Authors Posts by Tony Omer

Tony Omer

Tony Omer
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West Tisbury volunteer fireman Bruce Haynes sprayed foam to extinguish the remnants of a brush fire that broke out in a wooded area on Beaten Path in West Tisbury Tuesday. — Tony Omer

West Tisbury firefighters early Tuesday afternoon responded quickly to a report of a brush fire in a wooded lot on Beaten Path in West Tisbury and doused the flames before they could spread.

Firefighters sprayed foam on trees and soaked the ground to put out the smoldering brush fire that sent smoke wafting through the rural neighborhood just west of the Tisbury town line off State Road.

The fire was contained to less than a half acre. Two brush trucks, including one new truck on its maiden voyage, a tanker truck and about a dozen firefighters responded.

Fire chief Manuel Estrella said he responded to a call reporting smoke in the area of Buttonwood Farm Road next to Beaten Path about 1 pm. The trucks began to pull away less than an hour and a half later. He said the cause of the fire had not been determined.

Boat mechanic Keith Maciel, owner of the property where the fire started, said a tenant who rents an apartment above one of his two garages had a party on Saturday night. There was a large barbeque fire built on the ground in a parking area near the location of the brush fire, he said. The charred edge of the underbrush was within two feet of the edge of the area used for the barbeque.

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At the Grey Barn Farm event Sunday, 200 invited guests competed for five houses in a demonstration of the severity of the crisis. — Randi Baird

More than 250 invited guests gathered at the Grey Barn Farm on State Road in Chilmark Sunday morning on a beautiful Vineyard summer day under a huge tent to support the Island Housing Trust (IHT), a nonprofit that creates affordable housing on Martha’s Vineyard.

Grey Barn Farm owners Eric Glasgow and Molly Glasgow, sponsors of the event, which included a sumptuous brunch, welcomed the guests and said that finding housing for their summer help was the farm’s biggest problem.

Owners Eric and Molly Glasgow welcomed guests to the Grey Barn Farm on Sunday.
Owners Eric and Molly Glasgow welcomed guests to the Grey Barn Farm on Sunday.

IHT executive director Philippe Jordi told the assembled guests that IHT has developed a multi-faceted approach to creating affordable housing that has produced over 60 affordable homes in its eight years, relying on a model that uses inexpensive long-term land leases, while building affordable energy-efficient homes for sale and for rent. Mr. Jordi emphasized the continuing need for more affordable housing. He said that IHT is now working on 15 units and has set a goal of 100 homes by the end of 2015.

To give people a sense of the housing crisis on the Vineyard, IHT volunteers handed out 200 envelopes that contained fictional housing applications based on real people. The applicants included teachers and health care workers, construction workers and retirees, retail employees and landscapers.

Mr. Jordi said that these 200 would be competing for five available homes, a scale similar to what the 500 families on the IHT waiting list face.

“Why is there such a housing crisis on the Vineyard,” Mr. Jordi asked, ”when there are as many houses as there are people?”

He said that second homes account for 53 percent of all Island homes, and that 25 percent of all homes are rented seasonally for an average of $2,500 a week and only 5 percent of Island housing is multi-family housing. “It’s no wonder that you are not able to find something that you can afford as young person or couple living on a modest income or a senior living on a fixed income,” he said.

He provided examples of people who hold down steady jobs but cannot find affordable housing and asked those in the audience whose housing applications described similar people to stand.

Former IHT board member Victoria Haeselbarth, an Edgartown social worker working with senior citizens, recounted her own story of raising a child on an income not big enough to buy or rent an adequate home until she was given a chance to buy an affordable home.

“I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to stand before you and ask for your support to make a donation to Island Housing Trust,” Ms. Haeselbarth said. “Every homeownership and rental opportunity requires between $100,000 and $200,000 in grant funding. IHT’s goal is to raise $1,000,000 annually in order to increase affordable housing for Island residents.”

