Authors Posts by Barry Stringfellow

Barry Stringfellow

Barry Stringfellow
258 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

Lark Hotels CEO Rob Blood charts a new course for the iconic Oak Bluffs hotel.

Rob Blood, founder and CEO of Lark Hotels, in front of his newest hotel, the Wesley Hotel, was already on the job this past weekend. – Photo by Michael Cummo

The ink was barely dry on the final sale agreement for the Wesley Hotel, but last Friday morning, Rob Blood, founder and CEO of Lark Hotels, was already on the job.

Sitting on the porch of his company’s newest acquisition, the soft-spoken CEO said he’d become familiar with the Vineyard business climate when he and Dawn Hagin, listed on the Lark company website as “chief inspiration officer,” spent six months in Edgartown in 2010–11 supervising the transformation of the 100-year-old Colonial Inn into the Vineyard Square Hotel and Suites. “When I first saw the Wesley Hotel for sale, I knew it was a great opportunity,” he said. “This is a perfect location. It’s the gateway to Oak Bluffs. You can come here and never have to bring your car.”

The Wesley Hotel is the last of the grand Victorian hotels in Oak Bluffs. Peter Martel, co-owner of the Wesley with partners George Fisher and Richard Kelley, has operated the 95-room hotel for the past 29 years.

Mr. Blood said he began preliminary talks with Mr. Martell about a year ago, and the subsequent negotiations were the most challenging of his career. “Usually it’s just a straight ‘buy a hotel, close the deal,’ and it’s relatively easy,” he said. “This time it was much more involved.”

 

Tradition with a twist
Lark Hotels operates a collection of 10 self-described boutique hotels that look to create “luxury in the heart of iconic destinations.” “We like to give a subtle nod to the history of the place, along with unexpected twists,” Mr. Blood said. “A lot of hotels are scared to do that.”

All Lark hotels are in coastal New England, except for a 19-room inn in Mendocino, Calif. Mr. Blood said the term “boutique” is more about service than about size. The company ethos, according to the website, is to “embrace the historic locations, but in playful, unexpected ways.”

“We focus on creating a very welcoming environment, through authentic personal service,” he said. “The person checking you in won’t be following a script like a Hampton Inn, and it won’t be like the Four Seasons where they call you ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam.’”

Since summer has already begun, Mr. Blood said the hotel will be operating largely as it has, with an increased focus on personal service. The entire staff hired by Mr. Martell is being kept on.

“We have a great core group here,” Mr. Blood said. “Peter did a good job lining up skilled people on J-1 and H-2B visas, which you have to do now. American college students get out later and start earlier, so at best you get two months from them.”

As part of the sale, Mr. Blood said, he is leasing the employee dormitory housing that Mr. Martell built on a separate location in Oak Bluffs.

This summer, Mr. Blood said the priority will be launching a new website, developing a social media presence, and updating the technology. Once the season is over, renovation work will begin in earnest.

“Peter did a good job in keeping the bones of the building, the electric, the plumbing, in good shape,” he said. The exterior will get some fresh paint, but the interior will be the focus of the overhaul. “We’re changing the look and feel of the interior, to bring more light to the place overall,” he said. “We’ll be putting in new bathrooms in all the rooms. Like all our hotels, we’ll have 40-inch smart TVs with Apple TV. We’ll make sure there’s plenty of bandwidth, so people can watch Netflix or any streaming content they choose.” Mr. Blood said that when the technology upgrades are complete, guests will be given an iPad loaded with local information as a personal digital concierge.

There’s already a project manager in place for the renovation, and Mr. Blood is starting to interview local tradesmen. Showing he has a finger on the Island pulse, he said, “We don’t expect work to get into high gear until after the [striped bass] Derby is over in October.”

 

B & B beginnings
The first incarnation of Lark Hotels began in 2003, with a B & B on Nantucket that Mr. Blood and his wife Leigh bought after they chucked their careers in academia — he as an administrator and psychology professor at Amherst and Trinity colleges, she as environmental science teacher at Loomis Chaffee School, in Windsor, Conn.

“We wanted to spend more time together, and we thought the hospitality business would be a natural fit,” he said. “Then we were together 24/7, doing everything from cleaning bathrooms to making hospital corners on beds,” he added, laughing. After a year on Nantucket, the Bloods expanded to Kennebunkport, and Lark Hotels has been expanding ever since. This year they will open the Break, in Narragansett, R.I. Next year, in addition to the Wesley Hotel, Lark Hotels will open new establishments in Salem; Nashville, Tenn.; Stowe, Vt.; Portsmouth, N.H.; and Napa, Calif.

The name “Lark Hotels” was Ms. Hagin’s idea. “We’d been trying to think of something, and Dawn said she just woke up with the name,” he said. “It has three meanings, the bird, the whimsy of going off on a lark, and it has a sense of nostalgia. The Lark was the last model that Studebaker cars made; it was also called the Weekender.”

The new incarnation of the Wesley Hotel is scheduled to open May 1, 2016.

 

by -
18

The ride sharing business said it will be in full operation on Martha’s Vineyard for the Memorial Day weekend.

Taxicab owners are concerned about the impact Uber will have on Martha's Vineyard.

After dipping its toe in the Martha’s Vineyard taxi pool, Uber, the app-based ride-sharing service is jumping in with both feet. The company announced that beginning at 5pm, Friday this Memorial Day weekend, UberX will be in full operation on the Island, and over 20 other east coast vacation destinations, including Nantucket, Cape Cod, Bar Harbor, the Hamptons and the New Jersey shore.

In an email to The Times late Wednesday, Uber spokesman Craig Ewer said, “Now that we’ve announced our official launch, we’re working hard to ensure that there are enough drivers on the road to meet the increased demand we expect over the holiday weekend and through the summer.”

Mr. Ewer said that there are “dozens” of Uber drivers already operating on Martha’s Vineyard. The cost of an uberX ride is $2.50 base fare plus $0.25 per minute and $1.90 per mile. Mr. Ewer also said that UberX is about 31 percent cheaper than a local taxi, however this claim has not been verified by The Times.

Local taxi cab companies have bitterly complained to local boards of selectmen about the prospect of what they said would be unfair competition from Uber and asked town officials to intercede to block the service from operating on the Island. Since Uber is legally considered a transport network company (TNC) and not a traditional taxi company, the question of regulation remains a fluid one.

In a letter dated May 7 addressed to West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand, town counsel Ronald Rappaport said the town’s current regulations only pertain to traditional taxi cab companies. Mr. Rappaport said that in his opinion, current regulations do not give the board the power to regulate TNC’s, but state law gives the board “broad authority to promulgate regulations governing TNCs.”  Mr. Rappaport said the town could expand its rules and regulations after following its procedures for doing so.

“The Governor has recently filed a bill with the state legislature to establish a state-wide law regulating TNCs,” Mr. Rappaport added. “However, until the legislation is final and enacted into law, it is too early to assess what impact the law may have, if any, on the town’s authority to regulate TNCs locally.”

