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Martha's Vineyard Times is a weekly publication.
July 14 - July 20, 2005 Edition
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planning ahead at Union Chapel
Christopher Scott (left), executive director of the Marthas
Vineyard Preservation Trust, and architect Patrick Ahearn, AIA, were
among the speakers yesterday morning at historic Union Chapel in Oak
Bluffs. The gathering brought together preservation trust board members
and supporters, members of the chapels congregation, and Oak
Bluffs residents and business people. It was held to announce progress
on the trusts plan to restore the unique 1871 structure.
According to Mr. Scott, the Edgartown-based preservation trust has
raised an impressive $250,000 towards the projects cost, representing
half of its capital campaign goal. He said that extensive research,
which included studying dozens of photographs and drawings of the
building from over many years, shows that the chapel was once ornate
and that much of the original detail has been lost. A number of these
images were on display yesterday.
The preservation group is hoping to have raised necessary funds and
secured bids by next summer, after which work can get underway. As
is the case with all of the organizations properties, the restoration
process will aim to be faithful to the buildings original design.
Look for more coverage in next weeks edition of The Times.
Drawbridge committee will ask towns to pay $14,000 for second opinion
The Lagoon Pond drawbridge committee voted yesterday morning to ask
Oak Bluffs and Tisbury to each pay $7,000 to pay for an engineering
firm to examine the condition of the ailing Lagoon Pond drawbridge.
As part of the examination, the committee wants the engineers to draft
a set of recommendations for a replacement or repairs, as well as
a contingency plan if the current bridge fails.
The request comes after the committee received two responses to a
request for quotes (RFQ) from engineering firms on Tuesday. Lichtensten
Consulting Engineers, Inc., in Natick was the low bidder at $11,700.
Bergmann Associates, based in Jersey City, N.J., bid $13,500 for the
consulting contract. The committee voted to ask the towns for $14,000
to cover additional costs that are not quoted in the companies
The drawbridge committee is required to select the low bidder, unless
the company cannot meet all the requirements in the RFQ. At yesterdays
meeting, the committee did not vote to select either of the firms.
They said they would wait until the two boards of selectmen vote on
the request for funds.
The request for another look at the bridge comes as MassHighway continues
to move forward with its plans to replace the drawbridge first
with a temporary structure, and then with a permanent bridge.
While the bridge committee voted to endorse the states two-bridge
solution last year, in recent months a growing number of committee
members have questioned the plan.
Tristan Israel, Tisbury selectman who has expressed his opposition
to MassHighways two-bridge plan, spoke in favor of hiring an
engineer, at yesterdays meeting. He said, I think that
a contingency plan could also be used for looking alternatively at
this whole situation.
Melinda Loberg, bridge committee chairman, said that another review
of the bridge would give the towns more ammunition for
dealing with MassHighway.
Steve Berlucchi, county engineer and a member of the drawbridge committee
disagreed. He said another examination of the bridge would give the
towns little new information, and would do little to sway MassHighway
to alter its plans.
Everything that this RFQ requires has already been done. All
the inspections have been done. The project has been reviewed by over
a dozen structural engineers
I think this is a waste of money,
Off-season schedules on agenda for SSA meet
The Steamship Authority (SSA) board is expected to vote on the upcoming
winter and spring schedule at its July monthly meeting at the Hyannis
boatline terminal Thursday, July 21.
Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, said the timing of the vote is
earlier than has occurred in the past in order to give people more
time to make advance plans. Last year, the schedules were not set
until December, creating an inconvenience for customers.
Mr. Lamson said he would not be recommending any fare surcharge at
next weeks meeting. The issue came up at last months meeting
after management described the increased pressure placed on the operating
budget as a result of a drop in anticipated passenger revenue during
the winter and spring months and rising fuel and insurance costs.
The board is also expected to take action on several proposals originating
from Nantucket, including changes in reservation procedures designed
to make it easier for disabled people, or those with medical appointments
to secure a reservation.
Mr. Lamson said the Oak Bluffs SSA terminal would likely come up for
discussion at the August board meeting. He said management is currently
reviewing alternative options based on the Oak Bluffs conservation
commissions resistance to any use of the north bluff area.
