Letters to the Editor
Her safe haven
To the Editor:
Following immediately on the heels of Penelope Dickens's heartbreaking and tragic death on March 8 came an extraordinary outpouring of support from her Island friends and the entire Island community. Your heartfelt support is humbling in both its depth and breadth, and it speaks so clearly to how many lives Penelope touched - and how much you meant to her.
You rallied around our family and Pen's off-Island friends at an exceptionally painful time for so many, and made so much possible in a situation where we could barely cope. The people who have done so much, so willingly - the list of deeds is so long, we cannot begin to capture all in this short letter of thanks.
Our deepest thanks to Roxanne, Deborah, Tom, Malcolm, Jen, Ken, Karen, Leslie, Lorraine, Margo, Chris, Julia, Christine, Jim, and Fred for extending your hands to us and doing so very, very much. To William, Joe, and Melanie for your beautiful music. To Cathlin and Cheryl for your thoughts and prayers.
The combined efforts of all of you and many whose names we may have unintentionally omitted or don't even know, brought about a beautiful service filled with music, song, flowers, prayer, reminiscences, a program that captured Pen's essence.
The celebration of Penelope's life that followed was overflowing with kindness, warm personal thoughts, laughter, stories, food and drink, touching and funny slides and photos, and mementos to cherish. Those who made music filled the hall with beauty and dancing that truly celebrated Penelope. We know she was dancing with us. All of this came about as if by magic through all who labored in love to make it so.
Your support seems boundless not only in the complexity and hard work of organizing Penelope's service and life celebration, but the kindness of feeding us, talking with us, ensuring that many of Penelope's personal belongings will benefit others, and helping with the myriad tasks that come with this sad and sudden circumstance of loss.
Your outpouring of support since March 8 speaks to the incredible hearts of each of you who came forward, both asked and unasked, as individuals and as the Island community as a whole.
Perhaps most of all, thank you for the more than 20 years that you wrapped your arms around Penelope, with all her many faces and personas, and made the Island her safe haven.
Amy Dickens, Cindy Hayden and family
Now, an assault on Vineyard Sound
To the Editor:
The July 2 issue of The Times, on page 43, displayed a plan showing the coastline of the state of Massachusetts. The so-called draft ocean management plan purports to indicate what areas are on and off bounds for the location of wind-powered electric generators.
The plan on page 43 remarkably shows two approved areas, one southwest of Cuttyhunk Island, but using up one half of the distance between Cuttyhunk and Gay Head.
Can you imagine that anyone could propose effectively blocking one half of the western entrance to Vineyard Sound.
It would seem that state environmental affairs Secretary Ian Bowles's office is responsible for making this proposal.
I hope that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has more common sense than Mr. Bowles, but from what I read, I am not impressed.
On another subject, I read the other day in your fine paper the report that the leadership of the Wampanoag tribe in Aquinnah had refused the bribe of $1 million, if they would cancel out their objection to the location of 130 wind generators in Nantucket Sound.
This decision by the tribe's leadership deserves the highest praise, an example of good judgment and integrity.
These qualities seem to be in short supply recently, especially in our nation's capital, where arrogant bribery has become an accepted way of doing business.
I take my hat off to the leadership of the Wampanoag tribe in Aquinnah.
Robert S. Douglas
What's with the Mill Pond?
To the Editor:
On April 13, voters will be making many important decisions. One item, Article 31, on the Annual Town Warrant, deals with the future of the Mill Pond, a man-made pond created by at least the mid-1800s. It is not known when the first gristmill was built on the Old Mill River, but it was central to the lives of the earliest settlers of what would become West Tisbury. According to Banks, "the location of the mill was on the Josiah Standish home lot," and after several transfers, came into the possession of Edward Cottle in 1688. After many more transfers, the current mill building, purchased by the Garden Club in 1942, was built by Captain Thomas Bradley in 1845, to produce a strong and popular woven wool cloth called "Vineyard Satinet".