She asked people to read over the donation forms that were handed out and pointed out the opportunity available to donors to increase the impact of their donations. She said that not only are donations over $1,000 tax deductible but they would also qualify for the state’s community investment tax credit that would return 50 percent of their donation from the state. “I ask that you give until it feels good,” she said.

Many envelopes were returned. Mr. Jordi told The Times that he would not know how much had been pledged for a week or two.

“We are grateful for the support of over 160 individuals, businesses, foundations, and Island towns this past year,” he said, “and we are proud to acknowledge that over half of our donors are year-round residents.”

He said IHT’s goal is to raise $1 million with the help of the Community Investment Tax Credit program, and to leverage these funds to secure competitive state grants for rental projects.

For more information on IHT, call 508-693-1117.

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On Their Way reacquaints MV Times readers with people who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and have moved on to establish themselves in careers on or off Island. We are looking for young people who have distinguished themselves by their accomplishments in the arts, business, in social services, in the military, in academics, in fact in any meaningful way. We welcome your suggestions.

The Huffpost Live is an online video streaming news/interview network that focuses on celebrities and current events, highlighting stories that appear on the parent website huffingtonpost.com. Twenty-three-year-old Melora Armstead of Edgartown now lives in New York,where she is an associate producer for the show. “One of the few times that an interview stopped everyone in my office was when the English comedian Russell Brand was on,” Ms. Armstead said, “because truly, the entire interview was insane. It got crazier and crazier.”

As an associate producer one of her jobs is to help line up questions for the guests, often celebrities with online viewers.

“I get to do something different every day. We are responsible for producing one or two segments every day, so we are constantly working on a range of different topics, from politics to celebrity, to lifestyle. No two days are the same. There’s always something exciting happening.”

The Huffington Post hired Ms. Armstead soon after she graduated (magna cum laude) from Northeastern University in May of 2013, with a major in communications — concentrating in media studies — and a minor in production. She took courses in television studio production and producing for the entertainment industry, as well as in media culture and society and public speaking.

Her job is just the type of work she hoped she would find after graduation,  Ms. Armstead said. She is pretty sure she got the job based on the strength of her resumé, which includes working as a videography intern with the New England Conservatory, filming live sports as a production intern with the Northeastern University athletics department while maintaining statistics and scores using onscreen graphics and setting up instant replay segments, working as production assistant and online content intern on the WGBH radio Forum Network, contributing to the website’s social media presence. She served as the head casting intern at Boston Casting and worked with the casting director for a television pilot for ABC’s Boston’s Finest. She also worked as a production assistant for a TV comedy pilot called MV Blues, filmed on the Vineyard.

When she was ten, in 2000, Ms. Armstead’s parents purchased the Arbor Inn in Edgartown and her family moved to the Vineyard from New Jersey. She entered the sixth grade at the Edgartown School soon after. She lived in the inn with her younger sister Emelia and her parents. Her father, Kenneth Armstead, is a portfolio manager with a Boston financial services company and her mother, Lorna Giles, is a trained architect who runs the inn. Her parents met while students at MIT.

“My sister and I were happy to make the move to Martha’s Vineyard,” she said. “We used to vacation there and we liked the idea of moving to our favorite place.”

Growing up in the inn had a good side and a bad side, Ms. Armstead said. “I enjoyed meeting the variety of people who came through during the summers, but it was hard to fight with my sister because we couldn’t make much noise.

“I remember as a kid we had to be really quiet all the time so as not to disturb the guests, but luckily we started going to camp or working in the summers so we weren’t cooped up all day. We got to meet the guests sometimes, which was nice, and it’s cool seeing the guests that come back year after year.

“On busy days my sister and I used to help put out and clear up breakfast and/or do some light cleaning. I got to see what it looks like firsthand to own and run your own business.”

Ms. Armstead spent two summers with the Island Theater Workshop (ITW) summer program when she was a pre-teen. “Not necessarily memories I want to repeat,” she said, “but all the kids at the camp were really close during the summer, and it was always a lot of fun to gather backstage before a show. It was really exciting. It was my first introduction to theater, which for a while made me want to become an actress, but then when I started applying to colleges I realized I’d rather be behind the scenes in production work.”

