Letters to the Editor
I love you Wen
To the Editor:
On Thursday, July 17, my wife, Wendy, lost her battle with brain cancer. It has been the most amazing fight I have ever seen. She went at it with a smile and determination, knowing full well it was an uphill battle all the way. Her strength and courage were inspiring and unmatched.
Wendy lived 45 and a half great, love-filled, eventful years. She was first and foremost a great mother. Her true love in life was being a mom. She was also a very special wife, always taking care of others needs, putting herself second way too much. But her biggest loves were her children, Marguerite and Wyatt.
Wendy was never scared to start something new. Whether it was starting a farm stand market, delivering sandwiches on wheels, or starting one of the highest regarded catering companies on the Island, Wendy's work ethic was one of her greatest attributes. In the early 1990s, she would ride her bike from Gay Head to Edgartown, with Marguerite strapped on her back, to work for good friends, Albert and Cathy Lattanzi.
In 1993, Wendy and Donna started a lunch delivery service. She would go to local job sites with food and coffee. This is where I come in; with all those deliveries, she needed to get gas sometimes.
I found love with her and Marguerite. And over time, we decided to get married. On November 2, 1996, we did, at Whiting's farm in West Tisbury. At the time we were living in my great grandma's house across the street from Alley's. But in 1998, our family got a little bigger. Wyatt was born. That did not slow Wendy down a bit. That summer, she started her farm stand where Green's used to be. She called it Periwinkle Market.
In late 1998, we moved into the house I was brought up in on South Road. It was just right for a family of four. It had a garage in the backyard. Glenn Jackson, a friend and wood worker, converted it into a commercial kitchen space. Periwinkle Catering was created. No job was too large or too small for her. She treated each job with the same enthusiastic smile. Wendy could honestly say she loved what she did for a living, and not many people can say that. She kept all this going while still being a mom first. Amazing.
Marguerite's passion in life is dancing. She has thrived in it since she could walk. Wendy enjoyed watching her dance, whether it was classical, ballet or hip hop, with her crew from Kelly Peters' Dance Company. Wendy did not breakdance or moonwalk or anything, but she was still an honorary member of the KPD crew. She has the jacket to prove it. There were so many times I would look over at her while she was watching Marguerite, and she had that "Yup, that's my daughter" look on her face. Marguerite made her a very proud mom.
Wyatt's love in life is playing goalie for his hockey team, catching fish, shooting his bow, and just being a boy. That is my department. This brings us back to Wendy. She made it possible for me to be involved in hockey and to be able to teach Wyatt to be a good fisherman and outdoorsman.
Wendy, you are going to be loved and missed forever. You are everything to us. Brown Paper Bag, peace be with you.
Please come celebrate Wendy with us, on Saturday July 26, 2 pm, at Bliss Pond Farm on North Road in Chilmark. (Also known as the Windmill or Flanders Farm.)
Making a difference
To the Editor:
A heartfelt thanks to everyone at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital for their loving care to Maynard, our family, and friends. The nursing staff was exceptionally compassionate and made Maynard's final days easier to bear. Janet, thank you for your help throughout. Dr. Dodge, thank you for helping me through the hardest moment I've ever faced. And to all my friends who were there and continue to be, I love you all. You made all the difference for Maynard and me.
Basia Jaworska Silva
Sensitivity training needed
To the Editor:
I was concerned that the superintendent of schools for Martha's Vineyard did not say that sensitivity training for all Vineyard administrators, teachers, and assistants would be his top priority in dealing with this issue of inappropriate behavior toward students. When adults in positions of trust (in loco parentis) betray that trust, it can have lifelong repercussions for those students and their families. We owe it to them to ensure that everyone coming into contact with students in an educational context has been sensitized and trained to respect a student's personal boundaries.
