News in Brief
Dates set for high school principal interviews
The four finalists for the job of Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) principal are scheduled to visit the school and participate in interviews with the school committee on Feb. 15 and 19. Superintendent of public schools James Weiss invites the public to attend the interviews, which will be held in the school library.
The search for a new principal was launched last fall, after Martha's Vineyard Regional High School principal Margaret (Peg) Regan submitted her letter of resignation, effective at the end of the school year in June. Last week a high school principal search committee recommended Arthur C. Arpin, C. Stephen Collins, Eileen M. Coppola, and Stephen Nixon to Mr. Weiss, following interviews with them at the end of January.
After consultation with school committee members at a meeting Monday night, Mr. Weiss arranged the schedule for the four candidates' visits and interviews.
On Feb. 15, Mr. Nixon will be interviewed at 4 pm, followed by Mr. Collins at 5:30 pm. Mr. Nixon, the local candidate among the group, has served as the regional high school's assistant principal since 2004 and on the faculty since 1998. Mr. Collins is the former principal of Quaboag Regional Middle/High School in Warren, Mass.
On Feb. 19, Ms. Coppola's interview is scheduled at 4 pm, followed by Mr. Arpin's interview at 5:30 pm. Ms. Coppola works as the Associate Director for Research at the Center for Education at Rice University in Houston, Tex. Mr. Arpin serves as principal of the Connecticut Baccalaureate Academy in East Hartford, Conn.
For those who cannot attend the interviews, MVTV plans to videotape them for showing at a later date on Channel 15.
Dr. Samuels chairs regional dental meeting
David S. Samuels, the Edgartown periodontist who is vice-president of the Massachusetts Dental Society, served as the general chairman of Yankee Dental Congress (YDC) 33.
The fifth largest dental meeting in the country, YDC 33 is sponsored by the Massachusetts Dental Society, in cooperation with the Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont dental associations, according to a press release.
The conference was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Jan. 30-Feb. 3. An estimated 30,000 dental professionals were expected to attend.
Dr. Samuels is a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He practices periodontics in Edgartown.
High School science fair is Saturday
The Martha's Vineyard Regional High School will hold its 9th annual science fair Saturday in the school cafeteria. Approximately 200 students will present projects.
A panel that includes visiting scientists from the Island and off-Island communities will judge the projects between 9 to 11 am. The fair is open to the public from 11 am to noon at which time school officials will announce the awards.
Vineyard Haven Library hires new director
The Vineyard Haven Library's board of trustees announced this week that Amy Ryan will join the staff as the new library director on March 3. Ms. Ryan currently serves as a librarian and co-interim director at the New York Times Library, where she has worked since August 2006.
Former library director Marjorie Convery announced last fall that she planned to retire on Nov. 2 after 17 years of service. A seven-member committee appointed by the library's board of trustees conducted the search for a new director, narrowing a field of 31 candidates down to three finalists to recommend to the board.
"We are so excited about our choice - we had so many great candidates, all with incredible credentials," said Marilyn Wortman, a search committee member and vice chairman of the library's board of trustees. "Ms. Ryan has a lot of business experience and is a good match with our great staff." Ms. Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dallas and a master of library science degree from the Pratt Institute.
Although she has lived in Hoboken, N.Y., Ms. Ryan has Island ties, Ms. Wortman added.
Cape Wind hosts information meeting on wind farm
Cape Wind Associates, the developers of a proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound, and Clean Power Now, a group supporting the project, will hold a public informational meeting Monday at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Tisbury to talk about the controversial project.
Cape Wind wants to place 130 wind-powered turbines on Horseshoe Shoal, a relatively shallow area in federal waters nine miles east of Oak Bluffs. On a day of average power consumption, and average production, the wind farm is projected to supply approximately three-quarters of the electricity needed to power Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket.
After a two-year review, the Federal Minerals Management Service released a draft environmental impact statement on the project. Federal officials cited no major environmental impacts of the project in the 2,000-page report.
The draft environmental impact study is the most recent step in the 182.6-megawatt renewable energy project that was first proposed by Cape Wind Associates in 2001.
According to a press release, there will be an update on the Minerals Management report and a brief movie will be shown about coastal communities in Denmark that are home to existing offshore wind farms.
The presentations will be followed by a question and answer period.
The presentation begins at 6:30 pm in the Katharine Cornell Theatre on Spring Street in Vineyard Haven.
