Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
I am ashamed to have the word Martha's Vineyard associated with an organization that treats anyone with the disdain that the Martha's Vineyard Commission members exhibited recently to the representatives of the hospital. They came in good faith to describe their thinking thus far on the future of the hospital, and the MVC members offered little more than inane comments such as, "I don't like it," as though they were some font of knowledge, which they clearly are not. They don't have the common sense to realize that the legislation under which the MVC operates requires having criteria for making judgments so that its decisions and actions aren't arbitrary and capricious.
As an example, the present location of the hospital, apart from the investment in a doctors' office facility and Windemere that are clearly linked to the hospital, is near the population center of the Island throughout the year. The commission has been in being for over 30 years and has had ample opportunity to have caused a relocation of the hospital complex or campus prior to land becoming so dear as to virtually preclude moving. Where do comments such as "Leave Windemere behind" fit in common-sense criteria that should be governing commission decisions?
One commissioner's comment, an example of the behavior of the commission, was a suggestion that the hospital board should be differently organized and accountable. Does this mean more like the commission that cannot focus on anything and has become the center of entertainment on MVTV by showing just how stupid individuals can talk and act. When viewing MVTV and watching the MVC, one is continuously reminded of network programs showing ridiculous actions can be funny.
The time has come for the MV Commission to stop providing the stage for self-serving individuals with aspirations for greatness to pontificate on their "favorite liberal funk," to the detriment of this naturally beautiful Island with a common-sense population.
Home Port still on his agenda
To the Editor:
As Chilmark shellfish constable, I have been involved in many issues revolving around problems such as sustainable economy and sustainable environment. Every branch of regulatory level has lately used these arguments to justify their existence. Unfortunately, the rules among the various groups are different. Effective communication is crucial to succeed.
Time unfortunately has a way of changing priorities. The rental market is a good example. Due to many low-income families moving off the Island, many low-cost rentals are available.
Is this cultural value still a critical priority? Do these homes come with job security? A sustainable economy is needed. If low-income families can't exist and share in the tax burden, whose fault is it? It is easy to point the finger and try to place responsibility on someone else. But one of the most difficult cultures for me is when I see a culture that undermines the heritage, traditions, and cultures that attracted them there in the first place.
Chilmark has provided the political impetus to destroy what Chilmark was. Unfortunately and quite unfairly, the purchase of the Home Port property has become an all-inclusive interest. The location alone should lend to a fisheries related usage. The main building is large enough to house: A police substation, a harbormaster office, storage of a parked fire truck, a low-income housing unit, seasonal hatchery research facility, a museum, a snack bar, and a social gathering place. The property would accommodate a parking lot, semi-boat ramp, a park, and who knows what else?
When I stop to think of all the hours and labor and moneys and resources gone into water testing and surveys and efforts to rebuild shellfish stocks, innumerable conservation incentives and all the political impetus for ecological improvement on account of shellfish, it all comes down to us. A chance to turn the tide. Set an example for the next generation.
Shellfish restoration has many benefits. From water purification to feeding fish, birds, and people. Shellfish have done more for us than many imagine. A shellfish incentive would bring many the opportunity of social cohesion in a combined effort of innovation, ambition and frugality. A united effort would help maintain the character and ambience of Menemsha and allow the local denizens to remain economically and culturally tied to the marine environment.
It is difficult to get a definitive answer to the question of how much longer the environment and atmosphere will last, considering the damage being done in view of short-term financial gains. But one thing is for sure, it is not much longer.
This may be an unfair characterization, but this is what I believe.
Cell towers bad
for your health
To the Editor:
The town of Aquinnah would like a cell tower, but where to put it? Perhaps you would like it in your backyard. The tower would stand 120 feet, five times as tall as the average tree. You would have excellent cell phone reception, and a mighty large monthly income from all the cell phone companies who rent from you. The only hitch is that cell towers may be bad for your health, so rent your house out and live elsewhere.
On a more serious and somber note, I would not wish a cell tower on anyone and I have trouble accepting that the town of Aquinnah would subject its residents to one. Is it due to the financial crisis in Aquinnah that the town would be considering something that jeopardizes its community's well-being? On the one hand the town is concerned about health implications, restricting the Baptist Church from beautifully disguising the tower in the church steeple, yet on the other hand the town would place the tower in close proximity to numerous houses by placing it at the landfill. Did the town neglect to notice that people reside all around the landfill? I seem to be missing some pertinent point in understanding how the town of Aquinnah has bylaws in place that disallow a cell tower within 500 feet of a library or playground, due to health concerns. Our tiny town library is open a total of 16 hours per week. Our dilapidated, nearly abandoned, local playground sees little if any use. But the town would like to deny Cingular a cell tower due to proximity to these two locations, based on health concerns. Instead they would like to ask that the bylaws be revised to allow the cell tower to be situated as close as 150 feet from a residence at the town landfill, residences that are occupied by year-round families, adults and children, who spend a week's worth of library hours in a single day at their homes.