At a meeting of the Oak Bluffs selectmen on April 28, police Chief Erik Blake said that state law cannot be superseded by local bylaws. “I can enforce taxi-stand and bus-stop violations, but because people are doing commerce with their phones, it’s very hard to oversee,” he said.

Uber is an on-demand car service that enables drivers who qualify to use their own cars and to work their own hours, as independent contractors. Uber can also be used by taxi drivers and car services. Using the free app for iPhone and Android devices, riders request service and the type of vehicle they want. Dispatch software sends the nearest driver to the location, and tells the riders how long their wait will be. The Uber app signup requires a credit card number, so no cash changes hands. The app also comes with a fare calculator, so riders will know how much they’ll be paying before the car shows up.

Uber charges are based on a combination of time and distance, and vary by location.

by -
1
The Little Bridge channel, now clogged with sand, will be dredged beginning on June 1. – Photo by Michael Cummo

On Monday, Oak Bluffs town administrator Robert Whritenour hosted a meeting of town officials, dredge contractors, and members of the Oak Bluffs beach committee, to discuss plans for the sand and gravel that will be dredged from Little Bridge channel, starting on June 1.

“It’s a different approach to this kind of meeting,” Mr. Whritenour said. “We’re lucky to have local residents that want to be so involved with the process. We were able to walk the site together, and make plans of what to do with the dredged material.”

Mr. Whritenour said a large portion of the estimated 6,300 cubic yards of sand and gravel will go on Pay Beach. Some of the finer, dry sand will cover the remnants of much-maligned dredge spoils placed on Inkwell Beach prior to last summer. The rockier dredge spoils will renourish the beaches closest to the Steamship Authority terminal. The remainder of the dredge material will be stored at the town highway barn.

Beach committee Chairman Richard Seelig and Selectman Gail Barmakian recently inspected the material under Little Bridge, and were encouraged by the sand quality.

“The top layer of sand is very nice,” Ms. Barmakian told The Times. “It’s dry, so there shouldn’t be any drying period.”

“From what we have seen and been told, there is no organic matter in the dredge material, so bleaching will not be an issue,” Mr. Seelig said in an email.

International Golf Co., along with Island contractors Watercourse Construction and the R.M. Packer Co., will dredge the channel and transport the material. Seventy-five percent of the $350,000 cost will be covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds designated for Hurricane Sandy relief. Mr. Whritenour said this is the first time the town has received FEMA funds designated for Hurricane Sandy repairs. The storm hit the East Coast in October 2012.

 

by -
0

Pirate Adventures M.V. expects to set sail in late June from Oak Bluffs Harbor.

A pirate ship similar to the Sea Gypsy, shown tied up in Hyannis Harbor, will soon ply the waters off Oak Bluffs Harbor. – Photo courtesy of Facebook

A 40-foot ship manned by tattooed, chantey-singing, grog-swilling pirates has charted a course for the beaches of Oak Bluffs this summer. There will be no pillaging of the town, however, because the buccaneers will be buckaroos between the ages of 2 and 10, sailing the high seas on the Sea Gypsy, the flagship of Pirate Adventures Martha’s Vineyard.

Jeremiah McCarthy, co-owner of Pirate Adventures Martha’s Vineyard with his wife Catherine, said the idea came to them two years ago, when they were looking for something to do with their children. “My wife was online and found this pirate ship in Hyannis,” Mr. McCarthy told The Times. “Apparently it had been operating for 20 years. I’d never even heard of it.” Mr. McCarthy said that 10 minutes into the trip, his wife called and said, ‘We have to buy one of these.’”
Than Drake of Hyannis created the first pirate adventure 20 years ago with a converted sailboat, and over the years, the design has become more refined. The Sea Gypsy’s hull was built in Maine, then shipped to Hyannis, where Mr. Drake converted it into a proper pirate ship. There are five different pirate adventures along the East Coast, but Mr. McCarthy said it is not a franchise.

Mr. McCarthy, a fourth-generation Islander and owner of the Dockside building on Oak Bluffs Harbor, said he sees Pirate Adventures helping to fill the family entertainment void on the Island.
“We have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old; we know how little there is for families to do together here,” he said. “You can go to the beach, you can go to Felix Neck, but there’s not a lot of structured activities.”
There’s another compelling reason that inspired Mr. McCarthy to start the business. “Who doesn’t want to be a pirate?” he said. “I’m amazed how many adults want to do it.”

At least one adult has to accompany each child or group of children, so grownups can live the dream, if they so choose.
Before boarding the Sea Gypsy, each new “mate” will get a pirate name and be fitted with pirate garb. Foam swords will be available for swashbucklers. Face paint and temporary tattoos will be applied, and landlubbers will learn how to talk like a pirate.

The journey to find sunken treasure will last about 70 minutes. There is a bathroom onboard.
After leaving Oak Bluffs Harbor, the Sea Gypsy will chart a course due south, about as far as the Inkwell. The five daily trips are timed to avoid the ferry traffic at the North Bluff and at the SSA terminal.

Once under sail, the crew will work together to find pieces of a treasure map, which will determine the ship’s destination. “Along the way, we find a message in a bottle, and we’re attacked by Stinky Pete, the Island’s smelliest pirate, and the kids fight him off with water cannons,” Mr. McCarthy said. “Eventually we discover where X marks the spot, and everybody has to help pull the treasure chest from the water, and once it’s on the deck they all get a handful of pirate booty.”
On the trip back to the harbor, pirates will celebrate their success with singing, dancing, and non-alcoholic grog that they find floating in the sea.
“It’s a highly interactive pirate experience,” Mr. McCarthy said, laughing.

The trip will cost $32 a person, child or adult, and there’s a 20 percent discount for Dukes County residents. Mr. McCarthy said he’s looking to hire energetic staff members who are good at public speaking and enjoy entertaining children.

For more information, go to mvpirates.com.

by -
15

Siblings from the Kingsbury clan have locked horns in a lawsuit over the State Road pig and poultry farm.

Jefferson Munroe of the Good Farm and cat Rhea stands in front of one of the farm buildings. – Photo by Michael Cummo

A long-simmering conflict between a brother and sister came to a head on April 27, when William Kingsbury filed a lawsuit against his sister, Kristen Kingsbury Henshaw, aimed at shutting down a farm operated by her tenant, Jefferson Munroe.

The legal filings state that “The Good Farm”, a poultry and pig farm run by Mr. Munroe, is causing Mr. Kingsbury “irreparable harm” by befouling the atmosphere at 1128 State Road, where he and his wife, Laura Ann Freeman, own a house and the adjoining lot.

Mr. Kingsbury’s attorneys, Daniel Perry and Neil Smola from the New Bedford firm Perry, Hicks, Deshaies and Mello, filed the complaint in Dukes County Superior Court. In a separate motion, the attorneys requested the court issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent Mr. Munroe from bringing any additional animals or fowl onto the property while the case is heard.

The request for a preliminary injunction was heard on May 6 in New Bedford Superior Court, which hears cases when Dukes County Superior Court is not in session, with Judge Raffi Yessayan presiding. A decision is pending.

