News in Brief
Hospital describes upcoming construction schedule
Work on the new Martha's Vineyard Hospital will become more noticeable over the next few weeks, according to a press release issued by the hospital setting out the work schedule.
A temporary chain link construction fence was erected in mid-June. Next week, crews will install an erosion control barrier to protect the adjacent wetlands and begin clearing the work site.
The construction of a new bike path and two bio-retention areas designed to trap sediment and manage storm water run-off during the first phase of the project will follow.
By late July, a hospital spokesman said, the installation of the retaining wall and the filling of the site required for the new hospital road will begin. The relocation of the new hospital road should be completed by mid-September.
Toward the end of July, the front of the 1929 wing will be demolished to make way for the new addition. This first phase should be completed by the end of August. Beginning late in July and continuing into early September, the existing wastewater treatment facility will be decommissioned and removed.
Voters spurn Edgartown special town meeting
Too few Edgartown voters to make a quorum attended the Edgartown special town meeting Thursday. One town official said the meeting would likely be rescheduled for this fall.
The main item of business was the question of increasing the town's regional high school assessment, in order to bring it into compliance with the state's newly imposed statutory formula for regional school districts, prior to the start of the 2008 fiscal year on July 1.
An affirmative vote from four of the Island's six towns was required. And, because Chilmark voters approved the budget at a special town meeting Thursday, becoming the forth town to say yes, the pressure was off Edgartown. Oak Bluffs, Aquinnah, and West Tisbury had previously approved the new formula.
The warrant included a request to voters to approve borrowing funds needed to expand the Martha's Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District.
Burglar's snack attack leads to arrest
An Edgartown couple living on Jernegan Avenue was awakened early Saturday morning by the sound of glass breaking in their kitchen. When they ran downstairs to investigate, they heard the back door open and then saw a man running through the yard.
The couple found a cabinet open in the kitchen, papers scattered around, and the refrigerator door open, with food and condiments set out on their kitchen's island counter, evidence perhaps that a would-be thief suffered a snack attack in the midst of a robbery.
"Whatever he was there for, the owners interrupted him," said Edgartown Police Lieutenant Tony Bettencourt.
The couple was able to describe the man they saw to Edgartown police officers, who responded to their call around 3:26 am. One of the officers then noticed a man at the corner of Jernigan and Edgartown Road who matched the suspect's description. The officer stopped and spoke with the man.
After further investigation, Edgartown police arrested the suspect, Michael Fontaine, age 38, of Nahant, on felony charges of breaking and entering into a dwelling at night.
Superintendent recommends new assistant
Superintendent of Vineyard schools James Weiss announced this week that he will recommend Laurie Halt, a nationally board-certified teacher at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), for the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction to the All-Island School Committee on July 18.
Mr. Weiss said that although there were several good candidates, the decision was between Ms. Halt and a woman from Maine with experience as a superintendent.
"Laurie had more curriculum knowledge than the other woman, and also has an Island connection," Mr. Weiss said. "She is rooted in the kinds of things we do here on the Island, and what weighed the decision in her favor was her local knowledge and her work with teachers, both in the induction and mentoring programs."
Pending the AISC's approval, Ms. Halt will fill the position left vacant by Marjorie Harris, who retired on June 29. The two women share not only a job in common but also a longstanding connection as student and teacher. Ms. Halt was one of Ms. Harris's former MVRHS students, and then went on to become a teacher at the high school herself.
In addition to teaching an induction course required for all new teachers and a teacher mentoring program, Ms. Halt has taught social studies, advanced placement U.S. history, and government during her 12 years at MVRHS.
Having completed her master's degree in school administration, Ms. Halt said the new position has been her goal for several years. "It would be fabulous to have the opportunity to continue my career on the Vineyard," Ms. Halt said.
Her husband Michael Halt, principal of the West Tisbury School, is serving in Iraq as a U.S. Marine Corps reservist training U.S. Navy Seabees. She is looking forward to his return in late September or early October, as are her three children and his stepchildren, Cooper, Connor, and Maggie Johnson.
Online auction to benefit Nathan Mayhew Seminars
AuctionMV, a feature of The Times' web site, mvtimes.com, has had great success auctioning gift certificates for a selection of Island businesses. But this week the newspaper has launched a one-of-a-kind auction, to benefit Nathan Mayhew Seminars.
The Seminars has offered at auction for one month, only on mvtimes.com, a Travis Tuck garden fountain, made some 30 years ago, before the well-known metal worker died. Travis Tuck had created many famous, and enormously valuable, copper weather vanes, but the fountain is a unique creation, remarkable in conception and execution, according to Seminars spokesman Lincoln Hansen, who says it is ideally suitable more for a garden than a public park.
The fountain sends water up two small corner supports which spill water back down two winding boughs of leaves to be recycled. The gentle cascade of water from 40 copper leaves makes an unusually pleasant and restful background sound. The base contains 20 gallons of recycling water for the small pump. A copper lid prevents leaves from getting into the water.
This unique fountain was donated to the Nathan Mayhew Seminars of Vineyard Haven, founded nearly 40 years ago as the Vineyard's non-profit cultural and academic institution. At the time, Nathan Mayhew Seminars and Travis Tuck were neighbors in Vineyard Haven.
Seminars directors have determined that the headquarters building needs a new roof more than the lovely fountain. Hence, the auction. Bidding opens today and remains open until Aug. 2. The reserve, set by the Seminars, is $20,000, all of which goes to the Seminars.
