News in Brief
order dogs restrained
The Chilmark selectmen voted last week to order the owner of two huskies that had been harassing livestock to keep the dogs permanently restrained and to take out a $200 surety bond for each dog to ensure that it remains controlled.
The decision followed a complaint that was filed against the dogs on Sept. 3. According to the complaint, filed by Laura Campbell of Chilmark, the two dogs had attacked a newborn Charolais calf at Rainbow Farm on Sept. 3.
"A man working next door at Blue Heron Farm raced up to tell us that the two dogs were attacking the calf while the mother was widely running in circles around the calf to protect it," the complaint states.
The selectmen asked the owner of the dogs, Sascha Wlodka, to appear at a public hearing on Sept. 22, to determine the dogs' fate.
Joan Jenkinson, Chilmark assistant animal control officer, had responded to the Sept. 3 incident, and provided a report to the selectmen. According to the report, animal control officers had received nine calls regarding the two huskies since February. The incidents were mostly reports from the owner that the dogs had got lose, but there was one report that the dogs had been seen chasing deer, and another report that they had killed a wild turkey.
Ms. Jenkinson said that while the dogs had created disturbances on a number of occasions, because they had not killed any livestock, she had not requested that they be euthanized.
She also stressed that the dogs were not getting loose due to owner negligence. "They weren't just letting them go," she said. "In the incident on the 3rd, they had chewed their way through three pieces of thick wire, almost as thick as lobsterpot wire."
Because the dogs demonstrated a clear ability to get loose, the selectmen, upon Ms. Jenkinson's recommendation, ordered the dogs confined within a chain link enclosure.
While the town did not have the dogs killed, state law allows property owners to kill a dog even if it is "worrying" livestock.
The law states, "Any person may kill a dog found out of the enclosure of its owner or keeper and not under his immediate care in the act of worrying, wounding or killing persons, livestock or fowls…"
Edgartown library plans have little wiggle room
A representative from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) told Edgartown Free Public Library officials on Tuesday that deign plans can be altered by no more than 2,000 square feet to remain eligible for a $4 million state grant.
Anne Larsen, MBLC library building consultant and small library specialist, met with library officials Tuesday evening to discuss the state's review of the town's library expansion plans.
Along with the size limitations, Ms. Larsen said that parking is a matter for local zoning authorities to decide, and if the town forfeits its spot on the grant money waiting list, it will be another three years before it is eligible for another grant cycle.
The meeting came two months after the MBLC put the Edgartown Library on the waiting list to receive nearly $4 million in grant money for the project.
The library trustees want to construct a 17,000-square-foot addition to connect the old Carnegie library building on North Water Street to the neighboring Captain Warren house, which the town recently purchased for $3.5 million. Library trustees said that in total, the project would cost approximately $11.5 million, and would be funded with grants and fundraising efforts.
Library officials have contemplated scaling back the plans after the Edgartown zoning board of appeals' (ZBA) voted in April to turn down a special permit for the project. At the ZBA public hearing, members who opposed the project cited its size as a key concern. They also pointed to the limited number of parking spaces. But when the state placed the project on a waiting list to receive the grant money, library leaders were unsure how much they could change the plan and still be eligible for the funds.
Felicia Cheney, Edgartown Library director, said that Tuesday's meeting would help library leaders decide how to proceed with the project.
The Edgartown Library joint advisory committee, which includes appointees from both the library trustees and the Edgartown selectmen, is scheduled to meet on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4 pm at the library, to discuss the future of the project.
Photo by Alan Brigish
Five Corners war protest
A group of demonstrators holding signs protesting the continued US military presence in Iraq gathered at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven Saturday at 11:30.
Signs reading, "Support the troops, bring them home now," and "We must have peace for our children's future," echoed sentiments expressed across the country during a day of protest aimed at President George Bush and his policies stemming from the US-led ouster of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Jews to observe
high holy days
Jewish families across the Island are preparing to observe Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days that are the most important holidays of the Jewish year. Rosh Hashana observances begin with an evening service next Monday, Oct. 3.
