Tisbury School's Jump for Hope helps Haitians
A "Jump for Hope" fundraiser held by students and staff at Tisbury School raised $8,179 in donations for relief efforts in Haiti.
The two fourth-grade classes were in charge and brought in $3,319 of the total, which is the most raised in any school fundraiser held to date, according to fourth-grade teacher Pam Herman.
In the photo, from left, students Amanda McKenzie, Patrick Best, Jack Creighton, Jacob Silvia, and Kasarah Bruni presented representative checks for $4,179 to American Red Cross Cape Cod and Islands Chapter local board members Richard Williams (2nd row, left) and Ann Hunt and $4,000 to PeaceQuilts for Haiti director Jeanne Staples (not pictured) in a ceremony at Tisbury School on February 17.
To carry out the fundraiser, students in grades K-8 lined up sponsors, many of them local businesses, to pay them by the jump or make a flat donation. During the week of February 8-12, students jumped with their teachers as many times as they could during one session of recess time or gym class. Top jumper Maggie Burke, grade 4, jumped 200 times.
Among the raindrops, snowdrops
Richard Stone appeared at The Times office yesterday to report snowdrops. This is the earliest documented evidence of snowdrop debuts to have reached the newspaper. Mr. Stone of Windsor Drive, Westminster Acres in Edgartown had planted lots of the cheery early bloomers for his late wife. Saturday, he was stopped in his tracks by the brave appearance of four of them.
Up-Island thief is stopped in his tracks
Chilmark police arrested an off-Island installer for DIRECTV for breaking and entering after the man was found in possession of a laptop computer reported stolen from a house off Meadow Lane last Thursday.
Moises Goncalves, 24, was arraigned Friday in Edgartown District Court on a felony charge of breaking and entering during the daytime and larceny over $250. He pled guilty the same day and received a sentence of 60 days in the house of correction, suspended, and one year probation.
Mr. Goncalves was in the Chilmark area to install a satellite TV system. According to the police report, Mr. Goncalves drove to a house and after he learned that it was the wrong address he turned around and his vehicle became stuck in the snow.
Mr. Goncalves called a contractor who picked him up and took him to the correct house, but the work site was not ready for the TV system. Mr. Goncalves then called for a tow truck, returned to his stuck van and walked over to the nearby house. Then he went out to the road to meet the tow truck.
According to the police report, the resident of the first house noticed that his Apple computer was missing from his coffee table. The man walked out to the unoccupied van stuck in the snow and saw his computer. He called the police.
Mr. Goncalves was waiting on South Road for a tow truck to arrive when Sergeant Jonathan Klaren responded to the call. "I asked him if his van was stuck down on Meadow Road and he replied, yes," Mr. Klaren wrote in his report.
Footprints in the snow lead from the van to the back porch of the nearby house. "The same footprints left the deck and lead back to the DIRECTV van," Sergeant Klaren wrote in his report. "In the back of the DIRECTV van I observed a white Apple laptop computer."
Mr. Goncalves initially told police someone must have put the computer in his van. He later admitted to the theft. Chilmark Police chief Brian Cioffi said Mr. Goncalves had been working on the Island for several weeks.
Yesterday, Jade Ekstedt, a spokesman for DIRECTV, provided the following statement in an email to The Times.
"After reviewing the situation we have determined that the DIRECTV technician named in the police report worked for one of our Home Service Providers, Multiband. At the time of his hire by Multiband a background check was conducted, which the installer passed. Once Multiband was informed of this incident the technician was terminated immediately.
"The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us, which is why we contractually require all of our Home Service Providers, including contractors and subcontractors, to conduct extensive background and chemical screening tests."
Tisbury selectmen wrap up ESF contract details
Tisbury selectmen Tristan Israel and Geoghan Coogan completed contract details necessary to the start of construction of the new emergency services facility (ESF) on Spring Street. The two selectmen accepted the $5.520 million construction contract from Seaver Construction, for the emergency services building.
ESF building committee chairman Joe Tierney said that March 15 is the target date to turn the Spring Street site over to Seaver to begin work.
Before construction starts, however, the town hall annex operations must be relocated. Town administrator John Bugbee said that a lot has been cleared and prepared near the animal control facility for delivery of temporary trailers for town hall annex personnel, possibly by the end of next week.
The selectmen approved offering about two cords of wood cut in clearing the site free to town residents, with a limit of one pickup load per person.
The wood is cut into 3- to 5-foot lengths. Mr. Bugbee said yesterday town residents who are interested should call him at 508-696-4203 to coordinate removal of the wood.
At Mr. Bugbee's recommendation, the selectmen also authorized Mr. Tierney to make decisions on change orders that might require immediate decisions during construction, with a cap of $25,000.
