Letters to the Editor
One mean Grinch
To the Editor:
The meanest person on the Island is the Grinch who stole my handicap parking permit off my mirror at the Vineyard Haven Post Office.
Utter dismay at SSA policy
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to Wayne Lamson, general manager of the Steamship Authority.
This letter is to express my utter dismay at the current policy by which the Steamship Authority issues the senior citizen travel cards. It is my opinion that a person becomes a senior when he or she reaches a certain age, notably 65, when most people have to sign up for Medicare. However, the SSA now has a discriminatory practice of only recognizing residents and seasonal residents of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket and residents of the town of Falmouth and Barnstable (who are 65 and older) as people who qualify for senior travel cards.
It is not good enough to show an ID, such as a license, to people to prove your age and address, but you have to fill out an application and be issued an ID card to have the privilege of being able to buy a senior discount ticket. While this privilege is offered to both year-round and seasonal residents, there is no definition of what the requirements are to be classified as a seasonal resident. What a nightmare to administer and keep track of.
It is shameful too that when I bring my 91-year-old mother (who lives off-Island) to the Island for a visit, that she has not earned the right to buy a senior ticket.
Glenn F. Provost
No walk in the woods
To the Editor:
This letter was submitted to the Tisbury selectmen.
On Thursday morning, October 22, my son and I went to the Scottish Bakehouse for breakfast. My son needed the truck for the day, so I said I would walk with his dog Sniper through the woods back to our home on the far side of Lambert's Cove Road. Sniper is a light-framed, long-legged, four-year-old black dog mutt which my son, John Ripley, rescued from Biloxi, Mississippi.
I had done this walk on many occasions in the three decades we have lived on Lambert's Cove. There are many old ways, woods paths, deer paths, and roads connecting the way home. I knew that the best route was to cut over the wooded ridge by the east side of the Bakehouse parking lot, thereby avoiding the State Road, then heading north into the woods. Since the last time I had done this walk, a new driveway had been made there next to the Bakehouse. From a conversation I had recently with a landlocked resident, I had thought this was a new right of way connecting to the Bilzerian property, which I thought would surely get us to the old ways in the woods.
When we emerged over the ridge we came into a drive that seemed to go to a private residence, and it was posted. So we made for a nearby way off to the right into the woods to skirt the property.
At this point three dogs came running down the hill from the house. My dog reacted by barking and motioning towards them. I collared him and made quickly for the woods.
I noticed a line of white flags between us and the three dogs which I took as marking an invisible fence. As we reached the way in the woods, all three dogs had crashed through whatever invisible fence may have existed, and they were upon us. A vicious attack ensued, and I very quickly realized this was more than a fight for territorial dominance. These three dogs were intent on killing Sniper. The ferociousness had the surreal quality of sharks attacking - large, powerful jaws repeatedly clamping down with a violent sideways thrashing to tear flesh and cause damage.
Sniper was completely outmatched. They were going for the throat. By kicking a dog in its private place and pulling hard on the collar I could effect a release but immediately another dog would fill the gap. Then they started inflicting hard bites on the hind quarter as well, all three dogs biting all over, all at once. As this whirling violence progressed I saw flesh tearing from Sniper's neck. One of the attacking jaws caught my thumb and broke the skin. I was overwhelmed. The way it was going, I knew that in a less than a minute Sniper would be killed.
At this moment an older man came running down from the house yelling at the dogs to stop. With much difficulty and yelling, he managed to pull them away and retreated with the dogs to the house. The attack was over.
Sniper and I quickly moved away from the area and into the woods in a state of utter shock. Fortunately we were not followed by what I later learned were American bulldogs. They looked to me like pit bulls, but with larger, wider jaws. Two were brindle and one was white with spots. We made our way through the woods. Sniper could barely walk. With a cell phone, I called my son. It was 8:34 am. He picked us up at Mott's Hill Road and drove home.
