Letters to the Editor
Thanks to so many
To the Editor:
Martha's Vineyard Hospital is very thankful to everyone who helped make this past Saturday's vaccination clinic for the H1N1 flu possible.
First, to Martha's Vineyard Hospital staff, who volunteered their time and expertise. We depend on all of you, every day, to give great care, and this day was no different. My thanks also to those staff members who willingly donned a different hat this weekend and did whatever was needed to ensure a smooth-running event. I feel truly honored to have the opportunity to work with you all.
Second, to the Island's emergency medical service professionals and volunteers who took the time to assist MVH staff administering the vaccine, and to work with members of our community to help them get in and out as quickly as possible. The Oak Bluffs Police Department was also on call and ready to assist.
Finally, our thanks to our neighbors, friends and families for their patience and understanding, as we undertook this important endeavor. You reminded all of us, once again, of our commitment to our long held tradition of providing compassionate and personalized care to all of you.
Timothy J. Walsh
President and CEO
Martha's Vineyard Hospital
To the Editor:
In response to the complaint regarding the recent kiteboarder and fishermen clash at Tashmoo, I would like to apologize on behalf of the greater kiteboarding community. Our sport and its participants have grown in recent years and with that growth more issues have arisen. Recently the sport of kiteboarding has been determined a sailing class by the International Sailing Federation. This recognition strengthens our sport but also requires that we follow the "Navigation Rules." The first priority of any kiteboarder on the water should be to maintain a safety zone away from other users and to give way to all other vessels, especially in a narrow channel. Although this seems like obvious etiquette, the potential for an incident remains in which someone may be negligent and the actions of one can affect us all.
Two world views
To the Editor:
R.E.L. Knight writes how disappointed he is that people support Glenn Beck, and I am sure his comments are sincere and reflective of the prism through which he sees the world. However we are one nation, two cultures - a divide that cuts across class, racial, ethnic, political, and sexual lines. While one position originated in a traditional idea of Republican virtue, the other emerged from the counterculture of the 1960s and has become the dominant culture of today.
While the dominant culture pervades journalism, academia, television, and film, a "dissident culture" continues to promote values of family, a civil society, sexual morality, privacy, and patriotism. The clash between these two cultures affects all areas of American society. One world view is based upon God's eternal laws, good and evil, accountability, self reliance, virtue, the individual, small government, private enterprise, and conservatism; the other is secularly progressive, morally relativistic, communal, large government redistributive and egalitarian in principle.
Once we understand these competing world views, we understand why so many people love Glen Beck, for example, and others vilify and why he has two number one best sellers at the same time. It is the red and blue of our electoral college map. It is the Northeast and West Coast versus the South, the urban, large city versus the agricultural heartland.
I remind you, for every Glen Beck and Hannity, there is a Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow (my dog runs out of the room), and in spite of liberal ascendancy in the media, respectfully Mr. Knight should not be surprised if the stealth conservatives keep poking at the soft underbelly of the dominant culture.
To preserve native diversity
To the Editor:
I read with appreciation Adam Moore's explanation for allowing a restricted amount of bowhunting on Sheriff's Meadow Foundation properties. I commend this conservation organization for being proactive with their management plan to prevent local extinctions on Martha's Vineyard and address the problem of tick-borne diseases.
The Polly Hill Arboretum has been documenting rare plant populations on the Island for the past seven years. Vineyard native plants are threatened with extinction due to excessive deer browse. This should not come as a surprise; many areas along the Northeast corridor of the United States have suffered tremendous losses to deer browse. So what if a local plant goes extinct? With each loss of a plant species comes a loss of insect species that rely on plants for their lifecycle. Connected with the insects are the birds that depend on the insects, and so on; the effect is continued through the chain of codependent organisms, which in sum puts the diversity in biodiversity.
What is a constant in almost every episode of local extinction is the collateral effect on an entire group of living organisms that depend on plants for their existence. A little over 10 years ago, I took part in a native plant conference in Millersville, Pennsylvania. We toured natural areas severely degraded by deer browsing. It was a startling picture: an ecosystem devoid of understory growth, in effect sterile, with an estimated 90 percent of the native flora and fauna gone.
Here at the Polly Hill Arboretum, a small rectangular deer exclusion plot was erected in our native oak woodland five years ago. The plants within the enclosure have grown twice the height of the plants outside. In some parts of the United States, large forested areas are being fenced off to prevent deer browse. Have we come to this on Martha's Vineyard? No, not yet, but the policy changes Mr. Moore is suggesting will provide better stewardship of the lands that sustain the biodiversity on Martha's Vineyard. I heartily support the new policy.
