Letters to the Editor
School chief apologizes and says, 'we must do more'
To the Editor:
In last week's newspaper, Vineyarders were confronted by a story of an incident involving a Martha's Vineyard Public Schools educator allegedly acting inappropriately, and as a result, I feel compelled to address this type of situation with the entire Island community. Let me say first that in our legal system, everyone is innocent until proven guilty; therefore, nothing I say here should be construed to indicate that I believe last week's story details guilt on anyone's part.
The community should take comfort in knowing that the vast majority of our MVPS educators - clearly over 99.9 percent of our 600 employees - are hard-working, dedicated professionals who go the extra mile for Island students. Our administrators, teachers and support staff work diligently to provide a safe, secure place in which students can learn and grow.
I was as upset as other Vineyarders to learn of these most recent allegations against a school employee, especially following so closely on incidents at other Island schools. While there are no guarantees in this world, it is clear that we must do more to ensure the safety of every student who passes through our doors, and I want to assure the Martha's Vineyard public that we had already begun to address these issues prior to this most recent incident. Now we will certainly need to do even more. The community probably already knows that all staff that comes in contact with students are required by the Commonwealth to undergo a criminal records check, called a CORI, to determine if they have broken any laws within our state. For the past few years, the MVPS has gone further in investigating employees who come from out of state by employing a private investigator to do additional background checks.
Our elementary school health curriculum includes grade-appropriate lessons for students on such topics as drugs and alcohol, and we stress the importance of personal safety and help students learn to identify situations that may be inappropriate. We employ programs like Responsive Classroom (elementary) and Responsive Design (middle level) to assist our young people in knowing how to be a responsible member of a community - in school, at home, on the playing field or in other situations. Our trained guidance staff is always available to help students work through difficult situations and to address problems that might occur. We also work closely with local agencies and groups such as the Youth Task Force to build a strong community connection for our young people.
Earlier this fall, I redrafted the required staff conduct policy to make our expectations for every staff member clear, and I will bring that revision forward to the local school committees in January for their review and ultimate approval. Once approved, this document will be available to all in our community, making clear what they should expect from school staff. Working with the local teacher's association, we will also conduct a series of workshops for all staff reinforcing the clear boundaries that staff members must observe when working with students both in and outside of school. There can be no question about what is acceptable and how we will deal with those who cross the line. Finally, we will include sessions in our induction and mentoring program for new teachers that are devoted to appropriate behavior and the consequences of violating the trust that the community has placed in us.
On behalf of all those who work in our schools, please accept our sincere apology for any discomfort these incidents have caused you, and please know that we will do everything we possibly can to make our schools the safe secure place we all want them to be. Should you wish to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me at the Superintendent's Office at 508-693-2007.
James H. Weiss
Superintendent of Schools
Adults must combat underage drinking
To the Editor:
We are writing in response to your article last week concerning a teacher in the West Tisbury School who allegedly provided alcohol to students and hosted parties where young people drank. We have no knowledge of the facts in this particular case, but it seems clear that somewhere along the line alcohol was available and underage drinking occurred. The issue draws attention to the illegal use and abuse of alcohol by minors and their access to alcohol.
The Youth Task Force (YTF) is a program of the Dukes County Health Council, sponsored by Dukes County and funded with three major federal and state grants. Our goals are to persuade kids to postpone the age at which they begin drinking; to encourage them to drink legally and responsibly when and if they do begin; and to enlist parents and other adults in the community in assuring they do not - in any way - encourage children to use alcohol and drugs illegally.
Substance use and abuse by minors is a concern for the community. In addition to being illegal, current research has found that early use dramatically increases the risk of addiction. Twenty-five percent of Massachusetts youth reported trying alcohol (more than a sip) before the age of 13, and 95 percent of adults over 21 who were classified as having past year alcohol dependence or abuse started drinking before age 21, according to MADD.
The greatest contributing factor to substance use and abuse by minors is access to alcohol. Results of the 2006/2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 7th-12th grade Martha's Vineyard students found that most students who drank alcohol reported getting it from friends, asking someone of a legal age to buy it for them, or taking it from a parent or a friend's parent. One of the most effective ways to reduce substance use and abuse by minors is to limit access.
