News in Brief
Volunteer firefighter Dan Feeney arrived in full gear on one of the hottest days of the summer. Photo by Ben Scott
Firefighters make hot work of it
A minor electrical glitch in a Vineyard Haven business yesterday snarled traffic and sent employees out on the street, on one of the hottest afternoons of the season. Sara Magnuson, art director for EduComp, said that at about 1:15 pm a recently repaired circuit breaker in the basement of the building blew, throwing a few sparks and smoke, but no flames.
The building immediately lost power, and the nearby fire department was alerted. Employees and customers were ushered out of the building safely, and with the temperature edging toward 95 degrees, they waited inside the air-conditioned Brickman's across the street until the building was reopened less than an hour later.
A Tisbury Police detail directed traffic through the Five Corners intersection, while the road in front of EduComp was temporarily blocked to traffic.
House crushes Island housing bank legislation
Last Thursday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 91-64 against legislation designed to create a fund for the creation of affordable housing on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
The legislation, bill S2552, "An Act Establishing the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Housing Bank," was approved by the state Senate on June 22.
The bill, which was modeled closely after the Land Bank legislation, would have imposed a one percent fee, paid by the seller, on real estate sales, leaving the first $750,000 of each sale exempt.
Sales tax holiday set
for August 12 and 13
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed a bill yesterday morning that will allow consumers to indulge in a weekend-long spree of tax-free shopping in mid-August. The bill, effective Saturday, Aug. 12 and Sunday, Aug. 13, will eliminate the five percent sales tax on purchases of $2,500 or less in the state. Purchases of cars and motor boats will remain subject to sales tax, as will tobacco products. The goal of the sales tax holiday weekend is to boost the economy during August, generally a slow time of year.
Environmental police cite fishermen for bass, lobster violations
State Environmental Police Sergeant Pat Grady this week said he would seek a criminal complaint against an Edgartown commercial fisherman for fishing for striped bass on a day closed to fishing. In a separate incident, a criminal complaint was sought for an Oak Bluffs man fishing with improper gear and storing short lobsters.
On Monday Sergeant Grady and Environmental Police Officer (EPO) Matthew Bass conducted an inspection of the commercial fishing boat Old Fog in waters southeast of the Vineyard and discovered 22 striped bass totaling 339 pounds on a day closed to commercial fishing.
Late Monday Mr. Grady told The Times that the fisherman, Thomas Eldridge of Edgartown, faces thousands of dollars in fines and possible suspension or revocation of his commercial striped bass license.
In another incident, during an inspection on July 22 of lobster gear set along the north shore, Sergeant Grady discovered 18-banded lobsters six of which were below the minimum size in a trap and owned by Andrew Levesque of Oak Bluffs. A follow-up investigation turned up numerous trap violations. Sergeant Grady said he would seek a criminal complaint against Mr. Lévesque for possession of undersized lobsters and gear violations.
"It's been busy," said Sergeant Grady, who is responsible for enforcing hunting and fishing regulations on the Vineyard.
MVC plans second
Island Plan forum
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), the Vineyard's regional land use permitting body, has scheduled a second public forum to discuss the planning process for The Island Plan.
The forum will be held on Wednesday, August 9, from 5 to 7 pm at the Tisbury Senior Center, 34 Pine Tree Road, Tisbury.
After months of preparation, last October the MVC announced the formation of a 20-member steering committee to oversee the preparation of a comprehensive plan for Martha's Vineyard. According to the MVC, the goal of the plan is to provide a long-term guide for the Island community as it struggles with questions of growth, affordable housing, and the future identity of the Vineyard.
Ultimately, the MVC hopes to set out a strategy for achieving this vision by outlining possible programs, regulations, and other actions that could be carried out by the MVC, towns, and other entities.
According to a press release, at this forum, participants will discuss what has been done well and less well over the past 30 years, and what that suggests for the next 30 years. The aim is to consolidate the results of an earlier forum and to allow people who could not attend that forum to provide their input.
For more information about the Island Plan, go to the web site at www.islandplan.org or call 693-3453.
Seaman's Friend Society exec will join Endowment Fund annual meeting
Loring Carpenter, the new executive director of the Boston Seaman's Friend Society, will attend the annual meeting of the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard, the Island's community foundation. The Seaman's Friend Society and the Endowment Fund this week announced an agreement to shift about $1.2 million in Goldberg trust funds into the care of the Endowment Fund, for the benefit of Vineyard mariners. The meeting is Aug. 8, at 5 pm at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Also at the meeting, the Endowment Fund's Creative Living Award for 2006 will be presented Tuesday to Dr. Russell S. Hoxsie of Chilmark. This award is given annually and is available due to the generosity of the Ruth J. Bogan Memorial Fund, which was established in 1983 by Ruth Redding, to honor and remember the wonderful creativity and caring of her dear friend, Ruth J. Bogan, "who loved the Vineyard, and believed 'anyone can do anything'."
