News in Brief
Home raffle offers small chance at big dream
The Island Affordable Housing Fund and Island Elderly Housing are offering an unusual raffle prize: a new two-bedroom home in Edgartown. Each raffle ticket costs $1,000, and only 600 tickets will be sold.
"This is the most fun I have had planning a fundraiser in some time," said John Early, a West Tisbury builder who is active in both non-profit organizations.
The prize is an energy-efficient home built by South Mountain Company at 2 Jenney Way, just outside the Edgartown downtown district. It is part of a 10 unit affordable housing project completed earlier this year. The right to buy the other nine homes in the development were awarded to qualified Island families earlier this year, at prices based on their incomes.
The money raised in the raffle will support other affordable housing projects, as well as supplement a senior van and a community meals program that help older residents keep their independence.
To purchase tickets, call 508-696-0943, or visit islandaffordable.org. The raffle will close at 3 pm, October 11.
State Police interrupt Island heroin shipment
A State Police investigation into drug activity on the Vineyard led police to Lindsey Gonsalves. On Friday police acted on information that Ms. Gonsalves planned to travel to Falmouth to pick up a shipment of heroin, said State Police sergeant Jeff Stone.
Sergeant Stone, head of the Island drug task force, said that early that afternoon Ms. Gonsalves, who now lives in Edgartown, boarded the Island Queen in Oak Bluffs. Falmouth police, alerted by Island police, observed Ms. Gonsalves meet a person in Falmouth and return to the ferry.
When Falmouth Police placed Ms. Gonsalves under arrest she was carrying 60 grams of heroin, said Sergeant Stone. Police were unable to apprehend the person who met her, but police believe the person is from the greater Boston area.
At the time of her arrest last week Ms. Gonsalves, 25, was facing drug distribution charges in Edgartown District Court that date from an arrest in October 2007 when she was found with seven grams of heroin.
Ms. Gonsalves was arraigned Tuesday morning in Falmouth District Court on charges of drug distribution, trafficking in heroin and possession of heroin, subsequent offense. Judge Joan Lynch revoked Ms. Gonsalves's bail in the Edgartown case and set bail on the new charges at $7,500 cash, $75,000 bond. She is currently held at the Barnstable House of Correction.
Sergeant Stone said that 60 grams is a huge amount of heroin for someone to bring to the Island. He said police are very happy with the arrest and the investigation continues. More arrests may result.
Asked to comment on the prevalence of heroin, Sergeant Stone said, "It is constant, it is steady. I think there has been a little more lately. There have been a few more people involved in it on the Island and I think it is a big problem out here right now."
Sergeant Stone said younger people are trying heroin, in part, because the heroin coming to the Island is intended to be snorted like cocaine and not injected, an activity that carries more of a stigma.
Grant approved for Oak Bluffs affordable housing
Though awaiting official word, Oak Bluffs town officials have received an informal nod of approval for a $443,654 grant to convert the old town library on Pennacook Avenue to three units of affordable housing and a commercial storefront.
The money comes from the federal block grant program, and is administered by the Massachusetts department of housing and community development.
"We have a preliminary design," said town administrator Michael Dutton. "We're going out to get construction bids, now that we know we have the money, and we hope to get started building soon after Labor Day."
The plans call for a studio unit, a one-bedroom unit, and a two-bedroom unit, which will be rented to qualifying families according to their income level. The town will own the property, but the Dukes County regional housing authority will manage it. The two-bedroom unit will be the only handicapped accessible two-bedroom affordable housing unit on the Island, according to Ron DiOrio, chairman of the board of selectman and the town's affordable housing committee. He offered high praise for the work of town officials who wrote the grant application and convinced the state to make an exception to its new guidelines in awarding the grant.
"This is really a very exciting time," said Mr. DiOrio. "It really is a credit to the employees of the town, the town administrator, the building department, and the highway department."
He said the town would be aggressive in trying to attract a pharmacy for the planned 1,100-square-foot commercial space, and plans to issue requests for proposals in the near future.
Cape priest, accused of sexual assault, flees country
A Brazilian priest, who helped Island Brazilians celebrate mass at the Good Shepherd Parish in Vineyard Haven for several years, fled the country this week after being accused of the sexual assault of a minor in Connecticut.