I reported the incident to animal control, then Sniper was taken to the vet and treated for trauma. His wound was stitched up. His leg was bleeding but left to heal. There was evidence of subdermal trauma, and we were told that such dogs often inflict unseen damage below the skin to the muscle tissue and organs. Twenty-four hours later Sniper seems to be improving.
Editor's Note: Laurie Clements, Tisbury animal control officer, said yesterday that there will be no selectmen's hearing concerning Mr. Stanwood's experience. She said Mr. Stanwood has not requested a hearing.
To the Editor:
Sandy and Cynthia, best friends since playpen days on Nantucket (of all places) chose one night, October 7, and two days to catch up with their friendship and see Martha's Vineyard. Thanks to the emergency crew that came to the rescue and a kind neighbor walking her dog, Sandy got to the hospital for stitching up and Cynthia accompanied her.
We want to express our gratitude to all of you who helped to soothe our unexpected trauma. Sadly we can see your faces but can't remember names. Dr. Zack in the ER took careful stitches. Kudos. Sandy's good looks remain untarnished. Blanche Hanson at the Madison Inn went out of her way to offer comfort and even a ride. Good news, the tree didn't do us in, and we did get to see your beautiful Island, by bus, and eat delicious fresh food. What we'll remember most is the professional attention we needed, and kindness all around.
It's about catching
To the Editor:
There is this place every fisherman shall go, it's called the tackle shop. Every shop has all the necessities you need to get you out fishing, but one shop in particular will give you so much more than that. It's Coop's Bait & Tackle shop in Edgartown, and if your lucky enough to catch "Mr. Coop" himself, be prepared to listen to his advice and take a good mental note because if you do, as I did, you will find yourself catching instead of just fishing.
A matter of taste
To the Editor:
I cannot resist a comment on Norman Reed's paean to Glenn Beck, in the October 22 issue ("More Beck").
Some time ago, a friend suggested I tune in to someone named Glenn Beck, whom he described as an off-the-wall character who had to be seen to be believed.
I have watched a number of Beck programs since. For comic entertainment value, he falls far short of Jon Stewart's Daily Show. But Beck has his moments. Anyone who can provide me with an occasional belly laugh is not entirely without redeeming social value.
It is rather dispiriting, however, that some millions of Americans can watch Beck and take him seriously. Mr. Reed's description of Beck is: "Glenn Beck is a patriot. This country is sadly in need of more Americans like him."
I see Beck as a rubber-faced clown whose pronouncements on our national affairs are usually ludicrous, sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious, and occasionally bordering on the paranoid psychotic.
For anyone interested in assessing Beck, he is on Fox News at 5 pm every weekday.
It would be comforting to think that most people, upon exposure to Beck's mind (such as it is), would see him through my eyes rather than those of Mr. Reed.
But who knows? Who was the cynic who wrote that no one ever went broke by understanding the taste of the great American public.
Robert E. L. Knight
To the Editor:
In response to Norman Reed's letter in the October 22 issue of The Times, "More Beck," Gitmo is not closed. One of the camps was closed, but the detention facility remains very much open and under debate. The recidivism rate is difficult to determine but some educated guesses are that it is about five percent (Factcheck.org). Mr. Reed wrote of President Obama, "He bowed to a Saudi Arabian etc..." Perhaps Mr. Obama was simply following local custom in a foreign country. If more of us did that maybe the United States would be seen as less arrogant.
It's really too early to tell just what effect the stimulus will have either way. We dug ourselves into a deep hole, and it will take time to climb out.
"His whole background is murky etc...". If you want to know his background, do a little research. This is simply smear.
"He continues to push a health plan etc...". What is a "good percentage"? 10 percent, 40 percent, 90 percent? Many people recognize that our health care system needs reform, and some are working hard to achieve it.
"He attempted to have the 2016 Olympic Games take place in Chicago." Every country in the world who thinks they have the remotest chance lobbies to hold the Olympics in their country. Silly? Yes. Expensive? Yes. New? No.
