News in Brief
Aquinnah annual reconvenes tonight, with much to do
Aquinnah voters will reconvene in their annual town meeting tonight at 7 pm in Aquinnah Town Hall.
Tonight's meeting is a continuation of the annual meeting that began on May 9 and dissolved in confusion without voters taking action on the fiscal year 2007 operating budget or warrant articles.
Voters will also be asked to approve several Proposition 2.5 overrides already approved at the polls.
On May 10 voters went to the polls and approved only six of the Proposition 2.5 override questions on the ballot and turned down several regional assessments, including $27,394 for the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), an assessment it is still legally bound to pay.
They also narrowly rejected an override request for $6,055 to pay the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority assessment and said no to $27,000 for the Martha's Vineyard Regional Shellfish Group.
On Tuesday, selectmen and members of the finance committee made additional cuts in the operating budget in anticipation of tonight's meeting. The board reinstated the $27,394 assessment for the MVC, and trimmed $2,792 from other areas to balance the operating budget.
In preparing the $2,517,883 budget for the 2007 fiscal year, which begins July 1, town officials attempted to use the May 8 annual town meeting to pass an operating budget balanced by stripping it of regional assessments and various town costs, including the harbor master/shellfish department. The plan was then to use the override process to fund those items not included in the operating budget and increase the tax levy.
That strategy failed when the annual town meeting ended in disarray after voters failed to approve the budget or take action on any warrant articles. It did not fare very well at the ballot box either. The voters rejected nine Proposition 2.5 override questions on the ballot.
Oak Bluffs police reschedule Public Safety Day
Postponed on account of rain last Saturday, the Oak Bluffs police department has rescheduled Public Safety Day for Saturday, June 24, from 11 am to 2 pm at Waban Park.
The event is free and will feature a DJ, refreshments, and chances to win prizes, including bicycles, car seats, booster seats, T-shirts, and bicycle helmets donated by the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau.
Units from the state police, Coast Guard, and local public safety services will be on hand to talk about what they do.
Parking officers will be on hand to assist visitors with parking in the Waban Park area.
Land Bank conserves historic West Tisbury farm
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Tuesday announced the purchase of a historic West Tisbury farm owned by the estate of Leonard Athearn, a member of one of the Island's well-known farming families, who died at the age of 86 in April, 2005. The purchase price was $1,200,000.
The property totals almost 21 acres of cropland and pasture and is located between the Road to Great Neck and the Pond View Farm Road. According to a Land Bank press release, the property will continue to be owned and farmed by the Athearn family.
James Athearn, the estate's executor, conveyed to the Land Bank a conservation restriction, which permanently eliminates development.
The property is located at the head of the Muddy Cove, one of the finger coves of Tisbury Great Pond. As a result, most of the farm is high and level, but a portion of it contains a deep and scenic valley running up from the cove.
The per-acre price for this restriction was $56,875, a price that was based on the fact that the restriction conveys many more property rights to the Land Bank than do ordinary restrictions, said a press release.
According to the Land Bank, the conservation restriction is distinctive in that it contains the standard provisions against development, but also requires the land to be actively farmed, unless the Land Bank consents otherwise and then only in accordance with a USDA farm management plan; allows re-sale of the fields for farming purposes, but only at fair market agricultural value based on its crop potential only; grants to the Land Bank a right-of-first-refusal at such agricultural value to ensure that the Land Bank is satisfied that any new buyers will properly farm the land; grants to the Land Bank the ability to purchase the Muddy Cove valley outright for passive recreation and scenic enjoyment; and creates a loop trail for hiking by the general public
Tisbury selectmen address caterpillar problem
Tisbury selectmen, working through a busy agenda Tuesday, appointed patrolman Tim Stobie acting police chief, approved a beer and wine survey, and offered tips on insect infestation.
The selectmen approved a taxpayer survey drafted by the Tisbury beer and wine committee asking for opinions about the sale of beer and wine in restaurants. The survey instrument will be mailed out with town tax bills sometime next week.
In response to requests from some businesses located off Holmes Hole Road and State Road, the selectmen agreed that signs were needed to increase awareness of the businesses in the area. Building and zoning inspector Ken Barwick said he plans to discuss with the planning board ways to amend a town bylaw to allow for a suitable sign.
In an update on roadwork, Department of Public Works director Fred LaPiana said lines will be painted on Main Street in downtown Vineyard Haven next Monday night. Then, putting roadwork aside, caterpillars slinked into Mr. LaPiana's report. He said that although he has received many phone calls complaining about caterpillars all over Tisbury, he can only treat trees along town roads. He estimated the cost of spraying additional trees located on private property near roads could run from $50,000 to $100,000. A warrant article would be required to allow spraying trees on private property and to allocate the money, Mr. LaPiana said.