Social access to alcohol (getting it from friends, asking someone of legal age to buy it, or taking it from parents) is one of the issues the YTF is addressing. With the cooperation of the Martha's Vineyard liquor stores, the YTF has conducted a 'sticker shock' campaign. You may have noticed some of our stickers listing the consequences of giving alcohol to minors (Want to lose your license for 180 days? Want to go to jail for up to one year? Want to be fined up to $2,000?) on shopping bags and packages, if you've purchased alcohol recently. You might be interested to know that the total amount of profit to the alcohol industry from underage drinkers was $3.6 billion in 2005, and the total amount of money made through alcohol sales to minors in Massachusetts was $564 million.
We invite all of you in the community to join us in supporting the seven out of 10 middle school students who have never tried alcohol. Contrary to some perceptions, most of our kids do not drink or use drugs; they know it is not necessary to use those substances in order to have a good time or enjoy a party.
As we move into Christmas and Hanukah celebrations and the New Year, please help your kids, and our kids, and the whole community, to have a safe, legal, and enjoyable holiday.
Youth Task Force (YTF)
Veil the dark side
To the Editor:
Your December 11 article describing the arrest of Dan Johnson raises critical issues of the paper's responsibility to both protect and inform the community.
You have the right and obligation to provide news, especially given the stunning nature of the allegations against Mr. Johnson. But because he is on the faculty of an elementary school and has daily contact with children aged five to 13, the way the news is presented and delineated must be carefully considered.
Your exhaustive list of his alleged transgressions provides a confusing and disturbing pile of information for children who are too young to understand the implications (let alone the actual language) but old enough to hear things said by others and come away upset and possibly scared. I dropped my 11-year-old son at his friend's house, and as I left they were poring over the article, reading the charges of "providing sexual favors" and everything else in there.
Just the day before, I had been presented with the tool box that my son had made in Mr. Johnson's shop class. Too big a jump for the young minds to be forced to make. Was the photograph of Mr. Johnson with handcuffs responsible journalism?
We all have to be alerted to the terrible things that get uncovered in the community, but the first two paragraphs would have sufficed. With some heretofore absent counseling by the school and/or administration and a more judicious dissemination of the information, we'd all be better off in the effort to help our kids confront the darker sides of our community.
It takes a medical community
To the Editor:
They say "it takes a village to raise a child" - and my experience as a medical student on Martha's Vineyard has made me believe that this couldn't be more true. I am a third-year student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, and I am just starting out for two years of clinical rotations. The school has a strong focus on primary care and allows us to set up a four-week community health rotation in a rural or geographically isolated community of our choice. I knew right away that I wanted to do my rotation in my home hospital on Martha's Vineyard. I had hoped I'd be able to find a physician willing to take me, and fortunately Dr. Henry Nieder and Dr. Julia Stunkel of Vineyard Family Medicine volunteered. They were kind enough to take me into their office for the month of November so I could learn how to apply what I've learned in my books to caring for actual patients.
I did not expect the extent of welcome and warmth I felt at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital; I was met with friendly faces, sincere greetings, and genuine interest in my journey. Not only was I invited into Vineyard Family Medicine, but into the ER as well - they even called me down from the office when there was an experience I could learn from. The physical and occupational therapy groups reached out to me and took me in to teach me about caring for their patients. I spent a time touring Windemere with Dr. Ellen McMahon, seeing the challenges and rewards of working with different patient populations. I was able to see various types of radiologic imaging, including a one-on-one tour through the heart using an echocardiogram. It is quite unusual for a medical student to receive so much instruction and exposure, and for so many to express interest in participating in the educational experience.
I would like to wholeheartedly and warmly thank Dr. Henry Nieder, Dr. Julia Stunkel, and the nurses and office staff of Vineyard Family Medicine for taking me into their office and teaching me about medicine, relationships, and giving back. They openly shared their knowledge, compassion, and perspective with me so that I could learn to become a physician; without their sacrifice of time and effort, this would not have been possible. I'd also like to thank Dr. Peter Laursen, the nurses and staff of the ER for their time and expertise about emergency medicine and practicing on Martha's Vineyard. Thank you to everyone at MVH, especially physical and occupational therapy, radiology, administration, and my mother for making my rotation so educational and rewarding.