"His next goal is to give amnesty to... criminals and terrorists etc..." What can you cite as proof of this? Any proposed or passed legislation to give amnesty to criminals and terrorists? Any proposed or enacted policies to do the same? This needs real verification, not just inflammatory rhetoric.
"Mr. Beck is a patriot etc..." Glen Beck is a talking head. Like all talking heads, he is paid, handsomely, by the radio/TV station that he performs on to attract additional listeners, thereby increasing the station's ratings and attracting more advertising revenue. A little research on the Internet shows that in 2007, Mr. Beck signed a contract to receive $50 million in compensation over the ensuing five years (NYT 10/05/07). This year he is on track to receive $18 million. That puts him third in line behind Rush Limbaugh ($33 million annually plus speaking engagements, book residuals etc.) and Sean Hannity (reportedly $100 million over five years).
Now, what do you suppose motivates these fellows? The truth? Patriotism? You can't be that naïve. Enough said.
Oak Bluffs rules
To the Editor:
The Oak Bluffs town meeting on October 20 was long and spirited but laced with thoughtful, balanced, and articulate presentations and public debate. There were also some tense moments when some did not understand or appreciate rulings that I made. Now there is time to explain four points and build consensus for the future.
References below are to Town Meeting Time (TMT), Third Edition (available in our library), the handbook of parliamentary law for town meetings in Massachusetts, written and published by the Massachusetts Moderators Association. Our town bylaws specifically require the moderator to run town meetings according to TMT.
Some thought that the person who had moved to amend the main motion on the floor has the right, acting alone, to withdraw the amendment after it had been debated. Such a motion may only be withdrawn by a majority vote of the meeting. (TMT section 26, page 65.)
Several voters felt that by shouting out "Move the question" from their seats they could compel an immediate vote to close debate and vote. The moderator may, and should, ignore such tactics by voters who have not been recognized to speak, are not at a microphone, and are interrupting a voter who had been recognized and was trying to speak. (TMT Section 44, page 103.)
One voter, in the debate on Article 7, called out a derisive comment that I didn't even know Robert's Rules of Order. I am familiar with them, but am required by our bylaws to follow TMT, not Robert's Rules.
In Article 7, the voters had to choose between two amounts for a project. I ruled that as with all votes to appropriate money, where amendments have presented different amounts, we vote them one by one starting with the highest and working down until one is passed or all fail. Many voters thought that we should have voted the amount proposed by amendment first (it was the lower amount), much as we vote on various amendments to change wording or other details in a pending main motion before voting on it in final form. TMT suggests that when it comes to an appropriation of money it is better, and much less confusing, to vote the competing amounts from highest to lowest. (TMT section 40, pages 94-96.)
I hope this will help everyone understand some of the procedures in place and where they come from. It was an excellent meeting. Highest marks to all who attended.
Letter from Puget Sound
To the Editor:
Klahowyas from Seattle. The western sister of your Vineyard ferry MV Island Home is taking shape. Most of her hull is done. The parts from subcontractors are arriving. The upper works is taking shape as well.
The new ferry is being built by four shipyards here. Todd Shipyard of Seattle is the parent of this consortium and is building the hull. Nichols Brothers of Whidbey Island is building the passenger decks and wheelhouses. Everett Shipyard of Everett is building the main deck curtain plates and mezzanine decks. Jesse Engineering of Tacoma is building the bows and the steering systems.
On the afternoon of October 20, the Washington State Transportation Commission voted to name the western sister of the MV Island Home the MV Chetzemoka. The name comes from a friendly native chief who lived here in the 1800s. He preached peace and there's a park in Port Townsend, Wash., that bears his name.
This will be the second ferry here that bears the name MV Chetzemoka. The first one began her career on San Francisco Bay as the MV Golden Poppy in 1927. After the Golden Gate Bridge opened, she and others came north to Puget Sound as Alexander Peabody's first major attempt to improve service for his Puget Sound Navigation Company, best known as the Black Ball Line. As the MV Chetzemoka, she began service between Edmonds and Port Townsend in 1938. She then served on the Mukilteo to Clinton run for a long time as well as some other few runs here. She was retired in 1973 by Washington State Ferries. On her way back to San Francisco to become what was to be a boutique, the old 240-foot ferry took on water instead and is in the sea of the Pacific Ocean off the Washington coast.
