Island men nabbed on heroin charges
Members of the Martha's Vineyard Drug Task Force arrested John C. Andriotis, 28, of Edgartown and Andrew J. Morris, 24, of Oak Bluffs on heroin trafficking and conspiracy charges Wednesday evening, as the pair drove off a Steamship Authority ferry in Vineyard Haven.
Mr. Andriotis was arraigned Thursday before first justice H. Gregory Williams in Edgartown District Court on charges of possession of cocaine, trafficking in heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and being where heroin is present. Mr. Morris was arraigned on heroin trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Mr. Morris wore several pairs of underwear, in which police found 54 grams of uncut heroin concealed in his crotch, assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard told the court.
Both men are well known to Island police departments and have long police records, Ms. Marshard said. Indeed, Mr. Andriotis has a record of arrests in four Massachusetts counties, for charges involving weapons, drugs, larceny, and assault.
Ms. Marshard asked the judge to set bail at $25,000 for Mr. Andriotis. "I am not at all confident he will address these charges without significant bail," Ms. Marshard said. Judge Williams agreed.
In setting bail for Mr. Morris, court officials noted that at his arraignment two months ago on an unrelated charge, the judge warned Mr. Morris that if he was arrested again, he could be held without bail for 60 days.
Bail for Mr. Morris on the drug charges was set at $7,500. Bail posted for the previous charge was revoked, and Mr. Morris was returned to custody.
Oak Bluffs Police arrest man on kidnapping, attempted murder charge
Following an investigation by detective Nicholas Curelli, Oak Bluffs police yesterday arrested James W. Campbell, 36, on charges that include assault and battery, kidnapping, attempted murder, and larceny from a person
Mr. Campbell held his girlfriend against her will Tuesday evening, taking her cell phone, and when she tried to escape, he strangled her until she lost consciousness, Sergeant Michael Marchand said. The woman later convinced Mr. Campbell to take her home.
He drove her around, but he would not let her leave the vehicle, police said. The woman jumped out of the car in Tisbury. Mr. Campbell caught up to her and strangled her again until she passed out, police said.
They returned to Mr. Campbell's residence. The next morning he drove the woman to work. She described her ordeal to another person who contacted police.
Police arrested Mr. Campbell yesterday morning without incident at his residence on Lagoon Avenue in Oak Bluffs. He was transported to Dukes County Jail to await arraignment.
Army Corps will resume beach munitions cleanup
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will resume clearing World War II munitions from the shore along South Beach on Chappaquiddick and Edgartown, and at Long Point in West Tisbury, 10th District Congressman Bill Delahunt announced yesterday.
In recent years, the Corps has begun cleaning up what are termed Formerly Used Defense Sites, properties that the Department of Defense once owned or used, but no longer controls. Martha's Vineyard is on that list because these beach areas were used for practice bombing.
Army Headquarters approved $5 million for what will be the second phase of a cleanup effort on properties owned and or managed by The Trustees of Reservations and the state.
Last summer, in a collaborative effort with state, county, and local officials, the Army Corps conducted an emergency clean-up of rockets and practice bombs at Little Neck, South Beach, and Norton Point Beach, up to 100 feet from the shoreline. Those efforts resulted in the discovery and disposal of 127 MK-23 and MK-5 practice bombs from Little Neck and 617 aerial rocket motors, practice bombs, and warheads from Norton Point and South Beach.
West Tisbury resident Tom Rancich, a former Navy SEAL and a partner in VRHabilis, a subcontractor, assisted in the search and disposal effort and will be at it again on the Vineyard this summer.
None of the bombs found last summer contained explosive material. In the past several years, the Massachusetts State Police and the US Navy have detonated several 100-pound bombs and munitions debris that they believed contained explosive material, taken from Tisbury Great Pond and from Wasque Point on Chappaquiddick.
Another hat in West Tisbury election ring
Erik Hammarlund has joined the race for a three-year seat on the West Tisbury board of selectmen. Mr. Hammarlund, a lawyer, will square off with the only other declared candidate in the race, Cynthia Mitchell, former selectman and town assessor.
