Tags Posts tagged with "Chappaquiddick"


Well, why not?

Alina Wen, left, and Rod Backus played table tennis on the Chappy Ferry on Sunday. – Photos by Lynn Christoffers

This past Sunday, Martha’s Vineyard Table Tennis Club players confronted a new challenge: keeping the ball in play while riding the moving Chappy ferry.

Partners Rod Backus and Rae Carter, left, faced Alina Wen and Bob O'Rourke in a friendly doubles match on the Chappy ferry, held as a promotional event for the Martha's Vineyard Table Tennis Club.
Partners Rod Backus and Rae Carter, left, faced Alina Wen and Bob O’Rourke in a friendly doubles match on the Chappy ferry, held as a promotional event for the Martha’s Vineyard Table Tennis Club.

Regular team members Alina Wen, Rod Backus, Rae Carter, and club president Bob O’Rourke gave puzzled dockside viewers an admirable demonstration of singles and doubles matches as the ferry motored along to several points on the short route between the Edgartown dock and Chappaquiddick. Ferry owner Peter Wells was most cooperative, and directed the ferry by intercom — with tennis table in situ on the boat — to detour from its usual route so that the game could be photographed from various angles. George Fisher captained the ferry, and Mate Eric Gilley deftly netted stray balls that blew into the water.

Once the table tennis On Time ferry docked, team members assembled for a game (and photos) on the lawn at the Old Sculpin Gallery, in front of the whale sculpture and lifeboat. Though the club typically plays at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) cafeteria, or at the YMCA, these games on the go were designed by the club to spread the word and expand the presence of table tennis on the Island.

Founding player-members Albert Lau, Bruce Golden, Bob O’Rourke, and friends organized as a sanctioned club four years ago, and the Table Tennis Club now boasts more than 70 occasional players, with 25 weekly active members. A growing competitive sport on the Island, the club is a member of USA Table Tennis, the national association for the worldwide Olympic sport. Members participate in tournaments throughout New England.

Last winter, the club initiated a Teens Table Tennis program at Alex’s Place at the YMCA. This fall, they have plans to start a new program at the high school, providing coaching and equipment for students. Club equipment includes a table tennis “robot,” and they regularly host a guest coach from off-Island to provide specialized training.

And appropriately, they’ll be back on Chappy: In August, the Chappy Community Center, in cooperation with the club, will host the annual “Chappy Pong” table tennis tournament, open to all. Winners will take home Morning Glory Farm pies for their efforts.

The club welcomes new members of all (well, most) ages, from 6 years old to 85. Their regular venues are at the Martha’s Vineyard High School cafeteria every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and at the YMCA each Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Annual membership dues of $50 covers costs for new equipment and expenses. For more information about the Martha’s Vineyard Table Tennis Club, contact Bob O’Rourke at 508-627-7902; a website is coming soon.

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Sampson’s Hill property owner disputes claim he is not a responsible property owner.

An aerial view of a portion of the compound at the center of a dispute on Chappaquiddick. – Courtesy VRBO.com

A sprawling rental property on Chappaquiddick and the complaints it has generated from neighbors who claim the owner is running an inn in a residential neighborhood highlight the friction that sometimes erupts in communities dotted with vacation rentals, particularly those that are marketed to large groups, and the line that divides private property rights and zoning rules.

Over time, Stephen Olsson of Manchester, N.H., has cobbled together four abutting lots on Sampson’s Hill, and built three luxury estates with shared amenities that serve as high-end rental properties.

According to some of Mr. Sampson’s neighbors, the rural quietude of Chappaquiddick they enjoy is being systematically shattered by the constant activities associated with his rental properties.

The latest salvos in what has been an ongoing battle were exchanged at a public hearing on May 20 before the Edgartown zoning board of appeals (ZBA), where Mr. Olsson applied for a special permit to install a third swimming pool on his property. The ZBA unanimously denied the application, 5 to 0, with board member Nancy Whipple punctuating her strong “no” vote by upbraiding Mr. Olsson for being “a bad neighbor,” according to minutes from the meeting.

