying that the Steamship ever paid a ransom to the hackers. “Although that investigation is ongoing, we do want our customers and the public to know that the Steamship Authority did not pay a ransom or engage with the cybercriminals,” Davis said, referring all other inquires about the investigation to the FBI. Davis added that the Steamship has implemented new safeguards to protect its computer infrastructure from future attacks. 

Parking, Access Issues Reported
At Some Island Beaches

Town officials received multiple complaints over the weekend regarding parking and access at some island beaches, including 40th Pole, Eel Point, and Pocomo. There were so many vehicles at 40th Pole that police turned some people away, leading to angry exchanges. “There was nowhere for them to go,” town manager Libby Gibson said. The number of vehicles parked on both sides of the road leading to Pocomo Point made it difficult for an ambulance to get there during a medical emergency over the weekend. While nesting shorebirds and erosion have limited some vehicle access on the south and north shores, the sheer number of people seeking to go to some beaches will likely be a problem all summer long, Gibson said. “There’s so much demand for specific beaches that really can only handle a certain amount of people and cars,” she said. “If you go to beach and the parking lot is completely full, you probably have to find another beach.”

Land Bank Exploring
Bridge Over Miacomet Pond

Photo by Greg Hinson,

The Nantucket Land Bank is exploring the feasibility of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Miacomet Pond to connect its properties and trails on either side. The Land Bank Commission discussed the proposal at its meeting yesterday and is supportive of the concept. The organization’s new executive director Jesse Bell said a preliminary design has been produced, but the next step will be outreach to neighbors. 

Fire Dept. Details New
Advanced Life Support

Photo by Kit Noble

As the Nantucket Fire Department prepares to launch its new advanced life support capabilities on Monday, June 28, Chief Steve Murphy shared new details this week on the rollout. Advanced life support will only be offered when a paramedic is on duty, and during the first few months post-launch, NFD will have paramedics from Yarmouth and Hyannis working alongside members of the island department to ease the transition. The new capabilities mean Nantucket Fire Department members will be able to provide a higher level of care to patients in the field before they reach Nantucket Cottage Hospital, resulting in better outcomes in a range of scenarios, including cardiac events. “In many ways, the paramedic can bring the services delivered in the first minutes of an emergency room to a person’s home,” Murphy said. That includes treatments and interventions like starting an IV, providing medications for cardiac issues or pain management, securing a person’s airway with a breathing tube, and using electrical therapy for unstable heart rhythms. The upgrade to advanced life support is the culmination of several years of planning and training by members of the department. Nantucket is currently the only region of the state operating without advanced life support services. 

State Celebrates Vax Milestone

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced yesterday that the state had hit its goal of fully vaccinating 4.1 million residents. “This is thanks to the hard work of health care workers and vaccine clinic volunteers, and to the people of Massachusetts for getting vaccinated,” Baker said. The state is still working to go even further by incentivizing residents with the new “Massachusetts VaxMillions Giveaway.” On Nantucket, the town is currently offering two COVID-19 vaccination programs, including a walk-in clinic at the school administration building on First Way on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 2 pm. No appointments or identification required. 

Toxic Algal Bloom at Gibbs Pond
Confirmed By Lab

The Nantucket Land Council has confirmed through laboratory analysis the presence of toxic microcystin at Gibbs Pond in the middle moors in levels that far exceed EPA limits. “We advise all people and pets to stay away from Gibbs pond until future analysis confirms the bloom has subsided,” the Land Council stated. Harmful algal blooms have been detected early this year at Gibbs and Miacomet ponds. The latest issue of N Magazine explored this phenomenon as well as some new strategies being implemented by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation to fight the toxic algal blooms. 

Today has a better-feeling air mass but a few clouds linger from the exiting cool front. We’ll have NW winds at 10 to 20 mph. Tomorrow features some clouds but generally sunny. ESE winds at 10 to 15 mph. For today:

  • High temp: 71º 
  • Low temp: 59º
  • High tide: 11:40 a.m.
  • Low tide: 5:04 p.m.
  • Sunset: 8:19 p.m.