To the Editor:
On July 14 the members of the board of directors of the Martha's Vineyard Boys and Girls Club decided, after considerable deliberation, to dismiss the employees of our Second Hand Store and close the store temporarily, pending reorganization and re-staffing. Since the store is an important fixture on the Island and our action has evoked a storm of discussion, we feel we owe the community some explanation.
We have been advised by our legal counsel that this is primarily an internal matter involving personnel issues that we are obliged to keep confidential. What we can say is that at the heart of the matter was the total unwillingness of our store employees to operate the store as the board believes it should be operated, and their opposition and hostility to the suggested changes which board members recently proposed. Moreover, these employees threatened to create a public campaign for their support if we did not leave them alone and let them run the store without regard to the suggestions of the board. The board, composed of a cross-section of the community who work diligently for the success of the club, could not accept their attitude. A number of matters have since come to light which reinforce our decision to terminate the store's staff.
We will reopen as soon as possible with the same basic format. It is our intention to better display the merchandise, make it easier for our contributors to drop off merchandise, and make it easier for those who wish to donate furniture to have it picked up. We also intend to make the store cleaner, brighter, better organized and more inviting. Properly run, the Second Hand Store can contribute significantly to the overall financial success of the Boys and Girls Club. We have every intention of operating the store in the future to best serve the club and the community,
Joe Forte, President
Board of Directors
To the Editor:
Absolutely shameful treatment by the Boys and Girls Club hierarchy. That special meeting must have been something to behold, all making the decision to send the president of directors, Joseph Forte and board member Kelly Hess into the store during business hours to publicly humiliate and embarrass Darlene and her staff by firing them in front of customers, escorting them out the door and changing the locks as a final insult.
Unreal, this reeks of "power trip" and "sour grapes" while showing that as a board you really are not in touch with this community. Last year $133,000 in revenue was raised in this little store, all from donated items. That's pretty impressive, especially in this economy. That means Darlene, Penny and their staff moved a lot of inventory in and out of that store, it took a lot of extra time on their part, working before and after store hours to get things ready for sale. They did this because they did care about the club and their community. Sometimes it isn't all about the bottom line; these women know their Island people and if someone needed a little help it was given. For a lot of us it was a place to escape for a while whether it be to search for a treasure, a needed item, or just some conversation. It was always a good experience because of the people who were working.
What a joke this has become; you fire the beloved staff, close the store at the height of the season, and have the gall to say not much will change - a little price increase, some paint and a few new items and everything will be good again - and the laughs don't stop there. You also say that the former employees and volunteers can reapply for their jobs back.
I think this clean sweep got the wrong people, the comedians should have gotten the broom. This board owes Darlene, Penny, and the rest of the volunteers a public apology, and I further think that Joseph Forte and Kelly Hess owe them a personal apology for their shameful behavior.
To Darlene, Penny, and all of the volunteers, thank you for all you did over the years, please know that you are and always have been appreciated by your friends and customers alike, and you deserved a lot better than this.
To the Editor:
Wow, what harsh and uncouth treatment for the Second Hand Store managers and volunteers. I must say I have always found the shop and its staff to be delightful and charming, a real treasure. This was ridiculous treatment by the directors, but I am sure they must have witnessed some imminent danger or threat to public safety to have taken such outrageous steps in firing the staff in such a humiliating manner. Otherwise, I shall no longer support them.
Shock and sadness
To the Editor:
I am shocked and saddened to read of the closing of a highly valued Edgartown/Island resource, the Second Hand Store. I'm shocked at the rudeness of the Boys and Girls Club directors and saddened at their apparent disconnect with the users and supporters of the store who relied on it for good-quality, clean, and useful clothing and household items, at prices they could afford. These patrons frequented the store from all over the Island, year-round (long after the summer people were gone) and found congenial, helpful staff, as well as a great social and networking resource in the community.
"No major changes made to the store?" Sadly, there has been a huge change made in a most unfortunate manner. The managers and volunteers deserve to be treated with the respect and dignity they have always shown others. How do you fire a volunteer? You can't, but you can certainly anger and alienate them.
