News in Brief
Edgartown man charged for hunting with crossbow
An Edgartown man was arrested last week for trespassing and hunting illegally, after a police officer found a loaded crossbow in his pickup truck.
On Nov. 23, at about 4:30 pm, Sgt. Tony Bettencourt of he Edgartown police department was on routine patrol when he saw tire tracks leading onto private property on Meetinghouse Way. Sergeant Bettencourt knew that the property was unoccupied for the season, so he drove down the driveway to investigate. As he pulled onto the property a vehicle approached in the opposite direction.
Sergeant Bettencourt stopped the driver to speak with him. While speaking to the man behind the wheel, who police identified as Paul Conroy, 18, of Edgartown, Sergeant Bettencourt noticed a loaded crossbow and four crossbow darts in the truck.
Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to hunt with a crossbow without a special permit, which is only given to hunters who are permanently disabled and cannot operate conventional archery equipment. Police said that Mr. Conroy did not have a permit to hunt with a crossbow.
Mr. Conroy was arrested and charged with trespassing with a motor vehicle, and hunting with a bow and arrow that did not meet the requirements of the rules and regulations set by the division of fisheries and wildlife.
Mr. Conroy had not killed a deer, but Paul Condlin, Edgartown police chief, said, "the evidence was clear that he was driving around with the intention of hunting deer with a crossbow."
Chief Condlin said that his department had not encountered any other hunting violations this year. He said that there have been relatively few problems over the past several years, which he attributed to a declining number of places to hunt in Edgartown.
"It has been pretty slow as far as hunting issues with us over the last several years," he said. "I think the developments that have gone up have forced people to hunt elsewhere on the Island."
Cozy Hearth project nears final MVC decision
A third and perhaps final post-hearing review of the Cozy Hearth affordable housing project by the land use planning committee (LUPC) of the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) will take place tonight at 7 pm at the Stone Building in Oak Bluffs.
In meetings on Nov. 21 and 28, the LUPC analyzed all of the testimony and documentation from the five-month MVC hearing process regarding Cozy Hearth. The project's application to subdivide three lots in Edgartown into 11 one-acre lots in a three-acre zoning district to create a community containing affordable housing is under MVC review as a development of regional impact (DRI).
Over the last few weeks, the LUPC has explored familiar issues, focusing on the issues of water quality, affordability criteria, site and building design, habitat and traffic. The purpose of the LUPC's review is to weigh the benefits and detriments of the project and recommend possible conditions on the project when the full commission meets to vote on a final decision.
However, the past two meetings bogged down in discussion over wastewater management systems and affordable housing deed restrictions. The committee agreed to meet tonight to complete the review process and to attempt to set conditions to present at next week's meeting, so that the full commission will not have to debate all of the issues again before voting.
The MVC has set Dec. 8 as the date for deliberations and an oral decision, and December 15 for a written decision on the Cozy Hearth project. Both meetings will be held at the Stone Building in Oak Bluffs at 7:30 pm.
Later start time for craft fair
The Vineyard Craftsmen Fair will open at 1 pm, on Saturday, Dec. 3, so the craftspeople may attend the funeral service for James R. Rogers, whose wife Andrea Rogers is the fair coordinator.
This is the 38th annual craft fair, the oldest running non-profit event of its kind on the Island. Proceeds from the fair benefit a scholarship fund awarded to a graduating regional high school student who plans to pursue a career in the arts.
The Vineyard Craftsmen Fair will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, 1 to 4 pm, and Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 am to 4 pm, at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
Photo courtesy of the Oak Bluffs police department
Oak Bluffs police take first place in state competition
Chief Erik Blake, Officer Brian Kenney, and Sgt. James Morse of the Oak Bluffs police department traveled to Boston recently to receive an award for the department's first-place honors in the 2004 Massachusetts Law Enforcement Challenge.
Oak Bluffs won first place in both its division and in the overall challenge. The award was based on the department's policies and guidelines, training, incentives and recognition, public information and education, enforcement, effectiveness of activities, and the overall quality of the department's submission to the competition.
For its first-place victory, the department received a plaque and a laser speed gun, valued at $3,000.