For brief periods in the very early 1970s, the old Chetzemoka worked with the MV Kulshan on the Mukilteo run. The 242-foot Kulshan is now the MV Governor and is in service in your area pairing with the Island Home et al.
The new MV Chetzemoka will be a bit different than your MV Island Home. She'll measure 274 feet in length compared to the Island Home's 255. The beam will be the same. One of the side mezzanine decks will be a bicycle deck. The other side will be a lounge, the same as aboard the Island Home. The saloon deck will be about the same. The end observatories, however, will be eight windows wide rather than six on the Island Home. The ends will be open with pickle fork decks for improved viewing of the bow by the folks on the bridge.
The new MV Chetzemoka is on an escalated building schedule and is to be finished by the summer of 2010. She is destined for the Port Townsend to Keystone run. Our ferry system has set up a page for this construction with photos. You can view this site at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/ferries/64carferries/
An early Christmas holiday greeting to all at the Vineyard from us here on Puget Sound.
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to Dan Cabot, chairman of the all-Island school committee.
In hearing of the proposed cutbacks to the elementary school's music program, I was greatly disheartened.
Life on the Island has its benefits and limitations; education must not be one of those limitations. Music and the arts are an essential and critical part of it. The study of music includes math, science, history and foreign language. It is multicultural and universal. In these programs students gain self-confidence, social and emotional skills, develop insights, concentration, discipline, expression and creativity. Over and over again studies have proven the value of these programs. SAT and other test scores improve.
As a former string student and graduate of the Edgartown and Regional schools (class of 1970), I can attest to the necessity of this very important part of our education. Teachers Allan Hovey, Tom Mills, and Bob Nute provided the venue in which I could thrive. We currently have a good and popular program in place with wonderful and dedicated teachers. Let's keep it.
One other important consideration to make is the effect cuts in spending will have on the overall welfare of the children. They are affected by the same stressors that affect their parents: housing shuffles, economics, family strife, etc. The schools, being constant in their lives, can have a strong effect on their whole health. We must make it as positive as possible.
Shirley B. Wilcox
Just a thought
To the Editor:
Here's a thought. Let's create the Martha's Vineyard Organization of the Power Exporting County (OPEC), a permanent inter-governmental organization created by the towns in Dukes County. Members will include West Tisbury, Chilmark, Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and Cuttyhunk. The MV OPEC members will coordinate their wind power producing policies in order to stabilize the wind market and to help wind producers (that would be us) achieve a reasonable rate of return on our investment (the way of life as we know it). Just a thought.
Shawn Taylor Scherer
To the Editor:
I have seen bumper stickers all over the Island emblazoned with the message, "Save M.V., Hire American." I've noticed almost no one seems to be brave enough to stick one to their car. I respect a person's First Amendment right to say how they feel. But I'm annoyed by several aspects of the message.
I grew up on Martha's Vineyard, and I only visit now. I see a big change in the community, and that someone seems to feel this was caused by the fact that there is now a big Brazilian community, or that the students that flood here in the summer are from Eastern Europe and not Ireland or other states.
I blame city people moving here looking for a nice place to raise their kids. They bring paranoia and unfriendly fear. They block off ancient ways in their backyards, they ferry their kids from the school bus, poisoning this "nice place."
But I digress. When I was hitching round, which has got a lot harder to do, this man was telling me emphatically about how loads of people give speeches about what a drain the Brazilians are on the Island, but when his car broke down it was Brazilian who stopped and helped him out, and now he won't hear a word against them, because "they know what this place is about." The Brazilians make up about a quarter of the population but account for a larger percentage of people willing to help me out with a lift somewhere.
I grew up here, but I'm not a natural born American. Paperwork had to presented to an embassy in London proving my father to be American and proving me to be his daughter. I 'd like to know if I'm American enough to work on this Island?
