Long holiday weekend was mostly problem free

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Photo by Michael Cummo

Martha’s Vineyard police and public safety officials reported that the long holiday weekend was relatively quiet. There were no major accidents and arrests were down when compared with last year. The arrival of Hurricane Arthur on Friday may have kept a lid on the revelry but did little to dampen the celebratory mood of weekend visitors.

Edgartown police answered 123 service calls over the three-day holiday weekend, according to Sgt. Craig Edwards. “Compared to last 4th of July, it was relatively quiet,” he said.

Police did take 15 people into protective custody over the weekend. They made two arrests including an arrest for drunk driving.

Police stopped a driver who was swerving across Katama Road on Saturday, July 5. Arrested was Raleigh Jackson, 22, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Police will seek charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and a marked lanes violation.

Police also responded to 11 complaints about noisy parties over the weekend.

Edgartown harbormaster Charlie Blair said Friday’s storm made for an adventurous evening in Edgartown Harbor, where he and his staff dealt with multiple emergencies at the height of the storm.

“We had sustained 40 knots with a lot higher gusts,” Mr. Blair said. “We had about six hours of real crap. We had some moorings drag, and I had to relocate a few people.”

Mr. Blair said people underestimated Hurricane Arthur, still classified as a Category 1 hurricane when it passed southeast of Martha’s Vineyard.

“Some people took care of their boats, other people didn’t even come look at their boats,” Mr. Blair said. “We got away with it, but no preparation at all from a lot of people.”

On Sunday, the harbormaster staff responded to a report of two kayakers missing off East Beach on Chappaquiddick at about 4 pm. About a half hour later, dispatchers relayed information that the kayakers were off State Beach, and a few minutes later, dispatchers relayed word to police that the kayakers were found and safe.

The 52-foot sailboat Lady Mina broke away from its mooring in outer Vineyard Haven Harbor sometime during the storm, and drifted across Nantucket Sound to Harwich Port, a distance of about 30 miles. The parted mooring lines were hanging off the bow. The Harwich harbormaster’s office got a call about 4:30 pm Saturday from people on a nearby beach who said a vessel was drifting toward shore.

“We got on the scene, and with the help of those folks from the beach, we were able to get a line on, and tow it further offshore,” said harbormaster John Rendon. A rescue vessel from U.S. Coast Guard Station Chatham responded, and helped tow the Lady Mina into Saquatucket Harbor. “It’s in perfect shape, no damage at all,” Mr. Rendon said.

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport was busy, but Hurricane Arthur kept air traffic below record levels. A total of 1,210 planes landed or took off Thursday through Sunday, with 552 of those operations on Sunday alone.

“Although we were quite busy on Sunday, July 6, the overall totals of landing fees and fuel sales were off from expected totals, in part due to weather conditions associated with Hurricane Arthur on July 4 and July 5,” assistant airport manager Deborah Potter said in an e-mail statement.

Oak Bluffs police reported they responded to 103 calls, arrested eight people, and took two individuals into protective custody. In the most serious incident, police arrested a man who attempted to flee in his vehicle.

Police arrested Leandro Miranda, 23, of Edgartown, on charges that included OUI alcohol, failure to stop for police, resisting arrest, operating after license suspension, destruction of property under $250, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended registration and marked lanes violation.

Putting Hurricane Arthur aside, Tisbury Police Lieutenant Eerik Meisner said the July 4 holiday weekend was relatively quiet for his department. “There was nothing major; a few fender benders,” he said. “I don’t believe we had any arrests. We did do a couple of back-up calls for Oak Bluffs.”

Lieutenant Meisner, who also serves as Tisbury’s emergency management director, spearheaded preparations in coordination with members of the Island’s emergency management network and public agencies to open up the Tisbury School gym as an emergency shelter last Friday night. Eighty-four members of a tour group slept on cots there after being stranded on the Island when the Steamship Authority canceled the 8:30 pm ferry.

It showed us how quickly we could get something together,” Lieutenant Meisner said. “It also showed us points that need to be improved upon, and hopefully we’ll do it better the next time, if there is one.”

Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling, who helped in the emergency shelter preparations, said the holiday weekend was fairly quiet for his department, as well.

We had some ambulance runs, but nothing significant,” he said. “We responded to a few automatic alarms at homes, and a few calls about branches on electrical wires, which we expected with the high winds we had.”

Aquinnah Police Chief Rhandi Belain said that aside from the driver of a vehicle that ended up on its side due to an accident that remains under investigation, residents enjoyed the holiday weekend peacefully.

In West Tisbury, Sergeant Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter said, “Everything went smoothly.”

Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi said that other than the arrest of a person in connection with a housebreak the holiday weekend was uneventful.

Steve Myrick, Janet Hefler and Nathaniel Horwitz contributed to this story.