Letters to the Editor
A wild turkey primer
To the Editor:
I was sorry to read the story of a human/wildlife conflict gone awry in today's paper (Turkey perp charges police, gets plugged, June 19), and to read how this conflict created human/human conflicts, due to differing values about wildlife amongst human neighbors.
As human development extends into wildlife habitat, interactions between humans and wildlife become more likely. The response to that, however, should not be to kill wildlife. Understanding, tolerance, and mitigation are more appropriate - and effective - responses to human/wildlife conflicts. By understanding the wild turkey, and by following a few simple steps, conflicts with wild turkeys can be reduced.
Wild turkeys are social birds which live in flocks organized by pecking order. They sometimes view people as part of the flock, and as such, will treat people accordingly. If a turkey views a person as dominant, the turkey will act submissive or fearful. If a turkey views a person as a subordinate, the turkey will try to bully the person. Wild turkeys may also determine a person to be male or female, regardless of the person's true gender. Those perceived to be male may be challenged by an adult male turkey or followed and called to by a female. Likewise, those perceived to be female may be courted by a male turkey.
To avoid conflicts with wild turkeys, remember these simple steps: Do not feed wild turkeys. Clean up spilt birdseed or use a feeder designed to keep seed off the ground. Discourage intimidating turkeys by making loud noises and/or gently spraying them with a water hose. Installing a motion sensor on a garden hose will encourage turkeys to look for their next meal elsewhere. If the toms are pecking at your windows or the bumper of your car, do what you can to make those reflective surfaces less shiny - at least during the mating season in the spring.
For more information on coexisting safely with turkeys, please visit our Web site at www.livingwithwildlife.org and our new interactive Web site, www.mspca.org/intruderexcluder.
Ronald O Whitney
Animal Care and Adoption Center
Manager / Law Enforcement Investigation Officer
Headline fails to amuse
To the Editor:
The "Turkey Perp..." headline was not amusing for such a sad story.
To the Editor:
I was so deeply saddened by the horrific death of that beautiful, intelligent turkey. Turkeys are afraid of people usually and never run after anyone unless they are provoked. They come to my yard and eat right out of my hand. Some let me pet them. They are gentle, peaceful creatures that have every right to be here, as we do. What is with these people who have such a hatred for animals and just want to kill them? It's obvious they know nothing about compassion for all living things.
To the Editor:
I am not able to use the directionals on my car because of an electronic issue. Now when driving around, I finally know what it is like to drive like a Vineyarder.
Oak Bluffs and Dover
Sincere, informed doubts about Obama
To the Editor:
Marge Harris is quite correct. I should and I will vote "because this election is too important not to vote."
I did not trivialize Barack Obama with empty or silly perceptions. I was attempting to disseminate info to Vineyarders who will vote in November. I wrote from a background of material from unbiased biographies of Mr. Obama and with some firsthand material from people (most of whom support him) from my old Chicago past.
My difficulty accepting Barack Obama as sincere is the division between what he verbally espouses and the way he has actually lived his life. He offers no clear explanation for this dichotomy, nor for his often-changing policy statements. This lack of consistency and personal candor, especially coming from a talented politician, disturbs me.
Harvey Garneau must realize that what happens in other parts of the world often directly impacts Vineyarders and vice-versa. Certainly the choosing of one president for all the United States is one of those cases. "No man is an island," not even the Vineyard. My family, which arrived here from Canada and New Bedford in the 1800s, was always Republican. I was born here and based my letter on my life after I left the Island at 18. My years off-Island took me into another world, which I attempted to describe in my letter. Today, with most young people leaving the Vineyard, earth-shaking new experiences will change their lives forever just as mine changed. My living relatives have remained on the Island. My cousin and his family have a home on School Street in Edgartown. Another is a teacher at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and is very involved with Island history. His grandfather, Stanton "Hun" Lair, is well respected as an outstanding Martha's Vineyard historian. Jackie Lair is a gifted artist and photographer. I was fortunate in meeting people who made history off-Island during my marriage, and I became politically active through them. I apologize for not painting a better picture of my Island roots in my previous letter. Full circle, I retired down here in 2001 - loving Martha's Vineyard and still a part of the wider world.
