Authors Posts by Jamie Stringfellow

Jamie Stringfellow

Jamie Stringfellow
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Beach, dinner and Edgartown antics

Martha's Vineyard artists Traeger di Pietro and Ken Vincent executed this painting of President Barack and Michelle Obama while an assembled crowd watched. Film and video specialist Chris Mara then projected the image onto the Edgartown LIghthouse. — Photo by Chris Mara

And on Saturday, there was no golf. The President and First Lady, referred to by the White House press pool at least, as POTUS (president of the United States) and FLOTUS, went to a private beach on Martha’s Vineyard’s south shore.

The President and First Lady  then returned to their Chilmark rental home to rest and, presumably, rinse the sand off.

The press pool had  a lovely dinner respite at the Homeport Restaurant in Menemsha, reported MV Times staff reporter Steve Myrick, where Chef Josh Aronie got seafood orders out for hungry poolers on a tight deadline.

The first couple moved on to State Road restaurant in West Tisbury, a frequent stop during their Vineyard vacations, where they dined with friends.

Meanwhile, in Edgartown, there were antics afoot at the lighthouse, where, according to Times correspondent Rich Saltzberg, well-known Island artists Ken Vincent and Traeger di Pietro collaborated on a portrait of President and Michelle Obama. During the entire process, film and video specialist Chris Mara projected the work in progress onto the lighthouse, to the cheers of the assembled.

 

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Iraq caps a day at the beach

President Obama delivered a statement on Iraq from his vacation home in Chilmark Monday. — Mark Alan Lovewell for the Vineyard Gazette

Late this afternoon, President Obama, dressed in a navy blazer, dark grey pants and a blue collared shirt with no tie, issued a brief statement on Iraq. Standing in a small clearing, flanked by trees and sweeping water views on the other side, Mr. Obama said he called new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to offer his support and congratulations, according to press pool reports.

Mr. Obama reiterated that there is no American military solution to the problem and that Iraq must form an inclusive government. Today’s developments are a “promising step forward” in what he called a “critical effort.”

​President Obama said over the past few days American forces have successfully completed targeted airstrikes to “prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Irbil.” Mr. Obama said humanitarian efforts have continued to members of a minority sect trapped on a mountain and that a USAID disaster response team is now involved in the mission.

Mr. Obama said aircraft remain “positioned to strike terrorist forces” around the mountain that threaten the safety of the people on it.

Mr. Obama said the new leadership has a “difficult task” and must regain the trust of its people. He said the United States “stands ready to support” a government that addresses the needs of all Iraqi people.

Mr. Obama said these have been “difficult days” in Iraq and that the U.S. will remain vigilant to the threat posed by ISIS.

At 5:30 pm, President Obama left his vacation house to attend a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event hosted by Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown and his wife, Linda Mason, in Tisbury. The DSCC said tickets to the fundraiser ranged from $15,000 to $32,400.

Mr. Brown and Ms. Mason founded Bright Horizons, a child-care provider. Ms. Mason is also a chairman of MercyCorps.

President Obama walked under a white tent to a singer belting out “Signed, Sealed Delivered.” Guests including Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Michael Bennett sat around round tables with green tablecloths and centerpieces of yellow and white flowers.

Mr. Obama told the assembled guests that with the help of a strong Democratic Senate, “We were able to right the ship.”
He said, “When I first came into office, we were then losing 800,000 jobs a month. We now are seeing the lowest unemployment claim since 2006 — the largest drop this past year in unemployment in 30 years. We’ve seen the deficit cut by more than half. We’ve seen the stock market rise so that people fully recovered their 401(k)s. We’ve seen corporate profits booming. Our energy production at unprecedented levels. Solar production 10 times what it was when I came into office; wind power three times what it was when I came into office. We’ve reduced our carbon by more than any nation on Earth. The housing market has recovered. And it’s worth noting that we also have several million people who didn’t have health care before that now have affordable care that they can count on,” according to a White House transcript of his remarks.

