Authors Posts by The Martha's Vineyard Times

The Martha's Vineyard Times


Shirley's Hardware is getting out of the Halloween costume business. —Photo by Michael Cummo

The sale of Halloween costumes and associated merchandise will be a thing of the past at Shirley’s Hardware on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Based on disappointing sales last year, Shirley’s owner Jesse Steere did not order any new inventory this time around. Instead, the leftover merchandise is currently on sale at 50 percent off, store employee Ben Elliott told The Times in a phone call Tuesday.

“People are ordering from Amazon and other Internet sites, or shopping at Walmart and discount stores off-Island,” Mr. Elliott said of Shirley’s demise as a go-to place for trick-or-treaters.

However, with Halloween six weeks away, Shirley’s preholiday sale may scare up some buy-local business. “Although it’s left over from last year, it’s all good stuff, in the original packaging,” Mr. Elliott said.

Vineyard Power will sponsor a gathering of electric vehicle enthusiasts and others just curious, as part of National Electric Car Plug In Day held Saturday.

Vineyard Power, a community-owned cooperative energy group, and Cronig’s Market will host the Island’s second annual Electric Vehicle Plug-In Day Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 am to 12:30 pm at Cronig’s Market on State Road in Vineyard Haven.

Electric vehicles including a Nissan Leaf, a Smart EV, and a Brammo motorcycle will be available for test-drives on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone wishing to try out the vehicles may sign up at the event under the solar canopies at Cronig’s Market. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license or motorcycle license.

Vineyard Power representatives will be available to answer questions about clean energy, hybrids, charging stations, and energy tax credits. There will be coffee, baked goods, and literature on Vineyard Power programs. For more information, go to


Oak Bluffs police investigating a sheared-off utility pole at the corner of Barnes Road and Alpine Avenue arrested Italo K. Mamedes, 22, of Oak Bluffs at his home early Sunday morning on a second offense of operating under the influence of alcohol, and a second offense of driving without a license.

Police arrived at the accident scene about 1:15 am Sunday and found no vehicle in the area.

Debris at the scene led police to believe the vehicle involved was a white Ford F-series pickup truck. After several hours of searching, police located a white Ford F-150 truck at a home on Manchester Avenue. There was fresh damage to the front of the vehicle and the airbags were deployed, but covered with clothing, according to the police report.

The vehicle owner, Patricio Maria, told police he had allowed Mr. Mamedes to drive the truck for the past week, according to the report.

During questioning, Mr. Mamedes, who lives at the same address, insisted he was not involved in the accident, but police said he had an injury consistent with being struck by an airbag.

“I asked how he injured his lip, and he started to frantically wipe the blood away,” Officer Seth Harlow said in his police report. “Mamedes told me his girlfriend hit him two days prior.

Mamedes claimed he was not driving that night, but couldn’t tell me how he had gotten home from the bar.”

Mr. Mamedes failed three field sobriety tests, according to police, and was placed under arrest.

On July 8, 2013, Mr. Mamedes was convicted of driving drunk in Edgartown District Court, and ordered to pay a $500 fine, according to court documents. On August 25 of this year, he was charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.


West Tisbury’s appointed representative to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), Brian Smith, resigned effective Sept. 10. Chairman of the selectmen Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter read Mr. Smith’s resignation letter when selectmen met on Sept. 10.

In his letter, Mr. Smith thanked the selectmen and the town. “I have business and personal commitments that limit the time I can contribute to the commission,” he said. “I am starting a new business. I need to read more Dr. Seuss and less zoning regulations. Thank you for the opportunity to work with dedicated commissioners working to preserve this place we all love. When the time is right I will be back.”

Mr. Manter made a motion to accept the letter “with deep regret and gratitude.”

Selectman Richard Knabel said he appreciated the time Mr. Smith has put in. “He has gone way beyond what one might expect him to have done,” he said. Jennifer Rand, town administrator, said she would advertise the vacancy.

Mr. Smith has been the West Tisbury selectmen’s appointee to the Island’s powerful regional permitting body since 2010. The MVC is made up of 21 members. Nine are elected by Vineyard voters Island-wide in elections held every two years, six are appointed on an annual basis by the towns’ boards of selectmen, one is appointed on an annual basis by the Dukes County Commission, and five are appointed by the governor or a member of the cabinet (of these, four do not vote on DRIs or DCPCs).