Marc Hanover, SSA chairman and Island member, said he would meet with
Oak Bluffs selectmen on July 26 to discuss the terminal plans, which
at one stage included leasing the old town hall as a ticket office,
renovations to the rest rooms and a staging area along the north bluff.
One option would be to downscale the long-delayed project to improve
the terminal staging area, at an estimated cost of more than $10 million,
and simply concentrate on the much needed reconstructions of the slip
and dolphins at far less cost.
An increasingly frustrated Mr. Hanover said the original plan was
designed to turn the terminal into a town gateway and improve the
existing conditions but that requires town support for an expensive
capital project that must still be approved by the SSA board. It
just does not seem to be coming together, said Mr. Hanover.
Thursdays meeting begins at 9:30 am.
Driver charged with OUI after flipping truck
A Tisbury man faces a number of charges, including drunk driving,
after he allegedly crashed his pickup truck into a stonewall and flipped
it onto its roof just before 10 pm on Friday.
Tisbury police chief Ted Saulnier said that Jonah Talbot, 22, of Tisbury
was driving his Dodge pickup truck north on Main Street, when he went
off the road, crashed into a stonewall, swerved back onto the road
and flipped the truck onto its roof, just after Tashmoo Avenue.
When police arrived at the scene, the driver was not in the truck.
After searching the area around the crash they found Mr. Talbot hiding
nearby in the woods. Chief Saulnier said that Mr. Talbot tried to
evade officers and that he became combative.
Police arrested Mr. Talbot and charged him with operating under the
influence of alcohol, marked lanes violation, leaving the scene of
an accident, resting arrest, speeding, and wanton destruction of personal
In other business, Tisbury police are investigating a number of recent
break-ins. In two separate incidents a thief or thieves broke into
a home, stole cash and other items, and then took the homeowners
car to flee the scene. In one case the vehicle was returned to the
home, and in another incident, the car was abandoned on Beach Road.
Police have arrested a 14-year-old male in connection with a third
break-in at a condominium unit near Mink Meadows Golf Club. Police
would not release the boys name because he is a juvenile, but
Chief Saulnier said that he faces charges for stealing $460 in cash,
a cellular phone, and liquor from the home. Chief Saulnier would not
comment on whether the boy was involved in the other two break-ins,
but said that all three incidents are under investigation.
West Tisbury legal costs soar
West Tisbury executive secretary Jennifer Rand told the selectmen
last week that the town needs more money to pay legal expenses in
FY05 and FY06. At a special town meeting in November, voters will
be asked for $83,000 to pay FY05 legal expenses incurred for May and
June, as the town defended itself in a lawsuit by William Graham,
who is contesting the assessed value of his real estate.
Because the case promises to continue into the summer, Ms. Rand said
she will ask at the same town meeting to enlarge her legal budget
for FY06 as well, probably by $30,000 or $40,000.
Mr. Graham is appealing the assessed values of his north shore properties.
He says the values set by the town for his property are out of step
with other assessments in West Tisbury. Mr. Graham first appealed
to the West Tisbury board of assessors. The assessors reduced Mr.
Grahams assessment in response to his appeal, but not enough
to satisfy him. He then sought relief in a legal action before the
Massachusetts appellate tax board in Boston.
No one expected the case to go on this long, Ms. Rand
said. The Vineyard Gazette reported this week that the case is already
the longest residential tax appeal in the history of Massachusetts.
After a two-week recess, the hearing will resume on July 26.
Town hall sentiment supports the assessors determination to
fight the Graham appeal. Interviews with town officials last week
found agreement that the town must defend itself, even if the cost
is high. Youve got to do what youve got to do,
said finance committee (fincom) chairman Sharon Estrella.
Members of the fincom who attended the selectmens meeting agreed
that it is not possible to anticipate the need to defend a huge lawsuit.
However, Peter Costas, a member of the fincom, suggested that the
town might begin setting aside $25,000 per year in a special fund
for such a purpose.
Monster Shark Tournament is this weekend
Following last months Jaws Fest, which drew crowds for Bruce,
the mechanical shark from the movie Jaws, sharks will once again take
center stage on Marthas Vineyard, although this time they arent
This weekend, Oak Bluffs Harbor will serve as the headquarters for
the annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament, sponsored by the Boston
Big Game fishing Club.
