Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
After enjoying another wonderful stay on the Island, my wife and I returned home just as a rainstorm was approaching. While walking to the ferry, two women arrived, and we asked if they were taking the ferry too. They said that they were there to pick up one of their daughters. The daughter had phoned while on board the ferry and said that heavy seas were causing a lot of severe seasickness on board.
Without hesitation, one of the women reached into her bag and offered us Dramamine. Gratefully, we took them and thanked her. (I can still hear my mother telling me never to take candy from strangers, much less drugs.)
While the trip was certainly rough, my wife and I slept for most of the ride. We had avoided one of the most unpleasant consequences of sea travel. Many of the passengers had succumbed to nausea and vomiting and were being comforted by fellow riders and crew. Waiting to disembark, the young lady next to us was trembling uncontrollably. She was obviously in no condition to drive. We offered to give her a lift, but she said that she had a ride.
Little considerations can a make big difference in one's life. I feel invigorated to be reminded that there are kind, considerate people in this world, like the two women we encountered that day. I can't help to remember Scarlet O'Hara saying, "I like to rely on the kindness of strangers."
Although we can't thank them personally, we would like to thank them publicly.
My wife and I send our heartfelt thanks for the generosity and consideration that these kind women embody.
A matter of faith
To the Editor:
I'd like to submit this happy occurrence to your newspaper.
Thank you, kind citizen of the world. I don't know who you are, but I'd like to take a moment to thank you. I deeply appreciate your returning my bag of possessions.
Last Monday, I rode my bike, as I often do, from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. When I arrived at my destination, I discovered empty bungee cords - my bag was gone. Using a friend's phone, I called my daughter Sarah to get my son Greg's cell phone number. After all, my cell phone was in the bag. I called Greg immediately and asked him to retrace my steps. He did, with no success. I did not lose hope. I called the police of both towns and gave them my information. They would call me if anything turned up. I called the credit card and phone companies. I did not lose hope. I activated an old cell phone that incidentally Greg had cautioned me not to get rid of months earlier. I did not lose hope. I went down to the post office for a new mailbox key. I needed an ID. Yes, my wallet with my ID and my mailbox key were in the bag. Starting to lose hope? No, never.
Again to the post office. New key, old phone, more money earned. I will go on. Life is fabulous. Later, I was busy cooking when Greg came into the kitchen. What's this? My bag. It was between the front doors of my house, safe and secure.
I've learned many lessons in this experience. The greatest being Keep the Faith. The world is becoming a better place to live. Even the $39.16 was still in my wallet.
It's not the contents that are so precious to me, but my belief in mankind. Thank you, stranger/friend/citizen of the new earth.
I have since looked at my e-mail, once a month, and found a message from a man by the name of Tihomir Denchev. I now have a name for this kind-hearted citizen. Thank you so much, Tim, for the return of my bag and my faith in mankind.
Let my people know
To the Editor:
What's up with the police and parking in Oak Bluffs? It's obvious they have recently stepped up their ticketing. Maybe you noticed the same thing. Ticketing where people have long since parked, ticketing where no "no parking" signs are anywhere to be seen, and ticketing for no known reason.
While setting up for the music festival, I got my first ticket in 40 years on a street where we regularly park (off Narragansett Avenue). Clearly, I'm very careful about parking. Besides not wanting a ticket or to block anyone, I don't like my car sideswiped. One morning, at 10 am, I saw a couple leaving a shady spot in a row of vehicles. None were ticketed, and honestly, in all these decades I had never heard of tickets there. There are no signs anywhere around and there's plenty of room for large trucks to get through. So I asked the guy, "Do you mind if I park here?" Then I remembered, "Do you ever get a ticket here?"
"I live here and I never get a ticket - it's your spot," was that Oak Bluffs resident's answer.
Two hours later I returned for sunglasses. There was the ticket, and there was an Oak Bluffs motorcycle officer. I went through this with him; "What's up? No signs. No tickets previously given. No road blockage, etc." His unregulated reply - as he chugged off on his police Harley - "Take it up with the traffic court."
Next I went to the police station, where I got a similarly silly response. A little while later I saw a parked SUV-driving Oak Bluffs officer. Since he was in that same area, and since I saw that lots of others had gotten tickets since I moved my car, I went through the whole, "Why are you ticketing with no signs. Clearly you cannot see any sign anywhere. No previous tickets were given here. There's no road blockage and no driveway encroachment."
You'll love his ridiculously silly answer, "Did you see any signs that said, "Park here?"