Announcing a lease deal with Cape Wind, state officials said they expect the offshore wind-farm developers, who are still fighting lawsuits and assembling financing, to begin operations at the South Coast Marine Terminal in New Bedford in January 2015.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center on Friday announced that under a two-year lease, Cape Wind will pay $4.5 million in rent to use the 28-acre facility. The lease terms include options for two one-year extensions. After breaking ground in April 2013 on a terminal designed to meet the heavy-machinery needs of wind turbine construction, construction is 80 percent complete, and officials expect it to be finished in December 2014.

Cape Wind last week filed a “request for modification” of its construction and operations plan with the federal government to allow the use of the New Bedford terminal — the project has long been listing Quonset Point in Rhode Island as its staging area. Audra Parker, president of the Alliance for Nantucket Sound, which opposes Cape Wind, said the project’s federal permits “have always called for staging in Rhode Island” and said the project “must now undergo additional federal review for a move to a New Bedford location,” adding to the legal and financial hurdles facing the project.

Project spokesman Mark Rodgers said Cape Wind officials hope to retain Quonset Point as a backup, and opted for New Bedford because of confidence that the terminal project will be completed on time. In a statement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren described herself as “very happy Cape Wind will be built in New Bedford.” Sen. Mark Montigny called the lease an “important first step,” and said more must be done in the areas of offshore wind and cargo handling to ensure the success of the terminal and the Port of New Bedford. Massachusetts has begun a study to assess routes and connection locations to incorporate offshore wind power into the electric grid.


Which are the words that make us

Young?  Armenia.

It is the only word I know

In your language.  Can you be young

In English?

Say the word suitcase subtracts

Ten years, sends you sky-bound

Over the Black Sea backwards.

Gone, your fear of flying.

Say parasol skims twenty more.

You stroll the shore, a patterned

Shield in hand.  Gone

Your interest in strangers.

Tolstoy, ten years.  Gone

Your penchant for reading.

Turkish Delight (traitorous

Words), nine.  Gone

Your memory of love.

You’re fourteen.

You have never left your village.

You have never dreamed of flight.

You have never read Tolstoy.

You have never spoken any language other than your own.

You have never loved.

You’re young.

Jennifer Tseng has been the Writer-in-Residence at Hampshire College, a Visiting Writer at Colorado College, and has taught Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her book The Man With My Face was winner of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award. Jennifer works at the West Tisbury Library and serves as Poetry Editor for Martha’s Vineyard Arts & Ideas.

Joel von Ranson and John Edward “Teddy” Sublett are to be married Sept. 20, 2014, by Sag Harbor Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, N.Y.

Joel, 46, is a partner at the executive recruiting firm of Spencer Stuart in New York. A graduate of Northampton (Mass.) High School, he received a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a master’s degree in business from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He grew up summering in Oak Bluffs.

His mother, Brooks Robards of Northampton and Oak Bluffs, is professor emerita of Mass Communication at Westfield State University and the author of 14 books, including four of poetry. Joel’s father, Jonathan von Ranson, is a writer and stonemason in Wendell, Mass.

Teddy, 36, is a senior director of women’s design for Ralph Lauren Corp. in New York. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a bachelor’s degree, and received an associate degree in design and manufacturing at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.

He is a son of John Sublett and the late Susan Sublett of Thornbury, Ontario, Canada. His mother was an elementary school teacher and homemaker. His father, now retired, is a former banker and boatbuilder in Thornbury and Toronto, Ontario.

The couple met more than 10 years ago at a garden party in Bridgehampton, N.Y. They divide their time between New York City and Water Mill, N.Y.


Shirley-Berkowitz-Dworkin.jpgShirley Berkowitz Dworkin, beloved mother and grandmother, died  peacefully on Sept. 9, 2014, at Linden Ponds in Hingham, where she had lived for the past four years. She was 92.