Donald R. Campbell gave the Mill Pond to the town in 1948. When the town voted to accept the gift, it was with an agreement it would restore and maintain the pond and its dam. Funds, both private and public, were used to remove 12 to18 inches of silt using a dragline and bucket. We have pictures of West Tisbury citizens working in the muck to remove the excess vegetation that was threatening the life of the pond. Harold Rogers rebuilt the spillway in 1949. The Grange purchased swans to continue eating the parrot weed that had been overtaking the pond, and it was returned to its previous health and beauty.
In 1970, another project to remove excess silt was undertaken. The west bank of the pond was built with the silt from that project, and a nice pathway along the pond was created. A memorial site was designated on the west bank for Allen Look, a former selectman. Trees were planted in memory of William Rotch, Nelson S. Bryant, Daniel Manter and George C. Gifford, on the east bank near the current Police Station. The Mill Pond was designated by the town's historic commission and district as one of 14 places of historic significance in West Tisbury, and the town seal pictures a mill and dam.
The Mill Pond has not received any significant improvements for 40 years. During a dry spell in 2002, citizens became alarmed at the state of the pond when excess vegetation and algae blooms appeared. The conservation commission and the selectmen commissioned Aquatic Control Technology, Inc. (ACT) of Sutton, pond and lake management specialists, to study the pond and suggest a management plan. The study was completed December 2006, for a total cost of $4,000. A copy of the 30-plus page report is available at the Town Hall or on the Town's website: www.westtisbury-ma.gov/
According to the study, the Mill Pond is in a eutrophic state, meaning it is full of nutrient rich sediment that will continue to encourage the growth of vegetation. The average depth of sedimentation is 2.8 feet and the average water depth of the pond is 1.7 feet. This is too shallow and warm for optimal breeding habitat for alewives (river herring), if they were able to reach the pond via the herring run the late Tom Osmers was attempting to re-establish. Stocked trout and other fish and wildlife would also benefit from the removal of some of the mud and would be better able to survive the hot summer months. Eventually, if that sediment and the excess vegetation are not removed, the weeds will begin to overtake the majority of the pond, as they have in the past. We will be left with a marsh, which over time will become a shrub swamp with a brook running through it, similar to the swamp to the west of the Mill Pond. Photos of the Mill Pond from 1948 show this process well under way, prior to restoration efforts at that time.
Beyond its historical significance, beauty and wildlife habitat, the Mill Pond acts as a filter for some of the nitrogen that would otherwise be added directly into the Tisbury Great Pond.
The Mill Pond Committee, which was appointed by the selectmen after the 2008 town meeting turned down a request for funds for the environmental studies and engineering plans needed for the permitting process to restore the pond, has been focusing on this situation. The committee is recommending a three-phase approach to restoration of the Mill Pond. Phase I, (Article 31 on the April 13, 2010 Town Meeting Warrant) calls for appropriation of $25,000 from the available Community Preservation Act funds, for engineering and environmental studies. Engineering plans will determine the optimal amount of sedimentation that needs to be removed. Then the actual cost of the project can be figured. Phase II will ask for funding for permits required, estimated to be $25,000. Phase III would provide funding for the actual restoration work. The ACT study suggested dredging about five feet of sediment over the 2.5 acres of the pond and estimated the cost could be $400,000 to $600,000. The committee thinks that may be an excessive amount of sediment removal, and the cost should be closer to $200,000. Until the engineering and environmental studies are completed, the actual cost, and feasible amount of sediment to be removed, cannot be determined.
The Mill Pond Committee will host a discussion on the pond on April 7, at 7 pm at the Howes House. We hope as many voters as possible will attend, so they will be fully informed about this subject prior to the town meeting.
For the Mill Pond Study Committee
A hospitable Yankee fan
To the Editor:
As a lifelong Red Sox fan I am sorry to inform Red Sox Nation that I have made friends with a Yankee fan. His name is Joe, and he runs the Citgo station in Vineyard Haven.
After celebrating my 78th birthday on the Vineyard with some friends, I stopped at the Citgo for gas and some water before boarding the ferry to return home. An African-American young man who reminded me of my son greeted me. He was very nice to me, but then this fellow in a New York Yankee hat appeared and swept me off my feet. I told him I would be visiting the Island and looking for things to do. Well, after introducing himself to me, Joe went on to invite me to church, invited me to go look for sea glass, and even suggested sitting on the seawall with me at the Inkwell beach to people watch. I did not tell him we used to do that when we visited.
