Holiday gift is a working drawbridge
Construction crews will test the new, temporary Lagoon Pond drawbridge over the next few days, with an eye toward making the bridge completely operational around Christmas.
"We have all the electrical and mechanical installed," said Henrik Pederson, project manager for Pihl Inc. "Now we have to test the bridge." Testing will involve lifting the center span to make sure all cables, switches and safety systems are working as designed.
The center span, which will lift to let boats pass through the channel, was fitted into place last week, the last piece of the structure needed to complete the bridge deck. Paving of the roads approaching the bridge has been underway this week, causing minor traffic delays on Beach Road.
Chilmark dog sent off-Island after training fails
Following up on an article headlined "Couple questions Chilmark's leniency in dog hearing" (MV Times, November 25), the latest news is that Maisy, a pointing Griffon that the Chilmark selectmen ordered to undergo professional training after she killed a smaller dog, has been sent to live off-Island.
Maisy, owned by Jim and Diane Morgan, attacked Chipper, a Yorkie owned by Bob and Linda Zeltzer, as Ms. Zelter was walking him on a leash on Pinkletink Road on October 9. Chipper died from his injuries.
At a dog hearing on October 20, the Chilmark selectmen ordered Maisy to be trained off-Island. After two weeks at the Monks of New Skete dog-training program in New York, the instructors recommended to Mr. Morgan that Maisy recieve additional follow-up training at home.
A trainer then brought Maisy to participate in a public dog training class on November 21, at the West Tisbury agricultural hall. While at the Ag Hall class, the trainer let Maisy off her leash and she bit Mango, a dog owned by Emily Bramhall, according to a November 27 report dog officer Chris Murphy emailed to the Chilmark selectmen.
"Jim [Morgan] witnessed what happened and realized that Maisy could no longer be here," Mr. Murphy wrote. "He has given Maisy to the trainer. Maisy is now permanently living in New York and will not be returning to Chilmark."
The trainer stated that the fault was hers and agreed to pay Mango's vet bills, Mr. Murphy added.
Blaze claims West Tisbury house
An early morning fire destroyed a small house on Charles Neck Way in West Tisbury, in the Long Point area, last Friday morning.
The three occupants of the house said they were in bed when the fire occurred. The West Tisbury volunteer fire department got the first call at 2:26 am and responded within six minutes, fire chief Manuel Estrella said. When they arrived, the house was totally involved. The walls and roof were in flames, Mr. Estrella said.
The Edgartown Fire Department also assisted in the firefighting effort with a tanker truck that was used to transport water from the Martha's Vineyard Airport to the fire. A total of more than 30 volunteer firefighters responded from both towns.
Mr. Estrella said they did not depart until about 4:45 am. "We mopped up, made sure everything was out," he said. "I believe the homeowner just remodeled it a little while back."
In a follow-up phone call yesterday, Mr. Estrella said the State Fire Marshall made a trip to the Island late Tuesday afternoon to inspect the scene of the fire.
Since the fire is still under investigation, Mr. Estrella said he did not want to identify the occupants, believed to be renters. One person was transported to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital with burn injuries.
The owner of the one-bedroom, 480 square foot house is Diane Leonard of Tisbury. Ms. Leonard said she could provide no details about the fire and citing concern for their privacy, declined to identify the tenants. She thanked all of the emergency responders. "Anytime, anywhere, they are there," she said.
Hospital to hold H1N1 flu clinic for college age
In the next wave of vaccinations against the H1N1 flu, the Martha's Vineyard Hospital will hold a clinic on Wednesday, Dec. 23, from 4 pm to 7 pm in the doctor's wing of the hospital for adults 18 to 24 years of age.
The timing is meant to coincide with the presence at home of many college-age residents over the holiday school break. For more information, call the hospital at 508-693-0410 or go to marthasvineyardhospital.org.
Chilmark wins in Menemsha slip lawsuit
In a summary judgment issued on December 12, Middlesex Superior Court judge Dennis J. Curran found for the town of Chilmark in a lawsuit filed by boat owner Paul DeJesus against the town of Chilmark, selectman J. B. Riggs Parker, and harbormaster Dennis Jason individually and in their official capacities.
Mr. DeJesus alleged that the town violated his constitutional and other legal rights by refusing him space to dock his 55-foot yacht in Menemsha Harbor during part of the summer season.
