News in Brief
Edgartown crash and
car fire end in fatality
A volunteer Edgartown firefighter and Edgartown police detective braved flames in a vain attempt to save a Tisbury man trapped in the wreckage of his 1991 Honda Civic wagon, following a single-car crash Friday afternoon on Meeting House Road.
Dexter Mello, 64, of Hillside Village Apartments in Vineyard Haven was driving southbound along the lengthy dirt road when his vehicle crossed the road and struck an oak tree on the northbound shoulder just before 3 pm, according to a police press release.
Volunteer firefighter James Crave, an electrician employed by contractor Robert Young Jr., was working nearby and responded immediately to the scene of the accident, as did Edgartown Police Detective Jonathan Searle.
The driver's side door was jammed as a result of the accident, forcing rescuers to use the passenger side. Mr. Crave was attempting to pull Mr. Mello, who was unconscious, from the vehicle when the dashboard burst into flames.
Detective Jonathan Searle used a fire extinguisher to knock the flames down, providing a brief window of opportunity for Mr. Crave who, despite the flames and smoke, re-entered the vehicle and freed Mr. Mello by cutting his seatbelt. Mr. Crave and Mr. Searle were then able to pull Mr. Mello from the vehicle and carry him to safety.
Mr. Mello was treated by Edgartown paramedics on the scene and transported by ambulance to Martha's Vineyard Hospital. He suffered a heart attack and died while in the ambulance, police said.
Mr. Crave was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
Police said speed and alcohol were not factors in the accident. They said they were investigating whether a medical condition might have been the cause.
Tony Bettencourt, Edgartown fire chief, said the cause of the fire was uncertain and the car was pretty well destroyed. He said the close cooperation exhibited by Mr. Crave and Mr. Searle was a testament to their training and dedication. "They risked their lives to try and save somebody in a real bad situation," he said. "It makes me proud and I think the town should be proud."
Mr. Mello was well known in Edgartown and regularly met a group of friends for coffee every morning at the Triangle. A memorial service will be held at St. Andrews Episcopal Church on Saturday at 11 am. An obituary appears in this week's issue of The Times.
New sign puts the shark back at Sharky's
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Sharky's Cantina owners Josh Aronie (left) and John Blau hung a new sign outside their restaurant on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs this week, replacing one that was stolen in February. The colorful, handmade sign, featuring a sombrero-clad shark holding a margarita, is an enhanced version of the original, which cost $1,500. The new one cost a little more, Mr. Aronie said, and has been secured with locks.
Mold closes Edgartown Public Library children's room
The discovery of a mold problem has led to the temporary closure of the children's room in the basement of the Edgartown Public Library. The upstairs section of the library remains open.
The mold was discovered two weeks ago when wallpaper was removed in preparation for repainting the basement. Because mold can pose a health hazard, the room was closed pending its removal.
After consulting with the Edgartown board of health, library officials called in Munters, an international remediation company that specializes in the removal of mold, and Mystic Air Quality Consultants, environmental hygienists.
The experts agreed that the children's room should be closed until the mold is removed, but they saw no reason to shut the rest of the building. Because all books, videos and DVDs in the basement may have become tainted with mold they will be kept out of circulation and cleaned. Mold was also discovered in the upstairs area, however, it is limited area to a small area away from the computers and the Library collections so those areas are still available to the public.
Felicia Cheney, the library director, said she is awaiting the results of testing that will help determine the exact type of mold found and any associated health risks. She said an investigation of the problem has revealed that when the addition was built in 1974 no vapor barrier or insulation was placed between the interior walls and concrete foundation.
As a result, the remediation program will require the installation of some type of barrier to prevent a reoccurrence of mold.
Ms. Cheney said that she expects to meet with selectmen and library officials over the next few weeks about a cleanup schedule.
Photo by Patty Kirwin
Oak Bluffs police pursuit ends with accident
An elderly man suffering from a medical condition and driving erratically led an Oak Bluffs police officer on a slow-speed chase that began at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and ended with an accident at the triangle in Edgartown.
Stuart Fuller, 88, of Edgartown failed to stop for an Oak Bluffs police officer who followed him along Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. His car struck a Jeep Grand Cherokee, in which Vallqurea and Irene DaSilva, mother and daughter, were waiting to make a turn into the Edgartown post office parking lot.
Mr. Fuller suffered a serious eye injury and was transferred to a mainland hospital, according to police. Mother and daughter were treated at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital and released.
