News in Brief
Missing Fairhaven man's body recovered in Tisbury
The body of Walter Tyler, a Fairhaven resident who police suspect may have jumped overboard from a New Bedford to Vineyard Haven fast ferry last month, was recovered on Saturday near the West Chop pier in Vineyard Haven. A woman walking her dog notified the Massachusetts State Police that she had discovered Mr. Tyler's body around 7:45 am.
According to the State Police, the clothing on the body was identical to what Mr. Tyler was reported to be wearing when he disappeared. The body was transported to Boston for examination by the state medical examiner.
Fairhaven Police Chief Gary Souza said in a phone call on Tuesday that he notified Mr. Tyler's family after the State Police contacted him Saturday. Chief Souza said that although an autopsy of a recovered body is required by the state, "We do not suspect it was an accident."
Mr. Tyler, age 27, boarded a 1:30 pm New England Fast Ferry in New Bedford on Sept. 24. After his family reported him missing, surveillance cameras showed him getting on the ferry in New Bedford but not disembarking in Vineyard Haven. Mainland and Island police joined in the investigation of Mr. Tyler's disappearance.
Three days later, a Pennsylvania man who had been sailing with two friends in Vineyard Sound called the Fairhaven police after hearing news about Mr. Tyler. The man said he had seen a person tumble from the fast ferry in Vineyard Sound, about halfway between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard. Several police officers in a boat equipped with cameras conducted an extensive search of the ocean bottom in the area of Vineyard Sound where Mr. Tyler reportedly went overboard, but found nothing.
In a phone call on Tuesday, Mr. Tyler's brother, Jeremy, said, "We were very happy that we were able to find him, and that people were still aware, such as the individual who was walking out at West Chop who notified the authorities."
He added that his family was very grateful to the media and everybody who extended their resources to search for his brother. "There were so many people that just did things for us - the Fast Ferry extended a lot of their resources to us, and some owners of local boats out of Woods Hole that ferried us back and forth to Naushon to hike that island to look for him. It was just incredible - we were overwhelmed at how things went, because obviously it's been a very trying three weeks for us."
Tisbury hearing considers beer and wine regulations
About 25 people, including several Vineyard Haven restaurant owners, attended a public hearing held by the Tisbury selectmen Tuesday to consider possible beer and wine licensing regulations. The selectmen used the town of Rockport's alcohol licensing policies, rules and regulations as a starting point for crafting Tisbury's. Selectman chairman Tom Pachico read aloud most of the 12-page document during the 90-minute hearing, encouraging the public to interrupt him for comment and discussion at any time.
Several restaurant and inn owners attended the hearing, commenting on such issues as whether the town should grant seasonal licenses in addition to year-round and whether they should be allowed to sell pitchers of beer or have a television set in a dining area.
The selectmen did not have information available to discern which of Rockport's regulations were required by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). The selectmen agreed they would incorporate the ideas discussed into a new draft set of regulations and clarify ABCC regulations for the next public hearing. Mr. Pachico said they plan to hold several more meetings between now and spring, including one at which people will have an opportunity to express their feelings on the pros or cons of allowing beer and wine sales in the town.
Susan Goldstein, co-owner of Zephrus restaurant and the Mansion House, urged the selectmen to set dates for the public hearings as soon as possible, to give people time to make scheduling plans.
The selectmen filed a Home Rule petition requesting special legislation for an act authorizing them to grant licenses to restaurants for beer and wine sales. Tisbury voters approved an article authorizing the petition at town meeting last spring. The selectmen stipulated in the petition that beer and wine would be limited to consumption with meals only and must be served to patrons seated at a dining table in a licensed establishment with at least 30 seats. No bars or package stores would be allowed.
On Oct. 9, town administrator John Bugbee and Rep. Eric Turkington attended a hearing on the bill by the joint House and Senate Committee on Consumer Protection. Mr. Bugbee said at Tuesday night's meeting that the bill was reported out of the committee.
Once approved by the legislature and governor, Tisbury voters will have the opportunity to vote yes or no on whether the town should allow beer and wine licenses as a ballot question.
Photo by Susan Safford
The Daybreak Clubhouse has awarded certificates of appreciation to Island businesses and business leaders, including the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, Morning Glory Farms, Murdick's Fudge and Murdick's Fudge general manager Michael J. McCourt, and The Martha's Vineyard Times.