The directors owe at least an apology for rude and heavy-handed behavior. They might be well advised to listen to public comments carefully. Edgartown does not need a silk purse, nor do we have a sow's ear. Think again, get realistic, and creative. Solve problems, don't create them. Consensus always produces a better result.
To the Editor:
We were shocked and disheartened to hear about the unfair firings of Darlene Kelly and Penny Townes who managed the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store in Edgartown. We have shopped there for years and always enjoyed the experience, especially because of the happy nature of these two wonderful women. They were like family to us, and as soon as we arrived on the Island the "Thrift" was our first stop. First, to inquire as to how they fared over the winter and second, to stock up on summer clothes, kitchen items, and whatnots. The place won't be the same without Penny and Darlene and the board owes them an apology for the manner in which they were terminated.
All very sad
To the Editor:
To the Boys and Girls Club directors, we are all very sad of what happened to the Boys and Girls Club Second Hand store. The Thrift shop was very decorous and now is futile. Penny and Darlene were amiable. The directors should think of asking all of the citizens on Martha's Vineyard before changing the thrift store. It would be the right thing for the directors to do.
We liked the store how it was. This might not even help us, but please put this into consideration for us.
Anna Keenan, 9
To the Editor:
As an Island resident for more than half my life and a frequent treasure hunter at the Edgartown thrift store, I have to say I find myself livid at the recent news relating to the developments in the Boys and Girls Club organization and the Edgartown Second Hand Store. Livid, appalled, saddened. Though our tourist season swells our numbers into the hundreds of thousands, at our heart we are a small town where everyone knows everyone and where we believe ourselves safe from the kind of big-city faceless bureaucracy shown recently by the BGC leaders. Apparently, safe from it we are not.
Though the entire situation, as outlined by the Martha's Vineyard Times article, distresses me, one point in particular drove me to address it on the page. Penny Townes. Though I hardly think that she needs me to raise a sword for her (no one who has met her could not adore her), I still could not help myself. The minute she was fired, the light went out for the Edgartown thrift store, and best of luck to the idiots in charge in trying to turn it on again.
Let this be a lesson to us all: know your audience. The leaders of the BGC obviously did not take this into account before making this rash move, and I doubt they are prepared for the backlash of the community over their actions.
What was a small town wonder, a gathering place and Island staple, will likely now become faceless, nameless, and bureaucratic. Yes, the light has indeed gone out.
Edgartown and Brookline
To the Editor:
The South Beach message board displayed on the front page of last week's paper states that the highest ever temperature in Antarctica was three degrees. Not so.
The warmest temperature ever officially recorded in Antarctica was 59 degrees Fahrenheit at New Zealand's Vanda Station on Jan. 5, 1974.
No legend at all
To the Editor:
Maybe it's me, but the surreal nature of seeing the name Jim Belushi anywhere within a hundred miles of the designation "blues legend" inspires a sort of bewilderment usually associated with hallucinogens. Locating an internal compass from which to formulate an understanding of a universe that can support a statement so boldly unearned can be tricky. I should know, for that is precisely the predicament I found myself in upon perusing the Martha's Vineyard Times last week. Granted, this unearned title adorned an advertisement whose sole, hell-bent allegiance must be to the almighty box office and therefore a retraction cannot legally be demanded. Yet and still, "Blues Legend Jim Belushi" is a phrase of such disproportionate vulgarity, especially this week, that it taunts me even now as I write.
Anytime I feel this type of disconnect, it is imperative to rule out insanity. In this case, my immediate mental inventory of mundane facts, definitive dates and common trivia were compared against various sources (even the paper of note) and all were confirmed as accurate and unaffected. Once my heart rate resumed an acceptable metabolic frequency, I re-read the advertisement taking into account the sly, immoral marketing universe that spawned it, a panorama from which the effrontery would hardly be diluted. Therefore, I attempted to digest the pronouncement from the perspective of the target demographic, who I presumed to be upper-class vacationers, the slightly stiff and the generally out of touch.
