News in Brief
Chilmark will hold
special meeting June 28
The Chilmark selectmen met Tuesday and scheduled a special town meeting on June 28 at 7:30 pm at the Chilmark Community Center.
The warrant posted contains two articles, one concerning the acquisition of land for expansion of the refuse district's facility, and the other to approve the town's assessment for the regional high school's fiscal year 2008 budget, using the state's statutory formula instead of the Island's regional formula agreement.
The question, Article two, asks voters to approve amending the town's assessment amount in the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's FY08 budget from $366,628 to $441,886, an increase of $75,258.
Article one asks voters to authorize the town to borrow $1,529,000 to purchase land for expansion of the Martha's Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District facility.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Car fire in Vineyard Haven
Tisbury firefighters put out a fire in a 1995 Dodge Neon, pictured above, parked in the driveway of a house on Franklin Terrace in Vineyard Haven Monday morning.
"The damage was confined to the car, which was a total loss," Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said. No one was in the car at the time, he said. There were no injuries to anyone at the scene or to the firefighters who responded.
Chief Schilling said it was difficult to determine who owned the car and to gather facts about what happened because of a language barrier. He requested an interpreter who spoke Portuguese to help at the scene with the interview process.
As a matter of fire department protocol and procedure, Chief Schilling said fires in older cars usually are not usually investigated unless there are questionable circumstances.
"We do our best to try to determine if the fire occurred when someone was working on the car or while driving, or if the car had been recently repaired, but in most of the cases, that's the end of the investigation," he said. "Obviously, the car has value to the owner, but not from an insurance standpoint."
Youngsters suspected in wave of harbor boat thefts
Tisbury harbormaster Jay Wilbur said that small inflatable boats are being taken from various locations around Vineyard Haven Harbor, and he suspects youngsters are behind the thefts. He asked parents to be vigilant.
Mr. Wilbur said that he has retrieved all of the boats. But he cautioned that what might seem like a prank is in fact a crime.
Tisbury Police Chief John Cashin said that, depending on the value of the boat and motor, a theft could result in a felony charge.
In the most recent incident, two teenage boys were spotted running from a location on Lagoon Pond where they were apparently attempting to put an engine on a small inflatable boat, one of two taken that day. The engine was taken from a small outboard motorboat that was allowed to drift free after the motor was taken.
Mr. Wilbur said he has no way of knowing if the same people are responsible for a wave of thefts from the Lagoon and the harbor during the last several weeks. He suspects the culprits take the boats for a ride without thinking of the potentially serious consequences. "It's a problem," he said.
Mr. Wilbur suggested that parents talk to their children about those consequences and he asked that anyone with information call the harbormaster office (508-696-4249) or Tisbury Police (508-696-4240).
Until the thefts stop, he said that people need to be vigilant and should probably use a lock when leaving boats unattended for any length of time. "It's unfortunate," he said, "because we haven't been that kind of place."
File photo by Pat Waring
Farmers market opens
The popular West Tisbury Farmers Market opens for the season Saturday at 9 am at the Grange Hall on State Road in West Tisbury and will remain open until Columbus Day weekend.
The summertime gathering is a popular attraction for residents and visitors who want to sample local produce and wares. The market will be open on Wednesdays beginning June 20 through August.
West Tisbury accepts state's new school funding formula
At a special town meeting Tuesday night, a majority of West Tisbury voters agreed to appropriate the additional $116,000 required to meet the requirements of the state's statutory assessment formula (sometimes called the "wealth-based" formula) for the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS). In a separate action, voters transferred an equal amount of money from free cash, in order to cover the new appropriation without raising the tax rate. One hundred three voters, exactly five percent of those registered, attended the meeting.
The vote means that Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs, and West Tisbury have now ratified the statutory formula. If a fourth town does not join them by July 1, the state Department of Education (DOE) will intervene and manage the MVRHS budget on a month-to-month basis until Dec. 1. If at least four towns do not accept the statutory formula by Dec. 1, the state will take over for the rest of the fiscal year.
