News in Brief
Time to spring ahead
Daylight-saving time will begin Sunday. This is the second year most of the country will set clocks one hour ahead three weeks earlier than has been customary.
The 2005 energy bill, signed by President Bush in August of that year, included a provision that added four weeks to daylight-saving time, beginning in 2007.
Daylight saving time used to start on the first Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October. It now ends on the first Sunday in November.
Chilmark Police receive grant for traffic safety enforcement
The Chilmark Police Department has received a $7,100 grant to help fund stepped up enforcement of traffic safety related laws. The added police vigilance will occur during specific three-week periods over the next seven months as part of a statewide program.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security provided the grant, part of a $3.6 million state-wide program that provides money for high visibility enforcement and the purchase of traffic enforcement equipment.
The money will be used to pay for police overtime and the purchase of traffic monitoring equipment capable of recording the speed of passing vehicles and the time of day, according to police officer Jeff Day.
A three-week enforcement period titled "Road respect" begins on March 26 and ends on April 16. The assigned police will focus on drivers who speed, tailgate, run stop signs, and otherwise drive in a dangerous or aggressive manner, said Mr. Day.
The police focus will shift to seatbelts in May (Click it or ticket) and drunk driving (Over the limit, under arrest) in July and again in August.
Mr. Day said that the added enforcement is timely considering the recent number of traffic accident injuries. He said the program is not tied to any effort to write more traffic citations. The only goal, according to a press release, is a reduction in traffic accidents and fatalities and an increase in the use of seatbelts.
Selectman, planning board races in Edgartown
Margaret Serpa, chairman of the Edgartown selectmen, will face a challenger in town elections this spring. Robert Fynbo, a Chappaquiddick resident and Island businessman, will challenge Ms. Serpa, who is seeking reelection to a three-year term.
A five-year term on the planning board is also being contested. Incumbent Roger Becker will face challenger Robert Cavallo for that position.
A candidates' forum, organized by the League of Women Votes, is scheduled for March 27 at 7 pm, at the Old Whaling Church.
To vote in the town elections, residents have until Wed., March 19, to register. Town Hall will be open from 9 am to 8 pm on that day.
Selectman, finance, parks seats contested in Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs voters will decide contested races for selectman, finance and advisory committee member, and park commissioner in town elections scheduled for Thursday, April 10.
Two three-year terms for seats on the board of selectmen are up for grabs, and three candidates have filed papers seeking the office.
Incumbent selectmen Ron DiOrio and Duncan Ross both seek reelection. Challenging for a seat is Hans von Steiger, who has a background in engineering and finance and has been active on several town boards.
The finance and advisory board race features four candidates vying for three three-year terms. Joseph Alosso and Michael Perry seek re-election, while Mac Starks and Mr. von Steiger will challenge for the position. Mr. von Steiger says if he is elected selectman, he will forego a seat on the finance and advisory committee.
Three candidates will contest one open seat on the park commission. Gail Barmakian, Bill McGrath, and Nancy Phillips will compete for the three-year term.
The League of Women Voters has scheduled a candidates' forum for April 3, at 7 pm, at the Oak Bluffs School.
Candidates have until March 8 to withdraw from the races.
Tisbury beer and wine licensing regulations set
The Tisbury selectmen voted to approve amended beer and wine licensing policies, rules, and regulations following an hour-long work session and public hearing on Tuesday night at the Katharine Cornell Theatre.
The selectmen approved the licensing policies to make clear to voters exactly what Tisbury will allow, if voters approve a question on the April 15 town election ballot to permit beer and wine sales in certain restaurants.
After much discussion, the selectmen agreed to allow seasonal licenses to run any six months contiguously, instead of limiting them between the months of April to January. Both seasonal and year-round licenses will cost $1,500 annually. There will be no limit on the number licenses, since they will be granted at the discretion of the selectmen.
The selectmen also decided to eliminate one-day licenses, which would have allowed the service of beer and wine at catered functions held by non-profit groups or educational institutions. Their view was that people hosting private functions should be responsible for purchasing their own alcoholic beverages and that the caterer could supply a bartender - but no cash bar.
The selectmen increased the size of televisions allowed in licensed establishments from 15 inches to 36 inches, although selectman Denys Wortman objected. They also added a rule requiring licensed restaurants to provide a year-end report showing that the percentage of food sales amounts to at least 65 percent of total receipts.
A few other technicalities were addressed by the selectmen, in response to a letter from town counsel David Doneski from the law firm of Kopelman and Paige, after he reviewed the licensing policies.