 

Farm to gavel

The abutting siblings have butted heads before. In a May 4 affidavit, Ms. Henshaw said that Mr. Kingsbury had initiated “baseless litigation” against her in 2009 over a dirt road that wends over both properties. Ms. Henshaw said she agreed to a nonexclusive easement over the disputed property, primarily to save legal fees.

The seeds of the current kerfuffle were planted when Ms. Henshaw subsequently leased her property to Mr. Munroe, proprietor of The Good Farm, in 2012.

Mr. Kingsbury and Ms. Henshaw are the children of the late Craig and Gertrude Kingsbury. The “Hoo-rah for Bill” sign their father made for President Clinton’s first visit to the Island still marks the entrance at 1056 State Road, where the elder Kingsbury’s operated a farm for decades. They deeded son William a 9.75 acre parcel of the land in 1989. Shortly before his death in 2002, Mr. Kingsbury conveyed the remaining 10 acres to his daughter, Ms. Henshaw.

Jefferson Munroe herds turkeys into a pen with fresh grass. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Jefferson Munroe herds turkeys into a pen with fresh grass. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Befowled

Mr. Kingsbury said that he had coexisted peacefully with previous farmers on Ms. Henshaw’s land because they were subsistence farmers. In the April 27 complaint, he described The Good Farm as “a large-volume poultry operation that slaughters approximately 2,300 chickens and other fowl each year,” and additionally maintains a pig population of 12-14 mature hogs, plus a larger number of piglets. “The scale of [the] operation is far too large, even if it were well run, to confine its adverse effects to the small parcel of land on which they are conducted,” he said in the complaint. “Henshaw and Munroe’s operation has continuously been poorly managed. Compost bins of raw poultry remains, placed near the common property line, created “a powerful and nauseating stench.”

The motion also asserts that The Good Farm creates “windblown trash”; that it’s a vector for rats, crows, and skunks; and, in a familiar refrain, that people frequently trespass on a road that crosses Mr. Kingsbury’s property.

 

Defendants respond

In an email to The Times on Tuesday, Stephen Schultz, a Boston-based attorney with the firm Engel & Schultz, representing Ms. Henshaw and Mr. Munroe, wrote, “There are many allegations in the complaint which are not correct, including the allegation that the farm has been operating since 2010, the farm creates a noxious odor, the prevailing winds blow from the farm onto the plaintiff’s property, the pigs are allowed to roam free on the farm, the compost bins were immediately adjacent to the property line, and the dirt road is on the plaintiff’s property rather than being on the defendant’s property.”

On May 6, Mr. Schultz filed a motion in Dukes County Superior Court to deny the case. He contended that the plaintiff’s attorneys were attempting to make The Good Farm sound as noxious as possible, and that they “mischaracterize the farm as a piggery and poultry-slaughtering facility.”

In an email to The Times, Mr. Schultz said, “It should be noted that it is not clear that the Good Farm is a ‘piggery,’ as it only has one pen with 15-30 pigs, and it is not a ‘poultry slaughtering facility,’ it is a poultry farm, whose poultry is slaughtered by the same poultry mobile facility which slaughters the poultry at all of the four chicken farms on the island.”

In his May 6 filing, Mr. Schultz also wrote, “No matter how plaintiffs try to couch their complaint, they are claiming no more than that pigs and compost bins smell, and are asking this Court to enjoin The Good Farm from operating as a farm.”

To address the odor issue, Mr. Schultz supplemented his filing to dismiss with sworn affidavits from 29 Islanders who stood near the property line while the compost bin was being “turned over,” and said they smelled no noxious odors. The group included abutter Helen Koch, newly elected Tisbury Selectman Larry Gomez, and Daniel Barrick, owner of the Scottish Bakehouse, which sits almost directly across the street from the Good Farm. Ms. Barrick and several other respondents also attested to Mr. Munroe’s humane farming practices.

Correspondence between Mr. Munroe and Tisbury assistant health inspector Maura Valley was also submitted. It shows that Ms. Valley responded to a complaint from Mr. Kingsbury’s wife, Ms. Freeman, originally written to board of health Chairman Michael Loberg.

Ms. Freeman said her 23 years of experience as a CEO of a successful “alternative meat” company informed her opinion — and her opinion was that The Good Farm was “sloppy, unsanitary, and potentially dangerous.” She cited poor composting, decomposing chicken parts strewn about, some of which was being used for rodent traps, and excessive amounts of litter.

There were no infractions in Ms. Valley’s subsequent inspection of The Good Farm. Ms. Valley suggested Mr. Munroe move his compost to a different location, which he did. Ms. Valley also requested the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Food Protection Program (FPP) inspect The Good Farm. “Everything to date that has been looked at by the Department of Public Health and the [Department of Agricultural Resources] has been approved,” Mr. Schultz said in a phone call with The Times on Tuesday.

Mr. Munroe declined to comment to The Times due to the ongoing litigation.

 

Accusations fly

In his complaint, Mr. Kingsbury also accused Ms. Henshaw of attempting to devalue his land, so she could ”potentially profit” if he is forced to sell. He stated his property was worth $1.2 million in 2003, and that it would be worth “only a fraction of that,” should The Good Farm stay in operation.

“I have absolutely no interest in buying Bill’s property, and have never stated or wished to do so,” Ms. Henshaw said in a May 4 affidavit. “On the other hand, I have been contacted directly or indirectly three times, either by Bill’s attorney or a business associate.”

Ms. Henshaw said she’s been asked to sell her property, or to work with Mr. Kingsbury and his business associate to help them to obtain a distillery license for the property so that Moon Cusser, a brand of white whisky that is currently produced by a company owned by Mr. Kingsbury and Ms. Freeman in Ms. Freeman’s native Kentucky, could be produced on Martha’s Vineyard.

Mr. Schultz wrote that there is no evidence of duplicity on Ms. Henshaw’s part; however, “there is evidence that Ms. Freeman has been running a one-woman campaign to drive Mr. Munroe out of business with false allegations to government agencies, local supermarkets and the local newspaper, so that she and her husband can force a sale of Ms. Henshaw’s property in order to enable Plaintiffs to purchase defendant’s’ property, which they apparently desire in order to operate a distillery.”

In her affidavit Ms. Henshaw also submitted a letter written by her father to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) in 1990, when he unsuccessfully petitioned the MVC to deny construction of the Vineyard Assembly of God church next to his property. “The idea of a farm is much more romantic than the reality of one,” he wrote. “Cleaning a barn is an odiferous process. We often use rotted fish for fertilizer … it would be very unfair to us if our neighbors were to complain about our pigs and for us to move them.”

“I wish to keep my property a farm in perpetuity,” Ms. Henshaw said in her affidavit. “From my dealings with co-defendant Jefferson Munroe, I concluded that Mr. Munroe is an excellent, conscientious farmer, and humane individual, and that my parents, were they still alive, would be proud to know he was farming their land.”

 

by -
0

Traffic will flow inland from Seaview Ave. beginning Wednesday.

Selectman Kathy Burton was on the fence about whether to vote to make Canonicus Ave. a one-way street. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Oak Bluffs selectmen set an endurance record that will likely stand for some time, after their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday went for nearly five hours. After interviewing the final candidates for the Council on Aging administrator position, the board conducted two public hearings, and, after almost postponing a repeatedly postponed vote, finally decided to make Canonicus Avenue a one-way street on a trial basis.