Selectman Tristan Israel suggested taxpayers might consider the expenditure to spray trees to kill caterpillars worthwhile. "It might not be so much for the individual taxpayer if everyone banded together," he said, adding that he would draft an article.
Mr. Pachico said he heard that spraying soap and water on trees might get rid of the caterpillars, and suggested that fire Chief John Schilling use the fire department's new ladder truck for the job. "We don't have that capability," Chief Schilling told him.
Next Tuesday at 5:30 pm, the selectmen will hold a joint meeting with the Tisbury School Committee at the Tisbury School.
Drivers: beware of horseback riders
On summer's crowded roads, horseback riders increasingly have trouble crossing the roads. Many riders complain that drivers are unaware of the safety issues and inconsiderate when they pass a horse and rider on the road. The Registry of Motor Vehicles Manual encourages drivers to give anyone with animals the right of way. Because horses are easily frightened by cars, drivers should slow down when they are passing horseback riders and remember not to honk or make loud noises. The Registry also suggests that drivers allow plenty of room to pass a horse and to stop if the animal appears frightened or if the rider signals you to do so.
makes a fast passage
The schooner Juno, Capt. Scott DiBiaso of West Tisbury, built by Gannon and Benjamin and launched in 2003, departed from Vineyard Haven for her trans-Atlantic passage on May 17 and reached Horta, Faial in the Azores in 10 days (to the hour) - a passage of about 2,200 nautical miles, according to reports from the captain. She averaged more than nine knots, with many days of 200 nm or more - a remarkable passage for a 65-foot schooner. Winds of about 35, mainly on the beam, were the norm. Islanders Jim Lobdell, Gretchen Snyder, Chris Crawford are among the crew. Juno, owned by Melissa and Robert Soros of Chilmark, is currently on passage towards Sicily and on June 5 was nearing Gibraltar.
Designed by Nat Benjamin and built over the course of about 18 months, Juno is the largest wooden boat built on the Vineyard in many a year. She has previously sailed back and forth to the Caribbean several times but stayed here this past winter. She will cruise in the Med with her owners along the Croatian, Turkish, and Greek coasts and among the various islands. She may even meet up with her slightly smaller sister Rebecca of Vineyard Haven, a 60-foot Nat Benjamin design launched in 2000.
Dining room dedication
to honor Herb Custer
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) culinary arts dining room will be dedicated in honor of Herb Custer, the first vocational program director, in a ceremony Tuesday at 2 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend, with a reception to follow for Mr. Custer and his family.
Mr. Custer started at the high school as a math and science teacher in 1969. At that time, the high school's focus was on preparation for college. As a classroom teacher, Mr. Custer realized many students were unmotivated by the academic program and were not interested in college.
After brainstorming with a couple of fellow teachers, Mr. Custer helped create and start a program called Cooperative Occupation Related Education (CORE), recruiting members of the community and tradesmen to offer employment to students. After taking a leave of absence to attend UMass to attain a doctoral degree, Mr. Custer returned to the high school where he wrote grant applications to fund the start-up of vocational programs.
He served as the vocational program director from 1972 to 1991, working alongside the teachers and students. "The teachers and I built the greenhouse - literally. I went up on Thanksgiving morning to grout in the sills," Mr. Custer recalled.
He left the high school to become superintendent of the Martha's Vineyard Public Schools from 1991 to 1995. Then he retired.
Mr. Custer said this week that he is a little embarrassed at all the attention. "Seeing all of the trucks and vans from businesses on the Island lettered with the names of kids that have gone through our programs, that's the real honor," he said.
has a new owner
The Computer Lab, located at the Martha's Vineyard Airport adjacent to Animal Health Care Associates, has been sold to Dan Panico, president of Vineyard Computer Corporation.
According to a press release, Mr. Panico has spent over 20 years working his way up through the computer industry. Most recently he started a small computer service company to assist businesses and home users to utilize today's technologies.
"We want people to know they have a place to go to get help," said Mr. Panico.
The Computer Lab is a full sales and service computer store offering their own brand of custom built laptops, desktops, and servers, as well as Dell and Acer computers and monitors.
The Computer Lab is located at 20 Airport Rd., on the left, across from the Steamship Authority Reservation Office. Call 508-693-1611 or visit their web site at www.mvcomputerlab.com.
The following names should have appeared on the honor roll list for the Tisbury School, third quarter.
Brianna Buchanan, high honors, eighth grade; and Alison McAndrews, honors, sixth grade. Also, Jillian Sedlier, high honors, seventh grade at the Oak Bluffs School.
In a story on the Cozy Hearth affordable housing project, "Edgartown ZBA puts the squeeze on Cozy Hearth," a reference to the Fairwinds Project, a 12-unit, Chapter 40B housing development on a 4.9-acre parcel in Tisbury incorrectly provided the impression that the project had only recently emerged from the MVC review process and the Tisbury ZBA had refused to review it. The project has been approved and is under construction.