News in Brief
subject of business meeting
Tisbury business owners, many of whom consider the Capawock Theater on Main Street in Vineyard Haven an anchor to the downtown economy, are looking for ways to make the theater business healthier.
The theater has been closed for renovations for a year, and its owners, the Hall family, said an opening date is yet to be set. Even when it does reopen, the owners said it might not be economically possible to stay in business.
The Tisbury Business Association (TBA) was scheduled to meet with the owners this morning to discuss the issues.
Steve Perlman, TBA president, said the meeting would be to talk about ways "to make the theater more successful. We feel the theater is a valuable contributor to the Vineyard Haven economy."
Yesterday, Ben Hall Jr. said that he welcomes the opportunity to discuss ways to make the movie theater a more practical business. "Business has been so bad in our other theaters in Edgartown and in Oak Bluffs, that there is a real question whether we will even be able to sustain the Vineyard Haven theater when it is ready to be opened," said Mr. Hall. "It's a big question."
Asked if he had any specific ideas on how to boost business, Mr. Hall said that he is looking into the possibility of selling movie club memberships through other Island businesses. "We're looking at avenues like that, but we welcome all ideas," said Mr. Hall. "We want to take advantage of any positive thoughts and enthusiasm that can be generated."
Mr. Hall said that there is still work that needs to be done to the theater before it can reopen. He said that structural repairs to the front of the building still needed to be completed along with renovations and repairs to the interior of the theater.
"There is no expected date of opening yet," said Mr. Hall. "There is still a fair amount to do, but once the things are done, they plan to reopen it."
New shellfish wardens
in West Tisbury
At their meeting last week, the West Tisbury selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Tom Osmers and Ray Gale to replace long-time shellfish constable Raymond Houle, who announced his retirement in June. Mr. Osmers and Mr. Gale came to the meeting together and asked to share the job. Town practice does not allow co-wardens, and after some discussion, Mr. Osmers agreed to hold the title, and Mr. Gale will serve as the assistant, a position he held under Mr. Houle.
Mr. Houle became a shellfish constable in 1985, first serving two years as a deputy to Chris Kenniston, whose grandfather, Daniel Manter, had been shellfish constable in West Tisbury for 30 years. Mr. Houle, 87, told the selectmen that he was finding the physical labor, hauling boats in and out of the water, walking the beaches, etc., too demanding.
At present Tisbury Great Pond, the main arena where Mr. Gale and Mr. Osmers will work, is producing only clams, as there are no scallops and the oyster fishery is closed to allow the stocks to recover from an infestation of derma, a disease which decimated the oyster population last year.
Chilmark Library closed for floor repair
The Chilmark Free Public Library will be closed from today until Sunday so workmen can install new floorboards.
Catherine Thompson, library director, said that the floorboards originally installed in the new library cupped. As a result lengthwise cuts were made in the boards to relieve pressure.
Last week, workmen began replacing the old boards. Ms. Thompson said it quickly became apparent that because of the sawdust it would be best to close for a few days while work was completed, and she apologized for the lack of public notice.
Ms. Thompson emphasized that the subcontractor responsible for the original flooring is making the repairs at no charge to taxpayers.
The new $2.4 million library opened in June 2003.
The library was built with a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for $1.1 million and approximately $1 million in private donations. The town paid $300,000.
According to a library press release, there will be no overdue fines for materials due‑during the closing. Patrons are asked to return all materials to the book drops outside the main entrance.
Items that do not fit in the drops should be held until Monday or may be brought to the West Tisbury Library this weekend only.
Ms. Thompson said people with questions should call the library at 508-645-3360.
File Photo by Louisa Gould
Islanders observe Veterans Day
To honor men and women who have served and are currently serving their country in the military, Islanders will celebrate Veterans Day in several ceremonies and events tomorrow.
