Letters to the Editor
What are the
To the Editor:
Bill Graham will cost an average West Tisbury homeowner $152 per year. Year, after year, after year. I am astonished by the actions of the West Tisbury selectmen; but perhaps I shouldn't be.
What do they think will happen next? Has it occurred to them that they are opening Pandora's box?
Will the Ziff family be next to knock on their door to ask for their taxes to be reduced by 60 percent; remember that Mr. Graham has told us that they are much richer than he (thus able to fund a $300,000 tax fight). The Ziffs will certainly have a logical position. To wit, "If we were the reason that the Graham taxes were so high, and the Graham taxes are now lowered by 60 percent or so, then, we should have an even larger reduction than Graham."
Remember that if Mr. Graham gets a $380,000 reduction in taxes, it will cost every, yes every, homeowner in West Tisbury about $150 per year forever, year after year.
Maybe the Ziff tax reduction will be $100,000; and thus, will cost each homeowner an average of $40 per year, year after year. That's up to $192 per year for the average homeowner year after year after year.
How long a line of rich guys asking for their taxes to be reduced by 60 percent, (all being able to fund a $300,000 tax fight)? Fifty, 100? I don't know, but what a monstrous position for the town to be in.
Now, if we, the town of West Tisbury, let the court process proceed, we will have a position that is unassailable. A reasonable standard will be established.
I suspect that Mr. Graham feels he is going to do badly in court, and thus he is making this last ditch effort to circumvent the court/assessor process. It could work out that he will not get a reduction from the courts as generous as the reduction previously offered by the assessors.
To the Editor:
I have always thought that the single "star" (a light bulb) high atop the tower on the Methodist Church (the Whaling Church) is the prettiest of Edgartown's Christmas decorations. Besides, what makes it special is that I can see it from my bed. So I would like everyone to know that the man who thought of it was Roy G. Whiting, who was a minister of the church at the time. The first year it was put up, according to Henry Beetle Hough, it was much taller.
Even in its shorter incarnation it can be seen all the way over to East Chop, and that makes it special too.
A promise fulfilled
To the Editor:
Beyond the amazing review by Robert Hayden, I was personally touched by your paper's grand acknowledgement of my mother's work. Putting her memoir into print was my last promise to mother. It really was an effort by many people. Your attention to the effort was the capstone of the project. I thank you most heartily, and all of your staff that helped put Justine's book "on the front page." Many thanks.
To the Editor:
Please extend our thanks to Robert Hayden and the Martha's Vineyard Times for the excellent and comprehensive article on Gertrude Wilson's writings and Justine Priestley's life. Greatly appreciated by two old-timers from Northfield, Vermont, whose lives became more interesting the day that Justine took up residence at 11 Slate Avenue, down the street a ways. We have a copy of her manuscript; presenting it to the Norwich University library, in Bob's name, as soon as we get a couple of books to go with the MS. Loved that gal. Bob, tolerable.
George and Ann Turner
To the Editor:
On behalf of the class of 2007, we would like to thank the Island community for another successful fundraising season of selling hamburgers, hotdogs, and snacks at the football games.
As most people know the snack shack at the football games is operated by each junior class and we rely on the support of the community each year to fund various class activities. Like the junior prom and the senior parent brunch.
All of the success of the snack shack could not be realized without incredible efforts of the following people and companies: Fella and Jane Cecilio of Fella Catering, Cash and Carry, Chris White and Edgartown Pizza, Tilton Rentals, the custodial staff of MVRHS, and the high school front office staff, especially Rose Cappucci and Lynn Rebello. Without their time, support and effort we would not have been as successful as we were.
It is our privilege to pass along the operations of the snack shack to the sophomore class. We wish them good weather, big crowds, and the ability not to run out of food at the half time of the biggest game of the season.
