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Vineyard Gazette
Edgartown, Massachusetts
June 4, 2010     Vineyard Gazette
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June 4, 2010

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SIX VINEYARD GAZETTE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010 "O EROSION CLAIMS MORE THAN FIVE FEET A YEAR. Allen Green NTSB Finds Cause in Cape Air Crash From Page One a National'Weather Service sounding from Chatham noted "a low-level tem- perature inversion with winds from 135 degrees at 39 knots at 1,300 feet [above] mean sea level. "The sounding further indicated a greater than 90 per cent chance of severe turbulence below 2,000 feet ..." the report says. Against that, howevei:, it says the pi- lot of another Cape Air Cessna, which took off only about a minute after the Mr. Willey's plane, "did not report any unusual weather during his initial climb and described the turbulence below 1,000 feet as light." The report records that Mr. Willey was cleared for takeoff, to make the short flight to Boston's Logan airport, a few seconds before 8 p,m. He had no passengers aboard; it was a reposi- tioning flight, undertaken so the plane would be on hand for the first passenger flight the next day. He was instructed to climb to 4,000 feet and make a right turn. Airport radar depicted the airplane climbing to an altitude of 400 feet -- the height of the cloud ceiling -- and accelerating to a ground speed of 120 knots shortly after takeoff. "The airplane made a slight left turn before entering a right turn which con- tinued until radar contact was lost at an altitude of 700 feet and a ground speed of 160 knots," the report says. "The airplane struck the tops of ap- proximately 50-foot-tall trees before impacting in a wooded area in between two houses, about three miles north- west of [Martha's Vineyard Airport]." The investigators' description of the crash scene is detailed. It says the ma- jority of the wreckage was strewn along a 305-foot debris path, oriented roughly toward the northwest. A postmortem examination indi- cated Mr. W'llley died in the impact. For all the detail amassed by inves- tigators regarding Mr.Willey's person- nel, medical and pathological history, the tests and research on the wreckage and other factors, the NTSB's conclu- sion was brief. "Analysis of the radar and weather data indicated that, with the flight ac- celerating and turning just after having entered clouds, the pilot likely experi- enced spatial disorientation. "The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: A loss of aircraft control due to spatial disorientation." The aircraft was not equipped with either a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder, so further detail of what happened in those few minutes will never be known. "Flying in a small plane you don't have the equipment to record exactly what happened," said the pilot's brother in law, Gregory Coogan, yesterday. "We all know what kind of pilot he was, and I think for that reason we all know something happened in that cockpit, but we'll never know what that was. "He was a very experienced pilot. He'd dropped relief supplies in Africa, he'd flown 747 cargo planes to Japan. He had covered the world flying. He loved flying," Mr. Coogan said. "And he really enjoyed the Cape Air job, flying back and forth to Boston. It gave him a chance to be home with his children at night, which was not an opportunity he had when he flew long trips, when he was stationed in New Yorl~ or Chicago or Alaska." Mr. Coogan said the family was grateful the investigation had come to a close. "It's been almost two years, and while we realize it was necessary, it has made it an emotional time again for the family. "This is something we all have to get through, and we will." Mark Lovewell SWEET SPOT ON MAIN STREET STANDS EMPTY STILL. Care Moxie Short of Power Supply, Leaving Tisbury Short an Engine From Page One "I think denial is part of the human Condition, [and] it wouldn't be that hard for me to pull together some of the old restaurant crew. However, it's unreal- istic to think we could open it and get anything out of it. If you can't open by July 4, you're pretty much missing the season. It's just too much." In the meantime, Mr. Currier is ek- ing out a living by other means. He spoke to the Gazette while en route to a shingling job. "I do a bit of everything -- a bit of carpentry, occasionally some food.You make a few bucks. It's just what it is," he said. The tragedy is the restaurant site enjoys one of the prime locations on Main street. "It's just in such a great, great spot. It does really suck. I lost my livelihood, so the work I do now is just diddly stuff, not like nmning a restaurant, with employees and money in play, and everything you could imagine going on. It's been a real culture shock to go from that to this." Mr. Currier's frustration is shared by other town businesses and the Tisbury selectmen. The big 2008 fire left a hole in the middle of the main tourist strip, with both Moxie and the Bunch of Grapes non-operational for the better part of a year. Much of the damage was undone when the bookstore -- considered one of the town's anchor businesses -- reopened by the first anniversary of the fire. But sadly for Mr. Currier and the town, it now seems to be inevitable that summer visitors will again find a half-finished construction site where there used to be a popular eatery. And then there remains one further problem: the depressed economy. "The commercial lending environ- ment these days is quite poor. It's prob- ably the worst it's been in 30 years, and I'm not the only one saying that. "So that will keep things interesting. "But I hope to get it together again. What more can I say?" From Page One said conservation commission chair- man Richard Steves. But he agreed that safety should take top