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Edgartown

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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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Outgoing Edgartown library director Jill Dugas Hughes at the groundbreaking ceremony in March, 2014. — File photo by Michelle Gross

Edgartown Public Library director Jill Dugas Hughes announced that she will retire effective August 30, 2015.

“I am committed to do everything within my power to make this transition go smoothly,” Ms. Hughes said in a letter to the board of trustees. “When I accepted this position, I made a commitment to the community to manage the library building project, from start to finish. I am fully committed to accomplishing this goal. To say that I will miss all of you and this community is an understatement. Please know that I will assist you in any way that I can to make sure that the community receives the best library possible.”

“Jill has been a true gift to the library,” board chairman Denise Searle said in an email to The Times. “There are few, if any, who could have stepped in during this time of dynamic change and managed to keep all facets of both the new and existing library functioning and moving in a positive direction.”

Ms. Hughes joined the Edgartown library as director in 2012, after serving as executive director of the Connecticut Library Consortium. “We wish her much happiness and success, and hope she will return many times in the days and years ahead to see the library she helped create, in full swing,” Ms. Searle said.

The board has established a search committee. Ms. Hughes will assist in the recruitment and identification of a new library director. “It’s not going to be an easy task to find someone with the skills and dedication Jill possesses; however, with her guidance and keen sense of what it takes to be successful, we are confident in finding a successor who will possess the experience, talent, and leadership skills necessary to move forward,” said trustee vice chairman Deanna Ahearn-Laird.

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Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby, who will become part of the leadership team, was promoted to lieutenant.

West Tisbury Police Chief Dan Rossi did the honors when it came time to pin the chief's badge on newly minted Edgartown Police Chief Dave Rossi, his brother as town clerk Wanda Williams looked on. Photo by Rich Saltzberg

In back-to-back votes Monday, Edgartown selectmen appointed Patrolman David Rossi to be the town’s new police chief, and appointed Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby to the rank of lieutenant.

Town Clerk Wanda Williams swore in both men before selectmen and an audience of friends, family members, Edgartown police, and Island law enforcement officials. West Tisbury Police Chief Daniel Rossi pinned the chief’s shield on his brother David’s uniform, to hearty applause.

The newly minted Edgartown police chief in turn pinned the lieutenant’s shield on Mr. Dolby’s uniform, and applause broke out again.

Edgartown Police Chief Dave Rossi pins lieutenant bars on Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby.
Edgartown Police Chief Dave Rossi pins lieutenant bars on Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby.

Following the completion of routine agenda items, Selectmen Arthur Smadbeck made the nominations for the appointments.

“I’ve known both for a very, very long time, and I just really couldn’t think of better hands to have Edgartown in at this juncture,” Mr. Smadbeck said.

In brief remarks, David Rossi spoke about his connections to the town and the community and said he wanted to do what was best for Edgartown. “I’m honored to be recommended for this position,” Officer Rossi said. “I’m a lucky guy.”

“And we’re a lucky town,” Selectmen Chairman Michael Donaroma said.

The appointments followed the recommendations made last week by acting Edgartown Police Chief John M. Collins, a labor lawyer and law enforcement specialist, hired to serve in the interim period following the retirement of Chief Tony Bettencourt.

In a detailed 89-page report, titled “A Blueprint for Excellence: An Evaluation of and Vision for the Edgartown Police Department,”

Mr. Collins recommended selectmen name Mr. Rossi, a 25-year veteran of the department, the new police chief.

Mr. Collins also recommended a “two-person approach” to the department’s leadership, and the appointment of Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby to the position of lieutenant, second in command.

“Between them, they have what it takes to provide the leadership the department needs, and they can feed off of each other’s strengths,” Mr. Collins said.

He said, “I have become convinced that these two make a terrific team and together possess the strengths, dedication, vision and capabilities needed to lead the Edgartown Police Department in the coming years.”

In his remarks, Mr. Rossi said he would act on the recommendations in the report, in particular on accreditation, to insure the town met national standards.

The generally celebratory mood was not universally shared. Repeating points he raised at annual town meeting last month, Peter Look criticized what he saw as a lack of public input in the appointment process, as well as a lack of public discussion about the findings in Mr. Collins’ report on the police department, which was released only last week. “I came here thinking we were going to discuss the report,” he said.

