News in Brief
Two Democratic candidates for governor plan Island visits
Islanders have an opportunity to meet two of the three Democratic candidates for governor this month.
Deval Patrick will meet Islanders and talk about his vision for the Commonwealth on Saturday, August 12, at 3 pm at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center.
According to a press release, the event will provide Islanders with an opportunity to question the candidate on a wide range of issues, including health care, the economy, and education, and to see why his campaign is generating interest leading up to the September primary and the general election in November.
One week later, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm on Saturday, August 19, Chris Gabrieli will be at the Field Gallery on State Road in West Tisbury to meet Islanders and talk about his views on education, health care, housing, stem cell research, taxation, and aid to local communities - according to a press release.
Oak Bluffs police want to help prepare kids for school
For children and parents, the approaching end of summer brings the challenge of making the switch to a schedule filled with early morning school wakeup calls and homework. The fifth annual Junior Police Academy, sponsored by the Oak Bluffs Police Department, aims to get children aged 9 to 14 motivated and organized for the school year.
The free program is open to all year-round residents, and runs from Aug. 28 through Aug. 31 from 9 am to 2 pm. Medical emergencies, seat belt safety, and self-defense tactics are some of the topics covered. The overall goal, according to a press release, is to increase self-esteem and respect for law enforcement.
Applications can be picked up at the Oak Bluffs Police Department. For further information, contact Officer Carrie White at 508-693-0750.
SSA to meet on Nantucket next week
The Steamship Authority is scheduled to hold the boatline's monthly meeting on Tuesday on Nantucket. Boatline officials said the agenda would be light.
The boatline members are expected to use the Nantucket venue to begin a discussion of the mid-life refurbishment of the Nantucket passenger and vehicle ferry. Goal setting for Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, may also be discussed.
The boatline regularly holds a series of meetings in the port communities it serves. Last month the members met in Hyannis.
Next week's meeting begins at 9:30 am in the Nantucket High School.
SSA traffic numbers remained mostly flat in July
According to the Steamship Authority's (SSA) monthly traffic statistics for July, round-trip passenger and vehicle traffic between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard was down slightly over last year. Truck traffic increased for the same period.
The SSA reported that a total of 321,898 passengers traveled between the Island and the mainland in July. That number represented a 0.8-percent drop over the same period last year. Year to date, passenger traffic is up 0.1 percent, or 1,322 passengers, on the Vineyard route, and down 0.2 percent, or 2,529 passengers, for the SSA as a whole, compared to 2005 numbers.
Passenger traffic is the most lucrative source of SSA revenue. Any drop in those numbers represents more pressure on the operating budget.
Automobile traffic in July was off 1.2 percent, or 590 vehicles, between Woods Hole and the Vineyard. The drop was 2.1 percent, or 212 cars, on the Nantucket route.
A closer look reveals that of the 47,951 one-way vehicle trips recorded on the Vineyard route in July, 9,975 were Vineyarders traveling on an excursion ticket, a 2.4-percent drop from the 10,218 excursion trips made last year.
The only bright spot, and the least profitable, was the number of trucks the SSA carried last month. That number increased by 4.3 percent, or 373, on the Vineyard route over last year. But the biggest increase, 9.8 percent, was in trucks of less than 20 feet in length.
Year to date for the entire system, including Nantucket, passenger traffic dropped 0.2 percent, automobiles dropped 1.3 percent, and truck traffic was up 11.8 percent.
Chilmark teen sent to hospital following motorcycle accident
An Island teenager was transported to Martha's Vineyard Hospital Monday and later flown off-Island to a Boston area hospital, after a motor vehicle crash left him with severe leg trauma. State Police Trooper Robert Branca said the crash occurred around 2:30 pm at the corner of Edgartown-West Tisbury and Barnes Roads in Edgartown.
Robert Brown, 16, of Chilmark, was riding a motorcycle when it collided with a Tisbury Taxi operated by 41-year-old Stewart Richter, Trooper Branca said. Richter suffered only minor injuries. The cause of the crash is unknown and under investigation by the State Police. No charges have been filed at this time.
