News in Brief
Photo by Nelson Sigelman
Martha's Vineyard Hospital moves to begin construction
A chain-link fence ringed the entire construction site for the new Martha's Vineyard Hospital, and boxes were stacked outside the administrative offices of chief executive officer Tim Walsh on Tuesday, moving day.
One week after the Oak Bluffs planning board approved the hospital site plan, the last local regulatory hurdle prior to construction, hospital officials got busy with the construction phase of their new $42 million hospital.
"We are the last to go," said Mr. Walsh as he stood next to a pile of boxes outside his office in the soon to be demolished hospital building that dates to 1929. On Tuesday, workers were busy moving telephone lines to the new administrative offices in the middle wing of the current hospital building.
Hospital planners recently emerged from a grueling yearlong review before the Martha's Vineyard Commission. Mr. Walsh said he is happy to be done with permitting and excited about moving forward with the project. He said once the chain-link fence went up the reality "that this is really happening hit. And now we can focus on actually doing it."
The Red Mannequin boutique on Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs is missing its namesake red mannequin.
Owner Judy Hartford said thieves took the distinctive form sometime during the night of June l3 from the front porch of the shop that is also her home.
Ms. Hartford said the mannequin has sentimental value, and that the theft was disheartening for what it represents. A reward is being offered for its return. Ms. Hartford can be reached at 508-693-2858.
Waste transfer station contract awarded
The Oak Bluffs and Tisbury selectmen agreed last week to award a three-year contract to manage the Oak Bluffs/Tisbury transfer station operations to Bruno's Roll-Off in Edgartown. The contract start date is Nov. 1.
Tisbury and Oak Bluffs pulled out of the Martha's Vineyard Refuse Disposal District (MVRDD), a regional entity that handles refuse services for Edgartown, Chilmark, West Tisbury, and Aquinnah, in 1993. The two towns together oversee a municipal refuse service contract, whose services use a transfer station in Oak Bluffs.
The contract for the Oak Bluffs/Tisbury transfer station operations, currently operated by Allied Waste, expires this month. Although Allied Waste, Bruno's Roll-Off, and the Martha's Vineyard Refuse Disposal District (MVRDD) submitted bids in February, scheduling conflicts between the two towns' selectmen delayed the contract award.
In May, the two towns' selectmen voted at their respective board meetings to extend the current transfer station operations contract, which would expire this month, until Nov. 1.
The submission of a bid from MVRDD to run the Oak Bluffs/Tisbury transfer station operations held out the possibility that the two refuse districts would work together again and that the Island-wide refuse district might be re-established. Because the MVRDD is not a private company, the selectmen might have entertained its bid, even though the offer from MVRDD was more expensive than the other two bids from private contractors. Nevertheless, the selectmen preferred to make the award to the lowest bidder and to take more time to consider re-uniting with the four-town district.
After meeting on June 11 in executive session, the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs selectmen voted to award the contract to Bruno's, the low bidder at $1.9 million.
The two towns' selectmen did agree to work toward regional trash management reconciliation.
Tisbury special town meeting next week
Tisbury will hold a special town meeting on Tuesday, June 26, at 7:30 pm at the Tisbury School gymnasium. One hundred voters need to attend in order to achieve a quorum, according to a press release from town administrator John Bugbee. "It would be a major disappointment if the town of Tisbury's voice went unheard on an issue as important as school funding," he noted.
The primary focus of the meeting is an article to fund Tisbury's assessment for the fiscal year 2008 regional high school budget using the state's statutory formula, which uses an "aggregate wealth model" for determining required local contribution amounts, with property values and personal income levels given equal weight.
The Island towns formerly used a regional agreement based on a per-pupil cost to determine town assessments. However, under Department of Education guidelines adopted in January, all member towns must approve an existing regional agreement, while only two-thirds of the towns must approve the statutory formula.
Under the new formula, Tisbury's assessment increases substantially. At next week's meeting, voters will be asked to approve spending an additional $241,000 to fund Tisbury's share of the regional high school's FY08 budget.
Tisbury's selectmen and school committee members have protested the formula change to the DOE, state legislators, and other Island town officials. Rep. Eric Turkington and Senator Robert O'Leary recently announced they were confident that the DOE budget would provide "pothole" funds to help bridge the gap for towns like Tisbury that face large assessment increases under the new formula.
