Land Bank expands Moshup Beach property
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Tuesday announced that it had purchased a 4.1-acre lot on Moshup Trail in Aquinnah. The purchase expands the public conservation agency's popular public beach.
The sellers were Sandra Hillman and Tatnall Hillman and the price was $400,000.
The property abuts the Land Bank's Moshup Beach and contains 430 feet of Atlantic Ocean shoreline. Moshup Beach now includes some 2,000 feet of beach.
One year ago the Land Bank purchased an eight-acre piece of property on Moshup Trail. The purchase provided 400 feet of beach.
Moshup Beach visitors will continue to use the town-owned parking lot at the head of Moshup Trail by the Gay Head Cliffs, the Island's only municipal parking lot for which there is a parking fee.
The Land Bank said that members of the public with any questions about the acquisition are encouraged to attend one of the Land Bank Commission's regular Monday evening meetings or a meeting of the Aquinnah town advisory board.
The Land Bank, established in 1986 by an act of the state legislature and endorsed by Island voters, purchases open space with funds raised through a 2-percent surcharge on real estate transactions. Property is purchased after extensive private deliberations among six elected Land Bank commissioners representing all six towns, office staff, and town advisory boards. Once acquired, lands are studied in depth before management plans are developed.
Selectmen set West Tisbury oyster season, limits
The West Tisbury selectmen last week approved the town oyster season and learned that the town is awash in free cash.
The oyster season, which opened Monday, ends on January 2, 2008. Oystering is not allowed on Christmas day.
The commercial limit is two bushels per person per day. Family permit holders are allowed one half bushel per week. Oysters larger than 4 inches must be thrown back to encourage breeding.
Shellfish constable Tom Osmers regretfully informed the selectmen that long-time committee member John Mayhew had resigned.
In other business, selectmen Glenn Hearn said the town has $787,532 in certified free cash. "It's the biggest number we've had since I can remember," he said.
In other business, Mr. Hearn and Dianne Powers, the two selectmen present, discussed a proposed bylaw that would allow for the use of paper ballots under certain circumstances at town meetings. The selectmen discussed two options now used in other Island towns: require a paper ballot if a motion is made, seconded and approved by at least 20 voters, or require a paper ballot for any expenditure of more than $200,000.
Executive Secretary Jennifer Rand asked the selectmen to decide whether to use paper ballots prior to the annual town meeting since the town operating budget always exceeds $200,000. Ms. Powers said she would prefer the first option since people have asked for paper ballots for articles not involving money. The selectmen will meet with the finance committee to see which option the committee prefers.
Edgartown man is victim of Social Security scam
An Edgartown man cautioned Islanders not to fall victim to a scam he said caught him unaware because he was tired and stressed.
The caller on the telephone claimed to be from the Social Security administration. He said the call could be recorded for quality purposes. The Edgartown resident was due to receive a rebate check he said but first Social Security needed to verify bank account information.
A "supervisor" came on the line, adding an air of authenticity. By the time the call ended the scammers had the bank account information they needed. Luckily, the swindle was stopped in time.
According to the Social Security administration, scam artists have called or visited people around the country alleging to be Social Security employees. In each case, the person attempted to obtain personal information, such as a Social Security or bank account number, from the Social Security recipient.
The scammers are clever. In one instance, the caller placed the recipient on hold and played the same on-hold recordings used by Social Security.
Social Security officials said that anyone who is in doubt about the legitimacy of a call should contact the local Social Security office or Social Security's toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the legitimacy of the call.
Tale of two clogged ponds in West Tisbury
Last month's Whiting family project to remove nuisance vegetation clogging Parsonage Pond in West Tisbury did not raise the permitting and expense issues facing West Tisbury officials who are under popular pressure to clean out the nearby Mill Pond. According to Maria McFarland, the board administrator of the West Tisbury conservation commission, the Parsonage Pond project, whose applicant was Tara Whiting, required the same application form that the Mill Pond project would require, but in part because the Parsonage Pond project required only harvesting of vegetation, not dredging, it could be more readily permitted.
