News in Brief
Islanders celebrate Memorial Day
Memorial Day weekend observances will include the traditional parade to the sea by school children in Edgartown and Tisbury and ceremonies at the Oak Grove cemetery in Tisbury, conducted by Island veterans groups.
The weekend ceremonies begin on Friday. Weather permitting, students in all grades will depart the Tisbury School at 12:30 pm for their traditional march down Spring Street and up Main Street and down to Owen Park beach where they will throw bouquets of flowers into the water.
The children will then gather around the flag pole for the singing of the national anthem. Jo Ann Murphy, Dukes County veterans agent, will give a brief speech. The ceremony ends with the playing of taps.
In a similar ceremony, Edgartown School children will depart their school at 1 pm and march down Main Street to Memorial Wharf in Edgartown.
On Monday, Memorial Day, American Legion Posts 257 and 186 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9261 will honor the country's war dead. The veterans will depart Post 257 opposite the Tisbury School at 9:45 am and march to the nearby Oak Grove cemetery for a brief ceremony.
There will be a helicopter flyover by the Massachusetts National Guard at 10:15 am. Retired Lt. Commander Tom Rancich of West Tisbury, a former Navy SEAL, will be the guest speaker.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Ms. Murphy will present Korean War veterans with certificates honoring their service.
At 3 pm on Memorial Day, Islanders are asked to join in a national moment of silence to honor the country's war dead.
The American Legion is asking for help to set and take down 400 flags in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven on Memorial Day. The flags will be put up at 7:30 am taken down at 3 pm.
Ms. Murphy asks that any Korean War veterans who would like to be involved, or any volunteers to help assemble and take down the flags, call her office at (508) 693-6887.
County calls special meeting to discuss SSA bill
The Dukes County commissioners will hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the ramifications for the Island of a union backed bill now in the Senate that would impose mandatory binding arbitration on the Steamship Authority (SSA).
Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, Steve Sayers, SSA general counsel, and Marc Hanover, Vineyard SSA member, are expected to attend the meeting.
The SSA and the Marine Engineering Beneficial Association (MEBA) have been unable to agree on a contract for more than three years.
The legislation known as Senate bill 2459 would amend the SSA's enabling legislation by inserting language that declares that authority and union representatives must engage the services of a single state arbitrator when both sides are engaged in an impasse of more than five months in a dispute over wages, hours, and conditions of employment. The bill's sponsor is Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton, a strong union supporter.
Mr. Lamson has described the bill as "dangerous legislation" that would entirely deprive the Islands of their control over the most significant aspects of the Authority's operations and finances.
The meeting will begin at 7 pm in the Vineyard Transit Authority meeting room, "A" Street, Airport Business Park in Edgartown.
Cynthia Mitchell elected West Tisbury assessor
In a special election last week, Cynthia Mitchell won the battle of the Cynthias, defeating Cynthia Riggs for an 11-month term on the West Tisbury board of assessors, to fill the remaining term of long-serving assessor Raymond Houle, who resigned in February. The vote was 245 for Ms. Mitchell, 189 for Ms. Riggs, as 20.9 percent of eligible voters turned out for the one-race election.
The timing of Mr. Houle's resignation caused confusion among town elections officials, who at first thought that the resignation had come too close to the annual town elections to be included, but learned too late that by acting at once they could have put the spot on the ballot after all. Because of the mix-up, town counsel Ronald Rappaport urged that a special election be held as soon as practicable and that no interim appointment be made. Nevertheless, at the request of Michael Colaneri, chairman of the board of assessors who wanted a full board for the intervening three months, Ms. Mitchell was appointed and so was technically the incumbent. In an interview last week, she told The Times that she plans to stand for re-election in 2007.
West Tisbury appoints summer cops
At their meeting last week, the West Tisbury selectmen appointed three special police officers for the summer season: Danyon Russell, Mike Romano, and David Savage. Mr. Romano and Mr. Savage are considering careers in law enforcement. Mr. Russell, who will return in the fall to complete a degree in psychology at UMass Amherst, is not.
Police chief Beth Toomey told The Times that the summer officers will work mainly at the airport. Mr. Russell and Mr. Savage, who have had on-Island traffic control training, will see duty at the curb to prevent cars' being left alone or staying longer than necessary to discharge passengers. Mr. Romano, who has had advanced training, will assist the airport baggage screeners and be on duty inside the terminal.