Selectman Dianne Powers, who is also the elected Dukes County register of Deeds, announced early this year that she did not plan to seek a second term on the board.
The election is April 15.
State Senator Robert O'Leary talks issues, future
On a visit to the offices of The Martha's Vineyard Times Monday, State Senator Robert O'Leary confirmed that he will run for Congress if U.S. Rep William Delahunt decides not to seek an eighth term at the 10th District representative. "The only variable for me is Bill Delahunt," he said.
The Barnstable Democrat, who has represented the Cape and islands in Boston since 2001, said his interest in national politics reflects personal ambition, and the recognition that Congressional seats rarely become vacant, but an opportunity is at hand.
"I found that I enjoy government - parts of it I don't - but I enjoy it a lot and I think I am pretty good at it."
Asked what he does not enjoy, Mr. O'Leary, who is up for reelection in November, said, "Running for office. Does any sane person want to put himself through the process of a campaign? No."
To be specific, Mr. O'Leary, a history teacher by trade and professor at Mass Maritime Academy, said he does not like to raise the money needed to conduct a campaign. "I raise what I think I need," he said.
The estimated cost of a race for Congress is approximately $1 million. "And I think that is one of the problems in Washington, and I am offended by that," he said. "The need is to raise $1 million, and I do not know what I am going to do about that."
For now, Mr. O'Leary said he is focused on his work in the state Senate, which includes recent passage of the education reform act, a law he described as a significant piece of legislation that could bring the state $288 million in federal money.
Mr. O'Leary has been intimately involved with the creation and passage of the Oceans Act. He is currently working to protect the authority of the Martha's Vineyard Commission over projects in Island waters by adding language to that effect to a bill now in committee.
On one hot topic, Mr. O'Leary said, "I have been opposed to Cape Wind. But I think it is academic at this point. I think it is going to happen."
Mr. O'Leary said that when Cape Wind was first proposed, the two selling points were that the electricity would be provided to the Cape and islands, and the rates would come down. He said the economics of the plan would require a long-term contract that will not provide any savings over the long term.
Lawmakers are increasingly eying casino gambling as a source of revenue for the cash-strapped state. Mr. O'Leary said he has been and remains opposed to it because it is a bad business deal and a bad social deal. "Why are we raising money on the backs of people who can't afford to be gambling to begin with?" he said. "Why are we promoting this kind of behavior in this state? I don't see any value to it."
Sagamore Bridge work will resume Friday
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District plans to resume deck repairs and other work on the Sagamore Bridge in Bourne mid-morning Friday, according to a press release.
The traffic spillover will likely add to traffic on the Bourne Bridge, the primary route for Island traffic.
The Sagamore Bridge lane restrictions will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plans are to complete the work by late spring the Army Corps said.
More information on the work can be obtained from the Corps' webpage under Bridge Notices at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/recreati/-ccc/-news/bridgenotices.htm.
Tisbury selectmen approve Falmouth ferry service
The Tisbury selectmen approved a harbor use permit for Falmouth Marine to run a ferry service from Falmouth to Vineyard Haven. Their decision, at a public hearing Tuesday, was based on the recommendation of the town's harbor management committee.
Falmouth Marine will operate a 68-foot 40-passenger ferry from the Falmouth inner harbor to Tisbury Marine at 52 Beach Road, which the company also owns, general manager Mark Jones said.
Mr. Jones requested a schedule of five trips a day, with a sixth trip on Friday and Sunday, from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day. He also asked permission to make an extra run on holidays and Sundays to pick up remaining passengers, if necessary. The charge will be $12.50 one way.
Although the ferry's length does not require coordinating runs with the Steamship Authority's (SSA) schedule, according to harbormaster Jay Wilbur, Mr. Jones said the company took that into consideration when they set their schedule.
The ferry would be available for charters on the Tisbury side after 6:30 pm, Mr. Jones said. Falmouth Marine also operates the Pied Piper ferry service from the Falmouth Marina to Edgartown's Memorial Wharf.
Selectman Geoghan Coogan recused himself from the selectmen's decision, because he served as Falmouth Marine's attorney at a permit hearing in 2006.
