Oak Bluffs will enforce Circuit Ave. parking limits
On Monday Oak Bluffs police will begin enforcing parking time limits on Circuit Avenue. Historically, Oak Bluffs has relaxed enforcement during the off-season.
Oak Bluffs police said they have no interest in playing the role of Grinch during the holiday season, but they are responding to a request by the Oak Bluffs traffic and parking committee.
What do town leaders have to say about the change in policy? Kerry Scott, chairman of the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen, would not say.
Ms. Scott cited her claim that she was misquoted in the past and she refused to speak to a Times reporter on the telephone about off-season enforcement.
Much of the pressure for stepped-up enforcement has come from business owners concerned over a lack of parking spaces during the daytime hours. Dennis DaRosa, president of the Oak Bluffs Business Association, said his organization supported the off-season enforcement. At the same time, the business association has asked business owners and their employees to park in less congested areas around Ocean Park, he said.
The posted time limit along Circuit Avenue is one hour. Any extension of that to allow more time - say for a leisurely lunch and shopping - would require town meeting approval. However, Oak Bluffs police lieutenant Tim Williamson said police would be lenient in their time-keeping and concentrate on vehicles parked for a long term.
County commissioners say, none of the above
The Dukes County commissioners will reopen the search for a new county manager. The decision follows a vote last night in which a majority of the county commissioners were unable to agree on one of the three candidates interviewed last month.
The three finalists were Troy Clarkson of Falmouth, a former Falmouth selectman; Tom Bernardo of Chatham, a former Barnstable county official; and Russell Smith of Tisbury, a civil engineer and Vineyard legislative liaison.
None of the three got more than two votes. Commissioners John Alley and Roger Wey voted for Mr. Bernardo; Chairman Paul Strauss voted for Mr. Smith; and Tristan Israel, Carlene Gatting, and Leslie Leland passed on all three candidates. Commissioner Lenny Jason of Chilmark did not participate. Mr. Jason objected to the commissioners' decision to ignore the recommendation of their appointed selection committee.
The county commissioners decision to reopen the search comes more than two months after they bypassed the recommendation of the selection committee to re-advertise the position because of a dearth of completely qualified candidates.
The screening committee had decided on Sept. 27 that none of the candidates met the advertised criteria and recommended that the commissioners reopen the search process. In a meeting on Oct. 18, the county commissioners looked at the 12 candidates' qualifications, but they did not come to the conclusion arrived at by the seven people the commissioners appointed in August to screen candidates.
The job of county manager was left vacant following the resignation of Winn Davis from the job that paid him $79,194 annually to be the county's chief executive. The county commissioners have indicated that they may increase the salary in order to attract better qualified candidates.
The county manager exercises direct supervisory control over his administrative assistant, the county rodent control officer, county beaches, a health access program, the county engineer, the veterans' agent, and a budget of less than $1 million. In August, the commissioners named Noreen Flanders, Dukes County treasurer, to be acting county manager.
County charter study commission continues talks over possibilities
The Dukes County Charter Study Commission will meet Thursday, Dec. 13, to continue discussion of specific options for county governance, including potential functions, improved accountability, and the legislative and political implications of the options. The public is welcome.
In November, the commission narrowed the seven possible governance options to four, which will be discussed in depth during the next few meetings.
The charter commission will complete its work by May 2008, when it will publish a final report of its recommendations for the future of Dukes County government.
The meeting on Dec. 13 will be at 5 pm in the Oak Bluffs Senior Center. For further information about this meeting, contact Mimi Davisson at 508-696-1075, or Mimi02557@aol.com
Island Plan transportation work group to meet
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) will hold its first meeting of the Island Plan transportation work group on Monday at 7 p.m. at the MVC office on New York Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
According to the Martha's Vineyard Commission, one of the biggest challenges facing the Island is figuring out how can a growing number of people can get to where they want to go - on or off-Island - safely and efficiently, while preserving the Vineyard's distinct character and environment.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission invites the public to the first workshop to discuss issues such as getting to the Island by boat and air, getting around the Island, roads, traffic, parking, public transit, tour buses, taxis, car rentals, bicycling, and walking.
For more information, contact Jim Miller, Martha's Vineyard Commission Transportation Planner at email@example.com or 508-693-3453.
Selectmen favor limited dredging in Menemsha Pond
Chilmark and Aquinnah selectmen met Tuesday to discuss actions to improve shellfishing and water quality in Menemsha Pond, including the possibility of dredging.
Selectmen from both towns spoke in favor of dredging specific areas of the pond to improve circulation but expressed caution about doing anything that would open up the pond to increased boat traffic and larger vessels.
The selectmen said they would also look into creating coordinated rules and regulations such as speed limits and work together on shellfish propagation and aquaculture programs.