In short, it mattered little the angle; once approached, the madness had no choice but become pervasive. While the danger of playing into it was palpable, letting it go unchecked would simply be irresponsible. I felt at the very least, a few questions were in order, chiefly among them; where was I while the brother of iconic funnyman John Belushi was taking blues lore on this breezy summer house detour? The answer to that is, of course, on Martha's Vineyard, within the same 10-mile radius of the legend himself. Now, being a music connoisseur of sorts and one who is not prone to hiding beneath rocks for interminable lengths, logic leads me to ponder how I missed the apparent zeitgeist shifting, elitist whitewash of one of music's most enduring and beloved genres. Note: I was not even alive at the time, never mind living on the same island as Elvis, and I can practically recite his legend.
I do recall eyeing a poster to last summer's underperforming Underdog movie with the name Jim Belushi above it's title and wondering if this was the same Jim Belushi from K-9 and the straight to video classic K-9: P.I.? Either way "works well with dogs" is certainly not an applicable prerequisite claim, nor even likely to enhance the resume of a blues legend. Vague memories of a moderately successful sitcom, and obnoxiously titled/supremely unnecessary memoir aside, are we to stand for this history-defiling, revisionist ego stroke? False advertisement is one thing, total lack of respect another. Many people have given all they have of this life, heart and soul to this music and still have never earned and would hardly accept the term legend. Then again, that may depend on how loosely you interpret the word. Let's take the first definition Google spits out.
legend\'le-jend\noun a: a story coming down from the past; especially one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable. b; a person or thing that inspires legends.
I would tend to agree that the term "not verifiable" works in both Mr. Belushi and his publicist's favor. However within the phrase "popularly regarded" lies the rub.
If the same paper that published the "Jim Belushi Blues Legend" advertisement were to conduct a poll asking its readers to describe Jim Belushi, is it more likely that even one of them employs the words "blues legend," or that all of them reply with some form of "successful but relatively unadmired actor"?
What if those same readers are asked to describe Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, or Stevie Ray Vaughn? Would even one of them make mention of a more famous brother?
By the way, I Googled "Martha's Vineyard Blues Legend" and on the first page, Jim Belushi's name was right where it belonged, nowhere to be found. Do you know whose name did turn up on that page, in each and every article/blog/website without exception? That's right: Maynard Silva.
Martha's Vineyard, let's learn to respect our legends.
Let's do it again
To the Editor:
The WVVY Aquinnah Festival was a great thing for a lot of reasons, and at the end of that long and constantly amazing and moving day and night, in that beautiful Aquinnah Circle, I felt compelled to thank the people who made it happen, with all their hard work. But, I left out an important thanks to the Black Brook Singers, who opened the festival and then sealed the deal at the end and kept us safe and centered with their powerful music. And, thanks also to the Wampanoag Tribe for being our hosts. And, I left out the volunteers and Maria Danielson and I'm still leaving out people. I'm exhausted and sundrenched, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
We've got to do it again.
Praise for firefighters not warranted
To the Editor:
I continue to read with some surprise what a great job the fire department did with the Moxie fire. I, along with other numerous bystanders, totally disagree. The fire should have never spread as far as it did, and I would like to know why. I have e-mailed John Bugbee, Tisbury town administrator, and fire Chief John Schilling and have only heard back from the town administrator stating that the fire chief will address my questions. It has been two weeks and still no response. Here are my questions.
Is it normal for the fire department to get dressed in the middle of the street? There were precious moments wasted as the firemen were getting "their clothes on" in the middle of the street. I always thought firemen arrived ready.
Why did it take 10-15 minutes to get the bucket truck over from across the street to the fire? It looked as if the operator did not know how to operate the truck. Also, once they did maneuver their way over to the fire, the hose spit out a few drops of water, and no more came while the fire continued to blaze through the roof and then spread to the bookstore. The firefighters were looking down upon the flames for 10-15 minutes with no water coming out of the hoses. If the truck had arrived even just a few minutes before, with hoses working, the bookstore would not have received as much damage.