What is it to be American, anyway? When my great grandfather arrived from Russia, he came here to build a life as people have continued to do from all over the world. The American dream is built out of immigration and hard work and is meant for all. What right do we, people who have benefited from immigration, have to deny the same privilege to others?
There are a lot of Islanders, not many of whom appear to want to do the work the Eastern Europeans are doing, or take the wages. Perhaps what would save M.V. is not a block on visas and an end to immigration, but a change in values and expectations?
We want cheap clothes, food, and gas (all made by other countries), and then we want to keep it for ourselves.
In truth there is not much wealth in the developed world. We are pretending to be wealthy and raping the world's resources while we do it. The credit crunch was caused by the fact that even our banks were pretending to have 10 times as much money as they did, banking on the hope not everyone would ask for it at the same time.
It is in fact American free market economics that has created the situation in which we find ourselves. It's sad because we're being taken for a ride by the world's super wealthy and blaming each other.
If we want to save anything, we have to buy American. That means paying $10 for one pair of socks, not getting 12. Buying from farms and not supermarkets and making sure our money is supporting local industry. After the war, the average household was spending 70 percent of its income on food, because in a real economy that is what it costs.
I say instead of cowardly sticking up stickers in the dead of night, campaign for better government support of American farms, sustainable American energy and American commerce.
No plan at all
To the Editor:
At the recent Oak Bluffs town meeting one of the selectman described what he felt was a new and innovative way to generate income. That was to raise the current tax on meals and lodging. That the selectman even brought this up is insulting, considering the disproportionate amount that hotels and restaurants are currently paying for the construction of the waste water plant.
My bill went from $20,000 to $45,000. Other restaurants and hotels saw that same $20,000 bill go well upwards of $100,000. Again, call the waste water department if you don't believe me.
Also, revenue from the current lodging tax has been declining because over the past few years several inns have been turned into private homes. Some of these former inns have also joined the abundance of weekly summer rentals. A truly new and innovative strategy would be to tax these currently untaxed summer rental homes. It's time for the selectman to show some leadership in these days of shrinking budgets.
Next, I Googled "Oak Bluffs Civil Defense." The only thing I found was a phone number for the town hall. Wouldn't the phone number to sign up for text messages from Sharky's be far more effective?
On to the Island Plan. One of the premises of the Island Plan is to keep new development in the down-Island towns and to "seek Island-wide cost sharing methods for infrastructure and services." So, I'm asking everyone up-Island right now. Do you want to pay for services and infrastructure down-Island? Anybody?
And of course, I can't write a letter without bringing up West Tisbury's public park, Lambert's Cove. Here is another bit from the Island Plan on public shoreline access. "Target the area on the North Shore between Tashmoo and Menemsha inlets, where there is little public access." Lambert's Cove seems like it fits that description perfectly. So I'm asking everyone in West Tisbury, specifically anyone involved with the Island Plan from there. Do you want to open up your public park to the general public? Anyone? Anyone? Silence is my validation. And as always, end beach apartheid.
Where to begin?
To the Editor:
There are two words that our family has said more in the past month than we ever thought possible. Those two words are thank you. We do not even know where to begin to express our thoughts of gratitude and appreciation. Over the course of the past month, we have learned that it is truly a blessing to be part of this remarkable community. The outpouring of support and love has been astonishing.
First of all, we would like to thank the Oak Bluffs and Tisbury firefighters, police officers and EMTs. We are lucky to know that we are protected by such talented and hard-working professionals. There are numerous businesses that have donated a considerable amount. Your generosity and thoughtfulness have been unimaginable.
Thank you to all of the individuals and families who have supplied us with clothes, everyday necessities, meals, toys, money, and so much more. It is amazing how a tragedy can bring us all closer together. This experience has opened our eyes to the kindness and generosity of people. At the cost of sounding repetitive, thank you. We are proud to live in a community where friends, neighbors, and strangers alike join together to help one another. This Island is a unique and wonderful place to live.
