Annual State Test Scores Label Island Schools High Performers

Scores were released this week for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the annual testing in commonwealth public schools that measures student performance in math, reading and science.

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Edgartown Allows Library Renovations

Trading democratic squabbles for efficiency, Edgartown voters marched resolutely through a 52-article annual town meeting warrant in just over two hours on Tuesday night, stopping briefly along the way to debate the merits of renovations to the free public library and adding a finance director to the town employee roster.

Voters said yes to the library improvements and no to the finance director.

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Ted Kennedy Fought to Protect Island

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the senior Senator from Massachusetts whose broad vowels were synonymous with Boston and whose liberal legislative record towered over all others, died late Tuesday night at his home in Hyannisport after a 14-month battle with brain cancer. He was 77 and had served in the U.S. Senate for 46 years. And he had long been a familiar presence on the Vineyard, where he is both credited for the infamy of Chappaquiddick and for the pioneering federal land trust bill that ultimately led to the creation of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

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Town, MVC Prevail in Moshup Trail Case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week upheld the town of Aquinnah and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in a key leg of a complicated and long-running property rights case that will ultimately decide whether a large swath of rare coastal heathland along Moshup Trail remains forever wild or is opened up to private development.

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Federal Funds Freed, Clearing Way for Boatline Terminal Work

The bureaucratic red tape has been unsnarled and last week the Steamship Authority learned that it would receive $5 million in stimulus money from the Federal Highway Administration, which will allow three terminal construction projects in Hyannis, Oak Bluffs and Woods Hole to proceed on schedule.

At a special meeting Friday in Hyannis boat line governors voted to award contracts for the three projects. The Oak Bluffs project, which has been in the works for more than 10 years, is now expected to be completed on time in April of next year.

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Nursing Association Plans Medicare Hospice Service

The Vineyard Nursing Association has announced a plan to expand its services to include hospice care, directly competing with Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, a 28-year-old Island institution which operates solely on donations, unfettered by the constraints of insurance regulations.

Vineyard Nursing Association has applied to become a licensed hospice provider certified under Medicare.

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The Foundation of a Dream

Monday morning, just after dawn at Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary. The dense forest canopy refracts the early morning sun into a thousand butter yellow shafts of light. The shards fall randomly and at odd angles in the hushed woodland, illuminating the gnarled ancient trunk of an elephant gray beech tree here, a patch of soft emerald moss underfoot there. The terrier races down the Irons Trail path, stopping to bury her nose in a muddy place by the stream, still fat and gurgling in a cool summer with so much rain. A blue jay scolds from overhead.

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Surgery Drop Hits Hospital Bottom Line

Hurt by falling patient volumes, especially in the area of orthopedic surgery, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is on track to end its year in red ink on an operating basis for the first time in nearly a decade.

Hospital chief executive officer Tim Walsh said this week that while steps have been taken to beef up orthopedic services, he is projecting an operating deficit of about $750,000. The hospital fiscal year runs from April 1 through March 31.

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Robert McNamara Leaves Island Legacy

Robert S. McNamara, the tragic and controversial former Secretary of Defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, who was most closely associated with leading the country into the Viet Nam War, died yesterday morning at his home in Washington, D.C., after a long period of failing health.

He was 93 and was a former longtime summer resident of the Vineyard.

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At the End of a Long Dirt Road Lies New Land Bank Property

Adding another gem to its emerald necklace of properties on Chappaquiddick, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank announced this week that it has purchased 22 acres of native sandplain off Quammox Road. The property includes 550 feet of beachfront on the extreme eastern end of Katama Bay.

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