Mr. DeJesus, a long-time transient boat visitor to Menemsha, claimed he had a grandfathered right to continue to dock his boat for longer than is allowed by Chilmark harbor regulations.
Town regulations, adopted by the three selectmen in 1996, limit dockage for transient boats to 14 days, between July 1 and Labor Day, and require that boaters leave for one week before they can request dockage again.
Mr. Parker played a lead role in drafting the new harbor regulations and pushing for consistent enforcement. Mr. Jason enforced the regulations.
Ronald Rappaport, Chilmark town lawyer, said the lengthy opinion and corresponding judgment amount to a complete victory for the town and a complete vindication of the town's efforts to enforce the harbor regulations.
"Everything the town did was appropriate, proper and right," Mr. Rappaport said.
Chilmark stone wall theft leads to stolen checks
An investigation and arrest by Chilmark Police related to the theft of stone from two stone walls on December 8 was linked the following day to an investigation and arrest by West Tisbury in connection with uttering stolen checks.
Chilmark Police last week arrested Nicholas B. Willoughby, 27, for larceny over $250 and malicious or wanton destruction of property. West Tisbury Police arrested him the following day for forgery and uttering and larceny under $250 and failing to appear in court in connection with his arrest the previous day by Chilmark Police, according to the police report.
The investigation began when a Crowberry Lane homeowner called Chilmark Police and reported the theft of many large stones from his property and that of an abutting property owner. Prior to the theft, police said, Mr. Willoughby was working for landscaper Asa French, who was doing work for the property owner.
Police said Mr. Willoughby used a bobcat to steal the stone and move it to a nearby storage work yard where the stone was set on approximately 20 pallets and prepared for sale.
On December 9, Asa French told West Tisbury Police that while on vacation from November 27 to December 6, he gave his employee Nicholas Willoughby permission to write checks to pay employees. On his return, according to the police report, he learned that Mr. Willoughby had written checks to himself and other people and had kept $2,000 of a payment to Mr. French's company for landscaping work. Police estimated the total amount taken so far at $8,841.
ITW finds permanent home on Music Street
The Island Theater Workshop (ITW), a nonprofit community theater arts group founded in 1968, will soon have a place to call its own. ITW is poised to sign a lease with the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust to occupy the former West Tisbury library building on Music Street.
Over the years, ITW has provided performances and programs in many different locations. For the most part, the office was a kitchen table.
"We are thrilled," Stephanie Burke, ITW board president, said about the agreement that will provide the group with much needed storage, workshop, and performance space. "It gives us a base for year-round programs, which is wonderful," she said.
The new location is a short walk from the Trust's Grange Hall, which also features a second floor meeting room and stage.
Chris Scott, preservation trust executive director, said the building was originally the Dukes County Academy. He said the new use dovetails nicely with the building's history and complements the town center. "It is great for the building and the neighborhood," he said.
The ITW must still go before town boards for permitting.
Tisbury sets new shellfish permit fees
The Tisbury selectmen gave senior citizens who enjoy shellfishing an early Christmas present Tuesday night. Selectmen voted to keep the senior permit fee at $5, rather than raise it to $15 as the shellfish advisory committee had recommended. The selectmen agreed with the committee's recommendation to raise the eligibility from 60 to 65 years of age, however.
The selectmen also voted to increase resident family permit fees from $35 to $40 and non-resident from $300 to $400, per calendar year. They also approved more stringent residency requirements for shellfish permits.
In other business, the selectmen held a second fiscal year 2010 (FY10) tax rate classification public hearing, because the first one held on December 3 was not posted and advertised. They voted again to approve a 20-percent residential tax exemption and a 130-percent shift percentage rate on commercial, industrial, and personal property parcels.
During a third public hearing, the selectmen gave conditional approval for a street license application to Barry Lopes for his new company, Native Island Tours, to run buses from Vineyard Haven to Aquinnah. The approval is contingent on whether Mr. Lopes wins a bid for staging space from the Steamship Authority in March.
The selectmen advised Mr. Lopes to come back with more details regarding his second proposal to run trolley tours between downtown Vineyard Haven and West Chop.
In other discussion, the selectmen, various town officials, and members of the Emergency Services Facility Committee had a lengthy debate about expediting the relocation of the town hall annex operations to temporary trailers near the animal control facility.