Two years for one-way vote

Michael Santoro, who was recently voted board chairman and is also chairman of the roads and byways committee, was not at the meeting due to travel delays, prompting discussion to delay the Canonicus vote once again. Discussions and hearings for the change go back two years, and the final vote was delayed by a blizzard in early February, and again in March to allow for more neighborhood outreach. Due to Mr. Santoro’s absence, Selectmen Kathy Burton and Walter Vail considered delaying the vote once again, but Selectman Greg Coogan strongly opposed further delay.

Almost on cue, Police Chief Erik Blake notified the selectmen that he’d just received a text from Mr. Santoro asking the selectmen to go ahead with the vote.

Mr. Vail steadfastly opposed the change. “I sympathize with the neighbors, and I understand the speeding issues, but I haven’t gotten the overwhelming feeling that this is the right thing to do,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve looked closely enough at what the unintended consequences might be.”

Local residents have described Canonicus Avenue as a tragedy waiting to happen, because cars and trucks often use the road as a shortcut to or around downtown, and often travel at high speeds around two blind curves.

Ms. Burton said she’s been on the fence about the change since the debate began. “Originally I felt the way Walter does, that curve is really dangerous,” she said. “We also don’t know how this is going to affect Nantucket [Avenue].

“This has gone on for a couple of years; I think we should give it a try,” Mr. Coogan said. “We can do it on a trial basis; if it doesn’t work, we change it back. But we have to get it in place now for the summer.”

“The local community came to us to make this change,” Police Chief Erik Blake said. “I agree we should do this on a trial basis. We may find that people go even faster. The traffic studies will tell the tale.”

Selectmen approved the temporary change 2 -1. Ms. Barmakian recused herself because she owns property on Canonicus Avenue.

Highway Department Supervisor Richard Combra said the change will go into effect Wednesday, May 20.

 

LoFT gets a warning

Continuing a public hearing from their last meeting, selectmen weighed the fate of LoFT, the bar and adult game room on the second floor of the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co. that was cited with nine infractions on a spot check made by Oak Bluffs Police Detective James Morse in late March, shortly after the grand opening.

Most of the infractions were due to permitting issues. In his report, Detective Morse cited LoFt for not having a change-of-use permit. Before its current incarnation as an adult game room with full bar and food service, LoFt had been a concert venue for three years.

“This was not a case of ‘we’ll build and take care of things later,’” attorney Sean Murphy told selectmen. Mr. Murphy was representing building owners Mike and Mark Wallace, principals of C Vivor LLC, and proprietor J.B. Blau. “It was not intended to slip under the radar or avoid permitting requirements.”

Other permitting infractions in Detective Morse’s report included incomplete entertainment-license application, failure to post occupancy load, failure to post fire-inspection certificate, failure to post OUI warning signs, failure to apply for new occupancy permit, and six counts of unlicensed pool tables. Many of the permitting infractions were addressed before Tuesday night’s hearing, Detective Morse told selectmen.

The alteration-of-premises permit and entertainment license are the two unresolved permitting infractions. Selectman Walter Vail questioned if LoFT should be allowed to operate until the permits are issued. “I’m so surprised you did this,” he said. “You know the rules in town.”

“We were under the assumption that Dreamland [the permit] was operational,” Mr. Blau said. “We didn’t realize it rose to this level.”

“All due respect, it was a case of ‘we did it and now we’re asking forgiveness,’” Chief Erik Blake said. “Those things should have been in place.”

There were two infractions for alcohol served to impaired patrons. Detective Morse also noted that the manager eventually asked both patrons to leave.

“Our opening had a far greater response than we anticipated,” Mr. Blau said. “We didn’t have enough bartenders or security. We immediately hired more people.”

Detective Morse also cited LoFT for serving one person a pitcher of beer, or “service of malt by pitcher to less than two persons.”

Mr. Murphy told selectmen the proprietors also hired a consultant, and the entire staff was recertified in TIPS [Training and Intervention Procedures for Servers of Alcohol]. “They understand these are important violations,” Mr. Murphy said. “They have stayed on top of the staff. They’ve doubled the number of bartenders and security.”

Selectman Gail Barmakian took Mr. Wallace to task for lack of disabled access to LoFT. “The application to the Architectural Access Board was supposed to happen three years ago,” she said. “It’s a great place, but it really bothers me that somebody that’s handicapped can’t get in there.”

Building inspector Mark Barbadoro told selectmen his concerns — strengthening the back deck and back stairs, and raising the guard rail — had been addressed. “The fire chief is happy with it,” Mr. Barbadoro said. “If he were here today, they’d have the C.O. [certificate of occupancy]. When he gets back tomorrow, we’ll sign it.”

Mr. Vail said he was inclined to shut down LoFT for one week, but that given the time of year, a warning was the most appropriate course of action.

Selectmen agreed, with a 4-0 vote, to give LoFT a warning, and to allow the establishment to stay open. The warning will also be filed with the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC).

“We absolutely dropped the ball and for the record, I’ll take the brunt,” Mr. Blau said. “We have no animosity, no frustration. This was a good thing. In a weird way I’m saying thank you.”

by -
0

Dredging is scheduled to start on June 1 to reconnect the northern inlet between Sengekontacket Pond with Nantucket Sound in Oak Bluffs.

Oak Bluffs town administrator Robert Whritenour told selectmen Tuesday that International Golf Construction Co., a consortium of Island contractors, provided the low bid of $297,930, and was awarded the contract.

“It was substantially lower than our original bid,” Mr. Whritenour said. “It’s great that we can put the money back into the local economy.”

Mr. Whritenour said because of the lower bid, contractors can dig five feet below mean low water (MLW), instead of the four feet MLW stated in the request for proposals.

 

Selectmen will decide between Rose Cogliano and Michael Weston.

Selectman Greg Coogan listens to Rose Cogliano make her case to be the COA administrator.

Seeking to end a long period of uncertainty, selectmen interviewed the two finalists for the newly created administrator position at the Oak Bluffs Council on Aging (COA) Tuesday afternoon. Acting Director Rose Cogliano of Oak Bluffs and Michael Weston, seasonal Tisbury resident from Miami, Fla., each spent just under an hour answering questions and sharing their ideas on the future direction of the COA.

Ms. Cogliano has been the acting director of the COA since February 2014, when she stepped in for then director Roger Wey, who was placed on paid administrative leave after questions were raised about his supervision of the agency. Mr. Wey was subsequently laid off that June.

Prior to her tenure as acting director, Ms. Cogliano worked as COA assistant director for nine years, and as acting director for six months before that, according to her résumé.

Ms. Cogliano told selectmen “the numbers have gone up” at the COA since she took the helm. “I’m proud of the direction we are going,” she said. If selected, Ms. Cogliano said she would expand exercise programs, increase educational offerings, and create more intergenerational activities. She cited a writing program, supervised by Vineyard writer Holly Nadler, and a board-games program, where COA members teach second graders at the Oak Bluffs School classic board games, as successful examples of the latter two goals. Ms. Cogliano said she expected a survey of the current membership to be completed soon, and that she would incorporate the feedback in her planning. She also looks to improve the COA facility with additional painting and maintenance.

