News and Views from Other Islands
Familiar hand at Chappaquiddick ferry helm
VINEYARD — A Chappaquiddick ferry deckhand and pilot for many years is
the new owner of the ferry, the sole transportation link for the
residents of the tiny island off the east end of the Vineyard. The
Vineyard Gazette said the price was $3 million and included two boats
and a 75-year lease of the town-owned ramps and slips.
The previous owner had offered the service to the town for $3 million but a study committee could not reach consensus.
Crime in paradise
— Crime of every sort is out of control on this Pacific isle of
paradise and why, more than 27 years after independence, do the police
have no fingerprint technology available to them? asks the Vanuatu
“The police need help quickly. The government must
stop talking . . . and do something or Vanuatu will become a paradise
Building surge on the Vineyard
VINEYARD — The six island towns issued permits for construction of 227
single family homes in 2007, 61 more than in 2006 and the highest
number in four years, Vineyard Gazette reported. The values of new
construction permits showed that home builders planned to spend 60
percent more on building in 2007 than in 2006.
inspectors believe the increase is not a trend but includes a year-end
rush to beat building code changes, as well as the ability of the
wealthy to build regardless of the state of the economy.
island construction numbers were a contrast to the region’s plummeting
building economy. On Nantucket, new starts dropped 20 percent last year.
Tide power plant to be rebuilt
ME. — The coast of Maine once had dozens of tidal power installations.
A group is now looking to rebuild Vinalhaven’s largest tidal power
station, located in Carvers Harbor, according to Working Waterfront.
tidal dam once housed three turbines that ran granite polishing stones,
a sawmill and a bellows for a blacksmith shop. It ran two shifts every
day, on each ebb tide. Salt water was impounded by heavy doors that
would open on the flood and close when the water started out. This
arrangement held back the power of the water, thus extending the usage
This dam will be rebuilt with funds from a state-funded
program, Efficiency Maine. The project was proposed by The Ocean Energy
Institute of Rockland in collaboration with a neighboring motel
proprietor. The plan is to first rebuild the granite dam, then solicit
engineering ideas from regional colleges for turbine design. Any power
generated will be donated back for municipal needs.
Town, trucker negotiate land trade
— The town and a trucking firm are negotiating a land swap that would
give the town a 4.5-acre pondside site in a residential area and give
the trucker a 10 to 12-acre area near the airport, the Inquirer and
Mirror reported.The trucking operations on the current site are in
dispute before the Zoning Board of Appeals. The trade is expected to go
before the spring town meeting. It would be a step toward the town’s
goal of creating an industrial zone east of the airport, and relocating
industrial businesses from around the island to that site.
Maine islands help invalids
a person becomes invalided on Maine’s islands, a Deer Isle woman told
Working Waterfront, “everybody … is like family: you take care of them
whether you like them or not.” On Swan’s Island recently, members of
the four churches provided help between nurse visits for a widow with
Alzheimer’s. An off-island son employed a dozen island women to care
for his mother who didn’t want to leave the island.
use their health centers to offer day care. Islesboro has a six-bed
elderly/assisted living facility that takes day patients until the last
boat, as does Vinalhaven’s eight-bed assisted living home. Chebeague
Island has a seven-bed residential care facility and a project to keep
ailing islanders in their houses. Deer Isle’s Island Nursing Home has
an adult daycare program.
Residents of Deer Isle, Isle au Haut
and other islands off the East Penobscot Bay peninsula coming to the
mainland for the day will soon be able to leave family members and
friends at a daycare facility in Blue Hill while they run their
Wind farm an international issue
HEBRIDES — When the Scottish government said it was “minded to refuse”
the 181-turbine wind farm proposed on Lewis Island, largest of the
Outer Hebrides islands, the European Union expressed “surprise and
dismay,” the Stornoway Gazette reports.
The problem for the
Scottish government is that the site is a “special protected area” of
peatland, of great importance to European birdlife. Public opinion on
the island runs against the project and the decision is pending.
the islands, which have fierce winds, have been looked to as a major
source of renewable energy, which the EU is pledged to promote. The
proposed project would be the largest wind farm in Europe.
Park rules could deter public events
VINEYARD — Public events need to obey restrictions on the use of Oak
Bluffs parks, the town counsel told the Board of Selectmen, according
to the Vineyard Gazette.
Neither the funding plan for the Boston
Pops concert this summer nor the use of a big tent for the annual
Monster Shark Tournament meets the covenants established when the parks
were given to the town, he said.
Onshore sites eyed for wind power
— While plans and studies for offshore wind farms continue, the town
Energy Study Committee wants to study the potential for land-based wind
power generation, the Nantucket Independent reports. The committee has
submitted an application to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
for a study of 10 government-owned sites.
