News in Brief
Town hall closed, tested for CO in Edgartown
Edgartown town hall was closed part of this past Friday and all of Monday, after a higher than normal level of carbon monoxide (CO) was detected in the building.
After extensive testing Monday, the building was reopened Tuesday, and no problems have been reported since.
The problem surfaced when employees said they smelled fumes on Friday. Fire department personnel went to town hall. Using monitors, they detected excessive carbon monoxide. Employees were sent home for the day.
Town administrator Pam Dolby arranged for an environmental testing firm to monitor the building on Monday, but no excessive levels of CO were detected. The cause of the earlier air quality problems has not been discovered.
Carbon monoxide detectors that record ongoing levels of the odorless, tasteless gas were installed at several points inside the building. Employees were also asked to keep journals of any unusual conditions they notice, or any health problems they experience.
Blowtorch and knife-wielding chef arrested
Tisbury police arrested Keith Davidson, a chef employed at the West Chop Club, on Thursday, August 21, after he allegedly threatened two other employees, Nathan Vincent and Richard Hebson, with the tools of his trade, a 10-inch knife and a mini-blowtorch, the kind commonly used to caramelize sugar on the top of crème brulée.
According to a police report, Sgt. Timothy Stobie and Officer Nicholas DiCicco responded to a call from the West Chop Club at 7:52 am, reporting that Mr. Davidson was threatening Mr. Vincent and Mr. Hebson. Officers Michael Gately and Kelly Kershaw provided backup.
Mr. Davidson, who is from Huntington, N.Y., was in his room on the second floor of the Cedars building when the police officers arrived. While talking with the officers, West Chop Club employees identified Mr. Davidson as he left his room.
Mr. Vincent, who is from Buckhannon, West Virginia, told Sergeant Stobie that he and Mr. Davidson went to Outerland the night before and that Mr. Davidson was asked to leave, so they took a cab together back to the West Chop Club.
"When they got back to the Club, Davidson punched Vincent in the face. Vincent responded by punching Davidson back. Vincent went to his quarters and left Davidson in the driveway," the police report said.
At approximately 7:30 am, Mr. Davidson showed up in Mr. Vincent's room holding a large knife in one hand and a lighted mini-blowtorch in the other. He asked if Mr. Vincent had a problem with him and held the knife as though he was going to stab him, then stabbed his computer a few times instead, according to the police report.
In the meantime, Mr. Hebson, who is Mr. Vincent's roommate, woke up and helped to get Mr. Davidson to drop the knife. Mr. Hebson, who is from Edinburg, Tex., said he subdued Mr. Davidson and held him on the ground until he and Mr. Vincent could get the weapons out of reach and call the police.
The police officers arrested Mr. Davidson on two counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and one count of breaking and entering, day felony, and placing a person in fear. He was arraigned on the charges on Friday, August 22.
Sheriff's Meadow Foundation adds new directors
At the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation's annual meeting on August 15, the foundation added four new members to its board of directors and elected new officers.
Emily Bramhall of Chilmark was elected president. A long-time board member active in conservation affairs, Ms. Bramhall previously served as vice-president and treasurer. Former president Steve Crampton of Tisbury was elected vice-president. John Schaefer of Edgartown was re-elected as treasurer and Ally Moore of Oak Bluffs was elected clerk and assistant treasurer.
Joining the board of Directors is Clarissa Allen of Chilmark, Jennifer Blum of Edgartown and Anchorage, Kentucky, Rob McCarron of Vineyard Haven, and Samme Thompson of West Tisbury and Chicago, Illinois.
At the annual meeting, the board and staff honored Mr. Crampton for his service as president with a proclamation and presented him with a framed Mark Lovewell photograph of the moon rising over Quansoo Farm.
Property Tax List coming in September
The Martha's Vineyard Times' most anticipated supplement, the ninth annual Martha's Vineyard Times Vineyard Property Values for Fiscal Year 2008, will be published September 25. Each year, The Times publishes the only comprehensive list of assessed real estate values for all residential and commercial properties in the six Island towns. "Everyone reads Vineyard Property Values," Times advertising sales representative Carrie Blair said this week, "because this exclusive list, for taxpayers and voters and the merely curious, is an important data resource. Readers use Vineyard Property Values to calculate real estate tax bills, compare values of similar properties, or compare values of properties in their neighborhoods, or to find out what real estate is worth anywhere on Martha's Vineyard. It is information you should know. There is a waiting list of customers ready to purchase Vineyard Property Values and see the advertising messages that are included."
The supplement is also distributed to every Island postal patron for free. Advertising space may be reserved by calling Ms. Blair or Danielle Zerbonne, at 508-693-6100.
Boys and Girls Club After School Program starts soon
The Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club (MVBGC) After School Program opens on Monday, September 15, for all students in grades K-6.
The program operates from 2:30-6 pm on regular school days and 12-6 pm on half-days. School year membership costs $20 per child for an unlimited number of visits. Bus service is available each day from the Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury, and Tisbury Schools to the club at 44 Robinson Road, behind the Edgartown School. For more information, visit the website www.mvgbclub.org or call 508-627-3303.
The MVBGC After School Program offers children a choice of a variety of daily activities in the arts department, gym, computer/learning lab, and games room. But more importantly, says executive director Peter Lambos, "Kids have the opportunity to just be kids."
The arts department provides activities such as painting, clay and pottery, drawing, gardening, and sculpture.
In the computer/learning lab, children may surf the web on computers equipped with Internet content filters, assisted by a staff member. They also may read, play games, do research, and receive assistance with their homework.
