News in Brief
(Left to right) Chris Knowles of Martha's Vineyard Community Hospital; health agents John Powers of West Tisbury, Shirley Fauteux of Oak Bluffs, Maura Valley of Tisbury; Wampanoag Tribe chairman Donald Widdiss; health agent Sylvia Yeomans of Chilmark; Ron MacLaren, Wampanoag Health Service director; and Charles Cotnoir, director of Dukes County Emergency Management welcomed a contribution from the Wampanoag Tribe to help fund the creation of a Vineyard Medical Reserve Corps. Photo by Juleann Vanbelle
Vineyard Medical Reserve Corps formed
The Martha's Vineyard town boards of health, the Martha's Vineyard Community Hospital, the Vineyard Nursing Association, the Visiting Nurse Service, the Wampanoag Health Service, the Cape and Islands Health Coalition, the Upper Cape Medical Reserve Corps, and the County of Dukes County have formed the federally recognized Martha's Vineyard Medical Reserve Corps (MV MRC). A Medical Reserve Corps is a federally recognized group of volunteer health and auxiliary personnel, pre-credentialed and trained to respond and assist the community in medical emergencies. There are 476 federally recognized MRCs across the country, 30 of them in Massachusetts.
Island public and private health agencies, along with the County Emergency Management Agency, have joined to develop a support system that would help in an extraordinary public health emergency. The MRC is one element of this comprehensive emergency planning effort. The MRC will recruit, pre-credential, train, and prepare volunteers to assist the Island health system to manage public health emergencies, such as an influenza pandemic or infectious disease outbreak, that could overstrain our existing Island healthcare system in the community.
Initial support for the formation of the MV MRC was provided by the Upper Cape Medical Reserve Corps, along with a contribution from the Wampanoag Tribal Council. Dukes County and the Dukes County Emergency Management Agency provides office space, as well as administrative and emergency management support for day-to-day operations.
For more information or to receive an introductory packet about the program, contact MV MRC chairman Ron MacLaren, at (508) 645-9265 or e-mail: email@example.com
Chamber of Commerce gets grant
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) has awarded a grant of $347,977 to the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce (MVCC), according to a press release. The grant is more than one third of the Chamber's $1-million budget and will be spent to promote the Island as a premier tourist destination.
The grant is approximately 9 percent higher than a similar grant awarded last year, according to Nancy Gardella, director of the MVCC.
Ms. Gardella explained that the grant money must be spent to promote the Vineyard within the United States. "We plan to be very deliberate and very aggressive in using the grant," she told The Times in a telephone interview. The MVCC will spend the money for ads in print media and for public relations projects. Mott must approve all grant spending, she added.
As an example of a project, Ms. Gardella pointed to a segment produced by New England Cable News as a part of its program Ports of Call. The program airs on cable stations up and down the East Coast and is intended for boating enthusiasts. The particular segment partially financed by the MVCC, Ms. Gardella explained, includes aerial views of the Island and follows a family boating vacation in Oak Bluffs. The segment will air in February.
In announcing the grant, Paul J. Sacco, executive director of MOTT, commented, "Nancy Gardella and the team at the MVCC submitted a strong marketing proposal which, combined with MOTT's ongoing initiatives, will enable us to continue increasing visitorship to the state."
MOTT's grants are part of a state-wide funding program to advertise, promote, and generate tourism spending in Massachusetts. Tourism is the Commonwealth's third largest industry, generating more than $808 million in state and local taxes and nearly $12.5 billion in travel-related expenditures. More than 31 million people visit Massachusetts each year.
Aquinnah must try again
Aquinnah voters were short eight Tuesday evening as they tried to attend to a special town meeting warrant. Forty voters are needed for a quorum. Another attempt will be made this evening, at 7 pm in the Aquinnah Town Hall.
The state delivers
State Rep. Eric Turkington visited the Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club recently to present a check for $62,000 to club member Taylor Fauteux and club president Joseph Forte. The money is the Vineyard club's share of $3 million devoted by the state annually to the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. According to Greg Rollins, executive director of the Edgartown club, Mr. Turkington and state Sen. Rob O'Leary have pressed strenuously for this funding. Both Mr. Turkington and Mr. O'Leary are candidates for reelection on Nov. 7.
New sidewalks on Vineyard Haven's Main Street
New sidewalks are under construction along upper Main Street in Vineyard Haven, with completion expected well before Thanksgiving, according to Tisbury department of public works director Fred LaPiana.
The contractor, P&P Masonry of West Tisbury, recently started the project in front of 90 Main Street and will complete the sidewalks down to Union Street and along the same block on the other side of the street up past the Bank of Martha's Vineyard.