All three officers may also do traffic (radar) control duty elsewhere in the town, or ride along with other officers on calls.
Mr. Russell, who was also recruited last year by Sergeant Dan Rossi, is the son of Chief Toomey. Selectman Skipper Manter pretended to be aghast when chairman John Early somberly disclosed that one of the candidates is Ms. Toomey's son. "We're appointing the chief's son to the police department?" he gasped. Mr. Manter, now a West Tisbury police sergeant, first joined the force when his father, George Manter, was chief.
Fire highlights street sign need, Aquinnah fire chief says
An early Sunday morning car fire for which the person who reported it was unable to provide precise directions to the scene highlighted the need for street signs, Aquinnah fire chief Walter Delaney said this week.
Details about a car fire in a vehicle owned by Amanda Hutchinson and reported at 1:06 am Sunday by three fishermen were still hard to come by in Aquinnah yesterday.
Aquinnah police Sgt. Paul Manning said the fire was still "under investigation" and referred all questions to police Chief Rhandi Belain, who was not working yesterday.
According to Edgartown District Court records, on Monday Ms. Hutchinson was arraigned on a charge of operating under the influence, leaving the scene of property damage, marked lanes violation, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Mr. Delaney said the volunteer fire department responded to a call of a fully engulfed car fire in the woods. He provided no details as to the cause. "The investigation is still ongoing," he said.
Mr. Delaney said the car fire spawned a brush fire. Luckily, it was brought under control with the assistance of a fire truck from Chilmark.
"The wind was in our favor that night," said Mr. Delaney. "It was coming out of the southwest. It helped us a lot."
Mr. Delaney said the fire underscored the need for the town to reconsider a decision not to erect street signs. He said the accident occurred at the end of an unmarked driveway called Evergreen Way, just off State Road, but the three fishermen, who used a cell phone to report the fire, did not know that.
"These three guys, all they knew is they were on State Road someplace between the Lobsterville Road and the lighthouse," said Mr. Delaney. "Now, they were standing right at the end of Evergreen Way. We have the money to put some road signs up. And the so-called road sign committee has only allowed us to put up eight street signs."
Mr. Delaney said only the major roads have signs, because people are concerned about aesthetics. "What good is that when you get into, where's Evergreen Way?" he said.
Oak Bluffs police arrest break-in suspects
Last weekend the Oak Bluffs police department arrested two suspects from Oak Bluffs, 17-year-old David J. Pothier and a 16-year-old juvenile, who will be charged in several breaking and entering cases.
Over the past five weeks, four break-ins in Oak Bluffs businesses and four in Tisbury have been reported. In the course of investigating and apprehending the two young men for the crimes in Oak Bluffs, the Oak Bluffs police uncovered information about the Tisbury cases. The investigation is ongoing, and Oak Bluffs police say they expect additional suspects will be charged in connection with the break-ins.
Mr. Pothier will be charged for crimes committed in Oak Bluffs, including four counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony, two counts of breaking and entering into a safe, three counts of malicious destruction of property over $250, four counts of larceny from a building, two counts of larceny over $250, and two counts of larceny under $250.
The 16-year-old juvenile will be charged in Juvenile Court with three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony, two counts of breaking and entering into a safe, three counts of malicious destruction of property over $250, and three counts of larceny from a building.
Tom Rancich will advise on counter-terrorism
Tom Rancich of West Tisbury, a former Navy SEAL and owner of Off-Shore Consulting, was named as an associate of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University in New York.
The Institute is dedicated to interdisciplinary teaching, research, and public service directed at the national and global problems of security and terrorism, according to a press release.
Mr. Rancich will initially be lecturing on the principles of effective strategy development, efficient interdisciplinary/multi-agency infrastructure design and participating in the creation of "intelligent" simulations. In addition to security and combating terrorism, Off-Shore Consulting also provides services in leadership, teamwork, and strategy development and implementation.
Smoke 'n Bones adds Neptune Grill
Stewart Robinson and head chef Jono Osburn, co-owners of Smoke 'n Bones Restaurant in Oak Bluffs, are expanding with the purchase of the Neptune Grill on Circuit Avenue. Smoke 'n More Bones will open this month with some Smoke 'n Bones favorites added to the Neptune Grill menu.