News in Brief
Tisbury police chief
seeks Brewster post
Theodore (Ted) Saulnier, chief of police in Tisbury, has been named by a search committee in Brewster as one of eight finalists among 42 candidates vying for the town's chief of police position, according to an article last Friday in the Cape Codder newspaper. The Brewster selectmen will begin interviewing the candidates in mid-October.
Chief Saulnier said he had no comment regarding his candidacy for the police chief position. The news of his job search follows an announcement made last month that the Tisbury selectmen voted not to renew his three-year contract in late June. Under the terms of his contract, which expired on June 30, Chief Saulnier has up to one year in which to leave his post.
The chief and the Tisbury board of selectmen met for several negotiation sessions prior to his contract's expiration date, but were unable to reach an agreement on his salary, listed as $78,249.60 in the 2004 annual town report.
Regarding Chief Saulnier's application to the Brewster police department, Ray LaPorte, chairman of the Tisbury selectmen, said, "I have no comment about any particular position he may be applying for, except to say that we encourage those who are seeking to advance their careers to consider opportunities beyond the Island."
In the last week of June, the Tisbury selectmen voted in executive session not to renew Chief Saulnier's contract and notified him in a letter dated June 29. He can remain in his post for one year, during which time he could seek to renegotiate the terms of his contract with the selectmen. When asked whether he has plans to do so, Chief Saulnier said he had no comment.
Once the chief formalizes any plans, said Mr. LaPorte, "It will be up to the selectmen to decide as to when to post the position. We will advertise first, in regular trade magazines and newspapers, at a time and date to be decided by the board later."
Chief Saulnier was a sergeant in the Waltham police department before joining Tisbury's department in 2001, where he was appointed a lieutenant. He was promoted to chief in 2002.
In addition to his law enforcement career, Chief Saulnier studied law and passed the bar exam in 1992. Asked if his future plans might include working as a lawyer, Chief Saulnier said, "I have practiced law in the past, and as to what the future will bring, who knows?"
If selected as the Brewster chief of police, Chief Saulnier will oversee 18 full-time officers, as opposed to 13 in Tisbury. Located on the north side of Cape Cod, Brewster has a year-round population of approximately 11,000, compared to Tisbury's 3,155.
closes its doors
Balance, the hip restaurant and bar at end of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, closed its doors this week after seven years of seasonal business.
Owner and chef Benjamin deForest said he made the decision to close a year ago. When his lease ran out this year, he chose not to renew it.
Mr. deForest has been part of the Island's restaurant scene for 11 years. Before Balance, he owned the Red Cat in West Tisbury. Both restaurants became well known for their extravagant dishes and trendy clientele.
This week Mr. deForest thanked Islanders for their support over the years.
"I would like to thank Martha's Vineyard for 11 years of coming to my restaurants," he said. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support we have got here."
Mr. deForest said he does not plan on abandoning the restaurant business, but was tightlipped about his future plans. In the short-term, he said he is heading to Los Angeles for the next six months to pursue his acting career. He said he will be staying with actor Bruce Willis (who Mr. deForest has worked for in the past as the actor's personal chef) and has landed roles in a couple of movies.
Mr. deForest said the decision to close Balance had nothing to do with his acting career.
"Acting is something that I have wanted to do, and it is something that no matter what restaurants I am involved with in the future, is something that I will continue to do," he said.
He added cryptically, "I do have future plans in the restaurant business, but it is too early for me to say anything about it yet. When the time is right, I should have some very big news."
Photo by Susan Safford
Chilmark Home Port committee explores purchase
The Chilmark selectmen Friday appointed five town residents to a special committee to help the town consider what uses might be made of the Home Port Restaurant, if voters decide to purchase the family eatery in Menemsha.
Owners Will Holtham and Madeline Moore agreed to sell to the town the restaurant buildings and six lots, including a dock and other waterfront on Menemsha Creek at a discounted price of $3.9 million. The question will go before voters at a special town meeting to be held before November 30.
The offer is binding until the November special town meeting and will lapse if not accepted by a two-thirds vote.
Earlier this month the selectmen decided to form a committee of voters to review the offer and "catalogue the pros, cons, options, possible uses by the town, and possible results of not accepting the offer."
The Home Port committee members are Linda Coutinho, Leonard Jason Jr., Paul H. Mayhew, Richard Osnoss, and Douglas Sederholm.
