News in Brief
Pat Rogers cuts the ribbon to open Tisbury's John Rogers Memorial Dog Park. Photo by Aase Jones
Tisbury opens dog park off Holmes Hole Road
Gray skies did little to dampen the enthusiasm of dog owners and their pets at the official opening of Tisbury's John Rogers Memorial Dog Park Tuesday morning.
The park, located off Holmes Hole Road in Vineyard Haven, was named in honor of the late John Rogers, who served as the town's animal control officer for many years. His widow Pat, given the honors of opening the park, cut a blue ribbon, clearing the way to the park's trails for the eager canines and their owners waiting for a road test.
Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel spearheaded the park's creation in response to problems caused by owners who allowed their dogs to run loose in Owen Park. "This gives people and dogs a place to go," he said. He thanked the department of public works (DPW) for creating the dog trails, DPW employee Maynard Silva for making the park's sign, and Tisbury's water department for running a water line to the park.
Thanksgiving day fire in Vineyard Haven home
Tisbury firefighters battled a fire on Thanksgiving Day that destroyed the second story of a home owned by Colleen Patrick at 82 Chase Lane in Vineyard Haven.
Ms. Patrick said she put Thanksgiving dinner on the table just before 2 pm. Her son Darren ran upstairs to use a phone, and when he reached his room, a flat-screen television burst into flames. The fire quickly engulfed the upstairs. "I never knew how awful it could be," Ms. Patrick said. "It blew out the windows as we were running out the back door."
Tisbury's assistant fire chief John Rogers and about 25 firefighters responded immediately to the call, assisted by members of the Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury departments at the scene. The Edgartown fire department sent a backup crew who manned the Tisbury station during the almost five hours the Tisbury firefighters were gone.
Although the fire was contained to the second floor bedroom and attic-roof assembly, Mr. Rogers said it was difficult to access small pockets of fire trapped between the house's double roof. Because Chase Lane is a very narrow street with lots of trees, Tisbury firefighters were unable to use the town's new truck to access the roof.
Although the cause of the fire was undetermined, Fire Chief John Schilling said no further investigation is planned.
Ms. Patrick said she has been amazed at the outpouring of kindness from everyone, including gifts of clothing from Trader Fred's, food and clothing vouchers from the Red Cross, and a quick response by Martha's Vineyard Insurance. She and her son are renting their neighbor's house next door while the house undergoes renovation.
"We'll just have to start over and not look back," Ms. Patrick said. "The hard part is all the pictures. You can replace furniture, but you can't replace memorable things you love." She was very grateful to the firefighters for rescuing her two cats.
Chilmark Postmaster David Medeiros.
Chilmark postmaster's installation tomorrow
Just in time for all those letters to Santa, David A. Medeiros will be officially sworn in as the Chilmark postmaster tomorrow, in a ceremony at Chilmark Community Center at 2 pm.
Kenneth Flemming, acting manager of post office operations of the Cape Cod area, will administer the oath of office, followed by a schedule of speakers. Postmasters from the Island and Cape have been invited to the event, which is open to the public.
Although Mr. Medeiros has been serving as postmaster since February, after taking a few months to get settled and then facing the start-up of the busy summer season, he said he decided to postpone his official installation until now.
Mr. Medeiros grew up in Swansea, following in the footsteps of his dad, who was a postal carrier. During his 14 years with the U.S. Postal Service, this is the third time Mr. Medeiros has lived on the Island, having worked previously as a clerk in the Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury post offices.
"Once the Island is in your blood, it never really goes away," he said. "I took this job because I wanted to be back on the Island. It is a great opportunity for me." Mr. Medeiros and his fiancé, Tacey Burton, live in West Tisbury.
In honor of Mr. Medeiros's celebration, the Cape Cod quilt will be on display at the Chilmark Community Center for the day, then will be taken off Island to continue its exhibit tour of post offices Cape-wide. The Martha's Vineyard portion of the quilt, coordinated by Noreen Couture with help from Karen Donahue, includes squares made by Islanders to represent the Edgartown, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and Chilmark zip codes.
MVC grants homeowners association party status
The Martha's Vineyard Commission granted the Eastville Homeowners and Taxpayers Association (EHTA) "party status" last week. Under Massachusetts law, the designation gives the organization the right to appeal the MVC's upcoming decision regarding the Martha's Vineyard Hospital project for up to 20 days after a vote is taken.
The hospital's proposed $42 million renovation and expansion project recently underwent a public hearing process as a development of regional impact (DRI), which closed on November 16. The commission's deliberations and decision on the project are set for Dec. 7 at 6:30 pm.
The EHTA's membership includes homeowners living on Windemere Road, which abuts Martha's Vineyard Hospital property. Patrick King, the only year-round resident on Windemere Road, said the EHTA may seek legal representation, depending on the outcome of the MVC's DRI decision.