Tisbury's harbor management committee had already reviewed and approved the permit application.
Hunter education course offered
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) will offer a free hunter education course in April at the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club in Edgartown. Successful completion of the state-certified course meets certain state firearms licensing application requirements, as well as out-of-state hunting license requirements.
Massachusetts residents must show a basic hunter education course certificate in order to obtain a state hunting license.
Jeff Day, a Chilmark police officer and master instructor, is the class instructor. The basic class curriculum includes instruction on firearms safety, wildlife conservation, hunting with a bow, tree-stand safety and hunting ethics. Space is limited.
The class schedule is 6 to 9 pm on Tuesday, April 20, and 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25. Students must attend all three sessions to successfully complete the course. Students age 10 to 17 may take the class with parental permission. The course is free.
Participants are required to preregister with the DFW Hunter Safety Program by calling 978-772-0693. More information on the hunter education program is available at www.Mass.gov/Masswildlife. For class information only, call instructor Jeff Day at 508-645-9323.
Struggling IAHF cuts staff, expenses
The Island Affordable Housing Fund (IAHF), struggling to meet its obligation to subsidize Island rental housing, made drastic cuts this week to reduce its own operating expenses. Of its three employees, the fund laid off two, leaving only Ewell Hopkins, the chief executive, on staff. The fund hired Mr. Hopkins last fall, to raise funds and run the organization.
"We're working really close to the edge," Mr. Hopkins said. "Serving the needs of the community has forced us to look at all of our expenses. We have to rely a lot more on volunteerism. We haven't done enough of that."
Mr. Hopkins said that several members of his board have already agreed to spend time helping with the organization's work. He said it will be a challenge to ramp up for the summer fundraising season, when the fund has traditionally held large events. "It won't affect fundraising in the short term; it will affect fundraising in the long term," he said.
Mr. Hopkins said the winter months are usually a time for one-on-one fundraising.
Board member Kenn Karakul gave the organization a boost this week, with a $10,000 donation. Half of that was directed to go to this month's rental assistance fund. The other half is intended as a matching fund for next month's rental assistance program.
Mr. Hopkins is also optimistic that the fund will soon reach agreement to sell the remaining market rate home at its Jenney Way development in Edgartown. While he said the fund may not see a profit on the sale, it will reduce the drag on its expenses by eliminating the mortgage payment.
Feds give $32 million for Cape, Islands broadband access
The nonprofit OpenCape Corporation will receive $32 million in federal stimulus funds to construct a 350-mile fiber optic network, wireless microwave network, and regional data center designed to connect more than 60 anchor institutions on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket.
The U.S. Department of Commerce notified the Barnstable-based group of the award, and 10th District Congressman William Delahunt made the announcement Tuesday. The money will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP).
The $32 million grant will be combined with matching funds totaling $8 million from the state, RCN Metro Optical Networks, the project's commercial partner, and Barnstable County "to construct a comprehensive middle mile network to support the economic, educational, public safety, and governmental needs of the Southeast Massachusetts region," according to a press release.
"OpenCape is the product of years of work and collaboration by organizations and individuals across our region," OpenCape president Dan Gallagher, said. "It's a vital part of the region's long-term growth and competitiveness strategy and we are excited to have assembled all of the necessary funding to immediately begin building the OpenCape network."
OpenCape estimated that the project would create more than 200 jobs in the equipment, construction, and manufacturing sectors, as well as an additional 200 indirect jobs.
In a press release, Mr. Delahunt's office said that the network would connect several underserved areas, provide service to schools, medical facilities and libraries and Homeland Security organizations at the Mass Military Reservation, create a public safety infrastructure in a region prone to natural disasters, and enhance services to the regions major educational and research institutions such as the Woods Hole community, UMass Dartmouth, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and several others.
In the obituary of Dr. Peter Kelley, published in the February 18 Times, the second "e" in Dr. Kelley's last name was at times omitted.
A news brief, "Tisbury School's Jump for Hope helps Haitians," published on February 25, references a photo that did not run in the print edition of the paper, but did run in the online version.