News in Brief
Photo by Matt Stamas
Mother Nature's Fireworks
A record heat wave broke late Tuesday night accompanied by thunderous bangs and multiple flashes of lightning, including this brilliant flash caught from the vantage point of East Chop.
The front moved across the Island just before midnight bringing heavy winds and rain. Sections of the Island lost power for several hours. Scattered thunderstorms are expected across the region for the next several days, according to weather.com.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Smokin' down the road
A pair of tourists were examining a map and planning their day's activities Monday, when a fellow traveler alerted them that their rented moped was engulfed in flames. Tisbury fire chief John Schilling said the couple was looking at a map in the turnout near the drawbridge in Vineyard Haven around 1 pm, and was standing away from the vehicle, when an onlooker saw flames leap from the two-seater. The moped, rented from Kings Rental in Oak Bluffs, and all of the couple's personal belongings including a purse, camera and travel gear, were a complete loss. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire is unknown, chief Schilling said. Kings Rental could not be reached for comment.
SSA prepares for launch
of Island Home
The Steamship Authority held its July monthly meeting in Hyannis Tuesday. Among the items of business discussed was the launch tomorrow of the Island Home.
The $33 million double-ended ferry that will replace the Islander is scheduled to splash down at VT Halter Marine's shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in front of a crowd that will include local officials, workers, and Steamship Authority members.
The ferry will then undergo a period of outfitting. It is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.
The board, minus Marc Hanover, Vineyard member who was unable to attend, voted Tuesday to approve the revised 2007 winter and spring operating schedules. One noteworthy change was a decision to start the spring schedule on March 28 rather than April 9, so the Martha's Vineyard route will begin having weekend freight boat trips earlier in the season.
Agreeing with a management recommendation, the board "reluctantly" denied a request by the Edgartown Board of Trade to use the Flying Cloud fast ferry to provide passenger service to Edgartown during the weekend of Dec. 8, 9, and 10, when Edgartown will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Christmas in Edgartown."
The SSA has agreed to sell the Flying Cloud for $5 million and make the vessel available as early as Oct. 15. "We don't think we should make any commitments at this time," said SSA General Manager Wayne Lamson. "It may preclude some interested buyer from making a bid."
The board members said they would keep an open mind about the possibility of licensing a private ferry operator to provide service instead of the Authority, leaving the door open for the Pied Piper, which now provides summer service to Edgartown, or the New England Fast Ferry, which operates between New Bedford and the Vineyard.
In other business, the board approved a 2007 budget policy statement that will be used as a blueprint in the formation of the 2007 operating budget, expected to be discussed at the board's September meeting.
Cape Poge and Wasque
re-opened to vehicle travel
David Belcher, The Trustees of Reservations Chappaquiddick superintendent, said young piping plovers along Cape Poge and Wasque Reservation beaches are now able to fly. As a result, stretches of beach that had been closed to protect the nesting shorebirds and their young are once again open to off-road vehicle travel.
Edgartown special hinges on cemetery land taking
The warrant for Edgartown's special town meeting next Thursday, July 27, is brief - one article. Voters will be asked to appropriate $1,550,000 to take a 2.18-acre parcel of land adjacent to the New Westside Cemetery by eminent domain.
The article requires a two-thirds vote for passage. The article has the support of members of the town cemetery commission and the finance committee.
According to a recent presentation before the selectmen by Alan Gowell, a member of the Edgartown cemetery commission, Edgartown will run out of available burial space in town cemeteries.
Mr. Gowell told the selectmen that the 56-year-old New Westside Cemetery is more than two-thirds sold, leaving what will most likely be less than 20 years worth of future cemetery land available. He said there are no more lots for sale at Edgartown's other three cemeteries: Westside Cemetery, Hilltop Cemetery at Chappaquiddick, and Old Town cemetery at Tower Hill. Taking the parcel he said would provide space for as many as 800 graves as well as a new and more attractive entryway.
The cemetery commission decided to ask voters to take the property after learning that the Edgartown United Methodist Church, which had inherited the parcel, had agreed to sell it to Paul Donovan, a Florida-based developer, who has filed a four-lot subdivision plan with the Edgartown Planning Board.
The article asks voters to fund the taking with $100,000 from the cemetery's sale of lots fund, $400,000 from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) fund and authorize selectmen to borrow $1 million.
The meeting begins at 7:30 pm in the cafeteria of the Edgartown School.
Edgartown library waives fines to promote meeting
Edgartown voters have an opportunity to fulfill their civic duty and return overdue library material with no penalty at next week's special town meeting at 7:30 pm on July 27 at the Edgartown School.
Library director Felicia Cheney said that people may bring overdue CLAMS library materials to the town meeting and the Edgartown Library will forgive all the late fees. "Because libraries are democratic institutions, we thought we should do whatever we can to encourage participation in our own government," she said by way of explanation.
Russ Hoxsie is recipient
of 2006 Creative Living Award
Dr. Russell S. Hoxsie of Chilmark is this year's recipient of the Creative Living Award from the Permanent Endowment Fund of Martha's Vineyard for his outstanding community service and achievement.
Dr. Hoxsie will be honored for his work at a presentation ceremony at the Permanent Endowment Fund's Annual Meeting on Tuesday, August 8 at 5 pm at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. All are welcome to attend.
Dr. Hoxsie is best known as a family physician here for more than 50 years and a pioneer in the study and diagnosis of Lyme disease. He is also an author and poet.
Dr. Hoxsie has written about favorite places to walk on the Vineyard. Many of these essays, first published as a regular column in The Martha's Vineyard Times, was collected in book form and published by The Times in November 2004, entitled "Let's Walk, Lilly".
As a poet, Dr. Hoxsie, a former member of the Island Community Chorus, was recently honored when the Chorus performed "Road Sense," a poem he had written in 2002. The Creative Living Award is given each year from the Ruth J. Bogan and Ruth Redding Fund, which was established in 1983 by Ruth Redding to honor persons whose lives reflect the luminous and creative spirit that marked Ruth J. Bogan's life.
The fund is overseen by the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard.
For more information about the Endowment Fund or the Creative Living Award, visit their web site at www.permanentendowmv.org or contact the administrative assistant, Gail Craig, at 508-627-3754.
Albert B. Littlefield could echo the legendary sentiments of writer Mark Twain, who once said, "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." A story in last week's Times' Calendar section about his daughter, Lia Kahler, mistakenly referred to him as "the late Albert Littlefield." In fact, Mr. Littlefield, who was born in the house on State Road in West Tisbury where he lived for many years, is alive and well and living at Long Hill in Edgartown. He will celebrate his 95th birthday in November. His wife, Margaret Littlefield, died on Feb. 5, 2000.
In an article entitled "Making a Splash: Outdoor Showers," in the July 6 Summer 2006 Times Home & Garden supplement, Ethan Fierro's name was misspelled several times. Mr. Fierro is author of "The Outdoor Shower" a recent release of Storey Publishers, North Adams.
A photograph published in the July 6 issue of The Times on page 15 of the Edgartown Fourth of July parade incorrectly identified the person seated in an open car next to Arthur Dickson as Fred "Ted" Morgan. The rider was his brother Robert Morgan.