The primary concerns raised by several Eastville property owners are the loss of rental tenants and income during the construction of a new hospital facility, diminished property values, construction disturbances, the new hospital building's visual impact on their view, and the effects of the project on Brush and Lagoon Ponds.
Windemere Road resident Marcia Graham is requesting the hospital to mitigate the loss of privacy by adding a 12-foot fence between the hospital and her property, and to limit construction hours during summer rental season from June to September to 8:30 am to 6 pm, instead of 7 am to 6 pm.
O. B. selectmen discuss shellfishing, chili contest
Acting swiftly Tuesday, the Oak Bluffs selectmen voted to open the harbor for recreational and commercial shellfishing, allow a portion of February's 20-mile road race to pass through the town, and granted a permit for an outdoor chili contest.
The selectman unanimously agreed to open the harbor to recreational shellfishing on Dec. 2, and commercial on Dec. 4
The board also had a discussion with Patricia Bergeron of the Holy Ghost Association about the annual Big Chili Contest. Held at the Atlantic Connection last year, the Jan. 27 contest will take place at the Portuguese American Club, where they needed a permit from the selectman for an outdoor tent.
"If we can keep the business in Oak Bluffs, the PA Club will certainly enjoy hosting," Ms. Bergeron said.
The board asked that the association take extra precaution in regard to attendees driving home from the event, which serves alcohol. Selectman chairman Duncan Ross asked that they coordinate with the cab companies in order to provide rides to and from the ferry and Circuit Avenue.
Within that same discussion, the selectman voted to allow town bars and restaurants to stay open an extra hour on New Year's Eve - until 1:30 am - an allowance they traditionally make every year, they said. The establishments are not allowed to serve alcohol during that extended hour.
Oak Bluffs accident seriously injures driver
An accident involving two cars at 1:09 am Sunday at the four-way intersection at Wing and County Roads in Oak Bluffs resulted in serious injuries for one of the drivers, who was airlifted to Boston for medical treatment.
According to a report by Lt. Timothy Williamson of the Oak Bluffs police department, Daniel O'Bryan of Oak Bluffs, age 23, was traveling alone, driving at a speed of about 40 miles an hour in a Toyota Celica north on County Road, when he failed to stop at the intersection with Wing Road. After stopping at a stop sign at the same intersection, Samantha Church of West Tisbury, age 21, the driver of the other vehicle, a Chevrolet Cavalier, had moved into the intersection traveling west on Wing Road, when Mr. O'Bryan's car slammed into hers. Ms. Church was trapped in her car, which was pinned against some oak trees after the impact.
Three of Ms. Church's girlfriends were following behind her in another car at the time of the accident, including Joanna Ruskin, a nurse from New York, who called for help.
Emergency medical services and rescue personnel responded quickly to the scene. It took about 45 minutes for them to extricate Ms. Church from the car, using the Jaws of Life. Her girlfriend in the car was able to get out. Both women were wearing seatbelts.
They were transported to Martha's Vineyard Hospital, where Ms. Church was evaluated with serious injuries and subsequently airlifted to Boston. Her passenger was treated locally and released. Mr. O'Bryan also was transported to the hospital for evaluation.
Oak Bluffs Police Sgt. James Morse investigated the accident and later arrested Mr. O'Bryan on charges of operating under the influence (liquor) with negligence and serious injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, failing to stop at a stop sign, speeding, and failure to inspect a motor vehicle. He was arraigned Monday in the Edgartown District Court, with bail set in the amount of $4,000. A pretrial hearing is set for Dec. 21.
Ms. Church suffered a lacerated spleen, and multiple fractures to the sacrum, hip and pelvic area. She underwent surgery Monday; pins and hardware were installed to repair the fractures. Yesterday she underwent facial reconstructive surgery.
Home for Thanksgiving from attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, Ms. Church will be unable to finish her last semester as a senior until she recovers from her injuries. She faces 6 to 8 weeks of hospitalization and 3 to 4 months of physical therapy.
Cards may be sent to her at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr., West Campus, 6th Floor Clinical Ctr., Rm. CC627, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215.
Edgartown end run
Edgartown officials don't want to pay the Steamship Authority more than $20 extra for town employees to travel off-Island, so they have found a way around it.
The authority charges the town $62 for each car driven by a town employee, which doesn't include a driver or passenger, town administrative assistant Pamela Dolby told the selectmen Monday. The rate is more for larger vehicles. The current off-season car rate for residents is $45, which includes passage for two adults and two children.
Ms. Dolby suggested this week that employees who go off-Island for business reasons use their personal Steamship Authority profile numbers and get a voucher for reimbursement from the town. The selectmen agreed to the suggestion.
Ms. Dolby will send memos to all employees regarding the new policy. She said town employees took 157 trips last year, either by vehicle or as walk-ons.
"It's not the cost; it's the principle," she said. When she questioned the Steamship Authority on the extra charges, she was told they covered administrative costs for handling the special fares.
