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News in Brief
County postpones final airport appointments
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Workers used chainsaws and a bobcat to clear a large oak tree that came crashing down across State Road in Vineyard Haven between Look Street and John's Fish Market at approximately 5 pm Monday.
The tree narrowly missed a car when it fell, according to Tisbury police. Traffic was blocked in both directions for about an hour while workers cleared the road.
The tree was well rotted from the inside, according to one knowledgeable observer.
Vineyard's top spellers compete Friday
The Island's top spellers step to the podium Friday in the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown to compete in the 15th Annual Island-wide Spelling Bee, sponsored by The Martha's Vineyard Times.
The winner will go on to compete in the 78th Annual Scripps Howard Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. held the weekend of May 31st.
The seven finalists were selected following an Island-wide competition for students in grades four through eight.
The seven finalists who will compete Friday are: Chris Pitt, Edgartown School, grade 6; Raine Monast, West Tisbury School, grade 5; Ian Bardwell, Chilmark School, grade 5; Cole Bilodeau, Oak Bluffs, grade 7; David Seidman, Tisbury School, grade 6; Mattia Phaneuf, Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School, grade 7; and Kent Leonard of Vineyard Haven, a home-schooled student.
Parents, teachers, friends, past contestants, and school principals are expected to crowd into the Edgartown Room and cheer on the spellers. By turns, each student will be given a word to spell by Peter Oberfest, Martha's Vineyard Times Publisher and the designated pronouncer for the competition.
The winning speller and his or her chaperone will enjoy a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C. that will include tours of the city. The winner will receive a $100 savings bond from the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, and second- through fifth-place finishers will receive a $50 saving bond. Other prizes will also be awarded.
The Vineyard Spelling Bee began in 1992, as an inspiration of Patricia Carlet, former Edgartown School librarian. Sponsorship for the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee is available to daily and weekly newspapers, with a history of promoting academic progress locally. Ms. Carlet approached The Times, and since then 14 Island students have advanced to the Annual Scripps Howard Spelling Bee in Washington.
Last year, Ms. Carlet relinquished her leadership role in the organization of the Island bees, and Barbara Reynolds, Edgartown School reading specialist and English as a Second Language coordinator, took on the job of organizing the annual spelling bee. Despite the demanding work, Ms. Reynolds said it is an honor to be involved in the spelling competition. Even with the speed at which we operate in this modern age, with computers, spell checkers, instant messaging, text messaging, online dictionaries and the like, the need for accurate spelling remains, she said.
"Through spelling," said Ms. Reynolds, "one increases vocabulary, becomes a better reader, writer, and thinker."
The spelling competition begins in the Harbor View Hotel's Edgartown Room at 9:30 am. The public is invited.
High school hosts Kindness Week activities
"Pay it forward with random acts of kindness" is the theme of events planned next week at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS).
The week's event start Monday with collection campaigns for spare change for donation to a charity picked by students and school supplies for Puerta Plata High School in the Dominican Republic.
Tuesday is "send a smile day," with tables set up in the cafeteria where students can write notes to each other for delivery in homeroom the next day.
On Wednesday, "mix it up for lunch day," students and teachers will be given color-coded place settings matching them up at tables with different people. On Thursday, "random acts of kindness day," teachers will reward students observed acting kindly with a coupon. Those who earn several can trade them in for an ice cream sundae after school.
Students also can participate in a writing contest by documenting an act of random kindness they observe. The winner receives a prize basket, as does the person or person written about.
Sandy Mincone, MVRHS physical education teacher, and Teresa Temple, parent of freshmen Alexa and Zoe Fisher, planned and organized the event, along with leadership class students and members of the school's cultural council.
Photo by JJ Gonson
MassHighway last week used the power of eminent domain to take a temporary seven-year easement over a small piece of property next to the western ramp of the Lagoon Pond drawbridge where a small house sits.
The legal move will help pave the way for the construction by Mass Highway of a temporary bridge and later a permanent span to replace the existing drawbridge, which is on its last legs according to structural engineers.
The little house nestled against the western ramp to the Lagoon drawbridge is owned by a mother and daughter, both named Charlotte Holloman and long-time seasonal residents.
John Carlisle, a MassHighway spokesperson, said the 4,028-square foot easement would allow access to the temporary bridge from the Tisbury side of the Lagoon. He said that despite previous reports the state has no plans to take the house and property. He said the access route would eventually be landscaped and returned to the family.
Peter Flynn, a Saugus attorney representing the Hollomans, said an order of taking was recorded on Friday in the Dukes County registry of deeds. The state took a temporary easement allowing access to the road and slope along the bridge and did not take any real estate, he said.
The Hollomans, who live in Washington, DC., will receive $260,000 in payment. The Hollomans have three years to appeal the taking or the amount of the award.
For the moment, no appeal is planned. Mr. Flynn said the family recognizes the public importance of the project and continues to have the right to access and use the property and hopes that will continue. "So far, so good," he said.
The current house site dates back to some time before 1920, and a seasonal restaurant called The Hawaiian Tea House of New York. The Hawaiian Tea House survived the construction of the present drawbridge in 1934, because a massive A-frame was erected over the restaurant to protect it and serve as a makeshift construction crane. But the building was destroyed by the 1938 hurricane.
Chilmark election ballot shapes up
With eight days left for candidates to withdraw, it appears that the only race on the Chilmark ballot will be between incumbent Frank Fenner and Steve Gallas for Mr. Fenner's seat on the board of selectmen.
The ballot will also have several gaps. According to the town clerk, there are no candidates for two seats on the finance advisory committee, one seat on the planning board, the office of fence viewer and surveyor of wood, lumber and bark.
