O.B. health agent quits due to ‘death threat’ 

Shell casings allegedly slipped into Lancaster’s bag.

Health agent Meegan Lancaster has left her job citing threats made against her.

Oak Bluffs Health Agent Meegan Lancaster is leaving her job because of an alleged threat on her life in the form of shell casings she says were deposited in her tote bag. 

Lancaster, who was on the front lines of the pandemic since it began, was also at the center of the controversial synthetic turf project at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. In December, she proposed draft regulations to ban artificial turf containing per- and poly-fluoralykyl substances, more commonly referred to as PFAS. The draft regulations also explore PFAS threats to water sources. 

The subject of PFAS has invited heated debate to the Oak Bluffs board of health. This is because the long polarized Martha’s Vineyard track and field project has been planned with an artificial field surface composed of plastics that contain contested amounts of PFAS.

Lancaster told The Times she does not know why anyone would place shell casings in her bag but her strongest suspicion is that it may be related to the PFAS or the high school track and field project. Lancaster said the tote had been at work with her at temporary town hall, interconnected trailers used while a heavy remodel of the town hall was underway. She found the casings in the tote last Saturday. 

Lancaster described her vehicle and home as secure. She said she hasn’t had visitors so she found it unlikely the casings entered the tote anywhere else but at work.

“I haven’t had a key to my office since Christmas—it has never been locked,” Lancaster said.

Occasionally the main door to the trailers was unlocked as well, Lancaster said.

Lancaster said the shells aren’t anything that would have been on a desk that may have fallen into the tote, nor are they a type of ammunition she keeps herself. She characterized the shell casings as a “death threat” that terrified her.

“I will never go back in the building,” she said. “That’s why I quit. Because I don’t feel safe. My husband is scared. I’m scared.”

Oak Bluffs Police Sgt. Nicholas Curelli told The Times the shell casings are being actively investigated. He declined any further comment on that investigation. 

During her tenure, Lancaster said she has had people come in the board of health office and yell at her and need to be removed by police, but she’s never had a threat like the bullet casings before.

“I’ve always tried to be mindful of not putting myself in positions where harm could come to me. Housing inspections I’ve always had a police officer come with me,” she said.

Lancaster added that she enjoyed her job as health agent and that leaving it was for her safety.

“I just want people to know what happened to me, I want people to know why I’m quitting. It’s not that I lost my mind,” she said. “I can’t do it anymore because of my concerns about safety.”

An emotional Lancaster said she was not sure if she would be staying on as a board of health member in Edgartown.

“I’ve poured so much into this,” she said. “It just sucks, it really sucks.”

Lancaster also shared a letter she provided the board of health outlining her concerns with the synthetic turf field and possible contamination from PFAS. She told the board members in that letter that she feared threats. She said the project doesn’t meet the requirements set forth by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission that it be PFAS-free.

“I am concerned that by having brought these facts to light I may suffer professional, and personal, harm,” she wrote to board members. “I am aware that proponents of the artificial turf are claiming that I am biased against this project, are actively harassing me and are seeking to engage other locally elected officials in an effort to disparage me. I am not biased against this project. On the contrary, I [am] simply doing my job, trying to protect the citizens of our community from additional PFAS contamination. I am happy to answer any questions you might have regarding this matter.”

Lancaster has been the target of Facebook posts on the pro-field site with field proponents claiming that draft regulations to ban fields that contain PFAS are being orchestrated by field opponents, primarily the Field Fund.


  1. Good for you Meegan. Shedding light on the truth. There is NO reason for harassment. It’s inexcusable, egregious. The OB Police need to solve the crime and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

    Those who oppose natural turf keep stooping lower and lower with their defense of the indefensible. They’ve crossed a line with harassment and need to be stopped.

  2. This is awful! I know Meegan in a work capacity and she is the most conscientious and professional person in any job she does. That someone would threaten her in such a viscerally violent way in unconscionable and I hope that the police are able to determine the culprit and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Our country has devolved into a place where disagreement cannot be civil.

  3. I will say it again. Regardless of who was actually responsible for this particular action, the field proponents have acted abominably. Never have I seen a group of people be this amoral in pursuit of what is essentially a vanity project. The harassment of opponents online. The lack of transparency about the long term costs. The lies about student safety. All of it. For shame!