As a teenager, she worked summers scooping ice cream at Mad Martha’s and had a job at the Flying Horses Carousel, worked at Brickman’s, interned at WMVY radio, and babysat. She spent her high school years commuting to Falmouth Academy, where she took drama as an elective class and was in the annual school play.

Her current job fits her goals. “I knew I loved television and the entertainment industry, so I figured if I could still have a hand in informing and entertaining people in some way, that would be the best job I could possibly have,“ Ms. Armstead said.

“I hope to still be producing 20 years from now. Either in online media, like I am now, or some sort of television, my first love. I definitely think HuffPost Live is innovative in the way we merge informative segments with community and social media engagements, and I think in this digital age that this is the way of the future. If I’m able to keep producing work on any platform that informs and entertains and can utilize community and social media engagement in some way that helps enhance the content, that would be great.”

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— Mae Deary

Chairman of the West Tisbury selectmen Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter announced that Tuesday, September 16, is the deadline to submit nomination papers to the registrar of voters to fill the position of West Tisbury town moderator.

Voters will chose a new moderator at a special election on November 4 in conjunction with state elections. Tara Whiting, town clerk and registrar, said 20 signatures are required on the nomination papers. The last day to register to vote is October 15.

The special election is needed to fill the vacancy left by the murder of longtime moderator Pat Gregory on May 16 in northern California. Mr. Gregory, 69, and his hiking companion, a 76-year-old male friend from the small nearby town of Manton were just off heavily traveled Highway 36E, north of the county seat of Red Bluff in Tehama County, when they encountered a man who robbed and then shot them. There have been no arrests in the case.

In other town business Wednesday night, selectmen granted Animal Health Care Associates (AHC), located adjacent to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, an extension to October 14 for the completion of work to add soundproofing material to its kennel facility in order to reduce the noise of barking dogs. The barking dogs have been a source of complaints from neighbors in the nearby Coffin’s Field subdivision.

Rosemary Haigazian, AHC attorney, requested a 30-day extension of the August 24 deadline. In a letter, homeowner Gary Friedman, representing Coffin’s Field neighbors, requested that selectmen only grant a seven-day extension.

Selectmen extended the deadline until October 14, 50 days, to reduce the likelihood that AHC would return for an additional extension. Ms. Haigazian said the materials for the work were delivered but that a health issue prevented owner and veterinarian Steven Atwood from doing the work he had planned to do with his son. A builder has been hired who will begin the work as soon as his schedule permits, she said. She added there was a delay in receiving permission from the airport commission, the holder of their lease.

Also Wednesday, town administrator Jennifer Rand said the Massachusetts department of transportation (DOT) will construct a sidewalk along both sides of a short section of State Road in front of the Howes House on one side and between the two entrances to the Alley’s Store parking lot on the other. She said that the DOT has indicated it will not be brick but either asphalt or concrete and that the town must agree to maintain the sidewalk after it is built. Selectman Richard Knabel said he would prefer concrete. Selectman Cynthia Mitchell and Mr. Manter agreed. They said that the sidewalk should end at the western end of the Howes House and not extend to the Field Gallery where it might reduce the number of parking spaces in front of the town-owned property.

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Zaneta Pavelka kicks back in a top by designer and former Vineyard resident Valerie Beggs. — Chandler Elizabeth Cook

A fashion show highlighting clothes and accessories by Martha’s Vineyard designers and a sale of art and collectibles are two annual events at the Chicken Alley Thrift Store this weekend.

Woodland Waders, modeled by Zaneta Pavelka, left, and Veronika Haragova, are designs inspired by the Island lifestyle. They were created by designer and former Vineyard resident Valerie Beggs.
Woodland Waders, modeled by Zaneta Pavelka, left, and Veronika Haragova, are designs inspired by the Island lifestyle. They were created by designer and former Vineyard resident Valerie Beggs.

