News in Brief
The 2005 energy bill that President Bush signed in August of that year included a provision that adds four weeks to daylight-saving time this year. Daylight-saving time will start Sunday, three weeks earlier than in previous years and end a week later than has been customary, on the first Sunday in November. Daylight-saving time (DST) used to start on the first Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October.
Not all places in the U.S. observe daylight-saving time. In particular, Hawaii and most of Arizona do not use it. Indiana adopted its use beginning in 2006.
According to the US Naval Observatory web site (aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/daylight_time.html), many other countries observe some form of "summer time," but they do not necessarily change their clocks on the same dates as the U.S.
Although standard time was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, it was not established in U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, sometimes called the Standard Time Act. The act also established daylight-saving time, a contentious idea at the time. Daylight-saving time was repealed in 1919, but standard time remained in law. Daylight time became a local matter. It was re-established nationally early in World War II, and was continuously observed from February 9, 1942, to September 20, 1945. After the war its use varied among states and localities. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance. The act provided that daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, with the changeover to occur at 2 am, local time.
During the "energy crisis" years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time. In 1974, daylight time began on 6 January and in 1975 it began on 23 February. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April. In 1986, a law was passed that shifted the starting date of daylight time to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight time was not subject to such changes, and remained the last Sunday in October. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed both the starting and ending dates.
Photo by Rick Mello
Firefighters battle midnight blaze in frigid conditions
Up-Island volunteer firefighters were roused in freezing weather conditions just before midnight Tuesday to battle a fire that began in a storage shed in a home owned by Nancy and Joel Aronie off State Road in Chilmark.
Chilmark fire Chief David Norton said the fire department responded to a call that came in at 11:45 pm Tuesday. The outside temperature was approximately eight degrees, but the strong northwest wind that had blown throughout the day had abated somewhat, Chief Norton said.
The fire began in a small storage shed and quickly moved to a workshop used as a music studio and writing workshop by the Aronies. That building sustained heavy damage, said Chief Norton. There were no injuries.
Concerned at first that the fire could threaten the main house, Chief Norton asked West Tisbury firefighters to stand by in the event that additional help was needed. Aquinnah firefighters provided a tanker truck.
Firefighters stayed at the scene until approximately 4 am, and they were called back a few hours later to put out remaining hot spots.
Chief Norton said he was grateful for the quick response and assistance provided by neighboring towns.
Two candidates vie
for Tisbury selectman
At Tisbury's annual town election on April 24, Jeffrey Kristal will challenge long-serving incumbent selectman Tristan Israel for a three-year term. The selectmen's race is the only contest.
Peter J. S. Duart is seeking election to the planning board for five years. Angela Cywinski is running for reelection as assessor for a three-year term.
Although there are five seats available on the finance and advisory committee for three-year terms, there are four candidates. Bruce Lewellyn, a new candidate, is joining Bruce Campbell, Robert Franklin, and Pete Hefler, who are running for the seats they currently hold.
Among uncontested races, Sharon Anne Knipmeyer is seeking a one-year term as a library trustee. Anne Lucas, Dorothy Campbell, and James Norton are running for reelection for three-year terms.
Frederick Thifault is seeking reelection for a three-year term to the public works commission. Elmer Silva Jr. is running for another three-year term as water commissioner. Maura Valley is seeking reelection for a three-year term on the school committee.
School committee approves budget and dog searches
At the recommendation of superintendent of schools James Weiss, the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School District (MVRHSD) school committee voted to certify the town assessment portion of FY08 budget, using the existing regional agreement rather than the state's new statutory town wealth-based formula. The portion of the FY08 budget not contributing to the town assessments was approved in December.
The school committee also approved a K-9 search policy, by a 7-2 vote, with the stipulation that the policy will be reviewed annually. In discussion before the vote, committee member Roxanne Ackerman said, "I think it's tragic to be bringing dogs into the school to search for drugs and move we table this policy." Her motion unsuccessful, she joined Judi O'Donoghue in voting no.