So there's a problem with parking and the Oak Bluffs police department. It seems they were ordered to kick butt. Forcing folks into a time-consuming traffic hearing - a situation that may be sillier than the ticket itself - or to suffer the loss of their registrations, all based on the arbitrary manner we've repeatedly seen this summer - is an unjustified violation in itself.
How about starting with a DPW memo instead of a ticket: "Put up NO PARKING SIGNS on such and such a street." Instead of ticketing unsuspecting concertgoers, most from out of state, people who don't have the time for traffic court? Naturally, this will cut into police-generated revenue, because, after all, with proper signing and proper ticketing, most folks would choose to avoid the problem - if they knew about it.
Parking permit plan needed
To the Editor:
As a homeowner and lifelong summer resident of Oak Bluffs, I am offended by both the tone and content of the August 7 article, "Desperate Oak Bluffs residents snub rules" about the awful parking situation in Oak Bluffs.
Is it really too much to ask that those who are homeowners and taxpayers have a designated parking space in front of their homes? Who can blame 91-year-old Evelyn Tyner for wanting to park in front of her house? Why are the Oak Bluffs select people incapable of creating a fair permit parking system for homeowners, an idea that is long past due? Additional parking should be created for workers and shoppers outside the downtown area, with free and frequent shuttle bus service into town.
Is it really so difficult to figure out a parking permit system for homeowners, or is it that elected officials don't care about Oak Bluffs residents as long as parking spaces are available for shoppers, especially those on the way to the stores these elected officials own on Circuit Avenue? (And, of course, keep paying plenty of taxes and keep our mouths shut.)
It's dishonest and disingenuous for the Martha's Vineyard Times or Oak Bluffs elected officials to pretend to be surprised by the desperate measures homeowners go to in order to park near their homes. It's pathetic that the Martha's Vineyard Times and elected officials would apparently rather dismiss taxpayer's desperate efforts to secure parking near their homes as "delinquent" or "illegal," rather than figure out a permit parking system that is fair to homeowners, workers, and visitors alike.
Outpouring for ousted
To the Editor:
Darlene and Penney would like to thank all of you lovely people for the outpouring of love and support shown to us in these last few weeks. This is the best community one could ever be in. A special thanks to Blu for having that amazing party. We never imagined there would be such a turnout. Also we would like to thank Fran Uranker, Debbie Thomas, Christina Brown, and Peg Burke, our full-time volunteers. You are the best. God bless you all.
Cowardly and criminal
To the Editor:
This is an open letter to the greater community on Martha's Vineyard. Someone is repeatedly destroying a split rail fence with a chain saw, and we need your help. We are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of this person.
The fence is on the beach near the Oak Bluffs seawall. It marks the beginning of a wildlife refuge, primarily piping plover and oystercatcher nesting grounds. The beach is in the care of the Vineyard Conservation Society. It was given to this purpose by the William H. Hart Realty Co. and the Harthaven community.
Most recently, the fencing was cut down in July after having been reconstructed a month before. The police have been notified.
We recognize that some believe that all beaches should be public. But that is not the case in Massachusetts. Sections of beach are privately owned and, obviously, taxed. There are proper venues to change an existing law, but lurking in the shadows of the night and destroying private property is not one of them. It is cowardly, and it is criminal.
Through the years the residents of Harthaven have made substantial gifts to the community. What is now a large section of the Sylvia Beach, enjoyed by many, was given to the state by Hart Realty, as was part of the land occupied by the Oak Bluffs Elementary School.
We have made such donations to benefit the community and have never asked for anything. However, now we need your help.
The fencing near the sea wall has been reconstructed again. The Oak Bluffs police have been alerted. But to further ensure that the fence might last, the boards of Hart Realty and the Harthaven Community Association have authorized payment of a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the person who has cut down our previous fences. Please contact me or any other resident of Harthaven if you can help us.
Alfred Woollacott 3rd
Harthaven Community Association
Treasurer, William H. Hart Realty Trust
To the Editor:
This Letter to the Editor is directed toward the sick and twisted individual who thinks that it is okay to steal plants from an innocent girl's memorial. After planting flowers for my friend Brandy's memorial at the intersection of the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and County Road for the second time, I was confident that whoever had stolen the plants the first time, in late May, would have gotten it out of their system, but I was mistaken.
