Martha's Vineyard News Briefs
Bradley Square foes continue to talk
The Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals last week postponed discussion of the controversial Bradley Square project until next month, to allow further discussion by both sides in the dispute over the downtown Oak Bluffs mixed use renovation and construction proposal.
Zoning administrator Adam Wilson confirmed the postponement request by Philippe Jordi, executive director of the Island Housing Trust, at a brief Thursday meeting.
The housing trust and resident interest groups, including the Oak Bluffs Concerned Citizens, had been sparring over the trust's plan to renovate and expand the former Bradley Memorial church and to provide in two additional buildings for 11 new housing units, including nine affordably priced condominiums, of which four would be living and working units designed for artists. In addition the plan would provide for a community center for events, exhibits, and meetings.
The parties agreed last month to form a joint committee to begin discussion to see if they could find mutually acceptable modifications for the project.
Mr. Jordi said that his organization has been meeting with the citizens group headed by resident Don Lambert and with other "stakeholders" in town, including the nearby art gallery proprietors. Noting that the groups have met four times in the past three weeks, Mr. Jordi said progress is being made on a plan that would suit the various interests, and he requested postponement so the sides could continue their work.
"Given the economy, this process may provide an additional benefit," Mr. Jordi told The Martha's Vineyard Times. "Our original financial plan called for using market rates for two of the housing units. The question today is: what are market rates?"
Governor signs bill to change voting law
Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday signed legislation allowing Massachusetts residents who have moved but failed to register in their new communities within 18 months of leaving the cities or towns in which they were previously registered to return and vote on national and state races and ballot questions in their old polling places. Before this legislation was adopted, voters were required to register in their new communities within six months of moving.
According to the State House News Service, town clerks opposed the last-minute change, saying it could lead to errors. Tisbury town clerk Marion Mudge said the change would mean an extra burden for town clerks in next week's election. Under the bill's provisions, voters are limited to voting on national and statewide races, such as the presidential contest and the U.S. Senate race, and three initiative petitions pertaining to tax policy, marijuana laws, and dog racing. They are not eligible to vote on local races since they are no longer living in the districts where they would vote.
Ms. Mudge learned in a fax from the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth that the state Elections Division is preparing partial ballots, forms, and a memorandum on how to process the ballots.
Lawmakers pressed for the bill's passage as a way of helping to ensure that displaced victims of housing foreclosures are able to vote Tuesday. The legislation makes no specific reference to the foreclosure problem, but applies generally.
The registration deadline for Tuesday's election was Oct. 15.
Morgan Woods wins excellence award
The ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing has selected The Boulevard in Anaheim, Legacy at Lincoln Park, and Morgan Woods as winners of the first annual ULI/J. Ronald Terwilliger Workforce Housing Models of Excellence Awards. The awards are given to workforce housing developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, according to a press release. The award winners were announced at the ULI Fall Meeting in Miami, Florida.
The Models of Excellence Awards recognize exemplary developments that meet workforce housing needs in high-cost communities. Thirty-four submissions were reviewed throughout the United States. Each of the three winning projects had at least 25 percent of the units designated for families earning between 60 percent and 120 percent of the area median income; was located near employment centers and transportation hubs; and utilized public capital subsidies for no more than 25 percent of the development costs.
"I congratulate the winners of the Models of Excellence Awards," J. Ronald Terwilliger, chairman and CEO of Trammell Crow Residential and founder of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing, said. "Each of the winning projects is an excellent example of how the public and private sectors can work together to help solve the growing crisis of the lack of availability of workforce housing. Many of the best practices can be replicated in other high-cost areas."
League of Women Voters offers rides to the polls
Members of the Martha's Vineyard League of Women Voters will be available to provide rides to the polls in their respective towns on Tuesday, election day.
The following is a list of volunteers provided by the League: Chilmark, Ann Deitrich (508-645-9506); Edgartown, Rozetta Hughes (508-627-9601), Mary Miller (508-627-7053); Oak Bluffs, Ellie Beth (617-640-2667), Mimi Davisson (508-696-1075); Tisbury, Alicia Lesnikowski (508-693-9175), Joyce Rickson (508-696-9259); and West Tisbury, Janet Bank (508-693-4791).
What a no vote means on Question Four
At their meeting last week, the Dukes County commissioners took pains to explain Question 4 on the November ballot to their television audience. The referendum, proposed by the Dukes County Charter Study Commission (DCCSC), reads:
"Shall the County Manager Plan be adopted for Dukes County, with the provision for a board of commissioners of seven members for concurrent two-year terms and elected at large? . . . Failure to approve the recommended change in the charter will leave the current charter in place with its four-year terms of office."
Chairman Les Leland told The Martha's Vineyard Times in a telephone interview that he is concerned that some voters may not realize that voting no on Question 4 will not abolish county government. On the contrary, a no vote leaves the present system in place.
The bottom line is that voters may choose between the present county manager system with four-year, staggered terms (a no vote) and the present system with two-year, concurrent terms for elected commissioners (a yes vote). The yes vote means that the terms of all seven commissioners would end every two years.
The DCCSC debated for almost a year and a half before recommending only this small change in the existing county government. Although they considered other measures, including abolishing county government entirely, they concluded that the weaknesses of Dukes County government were not the fault of the structure itself. However, to increase the accountability of commissioners to the voters, the DCCSC did recommend a change to two-year terms, as well as a long list of changes to the county administrative code and an application to the legislature to change the statutory terms of the county manager's contract.
According to chairman Leland, the bill has been filed with the state legislature, and the county commissioners have already adopted almost all of the non-binding recommendations from the DCCSC. The changes include better communication with county stakeholders and new rules for making county appointments. One other recommendation, a provision for the recall of a commissioner, has been tabled until after the ballot question is resolved. If voters choose a change to two-year terms, a recall is unlikely to be used.
