Letters to the Editor
Santa's surprise helper
To the Editor:
I went to the UPS depot on this past Christmas Eve to try and find some packages. Due to the snowstorm, many packages were unable to be delivered before Christmas because the trucks could not make it down many roads. Due to this, many people were trying to pick up their packages at the depot. Herbie Smith (the man who was trying to organize the packages and help everyone) was unable to leave the phone long enough to find any packages. My cousin and I went down and offered to find our own packages. When we realized how bad the situation was, we offered to stay and help.
While we were sorting boxes Kristen Araujo (I believe this was her name) came to pick up packages for herself and her neighbors. We gave her a package to deliver to someone else on her street. She came back a little while later with the package and apologized saying that she couldn't find the house. Then she said, "But I have a pickup truck and a full tank of gas, let's go deliver some packages!" We all laughed it off as a joke, until she said, "Really, I don't have to be home until six for dinner. Let's get some people their presents."
They loaded her truck with packages, and the road supervisor got his scanner and map, and the two of them delivered a load of packages to a lot of houses in Vineyard Haven. When I left after sorting, they were back and loading up for another run. Basically, if you got your packages delivered late on Christmas Eve, the only reason you got them before the holiday is because of the generosity and spirit of this lady.
I thought that this was a very touching story of small community's holiday spirit, and I hope the paper can do something with it.
To the Editor:
Dave Wiley's letter last week (Dec. 24, "A better approach needed") was baseless, uninformed, and mean-spirited.
Joined by others, Dave's legal actions cost the Jenney Way effort - and the people of Martha's Vineyard - many thousands of dollars that could have been better spent. It was unprincipled obstructionism at best - harmful and unwarranted. He's hardly one to talk.
To the Editor:
In the recent blizzard we lost power around 3 am during the most intense part of the storm. Because my wife uses an oxygen concentrator 24/7, I always call NSTAR to be sure that the outage has been reported. I was surprised to get a real person on the line at that time in the morning. She quickly took our information and assured us that they would be working on the problem and would update us as work progressed. It wasn't long before the flashing lights of the repair trucks could be seen in the area; again, during the height of the storm.
It took a bit, but our power was restored, and we did indeed get an update message from NSTAR telling us to call back if their repairs had not addressed our particular outage. All the while I couldn't stop thinking about the repair crews that were out there in the teeth of the storm, working in their bucket trucks on dangerous circuits that would present a challenge even on a bright sunny summer day. I couldn't be more impressed with their dedication and courage and wish to thank them from the bottom of my heart. They are truly all local heroes.
Island tradesmen disadvantaged
To the Editor:
The not so liberal Vineyard is all the craze right now on the Vineyard between Island contractors and tradesmen alike. Due to the current construction projects happening right on our shores. The Y is an awesome come-together community structure being developed and completed by union off-Island contractors.
Due to the crazy amount of insurance and certifications involved, no Islanders are involved in the project. The hospital and bridge projects were built by off-Island union builders using state funds. Are we not as good or hardworking as say someone from New Bedford? After all, we the middle class made the Vineyard the place it has become. Seeing that the jobless rate is extremely high this past year, why are these unions coming here and taking over?
The fatal flaw that so-called liberals on the Island are going to realize is that the trades are going to unionize. We will get together and tell you what something is worth and what you will ultimately pay. Just like the big three auto companies, we will have the best insurance, and everyone is going to make $74 an hour just to rake your leaves. And in the end this Island will truly be liberal.
If you think this is absurd, ridiculous, off the wall, well then you're as crazy as your bumper stickers make you look.
I hear Detroit calling all liberals to move there, and if not, then maybe, if they speak a little louder, then we all can bring Detroit to the Vineyard.
About the noise issue
To the Editor:
The inescapable conclusion, were Klaus Broscheit's letter to be believed ("There is no noise problem," December 24) is that my neighbors and I made it up. Since your reporter was at the meeting where I presented our letter to the West Tisbury selectmen, I am surprised that you published a letter of such clear error as Mr. Broscheit's. Our letter is a public document. Your readers would have been better served reading it for themselves, had you published or extracted its principal points, rather than by being offered Mr. Broscheit's inaccurate version of what was presented.