Mr. Obama said we are seeing around the world incredible challenges, “many of them all coming to a head at the same time.”
But he added, “I do want to point out, though, at a time when the news seems filled with news of Ukraine and Gaza and Ebola and you name it, that in every instance people are constantly interested in finding out how can America help solve these problems. And there’s a reason for that. Because despite the complaints and the second-guessing, and the anti-American sentiment that you hear sometimes on television around the globe, when there’s an actual problem they all recognize we’re the one indispensable nation. They all recognize that our leadership is absolutely critical. And that’s true both for challenges and opportunities.”

Delving into the homefront he said, “And I think it’s fair to say that the one area where we haven’t seen as much improvement as I would have liked is getting a Congress that is focused not on the next election, but on the next generation; that is serious about how do we grow an economy so that middle-class folks and folks who want to get into the middle class have opportunity.”

“What’s preventing us from getting things done right now is you’ve got a faction within the Republican Party that thinks solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power. And that’s a problem. And that’s why I need a Democratic Senate. Not to mention the fact that we’re going to have Supreme Court appointments, and there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”

Mr. Obama urged democrats to get excited about the midterms elections. “We get real excited about presidential elections. We lose sight of the importance of elections in the midterm,” he said.

Mr. Obama returned to his Chilmark house early in the evening.

Earlier, on a perfect summer beach day, after another late start, President Obama decided to go to the beach.

The press pool reported that the motorcade departed the Chilmark vacation house off North Road at 12:40 pm bound for Edgartown. The uneventful 21-minute ride took the motorcade past verdant fields, clapboard houses and one animated woman who threw the motorcade the Shaka sign, a Hawaiian hand signal – the ultimate symbol of aloha and local culture in Hawaii and interpreted to mean “hang loose” or “right on,” according to a website that specializes in Hawaiian culture.

The motorcade turned down Pohoganut Road in Edgartown at about 1:02 p.m. for the beach, leaving the press pool in its dust and parked by a state forest fire lane on Edgartown-West Tisbury road.

Pohoganut Road leads to a series of roads that provide access to private beaches that stretch between Edgartown Great Pond and Oyster Pond. Property owners include the Flynn family, for generations the largest landowners of Pohogonot Farm and surrounding property at Jobs Neck and Edgartown Great Pond, Andrew and Pamela Kohlberg, children of Jerome Kohlberg, owner of the Vineyard Gazette, Robert Levine, and Richard L. Friedman, the real estate investor and former host of President Bill Clinton when he vacationed on the Vineyard.

President Obama left the beach at 3:30 pm. The pool reported it was unclear if the rest of the family stayed behind to enjoy the beach a bit longer.

This morning, the White House reported, the President spoke with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine. President Obama expressed his strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a press statement. The two leaders agreed that any Russian intervention in Ukraine without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Ukraine government would be unacceptable and a violation of international law. President Poroshenko also noted the continued shelling of Ukraine’s territory from Russia. President Poroshenko updated the President on his engagement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the effort to deliver multilateral humanitarian aid to the distressed populations in eastern Ukraine. The President noted the urgency of such humanitarian efforts and encouraged President Poroshenko to continue to exercise restraint and caution in military operations in order to avoid civilian casualties. In light of the ongoing violence and instability, the President and President Poroshenko agreed that all parties should prioritize diplomatic efforts toward finding a political resolution to the crisis.

The President also spoke this morning with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi about the latest developments in Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine, as well as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the White House reported. On Iraq, the two leaders agreed on the need to ensure humanitarian assistance is reaching vulnerable Iraqis, continue to seek the safety of the civilians on Mount Sinjar, and work together to develop options that will secure the safety of the civilians on Mount Sinjar. Renzi expressed his support for the United States’ efforts in Iraq. Both leaders noted the urgency of efforts to counter the threat ISIL poses against all Iraqis and discussed the latest developments in Iraq’s political transition.