It was not the first time neighbors had turned out in force to complain about the properties. In August 2012, about 30 Chappaquiddick residents packed an Edgartown selectmen’s meeting to complain about the noise created by the property.  Edgartown Health Agent Matt Poole said at the meeting that he’d been repeatedly denied access to the property, and that he was prepared to take out a warrant to make an inspection. Mr. Olsson was repeatedly accused of running a commercial enterprise in a residential zone — all of Chappaquiddick is zoned residential.

According to the property website marthasvineyardluxuryrentals.com, renters have their choice of three estates; each sleeps 16 people at $15,000 per week. “The Captain’s Home” is a “luxury 6 bedroom, 4.5 bath home;” “The Monet Estate” is a “luxury 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home;” and “The Country Estate” has a main house and a cottage. Each property description lists access to heated full-size pool, a tennis/basketball court, and a volleyball court.

The battle for Sampson’s Hill underscores a conflict that comes up with increasing regularity on Martha’s Vineyard — when is a home-rental business considered a business?

“Fails straight-face test”

In a conversation with The Times on Wednesday, Mr. Poole said that he eventually obtained a police warrant to enter one of the three properties in February 2013. When he arrived at the property on Chapel Avenue, along with Edgartown Building Inspector Leonard Jason and and an Edgartown Police officer, Mr. Olsson, who had been notified of the warrant, was on the premises, along with a Barnes Moving truck.

“We found him moving beds and mattresses out of the house,” Mr. Poole said.

Mr. Poole found that there were at least four bedrooms in a house that was permitted for two bedrooms.  “There were also more undefined spaces being used for sleeping space,” he said. Mr. Poole said that Mr. Olsson’s purchase and redivision of an abutting three-acre lot allowed him to allocate more land to the Chapel Avenue house, bringing him into compliance with the bedroom-to-land area ratio. Mr. Poole said the septic system on the property is adequate for four bedrooms. “He’s taken significant steps to come into compliance. I don’t know if I can say it’s fully compliant, but it’s more compliant than it was,” he said. “It has a history of being used in excess of permitting capacity; hopefully it’s a thing of the past. Towns don’t have the resources to birddog these problems.”

Mr. Poole said the property has a troubled history, but the issue of whether it’s a commercial entity in violation of town zoning bylaws is not under his board of health purview. “But if you look at his advertisements, a two-bedroom house that sleeps 14 fails the straight-face test,” he said.

No silence

According to minutes of the May 20 ZBA hearing, abutters said that the noise from the frequent pool parties, and often loutish behavior, were shattering the Chappy silence.

At the hearing, Mr. Olsson said he did his best to control noise on his property, and showed the board an informational sheet that he passes out to all his renters, reminding them of the Edgartown noise ordinance. Chappy resident Pamela Lindgren said that the police had been called on several occasions, “but it’s difficult to get the police to respond to noise complaints on Chappy.”

Chappy resident Joan Abdi wrote in an email that the existing two pools “already have contributed to the disturbances of our peace and quiet by virtue of the noise, the music, and the lights created by his tenants, often late into the night.”

Several contractors under Mr. Olsson’s hire, however, said they had never seen parties there. Mr. Olsson said that he rents to families mostly, not to college kids.

Abuse of neighborhood

Abutter Ron Monterosso showed the board copies of rental advertisements that describe Mr. Olsson’s compound.

“You can’t have separate properties with shared, elite amenities,” Mr. Monterosso told The Times on Tuesday. “How is that not an abuse of residential neighborhood? How is this not changing the character of the neighborhood?”

“He has golf carts so tenants can drive from one property to the next,” Mr. Monterosso said. “The only difference from a hotel is there’s no reception and there’s no one watching.”

Mr. Monterosso has also found himself on the receiving end of noise complaints from Mr. Olsson. Several times last summer, Edgartown police filed reports related to complaints of gunshots on Chappaquiddick. The source was a private firing range Mr. Monterosso had constructed on his property at 1 Handy Avenue.

The range, built in October 2013, has been examined by police and the building inspector, and complies with state law.

Asked in an earlier interview what he thought about how the noise affected the peace and tranquility of his neighborhood, as well as his relationship with his neighbor, Mr. Monterosso said his neighbor runs equipment, including chippers and brush cutters, on a regular basis.

