WT Library tops VH and OB nationally-ranked
The West Tisbury Free Public Library this week was named a top national library, receiving a five-star rating by Library Journal's LJ Index of Library Service. West Tisbury is the sixth-ranked library of its size in the nation.
Less than four percent of the nation's 7,268 libraries qualify for the star library designation, and West Tisbury was only one of 10 libraries nationally of its size to receive the five-star rating. Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven received three star ratings, joining only 256 other libraries to be top-rated nationally for excellent service
The West Tisbury library staff was smiling yesterday morning. "We got the e-mail last night and I ran upstairs to tell the staff," said library director Beth Kramer. "We all hugged and jumped up and down. Every single person in the community - residents, voters, trustees and friends who support us - share this award."
LJ Index Judges rate library service based on 2007 figures for circulation, visits, program attendance and public Internet uses. The nation's top libraries receive three, four or five stars, depending on total scores. Statewide, 13 libraries were designated as star Libraries, 10 of them on the Cape and the Island.
Lambert's Cove Road repair completed
Three days ahead of schedule, on November 13, the enormous signs came down, construction barricades disappeared, and Lambert's Cove Road was reopened to traffic, following repair of the road surface and the culvert carrying Blackwater Brook to Vineyard Sound. The construction work began November 2.
Although West Tisbury superintendent of streets Richard Olsen does not yet have the final invoice for asphalt, he knows the project's final cost will be at or under the $21,185 budgeted for the work. "The weather was a tremendous help. Everything went as planned," he said.
Approximately 100 feet of Lambert's Cove Road were closed to traffic with the repair work area measuring 48 feet long and 18 feet wide. The repair plan called for removing 1.5 to 2 feet of the road surface, putting in a new material (a dense mixture of elements) and then covering it with 18 inches of concrete. New steel rods were also added to reinforce the retaining walls.
Once the project got under way, Mr. Olsen said, "It was like an old house. You open it up and you discover things." In fact, the repair required 15 yards more of concrete than originally planned.
Edgartown-based contractor David Knauf provided the concrete. "He was fantastic," Mr. Olsen said. "He did everything and more that we needed." While the road was closed the railings on the bridge were also repaired and repainted.
All traffic was diverted from the road (including bikers and walkers) during the project, although a few neighbors used the Longview road to circumvent the inconvenience. The West Tisbury School employed two buses, one from each direction on Lambert's Cove Road to avoid the closures, Mr. Olsen explained.
"Everything went at least as well and even better than I anticipated," Mr. Olsen said.
Chilmark, Oak Bluffs step up seat belt enforcement
The Chilmark and Oak Bluffs Police Departments are buckling down on seat belt use as part of a "click it or ticket" campaign through November 29, funded by the state's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) through a federal grant.
When stopping motorists for disobeying traffic laws, Chilmark and Oak Bluffs officers will check to make sure drivers and passengers are wearing seat belts and issue tickets if they are not.
Massachusetts law requires all occupants to be properly restrained by safety belts when riding in a private passenger motor vehicle, including vans and trucks.
The "click it or ticket" campaign is designed to increase seat belt use and decrease traffic fatalities, an EOPSS press release said.
Sixty-four percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts in 2008 were not wearing seat belts, nine percent higher than the national average, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Drug suspects arraigned
Two men, arrested on drug charges as they stepped off the ferry in Vineyard Haven last week, were arraigned in Edgartown District Court on November 12.
Jose Luis Arias, 29, of Jamaica Plain, was charged with conspiracy and drug trafficking. He was released from custody November 11, after putting up $20,000 cash bail.
Wilken Ariaz Baez, 24, of Orlando, Florida, faces conspiracy and drug trafficking charges, as well as an additional charge of witness intimidation. He remains in the Dukes County Jail. Bail was set at $40,000 for Mr. Baez. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has issued a detainee order for him, indicating he is wanted for questioning after entering the United States illegally.
According to State Police, the two men were carrying 105 grams of heroin and 79 grams of cocaine when they arrived on the Island, and they intended to distribute it for street sale here.
RHS committee to review FY11 budget
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) principal Steve Nixon offered the fourth revision of a proposed fiscal 2011 (FY11) budget at the school committee's budget subcommittee meeting Monday morning.
