News in Brief
Pilot, passengers walk away from weekend crash
A small plane with four people on board, making a day trip from Bangor, Maine to the Island, crashed Sunday afternoon about three-quarters of a mile short of the Martha's Vineyard Airport in West Tisbury.
The pilot, Rolf Brockmeyer, 31, of Alamogordo, New Mexico and the three passengers, Wolfgang Kruse, Michael Talam, and Michael Lang, walked away from the rented Cessna 172 without serious injuries, according to police.
Airport manager Sean Flynn said the cause appeared to be engine failure. According to a state police report, the plane ran out of gas.
Wolfgang Kruse, one of the passengers, doubted the police assessment about the cause. He said the plane was refueled prior to departure. The plane was one of two traveling from Maine carrying members of the German Air Force currently training in New Mexico.
"We were pretty lucky that it ended like it ended," said Mr. Kruse. "In my opinion, the pilot did an excellent job and knew exactly what he wanted to do."
Mr. Kruse said he did not know where the report that the plane ran out of gas originated but said, "the pilot is not a rookie. He knew what he was doing. No one can say now exactly what was the cause."
West Tisbury police, state police, and emergency personnel, including airport and town fire crews responded to the scene of the crash at 1:39 pm in the woods near Red Pony Road in West Tisbury. Mr. Brockmeyer was transported to Martha's Vineyard Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
State and federal aviation officials were notified and an investigation has begun.
Memorial Day weekend was busy, but calm
The long Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff to the summer season, went smoothly, according to Island public safety officials reached this week by The Times.
Sergeant Tony Bettencourt of Edgartown said that the Edgartown police received 39 calls over the weekend, slightly more than last year's 36. He described the weekend as fairly average. "Everything went relatively smoothly," said Sergeant Bettencourt.
For Tisbury, Detective Mark Santon reported that the weekend was "busy traffic wise, but pretty uneventful."
By contrast, Oak Bluffs was very busy. Lieutenant Tim Williamson said there were 124 calls for service and six arrests, none of a serious nature. Mr. Williamson compared it to a busy summer weekend in July or August. "It was a lot busier than anticipated," he said.
Sheriff Mike McCormack, who runs the Dukes County House of Corrections and Jail, agreed that the weekend was about average. He said there were 17 admissions to the jail from Friday through Monday, most involving operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
In Aquinnah, Chief Randhi Belain said that the weekend "was similar to other years. There wasn't anything major that happened up here." He did notice that there was steady vehicle and tour bus traffic.
Bridget Tobin, terminal manager for the Steamship Authority in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, said that, despite the crowds, "overall, things went really well... we had a few problems, but we handled them."
Early morning fire
damages Oak Bluffs house
A large house at 118 Vineyard Avenue in Oak Bluffs suffered extensive fire damage early yesterday, but was not a total loss. Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Dennis Alley said it appears the blaze started on an upper deck, where inhabitants said they had been smoking cigarettes earlier in the evening. As many as eight people were in the house, and all escaped safely and without injury. Chief Alley said the building, owned by Eileen Padua of Dorchester, suffered approximately $150,000 worth of damage. Fire officials arrived on the scene at about 6 am, when the deck and adjoining area were fully engulfed in flames, Chief Alley said.
Middle Road section
to be closed for five days
A section of Middle Road, between Tea Lane and the Chilmark/West Tisbury town line, will be closed for a repaving project between Monday June 12 through Friday June 16, from 8 am to 5 pm. Drivers should expect delays as traffic will be redirected.
Slain New Bedford man had Vineyard connection
A New Bedford man shot and killed on a city street last week was previously arrested by Oak Bluffs police in 2003 for possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
Less than two months after his release from the Dukes County House of Correction, Justin M. Barry, 20, was shot several times early Sunday morning on May 21, making him New Bedford's first homicide of the year, according to a report published on May 22 in The Standard Times.
John Burgos Jr., 21, who was standing with Mr. Barry at the time, was shot twice but survived.
The shooting has also been linked to the murder of the mother of one of the men charged in Mr. Barry's death.
New Bedford police arrested David "Crunchy" DePina, a reputed gang member, who was one of two men charged in the weekend shooting of Mr. Barry according to the Standard Times. On Thursday May 25, Mr. DePina's mother was found shot dead in her apartment bedroom. According to Sheriff Michael McCormack, Mr. Barry entered the Dukes County House of Correction to serve one year of a two and one half year sentence on charges of carrying a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm without a Firearms Identification card on October 17, 2003.
Mr. Barry was released on May 28, 2004 after serving approximately seven months of his one-year sentence.
Mr. McCormack said that it is not unusual for a person convicted of a crime that does not carry a mandatory sentence to be released early through a combination of time off for good behavior and parole.
Mr. Barry was arrested in 2004 in Fall River when he allegedly fired four shots into a crowd of people outside a nightclub.
Following that arrest, Mr. Barry was returned to the House of Correction on November 22, 2004 for violating the terms of his probation to serve the 18-month balance of his sentence.
He was released from the Edgartown facility on March 29 and transported to New Bedford Superior Court to face charges in connection with the Fall River shooting. He was released on $5,000 bail on that charge. Seven weeks later he was dead.
Oak Bluffs Police Lieutenant Tim Williamson said that Mr. Barry's connection to the Vineyard and violent death is an unsettling reminder that the Vineyard is not as isolated as it may seem, even on a nice summer evening. "The night we encountered this individual it was a routine situation where we thought we were dealing with teenagers drinking from open containers in the package store parking lot," said Lieutenant Williams, "and after we searched the bag assuming we were going to find more alcohol we found a sawed-off shotgun."