Noise, a widely recognized form of pollution, is an issue of increasing prominence. A full discussion is beyond the scope of this letter. Your readers need to know, however, that we did not, as Mr. Broscheit claims, "file a complaint." What we did was write a temperate letter to the selectmen suggesting that the board consider revising the existing noise ordinance, townwide of course, not just (impossibly) in Longview (in which, by the way, Focus is not).
As we pointed out, the existing noise ordinance serves as a permit rather than as a restraint to those property users who generate regular and continuous (which of course require statutory definitions) noise as an intrinsic byproduct of the use of the property. It was not designed for those cases. It was designed for the single family residential occasional party thrower in mind.
We cannot and do not seek to impose our will or our crotchets on others. We do seek serious public discussion of a serious issue and, if others agree, the adoption of appropriate measures. As we would not impugn or denigrate the bona fides of others who do not, now or ultimately, share our view, we prefer that the discussion center on the issue itself without resort to attempting to slay the tribunes who convey news unwelcome to others.
That Mr. Broscheit is not bothered by the conditions we have cited is one thing, but to assert that they do not exist is quite another. Nor can he speak for others who have not been consulted, anymore than we can. Our goal is to direct attention to and open a discussion about an issue that is present and growing.
Nicholas W. Puner
Gift from the heart
To the Editor:
No matter your religion, no matter your beliefs, 'tis the season to be giving. This holiday season it's important for us to remember those whose holiday may not be so merry. Those who may be spending their holiday alone, or in some cases unwanted.
Recently, I went out into the cold and rain to warm my own heart by warming others. I visited the Animal Shelter in Edgartown to visit with the animals there. I was greeted by smiling faces from two women who are doing what they can for some of the Island's unwanted pets.
They allowed me to meet their two beagles, Louie and Veto. They also informed me that they would like to see the beagles placed in a home together. If you saw these two lovable dogs, you would instantly see the bond they share. Veto greeted me with the standard beagle "baying" (the bark that beagles are so famous for) while Louie stayed right at his side letting out little whimpers here and there.
Beagles need companionship, whether human or canine. Perhaps that is why these two need each other so much. A beagle needs someone who can spend time with it outdoors and is willing to give it the exercise it requires, since this breed is from the sporting group. They were bred to hunt rabbits and can follow a trail for a very long time.
Beagles are also wonderful pets for families with children, because they are gentle and incredibly tolerant. Beagles have become one of America's favorite breeds.
They are very healthy breeds with little health concerns, because disease has been virtually bred out of them. They require basic grooming although they may need regular baths because they have a tendency to get into things. They only need to be brushed about once a week because they are a short haired breed and shedding is minimal.
I was also able to meet some of the friendliest cats I have ever encountered. These cats will touch the hearts of anyone who meets them. Cats may have a way of being their own boss (or sometimes the boss of their owners) but a cat can also lie on your lap and purr for you when you are feeling down. A cat's curiosity and playfulness never changes, no matter how old it gets.
During the holidays, many are digging deep into their pockets, trying to find that perfect gift for their friend or loved one. Why not stop into one of the Island's shelters, or maybe even the pound, and see if you can give someone the perfect gift, while also helping a loving animal? A new, forever home with people who are willing to accept the love and joy it gives 365 days a year.
Or maybe you can't have a pet of your own. These wonderful animals are always looking for new faces to lick or necks to snuggle. Make yourself a new friend to warm your heart as the days grow colder. Shelters are always looking for people to socialize with the animals.
Sometimes the best gifts don't come from your pocket, they come from your heart. The love of an animal is unconditional. Smile at that stranger on the street, be a little kinder to those around you and you will feel better at the end of the day. Help someone new today.
