Letters to the Editor
Because of you
To the Editor:
Had you walked into Grace Church last Friday morning, you would have been hard pressed to find an empty square yard of space in which to stand. There were fishing poles stacked in one corner, blankets and bedding in another, a mountain of diapers in the rear of the church and a row of bicycles lined up against one wall. 25 large boxes of food filled a back office. The entire church and church hall were filled with bags of clothing and toys which even overflowed into the hallways and into the kitchen.
And in three hours time it was all gone, and the miracle that is Red Stocking had once again provided for the needs of 376 children from 248 Island families. This represented an increase of 30 children over last year. However, like all non-profits this year, we expected an increase in applications and a decrease in donations.
How does this happen each year? It happens because of the army of volunteers who spend endless hours shopping, wrapping, and raising funds. This effort has become second nature to so many Vineyarders who automatically appear and "do their thing." It happens because the Harley Riders raised close to $20,000 for us, over $10,000 of which was raised singlehandedly by Donald BenDavid. It happens because Trader Fred gave us 45 winter jackets last year. It happens because Greg Orcutt and the staff of WMVY organize the Chowder Fest and the Chili Contest year after year. It happens because the MV Savings Bank employees sponsored 12 children and the Edgartown National Bank stepped up to sponsor the Chowder Fest and 100 percent of the employees of MV Insurance Co. made donations which were matched by the company. It happens because Brickman's and Basics and Kiddos and Trader Fred and MV Heart discount and wrap and store all our clothing purchases. It happens because Stop and Shop and Reliable and Cronig's generously help with our more than $30,000 worth of food gift certificates. It happens because East Chop Sleep Shop delivers 12 complete beds and provides blankets and bedding for those children who have none. It happens because the staff at Dukes County Health Access Program, especially Maria Mouziriho, are always there when we need them. It happens because the families of Good Shepherd Parish- provide toys, hats, and mittens for 50 children and Grace Church simply and joyfully turns over its entire facility to us for a full week and the other churches provide clothing and sponsor families. By no means is this an exhaustive list, as there are a hundred more contributors, workers, and supporters, It really happens because the Vineyard truly cares for its children in need and, as of yet, has never failed to help us meet that need.
Red Stocking is about children. It is our firm belief that all Island children, regardless of race, ethnic background, or parental circumstances deserve to have warm clothes to wear, food to eat, a warm bed in which to sleep, and a few toys to play with. No child should have to sit indoors today and envy his playmates enjoying the snow outside because he has no jacket, mittens, or boots. It really is about the children and once again the Vineyard has generously taken care of its own and enabled the Red Stocking committee to "do its thing." On behalf of 376 children, we thank you all.
Kerry H. Alley and Lorraine Clark
Red Stocking Committee
Reduce deer, fewer ticks
To the Editor:
Linda Huebner wrote in a letter last week ("Deer hunters don't reduce ticks," December 17) that reducing the deer herd is a "Band-Aid solution" and that, "Reducing the number of deer in an area will not reduce the number of ticks or tick-borne diseases." These opinions are contrary to what has been demonstrated in peer reviewed scientific publications. Reducing deer herds locally, particularly in Island situations, does indeed reduce the density of deer ticks.
Deer appear to feed about 95 percent of all adult deer ticks. The blood meal taken by an adult female deer tick is turned into 2,000 eggs. Thus, removing the source of the reproductive blood meal is critical in reducing the density of deer ticks. The Vineyard has no other potential hosts upon which adult ticks will feed. Ms. Huebner understands this concept, because she suggests the use of "four-poster" deer treatment stations to target the ticks on deer. Although it is theoretically possible that deer reduction might cause more ticks to feed on the remaining deer, it is more likely that ticks will simply encounter fewer deer; neither scenario, however, has been the subject of peer reviewed studies.
As for the source of infection, yes, mice, shrews, birds, and squirrels of all sizes infect ticks, but with fewer ticks being produced as a result of deer reduction, fewer sub-adult ticks would infest such small animals. The same argument pertains to intervening against mosquito-borne infection: one does not target the passerine birds that are the reservoirs of West Nile virus or EEE but rather reduces the number of potential mosquito vectors.
There is no magic bullet for reducing Lyme disease. I have always suggested an integrated approach with deer reduction, habitat management, and public education. Habitat management is the least likely to be practical given the expense of brush clearing. Public awareness is increasing. That leaves deer reduction as the cornerstone for intervention designed to permanently return sites to what they were like before Lyme disease became a problem. When the Vineyard was mainly sheep pasture, there were few deer, few deer ticks, and no Lyme disease.