Glenn Hearn, chairman of the selectmen, argued against complying with the statutory formula. Mr. Hearn said that refusing to ratify would cause the DOE to "come down here and listen to us" and would thus give the Island leverage in forcing the state to allow the continued use of the current funding allocation method. The current method bases each town's allocation of regional high school costs on the number of students from each town attending the high school.
Selectman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter, also a member of the MVRHS school committee, disagreed with Mr. Hearn, arguing that the gesture would have very little effect on the state and would cause hardship for the high school. Al DeVito, chairman of the West Tisbury finance committee, arguing in support of the proposal, said that the Island cannot trust the state to solve the problem. Others agreed that the Island's "leverage" would be uncertain.
After about 40 minutes of debate, the additional appropriation passed on a voice vote.
In other business, voters approved the transfer of $5,000 from the Space Needs Committee, which has completed its work, to the new Town Hall Renovation Committee; and voted $2,500 for West Tisbury's share of expenses to investigate an up-Island distributed antenna system. They also expanded the Capital Improvements Committee and authorized the refuse district to borrow $1.5 million to purchase additional land next to the transfer station across from the airport.
Fire on Vineyard Haven's Main Street
An automatic sprinkler system at 54 Main Street in Vineyard Haven proved both a benefit and a detriment Saturday morning. The sprinkler system did its job, quickly extinguishing a small fire in an apartment bathroom on the third floor. However, delays in turning it off resulted in water damage to two businesses on the first floor of the building below.
Unfortunately, when Tisbury fire fighters arrived, they were unable to locate the sprinkler control room and shut the sprinkler system off. "We actually had to call a truck out once we were able to contact the building owner and force entry into the sprinkler control room to shut down the system," said Tisbury fire chief John Schilling. "The water was flowing for quite awhile."
Water damage to the Louisa Gould Gallery and Madame Falgoux Aromatherapy Emporium resulted in both businesses closing temporarily this week. The storeowners said they hope to be open again in two weeks. In the meantime, customers may reach them by phone.
The damage in the two stores was confined mostly to the walls and the floor. Building owner Larry Levine immediately arranged for cleanup and restoration, provided this week by Curtis Silvia and Bill Cogliano of Disaster Specialists, based in Sandwich.
"My artwork is fine, and I'm still booking photography jobs," said Louisa Gould on Monday. "I haven't closed my business - I'm not gone."
Unfortunately, Ms. Gould had relocated and opened her business in the Main Street location only a few weeks ago. Luckily, she said, her first show is not scheduled until July 9.
At Madame Falgoux's next door, owners and sisters Andrea Falgoux-Hirt and Deneen Falgoux-Convery said most of their products were not damaged. Ms. Falgoux-Hirt, who relocated to the Vineyard after Hurricane Katrina destroyed a similar shop she owned in New Orleans, said she guessed there was something about her that attracts water.
"Everybody in Vineyard Haven has been so amazing, so supportive," Ms. Falgoux-Convery said.
Staff at the nearby "In the Pink" said their store received only minor water damage.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Art Cliff Diner seating shrinks temporarily
The line of anxious patrons waiting outside the popular ArtCliff Diner on Beach Road in Tisbury got a little longer last week.
ArtCliff owner Gina Stanley removed four tables, deducting eight seats last week. The Tisbury board of health asked for a "voluntary compliance" because the restaurant is authorized to have 39 seats and was operating with 47. Town regulations tie restaurant seating to water usage and sewer flow authorization.
Ms. Stanley said she made it work by taking out the tables for two, making many of her regular customers unhappy.
Assistant health inspector Maura Valley visited ArtCliff on May 29, in response to a complaint made at a board of health meeting the previous day. She said that an unidentified individual who is interested in buying a restaurant and wanted more seats than the Sewer Flow Review Board allowed wanted to know why the ArtCliff Diner had 47 seats.
The board of health sent Ms. Valley to the restaurant the next day. After counting the seats, she asked Ms. Stanley to reduce seating from 47 to 39, the number authorized by the board of health.
At Ms. Valley's suggestion, Ms. Stanley attended a meeting of Tisbury's Sewer Flow Review Board (SFRB) this week, which approved her request for more flow that would allow for more seats. Ms. Stanley plans to petition the board of health, which meets next Monday, for a license for 47 seats.