Mr. Look described the police chief’s position as the most important appointed position in the town, and said that the appointment process was a “done deal.”

Mr. Look emphasized that it was the procedure, not the people. “I support the candidates 100 percent,” he said.

Warren Gosson, a retired Oak Bluffs policeman and sharp critic of the Edgartown department, was less kind in his assessment.

Mr. Gosson, whose previous behavior toward selectmen was the subject of a police investigation, accused selectmen of violating the open meeting law. Reading from a prepared text on his cellphone as he stood in the middle of the room, Mr. Gosson was critical of the appointment process, and singled out the prior appointment of now retired chief Tony Bettencourt. Mr. Gosson’s unflattering remarks about Mr. Bettencourt were too much for many of the officers in the room, who left while Mr. Gosson spoke. Chairman Donaroma told Mr. Gosson he had one more minute. Mr. Gosson recommended the accredited Oak Bluffs Police Department should temporarily take over the Edgartown Police Department while it sought accreditation.

Mr. Donaroma had had enough and cut Mr. Gosson off.

“In the eight, ten, twelve years I’ve been here [as a selectman],” Mr. Donaroma said, “I’ve never felt more confident in a decision I’ve made in an appointment — ever.”

Mr. Donaroma said the selection process had worked well for Edgartown for the past 50 years.

Selectmen Margaret Serpa, who is related to the officers, recused herself from the appointments, but was present.

 

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The icy Triangle pyramid, symbol of a never-ending winter, finally melts.

The giant snow bank at the Triangle, as seen on March 24. –File photo by Ralph Stewart

It went from snow pile to no pile in just under four weeks. We launched our “Guess When the Triangle Snow Pile Will Melt Contest” in our March 26 issue, but the Triangle snow pyramid had been huge, and growing, since late January. It melted from a height of — well, we didn’t measure it, but it was humongous, maybe 12 feet, spanning at least half a dozen parking spaces — to a six-inch pile of dirt-encrusted slush, and then, quickly, to nothing but a wet parking spot.

The snow pile had diminished to the size of a medium-sized dog by April 20. –Photo by Michael Cummo
The snow pile had diminished to the size of a medium-sized dog by April 20. –Photo by Michael Cummo

We got dozens of guesses, ranging from early April to the end of May. Some were general (May 17) and some were very precise (12:11 am on April 25).

As reported two weeks ago, we routinely checked the snow pile for melting progress, noting that the dirt encasing it might lengthen the melting process (this was an unscientific theory).

On Monday, April 20, photographer Michael Cummo stopped by the Triangle around noon and noticed that the snow pile had gotten quite small, though not so small that a car could park in the spot it inhabited. With heavy rain and warm (ish) weather predicted, we knew it was a matter of days.

Only a pile of dirt remained in the early morning of April 21. By that afternoon, cars were parking where the giant pile had been. – Michael Cummo
Only a pile of dirt remained in the early morning of April 21. By that afternoon, cars were parking where the giant pile had been. – Michael Cummo

It turns out, it was a matter of hours, or maybe minutes. By early the next morning, the pile was gone. We scanned the spreadsheet that Times intern Elie Jordi created to track all the contestants.

Luckily for us, as we weren’t monitoring the pile with one of our webcams, there was a clear winner. Steve Parachini of Edgartown, ironically one of our very first guessers, had guessed 4:20 pm on 4/20. No one else was within a day of him. He’ll receive a gift certificate to Edgartown Meat and Fish Market.

Steve Parachini will take home a prize of meat and fish for guessing when the giant snow pile would melt.
Steve Parachini will take home a prize of meat and fish for guessing when the giant snow pile would melt.

The pile, we guessed, was ushered out of the parking lot and into the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road at some point during the storm on the night of April 20.

Good riddance, almost-never-ending winter of 2015, and congratulations, Mr. Parachini.

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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.

Opening soon! –MVTimes File photo

What a difference a week will make. Last week, we had crocuses and pinkletinks, and our little world starting to stretch its legs and shake off the sleepy dust. Now we have peeks of sunshine, scattered moments of T-shirt and flip-flop temperatures, and most important, the Red Sox back at Fenway. I was so excited to see the team take the field this week, and the Opening Ceremony was awesome! Tom Brady pitching to Papi? I mean … wow. And how does this relate to Edgartown, you may ask? Because the hammocks go up, the Sox go on the radio, and the napping is nothing short of transcendental. It is a first sign of glorious things to come.