The D'Arcy family
Spend where it counts
To the Editor:
At a time when our schools are cutting teachers and aides, the Vineyard needs to reconsider the value of our high school sports programs. Our schools' primary goal is to educate our students and to prepare them for the world.
Sports are extracurricular - they have little to do with education or preparation for the world of adults. Remember, we do classwork and homework, but we play sports. Few kids will get athletic scholarships, and a miniscule number of our students will become professional athletes.
Big sports cost big money, and those tax dollars support the activities of only a small subset of students. To support big sports, we already have big boosters, which suggests that parents are willing to fundraise for the programs they support.
At many colleges, most sports are run as student clubs, with little or no funding from the school. In many smaller sports, as well as in music and other extracurricular activities that can become professions, students and families raise their own funding to pursue excellence.
Let's make our tax dollars work to benefit all our students.
Surfer dudes don't share
To the Editor:
Sorry it took me so long to post, as I was on my quest for a late Derby bone. It was a nice sunny Sunday. Weird, right? Strong wind out of the northwest and 2.5 hours before the high tide at Tashmoo (Franklin Street side). I was the second fisherman to show up that morning. I approached the other man who was throwing a blue Deadly Dick (good choice), but he was casting at the few birds in the inner channel that were chasing silversides along with small schoolies along the jetty. Anyone who has fished a channel knows there is no hope in catching them two feet in front of you. As I walked by him, I said meet me at the tip of the jetty in 30 minutes. He looked a little puzzled, but I said just trust me.
I started blind casting for a bit and saw him making his way out to the end of the jetty right on time. He had the confused/trying to figure out how to get past the pointy rock look on his face. All of a sudden his eyes got real wide, and he was staring right past me. I turned around to see the first school of albies breaking 10 feet in front of me. Missed those ones. He said, "How did you know?"
I had been there the same exact tide for the past seven days, and they showed up within 10 minutes of the tide every day. About that time, a few well-known Island fishermen made their way out to the end of the jetty, along with a hand full of weekend warriors trying their luck at winning the Derby lottery.
The albies broke for a good half hour until two kite surfers showed up. They entered the water and cut right in front of the jetty. I could have poked one of them if I had my 10-foot surf rod. We looked at each other and shook our heads and kept fishing. One of them then turned and came right back within feet of the end of the jetty. After the third time this happened, a few of us let him know that he was getting too close. He then started to cut right in front of us parallel to the jetty about 20 yards out, a mere flick of the wrist with a No. 1 Deadly Dick.
The albies had been running the beach from the middle of the channel to the mooring off the first house on the beach for the entire two hours before the high tide for the past week and were doing the same that day until the surfers showed up.
By this time five boats had showed up attempting to fish. The surfers now directed their attention to "buzzing" the boats within inches of their transoms and jumping clear over others. They had succeeded in stopping every fisherman from having any chance to catch a fish. I counted four fishermen, including boat fishermen, who are consistently on the Derby leader board. Their frustration was very apparent.
As I got too fed up with the situation, I headed back to my truck, weaving my way between at least seven other fishermen on the jetty standing with their "safeties on" so as not to accidentally fire a cast into the kite surfers. I observed a few fishermen exchanging words with one of the surfers on the beach. I also witnessed that surfer screaming at a fisherman in his face telling him to share the beach and saying that everyone here is being safe, so there is no problem. The fisherman said a few words which I could not hear, I'm assuming they must have been pretty good because it prompted the surfer to shove him. The fisherman retained his composure and drove away before anything else happened.
Now Mr. surfer bro, tell me this: How are the fishermen supposed to share the beach when they have no opportunity to use it in the first place? Is it safe to come within inches of boats and jump directly over them? Is it safe/legal to surf at high speeds through a navigational channel? Is it really safe to irritate more than 10 Derby fishermen with two-ounce hooked missiles on their rods? Even if you managed to get by the hooks, I'm sure the braid across the ankles wouldn't be very pleasant.
