News in Brief
Search for stolen gun
locks down high school
Edgartown police arrested a 16-year-old Martha's Vineyard High School student in connection with a home burglary Tuesday, in which a pistol was stolen.
Following an investigation that included a search of the high school, police arrested the juvenile yesterday and charged him with larceny of a firearm, larceny from a house, and breaking and entering during the daytime, according to Edgartown police detective Ken Johnson.
According to Detective Johnson, an Edgartown homeowner entered his house between 5 and 5:30 pm and found an intruder. After a brief conversation with the homeowner, the young male fled.
Initially, nothing appeared to be missing. The homeowner later called police to report that his Ruger 357 pistol was missing. Following an investigation, police were able to narrow the list of suspects.
Yesterday, Edgartown police, assisted by Oak Bluffs police, arrived at the high school, where the homeowner identified the young man. He and his brother were searched and removed from the school as police continued to look for the gun.
The gun was later recovered from a second home in Edgartown. The investigation is continuing.
"Our main priority was to recover the weapon," said Detective Johnson. "That is always our main priority."
The arrival of police at the high school to search for a firearm set in motion procedures intended to protect students but not cause any unnecessary alarm.
During the investigation and search, school officials restricted student movements and locked classroom doors, but made no announcements over the school's public address system, in what Principal Peg Regan described as a "quiet lockdown."
Police searched school lockers and some student vehicles. "You don't want to overreact to something, but I think you have to respond quickly and do the best you can whenever there is an incident like this one," said Ms. Regan.
She said the high school practices lockdowns twice a year, so students are accustomed to that procedure and have done soft lockdowns, similar to what occurred yesterday, where students are secured in classrooms with locked doors.
Ms. Regan said there was understandably some nervousness among the staff and students. She made an announcement after the boys were taken off campus and held a meeting in the school library later in the afternoon with the staff to talk about what happened and discuss possible improvements to their procedures.
"Overall, the cooperation on the part of the staff and students was excellent. People didn't panic. We tried to maintain as much order and supervision as we could without alarm, especially given all that's happened this week," she said, referencing a school shooting in Pennsylvania. "People already are a little nervous, and this provided something to add to their nervousness."
Prescription discounts available for county residents
Dukes County residents may be able to save approximately 20 percent off the retail price of prescribed drugs for themselves and their pets under a discount drug program offered by the County of Dukes County.
The discounts are available at local and national participating pharmacies. County residents need only provide a county discount card, available free to all county residents.
Winn Davis, Dukes County manager, said the savings are available through a program administered by the National Association of Counties, a national organization that provides a variety of services for county governments across the county. He said there are no fees, no income thresholds, and no restrictions.
The County of Dukes County is pleased to announce the availability of the County Prescription Discount Card free for all County residents through a program provided by the National Association of Counties.
To obtain a card, residents must bring proof of Island residency, such as a driver's license or rent receipt, to the office of the County Manager located in the County administration building at 9 Airport Road, Edgartown. Mr. Davis said he would also be visiting local town hall and councils on aging. For more information, call the office of the County Manager at 508-696-3840.
West Tisbury selectmen hear tour bus complaint
The West Tisbury selectmen said they will look into a Music Street resident's complaint about heavy tour bus traffic on the street.
Resident Dianne Powers told the selectmen last week that tour bus traffic is "constant on the weekends." She said she counted nine buses on one recent weekend morning.
"I feel like there's too heavy bus usage for the street," she said. "Last year there were more and more, and this year it has gotten to be ridiculous."
Board chairman John Early said he believes the issue is worth pursuing, but commented that the Commonwealth has strict rules about banning vehicles from roadways. "There has to be a good reason, like a bridge weight limit," he said.
Mr. Early asked the selectmen's executive secretary, Jennifer Rand, to check first with District 5 of the state Department of Public Works to find out what the town's rights are regarding road restrictions.
Herald publisher recovering from boating accident
Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell, a seasonal Edgartown resident, is recovering from a boating accident that occurred Sept. 28, while fishing with friends off Gay Head (see Letter to the Editor, Page 18).
Mr. Purcell caught his hand in the motorized anchor chain while setting the anchor of his 36-foot fishing boat. Part of his right index finger was severed. He was initially treated at Martha's Vineyard Hospital and then flown to Boston Medical Center where he underwent surgery.
George Regan, president of Regan Communications and one of those aboard the fishing boat, laughed when told that late last Thursday the Boston Globe was chasing down a report that Mr. Purcell was injured by a shark.
"They were probably hoping it was a white shark, and more than a finger," said Mr. Regan.