Captain Blair Perkins is an avid weatherman who has spent his life on the waterfront as a commercial fisherman, boat captain, naturalist, and surfer. His family business, Shearwater Excursions, offers oyster tours, cocktail cruises, eco tours, whale watches, kid’s fishing trips and more. Look for Blair’s weather updates in each issue of Nantucket Current. 

This gracious, shingle style home was built in 1900, totally renovated by the present owner in 1998 and has been meticulously maintained. Multi leveled decks provide private outdoor enjoyment on over one half acre of land. Water views a short walk to beaches and town.


– BURIED TREASURE?: Visiting the island with her family for the Nantucket Film Festival, Alicia Kempin was strolling at Jetties Beach yesterday morning when something caught her eye. At first she thought it was merely a piece of drift wood. “We started to uncover it and it just kept going,” Kempin said. After more digging, a large 35-foot piece of timber with square iron nails was revealed, one that Kempin believes could be part of an old shipwreck. By midday, dozens of people had arrived at the beach to help dig and take selfies with the timber. Even Harbormaster Sheila Lucey stopped by to investigate, but she’s not convinced. “That thing is probably a piece of an old dock, it’s nothing too interesting,” Lucey said. “It’s been buried for a really long time, and I wish they would let it be. Now everyone’s down at Jetties digging.”

Lucey warned of the dangers of digging too deeply at the beach and mentioned several rescues her department has had to conduct when sand collapsed on people. “There’s not treasure,” she added. “It’s not a pirate ship. Stop digging.” Evan Schwanfelder, the manager of maritime education at the Egan Maritime Institute, said he had not yet seen the timber, and cautioned against speculation that it could be a shipwreck. “We get this a lot where people say they find an old piece of wood on the beach and they think it’s a shipwreck,” Schwanfelder said. “Unless there’s some way to connect it and trace it back, it’s difficult to say.”

– HILDERBRAND TO RETIRE FROM WRITING NOVELS: Island author Elin Hilderbrand – the “Queen of the Beach Reads” – has stated she plans to retire from writing her popular novels by 2024. In an interview with the Associated Press, Hilderbrand said she wants to go out on top while her writing is still popular with readers, and she is able to continue putting out books of the quality she expects from herself.

“A lot of people will follow a writer for a long time and then inevitably they will turn out a book that is not as good as the others,” Hilderbrand said. “I’ve always said to myself, ‘I will not do that. I will make each book better and better or different in some way.’ I feel myself coming to my natural end of my material.” Hilderbrand’s latest novel “Golden Girl,” her 27th book, recently hit No. 1 on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. 

Kid’N Around | June 2021

Keep your kiddos entertained this June with these tips and tricks from Wendy Rouillard featured in the latest issue of N Magazine!


Adopt Remi!

Remi is a two-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier. He is a sweet boy and loves to learn. He likes car rides, walks and swimming. Remi is crate trained and often goes in on his own for a nap. If you have room in your home and heart for Remi, please fill out an application at and call 508-825-2287, ext 1 for more information.

– REAL-LIFE DEATH STARS: Tonight at 7 p.m., the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is hosting a live lecture presented by Dr. JJ Hermes. His talk, “Real-Life Death Stars: Measuring the Composition of Rocks on Alien Planets by Tearing Them Apart” is part of the MMA’s free Science Speaker Series and will be held via Zoom. Dr. Hermes will discuss observations of the violent ends to many close-in planets and asteroids that are ripped apart and pollute white dwarf stars, revealing the bulk composition of rocky alien worlds. To register for this event, click here

– COASTAL RESILIENCE PLAN OPEN HOUSE: The Nantucket Coastal Resilience Plan is moving into the next phase of development and the project team is seeking your feedback to develop solutions that address flooding and erosion today and in the future. Join the team for an update on project progress tomorrow, Thursday, June 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. You’ll get an overview of how your favorite places will be affected by coastal hazards, and the opportunity to participate in an interactive session to help shape the Coastal Resilience Plan for the island. Click here to RSVP to attend the Open House.

Nantucket restaurants: A complete list of open restaurants by the town’s Office of Culture and Tourism.

Nantucket Current is published by N Magazine on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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