So Mr. surfer dudes, who wasn't sharing the beach? And who wasn't being safe? Finally, I ask you for an apology to all of the fishermen that day who were robbed of a chance at the almighty albie and to show respect to not only fishermen but everyone trying to enjoy our beautiful Island. You are not the only ones who live here and grew up here. Thank you.
Follow wind’s lead
To the Editor:
For the first time ever, the residents of Martha’s Vineyard will have to deal with the possibility of having to look at power plants (wind turbines) in their backyard waters sometime in the future. But, what about now? What if M.V. had to be just like everybody else in America and produce its own electricity. Commercial electrical power plants do not exist on Martha’s Vineyard, and few understand the implications of what would be needed if we had to produce our own electrons.
The fact that a lump of coal is burned every time a light switch is flipped doesn’t enter the minds of many Islanders. That coal is burned someplace else, over there, somewhere on the other side of the water is entirely palatable and necessary if we are to keep this Garden of Eden pristine. Most Islanders do not realize that on a per capita basis, each American is responsible for burning more coal, than the average person in China. Every American is responsible for burning around 20 pounds of coal every day. Over one billion tons of coal goes up in smoke in America every year. America burns coal to supply 50 percent of its electricity, and America cannot supply itself with all the coal it needs to meet its electrical demand. In 2000, the U.S. imported 12,512,623 tons of coal.
Let me put the amount of coal burned, every day, into perspective for the residents of Martha’s Vineyard. First, let us assume we burn coal just like the average American and let us further assume an off-peak population of 20,000 for nine months and 100,000 during the three summer months. Translation – somewhere, over there (wherever that might be), a coal-fired power plant would have to burn 80,000 five-pound bags of coal, every day, in the off-season and 400,000 five-pound bags of coal, every day, in the summer just to keep the lights on for 12 out of any 24-hour period for the residents of Martha’s Vineyard. If M.V. had to produce its own electricity today and be just like everyone else, where would the residents choose to locate a coal-fired power plant capable of burning 400,000 five-pound bags of coal, every day, during the summer “peak” season?
The Massachusetts draft Ocean Management Plan has identified 6,270 mw of electrical generation capacity in the nearshore waters within three miles of Martha’s Vineyard. One hundred of these 6,270 mw will more than adequately meet Martha’s Vineyard’s current and future electrical needs. This leaves in question how much of the remaining 6,170 mw do the residents of Martha’s Vineyard want the MVC to release for use by New Bedford, Fall River, or any other Massachusetts residents tied into the grid? Developing the 6,170 could also replace all the fossil fuel currently being burned to generate electricity in Massachusetts.
In 2007, 82 percent of Massachusetts electricity was generated by burning coal, oil, and natural gas. None of these fuels burn “clean.” Natural gas burns “dirty,” oil burns “dirtier,” and coal burns the “dirtiest.” All three release carbon dioxide when burned. And, carbon dioxide is the leading contributor to global warming. Utilities, not just people, need to reduce their carbon footprint. Developing the remaining 6,170 mw of near offshore wind will result in reducing the utilities carbon footprint to nearly zero.
In the talk I gave at the Tisbury Public Library on September 29 concerning Wind Economics 101, I went over the fact that wind is the fuel that powers a wind turbine. I also explained that wind on the water, on average, is 60 to 80 percent stronger and steadier than wind on the land. Increased wind speed in and of itself can produce more electricity from the same power plant (the wind turbine) because the power available from wind is proportional to the cube of the speed of the wind. Wind at 20 mph delivers 8 times the power of wind at 10 mph.
For the most cost-effective electricity, invest first in the highest grade fuel (fastest average wind speed) swept by the largest turbine blade for delivering the maximum power to the electrical power plant (the wind turbine), located in the shallowest water closest to shore. Invest second, farther out, in the more distant, deeper waters. Producing 6,170 mw can be done farther offshore in deeper waters, but it will cost more money.
