News in Brief
State Police patrol leads to drug arrests
A state Police officer on routine patrol Sunday evening approached two vehicles parked with their headlights on near the tennis courts at the end of Lake Street in Tisbury.
One of the two vehicles quickly left the scene.
Trooper Robert Branca questioned the occupants of the remaining vehicle, a juvenile female operator from Edgartown, and her passenger, Danilo Menezes, 18, of Tashmoo Avenue Tisbury.
According to State Police Sergeant Neal Maciel, an open bottle of beer was found in the car. Tisbury police also responded. A search of the vehicle turned up five grams of what police believe is cocaine, 30 grams of marijuana and small plastic sandwich bags. Police found $284 in cash on the floor of the car.
Mr. Menezes was arrested on drug possession charges. The juvenile faces charges of drug possession with intent to sell.
Peace demonstrators asked to move along
The Martha's Vineyard Peace Council arrived at Five-Corners Wednesday afternoon with plans to set up a display on the Vineyard Haven post office's brick walkway to protest the war in Iraq as part of a national campaign titled "Eyes wide open."
The Reverend Alden Besse and Sarah Nevin, Peace Council co-chairmen, planned to erect an exhibit that included a display of combat boots and aluminum poles with banners that highlighted the daily number of war casualties.
According to Ms. Nevin, the creation of a display as opposed to people standing and holding signs ran afoul of guidelines governing the use of federal property.
At the request of the postmaster a Tisbury police officer asked the demonstrators to move to the sidewalk, but that presented an obstacle to pedestrians crossing the Island's heavily traveled, often congested intersection. A Mass Highway official said the display could not remain on the sidewalk blocking people.
A solution was found when Gina Stanley, owner of the ArtCliff Diner, invited the group to set up in the parking lot of the restaurant, which is closed on Wednesday.
Rob Douglas captures American kite sailing speed record
Rob Douglas, of Vineyard Haven, right, the Black Dog CEO, has become the fastest American kite sailor, posting an average speed of 39.77 knots over a 500-meter course at the Kite Speed Grand Slam at Fuerteventura, Spain, in the Canary Islands. Rob is coached by Olympic windsurfing medalist Mike "Gebi" Gebhardt.
Surviving several spectacular crashes, Rob remained uninjured and continued to push for the overall lead. At press time, Rob maintained 2nd place overall in the standings of the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association event. Rumors are already spreading that Rob and Team Black Dog may have their sights set on the overall world speed record, this fall in Namibia, Africa.
Aquinnah sets special town meeting warrant
Frustrated in their efforts to gain voter approval for new wind energy regulations at their annual town meeting, Aquinnah selectmen will try again.
This week selectmen approved a four-article warrant for a special town meeting scheduled at 7 pm Thursday, August 7, in Aquinnah Old Town Hall.
The first order of business will be to vote on the establishment of an Aquinnah energy district of critical planning concern (DCPC).
In June, after four tries, Aquinnah completed its annual town meeting. But voters rejected the proposed regulations for a town-wide energy DCPC.
A DCPC designation provides for special regulations that are enforceable by the town and backed up by the powerful permitting authority of the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC).
As a result proponents decided to try again to gain needed voter support at a special town meeting.
A development moratorium that was put in place by the Martha's Vineyard Commission when it approved the regulations at a meeting on May 8 remains in effect until the DCPC is approved, rescinded by the MVC, or expires in December.
Voters will also be asked to approve the potential for the development of a municipal renewable wind energy program and the potential for placing a wind turbine on town-owned land.
On the heels of the town's change from dry to wet, selectmen want to ask the voters for approval to petition the state legislature for the authority to issue one-day licenses to serve beer and wine to non-profit and civic groups on town-owned property.
The last article asks voters to approve a policy that would require the town to sell surplus land that is land-locked only to an abutting property owner who has legal access.
DPH issues advisory for lobster tomalley
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is reminding consumers not to eat lobster tomalley, the soft green substance found in the body cavity of lobsters, because this part of the lobster can build up high levels of toxins and other pollutants.
In past years DPH has warned consumers against eating lobster tomalley because it can accumulate high levels of toxins such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds). According to a DPH press release, recent reports from the Maine Department of Marine Resources also indicate the presence of high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxin in some tomalley from lobsters in that state.
