News in Brief
Winston McGhee is currently being held in the Dukes County Jail on drug charges. Photo courtesy Dukes County Jail
Boston murder suspect arrested on drug charges
in Oak Bluffs
Following a month-long investigation by members of the Martha's Vineyard drug task force, Oak Bluffs police Monday arrested Winston McGhee, 22, on drug charges. Mr. McGhee, police believe, came to the Vineyard to sell crack cocaine. He had 31 packets of crack cocaine and approximately $1,200 in his possession, according to Oak Bluffs Police Lieutenant Tim Williamson.
Mr. McGhee has been a suspect in a 2002 fatal shooting in the city's Dorchester section, according to published reports.
Mr. McGhee was staying in a rented room in a local guesthouse that police did not identify, when Oak Bluffs and State Police arrived with a search warrant.
Mr. McGhee was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession of marijuana, and distribution of crack cocaine within 100 feet of a park.
He was arraigned in Edgartown District Court Tuesday morning and is currently being held in the Dukes County Jail on $25,000 cash bail. Police anticipate prosecutors will seek an indictment in Superior Court, a move that would allow for stiffer penalties and could preclude a stay in the Dukes County House of Correction.
Police said that Mr. McGhee was introduced to the Vineyard by an Island woman and was intent on selling drugs. "He set up shop," said Lieutenant Williamson. "There is no question he thought it would be easy."
Police are continuing to investigate the case. Mr. Williamson said police found no weapons, and there was no connection to the guesthouse.
According to a story published Oct. 5, 2002, in the Boston Globe, a Suffolk County grand jury found enough evidence to indict Mr. McGhee, then 18, on a charge of first-degree murder for allegedly chasing Antwon Leslie, 18, down a street and shooting him in the back. At the time, Mr. McGhee was on probation for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Last month, prosecutors ended the prosecution of Mr. McGhee on the 2002 murder charge after key witnesses recanted statements made to police, according to the Globe.
Lieutenant Williamson said the arrest of someone with Mr. McGhee's record is a reminder that the Vineyard is not as isolated as some people may like to think. "Even bad guys want to get away from the city and come down to the Vineyard," he said. "It is a concern to me that these types of people are coming into our small community."
Abutters ask judge to reconsider Chappy decision
A group of property owners who went to court to overturn an Edgartown zoning board of appeals (ZBA) decision to allow three affordable housing units to be built on three one-acre lots on Chappaquiddick, and lost, have returned to court.
In a nine-page motion filed with the Land Court on July 3, the plaintiffs asked land court judge Gordon H. Piper to reconsider his decision in favor of the defendants on the grounds that the judge did not consider what adverse effects the decision to grant permits would have on the neighborhood.
Ron Rappaport, Edgartown town counsel, said he is preparing a response and would file it tomorrow.
Yesterday, reached at his dental office, Robert Finkelstein, a Chappaquiddick property owner and plaintiff, refused to confirm that a motion was filed and referred all questions and comments to Edgartown attorney Ellen Kaplan. Two calls were placed to Ms. Kaplan's office and messages were left with Ms. Kaplan's secretary. Ms. Kaplan did not return the calls as of press time.
Edgartown zoning bylaws prohibit building on lots less than three acres in size on Chappaquiddick. However, at the annual town meeting in April 2001, Edgartown voters approved a special bylaw designed to promote affordable housing that allows potential homeowners who meet certain income, residency, and age requirements to build on substandard lots.
In a summary judgment dated June 22, land court judge Gordon H. Piper found that the Edgartown ZBA acted properly and within the scope of the town's zoning bylaws when it issued three special permits.
The judge also rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the ZBA should have considered whether the proposed residential construction would have a negative impact on protected or endangered species, including certain varieties of moths, before issuing permits.
The latest motion and the possibility of a future appeal is certain to disappoint town officials and the two couples and one individual who had anticipated moving forward after having their building plans put on hold for more than 10 months.
The 10 plaintiffs, which include a mix of seasonal and year-round residents are: George Mellendick, James Williams, William O'Connell, Paul Wales, Robert and Cheryl Finkelstein, Frank and Karen Gazarian, Cornelia Dean, and Lionel Spiro.