Operating expenses totaled $16.4 million, a decrease of about one half of one percent from FY10. The towns will be assessed $12.9 million of the total, a 3.91-percent increase over last year.
Although he says he understands the plight of Island towns and respects their request for level funding, Mr. Nixon said, "We brought the budget in at 3.91 percent after cutting a half-million dollars and receiving almost a half-million dollars less in state revenues."
Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Tisbury finance and advisory committee representatives and Martha's Vineyard Drive for Life board members also attended the meeting.
The budget subcommittee had planned to complete its review Monday and vote to move the proposed budget to a public hearing. But, given the gravity of the proposed budget cuts and the need for additional information regarding salary expenses, the committee voted to hold a budget review meeting with the full MVRHS school committee on November 23, at 5:30 pm, in the library conference room.
A meeting of the All-Island School Committee will follow at 7 pm, for final review and approval of the FY11 superintendent's office and shared services budget.
A public hearing on the proposed MVRHS FY11 budget is scheduled on November 30, 7 pm, at the high school.
Vineyard generosity extends to Central America
Muriel Laverty, an Islander who has worked for years in support of schools and children in Nicaraguan villages, visited the Vineyard recently and alerted Island supporters to the need for Spanish/English dictionaries for Nicaraguan schoolchildren who learn English on Saturdays with Ms. Laverty's husband.
Annette Anthony of Chilmark explains that, following her late mother's generous path and helped by a Bunch of Grapes Bookstore discount and bookbuyer Delos Smith, she bought 40 "lovely, waterproof, pocket-size dictionaries seen in this photo above. Muriel said the kids were overjoyed at receiving them, many of them never having owned books before." Ms. Laverty's efforts have benefited in the past from Anthony family generosity. Earlier this year, the contributions were children's backpacks
Rose Anthony, Annette's mother, who died in December 2007 at her house in Vineyard Haven, founded the Vineyard Literacy Project, among many good works. According to Annette Anthony, her mother read an article in The Times about Muriel's work. "She [Ms. Laverty] was in need of pens, pencils, paper, markers, etc. My mother, a lifelong teacher, felt it was important and part of her duty to educate children and started to accumulate items to help fill the bus. She knew that if a child received an education that they would posses the tools that would allow them to be capable of doing anything, becoming anything and that their education would not only benefit the child but the society as well. She continued to support Muriel's cause and later on, after becoming ill, enlisted the help of my brother Michael to purchase the goods for her. And that is how he became involved." Ms. Anthony and her brother have extended their mother's legacy, using their inheritance from her to fund repeated contributions to Ms. Laverty's cause.
H1N1 vaccines available for highest risk group
Pregnant women, adults who live with or care for children younger than six months, children six months through four years, or children five years through 18 with chronic medical conditions are in the highest risk group for H1N1.
Ron McLaren, spokesman for the MV Public Health Coalition, said today that the coalition believes the majority of people in this group have been vaccinated, either through the hospital or a doctor. But, if you are in this risk group, there is H1N1 vaccine available. Contact your local board of health.
The coalition will announce the schedule for new vaccination clinics.
Vacina contra gripe H1N1 para pessoas de alto risco
Mulheres grávidas, adultos que moram com ou cuidam de crianças de menos de seis meses de idade, crianças entre seis meses e quatro anos de idade, ou crianças entre cinco e 18 anos de idade com problema de saúde crônico, estão na categoria de mais alto risco para a influenza H1N1 (gripe suína).
Ron McLaren, portavoz para o Grupo de Saúde Pública, divulgou hoje que o seu grupo acredita que a maioria das pessoas nesta categoria já foram vacinados, ou pelo hospital ou por um medico. De qualquer forma, se você estiver no grupo de alto risco, a vacina H1N1 ainda está disponível para você. Por favor entre em contato com o departamento de saúde da sua cidade.
O Grupo de Saúde Pública de Martha's Vineyard enviará futuras informações sobre sessões de vacinação a serem marcadas.
Aquinnah adopts energy conservation bylaws
Aquinnah voters approved new zoning regulations governing wind turbines, at a special town meeting Tuesday. The new bylaws aim to reduce the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity, using a combination of energy conservation and the local generation from renewable sources. The zoning law amendments required and got a two-thirds majority in favor.