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Comedian Jimmy Tingle hosted the 36th annual Possible Dreams auction on Sunday night, with the help of Guinevere Cramer. — Photo by Michael Cummo

On Sunday night, dreams came true, but storm-filled weather forecasts didn’t. Under a quadruple-posted pavillion tent, on the grounds of the Winnetu resort in Katama, the 36th annual Art Buchwald Possible Dreams Auction hosted a near capacity crowd in support of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

Auctioneer Jimmy Tingle and former Plum TV personality Guinevere Cramer helped bring in over twenty five winning bids including the evening’s highest single bid – $13,000 for a cruise to Nantucket aboard the 91′ yacht KelDi and lunch with author Nathaniel Philbrick.

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Jackson R. Gaffey

Julie and David Gaffey of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of their son, Jackson Richard Gaffey, on July 15 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Jackson weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

 

Point B team, left to right: Ezra Sherman, Guinevere Cramer, Valerie Hart, Kristin Buck, Wendy Harman, Win Baker, Cheri Mason.
 Meet Your Merchant Plus is sponsored content. *

Point B Company History

It was a gutsy move, opening a new real estate company during the toughest economic crisis in decades.

Point B Realty Owner/Principal Broker, Wendy Harman.
Point B Realty Owner/Principal Broker, Wendy Harman.

In April 2009, Wendy Harman employed her passion for people, property and professionalism, creating Point B Realty.  Wendy’s faith in Martha’s Vineyard as a magical place, coupled with her commitment to bringing a new set of skills, values and technology to the marketplace paid off:  Today Point B is one of the Island’s top real estate services providers, proving that discerning clients appreciate people who love what they do and do it with unparalleled dedication.

“I thought I was so smart starting my own real estate company but the market crashed within the first thirty days.”

 

A Business Built on Dreams and Talent
Like most businesses conceived by individual entrepreneurs, Point B Realty is the product of Wendy Harman’s dreams and acumen.  A Seattle native, she spent many weekends as a child touring open houses with her mother, who was, as Wendy recalls, “a true real estate and home decorating addict.”  This fascination with all things architectural must have been genetic, as these early forays ultimately translated into Wendy’s own desire to explore every facet of the real estate industry.

“I liked to draw house plans and read decorating magazines as a kid,” she explains. “Real estate lets me pull together so many aspects I enjoy – architecture, history and design as well as the legal and finance aspects of the business.”

Earning a business degree in marketing, Wendy began her career in sales and was soon promoted into a position as a corporate marketing and branding specialist for a regional food company in Seattle.  Employing both her creativity and innovative spirit, she was named Creative Director, spearheading a total redesign of the company’s image and packaging.

“I can trace my entrepreneurial drive to my branding experience in Seattle,” Wendy observes.  “I was considered the maverick, re-gentrifying a brand that had remained almost untouched from the 1940s.”

Wendy brings this love for branding and her commitment to creating a satisfying experience for the consumer to Point B Realty.   And, like so many visitors who eventually become residents, Wendy’s 1992 vacation to Martha’s Vineyard resulted in a dramatic change of course.

“I chose the name Point B for two reasons:  Martha’s Vineyard represents a destination and real estate is also a process, getting from Point A to Point B.”

Vacation Destination to Cherished Home
It was the summer of 1992 when Wendy and a friend randomly chose the Vineyard as a vacation spot for recreational biking.  An inveterate traveler, she had long maintained a policy to never revisit the same destination twice.  “My motto was: The world is big place and there are so many exciting places to visit and experience. Why go back to the same place twice?”

“But I was smitten,” she recalls.  “So I came five summers in a row, made friends and developed a complete network on the Island.”

By June of 1997, Wendy had taken a sabbatical from her corporate job in Seattle and was able to spend a full month on the Vineyard, launching a consulting practice. It was then that she realized that the Island had become her new home.  So she bought a piece of land in Katama and built a house the following year.  In the meantime, she indulged her long simmering entrepreneurial spirit and spearheaded several new ventures, including a Vineyard lifestyle magazine and a travel guide and destination service.  As her publishing business became more Internet based, Wendy enthusiastically embraced new technologies.  And that house she had built in Katama? By the time she sold it in 2002, she had tripled her investment.

