Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
After a marathon day off-Island for surgery in Boston last Friday, I was comforted to know that my wife and I would soon be home to our safe, secure, and peaceful home in Vineyard Haven. As has been the case for the 29 years that the Vineyard has been our home, my wife and I called it a day and, without concern or reservation, put our heads on our pillows and naively drifted into a peaceful sleep.
Before I share the events that shattered our peace, readers should know that we, too, are parents who fully understand the challenges, fears, concerns, heartache, and joy our adolescent children will bestow upon us as they journey through adolescence. Often our children will challenge our authority, express themselves in ways that confound or contradict our values, and participate in peer group activities that they would never consider when alone. Unfortunately, on occasion their actions can cross the line of civility and good citizenship. They can quickly escalate from sophomoric fun into dangerous activities that rapidly surpass the age-old adages that boys will be boys, it's a right of passage, or no harm, no foul, when we fail to teach, monitor, and hold our developing citizenry accountable.
Back to our slumber. It didn't last long. We were startled from our rest by the voices and footsteps of a group of young men just feet from our bedroom window. To say the least, I was struck with an element of fear. When I got up to assess the commotion, my wife became concerned for our safety, as the intruders appeared to signal with flashlights. Hearing what sounded like four voices, I knew I was outnumbered and, for the first time in my life, I wished I owned a gun. As the voices grew louder, and with the realization that like most Vineyarders, our doors were unlocked, we became increasingly uneasy. The group seemed to move on, yet our serenity and trust in our community was shattered.
We locked every door and window. I gathered a pipe as a defensive weapon and called 911 for assistance.
Soon we heard the sound of a Bobcat excavator starting. It was parked in a neighbor's yard for some tree planting. The noise from the machine's engine suddenly stopped and I heard lots of yelling. While I was still not sure of the group's motive, age or condition, I feared that someone had been seriously hurt, so I redialed 911. Out of concern, I ventured out onto my deck, to learn that I had a bunch of out of control drunk teenagers, as they started the Bobcat again and attempted to drive it in the black of night, slamming into a tree. When the police arrived, the boys ran off into the woods.
In the subsequent conversation with the officer, we learned that a large party of high school age children, many of whom had been drinking, was in the process of being dispersed.
One may say no harm no foul. How wrong that is. Harm is not only property or physical damage. It is also psychological damage. It is the terror that intruders in the night impose on an otherwise peaceful existence. The foul is simple and often inconsequential trespassing. In this case the trespassing is criminal, coupled with the terror of having multiple voices outside your bedroom window; something you may not understand unless it has happened to you.
One may say of teenage drinking, it's a right of passage. Underage drinking is no right at all. It is illegal and should not be tolerated. The offenders and their parents should be held accountable and punished accordingly. It is dangerous and, as many a parent knows, right here on Martha's Vineyard, it has influenced date rape, car accidents, and even death, unfortunate tragedies that do not need to be repeated.
One may say, boys will be boys, but to discount the ridiculous notion that driving Bobcats in the black of night could be equated to egging a store window, not that I condone this either, is living in denial. Never mind the potential for property damage, even experienced equipment operators have maimed and killed coworkers in the light of day.
I ask, you the parents of these young men, how was your Friday night? What time did you go to bed? Did you sleep well? Do you know where your sons were at midnight? Well, we do.
Years ago, Hillary Clinton quoted an African village elder when she said, "It takes a village to raise a child." My intent in this letter is not to vilify the parents or the boys but to speak frankly and honestly, as a member of our village, that we all have work to do. Indifference to this type of behavior is an endorsement of it. It is imperative that the development of young adults include a true measure of consequence for indiscriminate acts of incivility.
To the Editor:
I wanted to express my great sense of accomplishment in working with the cast and crew of last weekend's the Sound of Music at the Oak Bluffs School. It was a true community effort, and all involved should be proud of the performance. The quality of our Island's grammar school productions far exceeds anything I have witnessed at this level before. Shelagh Smilee and Brian Weiland are truly gifted individuals. Hats off to the cast, crew, parents and supporters. Oak Bluffs is proud of all of you.
Bang, and the help arrived
To the Editor:
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This is for all the people who travel off-Island.
We were on the early boat, we stayed in the car, and had a lovely talk on the way.
We landed, and the cars started to get off. I started the car and smelled something strange, like something hot.
As we drove off the boat, the passenger air bag deployed with a bang and cracked the windshield.
We drove off the boat and tried to pull off to the right to get out of the way when, bang, the air bag on the driver's side went off, smoke in the face, broke my glasses.
This is where the good stuff happens. Here comes Dave, our hero. Needless to say, we were stressed at this point.
Dave took over and helped us from the car and assisted us into the terminal with our bags, then brought the phone book and gave us the numbers we needed to remedy our ordeal. We were handed off to Mark, who went out of his way and helped us.
