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Turbines help steer new Fairhaven health board posts

FAIRHAVEN – Peter DeTerra replaced member Barbara Acksen both as vice chairman and representative to the turbine steering committee at a Board of Health meeting Monday night.

The reorganization of the board fell along the members’ positions on the town’s two wind turbines.

Acksen was also defeated in nominating herself for chairman, a motion that was not seconded. DeTerra nominated member Jeannine Lopes as chairman and Lopes accepted the nomination and seconded it. Acksen voted against Lopes as chairman but was out-numbered by DeTerra and Lopes.

A similar pattern occurred in the vote for vice chairman, with Acksen nominating herself only to be out-voted by DeTerra and Lopes, who opted for DeTerra to fill the role.

The vote to replace Acksen on the turbine steering committee was not on Monday night’s agenda. The motion to replace her with DeTerra was made by Lopes and seconded by DeTerra. Acksen voted against the motion but was once again out-numbered.

Acksen won a three-year term on the Board of Health in spring 2012 when she ran with the support of turbine-opposition group, WindWise. DeTerra’s most recent victory for his seat, which came at a Sept. 9 special election, has largely been attributed to the help of pro-turbine group Friends of Fairhaven Wind. Lopes has also repeatedly expressed her support for the turbines, repeatedly voting against an overnight shutdown of the machines.

Acksen was initially voted into the position of vice chair after the April election.

During Monday night’s vote to replace her, Acksen frowned and shook her head at times. But when asked about the board’s reorganization, Acksen said that she had her turn as vice chair.

Given that it was a brief, four-month term, she said only “Who knows what goes on here.”

Lopes explained the change by saying that while the Board of Selectmen has a set rotation allowing members to take equal-length terms in each position, “We don’t have it cast in stone.”

“I felt the need to try as chairman,” she said.