News in Brief
Tisbury selectmen adopt age policy for firefighters
The Tisbury selectmen voted to adopt a town policy in keeping with a state law requiring the retirement of uniformed, paid firefighters at age 65, at the conclusion of a special meeting they held with the town's call firefighters on Sept. 25.
Fire Chief John Schilling raised the question about a mandatory retirement age at the selectmen's meeting on Sept. 18, explaining that one of the firefighters who recently turned 65 asked if he would be allowed to continue working in the department.
Mr. Schilling said when he asked for guidance from town counsel Michele Randazzo, he was told that unless Tisbury adopted a formal policy, any firefighter reaching age 65 would have to retire. By adopting a policy effective Oct. 1, the individual in question would be "grandfathered" and remain eligible to work until further notice. However, anyone joining the department or turning 65 after Oct. 1 would be subject to mandatory retirement. The selectmen said they wanted to discuss the retirement issue with members of the fire department first.
At the Sept. 25 meeting, Chief Schilling said that Tisbury's situation is complicated by the fact that although the town's call firefighters are not paid a salary, they are paid a stipend. Ms. Randazzo said, in her opinion, Tisbury firefighters fall within the definition of 'paid,'" Mr. Schilling said.
"Town counsel said that state law doesn't address our situation, because the whole area of the status of call firefighters has not been vetted out in the state," he explained. "By adopting this policy, we will protect the town until the courts decide this."
At the Sept. 25 meeting, Michael Carroll identified himself as the firefighter in question. Several of the firefighters spoke in defense of Mr. Carroll remaining in the department, given his experience and expertise as the captain of the Engine #2 rescue squad. They thanked the selectmen for holding a meeting with them and, after discussion, agreed that there was little alternative at this time to adopting a town policy in keeping with state law.
Selectman Tristan Israel made a motion to set up a town committee to further discuss the fire department's stipend issues. Selectmen Tom Pachico and Denys Wortman voted against it, because they felt it was unnecessary to create yet another committee. Mr. Wortman said he would be willing to work informally with any members of the fire department who were interested.
Mr. Israel then said he would refuse to vote on adopting the policy unless the other two selectmen agreed with his proposal to form a committee. Mr. Pachico and Mr. Wortman did not relent, and voted to approve the policy. Mr. Israel abstained.
to discuss dredging Menemsha Pond
Selectmen from Aquinnah and Chilmark will meet soon to discuss the possibility of dredging the channel into Menemsha Pond. Chilmark selectmen agreed to the meeting Tuesday, after reviewing a letter from Aquinnah town administrator Jeffrey Burgoyne.
Mr. Burgoyne invited the Chilmark selectmen to discuss dredging to improve drainage, water flow, navigation for boating traffic and shellfish habitat. He added that the project has the potential to be funded by the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, as part of the Menemsha Pond Preservation Project.
Chilmark selectman Warren Doty said dredging is a two-edged sword. "If we dredge the main channel, then boats can go up into the pond and moor for the night," he said. Selectmen J.B. Riggs Parker said town officials should look into their ability to zone off a mooring field. Before discussing the dredging with the Aquinnah selectmen, the Chilmark selectmen will meet with the town harbor advisory committee on Oct. 16.
In other business, Chilmark selectmen voted unanimously to present a warrant article to voters at a special town meeting on Oct. 29, concerning a land swap and trail easement worked out between a private landowner, the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank, and the town.
The warrant article asks voters to approve an exchange of the three-acre parcel known as the Engley House, owned by the town, for a four-acre portion of the so-called Turner Lots, a 10-acre parcel of land on South Road now owned by the Howard Hillman family.
The deal, which must be approved at the local and state level, would provide four affordable building lots near South Road for the town and provide a trail easement for the Land Bank.
"I think it's just terrific," Mr. Parker said. "It's an example of what can be done when willing people sit down to try and solve problems."
Donald Langley. Photo courtesy of YMCA
YMCA names new program and operations director
Donald Langley recently joined the YMCA as the new programs and operations director. Mr. Langley will assist in the expansion of the Y's youth and teen programs, as well as day-to-day operations. "I'm just excited about being here and ready to get things up and going and rolling," he said in a phone call Tuesday.
Before coming to the Vineyard, Mr. Langley worked as the youth and family director at the Alfred Campanelli YMCA in Schaumburg, Ill., where he managed six different parent/child programs. In addition to writing grants and developing programs, he has been a youth counselor and recruited and trained camp staffs.