Ms. Cogliano said obtaining additional training would be a top priority for her personally. “I think it’s important whoever has the position has ongoing training,” she said. As an example of her grant-writing experience, Ms. Cogliano cited a $2,500 state grant awarded to the COA for “Matter of Balance,” a fall-prevention program.

“My vision for the center is to be the hub of Oak Bluffs, the jewel of the town,” she said.

Michael Weston has worked in elder affairs for the past 40 years at the local, state, and national level. Mr. Weston currently works as a consultant for the aging at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He also teaches graduate courses in gerontology at Rutgers University. Prior to his tenure at FEMA, Mr. Weston consulted for the United States Administration on Aging, and over his career held various positions in state and local agencies in Florida, according to his résumé.

Mr. Weston told selectmen his mother, Margo Weston, has been a Tisbury resident for 90 years, and that he’s very familiar with the Island.

Mr. Weston said that a top priority over his career has been to extend the opportunities and services that enable the elderly to maintain their independence, and that he has designed programs “around the country and around the world,” to help accomplish that goal.

“I have found time and time again, given the opportunity, seniors are more a resource than a responsibility,” he said.

Mr. Weston has extensive experience in emergency management for the elderly. He said that shortly after he was appointed chairman of disaster services for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, putting 4 million people under his purview, Florida was struck by Hurricane Andrew, and months after that, “the storm of the century” caused even more catastrophic damage to the state. “I think that kind of experience can serve this Island well,” he said.

When Selectman Greg Coogan asked Mr. Weston for an example of his ability to be resourceful and creative, Mr. Weston said he invented a portable hospital bed when he saw the need for it. “I couldn’t believe nobody thought of it before,” he said.

Mr. Weston said that his work with FEMA has required him to live in and to serve numerous small communities. He has also has experience in island communities, from a stint in American Samoa. “Our challenge pales compared to theirs,” he said.

Mr. Weston told selectmen he is one of two Americans selected to attend the next World Council on Aging, prompting Ms. Barmakian to ask why he wanted to come to a small town like Oak Bluffs.

In addition to spending more time with his mother, Mr. Weston said, “I’m at a point in my career where I have some flexibility. It can be a seamless transition. My commitment to to assist the independence of the older population burns as bright as it did in my graduate studies.”

“Don’t you see this as going backwards?” Ms. Barmakian asked.

“I see a tremendous opportunity to make a difference,” he said.

Selectmen will announce their decision at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 26.

According to the Oak Bluffs town report, the Council on Aging budget for fiscal year 2015 is $224,607. The director’s salary is listed at $61,387.

“I’ve been doing this for years, and I’ve never seen so many big fish come in,” volunteer Ed O’Melia said, standing at the measuring table at the 41st annual kids trout derby at Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury, early on Saturday morning.

As the day dawned, an estimated 75 young anglers, and the adults who brought them, lined the mist-covered pond in windless and mercifully temperate conditions.

There are many traditions that accompany this traditional event. For some, part of the ritual is getting there well before first light, when Lela Gilkes, wife of kids trout derby chairman Cooper “Coop” Gilkes and derby record keeper, honks her truck horn three times to signal the start of the contest.

Barney Suman of Aquinnah arrived at 2:30 am with his son Max and three of Max’s friends. They secured a prime spot by the dam, where last year’s winner was stationed. Barney said their pre-pre-dawn arrival is one of the things that makes the trout derby special. “The kids were excited to be out, running around, playing tag at three in the morning. They were having a blast,” he said.

Ned Casey, carpenter and experienced captain from Edgartown, started a tradition last year when he posted on Facebook, “Anyone on Island have a kid or two that would want to fish the derby Saturday morning who for some reason would not be able to go otherwise, I would be willing to teach and and bring to the pond.”
Mr. Casey had no takers until the night before the derby, when Michelle Cacchiotti from Oak Bluffs called and asked if it was too late to take her 6-year-old daughter Elaina. Mr. Casey jumped at the chance. This year, Elaina called Mr. Casey herself, and asked, “Are we going fishing?”

Last year it took a while for Elaina to embrace the fishing experience, but by the time the final horn went off, she didn’t want to stop. She was even helping other kids with their casting technique. This year, Elaina was laser-locked on her line from the first cast. Like last year, her mostly pink outfit coordinated nicely with her pink rod and reel, only this year, Mr. Casey brought her a reel that sparkled when she retrieved the line. Mr. Casey told The Times that the reel was not from his personal arsenal.

Last year, Elaina caught one trout. This year she caught five, possibly owing to Mr. Casey’s secret technique of spitting on the bait, a small nugget of rainbow Powerbait, before casting it into the drink.

Another derby tradition, embraced by adults and kids alike, sometimes repeatedly, is feasting on the grilled jumbo hot dogs which are flown in from St. Petersburg, Fla., by Rod and Gun Club member Tony Iannotti. The trout derby is a free fishing contest, paid for by the Rod and Gun Club with the assistance of generous contributors. It’s introduced generations of Islanders to the fun of a tug on the end of a fishing line. Many of the adults present grew up fishing the tournament.

“I loved doing this as a kid,” Kevin Peters of West Tisbury said. Mr. Peters started fishing the trout derby when he was 6 years old, when the derby was held at Wiggy’s Pond in Oak Bluffs. He pointed to other adults along the shore. “We all grew up doing this. We’d get to the pond at three in the morning and guard our spot. Our parents just dropped us off. They were different times.”

Mr. Peters choked up recalling his favorite derby memories, when he fished with his friend and hockey teammate Ryan Mone, who died in a car accident on New Year’s Eve in 1998.

Five-year-old Zackary Moore, one of three young fishermen Mr. Peters was overseeing, caught his grand-prize-winning tiger trout around 6:30 am. It was Zachary’s first trout derby, but with some calm coaching from Mr. Peters, he played the trout like a pro, even after the fish broke water and revealed its impressive size. The smile stayed on Zachary’s face all morning, and only got bigger when he was presented with a towering grand-prize trophy that was half his height, a new rod and reel, and a new bicycle from Wheel Happy bicycles in Edgartown.

The mystery of fishing was on full display 10 yards away from Zachary, where Christian Turner fished all morning and barely got a bite. Still, Christian showed no sign of disappointment as he packed up. “It was fun hanging out with my dad,” he said.

 

Results

Grand overall prizes

Zachary Moore, age 5, 18-inch tiger trout

Amber Ventura, age 6, 21-inch pickerel

Ages through 8

  1. William Nicolson, age 7, 15½-inch rainbow trout
  2. Molly Sylvia, age 8, 13¾-inch rainbow trout
  3. Grace Cotton, age 7, 13-inch rainbow trout

Ages 9 to 11

  1. Riley Sylvia, age 11, 15-inch rainbow trout
  2. J.J. Polleys, age 10, 14¼-inch rainbow trout
  3. Camden Townes, age 9, 14-inch rainbow trout

Ages 12 to 14

  1. Katherine O’Brien, age 12, 15½-inch rainbow trout
  2. Micah Vought, age 12, 12¼-inch brook trout
  3. Veronica Wendt, age 13, 12-inch brook trout

The homegrown cable station provides access to state-of-the-art technology and personal instruction for a nominal fee.