Why did it take so long to cut off the electricity? It was over one and a half hours from the start of the smoke before the electricity was shut off.
These are just a few questions that bewilder me and of course a few other hundred bystanders who are afraid to speak up. I am constantly amazed at the praise the fire department has received in the newspapers, and I feel that it is not warranted.
Now, the town must do its job
To the Editor:
One critically important point in the Martha's Vineyard Commission's decision to tear down the Moujabber garage and approve a proposed addition was the commission's emphatic stipulation that this was a ceiling on the size of the proposed plan; that the three town boards (Copeland, Cottage City Historic and the ZBA) now had their jobs to do, and they can certainly further reduce the height, width, depth and all-round square footage of the proposal, which is still an outsized, view-blocking structure. Quite possibly it also violates the zoning bylaw.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission did their job and set a limit, and then very appropriately lobbed responsibility back to the town to finish the job. The town of Oak Bluffs now has a chance to undo the mess created when it allowed the garage mahal to be illegally built in the first place. Through a lot of hard work and strong political will, we've all thankfully come a long way since that time.
North Bluff Neighborhood Homeowners Association
To the Editor:
A situation has arisen in Oak Bluffs, and cat owners should be made aware of the threats made against cats allowed outside. Apparently four or five cats, two wearing collars, have been walking through a lady's yard. She claims they also sit and lounge on her deck. Having asthma, she also claims the dander coming through her windows can give her an attack. Those are her words, not mine.
Threats were voiced to the Oak Bluffs health department, the animal control officer, and a police officer accompanying her to the residence, as well as to me by phone. The lady spoke of using rat poison to control the situation. As many of you know, I've worked with PAWS of the Vineyard and over 10 years with Cattrap Inc. and recently with Second Chance Animal Rescue, so to resolve the problem, I agreed to trap and hold them, to locate the owners and return the cats, letting the owners know of the threat. With further discussion the lady mentioned her sister's idea to wet down the cats with a hose. A wet cat will dry off. Rat poison is extremely painful and without immediate care - a dead cat. Trapping and removing an animal from their environment should be the last resort when a simple solution is possible. My response to the "wet down" treatment was "why didn't I think of that." That ended our first pone conversation.
Two days later the lady phoned to advise she decided not to wet down the cats, she had decided she wanted me to trap. I no longer felt trapping was an option and she informed me of her sister's other idea which was to put down antifreeze. My regard for her sister's ideas slid downhill. She retracted her thought to put out rat poison, but once threatened makes it impossible to disregard. Another plan, her husband will remove the cats and drop them off in Menemsha - or beyond. All plans are preferable in her mind to picking up a hose for a light sprinkling.
Rat poison, antifreeze, putting a little something in food would endanger cats, dogs, or any wildlife nearby. Should your cats fail to arrive home or show up sickened with poison, call me to advise if you are in the area of the problem. If lost, to advise who to speak to regarding locating your cats. If ill or poisoned, the address where your vet can send a bill.
There is no doubt that should all of these cats be removed, others would be around. Every agency in Oak Bluffs would be called again and again to settle a never-ending problem.
Part of Vineyard history
To the Editor:
On July 17, I attended a gathering at the waterfront home of Denys and Marilyn Wortman, for the benefit of the Tashmoo Spring Building Restoration Fund. It was a lovely event with tastes from the Island's farms, waters, restaurants, caterers, wine shops and brewpubs, with live music and a silent auction.
I would like to thank the Wortmans, the committee that organized the event, and all those who contributed to this perfect evening.
The Tashmoo Spring building is an old brick building that overlooks Lake Tashmoo and rests on the site of the outdoor summer theater, the Memorial Day town picnic and the Tisbury Waterworks.