The selectmen asked the committee "to develop a format and method of distribution for the work product of the Committee so that the townspeople will be able to consider these matters with the benefit of the committee's insights well before the town meeting at which a vote will be taken."
The committee held its first meeting Monday evening and selected Mr. Sederholm chairman. He is expected to present a report on how the committee will proceed at next week's special town meeting.
According to Mr. Jason, the committee's first meeting was spent discussing the best way to communicate with people and comments committee members have heard about any possible purchase.
Chappy ferry loses steering
An electrical malfunction caused the three-car Chappaquiddick ferry to lose its steering Monday afternoon as it departed Chappaquiddick for the brief voyage to mainland Edgartown.
Unable to maneuver across the short channel, the ferry began to drift away with the outgoing tide. But, with the help of its sister ferry, and the quick response of the Edgartown harbormaster, the rudderless ferry was guided safely back to its slip without incident.
After the cars aboard the ferry were unloaded, the boat was guided back to the extra slip on Chappaquiddick, where it was repaired.
Roy Hayes, owner of the Chappaquiddick ferry, said the malfunction was time-consuming to diagnose, but simple to fix. "It took me a couple of hours to find out there was a fuse on the motor, hidden in a really silly place, wrapped around a fuel line, under the turbo charger," he said. "It was the third person I had on the phone who was finally able to help me with it. I had tested everything, and I couldn't find out why I had no power from the motor to the instruments."
Diana Waring of West Tisbury was waiting in line to leave Chappaquiddick when the incident occurred. "The boat had turned sideways and had begun to drift out with the current," she said. "It didn't get too far, but it looked like it had decided to dock further down and around the corner."
After the ferry was safely recovered and service resumed, Ms. Waring said she had to wait in a long line of cars for about an hour before finally making the short voyage off Chappaquiddick.
Mr. Hayes thanked everyone for their patience during the disruption. "People tend to be understanding when the boat is broken," he said. "They're not as understanding if the boat is just sitting there," he added with a laugh.
From left, Tristan Israel, Ray LaPorte and Tom Pachico, Tisbury's board of selectmen, enjoy their constituents' vantage point in the Katharine Cornell Theatre as they try out the new chairs that arrived last week. Photo by Janet Hefler
New chairs a soft spot
in Tisbury's town hall
Although not on the agenda, the topic of new chairs in the Katharine Cornell Theatre definitely took top billing at Tisbury's board of selectmen meeting in town hall last week. Walking into the theater, delighted meeting goers registered their approval with smiles and contented exclamations of "Ah!" as they sat down in blissful comfort.
Gone were the 31-year-old avocado green vinyl-clad chairs that betrayed every squirm with a loud squeak and adhered themselves to their occupants during hot, humid weather. In their place were their more modern counterparts, featuring plush navy blue and light blue diamond-patterned cloth cushioned seats and backs.
The good news for Tisbury taxpayers is that the cost of the 125 replacement chairs, for which they appropriated $20,000 at the April 2004 town meeting, came in at $7,189.20 instead, thanks to the diligent shopping efforts of John Bugbee, town administrator, and Aase Jones, the assistant to the board of selectmen.
"Some of the old chairs were starting to deteriorate, which prompted the selectmen to put the article in the warrant while we still had something to sit on," Mr. Bugbee explained.
Finding suitable replacement chairs proved challenging, Ms. Jones said. She and Mr. Bugbee searched catalogs and the Internet and settled on a company in California. Not only were they satisfied with the company's product, but also the prices.
"We got a good buy on these, and they are pretty good looking," said Ms. Jones. "I just hope they hold up as long as the last ones did!" She added that although the new chairs are somewhat wider so that not as many fit in the theater, the gain in comfort outweighed the loss of a few seats.
"We owe it to our constituents to offer aid and comfort while they patiently sit through sometimes endless selectmen meetings," joked Ray LaPorte, chair of the selectmen.
For those who harbor fond memories of the 70's and long for another perch on a seat of avocado green, take heart. The town plans to sell the old chairs as surplus, so they may be coming to a theater or meeting place in your hometown soon.
Oak Bluffs police
add new recruits
Newly sworn in police officers Brian Kenney (left) and Daniel Cassidy (right) stand with Oak Bluffs Police Chief Eric Blake following a brief ceremony held in the Oak Bluffs police station at noon last Thursday.
