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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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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Hospital Chairman Resigns N.J. Post

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

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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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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Concert at the Cliffs Plan Riles Aquinnah Residents

A budding plan to allow two Aquinnah concert promoters to build a summer outdoor performance center at the Gay Head Cliffs has begun to draw more darts than the P.A. Club on a Friday night.

A public hearing was set for last evening and Aquinnah selectmen moved the location to the old town hall because they were expecting a crowd.

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Chilmark Town Meeting Monday

Money to rebuild stone walls and jump-start building design for the Middle Line housing project, shared spending on health care access and rodent control, and a $6.6 million annual town budget are the central items that will come before Chilmark voters at their annual town meeting Monday night.

The 32-article warrant reads much like a profile of Chilmark itself: spare and threaded with Yankee thrift. The annual operating budget is a slight decrease from last year, making Chilmark the only town on the Island to see its budget go down instead of up this year.

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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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