News in Brief
New breach occurs in Norton Point Beach
A narrow breach has occurred in the Chappaquiddick section of Norton Point Beach. Chris Kennedy, regional director for The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), said the newest opening in the barrier beach that once separated Katama Bay from the Atlantic Ocean appears to be approximately 25 yards wide and six feet deep at low tide.
Last April, storm-driven ocean waves and powerful spring tides knocked open a breach in Norton Point Beach that soon became a wide channel cutting off land access to Chappaquiddick and leaving two long narrow spits of sand.
Mr. Kennedy said the new breach is located about 100 to 200 yards east of the major opening. Although he does not expect the newest channel to remain open for long, he has no predictions regarding the wider opening.
TTOR is responsible for management of much of the beach along Chappaquiddick, including the county-owned Norton Point Beach that separates the normally placid Katama Bay from the ocean.
The newest breach is a result of a relentless ocean battering. "The Chappy side of Norton Point has taken a real beating this winter," said Mr. Kennedy. "It's lost the majority of its dunes and over-washing from the ocean to the harbor is happening on a regular basis."
Historically, storm breaches have occurred with some regularity in the two-mile long barrier beach. Over time the openings tend to migrate east and become narrower until the beach is once again whole.
Mr. Kennedy said the main opening appears to be relatively stationary. "It's really not doing anything at this point," he said.
Tisbury selectmen want Park/Ride rules enforced
Concerns about violations of Tisbury's Park and Ride parking lot rules by commercial vehicle owners dominated discussion at the town selectmen's meeting Tuesday night.
Selectman Tristan Israel said some companies are conducting business in the lot, and that others are ignoring a rule requiring them to purchase a sticker or annual pass to park more than one commercial vehicle more than 20 feet long in the lot. Tisbury Police Chief John Cashin said he will begin enforcing the rule more aggressively.
In other business, Department of Public Works (DPW) director Fred LaPiana reported that at a recent public hearing, the public works commissioners agreed not to hike sewer rates, which are two cents a gallon for wastewater and 15 cents a gallon for septage. Although trash collection stickers were not part of the public hearing discusssions, the commissioners also approved holding the price on those at $4.
Chilmark police search for stolen oyster drags
Chilmark Police are searching for oyster drags taken from boats belonging to commercial oyster fishermen John Larsen and John Armstrong. Each man's boat was rigged with two drags.
The men discovered the thefts of the pan-type drags when they went to go fishing on Monday March 3. Their boats were anchored together close to shore on private property near the end of Quansoo Road, according to Chilmark police officer Jeff Day.
Mr. Day said that in addition to the monetary value fishing drags are often passed down in families and have a certain sentimental value. He said both men serve on the Chilmark shellfish committee.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Chilmark Police at 508-645-3310.
MMS extends comment period on Cape Wind
The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has extended the public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Cape Wind Energy Project for an additional 30 days. The extension is in response to requests from the public for more time to review the document, according to a press release.
The DEIS is available for review online at: http://www.mms.gov/offshore/RenewableEnergy/CapeWind.htm. The comment period was set to close on March 20, but with the 30-day extension will now close on April 21, 2008.
Traffic trouble at Five Corners
Traffic delays worthy of an August afternoon tied up the Five Corners intersection in Vineyard Haven Friday, March 7, when three separate incidents in about 15 minutes delayed motorists.
About 9:15 am, police responded to a minor accident on Beach Road, just outside the intersection. After a record check, police determined the license of one of the drivers, Denamos Moore, was revoked because of an insurance cancellation.
Mr. Moore was arrested and transported to the Dukes County Jail for booking.
The other driver, Lawrence Yorke, was not cited.
While the first fender-bender was being cleared, a truck owned by Clermont Construction, and driven by George Hearn, began strewing excavation debris along the roadway. The truck's tailgate opened on Beach Road near the Ralph Packer oil tank farm, and dropped gravel and large rocks from there, through Five Corners, and up Beach Street, before stopping in a parking lot at the corner of Main Street. Mr. Hearn was cited for transporting an unsecured load, and could be fined up to $200.
