Letters to the Editor
Unused, expired medications need careful disposal
To the Editor:
I am writing as the director of pharmacy at Martha's Vineyard Hospital about the growing problem of pharmaceutical waste throughout the United States. Often patients are left with unused or expired medication and do not know how to properly dispose of these products. Flushing medications, discarding them down the sink or simply tossing them in the trash is how most of us dispose of these leftovers. In recent years, however, regulatory agencies have begun to recognize that there may be long-term effects on our water supplies.
Approximately 250 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste are disposed of annually on a nationwide basis. A national study done in 2002 of 139 urban streams and rivers found concentrations of 95 compounds that included antibiotics, personal care products (fragrances) and caffeine. The effects of improper disposal of leftover medications are concerning and could potentially affect the ecological balance of our water system.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) have implemented guidelines for hospitals regarding the proper disposal of hazardous wastes. I am pleased to report that Martha's Vineyard Hospital follows these guidelines. However, the average consumer is often left without any options.
SMARxT Disposal is an online resource that offers information to consumers on how to properly dispose of pharmaceutical waste. You can now link to this resource through the hospital's web site at www.mvhospital.com. We encourage everyone to review this information.
David T. Caron Jr.
Martha's Vineyard Hospital
Sad occasion, many thanks
To the Editor:
On December 23, I had the sad occasion to put down my 15-year-old, wire-haired dachshund, Heathcliff.
Many Islanders have known Heathcliff over the years, and I wanted to express my thanks to them. To the folks at the Martha's Vineyard Derby headquarters who welcomed him in and let him eat fish scales off the floor; to Maggie White of the Hob Knob who encouraged me bring this lovable little beast into the inn where I was working and made it his home; to the Bonanza Bus drivers who never said a word when Heathcliff would travel as a stowaway in my bag on the bus to Boston; to the tourists and locals who dripped their ice cream cones on Main Street for Heathcliff to gleefully lick up; to the kind people at the bank, the post office, stores and Island businesses who always had a cookie ready for an eager customer; to the judges at the Ag Fair who awarded him 1st Place Wire-haired Dachshund (yes, there were two entrants ... the other took 1st place the next year, with Heathcliff coming in second) and to the many, many friends who looked after him when I was traveling for long and short periods of time from our Island home. A better life could not have been lead.
Most of all, I want to thank Dr. Bridget Dunnigan and Dr. Roger Williams of the Vineyard Vet Clinic and Kathy Merrill and all the staff. They loved and cared for Heathcliff (and me) for many years. They were compassionate and professional in helping me make some tough decisions in the end. They showed exemplary skill in treating Heathcliff throughout his life.
As many friends and Islanders join me in saying farewell to a true friend and great Vineyard dog, please also give a big smile and pat on the head to the next canine you see. In a time when things may seem bleak, a furry face and wagging tail could be all you need to see the joy that exists in all of us and this wonderful Island community.
Amy E. Coffey
Salvation Army says thanks
To the Editor:
The Salvation Army thanks everyone who has donated to our "Red Kettles" at various Island locations this year. Our Island service unit is supported financially by these contributions.
At this time of year, 100 percent of donations to these kettles is designated for local use. Under the guidance of Divisional Headquarters in Boston, the service unit is responsible for wisely using the funds entrusted to them to meet community needs.
Our mission is to make Salvation Army services and spiritual ministry available to Vineyard residents. Once again this year, we have been blessed by the help of our volunteers and the tremendous support of our local merchants. These merchants have been extremely generous in allowing us to establish "countertop kettles" in their stores, as well as placing the familiar large kettles in front of their establishments during the Christmas season.
These merchants include: Mardell's Gift Shop, Cronig's Markets, Stop & Shop, Shirley's Hardware, Reliable Market, DeBettencourt's Gas Station, and Woodland Market.
For information, or to volunteer, please contact me at 508-693-4271. For assistance, please contact our welfare secretary at 508-560-2052. You may also write us at: The Salvation Army, c/o Capt. Richard S. Reinhardsen, P.O. Box 1996, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Thank you all once again,
Richard S. Reinhardsen
Martha's Vineyard Salvation Army
To the Editor:
Recently it became necessary to provide long-term care for my mother, Fannie Ramsay. Nearing her 102nd birthday, she had been living in Rockland, Maine. Most of the rest of the family - great grandchildren, grandchildren, and son - live here on Martha's Vineyard. When it was thought there might be an opening for her at Windemere, we wondered whether Oak Bluffs Emergency Medical Services could help us by transporting a very elderly and frail person over such a distance. To our great relief the response of Fran Bradley, who was on duty the day I called, and Capt. John Rose, was immediate and affirmative. Arrangements for an ambulance and crew were quickly made.
