News in Brief
Vineyard Haven post office has extended holiday hours
The Vineyard Haven post office will extend its hours of operation next weekend to meet the needs of customers during the busy holiday season.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, the retail lobby will be open from 9:30 am to 3 pm. On Sunday, Dec. 18, the lobby will be open from 10 am until 2 pm. Customers will also be able to pick up packages at the lobby door until 4:30 pm that Sunday.
On Saturday, Dec. 24 the post office will be open its normal retail hours from 9:30 am to 1 pm. All post offices will be closed Sunday, Dec. 25 and Monday, Dec. 26 except for express mail delivery.
Joe Massua, Vineyard Haven postmaster, said customers are encouraged to mail packages as early as possible and promptly pick up packages that have arrived in order to help postal employees deal with the holiday crush of mail and limited amount of storage space.
Tisbury selectmen focus on town department updates
The Tisbury board of selectmen made short work of a light agenda at their meeting Tuesday night in town hall.
The first order of business was approving a permit for South Mountain Company (SMC) to move a second story apartment that will be detached from a property at 7 Beach Street and relocated to 150 State Road on Jan. 3.
Formerly owned by the late Travis Tuck, the property was donated to the Island Housing Trust, and the apartment will be made into a separate dwelling.
In department reports, Fire Chief John Schilling announced that Tisbury's new fire truck is about two to three weeks away from completion at a factory in Florida where it is being built. After testing and certification in Florida, the truck will be outfitted North Attleboro. Chief Schilling expects its arrival in Tisbury in late February.
Theodore Saulnier, police chief, announced that the Citizen Police Academy has been rescheduled for January 11. The six-week program, taught by Tisbury police officers, provides community members an opportunity to learn about law enforcement and its local department. Those interested can stop by the police station for an application.
Chief Saulnier also made an appeal for young men and women between the ages of 15 to 20 who are interested in police work to join a Police Explorer's Post. Sponsored by the Island's police chief and affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, it is open to both men and women. For more information about either or both activities, call 508-696-4240.
Derek Cimeno, shellfish constable, said the Vineyard's scallop harvest, 3,500 bushels so far this year, will likely be the number one in the State. However, people have run out of places to dump the shells in Tisbury. Mr. Cimeno will be working with the department of public works, and the board of health to find a solution. He also reported that the state has banned the taking of river herring through 2008.
Next Tuesday at 5:00 pm at town hall, the selectmen will hold a special budget review meeting with all of the town department directors.
Land Bank announces addition to Chappy holdings
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank's latest purchase, announced last week, effectively doubles the size of the public land conservation agency's Hickory Cove Preserve on Cape Poge Bay on Chappaquiddick.
The Land Bank signed a contract to purchase 6.9 acres on Chappaquiddick off Jeffers Lane, adjoining its existing property. The sellers are Judith Murphy and Karen Osler and the price is $3,550,000.
With this latest purchase the Hickory Cove Preserve will now total 14.1 acres. In addition, the new property will add 280 feet of beach along Cape Poge Bay, bringing the land bank's total there to some 1,200 feet, according to a press release.
The land sits high above the bay, with long-distance views over the bay and Cape Poge itself, and then beyond to Nantucket Sound. Hickory Cove is part of the land bank's 230-acre Three Ponds Reservation; it serves as the terminus of the town's cross-Chappaquiddick trail, which runs 4.5 miles up from Wasque Point.
Preliminary management goals call for integrating the property into the Hickory Cove Preserve. Trails will capitalize on the attractive water view, said the release.
"This little corner of Cape Poge Bay has long appealed to the Land Bank," said James Lengyel, Land Bank executive director, "and the Land Bank is happy to add more acreage and more beach to its holding there."
One year ago, the Land Bank announced it had signed an agreement to purchase 3.1 acres that adjoined four acres purchased earlier that year. The Land Bank named its holdings Hickory Cove Preserve.
Cape Poge Pond is a popular location for fishing, bird watching, waterfowling, canoeing, and kayaking.
Land Bank purchases and management plans are approved by the local Land Bank advisory board, made up of appointed members in each town, and the elected Land Bank commission. Mr. Lengyel said members of the public with any questions about the latest acquisition are encouraged to attend the Land Bank's regular Monday evening meetings at the agency's office on Upper Main Street in Edgartown or one of the monthly meetings of the Edgartown town advisory board.
Bank of M.V. collects
books and food
The Bank of Martha's Vineyard has book donation boxes in all its branches and is accepting new and gently used children's books through the end of the month. The books will be distributed to various pediatric care offices on the Island to give away to young readers, to promote literacy and a love of reading.
Starting Monday, Dec. 12, the bank will also collect non-perishable food donations to be given to the Island Food Pantry, as in years past.
Anyone wishing to donate books or food can do so at any of the five branches of The Bank of Martha's Vineyard.
Wakeman center goes solar
The Mary P. Wakeman Conservation Center Trust will celebrate the installation of a 1,900-watt solar electric system, next week.
The grid-tied photovoltaic system, adjacent to the Wakeman Center off of Lambert's Cove Road will save the center approximately one-sixth of its annual electric bill, according to a press statement from the Wakeman Center.
Architect Kate Warner of the Vineyard Energy Project (VEP), arranged for the installation of the solar electric system, which will be counted as part of the initiative to develop 500 solar roofs on the Vineyard by 2010.
