Three-car crack-up in Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs police are investigating an accident involving three vehicles on Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road Wednesday afternoon. One vehicle rear-ended another vehicle, which then rear-ended a third. The accident happened near Sea Glen Road. Police said the extent of the injuries to passengers and drivers was not known at press time late yesterday, but at least two people were taken by ambulance to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.
Police were still sorting out the details of the accident at press time. They said it is likely that citations will be issued once their investigation is complete.
More details will be on mvtimes.com, as soon as they are available.
Oak Bluffs says whoa on Martha's Vineyard Commission budget action
Oak Bluffs town administrator Michael Dutton asked the Martha's Vineyard Commission yesterday to delay approval of its 2010 fiscal year budget, so that selectmen may have more of an opportunity to review it.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission is scheduled to discuss and vote tonight on a $1,168,885 budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2009. By law, once the budget is ratified, the member towns are obligated to pay their assessments, which this year total $803,885.
The only town to meet with the Martha's Vineyard Commission to review the budget, which was finalized in late December, was Edgartown.
Mr. Dutton said that many of Martha's Vineyard's selectmen, including those in Oak Bluffs, would be away Thursday attending a conference. He wrote, "Given the amounts the towns are assessed by regional entities and given the state of our budgets for 2010, I believe it is important that the selectmen at least have an opportunity to attend and comment upon the Martha's Vineyard Commission budget prior to its adoption... Also, I am asking that the Martha's Vineyard Commission send the proposed budgets to Martha's Vineyard selectmen and FinComs prior to the vote."
Mr. Dutton told The Martha's Vineyard Times yesterday he had not seen the budget and was unaware that it contained a three-percent cost of living increase (COLA) and one percent-performance increase for Martha's Vineyard Commission employees. In an effort to hold the line on its budget and avoid layoffs, Oak Bluffs does not plan to include COLAs in next year's budget. Edgartown has announced a similar plan to withhold COLA adjustments.
"We are trying our best not to increase our salary line items over and above what we are contractually obligated to do," said Mr. Dutton. "We are trying to avoid a layoff, and certainly it makes it difficult when any regional body does something over and above what the respective towns are doing."
Yesterday, Mark London, Martha's Vineyard Commission executive director, told The Martha's Vineyard Times that any decision to postpone certification of the budget would be up to the commission members. He said Edgartown was the only town to request a meeting.
Mr. London said the Martha's Vineyard Commission prepared its draft budget based on what it thought the towns were doing. "We were told, for example, that Edgartown was going to have a four-percent COLA, plus their step increases and longevity increases. Subsequently, they changed their minds."
Asked why the Martha's Vineyard Commission proposes to increase salaries when many taxpayers are not receiving pay raises or in some cases may be losing jobs, Mr. London at first said that was a policy question better answered by a commission leader. Then, he added that it was the difference between public service and private enterprise. "Some people go into business and they make millions of dollars," he said. "Some people go into public service and they won't make millions of dollars, but on the other hand they generally will have more steady employment. So, different kinds of work offer different kinds of advantages and disadvantages."
Christina Brown of Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard Commission chairman, drew a distinction between town employees, who benefit from annual step increases, and Martha's Vineyard Commission employees, who do not. She said the Martha's Vineyard Commission has hard working employees, and it is only fair that they be treated like other public workers.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission is a regional land use permitting and planning body with broad powers to regulate development on Martha's Vineyard. The bulk of the Martha's Vineyard Commission's income comes from Dukes County taxpayers through individual town assessments based on property tax valuation.
The FY 2010 assessments by town are: Edgartown, $276,747; Chilmark, $130,468; Oak Bluffs, $125,573; Tisbury, $122,648; West Tisbury, $114,522; Aquinnah, $26,799; and Gosnold, $7,128.
Martha's Vineyard Commission hearings rescheduled
The Martha's Vineyard Commission rescheduled a public hearing on the revised Bradley Square proposal and a concurrence review regarding the rebuilding of Café Moxie in Vineyard Haven, after canceling its January 15 meeting due to a snowstorm.
The Café Moxie concurrence review takes place tonight at 7:30 pm. The public hearing on the revised Bradley Square proposal is scheduled for February 5 at 7:45 pm. Both will be held at the Martha's Vineyard Commission's offices at 33 New York Avenue in Oak Bluffs.Island Home fuel spillage causes missed trips
Tashmoo Spring Building listed on National Register
Tisbury's Tashmoo Springs Pumping Station, also known as the Spring Building, is now included on the National Register of Historic Places, according to a letter received by the town on January 2 from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC).
The town received assistance volunteered by staff at the Public Archeology Laboratory in Pawtucket in preparing a 50-page application for the building's listing on the register. The application underwent about a two-year review process, first considered by a professional review board from the MHC and then the National Park Service, which administers the National Register of Historic Places.
Tisbury's board of selectmen recently received a certificate signed by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin, MHC chairman, stating the Spring Building was accepted for inclusion on the National Register on Dec. 3, 2008.
According to the National Park Service's website, the National Register is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.
Built in 1887, the historic Spring Building at the head of Lake Tashmoo on the grounds of Tisbury Water Works acted as a steam-powered pumping station until the 1970s when it was turned into a bottling plant for the short-lived Tashmoo Spring Water company.
Restoration efforts on the Spring Building began in 2007, when the Massachusetts Historical Commission awarded an emergency grant of $30,000 for repairs and stabilization, particularly to the chimney, in response to a request made by Tisbury's Spring Building Preservation Committee (SBPC).
The project has since received several other grants, including about $273,000 from Community Preservation Act funds from the Town of Tisbury. The funds went towards stabilizing the structure of the building, repairing crumbling walls and replacing portions of the roof.
"Thanks to the people who work at Tisbury Water Works, the building's broken windows have plywood over them, the doors are sealed, and it's buttoned up for the winter," said selectman and SBPC member Denys Wortman.
The Spring Building restoration project also received $50,000 in funds from another emergency grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund on January 2, according to assistant town administrator and SBPC member Aase Jones. The project has received many donations from generous community members and contributions from local businesses for fundraisers.
One of the benefits for historic properties listed in the National Register is qualification for Federal grants for historic preservation, when funds are available.
Coast Guard advises, check emergency beacons
The U.S. Coast Guard advises all mariners to make sure Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) aboard their vessels are up to date. An EPIRB can send a distress signal that can be received by overhead aircraft or orbiting satellites, but older technology is outdated and troublesome.
Beginning February 1, 2009, the Coast Guard and other rescue personnel will only receive emergency alerts from newer, digital 406 MHz EPIRB units. Satellites that receive the alerts will no longer process distress signals from older analog EPIRB units that transmit on 121.5 or 243 MHz frequencies.
It is very likely, but not certain, that EPIRB units purchased in 2008 are newer digital models that will work after the deadline. But a local retailer said older models remain on the market, sometimes sold for reduced prices, with the caveat that they would become obsolete on February 1, 2009.
In a new release, a Coast Guard spokesman said the newer models are 50 times more powerful and far more accurate than older analog units, allowing search teams to narrow their initial search to a 25 square mile area. With older models, the search began over a 500 square mile area.
Falmouth Academy hosts exam and open house
Falmouth Academy will host its annual scholarship exam, faculty forum, and open house on Saturday, Jan. 24, from 8:30 to 11:30 am. All students interested in applying to the school for the 2009-10 school year are invited to attend.
A panel of academy students will discuss their experiences at the school and answer questions from prospective students and their parents. Following the panel discussion, prospective students will take the exam while their parents view presentations from the school's faculty.
Interested families are welcome to attend the faculty forum and student panel discussion even if their child is not taking the exam. The top three scorers on the exam receive scholarship grants of $2,000 toward first-year tuition at Falmouth Academy. The school has an extensive need-based financial aid program that is independent of the Scholarship Exam.
Falmouth Academy is a deliberately small, academically rigorous, independent day school for students in grades 7 - 12. To register for the exam, or for more information call 508-457-9696.
Democratic Council elects new officers
At its monthly meeting on January 10, the Democratic Council of Martha's Vineyard elected new officers.
Mas Kimball of Oak Bluffs, who first became politically active working on the George McGovern presidential campaign, was elected chairman. Mr. Kimball, a retired computer consultant, teaches tennis at Farm Neck during the summer.
Paddy Moore of West Tisbury was elected vice chairman. A healthcare mediator, facilitator, and consensus builder, Ms. Moore has served on several Island community and political boards.
Shelly Davis of Oak Bluffs, a clinical psychologist and a registered nurse is secretary, and Tom Dresser of Oak Bluffs, a former nursing home administrator, was elected treasurer.
Monthly meetings are held at 9 am on the second Saturday of each month at the Howes House in West Tisbury. All Island Democrats are invited. The council looks forward to implementing the mission of the Obama administration at the local, state, and national levels, according to a press release.
Center to assist nonprofits seeking grants
The Donors Collaborative will join the Associated Grant Makers (AGM) and the Oak Bluffs Public Library to create a grant resource center, whose aim is to help nonprofits and their members with the difficult challenge of finding grants.
The grant center is expected to open in March, according to Peter Temple, executive director. Funding is from a grant from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.
Mr. Temple said the center will provide access to complete AGM and Tower Foundation databases and other resource materials, as well as grant writing and research workshops.
"To help non-profits get the most out of the center, we will have trainers available on site to help them with their research and writing," said Mr. Temple.
The Donors Collaborative is currently recruiting trainers. Mr. Temple said applicants would receive free professional instruction in grant writing and research, in exchange for a commitment to volunteer to help at the center.
For more information, contact Peter@mvdonors.org or go to mvdonors.org.
Zephrus Restaurant hosts nonprofits
Local nonprofits that use their databases to publicize a get-together at Zephrus Restaurant will receive 20 percent of that evening's proceeds.
Referencing this fall's popular dessert fundraiser, chef Robert Lionette said, "We've been doing these desserts and then we thought of other ways to use the joy of dining out to support groups on Martha's Vineyard."
The promotion includes diners unconnected to the nonprofits. "You have people dining who have rooms at the Inn or Islanders with plans to go to Zephrus, and they will be delighted that 20 percent of their bill of fare goes to local groups," said general manager Nili Goldstein.
The chef, who uses local produce as the basis of his pantry, was approached by the Island Grown Initiative (IGI) to create a place members and friends could enjoy dining out to raise funds, according to a press release. A nonprofit that supports local food and farming on Martha's Vineyard, IGI has publicized Wednesday nights as a time when Zephrus "will become their place to enjoy the universal experience of dining with friends and supporting the joy of buying local."
For more information, call Ms. Goldstein at 508-693-2200, extension 132.
Comcast speeds up Internet service
Comcast announced it is making the leap from broadband to wideband, with the launch of next generation DOCSIS 3.0 throughout Martha's Vineyard. With wideband, Comcast will offer among the fastest speeds available today, including the Extreme 50 tier at up to 50 Mbps, the company explained in a press release. The change will also enable Comcast to double speeds for the majority of existing high-speed Internet customers at no additional cost.
"Wideband is a game changer for the industry," said Mary McLaughlin, vice president of Comcast in Boston and Southeastern Massachusetts. "With wideband running over our next generation fiber-optic network, we can greatly enhance our customers' online experience immediately. And these speeds are only a preview of what's to come - wideband will provide the capability of delivering dramatically faster speeds in excess of 160 Mbps in the future."
As part of the wideband deployment, Comcast will launch two new premium speed tiers to its residential and business class customers: Extreme 50, offering up to 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed at $139.95 per month; and Ultra, offering up to 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed at $62.95 per month.
For more information, visit comcast.com/fastestfast or call 1-800-Comcast.
Hypnosis for New Year's resolutions
Hypnotherapist Cynthia da Silva is offering group hypnosis classes designed to help people stick with their New Year's resolutions. A four-session series designed to help people change their eating habits begins on January 19. For more information, call 508-524-9022.