Tisbury firefighters battle fire on Lantern Lane
Tisbury firefighters responded to a call about a fire in a home at 33 Lantern Lane at 5:56 pm last Friday, reported by Tom Buchert, a neighbor, who spotted flames coming from a kitchen window. Homeowner Winifred Brown was off-Island at the time.
Tisbury fire chief John Schilling said about two dozen firefighters battled the very hot and intense fire for about two hours and were able to contain the damage to the kitchen, which was totaled, and an adjoining bathroom. Assistant fire chief James Rogers, who is a trained fire investigator, determined that the source of the fire was a throw rug that was pushed up against a toe heater at the base of the kitchen sink.
Edgartown assessors want to inform taxpayers
The process of assessing property for tax purposes often leaves taxpayers perplexed. The Edgartown board of assessors will hold a meeting for taxpayers Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 pm in the second-floor meeting room of Edgartown town hall to explain the process.
Steve Ferreira, district manager of Vision Appraisal Technology, will talk about the mass appraisal process and market changes that have occurred in the last few years in the town of Edgartown, according to a press release.
For more information, call the assessors office at 508-627-6140.
West Tisbury will talk about assessments
A recent town-wide revaluation resulted in dramatically higher valuations and tax bills and some very unhappy West Tisbury property owners.
Property owners near Tisbury Great Pond were particularly hard hit. Recent property sales in the area resulted in a substantial increase in valuations because the state-mandated formula used for valuations is based heavily on comparable sales.
On Tuesday, the West Tisbury assessors will hold an informational meeting to describe the revaluation process. Representatives from Vision Appraisal Technology, the company that conducted the revaluation, will be available to answer questions.
A previous informational meeting held before tax bills were sent out was poorly attended. As a result of questions from the public, the assessors decided to hold another meeting, at 5 pm in the Howes House adjacent to the West Tisbury Library. For more information, call the Assessors Office at 508-696-0101.
Suspected thief caught on his way to Ireland
Falmouth police nabbed a suspect in a computer theft on the Vineyard just as he left a Steamship Authority ferry last Thursday, and minutes before he would have been on his way out of the country.
Police say 33-year old Gerald McSteen, also known as Jerrod McSteen, faces four felony charges in connection with the theft of a computer and $600 in cash.
According to police, Mr. McSteen, an Irish national who has been living on the Vineyard, is accused of stealing from an Island resident who hired him as a painter.
Police developed information about the thefts at 11:45 am Thursday morning and learned that Mr. McSteen planned to depart on the 12 noon ferry from Vineyard Haven. Lieutenant Tim Williamson contacted Falmouth Police and faxed them a picture of the suspect he had gotten from the Dukes County Jail. Mr. McSteen had open cases in both Edgartown District Court and Somerville District Court.
Falmouth police officers recognized Mr. McSteen from the picture and took him into custody as he walked off the ferry in Woods Hole. Oak Bluffs detective Nick Curelli and officer Dan Cassidy, who traveled over on the next boat, transported Mr. McSteen back to the Island, where he was questioned about the crimes.
Police say they learned Mr. McSteen intended to travel by bus to Boston, where he was scheduled on a 7 pm flight to Ireland.
A not guilty plea was entered at his arraignment in Edgartown District Court on Monday. He was released on $2,500 cash bail, and is due back in court on March 6.
Land Bank expands Sepiessa Point protection
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank this week announced that it had purchased a conservation restriction over an 18.9-acre property that sits within its 164-acre Sepiessa Point Reservation in West Tisbury.
The seller was Elizabeth Brown Bayer and the price was $654,500.
The Bayer property includes a house and frontage on Tiah's Cove. Visitors to Sepiessa Point currently use Clam Point Road and must cross the easterly portion of the Bayer property in order to reach a parking area and boat slide.
The restriction will limit development to a single building envelope around the existing dwelling and protect wildlife habitat and pond water quality, said James Lengyel, executive director of the Land Bank.
Oak Bluffs sewage is in the news
Apparently aficionados of sewering are mighty impressed with the Oak Bluffs and Edgartown wastewater systems and the technology used to connect the Martha's Vineyard Hospital to the Oak Bluffs system.
The January/February issue of "Government Engineering Magazine, The journal for public infrastructure," includes a feature story (www.govengr.com/ArticlesJan08/matha.pdf) about the system and the connection.
"Pump Technology Conquers Tough Flows, New generation pump provides the right connection for Martha's Vineyard hospital," describes the challenges inherent on the Vineyard. "Nearly every wastewater utility confronts its own unique considerations. However, few rival those on Martha's Vineyard, the premier vacation Island off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.," says the unidentified story author.
