News in Brief
Three to face charges in Oak Bluffs car thefts
Oak Bluffs police plan to charge three 17-year-olds in connection with a rash of thefts from cars in the Oak Bluffs business district. Police declined to release the names of the suspects. They have not yet been charged.
"It's still an open investigation," said Lieutenant Tim Williamson.
Police said in each case, items were taken from unlocked cars. Police have recovered some of the stolen items, including GPS units, radar detectors, I-pods, binoculars, sunglasses, and money. A number of the items have not yet been reported stolen.
Police are asking anyone who discovers items missing from their vehicles to contact the Oak Bluffs police department.
"We have victims we can't identify, because the items haven't been reported stolen yet," said Lt. Williamson.
He advises drivers to lock their vehicles, and make sure not to leave valuables in plain view.
"If people had locked their cars, it probably would have prevented these thefts," said Lt. Williamson.
Coast Guard, Oak Bluffs, bolster security
A new agreement is in place that gives Oak Bluffs police federal authority to enforce U.S. Coast Guard safety and security zones.
Police chief Erik Blake, and Captain Raymond Perry, Coast Guard sector commander for southeastern New England, signed the agreement at a ceremony at Oak Bluffs police headquarters on Monday.
The agreement will improve the cooperation between the two organizations during a number of events, including the arrival of cruise ships, which anchor in Nantucket Sound just outside the town's harbor entrance. The Coast Guard establishes a security zone around the cruise ships, which are considered possible terrorist targets.
In the event that the Coast Guard is called to other duties, or cannot respond quickly, the Oak Bluffs police are now authorized to step in to enforce the security zone, or provide emergency service.
"On 9/11 it wasn't just ground zero in New York," said Captain Perry. "We all had to stand up security, all around the country. We've got to become one team, regardless of what uniform we're wearing."
Chief Blake said security has become a much more local operation. "The new cliché out there is 'it's not homeland security, it's hometown security,'" he said. "There are still some people in the community that don't want to think about 9/11. It's important for us as a community to have those cruise ships come in - ask anyone who sells tee-shirts or ice cream on Circuit Avenue. There's now a mechanism to get out there and do things correctly."
Chief Blake offered congratulations and praise to Oak Bluffs police Sgt. George Fisher, who organized the framework of the agreement, along with emergency management director Peter Martell.
Taxi strikes pole, snarls Five Corners
A taxi van owned by Adam Cab of Edgartown struck a utility pole in front of Island Color Center on Lagoon Pond Road early Thursday, July 3.
The driver, Bradford Andrews, 56, and his passenger Cindy Maciel, 52, were transported to Martha's Vineyard Hospital, according to Tisbury police. Ms. Maciel suffered a knee injury. Police later cited Mr. Andrews for traveling at an unreasonable speed.
According to a police report, Mr. Andrews told one of the responding police officers that a car came out of the post office exit. He hit his brakes, Mr. Andrews said, but the brakes "grabbed" and caused him to strike the pole.
In his report, the officer said that based on the damage to the pole and the absence of skid marks, he determined that, "Mr. Andrews was traveling at a greater speed than reasonable for the road."
The accident, at a busy time of the morning, slowed traffic through the notorious intersection.
Police closed part of Lagoon Pond Road much of the morning while N-Star utility crews replaced the pole.
Firefighters and police decided not to remove the smashed vehicle immediately, because it was supporting the broken utility pole near its base. They feared that the pole would fall if the van was removed, possibly bringing down electrical wires and other utility poles.
Aquinnah seeks finance advisory board members
Aquinnah selectmen at a special meeting on June 27 invoked a town bylaw and announced they planned to take over the duties of the town finance committee in order to effect end of the fiscal year budget transfers.
According to the selectmen and the town administrator, Jeff Burgoyne, the town was without a working finance committee because one member had resigned and town moderator Walter Delaney had failed to reappoint Isaac Taylor by the first week of May as required. That left only Darren LePort on the three-member committee.
Mr. Delaney, who said he was unaware of the procedural move, told town selectmen not so fast. Tuesday Mr. Delaney told The Times that town officials acted hastily and in error.
