Martha's Vineyard News Briefs
SAT results for class of 2008
The class of 2008 at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School achieved SAT scores above the state average in critical reading and below the state average in math and writing. However, the class's average scores in critical reading, math, and writing are above the New England and national averages for all schools.
High school guidance director Michael McCarthy provided the SAT results to the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School school committee at a November 3 meeting. Of 190 graduates in the class of 2008, 155 of them, 81 percent, took the SAT.
"Looking at our longitudinal study of the mean of the highest score for each section, we actually see a small jump in the math and writing scores, and a dip in the reading score, which occurs on occasion from class to class," Mr. McCarthy noted in a cover letter to principal Stephen Nixon.
The SAT is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. In addition to SAT results, Mr. McCarthy provided a copy of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School school profile sent out to colleges, trade schools, and employers with students' transcripts.
The school profile notes that 77 percent of the class of 2008 graduates planned to continue their education, with 127 heading to four-year colleges and 19 to two-year colleges and technology schools.
Of the 44 graduates remaining, 27 took jobs, two went into military service, and 15 chose other plans, such as travel and volunteer placements.
Pot penalties softened, income tax survives, dog racing banned
Massachusetts voters decided Tuesday to exempt from criminal penalties the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, to disband the state's dog racing industry, and to retain the 5.3-percent income tax.
With more than 90 percent of voting precincts reporting, voters chose by a margin of nearly two to one to remove the criminal penalties for individuals caught with less than an ounce of marijuana. It is the most major relaxation of the state's drug laws in decades, and the decision made Massachusetts the 12th state to decriminalize marijuana and the first to do so through the ballot, rather than by legislation or the courts.
The closest vote, casting a death knell on the state's two-track, dog-racing industry, favored phasing out the practice over two years. The margin was more than 10 points, with about 90 percent of precincts reporting. That verdict endangers what the measure's opponents estimated were 1,000 jobs, though the industry was already ailing. Dog track advocates immediately renewed their call for slot machines at the two dog tracks and two horse tracks.
The most visible argument on the ballot, over whether or not to reduce state revenues by 40 percent turned out to be the least contentious ballot question. Anti-tax forces attracted just 31 percent of the vote. Even if the measure had passed, Beacon Hill leaders were preparing to repeal it, unwilling to forego the largest stream of state revenues.
The "yes" vote on Question Three appears likely to snuff out the already hobbled dog racing industry here, because lawmakers are unlikely to repeal the mandate. Both Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park and Wonderland have, along with the Plainridge and Suffolk Downs horse tracks, unsuccessfully sought permission from the state to install slot machines in recent years and could be players in a future casino market. Wonderland this year joined forces with Suffolk Downs.
Question One, eliminating the state income tax, raised the most concern among state and local government officials, who forecast a dramatic reduction in state services. But not one state lawmaker supported the proposal, and officials were prepared to undertake a repeal effort, virtually ensured of success.
The Committee for Small Government, sponsor of the question, was also vastly outspent by the Coalition for Our Communities, the union-backed organization conducting the opposition's campaign.
Temporary drawbridge gains footing
A crew began setting the first pilings yesterday for the construction of the temporary Lagoon Pond drawbridge. In the photo above, a worker welds an extension onto one of the pilings. It will take about six to eight weeks to set the pilings, according to MassHighway officials.
About five years ago, MassHighway announced plans to replace the aging and sporadically unreliable Lagoon Pond drawbridge by first building a temporary bridge alongside the existing bridge, which then will be demolished and replaced by a permanent replacement bridge.
Pihl, a firm based in Quincy specializing in civil engineering projects, is the temporary bridge construction project contractor.
The temporary bridge is to be complete in 2010 and the permanent bridge in 2013. The cost of the temporary bridge is estimated at $9.3 million and the permanent bridge, $35.7 million.
Islanders observe Veterans Day
To honor men and women who have served and are currently serving their country in the military, Islanders will celebrate Veterans Day, November 11, in several ceremonies and events.
Ceremonies begin at 7:30 am Tuesday in Vineyard Haven at Oak Grove Cemetery at Pine Street and State Road where American Legion Post 257 and volunteers will put up more than 400 American flags along the Avenue of Flags. Each flag is in honor of or in memory of a veteran.
