Bench will honor Bob Schwartz at Field Gallery

Nesta’s owner gets extra time for a fence, shelter deal hatched with FOCUS.

Richard Knabel came before West Tisbury selectmen Wednesday to promote a memorial bench for the late Bob Schwartz. Knabel, a former West Tisbury selectman, said the bench would be placed on the premises of The Field Gallery. 

“Well as you probably know Bob died of COVID back in April and there hasn’t been a funeral or a memorial or anything,” Knabel said. “A number of us thought that given that he was the architect for The Field Gallery — it’s now the 50th anniversary of that and he was certainly very involved with The Field Gallery, as well as being a painter — that we’d like to donate a bench in his memory with a plaque on it and put it in the sculpture garden…”

Knabel said it would essentially be a gift to the town and that Chris Morse, proprietor of the Field Gallery, supported the installation of the bench. 

West Tisbury owns the land and buildings that comprise The Field Gallery and leases it to Morse.

Morse later spoke with The Times and confirmed his support for the bench. While the creation of The Field Gallery was a community effort, he described Schwartz as instrumental to that effort. Morse also said the Field Gallery is the only gallery on the Vineyard designed from the outset to be a gallery. 

Knabel later told The Times Schwartz passed away in a Connecticut hospital “about 10 days short of his 96th birthday.” He expects Schwartz to be buried in the West Tisbury cemetery on August 21. 

“It’s a lovely idea,” selectman chair Cynthia Mitchell said.

“Richard, I think it’s a wonderful thing to do,” selectman Skipper Manter said. 

The board voted unanimously to accept the gift. 

In other business, the board again took up the issue of Matt Hayden and his dog Nesta, who selectmen decided was responsible for killing mystery writer Cynthia Riggs’ pet hen Buffy on July 7. Riggs and Hayden are neighbors. Riggs’ studio tenant, Lynn Christoffers, witnessed Nesta slay Buffy outside the studio and flee. The board deemed Nesta a nuisance dog and ordered Hayden to fence her in. They gave Hayden two weeks to complete the fencing. Time was up for that on August 6 but the work hasn’t been completed, according to West Tisbury animal control officer Anthony Cordray, who said more time was needed. 

“I was hoping Mr. Hayden would be here to make the request but he’s not,” Cordray said. 

Cordray asked if he could make the request instead.

Mitchell said she saw no reason why.

“Yeah, he needs more time,” Cordray said. “He’s got two posts in and some hog fence, but it’s very slow going.” Hot weather, he said, may have slowed Hayden’s progress. 

Cordray went on to say Hayden declined assistance from West Tisbury Animal Control and has opted to execute and fund the project on his own.

Cordray suggested the selectmen authorize extending the finish date for the enclosure by a week. Manter said he could appreciate that it has been hot but that didn’t preclude work in the morning and evening when it would be cooler. Manter suggested giving Hayden until 4pm on August 13 to complete the fencing.

“I’d like to put a little teeth into it,” Manter said. “If it isn’t done by 4 pm next Thursday that the animal control officer takes control of that dog until it’s completed.”

Cordray said he’s not taken custody of a dog under such circumstances and wondered if he needed a warrant for such an action. He later told The Times a warrant would be needed.

If Hayden doesn’t comply with the enclosure order, Manter asked what the consequences would be.

Cordray said jail time and a fine would ensue. 

“If I do take the dog,” Cordray said, “it’s $35 per day and he has to pay, not the town.” He added if he takes the dog, it’s only permissible to have it for seven days before some other arrangements need to be made. 

The board went on to vote unanimously to allow the extension.

During the same meeting, the board authorized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FOCUS to use two of their bungalows for emergency lodging. 

“The point of this shelter would be,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said, “if we needed a place for first responders and critical workers in the town of West Tisbury to shelter because perhaps a family member has the virus. So this is not a shelter for people with the virus, it’s a shelter for our critical employees…”

The board voted unanimously to sign the MOU. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Hayden’s recalcitrance to build the fence he was ordered to do fence (even refusing help) is yet another reason evidence of his irresponsibilty, lack of compliance, lack of respect for his neighbors and ultimately that poor dog who absolutely should be rescued from him and rehomed.

  2. I am saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Schwartz. I came to know Bob, his delightful wife, and Dick through our dear mutual friend Corinne Moran. In years past, we had lovely dinners together and great conversations. The bench is a fitting memorial and I hope to attend the burial at WT Cemetary.

  3. that fence won’t be completed in a year. he thinks there are no consequences for not taking any of this seriously and is only going to be emboldened when nothing of significance is even done to make him

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