“And his tenants play their stereos at the same decibel level as maybe a shot. So what’s the difference, it’s all noise,” he said. “What is so sacred about his noise? I don’t get it.”

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Following an eight year period when passage was impossible, Norton Point beach, shown in the foreground, is once again open to over sand vehicles by permit for travel between Chappaquiddick island and Katama. – Photo by Bill Brine

The Norton Point Beach over sand vehicle (OSV) route is officially open, once again providing a land route between Chappaquiddick and Katama following an eight year hiatus.

Chris Kennedy, The Trustees of Reservations Martha’s Vineyard superintendent said the passage was reopened on Sunday. OSV drivers need to have both a Norton Point OSV permit and a Cape Poge/Wasque OSV permit if they wish to travel to or from Chappy via the Dike Bridge to Norton Point Beach, Mr. Kennedy said. The Trustees manage Norton Point beach for Dukes County.

Oversand vehicle permit fees are: $180 Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge only, $90 Norton Point Beach resident permit only (vehicle must be registered on Martha’s Vineyard), and $140 Norton Point non-resident permit. Combination permits for both Norton Point Beach and Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge are $300 for vehicles not registered on Martha’s Vineyard and $250 for vehicles registered on Martha’s Vineyard.

People who wish to travel to or from Chappy via the beach must have a combination permit on the vehicle, Mr. Kennedy said.

For the past eight years Chappaquiddick was an island in name as well as fact, cut off from the rest of Edgartown by a breach in the two-mile Norton Point Beach that separates Katama Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

The re-established land route creates an additional complication for Peter Wells, owner of the Chappy ferry, which for the past eight years provided the only means of vehicle transport across the harbor. Mr. Welles is back to handing out two-way tickets.

In April 2007, a one-two punch of storm-driven ocean waves and powerful spring tides knocked open a cut in the beach. The result was two long, narrow spits of sand stretching east and west toward one another. The cut continued to migrate eastward to Wasque Point, in a natural cycle recorded many times in the past four centuries.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank announced yesterday the purchase of a 30.6-acre property at Toms Neck in Edgartown for $5,170,000 from seller Ann Floyd and others.

The property, made up of overgrown farm fields, surrounds Pease Pond and has long views out to the Cape Poge Pond, a prolific shellfish resource. The Land Bank’s acquisition of the property will conserve several pre-subdivided building lots, and reduce the potential number of future septic systems in Cape Poge Pond’s watershed, according to a press release.

“The acquisition was singular in Land Bank history, however, for reasons unrelated to the land itself: The transaction was an unusual collaboration between donors, volunteer creditors, and a remarkable citizens’ organization known as the Chappaquiddick Open Space Committee,” the press release said.

The committee, chaired by Nancy Hugger, arranged for the Toms Neck property’s acquisition and its financing. Of the $5.17 million cost, $2.2 million was donated outright and $1.9 million was collectively loaned to the Land Bank by 11 Chappaquiddick families.

Management planning is underway. The Land Bank expects the property will be opened to the public in 2016.

Anyone with questions about the acquisition is encouraged to attend one of the Land Bank Commission’s regular weekly meetings at 5 pm on Mondays, or one of the Edgartown town land bank advisory board’s meetings at 4:30 pm on the first Thursday of the month, in the Land Bank’s offices at 167 Main Street in Edgartown. Call 508-627-7141 for more information.

What a difference a week makes.

Photographer Doug Burke left the shutter open for 24 minutes to capture this image of the Chappy ferry.
Just a week earlier, Cornelius Sullivan shot drone footage of the Chappy ferry cutting a path through a frozen harbor.
Chappy, solid: Just a week earlier, Cornelius Sullivan shot drone footage of the Chappy ferry cutting a path through a frozen harbor.

Last week, we published a video that Cornelius Sullivan produced with a drone. Solid ice had coated Edgartown harbor, stranding the Chappy Ferry on the Edgartown side, and Chappaquiddick residents on their side. Ferry owner and Captain Peter Wells, with the help of an excavator, freed the ferry (and the Chappaquiddickers).

A week really matters. On Saturday, March 14, Doug Burke took the photo (above) of the ferry crossing a glassy, entirely liquid harbor.