Most importantly, I'd like to thank the patients who allowed me to look into their lives and take part in their care. The relationship between a patient and their physician is one based on openness, trust, and honesty; revered as an incredibly intimate setting where people discuss hopes and fears; disclosing things they may not discuss with anyone else in the world. Thanks to all of you in our "village" who invited me into this setting and shared a bit of yourselves, and are helping me learn to care for others.
Fix the Triangle parking lot
To the Editor:
I am sure that I am not the only one angry and frustrated with the frequent flooding of the parking lot at the Triangle in Edgartown. Patrons of the post office, the bank, the Martha's Vineyard Fitness Center, Granite Hardware, and the video store are forced to wade through high water during every rainstorm.
The owners of the parking lot should be forced to correct this problem. While the lot is privately owned, there are too many people who are severely inconvenienced by this neglect to allow the condition to continue. Doesn't the town have some say in this matter? Let's get something done.
If you agree with me, please speak out to the appropriate authorities and/or appeal directly to the lot owners. Thanks for allowing me to spout off. This is my first letter to the editors in many years!
To the Editor:
An August 22 New York Times National Briefing stated: "The Sonoma City Council voted unanimously to allow residents to keep 16 chickens and eight rabbits regardless of property size and larger numbers of the animals on larger lots. But it amended the measure to ban roosters, citing the possibility of noise complaints. Supporters said the idea was part of a movement for healthier locally grown food. They also said it would reduce the need to transport food and lessen Sonoma's carbon footprint."
Last winter, I counted 42 wild turkeys in my small backyard one morning, and their communications are quite noisy. But I don't think I am permitted to raise one chicken. Seems crazy to me. Why can't we have a few hens or Guinea fowl? The California policy makes sense to me. Anyone else interested?
Gift that's good for the economy
To the Editor:
During the holidays, our family often shows its gratitude through a monetary gift, or "tip" to the people who provide valuable services throughout the year, such as garbage, mail, sitters, dogwalkers, paper delivery etc. This year, we're giving gift certificates issued by Island businesses. This will still show our gratitude, and it will help support the local economy during what will certainly be a difficult winter season. Join us and we all benefit.
It's about the people
To the Editor:
My family and I began vacationing on Martha's Vineyard in 1984. Being avid fishermen, we have participated in the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass Derby for the last 10 years. Spending time on Martha's Vineyard in the fall and fishing in the Derby is something we look forward to all year. During all the time we have spent on the Vineyard, we have made the acquaintance of many people, and some of them have become very dear friends.
Our 2008 Derby experience started out like most others. We booked our cottage a year in advance, made ferry reservations for two cars, shopped for food, re-stocked the boat with fresh tackle and prepared the boat for a week of hard running.
On the first day of our vacation, I made the four-hour run from Green Harbor to Menemsha. The rest of my family arrived by ferry. That evening my wife and I went out fishing for the first time, and while headed toward Nomans the engine blew up. It was getting dark, and one our friends, who was fishing in the area, terminated his fishing trip to tow us in to Menemsha.
The following day, I was introduced to another Islander who is a diesel mechanic. He took his own time to come down to the boat to see if there was anything he could do to help me out. Unfortunately, my engine was done for. To top it off, he offered to tow my boat all the way back to my home port of Green Harbor. I decided not to attempt to get the boat home until the vacation was over. I had brought some of my surf casting gear along, so my wife and I could at least throw some plugs from the beach. Unfortunately, my two daughters, who love to fish, are too small to surf cast.
Later that same day, while talking to the proprietor of a local business, the story of our blown motor came up. He told us that he had a Boston Whaler that we could use for the week. I couldn't believe his generosity. Now the girls would have chance to fish after all. I took the girls up in Menemsha Pond and out off Lobsterville Beach, where they tangled with school-sized bluefish. They didn't weigh in any fish, but they had fun just the same.
