News in Brief
OBPD asks motorists to drive safely during the holiday
The Oak Bluffs police department will increase patrols during the Thanksgiving holiday, in an effort to step up enforcement as part of a targeted "Click it or Ticket" program, sponsored by the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau and implemented across the state, especially during holidays.
There were eight motor vehicle fatalities during the Thanksgiving period last year in Massachusetts, according to a press release from the Oak Bluffs police.
"We will focus on all traffic law violations, but will place special emphasis on compliance with the Massachusetts safety belt, child passenger safety laws, as well as drunk driving laws to keep people safe," Oak Bluffs chief of police Erik Blake said in the release.
Police advise motorists and passengers to drive sober, report aggressive drivers, and to buckle seatbelts every time they drive - even on a quick run to the market to pick up some last-minute stuffing ingredients.
radio, don't phone
The Coast Guard wants mariners in distress to use their VHF-FM radios, not cell phones, to make distress calls, and it has asked cell phone service providers in 49 states (but not Alaska) to discontinue the specialized key sequence "*CG" as a method of requesting maritime emergency assistance.
Temporarily, the Coast Guard has asked cell providers to route "*CG" calls to the nearest 911 operator. The Coast Guard urges mariners in distress to use the cell phone only as a backup option.
"VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities in an emergency. When a distress call is sent out via VHF-FM radio any nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance. VHF-FM radios will further enhance boaters' safety as the Coast Guard expands its Rescue 21 system, which uses technology that tracks the precise location of distress calls. This allows the Coast Guard and other rescuers to narrow the focus of search and rescue efforts," a Coast Guard press statement explained last week.
The Coast Guard warned mariners to stop using "*CG" immediately and begin using 911 on the cell to notify land-based authorities of an emergency, if the cell is the only means of communication.
The "*CG" feature was introduced, according to the Coast Guard, by some cell phone service providers in the early 1990s, but it did not develop into a nationwide service.
"As providers moved to digital systems," the Coast Guard press statement reported, "some did not shift their "*CG" sequence, creating a confusing patchwork of service that can add significant delays in the Coast Guard response."
Only in Alaska is the "*CG" feature uniformly available on cell systems.
Former Oak Bluffs ZBA member William Sullivan fined $3,000
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission issued a disposition agreement Monday, in which former Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals (ZBA) member William Sullivan admitted violating the state's conflict of interest law by representing clients on six occasions before the ZBA. Mr. Sullivan agreed to pay a civil penalty of $3,000 and to forfeit $600, the compensation he had received for work done in relation to matters involving the ZBA.
According to the agreement, Mr. Sullivan, a residential designer, violated state conflict rules when he was paid to represent six clients seeking special permits from the ZBA. Mr. Sullivan answered zoning questions for these clients, presented his plan designs to the ZBA, and urged the board to grant the permits.
The conflict law prohibits a municipal employee from receiving compensation from anyone other than the town in relation to particular matters in which the town has an interest. The law also prohibits a municipal employee from acting as an attorney for anyone other than the town in connection with a particular matter in which the town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. By acting on behalf of his clients for compensation in matters before the ZBA, Mr. Sullivan violated two relevant sections of the law.
"A town official owes undivided loyalty to the town," said executive director Peter Sturges of the Ethics Commission, in a press statement released with the announcement of the agreement. "He cannot step out of his official role and move to the other side of the table to represent clients before the board he serves."
Photo by Janet Hefler
No more Papa's Pizza
Donna Montesion bids a fond farewell to staff member Eddie DePaula, left, and manager Steve Feinsmith on the last day of business for Village Market and Rotisserie, the home of Papa's Pizza.
The Village Market and Rotisserie, home of Papa's Pizza, closed it doors last Friday. Manager Steven Feinsmith said owners Jean and Bill Cleary lost their lease.
"I've worked here every day for the last seven and a half years," Mr. Feinsmith said. "We have a very avid following. Some people come here two, three, four times a day. They are very upset, coming in here and asking, where am I going to go?"
The eatery, located on the Mobile Station property owned by Fran Paciello on Main Street in Edgartown, operated there for 11 years. Many loyal patrons followed Papa's Pizza when it moved from its location on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs about six years ago.
Some of them came in on Friday, buying up the last pizzas early in the morning, in anticipation of the store closing by the end of the day. "Papa's Pizza has been an Island institution for a long time," Mr. Feinsmith said.