We can't say enough about the guys on the dock. They were there with extinguishers, the whole nine yards. They were so helpful and we will never forget this. Thanks, guys.
Bring him back
To the Editor:
I have recently learned that Dr. Richard Kohler is back on Martha's Vineyard. I am wondering why he isn't back as part of the hospital's surgical staff? Dr. Kohler is a wonderful surgeon, who saved my life by removing a necrotic gall bladder for me, back in 2002. It was Martha's Vineyard's loss when he moved away, and I really think that it would be a terrible mistake not to welcome him back to the hospital's staff.
With the expansion of the hospital, it seems to me that he would be an excellent addition to the team of surgeons. He is a well-known member of our community, an amazing surgeon, and I am sure that I am not alone in wondering why the hospital hasn't jumped to include him back as a staff member.
To the Editor:
Attention Rep. Eric Turkington, Representative-elect Tim Madden, Friends of Sengekontacket , Farm Pond Association, and Oak Bluffs and Edgartown town officials.
It is important to pay attention to the weight limits and to not allow them to be increased for the upcoming work done by the state rebuilding the Beach Road bridges, for the following reasons.
The beach road is part of the Island Roads District, which was designed to protect the history and scenic character of specific roads.
Families visiting Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and all parts of Martha's Vineyard use the safe, calm water along the five-mile stretch of the Joseph Sylvia Beach, because it is a wide, long, and beautiful beach, and the only such swimming available to the public. The safety of the public's use of that beach is in jeopardy should the weight limits be increased which would allow fully loaded 18 wheelers to get the quick way to Edgartown. The economic impact to the towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown would be hugely negative as families realized that the beachside, roadside parking was just too close to passing trucks to be safe enough to use.
The beach road is a fragile barrier beach, and the seawall along Sea View Avenue is frail. And, last but not least, the tradition of children jumping into the water from the bridges should be preserved, which would not happen with large heavy trucks going by.
Please pay attention to the weight limits, and do not let them be increased.
To the Editor:
Thank you to the person who returned my pink Black Dog sweatshirt to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. It was the most wonderful surprise not only to me when I answered the phone at 7:15 in the morning, just two days after coming home, but to the lab tech that discovered it upon starting her shift. Thank you again.
To the Editor:
In going through some old stuff recently, I found this information about James Naismith and how he invented basketball. He was also a student here at the Martha's Vineyard Summer Institute in the summer of 1891. This school was the first summer school in the United States. It was located on the hill across from the present East Chop Beach Club.
On December 21, 1891, after attending summer school at the Martha's Vineyard Institute, Mr. Naismith put the first game of basketball in play at Springfield College. Did the summer school on Martha's Vineyard inspire him to finally invent the game of basketball? Could it have been the lovely salt air or watching the sea gulls scoring with their shells from the air without any interference? (Mr. Naismith had spent years trying to invent a game that could be played inside during the winter months.)
I attended Springfield College in the fall of 1931 and graduated in 1935. On January 5, 1932, Mr. Naismith gave a lecture at this college on how he invented basketball in 1891.
Before the lecture, I noticed that many of my classmates were getting Mr. Naismith's autograph, and this Martha's Vineyard lad had no idea who James Naismith was. However, I joined the group and got his autograph, which I still have after all these years.
Following are some of the highlights from his lecture. Dr. Gulick, of the Springfield faculty, assigned James Naismith to invent a good game that could be played in the gym. The students were bored with calisthenics and indoor version of football, lacrosse, and soccer that almost wrecked the gym and the players.
After many sleepless nights, Mr. Naismith thought that his new game would need at least these three features:
1) No running with the ball
2) No physical contact
3) Scoring to be done by throwing the ball
Early the next day, he met the janitor, Pop Stebbins, and asked him for two 18-inch boxes for goals (the game was almost called box-ball). Pop Stebbins said that he didn't have these boxes, but he had two old peach baskets down in the store room.
So, Mr. Naismith nailed up the peach baskets in the gym about 10 feet high. He penciled in about 13 rules on a scratch pad and decided to use a soccer ball for the game. He divided the boys nine to a side with three forwards, three centers and three backs. Mr. Naismith threw the first ball into play on December 21, 1891.
When a basket was made, the game stopped while someone climbed a ladder to take the ball out. Later, instead of a ladder, someone came out with a long pole and pushed the ball out through the hole in the bottom of the peach basket.
Finally, the bottom of the peach basket was removed and the game became faster. Basketball was an instant success and is now played all over the world. Can you explain to others why basketball was almost called box-ball?
Robert H. Hughes
To The Editor
In the October 23 issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times, in an article entitled, Boatline approves 2009 budget; no rate hikes," I would like to comment in regards to the Steamship sending the 6:30 pm Sankaty trip from Woods Hole and the 7:30 Martha's Vineyard trip from Woods Hole into Vineyard Haven, rather than to Oak Bluffs during next summer's schedule.