Daily physical activities for all skill levels and free-play opportunities take place in the gym. In the games room, club members can engage in a multitude of board and table games, compete in tournaments, watch movies, or just relax, have a snack, and socialize with friends. Highlights of the games room are the bumper pool, pool, fooseball, and ping-pong tables, the socialization and snack area, and the 52-inch TV.
The MVBGC needs program assistants, flag football coaches, and volunteers. Call 508-627-3303 or email email@example.com if interested.
Tisbury looking for community gardeners
The Tisbury selectmen invite would-be town gardeners looking for a plot to call their own to submit a letter of interest about participating in a community garden.
Selectman Tristan Israel proposed the idea, noting that the town has several parcels of restricted-use land available, on which a community garden would be allowed.
"I would encourage anyone who has an interest in growing and maintaining their own garden to write a letter of interest to the town," town administrator John Bugbee wrote in a press statement released yesterday. Depending on the response from the community, the selectmen will decide whether to go forward with the project, Mr. Bugbee said.
Tisbury residents who are interested in maintaining a plot of land and gardening on it are encouraged to submit a letter of interest by Tuesday, Sept. 23, to town administrator John Bugbee, Attn. Community Garden, P.O. Box 1239, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
Improving water quality is subject of annual meeting
The annual meeting of the Tisbury Waterways Inc. will include a presentation on the methods homeowners can take to protect the Vineyard's water quality.
Matt Tobin of Tea Lane Nursery in Chilmark will describe simple measures homeowners can take in hardscaping, and how to choose plants for an eco-friendly yard and to manage rainwater. Jane Varkonda, Tisbury conservation agent, will describe the local regulations designed to improve water quality in our ponds and harbors.
The annual meeting begins at 6:30 pm, Thursday September 4, in the Tisbury Senior Center on Pine Tree Road in Vineyard Haven.
Kids clean beaches to learn
Vineyard youngsters can help the environment and learn about one of our most compelling jungle relatives this Saturday, August 30. Children are encouraged to comb local beaches for trash and return the debris to Riley's Reads bookstore in Vineyard Haven from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Prizes donated by EcoMV will be awarded for the best trash hauls.
"By showing kids what they can do to help their immediate environment, we're hoping to make them more aware of how their actions affect the whole planet," said Mathea Levine, author of "I'm Lucy, A Day in the Life of a Young Bonobo."
Ms. Levine is spearheading the project to help educate children about the interconnection among humans, animals, and the world around us. Her book, filled with compelling photographs, aims to bring attention to the plight of the bonobo, considered to be the closest to humans of all the great apes. According to Ms. Levine, the unusual animals, which live in Democratic Republic of Congo, have diminished in number to the point that it is predicted they will become extinct within a decade.
The child bringing in the most trash will get to "adopt" an African bonobo. All participants will have the satisfaction of making an Island beach cleaner and can also purchase "I'm Lucy" at a 20 percent discount.
Book sale profits benefit the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) and Roots & Shoots, a youth organization begun by Jane Goodall. For more information, call 413-281-6013.
Mass tops nation in health insurance rates
Massachusetts is leading the nation in health insurance rates, according to new U.S. Census data, with an average of 527,000 uninsured residents between 2005 and 2007. In that time, the Bay State's rate of uninsurance averaged 8.3 percent, but trends show a decline from the 10.7 percent uninsurance rate between 2004 and 2005. About 1.3 million Americans obtained health insurance between 2006 and 2007, lowering the country's uninsurance rate to 15.3 percent from 15.8 percent.
Massachusetts is tied with Hawaii for the lowest uninsurance rate over the surveyed time period, followed closely by Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Massachusetts joins only a handful of states that have seen significant declines in their uninsurance rates between 2004 and 2007, according to the data. State officials seized on the new numbers to praise the "tremendous success" of Massachusetts's landmark healthcare access laws.
A spokeswoman for the Patrick administration's health secretariat said, "this Census report reaffirms that the time, energy and resources we are putting into making health care reform a success are paying off."
The report made no mention of health care costs, which are casting a large shadow over the progress of health reform implementation. As costs escalate, the federal government is weighing whether to continue its full financial support for Massachusetts health care programs. If it opts not to, it would threaten the ability of the state to pay for its first-in-the-nation programs.
Provided by the State House News Service
Radiant cooling works in Edgartown home
Nelson Mechanical Design (NMD), a Vineyard-Haven based "green" mechanical engineering company, recently announced the successful completion of the first series of trials of a radiant cooling system installed in an Edgartown residence.
According to a press release from NMD, the new cooling system is a first of its kind on Martha's Vineyard. It works by sending cooled water through radiant tubing in the floor, which in turn helps cool the house.
The use of radiant cooling is relatively new in residential buildings and offers the potential for energy savings when compared to a conventional air-conditioning system. The National Association of Home Builders Research Center's website estimates the use of radiant cooling saves approximately 70 to 80 percent of the energy used by a conventional air-conditioning system to power fans to deliver cooled air, the NMD press release notes.
The radiant cooling system utilizes a direct digital control (DDC) system, which closely monitors and controls the temperature of the water sent through the radiant tubing. The DDC system helps maximize the cooling effect from the floors while avoiding the possibility of condensation developing on the cooled surfaces.
The DDC system can be connected via the Internet to any computer, which allows for remote monitoring and control, as well as tracking energy usage.
For more information, contact NMD at 508-696-3120 or visit the website nmdgreen.com.
In a story about the Tisbury Harbor Market in the August 21 Times, vendor Heidi Feldman's Down-Island Farm was incorrectly referred to as Up-Island Farm.