In the photo right, Dick Marshall, Daybreak employment coordinator, at left, presented the certificate of appreciation to Times staff members Sue Fletcher, Linda Wood, and Tony Omer. Mr. Omer organized The Times' involvement in the Daybreak program.
According to a press statement released by Mr. Marshall, "By and through their participation in Daybreak's transitional employment (TE) program, these businesses have provided jobs and opportunities to Clubhouse members, assisting in the return of members to independent productive lives in the community."
Daybreak's TE program offers temporary, entry level work to clubhouse members. The work experience is intended to help transition the member back into the work force by providing productive, meaningful employment, albeit temporary. Members work in the TE position for six to nine months and are paid the prevailing wage rate. After six to nine months, the position turns over to another member. The member who had held the position may choose to take another TE position or may seek his or her own employment outside of the clubhouse, according to Mr. Marshall.
The Daybreak Clubhouse is dedicated to the recovery of people with mental illness through a structured, work-ordered day and through the support of a culturally sensitive community.
"The businesses and business leaders awarded the certificates of appreciation exemplify both ideals of Daybreak's program of recovery," Mr. Marshall said.
Parking illegally in the town of Aquinnah just got a lot more expensive. Town officials want to step up enforcement of parking regulations, and increase the deterrent factor for parking scofflaws.
Selectmen have approved a measure increasing fines for illegal beach parking and illegal use of spaces reserved for disabled motorists from $50 to $100.
Violations for parking in restricted areas, snow removal zones, crosswalks, prohibited all night parking zones, bus stops, loading zones, within 10 feet of a hydrant, across private roads, or obstructing traffic were raised to $50 per infraction. Previously the fine was $15.
Fines for parking meter overtime violations, parking more than one foot from the curb, in the wrong direction, or at an improper angle will remain at $10.
A fee of $5 was set for fines not paid within 21 days, and $20 for the third notice of late payment.
Services for retired high school teacher John Morelli
John Morelli died Oct. 17, at his home in Chilmark. Visiting hours in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs are Sunday, Oct. 21, from 5-8pm. Funeral services will be private. Donations may be made in his memory to Hospice of M.V., P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times.
Regional High School's MCAS science scores outpace state results
Ninth and tenth graders at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) made a good showing on a biology test included for the first time in the 2007 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams.
According to results released this week by the state Department of Education (DOE), 91 percent of the 32 regional high school ninth grade students who took the biology test passed it, compared to a state average of 76 percent.
High schools had a choice of testing students in one of four science and technology/engineering (STE) MCAS exams in 2007, including biology, chemistry, introductory physics, and technology/engineering. About 65 percent of students tested statewide took the biology exam.
Most students at the regional high school take biology in tenth grade. The MVRHS ninth graders who took biology last year and were eligible to take the MCAS exam were recommended for advanced science because of high math and science grades in eighth grade, MVRHS principal Margaret (Peg) Regan explained. They were given the option of taking the biology MCAS exam, because their class, the class of 2010, will be the first required to pass an STE exam in order to graduate.
Results for MCAS science exams for both ninth and tenth graders were combined on the DOE web site, showing a total of 238 students taking the test at the regional high school, with 87 percent passing. The 13 percent who failed the exam, about 30 students, were all tenth graders. Their class, the class of 2009, is not required to pass the STE exam in order to graduate.
According to a DOE press release, the STE MCAS exam becomes a high-stakes test this year for the class of 2010. Current tenth graders will be the first required to pass the STE exam that corresponds with a class in which they are currently enrolled, in addition to the English and math MCAS exams, in order to graduate.
Because there were fewer than 10 ninth and tenth grade students at Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School who took the MCAS science exam, DOE did not report the results.
Island favorite wins Spirit Award
Polly Brown was once president of Hospice of Martha's Vineyard. She was, and still is, a volunteer for Hospice, visiting patients and families. And over the years, she has held almost every office and position in between.
This Saturday she will be recognized with the Spirit of the Vineyard Award. The honor is awarded annually to a volunteer who gives time, talent, and energy to a wide range of Island charitable causes over a long period of time.
As president of the Hospice, one of Ms. Brown's lasting contributions to Island volunteerism was founding the Spirit of Martha's Vineyard Award.
It will be presented Saturday morning at a breakfast in her honor at the Up-Island Council on Aging in the Howes House in West Tisbury. The breakfast begins at 8 am.