Three finalists selected
for Tisbury police chief
Tisbury's police chief search committee recommended three final candidates to the selectmen at a meeting Tuesday night, nearing the final phase of the selection process.
Town administrator John Bugbee announced that the search committee selected Officer Daniel Hanavan, Tisbury Police Department, Capt. John Cashin, Norwalk (Conn.) Police Department, and Lt. Kenneth Harrison, Weymouth Police Department.
Permanent Police Officer Daniel Hanavan has worked in the Tisbury Police Department since 1989. A graduate of Syracuse University, Officer Hanavan received a Master of Science degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University in Boston in 1987.
Capt. John Cashin lives in Stratford, Conn. He joined the Norwalk Police Department in 1981, working as a patrol officer from 1981 to 1989, a sergeant from 1989 to 1998, and a lieutenant from 1998 to 2001, when he achieved the rank of captain.
In addition to a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from John Jay College in New York, Captain Cashin holds two master's degrees, one in criminal justice from the University of New Haven and one in counseling from Pace University.
Lt. Kenneth Harrison lives in Kingston, Mass. He started as a patrolman in the Brewster police department in 1975, and then joined the Weymouth Police Department in 1977, where he was promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
The three candidates will be interviewed by the selectmen in 45-minute sessions open to the public starting at 5 pm next Tuesday night in the Katharine Cornell Theatre. The selectmen will accept written questions from the public before the start of the interviews and include a representative sample of them in addition to their own.
Following the interviews, the police chief search committee will meet with the selectmen to discuss the final interviews. The selectmen will then meet in executive session and announce the new chief's name once they have completed their deliberations.
Candidate withdraws from Oak Bluffs selectman's race
Christine Todd, one of five Oak Bluffs residents vying for the empty seat on the board of selectman, announced her withdrawal from the race in a letter to The Times this week.
Ms. Todd, who almost won a seat in April's election, losing by only four votes to incumbent Roger Wey, said she suspended her campaign in order to spend more time with her two children.
"I have come to realize that throughout their teenage years my children need me more than ever," Ms. Todd wrote. "The time I would commit to campaigning for office and then serving my community after winning the election is time taken away from my kids."
Herbert Combra, Kenneth DeBettencourt, Ron DiOrio, and David Morris are the remaining candidates. A special election will be held Aug. 8 to fill the seat vacated by Michael Dutton in May. Mr. Dutton was hired Monday as town administrator by the board of selectmen.
Boat launch to open soon
The long-awaited opening of the reconstructed Lagoon Pond public boat launch facility off Beach Road in Vineyard Haven should take place by the end of next week, according to Doug Cameron, assistant director of the public access board of the Massachusetts Office of Fishing and Boating Access.
All that remains is finishing off the end portion of the pier and putting up sign poles, Mr. Cameron said. Parking lot lines were painted yesterday.
"Those items definitely should not take all of next week, and then I will take a look at the site and release the contractor from his liability," Mr. Cameron said. The town of Tisbury is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the facility through a management agreement with the State.
Although Island boaters have been frustrated by the sight of what looks like a finished facility and anxious to begin using it, Mr. Cameron said, "The pier is the biggest issue, making sure it is safe. If we let people in there now and someone hurt themselves on an unfinished pier, that would be a serious issue."
Once Mr. Cameron signs off on the project with UEL contractors, he said he will notify Tisbury Town Administrator John Bugbee and let him know it is good to go - although he is sure the word will get out among boaters as soon as the barriers are gone and the "ramp closed" signs are gone.
The reconstructed boat launch facility features a new launch ramp, an L-shaped pier, and a rebuilt parking lot with improved drainage and a protective stone bulkhead.
Photo by Louisa Gould
Mabel heads down east
After competing in the Vineyard Cup race last weekend, Mabel, the Vineyard Voyagers' replica of a 19th-century Nomans Land boat that was built by Myles Thurlow, put to sea on her longest voyage of the summer Monday evening. Heading for Mt. Desert Island, Maine, she will stop at Gloucester and Rockland, Maine, picking up a new crew at each port of call. She is expected to return to the Vineyard in six weeks.