In recent years the pond, which is shared by the towns, has seen an increase in algae and sedimentation. Chilmark selectman Warren Doty said that for the last 10 years Chilmark has spent approximately $25,000 a year on maintenance dredging projects, but the town does not have $200,000 in the budget to dredge the pond.
Spencer Booker, an Aquinnah selectman who is also chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe shellfish hatchery board, said the Army Corps of Engineers would be willing to work with the tribe to dredge the waterway.
Officials and fishermen present at the meeting expressed concerns that opening up the channel that leads into Menemsha Pond would allow larger boats to enter, possibly disturbing shellfish beds. They said the channel is too shallow for boats with drafts greater than six feet to navigate, preventing overnight mooring in the pond by many pleasure craft.
Camille Rose, chairman of the Aquinnah selectmen, said making the pond navigable would be a big mistake. She said, because the pond is an arm of the sea and a harbor of refuge, if it were dredged selectmen would not be able to prevent people from mooring there.
She warned of other consequences. "The minute it's dark, they're going to discharge into the pond, and that's got to affect the shellfish beds. So we're going one step forward and two steps back," she said.
Selectmen generally agreed on the need to dredge the entrance to the herring creek and the entrance to West Basin, used by Aquinnah as a mooring field.
Chilmarker John Larsen, a member of the town shellfish propagation committee, said he's always been a strong supporter of dredging the channel, but not just now.
"Right now, where it [the channel] comes into the pond, there's a lot of scallops and a lot of seed there, and I'd really hate to see things change there right now, because it looks like things are coming back," he said.
Chilmark's executive secretary Tim Carroll explained that the dredging project might be as much as four or five years away. Selectmen asked that harbormasters from the two towns meet to discuss the possibility of dredging.
In other business, Chilmark selectmen approved a zero-base budget process. Zero-base budgeting means beginning the process at zero and requires the selectmen to justify each expense.
Library association declares fine amnesty
The Martha's Vineyard Library Association will combine an amnesty on overdue materials with a canned food drive to benefit the Island Food Pantry.
The six Island libraries will not assess fines on overdue materials from Dec. 17 to Dec. 30, according to a press release, for patrons who make a non-perishable food donation.
"We hope that patrons who have some long overdue library materials will take advantage of the amnesty and return them so other patrons can enjoy them," said Ebba Hierta, Chilmark Public Library director in prepared remarks. "Start the New Year with a clean slate and help the Island's less fortunate residents."
Ms. Hierta encouraged patrons who do not have overdue fines to also participate in the food drive. Collection bins will be available at all Island public libraries.
Edgartown Library closed due to "puff back"
The Edgartown Public Library is closed this week and will likely remain closed for the next several weeks following what is known as a "puff-back" in the library building heating system sometime over the weekend.
A mild explosion of built-up oil vapors inside a heating unit's combustion chamber causes a "puff-back." The resulting smoky fumes puff back through the heating system spreading soot and an oily film throughout a building or home.
Library director Felicia Cheney said that David Burke, a public insurance adjustor, is assisting the library with its insurance claim so that professional remediation teams can be called in to begin the cleanup.
In the meantime, the library staff has moved from the library building on North Water Street to temporary quarters in the selectmen's meeting room in Edgartown town hall. Ms. Cheney said books can be picked up and dropped off Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday noon to 5 pm. For more information, call 508-627-4221.
Land Bank, Housing Trust collaborate on purchase
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank commission and Island Housing Trust Corporation (IHTC) announced yesterday the purchase of a 22.5-acre parcel on State Road in West Tisbury near the intersection with the Old County Road.
The purchase will preserve an unbroken stretch of woodland along the road and provide land for the construction of seven units of affordable housing.
The Land Bank paid $1,862,153 for 14.5 acres in fee-simple and four acres in conservation restriction. The IHTC purchased eight acres. Four of the acres are subject to the Land Bank conservation restriction and therefore IHTC did not pay for them. IHTC paid $350,168 for the remaining four acres, on which it plans to construct several units of affordable housing, according to a press release.
The seller is Molly Belle Bennett, executrix of the estate of Eleanor Bennett. A three-acre lot will be retained by the family.
"The Land Bank admires long stretches of undeveloped roadway and conserving this property compliments the Land Bank's purchase on the other side of the road so this area will always be undeveloped," said James Lengyel, Land Bank executive director. "
The Land Bank purchase sits on the opposite side of the road from its John Presbury Norton Farm property. Preliminary management goals call for the property to be incorporated into the Norton Farm with a trail link to the Old Holmes Hole Road ancient way.
The property sits on the axis of the Land Bank's planned cross-West Tisbury trail, which will connect Duarte's Pond on Lamberts Cove Road with Sepiessa Point Reservation on the Tisbury Great Pond.
Edgartown man charged with assaulting police officer
An Edgartown man was arrested and an Edgartown police officer was injured early Saturday after an incident on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.
Police arrested and jailed Kenneth McGinnis, 33, of 11 Pilgrim Road. He was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.
Mr. McGinnis entered not guilty pleas to both charges in Edgartown District Court Monday. He is due back in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing. He was released from the Dukes County Jail and House of Correction Tuesday, after posting $3,500 cash bail.
According to the police report, Sgt. Richard Krauss suffered badly bruised ribs trying to subdue Mr. McGinnis. Sgt. Krauss and officer Michael Snowden responded to a report of a person sleeping on the side of the road near Pennywise Path, shortly before 2 am.
The officers say Mr. McGinnis became uncooperative and combative, after police told him he was to be taken into protective custody. Sgt. Krauss was injured taking the defendant to the ground in an "arm bar," according to the report.
Police say Mr. McGinnis got back to his feet. After charging officer Snowden twice, and failing to respond to commands to get on the ground, Sgt. Krauss subdued the defendant with two streams of pepper spray in his eyes.
Sgt. Krauss was treated in the emergency room at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. He is recovering at home.
Hospital holds 24th annual Tree of Lights ceremony
The Martha's Vineyard Hospital Auxiliary will celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Tree of Lights fundraiser to benefit Martha's Vineyard Hospital on Monday in the hospital lobby at 4 pm.
Each December, for over two decades, the great pine located in front of the hospital was lit with hundreds of red and white lights, each donated by an individual in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Due to construction of the new hospital the tree was moved to a new home at Mink Meadows Golf Club in Tisbury. In order to continue the tradition a temporary Tree of Lights will be lit during this and every holiday season until construction is complete at which time the Auxiliary will celebrate the opening of the new hospital with the planting of a brand new Tree of Lights.
The Tree of Lights has raised over $90,000 since it was stared in 1983. The proceeds have purchased many needed items for the Hospital and supported a variety of department programs. Lights may be purchased for $10 each in memory or in honor of an individual. Perpetual lights may be purchased for a donation of $125.
All contributions are tax deductible. Checks should be made payable to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital Auxiliary and mailed to: Martha's Vineyard Hospital Volunteer Office, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or dropped off at the Volunteer Office at the hospital.
Vineyard Health Care Access awarded state grant
The state's office of Medicaid awarded a $55,000 grant on Nov. 15 to Duke's County's Vineyard Health Care Access (VHCA) to identify, educate, and enroll individuals who are eligible for MassHealth, Commonwealth Care, and Commonwealth Choice health insurance coverage.
VHCA was one of 45 organizations selected to receive the grant by MassHealth, in partnership with the Commonwealth Connector Authority, out of 87 organizations, including hospitals and community health centers statewide, that applied for funding.
"We're extremely pleased to be selected for a state contract again to do outreach and enrollment in state programs," said VHCA program director Sarah Kuh. "We feel well qualified to perform the service. Since 1999, we have expanded to meet the needs of the state's growing program."
A previous grant ran out in August, and VHCA had to cut staff at the time. Due to a state mandate requiring health insurance coverage for all Massachusetts residents by Dec. 31, the VHCA staff faced a big enrollment rush short-handed, Ms. Kuh said.
The new grant will help restore staff levels and fund ongoing positions, including Health Access Specialist Mary Leddy, Community Health Outreach Educator Maria Mouzinho, and Enrollment Specialist Michelle Nepton. Ms. Kuh's salary is paid by Dukes County.
"We had over 2,000 people who got approvals for MassHealth or Commonwealth Choice," she noted. "When you think about the total population of the Island, we're really getting coverage for more than 1 in 10 people, and that includes adults and children."
VHCA services are ongoing, Ms. Kuh said, providing not only enrollment assistance but also help in filing applications for renewal, since most of the state's affordable health insurance programs are based on income eligibility.
Eleanor G. Hollingsworth
Eleanor G. Hollingsworth, 101, died on Dec. 4. She was a West Chop summer resident. A service will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 10 am, at the Church of the Redeemer, 379 Hammond Street, Chestnut Hill. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times.
Rose M. Simonds
Rose M. Simonds died on Dec. 4, at the Henrietta Brewer House in Vineyard Haven. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 11 am in Our Lady Star of Sea Church, Massasoit Avenue, Oak Bluffs.
Donations in her memory may be made to American Cancer Society, 1115 W. Chestnut St., Suite 301, Brockton, MA 02401 or to a local public library. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times. Arrangements are under of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.
Hutker Architects receives design award
Wood Design & Building magazine presented Hutker Architects of Martha's Vineyard and Falmouth with the magazine's Merit Award for the Snow Point residence. Hutker representatives received the award at the Wood Design Awards held at the National Gallery of Canada on October 26, according to a press release.
The Merit Award recognized Hutker Architects for pushing the boundaries of conventional wood building practices and highlighting the special qualities, versatility, and sheer beauty of wood as a building material, according to the release.
For more about Hutker Architects, visit www.hutkerarchitects.com.