On the day we left Martha's Vineyard, my friend who towed us in the first night, took our boat under tow once more and brought it all the way to Mattapoisett. From there, I had the boat trucked overland to our home, where it is safe and sound (sans engine).
Out of respect for the privacy of those involved, I have omitted the names of all the people who turned our "Derby Disaster" into one of the nicest vacation experiences we ever had. You all know who I'm talking about and I just can't thank you enough. Martha's Vineyard is blessed with fantastic fishing and lovely scenery, but it is the warmth and generosity of the people that make our trips to Martha's Vineyard so special.
The David DeCastro Family
Save, as you said you would
To the Editor:
Tim Madden, our state representative elect in parts of Falmouth, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket stated that he would address the issue of hard economic times by "pressing relentlessly for greater efficiency in government" in response to a questionnaire posed in the Falmouth Bulletin during the campaign (October 16).
In a recent issue of The Martha's Vineyard Times (11/26/08) I read that Mr. Madden, who lives on Nantucket, believes despite the severe economic climate and budget constraints an additional staffer or legislative liason for Martha's Vineyard is "invaluable". Invaluable to him perhaps but the taxpayers can actually put a value on it: $33,400 a year, plus generous health insurance benefits. Apparently, Mr. Madden's part-time legislative liaison will receive the exact same salary as his full-time aide at the State House, to carry out responsibilities that are "not formally defined," according to the Martha's Vineyard Times. Neither will the liaison "formally account for hours worked," The Martha's Vineyard Times reports.
This extra liaison position created in 1972 is no longer necessary in a time where technology has made it possible to run a business overseas from a home computer. A total of $51.9 million in voluntary budget cuts have been made by state offices not subject to the governor's 9C authority, including offices of the legislature, the state treasurer and the attorney general's office, according to the governor's website. Mr. Madden could and should voluntarily cut this position.
Despite the fact that he lives on Nantucket, two days after winning the election, Mr. Madden told the Vineyard Gazette "I will look for a liaison for Nantucket and the Vineyard and hope that money will be in the budget." This would be in addition to the one aide that all representatives are allotted.
Granted the district is geographically challenging, but Mr. Madden ran for office fully aware of those challenges, and he repeatedly stated during his campaign he would hold regular office hours on Martha's Vineyard and Falmouth. He will have a full-time aide to help, and the ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard from Falmouth is only a 45-minute trip. Many other state representatives have districts spread out over even larger geographic areas and seem to manage with one aide.
According to The Martha's Vineyard Times, "Island selectman and regional officials may substantially influence the state representative's decision" in appointing the Vineyard legislative liaison. This stinks of political patronage. If Mr. Madden wants to live up to his campaign promises, this is a perfect opportunity to press for greater efficiency in government. Do the right thing, Mr. Madden.
Looking for a positive
To the Editor:
What has become of this Island, once looked up at and praised for its tightly knit community, a community with loving arms open wide for those in need? With many willing to give charity and help out other Islanders and give their all? With kind hearts and gracious people? An Island which was once praised for its generosity? An Island full of family run-businesses and well run schools? A place to truly call home, where no serious crime lurks?
Come to find out, we may not be so safe anymore, or at least not as safe as we had wished.
Now, we live in an over-sexed society where sex sells everywhere you step foot. It is disturbing to find teachers employed in our Island schools going beyond their limitations, crossing the line. Such things as these shake up our community. We never know who to trust. The ones you least expect are the ones who tend to do you wrong.
My heart is with all of those who are going through hard times. With the holidays coming, may we all find a positive to every negative and keep our heads held up high.
It's in the bags
To the Editor:
There are so many wonderful things that I take for granted while on the Vineyard, and if truth be told, I am reminded of these things most when I am off-Island. Take the other day, after browsing through books at Borders, I decide to purchase a few. I stand in line, wait my turn, and observe the sales associates place purchased merchandise into plastic bags. Immediately, I thought of Cronig's Market and Healthy Additions and how they choose to use sturdy, reusable paper bags when forgetful customers fail to bring their own reusable bags to transport purchased items.
