News in Brief
Martha's Vineyard Hospital board meets on upbeat note
The Martha's Vineyard Hospital trustees met Saturday in the wake of last week's announcement that the hospital's capital campaign had surpassed its goal of raising $42 million for a new building.
The board discussed the hospital's year-end financials but did not get a copy of an audited financial statement to review. The hospital's fiscal year ended on March 31.
Hospital chief executive officer Tim Walsh presented a draft statement of the audit results and the board voted to accept the audit, pending review by the hospital's finance committee.
Mr. Walsh said the auditors are expected to present a final report within the next few weeks. He said the numbers will be straightforward and reflect continuing financial strength.
"It will show the hospital is in very healthy financial condition," said Mr. Walsh.
Mr. Walsh said the meeting was very upbeat. It was preceded Friday evening by a get-together with the trustees, administration, and medical staff at the Lambert's Cove Inn in West Tisbury.
Mr. Walsh said the annual cocktail party provides an opportunity for people who would not normally meet to speak with one another. The highlight of the evening, Mr. Walsh said, were remarks by Warren Spector, a Chilmark seasonal resident, co-chairman of the capital campaign, and a driving force behind the $46.5 million total raised.
By one account, Mr. Spector was overcome as he described the successful campaign and said it was one of the most rewarding things he had ever done.
Mr. Walsh said the moment was moving and energizing. "It is incredible to have someone so committed to this hospital, and very rewarding," he said.
Police report a quiet weekend down-Island
Memorial Day weekend was busy but quiet, according to several Island police departments reached by The Times. Chilmark, where police arrested a man who allegedly tried to flee in a stolen car, was the exception.
Lieutenant Tim Williamson of the Oak Bluffs Police said town was busy and police responded to the normal calls for service over the weekend, particularly on Saturday night, but there were no problems and no arrests.
Police did take a couple of people into protective custody. "All the restaurants and bars were packed, but there is nothing to report," he said.
In looking at the logbook for Memorial Day weekend, Tisbury police chief John Cashin said Tisbury was quiet, with mostly traffic citations listed. "Other than that, it looks like there were quite a few motor vehicle stops - we were trying to slow America down a little bit," he said.
West Tisbury Police sergeant Dan Rossi described a normal holiday weekend's worth of activity. The logbook included a complaint of fireworks, an individual taken into protective custody and a disorderly conduct charge.
In Aquinnah, police chief Randhi Belain said there were some motor vehicle stops, but for the most part it was quiet with no arrests.
SSA has smooth holiday weekend, rough Tuesday
The Steamship Authority (SSA) was very busy over the long holiday weekend, according to general manager Wayne Lamson. The predicted good weather was a big factor, he said, particularly on Sunday when lots of day-trippers decided to make Island visits.
Operations went smoothly until Tuesday morning, when a starter motor for a generator on the Island Home seized up. With vehicles lined up on the Vineyard waiting to depart, the new ferry was unable to make the 10:45 am trip from Woods Hole.
The repair took about two hours. When it was complete, the ferry immediately began running trips in an effort to cut the Vineyard backlog and was able to get back on schedule by the evening.
The new ferry has experienced a variety of mechanical problems since starting service this spring. Earlier this month the stern door could not be operated due to a clogged filter.
"You hope these things don't happen," said Mr. Lamson, "but when they do, you realize nothing is perfect."
FEMA will hold Island meeting today
Representatives from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold a meeting this morning at 11 am in the Edgartown Town Hall selectmen's meeting room to explain what expenses may be reimbursable from the April northeaster that left a cut in Norton Point Beach in Edgartown.
Island towns and private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for reimbursement for expenses and infrastructure damage and overtime costs due to the storm.
Nonprofits must be performing an essential government service and have incurred a minimum of $1,000 in eligible expenses to qualify, according to a MEMA press release.
Earlier this month, the Bush administration issued a major disaster declaration for the eight Massachusetts counties flooded and damaged by the storm. The disaster declaration enables local governments and state agencies to apply for federal reimbursement for up to 75 percent of the cost of repair. Essex, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Berkshire counties qualify to apply for the benefit.