Committee weighs harborfront options
Following a meeting earlier this month to discuss a series of proposed changes along the Edgartown Harbor waterfront, the Edgartown marine advisory committee is working to draft a recommendation for the selectmen.
Joseph Cressy, marine advisory committee member, said, "We had a big meeting on Sept. 7 to discuss the various issues, and now, the advisory committee is meeting regularly to consider all the possible solutions. I'm sure we will be able to resolve all this in the end."
The advisory committee is working to settle a controversy that erupted last month along the Edgartown waterfront in response to rumors stemming from a published report that town officials had agreed to shift the location of the public dinghy docks and move charter fishermen to Memorial Wharf.
The rumor started with a presentation by Gerret Conover, the new owner of the Navigator Restaurant and Boathouse Bar, to the Edgartown Selectmen at their August 1 meeting. Mr. Conover brought architectural sketches describing a proposed waterfront reconfiguration of the restaurant's bulkhead that would require moving the two floating dinghy docks now used by the public.
Town officials assured angry commercial and charter fishermen that no decisions had been made and would not be made without a full and lengthy public process.
There was plenty of public input at an advisory board meeting on Sept. 7. The meeting was well attended by commercial and charter fishermen, despite the fact that they had to cut their workday short for the 3 pm start. The meeting generated numerous suggestions for the advisory committee to consider. Widely supported ideas included removing one of the finger piers, installing more floating docks, and limiting the size of boats that tie up on the harborfront.
This week, Mr. Cressy said that none of the suggestions have been drafted into any sort of formal recommendation. He said the advisory committee would draft a recommendation to present to the selectmen this fall.
"We're working through all this carefully," he said. "We will probably report a final recommendation to the selectmen in the next two months or so, and we'll have another public hearing at that time."
Oak Bluffs water tests positive for bacteria
"Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard," the Oak Bluffs water district announces in an advertisement published in this morning's Times.
According to the notice, six out of 40 water samples (15 percent) taken in August revealed the presence of coliform bacteria in town drinking water. State standards allow only 5 percent of the samples to show a coliform presence.
"This is not an emergency. If it had been you would have been notified immediately," the notice explains. The presence of coliform bacteria indicates only that more dangerous organisms may be present. None, including either E. Coli or fecal coliform, were found.
On Sept. 2 the Oak Bluffs water district began temporarily chlorinating the water supply to disinfect the water system. The distribution system was continually chlorinated through yesterday.
The Oak Bluffs water district said that people do not need to boil their water or take other corrective actions. However, they advise, "People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advise about drinking water from their health-care providers."
General guidelines for ways to minimize the risk of infection by microbes are available from the Environmental Protection Agency's safe drinking water hotline: 1-800-426-4791.
For more information, contact the Oak Bluffs water district offices at 508-693-5527.
Red Cross continues
Katrina relief efforts
The Vineyard was busy this past weekend with fundraising efforts for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, the Martha's Vineyard Chapter of the American Red Cross said this week.
According to a Red Cross press release, to date the local chapter has received approximately $80,000 to benefit the National Disaster Relief Fund. Nationally, the Red Cross has raised $800 million.
Among the weekend events, Lola's Mardi Gras fundraiser was well-attended. Proceeds from the party will exceed $15,000, the press release said.
Dawn Warner and Nicole Cabot coordinated a bake sale combining the efforts of the Island preschools. Baked goods were sold at Bowl and Board in Vineyard Haven. All the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross.
Other Island events included donation collections at the Edgartown Stop and Shop and the two Cronig's stores. A collection table was also setup at the high school football team's home game.
The local Red Cross chapter continues to receive evacuees from the hurricane-ravaged south. Other Island agencies have been contacted to support the evacuees' medical and clothing needs during the recovery efforts.
Training for Red Cross volunteers continues this Saturday. The training program is titled, "Introduction to Disaster Relief and Katrina Orientation." Anyone interested in training for volunteer services can contact the local Red Cross chapter at 508-696-0092.
Oral health assessment program is launched
Island Health Inc., a nonprofit community health organization, announced this week it a program designed to assess the oral health of Island children in Head Start and grades 1, 3 and 6, as well as adults at high risk for dental disease and other oral health conditions who have limited resources for seeking dental care.