After a good five minutes, it was my turn at the checkout counter and after paying for my books, I felt compelled to ask if Borders had considered how irresponsible it is to use plastic bags. The tired sales associate simply rolled her eyes and said that she didn't know. Surprisingly, she mechanically placed my two paperback novels in a bag the size of a 13-gallon kitchen garbage bag. Perhaps they ran out of smaller bags? In a falsetto of thanks, I quickly remove my books and receipt from the white garbage bag and I left the store with my books in hand.
Despite the fact that the plastic bag is a symbol of consumer convenience from the 20th century, it is perhaps the most ubiquitous manmade invention on the planet. Many plastic bags are made from petroleum-based products harvested from fossil fuels, and some plastic bags with designs in ink or colorants contain lead, a harmful contaminant, a toxin.
Each year, Americans dispose of more than 100 million plastic bags after a single-use of transporting purchased goods from stores like Borders, and the disposal of plastic bags is a very serious problem for the environment and animal welfare. Discarded in landfills, plastic bags do not easily decompose and often last for centuries. Additionally, since plastic bags are so light, they frequently blow away and become deadly litter.
Plastic bags plague city streets, public parks, children's playgrounds, and fences; they clog up ventilation machinery, and end up in streams, rivers, and eventually oceans. Birds and marine animals suffer horrible and untimely deaths from ingesting or getting caught in plastic bags.
Kudos to Cronig's Markets, Healthy Additions and to all the informed Island businesses that employ eco-friendly business practices. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful efforts.
To the Editor:
I want to thank The Martha's Vineyard Times for publishing a feature story on Jan Hatchard. She and her husband Art have touched so many lives in the eight years they have lived on Martha's Vineyard. Last night at the PA Club, about 100 of their friends came together to pay tribute and wish them well. I know that several people who would have liked to attend were unable to do so. I read a speech that I wrote, and many asked if I would consider asking The Martha's Vineyard Times to publish it. Below is my tribute to two very special people.
As I was thinking about what to say today, I found two quotes that I feel capture the essence of Jan and Art. I will begin with the first, and end with the second.
"Make a gift of your life and lift all mankind by being kind, considerate, forgiving and compassionate at all times, in all places, and under all conditions with everyone as well as yourself. This is the greatest gift anyone can give."
October 3, 2000, was my first day of employment in administration of MVCS and Jan's first day as development director was three days later.
I remember hearing a few days before she arrived that she was a Quaker. One of our fellow staff members was a little confused and wondered if she would be arriving in a horse-drawn buggy wearing a bonnet. I had never personally known someone of the Quaker faith, but I tried to keep an open mind, since I knew Richard Nixon was a Quaker.
After meeting Jan, one of the traits you first notice is her warmth and second her great capacity to show her love for Art, her children, grandchildren, family and friends.
I had the gift of Jan's friendship before I was lucky enough to move to the development office and work directly with her. The past several years have been a privilege to have had her as a mentor. She is one of the most eloquent and articulate communicators that I have ever met. No matter the circumstances, whether it is joyous or momentous, frustration or exhaustion, she can always think on her feet and find just the right words to share at that moment. We have all been touched and moved emotionally by her written words whether it was a newsletter, tribute, or thank-you note. She is organized and detail-oriented and laughs as easily as she shares hugs and words of encouragement. Whatever she sets her mind to do she does well and better than most. She can graphically design a brochure, invitation or auction program as well as decorate her home, paint walls and furniture, tile and assist Art in their home additions. Jan is an avid reader, an accomplished and creative cook and an Ag Fair blue ribbon cookie winner, which most of us have had the pleasure of indulging.
Soon after meeting Jan, I met Art. Every event or fundraiser we have planned, he has been there to lend advice, support, troubleshoot, and always bring his tools. I have been so fortunate to learn from his knowledge and expertise of event logistics. Art comes with a smile, his patience, sense of humor and a little sarcasm to lighten the stress. He is valiant and intuitive and is never uncomfortable occasionally being the only man in a group of women, which we women will agree puts him in touch with his strong feminine side.
This past summer's auction was one of my greatest professional challenges yet and its success is owed in a great part to Art's guidance, drawings, planning, meetings and working side by side with me for four days to make sure that we had the best advantage possible. He is my volunteer of the year for every year.