Thrift Shop patrons are made up of three main groups, according to store manager Sandy Pratt. Donors; those who are looking for specific things, be it an article of clothing, place settings, books, or a decorative or collectible item to add to their collection; and those who stalk the aisles looking for treasures. Sunday, August 17, is a day for the treasure hunters at the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Thrift Shop, known as the Chicken Alley, located in Vineyard Haven.

Art and collectibles culled by staff from donations over the past year are offered to the public at the annual art show and tent sale from 1 to 5 pm. The show was originally the idea of art devotee Olga Hirshhorn of Vineyard Haven, benefactress of the Smithsonian Institute’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., who has lent her support to this event since she first suggested the show as a way to raise money for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, an Island nonprofit that provides a range of health and human services for the Island.

Needle Book Vol.2 Community Couture Fashion Show

The statuesque Noavakay Knight is marketing coordinator for Chicken Alley. The Vineyard Haven native is also a model and a dress designer who specializes in using recycled clothes and fabrics. When the tent was raised several years ago for the Chicken Alley art show a few days before the actual event, she thought she could put it to good use on one of the days it was just creating shade for the parking lot. Last year she organized the first Needle Book Community Couture Fashion Show. It was a success.

This Friday, August 15, 18 models will walk the catwalk showing off fashions by seven Vineyard designers at the second annual show. Each designer will show six pieces on the runway. A selection of vintage and designer clothing, shoes, and accessories will be on sale before and after the show.

Music will be provided by DJ Pretty Ninja and food will be available from the ArtCliff Food Truck. Not Your Sugar Mamas chocolate company will serve samples and treats for sale, and there will be a free photo booth.

In addition to Ms. Knight, the following designers will be represented.

Valerie Beggs, who developed Woodland Waders, a collection of Island inspired clothes, more than a dozen years ago when she lived on the Vineyard before moving to Pennsylvania to take a job as a designer for Woolrich. Retired from Woolrich, she now is a freelance designer of outdoor gear and backpacks. She is donating dozens of sample pieces from her personal collection, a retrospective of her three main lines of clothing.

Chrysal Parrot is a fashion designer and custom dressmaker who creates pieces that range from the historical to the whimsically contemporary. She works from her own boutique called Demi-Monde on State Road in Vineyard Haven.

Randi Sylvia and her mother Marlene DiStefano work from their Studioshop in the Arts District of Oak Bluffs. They are the design team behind the label Kenworthy that features looks influenced by cultures from around the world.

Karen Trotier, formerly Russillo, creates her unique fashions from her boutique, Menagerie, in Edgartown.

Beldan Radcliffe, who works out of Night Heron Gallery in Vineyard Haven, is best known as a printmaker and collage artist. Some of her work includes recombining recycled sweaters into wearable art. She calls these creations Upcycled Sweaters.

Sylvie Farrington is the creator of the popular Sylvie Bags, one-of-a-kind handbags and pillows made from authentic vintage fabrics. She works from her home in West Tisbury.

The work of jeweler Jessica Helen of Hawks House Jewelry will also be on display. Ms. Helen lives in Aquinnah.

2nd Annual Needle Book Vol.2 Community Couture Fashion Show, Sample Sale, and Boutique, Friday, August 15, 5–8 pm, Chicken Alley Thrift Shop, Vineyard Haven. $10.

Chicken Alley Art and Collectibles Sale, Sunday, August 17, 1–5 pm, Chicken Alley Thrift Shop, Lagoon Pond Rd., Vineyard Haven.  Proceeds from both shows benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. For more information, call the Thrift Shop at 508-693-2278 or visit mvcommunityservices.com/events

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Two houses and all assets go to Island groups after the death of Lorraine Pinckney.

The Pinckney house.
Lorraine and Napoleon "Nap" Pinckney of Oak Bluffs left their two houses and assets to Island nonprofits.
Lorraine and Napoleon “Nap” Pinckney of Oak Bluffs left their two houses and assets to Island nonprofits.