A steady stream of customers dropped in for one last meal or cup of coffee and a sad goodbye. "I've been coming here for 10 years," said Donna Montesion of Edgartown. "I will miss the friendly smiles. It was a great way to start my day."
Hy-Line proposes no Hyannis winter service
Hy-Line Cruises is proposing to eliminate high-speed winter passenger service between Hyannis and Oak Bluffs next year. The details are included in the company's license renewal request to the Steamship Authority (SSA) for its ferry services operating from Hyannis to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
Hy-Line began offering year-round high-speed service between Hyannis and Oak Bluffs in the spring of 2005. Company officials expected the 55-minute crossing would attract visitors and Islanders traveling to the mid-Cape for medical or education reasons.
The expanded service on the company's traditional Oak Bluffs route required the approval of SSA board, which has sole authority to grant Hy-Line a license to operate beyond the scope of its grandfathered Oak Bluffs summer service.
According to a company press release, all levels of service would remain essentially the same, except for a proposed reduction in service to Martha's Vineyard by the high-speed vessel Lady Martha. The company said that while the high-speed service from Hyannis to Oak Bluffs has been very popular in the summer and shoulder seasons, the high operating costs and lower than expected ridership in the off-season makes running between the mid-Cape and the Vineyard in the winter months unfeasible, at this time.
The current schedule ends on December 31. The 2007 license request anticipates service beginning on April 1st and ending on Nov. 30. Hy-Line said that it would consider expanding its high-speed schedule if the passenger market changes in the future.
The company has been providing traditional service on the route since 1971.
Island in need
of volunteer EMTs
The Island ambulance services are holding an open house on Saturday, Dec. 2, and launching a direct mail campaign, all in an effort to recruit volunteer EMTs. According to a recent press release from the Tisbury police and ambulance service, all six Island towns are in need of volunteers, this year more than ever.
Soon Island residents may notice a flyer in their mailbox regarding next month's open house, which will describe the process of becoming an EMT. An EMT training class runs from January through April, and students can be working as an EMT by June. There are volunteer ambulance services in Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, and the Tri-Town Ambulance Service serves the three up-Island communities.
The open house will take place from 9 am to noon at the Oak Bluffs fire station at the corner of Wing and County Roads. For more information, contact Tisbury ambulance coordinator Jeffrey Pratt at 508-696-4214.
MSPCA invites alumni to march in Edgartown parade
The MSPCA's Vineyard shelter is inviting owners of dogs that were adopted from the local shelter to participate in this year's Christmas in Edgartown holiday parade. "All shapes, sizes, colors and ages are welcome to help celebrate adopted animals everywhere," according to a press release.
The parade is scheduled for 10 am, Saturday, Dec. 9. Interested pet owners are asked to call projects coordinator Jen Morgan at 508-627-8662.
Oak Bluffs finance director hired temporarily in Lowell
Oak Bluffs finance director Paul Manzi was recently hired as an interim city auditor in Lowell. Mr. Manzi replaces Walter Fernandez, who recently resigned under pressure, according to a Nov. 15 article in The Lowell Sun.
Oak Bluffs town administrator Michael Dutton said Mr. Manzi came to him a few weeks ago and expressed interest in working for Lowell on a short-term basis. It should not affect his work in Oak Bluffs, Mr. Dutton said.
Mr. Manzi lives in Tewksbury and spends two to three days on the Island, averaging 25 hours per week, Mr. Dutton explained, adding that Mr. Manzi also works some hours from home.
He has been working for Oak Bluffs since 2003, and is employed under a personal services contract. According to that contract, which expired in June, Mr. Manzi is paid $50,000 a year to be the finance director. This year, Mr. Manzi was given an additional $10,000, which reflects his appointment as treasurer. Mr. Dutton said his contract will be renegotiated over the next few months, but it hasn't been a pressing matter.
Mr. Manzi will be paid $75 to $85 an hour working for Lowell, according to the article.
Flu clinics next week
The Visiting Nurse Service will offer flu shot clinics on Nov. 29 at the Edgartown Town Hall from 9 am to noon, and at the Howes House in West Tisbury from 1 to 3 pm. Tetanus and pneumonia vaccine also will be available. For more information, call Juleann VanBelle, 508-693-7900, ext. 338.
Federated Church will host a Thanksgiving dinner
The Federated Church of Edgartown will host a Thanksgiving dinner for members of the congregation and their friends who will be on the Vineyard without family over the holidays on Thanksgiving Day in the Parish House at 45 South Summer Street at 2 pm. Reservations are required. Call 508-627-4421.