The policy provides that the high school principal may conduct searches of the building for drugs and other contraband using the assistance of the Oak Bluffs Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and canines (K-9's) trained for such searches. Students will not be present while searches are conducted in public areas of the building, lockers, and cars.
The existing regional formula for funding the high school is based on a per-pupil cost, while the state's statutory formula takes into account a town's aggregate wealth based on its total equalized property valuation and its total income.
Amy Tierney, assistant to the superintendent for business affairs, provided new numbers for FY08 town assessments using both formulas, based on the latest data on Chapter 70 aid and net school spending requirements released last week by the state's department of education (DOE).
Oak Bluffs and Aquinnah would benefit most under the statutory method, with decreased assessments of $413,537 and $60,381, respectively. Tisbury's assessment would increase by $220,768, West Tisbury's by $108,045, Edgartown's by $74,414, and Chilmark's by $70,691.
After much discussion, the school committee voted 7-2 in favor of certifying the budget with assessments based on the existing regional agreement. Committee members Priscilla Silvia and Ms. O'Donoghue, residents of Oak Bluffs, voted no. "We don't have a choice, really," Ms. Silvia said. "I can't picture the town of Oak Bluffs, a town that has given so much to the Island, being asked to give up $400,000."
Under DOE regulations adopted in January, regional school committees decide which formula to present to voters. The state's statutory assessment method requires approval by two-thirds of the towns. The existing regional agreement requires the unanimous approval of all six towns.
Mr. Weiss said he made the decision to recommend the existing regional agreement to voters to give them the opportunity to come up with "an Island-grown plan," instead of limiting them to a model from the legislature and DOE that does not work well for the Vineyard.
In the meantime, Mr. Weiss arranged for educational consultant Mark Abraham to conduct a workshop on how regional assessments are developed using the statutory formula on March 14, 2 to 5 pm, in the high school library conference room.
Applications available for summer jobs in state parks
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is accepting applications for seasonal jobs in state parks and recreation areas throughout the Commonwealth, according to a press release from the office of Representative Eric Turkington.
Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and are encouraged to apply by April 13.
A complete list of jobs available, including duties and requirements for each position can be found online by visiting www.mass.gov/dcr. Applications are also available on-line or by contacting Representative Turkington's office at 617-722-2015.
Hutker Architects recognized
Hanley Wood, publisher of Builder magazine, has recognized Hutker Architects for outstanding kitchen design at the Meadow residence in Edgartown. Hutker's design earned the Watermark award for a kitchen in a single detached custom home, between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet.
The Meadow house was one of 20 projects selected from nearly 75 entries for outstanding design. This project will be featured in the upcoming May issue of Builder Magazine.
Hanley Wood has also recognized Hutker for excellence in design for three other projects: the Snow Point house in Edgartown; a custom kitchen design at the Piano House in Falmouth; and for an accessory building at the Smith Brook Studio in West Tisbury. These three projects were selected out of 25 chosen from among more than 500 entries. The winning projects represent the highest standards in custom house design and craftsmanship, and will be featured in the May/June issue of Custom Home Magazine.
In a news story published March 1, headlined "West Tisbury faces choice, whether to rehab town hall or build new," comments by Kate Warner of West Tisbury, at a forum on the town's space needs on Feb. 21, were misrepresented. Ms. Warner says she favors renovating the current town hall rather than building a new one, as the news story reported. She says she prefers renovating the current town hall, because of the "embodied energy that is in the materials of the already existing building."
A story published on March 1, headlined "Two candidates would oust Kerry Scott," incorrectly reported that Hans vonSteiger and Robert Iadicicco are competing for one seat on the wastewater commission. Mr. Iadicicco is an incumbent seeking another three year-term, while Mr. vonSteiger, who is currently finishing out the term vacated by Susan Demarais, is running for a two-year term in his own right.