News in Brief
Spring construction likely for new YMCA
The Y of Martha's Vineyard announced this week that construction of its new facility will be delayed until more funds are raised. "We have had tremendous community support and at this point, have over $10 million raised. We plan to get to $11 million and then begin construction," said John Klein, co-chair of the Y's capital campaign, in a meeting Monday with The Times.
Last August, the Martha's Vineyard Commission approved plans for a new 35,000-square-foot Y building, to include a swimming pool, climbing wall, workout center, teen center, café, community meeting room, and more. The facility will be built on five acres leased from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS), across the Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road behind the skate park.
The Y's staff, board members, and project team had set a goal to break ground in November. However, the Y's board and capital campaign committee did not want to borrow money and carry debt on the new building. With $9 million of the $11 million needed to fund the building raised by early August, they made a decision to delay construction if they did not raise the additional $2 million by Sept. 15.
After launching a fundraising advertising campaign in late August, the Y raised more than $1 million by the end of September. "People have been asking us constantly, where are you?" said John Clese, the Y's executive director. "We want to let them know we 're working hard to raise more money, and it's looking more like early spring before we will be able to start construction. We need more time to raise money and get a better price from the builder."
Programs committee chairman Judy Crawford said nothing is stopping the Y supporters' enthusiasm. "It is going to happen - we're going to open this Y," she vowed.
In an update from facilities committee chairman Mark Baumhofer on Tuesday, he said the Y chose TLT Corporation of Wakefield as the construction management company for the project. Unfortunately, he explained, TLT had to price the project three times because of delays in the planning process, which led to a big increase. Mr. Baumhofer said the Y currently is negotiating with TLT to trim costs for subcontractors, before moving to the next stage, value engineering. However, the Y will not compromise on initiatives to construct a "green building," Mr. Baumhofer said.
The Y also has a goal to raise $3 million to start an endowment fund, which will help fund scholarships and secure fiscal stability. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 881, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or made online at www.ymcamv.org/give.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Jeep overturns in accident on Edgartown Road
A car accident, in which a Jeep Cherokee overturned on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road at the intersection with Skiff Avenue, tied up traffic last Friday around 4:10 pm.
According to Tisbury Police Chief John Cashin, Robert Cohen Sr. was headed northbound on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in his black 1995 Jeep Cherokee. Joann Vermette, driving a 2002 black Toyota Rav 4, made a right turn from Skiff Avenue and the right front of her vehicle struck the right rear door and wheel well of Mr. Cohen's Jeep on the passenger's side, causing it to overturn.
Chief Cashin said Mr. Cohen, a Tisbury resident, sustained a serious laceration to his left arm and was transported by ambulance to Martha's Vineyard Hospital. Ms. Vermette, also a Tisbury resident, was cited for failure to use care in starting, according to the police report. There were no passengers involved in the accident, Chief Cashin said.
Selectmen discuss Chilmark special town meeting
In a discussion this week of articles for the upcoming Chilmark special meeting, the selectmen heard from Arlan Wise, an abutter to property involved in a proposed land swap that would result in the creation of four affordable housing lots off South Road. Ms. Wise reviewed her concerns as outlined in an e-mail sent to selectmen prior to the meeting.
Ms. Wise, a professional astrologer who writes an astrology column for The Times, asked selectmen who would qualify for the affordable housing lots, how the septic systems would fit in with those already in place and where the entrance to the Land Bank trails would be located.
Selectman J.B. Riggs Parker explained that the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority would review the applicants for the affordable housing lots and give preference to people who work in Chilmark.
The town would own the lots, but the Hillman family, as the property owner that provided the lots, would be able to select the families from a list of eligible applicants.
Selectmen Warren Doty stressed that the board will talk with abutters to ease their concerns and keep them informed. The town will hire an engineer to subdivide the land and create a septic plan. The entrance to the Land Bank trail will likely be on South Road, he said.
On another warrant issue, Selectmen Frank Fenner expressed his disappointment in the finance advisory committee's decision not to recommend an article that asks voters to appropriate $1,000 to design a multi-purpose building to replace the harbormaster's shack on the Menemsha bulkhead. Mr. Fenner said that the walls are pieces of plywood, and the floor is falling apart. "It's totally inadequate," he said.
Mr. Parker suggested the town pursue an offer by Louis Larsen Jr. to sell the town the lobster shack he owns next to Larsen's Fish Market.