State Police Sgt. Neal Maciel said the accident resulted from a medical condition he would not identify but which affected Mr. Fuller's ability to operate and his judgment. Sergeant Maciel said he did not expect that any charges would be filed in connection with the accident.
Oak Bluffs Lt. Tim Williamson said police would take administrative action through the registry of motor vehicles to prevent Mr. Fuller from driving in the future.
According to police, at times Mr. Fuller drove into the opposite traffic lane and strayed from the road onto the bike path.
"It could have been much worse," said Sergeant Maciel. "That is a route used by a lot of school buses."
The pursuit began when Oak Bluffs police officer Brian Kenney, parked on the side of the road by the high school observing traffic, watched a Jeep pass through the school zone above the posted speed limit. His attention was further drawn to the Jeep when a woman in a following car made a hand gesture to indicate that there was a problem with the passing vehicle, according to Oak Bluffs Lt. Tim Williamson.
Officer Kenney attempted to make a traffic stop, but Mr. Fuller continued driving erratically along the road. The police officer followed in his vehicle in what Lt. Williamson described as a slow speed pursuit. Fortunately, he said, the patrol car's flashing lights and siren likely provided a warning for oncoming vehicles to get out of the way.
On opposite sides
Photo by Susan Safford
A group of about two dozen Islanders gathered at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven Saturday at noon holding signs opposing U.S. involvement in Iraq and demanding an end to the war. The demonstration was one of many organized protests across the country marking the third anniversary of the war.
On the opposite side of the road, both literally and figuratively, stood John Bunker Sr. of Oak Bluffs with a flag in support of U.S. policy.
Massachusetts becomes merlot-to-go state
For Massachusetts diners, bringing home a doggy bag from a restaurant may now include an unfinished bottle of wine, thanks to a new law passed by the state legislature a few weeks ago.
Recently the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission outlined a set of strict temporary rules for hotels and restaurants to follow when sending home opened bottles of wine with customers.
For a single diner, the wine must be purchased with a meal, defined as an entrée, not just a salad. For two or more diners, the wine must be purchased with a diversified selection of food priced at more than $20.
Only one partially consumed bottle of wine per patron may be resealed and removed from the restaurant.
Before permitting patrons to leave with their carry-out wine, restaurant owners must securely reseal the bottle and place it in a one-time-use, tamper-proof transparent bag so people will not drink it on the way home. The bag must be sealed and a receipt showing proof of purchase of a meal and the bottle of wine attached to it.
Advocates of the law think it will encourage responsible consumption of wine and help reduce drunk driving if people do not feel they have to consume all of the wine they purchase. Restaurateurs are hoping the new law also may increase sales to patrons who are torn between buying wine by the bottle or the glass.
Not surprisingly, one California-based company appropriately named winedoggybag.com already exists as the exclusive supplier for several other "merlot-to-go" states. Prices start at $18.75 for 25 bags, with discounts for higher-quantity orders, such as $140 for 500.
Knowing that customers at the Coach House restaurant in the Harbor View Hotel will soon be asking about the doggy bags, general manager Alain Michel said, "We are in the process of getting everything together."
Restaurant employees contacted at Slice of Life, Seasons, and Pomodoro in Oak Bluffs said they do not have the bags yet but will be checking into what is required.
Tisbury Business Association elects officers
The Tisbury Business Association held its annual breakfast meeting and elections Tuesday morning at Le Grenier Restaurant on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.
Steve Perlman of Twin Oaks Inn was reelected President. Also elected were Jon Nelson of the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, vice president; Ann K. Hunt of the Bank of Martha's Vineyard, treasurer; Lynne Benson of the Heath Hen Quilt Shop, clerk; and Maureen Fischer of Sunglasses & Then Some and Amy Levine of It's In The Bag, directors.
After opening the meeting with a review of the TBA's 2005 highlights, which included successful JawsFest activities and a redesigned web page, Mr. Perlman introduced George Balco, Jamie Douglas, and Nancy Hall, three of Tisbury's five selectman candidates. The other two, Denys Wortman and Jared Meader, were unable to attend.
The three candidates answered questions in turn about their economic plans for stimulating Tisbury's businesses, their opinions on beer and wine sales in Vineyard Haven restaurants, and their business experience overall.
Mr. Perlman closed the meeting by outlining some issues in Tisbury that bear watching by the TBA, such as beer and wine sales, taxes, downtown beautification plans, and the Steamship Authority's ferry schedule.
In an article published last week about the MVRHS drug policy, a quote attributed to Amy Lilavois, school adjustment counselor, should have been attributed to Michael McCarthy, guidance department director.