News in Brief
Celebrate the Fourth
The Vineyard's Fourth of July weekend festivities include the Edgartown parade and fireworks. Expect plenty of patriotic favorites and amusing floats.
The parade kicks off at 5 pm from the Edgartown School and proceeds to Main Street and along Pease's Point Way out to the Harbor View Hotel. The parade returns along North Water Street and back up Main Street, past the float judging at the historic Old Whaling Church, and back to the school.
Fred "Ted" Morgan, parade organizer, stressed this week that participants would not be allowed to throw or hand out candy or objects or any kind, including beads. "This is not a Mardi Gras parade," said the former selectman, "this is a patriotic parade."
Edgartown police say parking will be limited, and recommend taking Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) buses to avoid heavy traffic.
The official celebration ends with a bang over Edgartown harbor, as fireworks light up the night sky beginning shortly after dusk, at approximately 9 pm. The fireworks will be fired from a barge moored off the Edgartown Lighthouse. Almost anywhere along the Edgartown waterfront will offer a good view of the display.
From left to right, Peter West, Jim Joyce, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and host Seth Welcom enjoy a Vineyard evening. Photo by Jon Ollwerther
Lt. Governor makes first visit to the Island
Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray joined a group of well-wishers at a reception held in his honor last Thursday.
Seth Welcom of Edgartown hosted the cocktail reception at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House in Edgartown on the occasion of Mr. Murray's first visit to the Island.
Mr. Murray, elected last fall, is the former three-term mayor of Worcester.
Semi-finalists chosen for Edgartown School principal
Superintendent of schools James Weiss recently announced the names of seven semi-finalists for Edgartown School principal, following a nationwide search conducted by the New England School Development Council. The candidates will be interviewed on July 16, 17, and 18.
Chosen from a field of 28, the semi-finalists include
Edgartown School librarian and media specialist Donna Lowell-Bettencourt; assistant principal Richard Hamasian of Meridan, Conn.; principals John Stevens of Lantana, Fla., and Peri-Anne Chobot of Coconut, Fla.; principals Sylvia Santucci of Chesterfield, and Nancy Dahlstrom of Hudson; and assistant principal Michael Grenier of Yarmouth.
Chilmark selectmen urge voters to attend tonight's special meeting
Chilmark selectmen urged town voters to attend Thursday's special town meeting to consider two important Island-wide issues: the acquisition of land for expansion of the four-town refuse district's facility and the town's increased assessment for the regional high school's fiscal year 2008 budget. The meeting will be at 7:30 pm at the Chilmark Community Center.
The first article on the warrant asks voters to allow the Martha's Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District to borrow not more than $1,529,000 to purchase land for expansion of the facility on West Tisbury Road. The district serves Edgartown and the three up-Island towns.
Selectman Frank Fenner said the facility needs extra space for any long-term solutions to solid waste management. "The 11-acre acquisition is a major contribution," he said. Selectman Riggs Parker also said he hopes the voters will approve the refuse district purchase.
Approval of the other article would allow the school district to use the state's statutory formula instead of the Island's regional formula agreement. Although the selectmen do not favor the new formula, they all said they want to allow the high school to have a budget to prepare for the coming school year.
"It would leave the high school high and dry," selectman chairman Warren Doty said if the budget is not approved. He said the proposed state budget might provide for financial relief to towns that are negatively impacted by the new formula. If the governor signs the bill, he said it would provide $5.5 million for affected school districts, and Chilmark could recoup 50 to 80 percent of the extra $75,258 it is being asked to add to its present assessment of $366,628.
In other business, the selectmen briefly discussed progress on the expanded shellfish department, which includes a permanent shellfish steering committee, a propagation agent to run the program and a new piece of equipment called a floating upweller. The upweller, used for shellfish propagation., arrived last week and cost $1,000 more than expected, or $11,000, but $15,000 had been appropriated, leaving money for the coming year, Mr. Doty said.
He also reported that the new shellfish propagation agent, Isaiah Scheffer, who began his job two weeks ago, put out three strains of small scallop seed acquired from excess at the Vineyard Haven hatchery. Scheffer said the effort was similar to one tried in Edgartown. "I don't know if it will work or not," he added.
The shellfish committee also is encouraging Mr. Scheffer to keep detailed records of all of his efforts to propagate shellfish. He has an office with file cabinets for that purpose, Mr. Doty said. "It's a good beginning."
The upweller, like one that Oak Bluffs has been using to grow soft shell clams, would allow Chilmark to develop a shellfish program. The system could be used for growing oysters and perhaps clams, as well.
Everett Poole offered a site near the Home Port restaurant to keep the upweller and use his electric service to operate it, Mr. Scheffer said.
The selectmen also approved appointments for the coming fiscal year to all town committees and general appointments except the beach, ambulance, and mooring assignment committees.
Anemometer tower up and running in Tisbury
A five-person crew from the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at UMass Amherst erected an anemometer tower at the old septage lagoon fields off Holmes Hole Road in Tisbury on June 21.