Junior class vice president,
and the rest of the class of 2007
A real problem, now and in the future
To the Editor:
In his letter (Needy? Who's needy?) published in The Times last week, Mark Martin is confused, as he so rightfully acknowledges. He believes that those needing affordable housing on Martha's Vineyard are only the homeless. Well, as far as I know, it is impossible for the homeless to qualify for affordable housing here. The groups working in affordable housing here are trying to meet the needs of Island people living in sub-standard housing. There are people living in garages on this Island. There are people on this Island who camp out every summer because their winter homes are rented. Many of these people were born and raised on Martha's Vineyard. But now that the price of an average house on the Island is approaching $700,000, these people find it increasingly difficult to afford a decent house in which to raise their children.
It is an anomaly that, despite our trophy houses, Dukes County (mainly the Vineyard) is a poor county. The median income for a family of four in the county in 2004 was $66,100; that's income before taxes. That is not a lot of money when gasoline approaches $3 per gallon. Although there is not a soup kitchen per se on the Vineyard, some Friday, Mr. Martin should visit the Island Food Pantry located in his hometown of Tisbury. He will see people from all over the Island picking up food parcels donated by his neighbors and other Islanders trying to make a small dent in some of the problems of poverty on Martha's Vineyard.
As for his claims of the Vineyard isolating itself from the world's problems, he should contact the people up- and down-Island who have donated time, talent and money to help the victims of Katrina. Or, the Vineyarders supporting humanitarian efforts in Haiti and other parts of Latin America not only with money but also with their actual work on the ground there. Or, the Vineyarders who go to Mississippi every year to help build houses for Habitat. Or, he should check the amount of money that flowed from the Vineyard to help those whose lives were destroyed by the tsunami. I could go on, but you get the point. Vineyarders are not isolationist, far from it.
I'm sure the local Habitat affiliate would love to put up a house in a weekend. It could, if Mr. Martin and other concerned Vineyarders would lend their time and talents. I'm not a very tall person, but I have no trouble seeing the progress being made on the Habitat House on the Edgartown/Vineyard Haven Road. Mr. Martin could visit the site any Wednesday or Saturday (Habitat build days) and see the progress close up; or he could call the Habitat office at 508-696-4646 for a tour.
In all the literature and other promotional pieces put out by the affordable housing groups, I have not seen one that, as Mr. Martin writes, blames wealthy - or any other category of - people for the affordable housing problem here on the Island. The literature that I've seen acknowledges that affordable housing is a problem for all those concerned with the future of Martha's Vineyard.
Like Mr. Martin, I believe that in the end we are judged by our actions, not by our intentions. Many on the Island realize that affordable housing is a real problem here on Martha's Vineyard and are acting to try to solve that problem today, not tomorrow.
ought to visit
To the Editor:
In response to Mark Martin's letter "Needy, Who's needy," what a silly man he is. He should come to the Affordable Housing Office and meet the wonderful people who dedicate their time and energy working with and for affordable housing and Habitat for Humanity Martha's Vineyard. He will find kind and smart people who have looked into their heart and decided to act in response to the housing crisis we face here as well as all over the world.
As with any small place, Martha's Vineyard is a microcosm of both the problems and benefits we would have anywhere. We have crime, therefore we need police officers. We have children that need educating, therefore we need teachers. We have accidental fires, therefore we need firefighters. We have hair, therefore we need hairstylists. We have shops, therefore we need shopworkers. We have health problems, therefore we need health care workers. We have public buildings that need to stay clean, therefore we need cleaning crews. We have moms that need to go to work, therefore we need child care workers.
Our people need decent, affordable housing, therefore we have the angels of affordable housing and Habitat for Humanity who do the best they can, considering the limitations of little available land.
We are all imperfect, therefore our work is imperfect. Let us not judge each other, let us look into our own heart and find what we have to give, in whatever way we can give. My mother is a social worker; she chooses to help dysfunctional people become more functional. My father is a peace activist; he chooses to write about peace and go to peaceful demonstrations. My (Jewish) stepmother teaches the Palestinian people nonviolent resistance and organic gardening techniques. My partner sends beautiful waves of music in prayer to children all over the world.
Habitat for Humanity chose my family as the needy people Mr. Martin speaks of. I am that needy person. He does not know me or my history, or my hopes and dreams. He does not know how I will benefit from being able to live in the sweet little house on Edgartown Road.