Ceremonies begin at 7:30 am tomorrow in Vineyard Haven at Oak Grove Cemetery where Islanders will put up more than 400 American flags along the Avenue of Flags. Each flag represents an Islander who has served in the armed forces.
At 10:30 am, veterans will gather at Our Market in Oak Bluffs for a procession through town. Refreshments will be served at the Oak Bluffs Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) hall on Towanticut Avenue, following the parade.
There will be a special ceremony at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 1:30 pm, to honor the veterans who live there. All Island veterans are encouraged to attend the event.
The flags erected earlier in the day at Oak Grove Cemetery will come down 3 pm. Volunteers are needed to help in the task.
At 5 pm the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven will hold a Shabbat Service for all who have served in the military or merchant marine. The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will follow the ceremony.
SSA board meets next week
The Steamship Authority board meets next week in Woods Hole. With votes on fare hikes and schedules changes decided last month, Marc Hanover, Vineyard SSA member and board chairman, said he expects that the Thursday morning meeting will feature a light agenda.
The main item of business will be the proposed 2006 capital budget, which includes modifications designed to make the passenger loading ramps at the Woods Hole and Vineyard Haven terminals wider and handicap accessible.
Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, said the wider ramps would help to speed up the loading and unloading process.
Mr. Hanover said one topic he expects the board to discuss next week is the boatline's computerized reservation system. He said that the system is a source of frequent complaints from people who find it difficult to make or change reservations on line,
At the October monthly meeting, Flint Ranney, Nantucket member, questioned management about why Nantucketers need two profile numbers, one for the regular ferry and another for the fast ferry. Mr. Lamson said management is looking at ways to change that.
This week, SSA officials including Mr. Hanover and Bob O'Brien, Barnstable SSA member, attended the Ferries 2005 Conference and Trade Show?in Delray Beach, Fla., the largest annual North American convention exclusively devoted to ferries and fast passenger vessels.
The seminar schedule includes a presentation on the Island Home, the Vineyard's new double-ended ferry, by its designers, the Elliott Bay Design Group.
The conference brings together ferry operators, owners, designers, builders, and regulators to discuss critical issues — the environment, vessel technology, legislation, financing, etc. — that impact the ferry industry's future. Seminar topics include ferry security, passenger screening, and improving engine efficiency.
Mr. Lamson said the conference is valuable because he and the attending board members are able to meet people involved in the ferry industry from around the country and discuss issues of concern. He added that many of the environmental and security issues the boatline deals with on the Vineyard and Nantucket runs are faced by operators in areas such as Washington State and British Columbia.
One of Mr. Lamson's goals this week will be to find someone interested in purchasing the fast ferry Flying Cloud, once it is replaced on the Nantucket run.
Diane Wall honored for school committee work
Diane Wall has been named to the 2005 All-State School Committee by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), in recognition of her work on both the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and up-Island regional school committees.
"Every year they pick one person from each district," Ms. Wall explained. "It's an honorary position, like being picked for the all-star game but never having a game." Ms. Wall was chosen from school committee members in division 7, representing the Cape and islands.
"What is nice for the community is that our school committee was recognized for the good job it is doing. We are all hard workers," said Ms. Wall, who is now serving her eighth year of two four-year terms.
A description of her achievements in the awards program notes that Ms. Wall exhibited "…diligent and extraordinary leadership in taking the district through a challenging superintendent search process last year."
Fittingly, the superintendent of the Martha's Vineyard Public Schools that she helped find and hire, James Weiss, attended the awards banquet with her in Worcester, where she received a plaque.
The event was held at the end of a joint conference between MASC and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents which Ms. Wall attended. "The conference was very worthwhile, and I hope our school committee members will continue to go and use the organization as a resource," said Ms. Wall. "I'm grateful we got involved with MASC, because it's been a wealth of information, especially during times when policies and requirements are changing."
: In a story about scalloping in last week's Times ("Tisbury scallop season gets off to a good start") Florine Rogers was mistakenly referred to as Doreen Rogers.