News in Brief
West Tisbury town hall renovation officially begins
About 50 spectators gathered yesterday inside a chain link construction fence that now surrounds the venerable West Tisbury town hall, to watch the building committee and town officials throw ceremonial shovelfuls of earth into the air. John Early, a town selectman for 30 years, told the crowd that he had served on committees working toward this day for more than a decade.
Photo by Dan Cabot
Building committee chairman Bea Phear welcomed the crowd. Members of the building committee in attendance were Kathy Logue, Kent Healy, Ginny Jones, Chuck Hodgkinson, and Jim Osmundsen. Mike Josepek is the project manager, the town's representative to JK Scanlon Co., the construction firm that will do the work. The architects are Keenan + Kenny, Ltd.
Joan Ames of West Tisbury told The Martha's Vineyard Times that a woman driving past stopped to ask her if the crowd meant that an auction was going on. She was looking to buy a home on Martha's Vineyard, she told Ms. Ames, and thought that the three-story building might do.
Martha's Vineyard Commission approves ice arena turbine plan
The Martha's Vineyard Commission gave the green light on October 2 to the Martha's Vineyard Arena to erect a 165-foot-tall wind turbine that also will serve as a wireless communications tower.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission reviewed the proposal as a development of regional impact (DRI). Martha's Vineyard's only ice rink is located on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, across from the regional high school, and it is owned by a nonprofit community organization.
According to a project summary prepared by Martha's Vineyard Commission staff, the proposed wind turbine project is projected to generate about 25 percent of the arena's energy needs. The arena also expects to lease space to up to four wireless providers, generating annual revenues of from $20,000 to $50,000.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission approval included conditions affecting landscaping, exterior lighting, fencing and decommissioning, if the wind turbine is not operational for a period of 12 months.
Alley's General Store celebrates birthday
Alley's General Store, a fixture in the center of West Tisbury, will celebrate its 150th birthday on Sunday, Oct. 12, with a party featuring games, music, hot dogs and hamburgers. Guests are asked to bring potluck side dishes. The fun and a celebration of a bit of Island history begin at 4 pm.
Once owned by generations of the family that gave the store its name, Alley's is now owned and operated by the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust. The store no longer sells live roosters but continues to offer items from hand-painted ceramics to work boots.
State awards two-year grant to Island Housing Trust
The Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund (MHP) last week announced grant awards totaling nearly $4 million to community-based nonprofit housing organizations in the state. Recipients included the Island Housing Trust (IHT), which will receive a two-year grant for $50,000. The money will be used to hire a project manager to help oversee the creation of 64 affordable housing units (both rental and ownership) and over $10 million dollars in development costs over the next two years, said IHT executive director Phillipe Jordi.
In prepared remarks, Mr. Jordi said the Trust has experienced a steady increase of affordable housing projects over the past several years in partnership with other nonprofit developers, Island towns, regional housing authority, and for-profit developers. The MHP grant will enable the Trust "to increase its administrative capacity in order to respond to the increasing demand and need for affordable housing throughout the Vineyard," Mr. Jordi said.
October 15 deadline for voter registration
With the November 4 Presidential election less than a month away, the deadline to register to vote is Wednesday, October 15.
The town clerks' offices will be open on October 15 from 8 am to 8 pm in Edgartown, 8:30 am to 8 pm in Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury, and from 2-4 pm and 7-8 pm in Aquinnah and Chilmark. Voters may register in any town.
Tisbury town clerk Marion Mudge said her office will mail a voter registration card if requested, which also will be due back by Oct. 15.
The application for absentee ballot deadline is noon on November 3.
Last week the State elections division mailed a voter guide to every postal address and post office box holder, which includes a voter registration form. In addition to town clerks' offices, voters also may register at any state agency, including the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
LWV sponsors state rep candidates forum
The League of Women Voters will sponsor a forum on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the candidates running for the House of Representatives from the Cape and Islands district.
The forum is from 6:30 to 9 pm in the Bayliss Room located on the first floor of the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.
Shellfishing available to disabled
The Oak Bluffs Shellfish Committee is seeking letters from people who may be unable to harvest shellfish, but still want to participate in the harvest of quahogs, steamers, and bay scallops.
Anyone who is mentally or physically handicapped, suffers from an illness, or is a senior citizen, can designate another person with a shellfish license to harvest their weekly family limit for them.
