News in Brief
Celebrate the Fourth
The Vineyard's Fourth of July festivities include a parade and fireworks. Expect plenty of patriotic favorites.
Islanders and visitors are expected to begin lining the streets of Edgartown early in anticipation of the annual July 4 parade.
The parade kicks off at 5 pm from the Edgartown School and proceeds to Main Street and along Pease's Point Way out to the Harbor View Hotel. The parade returns along North Water Street and back up Main Street, past the float judging at the historic Old Whaling Church, and back to the school.
Edgartown police say parking will be limited, and recommend taking Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) buses to avoid heavy traffic.
Later that evening the Vineyard Haven Band provides a free concert in the Old Whaling Church on Main Street in Edgartown beginning at 7:30 pm.
The official celebration ends with a bang over Edgartown harbor, as fireworks light up the night sky beginning shortly after dusk, at approximately 9 pm. The fireworks will be fired from a barge moored off the Edgartown Lighthouse. Almost anywhere along the Edgartown waterfront will offer a good view of the display.
by Island Housing Trust
As selectman Roger Wey read the name of the recipient Tuesday night - plucking it out of a papier-maché replica of the house they would receive - a squeal sounded from the back of the room and tears sprung from the beneficiaries' eyes. Justin Elia and Marilyn Calzone were chosen to receive a two-bedroom house near the Blinker light, which they would have the opportunity to purchase from the Island Housing Trust (IHT) for $195,000.
Philippe Jordi, executive director of the IHT, said there were 18 applicants for the house, but the chosen family was the only one that met a set of specific qualifications.
Mr. Elia and Ms. Calzone received a hearty round of applause, and were asked to stand so the board could congratulate them.
But, yesterday morning, Mr. Jordi had to inform the couple that in fact they would not be the final recipients, and a redrawing would have to be scheduled due to an error in the evaluation process. Apparently, three other families had the same qualifications, but were not included in the drawing.
"It wouldn't be fair to those people that weren't in the first drawing," Mr. Jordi said yesterday, after he alerted Mr. Elia and Ms. Calzone that their name would be put back in the lottery for a second drawing. "There was an error made, and we admit to that and we deeply regret it. We take full responsibility for this," he said.
A third, slightly larger home, was offered to Michael and Nancy Fuss for $280,000. Alternates were chosen for both lotteries.
Harvey Beth of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority expressed excitement Tuesday night that the two homes would be given to worthy recipients. He joked that he took pleasure sitting in traffic earlier that day, while two of the five pieces of the house traveled though the blinker intersection, holding up vehicle passage. "In order to make a dream come into reality, it takes more than a village, it takes an Island," Mr. Beth said.
The redrawing will take place at 9 am tomorrow morning at the Vineyard Housing Office.
Edgartown Police arrest suspect for antique thefts
Edgartown police last week arrested Tommy Joe Gordineer, 45, of Edgartown in connection with the theft of more than $100,000 worth of antiques, including autographed jerseys from baseball legends Bob Feller and Mickey Mantle.
The investigation began with a complaint to police from someone who had paid $900 for an antique on eBay, but never got the auction item. The Internet auction site provided the police with the identity of the user as well as a list of the items that he had sold. Many of these items matched items reported stolen from homes and antique dealers in Chilmark, Edgartown, and West Tisbury.
In addition, a woman in West Tisbury reported a set of antique knives stolen by a man identified as Mr. Gordineer.
When Edgartown police searched Mr. Gordineer's house last Thursday, they found a houseful of stolen antiques.
Mr. Gordineer was arraigned in the Edgartown District Court June 19, when his bond was reduced from $50,000 to $7,500. Despite the reduction, as of Tuesday, according to Edgartown police, Mr. Gordineer remained in the Dukes County Jail.
Tisbury boat launch ramp
Although the reconstruction of the Lagoon Pond boat launch facility is near completion, it will not be open until sometime after the upcoming holiday weekend, according to Doug Cameron, assistant director of the state's public access board's office of fishing and boating access.
Repairs have been made and completed at the Lake Tashmoo boat launch, which is open to the boating public.