Lorraine and Napoleon Pinckney moved to Oak Bluffs full time in 1996 after vacationing on the Vineyard for many years. Mr. Pinckney, a professor of microbiology, parasitology, and clinical chemistry at New York Community College, died in 2010 at the age of 90. Ms. Pinckney died in July at the age of 75. The couple had no children, but in spirit they adopted the Island.

Last week, several Island nonprofits learned that they were the beneficiaries of the Pinckney estate. The Island Housing Trust (IHT), an nonprofit that develops affordable housing, was informed that it would receive one of two houses the couple owned in Oak Bluffs.

The Pinckney estate left a second Oak Bluffs house to Island Elderly Housing, a nonprofit that manages affordable rental apartments for the Island’s low-income elderly and disabled. They left their personal property to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. Other assets will be distributed to those groups as well as an Island nursing association, Ms. Pinckney’s brother, John Dombrow, told The Times in a conversation from his home in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

“They had no children and no heirs,” Mr. Dombrow said. “They were frugal and generous people who loved the Vineyard. I know they decided to leave everything to the Island several years ago.”

The Pinckneys moved to the Island after Mr. Pinckney, known as “Nap,” retired. Ms. Pinckney, a registered nurse, went to work for the MVCS visiting nurse service. She retired in 2008 but continued serving the Island community as a volunteer for Island Elderly Housing and the Meals on Wheels program.

The Pinckneys purchased a house in Oak Bluffs before moving to the Vineyard and purchased a second soon after they arrived. “They did most of the maintenance work themselves,” Mr. Dobrow said. “She was heavily into projects and tools. She was a charter member of the Handyman Club of America, and the Craftsman Club. She was also a volunteer with the Surgeon General’s Medical Reserve Corps.”

“It came as a complete surprise,” said IHT executive director Philippe Jordi. “We have no immediate plans to use the house. It will have to be inspected and assessed before we can even begin to think about what we will do with it. We are extremely grateful to both Nap and Lorrie Pinckney for their incredibly generous gift to the Island community.”

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Rykerr Maynard as Peter Pan, and Katie Feeks as Wendy. — Katrina Nevin

Wendy, Michael, and John will fly high over the stage following Peter Pan in the new production of the musical “Peter Pan,” based on the play by James M. Barrie, an Island Theatre Workshop (ITW) production.

From left: Jesse Seward, Brad Austin, Jim Osborn, Corrine deLangevant, and Bob Dusa rehearse for ITW's "Peter Pan."
From left: Jesse Seward, Brad Austin, Jim Osborn, Corrine deLangevant, and Bob Dusa rehearse for ITW’s “Peter Pan.”

The performance includes a cast and crew of more than 40 people, in which ITW has hired the flying masters from ZFX (Zealous Flying Effects), a flying company headquartered in Louisville, Ken., to build the necessary structures to send Peter and his adopted family high above the stage.

Islander Kevin Ryan, who directed last year’s extravaganza, “The Wizard of Oz,” is directing this year’s show, and New Yorker James Higgins is the musical director. Lee Fierro, director of ITW for more than 40 years, is artistic consultant for “Peter Pan.”

The large cast is loaded with skilled and accomplished actors and singers. The lead role of Peter is played by Rykerr Maynard, who played the scarecrow in last year’s show. Katie Feeks plays Wendy, Jesse Seward is Captain Hook, Jaiden Edelman is Michael, and Jared Livingston is John. Shelly Brown and Brad Austin play the parents, the Darlings.

“Peter Pan,” August 16–24 (no show August 20), 7:30 pm, M.V. Regional High School Performing Arts Center. Sunday matinees at 3 pm when the audience can meet and greet the cast. $22; $12 for children.

Special Preview Night: August 15, 7:30 pm, benefits Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living. $25; $12 children.

For more information, call 508-737-8550. For tickets, visit Ticketsmv.com. Tickets also available at the door.

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Suz Slezak and David Wax make up David Wax Museum. — David Wax Museum

The indie-Americana-folk-rock group David Wax Museum featuring David Wax and Suz Slezak return to play Flatbread Thursday evening after a successful engagement there last summer.