Called "Vineyard Smiles," the program is supported by a grant from the Oral Health Foundation, a charitable giving program sponsored by Delta Dental of Massachusetts.
According to a press release, the program grew from the efforts of the Oral Health Working Group, a coalition of community volunteers and health professionals, and staff from Island Health, Inc., and the Vineyard Health Care Access Program.
"We know there is a lot of unmet need for dental care on the Island," said Sarah Kuh, director of Dukes County's Vineyard Health Care Access Program, which has taken a lead role in Vineyard Smiles. "Every day we hear from people who have terrible dental problems and no way to take care of them. But this assessment will tell us exactly what the extent of the problem is and where we can focus future efforts to improve dental services."
Christine Clements Stein is the Project Director. Ms. Stein has over 20 years of public health and community assessment experience. Dr. Mark Doherty, DDS, is the Clinical Director and a widely recognized community dental health advocate. The Vineyard team includes nurse Vicki Pfluger, Debbie Simon, and Pamela Speir.
The assessment consists of oral health screenings headed up by Dr. Doherty's team of dental professionals, which will take place in multiple locations, including the schools and elderly housing sites. Dr. Stein will lead a community discussion of perceptions of dental needs held by key groups throughout the Island.
Following the oral health assessment and program planning, Island Health, Inc. will submit a proposal to the Oral Health Foundation for funding to create a program that addresses the needs identified during the assessment.
For more information, call 508-696-0020, extension 14.
Firefighters host mini-golf tourney for fun and charity
Tisbury Ladder Company "651" and Island Cove Mini Golf will hold the Third Annual Miniature Golf Tournament on Friday Sept. 30 for kids and adults to benefit the volunteer fire department and the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Fund.
The short putt classic on the grounds of the Island's only miniature golf course located off State Road in Vineyard Haven begins at 4:30 pm.
Prizes will be awarded in kid (ages five to 12) and adult categories (13 and up) and there will be plenty of refreshments available. Registration is $10.
Contestants are advised to purchase registration tickets early because space is limited. Tickets are available in advance at Island Cove Mini Golf and Shirley's Hardware on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Remaining tickets will be sold at Island Cove Mini Golf that afternoon.
"It's a great Friday afternoon and evening for the entire family and a wonderful cause," said firefighter Ken Maciel.
John Ferguson. Photo by Ralph Stewart
Hospital board chairman makes elite list
John Ferguson, chairman of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital board and president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Medical center, was named to Modern Healthcare magazine's fourth annual list of the 100 most powerful people in healthcare. The list appeared in the August issue of the magazine.
The list was the product of voting by readers. In the first round of voting, readers nominated more than 8,600 candidates. It was the second year in a row that Mr. Ferguson, a seasonal West Tisbury resident, was named to the list.
Mr. Ferguson assumed the chairmanship of the hospital board during the tumultuous departure of surgeon Richard Koehler and former chief executive officer Kevin Burchill. At the time he pledged to make Martha's Vineyard Hospital one of the best rural hospitals in the country.
Under Mr. Ferguson's leadership, the hospital board embarked on a plan to rebuild the hospital. Last week the hospital announced that it had raised more than half of the $42 million needed for the project.
Forestry officials discuss state forest
A group of environmental officials that included foresters from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) came to Martha's Vineyard yesterday to present an update on work completed in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest and plans for the next season.
Forestry officials were scheduled to hold a public forum at 7 pm last night in Edgartown Town Hall.
This morning, forestry officials were scheduled to lead a tour of the state forest from 9 am to noon and describe some of the work that has already taken place. The tour begins at the state forest headquarters building off Airport Road.
Last year the state began work in the state forest to minimize the buildup of dead and dying trees that could provide fuel for a fire and improve access for emergency vehicles. The work is part of a multi-phase project that will be completed over the next several years.
The DCR officials were expected to make a presentation on the work that has been accomplished so far, problems that they have encountered, and work that is still to be done.
According to Jim Rassman, DCR forester, the meeting was held to bring people up to date and not announce any new initiatives. He said future efforts would concentrate on the restoration of frost bottoms, the removal of an approximately 10-acre stand of non-native young spruce impinging on a fire break and the removal of dead red pine trees near bike paths and trails.
There are no current plans to remove large stands of dead and dying red pines. At this point the cost to do that would be prohibitive, he said.