Unfortunately, the accommodation available at Windemere was not suitable for my mother's needs, eliminating the need for an ambulance transport, and a suitable placement has been found for her in Maine.
The entire family, however, wishes to express our deep appreciation to Captain Rose, Fran, and the entire Oak Bluffs Ambulance Squad.
How fortunate we are to be served by the men and women who as dedicated and skilled volunteers give so much in providing both critical emergency medical and fire protection services for everyone who lives on Martha's Vineyard.
David E. Smith and family
To the Editor:
The Edgartown Library Foundation thanks the merchants who contributed recently to our silent auction. They are The Harbor View Resort, Claire Murray, the English Butler Tea Room, George Thibault, Tony and Diane Bongiorno, Donna Foster Photography, The Colonial Inn of Martha's Vineyard, Donaroma's Nursery, Your Market, The Golden Door, The Wharf Restaurant and Pub, and Donna M. Blackburn.
We are pleased that the auction, held at the library in conjunction with the Christmas in Edgartown weekend, was a success. The proceeds will help us toward our goal, which is to make our Carnegie library part of a vibrant downtown.
Courtney S. Brady
Edgartown Library Foundation
To the Editor:
It was with a surge of hope and optimism that I witnessed the election results on November 4. My optimism is guarded, however, by the events of the past eight years, and also by my experience as an adult citizen growing up during the Cold War. My optimism is also guarded because of what I learned, as I grew and studied political science and history, that my government has been responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in history. This has been true most often in the name of corporate shareholders - those Americans rich enough to earn a handsome income from an investment portfolio, as opposed to a weekly or monthly paycheck. Corporate America has influenced federal as well as state legislation for decades, to the detriment of the people of this country.
I am disturbed by president-elect Obama's appointment of Tom Vilsack to head the USDA. Those of us who have watched the destruction of the American family farm at the hands of Monsanto, et al., have reacted with dismay since the announcement on December 17 that a man with a history of supporting corporate agribusiness has been given the keys to the farm.
As stated last week by Clair Cummings, a former USDA lawyer, and the Food and Farming editor at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, "I fear that this nomination, with its explicit endorsement of the greed ridden, corrupt, private biotechnology industry, is a sign that deep down, the public interest role of government is beyond repair. I thought we progressives would be welcome in the halls of an Obama government. Apparently, that's not the case. But given the disreputable state of government these days, participation in regulatory politics may not be what we want anyway."
Are my worst fears being realized? That it doesn't matter who is in the White House, and that "change" is just another campaign slogan? Say it ain't so, Mr. Obama.
The text of your announcement now has the ring of the platitudinous baloney I have heard issuing from Washington, D.C., ever since I began paying attention. Mr. Obama can't seriously believe that Mr. Vilsack will run a "people's" department. How does he think Monsanto et al. will react to that?
I have been impressed by the president-elect's website, www.change.gov, and have never seen so much obvious and transparent planning and preparation between election and inauguration days. It's been a continual source of hope and optimism. Since the appointment of Mr. Vilsack, however, I'm waiting to see what happens. If the vaunted transition team has advised Mr. Obama that Mr. Vilsack is the best choice, he might want to revisit his team selection criteria, to include input from all points of view, not just the ones who seek to perpetuate the status quo. Mr. Obama's intelligence belies this nomination. He should reconsider.
He has to laugh
To the Editor:
This is a quote from a recent editorial in the Times: "West Tisbury voters have decided many questions over the years, thoughtfully, generously, compassionately, deliberately."
Here is another quote from the same editorial by former selectman John Early. "One has been the willingness of the town to work together for the good of the community. Another has been the ability of West Tisbury to consistently do the right thing."
When I read quotes like that I have to laugh.
West Tisbury denies public walk-on access to Lambert's Cove Beach, a town park. Surely this goes against everything in the two quotes above. End beach apartheid.