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The Martha's Vineyard Times

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Tisbury selectmen Tuesday agreed to move forward with a study to consider the establishment of a department of natural resources and also conduct a human resources policy audit.

Selectmen voted to hire Ridley Associates of Harwich to explore the feasibility of creating a natural resources department that would combine the harbor, shellfish, and animal control departments. The goal is to enable those departments to pursue projects jointly and to operate more efficiently in areas where they overlap. Voters at town meeting last spring approved spending up to $5,000 for the study.

The selectmen also approved hiring the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston to conduct an audit of the town’s personnel policies and make recommendations for updates. The study cost is $4,500.

In a related discussion, town administrator Jay Grande said since town meeting voters also approved spending $40,000 on a comprehensive personnel wage study for regular full-time union and managerial positions, it would be a good time for the town to move forward with that study and to review its overall personnel organizational structure as well.

In other reports, assistant assessor Ann Marie Cywinski recommended setting a tentative date of November 18 for a fiscal year 2015 tax rate classification hearing, pending preliminary certification of the tax rates from the Department of Revenue.

With applications for funding from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds due October 22, the selectmen discussed possible projects. They agreed to support recommendations for improvements to Owen Park and for upgraded lighting equipment in the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

The selectmen also voted to spend funds already available from CPA funding and Tisbury Waterways for an engineering study of dredging Spring Pond, and to appoint a project team and committee. In addition, they appointed Nancy Gilfoy to the finance and advisory committee.

Selectmen opened their Tuesday night meeting with a tribute in absentia to Le Grenier owner Jean Dupon, who closed his Main Street restaurant in Vineyard Haven last Sunday to enjoy retirement.

“He has been an anchor in the restaurant business in Tisbury for 36 years, and has delighted many residents and visitors with his panache and menu that didn’t change all those years,” selectman Melinda Loberg said. “I know the town will miss him.” The selectmen agreed to send him a letter of appreciation.

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Photo by Michael Cummo

Gas prices in Massachusetts continue to drop lower, falling 6 cents over the past week to an average of $3.26 per gallon, the State House News service reported. The average price is down 17 cents a gallon from a month ago and is 12 cents lower than a year ago at this time, according to survey results released Tuesday morning by AAA of Southern New England. “Low demand combined with abundant supply has kept downward pressure on global oil prices, which is translating into lower prices for motorists at the pump,” Mary Maguire, AAA Southern New England Director of Public and Legislative Affairs, said in a statement. AAA found prices as low as $3.05 per gallon and as high as $3.53 per gallon.

However, on Martha’s Vineyard the price was about $4.20 per gallon on Tuesday.

The decline in what motorists are paying at the pump is coming in the weeks leading up to a statewide vote on whether to repeal the 2013 law indexing the 24-cent per gallon state gas tax to inflation to allow automatic increases.

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Benjamin Mayhew III (left), Juliette Fay, and Nat Benjamin enjoyed a sail aboard the Charlotte generously donated by Nat with lunch donated by Jaime Hamlin. —Photo by Ralph Stewart

On Saturday, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) will kick off a new informational veterans support lecture series with a presentation by Dr. Dominic Maxwell, Medical Director of the MVCS Island Counseling Center. Dr. Maxwell will discuss the signs, symptoms, and treatments available for post-traumatic stress disorder in the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School library conference room from 10 am to 12 noon. Lunch will be provided.

A discussion will follow with a panel that includes MVCS associate executive director/senior clinical adviser Tom Bennett, Dukes County veterans services director Jo Ann Murphy, and Providence VA (Veterans Administration) Regional Office public contact advocate Cheryl Belisle.

The lecture series is part of a new Veterans Outreach Program recently launched by MVCS as part of a state contract awarded the agency in July. The program will provide services to the Island’s more than 400 veterans and their extended families, with a focus on veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a press release.

As part of the new program, the Island Counseling Center recently began offering a biweekly spouses and significant others support group, to complement the weekly combat veterans group already in place. Future additions to the program may include a yoga series for veterans and spouses, a veterans potluck dinner and thank you ceremony, and a parents support group.

For more information, contact Julie Meader at jmeader@mvcommunityservices.com.

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Photo by Steve Myrick

The Steamship Authority (SSA) board is expected to vote on Tuesday, October 21, on a slate of fare hikes management said are needed to help fill a $1,900,000 hole in the boatline’s 2015 operating budget. The authority members are scheduled to meet at 9:30 am in the Oak Bluffs library meeting room.

General manager Wayne Lamson presented the recommendations at a meeting of the Steamship Authority board last month. The proposed hikes include a 50-cent increase in the cost of a one-way adult passenger ticket on the Vineyard route, from $7.50 to $8. A roundtrip auto excursion fare, the discounted vehicle rate for Martha’s Vineyard residents, would increase by $2.

Parking at all of the SSA’s Falmouth satellite lots would cost $15 per calendar day in peak season, from May 15 to September 14, and $13 per calendar day in the shoulder seasons, from April 1 to May 14, and September 15 through October 31.

The cost of parking in the Falmouth lots is currently $13 per calendar day during the prime summer months, and $10 in the off season.

Martha’s Vineyard SSA member Marc Hanover of Oak Bluffs said he expects that reasonable people will understand the need for rate hikes in the face of rising expenses.