A portion of the cost for the $5,700 solar system was paid for through a rebate from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's Small Renewable Initiative. The Vineyard Conservation Society, The Martha's Vineyard Garden Club, and the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation also donated money to fund the project.
The system that Ms. Warner designed for the Wakeman Center consists of 10, 190-watt solar panels mounted on a special rack. The system began generating power for the center on Nov. 2.
The celebration of the solar installation will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 1:30 pm at the Wakeman Center. Ms. Warner will give a talk about the system and the solar energy progress on the Island, and refreshments will be served.
High school committee certifies FY07 budget
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) district school committee approved unanimously a $10,981,939 budget for fiscal year (FY) 2007 on Monday.
The figure represents a 2.76 percent increase over the current year's budget. This increase is smaller than in previous years, and smaller than increases in other districts in the state, according to Judi O'Donoghue, chairman of the regional school committee. Last year, the RHS budget jumped 3.83 percent.
"This budget keeps programs, keeps teachers, and addresses many needs of the district," said Ms. O'Donoghue. "I do not see it wanting anything."
Administrators trimmed the anticipated budget increase by about four percentage points over that past few weeks, after written requests from town finance committees.
"This year's budget process was vastly improved from anything I've witnessed in the past [on the Island]," Fred Condon, a member of the Edgartown finance committee, told The Times. "There was a sense of teamwork and desire to accomplish an ultimate goal through compromise."
This budget is the first in which student transportation will be managed by the superintendent's office, a change approved by the regional school committee in October. The district will save $224,684 from the transportation line, or about 24 percent, by operating the buses independently, school officials said.
"I thought it was risky for a new superintendent [of schools, Dr. James H. Weiss] to take over the buses right off the bat," said Mr. Condon, "but it worked. Transportation is key to my good feeling about the budget."
The budget was also affected by increased enrollment at the regional high school, up about 20 students to 822. This increase comes despite a general decline in the total student population on the Island.
The budget includes money to cover the school's imminent capital expenditures, including repairing the roof, installing new ventilation and heating systems, building a new press box and bleachers for the athletic fields, and repairing the superintendent's office in Vineyard Haven, which the regional high school district owns.
Monday's vote also certified reimbursement to the Island towns out of excess monies collected from the current budget. The district's auditor estimates $442,145 will be returned to the towns from the FY 2006 excess and deficiency fund, pending approval from the state Department of Revenue.
The budget must be approved by voters in the Island towns at town meetings in the spring.
Leo C. Driscoll dies
Leo C. Driscoll of Edgartown and Naples, Fla., died on Dec. 7. He was the husband of Jackie Driscoll. His Mass of Christian burial will be held in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Massasoit Avenue, Oak Bluffs on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 am. Burial will follow in the New Westside Cemetery, off Robinson Road, Edgartown. Visiting hours will be held in the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs on Friday, Dec. 9 from 6 to 8 pm. Memorial donations may be made to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital Building Fund, P. O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs MA 02557. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information. A complete obituary will follow in a later edition of the Times.
New Vineyard Haven art gallery opens doors
The Belushi Pisano Gallery, Vineyard Haven's newest art gallery, is holding a preview opening on Thursday December 15th, featuring locally and nationally acclaimed artists working in mediums including painting, mixed media, sculpture, glass, hand-crafted furniture and jewelry.
The gallery, located on the corner of State Road and Main Street opposite the Martha's Vineyard Co-Op Bank, plans to serve coffee drinks and homemade baked goods after the first of the year. The gallery is owned by Vineyard Haven residents Victor Pisano and Judith Belushi Pisano and is a subsidiary of the nonprofit Second Chance Foundation, which provides support to the arts, individuals and organizations through grants, awards, and scholarships. According to a press release, a percentage of the gallery's sales will help fund the foundation.
The gallery will be open daily from 10 am to 5 pm throughout the winter. For more information, go to www.belushipisanogallery.com or call 508-696-8988.
Century 21 joins
regional trade association
Century 21 Island-Wide Realty Inc., located on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, is now a member of the Cape and Islands Association of Realtors, a division of the National Association of Realtors.
According to a press release, the membership and extensive Century 21 international network affiliation will allow Century 21 Island-Wide to provide its customers with a local and worldwide audience of potential buyers and sellers.
For more information, go to mvcentury21.com or call 508-693-3700.
Tisbury merchants promote holiday shopping
In an effort to lure holiday shoppers, Tisbury merchants are sponsoring a raffle contest. For every $25 a shopper spends, he or she will receive a raffle ticket good in a drawing with a top prize of $1,000.
The winning tickets will be selected at 2 pm, Friday, Dec. 23. Participating merchants and the Tisbury Business Association are sponsoring the contest.
The Times staff conspired to confuse moviegoers last week by reprinting the Nov. 24-Nov. 30 schedule of movies for Entertainment Cinemas as if it were the schedule for Dec. 1-Dec. 7. Of course, the theater owner and his customers were horribly inconvenienced. All our fault. A reminder: movie schedules appear online at mvtimes.com.
Susan Parker called to say that we incorrectly reported last week that no member of the West Tisbury finance committee attended the meeting on Nov. 29, between the selectmen and Coleman and Sons, consultants to the assessors. She is right, of course. Skipper Manter, the selectman, is also a member of the finance committee, and he participated in the negotiating session with Coleman and Sons.
In addition, too late for The Times Dec. 1 publication, the West Tisbury selectmen changed the date of the special town meeting discussed in the Dec. 1 news story to Jan. 17, from Jan. 10, which was the scheduled date before The Times went to press.