News in Brief
Chappy ferry meeting
set for Tuesday
An Edgartown committee evaluating the town's purchase of the Chappaquiddick Ferry will hold a second meeting for all Edgartown residents and taxpayers on Tuesday at 5 pm in the Baylies Room in the Old Whaling Church.
A similar meeting on Chappaquiddick earlier this month drew nearly 100 people, mostly Chappaquiddick residents, but few from the rest of Edgartown. The committee wanted to provide an opportunity for those people to voice their opinions on the issue.
The Edgartown selectmen appointed the committee after long-time ferry owner Roy Hayes offered the ferry for sale for $3 million. Long staging lines, rising fares and uncertainty over the ferry's future have been the topics of discussion among and town officials for the last few months. The three-car On Time ferry that crosses Edgartown Harbor provides the only link to Chappaquiddick.
Musical brunch is fund-raiser for Wendy Jenkinson
Ever since Wendy Jenkinson, owner of Periwinkle Catering, was diagnosed with brain cancer last spring, her friends have combined in an outpouring of support - from blue-collar workers to Wendy's powerful and influential clients, and all the folks in between. Wendy's surgery and treatment have so far been successful, but she has yet a long road back to health.
The latest effort will be a benefit brunch at the West Tisbury Agricultural Hall on Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm. According to Tina Miller, one of the organizers, dozens of well-known Island caterer/chefs will cook, and Ms. Miller promises that the food will be outstanding. There will also be entertainment: music and dancing and hayrides for kids. The event is open to the public. Donations are welcome but not required.
A special account has been set up in the name of Wendy and Patrick Jenkinson at the Dukes County Savings Bank. Deposits may be made at any branch office. For more information, call Ms. Miller at 508-696-8062.
Sheriff's Meadow executive director takes on new post
Following a period of successful land protection, during which the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation increased its land holdings to 2,600 acres, the private conservation organization has turned its focus to land management and restoration.
As part of that shift in direction, executive director Dick Johnson will return to his roots. A biologist by training, Mr. Johnson will step down from the administrative position he has held for 17 years in order to fill the newly created position of restoration ecologist.
According to a press release, Mr. Johnson has often expressed a desire to spend more time out of the office and in the field. The newly created position will enable him to do just that and advance the organization's efforts to become more involved in restoration, especially with regard to the Vineyard's rare coastal sandplains.
"I am very excited to have the opportunity to pursue my true passion," said Mr. Johnson in prepared remarks. "I look forward to this challenge and the chance to spend more time helping to restore and manage the incredibly beautiful and ecologically important properties entrusted to our care."
Sheriff's Meadow has begun the search for a new executive director.
Edgartown selectmen approve year-round liquor license
Edgartown selectmen approved a new year-round liquor license for Détente restaurant. The decision follows a unanimous vote at a July meeting not to extend Détente's or any other seasonal liquor licenses into December.
After the vote Monday, the selectmen welcomed Détente to the group of year-round businesses in town. "It's a good addition to the all-year-round mix," selectman Arthur Smadbeck said. Selectman Michael Donaroma added, "The more, the merrier. It's good news."
Détente co-owners Suzanna and Kevin Crowley decided to apply for the year-round license, rather than closing in December, as their seasonal license would require. They said they and their employees counted on the extra income from the December opening.
At the July 9 meeting, several year-round liquor license holders argued against licensing the seasonal restaurants which, they said, would take business from their year-round establishments.
The selectmen's decision caught the Crowleys and other seasonal restaurant holders by surprise, because they had not been told the topic was on the selectmen's agenda.
Of Edgartown's 17 seasonal liquor license holders, four of them, The China House, Outerland and L'Etoile, have in the past requested extensions beyond November. None of those restaurant owners, except Ms. Crowley, spoke at the July meeting, but two later expressed their surprise at the decision.
Barry Rosenthal, owner of the Outerland at Martha's Vineyard Airport, decided after the selectmen's July decision to seek a year-round liquor license. He appeared at the Aug. 6 selectmen's meeting for a hearing on the matter, but had just learned that his lease listed his restaurant and entertainment facility as a seasonal business.
Since the airport commissioners had to approve Outerland as a year-round business first, Mr. Rosenthal sought an extension of the selectmen's hearing until Aug. 27.