SSA Hyannis meet agenda includes schedule vote
The Steamship Authority (SSA) board is scheduled to vote on winter and spring schedules when it meets for its monthly meeting in the Hyannis terminal at 9:30 am Tuesday.
Wayne Lamson, SSA executive director, said that the proposed changes, discussed last month, remain much the same with the exception that management decided not to go ahead with a proposed reduction in freight boat trips Monday through Friday.
Mr. Lamson said that reducing the number of trips from four to three would have meant that rubbish trucks that now utilize the 1:30 trip to the mainland would have ended up using the regular passenger ferry. "We didn't want to do that," said Mr. Lamson.
He said management is still proposing to eliminate weekend freight boats with the option to run a boat when needed. He said that the Island Home's added capacity should make the schedule work.
The board is also expected to discuss the mid-life refurbishment of the Nantucket, which will include new seating and an enlarged lunch counter area. The ferry is used mostly on the Nantucket run but sometimes pinch-hits for the Vineyard.
Mr. Lamson said he would also revisit the issues raised at last month's meeting in Oak Bluffs by an elderly woman who spoke about the difficulties she had encountered as a disabled person traveling on the boatline. Saying that it is important for the public to know that management takes these issues seriously, Mr. Lamson said he would describe the steps taken to address how people with disabilities are assisted.
The boatline is continuing to make progress providing wireless Internet access, he said. Internet access is now available at all terminals and partially available on the Nantucket route. In a statement that is sure to draw sympathy from anyone who has ever worked with computers, Mr. Lamson said providing access while the boats are at sea is proving to be more complicated than was expected, but once the Nantucket route is squared away the Vineyard route would be next.
"Jaws" to screen at original film site
The Oak Bluffs Parks Department approved a proposal from a national organization to set up an oversized movie screen in Ocean Park next month for a screening of the film classic, Jaws. Rolling Roadshow, sponsored by DVD rental company Netflix and hosted by singer Lisa Loeb, will erect a large screen off of Seaview Avenue on Aug. 5, and project the shark thriller at dusk. The Oscar-nominated film was shot along State Beach in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown more than 30 years ago. Martha's Vineyard is the second stop on the summer-long tour of famous movie sites, which will feature "Field of Dreams" in Dyersville, Iowa, and "The Shining" in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. The approval comes after Edgartown selectmen voted down a similar proposal in May. In that case, Alamo Cinema planned to set up a screen on State Beach and have patrons view the same film under the cloak of darkness while floating in inner tubes. The Edgartown police chief and harbormaster disliked the idea and withheld approval.
Ballot deadline nears for MVC, UIRSD and county charter commission
Although the November state election is still more than four months off, the deadlines for candidates to submit nomination papers to fill several local elected offices are only weeks away.
The Nov. 7 state ballot will include contests for nine seats on the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), 15 seats on the Dukes County Charter Commission and five seats on the Up-Island Regional School District.
The decision to place a question on the state ballot asking the voters of Dukes County, which includes the six Island towns and Gosnold, to launch a formal process to examine and possibly change or abolish county government was made in the wake of growing disenchantment with county government.
Candidates for the charter commission will need 25 signatures. Nomination papers must be submitted to town clerks offices by 5 pm, Tuesday Aug. 1 for certification.
Candidates must then get certified nomination papers from offices of the town clerks and return them to the Secretary of State by 5 pm August 22.
MVC candidates are elected at large, but only two commissioners may be elected from any one town. In effect, the views of voters in the more populous towns such as Edgartown and Oak Bluffs will determine who represents the less populated up-Island towns.
Commissioners are also appointed by the Island's boards of selectmen and the Dukes County commission.
Candidates for the MVC must collect ten signatures. Nomination papers must be submitted to town clerks offices by 5 pm, Tuesday, Aug. 1. After certification by the town clerk, nomination papers must be provided to the Secretary of State by 5 pm, Aug. 22.
The deadline is shorter for candidates in Chilmark, West Tisbury, and Aquinnah for one of five seats on the Up Island Regional School District (UIRSD). Nomination papers with 20 signatures must be turned in by 5 pm, Tuesday, July 25, for certification and filed with Martha's Vineyard Schools Superintendent James Weiss, who also serves as school district clerk, by 5 pm, Tuesday, Aug. 22.