The Catholic Diocese of Fall River placed the Rev. Jose Afonso Lima, 46, on temporary leave on Wednesday after he received a letter from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, outlining the allegations against him. After informing the diocese and denying the charges, Father Lima returned to Brazil without informing his parish or local authorities.
Father Lima is currently affiliated with St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis, but he has worked for several churches on the Cape, including the Good Shepherd Parish, where he ministered to Brazilian Catholic communities. He worked with the Good Shepherd Parish for four years, but has not worked there for several years.
The Fall River Diocese asks anyone with information that could help with the investigation to contact the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, at 800-842-2288, or call Arlene McNamee of the Office of Child Protection of Catholic Social Services at 508-674-4681.
MVVY radio appoints new manager
Martha's Vineyard Community Radio (WVVY FM 93.7) announced the appointment of Paul Munafo of Vineyard Haven as station manager.
Mr. Munafo replaces Maria Danielson, who remains a DJ, board member, and assistant to program director Bob Lee. He will also join the board of the non-profit Martha's Vineyard Community Radio, Inc.
A long-time Island resident, Mr. Munafo is well known in the Island theater arts community. His radio show "P.M. in the A.M." airs on Fridays, 7 to 9 am.
Ms.Danielson said that Mr. Munafo has the energy, humor, and skills to take the community station to the next level. "In an all-volunteer effort like this, finding a person with his commitment to the community is invaluable," she said.
Photo by Steve Myrick
Daybreak makes Tisbury shine
Members of the Daybreak Clubhouse vocational program are out cleaning Tisbury's streets and beaches this week. Daybreak is a Martha's Vineyard Community Services program.
"I was really shocked to see how much litter was around," said Dick Marshall, employment coordinator for the Daybreak program. "They hit the parking lots, Memorial Park, cleared the Stop & Shop planters of cigarette butts and surrounding areas, filling multiple garbage bags. I've seen people who have lived here all their lives stop and pat them on the back and say 'thank you.'"
Alexandra Wojnowski was busy Wednesday picking up litter on Water Street. "I used to pick up litter anyway, because it always bothered me. Now it's a job - it's great," she said.
Daybreak workers receive a small stipend for scouring the town's public areas for litter. Cumberland Farms donated the funds to pay the workers, at the request of an informal group called the Tisbury Beautification Volunteers.
Caron Soond, a member of the volunteer group, said the Daybreak workers are enthusiastic about their job, and are now a significant part of the effort to beautify Vineyard Haven. "It's very easy to get people to plant flowers, but it's the cleanup that makes the difference," she said. "That was what we were really struggling with."
The group says it will employ the Daybreak workers as long as the money lasts, but the volunteers are looking for more donations to keep the cleanup program active.
"I really want to continue it next year - I'd like to see Vineyard Haven become spotless all year round - and I don't see any reason why we can't do it," said Ms. Soond. Contact Tisbury Beautification Volunteers at (508) 696-0274 for more information or to donate.
Aquinnah will ask Martha's Vineyard Commission to rescind wind DCPC
After months of effort and five failed attempts to gain voter approval of regulations creating an energy district of critical planning concern (DCPC), Aquinnah selectmen last week agreed it was time to give up.
Last Thursday the selectmen asked the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) to rescind the DCPC designation the Island's powerful regional permitting body granted the town last December.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the request and possible vote on Thursday, Sept. 16. If the MVC agrees to rescind, a development moratorium that has been in effect since May 8 would end immediately.
The commission could decide not to rescind the designation, an unlikely scenario given that the request comes from the selectmen. Should that occur, the moratorium would remain in effect until the regulations are approved by a two-thirds vote at town meeting or when the designation expires on December 17.
A DCPC designation provides for special regulations that are enforceable by the town and backstopped by the Martha's Vineyard Commission. Proponents of the energy DCPC expected the moratorium would be short-lived, but that turned out not to be the case. Voters were unwilling to embrace a menu of regulations governing wind energy towers and energy use.