Jan and Art have created a beautiful warm and inviting home to share with family and friends. If you have been lucky enough as many here have been to be invited to share a meal with them, not only are you served a five-star dinner, but you are enveloped in the warmth of two gracious hosts.
Jan and Art, we will miss your friendship, open hearts and kindness. May the next steps of your journey be filled with as much admiration, respect, and love as we feel for you here.
In ending, I'll quote Maya Angelou. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Mary Jean Connelly
To the Editor:
Women Empowered would like to offer our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful article that your reporter Susan Silk did on our program. The history and services of the program were well presented, and the article provided excellent exposure to our life skills program, which has resulted in an increase in clients seeking services, donations, and members of the community interested in volunteering. Thank you very much.
Shellfish and us
To the Editor:
Shellfish and the human species have a long affiliation. For the most part, it has been an unequal relationship with the shellfish providing sustenance, health benefits, and ecological services and in return receiving human abuse through over-consumption, over-harvesting, and destruction of their habitats. On the positive side, we humans have exalted shellfish in our art and culture and when necessary have implemented restoration efforts, if only to maintain shellfish populations for our own well-being. Lucky for us, shellfish are forgiving, or at least very fecund, and given half a chance they rebound.
Recent evidence supports the consumption of shellfish by ancestral humans as early as 125,000 years ago on Africa's Red Sea coast. Closer to home, about 4,500 years ago Native Americans near Charleston lived atop shell rings, complex structures constructed from shells. Archaeological data tell us that in just a couple of years the Indians built one shell ring consisting of more than 1.2 billion shells. Not surprisingly, by 3,000 years ago the Indians abandoned their shell ring habitats, probably due to depleted shellfish stocks. Like over-harvesting, restoration efforts also have an early history. New investigations in British Columbia have identified extensive rock fortified terraces constructed by Native Americans that served as clam gardens as early as 45,000 years ago. In more recent history, the Romans plundered wild oyster beds in Britain followed by early efforts to culture them.
History repeats itself. Like the first people in America and the Romans, we still appreciate and consume shellfish as a tasty and nutritious food. Modern science confirms the traditional health benefits of eating shellfish. Mussels and oysters are among the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids that have been touted as beneficial to cardiac health and the immune system, and an aid to prevent/treat macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, kidney disease, lupus, and cancer. New research supports historical aphrodisiac claims about oysters. Oysters are nature's best source of zinc that increases testosterone in men and helps libido in women. Shellfish along with liver are particularly rich sources of vitamin B12 that may help prevent dementia in the elderly.
Beyond the benefits derived from eating shellfish, ecologists stress the key role of shellfish in maintaining the integrity of marine environments. The dollar value of the "ecosystem services" provided by shellfish far exceeds their worth as a fishery product. Shellfish are nature's vacuum cleaners. A single oyster can filter up to 15 gallons of seawater a day. In the process, it consumes microscopic algae and removes particulate matter and suspended sediments. This filtering improves water clarity and benefits the growth of eelgrass, which in turn provides improved nursery habitat for finfish and a multitude of marine species. Further, nitrogen absorbed by the phytoplankton is incorporated into the proteins of growing shellfish and is removed from our water bodies when the shellfish are harvested. One calculation concludes that the nitrogen waste input from one person leaching into a watershed can be offset by about 3,750 rapidly growing oysters. In addition to this uptake of nitrogen in their tissues, even a greater amount of nitrogen is removed from the water by feeding shellfish and deposited in bottom sediments. Oyster reefs and shellfish aquaculture cages have been shown to provide environmental benefits similar to coral reefs. The nooks and crannies provide surface area, protection and habitat for many species, increasing biodiversity and productivity that would be lacking on a barren bottom.
Today, shellfish populations are in decline worldwide. The Nature Conservancy reports that in most bays it has surveyed, oyster reefs have been reduced by more than 90 percent, and many are "at high risk of functional extinction." This decline is largely due to over-fishing, pollution, destruction of habitat, and diseases. As if this prognosis were not dire enough, there are new concerns that the increases in atmospheric C02 implicated in global warming threaten to increase the acidity of seawater and interfere with the ability of shellfish to make their shells.