The following people have taken out nomination papers for town office: Leonard Jason, Jr., assessor; Jane Slater, library trustee; John Flender, cemetery commissioner; Frank Yeomans, finance committee; Pamela Goff, Land Bank commissioner; Keith Emin, tree warden; Mitchell Posin, planning board, fence viewer; William Meegan, planning board; Robert Thorpe, board of health.
Tisbury selectmen zip through agenda
The Tisbury selectmen zipped through a short March agenda in an hour Tuesday night.
Concluding a selection process for the town's Community Preservation Committee, selectmen Ray LaPorte and Tristan Israel interviewed three of eight candidates who have volunteered to fill four positions. The selectmen also interviewed two candidates for one position on the Shellfish Advisory Committee.
Mr. LaPorte thanked all of them for their willingness to serve, and deferred voting on the committee appointments because of selectman Tom Pachico's absence.
The selectmen then recognized Meverell Good, a member of the finance and advisory committee (FinCom), who announced it was his last appearance as a town official. Mr. LaPorte thanked him for his 15 years of honorable service and promised him a plaque later. Mr. Good also took the opportunity to praise John Schilling, fire chief, and Ted Saulnier, police chief, for their departments' prompt and professional response to a chimney fire at his home recently.
Turning to department reports, Chief Schilling said the Tisbury firefighters' first day of training on the new ladder truck went well. They will be wrapping up training and checking out the vehicle's systems with the factory representative tomorrow through Sunday.
In his town administrator's report, John Bugbee praised the work of Melanie Lewis, who stepped in about a year ago and took over as animal control officer. Mr. Bugbee recommended that the town pay to send her to an animal control officer training class in Upton. Ms. Lewis has applied for a scholarship to cover the $300 class fee, and the selectmen agreed to allocate $500 to $600 for her travel and lodging expenses.
Prior to the meeting, the selectmen approved the warrant for the annual town meeting on April 4. The Finance and Advisory Committee will meet tonight at 7 pm at the Tisbury Senior Center to go over the warrant and make its recommendations.
Group to explore off-road options
In the wake of a debate in the letters to the editor section of The Times over the use of dirt bikes and all terrain vehicles on public lands, a group of off-road riding enthusiasts have organized to pursue riding opportunities.
The Martha's Vineyard Dirt Riders Association (MVDRA) will hold its first meeting on March 22 at 6 pm at the West Tisbury Public Safety Building on State Road near up-Island Cronig's.
Beth Serusa of West Tisbury, one of the organizers, said the purpose of the meeting is to elect officers and begin to explore ways in which members can continue to ride without creating a public disturbance. Interested parties are invited to attend. For more information, call 508-696-7438.
West Tisbury committee will explain CPA
A West Tisbury committee, which will recommend to voters how to spend a fund estimated at $500,000, will meet with the public on March 22 at 6 pm at the Howes House to explain the Community Preservation Act (CPA) and the CPA article on the warrant for the annual town meeting, April 11.
The CPA enables Massachusetts communities to levy a surcharge on property tax bills. Each dollar raised by the surtax is matched by the state. The funds may be used for affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation. At least 10 percent of the money raised must go to each of the three areas. Town meeting voters, advised by a CPA committee, will decide how the rest of the funds are to be spent.
At a town meeting in 2001, West Tisbury voters chose not to adopt the CPA, but affordable housing advocates persisted, and the town approved the CPA by way of a ballot initiative in the annual election last April. At a special town meeting held just for the purpose in October, voters approved a bylaw establishing a committee to administer the CPA and make recommendations to the town meeting.
The committee includes two members appointed at large by the selectmen and one member appointed by and from each of the following: the conservation commission, the planning board, the historical commission, the parks and recreation committee, the finance committee, the affordable housing committee, and the Dukes County Housing Authority.
In a press release, the committee promises that it will work with town citizens and organizations to develop proposals for CPA projects. "This is a new and exciting opportunity for townspeople to take action to create and support affordable housing and acquire, restore, rehabilitate, or preserve historic buildings and open space."
The members of the committee are Susan Phelps and Leslie Eaton (at large), Peter Rodegast (ConCom), Eileen Maley (planning board), Sean Conley (historical commission), Bruce Keep (park and rec), Al DeVito (FinCom), Caroline Locke (affordable housing), and Dale Julier (DCHA).
Services planned for Andrall Pearson
Andrall Pearson, 80, a prominent businessman and seasonal Island visitor, died at his home Saturday in Palm Beach, Florida.
Memorial services will be held 11 am at the Reformed Church, Bronxville, N.Y. on Saturday. Mr. Pearson's daughter Jill and her husband Alan Rappaport are seasonal residents of Chilmark. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cardiovascular Research Fund at the NYU Medical Center, 560 First Ave & 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016.
A full obituary will appear in next week's edition.
Funeral Mass Monday for Margaret Hall
Margaret A. Hall of Vineyard Haven died Wednesday at her home. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 am Monday in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on Massasoit Ave. in Oak Bluffs, with burial to follow in Oak Grove Cemetery, Vineyard Haven.
Visiting hours are in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, on Sunday from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm. A complete obituary will follow in a future edition of The Times.
State will hold candidate seminar
Among the many challenges candidates running for elected office face are the forms that must be completed by anyone planning to spend money in the course of a campaign.
To help those seeking an elected position, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance will conduct an informational seminar at 5 pm, Thursday, March 23 at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Tisbury. The seminar is specifically designed to demystify the process of filing the required forms, according to a press release.
For more information, call the office of the Tisbury town clerk at 508-696-4215.