Roberta B. Mendlovitz
Time for litter pickup
To the Editor:
If you're a regular walker or bicycler along Edgartown Road in Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs, you know that ugly litter is once again accumulating. The DPW occasionally sweeps the curbside, but the rubbish along the sidewalk and bike path just piles up and looks bad all summer.
It's overwhelming for one person to pick up, but perhaps if we had enough people to each "adopt" a small stretch, we could keep it looking better than it does. If you're willing to participate, call me at 508-696-0274.
And if you live on Edgartown Road, ask town officials to enact litter laws, require dump and construction loads to be covered, and fine people for tossing bottles and cans from cars - and let's do something about "free" couches and mattresses left out in the rain for weeks.
To the Editor
What a touching poem and picture in your June 12 issue regarding "Wee Bit." Of course, we shed a tear. Could we know a little more about this adorable creature from Donny and Kim? Maybe just a short follow-up piece? Was he a dwarf of a dwarf horse? Did he romp and play and whinny? I would love to know more about this tiny little guy. Thank you.
Janet Skora Brooks
Beware religious intolerance and animal fats
To the Editor:
My submitted letter regarding religion-gone-wild was a commentary on how our nation, or rather some of it's citizenry, chooses to endorse and elect a politician in the United States. Far too long, religious notions have determined the outcome of elections in our country.
I do not deny that throughout history, many atheists have indeed also committed numerous crimes against humanity. However, it has not been the atheist philosophy that has been holding us back as a nation. Even though the First Amendment to the US Constitution clearly addresses the separation of church and state, unfortunately, we the people have a very hard time abiding by that political commandment.
On another subject, after the passing of our beloved canine companion, Bella, my partner and I chose to become vegetarians. Our vegetarian lifestyle has also helped us become more informed consumers. The challenges and obstacles faced by individuals and families who maintain a vegetarian or a kosher lifestyle are often not as discernible to the naked eye as one might think.
Several months ago, I learned to my horror that many fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain animal fat (insert here the stuff that one cuts off of steaks, brisket, or ham). I was extremely shocked and disturbed to learn this dirty little secret. Moreover, what infuriated me the most was to discover that this information is not disclosed on all the packaging of fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
All consumers have the right to know all the ingredients of the products which they purchase. Failure to disclose this information on labels should result in stiff fines for the manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors.
Bryan D. Freehling
To the Editor:
Bravo to Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush on Monday night, reading the resolution into the Congressional Record. Not surprisingly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and other top house Democratic leaders said there will be no consideration of impeachment proceedings against Bush.
To the Editor:
For starters I still haven't seen any of the Oak Bluffs selectmen on Circuit Avenue at 1:30 am, or even past 10 pm for that matter. Surely they should witness the results of an extra half an hour to last call for themselves.
Next, Obama beat Clinton and is now the Democratic nominee. For those who supported Clinton, it is now time to get on board. That is unless you want pro life Supreme Court justices.
Third, for those who don't know, another reason for rising prices at Oak Bluffs restaurants is the increased sewer fees that high water users in Oak Bluffs are now paying. Restaurants and hotels saw a $20,000 bill over 20 years rise to upward of $150,000.
Fourth, my Sunday mornings will not be the same without Tim Russert.
Finally, of course, Lambert's Cove Beach in West Tisbury. Here is a quote from the town's home page: "We continue to retain much of the rural atmosphere and neighborly sense of community that made us notable." Clearly, this is inaccurate because the town continues to deny public access to a public area, Lambert's Cove Beach. End beach apartheid.
Pennies for Peace
To the Editor:
It all began when their teachers told children in the Chilmark School K-1 classroom the story of Greg Mortenson's experience in a small remote village in Pakistan. Greg Mortenson observed the Pakistani children scratching their lessons in the dirt, because they could not afford the $1 a day salary for a teacher. He told them he would return and build them a school. Today, he has built 58 schools for young girls or boys.
He explains that the pennies are a metaphor. A penny buys a pencil in Afghanistan and Pakistan and empowers a child to read and write. Our students were so moved by the story, they decided we needed to help.