Sgt. James Morse, of the Oak Bluffs police department, who compiled the submission for the competition, said, "We are a service-oriented department dedicated to addressing quality of life issues. Speeding cars and other motor vehicle based complaints have been at the top of both community crime surveys the department has done over the last seven years. The Oak Bluffs police department has remained committed to professional and proactive enforcement of traffic laws and improving the quality of life for citizens and visitors."
According to a press release, the department attributed its success to public education and enforcement. The department participates in several Governors Highway Safety Bureau programs, including "You Drink you Drive, You Lose," and the "Click it or Ticket" campaign.
The department has also started several of its own initiatives. For the past two years the Oak Bluffs police have hosted a one-day alcohol awareness seminar. The program explains alcoholic beverage law, liquor liability, and the safe service of alcohol. In addition, participants receive updates on the newest forms of fake IDs, and how to spot them.
The effectiveness of the department's various programs is noticeable. From 2001 to 2004 the Oak Bluffs police department experienced a 75 percent reduction in the number of motor vehicle accidents. The rate of seatbelt use has increased by more than 10 percent, and there have been no motor vehicle fatalities for three years. The number of disorderly conduct arrests and people taken into protective custody for intoxication has dropped by 50 percent.
To honor the career of Augustus Ben David at Felix Neck, an evening of "A Lotta History" is planned for December 17, at 7 pm in the Performing Arts Center at the regional high school. Mr. Ben David is retiring after 36 years of love, education, and labor at the 350-acre Massachusetts Audubon Society Sanctuary.
Archives of photos, articles and film are being collected and assembled into a multi-media presentation interspersed with toasts and roasts of the man we all call Gus. It will be an evening filled with tributes and humor.
Admission is free, although the purpose of the event is to establish The Gus Ben David Scholarship Fund for an Island student who perhaps could become the Vineyard's next Gus. Contact Anne Lemenager (508-693-4024) for more information.
Richard Knabel and Janet Bank prepare blankets for shipping. Photo by Ralph Stewart
Islanders donate blankets for Biloxi
After several weeks of collecting blankets for hurricane victims in the devastated area around Biloxi, Miss., volunteers last week completed packing and shipping approximately 400 blankets in 42 cartons to Hands On USA. The organization coordinates volunteer efforts in the Biloxi area. UPS shipped all 42 large cartons free of charge. In addition, Debbie Magnuson of West Tisbury made and shipped 50 baby blankets on her own.
The drive started several weeks ago when Robert Titzler, a doctor from St. Paul, Minn. who volunteered with Hands On USA in Biloxi, e-mailed his long-time friend, Richard Knabel of West Tisbury, about his month-long experiences in the East Biloxi area where, he reported, the destruction from hurricane Katrina is near total. Dr. Titzler said that blankets were in short supply and crucially needed as nighttime temperatures were falling into the 40s and people who had lost everything were still sleeping in tents and outdoors.
"So I did the obvious," Mr. Knabel says, "and a few phone calls later everyone was on board for a blanket drive, including Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven, and UPS.
The Rev. Al Stefanik at Grace Church set aside a small section of the parish hall which soon was packed with donated blankets, many of them new.
Mr. Knabel reports in a letter to the editor in this morning's Times that Hands On USA director David Campbell expressed profound thanks for the donations and that "receiving the blankets was a real morale booster for the victims and the volunteers alike."
MV Co-Op donations benefit Island groups
The Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank Charitable Fund, in conjunction with the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard, announced recent donations made to ten local organizations and programs. The individual donations ranged from $500 to $2,500, for a total of $12,500.
The grant recipients are the Chilmark Library, the Good Shepherd Parish, the Island Affordable Housing Fund, Island Elderly Housing, MV Boys & Girls Club, MV Chapter of the American Red Cross, MV Community Services, MV Special Parents Association, Vineyard House, and Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation.
These donations follow an additional $12,500 donated last spring to 14 island organizations, for a total of $25,000 donated within the I0sland community this year.
The Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank has a long history of donating to local programs and supporting the Vineyard and its residents. "As always, it is a pleasure to once again be working with the Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank, assisting them in their desire to fulfill some of the needs of our community," said Deborah Hale of the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard. "They are truly an asset to the Island and their generosity in turn assists the Permanent Endowment Fund in our goal of strengthening the quality of Vineyard life forever."