Mr. Martin should come to the building site on Wednesdays or Saturdays, between 8 am and 4 pm, to meet me and the lovely people who work and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. We welcome people of all skill levels and physical capabilities. Come to wield a hammer for a couple of hours and perhaps, Mr. Martin's "unproductive life" will come to a close. This could be a new chapter in Mr. Mark Martin's life. A little less bah humbug and a little more warm companionship, laughs, generosity of spirit. Come for a hug. Come for coffee. Just come. To know us is to love us.
Habitat for Humanity
Ignorant letter writer
To the Editor:
This is in reference to Mark Martin's letter last week, about the "needy." I have met a lot of ignorant people here, but he is front page. How dare he put down affordable housing on our Island? I'll tell you who is needy, and that is our native children for one, who were born and raised here by most of their native parents and some transplants married to natives, as myself. Our native children did not choose to live here, as Mr. Martin says. This is their home, and why should they be run out because if they tried to buy a home; the minimum mortgage would be $3,000, not to mention taxes. And, oh yeah, they might like to eat every now and then, but forget the heat, they can just add layers. God forbid they rented any rooms to try and pay for their home, they'd be shut down in a second by someone like Mr. Martin. I hate to break it to him, but there are soup kitchens here. He should check his local church. He might not know where they are. Look in the local yellow pages. He's probably also the person that says "happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." By the way, what holiday would that be, if it was not Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa?
What does "winter residents, mental people" have to do with affordable housing? (In case anybody is lost, get out last week's letter from Mr. Martin. I am just addressing his letter piece by piece.) In case he hasn't noticed or been here long enough, the "winter residents" are the year-round residents. The year-round residents are the working stiffs who work seven days a week to make ends meet. We are the natives and transplants married to natives whose children and grandchildren live with us, because they could only dream of having their own home here. And last time I checked, the biggest mental problem we have is being depressed at the thought of being surrounded by ignorant people like Mr. Martin.
As for the beaches being locked down, it is not us that does the locking. It is Mr. Martin's friends who come here in June and take immediate ownership and treat the rest of us like dog crap under their Cinderella slippers. You can't fish, you can't walk. Half of them never step foot onto the beach but it is theirs and you're going to know it. You can't even go down to the Lagoon beach in Oak Bluffs without some lunatic running out of their house yelling at you to get out.
Affordable housing is not singled out to one area or street name. By the way, is Mr. Martin offended that some of the streets are named after the first settlers here that might have once owned the street that he lives on? I don't think we are the only place in the world where streets are named after families. Affordable housing is for one, youth lots that could be bought by Island children for $20,000 to $40,000. Not $250,000. Webb's campground should have been bought by the town for dirt and had youth lots in there with a park and trails. Instead, we have someone in there with a blowtorch wiping out every tree for miles to put up his trophy houses.
Mr. Martin says a lot of us fall short in the affluence category. Is he all there? The majority of us fall short.
As far as his test goes, yes, most of us do have an "affordable guest room." It's called free.
A "'tent city" might be a little difficult on Lambert's Cove Beach. My daughter, son and granddaughter went there in June and were told by the guard on duty that they could not go in. My daughter told her that they go in all winter. The guard told her not in the summer.
A "FEMA trailer." I think this was the most absurd, but here goes. Yes if there were a need. Say a hurricane or other tragedy that an outfit like that had to actually be called in.
If Mr. Martin thinks that we are living on the fringes of reality, he has another thing coming. Maybe he is in his own little sick world. But the rest of us most certainly are not. I can see why Mr. Martin's life has been unproductive (as he says). I can't find much about him from his letter that would be positive enough to contribute to society. Maybe it's time he put his house up for sale. Let's say he makes it "affordable" for us needy and say la vies, adios and see ya.
Above and beyond
To the Editor:
Earlier this week we returned from a trip off-Island. Knowing our plane would arrive at Logan too late to catch the last boat, we booked a room at the Inn on the Square in Falmouth. We awoke early the next morning anxious to get home.