Mr. Delaney said Mr. Taylor expressed an interest in serving on the committee and was reappointed last week, making a quorum. The committee met after the selectmen had acted and approved the transfers.
Mr. Burgoyne said selectmen acted correctly and there was no need for the reconstituted finance committee to take duplicate action.
The town is now seeking one more member and two alternates. "Nobody wants to bite the bullet and serve on the committee," said Mr. Delaney, the long-time town moderator, fire chief, and former selectmen. "That's a problem."
Interested individuals are asked to call Mr. Burgoyne at 508-645-2300.
Martha's Vineyard Commission sponsors transportation planning forum
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) multi-year planning effort known as the Island Plan turns its attention to transportation on Monday.
The transportation work group met during the winter and spring to consider how to reduce dependence on private automobiles and promote alternate modes of travel - by bus, by bicycle, or on foot - for both residents and visitors. A forum to discuss the work group's transportation thinking will be held Monday at 7:30 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.
"The Vineyard's relatively low density and spread-out development pattern means that many people are quite dependent on their cars," the Martha's Vineyard Commission explained in a press statement this week. "At the same time, the cost of fuel and concern over climate change is spurring renewed interest in transit alternatives, yet many routes face capacity constraints during peak travel periods and service expansion is limited by funding availability."
The working group has developed a series of proposals, which will be discussed at the forum. They are also outlined in a discussion paper, available on the Island Plan's website, www.islandplan.org and will be discussed at Monday's forum.
Fundraiser on tap for Tashmoo Springs Building
The 2nd Annual Taste of Tashmoo fundraiser and silent auction to benefit The Tashmoo Springs Building Preservation Fund will be held on July 17. The event's goal to is to raise matching donations to a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission and a $20,000 matching contribution from an anonymous local benefactor that the Fund received two weeks ago. The contributions will be used in the second phase of the restoration project and will be put towards renovating the interior of the Tashmoo Springs Building.
Built in 1887, the historic building acted as a steam powered pumping station until the 1970s when it was turned into a bottling plant for the short-lived Tashmoo Spring Water. The restoration of the building began in 2007 when the Town of Tisbury received a grant from the state to restore the building's 50-foot chimney. The project has received several other grants, including $229,500 in grants from the Town of Tisbury. The funds went to stabilizing the structure of the building, repairing crumbling walls and replacing portions of the roof. An application to put the building on the National Register of Historic Places has been submitted and is currently under review.
Once restorations are complete, The Tashmoo Springs Building Committee hopes the building will be used for something that will benefit not only the town but the whole Island, according to Tisbury selectman Denys Wortman. The committee solicited ideas for what the space should be used for at a special meeting. Suggestions included a work space for Island nonprofits, an aquarium, maritime or natural history museum, a venue for private functions or town meeting space. For more information about the Taste of Tashmoo fundraiser, call (508)-696-4202.
Clambake to benefit VNA
The Vineyard Nursing Association (VNA) is preparing to host its annual clambake and auction. The benefit for the Island's only home health care agency will be held on Wednesday, July 23, at 6 pm at The Field Gallery in West Tisbury. VNA raises funds to compensate for the difference in cost of professional medical services provided in the home and the rate of reimbursement from Medicare and private insurers.
This year the VNA took over the patient load from Martha's Vineyard Community Services' Vineyard Nursing Service, which closed on June 30. As a result, the need for support from the Island is even greater, VNA reported in a press statement.
The bake will be prepared by the Martha's Vineyard Clambake Company with refreshments compliments of Our Market. Bluegrass music, provided by Train Wreck, and a cappella tunes from the Vineyard Sound will be featured. Kenny Goldberg and Friends will provide entertainment and oversee the live and silent auctions. Auction items include art and jewelry from renowned Island artists, round-trip tickets to New York, rounds of golf at all the Island's golf courses, a dinner party for 8 by V. Jamie Hamlin, 100 gallons of fuel, and much more.
Tickets are $125 per person or $900 per reserved table of eight. For tickets or other information on this event, call VNA at 508-696-0785 or purchase tickets online at www.TicketsMV.com.