Planning for Island flu clinics under way
This year, due to the unprecedented demand for both the seasonal flu vaccine and the new H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, scheduling Island flu clinics has proved more complicated.
Island health officials have postponed tentative plans for a flu shot clinic this month, because the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), which supplies all of the vaccines, has not announced yet when they will be delivered.
In the meantime, for the past several months representatives from several Island health agencies have met regularly to plan for the upcoming flu season, as well as a potential outbreak and spread of the novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) on Martha's Vineyard.
The local group is committed to the administration of flu inoculations to those individuals in need of them as soon as they are available. Although the state has not announced vaccine delivery dates, planning for the flu clinics continues.
When the vaccines become available and are distributed to Martha's Vineyard, they will be administered as soon as possible, in light of logistical considerations and clinical best practices. The dates and times for upcoming flu clinics will be publicized widely as soon as they are finalized.
Information about the novel H1N1 influenza is available on the DPH website, publichealth.blog.state.ma.us/h1n1-swine-flu or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, cdc.gov/h1n1flu or from local Boards of Health.
Martha's Vineyard's planning group includes health agents from the six towns, Martha's Vineyard Hospital staff, and representatives of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Health Service and the County of Dukes County. American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Vineyard Nursing Association staff members also participate.
In addition, representatives of the towns' public safety agencies, as well as Island pharmacists, are being routinely consulted throughout the planning process.
First Principal's Coffee at high school next week
The first Principal's Coffee of the new school year at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 8-9:15 am in the library conference room.
Hosted by Martha's Vineyard Regional High School principal Steve Nixon, the monthly event offers parents an opportunity to meet informally with him and other parents to discuss school issues in a relaxed setting. Baked goods, and coffee, of course, are provided.
Everyone is welcome. Sign in at the front office, and feel free to come late and leave early, if needed.
The next Principal's Coffee is scheduled for October 6 at the same time and place.
Ice arena orders new Zamboni machine
The Martha's Vineyard Ice Arena looks forward to many years of smooth skating. The arena recently placed an order for a new Zamboni machine, thanks to an Edgartown couple who have made the Martha's Vineyard ice rink the focus of their community philanthropy.
Bob and Tara Levine donated the $60,000 needed to place the order for a new Zamboni, the machine that cleans and resurfaces the ice.
Arena manager Kurt Mundt said yesterday that a recent fundraising event and the Levine donation enabled the arena to place the order, but he quickly added that fundraising efforts must continue to meet the entire $110,000 purchase price. It takes 14 months for delivery of a new Zamboni.
In a telephone call yesterday, Mr. Levine said he decided to help, after learning from Mr. Mundt that the existing machine is on its last legs.
Mr. Levine, who divides his time between Edgartown and Colorado, said he and his wife know there are many worthwhile Island charities and charity events. "But the way that we thought we could make a difference," he said, "was by more or less focusing on this one, so that we can put an adequate amount of resources in to make a difference for the hockey rink."
In February 2000, Bob and Tara Levine contributed $350,000 to help construct new locker rooms and restrooms at the facility, in memory of Ryan Mone, who died in 1998. Ryan's parents, Gayle and Bob Mone of West Tisbury, were instrumental in introducing the Levines to the ice arena and its growth and goals.
Oak Bluffs special town meeting date set
Oak Bluffs selectmen set an October 20 date for a special town meeting to make revisions in the current fiscal year budget. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 pm, at the Oak Bluffs School. Voters will be asked to approve $500,000 in cuts to the spending plan that include layoffs and reduced hours for town employees as well as school department personnel.
Also at that meeting, voters may be asked whether to adopt "local option" taxes on meals and lodging. Selectmen plan to hold a public hearing on the issue before the special town meeting.
In his report to selectmen, town administrator Michael Dutton advised that the dredging of Sengekontacket Pond has hit a possible snag. The Army Corps of Engineers, which issues permits for the dredging, has asked for up to 180 days for a historical review of the proposed dredging area, after the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) reported that artifacts found in the area may be significant to tribal history.
"I felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach," selectman Duncan Ross said, "when I received notice that the Army Corps was not going to grant us the permit."
The town and the Tribe have since held informal discussions, and are optimistic about further talks scheduled for later this month. "Our hope is to resolve these issues," Mr. Dutton said. "I don't see any reason they couldn't be resolved. Hopefully, we'll be on our way to dredging this winter."