We went to the desk to check out and asked if they would be kind enough to call a cab to take us to Woods Hole. They called four cab companies, all of which said they weren't running yet because of the snow. Yes, it was snowing, but there was no accumulation on the road. We waited a half hour, and the kind man on the desk called again only to get the same response. We decided to haul our luggage up to the Palmer Avenue lot and take a shuttle bus. Then one of the new owners of Inn offered us a ride. We gladly accepted and were very surprised and pleased when he headed for Woods Hole instead of the Palmer Avenue lot. After thanking him profusely we offered him some money for gas, which he refused.
This obviously was service well above and beyond the call of duty, and we wish to thank The Inn on the Square publicly as well as share this information with Islanders and off-Islanders so that they have this knowledge when making plans for trips on the other side.
Duncan and Ann Ross
Neither snow, nor sleet
To the Editor:
A big thank you to all Martha's Vineyard crossing guards who managed to remain upright during Friday's storm. Thank you for keeping the Island's children safe.
Perry Joyce Howell
Swimming with sharks in Suva City
To the Editor:
A sea cook in the 21st century, sailing in the south Pacific in the long forgotten wake of the whalers, ought to find that visiting the various Islands to provision the ship is a fairly straightforward prospect. The cook might also think that the customs of the places have receded into the past. You no longer have to fear attack, no longer have to meet the head man/chief and, as a typical North American, you might think that all you need is money to get by. In fact, in this modern era there are still head men, and there are ancient ways that pervade the various cultures you encounter, and to this day money isn't everything.
In the long fairway into the harbor of Suva City on Vetu Levi, Fiji, the sharks play amongst the debris. Like the skiff drivers, they watch for the white of plastic bags that float beneath the surface, maybe hinting of food nearby. The harbor is polluted, and the sharks feed on the scraps they can find. Being outwardly docile they urge the smaller weaker fish to come nearer, that they may see the bounty, or as in some cases be the bounty.
In the center of the city there are rows of kiosks, mostly owned by East Indians selling everything from batteries to curries. The Fijian owned kiosks offer local food. Some resembling that cooked in 'lovos' or underground ovens, similar to a New England clam bake, but in these they bake corned beef and coconut wrapped in taro leaves, chicken when it can be afforded and of course the pervasive manioc, taro, etc.
The rows of shops are laid out like a carnival midway, and if you walk from the bus stop through to the vegetable and craft market, you're led to a small area that's used on weekends for the farmers from out of town. These are small family groups that sit and smile as you look over the produce: again casava, also known as manioc, yucca or tapioca, ripe red tomatoes, eggplant of varying shades, the ubiquitous taro in its hard brown skin, tiny chillis, small compact mangoes. Some of the produce are in small piles with cardboard signs for pricing, $1 a heap. 'Letice' $1 a heap, capsicum (we know as peppers). The list goes on. For the most part you can see what you are getting. Farther along the edge of this little asphalt and dirt park there are other purveyors, those who sell produce that is more clandestine.
As you sit and watch, you can tell that there is a thriving business going on here. But there are no heaps to be seen, no signs telling the prices. A man turns the corner walking towards one of these purveyors and with his index finger points to his arm, imitating a syringe. The seller then raises his eyebrows in the Pacific style of the affirmative. The two rub close as the first man walks by and a sharp eye can see that the transaction has been made. Coins dropped in one hand cause a small packet wrapped in aluminum foil to be deposited in the hand of the passerby. If you sit long enough you can see that there is a group of men participating in the sale of this strange island produce that is so special one can only get it in small amounts. Not like the kava that's sold by the kilo or the tobacco by the roll upstairs in the vegetable market. For this it would seem you have to discern who is the seller, and then you have to know the secret sign.
The group of men engaged in this commerce, perhaps feeding their families, or some just their destitute desires, all seem hardened, scarred, tattooed. They lurk and roam in circle patterns around the square as if treading water, waiting for the prey. When one arrives there is a flurry of action, each approaching, yakking like barkers in a carnival, to each other, to the client, to the Indian shop owner, to the guy sitting on the corner as if keeping watch for some larger danger. A discerning eye can see that there is a hierarchy here. The biggest seems to be in charge. Smaller men run to do his bidding, approach him for more produce. He remains docile and in one place. The others hover about this apex.
