It turns out, 2009 was a wicked good news year
It may seem as if Islanders have worried and debated the same few newsworthy developments throughout 2009. Not so. In fact, the news has been various and affecting, and Islanders, newsmakers and news readers alike, have been treated to a great deal that has been inspiring, appalling, puzzling, frightening, promising, and inconsequential perhaps, but fun. Following is a brief scroll through the months of our lives this year.
Oak Bluffs selectmen learned Tuesday that their town now expects to fall $336,607 short of its revenue projections at the end of the current fiscal year, on June 30, this year.
In their first meeting of the New Year, facing head-on a municipal byproduct of the national economic downturn, the selectmen got the sobering report from Paul Manzi, the town's finance director and treasurer.
Inauguration Day was a time for celebration at many
Vineyard gatherings. Photo by M.C. Wallo
An Edgartown Superior Court Grand Jury has handed up indictments totaling 32 counts of heroin trafficking, heroin possession, dealing drugs near a school, and conspiracy to violate drug laws against Kaleb C. Garde, age 26, Roseline J. Gaspar, age 24, Garrett J. Gibson, age 24, and Alexander W. Carlson, age 22.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) late last Thursday announced it would close the Katharine M. Foote memorial animal shelter in Edgartown in May, as well as two other mainland facilities, due to economic difficulties. The unexpected news left Island animal lovers reeling.
For several years shoreline property owners have complained that the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has poorly managed its oyster aquaculture project and allowed plastic mesh bags and other material to litter Menemsha Pond.
Last week, following a public hearing, Aquinnah selectmen voted not to renew the tribe's ground lease and gave the tribe 60 days to clean its sprawling oyster farm, or return with a viable plan to continue the project.
An analysis of building permits issued in Martha's Vineyard's most populous towns confirms with hard data just how severely the region's economic woes have hit the construction industry. By the end of 2007, the Vineyard construction boom was already tilting toward bust, but in 2008, new construction, especially single-family homes, slowed to a level that left contractors who once turned away lots of work suddenly scrambling to compete for scarce projects. Others turned to smaller jobs, such as renovations and home weatherization.
Oak Bluffs voters approved a $24.1 million dollar operating budget and gave a green light to $770,000 worth of Community Preservation Act spending at their annual town meeting Tuesday night.
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) last week notified the town of Tisbury and the Tisbury Police department that it has begun an investigation into a complaint of sexual discrimination, harassment, and retaliation filed by Tisbury Police Officer Kelly R. Kershaw.
Expressing outrage at a crime he labeled violent and cowardly, Associate Justice Cornelius J. Moriarty II sentenced Michael Ellis, 21, to two years in the Barnstable County House of Correction and Brett Geddis, 18, to one year in the Dukes County House of Correction.
The sentencing hearing took place April 30, at Dukes County Superior Court in Edgartown. On April 6, the two men pled guilty to reduced charges in connection with a robbery last September of George Buckley, 79, a ticket taker at the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven.
Tisbury police chief John Cashin blistered members of his own department and criticized selectmen for their lack of support and management interference. He made his sharply worded comments in a telephone interview yesterday with The Martha's Vineyard Times, in reaction to rumors that he had resigned.
Tisbury police Chief John Cashin worked his last day Wednesday. Three months short of the end of the chief's three-year contract, selectmen and Mr. Cashin agreed to part.
The Animal Shelter of Martha's Vineyard is up and running, funded by $32,700 in donations since the group was formed two months ago.
"It's really gratifying," said Greg Orcutt, a member of the newly formed organization's board of directors.
A Martha's Vineyard Regional High School senior who was to graduate Sunday was severely injured and her passenger killed in a single-car accident on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road Thursday night, June 11.
Yesterday, family and friends buried Jena Pothier, 18, of Oak Bluffs, a 2008 regional high school graduate, following an emotional service attended by more than 300 family members, friends, schoolmates, and Islanders, all crowded into Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs.
Also yesterday, West Tisbury Police issued 12 motor vehicle citations to Kelly McCarron.
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles yesterday released the nation's first draft comprehensive ocean management plan for public review and comment. A final version of the plan is due at the end of the year.
The draft plan would allow for small wind farms of 10 or fewer turbines off the immediate Vineyard coast and larger wind farms to be developed south and west of Nomans Land and west of Cuttyhunk. It will also extend the regulatory authority of the Martha's Vineyard Commission to certain ocean projects.
Martha's Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) will cut staff salaries, benefits, and hours as part of a strategy meant to address a drop in revenue, 2009 and 2010 budget deficits totaling about $400,000, and uncertainty over future government reimbursements for a range of social programs.
"The Vineyard is not immune from what is going on in the rest of the country," Julia Burgess, MVCS executive director, told The Times in a telephone call yesterday.
It's official. Ending months of speculation, a White House spokesperson confirmed Friday that President Obama and his family will spend the last week of August vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.
What! No Army-Navy game this year? Impossible! No USC versus UCLA? You must be kidding. No Harvard-Yale? Unthinkable! Amherst-Williams? Of course they will play.
Don't worry. All of those traditional rivalries are safely scheduled to occur this fall. The Martha's Vineyard-Nantucket game scheduled for Saturday, November 21, however, well that's another story the conclusion of which is by no means clear.
A 26-year old Martha's Vineyard resident who died August 14 is the first confirmed H1N1-related death on the Island, and the 11th death in Massachusetts, according to state public health officials.
The man, Elton Barbosa of Oak Bluffs, died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after he was transported off the Island earlier last week. He was a native of Brazil and worked on the Island as a painter, according to several acquaintances.
Just six weeks into fiscal year 2010, Oak Bluffs is facing a $500,000 budget deficit, a shortfall that will likely mean the layoff of five town employees and could lead to further reductions in school department personnel.
A presidential vacation on Martha's Vineyard is not like any other vacation. It is free of airport waits, devoid of traffic delays, and there is never, ever a problem getting a reservation or a tee time. For President Barack Obama, the first few days of his week off included no public events, some golf, a dinner, some lunch with friends and a profile that could not have been lower.