Keep those used cell phones coming
Police clerk Jeannie Pierson, pictured below, displayed a growing collection of used cell phones collected in a recycling drive she organized at the Oak Bluffs Police Department, in support of the Verizon Wireless HopeLine Program.
Ms. Pierson said on Monday she shipped a full box to Verizon, the first of what she hoped would be many.
The HopeLine program uses money generated from recycling old cell phones, accessories, and batteries to provide refurbished wireless phones to domestic violence organizations to distribute to victims who need them most. (See "Old cell phones offer a lifeline for abuse victims," published February 25 in The Times.)
The recycling drive continues through mid-May. HopeLine collection boxes are available at the OBPD and at The Times for cell phones of all vintages, from all carriers, working or not, as well as accessories and batteries.
Tisbury secures finance rate for new ESF
Roosevelt and Cross Incorporated of New York bid 2.92 percent to finance Tisbury's bond issue for the construction of the town's new emergency services facility on Spring Street. The total value of the bond issue is $9,405,000.
The bond issue includes $6.8 million for ESF construction and $640,000 for its design, $1,850,000 for a five-year program to rebuild and resurface town roads and sidewalks (including $350,000 for the connector road design), and $115,000 to relocate town hall annex operations.
Roosevelt was the low bidder at last week's financing auction. Interest rates among the eight bidders ranged from 2.92 to 3.055 percent, according to a press release from town administrator John Bugbee.
"This low rate is a testament to the town's excellent bond rating and all the hard work that has been put in to keeping the town's finances at manageable levels," Tisbury selectman Jeff Kristal said in the press release. "We look forward to the construction of a wonderful twenty-first century facility that will benefit all of Tisbury's residents."
The approximately 18,500-square-foot new ESF will house the fire, ambulance, and emergency management departments on the town hall annex site across the street from Tisbury School. The annex operations will be relocated to temporary office trailers off High Point Lane, near the animal control facility and department of public works.
Seaver Construction of Woburn will begin building the ESF in late March. Construction is expected to take nine to twelve months to complete.
Three vie for selectman's seat in Tisbury
Tisbury's April 27 town election sports a three-way race for one seat on the board of selectmen and a two-way race for one seat on the board of health.
Five-term incumbent selectman Tristan Israel will contend with Angela Cywinski and Bruce Lewellyn.
Ms. Cywinski is also running for reelection to the board of assessors for a three-year term. If elected to both offices, she would be required by town bylaw to give up one of the jobs.
Michael Loberg will challenge incumbent board of health member Kenneth Garde.
Other races are uncontested. Among them, Daniel Seidman seeks election to the planning board for five years.
Although there are four seats available on the finance and advisory committee for three-year terms, incumbent Peter Hefler is the only candidate.
Among candidates for library trustees, Heather Quinn seeks a one-year term. Karen Ann Casper is running for a three-year term, as is incumbent James Norton. A third three-year position has no candidate.
Frederick Thifault seeks reelection for a three-year term to the public works commission. Elmer Silva Jr. is running for another three-year term as water commissioner.
Colleen McAndrews seeks a three-year term on the school committee.
The deadline for nomination papers was Tuesday, March 9, at 5 pm.
Four vie for open Oak Bluffs selectman seat
Kerry Scott's decision not to seek reelection as a selectman has sparked a lively political race in Oak Bluffs, with four people seeking the three-year term. Town elections are April 15.
Contenders are Karen Achille, Gail Barmakian, Kris Chvatal, and Kenneth Davey.
Ms. Achille has been active in library issues and was a leading advocate of the new library. Ms. Barmakian has served on several town boards, including the planning board and the wastewater district commission. Mr. Chvatal is a math teacher at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. He has served on the zoning board of appeals. Kenneth Davey is a volunteer firefighter who has been active in civic affairs.
There are no other contested races on the ballot.
Erik Hammarlund drops out of West Tisbury race
Less than two weeks after he announced he had joined the race for a seat on the West Tisbury board of selectmen, Erik Hammarlund withdrew.
