A glance back at 2013

Island motorists began navigating the roundabout in April.
File photo by Ralph Stewart

Island motorists began navigating the roundabout in April.

Martha’s Vineyard was a busy Island in 2013. New businesses opened and familiar ones closed, Islanders wrangled over the sorts of things only Islanders might, and they commented on events large and small, like roundabouts, house size, yellow banana bicycles, and docu-soaps.

January 25

WMVY radio announces $600,000 in pledges

WMVY radio has a new lease on life, at least on the Internet and at least for about a year. The longtime Vineyard radio station announced late Friday afternoon that it had $600,000 in pledges before January 30.

“We Made It!,” was the announcement posted on the Friends of MVYradio website (mvy.org). “We have reached our goal of $600,000. This means we will continue on into 2013 on the web. We hope to return to the FM band too.”

The scramble to survive on the Internet as a nonprofit listener-supported Internet station and find a new FM signal began in November. After nearly three decades, the Island’s local FM station lost its 92.7 spot on the FM dial when Boston public radio station WBUR purchased the radio station in order to acquire its signal.

January 30

Longtime Oak Bluffs restaurant Seasons to close

Seasons Restaurant and Pub in Oak Bluffs, a year-round Circuit Avenue mainstay for more than two decades, will close for good on Sunday, February 3, the owners announced this week.

“It has been something that we wanted to do for a number of years,” said Robert Murphy of Oak Bluffs, co-owner along with Jim Ryan of Osterville.

February 6

Aquinnah voters agree to purchase, save Gay Head Lighthouse

On a cold, snowy night, Aquinnah voters turned out for a special town meeting Tuesday and agreed to purchase the Gay Head lighthouse and initiate the process to preserve, restore, and relocate it.

The red brick beacon that has guided mariners since 1856 sits 50 feet from the edge of a cliff that is receding about two feet every year. The lighthouse must be moved within the next couple of years if it is to be saved, according to experts.

The lighthouse is currently the property of the U.S. Coast Guard and is leased to and maintained by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The cost to shore up and move the lighthouse is expected to reach several million dollars. One outstanding question is where to move it.

February 6

Tisbury Stop & Shop submits plans for a new, expanded market

The Stop & Shop company plans to dramatically reconstruct and expand its Water Street, Vineyard Haven, market, changing the appearance and size of the nondescript building the grocery store now occupies and adding enclosed parking for 43 cars. Tisbury selectmen got their first look at the plans on Tuesday.

February 13

Blizzard hit and Martha’s Vineyard hunkered down

Compared with communities across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, Martha’s Vineyard dodged a meteorological bullet. The snow fell, but not in paralyzing amounts. Gusting winds shut down ferry service and downed wires — not unusual in winter here — and the Island was pretty much up and running again by Sunday.

February 19

The tide receded Monday and Islanders wondered aloud

High and low tide are facts of life on Martha’s Vineyard. Mainland residents may pay little attention to the ocean’s rise and fall, but Islanders do, and on Monday, an extremely low tide raised many questions.

Longtime residents said they could never recall seeing the tide so low.

Sunset Lake in Oak Bluffs was completely drained, and in Sengekontacket Pond, an exposed sandbar ran nearly the entire length of the salt pond.

“Something unusual happened with the tides yesterday,” David Stanwood of West Tisbury emailed The Times Tuesday…

Mr. Stanwood said he had heard people attribute the low tides to the asteroid that came within 17,000 miles of the Earth, and some even wondered if it was related to a tsunami off the coast.

Stephen Gill, NOAA senior scientist for the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, assured The Times in a telephone conversation Tuesday that it was due to a strong and sustained northwest wind.

February 18

Martha’s Vineyard comes of age in eyes of reality TV

Grab the television remote and get ready. ABC Family announced in a press release that it has picked up “The Vineyard,” described as a dramatic coming-of-age docu-soap, which follows a handful of 20-somethings on Martha’s Vineyard for the summer.

“Tight quarters, new friends and new rivals, all living, working and playing together, make this picturesque playground ripe for mischief and romance,” ABC said.