Oak Bluffs offices unreachable
Oak Bluffs residents who tried to reach town departments over the weekend found the effort fruitless.
Town administrator Michael Dutton said the problem began last Thursday, when the town attempted to switch its current phone system over to a newer, more advanced one. A few lines were supposed to be kept active while the rest were put through the transition, but due to a miscommunication, Mr. Dutton said, all lines were severed, and calls were unable to go through.
The main town hall recording was still operational, but transfers to external offices such as the police, fire, ambulance, highway department, shellfish and council on ageing offices were not possible.
Mr. Dutton said the town put out media alerts and told as many people as possible. The majority of the phone lines were in service on the new system by Tuesday.
Island doctor waives extradition to California
Dr. Gerald C. Morris, the family practitioner and internist accused of multiple felonies stemming from an online drug sale scheme, waived extradition and will voluntarily face charges in Ventura County, California. His case was subsequently dismissed from the Dukes County District Court, due to his impending arraignment in California. Dr. Morris is scheduled to appear in that court on Oct. 20 for an early disposition conference.
Island Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard said the charges brought against Dr. Morris in this state were simply to aid in the Ventura County Sheriff Department's investigation. Dr. Morris was charged with the unlawful sale of a controlled substance, unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance, and conspiracy to commit a crime, according to Captain Ron Nelson, a public information officer for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.
Captain Nelson said Dr. Morris was not held on bail in Ventura County, but rather released on the written promise that he would appear later this month.
Dr. Morris was present in the Edgartown District Court Friday, where he told a Times reporter he would like to comment on his case, but was advised not to. In a telephone conversation, Dr. Morris's lawyer, David Lawler of Hyannis, said, "At the end of the day the truth will come out, and Dr. Morris will see an acceptable conclusion."
Dr. Morris, 35, was arrested in August at his office in the Martha's Vineyard Hospital on a fugitive from justice warrant issued by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department on Aug. 22. He also serves as the supervising physician at Island Health Care, a rural health clinic located at the Triangle in Edgartown that provides health-care services for low-income and uninsured Islanders.
Grant writing workshop for Island non-profits
The Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative (MVDC) is hosting a grant-writing workshop to help Island non-profit organizations fine-tune their research and writing skills, with the goal of securing grants.
According to a recent MVDC press release, the workshop will teach attendees how to research and find funding sources, write basic grant proposals, and tips for advanced proposals.
Presented in collaboration with the Cape Cod Foundation and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, the one-day workshop will be led by Alice Boyd and Martha Moore. Ms. Boyd is the owner of a consulting firm in West Harwich and has secured over $90 million worth of grant funds in the past ten years. Ms. Moore is the director of the Resource Center for Philanthropy at the Associate Grant Makers in Boston, and has her own consulting firm.
The workshop will take place on Oct. 18 at the Mansion House, where a $25 fee will cover course materials, breakfast, and lunch. Space is limited, and interested applicants are asked to register by Oct. 11 by visiting www.mvdonors.org or calling 508-645-3690.
Farm Neck Foundation offers grants to nonprofits
Island nonprofit organizations whose goal is to improve the quality of life in the Martha's Vineyard community are invited to apply for a 2006 Farm Neck Foundation grant.
The foundation is a charitable organization created in 1989 and funded by contributions from the membership and supporters of Farm Neck Golf Club. "The aim of the foundation is to provide charitable assistance to the Island community in the form of donations and grants to civic-minded organizations in need of funding," according to a press release.
Organizations are invited to submit a concise proposal describing their project, its benefits, budgetary requirements, and grant amount requested. Proposals, which must be received by Nov. 1, should be sent to Farm Neck Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1656, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.
Bank of Martha's Vineyard promotes employee
The Bank of Martha's Vineyard announced the promotion of John Coskie to Business Development Officer. Mr. Coskie joined the bank in November 2005, and is responsible for growing the bank's relationships with Island businesses, according to a press release.
Senior Vice President Paul Watts said, "We are delighted to recognize John's contribution to the bank with this promotion. His experience in leading the marketing divisions of high-tech firms will serve our Island businesses well. He is also intensely committed to serving our Island community."
The Bank of Martha's Vineyard is a division of Sovereign Bank, a financial institution with principal markets in the Northeast United States. For more information on Bank of Martha's Vineyard, call 508-696-4400.
In a Sept. 28 article titled "A primer - Superior Court begins next week," the reporter incorrectly identified the official who selects the judge to preside over the Dukes County Superior Court sessions. It is in fact Barbara J. Rouse, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts.