Crowds, bad weather and calamity
The beaches were mostly empty, the towns mostly full, and the merchants mostly happy following a busy 4th of July weekend on Martha's Vineyard. Drizzly, foggy weather prevailed for much of the holiday. Some people forged ahead with traditional outdoor gatherings. Others opted for shopping instead of sand and surf, or local restaurants instead of backyard grills.
Most Oak Bluffs restaurants were jammed to capacity all afternoon and evening Saturday, straining kitchen and serving staff that were trying to keep up with the demand. "It was a blur, a ten-hour blur," said Zac Zelazny, a bartender at Zapotec restaurant.
The cost of fuel is still putting a damper on boating. Even at the height of the holiday weekend, there were a few open slips and moorings in Oak Bluffs harbor. Oak Bluffs harbormaster Todd Alexander told selectmen that slip reservations were catching up to normal, after a very soft month of June.
Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson reported a significant increase in the number of people traveling to the Vineyard for the holiday weekend, compared to last year. "We were up 5 to 6 percent in passenger traffic," said Mr. Lamson. "All of our off-site parking lots were full at different periods of the day on Friday and Saturday."
Many Islanders rescheduled their plans in one way or another because of Friday's fire on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Tisbury selectman Denys Wortman was preparing for his annual "point party" at his home on Hynes Point, when he heard the sirens and traveled to the fire scene. Later, he and other selectmen were trying to figure out what to do with 30 pounds of candy left over when the selectmen cancelled their participation in Edgartown's 4th of July parade.
The parade went off without a hitch, though with fewer firefighters represented than planned. The surprise appearance of Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen, bearing an NBA championship trophy, thrilled a large crowd of onlookers.
Parade organizer Ted Morgan professed in his usual modesty that he didn't see the parade, he was too busy organizing it, but he did get reports from some of the people along the route. "Most people that talked to me think it was the best parade we ever had," said Mr. Morgan. "I've never seen as many people along the parade route, along Main Street and Water Street. They seemed to be having a great time."
Photo by Lynn Christoffers
Island police departments were very busy over the holiday. In Tisbury, the fire on Main Street drew a steady stream of curious people through the weekend. "Traffic was extraordinary," said police chief John Cashin. "There was a high concentration of gawkers on Main Street, looking at the scene of the fire."
Although boat traffic was down for the holiday weekend in Tisbury, compared with last year, it was busy nonetheless with a few mishaps on the town's waterways. At 6:30 am on July 6, Tisbury harbormaster Jay Wilbur heard a radio distress call from Donald Lewellyn, a retired clergyman from Annapolis, Md., whose 40-foot sloop was taking on water off West Chop as he was heading back to Maryland.
By the time Mr. Wilbur arrived, the boat was in danger of sinking. Water had overflowed the bilge and was coming into the vessel. As Mr. Wilbur transferred a large pump to the sloop, the Coast Guard arrived to help. The extra pump supplemented the vessel's own bilge pump to stem the flow of water coming in. A boat from Martha's Vineyard Shipyard arrived shortly to haul the sloop in for repair.
That afternoon, a group of four adults and five teenage girls off East Chop in a 52-foot Hatteras sport fishing boat made a call to the Coast Guard to report an engine fire. Mr. Wilbur dispatched assistant harbormaster Jim Pepper, who arrived to find smoke pouring out of the engine compartment, but there were no visible flames. The teenagers were transferred off the boat by another boater who was nearby. A few minutes later a Coast Guard small boat and 41-foot boat arrived. The damaged vessel was towed for repair.
For the Tisbury police department, the holiday weekend wrapped up with three arrests early Monday morning. According to Chief Cashin, police responded to a noise complaint at 125 Summer Street, and found evidence of marijuana. They arrested Korey Sullivan, 32, of Santa Rosa, Calif., as he tried to flee with a black duffle bag. He faces charges of possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, Chief Cashin said.
Also arrested at the scene were Christopher Rohrer, 20, and Christopher Jacobson, 20. They face charges of possessing marijuana.
Oak Bluffs police made ten arrests and took three people into protective custody from Thursday through Sunday, while answering 155 calls. Oak Bluffs police responded to a moped accident on County Road early Thursday. A West Tisbury man, Douglas Reid, 22, was critically injured when his moped hit a tree. He was taken to Martha's Vineyard Hospital, and then transported by medical helicopter to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit on Wednesday, according to a hospital spokesman. Police said he has not regained consciousness. The accident remains under investigation.
Two people will face drunken driving charges after traffic stops in Oak Bluffs. Rashon Moore, 29, from Laurel, Maryland, was arrested early Friday morning on Canonicus Avenue. Police will seek charges of operating under the influence of alcohol and speeding. Early Sunday morning, police stopped Brooks Timmons, 33, of Oak Bluffs on Barnes Road. He will face a charge of operating under the influence, as well as other motor vehicle charges.
Lieutenant Tony Bettencourt said Edgartown police were very busy over the weekend, but made only one arrest. James Dinardo of Edgartown was arrested after a traffic stop, and he will be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
In West Tisbury, police chief Beth Toomey reported fireworks noise complaints were among the most frequent calls to the police department. Officers responded to ten calls reporting illegal fireworks over the holiday weekend.
"We confiscate illegal fireworks and give them to the fire department to dispose of," said chief Toomey. "The neighbors that don't like it are the people who have animals. Horses and dogs get freaked out by the fireworks." Two people were arrested in traffic stops in West Tisbury; both will face suspended license charges. Otherwise, it was "just a lot of people having fun and being busy," said chief Toomey.
Chilmark Police Chief Timothy Rich characterized his department's holiday weekend calls as "the usual summer variety," which included a few arrests, minor accidents, and ambulance runs from the beach.
"The weekend definitely was a lot busier than I would have expected, given that on Saturday we had terrible weather," chief Rich said. "But even though it was rainy, a lot of people were out and about. Menemsha was packed."
Early Friday morning, John Condon, 25, of Rye, New York, was stopped on North Road where he was arrested. He will face a charge of operating under the influence and other motor vehicle violations.
Evan Winston, 22, of Belmont will face serious charges after a bicyclist told police Mr. Winston opened a car door as the vehicle he was riding in passed three bike riders. The riders were not injured. Police tracked the vehicle down in Menemsha, and issued a summons to Mr. Winston, including a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
The Aquinnah Police Department reported only a few minor accidents on the roads during the busy weekend. Traffic was heavy by up-Island standards throughout the weekend. Other than a few minor problems, the town was quiet with no reported arrests or major complaints from residents.