Re-bitten by the real estate bug, Wendy earned her real estate license in 2006 and went to work for an Edgartown brokerage.  Specializing in the vacation rental market, she singlehandedly quadrupled the number of properties the company represented.  She left in the fall of 2008 with ideas to open her own real estate brokerage.

“We want to stay small, independent, and focused on quality.”

Overcoming challenges with innovative strategies
If timing is everything then opening Point B Realty in the fall of 2008 should have been calamitous.  “I thought I was so smart starting my own company,” Wendy says, with a chuckle. “But the market crashed within the first thirty days.”

Despite the market downturn, she leased a retail storefront in downtown Edgartown in April of 2009 and filled it with furnishings and art, doing her best to replicate the real estate firms she had admired in metropolitan areas and envisioning a soothing, comfortable environment for the Island’s well-traveled clientele.

“It was a risky move,” she reflects.  “Almost no one in the business had any kind of storefront.  It was a big investment.”

While the recession posed hefty challenges for even the most stalwart of agencies, it proved to be what Wendy looks back on as the acid test for her business model.

“I was a one-person shop in the beginning,” she says.  “And starting in a down market, I had to be resourceful.”

Using her successful vacation rental business as a foundation, within five years Wendy has built Point B into a dynamic twelve-person operation, with six sales agents and six support professionals offering a unique team approach.  Backed by a staff of administrative and marketing specialists, all agents handle both rentals and sales, providing seamless service to clients, many of whom transition from vacation tenants to homeowners.  And each agent works as part of a team, combining complementary skills for every unique client situation.

“We’re one of the only firms in which agents are responsible for both rentals and sales,” Wendy explains.  “It allows everyone to prosper and encourages our clients to enjoy ongoing relationships with the same staff.  Having a team of corporate support staff who specialize in specific areas also gives Point B agents a sharper focus on clients and their individual needs.”

The company prides itself on providing clear representation to clients in every transaction as well.  As advocates of the designated agency model, Point B clarifies what has traditionally been a perplexing question to many consumers:  “Who is my agent really representing, the buyer or the seller?”  Point B agents never represent both buyers’ and sellers’ interests in a single transaction, ensuring that an individual’s needs are met ethically, confidentially and with transparent fiduciary responsibility.

“I read the Harvard Business Review, not novels.  It keeps me fresh, forward-thinking.”

Top-notch talent, today’s technology
Point B’s highly experienced staff puts cutting edge technology to work for every client.  Embracing the paperless office concept, the company offers the convenience of electronic document signing, expediting the signing, management and storage of contracts, moving all parties toward closing quickly and efficiently.

In-house state-of-the-art video and photography services help present listings in their best light possible.  Finally, armed with iPads in the field, agents can shoot photos, take notes, review listings of comparable properties and share information with clients almost instantaneously, a significant benefit to buyers and sellers, particularly those whose primary residences are off-Island.

But as invaluable as technology can be, real estate is, at heart, a people business.  As an independent boutique firm, Point B is committed to maintaining a small, highly expert staff that shares the core values of integrity, open communication and responsiveness.

“We’re not about being average,” Wendy states unequivocally.  “We’re about being awesome.”

“Point B is ahead of the curve with technology.”

Calculated choices are the best choices
Wendy has become a specialist in the financial analysis of real estate transactions.  Leading her company with a practiced eye toward the bottom line, she admits that perhaps her greatest strength is the least glamorous:  “I’m a numbers geek,” she says.  “I’m fascinated by the story that the numbers can tell and quite frankly, I analyze them to death.  I love finding answers to tough transactions by analyzing market and property data, and then using that information to help educate clients and bring together a successful transaction. Our job is to help the client understand the complexity of this multi-dimensional business.”