Dredging, needed for the Mill Pond restoration, requires extensive testing, for instance for heavy metals which might be released, and the dredge spoils must be handled with extreme care. Also, Parsonage Pond has no outlet, so there is no possibility of downstream pollution, Ms. McFarland said. Also, Ms. Whiting's project was a private undertaking on private land. No public money was involved. Tara Whiting, a conservation commission member, recused herself from the permitting process.
Among the agencies involved in permitting the Parsonage Pond work, the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's (DFW) Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program found that the work would "occur near or within the actual habitat of the water willow stem borer, a state-designated threatened species. The water willow stem borer, according to a letter from DFW to the West Tisbury conservation commission, "is a nocturnal moth that is found only in southeastern Massachusetts where the caterpillars feed on water willow, a wetland plant. Water willow stem borers inhabit wetlands with a significant amount of water willow in shallow vernal pools, seasonally flooded wetlands, and along upland edges of streams, ponds and other permanent bodies of water."
In the end, the DFW judged that the Parsonage Pond cleanup would not adversely affect the habitat of the protected borer, so the project could go ahead, delighting Vineyard ice skaters, a less rarified species that was nevertheless threatened by the accumulated nuisance vegetation in the lovely little pond.
Chappy TTOR super to retire
Dave Belcher, long-time superintendent of The Trustees of Reservations' (TTOR) Chappaquiddick properties, will retire in May, 2008, after 19 years on the job. TTOR, a private conservation organization, announced the change this week.
Mr. Belcher is respected among Island fishermen, prime users of the miles of TTOR beach property, and residents of the small island for his calm demeanor and ability to interact with many different interest groups.
"Dave has been a good friend," said TTOR Islands regional director Christopher P. Kennedy. "He has also been a tireless advocate for Chappaquiddick wildlife, fishermen, and lovers of Cape Poge, Wasque, Mytoi and most recently Leland Beach and Norton Point Beach. It is a sad day here at The Trustees."
Moses M. Malkin
Moses M. Malkin, a longtime summer resident of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and of Sun City Center, Fla., died in Florida on Dec. 11 of heart failure.
He served on the finance committee in Aquinnah, the Gay Head Taxpayers Association board, and on the negotiating committee with the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 11 am, at Levine Chapel, 470 Harvard Street, Brookline. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times.
Herbert A. Searle
Herbert A. Searle, 92, of Vineyard Haven died yesterday morning in Martha's Vineyard Hospital surrounded by his family. A full obituary will be published in next week's issue.
Wreaths across America to honor Island veterans
Islanders are invited to a special ceremony to honor veterans nationwide for the Wreaths Across America project on Saturday at noon in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven, sponsored by American Legion Post #257.
Dukes County Director of Veterans Services JoAnn Murphy will host the ceremony, which will take place at the same time in more than 230 state and national cemeteries and veterans' monuments nationwide. David Berube, a chaplain with the Massachusetts Air National Guard and an Oak Bluffs police officer, also will take part in the ceremony. Edson Rodgers, an American Legion member and retired naval officer, will end the ceremony by playing taps on his bugle. Ms. Murphy also invited an honor guard from the Dukes County Sheriff's Department to participate.
This week, Ms. Murphy received seven wreaths from the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, for use in the ceremony, five to represent each branch of military service, one to represent Merchant Marines stationed in combat zones during World War II, and one to represent prisoners of war (POWs) and those missing in action (MIAs).
Ms. Murphy has invited several Islanders who have served in military service to place the wreaths at the base of military service flags as part of the ceremony. They include Pete Forend, U.S. Army; James Craig, U.S. Navy; Woodrow Williams, U.S. Marine Corps; David Kann, U.S. Air Force; Richard Reinhardsen, Merchant Marines; and Tom Rancich, U.S. Navy, on behalf of POWs and MIAs. The U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha also has been asked to send a representative.
For 16 years the Worcester Wreath Company has provided more than 5,000 holiday wreaths to place on every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery, coordinated with the Cemetery Administration and the Maine State Society.
The mission of the Wreaths Across America campaign is to "remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom." For those who are unable to attend Saturday's ceremony, Wreaths Across America organizers ask that everyone participate by observing a moment of silence at noon on Dec. 15, "to reflect on the sacrifices made and freely given, by those who will not be home for the holidays."