Michelle Vivian, access coordinator and instructor, and MVTV executive director Stephen Warriner stand in one of the studios. – Photos by Michael Cummo

The new sinks are installed, most of the cabinets are hung, and the Wolf cooktop, Viking double oven, and Frigidaire refrigerator sit gleaming and untouched. It could pass for a restaurant kitchen, except for the stanchions above that will support the lighting and the cameras that will record the new cooking shows on Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV).
And who will host the new shows?

The new MVTV is located off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs.
The new MVTV is located off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs.

“Anybody who wants to,” Stephen Warriner, executive director of MVTV, said in a recent interview, stepping over a stack of two-by-fours. “We want people with a passion for cooking. Not just professional chefs.”

This is the ethos at MVTV — television for Islanders, about Islanders, and cooked up by Islanders, broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We produced about 650 shows last year, including sports,” Mr. Warriner said. “We shoot about 800 hours of government [meetings] each year.”

MVTV broadcasts over three channels — Channel 13 is public access, where private citizens and organizations can broadcast almost any content they want; Channel 14 is education and high school sports; and Channel 15 is gavel-to-gavel coverage of local government meetings.

For a $25 annual membership fee, any Islander can access the $1.3 million studio and the guidance of a full-time staff to create a show for the public access channel. Membership is free for Island students and teachers.

“If you don’t have the 25 bucks, I’ll waive the fee,” Mr. Warriner said. “I don’t want it to be an obstruction to bringing people in. If you have an idea for a program that’s a half-hour or less, we will engineer the whole thing for you, as long as it’s not slanderous or pornographic.”

Currently, the most popular programs on Channel 13 are Bodhi Path and church services. The Banana Connection, a show devoted to the Brazilian audience, is also very popular.

“One of our most popular shows was The Water People,” Mr. Warriner said, grinning. “It was two really old hippies. The guy had a long beard and the woman was wearing a robe and no underwear, and they’d sit on a famous spring in Canada and talk, and for some reason it really resonated with our audience.”

In the studio control room, director of operations Carl Holt sits at a sleek console with a large high-definition monitor that displays four different camera feeds from the talk show being filmed on the stage next door. Mr. Holt is showing a student how to work the “switcher,” which, as the name implies, switches the point of view between four cameras. The talk show host can also control the cameras during the show with the click of an iPad. The green-screen wall behind the host and her two guests projects an idyllic up-Island summer scene in vivid detail. Green-screen technology unleashes myriad creative possibilities, and even has 3D capability. “You can be chasing the monster or you can be running away from a much bigger monster; it’s up to your imagination,” Mr. Warriner said. “The kids love it when we make them fly like Superman.”

Humble beginnings

Comcast, and before it, Adelphia, operates on Martha’s Vineyard under the terms of a franchise agreement signed with the six Island towns. Cable companies are required by law to provide PEG (public, education, and government) access.

Before MVTV began broadcasting in 2003, Adelphia’s Channel 8 was the Vineyard’s only public access channel, broadcasting an unrelenting parade of paid classified advertising interspersed with occasional local shows, mostly sports, produced under less than favorable conditions.

A group of Vineyarders who understood the potential in PEG access created MVTV. Adelphia was happy to pass on the responsibility.
“When we started we had to do a lot of improvising, building things for pennies on the dollar,” Mr. Warriner said. “Charlie Burnham and I built a $30,000 server for $3,000. When Adelphia was here, they pretty much did the minimum — basically one camera and a tape deck. When Comcast took over, they were happy that a group took over so it was off their hands. They’ve been great to work with.”

In July 2013, almost 10 years to the day after it began broadcasting out of its cramped studio at the high school, MVTV began broadcasting from a new 4,000-square-foot facility on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. Except for a year-and-a-half break, Mr. Warriner has been at the helm the entire time.

Per the most recent 10-year deal between MVTV and Comcast, the operating budget is financed by 5 percent of the annual revenue from Island cable subscriptions and some advertising revenue. In addition to paying for operating costs, the $450,000 budget covers four full-time salaries and freelance videographers.

Government oversight
There are more than 2,500 video on demand (VOD) programs available on the MVTV web site. So far in 2015, the web site averages a little over 1,300 VOD views a month. While there’s no breakdown of what people are viewing, Mr. Warriner is confident that the vast majority are government meetings.

“Our freelance videographers cover government meetings, gavel to gavel,” Mr. Warriner said. “Some meetings are 20 minutes, and some are 3½ hours,” he said, adding that the longer meetings are usually the domain of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC).

“In the early days there were a lot of flubs, cameras rolling after the gavel, things that got aired,” he said. “Sometimes before the gavel went down, you’d hear some things said that should have stayed behind the scenes.”

Mr. Warriner said MVTV will also broadcast video of government meetings that are filmed by citizen videographers, “but if there’s a close-up of a public official picking his nose, we won’t air it, because we control this channel. That said, they could air it on Channel 13, public access. The person could be sued for slander, but that’s not our problem,” he said, laughing.

The contract people sign with MVTV that allows the station to broadcast their shows also states that the producer is legally liable for the content.
“There have only been a few minor disputes which were easily resolved,” Mr. Warriner said, knocking on wood.

Per its mandate to serve the public, MVTV goes to great lengths to accommodate its members. “Chilmark wanted us to cover the meetings about the [Squibnocket] parking lot,” Mr. Warriner said. “That’s not part of our gig, so I bought them an iPad and I put it on a mike stand and got a piece of software that we can use. It automatically goes final transfer protocol [FTP] to a cloud that we have, and we download it, tweak the audio, and put it on.”

Government meetings are the only events covered by MVTV staff. “We tried to do community coverage, but we got calls the day before the event, and people wanted to direct, and it got to be so unruly that we had to stop,” Mr. Warriner said. “But if a member wants to use our cameras to shoot a meeting, we’re all for it. If someone wants to teach a class, we’ll give them all the equipment they need. You bring the idea, we help make it happen.”

“We have nine cameras, recording systems, computers for editing; we got you covered,” Michelle Vivian, instructor and MVTV access coordinator, said. “If someone wants to take a camera on location and film, they have to take the camera class. If they want to take a laptop home in order to edit, they have to take the editing class. With Final Cut Pro they’re editing their own footage in a few days.”

MVTV also has a mobile production trailer for remote shooting. “We use it at the film festival and things of that nature,” Mr. Warriner said. “We used to camp out at the Ag Fair and do ‘man on the street interviews,’ and cover the tractor pulls, woodsman contests, the skillet toss, all that fun stuff, but fair officials thought the broadcast might cut into the live audience, so we don’t do it anymore, which is too bad. Kids loved checking out the trailer.”