Tisbury selectman chairman Tom Pachico has stated at several meetings with Tisbury selectmen and the All-Island Selectmen that he will urge voters on town meeting floor to vote against the assessment increase. Tisbury's Finance and Advisory Committee also is not recommending the article's passage.
In the meantime, Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs, and West Tisbury have ratified the statutory formula. Chilmark and Edgartown also will hold special town meetings next week to vote on the school formula issue. If a fourth town does not approve the statutory formula by July 1, DOE will manage the high school's budget on a month-by-month basis until Dec. 1.
The other article on next week's special town meeting warrant concerns transferring $25,000 in funds for the operation of the local drop-off and residential curbside recycling and refuse service for the department of public works.
Norton Point Beach closed in the wee hours
The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) announced Tuesday that the Katama entrance to Norton Point Beach will be closed between 2 and 6 am.
TTOR Chappaquiddick superintendent David Belcher said the closure is necessary to protect the public in the early morning hours when there are not regular beach patrols. He said the decision was made in consultation with local public safety officials and representatives of the Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters Association, a local fishing group.
A spring storm created a cut through the beach, creating hazardous conditions for fishermen and beach-goers. Strong currents now flow through the channel that joins Katama Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
TTOR, which manages the county-owned beach, has juggled efforts to provide access to the popular beach, protect nesting shorebirds and protect people from themselves.
Mr. Belcher said there have already been incidences of young people trying to swim across the cut. He said public safety officials are concerned that people might slip out when the beach is not patrolled and do something foolish or damaging.
The east end of the beach that provides access from Chappaquiddick is closed at all hours to protect nesting shorebirds. Depending on bird activity, TTOR may need to close the Katama end to vehicle traffic to protect newly hatched birds.
Island Plan summer forums begin Wednesday
The first of a series of Island Plan forums, this one on housing, will take place Wednesday, June 27. The Island Plan is a multi-year effort by the Martha's Vineyard Commission to create a blueprint for Island development and change. The regional planning and regulatory agency invites Islanders - year-round and seasonal - to participate in the forums to learn about the continuing planning work and help shape it.
Because of skyrocketing property values, the Island Plan's housing work group has studied how to increase the number of housing units on the Vineyard that are affordable to year-round residents. The housing group also explored ways to streamline the planning and management of affordable housing efforts and to increase funding for housing.
The Island Plan series of summer forums will take place on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm. Housing is the first subject to be discussed, at the June 27 forum, at Tisbury Senior Center. Then it's energy and waste, on July 11, at Katharine Cornell Memorial Theatre; water resources, on July 25, at the Old Whaling Church; natural environment, on Aug. 8, at Sailing Camp Park; development and growth on Aug. 22, at the new Ag Hall; and livelihood and commerce, on Sept. 5, at the Harbor View Hotel.
Oak Bluffs special town meeting Tuesday
Oak Bluffs voters will be asked to act on nine warrant articles, including spending articles amounting to more than $1.6 million, at a special town meeting at 7 pm on June 26 at the Oak Bluffs School.
Town administrator Michael Dutton said the main reason for the special town meeting is to address articles one and two, which were postponed from consideration at annual town meeting. The two articles deal with purchasing, or taking by eminent domain, property off Pennsylvania Avenue (commonly referred to as the Leonardo property) for future expansion of the town's wastewater treatment plant. The purchase cost for property in article one is $1.1 million. The cost of an additional acre specified in article two will be discussed on town meeting floor.
The Oak Bluffs ambulance department is requesting $12,500 in Article 3 from the ambulance reserve fund to purchase computer hardware to update its reporting system and $6,500 in Article 4 to purchase radios and pagers for vehicles and personnel.
Two articles concern affordable housing. Article 5 asks voters to appropriate $50,000 from Community Preservation Act fund reserves to community housing and $226,000 in CPA funds to go towards the old library conversion project and the Oak Bluffs Affordable Housing Committee.
Article 7 requests approval to spend $35,000 from the Resident Homesite Trust Fund to assist the Island Affordable Housing Trust in purchasing a home for the Resident Homesite Program.
Article eight addresses repairs and replacement of plumbing and showers at the "Pay Beach" comfort facilities, at a cost of $12,000.