The Chilmark students each chose a topic related to the culture of Pakistan or Afghanistan to study and learn about. They made posters and placed collection jars in one of the businesses in the community. The culmination was a Pennies for Peace festival presented to parents, grandparents, community members, and grades 2-5 in our school. The children shared the results of their research, on subjects such as clothing, food, money, animals, games and sports. They practiced making change at their booths, where they sold traditional crafts the children had made. The information the students shared was incredible, as was the amount of money that these six- and seven-year-olds raised, $1,363. Ultimately, the students have a better understanding of underprivileged children in other countries and learned that these children have the same dreams and wishes as ourselves.
Hopefully, Greg Mortenson's premise will come true for the future generations: "Education will conquer terrorism." Thank you.
Chilmark School K-1 classroom: Robin Smith , Eleanor Neubert, Madia Bellebuono, Dash Christy, Kieran Karabees, Thea Keene, Adam Knight , Cameron Soulagnet, Cabot Thurber, Levi Moreis , Liam McCarthy, Kelly Klaren
Benefits Fair a success
To the Editor:
On May 8, 2008, the County of Dukes County held its annual Benefits Fair for all municipal employees of the county.
The health care plans were represented by Bill Rowbottom of Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bill Hickey from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. With the ever-changing health industry this was an opportunity for employees to have a one-on-one discussion with these representatives. Kim Andersen from MyMedication Advisor came to inform employees of additional ways they could save on their prescription medications.
Kelly McCracken from the Dukes County Contributory Retirement System was available for questions regarding the municipal pension law. Marilyn McManus from Boston Mutual Life Insurance attended so that employees could sign up for life insurance during open enrollment and have a better understanding of the coverage.
Also at the fair were investment professionals who could give insight about the deferred compensation plans those employees may take advantage of. Christopher Flanders represented AXA Financial Advisors, while Stanley Startzel of Lincoln Investments was present, and the Massachusetts SMART PLAN was presented by Ricardo Diaz-Lane from Great West Financial Services.
We'd like to thank all those that attended and a special thanks to the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School for allowing us the space to hold this event.
We'd also like to thank all the municipal benefits administrators who helped spread the word about the benefits fair.
Senior Financial Clerk
County of Dukes County
To the Editor:
I love to walk, but walking on the main roads is very dangerous. Most of the cars, buses, and trucks spout big black clouds of exhaust, and by 9 am the air is yellow. By 10 am, it is gray. I see joggers braving the bad air, all decked out in their brightly colored spandex.
I found a little soccer field in a remote area, and it has made a great place to walk. It is a beloved spot, used on weekends by the community to play soccer. During the week, the locals stake their horses and cattle on the field. When I walk, I have to gauge the length of the ropes holding the animals.
Crisscrossing the field is a system of rutted footpaths that people use to walk from their homes in the bush to the paved road. The goals are metal poles with no nets. The field itself is a roller coaster of ruts and moguls with protruding rocks.
Here, drinks like soda are poured from a bottle or can and served in thin plastic bags. One bites the corner of the bag and drinks, then throws the bag on the ground. The wind blows the plastic bags up into the trees, which are bedecked with fluttering debris. Most of us in the USA would not think of throwing our garbage and trash on the ground, and it is difficult to live in a culture where that is the norm.
I would love to clean up that field, buy nets, get in a backhoe and smooth it out, and paint lines on the ground. But then I see the weekend gathering of young people who play soccer with such joy, regardless of the conditions, I put away my thoughts of meddling and fussing and "fixing." Keep the faith.
To the Editor:
To the Oak Bluffs parents and community,
The Oak Bluffs staff thanks our PTO for making us feel so appreciated throughout the year.
We also thank the community for demonstrating their continued support of quality education for our Oak Bluffs students. We recognize how fortunate we are to be part of such a generous community, where education is so highly valued.
The staff and students are also grateful to all local businesses that, year after year, make donations on our behalf. Thank You.
For the Oak Bluffs School staff
The power of knowledge
To the Editor:
"Information.., it's worth more than money," Aristotle Onassis.
To the graduating class of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, you have jumped over the hurdles, and you rose to the challenge and you have secured a victory. Congratulations you all certainly deserve it. Some will go on to college and some will go on to life, and both will have a new set of hurdles. May you all meet those challenges and thrive.