The Polly Hill Arboretum
First, protect MVC authority
To the Editor:
One of the quintessential Vineyard vistas is the expanse of ocean visible from the Gay Head Cliffs, classified by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark, with its lighthouse listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Another branch of the federal government, the U.S. Department of the Interior, classifies the waters off of Martha's Vineyard as a six out of seven - "good to excellent" - on its wind resource map.
Nothing better illustrates the conflicting priorities and values facing this Island community, as it wrestles with the implications of wind turbine development in the Vineyard's near-shore waters.
On the one hand, fossil fuel use is changing the climate in dangerous ways. Developing renewable energy technologies like wind power will help, but only if it can be scaled up significantly. On the other hand, Martha's Vineyard's environmental gains have been hard-fought, and its scenic and cultural values are not trivial concerns.
Both positions are valid. The challenge right now, however, is for Island residents not to pick sides. Dividing the community over which set of values should prevail will only diminish the Island's already small political voice.
Instead, the immediate fight must be directed to improving the draft management plan's siting standards for special, sensitive, and unique marine habitats (SSUs) and defending our M.V. Commission decisions from being overruled by the state board charged with fast-tracking offshore development.
The community conversation about values must take place, and it must be done in a thoughtful and respectful way. But the first step is to protect the Vineyard's natural assets and ensure that the powers of the M.V. Commission to review development projects in Island waters are not diminished.
Vineyard Conservation Society
Free energy available
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter because I think the timing is appropriate regarding our Island-wide conversations about sustainable energies.
Everyone is under the impression that the only choices out there are solar, wind, or tidal current sourced energy. They are simply the only choices being allowed on the table by our government departments. The choices are being offered to us by the very same energy monopolists (big oil, coal, and gas) who have revamped/greenwashed their approach to sustainable means being served to us by various government entities like the Minerals Management Service. This very group sold all the mineral rights to water to a mining corporation called Phelps Dodge that now owns basically all the rights to all water in the state of Arizona, among other things.
I learned this while doing research for my position as conservation chairman on the executive committee of the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon chapter, while living in Sedona a few years back. My topic was energy, and I also learned that back in the 1990s there was a study done on the solar power available at that time. The results of this study were that if all of Maricopa County (greater Phoenix) were to install this technology, it would be enough to power the needs of the entire U.S. As a result the ACC (Arizona Corporation Commission) had a law passed that prevented anyone who installed this technology from selling more than one percent of it back to the grid, virtually eliminating the competition to the coal, gas, and oil industries that it represents.
I say sustainable because the destruction and invasion of any more of our earth for the profit of the few is not acceptable or sustainable, in my view.
There are other truly sustainable and ultimately eventually free options. Yes, I said free. There have been many different technologies created that have been suppressed by big energy, such as the story I just stated.
However there is now a non-profit that was created a few years ago called the Orion Project, whose sole mission is to bring to the public this free energy that has been discovered. This way, one person or small group may not be bullied into submission. It is headed by Dr. Steven Greer, and it uses a completely clean energy sourced from the electro-magnetic field that surrounds everything, otherwise known as zero point energy or quantum vacuum space energy.
There is another group called the Disclosure Project, which seeks to bring another type of free energy to the forefront as well. It is suggested by the scientists that have this information that approximately $100 billion of our tax dollars yearly have contributed to its development. They have been suppressed from bringing it public for reasons of national security.
Together, the two groups have submitted documents to the president and Congress. I am sending a separate e-mail to The Times with an excerpt from the documents sent to President Obama in January of 2009, hoping they will print that as well. The group encourages all their information to be shared and dispersed for consideration by the masses. If we start to get vocal about this, we have a much better shot of it not being suppressed any longer. I urge you all to go to www.theorionproject.org and do your own research. You may also go to www.disclosureproject.org and see that there is more than free energy being brought forth from more than 400 scientists and military personnel, but all this is another topic completely.
I have been quiet until now, watching and listening to all the sustainable energy debates, and I want to scream. This debate is a perfect example of what Einstein was talking about when he said that "it is impossible to solve a problem using the same consciousness that created it."
I urge both the reporters of the MV Times and the community at large to take a few minutes and check this out. I am adamant about this. This is for real. You do not have to understand quantum physics to understand it, and the Orion Project has prepared a simple-to-understand video as well.