This makes all the sense in the world, and Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, is right on when he says it will allow the Oak Bluffs terminal to close at 6:15 pm, using only one shift of employees, saving the Steamship about $45,000. Also importantly, it alleviates a mammoth traffic jam that surrounds the downtown Oak Bluffs area during those hours when the boats arrive. Have you ever tried to get near this area on a Friday or Saturday night when these boat arrive? Traffic backs up sometimes to the Wesley and along Sea View Avenue, trying to get to that area. Also, the taxicabs that meet those boats are so busy at those times that there are only one or two able to be available for the boat passengers. Meanwhile, Vineyard Haven, at those times, is very quiet, with hardly anybody on the streets and a dozen or so cabs sitting idly by while the boats go into Oak Bluffs.
The concerns of Marc Hanover and Robert Huss make absolutely no sense, either logically or financially. According to the article, both feel it makes no sense to close the terminal earlier in light of the $l2 million the boatline is spending on the upgrade and the harm business will suffer in Oak Bluffs as a result, plus the marine traffic congestion it causes in Vineyard Haven.
In answer to each of their concerns: when you get a chance to save approximately $45,000 on something, that's significant, especially when the SSA is always looking for rate increases to make their budget work and that money comes from all of us. This is total fiscal irresponsibility sitting on Mr. Hanover's and Mr. Huss's shoulders. We should think twice before having either of these gentlemen working for us. Mr. Hanover should put aside his concerns being an Oak Bluffs businessman and remember that he represents the whole Island in his job and think about Vineyard Haven once in a while. These boats were always part of the Vineyard Haven schedule until a couple of years ago. What about the harm to the Vineyard Haven businesses suffered when you helped divert these two boats to Oak Bluffs? Is this no concern to you being an Oak Bluffs businessman who is serving the whole Island as our representative?
The concern about marine traffic in Vineyard Haven at those times is no worse than having these boats go into Oak Bluffs and adding to an already overloaded situation at and around a crowded Oak Bluffs Harbor.
Mr. Lamson is also quoted as saying, "I think it is safe to say that we will he withdrawing this proposal before it is brought back to the board for a vote in November." What's going on here? Do Mr. Hanover and Mr. Huss run the Steamship and have enough authority to scare off those who make the real decisions for the Steamship?
I feel that the Steamship should do what makes the most sense, both fiscally and logically, and stick to its original proposal whereby it will send both those boats back to Vineyard Haven on a permanent basis.
To the Editor:
You can call me rude, you can call me brash, but there is no excuse for roadside trash. Bottles, cans, boxes, foam and debris, can there be an excuse? I just can't see.
That's why it makes me feel quite bitter, when I see all the roadside litter. It's a little problem that's grown out of control. Cleaner looking roads should be our goal.
So, when trucking some junk, let me just ask a little favor, one very small task, before you head out to drive on the road. Please take the time to cover your load.
Have you ever seen someone headed to the dump with an uncovered load of trash in the back? Last week I stopped a truck that for almost a mile had a steady stream of foam pellets and other stuff streaming out of the back. The driver obviously did not know that loads must be covered at the refuse district. Right? Let's make the covering of loads mandatory, keep our roads cleaner and end this overlooked and poorly managed form of littering.
To the Editor:
As the late Tim Russert would say, "What a country."
To the Editor:
Thanks so much for your support of Barack Obama but honestly, Palin? Are we talking about Sarah Palin who wouldn't, or couldn't, after being asked three times, give the name of one news publication that she read? Or believes that a young girl who gets pregnant as the result of rape should be "counseled" through her "less than ideal circumstances" and bring the pregnancy to term? Or didn't know the name of more than one Supreme Court ruling? Who wants to stay in Iraq indefinitely and has no idea why our economy is even in this mess? Who has made it clear time and time again that she has literally no understanding of The Constitution and therefore no understanding of the job description?
I could go on about your hypothetical pick, that "likable and modestly accomplished" Washington outsider hockey mom type, you know the one, with the $150,000 wardrobe, but her campaign members have a say too, calling her "a rogue" and "a diva." Sarah Palin is power hungry and arrogant. Say what you will about Joe Biden, but if your pick is just the lesser of two evils, you actually chose, well, evil. A woman who has in the last days of a failing campaign that has been no more than a poorly produced reality show, hinted at a campaign of her own in, what was that "oh 12"?
On a different note, in your column you state that "The following endorsements by the editor of The Martha's Vineyard Times reflect his judgment and his alone. DAC", but then went on to use the word "we" more than once. So editor, I'm stumped; I'm not even sure who else I'm in disagreement with. Regardless, I guess I should have expected as much from someone who endorsed George W. twice.