“We train members to use the production trailer so they can do it themselves, just like we do with all of our equipment,” Ms. Vivian said. “If Battle in the Bluffs wants me to bring the trailer, I’ll train their people and they’ll do the production, and I’d be there to help if they need me.” Although MVTV doesn’t presently cover Martha’s Vineyard Sharks baseball games, Ms. Vivian said if an aspiring sportscaster asks to broadcast the Sharks games with MVTV equipment, and he or she presents a sound plan, the production trailer will be available, provided the Sharks sign off on the idea.

A classy outfit

Ms. Vivian teaches a full slate of classes at the MVTV studio. She also mentors people one-on-one. “If someone says ‘I have a comedy show and I really want to do in the studio,’ I’ll say ‘OK, take the orientation, take the introduction to studio class, and then maybe a writing class,” she said. “I try to get people to focus on the story and not to get too caught up in the technical stuff. These are just tools to help tell your story.”

Ms. Vivian also goes into the Island schools to teach the students, and to teach the teachers how to teach the students. “I take every class I teach here on the road with me,” she said. “Chilmark School wanted the kids to do a documentary about the colonization of America. I went there once a week for five weeks. I taught them how to write it, how to shoot it, and helped them make costumes. We even got into copyright issues. I tell them, ‘Just because it’s on Google doesn’t mean you can have it.’ I’m also a musician, so I can teach them to write their own theme song.” Ms. Vivian said she’s taught in every Island school except the Oak Bluffs School.

“High school classes come over here, I show them these awesome cameras, and I show how to use them,” she said. “I teach them how to switch, how to be onstage, how to be a floor director, how to work the teleprompter, how to direct. Everybody likes to direct,” she said laughing.

Ms. Vivian said internships are available at MVTV this summer. “They’re project-based, so they learn all that goes into making a show,” she said. “They also learn some real-world skills — how you answer the phone, how you make a copy, and how you talk to people appropriately in a professional environment.”
“Most of the people that come through here have a good experience,” Mr. Warriner said. “A lot of people don’t realize how much work is involved. The basic rule of thumb is one hour of work time for every minute of screen time for a television show. That involves more obscure things like color correcting, but if they’re interested we’ll show them how. We just want to help Islanders to get their message out.”

For more information on MVTV, go to mvtv.org.

Portuguese Translation – Tradução em Português
Residentes de Martha’s Vineyard Comandam TV Local
Por Juliana Da Silva

As novas pias estão instaladas, a maior parte dos gabinetes estão pendurados e tanto o fogão como a geladeira permanecem intocáveis. Aparentemente parece ser uma cozinha de um restaurante, com a exceção do equipamento instalado que irá filmar o novo show de culinária da televisão comunitária de Marthas Vineyard. E quem irá apresentar o show?

Em uma entrevista recente, Stephen Warrener, diretor executivo da Marthas Vineyard TV, disse que a oportunidade de apresentar o show estará aberta para qualquer pessoa que queira fazer parte do programa. “Nós queremos pessoas com paixão por cozinhar, não apenas chefes profissionais. Está é a intenção do canal, televisão para os residentes da ilha, sobre os residentes da ilha, e com um programa de culinária liderado por moradores da ilha, exibido 24 horas por dia, sete dias da semana.”

“Nós produzimos por volta de 650 shows no ano passado, incluindo esportes”, disse Warriner. “Nós gravamos por volta de 800 horas de reuniões do governo a cada ano”.

MVTV é exibido através de três canais – o canal 13 é aberto ao público, onde cidadãos privados e organizações podem exibir quase qualquer conteúdo que queiram, o canal 14 é voltado a educação e esportes da escola de ensino médio (high school) e o canal 15 exibe reuniões do governo local.

O valor para que qualquer residente da ilha se torne membro da MVTV é de $25 e sócios têm acesso ao estúdio – avaliado em $1.3 milhões – e também instruções e assistência de pessoas que trabalham para MVTV e que ajudarão os membros a criarem programas a serem exibidos para o público. Estudantes e professores da ilha não pagam para terem acesso a emissora ou pela assistência que possam precisar. “Caso alguém não possa pagar os $25, eu não irei impedir que este indivíduo tenha acesso ao estúdio. Eu não quero que o valor seja uma obstrução para atrair as pessoas. Se alguém tiver uma ideia para um programa, que seja meia hora ou menos, nós da MVTV iremos ajudar estas pessoas a produzir a ideia, com tanto que não seja pornografia ou algo falso, malicioso ou de má fé.”

No momento, os programa mais populares no canal 13 são Bodhi Path e serviços de igrejas. A conexão da banana, The Banana Connection, um show direcionado para a audiência brasileira também é muito popular.

“Um dos shows mais populares foi The Water People”, diz Warriner com um largo sorriso. “Dois velhos hippies. O homem tinha uma barba longa e a mulher vestia somente um robe, e eles sentavam em uma rocha no Canada, e por alguma razão a audiência realmente os escutava.”

Na sala de controle do estúdio, o diretor de operações Carl Holt senta a um console moderno com um grande monitor de alta definição que exibe informações de quatro câmeras diferentes do talk show que está sendo filmado no palco vizinho. O Sr. Holt está mostrando a um estudante como usar o “comutador”, o qual, como o nome sugere, comuta o ponto de vista entre as quatro câmeras. A apresentadora do talk show pode também controlar as câmeras durante o programa com o clique de um iPad. A parede de tela verde, atrás da apresentadora e seus dois convidados, projeta uma idílica cena de verão com detalhes vívidos. A tecnologia da tela verde desencadeia uma miríade de possibilidades criativas e até possui capacidades 3D. “Você pode estar perseguindo o monstro ou você pode estar fugindo de um monstro bem maior; fica por conta da sua imaginação”, disse o Sr. Warriner. “As crianças amam quando nós as fazemos voar como o Super-Homem.”
Um começo humilde

A Comcast – e, antes da Comcast, a Adelphia – opera em Marthas Vineyard sobre o termo de contrato assinado com as seis cidades da ilha. As companhias de TV a cabo são obrigadas por lei a prover um acesso PEG (público, educativo e governamental).

Antes da MVTV começar a transmitir em 2003, o canal 8 da Adelphia’s era o único canal público da ilha exibindo diversos comerciais interceptados por um show occasional, na sua maioria esportes produzidos de uma maneira não muito propícia.

Um grupo de moradores da ilha que compreendia o potential do acesso PEG criou a MVTV. A Adelphia ficou mais do que feliz em passar adiante a responsabilidade. “Quando nós começamos, nós tivemos que fazer bastante improviso”, disse Charlie Burnham. “Quando a Adelphia estava aqui, eles fizeram o mínimo possível – basicamente uma câmera e um aparelho de gravação. Quando a Comcast passou a ser a operadora, a satisfação deles foi grande em ver que já tomávamos conta do PEG. Eles têm sido ótimos parceiros.”
Em Julho de 2013, quase 10 anos após o dia em que começou a transmitir para fora do seu estúdio apertado na escola, a MVTV começou a transmitir de uma instalação de 4000 pés quadrados (371 m2) em Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. Com exceção da pausa de um ano e meio, Warriner tem estado no comando o tempo todo. Pelo mais recente contrato de 10 anos entre a MVTV e a Comcast, o orçamento operacional é financiado por 5% da receita anual das assinaturas a cabo da Ilha e por algumas receitas de publicidade. Além de pagar o custo operacional, o orçamento de U$ 450.000,00 cobre o salário de 4 cinegrafistas de tempo integral e freelance.