According to Ronald Tolin, temple administrator at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven, "Rosh Hashana celebrates the creation of the world and is a time to reflect and self-evaluate."
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, considered the most solemn day of the year, follows 10 days later.
Rosh Hashana is a time of offering forgiveness and seeking reconciliation with others.
The blowing of the ram's horn is a dramatic symbolic practice during this holy time. The sound is meant to be a call to repentance as well as to inspire and remind people to forsake sin and return to God.
At the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, services begin with Erev Rosh Hashana on Monday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 pm. Services are held on Oct. 4 and 5, beginning at 9:30 am.
Yom Kippur observance begins with a Kol Nidre service on Oct. 12 at 5:45 pm, the Yom Kippur morning service at 9:30 am on Oct. 13 and a final service at 4:30 pm that afternoon. On Oct. 13, the faithful will spend a full day in fasting and prayer, followed by a festive potluck "Break Fast" at the Hebrew center.
Rabbi Caryn Broitman will officiate at the services.
Those wishing to attend and/or participate in services during the High Holy Days are encouraged to contact the center to reserve space or sign up to take part. Volunteers are needed to assist with children's services, lead prayers, help with the "Break Fast," and other activities.
For more information, call the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, 508-693-0745, or visit mvhc.us.
Oak Bluffs seeks suggestions for old town hall
The Oak Bluffs selectmen want suggestions on what to do with the old town hall. The board has scheduled a public forum next Wednesday to discuss the future of the building.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 pm on Oct. 5 at the Oak Bluffs School community room.
The old town hall was vacated five years ago for health-related reasons, following complaints by municipal employees that they were not feeling well. Town officials have dubbed it a "sick building."
In December 2003, Oak Bluffs voters voted to allow the selectmen to lease the building for up to 99-year, but the selectmen have been unable to strike any deals with developers.
One proposal last year called for the current building to be razed and a modern version of the historic Tivoli building erected in its place. But town officials were unable to reach a lease agreement with a development team calling itself Tivoli LLC, and the deal fell through.
The selectmen have since focused on plans to lease the building to the Steamship Authority (SSA) for a new ticket office. The plan was part of a broader SSA proposal that included both shore-side and over-the-water improvements. However, that deal also failed to materialize after other aspects of the project were met with opposition from members of the town conservation commission.
Sean Slavin appointed
in West Tisbury
At their meeting on Sept. 21, the West Tisbury board of selectmen appointed Sean Slavin of Chilmark to fill a vacant position on the police force. Patrolman Slavin, a five-year veteran of the Aquinnah police department, has for the past three years been working in security in up-state New York, where his wife, the former Dardi Muldaur, was studying chiropractic medicine. A former Chilmark police officer, Dr. Slavin plans to practice on the Vineyard.
In other business, the selectmen voted 2-0 to increase the town's mileage compensation from 40.5 cents per mile to 48.5 cents. The second increase in the rate this year is in response to the rapidly increasing cost of gasoline. West Tisbury's mileage compensation rate follows the guidelines of the IRS.
At the request of absent chairman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter, who was on vacation, selectman Glenn Hearn agreed to represent West Tisbury on the group charged with recommending a format for the Island selectmen's study of county government.
At the same meeting, Chuck Hughes showed a promotional DVD for the Vineyard YMCA, and Judy Crawford and Joan Ames delivered copies of the Blue Pages, also distributed in The Times two weeks ago. The Blue Pages, Ms. Crawford explained, are the result of several years' work and are intended to educate Islanders and visitors about threats to the Vineyard's freshwater resources.
Ms. Ames remained at the meeting to inquire into the status of the town's efforts to issue guidelines for legal expenditures and travel expenses. Acting chairman John Early and Mr. Hearn answered only that both are "in progress."
Suspect charged in swamped boat incident
Derek J. Macleod of Belgrade Lakes, Maine, has been charged with receiving stolen property in connection with an incident on September 11 in which he swamped a 14-foot skiff while out for a joyride with four passengers in the ferry channel in Vineyard Haven harbor.