Also at Tuesday's meeting, selectmen voted to refer a jurisdictional overlap in two town boards to the Martha's Vineyard Commission. The MVC will schedule a public hearing to determine whether the Copeland Plan Review Committee duplicates the review process of the Cottage City Historic District Commission. The referral was approved by a vote of 3-0, with selectman Kerry Scott, a member of the Copeland committee, and selectman Kathy Burton, a member of the historic commission, abstaining. The MVC will make a decision its recommendation after a public hearing, and town meeting voters will decide whether to make any changes.
Tisbury selectmen, police face lawsuit
Kevin Willoughby of Edgartown filed a lawsuit in federal court last month against the town of Tisbury, all three of its selectmen in their capacity as selectmen and not individually, the former as well as the acting police chief, and two patrolmen. The lawsuit alleges Mr. Willoughby, and a plaintiff identified as 'Jane Doe,' suffered "severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment," when Tisbury police failed to investigate Mr. Willoughby's complaints, harassed him, and interfered with his auto repair business.
The alleged crimes took place in Edgartown, according to the lawsuit.
In a phone conversation with The Martha's Vineyard Times on Monday, Boston attorney Glen Hannington, one of the attorneys representing Mr. Willoughby in the lawsuit, would not elaborate on the reasons for suing Tisbury police in connection with crimes that occurred in Edgartown.
Mr. Willoughby says he reported violations of the law, including drug distribution, by his ex-girlfriend, Rebecca Trembley, to Tisbury police in the summer of 2007. The allegations were later reported to Edgartown police. Edgartown police sought a complaint, and Ms. Trembley was prosecuted.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages from the town of Tisbury and its police department for violations of federal and state civil rights laws.
Named in the lawsuit are selectmen Tristan Israel, Jeffrey Kristal, and Geoghan Coogan. Also named are former police chief John Cashin, acting chief Daniel Hanavan, and patrolmen Jason Marathias and Joseph Ballotte.
Tisbury town administrator John Bugbee declined to comment on the lawsuit. Mr. Israel, chairman of the Tisbury selectmen, said he was aware there was an issue and is now aware of the lawsuit. Mr. Israel said he was not prepared to discuss the details.
After-school program at Boys and Girls Club
The Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club (MVBGC) After School Program for children in grades K-6 opens on Monday, Sept. 14.
Also that day, the dedication of the MVBGC's facility as the "Anthony H. Meyer Clubhouse" will be held at the front entrance at 4:30 pm. It is open to the public. The facility, located at 44 Robinson Road in Edgartown, is being named after Mr. Meyer in honor of his long-time commitment and service to the club and Island youth.
The After School Program operates from 2:40-6 pm on regular school days and 12-6 pm on half-days. Admission to the program costs $20 per child for the entire school year.
The MVBGC After School Program offers children a variety of daily activities to choose from - in art, education, computer technology, athletics, and social recreation.
Tour the club, meet the staff, and register for the After School Program, flag football, and cheerleading on Friday, Sept. 11, 2:30-6 pm at the MVBGC open house.
For more information, schedules, and registration forms, visit the website mvbgclub.org.
Kayakers, canoeists must wear PFD, after Sept. 15
Massachusetts law and good safety sense requires that people in kayaks and canoes wear a personal floatation device (PFD) from September 15 to May 15 while boating.
Most boating fatalities in Massachusetts are due to boaters who fail to wear PFDs while in small craft in cold water or cold weather situations, according to the Massachusetts Environmental Police. The law also applies to waterfowl hunters and fishermen using canoes or kayaks.
Traffic delays expected on Cape Cod Canal bridges
Construction work is scheduled to begin on the Sagamore Bridge spanning the Cape Cod Canal on September 14. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the work, advises motorists to be prepared for delays, as the bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction at times.
The work will continue as long into the fall as weather permits, and resume in the spring of 2010. Deck repairs and paving are scheduled for completion before the busy summer season next year.
Repairs to the Bourne Bridge are also scheduled this fall, but the date has not yet been set, and the work is not expected to be nearly as extensive as that on the Sagamore Bridge. The work on the two bridges will be coordinated so there are never lane reductions on both bridges at the same time.
For the latest information, updates on the bridge construction are available at www.capecodcanal.us.