David Wax incorporates instruments and musical forms from a broad range of traditional styles from North and South America, defying easy classification. Mr. Wax likes to call his blend of music “Mexo-Americana, bringing together a lot of traditional musical things that become new forms.”

At last summer’s show the band’s fusion of traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock kept the crowd dancing through the night to rhythms that inspired members of the audience to break out the tango and samba dance moves.

The band incorporates a wide array of instruments, including Mexican guitars, an accordion, a Cajun drum box, and a donkey’s jawbone. The repertoire usually includes older hits, as well as singles from their newer albums. Knock Knock Get Up is their newest album, released in 2012.

David Wax immersed himself in Mexico’s rich traditional music culture, son mexicano, during trips south of the border, including a yearlong Harvard fellowship, learning from the form’s living masters.

Suz Slezak was homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia and reared on old-time, Irish, classical, and folk music. The two met in 2007 and began blending their unique musical perspectives to form the band.

David Wax Museum has released four albums: Its first in 2008, I Turned Off Thinking About; its second, Carpenter Bird in 2009; and the critically acclaimed album Everything Is Saved in 2011, featuring the song “Born with a Broken Heart,” which was named Song of the Year at the Boston Music Awards.

The band, which is often featured on the local folk music station WUMB, won a contest for a spot at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival and was the winner in the Americana category in the 2010 Boston Music Awards.

Island musician Nina Violet is the opening act, and blues harpist Natalie Lurie will also perform. The show is produced by TPS Presents.

David Wax Museum, Thursday, August 14, 9:30 pm, Flatbread Company, M.V. Airport, Edgartown. 21+. $25; $18 in advance at ticketsmv.com. For more information, visit flatbreadcompany.com.

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The Workout & Vineyard Tennis Center (VTC) in Edgartown recently replaced the lighting at its two year-round indoor tennis courts with energy efficient fluorescent fixtures. Not only are the courts bathed in brighter, whiter light, but the upgrade will also reduce the center’s energy costs by over $5,000 a year.

The old lights used 23,000 watts to light the two courts. The new lights need only 11,450 watts.

The lights and the installation cost $29,900. Program incentives of $23,970 from the Cape Light Compact (CLC), a public electricity aggregator and advocate for energy efficiency, reduced that cost to about $5,930. CLC subsidizes energy saving projects with funds generated by the energy conservation charge that is a part of electrical bills in Massachusetts.

The new lights were installed last month and replaced metal halide bulbs and fixtures that were state of the art when they were installed almost 20 years ago, VTC owner Connie McHugh said.

Playing tennis on Martha’s Vineyard during the cold, dark months of winter or during the stormy days of summer became a comfortable possibility when Ken Martin and Connie McHugh opened The Vineyard Tennis Center with two indoor courts in 1996.

“The old lights were better and brighter than most of the indoor courts on the Cape and were as bright as any tennis court lighting I had seen,” Ms. McHugh said. But they came with a cost. Ms. McHugh said that the tennis center’s monthly electrical bill averages over $3,000 and a big chunk of the bill is the cost of running the lights.

Ms. McHugh expects the savings from the new lights will cover her out-of-pocket costs within a year and a half. “It was a no-brainer,” she said. “Not only will we save money in the long run but the new lights are brighter and whiter and easier to use, and the bulbs last longer and we can turn them on and off whenever we want.”

She said the light from the old metal halide lights would turn yellowish as the lights aged giving the courts a dingy look and the lights often had to be left on, an additional cost, even when no one was playing because it took five to 10 minutes for the lights to reach their full intensity when turned on.

When the old lights were shut off it took about 15 minutes for the lights to cool down before they could be turned on again.

“When the power went down, not an uncommon occurrence on the Vineyard, there was nothing we could do but wait,” Ms. McHugh said. “Now we can turn them on and off whenever we want and the new lights reach full brightness within a minute.” Another advantage of the new lights is that they do not need the heat and noise generating ballasts that covered a large section of one wall that the old lights required.