In an application filed with MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) on April 20, Dukes County manager Winn Davis filed a preliminary damage assessment with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) meant to qualify the county for federal disaster relief. In his application, Mr. Davis estimated it would cost $511,000 in federal emergency disaster money for the town dredge to repair a beach that he said provides an emergency exit for 375 homeowners on Chappaquiddick in the event of a wildfire.
When they learned of the plan days later, Edgartown officials and The Trustees of Reservations, the conservation organization that manages the county-owned beach, said the breach was not an emergency or a disaster.
Late yesterday, Chris Kennedy, Trustees regional supervisor, said that county officials did not contact him about the FEMA meeting. Mr. Kennedy said he only learned of it when he was contacted by a Times reporter about any plans the Trustees had to file for disaster funds. Mr. Kennedy said he had no plans.
Although the county applied for $500,000 in disaster funds, any actual reimbursement would be tied to the cost of any specific projects yet to be determined.
Harassment motion taken under advisement
A Superior Court judge has taken under advisement a motion accusing the Tisbury police chief of harassment and asking the court to order the police activity to stop. Judge Gregory Williams heard arguments from Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard and attorney John Boyle last Thursday, on a motion filed by Mr. Boyle on behalf of his client, Blake Richards. Mr. Richards is accused in two separate incidents of exposing himself and making inappropriate sexual comments. One incident involves a woman, the other a 12-year-old babysitter.
In the motion made earlier this month, Mr. Boyle said police had parked a cruiser in front of his client's house and asked the judge in the case to end police activities he said were only intended to harass his client.
Chief John Cashin admitted to frequenting Mr. Richards's Tisbury neighborhood in a marked cruiser. While the court is considering the motion, Chief Cashin said last week he would not stop his routine checks on the neighborhood.
Mr. Richards, a 37-year-old computer technician, is being charged in connection with two separate incidents in which he is accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.
The first case stemmed from an incident that occurred on March 15, when Mr. Richards allegedly exposed himself and made inappropriate comments to a woman while he was working on a computer in her office.
The woman reported the incident to the Tisbury police, and Mr. Richards was arraigned on one count of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior and was released on bail.
A second accusation emerged soon after, resulting in a charge that Mr. Richards exposed himself and made sexually explicit remarks to a 12-year-old babysitter last October.
Mr. Blake was arraigned on April 12 and charged with one charge of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior and a second charge of enticing.
Mr. Richards is due back in court June 29, for a pretrial conference in both cases and a hearing on his motion.
Tisbury selectmen tackle jam-packed agenda
The Tisbury selectmen plowed through a jam-packed meeting agenda Tuesday night, which included a lottery for affordable housing and a hearing on taxi regulations.
In response to advice from town counsel, the selectmen agreed to schedule a special town meeting for a vote on the state's statutory assessment formula for the regional high school's budget. (See related news brief.) Pending approval from the town's finance and advisory committee, the selectmen set June 26 as the tentative meeting date.
With palpable anticipation in the audience, representatives from Tisbury's housing committee, the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority and Island Housing Trust drew names to award three people the opportunity to purchase affordable housing units in two duplexes at 150 State Road.
Annette Moreis's name was drawn first for a one-bedroom unit for $145,000. Sally Sylvia's name was drawn first for the other two, a two-bedroom unit for $208,000 and another for $260,000. Depending on which she chooses, alternates John and Andrea Hirt or Danguole Budris may be given the option to purchase one.
During the selectmen's discussion session, Vineyard Haven's Stop and Shop manager Sam Koohy appealed to them for help in resolving parking lot problems caused by the new configuration before July 4. Describing himself as "living at ground zero" over the Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Koohy said customers besieged him with complaints about the lot's tight confines.
Planning board member Henry Stephenson, who came up with the lot's design, reassured everyone that adjustments could be made. He and the selectmen agreed to meet in the parking lot with town administrator John Bugbee and the contractor on Wednesday morning to discuss possible changes.