West Tisbury to put pond dredging to voters
In a meeting marked by testy exchanges, The West Tisbury selectmen voted Oct. 10 to place an article on the Nov. 27 special town meeting warrant asking voters to agree to hire a consultant to assist the town with a plan to dredge Mill Pond.
The article asks voters to appropriate $50,000 of Community Preservation Act (CPA) money to hire a consultant to come up with a dredging design and get the necessary permits.
Selectmen Glenn Hearn argued that the CPA funding is available and would not affect the tax rate. He also pointed out that no money has yet been spent on open space projects.
Selectmen Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter said that while the CPA funds are available, that money came out of the taxpayer's pockets. "I'm concerned about spending a lot of taxpayer money on this," he said. Mr. Manter said that the town has a lot of other financial issues, and the tax money could be used elsewhere.
A clearly frustrated Mr. Hearn repeated his stance that the money is already in the budget. "There are no other open space projects being requested, so what's the big deal?" he asked.
West Tisbury treasurer and capital improvements committee member Kathy Logue said the committee is still early in the budget process. "We can't weigh in [on Mill Pond] because we don't know what else is out there to prioritize against," she said.
Referencing the earlier estimate of between $500,000 to $600,000 provided by Aquatic Technology Inc, a company specializing in pond and lake management, to dredge the pond, Ms. Logue also questioned the possible costs of the project. "I'm very concerned that the figure you're talking about, Glenn, is one quarter or less of what they are saying it could potentially cost," she said.
Mr. Manter echoed Ms. Logue's concerns, saying that the estimates Mr. Hearn got from local contractors of $125,000 to dredge the pond did seem low. Despite his reservations, Mr. Manter conceded that it is the town's responsibility to complete the design and permitting process.
Although selectmen Dianne Powers did not intervene during the exchange between her colleagues, she also expressed some concern about the difference in the estimates Mr. Hearn received from local contractors, when compared against those provided by Aquatic Technology, Inc., in its Mill Pond report.
In terms of funding the actual dredging, Mr. Manter suggested that a Friends of the Mill Pond Association be started to collect private funds for the project.
The discussion ended with a unanimous vote by the selectmen to add the article to the special town meeting warrant. If voters approve money for a consultant, a dredging article could appear on the warrant for the annual town meeting in April.
In other business, the selectmen agreed to forward a list of possible changes to parking ticket fines, prepared by the county's parking clerk, Carol Grant, to police chief Beth Toomey for consideration.
Photo by Barbara Furino
MV Drive for Life teams up with Coleman Foundation
Tom Furino, left, the co-founder of MV Drive for Life, takes a few moments to share memories of his son David, who died on May 7, 2004, in a car accident, with supporters of the Justin L. Coleman Foundation, Alba Eber, Ray Smith, and Evie Kreyling.
The two organizations teamed up to host the fourth annual Justin Coleman Hike-a-Thon on Oct. 6. About 36 people hiked 3 to 10 miles along State Road in Chilmark, down to Hancock Beach, and then on to Lucy Vincent Beach, raising $250 for the two organizations, as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Martha's Vineyard. The hike also was in memory of Alex Cohen, who died in a car accident while traveling to Duke University.
Justin Coleman, a Vineyard summer resident for many years, died at age 27 in 2003 in Australia from injuries sustained in a car accident. His parents, Julie and Bill, own a summer home in Chilmark, where Ms. Kreyling, his aunt, lives from September to June. The Justin Coleman Foundation advocates organ donation, as did he, and has raised $26,000 since 2004.
Mr. Furino and his wife Barbara founded MV Drive for Life in memory of all teens and young adults who have died in car accidents on Martha's Vineyard, with a goal of improving driver's education and making it accessible in high schools.
New restaurant to open in Tisbury Marketplace
Islanders desperately craving pizza were disappointed to find Island Pizza at Tisbury Marketplace on Beach Road closed about a month ago. But, if they can hang on for a few more weeks, new owners Peter Sullo, who formerly owned Mystic Grill, and his cousin Christopher Pantalone, plan to open Rocco's Family Style Italian Restaurant at the location in early November.
Mr. Sullo said they have been making major renovations inside and out since taking over the restaurant about two weeks ago. Since the establishment is permitted 60 for seats, the new owners plan to seat 30 in the main dining room inside, with additional seating in the summer available on a canopied deck out front, and on a rooftop deck with water views, as well.
Mr. Pantalone said in addition to fresh, homemade food served in the restaurant, Rocco's will offer catering and take-out services. He promised that customers will still be able to buy pizzas and subs there.