"Until we inspect the project, the contractor owns it," Mr. Cameron explained about the delay in opening the Lagoon Pond facility. "He still has work to do, and does not want anyone using the ramp yet because it is a liability issue."
Although Don Dobeck Jr. of UEL contractors said his company has until July 30 to finish the launch facility, they expect to complete the final paving this week. The heavy rains last weekend delayed the start-up of paving last Saturday.
After paving, all that remains to be done is adding signs, painting lines, and finishing the remainder of the L-shaped dock. The launch facility will reopen as soon as UEL closes its contract with the state.
UEL also helped the town of Tisbury by repairing the Lake Tashmoo launch ramp.
Tisbury hires animal control officer
The town of Tisbury hired Laurie Clements as the new full-time animal control officer (ACO) last week. "I don't know who is more thrilled - them or me," Ms. Clements said.
Given her lifelong love of animals, she said she pursued the ACO job because "I feel this is what I was made to do."
Ms. Clements, one of four candidates for the job, started work on June 19. An employee of the Tisbury Department of Public Works for the last three and half years, Ms. Clements also had experience working as a dog officer in Tisbury on an as-needed basis from 1974 through 1975.
Ms. Clements is receiving on-the-job training with the help of other Island animal control officers, Mr. Bugbee said, and will attend some classes, as well. Jamie Pienze, ACO assistant, will help with weekend coverage until mid-July, when she and her family are moving off-Island.
"We are very happy to have coverage in place for the summer, and some stability in this position, which is a difficult one to fill," said town administrator John Bugbee.
Wildlife board extends Vineyard deer shotgun season
The Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife board voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the Martha's Vineyard deer shotgun season from six to 12 days effective in the 2006 hunting season.
Wildlife officials said the decision to make the change this year was in response to substantial public comment expressed for reducing deer densities and for timely action by Island residents. At a DFW public hearing on May 23, many non-hunters spoke about the Vineyard's increased deer herd and the role it plays in the spread of tick-borne diseases.
Out of 15 state hunting zones, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod were the only two that did not have a two-week shotgun season.
At the May DFW public hearing non-hunters spoke in support of the proposal to extend the shotgun season, while many hunters opposed it. In general, hunters said that an extended season would drive the deer into hiding and was not as important as increasing property access.
This year the shotgun season will begin on Nov. 28 and end on Dec. 9.
"Last year over 60 percent of the deer harvested on Martha's Vineyard were taken during the shotgun season," said Bill Woytek, MassWildlife Deer Project Leader. "The shotgun season is the most effective and efficient means of reducing high deer densities and presents more opportunities for deer hunters on Martha's Vineyard." Mr. Woytek also pointed out that his recommendation for extending the deer season is part of a two-prong approach to deer management on the Island; increased access for hunters to private land is also key to successfully reducing high numbers of deer.
Norton Point Beach open, but closed to through traffic
Beachgoers will be able to enjoy Norton Point Beach this holiday, but they'll have to share the sand with nesting shorebirds. A portion of the two-mile barrier beach that connects Katama to Chappaquiddick was closed Friday to over-sand vehicle traffic to protect approximately 30 newly hatched tern chicks and several piping plovers.
The beach is open for about a mile and a half on the Katama end and about a quarter mile on the Chappy end but is closed to through traffic, said Dave Belcher, The Trustees of Reservations superintendent.
As a result, through traffic is prohibited and, vehicle drivers must rely on the small ferry that crosses Edgartown Harbor. Mr. Belcher said the vehicle access entrances are closed at 11:30 pm. He said he was forced to close the entrance points after several drivers who had missed the ferry drove the length of the beach.
Oak Bluffs police receive child passenger safety grant
The Oak Bluffs Police Department received a $5,000 grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau (GHSB) to expand its child passenger safety efforts. The GHSB, a sector of the Executive Office of Public Safety, awarded 82 such grants, totaling $480,000, to Massachusetts organizations working to reduce motor vehicle accidents involving children. According to Oak Bluffs police officer Carrie White, "With this GHSB grant, the Oak Bluffs Police Department can better serve parents and caregivers who want to protect their children from death or injury by properly securing them in a safety belt, booster seat, or child safety seat."
