News in Brief
State ballot deadline nears for county officers
Although the November state election may seem distant, the deadline to submit nomination papers to fill several local elected offices is approaching rapidly.
The Nov. 7 state ballot will include four seats on the seven-member Dukes County commission, the job of register of deeds and clerk of courts.
Candidates have until the end of Tuesday, May 2 to submit nomination papers to the town clerk in the town where the signatures have been collected.
The four-year terms of county commissioners Paul Straus of Oak Bluffs, Leslie Leland of West Tisbury, Nelson Smith of Edgartown and Robert Sawyer of Tisbury expire at the end of 2006. Mr. Strauss, Mr. Leland and Mr. Sawyer told The Times they would seek re-election. In an E-mail to his fellow commissioners, Mr. Smith said he would not.
Diane Powers of West Tisbury, Register of Deeds, said she would seek another six-year term in office.
Joseph Sollitto of Chilmark, clerk of courts, will also seek re-election to a six-year term.
Candidates must gather at least 25 signatures from registered voters and submit the signatures for certification to the town clerk. If the candidate is registered as a Democrat or Republican, signers must be from the candidate's party or un-enrolled. Prospective candidates are urged to get additional signatures, because some who sign may be disqualified.
Candidates must get certified nomination papers from offices of the town clerks and return them to the Secretary of State by May 30, 2006 (5 pm).
In November, voters will also be asked to elect nine members of the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) to two-year terms and elect 15 people to a charter study commission that will be created to study the present governmental structure of the county government and make recommendations regarding its future.
Nomination papers for the charter study commission are available from each town clerk's office and the county commissioners' office.
Candidates for the charter study commission or the MVC must submit nomination papers with 25 signatures for certification by Aug. 1.
Nomination papers are available from the Secretary of State. Call 1-800-VOTE (8683) or go to www.sec.state.ma.us.
Thief steals shotgun from Ducks Unlimited banquet
A bold thief or thieves walked into the annual banquet and auction of the Martha's Vineyard chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU) at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown on April 8 and walked out with a 12-gauge shotgun, one of several on display.
Cliff Meehan of Edgartown, DU chapter president, said the stolen gun was a 12-gauge black synthetic stock Benelli Nova pump shotgun. Equipped with a cable trigger lock, the gun was sitting on a gun rack along with two other, more expensive shotguns in a hall where many other items due to be auctioned or raffled were displayed.
The national non-profit conservation organization conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. Since its founding, DU has conserved more than 10 million acres in North America.
Mr. Meehan said the theft was very disappointing on an otherwise fun evening when the local chapter raised more than $31,000 for DU's conservation efforts. He said the theft would force the chapter to take extra precautions in the future.
The serial numbers of the stolen shotgun are on file with state and federal authorities. "It was a theft of opportunity," said Edgartown police detective Ken Johnson, "and the opportunity was there, so they took it."
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact Edgartown police officer Mike Snowden at 508-627-4343.
Edgartown voters say yes
In town elections that featured few contests, challenger Kevin Searle, 264 votes beat incumbent David Murphy, 202 votes, for a three-year term on Edgartown's board of health.
Timothy Connelly (318) beat Jay Guest (140) for a three-year term on the wastewater treatment commission.
In a three-way contest for two seats on the board of library trustees, David Blackburn (343) and Herbert Foster (228) topped Richard Fenn (221).
The top vote getter was Wanda Williams, incumbent town clerk, who garnered 473 votes running unopposed.
A total of 518 voters, or 18 percent of the electorate, turned out to vote Thursday.
Candidates running unopposed were Arthur Smadbeck (420) for another three-year term as selectman; Laurence Mercier (424) for another three-year term on the board of assessors; William Bishop 3rd (418) and Alison Cannon (414) seeking three- and five-year terms, respectively, on the planning board; Melissa Kuehne (436), incumbent town collector; Leslie Baynes (412) a three-year term on the school committee; Glen Searle (457) to another three-year term on the parks commission; Thomas Durawa (431), Morton Fearey Jr. (383), and Malcolm Reed Jr. (374) to three-year terms on the finance committee; and William Erickson (417) to a three-year term on the water commission.
Photo by Nis Kildegaard
IHT celebrates three affordable houses
The Island Housing Trust celebrated the completion of its latest project, three permanently affordable homes on Takemmy Path in Tisbury, with an open house on Thursday, April 13.