In a public hearing session, cab company owners and drivers followed up on their protest of new taxi licensing regulations two weeks ago. (See the related story on p. 5). Police Chief John Cashin agreed to review a draft of changes proposed by the taxi drivers, and the selectmen voted to extend licenses already granted for another two weeks, pending further discussion.
In other business, the selectmen granted permission for a television crew to film popular cooking show hostess Rachel Ray's Tasty Travels program in Tisbury on June 27-28.
They also approved extending the deadline for commissioning commercial moorings to June 15, in response to a request from Ross Gannon of Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway. They also approved the Tisbury Housing Committee's request for $2,470 towards preparation of a request for proposals and administrative services for an affordable housing project on Lambert's Cove Road.
The selectmen also heard a presentation from fire services consultant Charles Hale, following up his study of the Tisbury fire department and his recommendation to make the chief's position full-time. Although town meeting turned the proposal down, Mr. Hale suggested using the study as a platform for further discussion. The selectmen agreed to meet with members of the fire department on June 19 at 5:30 pm for their input before personnel appointments are made on July 1.
Island towns schedule special town meetings
Edgartown, Chilmark, and Tisbury selectmen recently decided to reconsider their stance against holding special town meetings to vote on the state's mandated statutory formula for determining town assessments for the regional high school.
After discussion last week, the Edgartown selectmen agreed to schedule a special town meeting on June 28 to vote on the formula. Pending approval by Tisbury's finance and advisory committee at a meeting tonight, the Tisbury selectmen have set a tentative date of June 26 for a special town meeting. The Chilmark selectmen will discuss whether or not they will schedule a special town meeting when they meet on June 5. The West Tisbury selectmen already scheduled a special town meeting on June 5.
Under DOE regulations adopted in January, all member towns must approve an existing regional agreement, based on a per-pupil cost, while only two-thirds of the towns must approve the statutory formula, based on equalized property valuation and income.
Oak Bluffs voted to change from the Island's regional agreement and go with the state formula instead, as did Aquinnah. If four of the six Island towns do not approve the regional high school budget by July 1, the state commissioner of education will establish an interim budget.
At a meeting on May 14, Chilmark, Edgartown and Tisbury selectmen discussed protesting the state's mandated statutory formula, which increases their towns' assessments, by refusing to hold special town meetings to vote on it. Since then, although they remain opposed to the formula, several selectmen said they reconsidered their position on putting it before voters because it would affect the regional high school's ability to implement its budget for the next school year.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the Tisbury selectmen said town counsel had recommended scheduling a special town meeting so that Tisbury's vote on the state's mandated formula, whether yes or no, would be officially recorded.
In the meantime, superintendent of schools James Weiss requested a meeting at 4:30 pm today at the Regional Transit Authority offices with the All-Island Selectmen and All-Island Finance Committee to begin discussions on how to address the Island's regional assessment issues for next year's high school budget.
Memorial weekend business augurs well for summer
Brisk activity at Island hotels, restaurants, and other businesses over Memorial Day weekend provided a hopeful sign to many business owners for the rest of the summer. A brief phone survey revealed that some of the big hotels were filled, restaurants were hopping, and retail businesses had steady traffic.
The Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, under new ownership, reported a very busy weekend with high occupancy and sold-out rooms Sunday night.
"It was a perfect weekend - a perfect kickoff for the summer," Jeffrey Michaud, a front desk manager, said, adding that he hotel was busier than last Memorial Day weekend.
The Colonial Inn in Edgartown also was sold out for the weekend. "It was a beautiful weekend and it's looking good for the summer," manager Judy Rogers said.
Occupancy at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven has been increasing every year since it reopened in 2003, especially with more returning guests, owner Susan Goldstein said. People like to come back to the same place and see people they know, she said. Good weather this weekend also kept guests "friendly and happy."
Ms. Goldstein also mentioned that the hotel is emphasizing to guests that they "can leave their cars in America and enjoy the comfort and convenience of the transit authority.... We are getting more and more successful at that."