Veterans will gather at Our Market in Oak Bluffs for a parade that steps off at 10:45 am and proceeds to Ocean Park for a ceremony. Afterwards, participants will march back to Our Market and disband.
There will be a special ceremony at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 1:45 pm, to honor the veterans who live there. All Island veterans are encouraged to attend the event.
The flags erected earlier in the day at Oak Grove Cemetery will come down at 3 pm. Volunteers are needed to help in the task.
On November 21, a service will be held to honor veterans at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center at 5:30 pm.
West Tisbury Town Hall on solid footing this week
West Tisbury last week secured $4 million in short-term bond financing, at an effective 2.1-percent interest rate, to pay for an ongoing $5.05 million town hall renovation project.
Town treasurer Kathy Logue said Eastern Bank of Lynn was the successful bidder among seven institutions who bid on the one-year debt offering. The offer was advertised on October 23 and awarded on October 30.
Interest rates offered by the seven bidders, including Edgartown National Bank and Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank, ranged from Eastern's 2.1 percent to Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank's 3.95 percent.
"Eastern Bank offered us the best interest rate for the short-term bond, well below our budgeted rate of four percent," Ms. Logue said. The town plans within 12 months to convert the short-term debt to a long-term bond of up to 20 years, according to the plan approved by voters at annual town meeting in May, she said.
In late September, the town postponed its bond offer on the advice of Lynne Ludwig, its financial adviser, after the credit markets fell into disarray following failure of a financial reorganization plan in Congress and subsequent fallout in the stock and financial markets.
Ms. Logue said that it is premature to project the long-term interest rates a year out, noting that currently long-term debt financing deals are in the 4 percent interest rate range. The Town Hall Renovation Committee (THRC) budgeted 6 percent interest rate for conversion from short-term to long-term debt.
Since taking control of the job site on October 1, general contractor J.K. Scanlan of Falmouth has completed some demolition work prior to raising the building. THRC chair Bea Phear was at a construction meeting on deadline Wednesday and unavailable for comment.
However, Ms. Logue confirmed that footings for a new foundation were poured on Tuesday. The next steps are to pour foundation walls and to resettle the building on its new foundation and to pour a basement floor by mid-December, she said.
Oak Bluffs Police report quiet Halloween
The Oak Bluffs Police reported one arrest on Friday, Halloween.
According to the police log, at 7:42 pm Friday police stopped and arrested Antone T. Silvia,18, of Edgartown on Dukes County Avenue. He was charged with OUI/Alcohol along with other motor vehicle related charges.
The town was quiet until 12:54 am early Sunday morning when an Oak Bluffs officer initiated a motor vehicle stop on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. Police arrested the operator Graciano Rocha, 20, of Edgartown, for OUI/Alcohol and other motor vehicle related charges.
At 10:52 am police stopped and arrested Jose Ribeiro, 37, of Tisbury, as he drove on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road near School House Village, for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and operating an unregistered motor vehicle.
At 4:10 pm police officers responded to Morgan Luce Lane for a domestic dispute in progress. Police arrested Joseph Gonsalves, 42, of Oak Bluffs for domestic assault and battery.
Work began this week on the removal of dead trees threatening to fall into North Road in Chilmark. The town will offer residents who sign up at town hall a chance to cut and remove the firewood from the transfer station on Tabor House Road.
Up-Island COA launches senior aid plan
The Up Island Council on Aging (COA) has begun a fundraising campaign to provide fuel and food assistance this winter for senior citizens in West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah.
The Friends of the Up-Island COA, the organization's fundraising arm, last week told West Tisbury selectmen that the Friends of COA will provide a $5,000 gift to kick off the effort and the board voted to accept the gift in order to be able to disperse funds to vendors providing food and fuel to senior residents.
Leah Smith, treasurer of the Friends, told selectman that food and fuel assistance were in line to be cut by as much as 50 percent as part of the state's $1.4 billion budget cuts.
While the cuts were reportedly restored by the state this week, the COA is still going forward with its plan, director Joyce Bowker told The Martha's Vineyard Times yesterday.
