Police check for underage alcohol sales
Oak Bluffs police will conduct compliance checks over the next two months to see whether the town's liquor stores are obeying laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors.
"What we do is send in people who are underage and attempt to buy alcohol," said Oak Bluffs police lieutenant Tim Williamson. "It's up to the business to check their I.D.s."
As part of its effort to promote good choices, the Dukes County Health Council Youth Task Force is helping to publicize the efforts of police. "We know that alcohol is the number one drug problem among youth, killing more young people than all other illicit drugs combined," said the drug task force in a news release. "Oversight of alcohol retailers increases compliance. We look forward to promoting the positive results of the compliance checks in our community and applauding the establishments that are thorough in their screening."
The task force and police will also be teaming up soon on a "shoulder tap" campaign. Trained volunteers, under the supervision of a police officer, will tap people on the shoulder outside liquor stores. In a carefully worded question, the volunteers will ask people whether they would buy alcohol for them. If they answer yes, they will be handed a small card outlining the penalties for violating alcohol laws.
"Yes? Is that your final answer," reads the card. "Massachusetts criminal penalties include: arrest, a fine of up to $2,000, and imprisonment for up to six months."
If the person answers no, they are handed a card that says "No! Thanks for helping saving a life. You are contributing to a safe and responsible community."
CZM says grants available for water pollution remedies
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles yesterday announced $345,000 in grants available to help coastal communities improve coastal water quality by limiting polluted runoff from roads and upgrading boat waste pumpout facilities.
"I am pleased to announce the next round of grants designed to protect the Massachusetts coastline, which is a haven for residents and tourists," said Secretary Bowles in a press release received by The Martha's Vineyard Times. "These grants will help coastal communities keep our tidal rivers, harbors, and beaches clean for fishermen, families and boaters for decades to come."
Under the Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program of EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), municipalities located within the Massachusetts coastal watershed are eligible for grant support. Municipalities may request up to $125,000, with a 25-percent local match required.
Grants may be used to reduce stormwater pollution and for the design, installation and upgrade of boat waste pumpout facilities, which are prerequisites for communities to apply for No Discharge Area (NDA) designation. NDAs are areas where the discharge of boat sewage, whether treated or not, is prohibited.
Applications are due on January 9. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2009. For more information and to obtain an application, visit www.mass.gov/czm/cprgp.htm.
Best gas prices are found up-Island
With the price of gasoline across the country at its lowest levels in more than four years, Martha's Vineyard drivers continued to spend almost 80 cents more than their mainland counterparts for a gallon of regular at most Island gas stations.
Vineyard motorists looking to save some money this week found the best prices up-Island. On Monday the price for a gallon of regular at Up-Island Mobil in West Tisbury and Menemsha Texaco in Chilmark was $2.23. However, the premium grade was $2.43 at Up-Island and $2.98 in Menemsha.
A survey of down-Island stations found prices hovering around the $2.50 mark for regular.
Airport Mobil in Edgartown was selling regular at $2.47 a gallon and premium at $2.69. The Citgo gas station adjacent to Five Corners in Vineyard Haven listed a price of $2.49 for regular and $2.65 for premium. A little farther down the road, Tisbury Shell listed prices of $2.49 and $2.69 respectively.
At the Edgartown Depot Corner Mobil, regular was selling for $2.39 and premium at $2.59. Close by, Village Market listed regular at $2.43 and premium at $2.65.
In Oak Bluffs, Jim's Texaco was selling regular at $2.49. At DeBettencourt's Mobil regular was $2.34 and premium $2.54.
Triple-A reported that the national average for a gallon of regular was $1.61. In the Boston area the average was $1.64 for regular and $1.83 for premium. Closer to Martha's Vineyard Triple-AAA reported the averages for the Barnstable-Yarmouth area at $1.70 for regular and $1.89 for premium.
Count people, make money
The US Census Bureau is preparing to hire people to collect data as part of the 2010 US Census. The jobs are temporary, and starting pay is $12 an hour.
Would-be census takers must meet some basic qualifications and pass an employment test that consists of 28 multiple-choice questions.
Census takers locate households, update address lists, explain the purpose of the census, conduct interviews with respondents, and report to a crew leader.
The Census Bureau has scheduled four Island test dates: Jan. 8, Vineyard Haven Public Library; Jan. 9 and 22, Katharine Cornell Theatre; and Jan. 12, Martha's Vineyard Community Services.
For more information or to sign up for a test, call 1-774-206-0040 or 1-866-861-2010.
Dukes County Avenue housing revised
A 3-story mansard style building, with 12 two-bedroom condominium units, is proposed for the Muckerheide property on Dukes County Avenue.
Donald Muckerheide has submitted a completely revised plan to the Martha's Vineyard Commission for a 12-unit condominium project on his Dukes County Avenue property. A public hearing is scheduled for January 8, at the Martha's Vineyard Commission office, beginning at 7:30 pm.
Mr. Muckerheide's previous proposal called for an 11-unit condominium project, incorporating and expanding the existing building. The new plan calls for demolishing the existing structure and building a three-story mansard style building that would include 12 two-bedroom homes, each 784 square feet. Drawings show 20 parking spaces located on the property.
"It's a better design," said Mr. Muckerheide, who calls the proposal a community housing project (CHP). "Hopefully it will appease those with a style agenda. The new building allows it to be more balanced on the property line. It's a pretty building."
The Martha's Vineyard Commission staff report on the new plan asks three questions under the heading of planning concerns. "What are the impacts derived from the fact that the proposal is significantly larger in mass and scale than most buildings in the neighborhood? Is this too much intensity of use on this site (0.27 acres)? How does the proposed project fit in with the streetscape and character?"
The public hearings on Mr. Muckerheide's first proposal were continued six times, stretching from July 17 to December 18, last year. Some hearings included confrontational exchanges between commission members and Mr. Muckerheide, who has been a frequent and vocal critic of the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
"I also want to urge the commission to not load CHP up with conditions," wrote Mr. Muckerheide in a letter to the Martha's Vineyard Commission. "It will turn off potential buyers to have the feeling they are living under the thumb of the commission. This is the same reason I have found people of my target demographic, those affording $325,000 to $350,000 units, staying away from affordable housing type restrictions, in that they want to own their property and not partner with some future unknown bureaucracy."
Photo by Barbara Ronchetti
Island Alpaca picks gift certificate winners
Island Alpaca Farm of Oak Bluffs, home of 51 alpaca, handed out two $100 gift certificates as part of a Holiday E-mail newsletter mailing list drawing.
Randi Lee Hadley of Vineyard Haven, a private cook and personal assistant, was the first winner selected in a random drawing. When it was learned that Randi was related to one of the farm employees, it was decided to draw a second name. Ernie Dewing of Chappaquiddick, a writer, keyboardist and vocalist with the band
Propergander, was the lucky winner.
For more information, go to islandalpaca.com.
Pomodoro Pizzeria will close its doors
Pomodoro Pizzeria, a popular Italian family-style restaurant on Circuit Avenue, will close its doors on January 31, after eight years in business.
Co-owner Bill Davies said the spacious building that many Islanders will remember as Papa John's, and even longer ago as an A & P market will not be vacant for long.
Mr. Davies said he has leased the space to Deon Thomas, former owner of Deon's in West Tisbury, a chef noted for his Carribean fare.
Mr. Davies, who also owns a landscaping business, said the demands of the food business just became too great. While he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and three children, he said closing the restaurant is a bittersweet experience.
"Pomodoro has become such a big part of my life," said Mr. Davies. "I will miss all the wonderful people I have met and worked with over the last eight years. I feel like I am leaving a big family."