We asked Doug how he got this phantom image, and here’s what he told us: “It was about 5:45 am, and I had pulled up to Memorial Wharf. An SUV pulled up on the other side.” The ferry captain hopped in the boat a few minutes before the usual 6 am run to fetch the driver on Chappy. “By the time I got set up, the ferry was on the Chappy side. I had just started taking the shot when it left Chappy.” Doug left the shutter open for 24 minutes, at f22. “I was shooting with a Canon, on a tripod obviously, on ‘Bulb’ mode. I got lucky, for the boat never left again until the sun was up, and the lights had gone out. So I caught half of one round trip.”

We featured some of Doug’s photos in this story on the Oak Bluffs fish pier last spring.

Doug is one of several “mentees” of Island fine art photographer Alison Shaw, and has been coming to the Island since the mid 1980’s, when his parents owned a cottage here.

He works now as the director of sales for a division of EMC, a computer storage company based in Hopkinton.

“But I try to get down to the Vineyard every other week,” he said,  to a cottage he bought a while back on Hines Point.

You can see more of Doug’s work at dougburkephotography.com and on his Facebook page, Doug Burke Photography.

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Captain Peter Wells turned to Yankee ingenuity to open the vital harbor link.

Drone video coverage by Cornelius Sullivan

The blast of subzero Siberian air that descended on New England last week temporarily put the On Time ferry, the only connection between Chappy and Edgartown, out of commission. According to ferry owner Peter Wells, service was suspended from approximately 7:30 pm Friday night until 8 am Saturday.

“There were eight people stranded on the Edgartown side, and one person on the Chappy side,” Mr. Wells said. “I told them there was nothing we could do. Apparently the people on the Edgartown side went to the Harbor View and had a great time.”
Mr. Wells said the plunging temperatures had frozen saltwater and freshwater together, creating ice that was unusually strong and sharp-edged. He added that the ice thickened rapidly because of the lack of wind, and the lack of current in the harbor due to the narrowing Norton Point breech.

“At seven on Saturday morning, it was clear the ice wasn’t going anywhere, so we put our new excavator on a ferry and started cutting out a channel,” he said.

Mr. Wells said the large, floating chunks of ice give him the most concern. “Some of them were bigger than a pool table and a foot thick, and they weren’t melting,” he said. “I started to recognize some of them coming in and out with the tide.”
Mr. Wells estimated it’s been about 20 years since he’s seen ice that thick in the harbor. “We’ve had it easy for a long time,” he said. “If it’s not this cold next winter I’ll be surprised, and I’m not easily surprised.”

Chappaquiddick is isolated in the winter. The miles of sand beach that attract visitors in the summer are deserted. But the snow and ice do not slow changes to the natural landscape. That is most evident in the dynamic changes taking place at the breach that separates Wasque Point and Norton Point Beach.

In a cycle centuries old, Norton Point Beach is beginning to overlap Wasque Point as a prelude to sealing the breach that has left Chappaquiddick an island in fact as well as in name.

Carl Treyz, a seasonal Chappy resident and skilled amateur photographer, captured the changes using a drone on Feb. 18. His dramatic aerial video can be seen above.

Woody Filley, a Chappy resident who has been closely monitoring the breach, provided an update in an email dated March 1.

“The width of the opening is down to about 150 feet, depending on the tide,” Mr. Filley said. “The growth of Norton Point to the east between Jan. 3rd and today was approximately 690 feet. The beach on the way out seems pretty stable, with some scouring on the ocean side. As you get closer to the Chappy side, the beach gets thinner in some areas, and in some places is not much higher at the ocean side than the bay side. Unfortunately, a good extra-high spring tide and some strong northwest winds could threaten another opening. But time will tell.”

This map shows the change in the beach recorded by Woody Filley.
This map shows the change in the beach recorded by Woody Filley.

Chris Kennedy, Martha’s Vineyard superintendent for The Trustees of Reservations, said there’s a good chance the opening may close by this summer, but it is unlikely beachgoers in over-sand vehicles (OSVs) will be able to travel onto or off Norton Point via Wasque, as there is still a sizable cliff to contend with along the Wasque shoreline. “I expect that OSVs will have to travel from the Dike Bridge down Leland Beach to drive onto Norton Point Beach where it attaches at Wasque Point,” he said.