Tisbury postpones special town meeting
Tisbury selectmen announced Tuesday that they have cancelled the special town meeting scheduled for Dec. 12, due to issues involving possible property acquisition for a proposed new emergency services facility.
Selectman chairman Tristan Israel said the usual springtime special town meeting has now been moved up, tentatively, to Feb. 28, and the annual town meeting to April 10.
Finance director Tim McLean said the town has paid its last bill on the sewer treatment plant. He advised the selectmen to schedule a meeting with the town department of public works to pick a formula for charging residents who use the sewer system for betterments on the July 1 tax bills. The selectmen also will hold a public hearing on the matter.
In other business, the selectmen approved the formal transfer of a moped and auto rental license from Island Hoppers, LLC, to Island Adventure Rentals, LLC. Public hearings on an NSTAR petition for pole removals and replacement by underground conduit, and taxi regulation amendments were postponed to the next meeting.
Shellfish constable Derek Cimeno worried about drainage problems in the new Lagoon Pond boat ramp facility, and suggested as a quick fix, the department of public works should make a curb cut. He also suggested fixing a separation between the dock and end of the ramp by extending the dock.
The selectmen also approved and signed a grant application for the dredge committee and to pay for travel expenses for representatives to attend two meetings of the Seaport Advisory Council.
In a follow-up to previous discussion about the beer and wine licensing process issue, selectman Israel instructed the town administrator to draft a template warrant article. "I'd like to move the issue along and have the town deal with it," he said. "I could support beer and wine in restaurants if an article is drafted carefully." Mr. Israel said he would like to see a minimum of two public hearings held on the issue.
Flu shots Saturday
at the Mansion House
Islanders get another shot at flu shots on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm in the Mansion House Inn lobby. The shots are free for MediCare patients, who should bring their cards, and $25 for everyone else.
The Mansion House Health Club and Vineyard Nursing Association are offering the flu clinic as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3.
"It is our way of supporting busy families during this holiday season," said Susan Goldstein, Mansion House Inn co-owner. "We hope that along with holiday gifts, people remember to take care of themselves with the gift of good health.
For questions, contact the Vineyard Nursing Association, 508-693-6184.
Photo by Susan Safford
Bringing down the house
Monday morning in Vineyard Haven began with a bang. Or rather, a series of bangs. The big old house and onetime bed and breakfast at 103 Main Street was razed, leaving a gaping hole and piles of earth where a once historic building stood.
The house, formerly owned by Jean and Edmund Connolly and recently sold, was a large presence on the harbor side of Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Dr. Peter Strock, whose dental office is next door, said it was a shock to see two lone chimneys standing at the end of the day.
Dr. Strock's receptionist Mary Thurston, who had a clear view of the entire process from her office window, said crews got to work early Monday and worked late into the day dismantling the house. "It looks like a spaceship landed," she said, noting the vacancy.
Ms. Thurston said they were spraying the house with water throughout the day to keep the dust down, but the noise was loud, and the action shook Dr. Strock's office building from time to time.
Red Cross delivers emergency supplies
The Cape Cod and Islands chapter of the American Red Cross delivered shelter supplies to all eight emergency shelters on Martha's Vineyard on Nov. 20, bringing each shelter to the minimum levels required to care for 50 people.
"It's the Red Cross goal to have each shelter on Cape Cod and the Islands supplied with enough materials to care for 50 people for three days. Of course, we hope we'll not need it, but it's now there when the next winter storm, flood, or other natural disaster hits," Ann Hunt, board member from Vineyard Haven, said this week.
The delivery was facilitated through the generous efforts of Ralph Packer, who donated his barge to transport the materials to the Island, the local community emergency managers, and the Martha's Vineyard Red Cross volunteers, led by William Little.
Shelters are at the Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury schools, the regional high school, the community centers in Chilmark and Aquinnah, and Wampanoag tribal headquarters. The materials provided by the Red Cross consist of cots, blankets, comfort kits, and initial supplies needed for children and adults, as well as pre-positioned meals and water for one day.
"This is the first step in our drive to expand our preparedness capacity on Martha's Vineyard," stated Glen Beasley, Cape Cod and Islands Chapter executive director.
Mr. Beasley explained in a press release that the next step is to expand the pre-positioned shelter and care supplies for an additional 1,000 people on Martha's Vineyard. The chapter's goal is to ensure that shelters can be operated at a moment's notice, no matter where or in what form the emergency occurs.
"The plan calls for pre-positioned disaster supplies in portable trailers that can be moved anywhere on the Vineyard at a moment's notice. The campaign also includes the cost of training and equipping 70 disaster volunteers. This Martha's Vineyard effort is integrated within the chapter overall response plan." Mr. Beasley added.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from people in local communities. You can help by sending a donation to American Red Cross, Cape Cod and Islands Chapter, 286 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601, or by calling toll-free 1-866-762-1928. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.capecodandislandsredcross.org.