Europe has developed near offshore wind, the United States has not. Since 2001, Europe and the United States have been in a race for developing near offshore wind. The scorecard: Europe – 24 near offshore wind farms constructed or permitted, the United States, zero. In my view, it’s time we start to play catch-up and follow Europe’s lead.
Bigger than ever
To the Editor:
A big, heartfelt thanks to all the people that made the 20th Annual Oak Bluffs Columbus Day Road Race a success. Again, we were lucky with beautiful weather, which led to an amazing turnout – more than 280 participants of all ages. This is the Island Affordable Housing Fund’s third year helping with the race, and it was the largest for us yet.
There are so many people who contributed to this event. I would like to give special thanks to Roger Wey and the Oak Bluffs race committee who helped organize this race and several other races throughout the year, the town of Oak Bluffs administration, and the Oak Bluffs police and fire departments who were there for us the entire event.
Also, thank you to the hundreds of participants who made this race a part of their holiday weekend and for their support of the Island Affordable Housing Fund, and of course the volunteers who make these events possible. The friends and supporters who sacrifice their time for events such as these continue to amaze me. Lastly, we thank the many business sponsors who help make this event possible with their continued generosity.
On behalf of the board and staff of the Island Affordable Housing Fund, I thank you. Mark your calendar now for next year’s race, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, and wish us luck for sunshine again.
Island Affordable Housing Fund
To the Editor:
When I arrived to work last Thursday, to my surprise there were four large boxes of produce (corn, eggplant, lettuce, and peppers) on our kitchen counter, with a note attached that read “Produce donated from Morning Glory Farm by way of a gleaning conducted by Island Grown Schools and the Sowing Circle of Farmers; for questions call Melinda DeFeo.”
I called Melinda immediately and found out that 24 students in the Leadership Program at MVRHS gleaned the produce on Wednesday and delivered it to the Edgartown Council on Aging, Dukes County House of Corrections, Edgartown School, Oak Bluffs School, Tisbury School, Charter School and Culinary Department at the High School.
This bountiful gift was perfect timing for the Edgartown Council on Aging. The corn and some of the lettuce was handed out to seniors who attended programs on Thursday. In an amazing coincidence, the menu for our café last Friday was corn and cauliflower soup, eggplant rollatini, and salad. Our cook, Thane Wall, immediately gathered all the fresh produce and started cooking. The corn went into a corn, cauliflower, and cheese soup, the eggplant was cooked then stuffed and with cheese, rolled and baked with a delicious tomato sauce and the salad was served with a balsamic and garlic dressing made by Evelyn Anderson, our kitchen volunteer. Believe it or not, our café menu on October 23 includes stuffed peppers.
To Morning Glory Farm, the 24 high school students, the Sowing Circle of Farmers (a group of women farmers on M.V.) and Melinda DeFeo, we say thank you. The gleaning, time, and effort by all served more than 50 seniors.
Edgartown Council on Aging
To the Editor:
The Tisbury School PTO hosted its 6th Annual Harvest Festival. More than 150 people attended this free community event, which included a potluck supper and wonderful array of games and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
As always, this event would not be possible without the overwhelming support of the Tisbury School and Island businesses. It is with great appreciation that we thank the following parents, students and teachers for their donation of time and talent to this year’s festival: Emma Smith, Peter Boak, Judy Baynes, Susan Leonard, Mary Ellen McElroy and the seventh-grade student volunteers. We would like to thank the Stop & Shop for their generous donation of a beautiful palette of pumpkins. Thank you John and Janet Packer for providing the hayrides.
With the amazing growth of this year’s Harvest Festival, we welcomed the addition of live music performed by Nancy Jephcote and Paul Thurlow with special guests Mark Hahn, as well as student violinists Sam Graber-Hahn and Patrick Best. Thank you for sharing your incredible talents with us.
Finally, a very special thank you to Richie Smith, principal, and John Custer, assistant principal, whose embodiment of school spirit and unity inspire us all. Their ongoing support of the PTO’s social, educational and charitable events enable us to reach out to all in our Tisbury School community.
Harvest Festival Coordinator
Tisbury School PTO