I made a small donation to a children's cancer fund that was on the store's counter. The Jenny Fund, if that's right. Well, Mr. Yankee went on to tell me about how his company helps children with cancer and their families. My Lord, he loves those children. He told me he didn't like the funerals.
This Joe reminded me of my Clarence who has since passed on. Clarence was a people person, but he was not a Yankee fan. Well, to Martha's Vineyard and my Island ambassador Joe, I'll be seeing you this summer or maybe you'll be seeing me resting myself on the seawall at the Inkwell.
Revitalization and beer/wine
To the Editor:
Some of my favorite townspeople are opposed to beer and wine in Tisbury. Nonetheless, I can't listen to the proverbial beer and wine molehill be turned into slippery slope mountain.
The fate of Tisbury hardly rests on April's vote. However, the fate of some of its business establishments does.
When I drive downtown, I don't see the unchecked slippery slope development that was supposed to occur. Tisbury is about as dry as any town. What it isn't is regulated. I owned and ran Cafe Moxie since 2001. Every night, all summer, customers regularly carried in all kinds of alcohol, martini setups, coolers, you name it. It's very possible this regulation will result in less consumption of alcohol. Not that it matters to an opposition that is focused on an aesthetic, something more subjective than an establishment closing its doors forever.
No rewriting will be enough for those that don't want it anyway. If you don't want it, don't vote for it. It's just a common sense attempt to level the playing field for an obviously languishing business community. It would go virtually unnoticed, not at all compromising the town's character.
Do you want to see open establishments and things to do in the main port town for Martha's Vineyard? Are we more of the parking facility for the SSA and Island? Your choices are between revitalization and retirement.
It's your town. Vote.
Not the country it was
To the Editor:
At the recent signing into law of the health care bill, the president stated that people have been waiting for this legislation for an entire century. My grandparents came to Martha's Vineyard and America in March of 1907, but I do not believe that they came here for health care reform, nor affordable housing, but for the unique freedoms represented by the United States. When they arrived, income tax did not even exist, and individuals could keep all that they earned, if it is still possible just to imagine such a concept today.
They left a home country of vanished empire and lost fortunes, which would later turn into a sinister socialist dictatorship, and came here for the opportunity to earn their way toward a better life. There are others who only want the same chance now. The lives of my grandparents were not easy, but, by 1924, they owned their own home, and were successful enough so that they could afford to build a new house for their daughter Sarah and her husband. It was quite an accomplishment for two people who could not read, write, speak, nor understand English when they first came to this country.
Presently, things are very different, and we have a federal government that long ago grew to a frightening size and power, and with the health care reform bill being law, another massive government bureaucracy will be established. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi estimated that it will create about 400,000 more government jobs. This complex entity will have an appetite for our tax dollars that will grow as it reaches and expands. Massachusetts' own program was used as the model for the national plan, and although this program is relatively new, it is already operating at a huge deficit. This is despite the fact that programs like this are, in part, subsidized by the federal government, which means that they are underwritten by the taxes of people who do not even live in the state.
There is Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the indigent, and the Veteran's Administration for former members of the armed services. All of these suffer from waste, fraud and abuse, yet we are in the process of adding another layer to the size and scope of government involvement. When the federal government can order its citizens to buy a certain product, such action seems to be coercion rather than compassion, even though it may be under the aegis of law. Since long-term care of the elderly is expensive, could the government then require that all of us carry long-term care insurance? What might potentially follow in the wake of all of this would be a matter of great conjecture.
Perhaps in the future, those who stood in opposition to this legislation may indeed be viewed with ridicule, as history is written by the victors and not the vanquished, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the relationship between the American people and their government has been fundamentally altered.
Michael F. Fontes
To the Editor:
I find that Tisbury water is the best flavored water on the Island, and even on the other side. It is a resource worth protecting. So, I recommend everyone read the April special Issue of National Geographic Magazine, especially school children. Its focus on water issues is comprehensive and understandable. It matters a lot that we all pay attention to all of the factors.