Steamship Authority tackles light agenda next week
The Steamship Authority (SSA) meets for its last monthly business meeting of the year Tuesday in Woods Hole. The agenda is light as the boatline wraps up 2007, a year that saw the delivery of the new ferry Island Home and the retirement of the Islander.
The meeting begins at 9:30 am in the Marine Biological Laboratory's Candle House on Water Street.
The Steamship Authority plans to act on New England Fast Ferry's request to drop Saturday and Sunday off-season service and reduce the daily winter schedule. The company said rising fuel prices and low ridership make the service a money loser.
A favorable vote is expected, said Wayne Lamson, Steamship Authority general manager. The company may ask to end winter service completely if the losses continue, he said.
The members also plan to review and vote on the 2008 capital budget. Projects include phase one of the Oak Bluffs terminal reconstruction and the mid-life refurbishment of the ferry Nantucket.
The authority will also elect officers. According to the enabling act schedule, Nantucket member Flint Ranney is to take over as chairman from New Bedford member David Oliveira in 2008.
Mr. Lamson also told The Times that he thinks the Steamship Authority was able to identify the problem that led to the cancellation of the Island Home's 6 am trip from Woods Hole on Monday. A loose connection in the pilothouse was the cause of a generator shutdown, he said.
Post offices extend hours
U.S. Postal Service customers may take advantage of extended hours at the Vineyard Haven and Edgartown post offices as the holidays approach.
At the Vineyard Haven post office, retail counter hours are 8:30 am-5 pm, Mon.-Fri., and lobby hours from 7 am-5:30 pm. On Sat., Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, the retail counter and lobby will be open from 9:30 am to 3 pm, and on Sun., Dec. 16 and Dec. 23, from 10 am to 2 pm. Postmaster Joe Massua encourages people to pick up packages as soon as possible, as the Vineyard Haven post office has little storage space.
At the Edgartown post office, retail counter hours are from 8:30 am-4:30 pm and lobby hours from 7 am-5:30 pm on Mon.-Fri. On Saturdays, the retail counter is open 10 am-1 pm and the lobby from 7 am-3:30 pm. The Dutch door opens at 7:30 am for package pickup Mon.-Fri., and at 9 am on Sat.
Starting on Dec. 17, the Dutch door will be open until 5:30 pm for package pickups Mon.-Fri. On Sat., Dec. 15 and 22, the Dutch door will be open until 3:30 pm. On Sun., Dec. 16 and 23, the lobby will be open for picking up mail in boxes or package pickup.
Priority mail can be sent up until Dec. 20 for Christmas arrival. Expected delivery time is 2 to 3 days anywhere in the country, although it is not guaranteed. Christmas packages may be sent by express mail up until Dec. 22.
Comcast shuffles cable offerings in system upgrade
Many Island Comcast customers who thought they had the cable company's dizzying array of television offerings all figured out worked their clickers hard this week.
As part of a continuing system upgrade, Comcast added to its high definition lineup, realigned channels, and moved a number of familiar offerings from an analog signal to a digital signal.
Those moves left customers who do not have digital service without the ability to receive familiar channels such as the TV Guide network. According to a Comcast spokesperson, in addition to TV Guide channel (3 to 182), C-Span2 (29 to 156), CMT (72 to 110) and Hallmark (74 to 138) moved from the analog to digital lineup.
Jim Hughes, Comcast public relations director, told The Times that analog customers who are interested in digital service can get a digital set-top box from the Island Comcast service center free for the first 12 months. Digital boxes generally cost $3.99 a month, he said.
Channel realignments left some television watchers searching around the dial. These included, Lifetime (27 to 30), WPRI (26 to 24), NECN (31 to 3), HGTV (33 to 40), Cartoon Network (34 to 43), Golf Channel (40 to 34), Versus (43 to 33), RTPI (73 to 31), MTV (75 to 77) and GBX Kids (166 to 169).
In addition to the moves Comcast added five new channels to its lineup: PBS Kids Sprout (151), C-Span3 (187), CN8 (188), History HD (762) and USA HD (763).
