25 Years Ago

From the Vineyard Gazette editions of February, 1983:

Island banking customers are getting a good deal these days. While interest rates for money market accounts are falling at mainland banks, three Island banks are holding to annual rates of 10 per cent. But bankers here admit they really don’t know what will happen next week, let alone next month. Nine months ago Congress deregulated banks and the new high-interest, federally insured money market and super N.0.W. accounts were initiated. Dukes County and the Edgartown National Bank both offer money market accounts with 10 1/2 per cent interests and the Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank is offering 10 per cent. But the Martha’s Vineyard National Bank this week dropped its rate from 9 to 8.7 per cent. Only the Edgartown National offers the super N.0.W. account, with 9 per cent interest and unlimited checking.

Welcome Mr. McCormack: The first day on his job, executive director of the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority Joseph F. McCormack was told by a member of the management staff that the authority was projecting a $400,000 operating loss for the year. A few days later, Mr. McCormack was invited to sit in on the stormy negotiations with the National Maritime Union. At the first meeting of the authority governors Mr. McCormack watched and listened as two of the governors directed insults at each other in executive session, one of the governors throwing a punch across the table. In a show of support for the Vineyard governor, Alfred F. Ferro, an Oak Bluffs selectman warned, “If Mr. McCormack can’t work with Mr. Ferro, then McCormack should leave. It is as simple as that.”

Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday accepted a petition signed by 16 residents who want voters at the annual town meeting to consider dropping out of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. The petition calls for a secret ballot vote at the April town meeting to see if the majority of residents still favor inclusion in the commission. Roger W. Wey, zoning board of appeals chairman, said yesterday the vote is especially important “since we’re the only down-Island town in the Martha’s Vineyard Commission at this time.”

It’s cheaper than a New York city cab, moves much more quickly, comes when needed and will save lives. At $4 a mile, with a response time of minutes and the tools of a hospital emergency room, the University of Massachusetts Life Flight helicopter arrived for a special presentation to the hospital staff Wednesday, landing at a helipad on the hospital grounds. The $700,000 helicopter, expensive for your basic, run-of-the-mill helicopter, isn’t basic by any means. It carries 88 cubic feet of oxygen tanks, intravenous feeding systems, surgeons’ packs for obstetrics, fractures and burns, stretcher for two patients, and a flight nurse, physician and pilot. Because of the water and winds, an altitude of 4,000 feet is necessary before leaving the Island, which requires circling. Still, the flight to Boston can be made in 22 minutes, and in far less time to the Cape.

The turnabout in the legal status of emptied soft drink and liquor bottles had been impending for a long time, but it arrived like a crash landing. Until now you had thrown them over a fence, any fence, or into your neighbor’s yard (just as he threw his into yours), or used them in target practice against utility poles as you drove along at night or added them to some landfill. Now suddenly, empty bottles are turning up everywhere in numbers beyond any calculation, with little planning as to how to handle them. But in all the loudly exploited distress, it must be remembered that the empty soda or liquor bottle had again an economic entity, a commodity, worth something. What climate could be more favorable than this for an enterprise requiring small capital, unskilled labor, and offering an immense volume at a guaranteed gross and net return?

Dukes County commissioners voted Wednesday to study the feasiblity of building a new county jail with the help of state and federal funds. The present facility is too small. The first step the commissioners will take is to apply to the state department of correction for a grant to fund the study. One of the requirements for the study grant is that the county have at least one acre of land available for the jail site, making the county airport an ideal location. State and federal grants could cover more than 90 per cent of the cost of a new jail, if the county can prove its need. The present 13-cell lockup was built in 1873 and is in non-compliance with several sections of state law which require the county meet minimum standards to maintain health and security.

Compiled by Eulalie Regan