To the Editor:
I would like to thank you and the staff of the MV Times for your continued support of the All-Island Spelling Bee. Each year you support the promotion of these champion spellers and enable the students to feel proud of their accomplishment. You provide excellent coverage of the Spelling Bee and your monetary support makes it possible for this event to continue at its present level.
Your efforts are greatly appreciated. On behalf of the students, teachers, and staff, I extend a deep, heartfelt thank you and best wishes.
James H. Weiss
Superintendent of Martha's Vineyard Schools
Don't permit East Chop Beach Club moorings
To the Editor:
I sent this letter to the Oak Bluffs selectmen.
The board has laid off two town employees, reduced two others to part-time, is facing a $1.5 million shortfall for the budget beginning July 1, even without the projected five percent reduction in state aid, and has proposed a seven-percent increase in taxes.
In spite of the dire financial condition, the board has continued to permit the harbormaster, a town employee, to provide the East Chop Beach Club with what has amounted to a $15,000 subsidy by issuing to it 20 private mooring permits for $3,000, which moorings the club then rented to its members for the 2009 season for $18,000, pocketing the $15,000 profit.
Since these permits expired on December 31, the selectmen should direct the harbormaster to notify the East Chop Beach Club that the permits will not be renewed for the 2010 season, that as required by the harbor regulations, the mooring tackle must be removed or transferred to the town to be managed as seasonal rentals, and that if the names and addresses of those club members whose boats occupied the 20 moorings last season are provided to the harbormaster, he will send them applications for seasonal rentals at $1,500 each. The harbor revenue will thereby increase by $30,000 for the 2010 season.
The club has been the only permit holder that has had more than one permit, has rented its moorings to others, has permitted boats it does not own to occupy the moorings, and has refused to provide the name and addresses of the owners of the boats of record which occupied the moorings and to describe the boats of record so that this information can be provided to the assessor for tax purposes. Each of these five violations of the town's harbor bylaws, regulations, rules, and conditions of the permits are grounds for not renewing a permit.
The selectmen should end this preferential treatment given to a private club and require the club's members to rent the 20 moorings directly from the town for $1,500 each, a rate determined last fall by the harbormaster to be reasonable.
Joseph S. Vera
Oak Bluffs and Cambridge
Part of the problem, part of the solution
To the Editor:
As owners of Tony's Market in Oak Bluffs, we want Island residents and officials to know that we are, and for a long time have been, keenly aware of traffic issues on Dukes County Avenue. The recent meeting of the Oak Bluffs Roads and Byways Committee, attended by many thoughtful and concerned residents of Oak Bluffs, was helpful to us. It is clear that we, in concert with many others, must carefully examine all aspects of the complex issues presented by the many people, vehicles, businesses, and homes involved in, and dependent on, a 33-foot wide street laid out in the 1870s, barely five years after the end of the American Civil War.
Tony's has pledged to work with the committee and has already submitted to it data that may be helpful in their consideration of solutions to the issues on Dukes County Avenue. We have just completed an intensive examination of the street from Tony's to Wing Road and will submit our findings and suggestions to the committee. We will stay in touch with the committee, attend its meetings whenever we can be of help, suggest approaches and solutions, and be as helpful and responsive as possible. Our success has contributed to the problems on the street, and we will work with our neighbors and town officials to bring about a safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable roadway.
We invite anyone interested in discussing our operations or the area around us to contact Dave at Tony's in person, by phone, by mail at Box 2106, Oak Bluffs or email at email@example.com. Thank you.
Dave and Ellen Richardson
You can help
To the Editor:
For the past 15 years I have run in hundreds of road races both on and off the Island. Most of these runs have been benefits for several Island charities, including the Vineyard Haven Library, Camp Jabberwocky, and affordable housing. All notable organizations, and it has been my honor to contribute in a fun and healthy way.
On May 23, I will join a benefit run that hits a little closer to my heart.
The Run to Home Base 9K is a unique and special event that celebrates our military heroes and raises necessary funds for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. The Home Base Program is committed to serving the needs of veterans with combat stress disorders and/or traumatic brain injury and their families, but they need your support.