Work has already begun to save this building and ideas for its future use, such as an aquarium of natural sea life, have been suggested.
As an artist, I have enjoyed painting at this site and have taken students there to paint.
I am glad to see that so many people want to restore and preserve the building, one of many here on the Vineyard that need to be appreciated and cared for. These places are an important part of our Island's history and character. We need to do everything we can to treasure what we have before we lose it.
I hope that those who feel as I do will support this cause and all similar causes to keep that from happening.
To the Editor:
I am writing to respond to Erik Albert's open letter to me in the last issue of the Martha's Vineyard Times, regarding West Tisbury's policy of maintaining Lambert's Cove Beach for town residents and their guests.
Massachusetts law allows ownership of private beaches. There are numerous beach clubs and similar organizations all over Martha's Vineyard which own and maintain beaches exclusively for members and their guests. Therefore, I have no objection to any town doing the same thing for the benefit of its residents.
Democratic Candidate for Representative in the General Court
To the Editor:
Didn't the board go overboard?
The news of the abrupt firing of employees and volunteers of the Edgartown Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store is very disturbing. For many years, I have enjoyed shopping and contributing to the store, knowing that the profits go to the Boys and Girls Club.
I have always found the staff welcoming and helpful. It has been particularly wonderful to deal with Penny Townes, who has acted as an advocate for the Boys and Girls Club program and a fine representative of the club to the community. Why would the board choose to use such an unkind and disrespectful procedure to dismiss employees who have devoted so much time and energy to the organization over many years?
In the past, for eight years I volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, directing the Magic Fire Children's Improvisational Theater (for which the props for our productions were generously supplied by both Island thrift
stores). It is therefore even more shocking to think that the board would actually fire volunteers.
Now more than ever, we must encourage our community to support our social service programs and not discourage their dedication and contributions.
What is it, nude or not?
To the Editor:
One of the most beautiful beaches I've ever visited is Moshup Beach, also known as Gay Head. Ever since that first visit, I thought that this was a special place. It's on the remote side of the Island, and it's never crowded, even when the parking lot is full. That reason alone makes it a great beach, but it is also just a beautiful setting with its majestic cliffs and wide swath of sandy coastline as far as the eye can see.
When I first began my annual visits to Moshup, my MVY-savvy friends told me there was a section further down the beach where nude bathers gathered. It was easy to co-exist with the nudies, because they were really out of sight and donned clothing when they walked to and from their designated area. However, over the last few years, the nudies have progressively encroached toward the clothing-preferred areas of the beach. This year, the nudies are a mere 350 steps from the entrance. I had to measure, because I couldn't believe my eyes. There is a sign posted at the entrance to the beach that notifies everyone that "no nudity" is allowed. The beach custodians would have to be blind not to notice the migration of nudies edging their way closer to the entrance to the beach.
I have no problem with nude sunbathers, but I do have a problem when families travel to Martha's Vineyard for a vacation and are blindsided by nude sunbathers within eyeshot of little Johnny as he skips along the beach. Especially, since the entrance sign assured that family that "no nudity" is allowed.
Trying to get accurate information about this beach online is hit or miss. Here are two examples of misinformation from the web:
"Nude sunbathing was informally allowed within a specially zoned area in years past - today bathing suits are required in all areas." This is from kaboodle.com. Who is enforcing this?
"Moshup is a "clothing-optional," not nude beach. Swim-suited bathers will feel perfectly comfortable here, as long as they don't mind seeing strangers in the buff, of course." This quote is from national.citysearch.com. Although, this statement is closest to the truth, who has the right of way here, nudist or families who don't want to be exposed to this?
So what is it, no nudity or clothing optional? Obviously, nudity is allowed by the local government. What is the problem with making it official? Put a sign up, "clothing optional beyond this point." As far I can tell there is never anyone of authority on the beach. So I don't know how anything can be enforced. But, at least if there is a line of demarcation established, someone might step up and direct people in the right direction.