  4. Never mind the natural/artificial turf debate. What about the absolutely ridiculous indoor mask mandate we still have? The powers that be on the health boards have held this mandate in place for way too long. And don’t me started on the abusive masking of school children. When is it over? It’s well past its effectiveness. Governor Baker said 2/28 for schools. Dr. Henry Niedler, are you reading this? Seems the Island Board of Health listens to-obeys-you. The January 15th date you all set for possible revisions has come and gone.

    • The husband of the employee one cube away from mine is sick with COVID. Everyone at work masks: KN95’s. Are you say indoor masks are ridiculous?

    • Phil– this story is about a perceived threat to personal safety.
      There will be many more stories where you can appropriately comment about mask mandates.

      • Don,
        Please refer back to the article about the first COVID death reported on the island. You were the first person to go off topic. Hypocrite much? Lol.

        • I’m not one to defend Don, but how is asking if someone is vaccinated in an article about a covid death going off topic?

        • carl– I looked at the article you mention– you know, the one about the island’s first death from covid.
          Here’s a quick timeline:
          Feb 8 6:39 pm– I ask if Albert was vaccinated.
          Was I off topic yet ?
          Feb 9- 6:21 pm– After being accused of being “callous” I respond that I think it is callous to trivialize the deaths of a million Americans, as well as to berate them for possible health issues. I say that I grieve for Albert’s family as I do for victims of this disease. — I was mocked and accused of some sort of insincerity.–
          Was I off topic yet ?
          Feb 9 7:02 pm– After being accused of showing no decency ( what did I say that was “indecent”? ) I state that I mean no disrespect to the family, and that I have been pained by all the deaths from covid. .
          Was I off topic yet ?

          Feb 10 12:48 pm —I respond to Heidi’s comment about trump and “his” vaccine–(Feb 9 2:47 pm ), as well as Dean’s comment to Aron (Feb 10 9:59 am) ,about trump and an apparent reference to liberal anger and resentment concerning trump. I was then accused by none other than yourself that I should stay on topic and not “bait” people.
          How is that “first” ? Do you revise history much ?

          Feb 10 5:01 pm — After reading a comment from Claire , I respond thanking her for sharing that information, and speaking for most of the community , that we feel her pain , and I was unfortunate to not have met Albert.—

          I was accused of “backpedaling” ( on what) ?And accused of emotional peroration of obloquy towards Albert or his family only because he was vaccinated
          All that criticism of me from people who never once directly mentioned any sort of condolences to the family.

          As for this article– I’m pretty much keeping out of it until we know more.

    • Never mind the whining about masks, Phil. A health agent understandably feeling threatened by gun casings being put in her tote isn’t about you.

  5. It seems there are cameras everywhere these days And they would have a lot to tell as far as who is coming and going in the buildings. It seems people are awful quick to judge who may or may not of done this or how it happened. I do find it funny that some have commented as if they know what’s going on and want everyone to remain civil but they throw wood on the fire.

  6. I may have missed it in the article, but I didn’t see any articulable threats. How is this associated with the Field Fund?

    • Once I tried to clear airport security with ONE spent casing, a souvenir from a ricochet from the range that I felt muss my hair.

      Police and security take even spent rounds seriously. Spent rounds left in the tote bag of a person I’m guessing does not shoot? Chill people. You claim to be better than this. Act it.

  7. The Oak Bluffs Police cannot even manage the inventory of their own firearms, who would expect them to succeed at the investigation of these shell casings?
    The MA State Police need to step in to this one.

  8. I will say it again
    The field proponents, “natural”and artificial, have acted abominably.
    Like spoiled brats that don’t get their way.
    There is no such thing as a natural turf sports playing surface.
    Sports turf exists though miracles of modern chemistry, the only question is how many fifty pound bags a year.
    Choose your chemicals and play ball.
    Stop flopping your gums.
    You are embarrassing the students with your petty bickering.

  9. Let’s reserve judgments, cool the hysterics, and let the facts reveal themselves. Anyone with a functional memory has seen incidents of made- up crimes to garner attention along with actual ones. I’m not saying it’s the former, just that we can’t jump to conclusions until the evidence is given a fair examination.

  10. Alex…Sounds an awful lot like”hysterical female making up threats to get attention”. We’ve heard that before. “Blame the victim”…heard that too. It’s insulting.