The Home Base Program helps to ensure that local veterans who served their country receive the care they need for combat stress disorders and/or traumatic brain injury, and that their families get the support they need. The program also seeks to advance innovative treatments that hold the most potential for helping veterans with combat stress disorders and/or traumatic brain injury and their families.
I have pledged to raise a minimum of $1,000 but have set my personal goal even higher. So I need your help. You can support my efforts and donate at www.runtohomebase.org. Simply click on "Support a Runner" and search for my name.
According to the 2008 RAND Corporation study "The Invisible Wounds of War," of the 1.64 million service members who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, nearly 20 percent of veterans who served in these ongoing conflicts experienced a concussion or other traumatic brain injury during their tours of duty. That is why I'm joining the Run to Home Base. I hope you will support me.
This race is very special to me because this year I will run with my dad, Col. Thomas Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and war hero. I will also run in honor of my father-in-law, PFC Peter Fabian, a Vietnam veteran in the Australian Army; and I will honor my brother-in-law, Capt. Shay Worthy, an Army chaplain who just returned from two tours in Iraq and still proudly serves his country today.
It will be a privilege to run with my father for such a worthy cause and to honor these men and the million others around the country.
If you have any questions, visit www.runtohomebase .org/runtohomebase/ToddCLELAND. If you would like to make a donation (of any amount), you can do that there. It doesn't matter how little, every bit helps. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Respect the Indian people - no to Cape Wind
To the Editor:
As a tribal member and Colorado citizen, I am appalled to see in print that U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar made a statement saying that he "Would decide the Cape Wind Project's fate by April 1."
Is this a misprint?
If not, I don't understand how you can call yourself a representative or friend of any tribal nation when you are clearly and publicly saying you are prepared to go against any tribal decision, especially of this magnitude.
The Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag nations seem to fully understand what is being proposed to them. The majority rejected it, and that should be the end of that. Other opportunities will be available for them in the future.
My nation gets approached with economic sovereignty offers daily. I'm sure we would have rejected Cape Wind right off the bat, because of large corporate and government control and environmental impact.
Most all are rejected because it is eventually exposed that the plans would make the rich richer and little to no money will trickle down to benefit our elders, children, community or the environment. If the plans violate our spirituality they are scraped immediately.
Most know now that windmill energy of this kind does harm the environment and life, especially the winged ones, and with new technology emerging it will not last long.
Mr. Salazar is a government representative responsible to protecting our nations, not selling us out to big business or government controlled plans that are not wanted.
If government chooses to interfere with the tribal decision, I know you will see massive protests for your resignation. I am sorry to say that I will personally be on the front lines against you and your office.
Enough is enough. Our nations have the right to make their decisions as outlined in our treaties that are backed up by the word of the people of the United States of America.
Dangling money and promises will not open the hearts of our people. Respect for us and our decisions will.
Pilamaya yelo, thank you with all my heart.
Sandra Walking Eagle
Bike paths where they're needed
To the Editor:
The horrific description of the aftermath of the tragic accident that killed the 21-year-old Princeton student, as remembered by Terry Donahue in a letter to the editor (March 18, "Bike path is a town decision), shows the emotion involved in the present Chappaquiddick bike path discussion. Most Vineyarders can make a mental list of the various moped and bicycle deaths that have occurred over the years. In addition there have been many reported injurious bicycle accidents not resulting in death. Many cyclists have answered the Vineyard's call for bicycling tourists, so this would be expected.
On Chappaquiddick, since 1991, there have been eight such accidents of the 325 reported in all of Edgartown, none a motor vehicle collision. Along the Katama Road, served by a bike path, there were 30, and along Pease Point Way, the road along which the death reported by Terry occurred, there were nine. If the voters of Edgartown, who do own the Chappaquiddick road, are considering spending several millions to build a bike path, they might consider where the greatest dangers lie.
Pease Point Way at the Commons shows a traffic count of about three times that of the Chappaquiddick road near the ferry and the Katama Road south of Clevelandtown Road shows about twice that number.
The offer of the Northeastern University to the town of a free engineering study was apparently guided to the Chappy path proponents without any thought about the students applying their many talents to the problems that arguably are more pressing.
