Vineyard specialty license plate effort runs out of gas
The Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative (MVDC) announced this week that it has "regretfully decided to discontinue the special Martha's Vineyard license plate program for lack of public interest."
The Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative, a support group for local non-profit organizations, began the push for a new plate as a fundraising program.
The Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative originally estimated the plate would raise $120,000 annually, depending on how many people signed up, with all of the proceeds going into the Vineyard Fund, a newly created grant-making program that financially assists local non-profit organizations.
The plate featured a silhouette of the Island lit by a colorful sunset. A similar "Cape and Islands Plate" that can be seen all over Massachusetts funnels approximately $100,000 into the Dukes County budget.
A press release from Peter Temple, Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative executive director, said that the plate campaign started in the summer of 2006 and 500 applications were received in the first six months. Less than 300 applications were received in 2007, however, despite a major print and radio advertising campaign.
Mr. Temple said the Registry of Motor Vehicles would have made the plate with 1,500 applications, but it would have required a bond, or 3,000 applications without a bond.
"The Donors Collaborative felt prudence dictated that bonding was too much of a risk given the dropping pace of applications," wrote Mr. Temple. "Consequently they decided to end the program rather than continue to aim for 1,500. Applicants are being notified by postcard and all applications and checks that have been received will be destroyed."
He said the Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative is continuing its other programs.
Roof leak at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
A bit of drama at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School saved the day on Dec. 16. While working with some theater students in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), drama teacher Kate Murray noticed water leaking into a nearby hallway and called Principal Peg Regan.
Ms. Regan said when she arrived at the school around 3 pm, the art section of the building near the PAC and a closet in a computer classroom had about a quarter-inch of water on the floor, due a leak in the roof over a beam where two hallway walls come together.
Assistant principal Neal Weaver, three school custodians, and technology staff members Woody Filley and Richard Hammond soon arrived to provide assistance in vacuuming up the water and cleaning up. There was no damage to computers or wiring, and no leaks in the PAC.
Mr. Weaver said he contacted JP Stevens, the roofing company, and found out that the roof is still covered under a 30-year warranty. The company planned to send a crew to make repairs before school reopens after the Christmas break.
Nis Kildegaard will begin an op-ed column in The Times
The Martha's Vineyard Times will introduce a new, regular columnist on its op-ed page next week. Nis Kildegaard of Edgartown will write Soundings, a column exploring community issues and lives, beginning with The Times edition of Thursday, Jan. 3.
Mr. Kildegaard, a native of Iowa, got his first experience with publications and deadlines as managing editor of the yearbook at Yale University. After college, he worked as editor of the New Harmony Times, a community weekly in Indiana, then for a year at The New York Times before moving with his family to the Vineyard in 1981, to become news editor at the Vineyard Gazette. He served in that post until September of 2004, when he resigned.
Over the past three years, Mr. Kildegaard has contributed news and feature stories to the Martha's Vineyard Times, and has built up a freelance practice as an editor and writer, working primarily with nonprofit organizations on the Island. Among his clients have been the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, the Martha's Vineyard Museum, the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust, the Edgartown School, Community Solar Greenhouse of Martha's Vineyard and Vineyard House. For the consortium of agencies working out of the Vineyard Housing Office in Tisbury, he has produced five editions of Framework, the Island's journal of affordable housing. He serves on the boards of the Island Community Chorus and the Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society, and is an appointed Edgartown representative to the Island Cultural Council. And since June of 2006, he has been the reference librarian at the Edgartown Public Library.
"Peter Oberfest, publisher of the Times, sat me down about a month ago and asked me to explain what I've been up to lately," Mr. Kildegaard said this week. "After I did, he said, 'We'd like to make your life a little more complicated.' I thought about it, we talked some more, and in the end I couldn't resist this offer of a regular space in which to explore issues and stories that illuminate Island life. My hope is to begin a lively conversation, and I can't imagine a better forum for this project than the Martha's Vineyard Times."
West Tisbury selectmen cool to cell tower proposal
West Tisbury selectmen last week voiced strong opposition to a proposal for a cell phone tower in the center of town up to 100 feet in height. Kevin Cunningham of Maxton Technologies, a wireless telecommunications service provider in South Easton, made the proposal at the regular Wednesday selectmen's meeting.
Mr. Cunningham described numerous benefits including added town revenue and improved cell phone service. The selectmen did not think the benefits would outweigh the detriments.
Their opposition was solidified when Mr. Cunningham explained that the tower would be between 70 and 100 feet tall and require a 10- by 30-foot building at the base.