The five young people narrowly escaped being hit by an incoming ferry, thanks to their rescue by an alert boater, Michael Seppala of Bristol, Mass. He delivered them to a Vineyard Haven dock and reported the incident to the U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. Macleod identified himself to Mr. Seppala using another name.
Jay Wilbur, Tisbury harbormaster, recovered the boat and motor. In piecing together clues from other thefts of dinghies and motors that occurred since Labor Day, Mr. Wilbur and the Tisbury police believed the incidents were related.
After a story about the swamped boat incident appeared in The Times on September 15, Tisbury Police Officer Daniel Hanavan received an anonymous tip about the identities of the two young women involved. After they were contacted and voluntarily came to the police station, both women said they did not know the boat was stolen until they read about it in The Times. They provided information to aid in the investigation, which led Officer Hanavan to Mr. Macleod.
Mr. Macleod was charged with receiving stolen property, failure to report a boating incident, and no life jackets. The owner of the boat provided an estimate for engine repairs and transom damage totaling $319.
At the Tisbury board of selectmen meeting Tuesday night, Mr. Wilbur reported that all of the stolen equipment used in the various joy-riding incidents has been recovered, and thanked The Times for its help.
Photo by Philisse Barrows
Times story boosts
A delighted Philisse Barrows called to report two happy outcomes from the story in last week's Times about her one-woman hurricane relief effort. Troubled by the plight of families driven from their homes by Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Barrows launched a drive to collect stuffed animals for distribution to evacuees on Cape Cod and in Texas.
On Friday, Ms. Barrows received a call from Vineyard Packaging Service offering to ship the stuffed animals to Texas free of charge. And when she got to her collection post at Cronig's Market in Vineyard Haven, stuffed animals began arriving faster than ever before. On Friday alone, she received 252 animals — "I can't believe it," she said.
Now, although the "official" collection is over, Cronig's Market is maintaining a box for generous Islanders who still want to drop off a teddy bear or cuddly bunny to cheer a hurricane victim. Ms. Barrows plans to send the animals on their way next week. For more information, please call 508-693-3143.
Red Cross continues relief efforts
The Martha's Vineyard Chapter of the American Red Cross has begun a second series of classes for anyone who wants to be deployed to the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Currently, 19 Islanders are taking the courses in "Red Cross Disaster Services Operations," which includes an orientation that provides an overview of the hardship conditions volunteers could face.
According to an Island Red Cross press release, the Island chapter will begin to focus the training on family services and mental health, and welcomes anyone who is licensed in clinical social work or the mental health fields.
The Island chapter will continue training interested people through the end of the year, at which time the national Red Cross will determine the future need for volunteers.
To date, there have been 43 people who have taken the Red Cross courses on the Island. The local Chapter has registered 11 trained volunteers for national deployment who meet the eligibility criteria for Katrina and Rita assignments.
The Martha's Vineyard chapter also continues to provide client assistance services to persons from the area impacted by Katrina.
The Chapter has begun to receive contributions to disaster relief efforts for Rita. According to the press release, "The Red Cross is committed to honoring donor intent. When donations are deposited by the Island chapter to the National Disaster Relief fund, each donation is designated to that disaster relief operation specified by the donor."
To date, the Island has contributed over $112,000 to the Katrina disaster relief efforts. Nationally, the Red Cross has raised $946.5 million in gifts and pledges. Approximately $700 million has actually been received.
As of Sept. 26, the Red Cross estimated that approximately $876 million has been spent or committed to Hurricane Katrina relief. The total cost for the relief effort is estimated at over $2 billion.
"We are still very dependent upon the generosity of the American people to help deliver our services," the press release stated.
In a news story in last week's Times entitled "State will join Edgartown Library discussion," we incorrectly reported that Edgartown voters had approved town meeting warrant articles allowing the town to borrow money to help pay for the renovations and expansion of the library. The warrant articles, which were approved at the annual town meeting in April, actually allowed library leaders to use the library design plans to apply for grant money.