News in Brief
Photo by Eleni Collins
Engine fire destroys van
in Vineyard Haven
Despite a quick response by Tisbury firefighters, a fire in the engine compartment destroyed a 1989 Volkswagen Vanagon being driven by Danielle Potter of Tisbury on Tuesday morning.
Ms. Potter pulled over at the corner of Camp and William Streets in Vineyard Haven after being alerted by drivers in cars following her that flames were coming from the back of her car, according to Tisbury fire chief John Schilling.
Tisbury firefighters responded to a call about the fire at 10:40 am, initially heading to the wrong location as reported at Camp Street behind the Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank.
After arriving there and seeing no fire, the firefighters quickly headed to the corner of Camp and William Streets, Chief Schilling said. Tisbury police officers and emergency medical technicians also responded. No one was injured.
Although firefighters were able to put out the flames with foam and water, Chief Schilling said the van was a total loss. "Unfortunately, it was a rare vehicle and hard to replace," he added. "However, Ms. Potter had two ocean kayaks strapped to the top of the van, and we were able to save those. She's very pleased about that."
Chief Schilling said Ms. Potter told him she had moved back to the Island from Washington state just days ago.
SSA gets too-high bid
for M/V Nantucket re-do
The Steamship Authority received only one bid to refurbish its aging ferry M/V Nantucket, and it was $2 million above what the boat line had hoped. Detyens Shipyard in Charleston, S.C., bid $7.5 million to refurbish the vessel. Boatline officials had estimated $5 million to $5.5 million to do the work on the 32-year-old ferry. The Steamship Authority rejected the bid.
The boatline now plans to split the work schedule, separating out the need to dry-dock the vessel, and issue new invitations for bids with the expectation that the revised format will result in more bids and better pricing.
The work to be done on the ferry includes a complete sandblasting and renovation of her interior, removal of asbestos installed behind the ferry's paneling, and replacement of windows.
The SSA has had no luck trying to sell the Flying Cloud, the often broken down fast ferry that ran between Nantucket and Hyannis. The boatline hoped for $5 million from a sale of the ferry, which cost $8 million to build. Flying Cloud will be replaced by the Iyanough, under construction at Gladding-Hearn shipyard in Somerset. The new $9.5 million fast ferry is to be delivered before year's end.
Island Home, the new $33 million double-ended ferry that is to take the Islander's place as the Woods Hole-Vineyard workhorse, is due late in January. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has delayed construction at V.T. Halter Marine in Mississippi.
Oak Bluffs CPA funding applications are available
The Oak Bluffs Community Preservation Committee (CPC) announced that application forms are now available to request funding for projects for historic preservation, affordable housing, and open space/recreation in 2007.
Requests for proposals will be accepted through December 1, according to a press release.
Oak Bluffs adopted the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in April 2005. The CPA is a state program designed to raise money for affordable housing, the preservation of open space, and historic preservation. Towns in the program adopt a three-percent surcharge on real estate taxes, which the state matches 100 percent. The Oak Bluffs committee estimates that CPA funding for community projects for fiscal year 2008 will exceed $700,000.
As mandated by the state, all projects must be designed to acquire, create, and preserve land for recreational use or open space; acquire, preserve, rehabilitate, and restore historic resources; or create, preserve, and support community housing.
The committee will screen all applications for eligibility, review funding requests and make recommendations to voters at annual town meeting for final approval. Town boards, nonprofits, for-profit organizations and individuals are eligible to apply.
For more information about the application process or the Community Preservation Act, contact Adam Wilson, CPC administrator at 508-693-3554, extension 123. Requests for Proposals can be submitted to Mr. Wilson in the Building Department Office located at Town Hall, 56 School St., through Dec. 1, 2006, at 4 p.m.
Short Halloween meeting
a Tisbury selectmen treat
Whether due to a light agenda or the lure of Halloween candy calling them home, the Tisbury selectmen gave everyone a treat by finishing their meeting Tuesday night in less than an hour.
In department reports, animal control officer Laurie Clements informed the selectmen that Tisbury does not have a defined policy regarding how much the town will pay towards emergency veterinarian services for stray animals. She recommended that Tisbury should pay the standard $100 emergency service fee charged by most Island veterinarians, and then seek reimbursement when the animal's owner is located. The selectmen voted to approve paying the $100 fee when necessary and to consult town counsel on wording for a written policy.