Considering all that shellfish have done and still do to nurture the human race, isn't it about time we reciprocated? Our shellfish populations are renewable and sustainable resources that when adequately protected and properly managed can rebound and continue to nurture the human species and help restore our battered environment. However, restoration is a two-way street.
On the local level, we at the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group are doing our part to protect, restore and expand Martha's Vineyard's shellfish populations. In our solar-assisted shellfish hatchery in 2008, we produced more than 5.5 million seed quahogs, more than 10 million seed scallops, more than six million eyed oyster larvae and more than 400,000 seed oysters.
Working with Martha's Vineyard's shellfish constables, these seed shellfish were planted into Martha's Vineyard's ponds in an ongoing restoration effort.
Richard C. Karney
Shellfish Biologist and Director
Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group
To the Editor:
The economy might not be so wonderful, but fear not, the holiday spirit is alive and well and working in Oak Bluffs. Volunteers pitched in to help make this year's tree lighting one of the brightest events ever.
Special thanks to the Oak Bluffs highway and fire departments, Friends of Oak Bluffs, the Oak Bluffs Association, Rita and Frank Imbimbo, Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Bakery, Oak Bluffs School PTO, Brian Weiland & the Sting Rays, the Vineyard Brass Ensemble, daRosa's, Paul Mahoney at Jardin Mahoney, Mike Santoro and helpers at Seasons, selectman and tree lighter Ron DiOrio, and most of all to jolly old Saint Nick and all of the joyful participants who made the evening into a spectacular celebration.
Oak Bluffs Association
To the Editor:
It may have been the rockingest first birthday party ever. I'd like to thank the throng who came out to celebrate WVVY (FM 93.7) on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Youth Hostel. If you couldn't attend, you may have heard it broadcast live (thanks to Kristian Seney). Thank you for the scrumptious victuals and generous donations. Andrew Nanaa of GPCS sponsored the expenses of the party, despite not being able to attend and be presented a "Founding Fathers of WVVY" trophy. We would not be celebrating a year on the air if it weren't for Andrew, Jim Glavin, and Jim Medlock. Jeff Monroe and Brad Tucker and the other residents of the Youth Hostel graciously opened their home to us, starting with a gaggle of horn-tooting, disco-dancing kindergardeners celebrating my son Rufus's birthday as well. Thanks to the cakebaker Briana Holt and wing-maker Vinnie Padalino. Thanks to Paul Munafo for stage-managing and Rob Myers for emceeing and our DJ crew like Bob Lee, Marta Camargo, Diana Reilly, Russ Hartenstine, Wayne Tackabury, Maury De Geofroy, et al for making and selling tee-shirts and mixes. We still have merchandise available (send a message to email@example.com). The biggest thanks of all is owed the musicians who rocked so hard: Jameison, Anti, Pierre, Drawing Guts, Loira Burra and Kahoots. And thanks to our listeners who make community radio happen.
The next coach
To the Editor:
I write this letter to express my hopes that Chris Greene will be the next coach of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School lacrosse team. As an alumnus of Martha's Vineyard lacrosse (grades 6-12), and Arizona State lacrosse, I can tell you he is the perfect candidate for the job. Coach Greene was mentor and friend, both on and off of the field. During my senior year in 2003, Coach Greene helped me make a position change from a three-year offensive starter into the starting goalie. The change of position eventually resulted an 18-3 record and the first-ever state championship appearance. I thank Coach Greene for the changes I have made as a player and a person. I hope that others will be able to benefit the same as I have and that Chris Greene will be the head coach of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School lacrosse team this year.
Those who know say, Coach Greene
To the Editor:
Last week you posted a listing for the job of boys varsity lacrosse coach at the high school. As a person who holds the Vineyard lacrosse program very near and dear to my heart, I find it necessary to voice my opinion on the person best fit for this job, Coach Chris Greene.
