Lola's Restaurant will close after 15 years
Kathy and Paul Domitrovich, owners of Lola's Southern Seafood in Oak Bluffs, announced this week they will close their business after 15 memorable seasons on Martha's Vineyard.
"We've been in this business for more than 30 years, and it's time for Paul to take a break," said Ms. Domitrovich in prepared remarks.
The restaurant's blend of fine dining and a casual atmosphere was popular with year-round and seasonal residents. Lola's entertainment lineup, particularly during the summer months, also helped transform it into one of the Island's more sophisticated nightspots.
The Domitrovichs said they plan to move on to new challenges, and they remain grateful to their many loyal customers.
The restaurant space will not stay empty. Leslie and Douglas Hewson, owners of the popular Mediterranean Restaurant in Vineyard Haven plan to leave their Vineyard Haven harborfront location to relocate to the Lola's space.
Mr. Hewson told The Martha's Vineyard Times the larger space will allow him and his wife to grow their business and expand on their Mediterranean menu concept.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Kids frolic in the snow
The brief snow break did not last for Island school children, but they made the best of it. School was cancelled Tuesday and reopened Wednesday.
West Tisbury seeks home for affordable house
The Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank and the town of West Tisbury are working on a plan that would allow the bank to donate a house at 496 State Road to the town's affordable housing program.
The selectmen last week accepted the offer and are scrambling to find a site for the house and a mechanism to fund rehabilitation of the dwelling, if it finds a homesite on town land. The dwelling is on bank-owned land adjacent to its branch on State Road.
"Nothing is set in stone, but we are talking with town officials and the affordable housing committee," Richard Leonard, president of Martha's Vineyard Saving Bank said this week. He said the Island Affordable Housing Trust, which has agreements with affordable housing building programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, is also part of the discussion.
"We don't want to demolish it. The house is structurally sound. The interior is pretty open because it was converted from residential to commercial use in recent years," he said. Most recently, the 1,684-square-foot building housed Forget Me Not, an antique store.
There is some urgency to the plan. "We'd like to get going on construction in March and there are some tax considerations," Mr. Leonard said, noting that the bank is open to participate in costs of moving the home to a new location if the town can provide one.
The bank will build offices for its financial services on the site, beginning this spring, he said.
Course helps families with mental illness
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Massachusetts is sponsoring a free Family-to-Family educational course in Oak Bluffs for family members of individuals with a serious mental illness. The course is taught by two trained family member volunteers and is intended to help family caregivers cope with a close relative's mental illness.
"Mental illness affects not only the person who is ill, but their families and loved ones as well," said Julia Burgess,
executive director of Martha's Vineyard Community Services. "We are pleased to help increase awareness of this program, which is extremely beneficial for both the family members and the individual who has a mental illness."
Funded in part by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the course consists of 12 weekly two-and-one-half hour sessions from 6:30 to 9 pm. The program provides information about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and borderline personality disorder. The classes also cover topics such as coping skills, crisis and relapse, listening and communication techniques, problem solving and limit setting techniques and the family caregiver's need for self-care.
According to Ms. Burgess, one study showed that course participants gained a greater understanding of mental illness, coped much better, worried less, and felt newly empowered to advocate for better treatment and services for their relative. Many family members have described the impact of taking this course as life-changing.
The free course is open to close relatives and significant others of persons with a serious mental illness. However, it is not open to individuals who themselves suffer from a serious mental illness, unless their condition is stable and they wish to attend as caregivers for close relatives who have a mental illness. The class size is normally limited to 20 people and advance registration is required.
Classes begin on February 19 and end on May 7. Call 508-693-5872 with any questions and/or to register.
Martha's Vineyard Community Services childhood program accredited
Following extensive review, Martha's Vineyard Community Services Child Care Center earned a five-year accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a national organization of early childhood professionals.
"We're proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards," said Debbie Milne, director of the Early Childhood Programs. "NAEYC accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible. Our program serves infants through pre-school and is open full-time, year-round."
The program received accreditation after an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to ensure that the program meets each of the ten NAEYC program standards.
RHS science fair Saturday
The regional high school's 10th annual science fair takes place on Saturday, Feb. 7, in the cafeteria and library.
The fair opens to the public at 11 am. Students will present their projects to judges from 9 to 11 am.
An awards ceremony takes place at noon.
"Our science fair will include approximately 150 students who've completed over 100 investigative projects, as well as a number of students who are currently entering our wind turbine engineering competition," science teacher and fair organizer Natalie Munn wrote in an email to The Martha's Vineyard Times this week.
Ms. Munn said some of this year's projects include testing things like homemade fabric dye, fruits ripening, pulleys, insulation, cricket sounds, fragrances and ant paths, organic laundry detergent, roses, bubbles, worms, airplanes, and the science of a Slinky toy.