Treasurer and tax collector Tim McLean reported he has been analyzing the state Department of Education's wealth-based school allocation formula and has been cross-checking mailing lists to see how many non-Tisbury residents have Tisbury mailing addresses. The selectmen agreed they will continue to look into the issue and formally protest whatever inaccuracies and inequities they find.
Police Chief John Cashin made special mention of letters he had received from community members complimenting the work of detective Mark Santon, officer Jeffrey LaBell, and traffic officer Eloise Boales. Selectman Tom Pachico added that the selectmen had received a letter of commendation about the chief as well, from a police department in New Jersey.
Chief Cashin said he has completed a new schedule for the police officers and is working on coverage needed on upper Main Street in Vineyard Haven while the sidewalks are under construction.
In light of the tragic incident that took place a few weeks ago in Pennsylvania where a man shot and killed some Amish students, Chief Cashin said he has been visiting Tisbury School every morning.
Fire Chief John Schilling announced that the town's new E-1 fire engine will arrive on the Island by late December.
In other business, the selectmen and Tisbury library board of trustees voted to approve the appointment of Sharon Knipmeyer to the library board. Her daughter, Katherine, provided some Halloween festivity for the occasion, dressed in a princess costume and ready to go trick-or-treating afterwards.
Superintendent presents budget up five percent
The fiscal 2008 budget for the Vineyard school superintendent's office, approved by the All-Island School Committee last week, reflects an almost five percent increase, up from $2,775,686 in FY07 to $2,913,978 next year.
It is a level-service budget, said superintendent James Weiss, with three notable changes, the first being salary adjustments for staff members. For example, he said, with an increase in the number of students requiring the English Language Learners (ELL) program, the ELL director's position will move from half-time employment to 80 percent next year. The costs of the program will increase, as well.
The superintendent's budget also contains $19,400 to fund a new eighth-grade algebra program. "We want to get capable eighth-graders into an honors program so they will be able to have an extra year of math in high school," Mr. Weiss said. "I'm working with the middle school and high school teachers to put that into place for next September."
A third change, although minor, adds a line item of $1,500 into the superintendent's budget to fund stipends for running the Island-wide spelling and geography bees. In the past, individual schools contributed money from their budgets.
Special education programs also reflect increases, with the cost of summer programs rising from $33,000 in FY07 to $42,000 in FY08. Student support services will cost $183,834, up from $173,440 in FY07.
Depending on the type of school program, some costs are split between five school districts, including the high school, while shared elementary school programs are divided up among the four elementary school districts. The costs for school programs are divided up among the Island school districts based on enrollment. Consequently, enrollment fluctuations affect the cost shares allocated to each Island school district.
In FY08, the Oak Bluffs School's portion of the superintendent's budget will rise 13.14 percent, Tisbury School's by 7.79 percent, and Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's by 6.21 percent. Edgartown School's share decreases by 1.2 percent and the Up-Island Regional School District's by 1.12 percent.
Because of the budget increases and the extra financial burden placed on Island towns, Mr. Weiss dropped his proposal to add a facilities manager position to the staff in 2007 to oversee maintenance in the Island schools.
wins stove pellets
The Reppert family of Oak Bluffs (left to right, Mark, Sabrina, Phil, Christina, Suzanne, Premala) pose with their new Enviro Empress wood pellet stove and pellets from Vineyard Alternative Heating.
Suzanne Reppert was the drawing winner of a year's supply of wood pellets at the Vineyard Alternative Heating Grand Opening on Oct. 14. For more information, call Vineyard Alternative Heating at 508-696-6960 or go to email@example.com.
Falmouth Academy to host information session
Falmouth Academy, an independent day school for college-bound students in grades seven to twelve, will host an informational coffee hour at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown for students and their families interested in learning more about the school on Sunday, from 2 to 4 pm.
Current Falmouth Academy parents and students from the Island will join Director of Admissions Michael Earley and members of the school's faculty to discuss academics, arts electives, sports, and extracurricular school life.
Anyone interested in Falmouth Academy is welcome to stop by for any amount of time, and there is no need to RSVP. Please call 508-457-9696 for information.
Eric R. Schreck was born on March 4, 1983. The date of birth in his obituary last week was incorrect.