Mr. Williams said that with the Island just a boat ride away, police could never be certain whether youngsters they encounter are straight-A students or gang members. He said that thought is always a consideration when dealing with people and accounts for some of the tactics employed by police. "That gets hammered home when you find out what kind of kid this kid was and unfortunately he is dead now because of the life he chose," said Lieutenant Williams.
Suspicious package left
on SSA luggage cart
The state police hazardous devices unit was called to the Island over the holiday weekend when a state police officer working a security detail at the Steamship Authority's Vineyard Haven terminal found a suspicious looking package left on a luggage cart Saturday night.
Lieutenant Bob Moore, Martha's Vineyard state police station commander, said that state police sergeant Jeff Stone found the device and because it was something he had not seen before he called the specialized unit. Lieutenant Moore said Steamship travel was not disrupted.
Yesterday, Lieutenant Moore said the package turned out to be a paint ball grenade that likely belonged to a group of young people traveling to a paint ball event. He said the package was innocuous looking and had not been left to scare anyone.
Lieutenant Moore said no charges would be filed but state police would like to speak with the owner and he asked anyone with any information to call the station at 508-693-0545.
Oak Bluffs police to host Public Safety Day
Saturday, the Oak Bluffs police department will host Public Safety Day from 11 am to 2 pm at Waban Park. Suzanne Cioffi, executive assistant to the chief, said the goal is "to improve the safety of children under 12 by increasing the use of safety belts, car seats, and booster seats." The event is free and will feature a DJ, refreshments, and chances to win several prizes, including bicycles, car seats, booster seats, T-shirts, and bicycle helmets donated by the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau.
Visitors can expect safety demonstrations and simulations from the state police, the canine unit, and the Coast Guard. There will also be an ambulance on hand offering free blood sugar level checks, according to Ms. Cioffi. Additionally, a medical helicopter is planning on landing in a distant corner of Waban Park during the event, and offering free tours. Parking officers will be on hand to assist visitors with parking in the Waban Park area.
County manager briefs Edgartown selectmen
Winn Davis, Dukes County manager, updated the Edgartown selectmen at their weekly Tuesday meeting on what services the county provides for the town.
Mr. Davis highlighted the general educational development test (a test that certifies that the taker has attained American high school-level academic skills) training, engineering services, regional parking clerk services, and veteran services. He also said that the county recently joined the National Association of County Officials, and on July 1 will start providing discount medical cards for those without health insurance.
Mr. Davis said that the county is "very much in the service oriented business." The selectmen thanked Mr. Davis for his presentation and agreed that the relationship between the town and the county is going well.
The county budget is funded in part through an assessment paid by the seven towns that make up Dukes County. Those county services will cost Edgartown taxpayers $252,801 in the 2007 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2006.
In other business, the selectmen held a merit raise evaluation for Karen Ambielli, secretary to the selectmen. The town officials praised her work. Arthur Smadbeck, chairman of the selectmen, said Ms. Ambielli was "totally invaluable."
High School summer program has much to offer
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School summer program returns with some old favorites and several new offerings for both adults and children, including soccer and Kaplan SAT prep.
Returning for his ninth summer, U.S. chess master David Koenig will offer a chess course for players of all ages. In addition, Mr. Koenig, who is ranked among the top 100 Scrabble players in North America, will teach a Scrabble course that can help participants develop their vocabulary skills.
Sports programs include a girls' lacrosse clinic with director Jessica Dolliver; Lynn Puro's tennis clinics for both children and adults; boys' lacrosse, directed by regional high school coach Peter Ferrini; basketball with Michael Joyce; Dugout baseball and football with winning high school coach Donald Herman.
Island artist and teacher Gwendolyn Natusch will conduct her Young Artists Studio arts and crafts program that involves the use of various mediums.
For the technologically inclined, high school computer teacher Jeff Bernier will offer a state-of-the-art Introduction to Computers clinic; Ken DeBettencourt will teach a robotics class; and Chris and Janice Baer will teach digital photography.
For information about any of the high school's summer programs, or to sign up now, visit www.mvrhs.org/clinics/ or call program director Dan Sharkovitz at (508) 693-1033 ext. 235.
Archers had record 2005 season
Archery hunters took a record number of deer during the state's six-week season, according to a final summary of the 2005 hunting season.
MassWildlife deer project leader Bill Woytek said hunters statewide took a total of 12,060 white-tailed deer during the combined 2005 seasons, which included the shotgun and muzzleloader seasons and a special Quabbin Reservation hunt.
Mr. Woytek reported that 2005 was a record year for archery, with this year's total topping the 2003 record. For the third consecutive year, 2005 was also a record year for muzzleloader season.
"The archery and muzzleloader seasons have become integral components of our deer management efforts. Archery is especially important in suburban areas where deer densities are higher and firearms discharge and other local bylaws are in place," said Mr. Woytek in a press release.
Statewide archery season accounted for 3,162 deer; shotgun season 2,325; and muzzleloader season 2,325. Vineyard numbers were 126, 346, and 82, respectively, for a total of 554.
Some have speculated that the 2005 Vineyard tally reflected the season's previous harsh winter.
By contrast, in the 2004 season Vineyard hunters recorded an official total of 688 deer, with archers taking 127 deer; shotgunners 448, and muzzleloaders 113.