Mr. LaPiana said the remaining sidewalks from Spring Street to Center Street will be redone next spring.
ZBA member resigns
after ethics seminar
Christine Todd resigned abruptly from her post on the Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals, after attending a seminar conducted by the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission in Chilmark.
Ms. Todd, who is an agent with Ocean Park Realty, said that after considering what she learned in the seminar, she became concerned that her professional career might be regarded as in conflict with her position on the board.
"I don't want to worry about being in a compromising position," Ms. Todd said. "It's a very important board to sit on, and I certainly don't want any of my actions to be misconstrued in any way. I feel that maybe I can better serve the town in another capacity."
Ms. Todd served on the ZBA for almost two years. She said this week that before the seminar two weeks ago, she asked the state Ethics Commission for an opinion on her situation. She awaits their response in writing.
"They very may well come back with an opinion that is not quite as harsh as what I'm interpreting it as, but I would rather err on the side of being safe," Ms. Todd said. "I want to be very comfortable with what I'm doing and wouldn't want anyone to think I had motives other than very pure ones and serving the town."
Ms. Todd went to the first part of the monthly ZBA meeting Oct. 18, to sit in on a hearing that had been continued from an earlier date. She announced her resignation after that hearing, which caused all other matters scheduled for that night to be postponed.
The ZBA members are appointed by the Oak Bluffs selectmen, who will now accept applications to fill the vacant spot on the five-member board.
Earlier this year, Ms. Todd ran for a seat on the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen but withdrew her name for what she described as personal reasons having to do with the time that job would require and the affect on her family. She does not currently serve on any other town boards.
opens next week
The eagerly awaited reopening of the Capawock Theatre on Main Street in Vineyard Haven will take place next Wednesday night at 8 pm, as promised last summer by its owners, the Hall family.
Responding to pleas from Tisbury residents and the Main Street business community to open the theater again, Brian Hall has been working long hours to renovate the building himself and to get it ready by the November 1 deadline.
He calls next week's event a "soft opening," explaining that, "It's going to be like, welcome, but excuse our appearance. We might not have a concession stand yet, and if the carpet isn't in by then, we may just paint the floor for the opening."
However, movie-going patrons can look forward to a new entranceway, new seats and new bathrooms.
A bigger opening celebration for the renovated Capawock is in the works in conjunction with the Tisbury Ambulance Association's Last Night, First Day celebration on December 31.
"By that time, all the little things not finished by November 1 will be done, and I'll feel better about throwing a party," Mr. Hall said.
The Halls closed the Capawock for renovations in 2004. Extensive damage from a burst water pipe in the building during a winter storm in 2005 and unanticipated structural repairs put the project way behind schedule.
Next week's movie selection was not available at press time. Regular admission prices will be $8, and $6 for seniors 65 and older and children 11 or under.
Al DeVito joins IEH
Al DeVito of West Tisbury has joined Island Elderly Housing (IEH) as financial director. IEH is the umbrella organization for 12 corporations, which operate subsidized rental housing for elderly and disabled residents. With federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), IEH has developed housing that now serves 172 tenants in 165 apartments. IEH employs nine full-time and three part-time staff. Its annual budget is $1.5 million, and it receives a management fee from HUD to administer the corporations that operate the housing. Management fees come out of the federally funded project budgets, from rental income, and from fundraising, which attracts approximately $125,000 a year, according to Carol Lashnits, the executive director of IEH. The donated funds cover the salary and benefits of the executive director, the salary of the clerk of the works for the new projects under construction, and all costs associated with the tenants van and the meals program and other corporate expenses.
Mr. DeVito has been a summer visitor since the 1980s. He retired to the Island after a long career in computer software and financial operations. He is chairman of the West Tisbury finance committee, serves on the town's capital improvements program committee, the regional joint transportation committee, and the town's Community Preservation Act committee. He is also a board member of Habitat for Humanity and the Island Housing Trust Corp.
New police officer in Vineyard Haven
The Tisbury selectmen extended a conditional offer of employment as a regular police officer to Special Officer Jason Marathas of the Tisbury Police Department in a meeting Tuesday night.
Mr. Marathas's hiring process will be finalized once he passes psychological and physical exams, meets agility requirements for the department and for attending the police academy, and his background check is updated.
"We are hoping to send him to the police academy as soon as possible, maybe by the end of January, so we can have him in a place as a full-time officer by next summer," said Tisbury Police Chief John Cashin.