Benefit concert for Codding family Sunday
A concert and potluck supper Sunday, February 8, at the Ag Hall will benefit Patricia and Lewis Codding, whose Tisbury house was destroyed by fire on January 20. The 6 pm event, called the Friends of the Coddings Fundraiser, will include a concert by Island musicians, including Joe Keenan, Tristan Israel, John O'Toole, and Brad Tucker and friends. The event organizers suggest a $20 donation and invite participants to bring their own refreshments.
Big Chili winners
The winners of the 23rd Big Chili Contest held on January 31 as determined by the votes of the rollicking crowd of chili-eating attendees were as follows:
Professionals: 1. West Falmouth Market 2. JR Brody's 3. Quahog Republic
Amateurs: 1. Dave Mutti and Bonnie Bearse 2. Maura Long 3. Tie between Brian Athearn and the Kiwanis Club of Sandwich
Best Vegetarian: Leeside Pub. Best Presentation: Steve Jordan and Brian Athearn. Hottest Chili: Steve Jordan. Is it Really Chili Award?: MVOL's Chili Chocolate. Most Traveled Chili: Doctor Jack's Love Chili.
Oak Bluffs administrator receives credentials
Michael M. Dutton, Oak Bluffs town administrator, recently received the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)'s Credentialed Manager Candidate designation. He will become an ICMA Credentialed Manager in May.
Ron D'Orio, chairman of the board of selectman, congratulated Mr. Dutton on his accomplishment, as did selectman Duncan Ross. "The town of Oak Bluffs is fortunate to have such a dedicated, capable, and extremely competent town administrator as Michael," said Mr. Ross. "He is one of the major reasons Oak Bluffs is alive and well on Martha's Vineyard."
Mr. Dutton is one of more than 1,000 local government management professionals who participated in the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program according to a press release. To be credentialed by ICMA, a member must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government, have earned a degree, preferably in public administration or a related field, and demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development, according to a press release.
Chilmark increases commercial lot lease fees
Chilmark selectmen this week approved annual lease rates for the town's 16 lots on the Menemsha waterfront.
The town leases nine so-called bulkhead lots on Menemsha Harbor and seven smaller lots on Menemsha Creek. Twelve of the lots, used by commercial fishermen, were renewed at $10 per year. The rates became effective on January 1, this year.
Three other commercial lots used by two fish markets and a gas station at Menemsha Harbor, received increases of 20 percent a year for each of the next three years. The town took no action on a final bulkhead lot, formerly leased to Louis Larsen, pending resolution of Mr. Larsen's plan for using the lot.
Poole's Fish Market will pay $1,080 this year and 20 percent more in each of the next two years. Larsen's Fish Market and Menemsha Texaco will be assessed $960 this year, with 20 percent more in 2010 and 2011.
Leases for the lots are low, as part of a town plan to support its commercial fishery and businesses dependent on the fishery.
The town of Aquinnah also owns six lease lots along Menemsha Creek. The lots are leased for $450 a year. They are based on five-year leases that expire in 2011, town administrator Jeffrey Burgoyne said this week.
Photo by Christina Bologna
Heather Gardens award
Heather Gardens in West Tisbury received an award as the Small Business of the Year for 2009 from Coastal Community Capital (CCC), a division of Cape and Island Community Development. Owners Mike and Kerry Saunier received a plaque in an awards ceremony at CCC's annual meeting in January at Alberto's Restaurant in Hyannis.
CCC is a non-profit community development lender that promotes economic development through small business growth and management of the region's small business loan fund, and provides entrepreneurial support.
The Sauniers managed Heather Gardens for five years before buying the business in 2008, with the help of CCC.
"I had been working with Coastal Community Capital for the past three years just trying to find ways to structure a deal with the previous owner, Tom Richardson," he explained. "So they were very key in counseling us on different options that were out there, as far as financing it - they were very helpful."
CCC presented the small business award, the first for the organization, to the Sauniers in recognition of their perseverance in pursuing ownership of their business and for their achievement in increasing revenues in their first year as owners. Mr. Saunier said Heather Gardens posted about a 7.5-percent gain.
Heather Gardens reopens at 377 State Road in West Tisbury the week before Palm Sunday, which is April 5. The Sauniers and the Heather Gardens staff, which includes David Geiger, Beth Parks, and Susan Jones, plan to expand their production and sales area with shade perennials this year.
Dentist opens pediatric practice in Tisbury
Dr. Bruce Golden, a board-certified pediatric dentist, is now providing dental care for infants, pre-school and school-age children in Vineyard Haven.
Dr. Golden previously practiced pediatric dentistry in White Plains, N. Y., and taught clinical dentistry at the New York University College of Dentistry. While his practice focused on routine prevention of dental disease in healthy children, he also provided care for special needs children, including those with autism and cleft palate, according to a press release.
Summer visitors for 38 years, Dr. Golden and his wife, Judith, recently moved to the Island year-round. Dr. Golden's office is located in the office space of Dr. Robert Herman at 95 State Road, Vineyard Haven. For more information, call 508-693-9682.