The terminations of the several bike paths at the Edgartown center are most problematic, as evidenced by this death 18 years ago. The young lady and her family returning on a ride from Katama along the bike path found themselves dumped onto the narrow, curb confined Pease Point way. Drivers, used to the road cleared of the bikes, are frustrated by the cyclists suddenly slowing their progress. On a section involving a hill and curve, they may unwisely attempt to pass with tragic results.
A sign directing the bike route north along South Water Street, which may have been added since that death, sends cyclists along a half-mile road that has experienced nine bicycle accidents in that 18-year period. Another intersection with many conflicts is at the jail where two paths terminate. Cyclists are given a sign that suggests riding with traffic, but are presented with an opportunity to ride on sidewalks that may seem inviting after miles on a two-way side bike path, especially for the many inexperienced cyclists coming to the Vineyard.
Meanwhile those leaving the village are given not one but two crosswalks to get onto the path to Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. These are clearly marked and pedestrians are advised that the cars must yield, but are cyclists under way in these crossings expected and protected?
More than 60 percent of the 325 reported bicycle accidents in Edgartown since 1992 have occurred at locations along roads that have a bike path available. This should be expected, as that is where the bike riders will be found. Most every cyclist gets to those paths via other roads and often by maneuvers that involve crossing normal traffic flow. The highway department and the planning board should study these bicycling safety issues before laying down any new two-way side bike paths.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission has plans to address the completion of the present path system, with emphasis on the termination points at the village. Let's spend the effort on making these pinch points safer for the thousands of cyclists, rather than adding complexities to the Chappy traffic pattern for the 200 cyclists which one might find enjoying a few minutes along the Chappaquiddick road on a summer's sunny day.
To the Editor:
On Saturday, March 27, a fundraiser to purchase uniforms for the boys tennis team at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School was held at the Vineyard Youth Tennis Center, under the sponsorship of the newly formed organization, Martha's Vineyard Community Tennis (MVCT).
Speaking for the MVRHS, the boys tennis team and me, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the adult players who donated their time and money on behalf of the team. Additionally, I want to commend the MVCT and Scott Smith and his Youth Center staff for organizing this very successful event. Not to be outdone, I also want to extend my gratitude to the parents of the high school team who generously donated food for the participants.
As an aside, if there are those reading this that are tennis advocates, whether they play tennis or not, who would like to donate money on behalf of the team, please contact me via the athletic director's Office at MVRHS.
Boy's Varsity Tennis Coach, MVRHS
Thanks, and the work continues
To the Editor:
The volunteers of the Martha's Vineyard Fish Farm for Haiti Project thank all those who have donated financially and materially to our Earthquake Relief efforts. We thank all the groups who have organized benefits on-Island and off-Island as well.
This week, Vineyard volunteers Karen Flynn and Jeanne Staples (PeaceQuilts) are in Haiti with volunteers from Haitian Outreach of Leominster. They brought with them funding, donated supplies, gifts to the sponsored children, elbow grease, and an ample supply of good will and cheer to brighten those traumatized by the earthquake. Also this week, tilapia is back on the menu at our project!
We continue our Earthquake Relief Drive and are now accepting donations of children's clothing, as well as medical supplies and equipment. For more information check our website www.fishfarmhaiti.org where we will be posting our updates, or call 508-693-0368.
In solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters.
MV Fish Farm for Haiti Project
A way to help Haiti
To the Editor:
Even though months have passed since the earthquake in Haiti, assistance is still needed. I know that Vineyard residents have helped in aiding the Haitian people and continue to as well. The support cannot stop now or any time soon.
Haiti has always been one of the poorest countries in the world, but after the earthquake, they need more help to stabilize their country. I am a Vineyard resident who is attending Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. As a university project, we are attempting to help rebuild a school in Cite Soleil, Haiti. We are partnering with Haiti Mary Care and The Haitian Project. Our biggest fundraiser will be to create a tent city on the grounds of the school, which we hope will promote awareness and raise funds for our endeavor. The people involved need to be sponsored, so we can stay up all night to bring awareness to the Haitian devastation.
If anyone is interested in sponsoring me or wants more information, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are hoping to raise $100,000 by the end of the semester. All donations are tax deductible.
Thank you for your help.