Camille Rose resigns from Aquinnah planning board
Camille Rose has worn many civic hats over decades of elected and appointed public service. In a move that caught many residents of the tight-knit town of Aquinnah by surprise, she shed the hat she has worn the longest.
Ms. Rose resigned from the planning board. She was first elected to the board in 1973. "I was chairman of the first planning board," she told The Times. She said she had taken a few years off here and there but pretty much served continuously, often as chairman, the position she held until last week.
Ms. Rose said she did not want to elaborate on what led her to resign. "I think it was just time," she said.
She said she was proud of the board's accomplishments, most notably the creation of a wind turbine bylaw and the vote last Tuesday to grant a special permit to the company chosen to build a distributed antenna system (DAS).
Ms. Rose was the driving force behind the effort to pave the way for a DAS system, seen as a legal bulwark should a company apply for a permit to build a conventional tower in Aquinnah. It was not easy, and the frustration likely took a toll, said some familiar with town affairs.
Sarah Thulin, a member of the plan review committee, said Ms. Rose has been in the thick of many contentious issues and that can take a toll. "She has taken on so much for the town," Ms. Thulin said.
The selectmen will appoint a replacement to fill the seat on the planning board until the next election.
As for Ms. Rose, she still wears many hats. She is an elected member of the board of selectman and an appointed member of the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Weather vane vote provides no clear direction
And..., the winning design to adorn the top of the refurbished Oak Bluffs bandstand is... still undecided. Oak Bluffs parks commissioners met Tuesday night and heard the results of a written and online survey that asked voters to pick a design.
With a few votes still trickling in, the original historic design, a tall finial or spire, is leading the poll with 163 votes. Next, with 150 votes, is a weather vane featuring a whale, the design that adorned the bandstand until the current rehabilitation project. A weather vane featuring an osprey clutching a large fish was third with 144 votes.
The commissioners did not choose a design, and may put off the decision until their February meeting.
The commissioners also asked voters whether they favored returning lifeguards to town beaches. A total of 339 people favored lifeguards, 87 were against. Still to be decided, however, is how to fund the lifeguard program, which was eliminated two summers ago to cut costs.
Wampanoag Tribe funds project in Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) under which the tribe will fund a storm water drainage project on New York Avenue designed to filter harmful road runoff entering Oak Bluffs Harbor. Under the agreement, the tribe will pay a fee to the town to administer the project.
The tribe will use a grant, estimated at $75,000, to pay for the project, according to shellfish constable David Grunden, who presented the proposal at the selectmen's meeting.
The project design calls for a filter system to be built underground in Sunset Park, to remove pollutants before they reach the harbor.
Several selectmen were curious about the tribe's reasons for funding the project. Mr. Grunden said it was because members of the tribe take shellfish from Oak Bluffs Harbor in the winter months, and the project will improve water quality.
Currently, stormwater runs into drains along New York Avenue, then through a large pipe directly into Oak Bluffs Harbor. A recent Coastal Zone Management study estimates that 15 to 20 pounds of sediment is dumped into the harbor with each half-inch of rainfall. Also draining into the harbor is oil and heavy metals that collect on the roadway from automobiles and other sources.
Bret Stearns, Wampanoag natural resources director, told The Times some time ago the tribe received approximately $140,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for pollution projects. He learned about the town's interest in reducing road runoff from Mr. Grunden and knew the tribe had a vested interest in helping to solve the problem. "The tribe acts as a good neighbor when it comes to environmental protection," Mr. Stearns said.
No jail fire: It was only a drill
The Edgartown Fire Department responded to a report of a kitchen fire at the Dukes County Jail/House of Correction at 6 pm Tuesday night. Firefighters entered the building while corrections employees secured prisoners. Two victims were in the building and unaccounted for, the initial report said.
There was no fire. The response was a planned drill intended to maintain the readiness of firefighters and correction staff.
Deputy Edgartown fire chief Alex Schaeffer told The Times that the goal of the drill was to familiarize firefighters with the building layout and the procedures they would follow in the event of a real fire emergency.
Chris Hargy, house of correction food service director, said any fire presents unique challenges. In this case, there is the need to coordinate the security of inmates and the actual job of fighting the fire. "We learned a lot about how each department can help each other," he said.
Jewelry worth $30,000 stolen from Oak Bluffs home
Oak Bluffs police are investigating the theft of jewelry estimated to be worth $30,000 from a private home earlier this month.