About a week ago, the last week of July, I had planted more plants for Brandy; within two days they were all ripped out of the ground yet again. It seems to me that this disrespectful display of vandalism is personal, I am not quite sure whom this act is directed toward, but it needs to stop. If the person who has ripped up Brandy's plants was simply doing this for free plants, there are many places nearby that would seem more appropriate and that have a much more abundant plant supply. If the person who has ripped up Brandy's plants is doing this out of pure spite, then I will pray for you. You need to seriously evaluate your morals and your motives; an innocent girl is dead, please let her have her flowers.
If anyone has any information of the missing plants, please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
Richard Monaco, welcome home, my friend and fellow soldier. To Muriel (who I grew up with in Edgartown) and Felicia, you have a husband and a dad that you can be so very proud of.
I salute and thank your dad for his service to our great country, and I salute you both for your great sacrifices in his absence.
"Freedom has a taste the protected will never know."
Oorah and Semper Fi.
Support ice rink wind turbine
To the Editor:
We wholeheartedly support the application for a wind turbine at the Martha's Vineyard Arena to serve their electrical load.
Every possible metric shows that this project will be vital to promotion of the energy concepts of the Island Plan:
It will demonstrate the practicality of local on-site generation of electricity using solar energy (via the wind).
It will serve as a wonderful model for all of the youngsters at the ice rink, letting them see a viable solution to global warming in action, right at their skating rink.
It will show that wind turbines can provide an important revenue stream to reduce exposure to fossil fuel price increases.
It will be a practical example of the solar powered wind turbine/heat pump synergy that will be essential in our fight against global warming and shrinking fossil fuel supplies (the sun creates the wind that powers the turbine that runs the heat pump that cools the ice).
It will show that replacing fossil fuel use with renewable energy production is not a fantasy. Though only 25 percent of their energy needs will be met by this particular turbine, this 25 percent will represent an important and significant reduction in the number of gallons of fuel oil burned and CO2 sent into the atmosphere by the power plant making electricity used by the ice rink
As important as the above points is the fact that this project will mark an important milestone in the Island Plan. The broad implementation of the Island Plan goals will only happen when projects like the ice rink wind turbine pave the way.
We see an important momentum developing on the Vineyard, an accumulation of important energy projects that have helped to wake us up to what can be done to deal with our energy future: a multitude of solar electric installations; a multitude of solar hot water installations; a multitude of geothermal and air to air heat pump projects; the installation of small turbines at the high school and around the island; the Charter School net zero wind turbine project; the pursuit of a wind turbine at the West Tisbury School; and now the Ice Rink wind turbine.
As mentioned earlier, the ice rink wind turbine also demonstrates the synergy between renewable energy generation and heat pumps.
Recognized worldwide as the only realistic replacement for fossil fuel heating systems in buildings, heat pumps powered by wind turbines and/or solar electric will reduce operating costs, reduce global warming, and increase our energy self-sufficiency.
While we can't affect the cost of fossil fuels, we will be able to affect the price of electricity through development of our land-based wind resource. With wind turbine projects such as the ice rink, Islanders will be able to actively stabilize their electricity prices.
With the success of the ice rink wind turbine/heat pump model, actively suppressing the Martha's Vineyard Arena utility costs for the next 20 years, we see a tremendous example and opportunity for the YMCA right next door to follow suit.
What was once fantasy now becomes a possibility and a reality - when the YMCA installs a heat pump system and their own turbine, they will be able to thank the visionaries at the Martha's Vineyard Arena for leading the way toward freedom from fossil fuels and escalating operating costs.
Given the amazing energy progress the Vineyard has made so far, and the amazing opportunities before us, we hope the Martha's Vineyard Commission will see fit to support this ice rink wind turbine project in any and every way possible.
Brian K. Nelson
Wind power for days off
To the Editor:
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read "Working Family for Wind Power" and it got me thinking. What kind of working family promotes a form of energy that would quadruple their electric bill? Do working families sit around the kitchen table at night and tell each other "ya know honey, I just don't think the government takes enough out of my paycheck each week, I wish they'd give a few hundred million to a big energy company."
I don't know any working families that want to destroy our natural environment by building monstrous towers in our beautiful oceans, so that can't be it. Most working people cherish the little sleep they get, so listening to a neighbor's noisy turbine all night couldn't be the reason.
I took a considerable amount of time thinking about the subject when out of nowhere it hit me like a lightning bolt. What do those of us who work two or three jobs really desire? A day off. Think of those wonderful summer days with barely a trace of a breeze.
