Martha's Vineyard News Briefs
Moujabber garage coming down
It has been a source of controversy, lawsuits, and countless ill feelings since it went up. Now it's coming down. Last week construction workers began to dismantle a partially finished structure owned by Joseph Moujabber that began as a replacement for a small garage, and wound up as a three-story building with large cantilevered decks. Construction workers are taking the garage down piece by piece, so windows, doors, and building materials can be reused.
After nearly five years of wrangling in courts and before permitting authorities, Mr. Moujabber recently won approval from the Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals (ZBA) to dismantle the garage, and build a new 1,589-square-foot addition to the existing home. That was the final necessary permit in a process that came to involve five local boards, two building inspectors, several state courts, and nearly all of Mr. Moujabber's neighbors. The ZBA ruling became final after a 20-day appeal period passed without challenge.
Oak Bluffs Police describe laws to parents/students
The new, sometimes confusing, junior operating laws for teen drivers will be among the topics of discussion at a series of informational meetings hosted by the Oak Bluffs Police Department at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
The informational meetings are designed to acquaint students and their parents or guardians with information about many of the laws that affect young people. Officers James Morse and Daniel Cassidy, School Resource Officer, will discus topics that include new driving regulations such as passenger restrictions and enforcement; the legal and team sport consequences of alcohol use; and the role of the school resource officer.
The meetings begin at 6 pm in the school dining room on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 16 and 17 and Thursday, January 8.
Parents of high school students were sent emails on Edline, the school's email contact list, according to police officials.
Aquinnah property values available online
Descriptions of Aquinnah properties and values are now available online at
www.visionappraisal.com. The town recently signed on with Vision Appraisal, a real estate appraisal and appraisal software development company headquartered in Massachusetts.
Since 1975 Vision Appraisal has provided services to assessing departments located throughout the United States and has completed over 1,000 revaluation programs throughout New England.
Visitors to Vision Appraisal's website may now view parcel information for each property within Aquinnah including photographs, detailed descriptions and assessed values.
An introduction to Aquinnah's database on the website by assistant assessor Angela Cywinski states that the current values represent assessed property values as of January 1, 2008 for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09), which have received preliminary certification from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Residential values are based upon an analysis of sales from calendar year 2006 and 2007, Ms. Cynwinski explains.
"There is enough there for the average person to look at a property, and if people need more information, they can always email me and I can send a field card to them via email, which is much more descriptive," Ms. Cywinski said in a phone call last Friday, when Aquinnah made its Vision Appraisal debut.
Ms. Cywinski said Aquinnah's assessors chose not to include taxpayers' mailing addresses in the Vision Appraisal listings, to protect privacy. Anyone who needs an address or additional information may call 508-508-645-2306 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mass Nurses kick off lifesaving campaign
The regional chapter of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) kicked off a program designed to provide automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for nonprofit organizations with a $500 donation to Martha's Vineyard VFW Post 9261 in Oak Bluffs.
The "AEDs For Life" program helps nonprofit organizations that have 25 or more members purchase AEDs. The idea for the program began on Martha's Vineyard with Rick Lambos, a registered nurse in the emergency room at Martha's Vineyard Hospital and treasurer of MNA Regional Council 3.
The VFW post purchased an AED after an emergency last summer when a patron suffered a cardiac arrest at the post but was successfully resuscitated. With two past incidents in mind, the post leadership decided to purchase an AED to keep on premises.
Mr. Lambos was present that summer day and assisted with the resuscitation. When he learned that the VFW post was raising money for an AED he thought that MNA could help and, as it turned out, the MNA donation helped put the VFW's fundraising effort over the top, according to a press release.
About the size of a shoebox, an automatic electronic defibrillator delivers a jolt of electricity to a heart attack victim, if and only if the shock is required for resuscitation. The units are designed to be operated by bystanders with no medical background.
Mr. Lambos took his idea to MNA Regional Council 3, which has about 4700 members across Southeastern Massachusetts. The idea was well received. So he expanded it and approached the rest of the regions across the state about helping to provide AEDs. As of this week, three of the state's other four regions have agreed to participate in the AEDs for Life program.
"It is a documented fact that early intervention with CPR and/or electrical defibrillation increases a cardiac arrest victim's survival rate dramatically, and that is why nurses across the state wanted to participate in this effort," said Mr. Lambos.