Police were reluctant to release all of the details of the crime, because the investigation remains active. The victim of the theft, a jewelry designer, had just relocated from Florida to Oak Bluffs.
In early December, she noticed at least 28 pieces she had designed and made were missing from her new home. The designer told police the value of precious metal and stones totaled $17,000, and the jewelry would retail at a total of $30,000.
Police have circulated photographs of the stolen jewelry to all Island law enforcement agencies. Police are also checking pawn shops around New England, through a database intended to discover stolen merchandise.
Three arrested on drug charges in Oak Bluffs
What started as a dispute between a caretaker and two people he said were living illegally in a rental house at 43 Upland Drive in Oak Bluffs ended with the December 11 arrest of Andrew Rankin, 27, April Cerrato, 22, both of Oak Bluffs, and Craig Rozario, 32, of Edgartown on drug charges.
The caretaker told police that before he defaulted on his lease and left, the original tenant sublet the house to Mr. Rankin and Ms. Cerrato. When the caretaker asked the two to leave, he said that they refused.
Officer J.J. Mendez agreed to accompany the caretaker to the house when the occupants were present to keep the peace when the caretaker told them he was beginning eviction proceedings. Police learned that Mr. Rozario was also present in the house and knew there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Oak Bluffs and Tisbury police officers responded to the house. When police arrived, according to the report, they observed people running away from windows, and running up stairs.
Officer Mendez wrote, "I followed Cerrato into the bedroom and witnessed Cerrato run over to a dresser that was against the wall and grab an unknown object and shove it in her pocket. I was concerned that she might have acquired a weapon." A subsequent search of Ms. Cerrato revealed a package of heroin in her pocket.
During a search of the house police seized substances believed to be heroin, rock cocaine, prescription narcotics, scales, and drug packaging supplies.
Mr. Rankin and Ms. Cerrato were arraigned December 14 in Edgartown District Court on identical charges of heroin trafficking, possession of a Class A drug with intent to distribute, possession of a Class A drug, and being present where heroin is kept.
Mr. Rozario was arraigned on charges of possession of a Class A drug, subsequent offense, and being present where heroin is kept. He was convicted of trafficking in cocaine in March 2005.
West Tisbury approves tour buses, limits routes
The West Tisbury selectmen last week approved the requests of three commercial bus companies to use the town streets to transport tours this summer. At its Wednesday meeting, the selectmen limited the companies to the use of the South, North, State and Edgartown/West Tisbury Roads.
The state licenses tour transport companies, but because they are allowed to solicit rides from the public the companies are required to get permission from individual towns to utilize those roads.
Castaway Coach, a Brockton-based company, as well as Native Island Tours of Oak Bluffs intend to utilize 40-foot buses, West Tisbury executive secretary Jenifer Rand said. Native Island Tours owner Barry Lopes told the selectmen that his plan is to link up with off-island charter companies to provide their bus services on Martha's Vineyard. Mr. Lopes said he also intends to sell tour tickets to the public.
Ron Minkin, owner of MV Transport, plans to expand his business from taxis and charters to include tours. The Oak Bluffs business will be called MV Island Tours. Mr. Minkin told the Times that he plans to utilize 21- or 23-foot long vehicles for one- or two-hour long introductory tours of the Island. Once licensed by the state, Mr. Minkin intends to seek out a spot in Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven to solicit passengers for tours.
Red Cross Chapter launches Island initiative
The American Red Cross Cape Cod and Islands (CCI) Chapter has announced plans for a $58,000 preparedness initiative.
"We're here to listen and learn more about how to make this truly the Cape and Islands Chapter," board chairman Hilary Greene told a recent gathering of Island officials and volunteers.
The preparedness initiative will support the Martha's Vineyard Red Cross service delivery operations, expand the number of Island volunteers, and increase shelter supplies, CCI Chapter executive director Glen Beasley explained. The chapter will launch a financial campaign at a later date.
In keeping with the chapter's goal to equip the Island with 1,000 shelter kits, Berkshire Blankets in Ware already has donated 1,000 blankets to the Martha's Vineyard initiative to get things started.
"I think the initiative might take two years, maybe less," Mr. Beasley estimated. "This is about buying equipment, materials, and training to invest in something Martha's Vineyard needs to be better prepared."