Doris E. Belisle
Doris E. (Keenan) Belisle, 80, of Woodside Village in Oak Bluffs and formerly of Edgartown, died on June 27 at Harborside Healthcare in Falmouth. She was the widow of Linwood J. Belisle, mother of Deborah Pedersen of Norway, and sister of Shirley Powers. Her son Ralph V. Belisle predeceased her in 1992. A memorial service will be held at a later date and a full obituary will appear at the time. Donations may be made in her memory to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or to a charity of one's choice. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.
Edgartown approves Chappy launch ramp
The Edgartown planning board Tuesday approved the construction of a boat ramp on Chappy Point Beach just to the south of the car ferry landing on Edgartown Harbor.
Edgartown Harbor master Charlie Blair said he now has the approval of all the required town boards and now needs a permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Affairs.
The ramp will be simple in nature and constructed using pre-cast concrete pads. Mr. Blair said residents already use the beach to launch boats and this would make it easier. He said parking of boat trailers would not be allowed.
Mr. Blair said his goal is to have several small unobtrusive ramps scattered around the town that people can use to get boats in and out. Having more ramps would be particularly helpful in the event of a bad storm, he said.
If all goes well and the town approves funding, the ramp could be set in place by June 1, 2007, according to Mr. Blair. Plans are also in the works to add a ramp at Collins Beach and dredge the channel to the Katama ramp.
Beer and wine survey mailed with Tisbury tax bills
Dubbing it "taxation with representation," Tisbury's beer and wine committee is including a one-page survey with the town's tax bills, which will be mailed out tomorrow.
The survey asks for Tisbury taxpayers' opinions about the possibility of allowing beer and wine sales in Vineyard Haven restaurants and how they would rank its importance in relation to maintaining the character of the town.
All residential and commercial property owners will receive the survey, which has a July 14 deadline for its return. For those who own more than one property, the committee asks that only one survey per household be returned.
The taxpayer survey is the last component in the committee's fact-finding process, which included a business survey, wet and dry town surveys, and interviews with Tisbury department heads, business owners, and educators.
After compiling the taxpayer survey results, the committee will present an executive summary of their findings to the Tisbury selectmen in August.
Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank names director
The Martha's Vineyard Co-operative bank named Donna L. Cummens to its board of directors earlier this year. Ms. Cummens is a principal of Vineyard Tax Matters, Inc., a firm that provides tax preparation, accounting, and bookkeeping services for more than 700 clients, according to a press release.
"We are extremely pleased to have Donna Cummens join our board," said Richard Leonard, President, Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank. "Her experience and expertise in banking and financial professional services makes her a great addition to our bank. Her continuing commitment to our island makes her a valuable asset to our community."
Ms. Cummens has served as a member of or volunteer for many Vineyard organizations and lives in Vineyard Haven with her husband Chuck and their two daughters, Taryn and Jessica.
Experienced hand back on the planning board
In a joint session last week, the West Tisbury selectmen and the town planning board appointed Virginia Jones to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Eileen Maley. Ms. Jones will serve until the next town election in April 2007, at which time Ms. Maley's term will have two years to run.
Ms. Jones is very familiar with the work of the planning board, having served for many years as a member and as chairman until 2004. Ms. Jones resigned from the planning board to go as sea-cook and environmentalist on an ocean sailing adventure aboard the Airlia. After returning from the sea, she also filled in for Simone DeSorcy as board administrator of the planning board during Ms. DeSorcy's long vacation in Italy last year.
In the Calendar section on June 22, we incorrectly reported that the Discovery Channel aired a local documentary firm, "A Certain Kind of Beauty." The film was screened as part of the AFI/Discovery Documentary Film Festival and was not shown on the Discovery television channel.
In the June 6 coverage of Olga Thomson's party, the names of Mrs. Thompson's son Kenneth and his wife Nancy, who came from their home in Utah to attend the event, were omitted.