The DPH said lobster meat is safe to eat and it is only the lobster tomalley that consumers should not eat.
This year scientists are predicting an abundance of the plankton that is responsible for producing the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), which can be fatal. There have been no cases of PSP in Massachusetts since the early 1990s, according to the DPH.
The DPH said lobster meat, crabs, shrimp, and most fish do not normally accumulate toxins and are safe to eat. The agency recommended that consumers buy their seafood from approved sources that are government-inspected, such as licensed seafood dealers, distributors, and retail food establishments.
Consumers harvesting shellfish or lobsters for personal use should make sure that the shellfish beds are not closed to harvesting. For information about areas closed to harvesting, visit www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf.
Firefighters appeal for fireworks funds
The Oak Bluffs Firemen's Civic Association is appealing for donations to sponsor the annual August fireworks display in Oak Bluffs.
Association president Ken Davey said the fireworks show will cost the association $25,000 this year. He estimated the group needs to raise approximately $10,000 more to cover the cost of the show and fundraising expenses. A large part of that amount will be raised on the night of the event, through tee-shirt sales, collection buckets, and parking fees.
"But that depends on a lot of things," said Mr. Davey. "The weather is a big thing for us."
Mr. Davey says the nonprofit organization uses the fireworks show each year to raise funds for college scholarships, food certificates for elderly people and others in need, financial support for firefighters and emergency medical technicians, as well as funding for others with medical issues.
"Because of changes in crowd control and other expenses, our funds have become drastically low and without the support of the community in general and increased support from the business community, this may be our last show," wrote Mr. Davey in a fundraising letter.
Public transport is one focus of planning forum
Improving the efficiency and promoting the use of public transportation were among several strategies discussed Monday evening July 14 at a forum at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Sponsored by the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), the forum is one of several on various elements of the Island Plan, which the MVC is developing as a guide to future planning. About 50 persons participated in the discussion of work done by the Island Plan's working group on transportation.
Making bus routes on-Island more easily navigated and making connections better between off-Island buses and Steamship Authority ferry were concerns for several in the audience, as were taxi rates, especially for service up-Island.
Improvement and expansion of bicycle and pedestrian ways and services was on the minds of several speakers. Mimi Davidson of Oak Bluffs, a Martha's Vineyard Commission member, asked that the Island's "suicidal bicyclists" be educated in the rules of the road, especially riding on the correct side of the road and using hand signals. One participant complained about playing "Russian roulette" with the roving hoards of a dozen or more bicyclists that are dangerous to pass on up-Island roads. Ms. Davidson advocated placing educational signs for bicyclists on ferries. Others urged widening roads to add separation between motorists and cyclists and placing rest facilities along bike paths.
Others asked that road congestion be minimized and that safety be improved without compromising road character and scenic roadside views.
The next Island Plan public forum, on what is called "the built environment," will be held on August 4, at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. A forum on development and growth is planned on August 27, at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury.
Red Cross plans First Aid, CPR/AED classes
The American Red Cross will offer courses this August in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and automated external defibrillation.
A first aid course will be taught on August 4, from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. The cost is $45.
A class for adults in both cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED) will be held on August 9, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. The cost is $50. In addition, a class for adults in CPR, AED, and first aid will be held on that day from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. The cost is $60.
All classes are organized by the Cape Cod and Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross and will be held at the Martha's Vineyard YMCA, 57 Pequot Avenue, Oak Bluffs.
Registration is available online at capecodandislandsredcross.org or call (508) 775-1540.
New prices and options from Cape Light Compact
Electricity prices for Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod will remain fixed for the remainder of 2008, according to a recent press release from Cape Light Compact (CLC) and its electricity supplier, ConEdison Solutions.
CLC also announced it will offer a long-term fixed price contract for the first time. This option allows customers to lock in a fixed price for electricity usage for one, two, or three years.
Although CLC has reduced and stabilized electricity prices for both residential and commercial customers since January 2006, the price of fuels to generate electricity, primarily oil and natural gas, has risen 42 and 56 percent, respectively, since the beginning of 2008.
