Fall roundup

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Some October thoughts while we wait for that first touch of frost and for the leaves to put on their spectacular autumn show.

Congratulations to those who sponsored the Darkness into the Vineyard Light suicide prevention and awareness walk recently held in Edgartown. It’s an important issue, and obviously there was a tremendous amount of community support behind it.

That said, we must say we hope the greater community gets and understands the message that we can’t continue to keep suicide in the shadows.

We were recently stymied in our attempts to get information about a public suicide on the Island. We had no intention of printing the name, but wanted to provide the factual information of what occurred in the hopes of keeping the rumor mill from filling the void. Instead, that’s exactly what happened and, in some cases, the false narrative caused some concern in the community.

There’s still work to be done, but the Darkness into the Vineyard Light event was a positive first step toward a better community understanding of suicide and helping one another out of the darkness.

 

Last week, Sheriff Bob Ogden reported that the sheriff’s department was receiving $1.5 million in a grant from the state 911 Center. A few days later, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission approved a communications tower on the site of the old Oak Bluffs landfill.

We were there a year ago when Ogden, and many of the police and fire leaders from the Island, told the state’s director of 911 about the communications infrastructure on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s in pretty bad shape, holding on by a copper thread in some parts of the Island. (Copper isn’t used anymore, so there aren’t many people out there who can keep the system running.)

Ogden tried to make his case to town meetings last spring, but without the support of local leaders, voters weren’t supporting the cause either. There were some who said they wanted the state to pony up first. Edgartown even talked about trying to go it alone on an emergency communications system, which makes little sense. Now more than ever, the towns need to be working together and sharing resources wherever possible.

The state has come through in a big way. Now it’s time for the six towns of Martha’s Vineyard to contribute to the cause, as well.

 

Town clerks on the Island are preparing for early voting once again. You’ll find a listing of dates and times in this paper where you can go in and cast your ballot in the midterm elections. Good for Edgartown for even scheduling a Saturday session for working voters. So there’s really no excuse why we don’t hit nearly 100 percent of registered voters casting ballots in this upcoming election. (We know that won’t happen, but we do hope that the early voting makes it more convenient for some people who can’t make it to the polls on a Tuesday.)

 

Finally, a couple of points about a Letter to the Editor you’ll see on these pages signed by Marc Hanover. Hanover writes that the information in last week’s editorial was out of date. He’s right, but the details here are important. Even late on a deadline day, our information could have been updated in time to make changes to our print edition, had the SSA spokesman articulated this point clearly in his phone call to the office or in an email.

We stand behind an editorial pointing out the bad faith engendered by the fare increase proposal. The initial proposal by SSA treasurer Gerard Murphy included an increase in the excursion rate that would have put some of the burden on Islanders. The tremendous blowback on social media and in our comment sections likely contributed to the change. Well done, SSA, for listening.

As for the mechanical record. Well, it’s great that things have been better, and we pointed that out in an article just two weeks ago. We hope that remains the case, but it doesn’t erase what happened in March and April. We believe it was appropriate to point out that the proposal to raise rates in the wake of historical failure was just plain bad optics.

And let’s be fair. The SSA has no idea what it will do with its $2.6 million temporary terminal. It may be repurposed. There are no plans.

As for the new terminal in Woods Hole. Again, our editorial never said the new buildings aren’t needed. We merely pointed out that when you’re spending close to $100 million on buildings and boats, your customers might not like the look of a rate hike.