News in Brief
Cronig's Markets to close on Sundays
Starting Oct. 15, the first Sunday after Columbus Day weekend, to the end of April, there will be no Sunday shopping at Cronig's Markets, both up- and down-Island. Steve Bernier, Cronig's owner and proprietor, announced the upcoming change in a letter posted at the stores.
"Our families, our community and our environment need us, and when I weigh this against the need to open on Sunday, the answer can be simple," Mr. Bernier wrote. "This is a vote for family, community, and our environment, and I ask you to vote with me in support of these values. This may cause some hardship, which will be shared by me, my employees and each of you. There will be no special treatment for anyone. We will be in this together."
Mr. Bernier said the decision to close on Sundays reflected some careful thought and analysis. "I think now we're at the end of a growth cycle, and have hit sort of a glass ceiling, so to speak," he explained. "I think we are at a point where we can stop being fearful and worrying and obsessing. I think we can get some of our values back, which will help us give back to community and family."
The exception to the Sunday closures will be Dec. 24, Mr. Bernier said, since Christmas falls on a Monday this year. "We will be closed on Christmas, but can't be closed two days in a row," he said. "Come May and heading towards Memorial Day, we'll be opening on Sundays again to gear up for summer."
Large grant for new
YMCA Teen Center
The YMCA of Martha's Vineyard announced that they have received a grant in excess of three million dollars from The Alexandra MM Gagnon Foundation, who will now have the naming rights to the YMCA Teen Center. The large grant comes on the heels of recently passed legislation which will now allow the YMCA to lease land from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) for a total of 80 years.
The private Island-based foundation was created in 1998 after Alexandra Gagnon, a summer resident, died after struggling with drug addiction. She was 23.
The foundation, which aims to educate young people about the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, has already distributed over $60,000 to YMCA youth programs, including a donation that covered the rent at the current Cottager's Corner location, according to John Clese, executive director of the YMCA.
The Teen Center, which opened in Feb. 2005, is a two-story building with a pool table, foosball, ping-pong, an audio system and full kitchen for Island teens to utilize.
Mr. Clese said a new teen center would be built on the future site of the YMCA, across from the MVRHS.
The YMCA currently has a lease with the MVRHS for the land, but a Massachusetts statute stipulates that municipalities are only allowed to lease property for no more than five years. The YMCA would need a longer contract to operate their facilities on the land.
The lease was first examined by the state Inspector General's office and state Attorney General's offices, and then went to a committee in the state legislature for a hearing. The legislation was recently passed by both houses and signed into law by Governor Mitt Romney. Under the new lease provisions, the lease term will be 60 years with two ten-year extension periods, for a total of 80 years.
Michael Dutton, the Oak Bluffs town administrator who also serves on the YMCA board, said last summer that legislative approval for the lease and fundraising progress would be the major determinants of a groundbreaking date for the new facility.
Mr. Clese said groundbreaking in now planned for 2007, with an opening in early 2009. The new YMCA Teen Center would be a similar two-story structure on the corner of the property.
Vineyard Haven pedestrian hit by truck in crosswalk
Henrietta Gallagher, 86, was seriously injured last Thursday when she was struck by a pickup truck at the crosswalk at Centre and Main Streets in Vineyard Haven, between Café Moxie and Mardell's. After initial treatment at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, she was airlifted to the Brigham and Womens' Hospital in Boston.
Ms. Gallagher, a resident at Havenside Apartments in Vineyard Haven since 1987, required skin grafts on her legs and underwent two surgeries. She will remain in a drug-induced coma until a third surgery is completed today, according to Susan Phelps, Havenside's manager.
"She was in very good health, and had a routine of walking downtown every day and going out to lunch," said Ms. Phelps. "I'm sure a lot of people are missing her not appearing in her usual places. We're all pulling for her and hoping she'll turn a corner very soon, but it appears she will face a long recovery." Relatives from New York State and Nevada are tending to her medical needs, Ms. Phelps said.
Acting Police Chief Timothy Stobie said Ms. Gallagher was struck when an Edgartown resident driving a black Chevy pickup truck turned left from Main Street onto Centre.
Chief Stobie refused to release the driver's name because he said the charges are not yet filed in the court system. "I may very well be able to release his name at this point, but I am not giving it - it's as simple as that," the chief said.