A front-end loader was called in to help clear the debris from the road, but before that was cleaned up, another minor accident on the opposite side of the Five Corners intersection required a police response.
Michael Sedlier of Oak Bluffs, who was driving a tractor and semi-trailer, was involved in a collision with a pick-up truck driven by Gregory Whitmore of West Tisbury.
There was minor damage to the pick-up. Neither driver was cited.
Police say the gravel in the roadway did not contribute to third incident.
Oak Bluffs takes up Pops and budget
Oak Bluffs selectmen learned at their Tuesday meeting that the town financial advisory committee will likely recommend Proposition 2.5 overrides in the amount of at least $800,000.
The proposed overrides would cover increases in school funding and the first installment of a plan to fund post-retirement health benefits for town employees.
Finance director Paul Manzi and finance advisory committee member Joseph Alosso outlined an emerging consensus for a plan to help close a budget gap estimated at between $1.4 million and $2.1 million.
While the committee has more work to do, the $800,000 in anticipated overrides will address $200,000 to $300,000 for increases in funding for the Oak Bluffs School and the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, and about $600,000 to begin paying off an unfunded liability covering the cost of post-retirement benefits for town workers. The rest of the budget gap will be made up by cutting requests from town departments.
In other action, Festival Networks, organizers of the Martha's Vineyard Festival scheduled for Aug. 10, presented a preliminary plan outlining the Boston Pops concert in Ocean Park. Selectmen referred the plan to Mr. Dutton, to flesh out details concerning the public benefit for using the private park.
Festival Networks has proposed donating $1 from each ticket to the town of Oak Bluffs. The company projects as many as 8,000 people will attend.
While he supports the event, selectmen Roger Wey voiced concerns. "I don't want to see a song and dance group come in here, reap the harvest, and leave the town very little." He said. "I see the figure of $8,000. That's not very much."
Senior producer Rick White emphasized the plan includes many benefits beyond gate receipts for the town, including temporary jobs for local workers, opportunities for local vendors, and fundraising by local not-for-profit groups.
He said last year's concert was successful but cautioned the board about assuming it is profitable.
"It was successful in a social sense," said Mr. White. "From a financial sense, from my perspective, I would call it a disaster. We lost a quarter-million dollars."
After the meeting, Mr. White said Festival Networks is committed to expanding the event until it does become profitable.
"I think $8,000 is very generous," said selectman Duncan Ross. "As the festival grows, what Oak Bluffs gets out of it will also grow."
Dennis daRosa, president of the Oak Bluffs Association, indicated there is some skepticism among local business owners.
"We're very encouraged to support this endeavor," said Mr. daRosa. "We're telling some naysayers in the business community, you've got to talk to Festival Network. They're unsure about how it's going to work."
Island's Own herbal skin care has new owners
Brianna Valenti and Robert Laskowski of Vineyard Haven are the new owners of Island's Own. The couple bought the company from Irene Fox, who for 15 years created, hand-crafted, and sold Island's Own herbal skin care products. According to a press release, Ms. Fox created her products to meet a need for affordable all-natural topical remedies. Ms. Valenti and Mr. Laskowski said they would continue to hand-craft Island's Own products in the same manner and with the same recipes and ingredients using only the highest quality organic and all-natural ingredients, while selling at affordable prices.
For more information, call 508-338-3112 or visit www.islandsown.com.
Curves relocates to Woodland Center
Curves, part of the national franchise of workout centers designed for women, has moved to a new location in the lower level of the Woodland Center off State Road in Vineyard Haven. For more information, call 508-696-3030. From left to right: Fitness trainer Barbara Ravera, franchise owner Bethany Seidman and assistant manager Kathy Neadow.
Martha's Vineyard Coffee moves headquarters
Adilina Magri's Martha's Vineyard Coffee Company has moved from its Five Corners location to 459 State Road in Vineyard Haven. The new location is at the Woodland Business Center, lower level, behind Humphreys. Martha's Vineyard Coffee imports organic green coffee beans and roasts them at their State Road headquarters. Martha's Vineyard Coffee offers more than 18 varieties, available for purchase by the pound. Find Martha's Vineyard Coffee on the web at mvcoffeeroasters.com, or email email@example.com