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From left Macayah Goodell, Isabell Murphy, Kasey Varconda, Molly Crawford and Arianna Eidelman flex at Island Gymnastics. Photo courtesy Island Gymnastics

Looking for something new and exciting to do with the kids this summer? Head on over to Island Gymnastics in West Tisbury, and experience their 24-foot rock-climbing wall. The wall was erected this spring in memory of the late John Varkonda, an integral member of the Island Gymnastics family and a lover of climbing.

The rock-climbing wall is open to the public from 5 to 6:30 pm, Mondays through Fridays. Harnesses and instruction are available, and the cost is $25 for a walk-in session or $80 for four classes. Children under 18 will require a parent’s signature, and forms can be obtained in advance by emailing iflip4joy@gmail.com.

Saltwater restaurant has been transformed into Beach Road, opening soon. Photo by Michael Cummo

Beach Road restaurant, sister restaurant to the popular State Road restaurant in West Tisbury, is getting ready for business. The restaurant, in the space that Saltwater restaurant used to occupy, is expected to begin serving dinner this week, and will be open for dinner at 5:30 pm six days a week (excluding Mondays). Plans for a coffee bar and takeout options are in development.

The menu will adhere to the same quality as State Road, which recently won Best of the Vineyard 2015 for Best Fine Dining, as well as recent honors from Wine Spectator and Best of Boston. Beach Road will offer more family-style options, and a seafood-centric menu, along with serving wine and beer.

Executive Chef Austin Racine will lead the charge on the restaurant’s menu, which will be managed daily by Chef Sean Yancey. Both chefs have honed their skills for years working together at State Road.

Seating will be available in the dining room and the screened-in porch, and once open, day-of reservations can be made by calling 508-693-8582.

Beach Road restaurant is at 79 Beach Road, Tisbury Marketplace, Vineyard Haven.

Local artists help the Vineyard Conservation Society turn 50.

Plein Air artist Liz Taft paints the Gay Head Cliffs on Saturday. Photo by Michael Cummo

As part of the Vineyard Conservation Society’s (VCS) 50th anniversary, the organization invited more than a dozen artists to create original works, including studio and plein air paintings. Last week, seven of the artists invited the public to come watch them create their work, live on location. Those paintings and several others will be on display for an auction preview at the Granary Gallery this Saturday, August 1, from 5 to 7 pm. The paintings will then be sold during a live auction on August 5, as part of a 50th birthday benefit dinner for VCS. Some of the artists involved in making the auction a reality shared their thoughts about VCS, painting, and the Island with The Times.

Artist Allen Whiting

“The efforts of the VCS provide all of us who reside or visit this finite and beautiful Island space to breathe, decompress, become inspired, and hopefully contemplate with some clarity our relationship to this earth we as humans inhabit. We are indeed privileged and fortunate to live here, and to have a fighting chance to find the balance we need to survive as well as thrive. … I chose to paint the south side of Moshup’s trail, looking west toward the Cliffs. It has been a challenging pleasure.”

Artist Rez Williams

“VCS is unique in the vibrant local conservation community in that it does the necessary and unglamorous work of fighting or educating those forces which would denigrate or destroy the Island’s natural fabric. … My painting of an unremarkable wetland in late winter on the ocean side of South Road at the Allen Farm was done to support VCS’ future work.”

Artist Valentine Estabrook

“Painting a piece of land made forever agricultural by VCS efforts almost 20 years ago made the experience special. I couldn’t help but think about the history of the big old barn, and the years it took for the surrounding trees to grow so very high.”

VCS Board Member Samantha Look:

“The artists have not simply given their time, they have created works that help remind one of the degree to which these iconic places are part of our experience here on the Island. They have captured, on canvas, the importance of the work of Vineyard Conservation Society.”

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The search committee picked Lisa Sherman, a local resident who already knows the ropes, to head its new library.

Lisa Sherman is currently the director of the Aquinnah Library.

The Edgartown library search committee has named Lisa Sherman of Edgartown to be the new library director. For Ms. Sherman, it will mean a shorter commute to work.

Ms. Sherman is currently the Aquinnah library director, a job she has held since 2012, according to her resume.

Ms. Sherman will leave her position in Aquinnah on August 29 and begin work in Edgartown the following week, according to Jill Dugas Hughes, the outgoing Edgartown library director.