Against a backdrop of historically high fuel prices, CLC announced prices for electricity usage for the July 2008 to January 2009 meter read dates are 12.706 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for residential customers and 13.976 cents/kWh for small commercial customers.
This compares to a residential rate of 10.990 cents/kWh and a small commercial rate of 11.469 cents/kWh for July 2007 through January 2008.
The new long-term options are available to residential customers, small commercial, and industrial size customers (some restrictions apply). The rates include a 12-month option through July 2009 at 14.59 cents/kWh, a 24-month option through July 2010 at 14.99 cents/kWh, and a 36-month option through July 2011 at 14.99 cents/kWh.
The long-term options are available only through the month of July and are available to the first 5,000 residential customers who enroll. Customers who use more than 200 kW of peak demand are subject to approval by ConEdison Solutions before enrollment. Call 1-800-381-9192 for information about signing up.
CLC, administered through Barnstable County, is a regional energy services organization made up of all 21 towns in Barnstable and Dukes counties. As authorized by the member towns, the compact works with the combined buying power of the region's 200,000 electric consumes to negotiate for lower cost electricity and also operates a regional energy efficiency program. Information is available at capelightcompact.org
ConEdison Solutions is a leading energy services company based in White Plains, N.Y. The company provides competitive power supply, renewable energy, sustainability services, and cost-effective energy solutions for commercial, industrial, residential, and government customers.
House, Senate approve sales tax holiday
The House on Tuesday afternoon voted to suspend the 5 percent sales tax on August 16-17, saying the move will prop up sales as parents and teens shop for back-to-school items. The Senate followed suit, voting 31-6. No one in the House spoke against the legislation, whose odds appeared long
this spring when Speaker Salvatore DiMasi expressed reservations but brightened suddenly when he announced his support on Friday. Revenue Committee Chairman Rep. John Binienda (D-Worcester) said the state would forego about $16 million in taxes by waiving the levy on items retailing for up to $2,500 over the two-day summer weekend. The House vote was 139-15. Among those voting no were Reps. Byron Rushing, Martin Walsh, Ruth Balser, Jamie Eldridge, and Frank Smizik. The Senate voted 32-5 to defeat a Republican amendment to establish a permanent sales tax holiday. Republicans argued that retailers and consumers should be given the break every year, while Democratic leadership said the state should be granted the flexibility to move year-to-year on the proposal.
Chica hosts New York fashion reps
The clothing representatives for Johnny Was Collection and JW Los Angeles will be at Chica Saturday, from noon to 5 pm. The fashion experts will be available to help shoppers select colors, styles, and embroidery to create personal orders. Located on North Water Street in Edgartown, Chica was recently featured in the June edition of Boston Magazine. For more information, call 508-627-9661.
Dog lover offers Island pet tags
Jeweler and dog lover Allyson Reed of West Tisbury has turned an idea that came to her while walking on the beach with friends and their dog into a new product, sterling silver Vineyard Pet Tags made in the shape of the Island. According to a press release, tags may be purchased plain or customized by using a metal stamping technique for a unique keepsake or gift item.
Nantucket shaped pet tags will be available soon. For more information, go to islandpettags.com or call 508-685-0883.
Oyster Bar Grill welcomes executive chef
The Oyster Bar Grill on Circuit Avenue, a restaurant known for sophisticated fare, announced that Alexander Washut has joined the staff as executive chef. Mr. Washut is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and previously worked in restaurants on Martha's Vineyard and New Orleans. For more information, go to www.oysterbargrillmv.com.
A story published on July 17, "Second Hand Store employees dismissed by Boys and Girls Club," incorrectly attributed the following quote to "Ms. Forte," a person not otherwise identified or referred to in the article. It was assistant manager Penny Townes who said, "When I talked to the president of the board, he said that the problem had come to a head, and it was disgruntled customers and the circulation of a petition that protested the changes being made at the store that pushed it to this point." Ms. Townes was identified as a full-time employee. According to Peter Lambos, Boys and Girls Club executive director, Ms. Townes was a part-time employee.
A listing published in the July 17 issue of The Times incorrectly identified Bunch of Grapes as co-hosts of Slow Food Martha's Vineyard's potluck supper. Slow Food Martha's Vineyard was the sole host.