Flu clinic on as scheduled but without H1N1 vaccine
Reacting to the latest information on the availability of both seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines, Island public health officials yesterday announced that the vaccine for H1N1 would not be available at the all-Island seasonal flu clinic scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Ron MacLaren, director of the Wampanoag Health Services and one of the coordinators for the Island-wide exercise, told The Times yesterday that the state's delivery of H1N1 vaccine has been delayed. He stressed that the seasonal flu vaccine would be available, however, and he encouraged Islanders to get vaccinated.
Mr. MacLaren said health officials will work to distribute H1N1 when it becomes available. He said that people in H1N1 high-risk groups should make arrangements with their physicians to be vaccinated. Those groups include pregnant women and young children.
Canine issues dog Tisbury selectmen
With a nod to Tisbury's recent dog control issues, selectman chairman Tristan Israel opened Tuesday's meeting with the salutation, "Welcome to Tisbury, where our motto is, 'Have you hugged your dog today?'"
In this week's dog-related news, town administrator John Bugbee said that Rebecca Garde has requested a jury trial of Tisbury's complaint against her for bringing her Siberian husky Mussa back to live in the town after the selectmen banned the dog.
In other business, the selectmen postponed consideration of permit applications from Jay McMann of Island Fuel and Falmouth Water Transport for permits to distribute fuel at the Lake Street dock on Lake Tashmoo until the town's two harbor committees complete a review of harbor use issues and the permit process.
In a brief joint meeting session, the selectmen and planning board members approved the appointment of Jeffry Thompson as an associate planning board member until June 30, 2014.
The selectmen also appointed Michael C. Morris and Jared Hammond as assistant shellfish constables until June 30, 2010, and John Best to the wastewater planning committee.
In department reports, fire Chief John Schilling said a foam attack trailer for use Island-wide will be delivered November 7. The Tisbury Fire Department and Dukes County Fire Chiefs Association received the trailer through a grant from the Southeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Acting shellfish department co-manager Hillary Conklin said the first weekend of scalloping season in the outer harbor went well and reminded everyone that bushels must be leveled off, whether harvested by a recreational or commercial scalloper.
In other business, the selectmen held a public hearing regarding results of a traffic study around Tisbury School. Principal Richie Smith said the school community favors an option that moves all bus traffic to the front of the school on William Street.
Among Mr. Bugbee's several agenda items, he was pleased to announce the arrival of new bus shelters, after several months of waiting.
The selectmen approved Mr. Bugbee's request for an additional $3,071, for reconstruction of the front steps and railings at town hall.
They also approved a site adjacent to the town's animal control facility off High Point Road as the location for relocating town annex offices in temporary modular facilities if a new ESF is built.
T-Mobile expresses interest in up-Island DAS
Efforts to move ahead with a plan that would rely on a distributed antenna system (DAS) to improve wireless service up-Island received a boost yesterday.
The up-Island DAS committee met yesterday and announced the receipt of a revised application from the American Tower Company (ATC), the DAS system developer that includes a "letter of intent" from wireless carrier T-Mobile.
The need to secure an interested carrier has been a stumbling block. Without an interested carrier, ATC had delayed the start of its permitting process.
A joint permitting hearing in Chilmark that will include Aquinnah officials is scheduled for November 30.
"There is a plan now," DAS committee chairman JB Riggs Parker, Chilmark selectman, said.
DAS relies on a series of radio access nodes, connected to small antennas set on telephone poles, or poles erected for the specific purpose, to distribute cellular telephone signals. Although the range is considerably less than in conventional, tall-tower systems, DAS appeals to communities where a high conventional tower is unwelcome but wireless telephone service is poor.
Chilmark Executive Secretary Tim Carroll told the committee that it is the intent of ATC to have the DAS system construction completed "by the summer next year." The plan is to erect 46 nodes on replacement stub poles or new poles.
Committee member Richard Knabel of West Tisbury said he does not believe that completed construction is possible given the restrictions imposed on roadway obstruction due to construction from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Martha's Vineyard.
There was also discussion among the committee members regarding the construction schedule since both Chilmark and Aquinnah may be granting building permits soon and the West Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has not yet received an application from ATC, nor has it scheduled any consideration of such an application. "Clearly West Tisbury is critical to the process, but they should be able to start here in Chilmark," said Mr. Carroll.
The DAS committee plans to review a draft contract submitted by ATC at a meeting on October 28. Following committee review each of the three boards of selectmen would need to approve and sign the contract, Mr. Parker said.
SSA approves 2010 operating budget
The Steamship Authority (SSA) met Tuesday in Hyannis for its October monthly meeting.