The best time to view any sharks is late Friday or Saturday afternoon
from 3:30 pm at the weigh station next to Our Market on the harbor.
Like last year, the all-sports television network ESPN will be on
the Island filming the shark tournament. Last year the network produced
four one-hour programs on the event.
Katama closing update
In the spring of 2004, Edgartown selectman closed Katama Bay
locally known as down harbor to overnight anchoring,
a controversial decision contested by the Army Corps of Engineers
as well as disgruntled boaters. A year-and-a-half later, Edgartown
harbormaster Charlie Blair is happy with the results.
According to Mr. Blair, before the closing, 80 percent of the harbormasters
calls concerned Katama Bay activity, where 80 boats anchored on a
given night. We had a small city down there, said Mr.
The transients included 130-foot yachts with dishwashers, macerators
and helipads. According to Mr. Blair, smaller powerboats were often
abandoned for weeks at a time, noise complaints were frequent, and
the grey water discharges, which are only regulated on the Great Lakes,
were damaging shellfish crops. We had a big oyster kill. The
shellfish guys were going nuts, he said.
This year the harbormasters department has had no calls so far
from the outer anchorage, and the complaints about the lack of access
have dropped from an all-time high that featured anti-Charlie Blair
web sites to the current low, in which Mr. Blair is receiving few,
if any, complaints.
Mr. Blair also said that in a strong northeast blow, the only time
the anchorage off Chappaquiddick in the outer harbor doesnt
offer protection, boaters can check with him and usually get permission
to use the more secluded Katama anchorage. But when the blow stops,
they have to go.
They still have refuge down there if they need it, said
Mr. Blair added that all the traditional boating access is still in
place, including small anchorages such as Fishermans Landing
on the Edgartown side, and the working skiffs on stern lines at the
Katama launching ramp. Recreational use of Katama Bay, said Mr. Blair,
hasnt dropped off at all.
CIA hosts hazardous waste collection
The Chappaquiddick Island Association (CIA) will host a hazardous
waste drop off at the Chappy community center Saturday from 7 to 9
Items that may be brought to the collection site include batteries
of any kind, chemicals, oil based paints, gasoline, kerosene, paint
thinners, dry wall compound, rimless tires and used oil.
There will be a charge of $1 per tire and at $1 per gallon of oil.
Propane cylinders will not be accepted.
According to a CIA water resources committeepress release, the collection
is designed to make it easier for Chappy residents to dispose of hazardous
waste and protect water quality.
Red Cross launches summer blood drive to bolster low supplies
The American Red Cross will hold its Summer Blood Drive on Tuesday,
July 26 at the Masonic Lodge on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road
in Oak Bluffs from 12:30 to 5:30 pm.
Since Memorial Day, national supply levels across the country have
reached a critical low point, according to the Red Cross, which is
appealing to all eligible people to donate blood. The national organization
is particularly interested in collecting Type O, Type A-negative and
Type B-negative, the bloods types currently suffering the greatest
According to a press release, the Red Cross is eager to recruit new
donors. Potential donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh
over 110 pounds. In most cases, donors may give if they are on medications,
but should know the names of these medications.
People who would like to donate and cannot make it to the Masonic
Lodge by 5:30pm, or for more information about the drive, should call
Grace Smith, blood services coordinator, at 508-693-8859 or the Marthas
Vineyard Chapter at 508-696-0092.
FARM Institute hires new farm manager
A man with roots in Iowa recently took over management of The FARM
Institute at Katama Farm in Edgartown.
Before he arrived on Marthas Vineyard, Matthew Goldfarb was
the livestock manager biology teacher at Scattergood Friends School
in West Branch, Iowa.
According to a press release, his role will be to lead the farm into
another exciting phase of growth and relevance in the Island community.
Based on the saying, There are no strangers in the garden,
I look forward to building a network around the farm that will further
strengthen our community by bonding us together, he said.
John Curelli, Executive Director of FARM said, We are pleased
to welcome Matthew as our new farm manager. His broad experience with
agriculture and engaging hands-on teaching skills will strengthen
our commitment to our mission and the community.