A supervisão do governo

Há mais de 2.500 programas de vídeos sob demanda (VOD) disponíveis no site da MVTV. Até 2015, o site teve uma média de um pouco mais de 1.300 visualizações de VOD por mês. Enquanto não há interrupção no que as pessoas estão vendo, Warriner está confiante de que a vasta maioria são reuniões governamentais.

“Nossos cinegrafistas freelances cobrem as reuniões governamentais de fio a pavio”, disse o Warriner. “Algumas reuniões são de 20 minutos, e outras são de 3 horas e meia”, ele disse, acrescentando que as reuniões mais longas são geralmente no domínio de Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC).

“Nos primeiros dias houve uma grande quantidade de erros, câmeras rodando depois do corte, coisas que foram transmitidas”, disse ele. “Às vezes, antes de a transmissão cortar, você ouvia algumas coisas que não deveriam ter saído dos bastidores.”

Warriner disse que MVTV também vai transmitir vídeo de reuniões do governo que são filmados por videomakers cidadãos, “mas, se há um close-up de um funcionário público cutucando o nariz, não irá ao ar, porque nós controlamos este canal. Dito isto, eles podem exibi-lo no Canal 13, de acesso público. A pessoa pode ser processada por calúnia, mas isso não é problema nosso”, disse ele, rindo.

As pessoas contratadas, ao assinar com a MVTV, concordam que a estação a transmitir seus shows também estabeleça que o produtor seja legalmente responsável pelo conteúdo.

“Houve apenas alguns pequenos conflitos que foram facilmente resolvidos”, disse Warriner, batendo na madeira.

Por seu dever de servir ao público, a MVTV percorre grandes distâncias para atender seus membros. “Chilmark quis que cobríssemos as reuniões sobre o estacionamento Squibnocket”, disse o Sr. Warriner. “Isso não faz parte do nosso show, então eu comprei um iPad, coloquei-o em um pedestal do microfone e consegui uma parte de um software que podemos utilizar. Ele é transmitido automaticamente via FTP para um servidor na nuvem, daí nós baixamos, ajustamos o áudio e divulgamos.”

Reuniões do governo são os únicos eventos cobertos pela equipe MVTV.

“Nós tentamos fazer a cobertura da comunidade, mas recebíamos chamadas na véspera dos eventos, e as pessoas queriam dirigir, e isso findava tão impraticável que tivemos de parar”, disse Warriner. “Mas, se um membro quiser usar nossas câmeras para filmar uma reunião, estamos à disposição. Se alguém quiser dar uma aula, nós vamos disponibilizar todo o equipamento de que necessitam. Você traz a idéia, nós ajudamos torná-la real.”

“Temos nove câmeras, sistemas de gração, computadores para edição; nós temos a sua estrutura”, disse Michelle Vivian, instrutora e coordenadora de acesso da MVTV. “Se alguém quer uma câmera na locação para filmar, precisa ter aulas sobre uso da câmera. Se quer levar um laptop para casa a fim de editar, precisa ter aulas de edição. Com o Final Cut Pro, eles editam seu próprio filme em poucos dias.”

A MVTV também tem um trailer móvel para a produção de vídeos remotos. “Vamos utilizá-lo no festival de cinema e coisas do tipo”, disse Warriner. “Nós costumávamos acampar na Feira Ag e fazer ‘enquetes de rua’, e cobrir as disputas entre tratores, competições de lenhadores, sorteios de frigideira, toda essa diversão, mas as autoridades acharam que a transmissão podia reduzir o público ao vivo, de modo que não fazemos mais isso, o que é muito ruim. As crianças adoravam conferir o trailer.”
“Treinamos os membros a usar o trailer de produção para que eles possam trabalhar sozinhos, assim como fazemos com todos os nossos equipamentos”, disse Vivian. “Se Batalha na Bluffs quer que eu leve o trailer, eu vou treinar seu pessoal e eles farão a produção, mas eu estarei lá para ajudar se precisarem de mim.” Embora a MVTV atualmente não cubra os jogos de beisebol do Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, Vivian disse que, se um jovem repórter esportivo pedir para transmitir os jogos dos Sharks com equipamentos da MVTV, e ele ou ela apresentar um projeto sonoro, o trailer de produção estará disponivel, desde que os Sharks autorizem a idéia.

Uma roupa elegante

Vivian leciona todo um leque de aulas no estúdio MVTV. Ela também dá aulas particulares. “Se alguém diz ‘Eu tenho um show de comédia e eu realmente quero fazer no estúdio’, eu vou dizer ‘OK, veja o tutorial, tenha a aula inaugural sobre o estúdio, e talvez uma aula de redação”, disse ela. “Eu tento levar as pessoas a concentrar-se na história e não ficar muito preso a detalhes técnicos. Estes são apenas ferramentas para ajudar a contar a sua história.”
Vivian também vai às escolas da ilha ensinar aos alunos, e ensinar aos professores como ensinar aos alunos. “Eu tenho todas as matérias que ensino aqui na estrada comigo”, disse ela. “A escola Chilmark queria que as crianças fizessem um documentário sobre a colonização da América. Eu fui lá uma vez por semana durante cinco semanas. Ensinei-lhes a escrevê-lo, como capturá-lo, e os ajudei a bolar figurinos. Nós também entramos nas questões de direitos autorais. Eu digo a eles, ‘Só porque está no Google não significa que é seu.’ Eu também sou uma musicista, por isso posso ensiná-los a escrever sua própria canção ou  tema.” Vivian disse que ela ensina em todas as escolas da ilha, exceto a Escola de Bluffs Oak.

“Turmas do ensino médio vêm aqui, eu mostro a elas essas câmeras incríveis, e eu mostro como usá-las”, disse ela. “Eu ensino como configurar, como se portar no palco, como ser um diretor de cena, como ajustar o teleprompter, como dirigir. Todo mundo gosta de dirigir”, disse ela rindo.

Vivian disse que estágios estarão disponíveis na MVTV neste verão. “Eles são baseada em projetos, para que eles aprendam tudo enquanto produzem um show”, disse ela. “Eles também aprendem algumas habilidades do mundo real – como atender telefonemas, como fazer uma cópia, e como lidar com as pessoas de forma adequada em um ambiente profissional.”

“A maioria das pessoas que passam por aqui têm uma boa experiência”, disse Warriner. “Um monte de pessoas não percebem o tanto de trabalho envolvido. A regra básica é uma hora de trabalho para cada minuto na tela de um programa de TV. Isso envolve coisas mais obscuras, como correção de cor, mas se eles estão interessados, vamos mostrar-lhes como se faz. Nós apenas queremos ajudar a população local a mandar o seu recado para além da ilha.”

Para mais informações sobre MVTV, visite mvtv.org.