Oak Bluffs selectmen deny Nancy's outdoor music permit
The issue of noise was center stage at the Tuesday night meeting of the Oak Bluffs selectmen.
The Bass & Blues Sand Bar & Grill, and Nancy's Restaurant, both popular harbor eateries, went before the selectmen requesting entertainment licenses for outdoor music.
After a brief presentation by Mike Wallace of Bass & Blues, the board decided to grant a temporary license valid until Aug. 1. The venue is not allowed to play outdoor music past 10 pm, and the license will be reevaluated next month.
But the board sang a different tune when Doug Abdelnour of Nancy's requested the same license. A contingent of abutters bothered by Nancy's outdoor Jamaican music wrote letters to the board requesting the entertainment license be denied, and many attended the meeting.
The board denied a license to Nancy's until they could meet with town council, Ron Rappaport.
Mr. Abdelnour and Mr. Wallace said the board approved outdoor music in years past, but during the discussion surrounding the issue the selectmen and Oak Bluffs police chief Eric Blake said it was unclear if town bylaws even allowed amplified outdoor music.
"I'm worried that we're about to do something that we can't do," Ms. Scott said.
Amplifying her own objections, Ms. Scott claimed that noise from drinking establishments in Oak Bluffs is worse than ever this summer. But noise complaints are not new to the area.
Residents of neighborhoods abutting town restaurants along Circuit Avenue, the harbor and more distant establishments have frequently complained about noise in past years. In 2001 residents of Harthaven protested when Lola's, a restaurant and bar, asked the board for special permission to hold tented events outside.
The following summer, after numerous complaints against establishments on Circuit Avenue and Oak Bluffs Harbor, police issued warning letters to Fishbones, Tsunami and Nancy's, among others, citing liquor code or noise violations.
July Fourth and other summer holidays continually draw noise complaints from residents.
Chief Blake told selectmen Tuesday that the noise is no worse this year than years past: locals are simply more vigilant this summer.
All-Island School Committee continues strategic planning
The All-Island School Committee (AISC) has identified four areas of focus as part of an on-going strategic planning effort.
As part of the process, the AISC identified important "strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities" that exist in Island schools using a process called "a SWOT" analysis. The results formed four broad areas - educational issues, cooperation/collaboration efforts, financial issues and capital/facilities planning, according to a press release from the office of school superintendent James Weiss.
A five-member steering committee is continuing to meet to refine the items in each area, to develop plans for involving the larger community, and to draft a task statement and process to be used in the fall. The steering committee wants to involve a broad range of citizens from across the Island to review and further refine the four areas of focus. Those interested in participating are asked to call the superintendent of schools at 508-693-2007, ext 15.
Virginia Jones returns to WT planning board
In a recent joint session, 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.
Cutting Crew Salon and Spa reopens
After renovations, the Cutting Crew Salon and Spa is open for its 21st season inside the Colonial Inn / Edgartown Residents Club on 38 North Water Street in Edgartown according to a press release. "We are thrilled to be open," said owner Stephanie Freda, "and to offer a full-service salon and spa."
Call 508-627-7616 for more information or go to www.cuttingcrewmv.com.
Island jeweler discovers new designs
This summer Beth McElhiney will be showing new jewelry pieces designed during a five-month trip she took last fall.
The new collection draws on the magic of alchemical symbols, rune designs, as well as Celtic and Edwardian designs, according to a press release.
Ms. McElhiney will also be working with each individual client to create a life bracelet to celebrate all of the special events in their lives. She will be working at her showroom at Pyewacket's on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven.
Sandpiper Realty gets new affiliates
Pamela and Langdon Clarke of Edgartown have recently affiliated with Sandpiper Realty Inc. Prior to moving to the Vineyard in 2004 Pamela Clarke was a real estate agent with Prudential Wheeler Real Estate in Darien, Conn. Langdon Clark was affiliated with Merrill Lynch in Greenwich, Conn. for many years before establishing his own investment firm.
A news brief published July 7, about the promotion of Joseph C. Carter to the rank of brigadier general in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, incorrectly reported that he is a seasonal resident of Oak Bluffs. He and his family are year-round residents.