Editorial : For naught
The good news is that Shenandoah will not be pushed out of the harbor that has been her home for more than 40 years. The good news is that Islanders whose hearts quicken when, entering Vineyard Haven, they see Shenandoah and her Coastwise Packet Company partner Alabama, will not be left wondering if they are home or not.
The bad news is that all this turmoil, decades in the working out, and this deal between Capt. Robert S. Douglas, Shenandoah's designer, builder, and master, were unnecessary and unjustified. The Steamship Authority, which has relentlessly spread itself across the Vineyard Haven waterfront, heedless of expressed opposition from Vineyarders, and which would now spread itself across the entire head of the harbor, has done so by bullying and poor management of its assets. As we've noted in this space before, the safety and schedule issues the Steamship Authority raised as grounds for extending its grasp and shoving Shenandoah aside are silly. There has only been one safety incident of record in 40 years of head of the harbor cohabitation between the SSA and Shenandoah, and that occurred in the early 1970s when Islander, floundering and lost in the fog, struck Shenandoah's port bow, doing significant damage to the schooner. On that occasion, the wind was in the north, not the southeast, when Shenandoah's stern is presented to the side of the track the ferries use to enter the slip, and ferry managers profess to quake.
This deal that appears to have quieted the SSA-Shenandoah conflict for the moment ought to have be quashed by the Vineyard member of the SSA when it arose. It ought to have been opposed all out by the town selectmen and the harbormaster. It ought to have been made clear to the boatline, the Army Corps, and the Coast Guard, that if the SSA is determined to cry wolf, it will have to find ways, in its own operations and on its own terminal property, to quiet its sky-is-falling hysteria. Neither Captain Douglas nor the rest of us ought to have been made to pay, not an inch.
An exceptional neighbor
News of the death of Jack Ware, who died on June 30, in Scarborough, Maine, where he moved from his Hatch Road, Vineyard Haven house in 2001, occasions a moment's reflection on the qualities of this remarkably modest, yet enormously influential man. Jack was a paragon of good citizenship. Quietly, determinedly, good naturedly, wisely, he met all the obligations of family, friends, colleagues, and community generously and wholeheartedly. He thought life should be pleasant, purposeful, and meaningful, and he lived exactly that way. Martha's Vineyard benefited from his uncommon sense of commitment to the well being of her residents.
A summer resident and Vineyard Haven Yacht Club sailor of significant accomplishment, Jack retired to a busy year-round life here in 1981. He served on Tisbury's finance committee, as town selectman, as chairman of Tisbury's Blue Ribbon committee whose mission was to improve the function of town government. Twice when the organization needed someone of his quality and ability, he served as acting executive director of Martha's Vineyard Community Services. He was a go-to guy for intelligent and moderate leadership. And, of course, he was the inspiration for the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard, which today exists as a important force for good in Vineyard life, as he himself was during his long summer and year-round life here. And, it is particularly fitting that Jack's determination to do good outlives him in the Permanent Endowment Fund that he founded.