"Restoring the cuts is great news, but it doesn't mean people still won't need help. The cost of everything --fuel, food and prescriptions, for example - continue to rise and the state funding has only been restored at last year's level," Ms. Smith said, noting that an appeal letter will go out shortly to the COA mailing list, asking for donations to the senior assistance fund.
The program process guarantees anonymity to recipients, and bills come to COA and only vendor name and amounts are forwarded to West Tisbury town accountant Bruce Stone who will make the payments to vendors from the fund. West Tisbury handles administration of the Up-Island COA programs on behalf of the three up-Island towns.
"Our goal is not so much in terms of specific dollars as it is to meet the needs of seniors for fuel and food this winter," Ms. Bowker said. The Up-Island COA provides services, including food and fuel assistance, to about 500 seniors in the three towns, she said.
Contributions made be made to The Friends of the Up-Island COA, P.O. Box 3174, West Tisbury, MA 02575 or by calling the COA office at (508) 693-2896.
Edgartown Board of Trade to hold elections
The Edgartown Board of Trade will hold elections for a new board of directors at 5 pm Monday, November 17, at the group's annual meeting in the Baylies Room of the Old Whaling Church.
The EBT is seeking business owners who are willing to share their thoughts and ideas and work together towards becoming an even stronger business community, according to a press release.
The board of directors recently voted to expand the number of directors from four to seven. The stated purpose is to allow for more participation from the businesses in Edgartown and include a broader cross section of the membership.
The EBT has a membership of 142 Edgartown businesses and organizes the annual Fourth of July Fireworks, Sand Sculpture Contest, Martha's Vineyard Food & Wine Festival, and Christmas in Edgartown.
For more information on the nomination process or the EBT, contact John Coskie at 508-696-4402 or email@example.com.
Our Island Club expands benefits to Cape Cod
Our Island Club, a membership-buying group that provides discounts on a variety of Vineyard products and services, announced that members may now enjoy savings when traveling to Cape Cod.
According to a press release, benefits will be extended through the Cape Cod Community Club, (www.capecodcommunityclub.com) a new, unique, Buy Local First program, beginning November 17.
Similar to Our Island Club, the program will provide savings on products and services while benefiting local charities. A current list of participating businesses can be viewed at www.capecodcommunityclub.com.
Our Island Club also announced that MVI Insurance has agreed to provide free memberships to qualified needy individuals and families. Each year, more than 100 memberships are distributed to clients of Vineyard Healthcare Access, Island Elderly Housing, Red Stocking Fund and the Food Pantry, according to a press release.
For more information about receiving a free membership, contact the program coordinators at Vineyard Healthcare Access, Island Elderly Housing, Red Stocking Fund, and the Food Pantry.
For more information on Our Island Club, go to www.OurIslandClub.com.
Edgartown National Bank names new VP and COO
Fielding Moore, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Edgartown National Bank recently announced the promotion of Gregory Berks to vice president and chief operations officer at the Edgartown National Bank.
Mr. Berks will be responsible for overseeing various operations functions, to include the institution's technology and information systems as well as compliance and privacy functions, according to a press statement from the bank.
Mr. Berks previously held the positions of accounting specialist and management information systems manager. He is currently a member of the Martha's Vineyard Cycling Club, races bicycles during the summer months, and teaches spinning classes at the Vineyard Fitness Center.
Mr. Moore also announced the promotion of Katherine Agin to human resources director, vice president.
Ms. Agin has more than 10 years experience in the human resources field. Prior to arriving at Edgartown National Bank, she was a human resources manager at GTECH Corporation of Providence.
Harborside Realty adds new agent
Harborside Realty owners Margaret Steele and Bill LeRoyer announced that Jennifer Rouse has joined their team of sales associates. Ms. Rouse, a former human resource administrator for a Boston-based company, lives in West Tisbury with her husband and 10-month-old son Boden. For more information, call Harborside Realty at 508-627-3721.
A story published in the October 23 issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times, "Slow Food catching on fast," reported that Slow Food Martha's Vineyard paid transportation costs for five Island delegates. Slow Food Martha's Vineyard paid for only two delegates.