In other business Monday, the selectmen reversed an earlier decision not to participate in the search for a new Dukes County manager, because they questioned the need for a manager when the county is undergoing a charter study. They appointed Mr. Smadbeck as the town's representative to the county manager search committee, after charter commission member Carlene Gatting explained that it will take at least two years before any changes can be made in the county structure. She said a charter commission recommendation would not be voted on until November 2008, and any recommendation would take a year to implement. .
Island towns receive "pothole funds" for education
The state Department of Education (DOE) awarded $252,000 from the Education Foundation Reserve, also known as the "pothole" account, to reduce the financial impact on Chilmark, Edgartown, Tisbury, and West Tisbury imposed by the state's statutory Chapter 70 funding formula for the regional high school, according to a press release this week from state Sen. Robert O'Leary.
"While the funds awarded will not entirely alleviate the added financial pressure some Vineyard towns have gone through in adopting the state funding formula, the relief is significant," Senator O'Leary stated in his press release.
Under the state's mandated statutory formula for fiscal year 2008 town assessments for the regional high school, Aquinnah's assessment decreased by about $61,000 and Oak Bluffs's by $435,000, while Chilmark's increased by $75,258, Edgartown's by $86,000, Tisbury's by $241,000, and West Tisbury's by $122,000.
The state's fiscal year 2008 budget included $5.5 million for "pothole funds" to help towns across the state with educational costs. Senator O'Leary and Representative Eric Turkington made sure that new language added to the state's FY08 education bill ensured that the Island would be eligible for the funds.
The pothole funds awarded to Vineyard towns affected by changes in the statutory assessment formula include $37,000 for Chilmark, $40,000 for Edgartown, $117,000 for Tisbury, and $58,000 for West Tisbury.
Representative Erik Turkington said in a phone call Tuesday that Edgartown also will receive $46,000 and Oak Bluffs $41,000 from the pothole account to offset the impact of school funding based on the towns' low per capita income and high property values.
Superintendent of school James Weiss said he was excited to learn that the pothole funds were coming to the Island towns, as they represent about 50 percent of the increased costs. The towns' selectmen applied for the funds to offset the impact of the statutory assessment. Business administrator Amy Tierney applied for the other funds on behalf of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, Mr. Weiss said.
"Pothole funds are in a whole range of categories, and we look at them every year, and this year, a couple of the school districts, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, qualified for some of the other pothole money, and of course we processed that as well," Mr. Weiss explained. "There are many criteria in the pothole grant accounts. And we look at all of them, and if any of our schools qualify for any of them, we make sure that they get the application in."
Oak Bluffs police arrest
a few during busy week
The annual Oak Bluffs fireworks drew an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people on Friday, and it "went pretty smoothly," Lieut. Tim Williamson of the Oak Bluffs Police Department said yesterday, but one man was arrested as the fireworks were ending about 9:45 pm. Philip Bowen, 40, of Huntington Ave., Boston, got in an argument with people sitting next to him and threatened them, saying he had a gun. He was apprehended, but police did not find a gun. Mr. Bowen was charged with disorderly conduct and threatening to commit a crime.
There were several other arrests. Two men were arrested early Sunday morning, in connection with a fight outside Sharky's Cantina on Circuit Avenue. Joshua Hathaway, 28, of Hull was charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. Benjamin Fogg, 23, of Edgartown was charged with disorderly conduct.
Deborah Travers, 30, of Wachusett Ave., Oak Bluffs, was charged late Sunday night with domestic assault and battery, after an investigation of a domestic dispute at that address.
And Kenneth Cloutier, 22, of Haverhill was stopped at 1:20 am Wednesday in his vehicle and charged with operating under the influence, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, a marked lines violation, having an open container of alcohol, and possession of marijuana.
All of those arrested were scheduled for arraignment in Edgartown District Court.
Tisbury selectmen meet
The Tisbury selectmen tackled police personnel issues, parking fines, and "ScootCoupes" at Tuesday night's meeting.
In department reports, Police Chief John Cashin announced the resignation of Police Officer Nicholas Monaco, effective August 29. The cost of living on the Island was a factor in Officer Monaco's decision, he said.
The town of Tisbury paid for Officer Monaco to attend a municipal police academy last September. He returned to work at the Tisbury Police Department this past February.