The current cycle began in April 2007, when a one-two punch of storm-driven ocean waves and powerful spring tides knocked open a cut in Norton Point Beach. The result was two long, narrow spits of sand stretching east and west toward one another. Over the course of the past eight years, the cut has continued to migrate eastward to Wasque Point, in a natural cycle, recorded many times in the past four centuries, in which the cut eventually disappears into Wasque Point.

The breach as seen from the Wasque bluffs  last week. Photo courtesy TTOR.
The breach as seen from the Wasque bluffs last week. Photo courtesy TTOR.

This cycle was described in detail as part of a report prepared in connection with the relocation of the Schifter house from the edge of the disappearing Wasque bluffs.

Following months of preparation by a team of engineers, contractors, and builders, in July 2013 International Chimney Corp. of Williamsville, N.Y., a company that specializes in building relocation, moved the 8,313-square-foot, seven-bedroom seasonal home of Richard and Jennifer Schifter of Washington, D.C., including its foundation, basement bowling alley, and massive two-story chimney, back from the brink to an adjoining lot 275 feet away.

The Woods Hole Group (WHG), an international environmental, scientific, and engineering consulting organization headquartered in Falmouth, prepared an eight-page analysis of the historical shoreline changes and coastal geomorphology for the south-facing shoreline of Chappaquiddick for Mr. Schifter. Dated Dec. 11, 2012, the report provided a historical context for the breach.

A chart from 1894.
A chart from 1894.

The report described the three-stage natural history of periodic breaks in Norton Point Beach, the two-mile-long barrier beach that separates Katama Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

In the first stage, ocean waves and tidal levels combine to punch a hole in vulnerable spots in the barrier beach.

During stage 2, the inlet begins to migrate east toward Chappaquiddick, and the dominant easterly-flowing shoreline current causes the Norton Point spit to grow. As that spit extends to the east, the barrier beach on the Chappy side of the inlet tends to shorten and erode.

The process of easterly inlet migration and barrier spit growth occurs until the eastern barrier is completely eroded and Norton Point begins to overlap the southwest corner of Chappaquiddick. During this middle phase of stage 2, the absence of a sediment source from the west, in combination with tidal currents directed against Chappaquiddick, causes rapid erosion of the south-facing shoreline.

In stage 3, the tidal channel that connects Katama Bay to the Atlantic Ocean eventually closes, as tidal currents are not strong enough to flush sediment from the opening. Waves gradually push the Norton Point barrier spit to the north, and the beach eventually welds onto Chappaquiddick.

Finally, during the last part of stage 3 the beach/dune system begins to retreat as ocean waves, tides, and currents cause erosion. The process continues until a new breach in the Katama Bay barrier forms, and then the cycle starts over.

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The Trustees of Reservations host their own version of a Chappy sleigh ride.

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The Trustees of Reservations hosted a Chappaquiddick Sleigh Ride last weekend during Edgartown in Christmas. Running twice a day, the personalized tours began at the Mytoi Gardens with hot chocolate, tea, and holiday cookies. As someone who has never been to Chappy, I decided to go — this would be a great way to see the Island. Once we finished our cookies, we were ushered by Trustees staff into a pickup truck, or “sleigh,” which was decorated with Christmas baubles and garlands.

Trustees educator Molly Peach was on hand to point out Chappaquiddick highlights, including the nests ospreys had built on poles placed for them. Any time a member of the tour had a question, Molly was quick with an answer. The ride was extremely pleasant, especially when the heavy blankets were passed around.

Once the sleighs reached Cape Poge Lighthouse, there was a quick tour, which included the history of the lighthouse, which has been moved four separate times, and which was originally located 200 yards offshore. Who knew? Although no snowy owls made an appearance, the tour was a fun way to see a beautiful, remote part of the Island.

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After 23 years of exploring Chappaquiddick, Carl Treyz gets a whole new view.

After 23 years of vacationing on Chappaquiddick, Carl Treyz thought he had seen all of the island there was to see. He’d hiked and biked all the trails, driven out to the most remote beaches, and fished every shore. Then last year Treyz bought a quadcopter — a remote-control aerial mount — for his GoPro camera. He began to see the island from a whole new perspective: from above. In an email to The Times, Treyz answered a few questions about his videography, and how it can be applied to conservation efforts.


