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News in Brief
Black Dog expands retail operation to Nantucket
Photo by Ezra Blair
An Oak Bluffs man faces several charges including drunk driving after he crashed his car head-on into a telephone pole on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven on Tuesday afternoon.
Tisbury police charged Marcelo Gomes, 25, with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, second offence, driving without a license in his possession, and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
Theodore Saulnier, Tisbury police chief, said that Mr. Gomes was driving toward Five Corners on Beach Road just before 4 pm on Tuesday, when he veered off the road and onto the sidewalk, and slammed into a telephone pole.
Chief Saulnier said that before Mr. Gomes was transported to Martha's Vineyard Hospital, he told police and medical personnel that he had been drinking. Police found an open beer can under the driver's seat, and other unopened beers in the car.
Chief Saulnier said that the crash could have been much more serious.
"We're very fortunate that no one was on the sidewalk when this happened," he said. "This can be a very busy area, and it is not uncommon to have pedestrians walking there."
State Forest project a no-go
A plan by State Forest management officials for harvesting white pines on 75 acres in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in order to restore natural habitat has been put on hold.
The non-native white pines were targeted for removal so that native pitch pine and scrub oak habitat would be restored to support rare species. The goal of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) had been to cover the cost of cutting the white pines by selling the timber.
By last Friday's deadline, the DCR received bids from three companies interested in harvesting the white pines and removing them from the Island.
"We have decided to refuse all three," said Jim Rassman, southeast district management forester, on Monday. While a few came close, he said, "None of them, we felt, were going to meet our needs for overall forest management and ecological forest restoration goals."
The problem, Mr. Rassman, explained, is that the bidders were interested in removing the big trees but not the rest. "There is a lot of low-grade material, cleanup work we want done, and we do not want to be left behind with a huge mess to clean up."
If the contractors just removed the large trees and left the rest behind as they proposed, it constitutes too much of a fire hazard, he said. "If DCR is having to spend money to clean up afterwards, then it is not worth it," Mr. Rassman said. "If we are going to have to spend money to do things, there is the issue of addressing the areas of dead pines first."
Although DCR is closing the door on these proposals, Mr. Rassman said, "We sent a letter back to the contractors, telling them, if you want to amend your bids, we will be willing to talk. If someone wants to amend a proposal, the project would have to go back out to bid again."
It could be months before anything happens, if at all, Mr. Rassman said. "We have been trying to get this done for over 20 years. We don't just want to do this project - we want to do it right."
Photo by Nelson Sigelman
David Tilton, Jonsered equipment distributor, lucky raffle winners Ralph and Ethel Sherman of Chilmark, and Walter Ashley, owner of C & W Power Equipment, stand in front of an assortment of equipment presented to the Shermans on Friday.
It was like old home week in the small, unpretentious office of C & W, the equipment repair shop off Barnes Road in Edgartown, when Ralph and Ethel Sherman showed up to claim an assortment of Jonsered equipment worth more than $1,000.
"There's old smiley," said Ethel Sherman, looking at Walter Ashley as she walked in the door with her husband, the winner of a multi-state Jonsered raffle. The Shermans live in Chilmark. For years, they ran SBS, the Grain Store, when it was a fixture on Water Street in Vineyard Haven. Ethel has published a book about their early days at SBS.
Walter Ashley, who normally adopts a taciturn (some might say dour) expression when listening to the owner of any type of failed power equipment who has ventured down the small dirt road to the shop, was smiling and wearing a new plaid shirt for the occasion.
Mr. Tilton a well-known native Vineyarder and Jonsered supplier who works out of his headquarters in Rye, N.H., was smiling as well, pleased to give away a chain saw, power washer, and nifty-looking boots and gloves to someone with a well-earned reputation for hard work and an appreciation for good equipment. Ethel sells the produce from Ralph's extensive gardens at the West Tisbury Farmers' Market, along with her own jams and jellies.
It is often that when one scratches beneath the Vineyard surface one finds a personal connection. Ralph and Ethel Sherman had managed SBS downtown and continued to do so when it moved to State Road, and they were responsible for Walter and his wife Connie (The C and the W in C&W Power) moving to the Island.
Mr. Sherman knew the Ashley family of South Dighton and Walter's reputation for mechanical cleverness and a devotion to deer hunting. He invited Walter down to talk to him about a job on the Vineyard.
