Eric Turkington Rides Through Old Battlegrounds on Wistful Day

On Tuesday at noon it was quiet at the polls in Edgartown. The midmorning rush was over and the lunch rush (the town clerk wondered if there would be one) had yet to begin. Gray clouds scudded across a September sky. A small crowd of elderly tourists spilled out of a bus onto Church street. Eric T. Turkington ducked inside the Baylies Room at the Old Whaling Church. A lone voter arrived and headed for the empty booths, paper ballot in hand. He looked up and spotted the longtime Cape and Islands state representative.

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In Fireman’s Boots, Bookseller Finds Tears

She stood outside and watched, numb with disbelief.

And Ann Nelson — whose name is still synonymous with the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore even though she turned ownership of the store over to her son Jon three years ago (she stills owns the building) — wanted to go inside.

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Chappaquiddick Ferry Ready for Sale

The Chappaquiddick ferry, a singular enterprise and sole transportation link for the residents of this tiny island situated off the extreme eastern end of Edgartown, is set to be sold to Peter Wells, a seasoned captain who is a familiar face at the helm of the three-car ferry.

The Edgartown selectmen will hold a public hearing on Tuesday afternoon to consider the transfer of the license and ground lease from ferry owner Roy Hayes to Mr. Wells. Mr. Hayes, who lives in Edgartown, has owned the ferry since 1988.

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Land Bank Monies Fall Slightly as Market Slows

In a clear sign of a cooling real estate market here, revenues at the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank fell in 2007 for the second straight calendar year. The total number of real estate transactions also was down last year, for the third year in a row.

The land bank collected $10.9 million in revenues in 2007, compared with $11.6 million in 2006, a drop of seven per cent.

And the land bank recorded 1,403 real estate transactions in 2007, a drop of five per cent from the previous year, when 1,474 transactions were recorded.

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Island Affordable Housing Fund Names New Executive Director

He is a family man, father of three, physically fit with a passion for cycling, and a bit of history buff. And now T. Ewell Hopkins, who has been commuting from his year-round home in Oak Bluffs to work in mainland metropolises for the past 10 years, is happy to have more time at home on the Vineyard to be near his family, read and ride his bike on weekends.

But during the workweek he is occupied with a new job and a cause: raising money and promoting development of affordable housing on the Vineyard.

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State Rep. Tim Madden Joins Chorus of Critics Over Draft Oceans Plan

The draft Oceans Management Plan is a rush job, based on hastily-assembled data with little or no real analysis that is simply a means to an end: the rapid development of wind power generation in waters off the coast of Massachusetts, said Cape and Islands Rep. Timothy Madden this week.

And Mr. Madden said Vineyard residents are justified in their outrage at the plan, which effectively strips the Island of regulatory control over the development of wind power plants on the ocean that is its backyard, by diluting the powers of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

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Housing Fund Cites Achievements But Shifts Rent Assistance to Towns

Admitting the mistakes of the past and pledging a new future of transparency in their financial affairs, leaders of the Island Affordable Housing Fund took the floor at the Vineyard Haven library on Wednesday night and faced the public over what one member of the audience called a breach of public trust, when the fund defaulted on its payments to the county rental assistance program early this fall.

“How could you do this? There are single mothers using this rental program,” declared Penelope Dickens, a renter who also uses the program.

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Housing Fund Gifts Declined

Contributions fell sharply and cash evaporated while debt soared at the Island Affordable Housing Fund between the years 2007 and 2008, audited financial statements show.

And the public was led to believe that the fund was flush with money from fund-raising, when in fact the opposite was true, said T. Ewell Hopkins, executive director of the fund, in an interview with the Gazette yesterday.

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Housing Fund Runs Into Money Trouble

Revealing deep fault lines in its financial affairs, the Island Affordable Housing Fund announced abruptly this week that it can no longer pay for the county rental assistance program, pulling the rug out from under hundreds of Islanders who depend on the program for stable year-round housing.

The nonprofit fund not only has run out of money for the rental assistance program but is also in serious financial straits with its high-profile Bradley Square project in Oak Bluffs that drew Gov. Deval Patrick to the Island for a ceremonial groundbreaking in August.

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Possible Conflict of Interest For State-Funded Nonprofits

It is a violation of the Massachusetts Ethics Law for a member of a town community preservation committee who also sits on a private nonprofit board to participate in a decision that grants Community Preservation Act funds to the nonprofit.

This is the opinion of Edgartown town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport, who was recently asked by the town administrator to research the question.

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