His first task on the Vineyard was to oversee the state licensing of four schools in preparation for this week's launching the Y's K-8 Treasure Our Island After School Program in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury. In addition to academic assistance and special activities, the after-school program will offer special camps during school vacations. The program is funded by a 21st Century grant and is run by the Y through a contract with the Martha's Vineyard Public Schools.
"We're in the process of expanding our youth and teen programs," Mr. Langley said. "Our goal start-up date for our middle school program is Oct. 26, and we'll run that at a center at Island Co-Housing in West Tisbury." The new middle school program will operate on Wednesdays and Fridays.
In addition, Mr. Langley said the Y will kick off the opening of the Teen Center at Cottagers' Corner in Oak Bluffs with an open house on Saturday from 2 to 11 pm. Mr. Langley grew up in Kansas where he attended Ottawa University and received a B.A. degree in human services in juvenile counseling.
SSA shifts Oak Bluffs boat due to swells Sunday
The Steamship Authority shifted two departures from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven Sunday, due to sea conditions. SSA general manager Wayne Lamson said that the captain of the Nantucket decided to go into Vineyard Haven rather than Oak Bluffs on Sunday afternoon, due to high seas coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.
Mr. Lamson said the 2:30 pm and 5 pm trips from Woods Hole and the 3:45 pm and 6:15 pm scheduled departures from Oak Bluffs were diverted to Vineyard Haven. The 3:45 pm departure had almost 600 passengers and the 6:15 pm trip had 350 passengers onboard, according to Mr. Lamson.
The Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) bus schedule called for buses every 30 minutes. VTA staff member Lois Crane said that the bus service maintains a good working relationship with the SSA. She said the bus service responds to requests for additional service, but there were no requests made Sunday.
Martha's Vineyard Hospital shifts parking area
Construction of the new Martha's Vineyard Hospital building has required a shift in the parking area. The new lot is closer to the Beach Road hospital entrance. Vehicle drivers may no longer park in front of Windemere and the hospital.
Handicap parking is available off the doctors's wing main entrance, and parking for cardiopulmonary and dialysis services remains near the entrances to those departments.
Aquinnah town hall kitchen project nears completion
The Aquinnah town hall kitchen committee last week announced that phase I of the "kitchen restoration project" is nearly complete, according to town administrator Jeff Burgoyne.
He reported that the rear side of the old town hall was re-shingled to provide protection against the elements and the old bathroom portion was gutted and shored up with an extended footprint. Work remains to tighten up the roof and chimney against leaks.
John Walsh, volunteer project supervisor, reported that as of September 18 the project had cost taxpayers $26,511. Town voters have agreed to spend $110,000 on the overall project.
Mr. Burgoyne said that phase two bids will be sought soon, for interior work that will include plumbing, electrical, HVAC, sheetrock, flooring, painting and basic appliances.
US service academy deadline approaches
Congressman Bill Delahunt wants to remind interested local families that the application deadline for nominations to US Service Academies is coming up fast.
The deadline for area students to apply to be nominated by Rep. Delahunt for academic year 2008-2009 is November 1, 2007, according to a press release.
At a recent informational forum, Mr. Delahunt stressed the superb and tuition-free higher education offered at each of the service academies, and he urged interested South Shore and Cape and Islands high school students to submit a completed application by the upcoming deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.
A panel of distinguished local residents will evaluate and interview nomination candidates. Nomination applications are available by calling Mr. Delahunt's Quincy office toll-free at 800-794-9911. Students may also begin the application process online at http://www.house.gov/ delahunt/academy.shtml.
The nominations apply to students interested in the US Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Merchant Marine Academy. To be eligible, a candidate must be a resident of the Tenth Congressional District and a high school graduate by June 2008.
Complementary Medicine to hold CranioSacral therapy workshop
Vineyard Complementary Medicine on State Road in West Tisbury will hold ShareCare®, a one-day seminar to teach CranioSacral Therapy techniques to relieve pain and promote relaxation. The workshop will be held from 9 am to 4:30 pm Sunday, October 21, and is designed to accommodate those who have no background in anatomy or physiology, according to a press release.
Workshop leader Malinda Mayer will explain CranioSacral Therapy and the craniosacral system that influences overall health. After a demonstration, participants will practice a few simple techniques that they can use on themselves or to help family members relieve headaches, reduce stress, control pain, and promote relaxation.
The cost is $85 per person. Pre-registration is recommended. To register or for more information, call Vineyard Complementary Medicine at 508-693-3800.