"He saw three deer in my backyard, and that was it," said Mr. Sherman with a laugh. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Red Cross honored in March
March is Red Cross month, and the Martha's Vineyard chapter of the American Red Cross, celebrating its 89th year serving the Vineyard community, is taking the occasion to highlight its many activities and launch its "$10 per Home" fundraising campaign.
The visual centerpiece of the campaign is a poster depicting the many faces of volunteers and staff who help in carrying out the Red Cross mission. According to a press release, any funds raised will go to support the local chapter's annual operating expenses for emergency and disaster preparedness; support of individual health and safety programs; blood donation and Armed Forces services.
Red Cross volunteers plan to be at the Island food markets over the next three weekends collecting donations. In addition, traditional Red Cross canisters will be placed on counter tops in retail shops and businesses around the Island throughout the month.
The local chapter will host its annual meeting on Sunday, March 19, from 2 to 5 pm at the new Oak Bluffs Library on Pacific Avenue. The program will include a panel of local volunteers who supported the Gulf hurricane effort discussing their activities.
The Red Cross will also honor retiring board members, including outgoing chairman Arthur Flathers of Vineyard Haven. Members of the public, friends, volunteers and donors are invited.
For more information, call 508-696-0092.
Photo by Ezra Blair
The second annual Moshup's Challenge Gravity Race in Aquinnah is scheduled for April 16, Easter Sunday.
The Aquinnah selectmen, at their meeting Tuesday night, gave event organizers the green light to hold the event at the top of Moshup Trail by Gay Head Light.
The event will be postponed to the following Sunday if the road is wet.
The first annual gravity car race last April drew a massive crowd of about 2,000 spectators. A fleet of 28 hometown gravity racers entered the event to careen two at a time down Moshup Trail for the top honors and bragging rights as Martha's Vineyard gravity car champion.
Event organizers are expecting an even bigger turnout this year, and are looking for volunteers to help out. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Matt Merry at 508-776-2065.
Race registration will be held at 9 am the day of the race. The rules for entering a car a similar to last year:
• Vehicle and driver must not exceed 350 pounds.
• Vehicle must have four wheels touching the ground
• Vehicle must have "aggressive" braking power.
• Wheelbase must not exceed 10 feet.
• Width must not exceed four feet
Spa Tharpe, event organizer, said that all vehicles must also pass a safety inspection before the event.
Mr. Tharpe said that participants should look for more details in posters that will be circulated within the next week.
Passing Breathalyzer test is ticket to the prom
The "ticket" to this year's high school junior prom on May 6 will be a Breathalyzer test, according to Peg Regan, principal at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS).
"We have decided to go with a Breathalyzer this year at prom in order to eliminate any concern about the misuse of alcohol.
We are not going to have to guess," Ms. Regan said.
The high school plans to purchase two Breathalyzers at a cost of about $350 each, so that students can be tested and get into the prom more quickly, Ms. Regan said. "We will send a letter home, letting students and parents know about it, so it is not a big shock that night when they arrive. We will give them the protocol."
Every prom-goer will be required to pass the test on their way into the event at Outerland. Ms. Regan said school staff and chaperones will administer the Breathalyzer tests, which are not intrusive and involve blowing into the machine like a whistle. Students who pass will receive a ticket or stamp.
"It is a fairly simple machine that basically has three colors on it like a stop light: green, amber, and red. Green means no alcohol present, and we are going to 'go with the green' for the prom, since there is no legal amount of alcohol for minors," said Ms. Regan.
The Breathalyzer wand also is designed so it can be waved over an open container to check the contents for alcohol.
Ms. Regan mentioned that several high schools, including Rehoboth High School and Bourne High School, already use Breathalyzers. "Some schools use them for almost any activity, but for our high school, prom night really is the night that is most frightening," Ms. Regan said.
Windemere receives program grant
Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has been awarded a $24,000 Resident Empowerment Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The grant money will be used to complete a project Windemere has been working on in conjunction with the Rotary Club to create an outdoor mobility program that will provide a common area for exercise, gardening, and organized activities for residents.
In a news brief published in last week's Times, we reported incorrectly that there were two seats available on the Oak Bluffs wastewater commission. There is only one seat available, and Susan Desmarais is the only candidate running for the position. Kevin Johnson, an incumbent, is running for reelection to the Oak Bluffs water district commission.