Camille Rose, planning board chairman, selectman, and chief proponent of the energy DCPC measure, said Tuesday that it is time to move on. She said there are several people with applications for additions that have been affected by the moratorium and they are entitled to get their work done.
Ms. Rose said that Jim Newman, chairman of the board of selectmen, would take the lead in pushing for new regulations in the form of zoning bylaws.
Because the entire town of Aquinnah is already designated a DCPC, the only town-wide designation on the Island, any new regulations approved by voters and the Martha's Vineyard Commission would fall within the DCPC designation.
VTA passes one million passenger milestone
Richard Doyle of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently presented the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) with the "FTA Region 1 Thinking Outside the Bus - 2008 Milestone Achievement Award." The VTA reached the significant milestone of carrying over one million passengers (1,031,197 to be exact) for the first time in its history during fiscal year 2008, which ended on June 30, 2008.
VTA use continues at a record pace. According to a press release 261,735 passengers climbed aboard buses in July, a new record for the month. The backbone route of the transit system, Route #1, along the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, experienced the most significant increase in use. "In response to the heavy demand, we often needed to add a fourth bus to the route to keep up," said Angela Grant, VTA administrator. "While one extra bus has been on Route 1 for the past three years, this is the first summer that we've consistently needed to send out a fourth bus."
Fair week is one of the busiest of the year. During the four days of the Agricultural Fair, the VTA is running additional bus service from Vineyard Haven and Edgartown to the fairgrounds. Bus riders can get their hands stamped to receive a $1 discount off their admission to the Fair.
Bus passes are available at the Steamship Authority Terminals, Edgartown Visitors Center, VTA Operations Center in the Airport Business Park, and on-board the buses. Look for VTA ticket agents at the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority bus circle and the Ocean Park stop in Oak Bluffs daily through late September and on weekends through Columbus Day.
For more information on how to become a VTA traveling customer, visit vineyardtransit.com.
SBA, low-interest loans to Tisbury businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is making low-interest disaster loans available to small businesses and most private nonprofit businesses across the Island that sustained economic losses due to the July 4 fire on Tisbury's Main Street.
According to an Aug. 15 press release from the SBA, acting administrator Jovita Carranza made the loans available after receiving a letter on August 7 from Massachusetts Gov. Devil L. Patrick requesting a disaster declaration for Dukes and Barnstable counties. When a county is declared a disaster area, contiguous counties are included in the declaration.
"We look forward to working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts making our loans available to small businesses that sustained economic injury due to this fire," Mr. Carranza stated in the press release. "We will be swift in our efforts to help the business owners with their working capital needs."
Eligible small businesses and private nonprofit businesses may qualify for loans up to $2 million. The SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to offset losses in working capital at an interest rate of 4 percent, with loan terms up to 30 years.
Island businesses can obtain a loan application starting this week, through the close of business on Aug. 26, at Tisbury Town Hall, 51 Spring Street, on Monday, Tues., Thurs., and Fri., from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm; Weds 8:30 am to 4 pm, and Sat., Aug. 23, 10 am to 1 pm. Information also is available at the SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.
The July 4 fire on Tisbury's Main Street started in Café Moxie and completely destroyed it. The Bunch of Grapes bookstore next door sustained heavy damages and a loss of inventory. With the street closed to traffic and power cut off to the downtown area most of the day on July 4, many Main Street business owners lost revenue over what traditionally is one of their busiest holiday weekends.
In the fire's aftermath, the Tisbury selectmen and the town's business community discussed concerns about long-term economic effects of the fire on downtown businesses.
The Tisbury selectmen contacted 10th District Congressman William Delahunt and his aide, Mark Forrest, who were instrumental in getting Tisbury designated a Federal economic disaster area after a fire destroyed the Mansion House in December 2001.
"We came out to the Island and explained to the selectmen and town manager, as well as a number of business owners, what the process would be," Mr. Forrest said. "In order for the Federal government to provide any assistance like this, there needs to be an official request from the Commonwealth."
Congressman Delahunt described the problems caused by the fire to state officials, who came down and documented damages associated with the fire and its impact on the community, Mr. Forrest said. They notified the government about the area's eligibility for assistance at the Congressman's request.