I once watched a movie called "The Trial of Old Drum" about a boy trying to clear the name of his faithful best friend, a golden retriever named Drum. There was a speech in the movie that brought tears to my eyes, and I would like to share a line from it with people who may not know it.
"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world - the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous - is his dog.
Happy holidays, everyone.
Letter from Nicaragua
To the Editor:
Three weeks ago, Omar and I attended the graduation of the little public school in Pacaya, where we teach English classes for free every Saturday. Many of our students were graduating from the sixth grade and will be attending high school, a huge victory in a poor neighborhood where children are often put to work as young as the age of three to sell tortillas or bread. It is difficult to get parents to project a future of 12 years of education for their children, when the immediate need is for food for that day, and when many of the parents themselves only went up to second or third grade.
We passed out 18 knapsacks that we bought in the states, loaded with all the school supplies, books and wonderful treasures that they will need for a full year. The first week of January, we will give out 23 more, all to the poorest children who could not go to school unless they have these supplies. The schools do not provide anything except the teacher. Even the teachers must provide their own chalk and eraser.
A parent said to us that no one has ever come to Pacaya to give anything. This is the first time anyone has helped the children, and there were tears in her eyes.
The event was so moving and fulfilling to us. Every child that we help through school brings with him or her an entire family in the journey out of poverty. What joy that we can be a part of this.
Lynn Ditchfield and Sandra Grymes are going to bring a group of people from M.V. down to Pacaya to help teach English and computers in this school through the ACE MV Adult and Community Education Program (www.acemc.org). Contact Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voice-mail message at 508-693-1033, ext. 240.
I would love to have a huge connection between M.V. and Pacaya. Some Islanders have already been down to help (see Annette Anthony's article in The Times) and Lori Perry donated money to buy 60 desks and chairs and equip the kindergarten room in Pacayita. So great.
This will be a wonderful way to see what we are doing firsthand, to participate and help change a child's life. February is our hot and dry season, so you can be warm in your body and in your heart. Call Lynn or Sandra and help build a real bridge between our worlds. Keep the faith.
To the Editor:
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School held its first Wellness Day. In supporting a healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit, the goal of the day was to offer students the opportunity to attend informational seminars that promote the idea of wellness. The assembly and workshops focused on making good choices, leading healthy and productive lives, and understanding and appreciating the diversity among students and staff. Each student attended the keynote address, presented by our own Tony Lombardi, entitled "The Power of Service - The Power of the Individual to Create Profound Change in Their World." Students also attended one of 21 workshops that were being offered.
The following is a copy of a letter sent to each of the following Wellness Day volunteers:
Doreen Anderson (Abundant Splendor Nutrition); Susan Sanford (Vineyard Complementary Medicine); Betsy Shands (Betsy'S Hands); Amanda Cohen (In Harmony Yoga); Heather Neal (B-Strong); Carrie White, Aita Romaine and Chelsey Perham (CONNECT to end Violence); Kathy Fitzgibbon; Tricia Newell Bennett; Matt Malowski, Michael McCarthy, Kim Munn & Jeff Caruthers, Amy Wallace, and Tony Lombard1 (MVRHS); Eric Adams, Curtis Chandler and Seniel Seward; Jamie Vanderhoop & Theresa Manning (Youth Task Force); Scott Fitzmaurice (CIGSYA); Rick Bausman (The Drum Workshop); Ruthie Parmett; Patti Leighton & Tim Lowe (MV Savings Bank); Colleen Freda & Trish Koehane (Island Counseling Center); Sian Williams (Pandavine Yoga); Erin Haggerty (Yoga Barn).
I want to thank each of you for volunteering your time (out of what I know are incredibly busy schedules) to come in to our school (so very early in the morning) and work with our students at our first Wellness Day.
For the last hour of the day, our students met in their advisory groups and were given the opportunity to debrief about the day. Seven of my eight advisees attended different workshops, and all seven had nothing but good things to say about their day. It was the most energized advisory I have had this year. At our faculty meeting later in the afternoon, similar stories were shared by many of my colleagues. Every student and faculty member I have spoken with has had nothing but good things to say about their experience yesterday.