Forty-six voters participated Tuesday evening, but a quorum call after eight of the 12 articles on the warrant had been approved revealed that too few voters remained to continue. The meeting will reconvene on December 1, at 7 pm, to take up the last four questions, including number 12, which proposes to reduce the quorum requirement for town meetings from 10 percent of all registered voters to five. Aquinnah has had repeated difficulty attracting enough voters to complete town business.
Voters authorized selectmen to borrow $100,000 to repair the town offices building and repaint the interior, including roof shingling, new windows, wiring upgrades. Approval required a two-thirds vote in favor. Voters will need to address the question again, on a December 9 election ballot, when they will be asked to exclude the sum from the provisions of Proposition 2.5.
The zoning changes also attempt to protect "the cultural and natural environment of the town as delineated in the Goals of the Town of Aquinnah District of Critical Planning Concern." The planning board would be authorized to grant a special permit for a wind turbine, provided it is an accessory to a residential or commercial use. However, a communal wind energy generating facility could be located on a vacant lot without a primary use.
The bylaw provides for three categories of wind energy generating facilities: private single owner, communal, and municipal.
Special requirements would apply to the Moshup Trail and Cliffs DCPC and land within 1,000 feet of the coastline.
The bylaw also addresses community wind and commercial wind energy generating facilities in the ocean waters of Aquinnah. It states, "They shall be comparable, at a minimum, with siting standards in the final Ocean Management Plan and with those developed by the Martha's Vineyard Commission."
The new bylaws would not apply to the lands of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). Those lands would only be subject to the town bylaws in effect at the time of the settlement act in 1983 that ended a long-running legal battle and paved the way for federal recognition of the Tribe.
But since the town bylaws at the time did not allow for any structures of the height required for a wind turbine, the tribe would need to seek a variance, according to selectman Camille Rose.
The development of these bylaw amendments has a long history, including five failed attempts to gain voter approval for a wind energy district of critical planning concern (DCPC) for Aquinnah. Voters Tuesday appeared to have had their questions answered. There was little debate.
Money articles approved include a request to appropriate $115,000 in existing community preservation funds to purchase an improved 1.1-acre parcel of land for the purpose of creating community housing; $4,600 from the community preservation fund to bury and remove overhead wires at the Aquinnah Circle.
Left to be considered on December 1 are questions that would allow the tax collector to charge $5 for each demand for payment of a tax bill; appropriate $1,500 to update town GIS maps; appropriate $800 for additional revaluation expenses; and reduce the required quorum for town meetings.
Function room plan for Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs selectmen held a public hearing during their November 10 meeting on an "alteration of premises" proposal for the building that currently houses Danny Quinn's Pub. The alteration would amend the liquor license to allow alcohol to be served upstairs. Mark and Mike Wallace, who own the building, outlined plans to create a function space above the pub.
"This is a venue that for a long time to come can be a benefit to the town," said Mark Wallace. "This situation creates basically, a ballroom. It was the Dreamland dance hall, it's been an auto garage, it has been a million things. There's not a place on Martha's Vineyard that you can have a hall like that other than a school or a gym."
Several local businessmen spoke in favor of the proposal, and several spoke against.
Kate Young, owner of the nearby Surfside Motel, was among those expressing concern. "Our building is 18 inches away," she said. "Our guest bedrooms are 18 inches away. I would ask if you would like to consider making sure that the business next door doesn't have our people saying 'I can't sleep, I've got a bass in my ear.'"
The selectmen approved the change in the liquor license unanimously. State regulators must now review the change, and Mr. Wallace must secure permits from several town boards, and possibly the Martha's Vineyard Commission, before proceeding with plans.
Oak Bluffs police honored with award
The Oak Bluffs police department has won a third-place award in a statewide competition showcasing traffic enforcement initiatives and community awareness programs.
The Award of Excellence came from the state's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Law enforcement challenge.
Police chief Erik Blake said he was extremely proud of all the members of his department, and especially thanked officer James Morse, who managed the presentation that was submitted to the competition.
For winning the award, the Oak Bluffs police department received a radar speed detector, valued at $1,500.
Burlington was awarded second place, and Sturbridge first place, while the Massachusetts State Police won the overall excellence award.
In the five years since the competition began, Oak Bluffs has been awarded two third-place and one first-place award.