Mr. Hughes said that Island customers who want more information about any aspect of their service should call 1-800-COMCAST. Thanks to the company's newly opened call center in Plymouth, local calls are most likely to be answered by Comcast agents there or in the company's New Bedford office.
On Monday the local Comcast office on Martha's Vineyard will move from its Vineyard Haven location in Merchant Mart off State Road to a larger, more centrally located office in the Martha's Vineyard Airport Business Park.
Comcast's new facility is located at 19 East Line Road. According to a press release it offers customers additional parking and a larger and more comfortable lobby area. The office also will serve as home base for the company's on-Island technical staff.
"As we continue to roll out advanced products and grow our customer base on the Vineyard, we want to make it as convenient as possible for local residents to visit our office," said Tom Coughlin, Vice President of Comcast's Southeastern Massachusetts Region.
Comcast acquired the local cable system from Adelphia in July 2006 and has spent more than $1 million to enhance the fiber network on the Vineyard. The company also provides residential telephone and high-speed Internet service.
Dance and yoga teachers combine forces
Dance teachers Jill Matrisciano and Sandy Stone, owners of RISE Vineyard Performing Arts, and Yoga teacher Sherry Sidoti, owner of Fitness Life Yoga, have opened a new studio space in the Woodland Business Center off State Road in Vineyard Haven.
The newly renovated studio space features a changing room, two bathrooms and a comfortable waiting room for class viewing and a variety of dance and yoga classes.
For more information, call 508-693-2262.
Bank of Martha's Vineyard sponsors holiday book drive
Bank of Martha's Vineyard, a division of Sovereign Bank, is sponsoring a Holiday Book Drive the month of December.
Customers can donate $2 toward the purchase of one of five pre-selected books at any of the five Bank of Martha's Vineyard branch offices. Donors will have their names displayed in the branch office, and will receive a thank you bookmark, according to a press release.
The age-appropriate choices include Clifford, Where the Wild Things Are, Tales of Peter Rabbit, Goodnight Moon, and Buenos Noches Luna. Through a partnership with Reach Out and Read, funds will be used to purchase books for children, and donated to Wampanoag Health Service in Aquinnah and Vineyard Pediatrics in Oak Bluffs in an effort to make early literacy a standard part of pediatric primary care.
Reach Out and Read trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give books to children at pediatric check-ups from six months to five years of age.
Derby DVD makes perfect stocking stuffer
In the fall of 2006 David Flood moved to the Vineyard for five weeks to capture the excitement and allure of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby on film.
His completed documentary, "Feeding the Water," is now available on DVD. It captures the beauty of the Island, the fishermen and the spirit and character of a unique event.
"It's not all about fishing," said Mr. Flood. "It's also a story about the tournament and the people who fish in it; draped on a canvas of one of the most beautiful island communities on the east coast."
The movie features interviews with well-known Island fishermen, artist Ray Ellis and scenes of productive fishing spots.
Feeding the Water DVDs can be purchased online at feedingthewater.com ($19.95 plus shipping and handling) or at several local Island businesses, including the Stop & Shop, Coop's, Aboveground Records, Cars Unlimited, The Boneyard, and PJ's Deli in Edgartown, and Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs.
Red Cross lifeguard course offered at Mansion House
The Mansion House and Martha's Vineyard chapter of the Red Cross are teaming up to provide a course leading to Red Cross lifeguard certification.
The instructor is Mansion House aquatics director Jennifer Fragosa, who has taught the course for the past 13 years, according to a press release.
Students must be at least 15 years old, be able to successfully swim 22 lengths of the pool, and swim underwater a distance of 45 feet, retrieve a ten-pound brick, and return to the side of the pool.
The class is 40 hours and begins March 7. Pretest and registration is Jan. 23. The cost, including Red Cross fees, is $350. For more information, call Ms. Fragosa at 508-693-2200, extension 123.
An entry in the District Court Report, published in the Nov. 29, 2007, edition of The Times, included court activity for Nov. 19. Among those listed in the report for that date was William Austin. No age or address accompanied the listing. The William Austin of the court report was not William M. Austin, 56, of West Tisbury.