The old light bulbs had to be replaced every 18 months to two years. She expects the new bulbs to last between four and five years.

Energy audit

The idea for new lights resulted from a no-cost commercial energy audit conducted by CLC, similar to audits offered to all NSTAR customers. Information on audits is on the CLC website www.capelightcompact.org. The audit pointed to the replacement of the old metal halide lights as a way of conserving a significant amount of energy, according to CLC program coordinator Briana Kane.

Ms. Kane said the project qualified for a CLC retrofit program that is designed for commercial and industrial customers to help replace aging, inefficient equipment and systems with energy efficient technologies.

The retrofit program provides customers with incentives and technical services that facilitate the installation of premium efficient equipment, including refrigeration, motors, air conditioning and water heating systems and almost anything that uses electricity. Ms. Kane said the cost of the audit was also covered by the energy conservation charge. She said audits, energy-efficiency programs and services, rebates and incentives are ways the conservation charge is returned to the customer.

Brighter courts?

Whether the new lights are any better than the old lights will ultimately be determined by the players, Ms. McHugh said. “I think they are better and tests conducted at other tennis facilities off-Island that have switched to the new lights indicate that these lights are brighter.”

Ms. McHugh said that Michael Anderson, the vice president for sales at Think Lite, an international lighting efficiency company with headquarters in Natick that designed the new lights, conducted tests last week and suggested that some fine-tuning could improve the court illumination even more. “We are somewhat of a test case for them and they are interested in making it right,” Ms. McHugh said. “He recommended increasing the wattage of some of the fixtures with brighter bulbs and repositioning some of the fixtures.” She said that the tune-up work will be done in September at no additional cost.

VTC employee and tennis player Steve Mussell said that he thinks the new lights are brighter and whiter. “They are more like natural sunlight,” he said.

Twelve-year-old tennis player Hannah Rabasca said she likes the new lights as she walked off a court with her doubles partner, her grandfather, Peter Norris. Ms. Rabasca will be 17 when the new bulbs need to be replaced.

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The special election will fill the post left vacant by the murder of Pat Gregory.

West Tisbury selectmen are mulling the future use of the town's former police station. — File photo by Michael Cummo

West Tisbury selectmen voted unanimously at their weekly meeting on July 30 to choose a new town moderator at a special election held in conjunction with state and federal elections on November 4. Voters will be asked to choose a replacement for longtime moderator Francis “Pat” Gregory, who was murdered while hiking in northern California in May.

Mr. Gregory was found dead of a gunshot wound on May 16 on the Iron Canyon Trail off Highway 36E, north of Red Bluff, Calif. A companion who was hiking with him was wounded. They were robbed before being shot. Police continue to search for the murderer.

In other action Wednesday, selectmen discussed the use of the old police station building next to the Mill Pond, vacated when police moved into their new station on State Road this spring.

The 1,000-square-foot building is on a small lot and comes with a parking restriction of three vehicles. The lot is so small and so close to the Mill Pond that the septic system was sited on a neighboring residential lot owned by Peter and Beatrice Nessen with the condition that the lot would only be used for the police station.

Selectman Richard Knabel said that any change of use could invalidate the terms of the septic agreement and would give the Nessens the option of disconnecting the system. Chairman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter said the Nessens have indicated that they would be willing to consider new tenants for the building.

Last month, a committee appointed by the selectmen to study the building’s use recommended that the building be leased to a nonprofit group but was not more specific.

Town administrator Jennifer Rand said that in order to meet state guidelines for the rental of municipal property at less than the best price, a request for proposals (RFP) would would have to identify specific public benefits as determined by the selectmen.

“The state is quite clear that if it is to be disposed of, and a lease is considered disposed of, for less than fair market value, a valid public purpose must be defined,” Ms. Rand said. “The primary purpose must be to promote the public welfare with a fair and open disposition.”

She said the board would have to determine what their goals are. She said that she will keep the Nessens informed of the town’s decisions.

Mr. Manter asked that the issue be put on the agenda for the next selectmen’s meeting, on August 6.