Do you have any background in photo/video?

I first got into photography and videography when I bought my GoPro three years ago. I bought it for a college study-abroad trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands. I ended up making a series of films (like blog entries) of my time there so that my friends and family could get a glimpse of what I was doing. Since then I have been making short films and doing photography on the side. I have filmed everything from sharks to woodpeckers.

When did you get into doing aerial photography?

Just over a year ago I ordered the quadcopter specifically for my GoPro. It opened up a whole new world. Now I take it with me whenever I travel. When I traveled to the Bahamas I was able to get some great footage, and aid researchers by giving them an aerial perspective. I was working at the Cape Eleuthera Institute for the Shark Research and Conservation Program from August to December of 2013.

How do you keep track of the quadcopter when it’s in the air?
The quadcopter is controlled by a single controller with a range of up to about 2,000 meters, depending on trees, hills, and weather. I do “line of sight flying,” and always have eyes on the quadcopter to keep it to a safe distance. Fortunately, the quadcopter has a setting which allows the controller to be the center point, so no matter which way it is facing, if you pull back on the controller it will head back toward it. It is also equipped with GPS, and will hover at a set altitude without any input from the controller. When all else fails, it comes with a safety feature, so if the batteries in the controller die or the controller gets dropped in the water, the quad will automatically sense that it has lost connection and fly back and land itself where it was first turned on.

How do you get to the spots you film?

I usually just drive up to these places, like The Trustees of Reservations and Land Bank trails. After all the time I’ve spent on Chappy, I thought I had hiked and explored every part of it, but since using the quadcopter I’ve found spots I never knew existed.

Such as?

One of the new spots I found was across from the Gut on North Neck Road. I had been to the Gut many times before, but had never been on the other side on Cape Pogue Bay. After flying over the Gut, I saw another pull-off by The Trustees of Reservations, which I then decided to stop at and have a look around. I ended up getting the intro shot to my video from that location through the winding pines and out over the steady drop to the bay. Unfortunately, I was not able to fly at my favorite stop, the rock pile, along East Beach due to wind conditions, but it was great to see the Cape Pogue Lighthouse looking back, from the ocean’s point, of view.

How long did it take to film this and edit/produce it?

The whole process took me about two weeks to complete. All of the filming for this video was done over a few days when the winds were just right, and the rest of two weeks was spent editing. I took over an hour of footage, which got condensed down to almost three minutes. I can get around 15 minutes of film from one flight, so there is a lot of footage to go through.

What do you think of the fisheye distortion effect you get with aerial photos? Do you like it, or does it pose a problem when editing video, etc.?

I think the fisheye is a defining characteristic of the GoPro cameras. I have learned to embrace it over the years, and feel that it gives a much broader perspective and feeling of landscape. It is actually fairly easy to get rid of the fisheye effect of the GoPro. There are settings where it can shoot in a narrower field of view, negating the fisheye lens. GoPro also has free software that can take the fisheye effect out of the video and pictures.


The Chappy ferry and Edgartown beyond. — Photo by Carl Treyz


The Chappy ferry and Edgartown in the fog. — Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


Chappy —Photo by Carl Treyz


The breach. — Photo by Carl Treyz


The breach. — Photo by Carl Treyz


Wasque. — Photo by Carl Treyz


The Chappy Community Center. — Photo by Carl Treyz


Dyke Bridge. — Photo by Carl Treyz


Dyke Bridge. — Photo by Carl Treyz


Cape Pogue Pond to Cape Pogue Bay. — Photo by Carl Treyz


Dyke Bridge and Cape Pogue Pond. — Photo by Carl Treyz


The Gay Head Light —Photo by Carl Treyz


The Gay Head Light —Photo by Carl Treyz


Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz


Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz


Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz


Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz


Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz


Oak Bluffs —Photo by Carl Treyz

Any other Vineyard projects? What’s next?

I have flown briefly over Oaks Bluff and Gay Head, but am planning on making a similar video containing all of the lighthouses on the Island. I am also producing films and working on more projects for the EnTidaled Project.

Tell us more about EnTidaled.