Selectmen Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter said the tower and hut would be out of scale for the town's historic district. "I understand the difficulty with cell reception, but I don't think I could support a 90-foot tower and a 10- by 30-foot building," Mr. Manter concluded after further discussion.
Selectmen Dianne Powers agreed that the pole was too tall, especially in relation to other buildings, such as the town hall.
Selectmen Glenn Hearn pointed out that the up-Island towns are currently exploring proposals for a Distributed Antennae System (DAS), which relies on antennas attached to existing utility poles or poles placed for that purpose to provide wireless service.
Depending on topography and equipment, a DAS system may provide a cellular signal range that extends from one quarter to three quarters of a mile.
The federal Telecommunication Act of 1996 (TCA) limits the obstacles towns may place in the way of wireless communication companies seeking to provide service where there is a lack of coverage.
In other business, the selectmen reviewed the 2009 fiscal year budget, which begins on July 1, 2008. Executive Secretary Jennifer Rand explained that expenditures for streetlights would increase from $6,500 to $7,000. Town property and liability insurance as well as liability for public officials is up 5 percent.
Selectmen agreed to increase the highway superintendent stipend from $5,125 to $5,500. Ms. Rand also needed to add funding to lease a copy machine for the town hall for the next three years at $60 a month. Funding for town reports, legal services, public restrooms, the town clock and the cemetery will remain unchanged. "I'm spending very conservatively everywhere," Ms. Rand told the selectmen.
The selectmen also voted unanimously to put a question on the annual town meeting warrant regarding the use of paper ballots when a motion is made, seconded, and approved by at least 20 voters. Selectmen also re-appointed Jim Powell to serve as the West Tisbury representative on the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Free coffee on New Year's Eve at Cumberland Farms
Revelers who need help staying awake to see the New Year in may stop by Cumberland Farms in Vineyard Haven for a free cup of coffee on Jan. 31, from 5 pm until closing.
In a press release last week, Ari Haseotes, vice president of marketing for Cumberland Farms, said the goal of the company's free coffee program is to help customers stay alert and keep safe on the roads.
The free coffee will be available at all Cumberland Farms stores across the Northeast and Florida, except for those with Dunkin' Donuts service. At Cumberland Farms stores that remain open 24 hours, free coffee will be served from 5 pm on New Year's Eve until 5 am the next morning.
Cumberland Farms describes the coffee promotion as a community service.
Winning numbers in Tisbury raffle announced
The winning tickets for this year's Tisbury Holiday Raffle were selected in a drawing held in the Capawock Theatre courtyard on Sunday at 1 pm. Tisbury Business Association (TBA) president Jon Nelson and two children who volunteered from the audience drew the four prize-winning tickets.
The first-prize and fourth-prize winners have not yet claimed their prizes. The first-place ticket, #4879199, worth $1,000, went to a Bunch of Grapes customer, the fourth-prize ticket, #5872812, worth $100, went to a Rainy Day patron.
The second- and third-prize winners already have claimed their prizes of $500 and $250, respectively.
The winning ticket holders should call Kennedy Studios at 508-693-3948, then bring their tickets to the studios at 66 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, by Jan. 31, 2008, to claim their prizes.
In a short speech before the drawing, Mr. Nelson thanked all 32 Tisbury businesses that participated and praised all of the patrons who chose to shop locally. Customers received one raffle ticket for every $25 they spent on purchases from participating stores during the holiday season.
Jean C. Knapp
Jean (Murphy) Clancy Knapp, wife of Dr. J. Walter Knapp of Sengekontacket in Oak Bluffs, died Dec. 25, at home surrounded by her family. She was 87.
Visiting hours will be held in the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home located on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs on Dec. 28, from 6 to 8pm.
Her funeral mass will be held in St. Columbo Church, located on North Street in Caledonia, N.Y., on Dec. 31, at 10 am. Visiting hours in Alhart Funeral Home, located on Main Street in Caledonia are on Sunday from 4-7 pm.
Donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information. A full obituary will appear in a later edition of The Times.
In the Dec. 20 issue of the Times, the birth announcement for Kauâ A. Cardoso was incorrect. It should have read: Celia and Jacson Cardoso of Vineyard Haven announce the birth of their son, Kauâ Almeido Cardoso, on Dec. 17, at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. Kauâ weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.
A news story about an animal control officers' seminar, published in The Times on Dec. 20, incorrectly reported that there have been only three reported cases of coyotes biting humans in the United States. In fact, there have been three reported cases of coyotes biting humans in Massachusetts.