March 13

Mass General Hospital oncologists will provide on-Island care

Beginning April 5, the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (MGHCC) will provide medical oncology and hematology services at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Six Mass General clinicians will offer expanded cancer care for patients now available only off Island from a suite of newly renovated rooms in the old hospital building.

“We are excited to offer this oncology program to the community,” MVH chief executive officer Tim Walsh said in an email Tuesday to The Times. “We’ve tried for many years to enhance and expand our oncology service and now through our affiliation with Mass General, we are able to connect to one of the best cancer treatment programs in the country.”

“Patients living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard now have access to one of the finest cancer treatment programs in the United States,” Dr. David Ryan, chief of Hematology/Oncology and MGHCC clinical director, said in an email Tuesday to The Times.

March 13

Storm-weary Islanders look ahead to end of winter weather

A relentless ocean storm, with unusually high tides causing severe coastal erosion, battered Martha’s Vineyard over parts of three days beginning on Thursday, March 7. Last week’s blow was the fourth severe storm of the fall and winter seasons.

The National Weather Service issued coastal flood warnings and high wind warnings for most of that period.

The Island coastline suffered more erosion. Four to 10 feet of the coastal bank on Wasque washed away in the storm, according to observers who surveyed the erosion.

At Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark, a large part of the remaining clay cliff on the eastern side of the beach collapsed and washed away.

April 18

Island neighbors and Marathoners escape injury in Boston

When the bombs burst Monday afternoon at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Islanders and Island families, like families and community members in dozens of towns in Massachusetts, across the nation, and worldwide wanted to know that their friends and loved ones — runners, supporters, or spectators — were safe.

Very shortly, the word reached home that two Vineyard competitors and other neighbors who were watching at the Boylston Street finish were safe.

School administrator and Boston Marathon competitor Marylee Schroeder of West Tisbury, and Kim O’Callaghan, owner of Morrice Florist, narrowly escaped the mayhem of Monday’s twin bomb blasts at the Patriot’s Day finish line.

Fate also favored race spectators Bryan Garrison and his wife, Kim, of Vineyard Haven. They watched a friend run to the finish line from a vantage point just opposite the location of the second bomb and then walked to a prearranged meeting spot half a block distant.

April 19

MV Tactical Response Team returns to Boston

Members of the Martha’s Vineyard Tactical Response Team returned to the Boston area, to help support tactical police units who responded to the bomb attack on the Boston Marathon Monday, according to Oak Bluffs police Lt. Tim Williamson. He said seven local police officers have been called back to the area.

It is the second time in 48 hours the Tactical Response Team has deployed as part of the response to the Boston Marathon bombing.

May 2

Yielding to the roundabout reality requires some rules of the road

At some point more about a century ago — the exact date is likely buried along with a front page headline in a stack of paper — the first traffic stop sign was planted alongside the first paved Vineyard road. In another century, chroniclers of Island life will not need to dig deep to find the first tweet about our first roundabout.

The replacement of the four-way intersection with a roundabout continues to spur debate and generate questions about the proper way for motorists to navigate one of the biggest changes in Vineyard traffic patterns in decades.

May 2

Schifter house project is on the move on Chappy

The massive engineering project to save a luxury Chappaquiddick home from dropping off a rapidly eroding coastal bank at Wasque Point is proceeding with relatively few complaints from neighbors, according to Edgartown officials and Chappaquiddick residents.

International Chimney Corporation, the lead contractor on the project, is preparing to move the 8,300-square-foot main house owned by Rick Schifter, complete with its foundation, to a new location.

June 24

Oak Bluffs boil water order extended; more bacteria found

Oak Bluffs will remain under a boil water order until further notice, after additional test results received Tuesday evening showed bacteria contamination remains in the public water supply. The state had issued a boil water order Monday, after testing first revealed the bacterial contamination.

Two of the town’s five wells tested above the allowable levels for enterococci, a bacteria that indicates the probability of harmful bacteria that can cause illness, according to Oak Bluffs health agent Shirley Fauteaux and town administrator Bob Whritenour.

July 4

Edgartown reopens South Beach to swimming

Edgartown officials reopened South Beach to swimmers Thursday morning. On Wednesday, an invasion of Portuguese man-of-wars prompted officials to close the popular beach to swimming.