"Congressman Delahunt also has expressed an interest in helping the town down the road, as businesses recover, and our role is to be a resource to the community and the business community," Mr. Forrest said.
State ups early geese season to control flock
Mass Wildlife has announced that the early season goose season will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 2, and end on Thursday, Sept. 25. Massachusetts wildlife officials also have increased the early season bag limit from five to seven birds per day.
"Data collected from agency goose-banding activities this summer indicate the early goose hunting seasons have kept populations stable in the central and western parts of the state and full bag limits are rarely reached," said waterfowl project leader H. Heusmann. "However, in northeastern and southeastern Massachusetts, where we find our densest goose populations, hunters frequently filled their five-bird limit. This indicates that the potential to reduce what are often nuisance population levels of resident Canada geese can be increased with a higher bag limit."
Instead of moving north and south with the seasons, as they once did, non-migratory geese stay in one area throughout the year, fouling fields, golf courses, water bodies, and school yards, and causing significant agricultural damage. Local shellfish wardens said that geese are partly responsible for the high coliform levels in coastal ponds like Sengekontacket where there is a summer ban on shellfishing. Goose hunters must have a hunting or sporting license, and state and federal waterfowl stamps.
Boat Safe Martha's Vineyard Reaccredited
The United States Coast Guard and the National Association of Boating Law Administrators has reaccredited Ron Walsh of Boat Safe Martha's Vineyard to teach a basic boating safety course. The class is now accepted as a sufficient basic boating training in all 50 states. The Massachusetts state legislature is considering a law that would require a boating safety course to operate a motorized vessel. Mr. Walsh has 17 years of experience in boat safety training and offers private classes at the student's home. For more information, call 508-627-7960 or go to www.boatsafemartha'svineyard.com.
New additions to Barn Salon and Spa staff
The Barn Salon and Spa on South Road in Chilmark announced two new additions to its up-Island staff.
Massage therapist Alaina Rastelli has 11 years of experience in massage therapy and is trained in therapeutic neuro-muscular therapy.
Head esthetician Lucy A. Menton excels in natural organic facials with therapies designed to help prevent and reverse photo damage to the skin from aging and the sun and regenerate new healthy skin cells.
Clothing store opens in Edgartown
What is in a name? The owners of "Green Pink Fashion," a new, year-round clothing store located at Post Office Square at the triangle in Edgartown, say everything.
First-time business owners Quezia da Silva and Fernanda Murta said the name came to Quezia in a dream and Fernanda was quick to agree that it was a great name.
For more information, call 508-627-7644.
Curves showcases new fitness technology
Curves of Vineyard Haven, the Island workout location of the national fitness franchise designed specifically for women, will hold an open house this Tuesday and Wednesday to introduce the CurvesSmart personal coaching system.
According to a press release the system is designed to provide a precision designed workout, moment-to-moment feedback and progress reports to keep Curves members motivated while they work out.
The open house hours are 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3 to 7 pm. There will be snacks and door prizes. Curves is located in the lower level of the Woodland Center off State Road. For more information, call 508-696-3030.
MVI adds veteran insurance professional
Martha's Vineyard Insurance Agency recently announced the addition of Carrie-Lynn Whitney to its sales staff. Ms. Whitney, a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry, has joined the agency's 63 Winter Street, Edgartown office as an account executive.
Ms. Whitney is licensed in life, accident, and health as well as Property and Casualty insurance according to a press release. She is responsible for management of the company's existing benefits business as well as the development of new client relationships for personal and commercial property and casualty accounts. Martha's Vineyard Insurance Agency has offices in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. For more information, call 508-627-7111.
New Vineyard Seadogs Calendar for 2009 is on the shelves
Lisa Vanderhoop of Aquinnah announced that her Vineyard Seadogs Calendar for 2009 is now on local store shelves. This is the third year the Island photographer has captured dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds in and around Island waters, doing what they do best, she says, "being the joyous, wet, sandy, messy, and endearing creatures that they are." For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Nis Kildegaard's Soundings column of August 14, the co-author of a letter concerning the affordable housing condition imposed by the Martha's Vineyard Commission on the Field Club development was mistakenly identified as Richard Nash. The writer was David Nash, an Edgartown resident.