Two non-appropriating articles address road reconstruction and Veira Park expansion. Article six requests voters to authorize the selectmen to acquire parcels and easements for construction and roadway safety improvements for the Oak Bluffs Avenue and Lake Avenue reconstruction project.
Article nine, placed on the warrant by petition, asks voters to rescind the vote taken at town meeting on April 10 to appropriate $20,000 from CPA funding to expand Veira Park's baseball facility.
Students win first prize for skin cancer prevention ad
A television ad produced by West Tisbury School teacher Kari Cioffi and her eighth-grade class received the $1,500 first prize in a SafeSkin Ad Contest sponsored by the Melanoma Foundation of New England.
The non-profit organization is dedicated to educating children on the need for sun-safe behavior and to increasing the public's awareness of the dangers of the sun.
This fall the class will decide how to use the money to continue raising awareness of the need for sun protection, according to a press release by West Tisbury School interim principal Ed Jerome.
New Oak Bluffs officer
Oak Bluffs Police held a brief ceremony Monday to swear in their newest full-time police officer, Jeffrey R. Trudel, shown with his wife, Sarah Mello Trudel, and their four-year-old son, Taylor.
Mr. Trudel fills a vacancy left by Officer Carrie White who recently left the department to pursue a career outside law enforcement.
Mr. Trudel, a resident of Oak Bluffs, is the former Director of Counseling and Advising at the Tilton School in New Hampshire and previously worked as a part-time Oak Bluffs police officer.
Cash prizes for July Fourth parade participants
Participants in the upcoming July Fourth parade in Edgartown have an added incentive to be creative. Parade grand marshal Fred "Ted" Morgan said that cash prizes will be given for the best floats in the following categories and amounts: grand prize, $1,000; most patriotic, $800; most original, $500; and special, $500.
Islanders who would like to join the parade must pre-register to participate. Call 508-627-6180 to register. Parade assembly starts at 3 pm. The parade starts at 5 pm.
Photo by Jon Ollwerther
Vineyard teachers catch the breeze on tall ship
Deb Conroy, Connie Alexander, and Mike Ovios were among a group of Vineyard school teachers who enjoyed a sail on board the Alabama on Monday, June 11.
The teachers were guests of the Black Dog Tall Ships Company, which annually invites Island teachers to take a sail.
The Alabama is a 90-foot gaff-rigged fore and aft schooner, originally designed by Thomas McManus and built by Pensacola Ship Building Co. in Florida in 1926.
At the start of their Tuesday meeting, Aquinnah selectmen held a lottery to award an affordable building homesite to one of seven qualified applicants. The first name picked was that of Amera Ignacio, the daughter of Aquinnah residents Adriana and Bruce Ignacio.
The property is located off Church Street. Under the terms of the agreement, Ms. Ignacio will lease the land, which is owned by the Island Housing Trust.
If Ms. Ignacio is unable to secure bank financing to construct a house, the lot would be offered in turn to the runnersup: Anna Cotton, James and Nancy Benoit, Faith Vanderhoop, Jeffrey Day, Virginia Yorke, and Todd Vanderhoop.
in Five Corners mishap
An accident involving a pedestrian hit by a car on Beach Road near Five Corners in Vineyard Haven caused a traffic tie-up on the afternoon of June 13.
A Chevy sedan driven by Nancy E. Bliss of Edgartown struck Sarah Lynne Codding of Vineyard Haven. Tisbury Police Sergeant Rodney Silvia said Ms. Bliss was turning left from Lagoon Pond Road onto Beach Road and hit Ms. Codding while she was in the crosswalk near AAA Island Auto Rentals.
Sergeant Silvia said that he could not comment on Ms. Codding's injuries, other than to say that she was transported by the Tisbury Ambulance Service to Martha's Vineyard Hospital. Ms. Bliss was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
"Every year we have probably two or three people that get hit at that location, with cars coming from Lagoon Pond Road and turning left onto Beach Street," Sergeant Sylvia said. Making a left at that intersection proves a tough one for drivers to navigate, he said.
"You look to the right, you look to the left, and you're looking straight ahead," Sergeant Silvia explained. "You're trying to get through that traffic, and when you go to make that turn, and a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, an accident can happen."