Chief Cashin said Mr. Marathas, who has family history on the Island that goes back many years, joined the Tisbury department as a special officer last May. Although Mr. Marathas's background is not in law enforcement, he previously worked as a trauma technician in Boston Hospital.
Mr. Marathas was involved in assisting with the tragic accident aboard the sailing ship Alabama last summer in which a young man died after falling from the rigging to the deck. Captain Cashin said that after the accident Tisbury paramedics sent letters of commendation praising Mr. Marathas's professional abilities in assuming command at the scene and handling the situation in a calm, knowledgeable manner.
hospital plan review
The Martha's Vineyard Commission will begin public hearings Nov. 2 on the development of regional impact review of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital's plan to construct a new hospital.
The first session, on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006, will take place in the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Cafeteria, Oak Bluffs.
5:00 - Introduction
5:15 - Hospital Presentation
7:15 - Dinner Break
8:00 - Risk Assessment - Summary
8:15 - Town Board Testimony
9:30 - MVC Request for Additional Information
Session two will be on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven.
6:30 - Staff Report, Risk Assessment, and Hospital Presentation of Additional Information
8:00 - Public Testimony
Session three will be on Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Baylies Room of the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.
7:00 - Commissioners Questions, Hospital's Closing Remarks
The complete Hospital presentation may be viewed or downloaded from the Martha's Vineyard Commission web site - www.mvcommission.org - search for "Hospital". It may also be consulted at the MVC offices and at the Oak Bluffs Library.
For information, call 508-693-3453, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or consult the web site.
Hospital approves MGH memo
Martha's Vineyard Hospital (MVH) trustees voted unanimously Friday to approve a memorandum of understanding that describes the general terms under which the Island hospital would become an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the premier medical and teaching institutions in the world.
The memorandum paves the way for the Island's not-for-profit, privately owned hospital to become one of a group of hospitals, health clinics, and physicians' organizations owned by Partners HealthCare System, a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston. Among the institutions of which Partners is the parent are Faulkner Hospital, McLean Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
Tim Walsh, MVH chief executive officer, said Partners's chief financial officer attended the meeting. Mr. Walsh added that the memorandum is only a beginning of a formal process. He said board members were very enthusiastic about the prospect for the affiliation with Partners.
Hospital employees shared the sense of optimism at two well-attended meetings to discuss the latest developments, according to Mr. Walsh. "There were applause and congratulations," he said. "They were real excited, I thought."
Mr. Walsh pointed to the hospitals included on a list of 59 of the nation's top hospitals released last week by The Leapfrog Group, a consortium of health-care purchasers, as an example of what the future could hold. The Leapfrog Group aims to reduce preventable medical mistakes and improve the quality and affordability of health care, according to a press release. The list is based on the results of a quality and safety survey.
Mr. Walsh said two Partners affiliates, Mass General and Brigham and Women's, as well as Hackensack University Medical (HUMC) Center in New Jersey, appeared on the list. John Ferguson, a seasonal West Tisbury resident and president and chairman of the hospital board, is the chief executive officer of HUMC.
"To think that we would be able to tap into a system that can put two hospitals on that list is really exciting," Mr. Walsh said. "Add to that that the CEO of a third hospital that made the list is the chairman of our board, and it gives you some idea of where we are going."
In addition to the hospital he heads, Mr. Ferguson recently received a distinction of his own, when he was selected as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine, the third consecutive year he was named to the list of influential people who have a tremendous impact on the health-care industry.
Mr. Walsh said the Vineyard hospital has benefited from the connection. "We have received an awful lot of help and direction from the folks at Hackensack," said Mr. Walsh. "John [Ferguson] has always made his resources available to us on everything."
Anticipating the weeks and months ahead, which include public hearings before the Martha's Vineyard Commission concerning the planned new hospital, Mr. Walsh said, "This is a critical moment."
Hy-line plans ferry terminal improvements
Hy-line Cruises plans to upgrade the company's Hyannis ferry terminal with amenities and improvements, including increased weather-protected common areas, a better defined pedestrian traffic flow, and additional food options, according to a press release.
The company provides traditional and fast ferry service between Hyannis and Oak Bluffs. It also serves Nantucket and has a well-earned reputation for customer service.
Noting similar changes occurring throughout the transportation industry, Philip Scudder, Hy-Line's vice president of marketing, said the company is constantly looking for ways to enhance convenience and improve customer service with the goal of providing a more pleasant, all-around travel experience.
Hy-line plans to start construction next fall.
In the derby results published last week, Chris and James (not Robert) Gibson should have been listed as winning the Beaulieu/Loud Memorial Award for a parent-child fishing team.