Tom Pachico, Tisbury health inspector and chairman of the board of selectmen, explained that once the SFRB makes the determination to grant a request, it comes back to the board of health for approval. Title 5 flow rates allowed for restaurants determine the number of seats allowed in the facility.
Tisbury public works director Fred LaPiana said that for a restaurant like ArtCliff, design flow is based on 35 gallons of water per day per seat.
Ms. Stanley said Tuesday she is anxious to resolve the matter soon. The loss of seats has caused longer lines at the restaurant, she said, as groups have to wait for larger tables that are now taken up by couples that used to sit at tables for two.
Photo by Jon Ollwerther
Vineyard Food Shop
The remaining vestiges of the Vineyard Food Shop on State Road in North Tisbury disappeared into a mass of rubble last week. The faint aroma of belly bombs mixed with the dust of the building that formerly housed the bakery that became a West Tisbury institution popularly known as Humphreys and closed after a half century in business in 2004 with a brief reopening in 2005. For years, the bakery was a favorite, sometimes life-saving, stop for Island workers, beachgoers, bicyclists, and anyone with a craving for freshly baked pastry.
Argie Humphreys opened a bakery in 1953 in Vineyard Haven in the space where the Bagel Authority is today before moving to North Tisbury, on State Road near the North Road turnoff. He turned the business over to his son, Bart, in the late 1970s.
In 1996, after Bart Humphreys decided to retire, he leased the business to his niece Donna (Kirby) and her husband Michael Diaz. Mr. Diaz began selling sandwiches on the bakery's homemade bread, a decision that boosted the bakery's business and reputation, and added the words "Gobbler" and "Cuban" to the Vineyard sandwich lexicon.
Bart Humphreys died in 2003, and the property went to his sister, Joyce Duarte, who subsequently decided not to renew the Diaz's lease. That decision set up a dispute over the use of the name "Humphreys." Mr. Diaz wanted to continue to use the name for two satellite bakery shops he had opened in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs and one he planned, and is now open, in Tisbury where long-time fans can still find Humphreys belly bombs.
Weather tower to be erected in Tisbury
On June 12, the Tisbury Department of Public Works, with the aid of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, will begin the installation of a Meteorological Data Tower at the former septage lagoons.
The tower, which should be completed on June 14, is part of a larger study managed by the MTC to measure the possibility of wind power in Tisbury. "Computer-generated maps indicate that considerable wind energy is available in this region but we need specific data for this area to be sure," said Henry Stephenson, member of the Tisbury Planning Board and Energy Committee.
If the data is positive, town officials hope to construct a wind turbine at the nearby landfill to power the town's two biggest energy consumers: the septic treatment plant and the pumps for the town wells.
Planners believe wind power could reduce the town's dependence on outside energy sources and save as much as $100,000 on the town's yearly energy bill.
The tower will be in place for one year, continuously collecting data on factors that influence wind power, such as wind speed, direction, duration, shear, and seasonal variability.
Delahunt to hold forum on surplus property
Rep. Bill Delahunt will hold a public forum on June 15, designed to instruct local officials and nonprofit organizations on how to obtain excess federal property at low or no cost.
"With local towns and cities facing unprecedented financial pressures, every dime counts," said Mr. Delahunt in a press release. "Sometimes it is possible to acquire surplus equipment, vehicles and boats directly from federal agencies at little cost, saving thousands of dollars to local taxpayers."
Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, historic lighthouses can be ruled surplus, allowing local communities to obtain control. However, the US Coast Guard retains control of facilities important to navigation, according to a press release.
Representatives from the US Coast Guard, National Park Service, General Services Administration, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will also attend the workshop.
The forum will be held Friday, June 15, at the Vineyard Regional Transit Authority Office, located at 11A Street, in the airport business park, beginning at 11am.
Congressman Bill Delahunt represents the 10th District of Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard. His office can be reached toll-free at 1-800-794-9911.
Lucile Keith dies
Lucile Keith, 94, of Westwood, died on June 3. She was the mother of Allan Keith of Chilmark. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times.