Windemere offers CNA class
Slots are waiting to be filled in a free class at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center that provides training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
The CNA class includes 120 hours of instruction over three 40-hour weeks, according to Susan Markwica, Assistant Director of Human Resources at Martha's Vineyard Hospital and Windemere.
Although the class was tentatively scheduled to begin in the next week or two, Ms. Markwica said the starting date would depend on whether there are enough applicants. "We'd like to have at least 10," she said. "However, it turns out we are going to do a second course in November. So people can apply now, and if they don't get into this class, there will be another opportunity. We're looking to do the class two or three times a year."
Ms. Markwica said applicants should demonstrate an interest in the elderly and in working with people, as well as an ability to make a commitment to the class. After completion, students must pass a state exam, administered at Windemere, in order to be certified.
Taking the CNA class and receiving certification does not guarantee a job at Windemere. However, Ms. Markwica said, "The class provides an opportunity for us to see people and for them to see us, and then we all decide if it's a good match or not."
Currently about six CNA positions are available at Windemere. The unionized positions include benefits. On October 4, the starting salary for a CNA at Windemere will be $14.51 an hour.
Applications are available on Windemere's website, windemeremv.org. For more information, call 508-693-0410, ext. 216.
Electric vehicles to make Vineyard debut
BUZZ Equipment Company, based in upstate New York, the authorized representative for Miles Electric Vehicles of California, plans to bring two low-speed models to Martha's Vineyard. BUZZ Equipment is in the process of trying to set up a demonstration for potential customers this fall.
The Miles vehicles are powered by 72-volt AC motors, and by state law have a top speed of 25 miles per hour.
"These are real cars and trucks, not fancy golf cars," said BUZZ president John Conway. For more information, visit the company's websites, www.buzz-equipment.com and www.milesev.com.
Winnetu Islander getaway offering
Last spring, the Winnetu Oceanside Resort at South Beach offered Island residents the opportunity to enjoy dinner and spend the night for free. The promotion was so popular that the resort has brought it back this fall.
Island residents who order a minimum of two dinner entrées at the Lure Grill on Sundays, Wednesdays or Thursdays on specific dates in September and October can stay that night in a one-bedroom suite at the resort for free subject to availability and a $25 housekeeping fee per suite, according to a press release.
The suites can accommodate up to two adults and three children and the offer includes use of the beach side resort's tennis courts, fitness facility, and heated pool. Call 866-335-1133 for more details.
Safety skills for children
A safety education and violence prevention program, radKIDS, will be offered for children aged 5 to 12 by instructor Kelly McElhinney in the Tisbury School gymnasium, starting September 24.
The program's name is derived from its goal, to give children the knowledge and skills necessary to resist aggression defensively (RAD).
Children will learn to be aware of their surroundings and to master personal safety skills according to a press release.
The five-week, 10-hour radKIDS program costs $100 per child. Family discounts and scholarships are available.
Classes run from 3:15-5:15 pm (5- to 7-year-olds) and 6-8 pm (8- to 12-year-olds) on Thursdays, September 24 through October 30. There will be no class on October 1.
To register call 508-333-4605 or email: email@example.com.
Island teachers begin new year with opening day rally
"I'm not ready for summer to be over." On Tuesday morning, teachers, not their students, were grumbling in just those words.
To jump-start enthusiasm for the start-up of a new school year, Island school administrators and staff, teachers, and paraprofessionals gathered for a back-to-school rally at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS).
Mr. Weiss warned of a difficult year ahead, due to the economy, the overall reduction in support for schools by the Commonwealth, and the upcoming union contract negotiations. He said the school system is participating in Island-wide planning efforts to prepare for any potential outbreak of the H1N1 flu. Regarding instructional focus, Mr. Weiss said schools would continue efforts to improve math and writing skills in all grades, and focus on learning rather than teaching.
Mr. Cabot, a former teacher himself, shared two anecdotes about contrasting opinions expressed to him. He said the comments represent the "bookends" of his 38-year career.
Oak Bluffs School math teacher Jeannie Holenko led the audience in a lighthearted student community meeting exercise, and music education teacher Brian Weiland led them in song.
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School seniors Katie Mayhew and Marta Azzollini opened the program with solo vocal performances. Members of the MVRHS string orchestra performed outside before the program began. They included music teacher Mike Tinus, Shaelah Huntington, Cole Bilodeau, Anna Yukovich, Amalie Tinus, Gail Herman, Maya Harcourt, and Cerina Gordon.