We’re still on a bit of a seasonal cusp, as was made clear while looking for a place to take an out-of-town guest for dinner this past Monday night. We started with Atlantic, which is still closed a couple nights a week, then Rockfish — closed Mondays — then the Harbor View, which was open but slammed for 2-for-1 burger night, and finally we found ourselves back at our old standby: the Wharf. Which, of course, was my original suggestion, ahem. Anyway, as of Thursday, we will have Chesca’s join the ever-growing list of weekend dinner options, and Among the Flowers will be opening its doors this weekend for breakfast and lunch. We also have Atria back, after an early spring respite. And soon everything will be open all the time! Yippee!

April is Poetry Month, and the Edgartown library is celebrating with a special free program on Wednesday evening, April 22: a reading by two Island favorites, poet laureate Steve Ewing, and Rachel Baird. The words — wise, witty, and beautiful — begin to flow at 6:30 pm; a reception will follow.

April is also a favorite of schoolchildren everywhere, as it boasts the eagerly anticipated April vacation. If you have plans to get off the rock for a bit, have fun, and don’t forget to report back your adventures. If you are sticking around, have no fear: Felix has you covered. They invite you to spring into nature with their April vacation programs, April 20–24, 2015, from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Explore different Island properties, learn about wildlife, grow food, make crafts, sing songs, listen to stories, and much more. Every day will offer a different field trip, with destinations including The FARM Institute, where you can help collect eggs, check on the lambs, cook, and prepare for the growing season; Sassafras, where you will learn about survival, play sneak-up games, and spend the day in the Aquinnah woods and be wild; Trustees of Reservations Chappy properties, where you can explore the shore, comb the beach, and check out Mytoi Garden and the Cape Poge Lighthouse; Felix Neck, where you’ll learn about nature’s transformation, explore sights and sounds, and welcome back birds and insects from their winter ways; and Island Grown Schools; where you’ll travel the path from seed to fork: digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and tasting your way through the garden with games and songs. For questions or more information, call Felix Neck at 508-627-4850.

The Pink Squid Yacht Club is making a comeback this year, after raising thousands in past years for college-bound high school scholars. An organizational meeting will take place Tuesday, April 21, at 6:30 pm at the Wharf Pub in Edgartown. Those at the helm strive to continue the great tradition of generosity set by the pioneers of this great club years ago. This meeting aims to discuss the club’s goals and brainstorm fundraising ideas. Contact Ryan Murtha with questions via the PSYC Facebook page.

It seems to be a slow week for birthdays, so that means you get the entire spotlight this week, Megan Shai Brown. Enjoy your April 17th birthday. May it be filled with friends and fun.

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Voters said yes to a $32 million budget and no to any changes in the police-chief job search.

Longtime Edgartown town moderator Philip Jeff Norton Jr. did his best to help voters move briskly through town business. –Photos by Michael Cummo

Edgartown voters gathered for their annual town meeting Tuesday night, and barely blinked when it came time to approve an $32,074,908 operating budget for the next fiscal year, but they were in no mood to write a check to take the so-called mini-park, a postage-stamp-size plot of land adjacent to town hall.

Edgartown voters cast their voters in an Australian ballot.
Edgartown voters cast their votes in an Australian ballot.

A total of 249 of Edgartown 3,148 registered voters, or about 8 percent, gathered at the Old Whaling Church to take up the town’s annual business, and a budget up 4 percent over the previous year.

For the most part, longtime town moderator Philip “Jeff” Norton moved voters through the warrant articles at a brisk pace. But he could not avoid several speed bumps.

Requests to change the way the town goes about hiring its police chief, pave Meeting House Way, and fund a taking or purchase of the mini-park put the brakes on meeting momentum.

The meeting began with voters standing for the Pledge of Allegiance led by a local troop of Cub Scouts. Dock builder and poet Steve Ewing read a humorous poem about the winter just past.