Offshore Cycle up
Mike Foos, the owner of Offshore Cycle on State Road in Tisbury, wants the Island community to know he's up and running, roaring into his 14th season in business.
Mr. Foos, known by his friends and customers as "Panhead," a nickname given to an old style of Harley motorcycle engines, said he had been forced to partially shut down his business over the winter due to a long illness. In May, he completely closed the shop when he thought he could no longer afford to stay in business.
Thanks to an understanding landlord and a lot of support from his customers and the Island community, Mr. Foos said he's open for business again and "trying to rise like a phoenix from the ashes."
Offshore Cycle, which opened in 1993, remains the only motorcycle shop on Martha's Vineyard, Mr. Foos said. His winter work, doing restorations and custom jobs, provides the bulk of his business.
Mr. Foos also works as a mechanic to keep the Flying Horses carousel in Oak Bluffs spinning for the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust, a job he views as a labor of love. He said that he and his wife Nancy, who works at Linda Jean's Restaurant, are grateful to the many Islanders who have expressed their concern for them.
Vineyard Stories develops new
Vineyard Stories, a Vineyard based full-service book publishing company, has posted a new web site, www.vineystories.com.
The web site profiles the company started by Island residents Jan Pogue and John Walter in 2005 to provide services for every phase of book publishing, from concept through editing, design and marketing and distribution.
In June Vineyard Stories published two new books, "Behind the Times On Purpose: The Charlotte Inn of Martha's Vineyard," and "Double Murder on Martha's Vineyard," by West Tisbury resident Cynthia Riggs. They joined two Christmas bestsellers, "Delish! A Martha's Vineyard Cookbook," by Philip and Shirley Craig, and "Allen Whiting: A Painter at Sixty," a retrospective of the renowned West Tisbury artist's work.
The husband-and-wife team are both long-time journalists who have more than 70 years combined experience in publishing.
James Dale at Bunch of Grapes Wednesday
James Dale, a summer resident of Vineyard Haven, will sign copies of his latest book, "The Obvious, All You Need to Know in Business." Period (Hyperion, New York), on Wednesday, June 27, at 7:30 pm, at Bunch of Grapes.
Mr. Dale, a Baltimore native, is co-founder of the business consulting firm Richlin/Dale and the co-author of several books, including "The Power of Nice" and "Bullies, Tyrants and Impossible People." He is the former president and chief executive of an advertising agency.
The Obvious is not an admiring portrait of a mogul or the formula for success as told by a dot.com hot shot. And, the advice Mr. Dale offers, while it may be elementary and generalized, is not obvious, or at least it is often elusive. Instead, Mr. Dale's approach is aphoristic and demythologizing. His suggestions are the sort that, as they register with the reader, lead him to strike his forehead with the palm of his hand and say, of course. For instance, Work is a verb, get busy. Don't be a jerk, be reasonable, kind, decent, fair - in a word - nice. Say what you mean. Listen more than you talk. Imagine you worked for you. Hire someone smarter than you.
As Mr. Dale writes, "The secrets to success in business aren't secrets at all. They're beliefs, ideas, values, and strategies most of us know, but ignore."
Cable provider Comcast launches phone service
Comcast, the Vineyard cable provider, today announced that it has launched Comcast Digital Voice, the company's home phone service on Martha's Vineyard. The addition was made possible by the recent completion of Comcast's $1 million-plus upgrade of the Island's advanced fiber network, according to a press release.
This means that Comcast's Triple Play bundle of digital cable, high-speed Internet, and phone products is now available on the Island, said a company spokesperson.
With the Triple Play, new customers can subscribe to Comcast Digital Cable with On Demand, Comcast High-Speed Internet, and Comcast Digital Voice for $33 each a month for one year when they subscribe to all three.
For more information about Comcast Digital Voice and the Triple Play bundle, call 1-800-COMCAST or visit www.comcast.com.
An obituary for Alice Shapiro in the June 14 edition of The Times omitted the information that Ms. Shapiro is survived by her brother, Sam B. Issokson of Vineyard Haven.
In the June 14 edition, The Times reported that the Vineyard Committee on Hunger (VCOH) bake sale raised slightly more than $500 for the Island Food Pantry. Of the total raised, the VCOH gave 20 percent to the food pantry.