Peter Martell, owner of the Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs, said room bookings did not look good early last week, but once people heard the good weather reports, the hotel started getting calls. "We got a lot of last-minute reservations. The weather helped," he said.
Much of the base clientele over the weekend was summer residents returning to open up their homes, Mr. Martel commented. Most of the hotel managers said reservations for the summer look better than last year.
The good weather also helped bring people out to Menemsha to buy lots of fish and lobsters, according to Stanley Larsen, owner of the Menemsha Fish Market. "There was a lot of barbecuing," he said. Traffic at the market was brisk from Friday through Monday - "more than we could handle," he said. "I think it's going to be a good summer."
Marlene Thornton, manager of the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown, didn't want to predict business for the whole summer, but said the restaurant's business over the weekend was "very good, better than last year" with a full house on Saturday.
David LaBreton, owner of Edgartown Books, also was positive about the weekend business. "It was fabulous, better than last year," he said. The bookstore had several book signings and lots of activity, but the employees missed Island author Phil Craig, who died recently.
Oak Bluffs Police will hold Public Safety Day
Saturday, the Oak Bluffs police department will host Public Safety Day from 11 am to 2 pm at Waban Park. The goal of the second annual event, organized by Sergeant Michael Marchand and executive assistant Suzanne Cioffe, is to improve the safety of children under 12 by increasing the use of safety belts, car seats, and booster seats. The event is free and will feature a DJ, refreshments, and chances to win several prizes, including T-shirts, bicycles, helmets, and smoke and CO2 detectors.
After several rain delays, last year's event drew nearly 300 children and their parents. Visitors can expect many of the same activities this year, including safety demonstrations and simulations from the state police, the canine unit, and the Coast Guard. There will also be an ambulance on hand offering free blood sugar level checks, and the MV Drive for Life seatbelt simulator.
The Oak Bluffs police will be giving away 80 car seats, donated by the Dukes County Deputy Sheriff's Association. Interested parents need to make an appointment to get the car seat from the police, who will then have a certified officer properly install it in their car.
SSA receives Homeland Security grant
Congressman Bill Delahunt announced Tuesday grants in the amount of $323,095 from the Department of Homeland Security Port and Transit Security to the Steamship Authority (SSA).
The money is to be used to help port, business, and transportation operators comply with recommendations from federal agencies, including the Coast Guard, for security improvements to terminals, vessels, and other assets, according to a press release received by The Times. The SSA received $274,120 under the Ferry Security Grant Program and $48,975 in Port Security funds.
In prepared remarks, Mr. Delahunt said, "These federal grants not only help make our ports safer, but they ease the significant financial burden our terminal operators face in complying with expensive federal security guidelines."
SSA general manager Wayne Lamson said that he could not say too much because of the nature of the grant but that the money would go towards security improvement projects. "We are very pleased with the grant," said Mr. Lamson.
Wesley R. Winton
Wesley Raymond Winton, 63, of Vineyard Haven, died on May 30 at a Boston hospital. A memorial service will be held in the fall. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times.
Island Spirit Kayak owner is SBA award winner
Carolyn "Chick" Dowd, owner of Island Spirit Kayak, was named the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2007 Massachusetts Young Entrepreneur Award winner, according to an announcement by Maurice L. Dubé, Massachusetts SBA Director.
The SBA presents the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award annually to an individual or individuals who are under the age of 30 and own and operate a small business with a three-year track record according to a press release.
"Chick Dowd exemplifies the commitment and vision sought in the selection of one of Massachusetts' top small business awards" said Mr. Dubé in prepared remarks. "She and others like her are not only the future of Massachusetts, but of our country as well."
Ms. Dowd was honored along with nine other small business award winners, at an awards luncheon on May 11, 2007.
RougeLuxe Apothecary opens in Oak Bluffs
RougeLuxe Apothecary, described as a premier luxury apothecary boutique, is scheduled to open Sunday, June 3, in the newly constructed 21 Kennebec Avenue building in Oak Bluffs.
