SSA reports a good January
Steamship Authority passenger and automobile traffic to and from both the Vineyard and Nantucket jumped sharply in January, compared to figures for January 2009, when the nation's economy staggered with uncertainty over the banking crisis and the stock market collapse. Truck (or freight) traffic for the 2010 month was off the volume for the year-ago period for both islands, but Vineyard freight fell only six tenths of a percent, while Nantucket plunged nearly 10 percent.
Vineyard passengers increased 5.4 percent last month, and autos increased 6.7 percent. Nantucket passengers increased 6.5 percent, and cars 4.3 percent. Passenger revenue for the month rose 5.5 percent and auto revenue 6.6 percent for the line as a whole. Freight revenue fell seven percent.
Bowl and Board closes in Vineyard Haven
After 37 years in business and a recent partnership with Eco MV, Bowl and Board closed its doors this week.
Co-owner Maria Metters said sale of the store's home goods, clothing, and gifts have been in a downward spiral for the last two years. "It's been a long road with it," she said. "We've had to close the [three] mainland stores, where my brother and I were partners. It's always lease situations. It just gets to be too expensive. When you don't own the property, it's hardly worth it."
Last August, in an attempt to cut overhead expenses, she sublet part of Bowl and Board to Eco MV, which researches, tests, and sells biodegradable, non-toxic, animal-friendly products for personal care, home, and office.
Eco MV relocated its headquarters, offices, and a showroom to the Mansion House last weekend, and it is sharing space with Plum TV until renovations are completed to divide the area, vice president Scott Condon said in a phone call yesterday.
"Since 90 to 95 percent of our business is through wholesale, we decided to focus on helping the Island the best way we know how, which is to help businesses with their packaging and takeout needs in the most environmentally conscious, responsible ways," Mr. Condon said.
Eco MV also is in negotiations to set up a section at Vineyard Cash and Carry where former retail customers will be able to purchase its products, he added, and he has not ruled out a return to retail in the future.
Although Ms. Metters was initially concerned about the effects of the store's vacancy on the business community, she said building owner Benjamin Hall already is seeking a new renter. "Competition has been fierce with home goods downtown, and maybe there's an opportunity for somebody to do something completely different and freshen it up," she said.
In the meantime, Ms. Metters is not sure what she will do next. "It's bizarre to think of anything but retail, but I think it will be refreshing," she said.
Goldfarbs to depart Farm Institute for greener pastures
The FARM Institute last week announced that Matthew Goldfarb, executive director, and Rob Goldfarb, head of development, will leave the nonprofit teaching farm, "to move on to new professional and family pursuits."
Matthew Goldfarb plans to pursue a doctorate in rural sociology, working to improve the health and vitality of rural farming communities. He will leave the FARM August 31, according to a press release.
"I think it is an admirable career choice for him," Frank Wezniak, president of the FARM directors, said in a press release.
Rob Goldfarb plans move out of state to be with his wife, an aspiring physician. He will remain through The FARM's major fundraiser, "Meals in the Meadow," on July 17.
"I believed in Katama Farm, but it was not really operated effectively until Matthew and Rob came along. And, that said, I will have no problem believing in The FARM going forward, now that they have it headed in the right direction," board member and long-time Katama neighbor Bill Connolly said.
"I'm sorry to see Mathew and Rob leave," Mr. Wezniak said. "The FARM has made a lot of progress in the five years since the Goldfarbs joined the team, and I think last year was by far our most successful year to date. I wish them well in their new endeavors. This is also an opportunity for us to reconsider the strategic plans and organization of The FARM."
"In no way does Matthew and Rob's departure alter The FARM's dedication to its stewardship of the land, animals and community," founder and board chairman Sam Feldman said.
The FARM institute was first established in 2000. It moved from its original location at Herring Creek onto the Katama Farm property in 2005 with plans to revitalize the long dormant town-owned property and farm buildings.
Workshop provides basic grant writing skills
The Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative's grant resource network will offer a workshop designed to teach basic grant-seeking skills to the public.
The workshop is titled, "Introduction to Grant Writing and Research," and is scheduled on March 1 and 2 at The Oak Bluffs Public Library. The instructor is Martha Moore of Associated Grant Makers in Boston, and the cost is $25.
Information and registration forms are available at mvdonors.org. The workshop is made possible by a grant from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.
For more information, call 508-645-3690 or email@example.com.
MV Bagel closing leaves landlord in a lurch
MV Bagel Authority on Vineyard Haven's Main Street has closed and the owners have declared bankruptcy, according to Jean Dupon, chef/owner of Le Grenier Restaurant.
Mr. Dupon owns the building that housed the Bagel Authority, to which he leased the space on the ground floor below his restaurant. Reinaldo Almedia and Angela Yamauchi, owners of the Bagel Authority, leased the property for the last five years.
"They closed and never said a word to me," Mr. Dupon said of his tenants who left at the end of the year. "Maybe I could have worked with them and helped them find someone else to run their business."
He learned from his tenants' lawyer about a planned bankruptcy hearing in March.
"At this point, it's ridiculous," Mr. Dupon said about the possibility of restrictions attached to an impending bankruptcy. "I can't go for five months without any rent. But I own the building, and I'm in a trap."
The loss of rental income comes as a blow during a difficult year for his restaurant business.
"For the first time in 32 years, as probably people know now, because of the economy and no beer and wine sales in Tisbury, I've closed for the winter," Mr. Dupon said.
Contact information for Mr. Almedia and Ms. Yamauchi was unavailable.
Nonprofit Network seeks award nominations
The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network is accepting applications for the annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards, which recognize organizations making a difference in their community. Those selected will be honored at the State House on June 14, Nonprofit Awareness Day.
