Tisbury selectmen discuss topics near and far
The Tisbury selectmen cast a wide net at their meeting Tuesday night, sorting through topics from tall ships to zoos.
Departing from the agenda order, they approved an agreement reached between the Steamship Authority and the Black Dog Tall Ships company regarding the mooring location for the schooner Shenandoah in Vineyard Haven Harbor (see related article on Page 1).
During the selectmen's discussion session in the two-hour meeting, chairman Tristan Israel expanded on a wide list of topics, ranging from his dissatisfaction with the town hall's new automated phone system to the possible closure of the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.
Mr. Israel said he would rather talk to a real person when he calls municipal offices, and failing that, he would at least like to hear an automated message from someone who sounds like he or she is from New England, instead of South Carolina. Town administrator John Bugbee offered to have a local person record a new message.
Reaching beyond Vineyard Haven's shores, Mr. Israel also expressed concern about the possible closure of the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, due to Gov. Deval Patrick's budget cuts, as reported in the Boston Globe this week.
Mr. Israel said that many Island children enjoy field trips to the zoo and its loss would affect not only Boston-area residents, but Vineyarders too. He suggested that the selectmen should send letters in protest to Governor Patrick and other elected representatives.
Selectman Jeff Kristal pointed out that follow-up articles this week said the zoo likely will not be closed. Mr. Israel said he did not believe it and wanted to send the letters anyway.
Selectman Geoghan Coogan suggested that it might be best to email Rep. Tim Madden, who could relay Mr. Israel's concerns to the governor. Mr. Israel held firm, and said he wanted to send emails to the governor and Senator Robert O'Leary as well.
During department reports, the selectmen approved interim police Chief Dan Hanavan's suggestion to prohibit parking on the north side of Woodlawn Avenue from William Street to Franklin Street to reduce traffic congestion during events at Grace Episcopal Church.
The selectmen also congratulated Joe Ballotte, formerly a special officer, on his new role as a regular police officer, after his June graduation from the Police Academy in Boston.
Following a public hearing on July 7, Emergency Services Facility (ESF) Committee chairman Joe Tierney said the committee voted in favor of a split gable design and a brick and yellow cedar exterior for the proposed new building.
Fire Chief John Schilling reported that professional grant writers Bailey Boyd Associates submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last Friday that could result in perhaps $2 million for construction of the town's proposed new emergency services facility (ESF). The award notification should be no later than December 31, he said.