Fire wipes out fish factory, island power
DA CUNHA — Fire has destroyed the fish processing plant and knocked out
the engine that generated power for island homes, the Tristan Times
reports. While a new engine was rushed from Cape Town, a standby
generator was pressed into service. The island administrator issued
rationing orders so as not to overtax it.
Power was turned off
from 6 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Internet and TV service were suspended;
telephones were out of service when electricity was off. The Island
Store was closed, except for those with essential needs. Candles and
salt (used to salt down meat that had been in freezers) was rationed.
The island pub was open only from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Factory was built in 1966 to replace one disabled by lava flow from a
volcanic eruption. Since the fishing season had ended, the fire had
little immediate effect on the island economy.
Students arrested in window-smashing spree
VINEYARD — Oak Bluffs police arrested two regional high school
students, 17 and 18, who they said used rocks to smash the windows of
four cars and a building window during the opening night of the school
production of “A Chorus Line,” according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times.
to the police, the two teens had been drinking, attended the
performance and left to continue drinking. School officials suspended
the boys for one week. The boys and their parents agreed to make full
Bar Harbor Chamber takes issue with USA Today
HARBOR — The Chamber of Commerce is bent out of shape about the way USA
Today bent the town’s new cruise ship passenger limit out of shape,
according to the Bar Harbor News.
After Town Council voted to
replace its two-a-day limit on cruise ships with a limit on the number
of passengers off-loaded per day, a USA Today travel writer wrote that
the town is “fed up” with cruise ships.
Not at all, said the
Chamber’s executive director. “There wasn’t one day all of last year
that the new passenger cap would have limited the number of passengers
in town. . . . The intent of the (passenger cap) was to give the town
more flexibility . . . based on the capacity of the downtown, not a
random two-ship limit.”
A facelift for island town centers
OF MAN — The island has a thriving economy but shabby town and village
centers, so the government has allocated $16 million to upgrade them,
the Isle of Man Examiner reports.
In Douglas, the largest town,
pavement clutter on the main commercial street is to be removed and new
stone pathways, coordinated street furniture and shelters together with
public artworks are to be installed. Similar makeovers are scheduled
for other tired-looking towns and villages.
Artificial cobble to be tested as fish habitat
— The Siasconset Beach Preservation Fund (SBPF), fighting to stem the
erosion of bluffs on the east end of the island, has won approval for a
12-month cobble mitigation study, the Nantucket Independent reports.
Purpose of the test is to see if the 105 acres of natural cobble
habitat that its beach nourishment project is expected to erase could
be replicated with no loss of prime fishing grounds off Sankaty.
SBPF proposal calls for 2,904 cubic yards of quarried cobble rock and
concrete reef balls to be placed on three one-acre plots 400 feet to
600 feet offshore, and three more one-acre plots of rock 1,000-1,200
feet off shore. The artificial cobble is to be monitored to determine
if the marine vegetation and animals that grow in the natural cobble
habitat off Sankaty will thrive in the pilot mitigation plots.
EPA fines oil supplier
VINEYARD — The company that is the island’s major source of fuel oil
was fined $78,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency for violations
of the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Prevention Act, the Vineyard
Gazette reports. The agency said the company’s spill prevention program
fell short of requirements, and it failed to have proper containment
around its tanks.
The company’s troubles with EPA began with a 2000 inspection and include several citations since then.
Students challenged to keep dances alcohol-free
JUAN ISLAND, WASH. — If high school students want to have dances,
they’re going to have to come up with a plan to guarantee those events
are alcohol-free, the San Juan Journal reports. The school board
cancelled all dances until it hears from the student body.
were receiving a lot of complaints from parents and community members
about students drinking at the dances,” the school board student body
Deep cut in Hebrides ferry fares
ISLES, THE HEBRIDES — The Scottish government has slashed ferry fares
to the mainland by as much as 50 percent as part of a pilot program for
other Scottish islands, the Stornoway Gazette reports. Immediately,
residents of the Shetland and Orkney Islands, north of Scotland,
protested because their fares will not change.
transport minister announced that a Road Equivalent Tariff, a
calculation of the costs of traveling an equivalent distance by road,
will be used to set rates. The purpose is to boost island economies and
“tell people it is worth staying in these islands,” he said.
come from three mainland ports to seven island ports. It now costs
about $150 to take a car in the summer on the most direct route to
Stornoway, the major town of the isles, a trip of two hours, 45
minutes, with two boats a day in the winter.
In October the fare will fall to about $72.
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