With more than 37,000 nonprofits employing almost 14 percent of the Massachusetts workforce, nonprofits across the state have improved the quality of life by engaging in civic affairs and community building, providing human services and environmental programming as well as offering social and cultural activities, according to a press release. On the Vineyard, there are approximately 130 nonprofit organizations working every day to better the lives of Islanders.
Award categories include advocacy, capacity building, collaboration, communications, governance, innovation, leadership, management, social entrepreneurship and young leadership. Nominations are due on March 15. Nomination forms are available at: massnonprofitnet.org/awards.
A panel of community foundation leaders and academics that includes Ralinda Lurie, Executive Director of the Permanent Endowment for Martha's Vineyard, will select the winners. For more information go to massnonprofitnet.org.
Public hearing Monday on Tisbury's connector road
Tisbury's department of public works (DPW) will hold a public hearing on the final design for a proposed connector road between Edgartown-Vineyard Haven and State roads on Monday, Feb. 22, 7:30 pm, at the senior center on Pine Street.
"We will be going over the final design effort, and would invite comments," DPW director Fred LaPiana said on Tuesday.
The connector road design is a joint effort by Design Consultants of Somerville and Environmental Partners of Braintree. Mr. LaPiana said representatives from both firms would attend the hearing, as well as the town's board of public works commissioners.
Tisbury voters approved the location of the connector road in November 2005 for the purpose of easing traffic congestion at the State Road and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road intersection. Last April voters approved borrowing $2.5 million to fund the road's design and construction.
The connector road will offer motorists the option to cut over from Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road along the access now used by Island Food Products near the Edgartown National Bank branch and exit from either High Point Road or Holmes Hole Road onto State Road.
After next week's public hearing, Mr. LaPiana said the connector road project would go before voters this spring to obtain approval for additional easements that came out of the final design. Voters also will be asked to approve the design and authorize the selectmen to seek funds to build the connector road from grants and other sources.
"We're not asking for money from the town at that time for the construction effort," Mr. LaPiana added. "We're hoping that the state and Federal government will assist us in the construction."
Women Empowered loans fund education, career dev.
Women Empowered (WE) has loan money available for Island women residents who are interested in pursuing education or career development. The loans are made in an amount up to $1,500 and are funded by Malcolm Jones of West Tisbury, according to a press release.
Examples of how loans can be used include: continuing education courses, ACE courses, computers, printers, certification and licensing programs. Applicants should submit requests for an application form to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sheila Bracy at 508-696-8880.
Oak Bluffs receives state grant to prevent coastal water pollution
Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles last week announced $336,000 in grants to help four Massachusetts coastal communities improve coastal water quality by limiting polluted runoff from roads and upgrading boat waste pump-out facilities.
The recipients include Oak Bluffs. The town will receive $102,924 and must provide a match of $36,335.
The money will be used to install a rain garden/modified gravel wetland system along East Chop Drive that will treat storm water discharges into Oak Bluffs Harbor, protecting shellfish.
"These grants will help communities do the important work of protecting our coastal waters from pollution," Secretary Bowles said. "Thanks to these funds and the efforts of these four communities, the Commonwealth's shellfish beds, beaches and other tidal habitats will be cleaner for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come."
EEA's Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) administers the Coastal Pollution Remediation Grant Program, which is aimed at improving coastal water quality by reducing or eliminating nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution, the leading cause of water quality impairment in the nation, occurs when contaminants are picked up by rain water and snow melt and carried over land, in groundwater, or through drainage systems to coastal waters, rivers, wetlands and groundwater, according to a press release.
MVSavings Bank fund makes final awards
The Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Fund, meeting for the last time in 2009, awarded $15,000 in grants to 10 community groups and local nonprofit organizations.
"We are committed to our community through the financial services we provide but also through the resources we are able to contribute to the people and organizations that truly make a difference in the quality of life in our area," said Chris Wells, president of the bank. "Despite 2009 being a challenging year, the Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Fund is pleased to have awarded more than $81,000 in grants to 27 different organizations."
Among the recipients: the American Red Cross, the Aquinnah Cultural Center, Boy Scouts of Martha's Vineyard, Island Theatre Workshop, the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Close-Up Program, PAWS, Rising Tide Therapeutic Riding Center, Vineyard Conservation Society, the Vineyard Playhouse and Vineyard Village at Home.
Since 2006, the bank fund has been a part of the Permanent Endowment Fund, the Island's community foundation. The fund is the bank's primary source for providing philanthropic support for nonprofit and community service organizations operating throughout the local area. The fund reviews requests for support during each calendar quarterly. Information about the fund and its community grant program may be found at mvbank.com.
Permanent Endowment Fund scholarship applications available
The Permanent Endowment Fund of Martha's Vineyard is now accepting applications for its 2010 scholarship program. The Endowment administers 18 scholarship funds. Last year, the Endowment awarded 54 scholarships totaling $124,500 to Vineyard high school seniors as well as college and graduate students, according to a press release.
The Endowment welcomes applications from Islanders seeking funding to continue their studies. Application materials are available on the Endowment's website and in the reference section of each town library. For additional information, contact the Permanent Endowment at email@example.com or 508-338-4665. All applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2010 and applicants will be notified of grant awards in early June.
In a news article headlined "Vineyard Power co-op meets its members, discusses finances," published February 11, we reported the date of the meeting as Monday. It was Sunday, February 7.
A caption in a collection of photographs headlined "Supporting girls ice hockey," we misspelled auctioneer Fred "Trader Fred" Mascolo.