The floating sea creatures are beautiful to look at but carry a nasty sting.

Jane Varkonda, Edgartown parks commissioner, agent told The Times in a telephone call Thursday morning beach-goers may enter the water at their own risk. She said the town would consider closing the beach again to swimmers if conditions worsen.

August 8

South Road detour in effect for Obama Vineyard vacation

Martha’s Vineyard residents who have grown accustomed to the temporary disruptions of presidential vacation motorcades to the golf course and the beach can expect extraordinary and lengthy up-Island detours, after President Barack Obama and his family arrive Saturday.

The Secret Service will close South Road to all vehicle traffic near the president’s vacation compound on Snail Road beginning about 2 pm, Saturday afternoon.

August 10

President Obama arrives on Martha’s Vineyard

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived on Martha’s Vineyard late this afternoon for eight days of rest and relaxation, the fourth year the first family has chosen the Island for a summer vacation during the Obama presidency.

The couple’s two daughters, Sasha and Malia, did not travel with the president and first lady this afternoon, according to a pool report. The White House offered no other information.

If the previous vacations are any indication, the president will keep a modest profile, with lots of golf, some beach time, and dining out at popular Vineyard restaurants.

August 22

North Road arrest nets $100,000 in stolen goods

Chilmark police, with a helping hand from a passerby wielding a socket wrench, ended a Pennsylvania man’s four-day Island burglary spree Sunday and recovered more than $100,000 in stolen jewelry and electronics.

Chilmark Police arrested Damien DeRose, 27, of Doylestown township, Pennsylvania, at approximately 4 pm Sunday on multiple burglary and drug charges in connection with house breaks in three Island towns. He is currently being held at the Dukes County jail on $90,000 bail.

August 29

Four vie for medical marijuana license in Dukes County

Four local entities have begun the first part of a competitive multi-phase application process to become the first medical marijuana dispensary in Dukes County.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) published a list of 181 contenders statewide that participated in the application process that began on August 2.

Applicants are competing for a maximum of 35 licenses allowed under a voter-approved ballot initiative that makes medical marijuana available to patients with conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and AIDS.

September 12

Bank ATM skim scam losses exceed $160,000

The FBI has joined an investigation by the Oak Bluffs police into the theft of more than $160,000 from approximately 167 bank debit card customer accounts over the Labor Day weekend, in a skimming scam that originated on Martha’s Vineyard.

Thieves targeted a Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank (MVSB) ATM machine at a bank branch office at the foot of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs to gain account information from people who used that ATM, bank officials told The Times.

Oak Bluffs Police Lieutenant Tim Williamson confirmed that he met with FBI investigators and MVSB officials Wednesday to review the case. The Secret Service will be involved in the investigation, he said.

October 3

Hotelier says Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament will not return

Peter Martell, owner of the Wesley Hotel which served as unofficial headquarters of the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament, said this week that tournament organizer Steve James will move the event to Newport, Rhode Island, next summer.

Mr. Martell told The Times on Wednesday that Mr. James confirmed the move in a phone call Tuesday night. Mr. James is president of the Boston Big Game Fishing Club, sponsor of the tournament for the past 27 years, and also of several other fishing events.

November 12

Wampanoag Tribe claims feds bless a casino

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Tuesday hailed what it described as federal approval, in the form of a legal analysis from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), to convert its long unfinished community center on tribe lands in Aquinnah into a Class II gaming facility.

In a conference call with members of the local and national press Tuesday afternoon, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairman of the tribe, said it could be a matter of months, not years before the doors would open, and she touted the benefits a gaming parlor would bring to the tribe and the Vineyard community.

But even as the tribe and its legal team trumpeted a five-page analysis dated October 25, furnished by Eric Shepard, NIGC acting general counsel, in which he said that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) supersedes the Settlement Agreement that led to federal recognition for the tribe, there was no sign that the legal obstacles embedded in the agreement, having stood in the way of the tribe’s gaming aspirations for decades, are about to be set aside any time soon, on Martha’s Vineyard or on the mainland.

November 21

Tobias Vanderhoop elected to lead Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah

Tobias Vanderhoop, who resigned last year as tribe administrator, won election as chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Sunday, defeating incumbent Cheryl Andrews-Maltais in an election that some tribe leaders viewed as a rejection of efforts to establish a casino in Aquinnah.