File Photo by Ralph Stewart
Oak Bluffs and MVC
hold hearing today on blinker intersection
With summer traffic about at its peak, the Oak Bluffs selectmen and Martha's Vineyard Commission meet today at 3 pm in the Oak Bluffs library meeting room to discuss possible future options for the so-called blinker intersection - the junction of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven and Barnes roads.
Last year, the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen asked the Martha's Vineyard Commission to analyze the intersection and present town officials with a list of possibilities for the notorious crossroads (see "Options for the Blinker" in today's Letters to the Editor, Page 15).
The final report offered five possibilities - including the current four-way stop - and analyzed each for safety, delay and congestion, air quality, character and landscaping, cost and public support.
The current four-way stop was created in 2003 to replace the namesake "blinker light," which was blamed for a high number of motor vehicle accidents. The selectman decided, but later changed their minds, to install a roundabout at the intersection.
Selectmen have said that public comment would help shape any future changes at the blinker. The full report is available at www.mvcommission.org.
The timing was just right
Approaching the blinker intersection in Oak Bluffs from Vineyard Haven last month, a Times reporter was surprised to find cars flowing through the often congested four-way stop.
Motorists traveling on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, particularly those heading towards Edgartown at "rush hour" around 5 pm, have come to expect a stop-and-go procession, and waits of up to 20 minutes.
On this particular weekday, an Oak Bluffs police officer stood in the middle of the intersection, directing groups of cars in each lane through the intersection.
Was it a new policy? No, said Oak Bluffs Police Lieutenant Tim Williamson.
Although The Times reporter hit the intersection at the right time, many more drivers were unhappy with police assistance. Lieutenant Williamson said he received calls from drivers who thought the police detail only made a bad situation worse. "Through experience we have found that if you put an officer up there, it just makes matters worse," he said.
Lieutenant Williamson said the officer was driving one of the vehicles waiting in the stagnant traffic, and thought it best to hop out and attempt to alleviate the snarl. But due to the high volume of routine calls, Lieutenant Williamson said a police detail would not be assigned to direct traffic at the intersection again this summer.
August is celestial show time
The Perseid meteor shower should be at its annual peak late tomorrow night and last through the weekend. While the light of the waning gibbous moon will wash the sky, experts from
Skytonight.com say the brightest of the meteors should still shine through.
Astronomers say there is nothing mysterious or difficult about catching a glimpse of this spectacle on the Island, but patience is a virtue. Most important is a dark viewing sight, clear weather, and a good, wide view of the sky, anywhere on the Island. Even though astronomers say that up to 60 meteors shoot through the atmosphere per hour, average stargazers will probably only see a dozen or so.
So lie back in a reclining lawn chair after about 11 pm and gaze up at the darkest part of your sky. With any luck, you'll may see a Perseid every few minutes or so.
Dukes County Savings teams up with Permanent Endowment Fund
The Dukes County Savings Charitable Foundation, Inc., the philanthropic arm of its namesake bank, and the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard have announced the formation of a new working relationship.
The Dukes County Savings Charitable Foundation was founded in 2005 to support charitable and non-profit initiatives throughout Martha's Vineyard. The Permanent Endowment Fund, established in 1982, oversees a number of funds providing grants and scholarships to Island residents and non-profit organizations.
According to a press release, the new partnership will increase the Endowment Fund's assets to $5 million and allow the Endowment board members to assist the Dukes County Savings Bank with its giving objectives.
The Foundation board will continue to make funding decisions. Programs considered for grants typically involve health and human services, youth and education, economic development and community partnership programs, and arts and culture.
Debbie Hale, chair of the Permanent Endowment Fund, said that its board members are "delighted to help assist the Bank's Foundation with their philanthropic initiatives. We are always pleased to assist organizations that help the Vineyard community."
Chris Wells, president of Dukes County Savings Bank, said, "All the employees of the Bank understand that with our resources comes the responsibility to make a real difference. And they do - through their personal community involvement, community development and services. Partnering with the resources offered through the Permanent Endowment Fund will absolutely enhance each of our giving initiatives."
Inquiries regarding the Dukes County Savings Charitable Foundation may be made at the bank's main bank branch in Edgartown or by calling 508-627-4266 or by going to www.dukescountysavingsbank.com. For information about the Permanent Endowment Fund, call 508-627-3752 or go to www.permanentendowmv.org