With a world powered by wind turbines, there would be no electricity for our power tools, kitchen equipment, or computers. Just get up in the morning, take a look at the flagpole and if the flag is still, right back to bed or the beach. Where can I get one of those stickers?
Ride a mile on his bike
To the Editor:
What do you suppose Vineyard roads would be like if their designers (and decision makers) didn't drive cars - never had the experience of merging with traffic, passing vehicles, negotiated narrow roads, and crossing intersections? The roads would probably be poorly designed, right? They would probably be inconvenient and unsafe.
Well, that's why the Vineyard's bike facilities are so inconvenient and unsafe. They're designed and approved by people who don't ride bicycles. The designers/deciders don't know what it's like to be forced to ride along the edge of a narrow road. They don't know what it's like to have a car skim within inches of their bikes, bodies, and children. They don't know what it's like to cross a road when two-ton vehicles are streaming by.
I thank Greg Coogan for being an exception, and encourage all selectmen, highway department heads, and members of transportation committees to climb on their bikes. Gather your family and ride Beach Road from Tisbury to Oak Bluffs. See what it's really like, and how badly our bike facilities need improvement.
To the Editor:
This is an open letter of thanks and appreciation to Christine Houston, the former chef and keeper of sparkling cleanliness at the Anchors Senior Center in Edgartown.
Christine, you made a meal at the Anchors a not-to-be-missed event, with nary an empty seat in the building. You will be missed by many, but especially by the roundtable conversation group. You were the reason our group grew so very large that I demanded a name.
May your future be on the Island - let us know where and we will be there.
Job well done
To the Editor:
The Oak Bluffs Highway Department supervisor, Richard Combra, and his crew have done it again. That is, they have responded to a need to improve a road serving mostly summer and few year-round residents.
We appreciate his quick response to repair a badly rutted sandy road by bringing in some good gravel material to make the life of our cars and our sanity last a few years longer. Thank you for a job well done.
Thanks from Slow Food
To the Editor:
The leaders of this summer's July 22 Slow Food potluck with Michael Pollan are still recovering and rejoicing in the success of this event. We extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped make this such an amazing community gathering. One could say that throwing a potluck for 550 is the definition of chaos, but it wasn't. Everything ran smoothly, and the spirit of sharing our local bounty and celebrating our community was the true gift of the evening. Go to vineyard.plumtv.com/videos/slow_food_potluck for a great quick clip of the evening.
Certainly we have special thanks to Michael Pollan for his riveting speech, to Kevin Keady and the Cattle Drivers for their wonderful music, to the Agricultural Society for the use of the perfect venue - the Ag Hall, to the Island Cultured Oyster Farmers for the delectable raw bar, and to all of the wonderful Slow Food members and volunteers who did everything from monitor the parking lot to washing dishes. And thanks to all of you who attended, brought your special dishes to share, and joined Slow Food.
Personally, as president of Slow Food Martha's Vineyard, I am most grateful to leaders Rick Karney, Cathy Walthers, Janice Haynes and Jan Buhrman who contribute significant time and expertise to our organization. Thanks, too, to our visionary founder, Carlo Petrini, for uniting people around the world to celebrate and sustain agricultural and culinary traditions.
I am sending a heartfelt big thanks to all of you and am most grateful to this Island and its community for all the gifts you bestow on each of us and our world every day.
Your help needed
To the Editor:
My son, Brian McGrath, was fatally injured in a car accident last August. Due to the heroic efforts of Boston's EMT's, Faulkner Hospital's emergency room staff, and the incredible medical team at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, he was able to be sustained on life support for three days.
Although a difficult time, it was a gift for his many friends to be able to say their goodbyes. As for the family, we were allowed time to adjust to the trauma as well as make some important decisions together concerning Brian giving the gift of life as an organ donor.
To date, four transplant recipients have been given the gift of life and sight from Brian. I've been inspired to keep that spirit of giving alive in honor of him.
On Saturday, August 16, the one-year anniversary of Brian's accident, our family will be hosting a benefit dinner, with music and prizes, at the Eagles Hall in Hyde Park.
All proceeds will be donated to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to help veterans who sustained traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries in service to our country. It is our hope this will help these young veterans on their road to recovery.
When someone you love is no longer present, you have a choice. I feel that keeping your loved one's memory alive by being positive and helping others is a step in the healing process.
Some Native American tribes have a tradition. When a loved one dies, after mourning, one year later, the family has a celebration and gives away all the deceased's possessions.
Perhaps this benefit for Brian honors that tradition in some way.