The methods Ms. Huebner advocates as more "practical, effective" solutions (four-poster deer treatment stations, Damminix tick tubes) are the real "BandAids" because they have to be done each year in perpetuity. Tick tubes do have some public health utility because they can work well around homes and are readily available; but they cost $2 to $3 each, one is needed every 15 feet of yard perimeter, and they must be applied twice a year. Four-posters do work, but one is needed every 50 acres; and, they are expensive ($500 to purchase one, and an annual maintenance cost of $3,000-$5,000, to include the delivery of a bushel of corn every two weeks).
Thus, the alternatives to deer hunting cost real money, and would cost money each year for an unspecified and probably interminable number of years. How would a community or organization fund such efforts, particularly in this economy? Expanded hunting efforts cost nothing and once deer are reduced to a suitable number, minimal hunting each subsequent year might maintain that number.
Sam R. Telford 3rd
Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary
Another nail in the coffin
To the Editor:
If the Striped Bass Bill (HD 245) passes and takes away the commercial striped bass fishery from historically small working harbors like Menemsha, it will be another nail in the coffin for the commercial fishing heritage, culture, and history of our New England coast.
I can understand the instinct to err on the side of conservation. When we think of commercial fishing, the images of the mega factory trawlers that destroy the ocean's floor probably come to mind.
Please know that the small-boat commercial fishermen hold no resemblance.
We hold a stern solidarity with the waters and fish that we dedicate our lives to. We consider it a privilege to make a living from the sea and want nothing more than to see our fisheries thrive sustainably forever. The striped bass fishery is sustainable as long as our estuaries stay clean for reproduction and our regulations reflect current stock assessments.
If there are too many commercial boats, then let the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) use their already existing control to reduce the permit holders, and to limit out of state boats from crowding our waters. If striped bass become over-harvested then let the DMF reduce the quota. However, it is important to understand that the commercial quota only makes up 17 percent of the recreational catch.
The misguided and politically minded legislators who have no understanding of the fishery should not determine its future, let alone write the script for its demise. We ask to work together with the public and the DMF on rational, science-based regulations allowing striped bass, as well as other fish species, to thrive sustainably, so our kids and grandkids can share the privilege of fishing, for work and for pleasure.
To the Editor:
The December 2 meeting of the Island Affordable Housing Fund promised transparency, but at least on the issue of conflict of interest, only amounted to a circling of the wagons. When John Abrams, as then head of the IAHF, unveiled the Jenney Lane project, he granted the no-bid contract to South Mountain. Perhaps it was coincidence that he was also head of that company? At least one of the principals of South Mountain was also on the IAHF board at that time. The board members who feel there is no conflict of interest here have to consult a dictionary, or submit a new definition. So I was not surprised when a conflict arose later with his involvement with Middle Line in Chilmark.
More to the point, it is time to ask whether his bigger is better approach to housing is appropriate to the Island. Charging $24,000 for planning on Middle Line and probably the same or more on the next two subdivisions that are pretty much the same design amounts to a lot of blubber (his proforma "Design and Engineering" listed at $182,574 for Jenney). If instead of putting money into big subdivisions on an Island already overdeveloped, we invest in existing housing, most of the planning costs would be eliminated. Nothing spent on infrastructure. Utilities, heating, septic, etc. would largely be in place (Edgartown was hit with a huge bill for Jenney's sewers, and in fact John went to the town with his hand out two more times).
The money would be even more efficiently used if put into rentals - existing housing for those most in need. The Jenney lottery awarded three of the houses to just four applicants. While perhaps the higher priced houses were very affordable for Mr. Abrams, pricewise they are out of reach for most Islanders, even though billed as "affordable".
Finally, bigger sums of money have had a corrosive effect. They have discouraged people from challenging approaches that ultimately may be detrimental to the Island, and caused a blind eye to be turned towards cases of clear-cut conflict of interest.
Remember, the Island doesn't have a house shortage, it has a housing shortage. The $3 million price tag of Jenney and two housing developments Mr. Abrams has in the works - a total of perhaps $9 million - would go a long way invested, with payments towards rentals.
To the Editor:
After 12 years of a heroic fight against Breast Cancer, my wife, Corrine Hatt, lost the battle. But, with the help of her devoted friends and family, she enjoyed every day.
I'd like to thank Dr. Lipsey, Ross, and Carmen for allowing me to enjoy the last 12 years with the love of my life.
Thanks to Sharon Spinney and all at Martha's Vineyard Hospital for their care giving; to Mary-Ellen for showing my wife you can win at being a friend; to Audrey Harding (VNA) for loving care, help and advice. And to Marie Sequiera (VNA), thank you. You were an angel during her last days. Your caring took some of the pain away.
My wife was a mentor to many who had this disease, and hopefully, an inspiration to those who are still battling.
As darkness falls, look up into the night sky and pick out a large, twinkling star. That's her, winking down at all of us.