Quite clearly the denial of Cingular to place a cell tower in a pre-existing structure is not about health, it is about dollars and cents. The town wants and needs the revenue, but at what cost? We ought to be looking ahead toward the current building boom in our community to deliver the much-needed revenue. The residences and neighborhoods abutting the landfill are primarily hardworking middle class homeowners. It is doubtful that the town would attempt to place a cell tower in one of Aquinnah's more elite areas. One would like to feel that one's town is interested in its residents well-being. With this in mind I must pose the question to our Aquinnah neighbors, "Would you want a cell tower in your backyard?" If not, then please don't put one in ours.
The town will hold a vote on Dec. 6, at 7 pm at the Aquinnah Town Hall. Please come show your support for maintaining health and natural beauty in Aquinnah.
No new jail
To the Editor:
This recent jail business on the Island is a bunch of bull. Who the hell are we going to bring here next? I have definitely changed my mind about building a new jail here on the Island. The county is really digging their hole deeper and deeper. Remember this when the subject comes up again about a new jail.
West Tisbury yarn
To the Editor:
"Where do you get your well-developed sense of the absurd?" my agent once asked me.
"The selectmen's meetings, of course," I replied.
For instance, at the last West Tisbury selectmen's meeting (Wednesday, Nov. 23), the selectmen proposed that they invite William Graham to a mediation session they would preside over. Mr. Graham, you may recall, has protested the worse-than-amateurish assessment methods used by the West Tisbury board of assessors and implemented by the chief assessor.
Now, one West Tisbury selectmen is, himself, suing the town over a West Tisbury Conservation Commission decision that was upheld by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Affairs.
A second selectman, West Tisbury's commissioner to the Land Bank, colluded with the board of assessors to keep secret the Land Bank's ownership of the Ice House Pond and South Beach preserves.
And the third selectman has described landowners including Mr. Graham as "cash cows."
And, over the past year, Mr. Graham has proposed, at least three times to my knowledge, to forgive the assessors' past errors in exchange for correcting the methods of assessment to meet state requirements. In other words, obey the law.
Could the most creative writer make up this wonderful stuff?
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the crew of the SSA who assisted my mother boarding and leaving the 9:30 am boat on Nov. 14. The thoughtful gentleman's arm and the careful wheelchair assistance to the bus to Logan were gratefully appreciated.
Congratulations and thanks
To the Editor:
Congratulations to the 2005 M.V. Junior High Football team for going undefeated this season. The players put their hearts and souls into every practice and it paid off with an 8-0-1 record.
A special thanks to our coaches Adam Cummings, Tom Delvecchio, Jay Forend, and Dave Garvin for all their time and dedication. Our success would not have been possible without their incredible commitment.
I would also like to thank Jack Law, the M.V. Touchdown Club, Don Herman, and all of the parents for their continued support. It has been an honor and a pleasure to coach this amazing group of young athletes. To our eighth graders, continue to be champions on and off the field. To our sixth and seventh graders, see you next season.
MV Junior High Football
To the Editor:
Well, now that the season is over, and the big Nantucket game is a memory, the MVRHS cheerleaders and coaches would like to extend many thanks to those who have donated to make the Nantucket signs a success. To Hinckley's and Cottle's, without the wood, there would have not been signs; thank you.
To Artie Smith who helped make the donation of wood possible.
To Jesse Steere of Shirley's Hardware, many thanks for the purple and white paint, the brushes, screws and other necessities. You're a gem.
To Tom Pierce for taking the time to cut each and every sign and posts; we couldn't have done it without you.
To Mr. Lucier for the donation of the signs shaped like football helmets and footballs: what a nice addition, which can be used for years to come.
To Jon Nelson who gave us the use of his house, his time, his truck, his wife, and children; truly we couldn't have done it without you.
To the parents who helped put the signs in the ground on that cold, cold night, thanks a million, we will need you again in two years.
I would also like to personally thank my assistant coach Teresa Nelson for going above and beyond the call of duty; she gives new meaning to "parent participation."
To my cheerleaders, thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Congratulations on a wonderful halftime show. You all made me very proud. Until next season.
Coach Rebecca Stevens
defends commission position on new
To the Editor:
The Martha's Vineyard Hospital has met the Martha's Vineyard Commission on three occasions over the past year. On each occasion, the commission expressed concern that the hospital board had not fully explored the possibility of moving the hospital, before it decided to rebuild on the existing site.