Visiting Nurse Service gets
top marks in health survey
In May, a team of surveyors from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health conducted an unscheduled survey of the Martha's Vineyard Community Services' Visiting Nurse Service (VNS).
The survey is used to measure compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies. Over the course of three days, DPH officials accompanied nurses and therapists on home visits and reviewed consumer records and staff employment records. According to a VNS press release, the result was a perfect score with no recommendations. "Upon a recertification survey, the Visiting Nurse Service of Martha's Vineyard Community Services was found to be in compliance with all conditions of participation," the survey reported.
"What the surveyors found in their unexpected and thorough review of services provided and the records kept was business as usual, our VNS team in action," said Executive Director Julia Burgess. "We are so proud of the care and commitment and dedication every member of that team has for those they serve."
Seasonal trolley service returns to Woods Hole
Whoosh Trolley service is once again providing Vineyarders with convenient shuttle service between Woods Hole and Falmouth stops.
Trolleys stop at Falmouth Plaza, Colonial Plaza, the Falmouth Library, the Shining Sea Bike Path, Oyster Pond Road, and Water Street/Luscombe Avenue en route to Woods Hole. Passengers may also flag down the trolley at any safe stopping point along its route.
Trolleys operate between 9:30 am and 7:25 pm. The fare is $1 for adults, 50 cents for seniors and people with disabilities. Children five and younger can ride free with a fare-paying passenger. All riders must have exact change.
For schedules and information, go to
Ann Hunt named Bank
of MV area manager
Bank of Martha's Vineyard, a division of Sovereign Bank, has announced the promotion of Ann Hunt of Edgartown to community banking area manager. Ms. Hunt's responsibilities now include the management of all five of the branch offices on Martha's Vineyard.
According to a bank press release, Ms. Hunt is well known for her excellent, personal customer service, and in her new role will be able to spread her customer service knowledge and skill Island-wide. She joined Bank of Martha's Vineyard's predecessor bank, Martha's Vineyard National Bank, in 1989. She has managed offices in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Chilmark.
Ms. Hunt is treasurer of the Tisbury Business Association and a member of the Board of Directors for the Cape and Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Comcast adds eight high definition channels
Comcast, the Vineyard's cable programming provider, announced the addition of eight new HD (high definition) channels to its HDTV lineup.
As of Tuesday, Comcast Digital Cable Island customers with HD service will receive the following channels in the high definition format: A&E, Food Network, HGTV, WLVI, National Geographic, Universal, Music High Definition, Versus, and the Golf Channel.
In prepared remarks, Zakee Rashid, local Comcast vice president, said customers can now watch the PGA Tour and even more of their favorite shows in the crystal-clear clarity of HD. "And we're not done expanding HD programming this year," he said. "More is on the way."
Comcast also announced a channel lineup enhancement today. The company was able to group some similar channels closer together on the lineup, making it easier for Comcast customers to find their favorite programs. For example, the Golf Channel now can be found on Channel 40 and Versus is on Channel 43.
For more information about Comcast Digital Cable with High Definition, customers can call 1-800-COMCAST or visit www.comcast.com.
Delta offers Plum TV programming on flights
Delta Air Lines has become the first airline to offer programming from Plum TV, an original television network that broadcasts localized programming in select upscale communities throughout the country, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
According to a press release, Plum content is available to all Delta customers traveling in BusinessElite®, the airline's international business-class service, and in domestic First and Coach classes on select flights that feature "Delta on Demand," the airline's personal digital entertainment system.
Plum currently operates television channels and web sites in Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, the Hamptons on Long Island, and in Vail, Aspen, and Telluride in Colorado.
In the May 31 Calendar section, page 6, the caption to a photograph incorrectly identified a painting by Gloria Burkin as the work of Lanny McDowell.
The man holding a 60.1-pound striped bass in the Gone Fishin' column published May 31, "Go fishing when the fish sirens call," was incorrectly identified as Jim Creighton of Tisbury. The successful angler was Jim Creedon of West Tisbury.
Due to a production error, an ad for the Stanley Murphy Gallery that appeared on page 7 of the Calendar section on May 31 incorrectly described it as the oldest gallery on the Island.