Ms. Hughes told The Times that the search committee offered Ms. Sherman the position on Wednesday, July 22 after narrowing the choice to two finalists.

“We think it’s going to be a pretty smooth transition,” Ms. Hughes said. “She’s local, she’s here, she’s worked at the library before.”

Ms. Sherman previously worked at the Edgartown library from 2007 to 2012. She was circulation supervisor and served as the interim director in her final five months before taking over in Aquinnah.

Ms. Hughes announced in May that she would resign as the Edgartown library director effective August 30. She has been in the position since 2012 and assisted in the search for her replacement.

“Lisa has great relationships with the staff and the community, and she is certainly capable and up for the task. I feel like the library is going to be in great hands,” Ms. Hughes said.

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The Society said an outpouring of community support shows that hate will not be tolerated.

The flag outside of the Unitarian Universalist Society in Vineyard Haven was cut down over the weekend. — Photo courtesy of Facebook

A Rainbow flag that has hung outside the Unitarian Universalist Society Church off of Main Street in Vineyard Haven was reported missing to the Tisbury police Monday. Doris Godfrey, president of the church, told police the flag was discovered missing at 10 am, Sunday.

“Godfrey told me a Rainbow flag had been stolen from the church,” Officer Michael Gately wrote in his police report. “Godfrey told me the flag was hung from a six foot outrigger type of flagpole that was attached to the east side of the church.”

According to a Facebook post by the Society, the flag is a “symbol of love and understanding, of welcoming to the LGBT community,” and was cut down sometime over the weekend.

“It is disturbing to think it might have been done by someone who disagrees with our standing on the side of love and welcoming to all the richness and diversity of the human family,” the post said.

The church statement added it is possible it was taken in “a senseless act of vandalism.” Either way, the church assured the public that a new flag it on its way.

The message generated an outpouring of community support on social media. As of Tuesday morning, Ms. Godfrey said a reward valued at more than $2,000 for information regarding the incident made up of cash, a gift card, and service donations from local Island businesses was being offered for information.

Ms. Godfrey said in a phone call with The Times on Tuesday that she had heard nothing back regarding a suspect, but she said the response from the community has been incredible.

“It was shocking to us that this could happen on Martha’s Vineyard because it’s such a place of warm and caring people,” she said. “But that has been totally reinforced by the response from the community.”

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Vehicle registration and other Registry business will be limited to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles office will open limited days in August. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

As of Monday, July 27, the Martha’s Vineyard Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office located in the airport business park is only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 am to 4 pm with a one hour lunch closure from noon to 1 pm.

According to an RMV spokesman, the change will be in effect through September 1.

The truncated schedule is due to a personnel issue, the spokesman said.


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Power is out in sections of Oak Bluffs. File photo by Ralph Stewart.

Updated 10 am, Tuesday

Eversource crews have restored electrical power to areas of downtown Oak Bluffs following a brief power outage this morning. The power outage struck businesses along Circuit Avenue and the surrounding harbor area.

An Eversource spokesman said the power outage was due to an electrical equipment failure, more specifically a blown fuse, in the area of Naumkeag Avenue about 7:50 am, Tuesday morning. The outage affected about 171 customers and power was restored about 9:30 am, she said.


Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the spirit of Art Buchwald reigned at the summer highlight event.

Comedian Jimmy Tingle once again held the Possible Dreams stage as the auctioneer. – Photo by Michael Cummo

It was another night of bidding wars and laughs at the 37th annual Art Buchwald Possible Dreams Auction at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown Sunday night. This year Clifford the big red dog was ever-present at the event in dedication to the late Norman Bridwell, author of the children’s book series and supporter of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the Island’s umbrella social services organization and host of the event.

The silent auction had dozens of great prizes and packages. – Photo by Michael Cummo
The silent auction had dozens of great prizes and packages. – Photo by Michael Cummo

“Look at this crowd, this is great,” event coordinator Liza May said before the kickoff of the live auction. She said she was “humbled by the support and generosity.”

After joking about this winter’s “storms of historic proportions,” funnyman and auctioneer Jimmy Tingle encouraged the full audience to “raise spirits, funds and awareness.”