"For personal reasons, I regret that I am unable to continue my candidacy in this year's selectman's race," Mr. Hammarlund said in a fax received by The Times at 5:30 pm Thursday. "I greatly appreciate the widespread support and assistance I have received in the short time since I announced my candidacy, and I apologize for the need to withdraw at this late hour."
That leaves Cynthia Mitchell, former selectman and town assessor, the only declared candidate to replace Dianne Powers, who does not plan to seek a second three-year term on the board.
Quiet election season in Edgartown
Edgartown voters will find only one contested race on the town election ballot April 15. Dudley Levick 3rd and Michael Jon McCourt will compete for a one-year term on the planning board, to fill a vacancy.
Michael Donaroma, currently chairman of the board of selectmen, is unopposed for reelection.
The annual town meeting is April 13. More than 60 warrant articles, including seven Proposition 2.5 tax override questions, will be up for action. Among the issues drawing attention are a two-percent cost of living salary increase for town employees, a $300,000 request to redesign an addition to the town library, and increases in taxes on rooms and meals.
Following a public hearing on Feb. 16, Edgartown selectmen removed a request to increase the room tax and meals tax.
Chilmark election features selectman race
The Chilmark election will feature a race for the seat on the three-member board of selectmen now held by J.B. Riggs Parker, who has announced that he will not seek reelection.
Two candidates have submitted nomination papers. William N. Rossi, owner of the Chilmark Store, and Jonathan E. Mayhew, a commercial fisherman and former selectman, will contend for the open seat.
Barring a write-in campaign, there are no other contests. Those seeking reelection are: library trustee, J. Norman Freed; cemetery commissioner, Jane N. Slater; finance advisory committee, Richard C. Williams; treasurer, Melanie Becker; tree warden, Keith L. Emin; planning board, John O. Flender; board of health, Katherine Lees Carroll; constable, Daniel Bryant; planning board, Janet L. Weidner; site review committee, Clarissa Allen; board of assessors, Clarissa Allen; and moderator, Everett H. Poole.
Chilmarkers targeted in email scam
Chilmark Police chief Brian Cioffi said scam artists appear to be targeting local residents with emails that purport to be sent from a friend or relative in need of money while in a distant location.
In one example, the scam artist adopted the name of a family member and claimed to have lost his passport and cell phone while in England. While it is unlikely that anyone reading the poorly worded email would fall for the scam, Chief Cioffi advised people to verify any requests for assistance.
Bike path backers pedal debate forward
A committee promoting a bike path on Chappaquiddick submitted a letter to the board of selectmen Monday outlining their ideas to move the bitter debate to a resolution.
The letter asks that a factual basis for discussion be developed to define options and costs. The committee said an accurate measure of public opinion is the best way to settle irreconcilable differences. They ask that town officials take the lead in facilitating open discussion, and that appropriate town boards and commissions should become engaged in the process.
"We understand the frustration and anxieties with the process to date," the committee wrote in its letter. "We do believe that the end is in sight, one way or another."
In other action, town administrator Pam Dolby told the board she intends to resign her seat on the conservation commission. "There have been certain situations when I find it is difficult to serve as town administrator, and also be on the conservation commission," Ms. Dolby said in a letter to selectmen.
The board approved $2,975 for the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority rental assistance program. The money, which will cover part of the March rental subsidies for Edgartown residents, comes from the Edgartown Affordable Housing Trust.
Selectmen voted unanimously to deny a request for money to take the next step in a wind energy project.
Wastewater commissioners asked selectmen for authority to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study. They want to site a windmill at the wastewater treatment plant that could power many of the town's buildings. "I'm a little bit disappointed with the concept of wind at that location," selectman Art Smadbeck said. "There are going to be so many issues, it would be a waste of taxpayer money."
Also, the board appointed seven people to serve on the library building design committee, charged with redesigning an addition to the library. The committee includes Morton Feeney, Larry Mercier, Ann Tyra, Bob Andrews, Dick Knight, Chris Scott, and Michael Donaroma.