Thanks to the Derby
To the Editor:
This letter was written to the Martha's Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby committee.
Another derby has come and gone from our Island home. Everyone hopefully enjoyed themselves even though some of the best fish got away. This event is always a favorite of my 10-year-old son, Jeremy.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for the scholarship you awarded to Jeremy, for summer camp. It is greatly appreciated, and we'll think long and hard about where he'd like to go. The Francis "Sancy" Pachico Memorial Youth Scholarship is a great gift to have.
At this time, I'd like to also thank Steve Purcell and Cooper Gilkes and their staff for being there for Jeremy's tackle needs and supporting his fishing endeavors. I think it's great that he can hop on his bicycle shortly after 7 am and find someone who can teach him a little more about his favorite pastime.
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).
The board of the African American Heritage Trail of Martha's Vineyard joins me in thanking you most sincerely for your recent hosting of the sophomore students of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School on their annual tour of the Heritage Trail. The generous welcome that we were given by your tribal administrator, Tobias Vanderhoop, education director, Heidi Vanderhoop, and the wonderful food provided by Christie Moreis was so very much appreciated by the students and the chaperones alike.
We are delighted to have shared this collaborative venture with you and look forward to building on it for future years. The Heritage Trail site at West Basin, which honors the Wampanoag Tribe for their courageous rescue of a fugitive from enslavement in 1854, has long been one of our most impressive sites, and following our visit with you, our students spoke at length about how happy they were to have made this contact with the tribe.
On behalf of the 120 students who traveled the trail and the other chaperones, Joel Graves and Kate Holter, our most grateful thanks to you, and we look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship.
Elaine Cawley Weintraub
Martha's Vineyard Heritage Trail
To the Editor:
I write to address the Vineyard Nursing Association's efforts to accommodate an increased demand for physical therapy services here on Martha's Vineyard, a demand which has been made keener by our absorption of the entire caseload of the Visiting Nurse Service unit of the Martha's Vineyard Community Services (which closed its doors last June) and by the loss of our full-time physical therapist over two years ago.
After our full therapist relocated, we entered a contract with Vineyard Complimentary Medicine to provide physical therapy on an as needed basis. Since the VNA takeover of VNS patients we now engage the services of eight part-time therapists and continue to solicit others. Unfortunately, with a nationwide shortage of physical therapists and the high cost of Island living, we have not had the success we had hoped in hiring a quality full-time therapist.
While we continue our search for a staff therapist, the VNA makes every effort to accommodate our clients' requests for prompt appointments but, from time to time, it may take a few days longer to schedule a physical therapist home visit than is optimal. In response to a recent suggestion, the VNA is revising its scheduling process so that we can better identify specific dates that physical therapy visits are available when requested, which should make coordination of home care visits after surgery more seamless.
We have had a challenging year in many respects, but are happy to report that we recently received national recognition and certification by the Community Health Accreditation Program and are settled in to our new office space on State Road. The Vineyard Nursing Association always welcomes your comments, concerns, and suggestions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive Officer
Vineyard Nursing Association
To the Editor:
I apologize for the delay in this huge thank-you. I was once reminded yet again why I have moved to this Island. On October 24, at the Harbor View Hotel, a benefit was held for the Moore family. This benefit was thrown in the hopes to help the Moore family during their battle with Jim's illness. Not only did the benefit exceed our expectations in the overflow of the spirit of giving, but it became a wonderful celebration of friends and family. There are so many people to thank that I do not even know where to begin.
Thank you to the Harbor View Hotel and their unbelievable generosity. Not only did they donate the space for the event, but the whole staff donated their time and efforts. They went above and beyond the call of duty in all areas, and for that I would like to send a special thanks. Thanks to all the folks who donated items for the live auction, the silent auction, and the raffles that were held, for without these items we would have not been able to raise the funds for the Moore family.
There were so many items donated and so many items being donated the night of the event that there needs to be special thanks for the wonderful generosity from the Martha's Vineyard community. Again, even in these tight times, people and the spirit of giving were in full force. Thank you.
For all who donated money, items, food, wine, but most of all their time and support, thank you. There are so many out there to thank I don't want anyone to feel left out, just know that we do appreciate all that was done to make this event a huge success. It was so wonderful to see friends and family in such a huge turnout in one place celebrating life, friendship, and our wonderful Island community. Just remember, if you are going through a tough and rough patch, there is a wonderful community out there on this wonderful Island we call home, just willing and ready to help. Let them.
To the Editor:
I want to congratulate Whit Griswold on the terrific article he wrote on oak tree mortality. His reporting was fact-based, and it reflected and very informatively captured the scope of the problem and the various options being employed. Thank you for your efforts. Well done.
Polly Hill Arboretum