Mr. Norton and voters made short work of all 12 articles on a special town meeting warrant, voting to approve all unanimously. Then they really got down to work.

Mini-park sparks debate

Edgartown voters gathered for annual town meeting Tuesday night.
Edgartown voters gathered for annual town meeting Tuesday night.

By a count of 108 to 66, voters said no to a request to purchase or take by eminent domain the small piece of land owned by the Hall family. The town currently leases the property.

Ben Hall Jr. spoke out vehemently against the article. He provided voters with a lengthy history lesson of the mini-park land, and described how his family and the town have dealt with it over the years. He said that maintaining the longstanding lease between Edgartown and his family was the best option going forward.

Mr. Hall said the estimate that the cost to the town would be $2.1 million was likely low. He said the final price tag would be more.

Voter Katrina Nevin asked selectmen for an explanation of why they had decided to try to take the property. Selectmen Margaret Serpa responded that the selectmen had placed the article on the warrant at the request of the conservation committee. Pressed by Ms. Nevin, Ms. Serpa did not elaborate on the reasons it was in the town’s best interest to take the park. No members of the conservation commission spoke in favor of the deal, and it melted away.

To pave or not

Voters agreed, 158 to 32, to pave Meeting House Way. The road connects West Tisbury Road to Herring Creek Road, and is a convenient route to South Beach, but for the washboard nature of a good portion of the dirt road.

Several voters that live along Meeting House Way pointed out how poor the air quality in the area was due to the dust the road generated. Other voters living nearby expressed concern that the pavement would ruin Meeting House Way’s rural character, invite speeders, and clog the road with beach traffic.

The vote to appropriate $775,000 required a two-thirds majority. Approval is still contingent on approval of a ballot question in the Thursday election.

A motion to amend the article to install speed bumps in lieu of asphalt was defeated after Highway Superintendent Stuart Fuller cited studies that found motorists tended to travel faster in the stretches between speed bumps than they did on unimpeded roadway.

An amendment to insure that a request to build a bicycle path along Meeting House Way would be placed on next year’s warrant succeeded.

Chief search

The longest pause of the night came about when Peter Look addressed the police budget line item. Mr. Look questioned the process by which the town hires its police chief.

Currently, that responsibility falls to the selectmen. They are currently in the process of replacing Chief Tony Bettencourt, who retired this year.

Mr. Look said the hunt for a candidate was “a process with little, if any, public input,” and that it “desperately needed the light of day.”

Mr. Look submitted a motion asking the town to create a citizen’s advisory committee.

Selectmen Chairman Arthur Smadbeck said that current hiring methods worked well and helped produce the best police department on the Vineyard, and that the selectmen had no interest in Mr. Look’s motion.

Mr. Look made a second motion, in which he asked that the vote on his proposed amendment be taken by paper or “Australian” ballot. He cited voter fear — that people wouldn’t vote their conscience if their positions were publicly known — as justification for the request.

After nearly an hour of queuing and counting, Mr. Look’s motion to create a committee failed 149 to 97.

Mr. Look was not done with the police. A request for an appropriation of $35,000 for overtime and equipment for the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force spurred an accusation by Mr. Look of police surveillance in Edgartown though the use of hidden cameras. Voters unanimously approved the article with little discussion.

A batch of spending requests by the Community Preservation Act committee, for items ranging from the restoration of gravestones and whaling logs to the refurbishment of an antique hand tub, prompted a comment from Mr. Norton when an audience member asked if an 1830s portrait of Ichabod Norton, also offered up for restoration, was any relation to the moderator.

“My uncle,” he said.

The meeting concluded at 10:30 pm.

Helen N. (DeVore) Edwards died on Easter morning, April 5, 2015, in St. Joseph, Mich. She was 81.

Her daughter Sally McAllister, Sally’s husband Ray, and her son Carl Edwards were with her at the time of her death.

Helen N. (DeVore) Edwards
Helen N. (DeVore) Edwards

Helen was born on August 28, 1933, in Newark, N.J. She also lived in Edgartown with her family, and in Corriganville, Md., with her parents, Robert and Helen DeVore, prior to moving to Berrien Springs, Mich., with her daughter. She was preceded in death by her husband John M. Edwards; an infant daughter, Nora Lee Edwards; and her brother, Don C. DeVore.