Shirley Dworkin was born Nov. 18, 1921, to Russian immigrants Dora Sulzer Berkowitz and Barnet Berkowitz on their Holstein dairy farm in Flemington, N.J. Dora and Barnet had four daughters, Zelda, Esther, Shirley, and Ruth. The youngest, Shirley and Ruth, were twins. Their father Barnet Berkowitz was a horse and cattle dealer, and a founding member of the Flemington Jewish Community Center and Flemington Jewish Cemetery.

Shirley studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin for two years and married Ira Bernard Dworkin, an attorney from Newark, N.J., on July 15, 1951. The couple resided in Flemington until Ira’s death on July 13, 2003. They were happily married for 52 years, and were the adoring parents of children Jonathan and Barbara.

Shirley was a part-time reporter for the Hunterdon County Democrat and a substitute teacher for the Flemington Public Schools in grades K through 8. She wrote and coordinated for the Flemington Jewish Community Center bulletin. Shirley and Ira loved to travel and take Sunday rides through the countryside. Her fondest memories were of Bermuda, where they honeymooned. Shirley loved children, not just her own, but all children. She also loved animals, especially dogs.

Known as “Shirley Sunshine” for her quick sense of humor, sunny disposition, and optimism, she was president of the Flemington chapter of B’nai B’rith Women and a lifetime member of Hadassah. She will be lovingly remembered, by her family and all who have known her, for her sweet smile, kindness to others, and as a selfless caregiver throughout her life, always putting other’s needs before her own. Even in the last few months of her life, she wanted to move to New York City to take care of her twin sister Ruth.

Her beloved older sister, Zelda Kaplan, was a humanitarian, a notable New Yorker, and a fixture in New York’s fashion scene for many years. All four sisters were quite dynamic in their own way.

Shirley is survived by her twin sister, Ruth Berkowitz of New York City, son and daughter-in-law Jonathan and Jane Dworkin of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., daughter and son-in-law Barbara and Richard Binder of Edgartown, grandchildren Steven Dworkin and Benny Binder, nephew Stephen Kaplan and niece Betsy Ann Kaplan, both of Texas. Her sisters Zelda Kaplan and Esther Berkowitz predeceased Shirley.

Private funeral services were held on Sunday in Flemington, N.J. Arrangements were made by the Robert L. Ford Funeral Home. Shirley’s family sincerely appreciates the wonderful care she received from nurses and staff at Rose Court in Linden Ponds and Erickson Living Hospice. Memorial donations can be made in her honor to Erickson Living Linden Ponds Hospice at 203 Linden Ponds Way, Hingham, MA 02043, or to the American Cancer Society.


In a follow-up to NSTAR’s notification to the Tisbury selectmen of the utility’s fall herbicide-spraying program under power lines on Martha’s Vineyard, Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande and board of health (BOH) agent Tom Pachico last week sent a strongly worded letter to NSTAR senior arborist William Hayes.

In their letter dated Sept. 8, the town officials took the utility to task for once again failing to provide sufficient advance notice or confirmed dates for the spraying. Last November, NSTAR completed a limited herbicide application on the rights-of-way in Tisbury, with some extending into Oak Bluffs, that caught town officials and the public by surprise.

Mr. Grande and Mr. Pachico reminded NSTAR of its promise to provide better notification. They also outlined requirements the town set to ensure that NSTAR conforms with the state-approved integrated vegetation-management plan and laws governing herbicide application.

Those include at least 72 hours’ advance notice of the application date and time to the Tisbury selectmen, BOH and Island newspapers; restrictions relative to wind velocity and height of spraying, monitored by the BOH; and the provision of a complete list of herbicides to Mr. Pachico, along with precautions for property owners who live near the areas sprayed and a date and time at which they may safely return to their property after the spraying.


The Island boards of health in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the VNA of Cape Cod and Wampanoag Tribal Health Services will sponsor a flu clinic at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School from 9 am to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4.

The clinic is open to anyone 6 months of age or older. Islanders without insurance will be immunized free of charge, according to a press release. Participants with insurance are asked to bring their insurance card.

Drivers in vehicles must register at one of two staging areas (Waban Park in Oak Bluffs or the West Tisbury School on Old County Road) prior to going to the High School for the vaccination. Walkers, bike riders and those who use the VTA may go directly to the high school cafeteria.

Forms are available at the board of health website,, and at town halls, libraries, and the schools.