Mr. Leland told The Martha's Vineyard Times that although he voted as a member of the DCCSC to put the question on the ballot, he himself plans to vote no, because he feels that running every two years would be a hardship and might discourage effective commissioners from running for reelection.
Museum highlights political process
"Count Me In - Not So Small Town Politics on Martha's Vineyard" is the newest exhibit at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. Curator Dana Street and assistant curator Anna Carringer designed the exhibit to show how Martha's Vineyard, politics, and the rest of the nation have always been connected. Located at the Museum in Edgartown, the exhibit covers 200 years of politics. The handwritten ballot results of Edgartown voters in the 1806 gubernatorial race are on display as well as the literal "ticket" for all four contenders in the 1884 presidential race. (Grover Cleveland won.)
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the wall-sized American flag made entirely of campaign buttons. Called Labyrinth, this red, white, and blue mixed media construction is the work of artist Diana Van Ness and is on loan to the Museum by the Granary Gallery. Making up the stars and stripes are buttons from the campaigns of such luminaries as Hubert Humphrey, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Adlai Stevenson and the current presidential candidates and their running mates.
Also included in the exhibit is the hand cranked wooden ballot box from West Tisbury, on loan from the town, and still used for elections for local office. The words and wisdom of Islanders like Craig Kingsbury, Gladys Widdiss and Bob Carroll on the subject of politics are part of the exhibit, which is rounded out with memorabilia and ephemera from elections and campaigns long ago.
Count Me In will be up until after the January 20, 2009 inauguration.
The Martha's Vineyard Museum is open year-round Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Visit www.mvmuseum.org for more information.
James Carter new president of Vineyard Chamber
The Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce unanimously elected James Carter president of the board of directors.
The chamber board consists of 15 volunteer members and serves as stewards to ensure that the Chamber remains sound and responsive to its mission, according to a press release.
Mr. Carter, an Island native who owns the Clarion Martha's Vineyard hotel in Edgartown, will serve a two-year term.
Mass Audubon appoints new regional director
Mass Audubon has appointed Kathy Sferra as its regional director for the Southeast, Cape, and the Islands. According to a press statement from Mass Audubon, Ms. Sferra will be "responsible for ensuring that Mass Audubon's conservation, education and advocacy goals are met in the region, and ensuring that its seven staffed sanctuaries, including Felix Neck in Edgartown, are strategically positioned to carry out the organization's mission of protecting the nature of Massachusetts for people and for wildlife."
Ms. Sferra has more than 25 years of experience in land conservation, land planning, and policy at nonprofit organizations and public agencies.
Tashmoo Insurance sponsors safety clinic
Representatives from Tashmoo Insurance Agency, in conjunction with the Oak Bluffs Police Department and the Dukes County Sheriff Office, will sponsor a free child identification and car seat safety clinic from 10 am to noon at the agency's Edgartown office located at the Triangle on Saturday, Nov. 1.
This is a good opportunity for parents to have their children professionally fingerprinted, receive a chance to discuss the subject of child safety with local law enforcement, and have their children's safety seat inspected for proper installation, according to a press release.
As part of the program, Tashmoo Insurance Agency will provide parents with a free comprehensive personal information and identification kit called "All About Me." Free kits are also available at Tashmoo Insurance Agency or by calling 508-627-9001.
Zephrus dessert pays off for Island food pantry
Dessert lovers dining at Zephrus Seafood and Grill in the Mansion House can satisfy their sweet tooth and make a donation to the Island Food Pantry.
The restaurant now serves a new dessert called As American As Apple Pie. Proceeds from the $12 apple pie dessert are sent to the food pantry. After just the first few days the dessert appeared on the menu, Zephrus was able to donate over $100, according to a press release.
For more information, call Zephrus at 508-693-3416.
Bob Graves joins WLM Pattern & Machine
William McConnell, owner of WLM Pattern and Machine shop on Holmes Hole Road in Vineyard Haven, reports that Bob Graves was unable to sit still in retirement and is now his associate.
Mr. Graves, long-time Island machinist, brings 50 years of experience in machining, tool and die making, and welding to the shop.
In addition to providing quality pattern, casting and machine work for Island boatbuilders, Mr. McConnell said, "We are now able to offer precision sharpening of chipper, jointer and planer knives, as well as plane irons and chisels for Island woodworkers."
For more information, call 508-693-9132.
Books return to Main Street Vineyard Haven
Jenni Bick Bookbinding, the Vineyard Haven Main Street storefront for the successful on line album and journal store jennibick.com, plans to fill some of its shelves with books.
Robby Bick said that since he and his wife Jenni have so little space, the offerings would be very focused. "It'll be about the books and subjects I love, and that I think can sell in these confusing times," said Mr. Bick. "Mostly politics, really, with some literature, some bestsellers, and maybe some cookbooks or travel, or personal finance."
Jenni Bick said that this is only a temporary project, and that she, like everyone else, is eagerly awaiting the new Bunch of Grapes, which is reportedly coming in the spring or summer of 2009.
In the Dean's List published in the October 16 issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times, Lari Rega should have been identified as Mr. Lari Rega.
An editorial in the October 23 issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times, "What's it good for?" incorrectly identified Chilmark Land Bank commissioner Pamela Goff as a former member of the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Reporting in the October 23 issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times on a candidates night sponsored by the League of Women Voters, "Candidates spar over Dem pedigree," incorrectly reported that Jake Ferreira of Vineyard Haven, running as an independent, would if elected join the Democratic party. Mr. Ferreira said he has no intention of joining any party and would remain unenrolled.