Mr. Lambos said nonprofit organizations within the Region 3 area that could be helped by this program should contact MNA Regional Council 3 office manager Pat Conway at 508-888-5774 or email@example.com.
West Tisbury town hall on firm footing
West Tisbury's town hall renovation has had a tortuous five-year journey, but today the building stands on its new foundation and over its new basement. Its renovation will likely come in at $500,000 below the cost approved at annual town meeting last spring.
The project may also be completed by early fall, ahead of the December 2009 contracted completion date.
Bea Phear, chairman of the town hall renovation committee, said this week that aggressive bidding by contractors in a challenging economy would bring the building in at $3,425,205, more than $500,000 below the budgeted plan.
Ms. Phear added, "The building is pretty much gutted and exposed, and we haven't had any major surprises, which are common in old buildings." The town hall is a former schoolhouse dating back to 1869.
"The contractors are a little ahead of schedule, so we may have an earlier completion date," she said, adding that construction crews are now working on the inside of the building.
J.K. Scanlan Co. of Falmouth is the general contractor for the project.
The town may also receive a longer-term expense benefit, since the cost of short-term borrowing was also below budgeted plans, Ms. Phear noted.
Town treasurer Kathy Logue locked in up to 12 months of short-term bonds at 2.138 percent in late October, well under the budgeted four percent, and she recently noted the prognosis is good for a better than budgeted long-term rate when short-term bond debt is converted to long-term bonds.
Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank adds board members
Chris Wells, Chief Executive Officer of Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank, recently announced the election of Marie Allen, Michael Donaroma, Steve Ewing, Philip P. Hale, Christopher Morse, Peter Rosbeck II, Robert Smith, Berta Welch, and Timothy Williamson to the Board of Corporators. The Board of Corporators collectively represents the interests of the bank's customer according to a press release.
"Each year, our existing corporators nominate community members who represent a center of influence in their communities to the Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank Board of Corporators," said Mr. Wells in prepared remarks. "This year, we are thrilled with the nomination and election of these outstanding individuals who have impressive backgrounds and experiences. All the members of the board are looking forward to the perspective these new members are bringing to our already-diverse board of Trustees."
Island artists pitch in for food pantry
Eight Island artists have contributed artwork that will be raffled off to benefit the Island Food Pantry. The contributing artists are Dan Waters, Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, Diana Stewart, Washington Ledesma, Kathy Tackabury, Jeri Dantzig, Nicholas Thayer, and Beldan K. Radcliffe. Their works, valued at approximately $1,200, is on display at the Artisan's Gift Gallery located at 18 State Road, former site of the Belushi Pisano Gallery, across from the Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank. Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10.
Wreaths Across America to honor Island veterans
Islanders are invited to a special Wreaths Across America ceremony to honor veterans nationwide at noon on Saturday, Dec. 13, in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven.
The ceremony, conducted by the American Legion Post 257, will take place at the same time as similar ceremonies in more than 350 locations in the U.S. and around the world.
Several Island World War II veterans will participate in placing seven ceremonial wreaths at the base of flags representing their branches of service, including Arthur Dickson, Army; Ted Morgan, Air Force; Dave Cron, Marines; Bob Yapp, Coast Guard; Donald Mitchell, Navy; Jim Morgan, Merchant Marines; and Curtis Jones, POW/MIA. The Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, is donating the specially made wreaths.
For 17 years the company has provided more than 5,000 holiday wreaths to place on every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
Wreaths Across America (WAA) was formed as a nonprofit organization to extend the Arlington ceremony to national and state veterans' cemeteries, monuments, and community centers across the U.S.
Veterans Services Officer Jo Ann Murphy arranged for the Vineyard's participation in the wreath program starting in 2006.
In addition to ceremonial wreaths, civic groups nationwide have made donations to sponsor wreaths to place on veterans' graves in designated sections of participating cemeteries.
This year, WAA expects to place more than 100,000 wreaths in its mission to "remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom."
For more information or to sponsor a wreath, call Ms. Murphy at 508-693-6887 or visit the website WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.
In the listings published in the Dec. 4 issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times, the West Tisbury Bell Choir performance time and location was incorrect. The choir will perform at Donaroma's Nursery on Friday, Dec. 12 from 6 to 7 pm.