News in Brief
Oak Bluffs man faces cocaine and heroin charges
Oak Bluffs and State police executed a search warrant at a home on Springfield Avenue in Oak Bluffs Monday evening and seized nine grams of cocaine, six grams of heroin, $3,000 cash and other drug-related material.
Police charged Shaun Pires, 27, of Oak Bluffs with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
Police said that they had been investigating Mr. Pires for more than a year. Mr. Pires currently has two open cases against him on the Island for charges including drug trafficking.
One of the cases includes a drug bust in August 2003, when police found seven baggies of heroin, 60 grams of crack cocaine, 25 tablets of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, and $4,222 in cash in the vehicle that Mr. Pires was riding in. The driver of the vehicle, Brian Frost, 27, of West Tisbury, was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in a state prison earlier this month, following his conviction on charges stemming from that incident.
The Black Dog Is Retailer of the Year in Massachusetts
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) has named The Black Dog its 2005 retailer of the year.
"The retailer of the year is reserved for the truly special retailers," said Jon Hurst, president of RAM, in a press statement released yesterday. "The Black Dog has grown from a family-owned restaurant into a bona fide brand in New England." The retail sector in Massachusetts employs 560,000 residents and has total sales of $90 billion annually.
RAM announced the winners of its 2005 Awards of Excellence at a lunch on Thursday. Capt. Robert S. Douglas of West Tisbury, the founder of The Black Dog, attended the lunch and received the award in person.
This is the eighth year for the Retailers Association of Massachusetts Awards of Excellence. In addition to the category of retailer of the year, awards were given for rookie of the year, creative concepts, best restaurant, community service, visual display, best downtown shopping district, advertising and promotion, e-commerce, and retail hall of fame.
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is a statewide trade association of 2,500 retailers of all types and sizes. RAM was founded in 1910, and is based in Boston .
Deer shotgun season begins Monday
Although the Vineyard archery-hunting season ends Saturday, Island deer will get only a one-day respite. The one-week deer shotgun season begins on Monday, one-half hour before sunrise.
While risk to nonhunters is minimal, public safety officials advise people entering wooded areas to exercise caution and wear bright colors, preferably blaze orange, particularly at dawn and dusk, when deer and hunters are most active.
Hunting is prohibited within 500 feet of any occupied dwelling or building without the authorization of the occupant or owner, and 150 feet from hard-surfaced roadways. Hunters must wear a minimum of 500 square inches of blaze orange on the back, chest, and head.
Environmental police sergeant Patrick Grady said that with hunters and nonhunters often sharing the woods it is important that people be careful and use common sense. He also said that nonhunters should be aware that hunting is an important deer management tool.
All deer taken during the Vineyard shotgun season must be appropriately tagged and brought to an official deer checking station in the state forest, or the Wampanoag tribal headquarters building in Aquinnah.
The primitive firearms deer season begins Monday, Dec. 12, and ends Saturday, Dec. 31.
Any hunting-related problems should be reported to the police at 911 or the environmental police dispatch number at 1-800-632-8075.
Habitat needs helping hands
Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard, a nonprofit affordable housing building organization, needs volunteers to assist in the construction and renovation of the Twin Oaks house on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs.‑
On Saturday, Habitat plans to start insulating the house. No experience is necessary, according to a press release. Work begins at 8 am and concludes at 4 pm, but volunteers are welcome to give any amount of time.
For more information, call the Habitat office at 508-696-4646.
Health Council seeks
new member nominations
The Dukes County Health Council, a local citizens group working to create a cooperative, integrated network of health care on Martha's Vineyard, is accepting nominations.
The council anticipates potential openings in its membership categories of community member/consumer, health care practitioner, public official, or representative from an Island health organization. Members are appointed by the Dukes County Commissioners for two-year terms beginning January 1.
For more information, call Cathy Brennan, nominating committee chairman, at 508-693-7305.
Drawbridge committee wants weight limits enforced
The Lagoon Pond drawbridge committee has launched a campaign to encourage truck drivers to obey the weight limits on the Lagoon Pond Drawbridge, and to push State and town police to strictly enforce the weight and speed limits.