Selectmen voted to reappoint Ned Orleans to the Martha's Vineyard Commission for one year. Tristan Israel said that the position should be advertised the next time, in case someone else is interested.
MVC adopts Island Plan
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) voted 10-2 last Thursday to adopt the Island Plan. The MVC envisions the document will guide Island planning and development efforts for the next 50 years.
The plan took more than three years to complete and cost $327,000.
In an email to The Times, MVC executive director Mark London said the Island Plan will be used as a regional planning document by the MVC, the community, and Island towns in conjunction with existing town master plans and other plans and policies that may be adopted in the future.
Mr. London said the MVC expects that there will be new ideas and adjustments incorporated into the Island Plan, as times change and as Island towns consider the plan's goals and work to implement them.
Michael Donaroma, Edgartown selectman, did not share that enthusiasm. Edgartown selectmen had asked that the MVC vote on the draft Island Plan be delayed to allow for more time to discuss its contents.
At the Island Plan's final public hearing on December 3, Carlene Gatting of Edgartown, the Dukes County Commission's appointed representative and MVC vice chairman, told her fellow commissioners that the Edgartown selectmen and planning board thought that the Island Plan needed further vetting in public forums and discussions.
Ms. Gatting and Jim Powell of West Tisbury voted against the plan.
"It's too much too fast," Mr. Donaroma said in a phone call yesterday. "As chairman, I said to the MVC if you feel so inclined to rush to vote it, consider leaving Edgartown out for the winter. Give us time to review it.
"How do they turn around and vote on it, when they haven't even printed it yet? How do you vote on something people haven't had time to review yet?"
At the December 3 hearing, Mr. London said that once the Island Plan was approved, a small overview document would be printed and distributed to every one on the Island through a grant the MVC received.
The layout and printing plans are being finalized, Mr. London said yesterday, and he anticipates that printed or photocopied versions of both the full and overview documents will be available in January.
Oak Bluffs police officers volunteer pay cuts
Oak Bluffs police officers have offered to take pay or benefit cuts, in order to avoid the elimination of at least one officer's position. Union members agreed to give up approximately $1,500 each in order to maintain the present staffing level. The givebacks will take several forms, including furlough days, return of the annual uniform allowance, or a direct reduction in pay, according to officer James Morse, who leads the police union. Other savings will be achieved through spending cuts to be determined by Chief Erik Blake.
In October, voters approved nearly $500,000 in budget cuts to meet a revenue gap in the current fiscal year. Those cuts resulted in significant layoffs, reduction of hours, and consolidation of positions among town and school employees. The police department was asked to cut $68,562 as its share of the cost cutting measure.
Windemere will share in appropriations act
Following a time-honored political custom, members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation on Friday took credit in a press release for steering federal tax dollars earmarked in a massive spending bill to local organizations.
One of the beneficiaries of the bill is the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which will receive $250,000 to help rehabilitate the deteriorating building exterior, including replacing many rotting windows.
Windemere executive director Ken Chisholm said the money would help to address the exterior condition of the building and employ local contractors. Mr. Chisholm said Windemere has done much to upgrade the interior condition of the facility, but the outside is in dire need.
"Senator Kerry and Congressman Delahunt were proud to work with Senator Kennedy in requesting these projects and are grateful to Senator Kirk for his help in securing the funding," said the press release.
The U.S. Senate on Sunday voted 57-35 to approve $447 billion in spending for several Cabinet departments and other agencies for the 2010 budget year.
Senator John McCain, who led the fight against the bill, denounced it as bloated with wasteful spending and earmarks. On Saturday, the Democratic-controlled Senate cleared a procedural vote needed to end a Republican filibuster and allow for Sunday's vote to take place.
Holiday hours at VH post office
The Vineyard Haven post office will be operating on a special holiday schedule on Thursday, December 24. The retail counter will be open from 8:30 am to noon, and package pick-up will be available at the Dutch door from 7 am to 4 pm, when the lobby closes. Regular hours resume on Saturday, December 26.
OBA awards Crossland
The Oak Bluffs Association (OBA) has named the Crossland Nursery the 2009 winner for best business decorations in Oak Bluffs. Owner of Crossland Nursery, Mark Crossland, has donated his time and talented crew in an effort to transform Ocean Park, the harbor, and Sunset Lake into a magical holiday landscape, Renee Balter, OBA director, said in announcing the award.