Owners Kathy and Lour Magistrini said RougeLuxe will be open year-round and carry exclusive lines from Kiehls, BLISS, Caudalie, the Art of Shaving and Laura Mercier cosmetics, as well as an array of fine fragrances and distinctive gifts for the home.
RougeLuxe brings the concept of a large upscale department store to Oak Bluffs in an intimate, well-appointed boutique according to a press release.
For more information, call 508-696-0900.
New company provides alternative energy source
Martha's Vineyard Geothermal offers Islanders an increasingly popular choice for heating and cooling homes by taking advantage of the relatively constant temperature of the earth below the frost line.
The system, based on geothermal exchange, provides savings of from 25 percent to 50 percent when compared with traditional systems and offers greater levels of home comfort and control, according to a press release.
Martha's Vineyard Geothermal installs complete geothermal systems, including ground loops, heat pumps, radiant duct systems and domestic hot water systems. Licensed installers and company owners Merrill Langley and Michael Creato can be reached at 508-627-4880 or and more information is available at www.mvgeothermal.com.
Left to Right: Nancy Gardella, executive director, Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce; John Tiernan, reservations manager, New England Fast Ferry Co. and winner of Hospitality Award at the 20th Annual Massachusetts Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, presented the Hospitality Award. Photo by Paul H. Schnaittacher
Fast Ferry terminal manager receives award
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) has honored John Tiernan, manager of New England Fast Ferry Co.'s Martha's Vineyard terminal, with a 2007 Governor's Hospitality Award.
"As the on-Island liaison for New England Fast Ferry, John personifies the gold standard of customer service that we constantly strive for," said Mike Glasfeld, president of New England Fast Ferry Co. "We've always known how valuable John is to our company, and we're delighted that he has been recognized for the value he brings to the state's and the Vineyard's tourism industry. For the Island's visitors, he's just the perfect host."
Mr. Tiernan was nominated by the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and the Martha's Vineyard Regional Tourism Council. Nancy Gardella, Chamber executive director, described the Island native as a "consummate professional," saying, "John has the spirit and personality that everyone in tourism treasures: he's friendly, helpful, loves his job and loves the island of Martha's Vineyard. No question is too slight for him to answer; no problem is ever left unsolved."
Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray presented the Hospitality Award to Mr. Tiernan at the Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism Award Gala held in March. Hospitality Awards are given to frontline and behind-the-scenes personnel who have exemplified the true spirit of Massachusetts hospitality.
The New Bedford to Martha's Vineyard Express Ferry is a service of the New England Fast Ferry Company LLC. The service's web site is www.mvexpressferry.com. Call toll free 866-MVFERRY for the easiest and most convenient way to book reservations and purchase tickets.
In the Pink opens
In the Pink, a Lilly Pulitzer® Signature Store, announced the opening of its new location at 33 Main Street in Edgartown. The company has a second store in Vineyard Haven.
"Several years ago we opened a very small store on Winter Street in Edgartown and have been waiting in line for that perfect Main Street location ever since. This winter, when we learned that Brickman's was closing its doors, we knew we had found it," In the Pink founder and owner Gordon Russell said this week.
The larger Edgartown store will allow In the Pink to present the entire Lilly Pulitzer Collection, including the new Lilly men's line, according to a press release.
For more information or to shop online, visit www.inthepinkonline.com or call 888-695-4559.
Kerry Scott, the chairman of the Oak Bluffs selectmen, disputes a description of her view of the state Ethics Commission decision concerning Joe Alosso, facilities manager of the Oak Bluffs and Edgartown wastewater treatment plants. The Times May 24 news story, entitled "Joe Alosso cleared by ethics panel," reported that Ms. Scott, along with Jonathan Revere of West Tisbury doubted the authenticity of a handwritten note added to the Ethics Commission letter clearing Mr. Alosso of conflict of interest allegations. Ms. Scott said this week that she declined to comment on the Ethics Commission letter, when asked to by a Times reporter, and that she said nothing that would imply that the handwritten note may have been a forgery, perhaps by Mr. Alosso. After a review of the reporting on which the May 24 article was based, The Times stands by its account.