Journalist Perry Garfinkel, near Chengdu
in China's Sichuan Province, at the top of Mt. Emei, one of four mountains sacred to Buddhists.
Perry Garfinkel article appears in National Geographic
The December issue of National Geographic Magazine includes a feature article by Perry Garfinkel of West Tisbury.
Published simultaneously in 25 foreign language editions of the Geographic, the article, entitled "Buddha Rising," tracks the growing popularity of the 2,500-year-old tradition and a relatively new movement called socially engaged Buddhism.
The photographs are by Steve McCurry, whose 1985 portrait of an angry green-eyed Afghani girl was recently named among the top 10 cover shots of the last 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
To research the story, in 2004 Mr. Garfinkel traveled around the world for 20 weeks, with stops in France, Poland, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, mainland China, Tibet, Japan, San Francisco, Boulder and Worcester. While all those destinations are not included in the 22-page Geographic article, Mr. Garfinkel's full report on his global circumnavigation will appear in the book he has just completed writing. Entitled "Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness and the Man Who Found Them All," it will be published in June 2006 by Harmony Books, a division of Random House.
Meanwhile, in the spring Mr. Garfinkel plans to resume teaching travel writing workshops on the Island at the Dr. Milton Mazer House, where he lives.
Habitat announces house dedication
Over the past few months, a house at the corner of Barnes and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Roads in Oak Bluffs has been transformed from a neglected property to what will be a simple, affordable house. What was once the Twin Oaks Restaurant will soon be the first home of a Vineyard family. The transformation is the work of Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard and the generosity and hard work of many volunteers and the business community, according to a press statement from Habitat.
Although the restoration is not done yet, dedication will take place on Dec. 10 at 10:30 am, at the site. The Rev. Jerry Fritz, minister of the Federated Church and a member of Habitat's board of directors, will officiate. In the event of inclement weather, the dedication will be held at the high school cafeteria.
Habitat is looking for volunteers to help finish the house so that the family can move in before the start of a New England winter. Volunteers should call the Habitat office at 508-696-4646. Dry wall installers are especially needed.
Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard provides affordable housing here for families that earn incomes in the lower 30 percent of mean income for Dukes County. The Twin Oaks site is the fourth house built by Habitat on the Island. Construction of its fifth house is expected to begin in the spring of 2006. Habitat raises all of it funds from public contributions and does not accept any government assistance.
"We believe this dedication will help continue the knowledge that we Islanders can make a difference in the challenges facing us in providing affordable housing for our neighbors," said Ron DiOrio, president of the Island chapter of Habitat. "Please join us for this moving and special event."
Tisbury makes changes to save energy
New lighting fixtures recently installed in town buildings are expected to save Tisbury an estimated $4,600 in electricity costs each year. The energy-saving fixtures, valued at about $23,000, were installed at no cost to the town as part of an initiative by Cape Light Compact (CLC) to reduce energy consumption.
"The town of Tisbury has tried to focus on energy-saving equipment, vehicles and lighting. All of those areas in which we can find ways to cut costs and lessen the damage to the environment have really come into focus over the past two and three years," said John Bugbee, town administrator.
Replacing the light fixtures was recommended following an energy audit of Tisbury's town buildings, provided free through one of CLC's energy conservation programs. The audit also identified inefficiencies and suggested improvements for the town's heating systems, sewage treatment pumps and other energy-consuming equipment.
CLC, with authorization from each of the 21 towns in Dukes and Barnstable counties, operates a regional energy-efficiency program. The compact uses the region's combined buying power to negotiate lower electricity costs for the towns, and funds energy conservation programs with money collected from every utility user.
In addition to working with the compact on energy conservation, Tisbury's renewable energy committee is looking into new energy-producing devices. With the help of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the committee is studying the feasibility of installing a wind turbine near the former landfill to power the town's sewage treatment plant and other facilities in that area.
Mix moves to new location
Mix, "the vintage finds and modern wares" shop in Vineyard Haven. has moved to a new location at 65 Main Street, next to Leslie's drugstore.
Owner Emily Milstein said in a press release that she is thrilled with the new large and sunny space. She said the new location has more room for furniture, and has allowed her to expand the vintage clothing section of the shop.
The new fall hours for Mix are 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.
For more information, call 508-693-8240.