Wind turbine tower hearing
The Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals (ZBA) will hold a public hearing tonight regarding a special permit to allow a 100-foot tower for a proposed wind turbine project at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. The hearing is scheduled for 6:30 pm at the town hall conference room at 56 School Street in Oak Bluffs.
The wind turbine is intended to produce some electricity for the high school, as well as serving as a model of renewable energy use and as an educational resource for students. The proposed location for the turbine, with its 23-foot blades, and 100-foot tower, will be behind the high school gymnasium, set back at least 132 feet from any property line and far from homes.
Oak Bluffs zoning bylaws permit a maximum tower height of 70 feet. South Mountain Company, the contractor for the project, requested the extra height for the wind turbine tower to access the strongest wind by minimizing wind turbulence caused by nearby trees and buildings, and to maximize electricity production.
The proposed 100-foot tower also will meet the height limits set by the Federal Aviation Administration and Massachusetts Aeronautical Commission because of its proximity to the Martha's Vineyard Airport.
Claire Murray named
woman of the year
Claire Murray, owner of the store that bears her name at 27 North Water Street in Edgartown, recently was named "Woman of the Year" by WeCan, a Cape-based nonprofit organization supporting women in crisis through aid, mentoring and counseling.
Some 270 women from around the Cape and Islands gathered at the Chatham Bars Inn for a fundraising luncheon where Ms. Murray accepted her award. Not only is she the founder of an international home accessories chain, but also she recently launched a national magazine, La Vie Claire, "the clear life."
Joan Anderson, a local author, introduced Ms. Murray as "the obvious and unanimous choice" as the honoree for this inaugural fundraiser. Adele Lally, Ms. Murray's executive assistant, said her employer was a ideal candidate for the WeCan honor, "…because she is so well-known in the area, and also because she is a recognized advocate of women and a supporter of their efforts in business."
Ms. Murray's enterprise grew from her days as an innkeeper on Nantucket where she also taught needle arts seminars and hooked rugs she used to decorate the rooms. When guests started to ask if they could buy her rugs, she realized she had the makings of her own business.
The Claire Murray Store opened in Edgartown in 1999, and features hand-hooked rugs, home accessories, clothing, shoes, and fabric, as well as needlework and rug-hooking kits. The store also offers classes in the needle arts taught by the staff.
picks the best
In its September, 2005 Special 70th anniversary issue, Yankee Magazine named two Island establishments as among "The Best of New England."
Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven was among those selected in the "Best Specialty Boutique in New England" category and Ryan Hardy, chef at The Coach House at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown was named "The Best New Chef in New England."
Plum TV has new manager
MacDara Bohan has been promoted to general manager at Plum TV on Martha's Vineyard. The cable franchise, with outlets in a number of resort venues, broadcasts on channel 76.
Mr. Bohan, a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, has more than a decade of print and television journalism experience. A former Island resident, he returned to the Vineyard in May of 2004 to help Plum TV launch its Vineyard outlet.
Mr. Bohan said he would continue to work with the Vineyard community to make Plum TV the best local television choice for Islanders and visitors.
Martine is now
up-Island at the Barn
Martine, a well-known hair and makeup stylist who goes by one name, is now practicing her magic at the Barn Salon and Spa, located behind the Pickett House Bed and Breakfast on State Road in Chilmark.
Owner Elizabeth Pickett Gray is a professional makeup artist and hair stylist for the film industry. Salon and spa services include hair cutting, facials, and makeup.
For more information, call 508-645-3583 or 508-645-2145.
Henley's offers Vineyard silk
Henley's Needlepoint and Fibers of Edgartown was recently selected by Wiltex Threads of Boston to launch the company's new line of silk thread, appropriately named "Vineyard Silk."
According to a press release, Vineyard Silk is made of 100 percent Chinese silk, comes in over 100 colors, and is extremely durable.
Henley's is located at 44 Main St. in Edgartown, behind Edgartown Books. For more information, call 508-627-3959.
Health and human services training seminar offered
Dr. Jane Dreeben will hold a training session for Island providers of health care and human services and managers from other fields new to health care and human services. According to a press release, participantswill develop new management, supervisory and communication skills and address quality of care challenges.
The ten-week training session begins in late September. For more information, contact Ms. Dreeben at 508-693-5523, ext. 3.