The board approved the 2010 operating budget. Based on current estimates, the SSA does not expect to need rate increases to cover next year's cost of service, according to a management summary of the meeting.
Board members also received a report on measures the boatline plans to take over the next several years to improve passenger accessibility, particularly for those with disabilities.
These include improving signs and markings and enhancements to the SSA's website and reservation system to better assist persons with disabilities.
TSA and SSA test vehicle bomb screener
Vehicles traveling to Martha's Vineyard through the Steamship Authority's (SSA) Woods Hole terminal have been receiving a high-tech electronic once over as part of a pilot program designed to test advanced explosives detection technology.
Last Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in partnership with the SSA, launched a three-week technology pilot program at the Woods Hole terminal.
The project's goal is to test the performance of advanced explosive screening equipment and to develop a response capability for possible deployment during periods of heightened alert while maintaining efficient passenger operations for high volume ferries, according to a press release.
On Thursday TSA personnel began screening all passenger vehicles before they boarded the ferry using CarSCAN™, a dual-energy transmission X-ray technology. For convenience, drivers have been permitted to remain in their vehicles during screening, which lasts approximately 10 seconds.
TSA security officers monitor images of the scanned vehicles from a station adjacent to the portal. If an anomaly is detected, the vehicle is directed to a secondary screening area for inspection by TSA-certified explosives detection K9 teams.
"This test represents one in a series of pilot programs TSA has designed to evaluate the effectiveness of emerging explosive detection technologies in the maritime environment," John Sammon, TSA assistant administrator, Transportation Sector Network Management, said. "This is yet another tool the agency can use to respond to specific threats that arise from new intelligence or major events."
"We are pleased to partner with TSA in their continuing efforts to test emerging technologies that screen vehicles for explosives," Steamship Authority General Manager Wayne Lamson said. "This pilot program will enable the TSA to test the effectiveness of explosive detection technologies that the Steamship Authority may want to utilize in the future, particularly during periods of heightened alert."
Testing will be conducted Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm. The program will continue until November 6.
Public forum on Tisbury emergency services facility
A public forum to discuss Tisbury's proposed emergency services facility (ESF) on Tuesday, October 27, 7 pm, at the Vineyard Haven Public Library will offer a look at blueprints and plans, as well as a question and answer session.
If approved by voters, the proposed new ESF, which will house the town's fire, ambulance, and emergency management departments - will be constructed on Spring Street across from Tisbury School, on the site currently occupied by Tisbury's town hall annex offices.
Members of the ESF building committee, including chairman Joe Tierney, Fire Chief John Schilling, ambulance coordinator Jeffrey Pratt, and former Tisbury ambulance coordinator and construction adviser Scott Gerstmar, will be available at the forum for a question and answer session. The results of a traffic study around the Tisbury School area also will be discussed.
Tisbury voters will be asked to approve construction of the ESF at a special town meeting on November 17. The warrant article for the ESF construction also will include a cost for the project, which is not available yet from the cost estimator.
If the ESF article passes, voters will be asked to approve a Prop. 2.5 override at a special election on December 8 to fund the debt payments on the project.
Wind, tide halt Chappy Ferry
Last weekend's high winds, and an astronomical high tide, combined to force the Chappaquiddick ferry to stop running for about 20 minutes on Sunday, October 18.
"We did have some pretty heavy winds and currents," ferry operator Peter Wells said. "When the wind was blowing out of the northeast and the tide was going in the same direction as that wind, it was pretty difficult to make a landing."
Mr. Wells said the new breach in the Norton Point Beach has made the currents in Edgartown Harbor even more treacherous than before. He said he has a phone hotline (508-627-6965) to advise ferry passengers of any lengthy delays, but Sunday's delay was so short it didn't warrant an advisory on the phone hotline.
Dukes County to mark Superior Court 150th year
On Wednesday, the Dukes County Courthouse will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Massachusetts Superior Court with a panel discussion and educational program as part of the year-long celebration of one of the oldest trial courts in the country.
The event will begin at 11 am with a panel of distinguished guests that include: Superior Court Chief Justice Barbara Rouse, Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty, First Justice of the Edgartown District Court H. Gregory Williams, District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, Dukes County Clerk of Courts Joseph Solitto and Dukes County Bar Association President Martin V. Tomassian.
The panelists will discuss the history and work of this venerable court and answer questions from a group of students from the Oak Bluffs and Edgartown Schools.
The event is open to the public.
Il Tesoro wins awards
The Il Tesoro ("the treasure") restaurant's counterpart, Il Tesoro Ristorante, on Sanibel Island, Florida, recently received the "Best of the Islands" award in the category for fine and romantic dining, and chef AJ Black won "Best Chef" in the fine dining restaurant category from the Breeze Newspapers.