The driver is an Island resident that Chief Stobie said he knows. "He is very shook up about this right now, and I'd like to give him time to digest all this before he starts seeing his name in the paper," he said.
The Tisbury Police have applied for charges of negligent operation and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Chief Stobie said there remains a question as to whether the negligent operation charge will be upgraded, due to the seriousness of Ms. Gallagher's injuries.
In addition, the accident remains under investigation because of conflicting eyewitness accounts about the direction Ms. Gallagher was walking in, Chief Stobie said. "In one direction, the driver would be less culpable than if she was walking in the other direction, because of an obstruction on the corner that may have affected his line of sight," the chief explained.
Last week, Chief Stobie called NSTAR to request removal of an old utility pole lashed to a new one near the accident site. "I don't know if that had anything to do with the accident, but I don't way any more possibilities of accidents in the future," the chief said. "We have too many poles near crosswalks, which obstruct the view of someone trying to get across."
TTOR reports on Norton Point Beach management
With the end of the summer near and the start of the busy fall fishing derby approaching, Chris Kennedy, The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) regional director, said that shore birds and the public have benefited from TTOR management of Norton Point Beach.
The two-mile strip of barrier beach that links Katama to Chappaquiddick is an important transportation route and recreational resource. The beach is also considered prime nesting habitat for protected shorebirds.
The Trustees, a private conservation organization that now manages extensive beachfront on Chappaquiddick, signed an agreement on March 31 to assume management of the county-owned beach. Over the years, county beach management had proved inadequate.
Mr. Kennedy was scheduled to deliver a report to the Dukes County Commissioners on TTOR progress over the last several months at a meeting last night.
Tuesday Mr. Kennedy told The Times that there is now an operational air station on the Katama end of the beach, where off-road vehicle drivers can reinflate their tires after coming off the beach, and a staffed gate post.
Mr. Kennedy said that nine piping plover and 32 least tern chicks survived the summer nesting season. In contrast, virtually no shore birds survived the nesting season in the last several years.
Although the beach was closed to through traffic for approximately five weeks to protect the young shorebirds, TTOR management staff was still able to keep portions of the beach open to visitors. Mr. Kennedy said the staff did an excellent job.
Referencing a offshore scallop boat that went aground and threatened to become a major environmental problem until it was towed away, Mr. Kennedy said, "Other than a washed-up fishing boat I think things went very well."
One measurement of TOR success is reflected in daily and seasonal beach permit sales. This spring TTOR estimated it would sell 900 annual permits. To date, more than 1,500 permits have been sold.
Mr. Kennedy said TTOR received support and help from the Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters Association and the Edgartown parks and recreation commission. "They were instrumental in making this a success," said Mr. Kennedy.
State troopers Joseph Bohnenberger and Mark Smallwood inspect a commercial truck. Photo by Julia Spiro
Troopers provide commercial vehicle inspection training
Yesterday, several Massachusetts state troopers from the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit in Concord arrived here to train several local officers and other state troopers in vehicle inspection procedures. The training took place on the side of Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, across from the Lagoon Pond boat launch. State trooper Joseph Bohnenberger said that the training included pulling over random commercial vehicles and inspecting them for proper licenses, registration, and secured loads. The purpose of the day-long training, Mr. Bohnenberger said, was to make the local officers and troopers aware of certain state regulations and how to enforce them.
Commercial striped bass quota nears, season closes
The Massachusetts commercial striped bass fishing season closes today. The state Division of Marine Fisheries announced the closure based on dealer reports that projected that the total quota of 1,140,807 pounds would be reached today.
Licensed commercial fishermen may catch and land striped bass until midnight tonight. But the end of the commercial season does not mean the end of fresh striped bass on fish market shelves.
In order to maintain a market for striped bass, the state allows fish markets to import striped bass from other states for sale in Massachusetts. The fish must carry a tag designating the state of origin.
Squealing sirens Sunday
on Main Street
Vineyard Haven residents who rose early Sunday morning to have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper, may have had a rude awakening. Around 8:30 am a slew of sirens went screeching up Main Street to respond to a smoke alarm that was set off at a residence, according to Tisbury's acting police chief Tim Stobie.
Chief Stobie said a release valve blew and sent a large amount of steam into the air, which set off the smoke alarm.
The fire department responded immediately with numerous vehicles, Chief Stobie said, which causes a large amount of noise for a quiet weekend morning in the small Island town.
No one was hurt, and there was no major damage to the home.