Anthony Ellis, a research fellow at the laboratory, and four UMass students brought the tower in sections to the Island in a trailer and put it together at the site.
Three anemometers will collect wind data at different elevations on the tower over the next year to determine whether there is enough wind power to run a wind turbine. If there is, Tisbury town officials hope to construct one at a site closer to the sewage treatment plant to power it and possibly the pumps for the town wells, the town's two biggest energy consumers.
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), which administers energy efficiency funds for the state and promotes renewable energy programs, loaned the tower and wind data collection system at no cost to the town. Data on wind speeds and also wind shear, the difference in wind speed between the highest and lowest tower points, will be collected on what looks like a digital camera card and sent to the MTC once a month. Sound and visual impact also will be analyzed.
"The engineers will take that wind speed information and design an appropriate wind turbine that can capture the maximum amount of power available from that wind speed and specifically design a turbine that can produce the most electricity at the least cost," explained Tisbury renewable energy committee member Peter Cabana.
Based on the constraints at the site and the logistics of transporting materials through Five Corners, committee member Henry Stephenson said most likely the final wind turbine tower will measure 165 feet high, with 75-foot blades.
Photo by John O'Toole
from Lagoon Pond
Oak Bluffs harbormaster Todd Alexander enlisted the help of the Oak Bluffs Highway Department to pull a 25-foot sailboat from Lagoon Pond on Monday.
Mr. Alexander said the sailboat spent the winter on the bottom of the Lagoon and likely sank last fall. Mr. Alexander said he was unable to identify the owner, because the boat was attached to an unmarked mooring and lacked any identifying numbers.
MVC reopens Oyster Bar project public hearing
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) agreed to reopen a public hearing regarding the proposed demolition and expansion of the Oyster Bar Grill on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
On June 18, the MVC's land use planning committee (LUPC) conducted a post-public hearing review and voted 5-1 to recommend denying the project, which has been undergoing review as a development of regional impact (DRI).
Parking was the major concern, according to MVC DRI planner Paul Foley, and mitigation efforts may have led to multiple conditions being placed on the project by MVC commissioners in their final decision. At the full commission meeting on June 21, the restaurant's owners Michael Gillespie and Wyman Shaw asked the MVC to withdraw their plan and to reopen the public hearing so they could modify their plan for the three-story, 12,000-square-foot building.
The negative reaction by some of the commissioners to the project came as somewhat of a surprise, as it incorporated several "smart growth" features, such as vertical expansion and upstairs employee apartments in a building planned for an already developed business area. On June 14, some commissioners had criticized Chilmark's Middle Line affordable housing project because they thought it did not meet such smart growth guidelines.
Mr. Foley said he tentatively scheduled the Oyster Bar Grill project for LUPC review on July 9, with a possible continued public hearing date on July 18.
In other business, the MVC approved with conditions a private tennis and racquetball club off State Road in West Tisbury, and an Edgartown subdivision plan for property on Simpson's Lane between North Water and North Summer streets.
Tisbury rejects high school statutory assessment
A majority of the 103 Tisbury voters who attended a special town meeting at Tisbury School Tuesday night rejected an article to fund the fiscal year 2008 regional high school assessment using the state's statutory formula.
The Tisbury selectmen and finance and advisory committee recommended a no vote on the article. Several town leaders and residents advocated rejecting the request to send a message to state education officials, legislators, and Oak Bluffs, in particular, that the statute is unfair and unjust.
"I would say, let's do a little bit of Boston Tea Party here and express our displeasure," said George Balco, who served on the town's finance and advisory committee for many years.
Several speakers voiced frustration over the lack of explanation about figures provided by the state department of education. "Vote no and let the commissioner of education come down here and explain it," selectman Tom Pachico said.
Many criticized the absence of support for Tisbury from Rep. Eric Turkington and Sen. Robert O'Leary. Although the two legislators said they were fairly certain the state Department of Education would provide pothole funds in its budget to help towns like Tisbury that are hit by large assessment increases, voters remain skeptical.
Former FinCom member Don Amaral pointed out that a no vote would mean the extra funds will go on the tax rate for next year, while a yes vote would allow the town to use free cash already set aside for the purpose. The state will get its money, one way or the other, Mr. Amaral said.
Oak Bluffs, which will see a substantial decrease in its regional high school assessment under the state's statutory formula, voted in favor of it at the spring town meeting. Using the statutory formula instead of the Island's existing regional formula, Tisbury will owe an additional $241,000.
Under Department of Education regulations, all six Island towns would have to approve the existing regional formula, while only four of six must approve the state formula by July 1. Aquinnah and West Tisbury joined Oak Bluffs in approving the statutory formula. Edgartown and Chilmark will hold special town meetings to vote on the high school budget issue tonight.
West Tisbury bike path discussed
The West Tisbury selectmen expressed some concerns last week about a proposed connector between the State Forest bike path and a new walking path along the Edgartown Road until they learned it would be less than 100 feet long.
Dukes County engineer Steve Berlucchi, representing the paths beside the roads committee at the Wednesday night selectmen's meeting, said the connector made sense to the committee because a dirt path between the bike path and the road already exists.