For more information on The FARM Institute, go to www.farminstitute.org
or contact John Curelli at 508-627-7007.
USCG licensing scholarships available
The Permanent Endowment Fund for Marthas Vineyard, in connection
with the Seafarers Friend Harriet Goldberg Trust, will provide
a limited number of Coast Guard licensing scholarships for Vineyard
residents interested in taking courses approved by the U.S. Coast
A wide variety of courses are being offered at a number of Southeastern
New England locations over the next several months. Individuals currently
seeking to obtain a U.S. Coast Guard license or improve upon a current
license should contact the Permanent Endowment Fund at 508-627-3754
to obtain a scholarship information packet.
Solar Open House Tour Saturday
The Vineyard Energy Project will sponsor a solar open house tour,
all within walking distance of the West Tisbury Farmers Market
on Saturday, from 9 am to noon. Four homeowners will be available
to answer questions about their systems: why they went solar and how
they have liked it. Information will be available about both solar
electric and solar hot water systems and the current subsidy money
available to all Vineyard homeowners.
The sites are: Susan and Bob Wasserman on Music Street, Art and Gay
Nelson on Factory Brook Road, The Vineyard Energy Project at 1085
State Road, and Glenn and Linda Hearn at their booth on the south
side of the Farmers Market.
Yellow balloons and signs will mark the sites, which are all within
walking distance of the market.
Sail MV annual dinner and auction is a success
More than 300 guests helped Sail Marthas Vineyard raise better
than $100,000 at the nonprofits dinner and auction Saturday
evening at the Tisbury Wharf Company. The annual seafood buffet, known
widely as a great party, helps to fund ongoing operations for Sail
Marthas Vineyard, whose mission is to celebrate the maritime
heritage of the Vineyard.
We still have some calculations to make, but it appears that
we will net just over $100.000, which is enough to sustain the free
Island youth sail training program and start to reach out to a broader
audience , said Tom Rancich, executive director. However,
I am more interested in judging success based on the excitement in
the room. I received a great deal of comments, questions and advice
on the expanded focus of Sail Marthas Vineyard. People were
very supportive of the merger effort with Vineyard Voyagers and the
energy from the launching of Grace [a volunteer-built rowing gig,
one of two that will be crewed by Islanders in rowing competitions]
certainly carried into the seafood buffet. People like the idea of
adding programs and encouraged me to reach more people and to increase
the attention on maritime heritage.
Sail Marthas Vineyards total expenses were approximately
$184,000 in fiscal 2004. Seventy-one percent of that funded the free
Island youth sail training programs or supported the high school sailing
team. Twenty-six percent of the remaining overhead was attributed
to mandatory insurance.
Mr. Rancich said this deployment of funds testifies to the organizations
sharp focus on delivering service to the community and not wasting
money on overhead.
As SAIL MV begins to grow, Mr. Rancich explained in a
press statement, this virtue is central to the planning process.
John Christensen, chairman of the Sail MV board, was delighted by
the festive evening.
I think the auction went very well, and the raw numbers look
good, but I think that Sail Marthas Vineyard has gotten to the
point where we can no longer count on one event to sustain us. For
years, weve been scaring ourselves with the threat of a three-day
northeaster on the day of the auction, so that, combined with our
growth, plans have us looking at diversifying our events and providing
more value rather than begging for more money.
The important thing here, Mr. Christensen said, is
that with very little advertising, our attendance was strong. People
are interested, and even if they cant throw down large chunks
of cash they still want to be involved, and they like being around
people who like being involved.
To accommodate the interest of so many, Sail Marthas Vineyard
will reopen the Seafarers Center in Vineyard Haven to support local
maritime activities and transient boaters. The nonprofit plans another
fun effort at the Agricultural Fair and looks ahead to sponsoring
more events on the water. People interested in volunteering or otherwise
being involved should call 508-696-7644.
Of course, Donald
Widdiss is the chairman of the Wampanoag Tribal Council. Carl Widdiss
is the former Aquinnah selectman. The Times editorial of July 7, which
concerned the tribe and its chairman, and the current selectmen of
Aquinnah, transposed the two.
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Martha's Vineyard Times 2005 - www.mvtimes.com
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