It appears to me that most people simply do not believe that this is possible. I am not asking you to believe me. I am asking you to take the time to help us take this quantum leap in freeing the inhabitants of earth from the energy dictators by educating yourself regarding this option. By the way, these would render our current grid system useless and could be available in as little as three to five months for mass use. They also are applicable to transportation and other amazing applications. We do not need to bleed the earth, or Vineyard Sound for that matter.
There is free energy out there. Our tax dollars have already funded its creation. Do you think free energy would help solve some of the dire problems we face? Perhaps it might level the playing field between rich and poor? Could it contribute to world peace and end hunger?
Would we have a little more money for education, health care, and social programs? Or how about this: with the resources saved, would we have a little more time and energy to focus on the cooperation and conscious co-creation of a new world, instead of the competition and destruction of the one we now are living in?
Peace in these troubled times.
Doesn't make sense
To the Editor:
I am a sophomore at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, and I understand that the H1N1 is a serious issue. But there are a few things that have me confused, such as cancelling sports games, practices, and chorus assessment performances at MVRHS.
Is cancelling our extra activities really going to keep us safe when we are in close proximity all day long - on the buses, in class, in the lunchroom, etc.?
How does cancelling these activities keep us safer when we are the same distance away from another person as we would be on a football field, on a stage, in gym class, or walking down the hall?
The school always tells us that it's everyone's responsibility to keep healthy, so why have they punished students for wearing surgical masks, in an effort to protect themselves?
Using Purell like it's my job.
Clarification and apology
To the Editor:
And to the residents of Oak Bluffs: in the Resolve Notice submitted by the district and published in the October 29 and 30 Martha's Vineyard newspapers, incorrect information was given. In the paragraph (What happened? What was done?), contractor's work was stated as a possible cause for the bacterial growth. Through further investigation within this department and in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, this was proven false.
Upon further examination of work orders and staff interviews, it was determined that all related contractor work had been supervised by an Oak Bluffs Water District (OBWD) inspector, carried out to industry standards or greater and in accordance with all OBWD protocols.
The OBWD concludes that the factors that influenced bacterial growth within the system were not contractor related. The OBWD and their consultants will continue to investigate possible sources and conditions that may have caused this situation.
The commissioners of the OBWD and I are committed to providing its customers safe, clean and dependable potable water and will be instituting a bi-annual flushing program, improved sampling protocols, and an overall upgrade to treatment processes in the near future.
On November 7, the sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) injection will be halted, and normal operations will resume.
Please accept my apologies, and thank you for your patience.
Thomas W Degnan Jr
Oak Bluffs Water District
Deciding who we are
To the Editor:
I must admit I have missed many town meetings. I've felt guilty passing the crowded school parking lot on my way to some other activity, leaving decisions regarding my town and the Island schools in the hands of others, with most of usual excuses. So I was bowled over by the numbers of concerned community members who attended the October 22 All-Island School Committee meeting to witness and comment on decisions regarding cuts to the elementary string program, alongside supporters for Felix Neck and the Yard's programs. There were not enough chairs. Some sat on the ﬂoor while others spilled out into the corridors, standing for more than two hours.
First, let me thank our All-Island School Committee members and Dr. James Weiss. Your integrity and energy are invaluable. I would like to thank three former school committee members for bringing their long-term perspectives, Kathy Logue, John Curelli, and Diane Wall. Thank you Niki Patton, Terri Burke, Nancy Dole, Todd Follansbee, Debra Gaines, and John Best for your public comments about the string program. Thanks to Lee Fierro, poetic in her support of strings and the Yard's programs.
The perspectives of Rebecca Solway and Susan Bellincampi on the matter of Felix Neck funding were compelling. I cannot say enough about all the others working to build bridges of mutual understanding.
Over the next few months, Vineyarders will wrestle with difficult decisions regarding our educational priorities, the identity of our community, and the economic bottom line. I hope the whole community gets involved so that these decisions will accurately reﬂect who we are. I hope we aim high. Whatever the outcome, I believe we always strive to do the right thing by our children. It is the Vineyard way.
Small tent politics
To the Editor:
About a week ago, four Republican Congressmen -Sue Myrick (NC), Paul Brown (GA), Trent Franks (AZ), and John Shadegg (AZ) - shamefully illustrated the very ardent and real anti-Muslim bigotry which prevails within the toxic Republican party today. This group of four held a press conference to demand an investigation into Muslim interns in Congress.
The evidence for this puritanical witch hunt is found in a book, which any sensible person would refer to as really bad fiction, entitled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America" and published by World Net Daily. This publishing organization, supported in part by the GOP, creates, disseminates, and promotes malignant conspiracy theories and untruths, and if taken at face value, these poorly contrived scare tactics are nothing more than attempts to alarm, enrage, and fuel the xenophobic fears of (usually white) right-wing conservative Americans.