I co-founded the EnTidaled Project with several friends I have met over the years through my time in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In a nutshell, we’re striving to connect people to conservation and sustainability efforts around the world, using engaging photos, stories, and short films. We hope to help bridge the gap between science and the public, because there is a lot of amazing, important work being done that people just don’t know about. In a time when everyone is connected to the Internet, fewer and fewer people are connected to the outdoors and things happening in their own backyard. Most people would rather watch a short, two- or three-minute entertaining video than read a scientific paper. We just started, but are getting ready to launch our community page, which will be featuring several well-respected organizations and individuals who want to work with the EnTidaled Project to increase visibility for their efforts and hope to reach new audiences.

What else do you do?

I am currently living in Westchester, New York. Right now I am working as a dental assistant for a private dentist as well as at a local dental clinic. I recently applied to dental school, and hope to start next fall. Outside of dentistry and videography, I am an avid fisherman, PADI divemaster, and just love spending time outdoors.

For more info on EnTidaled: enTidaledproject.org.

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Edgartown selectmen. Left to right: Margaret Serpa, Art Smadbeck and Michael Donaroma. — Photo by Rich Saltzberg

A large group of Chappaquiddick residents aired their concerns about spotty wireless telephone reception on the small island and the need to improve coverage at a meeting with Edgartown selectmen Monday night. One overriding question remained: whether to continue to pursue a distributed antenna system (DAS) or turn efforts to erecting a more conventional tower in the Island’s easternmost community.

Many of those who spoke framed the issue as one of public safety. The danger of spotty service resulting in the failure of emergency transmissions was a recurring theme in audience anecdotes and statements.

The Chappaquiddick Wireless Committee has directed its efforts towards a DAS , which relies on a network of small antennas, often placed on utility poles, as an alternative to conventional towers. In June 2012, selectmen accepted the only response to a request for proposals (RFP) to build and operate a DAS on Chappaquiddick. In a joint venture, Grain Communications Group, Inc. of Sarasota, Florida, and Broadband Service Group, Inc., a Michigan-based company, submitted the proposal, which was also expected to provide high-speed data communications, in addition to voice. But the developers were unable to attract any mobile carriers to sign up.

Much of the discussion Monday night focused on the scope and merits of the committee’s current RFP and its limited scope focused on DAS. Responding to an overwhelming show of hands in support, the selectmen agreed to expand the RFP in order to explore “other systems,” presumably towers.

During the discussion, wireless committee member Bob Gurnitz laid the blame for the delay in the sole focus on DAS. Mr. Gurnitz said that DAS had no appeal to cell providers due to its cost and reliability and such a system only had the support of a minority of residents.

In a followup email, Mr. Gurnitz told The Times, “The selectmen appeared to be very much in support of the direction suggested by the clear majority of those in attendance and we look forward to an expedited process which will result in high quality cell service on Chappy. Besides being an issue of convenience, lack of such service is clearly a public safety issue.”

Roger Becker, president of the Chappaquiddick Island Association and a member of the Wireless Committee, disagreed. Mr. Becker said the selectmen’s desire for a conventional tower on town-owned land was at the root of the delay.

“I was able to get my neighbors to email and request the selectmen get input from Chappy residents before moving ahead with plans for such a tower,” Mr. Becker said in a followup email to The Times. “It was easy to see the DAS was far superior in every way to the over-height tower as we were advised by a consultant hired by the town to get cell coverage for underserved areas of Edgartown, Katama and Chappy. The issue for Chappy is simply this: the cell providers aren’t interested in coming here because the demand for connection is very small. The signals from the tower in Edgartown cover the island to Sampson’s hill in the middle of the island leaving only about 300 houses without a signal and the beaches.”

While stating no preference, Chris Kennedy, the Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent for The Trustees of the Reservations, the conservation group that owns or manages much of the island’s extensive beachfront, highlighted the safety concerns. Mr. Kennedy said there is no reliable cell phone signal on the beaches from Wasque to Cape Poge and calls are routinely dropped or garbled, which could cost valuable minutes in an emergency.

In other business Monday,  selectmen accepted with regrets a notice of retirement from longtime Edgartown Police sergeant Ken Johnson. Prior to adjournment, selectmen canceled the August 18 meeting due to an anticipated lack of quorum.