News in Brief
E. Forbes Smiley.
Map thief sentenced to three and a half years
E. Forbes Smiley, of 340 North Road in Chilmark, was sentenced yesterday to three and a half years in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven, Conn., on a federal charge of theft of major artwork, according to U.S. attorney Tom Carson. He was also ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution.
Authorities from the British Library in London, which also lost maps taken by Mr. Smiley, were seeking a stiffer sentence and were on hand for the sentencing.
Mr. Smiley, 50, pled guilty earlier this summer to stealing 98 rare maps worth more than $3 million from several institutions, including the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven. According to court documents, suspicions were first raised when a Yale University librarian discovered an X-Acto knife on a reading room floor in the library.
According to court documents, Mr. Smiley has cooperated with authorities since his arrest in June 2005, alerting them to the locations of numerous maps he sold fraudulently. He has agreed to pay restitution to dealers and collectors who had bought the maps.
Hospital risk assessment provides worst-case scenario
The preliminary results from a risk assessment made of the new Martha's Vineyard Hospital building site off Beach Road in Oak Bluffs show that even in the worst case storm the hospital building would not be subject to flooding.
M. Leslie Fields, a representative of the Woods Hole Group, presented the preliminary results of a risk assessment to the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) land use planning committee Monday night.
The hospital is currently engaged in a campaign to raise $42 million to build on the current Beach Road site in Eastville. Hospital officials insist it is the only viable financial alternative, given the estimated cost of more than $70 million to build on a new site.
Hospital officials are anxious to complete the MVC permitting process and begin construction. They said any delay that takes the project into 2007 would inflate building costs beyond current projections.
Although hospital officials have insisted that the building architects Thomas, Miller and Partners are familiar with designing hospitals in areas subject to major coastal storms, this summer the hospital agreed to a risk assessment study in an effort to reassure the MVC that the site is viable if the study would not lead to significant time delays. The hospital agreed to pay $24,000 for a study by the Woods Hole Group following their selection by the MVC.
On Monday night, Ms. Fields presented an outline of how the group had arrived at its preliminary conclusions. As part of the assessment, the group used 536 hypothetical storm events to predict the "worst-case scenario at high tide using hypothetical events that haven't necessarily occurred."
[The risk assessment preliminary results are available here]
Yesterday, Tim Sweet, hospital board vice chairman and chairman of the capital campaign, said that he was pleased with the initial results. "I was pleased that it appears from her preliminary report that the site, even in literally the worst-case scenario, was okay, as it has been for the past 75 years."
Mr. Sweet said that although the hospital's planners reached similar conclusions it seemed clear that without a third party looking at it, the MVC was not going to be fully satisfied with what hospital leaders believe is an adequate site. "We did not go anywhere close to what they did," he said. "They took it to another level as far as looking at 536 scenarios."
The MVC discussion Monday night included references to New Orleans and former vice president Al Gore's dire predictions about the effects of global warming on sea levels. Ms. Fields said it was city's geography and the failure of the levees and not the force of Hurricane Katrina that caused the most significant destruction in New Orleans. Regarding global warming, she said that using the best science available the sea level was expected to rise one foot over the next 100 years.
The risk assessment is due to be completed sometime next month. The MVC's tentative schedule calls for the first hospital public hearing on Nov. 1 and adoption of a written decision on Dec. 21.
Comcast officials discuss transition in West Tisbury
Comcast representatives will meet with the West Tisbury selectmen Wednesday to discuss the service changeover from Adelphia, currently the Island's main provider of cable services.
Lou Russo, the Comcast director of government and community relations for Southeastern Massachusetts, along with other officials, will speak with the selectmen about any changes that may occur as part of the transition. An official from each Island town was also invited to attend.
"The purpose of the visit is to introduce day-to-day government relations contacts as well as members of Comcast local management team to Martha's Vineyard officials," Comcast spokesperson Marc Goodman said. "Comcast will also be communicating early and often with our customers in a variety of methods...so they're aware of any enhancement and changes well in advance."
Mr. Goodman said no immediate changes would occur, but cable internet subscribers will eventually have their e-mail addresses changed from Adelphia.net to the Comcast ending, and an equipment change may also take place.
In July, Ms. Russo made a similar appearance at a selectman's meeting in Duxbury, where the same transition is taking place. According to the meeting minutes published on the town's web site, she distributed welcome kits and entertained questions from board members about any changes in service and cost.