Helen is survived by her daughter Sally McAllister and husband Ray of Berrien Springs, Mich., and four sons: John Steven Edwards and wife Mary; Craig Edwards and wife Christy, both of Edgartown; Dale Edwards and wife Ann of South Hadley; and Carl J. Edwards of Port Charlotte, Fla., and his wife Lilian. Helen is survived by six grandchildren: Elizabeth Kitue and husband Alex of Wallington, N.J.; Christopher and Tyler Edwards of Edgartown; and Alan, Timothy, and Shelby Edwards of South Hadley. She is also survived by two brothers: Robert DeVore and wife Anne of Martinsburg, W.V., and Chet DeVore and wife Janet of Severna Park, Md.; a sister-in-law, Nancy DeVore of Milledgeville, Ga.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Helen attended church services with her mother at United Church of Christ in Corriganville, and enjoyed attending Michiana Fil-Am Seventh Day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs, Mich., with Sally and Ray. Helen loved listening to country music. The family would like to thank Liz Lombonaung and all her friends at Meadowview Gardens in Berrien Springs, where she resided.

A funeral service was held in Hyndman, Pa., with the Rev. Sandy Hetz-Burchell of the Ellerslie United Methodist Church officiating, on Saturday, April 11. Burial was at nearby Porter’s Cemetery in Pa. Donations may be made in her memory to the American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago IL 60601.

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Voters will be asked to take on a full menu of spending items, and fund a possible taking of the mini-park.

Edgartown voters will gather at the Old Whaling Church for annual town meeting Tuesday.

Edgartown voters will gather in the Old Whaling Church on Main Street Tuesday, to attend to town business in the form of 88 warrant articles and a $32,074,908 operating budget for the 2016 fiscal year (FY16), which begins on July 1.

The annual meeting warrant includes a slate of Community Preservation Act committee funding requests and several articles related to school expenditures, elder services, and a county request to help fund the purchase of the former VNA headquarters building in Tisbury for use by the Center for Living.

Edgartown’s FY16 operating budget will increase from $30,716,650 to $32,074,908, a 4 percent increase.

Edgartown Selectman Margaret Serpa said she expects a relatively straightforward annual town meeting. She added a caveat. “You never know what people will bring up,” she said.

On Thursday, April 16, voters go to the polls between 10 am and 7 pm in the Town Hall. The only race on the Edgartown ballot this year is between incumbent parks commissioner Joel M. Graves and Kevin L. Searle.

Voters will be asked to answer four Prop. 2.5 ballot questions. Prop. 2.5 limits property tax increases by municipalities to 2.5 percent annually. There are general overrides to increase the tax levy, and debt exclusion overrides, which exist only for the life of the debt.

Two ballot questions, one to override Prop. 2.5 and another to exempt the debt, relate to the paving of Meetinghouse Way. That cost is pegged at $755,000.

Edgartown taxpayers will also be asked to exempt the debt payments to help pay the costs of constructing a new school administration building on the grounds of the regional high school.

Voters will also be asked to chip in on the county-engineered purchase of the VNA building to house the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living and its Supportive Day Program.

The center currently uses borrowed space at the Edgartown and Tisbury Council on Aging buildings, and has been searching unsuccessfully for a new home. The county is asking for $1.6 million to purchase, renovate, and equip the building. Under the county formula, Edgartown taxpayers would kick in about $493,000.

“We’ve been trying for eight years to find a home for the Center for Living,” Edgartown Selectman Art Smadbeck said. “The idea is that we find them a permanent home so they can do the kind of expansion they need to do to accommodate all of the seniors that would need the Supportive Day Program. Now they have a waiting list.”

Mr. Smadbeck said that unlike town projects, this is a regional effort that comes with added complexities. He said the VNA building is available at a cost far less than the cost of constructing a new building. He said there are some people who want to quibble about the cost, but he added, “There are just some things you have to try to do.”

“We’re going to bring it to the voters and hope that they see the same need that we do,” Mr. Smadbeck said.

Budget bumps

As to the budget, Mr. Smadbeck said there is nothing unfamiliar. Town spending will increase slightly in several departments.

The high school assessment increased from $3,996,893 to $4,139,785.