Tisbury man charged with sexual assault
Tisbury police officers arrested Walas Rodrigues of Vineyard Haven on charges of forcible rape and indecent assault and battery on Jan. 28. He was arraigned in the Edgartown District Court on Monday and charged with two counts of forcible rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 years of age or older, and one count of assault and battery.
Tisbury police chief John Cashin said Officer Michael Gately responded to a call at 5:11 am on Jan. 26 from the emergency department at Martha's Vineyard Hospital about a woman seeking treatment who said she had been sexually assaulted.
"Our officer contacted a young woman there who stated she had been sexually assaulted by a Brazilian male in a house at 5 Daggett Avenue," Chief Cashin said. The woman told Officer Gately that she met Mr. Rodrigues, age 25, at a party, and alleged that he assaulted her at his house after she gave him a ride home.
Chief Cashin said further investigation by Detective Mark Santon led to Mr. Rodrigues's arrest last week. At a pretrial hearing on Feb. 4, Mr. Rodrigues was assigned public counsel and another pretrial hearing was set for March 3. Bail was set at $30,000 cash with a surety of $3,000. Mr. Rodrigues currently is being held at the Dukes County Jail.
Sharky's to expand in Edgartown
Owners of Sharky's Cantina, the Oak Bluffs restaurant and bar, say they have permits in place to open a second establishment in Edgartown. The Edgartown selectmen approved a seasonal liquor permit, after a hearing on Jan. 24. The new restaurant is scheduled to open in early May.
"Same menu, same prices, same atmosphere, same drinks," said J.B. Blau, co-owner of the popular Mexican establishment.
The new restaurant will be at 266 Upper Main Street, which was once the location of the well-known Lawry's Seafood restaurant.
The facility has 135 seats, including an outdoor deck dining area.
Senator O'Leary will hold office hours Friday
Cape and Islands state Senator Robert O'Leary will hold office hours tomorrow in the Katherine Cornell Theatre on Spring Street in Vineyard Haven, from 1 to 4 pm. Island residents are invited to stop by and speak with the senator.
Tisbury reminds residents to shovel walks
Many Tisbury residents with sidewalks in front of their homes slacked off on shoveling duties after the last snowstorm, according to a press release from town administrator John Bugbee this week.
Sidewalks that are not shoveled present a safety issue for pedestrians, who risk injury when they are forced to walk in the street, Mr. Bugbee said.
Given that a Tisbury bylaw requires homeowners to keep their sidewalks clear, Mr. Bugbee included a "friendly reminder" that failure to comply with the regulation may result in a $20 fine. For anyone who has questions, comments or needs assistance in keeping sidewalks clear, call Mr. Bugbee at 508-696-4203.
Youth task force hires new coordinator
The Dukes County Health Council Youth Task Force (YTF) announced this week it has hired Theresa Manning of Aquinnah to fill the newly created position of Youth Task Force Coordinator.
The YTF recently received a one-year $90,000 grant from the Massachusetts Attorneys General's Office. The money will be used to fund the position and develop a long-term substance abuse prevention program aimed at 7th- and 8th- grade middle school students and parents.
The coordinator's responsibilities include identifying and evaluating existing policies within the community that address youth access to alcohol and other drugs and coordinating surveys, parent education, and other activities. YTF is seeking a federal grant to extend its efforts.
Ms. Manning is the former program director of Big Brothers Big Sisters and most recently was the social service coordinator for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).
According to a press release, the mission of the YTF is to reduce substance abuse and other risky behaviors among Island youth "by promoting community-wide health and wellness for youth and families through a cooperative, integrated network of youth, parents, health practitioners, health-care and social service organizations, public officials, educators, law enforcement officers, and other community members."
The YTF office is located in the Dukes County administration building at the airport.
A news item in the February issue of 55 Plus Times, a monthly newsletter prepared by the Island Councils on Aging inserted in the Jan. 31 issue of The Times, incorrectly stated that broadcasters would convert from analog to digital format in 2008, a move that would make older model TVs obsolete. The correct year is 2009.
A chart included in a story published in the Jan. 31 issue of The Times, "Island primary turnout expected to be high as competition stiffens," dropped the last digits of three numbers. The number of Chilmark Republicans is 80, not 8; Chilmark unenrolled is 390, not 39; and West Tisbury unenrolled is 1,140, not 1,14.