The proposed reconstruction of the hospital offers the community a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that it is well located. The Vineyard will live with the consequences of this important land-use decision for generations to come and the MVC takes seriously its responsibility as the land use planning and regulatory agency of the Vineyard.
Obviously, rebuilding the whole hospital, Windemere, and related facilities in a new location would cost more. However, the commission has questioned whether the additional expense might be warranted, given several concerns about the existing site related to its small size, to its location where hurricanes and storms could affect the hospital and access roads, and to other issues including parking and open space. The commission also questioned some of the cost estimates and suggested that the extra cost of relocating to a larger, more central, location might not be as great as the hospital's preliminary estimate.
At the end of the last meeting, the hospital and commission agreed to work together on an analysis of site alternatives. This might well confirm that rebuilding on the existing site is the best solution, or it might find that relocating to a more central location turns out to be feasible after all. In either case, both the hospital and the commission want the best possible solution for the Vineyard community.
Martha's Vineyard Commission
To the Editor:
Last Saturday, I got a call from David Campbell, executive director of Hands On USA in Biloxi, Mississippi telling me that 12 boxes of blankets had arrived from the Vineyard and were already distributed. I told him to expect 30 more, which caught him by surprise. He sends profound thanks to all who contributed blankets and time. Evidently receiving the blankets was a real morale booster for the victims and the volunteers alike.
Thanks to the publicity in the Vineyard Gazette and The Times, Vineyarders brought hundreds of blankets to the Parish Hall at Grace Church, and the Senior Centers in West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven. Also to my front porch. The response to this need was fantastic and is a real testimonial to the compassion and big heart of Vineyarders. The East Chop Sleep Shop donated 25 brand-new blankets. Many others brought new blankets as well, but mostly Vineyarders searched their linen closets and attics. Many thanks to all.
I'd like to offer my special thanks to Bob Day, Janet Bank, and Jim Osmundsen of West Tisbury who helped organize the drive and packed box after box of blankets; to the Rev. Al Stefanik, interim rector of Grace Church for letting us take over the Parish Hall for two weeks; to Vincent Dellatorre, supervisor at UPS, for arranging the free shipping, and to Steve Paltz of UPS who picked up the 15 biggest cartons last Wednesday. My thanks also to Vineyard Decorators, Vineyard Furnishings, Crane Appliance, Shirley's Hardware, Alley's Store, and the Harbor Landing Hotel; they all donated much needed boxes.
The address for Hands On USA in Biloxi is at 2113 Pass Road, Biloxi, MS 39531, if anyone wants to send a contribution of money or household items (sheets, towels, pillows, blankets). No clothing please.
bus service flawed
To the Editor:
This letter, to the directors of the Vineyard Transit Authority, responds to many recent letters in the newspapers concerning shortcomings in the current bus schedules and conversations with several transit connection drivers, who, being the ready and present representatives of the company to the traveling public, for good or bad, take the brunt of most criticism:
When it was decided to continue Islandwide service throughout the off-season, at some extra cost to all the Island towns, we bus travelers had great expectations.
Alas, the resulting bus service proves to be a disaster, both for the riders, who can make neither head nor tail of the schedules, as well as the drivers. The schedules are a convoluted, torturous, computer-generated nightmare. It is suspected that the genius who composed these schedules most likely has never driven a bus, especially using the new schedules.
Many of the drivers are daily frustrated by the impossibilities of trying to maintain timely travel. More often than not they are late, as much as 30 minutes and more. When a schedule is thus distorted, there is no hope of catching up, and there stand the passengers, fuming, maybe wet and cold, and late.
These impossible schedules add yet more distress to the drivers. Lateness, whether arriving at work two minutes late or being overly late on their trips is just one of the many puny reasons used by management to ascribe demerits, which, when accumulated, result in penalizing the drivers' so-called seasonal performance bonuses.
It is asked that the VTA board seek explanations and/or remedies for this situation for the benefit of all concerned. The VTA bus service has been a terrific boon to Islanders and visitors and deserves your attention so that it may continue to do so.
William L. Boggess
Get him to work on time
To the Editor:
The Vineyard Transportation Authority bus schedule has made me late for work and two doctor appointments in the last several weeks. I understand why many of the buses are late, because when a bus is scheduled to arrive at 12:28 pm and leave at 12:28 pm, after 20 people get on the bus with tickets to purchase and questions about directions of travel, how can they be on time?
Our highly paid V.T.A. administrator Angela Grant not only does not know how to make a traveler-friendly schedule, she has also lost three seasoned office personnel and three highly trained mechanics because of her overly demanding micro-management style of running our transit authority.
Please get me to work on time. Is the V.T.A. supervising its management and our tax dollars?