Smiles all around.– Photo by Michael Cummo
Smiles all around.– Photo by Michael Cummo

And that they did. The big “dream” of the night was a week at David and Julia Keefe’s home in Castleview Park in Kinvara, Ireland. Halfway through the bidding another week was offered by the Keefes, bringing in two $12,000 bids.

By the end of the night overcast skies had turned blue as another year of possible dreams were fulfilled, concluding an evening that would surely make Mr. Buchwald smile.


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Dump truck driver Lewis Colby swerved to avoid crushing the red SUV that pulled in front of him and avoided a far more serious accident.

The accident occurred at the four-way intersection of Panhandle Road, Scotchman Lane and State Road. Google maps.

Saturday, 10:30 am

West Tisbury Police Detective Matt Gebo said Robert Schwartz, 90, of West Tisbury “was found at fault” in a truck rollover accident about 3:30 pm, Thursday that sent the driver of a John Keene Excavation Company dump truck to the hospital.

Lewis Colby, the driver of the truck, was released from the hospital and is “on the mend,” Keene company manager Joe Eldeiry told The Times Friday. Mr. Colby was battered and bruised and suffered a concussion, but no broken bones.

Mr. Schwartz, who was traveling with his wife, was at the wheel of a 2005 Toyota Highlander when he turned right onto State Road from Scotchman’s Bridge Lane at the four-way intersection opposite Panhandle Road by the Ag Hall in West Tisbury and failed to stop at a stop sign, Detective Gebo said.

Mr. Colby was traveling north on State Road and swerved to avoid colliding with Mr. Schwartz. Detective Gebo credited Mr. Coby’s quick reflexes with avoiding a much more serious accident.

Mr. Colby had just picked up a full load of sand at Goodale’s in Oak Bluffs. The truck rolled over when he swerved to avoid the red SUV trapping him inside. Police, fire and EMT first responders rushed to the scene and the road was closed in both directions.

Mr. Colby was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and later transported to Boston as a precaution.

Mr. Eldeiry said Mr. Colby’s quick reaction likely avoided a catastrophic accident.

It took a collective effort to clean up the sand and remove the truck, Detective Gebo said. West Tisbury firefighters, a front end loader and crew from John Keene, and Vincent Maciel of Maciel Tree and Land assisted in the effort.

“What a great community effort,” Mr. Eldeiry said. “We had the truck righted and the site cleaned up by 5:30 pm.”

Company owner John Keene had just boarded a ferry for the start of a family vacation when the accident occurred. He returned on the next ferry to check on Mr. Colby.

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The Shenandoah's yawl was destroyed in the accident.

In this file photo of the Shenandoah under sail, her yawl is visible at the stern. File photo by Ralph Stewart.

Updated 9:40 am, Monday

A fishing boat headed to Memorial dock in Vineyard Haven harbor about 9:30 pm, Thursday night crashed into a yawl boat that was hanging from the stern of the schooner Shenandoah, which was at rest in the harbor.

On Monday, a Coast Guard public affairs officer in Boston confirmed the name of the fishing vessel was Kayah. The Coast Guard was notified but has no involvement beyond notification given the limited nature of the accident and lack of any injuries.

Shenandoah captain and manager Morgan Douglas was not on board when the crash happened, but told The Times there were no injuries. Mr. Douglas said the Shenandoah was undamaged, and as of Thursday afternoon, the Coast Guard had inspected the ship and approved her for use. The yawl had been with the Shenandoah since the ship was built 52 years ago, he said.

The yawl is used to push the Shenandoah, which has no engine, out of the harbor. She was at anchor in her usual spot, just past buoy number six and on the west side of the channel at the time of the crash, harbormaster John “Jay” Wilbur told The Times Thursday.

Mr. Wilbur said the yawl was “fairly splintered” after the crash.

Mr. Wilbur told The Times that the crash was not officially reported to his office, and the participants were not required to report it. As of noon, Mr. Wilbur was unable to provide any information, including the identity of the involved fishing boat or the name of her captain. Mr. Wilbur did not return repeated phone calls on Friday and no one in the harbor master’s office was able to shed any light on why the fishing vessel struck the moored schooner, a fixture in the harbor.

The Shenandoah is a non-auxiliary powered square-topsail schooner built in 1964 by Captain Robert Douglas, and is used for private and chartered sailing trips out of Vineyard Haven.