MVC waste and energy forum planned
An Island Plan forum about energy and solid waste will be held July 11, at 7:30 pm, at the Katharine Cornell Memorial Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Members of the Island Plan energy and waste work group will present a summary of the group's findings and will ask for comments from participants. Everyone is welcome, and there is no charge.
A discussion paper summarizing the group's preliminary conclusions is available on the Island Plan's web site (www.islandplan.org), or may be obtained from the Martha's Vineyard Commission (693-3453), or consulted in town libraries.
The work group presents several key ideas:
1. Reducing our energy needs by 50 percent through increased efficiency of energy use, using measures such as adoption of a Vineyard energy code for new construction, energy audits and upgrades upon property resale, becoming an incandescent-free Island, and promoting use of hybrid-powered vehicles.
2. Generating our own renewable energy using existing technologies to appropriately tap our abundant and renewable solar, geothermal and wind energy sources.
3. Converting our waste to useful resources with techniques such as a used building materials exchange, a comprehensive recycling facility, and a large-scale composting facility.
Cape Light Compact announces lower rates
Cape Light Compact (CLC) and ConEd Solutions, its electricity supplier, announced this week that for the third time since January 2006, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod residential and commercial consumers will see a reduction in their electricity prices. The new rate for residential customers will amount to a savings of about $10 a month, according to CLC senior power supply planner Joe Soares.
The new rates go into effect with customers' July meter read through the January 2008 meter read. The residential rate changes to 10.990 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh), commercial to 11.469 cents/kWh, and industrial (July through October) to 11.491 cents/kWh.
By comparison, the residential rate in January 2007 was 11.652 cents/kWh.
Mr. Soares said the rate reductions could be attributed to a change in procurement strategy. "We used to do single-point procurement, which meant we bought the entire energy supply for all of the load on the Cape and Vineyard in one purchase, Mr. Soares said. "We picked a day, took competitive bids, and then chose the best competitive bid."
Natural gas prices drive electricity costs, because 60 percent of New England plants use natural gas to generate electricity. After getting caught in a volatile, high-priced market in late November 2005 after hurricanes Rita and Katrina crippled natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, ConEd and CLC changed tactics, switching from a one-year rate to six months and going from single-point procurement to a portfolio management approach.
Now, Mr. Soares said, ConEd maintains a trading desk for observing minute-to-minute pricing, and when the company finds a good entry point in the market with competitive prices for natural gas and electricity, it makes a purchase.
Tickets for Martha's Vineyard Festival now on sale
Tickets go on sale today for the Martha's Vineyard Festival on Aug. 12, 7 pm, in Oak Bluffs's Ocean Park, featuring the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. Tickets cost $45 for general admission and $15 for children 12 and under. A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.
On-Island ticket sale locations are Darosa's/ MV Printing on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Vines on Winter Street in Edgartown. Tickets also are available online at www.festivalproductions.net or by calling 877-655-4849.
The orchestra program, conducted by Keith Lockhart, will feature performances by vocalist Natalie Cole and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, among other special guests. Festival Network is producing the event.
Beverly Sills dead at 78
Beverly Sills, an acclaimed, widely accomplished, and much-loved opera singer, died on Monday, July 2, at her home in Manhattan. Ms. Sills and her husband Peter Greenough, who died last year, were longtime summer residents of West Chop. Many Vineyarders remember her cheerfully enjoying local events and attractions, as any other visitor might. According to an obituary published in the July 3 New York Times, the cause of death was inoperable lung cancer. She was 78. A full obituary will appear in next week's Times.
Holistic skin care studio opens in Educomp Building
Breathe Holistic Face and Body, a new studio offering natural and organic skin care and holistic treatments, is now open on the top floor of the Educomp Building in Vineyard Haven.
Owner Suzanne Roberge, former owner of About Face skin care in Edgartown, returned to the Island to open her year-round studio after receiving a master aesthetician license.
Breathe is open year-round by appointment and offers a discount to year-round residents. For more information, call 508-693-4550 or visit www.breathemv.com.
Island jeweler holds showroom opening party Sunday
Beth McElhiney of West Tisbury, an award-winning Island jeweler known for her work in silver, recently opened a gallery and workshop in a small building located on State Road in Vineyard Haven adjacent to Cronig's Market.
Ms. McElhiney's shares the showroom space with Island photographer L.A. Brown. Lori Burnett of Aquinnah has transformed the front of the formerly unused building with elegant container gardens, also for sale.
There will be a grand opening party from 5 to 8 pm, Sunday, July 8. For more information, call 508-693-3467 or go to www.bethmcelhiney.com.
Wallace & Co. Sotheby's Int'l Realty attends conference
Wallace & Co. Sotheby's International Realty was well represented at a recent global marketing event in Scottsdale, Arizona, that focused on luxury real estate worldwide. Sotheby's International Realty hosted the event for its affiliates and global participants.
Islanders Tom Wallace, Ann Heron, Peyton Wallace, and Amy Coffey attended the conference, along with 2,500 other Sotheby's professionals from 400 affiliated offices from across the U.S. and 25 countries.
"The diversity of educational options provided to the attendees was a real eye-opener to the degree of sophistication which Sotheby's International Realty offers for marketing and referring properties world-wide," said Tom Wallace on his return. "All of us who had an opportunity to attend were quite impressed with the programs and opportunities along with the caliber of professionals that represent the true strengths of Sotheby's International Realty network."
Wallace & Co. is located at One North Water St., in Edgartown and at The Cornerway in Chilmark. Call 508-627-3313.
In an article published in the June 28 Times, the headline "Hospital link gets affordable pre-natal drug" actually refers to a neonatal drug given to premature infants.