Selectman Israel said he thought that Tisbury required some kind of commitment to the town from police officers before sending someone to the academy. However, town administrator John Bugbee said that town counsel had advised that Tisbury could not legally bind someone to repay the town. In a phone call yesterday, Mr. Bugbee said it can cost the town up to $10,000 for the academy fees, wages paid while the officer attends the academy, and for housing and meals.
Selectman Denys Wortman suggested that the town needs to be competitive, attracting people who want to serve the town instead of trying to force them to stay. The selectmen voted to reinstitute a police search committee and to review their policies for hiring new officers.
Dukes County parking clerk Carol Grant informed the Tisbury selectmen that the state has increased the maximum fee allowable for parking tickets to $50. Currently, the fee for parking in a restricted area in Tisbury is $15. The fine for infractions such as parking longer than a posted time limit, too far from the curb, or in the wrong direction is $10.
The selectmen agreed to discuss the parking fines in more detail at their next meeting on Sept. 4, and then schedule and advertise a public hearing, possibly on Sept. 18.
In other business, the selectmen advised Jason Leone, owner of Adventure Rentals, that they would not allow him to rent three-wheeled vehicles called "ScootCoupes" until the state rules on a classification for the vehicles, which look like a cross between a scooter and a golf cart.
Aquinnah bargain book sale benefits town library
The Aquinnah Public Library has replaced its annual book sale fund-raiser with an ongoing sale of books. Carolyn Feltz, president of the Friends of the Aquinnah Public Library, said that used books are on sale at the library on State Road and in Aquinnah Town Hall.
Most of the books sell for approximately $1. All proceeds go to the Friends group in support of the library.
SSA members meet
At their monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Steamship Authority (SSA) members approved several contracts and discussed what the members would like to see included in a new food concession contract.
The board met on Nantucket, as part of a series of monthly meetings held in the various boatline ports.
As part of an update on capital projects, Carl Walker, director of engineering, said that work had begun on the SSA's Fairhaven facility bulkhead and pier improvement project. Mr. Walker also reported that RDA Construction Corp. had begun pile testing for the Oak Bluffs pier project. Construction is expected to begin in mid-September without any interference in SSA operations.
The members discussed the food concession contract. The current contract with Boston Culinary Group expires at the end of the year. Management expects to issue a request for proposals this month with a deadline of Oct. 25.
The members agreed that the new contract will be for five years and cover all of the Authority's vessels and terminals. The members also asked management to encourage the company that wins the contract to use local products as much as possible.
The new contract will include a provision that would allow the concessionaire to sell merchandise other than food, based on reaching agreement with the board.
The SSA members also agreed to discuss a special vehicle fare for individuals in active military service. Management is expected to present recommendations when the board meets next month.
Vineyard House executive director steps down
Vineyard House announced that executive director Brian Mackey, one of the prime movers behind the nonprofit organization's revitalization and improved fiscal health, would retire. He will continue to serve on the board of directors.
Vineyard House operates three houses for Island residents in early recovery from substance abuse. Residents must stay clean and sober, submit to mandatory drug testing, pay rent, hold down jobs, and attend support group meetings, according to a press release.
"It's been a great three years," said Mr. Mackey. "I'm proud of what we've accomplished here at Vineyard House during my tenure. But in the same way that a job like this is fulfilling, it can take up a large part of your life. It's time for me to step back."
A former certified public accountant with a large firm, Mr. Mackey is intimately familiar with substance abuse and the support provided by Vineyard House. Vineyard House leaders praised his many accomplishments.
"Brian not only had the advantage of having lived in one of the houses," said Vineyard House president Dana Anderson. "He also brought his corporate experience and skills to bear to our organization, and we're immensely grateful for his contribution."
Vineyard House is in the midst of a capital campaign to build a new facility and has over $1 million dollars pledged or raised to build a consolidated facility on Old Holmes Hole Road in Vineyard Haven. For more information, go to www.vineyardhouse.org.
A Letter to the Editor, written by Alden Besse and published on August 16, omitted a part of one sentence. The letter was titled "The U.S., arrogant and greedy, aids terrorists." The second sentence in the second paragraph of the letter ought to have read, "I seek to be intimidated neither by terrorists nor by hard liners who would charge me with failing to stand up to terrorism and lacking in patriotism."