Coach Greene has committed countless hours of his time over the years spreading the game he loves in the community he loves. He was an assistant to head coach Peter Ferrini during my time with the Vineyard lacrosse team, and he has spent the past two years as the coach of the junior varsity team. He has the respect of the high school students and the knowledge to make them great lacrosse players. Most importantly though, he is a positive role model who has mentored many past Vineyard students and will continue to do so. Coach Greene has had a positive impact on my life, on and off the lacrosse field, and remains a good friend to this day.
I recently formed a Facebook book group to gather support for Coach Greene, and in just two days it has grown to more than 40 members of alumni and current players of the Vineyard lacrosse program. I hope that they will join me in writing to show their support for Coach Greene. When the high school considers the applications for the position, I hope that they take into account the thoughts and opinions of the people closest to the program.
Edison Parzanese, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School '06
So many thanks
To the Editor:
During this season of giving, we wanted to thank all the people that have given our family so much as we battle Jim's illness. Every gift, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated by our family. Thank you for the cards, meals, childcare, kind words of support, donations and love that have made this process a little easier to get through.
Thank you to everyone that was a part of the incredible fundraiser at the Harbor View Hotel. It truly was an amazing night. Thank you Thad Hyland and the Harbor View Hotel, as well as the staff that donated their time. Thank you to Island Food Products, Martinetti Liquors and United Liquors for their donations. Thank you to all of the Martha's Vineyard businesses and people that made donations. Thank you to Leslie Look for her time driving us to and from the event as well as taking care of us all night long. Thank you to Trip Barnes for his time as auctioneer. Thank you to John Murray, Shelly O'Neil, Amy Coffey, Jill and Alain Michel, and Natalie Krauthamer for their tireless work organizing the wonderful evening. You are all wonderful friends whom we are lucky to have in our lives. Thank you to all our family and friends for your time volunteering and participating in the event.
We feel very lucky to live in such a supportive community of people. Thank you.
Shannon and Jim Moore
League marks Bill of Rights day
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters of Martha's Vineyard marks the 218th anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 2008, with a call for civic vigilance and participation on our Island of Martha's Vineyard.
For 88 years, the league has worked to defend civil liberties and promote citizen engagement in democracy, and we continue this emphasis on this anniversary. It is particularly important for Americans, especially all those who voted for the first time during this historic 2008 election season, to recognize the critical importance of protecting and honoring our most cherished constitutional rights.
Throughout the year, the local league works in our Vineyard community to protect our liberties and make the most of them by keeping voters informed at forums on issues and candidates running for public office; conducting voter registration drives; and during the recent national election on November 4, providing Islanders with rides to the election polls.
The protection of the individual liberties laid out in the Bill of Rights has been central to the league's work throughout its history. During World War II, the league worked to balance the preservation of civil liberties with the importance of national security. During the communist "witch hunt" period of the early 1950s, the League conducted a community education program known as the Freedom Agenda, providing Americans with the opportunity to discuss and learn about the Bill of Rights. More recently, the league has advocated against warrantless domestic surveillance, promoted an independent judiciary, and sponsored numerous education projects aimed at informing citizens of their rights.
The Bill of Rights is not only an important part of our nation's history, but also a living document that will guide us into the future.
League of Women Voters Martha's Vineyard
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 88 years of experience and 850 local and state affiliates, the League is one of America's most trusted grassroots organizations.
To the Editor:
I have been an Islander for 84 years, having arrived in Oak Bluffs at the age of 10.
It wasn't until I reached 94 that I finally admitted I was a senior citizen and was grateful for how we were looked after.
After retiring from several businesses on the Vineyard in 1975, Ralph and I spent our winters in Florida. Ralph passed away 10 years ago, but I spent 33 years there in the winter.
A combination of the present economy and the need to be near my daughter, and I find myself back on-Island this first winter in 33 years. What a joy to find all the senior citizen places in the three towns - all willing to help us.
Not driving, I found it necessary to get to doctors, hospital, etc. - and also unable to try to get to an Island bus that would get me to the right place - my daughter Jo Ann, who works for Martha's Vineyard Community Services, found the Link for me.
Such wonderful helpful people - considerate, caring, and they get me where I must go with a smile. I can't say too much for all these great people in the senior citizen places and the Link. Thank you all so much.