The Creative Living Award honors persons whose lives reflect the "luminous and creative" spirit that marked Ruth J. Bogan's versatility in photography, painting, sculpture, jewelry, cooking, gardening, and in encouraging fine craftsmanship, creativity, and ingenuity in others.
Dr. Hoxsie is perhaps best known as a well-respected family physician on the Island for more than 50 years and a pioneer in the study and diagnosis of Lyme disease. In the years following his retirement from the medical community, he has changed his professional focus to include newspaper columnist, author, and poet.
As a columnist, Dr. Hoxsie has written about favorite places to walk on the Vineyard. His essays have been featured in The Martha's Vineyard Times since 1999. In November 2004, a collection of these essays was published by the Martha's Vineyard Times Press in a book titled "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. This poem, which was inspired by journeys along Middle Road in Chilmark and Beach Road in Edgartown, was recently set to music by Phillip Dieterich, also a former member of the Chorus. The original composition, performance of which is a rare opportunity for any chorus and director, was deemed outstanding by poet, conductor, performers and audience members alike.
Up-Island towns seek fair way to share school costs
The Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury selectmen met with school committee members and school administrators last week, seeking a middle ground in their ongoing dispute about a fair way to divide the costs of the Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) between the towns.
For several years, the West Tisbury Finance Committee had argued that their town's contributions to the school district represented an unfair burden, especially in operating the Chilmark School. The Chilmark selectmen made it clear that closing the Chilmark School was not an option.
After two reports from independent consultants, the up-Island towns agreed they should keep their school district intact and work on finding an equitable way to divvy up the costs. At last week's meeting, the group discussed possible options for apportioning assessments and how best to allocate up-Island school resources.
Amy Tierney, assistant to the superintendent for business affairs, explained that the current UIRSD formula is determined by dividing the total number of students enrolled by town divided by the total district enrollment. Under that formula, for Fiscal Year 2007, Aquinnah's assessment is $666,496, Chilmark's $1,473,479, and West Tisbury's $5,094,646.
Town selectmen discussed the pros and cons of using a wealth-based apportionment formula recommended by the state department of education, which takes into account the value of real estate, the town's income, and the residents' average income. Ms. Tierney provided a comparison using the wealth-based formula, which showed that Aquinnah's assessment would be $572,771 (a savings of $93,724), Chilmark's assessment $1,498,055 (an increase of $24,575), and West Tisbury's assessment $5,163,795 (an increase of $69,149).
Ms. Tierney said about half of the regional school districts in the State use the wealth-based formula, including Dennis, Yarmouth, and Silver Lake. The towns in a region make the decision at town meeting. Technically, since the up-Island towns make up a regional district, each town should be voting on which formula they would prefer, Ms. Tierney said.
The educators and town officials agreed to look at other options, which would include Charter School and School Choice students figured into enrollment figures, as well as an overall look at school resources and how to allocate them in the face of shrinking enrollment and increasing per pupil costs.
James Weiss, superintendent of Martha's Vineyard Public Schools, offered to host the next meeting and to provide cost comparisons and possible options for school reorganization.
signed into law
State Representative Eric Turkington (D-Falmouth) announced in a press release Monday that a bill allowing the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard to lease a parcel of land from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School for its planned new facility was signed into law by Governor Mitt Romney on Thursday, July 26.
The land being leased is located directly across the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road from the high school. In exchange for leasing the land for 75 years, the high school will be granted access to the planned facility's indoor competition-length swimming pool.
"This legislation passed because of the great support the Vineyard residents showed for it," Mr. Turkington said. "Everyone on the Island knows that the off-season on the Vineyard can be long. A public facility like this will help make it seem shorter. Because of the demand for it, and its central location, I am certain the facility will be bustling with activity all year long. I applaud the Y, the towns of the Vineyard, and the high school for developing this plan."
The building plans include a multi-purpose room, teen center, and computer room, and it will also house the Island Councils on Aging Senior Day Care Program.
YMCA board member Cindy Doyle said, "The passing of this legislation validates the huge benefits this project offers to the students of the high school as well as the community at large. The Governor's and the Massachusetts legislature's stamp of approval brings us closer to fulfilling our goal of providing a year-round community center for the Island."
Hutker Architects promotes Jim Cappuccino
Hutker Architects announced the promotion of Jim Cappuccino, AIA, to associate of the firm located on Martha's Vineyard and Falmouth.
Mr. Cappuccino is a graduate of Roger Williams University and joined Hutker after 14 years of residential design experience in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For more information about Hutker Architects, go to www.hutkerarchitects.com.
The picture accompanying CK Wolfson's review of Vineyard Writing (Calendar, July 27) was of the publication's first edition, rather than the issue reviewed, Summer/Fall 2006. The correct cover (pictured here) is a photo by Bill Richards of his daughter, Carrie, silhouetted against the late afternoon sun at Menemsha.