Several business and restaurant owners attended the public hearing and commented on various rules and regulations.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill on Feb. 21 authorizing Tisbury's selectmen to issue beer and wine licenses to restaurants, pending voters' approval of a ballot question on the next town election ballot. The bill originated from a Home Rule Petition approved by Tisbury voters last spring at town meeting.
Nine apply for county manager job
Nine people have applied to become the next Dukes County manager, in round three of the effort to replace Winn Davis, who resigned in August of 2007.
The commissioners were scheduled to discuss the candidates at a special meeting yesterday evening. The process for narrowing the field, interviewing, and voting are not yet defined, and that process has been the subject of dispute among commissioners in recent weeks.
"I'm not sure how that's all going to play out," said commission chairman Leslie Leland of West Tisbury. "We have some questions we need to resolve. It's just at the beginning. That's the reason for the special meeting to see how to proceed expeditiously. It's an important decision, and it takes time."
In previous meetings, commissioners Tristan Israel of Tisbury and Carlene Gatting of Edgartown have questioned the need to hire a new manager, given the possibility that operations under the direct control of the county manager could soon be significantly reduced.
In response to a budget crunch, the county is seeking additional funding from Island towns to continue county health programs, rodent control, and engineering services.
The uncertainty is compounded by the work of the Dukes County Charter Study Commission, which could recommend changing the structure of county government.
Acting county manager Noreen Mavro-Flanders says that under the current charter, commissioners are obligated to hire a full-time county manager.
After bypassing the recommendations of its own search committee, which advised county commissioners to reopen the search this past September, the commissioners reviewed applications and interviewed three candidates in November 2007. After declining to offer any of the three candidates the manager's position, the commissioners voted to increase the salary offer to $75,000, and reopen the search.
Hospital invites community to health fair
The Martha's Vineyard Hospital annual health fair is scheduled for Saturday, March 15. The daylong event is designed to help members of the Island community learn more about healthier living.
Over 35 participants, including hospital staff members and other health and human service providers, will be on hand to talk about their programs and offer information on a variety of subjects, beginning at 8 am.
The hospital's laboratory will offer cholesterol screenings for a nominal charge of $5 from 8 am to noon in the outpatient laboratory. The hospital recommends that for optimal test results no food or dairy should be taken for 8 to12 hours prior to testing. Juice or clear liquids are acceptable.
Martha's Vineyard Community Services will offer half hour seminars on healthy lifestyles for the whole family. The Caitlin Raymond International Registry, which provides a registration service for bone marrow donors, will join the fair for the first time and conduct mouth swab and cheek cell collections.
Representatives of BMC HealthNet Plan and Vineyard Health Care Access Program will provide information on the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act and the Commonwealth Care Insurance Program.
Additional offerings include Pilates demonstrations, massage therapy, acupuncture, glaucoma screenings with Dr. David Finkelstein and exercise equipment demonstrations.
The Fair is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided by the hospital's Food and Nutrition department. For more information, call 508-693-4645.
Island soldiers need your help
You can help support Vineyard soldiers stationed in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe. Estelle Burnham of Edgartown, Bob Pacheco and Reliable Market, and Jo Ann Murphy, Dukes County's veteran's agent, are organizing a repeat of the effort that was so successful last year. The goal is to send parcels of food - not mess hall food or field rations, but highly desirable and badly wanted supplements to both - to Vineyarders in the military wherever they are posted.
Your donations will fuel the effort. Mr. Pacheco will supply the food, and Ms. Murphy will manage the shipping. Call Ms. Burnham, at 508-627-9521 for information. "If you can do anything at all, please," Ms. Burnham asks.
Habitat for Humanity looks for next homeowners
Habitat for Humanity and the town of Edgartown have teamed up to provide an opportunity for a local family that meets the required qualifications to purchase a new two-bedroom house.
The nonprofit, which relies on construction volunteers, and the town
are searching for a qualified family. According to a press release, applicants must be year-round Edgartown families with annual family incomes under 80 percent of the area median income (equal to $62,900 based on a family of four; less for a smaller family, more for a larger one).
The selected recipients must contribute between 350 and 500 work hours, depending on family size, of so-called sweat equity.
Applications are available at Bank of Martha's Vineyard, Edgartown National Bank, Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank, Edgartown Library, Edgartown Post Office and the Edgartown Town Hall, and Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard in the Vineyard Housing Office at 346 State Road, Vineyard Haven.
The application deadline is March 31. For more information, call 508-696-4646.
A Community Short published on Feb. 28, "Spring bazaar," incorrectly reported that there is a limit on vendor pricing. The items will be priced at the discretion of the vendors.