News in Brief
File photo by Alan Brigish
Wampanoag Tribe PowWow celebrates culture and youth
The third annual Aquinnah Wampanoag PowWow Saturday will be more than a rich display of tribal culture.
Organized largely by young people from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the PowWow helps keep kids out of trouble.
"The culture, tribal culture, works as a deterrent," said Bonnie Chalifoux, director of human resources for the Wampanoags. "By relearning and reviving cultural practices, it's a deterrent to drugs and alcohol."
The celebration of tribal culture will be held atop the multi-colored Gay Head cliffs starting at noon, but the gates will be open two hours earlier. There will be free parking and a free shuttle to the cliffs, according to a press release.
Before 2005, the Wampanoags had not had a PowWow for more than 70 years. This year tribes from throughout the New England region will participate in the highlight of the PowWow, the traditional dances and drumming.
Scheduled to participate are members of the Mashpee Wampanoags, the Naragansetts from Rhode Island, the Pequot and Mohegan tribes from Connecticut, and the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes from Maine.
"It's a lovely celebration of Wampanoag culture, with a gorgeous backdrop," said Ms. Chalifoux. "It shows the rich culture that exists right on this Island, that many people aren't aware of."
The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children age 6-12, and children five and under get in free.
Friends of Sengekontacket issues annual report
The Friends of Sengekontacket (FOS) this week issued its annual report. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Sengekontacket Pond, its barrier beach and Trapp's Pond.
The report (available here) by FOS president Albert "Hap" Hamel highlights some of the group's successes and the many challenges it faces in the years ahead. FOS said it has received many calls and comments from Islanders expressing concern about the state-imposed closure on shellfishing in the pond.
In July, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries biologists told Edgartown and Oak Bluffs shellfish constables that Sengekontacket Pond would need to be closed to shellfishing as a result of sustained high levels of fecal coliform bacteria.
The state has reclassified the salt pond that is connected to Nantucket Sound by two channels spanned by bridges as a "conditionally approved area." Shellfishing is now only allowed from October 1 to May 31 until further notice.
FOS said the closure would be a major focus in the coming year.
Among the efforts outlined in the report, Mr. Hamel reported that FOS continued to support and finance ground water testing in Ocean Heights and pond water testing on a regular basis; supported regulatory efforts by the Edgartown Board of Health aimed at reducing ground water contamination and water quality impact on the Pond from Ocean Heights and Arbutus Park; and continued to expand educational programs to increase public awareness and knowledge about the pond, its watershed, and the barrier beach.
Charter commission will discuss county opportunities
The Dukes County Charter Study Commission (DCCSC) will discuss future opportunities for Dukes County government next Thursday from 5 to 7 pm in the upstairs conference room of the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) at the airport business park.
According to a press release, the public roundtable discussion will focus on areas where county involvement might facilitate more effective solutions to common challenges faced by Island towns.
Three charter commission sub-groups are currently at work to identify the implications of abolishing county government without any replacement; the financial assets, liabilities, and revenue sources of current county government; and the statutory, legal, and political implications of the options under consideration. Their findings will be reported in late September.
For more information on this meeting, contact Mimi Davisson at 508-696-1075, or Mimi02557@aol.com
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Mike Mayrand Fair footage takes the prize
Mike Mayrand of Tisbury holds a $100 gift certificate to the Coach House Restaurant in the beautiful Harbor View Hotel overlooking Edgartown Harbor.
Mike's video clip taken at the 146 Agricultural Fair was the first place winner in the Times Ag Fair Video Clip Contest. Mike, something of a Vineyard renaissance man (he is a plumber, fisherman, musician, and photographer) said he was very excited about his prize.
The video clip and much more is available at mvtimes.com. As we enter the Vineyard school fall sports season The Times invites readers to submit short video clips of game and matches. For parameters, e-mail The Times.
Permanent Endowment Fund solicits fall grant requests
The Permanent Endowment Fund of Martha's Vineyard, a community foundation that annually dispenses grants to Island organizations, announced that it is accepting grant requests for programs that address Island needs and issues. "We have unrestricted funds able to support a wide range of programs being developed and planned by local non-profit organizations and public charities," said Debbie Hale, the Fund chairman in a press release.
Ms. Hale said the Fund is seeking requests dealing with health care and maritime issues. "We have specific funds that provide grant support for these two issues," she said. Applications and more detailed information regarding these funds may be obtained at the Permanent Endowment Fund's web site at www.permanentendowmv.org.
Applicants must use the correct form to be considered and grant requests must be complete, including necessary backup documentation as outlined on the forms. Applications must be received by the Fund no later than September 30. Grant applications can be obtained via mail, or by contacting Gail Craig at 508-627-3754.
New teen drivers law now in effect
New "junior operator" requirements that took effect on Sept. 1 require parents or guardians to take a two-hour driver's education class with their teen. During the classes, parents are expected to learn how to teach their children to drive safely, how their children should learn the skills to pass their road test, and how to "identify family member driving behaviors which may negatively influence a new driver."
The new law also expands the amount of parent-supervised driving from 12 to 40 hours, doubles driver education behind-the-wheel training to 18 hours, and requires students to complete a new standardized curriculum.
Parents will be required to sign a legal document certifying the number of hours they supervised their children. The 40-hour requirement is dropped to 30 if a teen driver passes an advanced driver's education course that includes defensive driving techniques.
Tougher penalties, including the threat of losing one's license for dangerous-driving offenses, went into effect earlier this year. For example, for a first-offense speeding violation, drivers under age 18 will face a 90-day license suspension, a reinstatement fee of $500, and a road rage program, in addition to the current penalty of paying fines.
Registry of Motor Vehicles officials say the sanctions are having an effect. Preliminary numbers show speeding citations issued to teen drivers dropped 33 percent since the penalties went into effect in April, down from the comparable five-month period in 2006.
Event coordinator adds video conferencing to services
Doris Clark of Event Day Coordination and Group Reservations of Martha's Vineyard has added video conferencing to the services that she offers.
These include event day coordination, group reservations and notary public. For more information, call 774-563-8752 or visit www.eventdaycoordination.com.
In the Aug. 30 edition, the Times incorrectly named the man who sang and led the choir at the Hillary Clinton fund-raiser at the Tabernacle. He is Jim Thomas.
Attribution for a comment in the Aug. 30 Times story "Rooster decision will be appealed" may have been misinterpreted by the reader to have come from attorney Ronald Rappaport. The statement, "He said the zoning officials did not conduct an investigation before releasing the ruling," should have been attributed to attorney John Amabile, who represented Robert and Kathy Harris, who objected to noisy fowl next door.
In last week's story and photos on the M.V. Oar and Paddle Association Regatta, the daredevil dive was real but the names were switched. The plucky Jack Russell who jumped overboard from the kayak paddled by Bridget Dunnigan and Rogers Williams was Mullett, not Dupree as we reported. Dupree, a Border Collie, maintained a secure position at the vessel's stern while his canine pal took the leap.