It is said that knowledge is power, but knowledge, in fact, is more than that. While power may be taken, material possessions can disappear, and hope and complacency may be lost, knowledge will endure. Class of 2008, may you never stop learning, never stop questioning, never stop exploring and never stop asking why. The person who seeks learning whatever the discipline, be it a skill, a craft, a hobby, a sport or a career, is always being fulfilled, is always being empowered. That person displays a spirit, a passion, a presence. That person's self esteem is always glowing, always having a direction, always seeking to learn more. A person who seeks knowledge is fortified against adversity. Refuge can be found in a book, a class, a library, or on the web.
Class of 2008, knowledge is empowering. Seek, learn, explore. The power is at your fingertips.
To the Editor:
I am watching a dance of five yellow finches, flitting from oak to oak. My God, how fast they fly, darting here and darting there. And, how free they are. They flit in groups of twos and threes. I think they are trying to catch each other, but then they disappear, out into the horizon. Food has been found and they are full. Time to move on.
The sky is a perfect Vineyard sky; soft clouds in from the south, ever so gently they move across the sky. In the distance, I can hear the waves on South Beach lapping the shore in their rhythm of "swoosh, lap, swoosh, lap." I see and hear all this from my bike as off I go around the neighborhood. The smell of honeysuckle, lavender, rose hips, and all sorts of vegetation. I take in the aromas. There is writing stirring within me. So, home I go to get started.
The phone rings; it's one of our daughters asking if I can take care of our granddaughter and two of her friends. I take a deep breath and, of course, would I ever say no? The writing goes on hold; my next three hours will be spent with two eight-year-olds and one six-year-old. Not only are they mesmerized by the five baby bluebirds in the birdhouse on the tree, but they are begging me to get out the hose and chase them around the yard while they squeal with joy. Sure, and why not? These are the days to treasure. These are the days that I have lived for in the years when work and family and homes were the priority and there was so little time for the real things in life.
Of course, the Vineyard is the place and the environment that just calls me in my waking hours and in my sleep. Back the kids go to the birdhouse to check on their condition...everything is fine. The mother continues to feed them, and soon they will all be flying away.
Yes, I am here. I'm home. This Island never gets old. This place of dramatic sunrises and sunsets. This place of changing weather patterns. This ocean of constant crashing waves and whipping winds. This Island where one can take a walk or a bike ride and where people actually smile or say hello on a daily basis. This Island that has become a place of peace and beauty in our later years. This Island where the flowers are more beautiful from one vista to the next. I know this Island from top to bottom, from north to south and east to west. Where else can one be given so much from just being here and taking in all that the Island has to give? Nowhere.
A long journey to graduation
To the Editor:
The following is a copy of the commencement address given at the Tabernacle on Friday, June 20, at the conclusion of the 2008 Licensed Practical Nurse Program.
Four years ago we began our quest for an L.P.N. program for the Island to help staff Windemere and the hospital. Our dream was to provide an opportunity for our incredible staff in their educational pursuits.
We needed a program, location, funding and an instructor. We contacted the Nathan Mayhew Seminars. Dr. Lorna Andrade and Al Daniels shared our dream. They supported our initial efforts to find a program and funding for the program. We soon ran into a number of roadblocks. We were turned down on our first grant application, and an off-Island program backed out, putting us back at square one.
Three years ago it started to come together. Carolyn Blanks from the Massachusetts Extended Care Federation put us in touch with David Augustinho at the Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board. David met with us and set up a meeting with Michael Corcoran at the Department of Workforce Development, who helped us with a grant application for an L.P.N. program on the Island. We had the support of SEIU. And, our Cape & Islands state Sen. Rob O'Leary fought for us on our grant application.
In February of 2007, the state's Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Suzanne Bump, notified us of a grant award for $100,000 for our L.P.N. program.
Next, we needed a program. We found Kevin Farr, superintendent, and Patricia Gales, director of the practical nursing program, at Upper Cape Cod Regional Tech, who made a commitment to locate a program on the Island. Our next crisis was the location. Peg Regan and the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School provided classroom space for the program. But we still needed an instructor. It was coming down to the wire. Deb Herlihy stepped up to the plate, shared our vision, and committed to relocating from her Plymouth home to the Island in order to teach the ten-month program.
Our L.P.N. program turned into a national program when we had an application from North Carolina. We had a diverse group of students, ranging in age from 21 to 56. We even had a mother-daughter duo.