From identifying the best investment opportunities to ensuring that a rental property is priced properly for the market, Point B helps clients make sound financial decisions.

“The Island gives me a sense of being held.  It’s part of our corporate culture to give back.”

Commitment to the Island community

Wendy Harman at the Boys & Girls Club, donating a $10,000 Fundraiser check.
Wendy Harman at the Boys & Girls Club, donating a $10,000 Fundraiser check.

Living and working in a small Island community, Point B has become an enthusiastic proponent of giving back.  “There’s such a great heartbeat on Martha’s Vineyard,” Wendy explains.  “It’s the kind of place where you want to get involved.”

The company has embraced the concept of serving as a bridge between the year-round community and the newcomers who arrive, encouraging support from homeowners and vacationers alike. From simply making corporate donations to such organizations as the FARM Institute and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, to initiating their own annual holiday fundraiser, the “Teddy Bear Suite” at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, benefitting the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, Point B is making it a point to make a difference.

“We maintain a commitment to doing the right thing for the client.”

Looking ahead

“We’re always looking at improving the quality of service we provide to our clients,” Wendy says.  “This is, after all, a relationship business.  We demand more of our agents and keep trying to perfect what we’re doing.”

More communication.  More education.  More efficiency.  More expertise.  Because when it comes to results in real estate, it’s all about getting from point A to Point B.

“You learn a lot starting a business in a down market.  You have to be very resourceful.”

*The Times is partnering with merchants to highlight their stories. Meet Your Merchant Plus is paid advertising.

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From onboard the Morgan, headed for Vineyard Haven. — Doug Cabral
The Charles W. Morgan sailing en route to Newport on June 15, 2014. The whaleship departed Newport Wednesday morning, bound for Martha's Vineyard.
The Charles W. Morgan sailing en route to Newport on June 15, 2014.
The whaleship departed Newport Wednesday morning, bound for Martha’s Vineyard.

The Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining wooden whaleship of the 19th century American fleet, departed Fort Adams, off Newport, Rhode Island, Wednesday morning, bound for the Vineyard. The ship is including a stop in Vineyard Haven this week as part of her 38th voyage. This will be her first-ever stop at Martha’s Vineyard. Islanders will be able to view the ship on her way to the Island, as well as tour the ship after arrival, beginning Saturday, June 21.

The view of Fort Adams, off Newport, Rhode Island, from on board the Charles W. Morgan.
The view of Fort Adams, off Newport, Rhode Island, from on board the Charles W. Morgan.

She is expected to arrive in Tisbury Wharf Wednesday late afternoon/evening, where she will be greeted by sailboats flying pennants. See a route map here.

The earliest post to catch a glimpse of the Morgan on her way to the Vineyard will be Gay Head. As the ship draws nearer, she can be viewed all the way along the North Shore from points such as Menemsha Hills Reservation, Lambert’s Cove Beach, and Makonikey. Eventually, the ship will come into view from West Chop, Eastville Beach, and the Vineyard Haven jetty as she arrives in Vineyard Haven Harbor.

You can follow a live progression of the Morgan’s 38th voyage at mysticseaport.org/38thvoyage/chart/.

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Sharks pitcher Kyle Brenner of Brandeis gets ready to deal to the plate Tuesday vs. Old Orchard Beach. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, the local franchise in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, started the defense of their 2013 championship with three wins and two losses in the first week of play. They also had three players drafted, two current and one former, by Major League Baseball over the weekend.

Austin DeCarr follows through with a big kick.
Austin DeCarr follows through with a big kick.

Right-handed pitcher Austin DeCarr (Clemson) started and won the season opener June 4 before being drafted with the 91st overall pick by the New York Yankees on June 6. The following day, shortstop Will Toffey (Vanderbilt), brother of Sharks coach John Toffey, went to the Yanks in the 23rd round, while the Baltimore Orioles picked Vineyarder and former Sharks player Tad Gold in the 35th round.