Selectman Dianne Powers said she was concerned that the connector will turn the new walking path into a bike path and would not be safe for walkers. The bike path is about eight feet wide while the walking path is only four feet wide.
Selectman chairman Glenn Hearn said, "This kind of modifies the plans the town approved. The voters already voted for this but didn't have a layout. I think we ought to get input from the town."
Mr. Berlucchi said the committee proposed advertising the whole project in a month and starting construction in the fall, although he said the connector section could be added at a later date at a higher cost.
The connector would start about 800 feet from the youth hostel and "be a tiny connection less than 100 feet," Mr. Berlucchi said. The cost would be $1,500 and would be paid by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, since the section is in the State Forest.
Once he heard the connector's limited length, selectman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter said he was not as concerned.
The selectmen also approved a request from Comcast to exclude some subscriber revenue, averaging 62 cents per subscriber or a total of $5,000, which will get passed on to MVTV. Executive secretary Jennifer Rand said the request is not an increase in fees. Comcast said Adelphia had not been collecting the allowed fee.
High School summer program adds new offerings
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School summer program returns in July with a lineup of classes and programs that includes popular mainstays and new offerings.
The new offerings include a July tennis clinic directed by tennis instructor Grace Bochicchio and a Vineyard boys lacrosse clinic taught by Andy Shay, Division I lacrosse coach at Yale University.
There is also a new Vocabulary Building Seminar for Adults where participants can learn a revolutionary method of vocabulary acquisition that will allow them to remember new words for years, instead of just a few weeks.
Returning for a tenth summer is Scrabble expert and U.S. chess master David Koenig. He will offer his popular chess course for players of all ages. In addition, Mr. Koenig, who is ranked in the top 100 Scrabble players in North America, will teach a Scrabble course.
Children can have fun creating masks, sculpting from wood, metal and clay, making puppets, in the Young Artists Studio arts and crafts program with Island artist and teacher Gwendolyn Natusch.
Computer fans can sign up for a course in how to use the Internet more effectively for research, teaching, and learning, taught by high school technology coordinator Rich Hammond.
The girls lacrosse clinic with director Jessica Dolliver also returns this summer. Other sports programs include basketball with Michael Joyce; soccer with Garry Metters; Dugout Baseball; and football with Massachusetts Super Bowl winning coach Donald Herman.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.mvrhs.org/clinics/ or call program director Dan Sharkovitz at 508-693-1033, ext. 235.
New pastor for Vineyard Methodists
The United Methodist Cooperative Parish of Martha's Vineyard (UMCPMV) has a new pastor, Richard M. Rego, who most recently served as pastor to communities in Brockton and Mansfield.
The Island Methodist Churches will welcome Pastor Rego on July 1 at 11 am at the Chilmark Community Church, when he begins his appointment.
"Mr. Rego's emphasis has been on developing cooperative ministry and evangelism between multiple Methodist churches in various communities," according to a press release by the UMCPMV.
In addition to religious studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Emory University, Pastor Rego is a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.
The UMCPMV is the union of the four United Methodist parishes in the Island.
In The Pink has Edgartown opening
In The Pink will celebrate the opening of its new store on 33 Main Street in Edgartown on Saturday, June 30, with a day of treats and prizes. A highlight of the festivities will be the participation of Scott Beaumont, Lilly Pulitzer chief executive officer, from noon to 3 pm.
Edgartown has a long history with Lilly Pulitzer, according to a press release. In The Pink founder and owner Gordon Russell said, "Edgartown has always been one of Lilly's favorite places and was one of the first spots Lilly looked to open a store when she started out in the 1960s."
For more information or to shop online, visit www.inthepinkonline.com or call 888.695.4559.
Tisbury Main Street stores re-open
With drywall, ceilings and floors replaced, new paint on the walls, and merchandise back on the shelves and up on the walls, Louisa Gould Gallery and Madame Falgoux Aromatherapy Emporium at 54 Main Street are back in business this week.
The two stores were forced to close because of water damage after a fire on June 2 in a third-floor apartment. Although an automatic sprinkler system immediately put out the fire, Tisbury firefighters initially were unable to locate the control room for the system and the water flowed for quite some time down into apartments on the second floor and then into the stores.
Madame Falgoux's owner Andrea Falgout-Hirt was open for business at the end of last week. Louisa Gould expects to open her gallery tomorrow.
Unfortunately, the tenants in the upstairs apartments did not fare as well. Kimberly Mitchell's second floor apartment directly under the one in which the fire occurred suffered the most damage. A resident there for 11 years, Ms. Michell lost almost everything, except for a few clothes.
She said she and the tenants in the four apartments were told a few days after the fire they had to leave.
Building and zoning inspector Ken Barwick said the scope of work necessary to repair the retail space was relatively minor. The apartments, however, are in need of electrical and plumbing repairs, fire suppression equipment, emergency lighting and illuminated exit signs, and other upgrades to address building code issues, he said.
In a business brief published June 21, "Offshore Cycle up and running," owner Mike Fuss's name was misspelled.