The project, a "friendly 40B" subdivision, is built on land sold at a discount by Linda and Glenn Strand in 2004 to the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank. The Land Bank purchased a total of 15.7 acres, augmenting the nearly 90 acres it already owned at the nearby Wapatequa Woods Preserve; the Housing Trust took three of those acres, the minimum needed for its subdivision, and granted a conservation easement back to the Land Bank for two of those acres. In the end, the Island Housing Trust had a one-acre building envelope with a small existing house in need of rehabilitation, all for the bargain price of just $48,430.
Good House Associates, an Island partnership of Tony Nevin and Tucker Hubbell dedicated to helping build affordable Vineyard homes, undertook to restore the first house on the property in January of 2004. Mr. Hubbell's own company, Rising Sun Construction, built the two new homes on the Housing Trust's land.
Lotteries for the three houses were held in July and December of 2005. The winners were Elizabeth Mahoney, Margaret Mirko and the Darren Reubens family. Mortgages were provided by the Dukes County Savings Bank and the Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank, and the Island Affordable Housing Fund has offered soft second loans.
Unlike Island youth lot properties, these three houses will never leave the community's stock of affordable housing. The Island Housing Trust owns the land beneath the houses, much as the Martha's Vineyard Camp-Meeting Association owns the Campground in Oak Bluffs. The homeowners have 99-year renewable leases which allow for some growth in their equity, but protect the affordability of the houses as an enduring community asset.
Shark tourney critics host Humane Society speaker
A group of Islanders opposed to the popular Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament will host a speaker from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) at a lecture and discussion this evening at the Katharine Cornell Memorial Theatre in Vineyard Haven.
The lecture is sponsored by the M.V. Save Our Sharks Committee, a group spawned in the wake of the controversy that followed last summer's tournament when a group of fisherman brought in a 1,191-pound tiger shark minutes after the weigh station deadline in the 19th annual event.
According to Steve Maxner of West Tisbury, an avid fisherman and a leader of Save Our Sharks, the tournament should be run as a catch-and-release event in order to avoid the unnecessary killing of sharks for amusement, prizes, and money.
Last year, a record 245 boats participated in the July tournament, which business leaders said provides an economic boost to the town and Island. The tournament was also featured as a four-part show on ESPN, the cable sports news outlet.
HSUS, which boasts more than eight million members and a budget of approximately $95 million, unsuccessfully attempted to pressure ESPN not to broadcast the monster shark tournament show.
This evening at 7 pm, Sharon Young, HSUS marine issues field director, will speak on the topic of "Sharks and Men, conflict and conservation." A discussion will follow.
Break-in at Sharky's
A cook arriving at Sharky's Cantina yesterday around 7:30 am discovered the front door kicked in and a 100-pound safe and cash register drawer missing, according to J.B. Blau, a co-owner of the establishment located on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
Sharky's owners are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons who took the money.
The Century combination and key-lock safe contained over $5,000, Mr. Blau said. The Oak Bluffs police department started an investigation yesterday morning, and by early afternoon had found the empty safe dumped in the water in an undisclosed location, said Lt. Timothy Williamson.
"We definitely have some leads. We intend to speak with newspaper delivery people and neighbors, and pound the pavement," Officer Williamson said.
Mr. Blau said that after a busy night Tuesday the last patrons left Sharky's about 1 am Wednesday morning, followed by the bartenders around 2:30 am. "The reason someone discovered the break-in so early is that we are just starting serving lunch seven days a week, and have to open much earlier," said Mr. Blau. All of Sharky's employees have been eliminated from the pool of suspects, he added.
In the wake of the robbery, Mr. Blau and co-owners Josh Aronie and Jesse Martin are having an alarm system installed at Sharky's this week.
The Third World Trading Company a few doors down from Sharky's was broken into a few nights ago, and three Tisbury businesses this week as well, Officer Williamson said. "We don't know if they're connected, but we're investigating whether they are tied together in any way."
Mr. Blau and Lt. Williamson encourage anyone who has any information to call the Oak Bluffs police department at 508-693-0750.
Hunter ed class has openings
There is still space for Islanders interested in attending the only state-certified hunter education class that will be held on the Vineyard this year. The class begins Monday. For more information, call instructor Jeff Day at 508-645-9323.