    • The only surprise here, Deb, is that Alex didn’t slip the word SHRILL into his comment about HYSTERICS. “Shrill” is a favorite word Alex uses often. I agree with you that the gist of his comment is insulting, though unsurprising considering the source.

  11. The town hall is a public building that should be secured, like schools and other public buildings. I’m kind of surprised that the doors are left unlocked.

  12. This is part of a pattern of harassment against people who have supported grass fields for our kids. Vandalism of personal property, abusive Zoom bombing that halted a public meeting, defying and yelling over the moderator at a West Tisbury Town Meeting…The behavior from the plastic proponents has been deplorable. And now it has cost the services of a dedicated public servant.

    • Please be careful Geraldine. Do You have police reports to back up your statements re vandalism? And do you know who zoom bombed? Same old attribution to one group vs another with nothing concrete. Could go either way. Or just fools having what they think is a fun platform. We can all be better than thay

  13. All I can say is Meegan worked for me and was a wonderful detailed oriented person who was totally dedicated to the task at hand. She was excellent at her job and always looked at all options when setting out on a new item I wanted to initiate. She constantly went above and beyond what was asked of her. What a loss for OB. Meegan will be some other towns gain. She is a total
    “Professional”. A keeper! I stand 💯with Meegan!!

    • In our experiences with Meegan, she was responsive, professional and knowledgable. A loss for Oak Bluffs…

    • Don, the only way to agree with Alex is to believe it’s possible that this woman’s safety concerns for herself are based on a pack of lies. I believe she found the casings in her bag and has concerns about how and why they got there— so much so that she quit her job. What part of a legitimate reason to resign from a job where one does not feel safe do you not agree with? Intimidating women is extremely common with bullies.

  14. Anyone with “a functional memory” — that is, an awareness of what’s going on elsewhere in the commonwealth and the country — knows that this is not an isolated incident. At a meeting this morning I heard a public health official talk about needing a police escort to leave a school board meeting elsewhere in the state — a school board meeting! — because of the threats made against him. I sure hope that doesn’t happen here on the island, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did. It’s not just public health workers either. Election workers, many of them volunteers, have resigned because of harassment and threats. How long before any kind of public service carries so much risk that nobody wants to do it?

    • Phil.
      Somebody has to do it. On the article about the first covid death we had this “topic officer” chime in:
      “Carl Kelly February 10, 2022 At 5:56 pm
      If you can’t stay on topic with your comments, please don’t comment at all…”

      And that was after I responded to 3 previous comments that were about trump.

      I didn’t see you whining about that — but then again, you and Carl both seem to have a bad case of “liberal derangement syndrome”, which of course causes one to ignore anything a conservative does or says and puts anything a liberal does or says under a microscope.
      I bet you learned that from watching fox “news” .

  15. Unfortunately, part of the job is intimidation.
    You can’t give in to the bully’s.
    Oak Bluffs has many….

    • Intimidation is never a legitimate part of any job. Those threatening violence should be outed and publically shamed.

  16. We each have to make our own decisions, but I would not give in to local terrorism. There are no hard core terrorist on the Island, so this action is a cheap threat to cause you to quit. I would make sure I had a defensive weapon and know how to use it, but I would increase my political standings to teach the perpetrator I can’t be scared. Otherwise you might as well never have any political beliefs, as anyone can scare you away from them. But if I lived in an area like a crime ridden city, my opinion on this could be different.

  17. Here’s a question…when a town employee is threatened while at her job shouldn’t more than local police investigate? State Police? Attorney General?

    And it’s been a week, are the OB Police making progress?

  18. Note the comment by Shirley Fauteux, previous health agent for Oak Bluffs, who knows what she’s talking about. And what do we think the spent casings were about? We jump to Covid masking, or to the state of athletic fields. Nowhere have I seen a definitive threat identifying either of these as the “rationale” of the person who placed the casings in the Health Agent’s bag. But clearly it resulted in a big loss for Oak Bluffs, and sullied the reputation of the town. It would be good to find out what idiot forced this woman to retire, and I have every feeling, hopefully not misplaced, that constabulary of any stripe can help clear this up. Meanwhile the wild-eyed hypotheses should cease; they are not helpful.

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