According to a statement issued by Mr. Vanderhoop, 258 people voted at the tribal administration building in Aquinnah. A total of 165 tribal members voted for Mr. Vanderhoop, while 91 voted for Ms. Andrews-Maltais.

“I am very thankful for all of the support that I have been given by the tribal membership,” Mr. Vanderhoop said Tuesday.

December 12

Rocco’s Pizza owner takes over Lattanzi space

Peter Sullo, the co-owner of Rocco’s Pizza in Tisbury, will lease the space formerly occupied by Lattanzi’s restaurant in Edgartown. The popular Italian restaurant closed last month. In its place, Mr. Sullo will open a new Italian restaurant, pizzeria, and bar.



Comments

  1. KenEsq says:

    There’s no real debate left, the roundabout is the best thing to happen on Vineyard roads since pavement was invented. Change like that IS something everyone can live with!

    1. dondondon12 says:

      Did we really spend 8 years debating this one ?
      Perhaps the next time we have an issue like this come up, we will remember this.
      I will point out that massive amounts of data about modern roundabouts were available to anyone that bothered to look. Virtually all of it in favor of installing the rbt.
      Unfortunately, in the “look back” here, there is no mention of the cape wind farm.
      I will point out that massive amounts of data about modern offshore wind farms are available to anyone that will bother to look. Virtually all of it in favor of such endeavors.
      If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

      1. RedSoxPatriotsCelticsBruinsFan says:

        If the state hadnt paid for it, it wouldnt have happened.

      2. helenbeck says:

        The “roundabout” does not belong on the Vineyard. Last count there are 36 signs at the site. Very sad this was allowed. The Vineyard is slowly moving towards suburbanization… The people who cannot tolerate the 10 minute traffic jams in the summer should do the Island a favor and leave. Thank you.

        1. dondondon12 says:

          You know, Helen, It’s ok to admit that you might have been wrong on a few points about the roundabout.
          Looking through your past comments on it, you said it would increase accidents, create more traffic at both ends of the ed-vh road, would be “lit up like a Christmas tree”, be under construction for years, cost more than projected,and do nothing to alleviate backups at that intersection. All those statements are demonstrably incorrect.
          I sincerely hope that you can one day appreciate it for what it is– A well designed safe intersection that works.
          Thank you for your comments and opinions, a healthy debate is truly essential to the well being of the community.

  2. jonathan larche says:

    And presidents (no matter who they are) should not visit the Vineyard.

    1. dondondon12 says:

      it seems to me that every presidential visit to this island has pumped tens of millions of dollars into our island economy, has spurred the federal government to pay for some serious infrastructure upgrades to our communications systems, helped with federal funding to upgrade the airport, and has also put the vineyard in the world’s spotlight, helping attract wealthy overseas tourist.
      Collectively, the presidential visits over the last 20 years have done nothing but improve the economic and social status of this island.
      I wonder why you are opposed to that..?

      1. jonathan larche says:

        I am opposed to presidents coming to the vineyard to pander, which of late, the clintons and obamas do to the extreme. as to the millions of dollars flowing to the island: we can take care of ourselves. we don’t need to take the money of others, but of course, that’s what liberals are all about.

        1. dondondon12 says:

          oh, give me a break.
          What does any of this have to do with liberals?
          I don’t think all the people associated with the presidential trips just gave away their money out of some sort of compassion for freeloaders. The people on the island worked to get that money from them. They provided goods and services for everyone from security people and tourist to the first family themselves.
          But you are correct about one thing here. Liberals are all about working and getting paid for it, which is exactly what happens when a president visits the island.

        2. KenEsq says:

          The Vineyard doesn’t need tourists? The Vineyard doesn’t need people interested in spending millions on homes and then paying property taxes every year?
          What percentage of the businesses would fail without tourists?
          What do you think the property taxes would be without all of the seasonal residents?
          The President coming here is great promotion.

  3. Deacon Perrotta says:

    Sad that the Oak Bluffs boil order was commented on by two town officials and no Water District Commissioners who should be in the forefront of this issue.