We began with nine enthusiastic students who embarked on the 10-month program, balancing their education, work, and family lives. Windemere's C.N.A. staff covered the student's shifts. Windemere, the Hospital, Vineyard Pediatrics, and VNA served as on-Island clinical sites. Windemere's Marie Zadeh, director of Nursing, and Marie Araujo, nursing supervisor, both served as mentors, meeting regularly with the students, and again, balancing education, work, and family. The students and instructor also went off-Island for additional clinical training for over eight weeks - adding to the challenge.
The families - spouses, kids, parents - all were invaluably supportive. Let's hear it for the families.
As I said, when the planning started, this Island program truly took a village to make it happen.
Now, most important, our graduates. It has been a long journey. You have studied hard and worked hard. Your dreams have come true. We are thrilled that soon we will be seeing you at our nursing home and the hospital, taking care of our Island residents.
Good luck and congratulations. And, as Tim Russert would say, go get 'em.
Director of Human Resources
Martha's Vineyard Hospital
Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
To the Editor:
Monday, June 30, may be remembered in history as the day Americans began, in earnest, the moral and solemn process of holding their servant government accountable to the constitution, under threat of withdrawal of allegiance, support and tax money.
To secure this end, the people have begun to claim and exercise a little known, but unalienable, "Right of Redress," rather than depending upon the will of the majority as defined by precinct voters, those who cast votes on Capitol Hill, and those that vote from the inner sanctums of our courthouses.
Most do not know that this profound natural right, first articulated 800 years ago in the Magna Carta, is embodied and protected by the petition clause of the First Amendment, the same amendment which protects your voice in the defense of freedom. Very importantly, academic research since 1986 makes clear that the right to petition for redress is not a redundant statement of the right of speech. It is in fact, the individual exercise of popular sovereignty.
To be sure, the widespread exercise of this Right holds significant implications for our nation and is most worthy of your interest. Here's what some of the Founders, sitting as the first congress, had to say:
"If money is wanted by rulers who have in any manner oppressed the people, they may retain it until their grievances are redressed, and thus peaceably procure relief, without trusting to despised petitions or disturbing the public tranquility." - Journals of the Continental Congress, 1:105113
On June 30, approximately 1,200 American citizens will begin the process of exercising the right by formally serving a legal notice and demand for redress upon the president, the attorney general and every member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, at their local district offices. This includes our own.
Demanding an official response within 40 days, the notice includes seven petitions for redress of grievances regarding substantial violations the constitution:
1. The Iraq invasion in violation of the war powers clauses.
2. The Federal Reserve System's violation of the money clauses.
3. The USA Patriot Act's violation of the privacy clauses.
4. The direct, unapportioned taxes on labor in violation of the tax clauses.
5. The federal gun control laws in violation of the Second Amendment.
6. The failure to enforce immigration laws in violation of the "faithfully execute" clause.
7. The construction, by stealth, of a "North American Union" without constitutional authority.
We the people cannot elect our way out of tyranny. Any assertion that by electing either Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama we can cure the ills that now plague America is simply naive or based on a lack of information regarding the corrupting forces that truly influence and control our government and political process.
Remember, when our president originally led us to war in Iraq, he did so with the majority support of not only Congress, but of the people. Credit or blame for whatever actions our government takes, whether it turns out to be for better or worse, cannot be laid upon just one man, administration, or congressional gathering. Whether through apathy, ignorance, vigilance, or brilliance, all our nation's citizenry have some responsibility for what our government does.
We urge you, the media, to learn about this profound right and to cover this event. Our republic faces a watershed moment no less historically compelling or newsworthy than the emergence of the civil rights movement. If liberty is to survive through peaceful means, you must embrace your ability to bring this critical information to your readers.
I know our local papers don't usually cover national news so much, but this really does have the potential to affect us all personally.
I also must admit that I am not as well versed in constitutional law as some, but in the past couple of years I do feel I have learned enough to support this cause and wish that others would do the same. If you wish you may visit www.givemeliberty.org/revolution for details about the plan to restore constitutional order.
I also recommend that every citizen take a closer look at our constitution than most of us do. Some of it is a tough read, but during a time when there is significant discussion about what it's all about and how important it is, I think it's a good thing for every one of us to take a good look at.
Christopher D. Osborn