Town, MVC Prevail in Moshup Trail Case
Julia Wells

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
Julia Wells

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
Julia Wells

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
Julia Wells

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
Julia Wells

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
Julia Wells

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
Julia Wells

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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Hospital Annual Report Details Lower Operating Gains, Investment Losses
Julia Wells

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital ended its fiscal year with a sharp drop in operating profits, although with year-end gains well north of $600,000, the institution remains comfortably in the black, defying predictions early this year of an operating deficit.

And like virtually every person and institution with money invested in stocks and bonds this year, on paper the hospital lost an enormous amount of value — more than $3 million — on its protected endowment monies.

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Hospital Chairman Resigns N.J. Post
Julia Wells

The chairman of the board of trustees for the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is mired in controversy at another hospital in Hackensack, N.J., where he has resigned his position.

John P. Ferguson, the longtime president and chief executive officer at the Hackensack University Medical Center, stepped down last week amid an unfolding scandal and federal corruption investigation.

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Vineyard Hospice Plans Expansion
Julia Wells

Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard announced this week that it will join forces with a leading Cape Cod hospice organization, a move that will lead to expanded services including those covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance carriers.

The plan calls for Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod to become affiliated with the Vineyard hospice, which will retain its independence. An independent nonprofit based in Hyannis, Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod is the largest hospice organization on the Cape, with a $12 million annual operating budget.

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