priority."I think from an emergency situation, the safety factor should trump the environmental factor." Members of the conservation com- mission accompanied Ms. Mastromo- naco out to the beach to see the bluff for themselves on Wednesday, but turned back when they realized that the high tide and foggy weather made it too dangerous for an inspection. Still, the committee sent a letter to the selectmen yesterday recommending that the cliff be left alone, allowing the natural erosion to continue. They recommended against any measures that would artificially accelerate the erosion. "I think the concern is the environ- mental impact of taking a machine out there," said Ms. Mastromonaco, referring to the possibility of using a bulldozer to bring down the piece of cliff posing the greatest hazard at the moment. "It's not really taking the piece down, it's what it's going to take to get out there to do it," she said. Ms. Mastromonaco's next goal is to try to get more lifeguards out on the beach to monitor the cliff, and direct people who want to reach the eastern end of the beach through a path behind the bluff. "Last year, the issue was more around a cave.., and I was able to put a sign up in that area, and it stayed most of the summer. But the beach to the east of the cliff is not currently staffed with a lifeguard.There is a lifeguard stationed at the west side of the cliff, to keep people away, but the area is frequently unstaffed during periods of rotation," Ms. Mastromonaco said. "I need to have additional staff to keep people away from that area. And all that is yet to be determined by the town." At the Tuesday selectmen's meet- ing, board chairman Warren Doty sug- gested that the beach committee meet to discuss the staffing issue and then make a recommendation to the board. But Ms. Mastromonaco said the com- mittee needs to take action before their next meeting, on June 29. "I need to know right now, because I'm doing the scheduling," she said yesterday. "I would only want to put the experienced guards out there and not new people, so it's going to take a whole lot of rotating of employees on my part." Meanwhile, there is another key is- sue of concern for the town: access for emergency vehicles. Police chief Brian Cioffi visited the beach this week and said yesterday that town emer- gency workers will be able to reach the eastern end of the beach this summer through the trail that weaves behind the cliff and back up to the beach, but he said they will have to move the trail over some 20 feet in one section that has washed out over the years. Chief Cioffi said the conservation commis- sion approved his request to make that change on the beach yesterday. He said the work will begin as soon as possible. Ms. Taylor said there is no turning back nature at Lucy Vincent, but she agreed that the current situation is perilous. "For now, it's very dangerous for peo- ple to try to walk there, especially with their kids," Ms. Taylor said. "Beachgo- ers will have to live with that, and not endanger themselves, or endanger the lifeguards. Hopefully the situation will evolve into one that's safer, where there's beach to walk on." NO LIFEGUARDS AT BEACH THIS SUMMER. Sam Low Please Drive Around Potholes: Oak Bluffs Coffers Are Empty From Page One an officer for a long period Of time this fiscal year," he said, adding: "Our summer staffing is at a record low. The goal is to have enough cov- erage to safely cover the downtown needs. However, some calls of a less ur- gent manner may have to wait until an officer is free to answer it. Our ability to accomplish things that We normally take great pride in may suffer," he said. Some :examples, he said, include clearing traffic at the ferry terminal and after major events, and responding to noise calls at peak hours."Again, I want to ensure everyone that we will do the best job possible with the resources we have," he said. The town also no longer has a full- time animal control officer. After Heather Jaglowski stepped down from the job last year, the town opted not to replace her. The police department now covers the position on an on-call basis. "We do have an animal control of- ricer," Chief Blake said. Then there is the matter of town roads. This marks the second year that funding has been cut from the high- way department's road repair program, meaning many potholes around town will continue to get bigger for at least another year. "One road that really needs help is Dukes County avenue," highway superintendent Richard Combra Jr. said. "And it's in bad shape -- a lot of potholes and cracking. We were plan- ning a resurfacing project and sidewalk project there, but now that's off." Mr. Combra said he had planned to spend about $400,000 this year to repair roads all around town-- $250,000 was to come from the town and $150,000 from the state department of transpor- tation. "But if you don't raise the money at the local level, the state doesn't pitch in. That's the problem," he said. He said the problem extends beyond the obvious extra wear and tear on tires and undercarriages. "I don't think people realize that failing to maintain the town's infra- structure is something that can hurt our bond rating. The bond companies watch closely how the towns spend their money. And if your infrastructure is in dire need of repair, that can hurt our bon r " y d ating, he said. Mr. Combra has done his part to help; two years ago he volunteered to take $200,000 from the road repair ac- count to give to the Oak Bluffs School to avoid an override. But the -town can- not put off roads repairs much longer, he said. "The more you wait, the more these repairs cost. The price of asphalt, for example, goes up an average of 10 to 15 per cent each year. Another problem is some of the roads are getting so bad we might not be able to just repave them. Sometimes a road gets so bad you have to grind it down