According to SSA management, vessel fuel costs are expected to rise 2.5 percent, to $9,669,000; overall maintenance is projected to rise 10.4 percent, or $1,371,000; health care expenses for employees are expected to increase by 5.2 percent or $368,000; and pension expense is projected to increase by 27 percent or $1,182,000. Any fare hikes would likely take effect on January 1, 2015.

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After convincing wins against Nantucket and Somerset, the varsity boys soccer team put in another spectacular performance Tuesday and defeated Coyle & Cassidy, 5-0. Brandon Dwane and Jason Lages, who each netted two goals, led the Vineyarders. Aksel Cooperrider also scored, and the defense, led by Ben Poole, was again impenetrable. Jason has now scored 29 goals this season, tying a record. The boys play Bishop Stang Thursday.

mary_landers_photoMary Landers of Oak Bluffs died on October 13, 2014 a few weeks shy of her 94th birthday.

Mary was born November 3, 1920, in Somerville to the late John and Theresa Lynch.

Wife of the late Francis Landers, she raised her family in Manchester, Conn., before moving to the Vineyard in 1980. Mary worked for many years at H&N Hinckley in Vineyard Haven. She will be remembered for her quick wit, love of crosswords, and devotion to her family and anyone in need.

Mary is survived by her son, Thomas Landers, of Oak Bluffs, Theresa Barwick and her husband, Kenny, of Vineyard Haven, her daughter Brenda and husband, Guy Codding, of Vineyard Haven, her grandchildren Jade Deslauriers and husband Dan, Geoff Codding and wife Eve, William Codding and partner Jamie Conroy. Mary also leaves her sister-in-law Rosalie Lynch, her cousins the Kellys whom she stayed in close contact throughout the years and beloved nieces and nephews. One of her biggest delights in recent years was her great grandson Finn. She was predeceased by her sister Ann Mulvey of Phoenix, Ariz., and her brother John Lynch of Simsbury, Conn.

The family would like to express their gratitude for the loving care she received from everyone at Windemere for the last year of her life.

A memorial funeral Mass will be held at 11:30 am on Tuesday, October 21, at St. Augustine’s Church, Franklin Street in Vineyard Haven.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Joslin Diabetes Center, 1 Joslin Place, Suite 745, Boston, MA 02215.

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Aurora and Aidan Christensen, 3 and 6-year-old Oak Bluffs residents, show off their freshly painted faces. — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

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The Felix Neck Sanctuary's 4.5 miles of paths on 250 acres were open for the public to explore. — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

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The Chandler Blues Band, led by Gordon Healy, generously donated their time and musical abilities, as did The Flying Elbows (not pictured). — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

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Lauren Hearn, speaks with Susie Bowman (left) and Tamara Buchwald about the silent auction items. — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

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A new tree house, just finished that morning, was unveiled with staff members Lauren Hearn, Philip Hunsaker, and Josey Kirkland. — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

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Local artists donated their artwork to help raise money for the Fern and Feather Day Camp Scholarship Fund. — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

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Over 450 people came out to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their Fern and Feather Day Camp. — Photo by Siobhan Beasley

Felix Neck’s Fern & Feather Day Camp has been teaching kids about the wonders of the natural world for 50 years, and the past 6 months have been full of celebrations. To cap off the year’s events, on this past Sunday, October 12, Islanders enjoyed a live animal show with Gus Ben David, music by the Flying Elbows and the Chandler Blues Band (with Gordon Healy), face painting, ambles along trails under a perfect October sky, good food and shared memories.

Bommer H. Gilpin

Abbey and Blake Gilpin of Vineyard Haven announce the birth of their son, Bommer Holcomb Gilpin, on October 7 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Bommer weighed pounds, 9 ounces.

Christian M. Silvia

Lisa and Michael G. Silvia of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of their son, Christian Michael Silvia, on October 8 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Christian weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and he joins big sister Payton.

Grayson M. Berninger

Kelly and Mike Berninger of Edgartown announce the birth of their son, Grayson Merrick Berninger, on October 8 at Martha’s VIneyard Hospital. Grayson weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and he joins big sister Jade.

Taylor R. Harris

Kate and Matthew Harris of Edgartown announce the birth of their daughter, Taylor Rose Harris, on October 9 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Taylor weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

Sophie E. Dougherty

Adrianne and Sean Dougherty of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of their daughter, Sophie Elle Dougherty, on October 10 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Sophie weighed 6 pounds,13 ounces.

Jack W.P. Wescott

Lori Mahoney and Bill Wescott of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of their son, Jack William Paul Wescott, on October 11 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Jack weighed 9 pounds 10 ounces.

Jace C. Dillon

Abigail and Ryan Dillon of Oak Bluffs announce the birth of their son, Jace Collins Dillon, on October 12 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Jace weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and he joins big brother Daygen.

The 24th annual MV CROP Hunger Walk is this Sunday, Oct. 19, at 2 pm. Registration begins at 1:30 pm at St. Augustine’s Church, on Franklin Street in Vineyard Haven. Help raise money and awareness for those who are hungry, by walking or with online support. Twenty-five percent goes to support the Island Food Pantry. Last year that totalled more than $5,000 for food during the winter months. Go to churchworldservice.org or contact your Island church office.