The Major League Draft news was the major highlight in a busy week of FCBL play.

Tuesday at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs, the Sharks moved over .500 with a 5-4 win over the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide. The Sharks won the game in the bottom of the ninth after a Rahiem Cooper error in left field allowed Brian Campbell to score from third base. Campbell led off the ninth with a double. Kevin Foley then singled, advancing Campbell to third and setting up the winning run.

Jack Roberts dives safely back to first Saturday vs. Brockton.
Jack Roberts dives safely back to first Saturday vs. Brockton.

The Tide scored the first two runs of the ballgame. Sharks second baseman Jack Roberts, a 2013 MVRHS graduate who now plays at Williams College, put the hosts on the board with a deep sac fly to right, scoring Jack Cloud.

The Sharks took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Brian Campbell earned an RBI walk and Will Toffey scored for the go-ahead run. In the sixth, Jon Mayer doubled and Toffey brought him home with a double of his own to make it 4-2.

Sharks closer Matt Calamoneri earned the win. Kyle Brenner threw a four stellar shutout innings of long relief for starter Garrison Banas, allowing two hits, with three Ks and three walks. Matt Binder pitched the eighth, conceding one run, striking out two and walking one.

Catcher Jon Mayer was 4 for 5 on the night and Matt Lavanchy went 3 for 3. Will Toffey and Brian Campbell each were 2 for 4 and Jack Cloud was 2 for 3.

Sharks shortstop Will Toffey was drafted Saturday by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Sharks shortstop Will Toffey was drafted Saturday by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the Major League Baseball draft.

Sunday, the Sharks traveled to Lynn, pounding out 17 hits in a 15-6 win over the North Shore Navigators. Jack Roberts was 3 for 5 with four RBIs. Tim Bickford also knocked in four runs and went 2 for 3. Kyle Pheland was the winning pitcher.

Friday and Saturday, the Sharks suffered consecutive losses to the Nashua Silver Knights (12-9) and Brockton Rox (9-1).

The Sharks raised their 2013 championship flag on June 4, then went out and chomped the North Shore Navigators, 11-1, in the season opener before 800 fans on a misty Wednesday night at the Shark Tank in Oak Bluffs.

Austin DeCarr got the start and earned the win. The 6’ 3” 215-pound hard-throwing right hander from Foxboro pitched four strong innings, allowing one hit, striking out seven, and walking three.

DeCarr’s teammates took out their wooden bats and gave him plenty of runs to work with.

Sharky, the Sharks mascot, races with Tommy Reynolds and loses a shoe prior to the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night at The Tank.
Sharky, the Sharks mascot, races with Tommy Reynolds and loses a shoe prior to the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night at The Tank.

The Sharks broke the game open with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the third to take a 7-1 lead. Second baseman Jack Roberts, a 2013 MVRHS graduate attending Williams College led off with a single. Ryan Kelly and Rich Baerga then singled to load the bases. Tim Bickford singled to score Roberts and Kelly. The next three Sharks all doubled. John Mayer knocked in Baerga and Bickford; Steve Buckley Jr. scored Mayer; and Brendan Cox doubled in Buckley Jr.

The locals put the game away in the fifth after Buckley Jr. crushed a three-run homer to deep center and Ryan Kelly batted in Brendan Cox.

The Sharks are back at The Tank Friday night at 7 pm to take on the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs.

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Let the hunt begin. Oak Bluffs Library hunt was Saturday at 11 am. More than 250 kids participated. — Photo by Angelina Godbout
Fin Tiernan and his dad John Tiernan.
Fin Tiernan and his dad John Tiernan.

Saturday kicked off Martha’s Vineyard’s brief but energetic egg-hunting season, with lots to be found at the Oak Bluffs Library, where 250 kids and their parents wandered the stacks and filled their baskets.

Eggs for Sunday's hunt.
Eggs for Sunday’s hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Vineyard Gardens, staff  busily filled eggs (to help the Easter bunny of course) for Sunday’s hunt there.