Again, thank you to everyone who in some way played a part in the terrific woman's life.
Richard A. Stone
To the Editor:
In response to "West Tisbury revisits Mill Pond" December 17, we wish to convey our thoughts in regards to the discussion of possible changes to noise bylaws in the Longview area. There is simply not a noise issue as described by Nick Puner, pertaining to the Lambert's Cove Inn and Focus Camp. We have firsthand knowledge because our family's lot shares the same road with the Lambert's Cove Inn for our main access. As a matter of fact, we share a property line and are the direct abutter to the person who filed this ordinance, Mr. Puner. In the 14 years we have lived here, none of us can recall one instance of thinking that the Lambert's Cove Inn or Focus Camp were ever too loud as to be able to hear amplified music or noise pollution.
This noise complaint is just not accurate. The other two parties that joined Nick Puner in his complaint (Barbara Smith and William Stuart) live on the far side of the neighborhood, quite far from the Lambert's Cove Inn and Focus Camp. They could not realistically be able to hear any noise coming from this area from so far. Additionally, none of the abutting neighbors have signed Nick Puner's complaint to confirm this. In closing, there is no noise pollution to speak of. In order for this complaint to have true merit, all of the abutters should have signed it, but in fact not one of them did.
To the Editor:
Kwanzaa, the Festival of First Fruits, is a celebration of family, community, culture and values of traditional African culture. It was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as an African-American and Pan-African holiday.
It was at the first Kwanzaa celebration that the letter "a" was added to the end of the Swahili word kwanza (first) enabling seven children to participate in the meaning of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African, African-American, and human in the fullest sense. The seven-day celebration is observed from December 26 to January 1.
The Kwanzaa ceremony is secular, not religious, and aims to strengthen the African cultural identity and community values which provide a spiritual experience, engaging in an ancient and living cultural tradition. The ceremony reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community, culture, and the well-being of family. The integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, the rich resource and meaning of a people's culture is part of this celebration. It is within this understanding that Kwanzaa is the keeper of this tradition.
Kwanzaa is important to reaffirm the essential meaning and practice of the Nguzo Saba (the seven principles) daily and throughout the year in a constant effort to expand and enrich our lives and share the good in the world.
The seven days, expressed in Swahili, are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
Marie B. Allen
To the Editor:
The Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all the amazing volunteers, donors and participants that made our annual Breakfast with Santa a great success. We would especially like to thank our generous hosts, the Wharf Restaurant, along with the Artcliff Diner, Cronig's Market, IFP, Linda Jean's, Stop N Shop, Tilton Rental, Vineyard Cash N Carry, Vineyard Grocer, Bob Gothard for his stunning photos, and the Edgartown Fire Department who ensured a save arrival for everyone's favorite, Santa Claus.
All proceeds go to the Jim Lambert Memorial Scholarship Fund, providing several Martha's Vineyard Regional High School graduates will financial assistance in their secondary educational pursuits.
M.V. Chamber of Commerce
To the Editor:
There was an article in last Sunday's New York Times about people who were foregoing holiday excess and giving the money to charity instead. It featured a website, WhatIDidNotBuy.org, where you can enter the item you're not going to buy and the site tells you what that money will do if you donate it to them (e.g. $40 could train a birth attendant in Africa and help increase survival rates).
There is a wish list of items that Vineyard charitable organizations really need to continue providing the services they offer our community. It's an eclectic list; everything from a brain fitness program for Windemere to a chainsaw for the Polly Hill Arboretum to a new sound system for the PA Club. So instead of spending money on something you or someone else might not really want or need, why not check out the list and give a gift that will do something important for the Island. Then send your friend or relative a gift card telling them what you did, and maybe they will be inspired to do something for the Vineyard too. Happy holidays.
Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative
He hears the silence
To the Editor:
Firefighters from Edgartown recently assisted West Tisbury in fighting a fire there. What a fine example of community. West Tisbury, denying public walk-on access to Lambert's Cove Beach, a town park, is a fine example of selfishness.
Next, J.B. Riggs Parker wrote this in a recent Op-Ed in last week's times. It was about offshore wind power around The Vineyard and Cuttyhunk. "I say 'their' because this environment is truly theirs - shorelines and waters which are the most pristine and undeveloped of any for hundreds of miles in either direction." So I ask this one question. If it is our shoreline, why can't we walk on it? The Let Vineyarders Decide crowd are free to chime in too.
Lastly, in case anyone was wondering, I went to the Island Plan public comment meeting. Not surprisingly, nobody from up-Island would openly say that they favor improving public beach access. I can't wait for the Editorial from The Times about how great the Island Plan is without bringing up improving public beach access.
Silence is my validation. End beach apartheid.