The Martha's Vineyard American Red Cross Chapter was folded into the CCI Chapter in 2006. Since then, former Martha's Vineyard chapter members Ann Hunt, vice president of the Bank of Martha's Vineyard, and Richard Williams, a retired economist, have served on the CCI chapter's board.
The CCI Chapter has worked to build up the Island's disaster team over the past two years, with 10 trained volunteers in place. Another 12 new disaster volunteers recently were trained through a program in collaboration with the Adult Community Education program held at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
As an example of local efforts, recently Red Cross volunteers Bill Howell, Shelley Christiansen, and Sharry Stevens-Grunden provided support and assistance to two families displaced by a fire on November 2 at the Fisher Road Town House Apartments in Edgartown. Red Cross volunteers also helped with the November 11 Island-wide flu clinic.
Through donor funds, the CCI chapter has ensured that each community on Martha's Vineyard is equipped to shelter 48 people. The Island also has a Red Cross response trailer with materials to support 100 evacuees.
The American Red Cross CCI Chapter does not receive government funding nor charge for lifesaving emergency and disaster relief services. The chapter depends on charitable donations, grants, and in-kind support from individuals, foundations, and businesses.
TBA announces holiday shopping raffle winners
The Tisbury Business Association (TBA) holiday raffle winners are Robert St. Amand, who got his raffle ticket from Mix and won $600; Clark Agnew who got his lucky ticket at LeRoux, $300; and Jen Brown, Rainy Day, $100.
Pat Gregory, TBA president, said he was pleased with the participation from local merchants and the generally upbeat mood that prevailed throughout the promotion. The raffle was one of a month-long series of events designed to promote shopping in Vineyard Haven during the holiday season.
Boathouse Foundation boosts Y fundraising
The Boathouse Foundation, a philanthropic unit of The Boathouse Club of Edgartown, recently presented a check for $25,000 to leaders of the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard.
"The Boathouse Club has established a foundation with the goal of providing financial grants to non-profits on Martha's Vineyard," Gerret Conover, one of the club's four founders, said. "The Boathouse Foundation Inc. is funded by the generosity of our members and owners via an annual contribution. We are delighted to be able to support the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard and have committed to making an annual $25,000 donation to the organization."
The YMCA of Martha's Vineyard plans to open its new $11 million facility across from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School in mid-May.
"Thanks to the generosity of the Island community and other community organizations such as The Boathouse, The YMCA has gone from vision to reality," Christine Todd, the new facility's development director said, as she thanked The Boathouse.
Farm Neck Foundation announces grants
The Farm Neck Foundation has announced that it is awarding a total of $36,000 in grants to 17 separate Vineyard organizations in 2009. The Foundation is an independent charitable corporation created by the Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs to provide charitable assistance exclusively on Martha's Vineyard, according to a press release announcing the grants.
In addition, the Foundation also completed pledges of two major multi-year grants. Final installments were disbursed for a $125,000 grant paid over 5 years to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital building fund and a $25,000 grant paid over 3 years to the YMCA.
Among the 2009 grants, the Foundation awarded $3,500 to Island Health to provide travel costs for dentists and hygienists; $3,500 to Women Empowered to help with costs for upcoming programs; $3,500 to Serve New England to help establish a home delivery system for discounted food for the elderly, physically challenged, and low-income families; $3,000 to The Yard to support the Artists-in-the-Schools program; $2,500 to Sail Martha's Vineyard to help fund maritime vocational training at the regional high school; and $2,000 to the Dukes County Veteran Services officer for funds for active duty soldiers and veterans.
Island Pools & Spas receives bronze award
Island Pools & Spas, Inc. of Edgartown won the prestigious Bronze Award in the "Pool with Vanishing Edge 601 square feet or more" category during the 2009 Association of Pool & Spa Professionals' International Awards of Excellence ceremony held Nov. 16 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.
More than 400 pool, spa and hot tub projects were entered in the 2009 Awards of Excellence competition, according to a press release.
Vineyard optometrist looks at new technology
Vineyard Haven optometrist Dr. David M. Finkelstein recently attended the Eye-Sight 20/20 Continuing Education Series in Natick where he learned about the newest technology and treatments for eye disease from experts in the field.
"The new treatments for wet macular degeneration and new digital eye scans that diagnose eye disease give us advanced tools to save vision compared to even five years ago," Dr. Finkelstein said in a press release. "It is a very exciting field."