Congressman Delahunt makes it official
10th District Congressman William Delahunt of Quincy announced last Thursday what many political junkies have expected. He won't run for reelection to the South Shore and Cape and Islands district that he has represented since eking out a primary win over Phil Johnston in 1996 and joining Congress in 1997.
The news has touched off a scramble for a rare open Congressional seat.
Among Democrats, state Sen. Robert O'Leary of Barnstable plans to run for the open seat.
On a visit to The Times office last week, 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.
Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating, a Democrat, has also joined the race.
Sen. Scott Brown posted a strong showing in Mr. Delahunt's district in his upset win in the January special election against Attorney General Martha Coakley, and Republicans have suggested they have a strong shot at winning the seat.
Republican challengers include State Rep. Jeff Perry of Sandwich, former state treasurer Joe Malone of Scituate, Donald Hussey of Hingham, and Ray Kasperowicz of Cohasset.
The late Gerry Studds, a Democrat, held the seat for 24 years before Mr. Delahunt, the former Norfolk County district attorney.Note to Production: This brief goes with a photo of Jeannie Pierson, which is mentioned in the text.
Hospital catches up on fuel storage permits
Oak Bluffs selectmen granted a special permit to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital for the storage of fuel in underground tanks, but not before some pointed criticism of the hospital administrators.
In the process of licensing a new underground tank for the new hospital, fire chief Pete Forend discovered that two existing tanks on the hospital property have never been permitted at all.
Selectmen are concerned about a tank installed in the 1970s. "It's not a question of if it's going to fail, it's when it's going to fail, and we could be dealing with a much bigger problem," selectman Ron DiOrio said. Joe Forns, who represented the hospital, said the first step in a process of examining and evaluating the old tanks is to get them permitted. He said monitoring and testing have revealed no leaks so far. Selectmen approved the permit 5 to 0, with the condition that the hospital remove the oldest tank.
New community tennis group formed
A group of Vineyard tennis enthusiasts have formed Martha's Vineyard Community Tennis (MVCT), a United States Tennis Association approved community tennis association.
MVCT goals include supporting what the founding members describe as a boom in Island tennis.
"While it has always been a popular summer activity, tennis has taken off in the past decade as a year-round sport," the MVCT founders said in a press statement announcing the new organization. "Since then, courts are always in use and tournaments are held year-round. Women's and men's leagues of all abilities bring out hundreds of players each spring and fall, and childrenʼs tennis programs have doubled in size, assuring a growing tennis population for years to come."
In addition, MVCT says it will "promote and develop tennis on Marthaʼs Vineyard through a variety of programs and services. MVCT will provide information to the public regarding tennis leagues, tournaments, clinics, court locations, tennis pros and their club affiliations, and exhibition matches."
A USTA grant will be used in part to publish a directory of tennis players, making it easier for players to find tennis partners for matches and to expand play Island-wide.
MVCT will sponsor a tennis tournament, hosted by the Vineyard Youth Tennis Center, to benefit an effort to buy uniforms for the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School girls and boys tennis teams. The event will be held March 27 and 28. The entry fee is $50 per adult.
The founding members of MVCT are Nina Bramhall, Adam Bresnick, John Cahill, Dick Dubin, Kelly Hess, Mas Kimball, Lorne Lewis, Sarah Moore, Doreen Rezendes, and Scott Smith. For information, email email@example.com
Sail MV begins summer registration
Sail Martha's Vineyard, the community sailing program that provides beginner through advanced sailing classes to children, will hold a registration session for summer sailing programs on Saturday, March 13, between 9 am and 2 pm, at the Sail MV building at 110 Main Street, Vineyard Haven.
Students 8 to16 years of age are eligible to participate. The summer schedule will differ from past practice in that most sessions will be two weeks long. All beginner classes are free for Island students.
Registration forms are available at the Sail MV office or online at www.sailmv.com. For more information, call 508-696-7644.