Edgartown School salaries increased, from $5,176,129 to $5,476,607, and expenses rose also, from $702,459 to $792,059. The total cost of educating town children will increase from $11,134,353 to $11,763,131.

In general government — town administrative functions that include the offices of the selectmen, treasurer, clerk, zoning board of appeals, and council on aging — there is a modest hike proposed, from $2,286,861 to $2,288,914.

Protection of persons and property, which includes the police, fire, and shellfish departments, will increase by from $4,529,607 to $4,807,193. Police department salaries will increase from $2,561,880 to $2,652,184, an increase attributed to contractual increases and the addition of a full-time clerk.

The cost of the Edgartown Public Library will increase from $544,331 to $620,178. Those costs reflect the costs associated with the new building.

Unclassified expenses including employee retirement, pension-fund, and insurance benefits, including health insurance and Medicare, will increase from $5,240,593 to $5,345,768.

Group health insurance costs will jump from $2,500,000 to $2,750,000. Town administrator Pam Dolby said the town has been hit by the same changes as other businesses and individuals. Ms. Dolby said the town is working diligently with its group insurer to find ways to reduce that cost.

Edgartown’s Martha’s Vineyard Commission assessment in FY16 is $373,250.

Warrant redux

Several articles on the town meeting warrant expected to generate some discussion will not be new to town voters.

Requests to pave Meeting House Way have been brought before voters in the past. The road connects West Tisbury Road to Herring Creek Road, and is a convenient route to South Beach but for the washboard nature of a good portion of the dirt road.

The mini-park adjacent to town hall has been a topic of discussion in the past. Article 70 asks voters to appropriate $1,475,858 from the community preservation open space fund and $477,141 from the conservation trust fund to purchase or “take the property by eminent domain.”

The Hall family, one of Edgartown’s largest property owners, owns the land and now leases it to the town.

Ms. Dolby said the town has been maintaining the park for decades. “We have been paying rent on it for years,” Ms. Dolby said. “The conservation commission brought it up. They just thing the town should own it. It’s a nice space in the middle of town, and it’s used by a lot of people.”

Ms. Dolby said there have been meetings with the Halls over the years on the topic without any movement.

Mr. Smadbeck said the question is strictly up to the voters. There is money set aside, he said, and even if the article passes there would be additional steps, including court.

Asked if he thought Edgartown voters, as they often do, would make quick work of town business, Mr. Smadbeck said, “This is a big warrant, and if we breeze through it, it is going to be very late into the evening.”

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Easter festivities help welcome spring.

From left, Catherine and Hadley Milkovich show off their haul of eggs. The girls then gave away some of their eggs to children who showed up late or could not find any. – Photos by Michael Cummo

On Easter morning, hundreds of children, many dressed in their Sunday best, left home to attend Easter services or festive egg hunts across the Island, on what proved a beautiful spring day. Some little girls wore fluffy pink, white, or lavender dresses with shiny shoes and soft sweaters. Boys were spotted in crisp trousers and pressed dress shirts, and some even sported hats. Adults dressed for the occasion too, including several women from the Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven who dug out their most ornate Easter bonnets — adorned with feathers, flowers, ribbons, a red boa — for the Best Easter Hat Contest. Others showed up in more casual attire, ready to run through fields or beaches in pursuit of candy eggs.

From Duck Inn in Aquinnah to the Harbor View Hotel, to Edgartown Lighthouse, and many points in between, families gathered in all outfits to celebrate the holiday and have some fun.

The Harbor View Hotel hosted two separate Easter egg hunts between the grounds of the hotel and the lighthouse beach, with over 4,000 eggs hidden — plenty to go around. Four golden eggs were hidden as well, with the finders receiving an entire basket of candy. Some kids, like 11-year-old Catherine Milkovich and 10-year-old Hadley Milkovich, gave away many of the eggs they found to those who arrived late or could not find any eggs.

At the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs, the Easter bunny helped celebrate the holiday and usher in a new season for America’s oldest carousel. The landmark was packed on Easter Sunday, with crowds waiting in line to ride the carousel, munch on popcorn, or play the arcade games.

The day served as an unofficial start to the new season, perfect for community gatherings and indulging in too many chocolates and sweets — a successful holiday all around.