Over the past several months, my own experience planning this event has reminded me of the power of the community we live in. First, it is always impressive to me, how much knowledge and experience there is on this island; secondly, and most importantly, it is truly amazing to me that I can reach out, make a few simple phone calls and within no time, create a day offering 21 different workshops all focusing on the mind, body and spirit and promoting wellness among our Island youth, something that had never before been done. It is incredible.
My gratitude and appreciation is truly overwhelming. Thank you again and again and again.
School Adjustment Counselor
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
To the Editor:
The vibrant, fun-loving, family-caring community of Oak Bluffs turned out in droves for the Annual Tree Lighting December 2.
Hundreds of children of all ages came to bring gifts of food for the Island Food Pantry, to rejoice in the tradition of caroling and tree lighting and to immerse themselves in the much anticipated arrival (aboard an O.B. fire truck) of a very jolly St. Nick.
And so, another traditional tree lighting is history and, thanks to the many participants, a good time was had by all.
A special thanks to the Oak Bluffs Highway Department for all their good work in lighting our town, to the PTO parents who baked cookies and brought the children and food donations, to the Friends of Oak Bluffs for red velvet bows all over town, to the Vineyard Brass Ensemble and the Sting Rays for giving us such great music, to the Oak Bluffs Fire Department for bringing Santa and his friendly elves who will deliver the baskets of food, to Jardin Mahoney for the tree, to Mark Crossland for our tree-lined harbor and the extraordinary and magical Sunset Lake tree of lights, to the Elves at Seasons and Mike Santoro for their gracious hospitality and hot chocolate, and to all the folks who came to celebrate the holiday and special feeling of community that an event like this brings to us all.
Oak Bluffs Association
It makes sense
To the Editor:
Certain gifts make sense when you know the recipient will use them and when you can purchase the gift with the spare change you do have in your pocket. If you visited The Chicken Alley Thrift Shop in December, you no doubt found exactly what you wanted for that special person, and you also found a necessity or frill for yourself. Every white sticker we volunteers affix to a donated item quietly says the words, "I am still useful and I cost next to nothing." The fascinating truth about our Thrift Shop inventory is that it pleases all ages and all incomes.
I'm a real skeptic about Santa and angels and the abundance of presents to prove we love everybody, but the day after Christmas, the cupboards are bare, every holiday item whisked into recycled bags. That linen blouse and velvet skirt and Patagonia jacket have a new closet to call home. And the suit coat I wanted to buy for a brother-in-law found the right buyer.
Now, before New Year's Eve, there are wine and champagne goblets fit for Yacht Club devotees. And a magic wand to whisk in the New Year. And a donor just delivered a sofa set with a coffee table the kids can't topple. I am headed home with another 1940s Corning Ware percolator, three frames that would cost over 50 dollars, and children's books to pad a bookshelf. And the best part is that nothing is packed in Styrofoam pellets and the money in the Chicken Alley Thrift Shop continues to help finance programs for all of us Island residents. Thank you to Sandy, Dolly, and Karen for managing a first-class second-hand store.
To the Editor:
Again this year the Island has proved its extreme generosity in giving to our annual "Red Kettle Campaign."
We wish to thank all our volunteers who stood by our kettles during less than pleasant weather conditions, the merchants who granted us permission to place kettles in their places of business and to the many, many individuals who made donations.
Our Island service unit is supported financially by these contributions.
At this time of year, 100 percent of donations to our kettles is designated for local use.
Under the guidance of Divisional Headquarters in Boston, the Martha's Vineyard Service Unit is responsible for wisely using the funds entrusted to them to meet community needs year-round, as need knows no season.
For information, assistance, or to volunteer, please contact us at 774-563-9436.
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.
Capt. Richard S. Reinhardsen
Martha's Vineyard Service Unit
The Salvation Army