The current posted weight limits are 12 tons for a two-axle vehicle, 15 tons for a three-axle vehicle, and 24 tons for a five-axle vehicle. The speed limit is 40 miles per hour.
According to a drawbridge committee press release, a recent engineering report pointed to weight and speed as two major factors in the bridge's deterioration.
"The report concludes that the impact on the bridge is a direct function of the weight and speed of vehicles using it," the press release states. "Reducing these weights and speeds would reduce the impact on the structure and help extend its life."
According to the press release, the drawbridge committee will contact trucking companies both on and off-Island "to explain the importance of respecting these limits."
The condition of the drawbridge has been a focus point for the drawbridge committee, which includes representatives from Oak Bluffs and Tisbury, the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), the county, the Vineyard Transit Authority, and other Island interests.
Several of the drawbridge committee members have remained skeptical of MassHighway's plans to replace the drawbridge in two phases - first with a temporary structure, and then with a permanent bridge. Some members fear the state will construct the temporary bridge, which has an estimated price tag of $5.2 million, and forgo the permanent replacement, which is expected to cost $24 million. They have suggested that the state should consider nursing the existing bridge along until a permanent replacement is built.
According to MassHighway officials, the state wants to build a temporary bridge because state engineers believe there is a risk that the bridge's lift mechanism could fail before a permanent bridge is constructed. If the existing bridge fails, current U.S. Coast Guard regulations require that the lift deck be left in the upright position to allow boats in and out of Lagoon Pond.
Wanted: emergency medical technicians
Anyone interested in becoming an emergency medical technician (EMT) can sign up now for training classes that will begin in January.
Emergency medical personnel from across the Island said this week that there is a dire need for more volunteer EMTs on Martha's Vineyard.
"While we do sing the same song annually, the general consensus among all the ambulance squads on the Island is that we need EMTs more than ever," said Jeffrey Pratt, Tisbury ambulance coordinator. "If somebody out there has been thinking about this for awhile, now is the time to go to school. If somebody has been thinking that they want to see what this is like, now is the time. We need their support."
Mr. Pratt said the pre-hospital emergency care on Martha's Vineyard is provided almost entirely by volunteer EMTs. He said without the dedicated work of volunteers in each town, emergency medical services would not exist on the Island.
Martina Mastromonaco, Tri-Town ambulance coordinator, echoed Mr. Pratt's plea for volunteers."This year is worse than we have ever seen it before," she said. "Island-wide the basic EMT system is stressed. It's pretty desperate."
Classes for the upcoming EMT training class begin in January and will run until early April. Classes will be held Fridays from 6 to 10 pm, and Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm. In total, it takes 120 hours of classroom time to become a basic EMT.
Tuition for the class is $1,100, which includes the necessary books and a "lab kit" which includes a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, and more. However, Island ambulance squads will often cover some or all of the costs in exchange for volunteer service.
Anyone interested in learning more about EMT training can attend an open house on Dec. 3 from 9 am to noon at the Tisbury police and ambulance station.
For more information on EMT training, contact your local ambulance service. For Edgartown, call 580-627-5167; for Oak Bluffs, call 508-693-5380; for Tisbury, call 508-696-4214; and for Tri-Town (up-Island), call 508-693-4992.
Land Bank allows
hunting on Mondays
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank last week voted to allow hunting on its properties on Mondays, ending a long-standing prohibition. The commission acted on a recommendation from the Land Bank hunting subcommittee.
James Lengyel, the land bank executive director, said there was a request that the policy be changed and after some discussion it was decided that there was no practical reason to prohibit hunting on Monday.
Hunting is allowed only with land bank permission and properties are subject to specific restrictions. For more information, call 508-627-7141.
The caption of a photograph of volunteers placing flags in the Oak Grove Cemetery on Veteran's Day, published in the Nov. 17 issue of The Times, included the incorrect spelling of David Oliveira's name.
Katie Ann Mayhew will sign copies of her new CD, "A Vineyard Christmas with Katie Ann Mayhew," this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2 to 4 pm, at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven. She will perform songs from the CD at 2:15 and 3 pm. The day reported in a short story in last week's Calendar section was incorrect.