While this is a serious matter indeed, it is also yet another stellar example of what the Cialis-popping, gesticulating Republican party has become - for clearly they have not been thinking with their collective cerebral cortex for many years now. The Republican party has evolved into a definitive non-inclusive, self-serving political entity. Rather than embracing diversity, promoting tolerance, and respecting all taxpaying Americans, Republicans prefer to identify and label certain groups of Americans as threats to our nation and society, and then fiercely fight to deny said Americans their entitled rights, liberties, share of wealth and resources of our nation.
Most recently, the Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, who was running for a seat in the US House representing New York's 23rd Congressional District, was forced by the Republican party to suspend her campaign only days prior to the election. A group of Republican inquisitors campaigned to have her removed due to her liberal platform of supporting marriage equality for all Americans. In essence, she was purged from the GOP and burned at the stake because of being a moderate Republican. Consequently, she voted for the Democrat nominee. "Another one bites the dust..."
A few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asserted that if the GOP aligns itself with only one wing of the Republican party they will become a permanent minority. I would have to agree with the senator from North Carolina. Many Republican moderates have already defected or been excommunicated - as the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live might say - from the GOP.
However, I sincerely doubt that the GOP will heed the call of one of their own, or abandon their current course of action. They have a tendency to see the world through the blinders of a horse, thus preventing themselves from seeing the gestalt of a particular situation. Of course by doing so, they also fail to understand that the whole is greater than its parts, but that is a chronic problem that has always escaped their impaired cognition. Nevertheless, I applaud the inspirationally divine work of the religious fanatics within the GOP, and I certainly hope that they do not falter from their holy crusade.
Bryan D. Freehling
Do wind energy right
To the Editor:
Vineyarders, please listen. I understand and can appreciate that there are some people here who are fervent for a change in U.S. policy towards energy conservation for our environment, but let's do it right and do it right the first time. Nearby offshore wind projects such as Cape Wind are not the answer.
The towers are imbedded deep in the ocean floor and therefore very difficult to remove. They will dramatically offset the ocean and air-going aspects of our local ecosystem. As witnessed by European ocean wind generators, whose technology has been in place for years, they break down often and break all together, on average, every two years. This causes mass blackouts across those European regions as power is diverted to compensate for the broken wind turbines.
They will not dramatically effect the burning of coal and oil for energy and therefore they could be considered to be a good distraction for environmentalists by the large energy companies who would benefit from that form of appeasement. And yes they will severely impact the visual beauty of our Vineyard Sound waterway.
I wonder if those for The Cape Wind project are aware that while the turbines are designated to be built right off Martha's Vineyard, no energy generated from the wind towers will be diverted to this Island. None.
Again, while the turbines are designated to be built right off Martha's Vineyard, no revenue accrued from the wind towers will be channeled to Martha's Vineyard. None.
Gov. Deval Patrick has made November 23, 2009, the final day for anyone wishing to appeal the Cape Wind project, yet he is both refusing to meet with Vineyard representatives and overturning an act that had once designated the Martha's Vineyard Commission to have final say in any development project on or around Martha's Vineyard.
It is theorized that this is all occurring for Governor Patrick's own political gain by winning the race to be the first state on the East Coast to build an offshore wind project. It is occurring in this location because they don't want it to take place near Boston. They could not care less about the number of voters on M.V. that these actions could upset, and most people in Massachusetts view Martha's Vineyard as a rich person's playground (very untrue stereotype for year-round Islanders), so who cares, and therefore won't get any sympathy.
Let's look at two alternative solutions:
Deep-water floating wind turbines which are easily removable, have dramatically less impact on the ecosystem, will produce ten times the amount of power that coastal turbines could produce, and yes, will be out of sight from the coast.
And, my favorite, thermal depolymerization, which turns all trash into clean fuel and could easily produce the same amount of barrels per year that we import from the Middle East (and more) just by the trash and agricultural waste we produce each year. This technology is very real. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWf9nYbm3ac
The Vineyard is being steamrolled over by the state, and our rights as residents and keepers of this Island that we all love are being violated. If The Cape Wind project happens, then what's to stop the state from overturning other legal rights, acts and jurisdictions once legally designated for this Island?
If you agree that the best plan is to give the power of final decision for any and all development on or around this Island back to Martha's Vineyard residents, please join, as I have, "Let Vineyarders Decide" which can be found at: www.lvdecide.blogspot.com and they also have a Facebook fan page under "Let Vineyarders Decide."