and regrade it... that ends up costing a whole lot more." Town administrator Michael Dutton said the selectmen and finance commit- tee continue to look for ways to save money. He said office hours may be cut in some departments, beginning with the finance offices. "It would be wise for people to call ahead if they want to meet the tax collector, assessor or accountant," Mr. Dutton said. Closing the town hall one day week is also under consideration, to save on operating costs. ,We probably wouldn't do that dur- ing the summer," Mr. Dutton said, add- ing: "But if we do take that step, town hall would be closed on Mondays or Fridays, allowing the building to shut down, so we can save on things like heat and electricity." He said the town information and technology consultant will make sure computers are shut down at night when not in use. As for work furloughs, they would require negotiations with employee unions. "That's not a perfect solution, but it will save money. Many towns and cities across the state -- and the coun- try, for that matter-- are implementing furloughs to cut spending. If we go in that direction, we would not be alone," Mr. Dutton said. And he said the town continues to look seriously at joining other towns to regionalize some services. Preliminary talks have been held with Tisbury about combining the shellfish and police de- partments. "I think you will see more discus- sion in the months and years to come about providing regional service on the Vineyard," Mr. Dutton said."For years people have opposed that sort of thing here, but I think the pendulum is about to swing the other way." WE'RE NEVER GOING TO HAVE MORE FORESTS THAN WE HAVE NOW. g Vineyard From Page One "The Vineyard is a perfect place to talk about this in part because there's a lot of interest in conservation, but also because the Vineyard has devel- oped this fabulous Island Plan which in many ways does exactly what we're talking about, very pro-actively and deliberately looking at the future of the landscape. "The Vineyard is a unique place, but it's also a bit of a microcosm of the is- sues we face across New England. It's way out ahead of the curve in terms of the pressure of development, fragmen- tation of the natural landscape, what we call in the book the perforation of landscapes," he said. By perforation, he means "the plonk- ing down of individual large houses in the middle of fields, forests, sandplain grasslands and so on." And it's a relatively new phenom- enon. "There's been this historic flip," he said. "The Island Plan identifies 1970 as the point of change. The former editor of the Gazette, Henry Bee- tle Hough, in his writings, identified 1950. But some time between 1950 and 1970, there was this change and people decided the countryside was the place to live. Up-Island ,became more attractive. Out in the middle of the woods or the open fields became more attractive." Surely, though, the placing of a house on an acre or three or five of other- wise wooded land on Martha's Vine- yard was not such a big environmental problem, particularly when compared with the alternative of densely-settled areas, where the woods were largely removed? Well, he said, actually it is. "There's the direct footprint of your house and yard, but beyond that is all the extended impact of you and your children and your cat, dog, mountain bikes and everything else you have out in the woods around that. "It depends on exactly what eco- logical process you're talking about, but there can be significant effects. "Think about it in terms of carbon. You plonk your house down, that re- leases a lot of carbon, and forever keeps that area from taking up any more carbon. Then wildlife habitat, you,ve obviously disrupted that." Then there is the energy cost of getting to and from that house. The roads and other infrastructure which it requires. "For lots of reasons, from energy ef- ficiency, transportation, for social con- nections, concentrations of people into the historic centers of commerce and residence makes an awful lot of sense. "It's much better to keep these areas intact, to keep them continuous and connected and think of ways to live DAVID FOSTER: "WE CAN LEARN around the margins," he said. However, he said, It's not like the plan is one of simple preservation. "Our report in general, and my phi- losophy, is very much one of increasing local dependency on local resources. We argue New England should not just protect its forests but protect them and use them," he said. "That's why I think the increase of agriculture here on the Island is a good thing. If there's any place that's needed, it's here. "And it's not about making the Is- land self-sufficient. It never has been self-sufficient. The important point is to re-orient people so they apprec!ate where food comes, where wood and energy come from. To connect people more with the need for conservation, by helping them understand the sources of their resources .... FOREsTLANDS ON THE VINEYARD WILL BECOME MORE DIVERSE Pictures by Mark Lovewell to Death FROM THE PAST." "The way we pitch it in this report is essentially optimistic, that history has given us a second chance. "When the first time European colo- nists confronted the forests of New England, they cut them all down, took the resource and converted much of the land to agriculture. We're very fortunate that when they abandoned agriculture, it came back, essentially without anyone doing anything. "We're now at a peak; we're never going to have more forests than we do now. So we have a second chance. We can learn from the past and apply it to the future." Vineyarders are invited to bring their questions and concerns to the Agri- cultural Hall on Tuesday night, at 7:30, where copies of the report will also be available. The cost is $10, or $5 for Polly Hill Arboretum members. IN THE YEARS AHEAD. ' {l , : .... i i ] l~f~[ l! Ii ! !i