Il Tesoro Martha's Vineyard is celebrating a successful first summer season with a two-for-one diner entrée special. For more information, call 508-939-3840.
Curves hosts Cancer Society fund raiser
In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the Curves of Martha's Vineyard will host a Curves 4 A Cure Monster Mash 50's Bash from 7 to 9 pm on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Last year Curves, the women's workout fitness center off State Road in Vineyard Haven, raised $900 in donations. The goal for this year is $1,000, owner Bethany Seidman said.
Members and non-members are invited to participate. New members will receive a special discount in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness and from October 26 to 31 at Martha's Vineyard Curves there will be no service fee for women who provide proof of either a recent mammogram or a donation to the American Cancer Society.
"A lot of women know about breast cancer prevention, but don't act on it," Ms. Seidman said. "A healthy diet, regular exercise, monthly breast self-exams and yearly mammograms together are essential in breast cancer prevention."
For information on the Monster Mash, call Curves at 508-696-3030 or go to mvcurves.com.
Hob Knob offers winter wellness packages
The Hob Knob Eco-Boutique Hotel on Main Street in Edgartown will offer Winter Wellness weekend packages in January, February, and March. The packages will incorporate weekend stays at the hotel with a culinary and exercise program.
The January offering will include a two-night stay, a Healthy Small Plates cooking class, private group yoga, a guided trail hike and prix fixe dinner at a local fine dining restaurant.
For more information, go to www.hobknob.com.
Zephrus shares gravy with nonprofits
This winter Zephrus Restaurant will again provide Island nonprofits with an opportunity to raise funds by partnering with the restaurant to sponsor a special benefit dinner.
Zephrus will give 20 percent of special menu earnings to the sponsoring group, according to a press release.
The restaurant currently donates proceeds from the sale of an apple pie dessert to the Island Food Pantry. Island Grown Initiative is the recipient of the Locavore dinner every Wednesday. The program has generated more than $8,000 in 2009, according to a press release.
For more information, contact Susan Goldstein at 508-693 2200, ext. 102.
AISC reviews superintendent's budget tonight
The All-Island School Committee (AISC) will review and vote tonight on a fiscal year 2011 budget proposed by superintendent of schools James Weiss for his office and shared programs for schools Island-wide.
The meeting is at 7 pm in the library conference room at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS). The public is welcome to attend and will be given opportunity for comment.
Mr. Weiss made the initial presentation of his proposed FY11 $3.62 million budget, up 3.59 percent from $3.5 million in FY10, to the AISC on October 8.
The $125,503 increase Mr. Weiss proposed includes salaries and benefits for two additional special education assistants, $46,510 for a Bridge Program assistant and $54,816 for a Project Headway assistant.
The increase also includes $8,500 for a school physician, a pool of $5,000 for salary increases for non-union employees, $12,158 for contractual step increases for union employees, and funds for health insurance increases, estimated at 12 percent. The superintendent's administrative staff will receive no salary increases.
Should the towns request a zero-percent increase in his budget, Mr. Weiss also prepared a contingency plan outlining possible budget reductions totaling $105,599.
Possible cuts include the elimination of a half-time elementary strings teacher's position ($46,102), an Island-wide accompanist ($2,000), and associated music expenses ($2,500), as well as an Island-wide athletic director for elementary schools ($571), and funds to support students' attendance in programs at The Yard and Felix Neck ($7,000).
Also, the English Language Learners Coordinator's position would be reduced to half time and a financial assistant's position by 601 hours.
Mr. Weiss said he would be prepared to make his recommendations regarding the budget and possible reductions to the AISC tonight.
A start for Lambert's Cove Road project
A groundbreaking ceremony on October 14 launched the construction of four affordable single-family houses on property off Lambert's Cove Road. Construction is to be complete next fall. The Island Housing Trust (IHT), Tisbury Affordable Housing Committee (TAHC), and Island Affordable Housing Fund (IAHF) co-hosted the celebration. The shovel-wielding group included, from left, Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel, IAHF executive director Ewell Hopkins, state Rep. Tim Madden, TAHC co-chairman Laura Barbera, Tisbury Community Preservation Committee member Abby Burt, IAHF co-president Bob Wheeler, IHT executive director Philippe Jordi, and Edgartown National Bank president and chief executive Fielding Moore.
A story published in the March 19 issue of The Times, "Going in Circles," incorrectly identified the name of the organization Hoop Groop. Its website is hoopgroop.com.Correction
Whit Griswold wrote last week's In Print, entitled The shark. By mistake, the by-line was omitted.