Sen. O'Leary, Rep. Madden hold court Monday
Senator Robert O'Leary and Representative Tim Madden will make themselves available to Island residents Monday from 3 to 5 pm in the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven.
Senator O'Leary, a Democrat from Barnstable, represents the Cape and Islands. Representative Madden of Nantucket represents the islands and a portion of Falmouth.
To arrange a meeting time during the lawmakers' Island visit, call Virginia Nelligan Coogan, Vineyard legislative liaison, at 508-693-3200.
Lawmakers take up revisions to gun laws
A bill, filed by Rep. George Peterson (R-Grafton), seeks to simplify the state's gun laws. The bill (H 2259) would, among other provisions, reduce four firearm licenses to one and establish 13 categories that prevent people from owning a gun.
The bill would also centralize gun licensing authority in the Executive Office of Public Safety, with local police chiefs acting as "licensing agents."
"We have close to 351 different licensing standards across the state," Mr. Peterson said, referring to local police chiefs who currently have the ability to issue gun licenses. "This clears up that ambiguity and makes the licensing procedure clear-cut."
The Massachusetts Gun Control Act of 1998 significantly changed the licensing requirements affecting the purchase or ownership of any type of firearm making the state's laws among the toughest in the nation.
More than 1,254 Island residents hold some type of firearms license.
Tisbury selects shellfish constable
The Tisbury selectmen voted Tuesday to offer the vacant shellfish constable job to Danielle Ewart, a deputy shellfish constable in Oak Bluffs since 2004.
In a noon phone call yesterday, Tristan Israel, chairman of the selectmen, said no town official had spoken to Ms. Ewart yet to offer her the job. Should she accept and pass pre-employment screening, Ms. Ewart would begin her new position after March 15, Mr. Israel said. Her salary would be based on the town's managerial and professional employees wage scale.
Tisbury's shellfish position was left vacant by the death of Derek Cimeno last September. The selectmen appointed administrative secretary Hillary Conklin acting shellfish constable, from October 1 until January 31.
Nine people applied for the job. Ms. Ewart was one of three finalists selected by a search committee and interviewed by selectmen prior to the Tuesday vote by Mr. Israel and selectman Geoghan Coogan. Selectman Jeffrey Kristal was on vacation and absent.
On February 16, Mr. Israel and Mr. Kristal held a special selectmen's meeting with Oak Bluffs shellfish constable David Grunden to discuss ways the two towns might cooperate. Mr. Israel said yesterday that the selectmen plan to continue pursuing mutual efforts with Oak Bluffs in managing natural resources.
Oak Bluffs FinCom to host hearing on FY 2011 budget
The Oak Bluffs finance and advisory committee (FinCom) will host public hearings on Thursday, March 4, and Saturday, March 13, to discuss the proposed town operating budget for the 2011 fiscal year that begins on July 1.
Mimi Davison, FinCom chairman, said the operating budget to be presented to voters would be approximately $24,300,000, or about a $600,00 to $700,000 above the FY 2010 spending plan.
"It will be balanced from forecasted revenue and new revenue sources," Ms. Davison said in an email to The Times. "However, the balanced FY2011 budget will be substantially smaller than it would have been if all the requested increases had been included. The requested increases left out of the balanced budget will be presented as overrides."
Those proposition 2.5 overrides are expected to total about $1,075,000.
Ms. Davison told The Times that the budget is still being developed and these numbers "are approximate and preliminary."
The March 4 session will be held from 4 to 5:30 pm in the first floor meeting room of the Oak Bluffs Library, the March 13 session from 10 am to noon at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center.
The same information will be covered at both sessions, Ms. Davisson said.
A news story about budget planning for fiscal year 2011, published on Feb. 18 and headlined, "Janitor's post focus of sharp UIRSD clash," incorrectly reported that West Tisbury School custodian Sharon Estrella receives $78,000 in salary and benefits. That salary figure was based on one option under consideration to reduce the school budget. That option called for Ms. Estrella to replace a current nighttime custodian. The difference is in benefits, of which the school district's share is 75 percent.
According to school business administrator Amy Tierney, the full-time nighttime custodian would receive a salary of $56,313 ($54,873 base, plus a $1,440 night shift differential), plus $22,335 in health, dental, and life insurance benefits (family plan), for a total of $78,648.
If Ms. Estrella worked the nighttime position, she would receive a salary of $56,873 ($54,873 base plus $2,000 longevity pay for almost 28 years as a custodian), $8,593 in health and life insurance benefits (individual plan, no dental), and a $1,440 night shift differential, for a total of $66,906.
Ms. Estrella now receives a salary of $56,873, plus benefits of $7,704, for a total of $64,577.