Selectmen also voted to hold a joint meeting with Aquinnah in November to talk about dredging Menemsha Pond and channel. In a separate vote, they decided to open the commercial bay scallop season on Nov. 1. Quista Pond will remain closed to scalloping.
MVC to review Oak Bluffs garage project
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) will hold a discretionary hearing on Nov. 1, at 7:30 pm, at its offices on New York Avenue to determine whether a three-story garage built by Joseph Moujabber at 10 Sea View Avenue Extension should undergo a public hearing as a development of regional impact (DRI).
The Oak Bluffs selectmen referred the project to the commission for DRI review on Sept. 13.
According to an MVC staff report, Mr. Moujabber says he is not looking to keep the present garage in its current location and form, but rather is seeking to remove it to attach it to the original house with modifications.
MVC DRI analyst Paul Foley said that Mr. Moujabber is looking for guidance from the commission. "We're looking at zoning bylaws and bylaws for the Copeland District and will seek to come up with general guidelines for what might be acceptable," Mr. Foley said.
Island soldier recovering from injuries
Specialist Daniel Blake, U.S. Army, who grew up in Oak Bluffs, is recovering at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Tex., from injuries he sustained in Afghanistan. Mr. Blake, who serves in the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division, was riding in a vehicle in a convoy that was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.
He was flown to Germany and underwent surgery to remove shrapnel and treatment for second-degree burns on his face and hand, according to his mother-in-law, Brenda Fauteux. He was then transported to Brooke Army Medical Center where he underwent a second surgery. Mr. Blake is expected to move from inpatient status to outpatient treatment in another week or so, Ms. Fauteux said.
Mr. Blake's wife Ashley and his mother Bertha Blake flew to Texas last Friday to be with him. Employees at Martha's Vineyard Hospital gave donations to help with expenses and airfare for Ms. Blake, a unit secretary in the emergency room.
Ms. Fauteux said her daughter came back to the Island in January when Mr. Blake was deployed to Afghanistan and has been working at the Boys and Girls Club. A collection box for cards for Mr. Blake will be set up there, or people can mail them to:
Specialist Daniel Blake, c/o Powless Guest House, 3298 George C. Beech Rd., Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7569.
Mr. Blake, the son of Bertha and Daniel Blake of Oak Bluffs, and his wife, the daughter of Brenda and Henry Fauteux of Edgartown, went to Martha's Regional High School together and got married a year ago at the Edgartown lighthouse. Mr. Blake's brother Michael is a U.S. Army staff sergeant who will soon start his third tour in Iraq.
Island banks merger approved
Federal and state regulators have approved the merger of the Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank and Dukes County Savings Bank, bank officials announced yesterday.
The combined bank will be named the Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank and will continue to be mutually owned and locally based, with more than $460 million in assets, eight branches and 12 ATMs, according to a press release. Dukes County Financial Group, the trust and asset management division of Dukes County Savings Bank, will be renamed Martha's Vineyard Financial Group.
Bank officials said the merger will become effective for customers over Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12. At that time, Dukes County Savings Bank's West Tisbury office will be closed and consolidated into the West Tisbury branch of The Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank.
Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 13, all customers may begin using any of the bank's eight branches and its Island-wide ATM network, as well as the ATM located in the Woods Hole ferry terminal. Bank officials said the merger paves the way for even stronger community-focused banking.
"We have been planning and working together for the past several months to deliver this merger to our customers as seamlessly as possible, and we appreciate everyone's support and patience," said Richard Leonard, who will serve as chief operating officer of Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank.
"Customers of the combined bank will begin enjoying the benefits of this merger immediately," said Chris Wells, who will serve as president of Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank. "Co-operative Bank customers will now have access to branches in Edgartown and Chilmark, as well as the services offered by the Martha's Vineyard Financial Group. In most instances, when we combined our fee schedules, we chose the lower fee or eliminated the fee altogether."
Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank will be headquartered at its 78 Main Street location in Edgartown. The bank's offices will be open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and 8 am to noon on Saturday. All existing phone numbers will remain in place. The bank's official web site address will be www.mvbank.com. The site will also remain accessible for the foreseeable future under the old Dukes County web address (www.dukesbank.com).
Community FM radio signals supporters
Maria Danielson and other volunteers have been trying hard to get a community radio station, WVVY Radio FM 93.7, on the air. The FCC construction permit will expire in six weeks and Ms. Danielson reports that some money is on hand to get the station up and running, but more is needed to ensure that WVVY will hear the sounds of day.
A meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12 noon in the Deca Construction building, 40 Peacegate Way, Tisbury. "This could be the end or the beginning," said Ms. Danileson. For more information call 508-687-9687 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Island tribe jumps into Mass. gaming scrum
The election of Gov. Deval Patrick, a casino supporter, and federal recognition of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ignited the issue of casino gambling in Massachusetts.
Even as their Mashpee cousins announced plans for a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts and dominated the headlines, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), generally remained silent about its intentions.
That changed yesterday with a Boston press conference, at which the tribe announced a partnership with the Seneca Nation of Indians of New York. The two tribes will join forces to explore opportunities in Massachusetts to build a casino.
Under terms of the agreement announced yesterday, the joint tribal development group will work to get a license, analyze market conditions, secure financing, and negotiate with public officials. The group is primarily interested in development opportunities in Southeastern Massachusetts, but will also explore sites in Boston and Western Massachusetts.
In a prepared statement, Wampanoag chairman Donald Widdiss said, "Unlike other proposals, an Aquinnah Wampanoag casino will be a locally-owned and locally-developed project that ensures that the significant economic benefits remain in the Commonwealth and are not solely enjoyed by outside interests. The members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and the people of the state should reap the vast majority of benefits of investment, job creation and hard work, and our plan will make that a reality."
According to a press release, the Seneca Gaming Corporation, the gaming arm of the Seneca Nation, has completed more than $750 million in development projects in Western New York state, including Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel in Salamanca, and the temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. In addition to these completed projects, the company has projects valued at more than $1.5 billion in various stages of development and construction.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head has watched its prospects for building a tribal casino in Massachusetts appear and disappear. In 1994, the tribe and its corporate backers, Carnival Hotels and Casinos, unveiled plans that depicted a 450,000-square-foot casino, a 270,000-square-foot entertainment complex, and a 500-room hotel with 8,000 to 9,000 parking spaces on 175 acres in the city of New Bedford.
The tribe next went to Fall River and tried to cut a new deal to build a 60,000-square-foot, 1,200-seat high-stakes bingo hall at the former Fall River Municipal Airport.
In August 2001, the tribe launched another effort to build a gambling casino in southeastern Massachusetts by assembling a high-priced lobbying team to win support from state lawmakers. The tribe's backing for its third attempt to build a casino came from the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, which operates the highly profitable Paragon Casino in central Louisiana.
The tribe and its backers have spent millions of dollars on lobbyists and plans for a casino, so far unsuccessfully. For years, the Tribe was unable to capitalize on its status as the state's only federally recognized Indian tribe, and now it has stiff competition.
Governor Patrick is proposing to license three resort-style gaming facilities in the state, a plan that would give preference to federally recognized Massachusetts tribes.
The Mashpee Wampanoag proposal is backed by Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman, the billionaire developers of Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
Calling the Class of '67 to reunite
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School's Class of 1967 will hold its 40th reunion dinner at Oyster Bar Grill in Oak Bluffs at 6 pm, Saturday, Nov. 17. Reservation requests from class members must be made by Nov. 12, to Dennis daRosa, 508-524-2065 or email@example.com; Laura Murphy, 508-696-4658; Debbie Merry Magnuson, 508-693-0081 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Kathy Davis Solitto, 508-693-4244 or 508-645-2489. Include phone numbers and e-mail addresses with your RSVP. Mailed responses should go to Class of 1967, Box 581, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.
Organizers say friends from the 1963-1967 years are welcome before or after dinner for music and reminiscing. And reunion celebrants are urged to join the class at the Vineyard-Nantucket football game at 1 pm on Nov. 17.
The final Derby results that appeared last week in The Times did not include the second-place 14.57-pound boat bluefish weighed in by Helena Kirschenbaum on the last night of the Derby. The fish she is holding missed bumping the 14.62-pound first-place blue Bruce McIntosh caught by about a tablespoon of water.
Helena was understandably disappointed when she did not see her name in second place. "It took me 25 years to get up on stage," she told Times fishing columnist Nelson Sigelman.
In a story published last week, "SSA passengers polled on ferry, Island experience," Steamship Authority (SSA) Vineyard member Marc Hanover said that the Ambassador program was called off because of objections from some SSA union members.
This week, Mr. Hanover said that he has since learned that SSA management did not pursue the program because it was negotiating a new union contract.