Adelphia has provided cable services to the Island since 1995, but in July, Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc. closed a deal in which Comcast gained control of certain Adelphia franchises, including the one on Martha's Vineyard. There are approximately 9,000 subscribers on the Island.
Fender-bender at Oak Bluffs SSA ferry terminal
A minor accident on the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf Tuesday morning put a brief snag in the morning traffic routine. The 10:15 am boat pulled into the terminal as scheduled, but, according to Oak Bluffs police, as the vehicles debarked from the ferry, one car hit another, which in turn hit a motorcycle, tossing the operator to the ground.
No serious injuries were reported, but a few of those involved were sent to Martha's Vineyard Hospital complaining of sore necks, police reported.
Ambulances and safety personnel temporarily crowded the narrow roadway on the pier, but vehicle and ferry traffic was back to normal quickly.
Vandals strike luxury cars in Woods Hole SSA lot
Falmouth police and the Steamship Authority are investigating recent acts of vandalism involving luxury automobiles parked in the upper end of the boatline's Woods Hole lot.
Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, confirmed that several vehicle owners reported damage. The vandals targeted vehicles with distinctive ornaments such as Jaguars, BMWs and Cadillacs, he said.
Sergeant Douglas DeCosta of the Falmouth Police Department confirmed two police reports about the vandalism were filed on September 8 and September 20.
Jeanne Butterfield of Vineyard Haven told The Times that on September 8 vandals removed the hood ornament, trunk lock ornament and two Cadillac wheel cover logos from her 1995 Cadillac.
She said that a VW parked next to her had its logo ripped out of the grillwork. "I know the SSA cannot be totally responsible, since there is a bike path running back there and it is open to the public, but I think it would be a deterrent to put security cameras in that back parking lot," she said.
Mr. Lamson said the lot is regularly patrolled. Asked about the use of security cameras he said, "I can't comment on that."
Mr. Lamson said the SSA is not treating the thefts of hood ornaments as a prank, and that anyone apprehended would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Unattached, but lively - perhaps this is for you
A group of pro-activity Islanders have launched Fun Crowd, for Cape and Islanders who are unattached, like to be active, and would love to meet other like-minded people. Fun Crowd fall events include surf casting, kayaking, roller-skating, tennis, golf, biking, and a music jam.
The five event sponsors are, left to right, Keren Tonnesen, Mark Lovewell, Rick Lee, Sue Fairbanks, and Deb Moore. The lineup of events, so far:
Surfcasting with Rick Lee. Tuesday, Oct. 3, 5-8 pm. Rain date: Thursday, Oct. 5, 5-8 pm. Kayaking with Deb Moore. Saturday, Oct 14, noon-3 pm. The kayak event is for both experienced and inexperienced kayakers. Kayak rentals available. Skating with Keren Tonnesen. Date and time to be announced. Mountain biking with Sue Fairbanks. Date and time to be announced. Music and sailing with Mark Lovewell. Saturday, Oct 7. There is a fee for this one. For details and to sign up for an event, call Deb Moore at 508-645-2602.
Mansion House Health Club aids hospital campaign
The Mansion House Health Club is combining fitness with community support for the new Martha's Vineyard Community Hospital building fund campaign.
Mansion House owners Sherman and Susie Goldstein are offering a free two-week health club membership to everyone who walks into the lobby and makes a donation or pledge of $200 or more to the hospital's $42 million capital campaign before Oct. 15. No purchase is necessary and the two-week membership can be activated during any two-week period, given as a gift to someone else, or added to existing memberships, according to a press release.
The Mansion House Health Club is located in the Mansion House hotel on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. The club is open from 6 am to 9 pm daily. For more information, call 508-692-2200.
A story published in the Sept. 14 edition of The Times, headlined "No jail time in vehicular homicide case," incorrectly described general comments by Edgartown District Court Clerk Magistrate Liza H. Williamson on sentencing practices in motor vehicle homicide cases and in hypothetical cases as if they were specific to the Bennett case. Ms. Williamson's comments were not intended to describe the disposition of that case.
The story also failed to report that in addition to probation Mr. Bennett received 100 hours of community service.
An article about the Vineyard Artisans Festivals by Pat Waring, published in the Sept. 14 issue of The Times mistakenly reported that Falmouth potter Hollis Engley used Aquinnah clay in the pots he showed at the Labor Day festival. In fact, Mr. Engley has made some pots from Chilmark clay, which a friend dug from her property and brought to his Falmouth studio.