Letters from those who want to designate someone to dig for them must be submitted by 4 pm on October 21 for approval or disapproval by the committee.
Letters should be addressed to the Oak Bluffs Shellfish Committee, 347 County Road, PO Box 1327, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.
The recreational season for bay scallops opens for Sengekontacket Pond and outside waters on October 18, and for Lagoon Pond on October 25. Seasons for other shellfish are open now.
Vineyard Gazette circulation declines
Continuing a five-year decline, the Vineyard Gazette saw its total paid on and off-Island distribution drop below 9,000 readers.
The figure, an average for the preceding 12 months, is included in the Edgartown-based weekly's U.S Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation published annually the first week in October, a requirement of publications mailed at second-class postal rates.
The Gazette's total paid/requested circulation dropped from 9,924 in October 2004 to 8,872 in October 2008, according to published postal statements.
At the same time, the newspaper's circulation within Dukes County over the same five-year period was relatively consistent. The Gazette mailed an average number of 1,906 newspapers to subscribers in Dukes County, an increase of 169 subscribers compared with 2007. It sold 2,663 newspapers at newsstands, a slight drop over 2007 figures.
Total Island circulation for the preceding 12 months stood at 4,569 compared to 4,983 in October 2004.
The Gazette mailed 4,284 newspapers outside Dukes County.
The postal statement lists the off-Island owners of the Gazette as the Richard and Mary Jo Reston of Sarasota, Florida and Thomas B. Reston of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Vineyard Energy Project has new director
The Vineyard Energy Project (VEP), a nonprofit organization focused on the Martha's Vineyard energy future, has a new executive director. He is David McGlinchey.
Mr. McGlinchey takes over the helm from West Tisbury architect Kate Warner, who founded the organization in 2003 with a broad mission of outreach, education and energy development.
According to a press release, Mr. McGlinchey has a background in journalism and the law and he has knowledge of nonprofit legal issues and renewable energy policy as well as experience with the legal framework that surrounds energy issues.
VEP is beginning to research and develop the idea of an Island energy cooperative that would build large-scale renewable energy generation projects owned by residents and designed to produce savings and benefits to the community.
For more information, call the Vineyard Energy Project at 508-693-3002.
Moujabber plan passes another hurdle
By unanimous vote, the Cottage City Historic District Commission approved a plan to demolish the controversial garage built by Joseph Moujabbar on his Oak Bluffs property, and replace it with an addition to his existing home.
After more than four years of a contentious permitting process and costly lawsuits, only approval from the zoning board of appeals remains before the revised project can begin.
The latest plan, which has already won approval from the Martha's Vineyard Commission and the Copeland District Plan Review Board, calls for demolition of the partially built three-story structure that now sits on the Moujabber property, and construction of a 1,589-square-foot addition to the existing five-bedroom home. The addition would include a garage at ground level, and living space above.
Oak Bluffs police receive child passenger safety grant
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Oak Bluffs Police Department to be used to expand the department's child passenger safety efforts.
The money, part of 67 grants totaling $660,733 awarded across the state, will be used primarily to purchase child safety seats for distribution to parents and caregivers, according to a press release.
Nationwide traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14. According to statistics the Oak Bluffs police cited, 70 percent of youngsters whose parents do not use seat belts will not buckle up when they are adults. The police said adults must set a good example.
VNA receives national recognition
The Vineyard Nursing Association received accreditation recently from the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP), an independent, non-profit accrediting body for community-based healthcare organizations in the United States.
Since 1992 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have provided CHAP with regulatory authorization to survey agencies providing home health and hospice services, to determine whether they meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation, according to a press release.
"The Vineyard Nursing Association believes in maintaining and exceeding the highest standards of care for its clients," said Bob Tonti, VNA chief executive officer. "Therefore, in the fall of 2007, we made the decision to seek CHAP accreditation, a certification that actually goes beyond Medicare standards."
In addition to formal accreditation, CHAP awarded a special commendation to the VNA. The organization cited VNA's extraordinary efforts made to absorb all the patients and part of the staff of the Visiting Nurse Service, which closed this winter.
The Vineyard Nursing Association is Martha's Vineyard's only provider of home healthcare. According to the VNA it makes more than 20,000 patient visits in the six island towns each year.
The agency provides home healthcare for patients of all ages and will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.