When you arrive in a new place as a drifter, as sailor or otherwise, the best way to proceed is to gather information, be it from some one you may meet or simple observation. It's best to approach a town slowly. If you're walking, its best to stop now and then to observe the surroundings. You see who is watching you as well, which may come in handy. Stop, take a break, sit on a bench at a bus stop, chat up the local you meet there to find out where the trouble spots are: where you shouldn't go during the day because of your skin color and where you shouldn't go at night because of the sharks.
There is no reason to rush to the town square, to the town market place. Better to get to the outskirts of the action and sit and watch. This is how I approach a new town. Now that I am cooking on a ship, it is how I approach the marketplace. The first day I go and see what's going on. Who is who and who is selling what. This is how it came to pass that I saw these hardened dark men, with tattoos, some showing on hands or peeking out below T-shirt sleeves, around ankles. I had been searching for Camel straights, the brand of cigarette that I prefer and hadn't been able to find. I used this as a pretext to meet the big man that was in charge. There was no pressing need that I meet these guys, except for curiosity, but I knew I would be coming here to do a fair bit of shopping, as I was feeding a crew of 50, and I figured that It might be a good thing to know some of the local boys. Of course as I walked up to him I was heckled by the barkers. As I passed them on the way to my target, I dismissed them with, "Its cool, I'm all set".
The big guy says hello and I say,
"Hey man, what I'm looking for is a pack of camels".
" Camels,? What is this Camels?".
"They're a kind of cigarette, no filters, American".
"Are you from America".
"Yeah man, I'm the cook on a ship, we just came to town".
"You are working on the boat?".
"You are the chief cook?"
Yeah, on the big white one that came in yesterday."
"I will find these camels for you."
One of the other guys is beckoned, and he says, "No problem, no problem… this I can find for you, I know where. You give me the money, I will bring the change."
"Give you the money? I don't know you from f**#ing no one, you sure you're gonna come back?"
"He's coming back, you can trust it. I have told him," The big guy interjects.
"Ok brother, if you say so, here take 20 bucks.?"
"I am taking it, I come back, you gonna see, I am finding them, these camels."
"Cool, I'll wait."
"Yes, you will wait with me, he is coming back, you can trust it, I have told him," says the boss.
So, the boss and I settle into the introduction phase of our meeting. I tell him I am from the states, on a ship, I am the "Chief Cookah," as they say around the Pacific. I ask his name, it's the same as mine.
"So, to me you call 'yatha,' it means 'namesake.'"
So we make a sort of tentative friendship. Each intrigued by the other. Our eyes meet quite often. It's said when you encounter certain predators in the bush you shouldn't look them straight in the eyes as it is a sign of aggression. I have found with humans to humans, it is more often than not disarming, or at least the precursor to an armistice. On the streets, looking someone in the eye can open up an unwanted contact, especially with small-time scammers and bottom-feeders. They see it as an acknowledgement that you want to be messed with. The other option is to make sure your look says, "I am not the one you want to mess with." It also helps to apply a veneer of, "In fact, I may mess with you, so you keep an eye on me." A good way to disarm a would-be attacker is to give them the clear idea that they themselves are not invulnerable to attack. Having an air of mystery and being silent are two ways to keep people guessing on the street and in the market. You want people guessing. The more they think you know the better it is, the more you know about potatoes, peas, carrots, the price of lettuce; the less they know about you adds to the mystery.
Another big step in getting by on someone else's turf is to not just act comfortable but to actually be comfortable. Not rushing. Making eye contact with all the guys, saying hello, shaking everybody's hands. Be a strong person amidst strong people. It takes strength to live on the street, always wary of the law, of starvation, a fight. But it is also true that no matter how well you think you're getting along in this lair with the ruffians that inhabit the street, there is the simple fact that even though they are not just ripping your throat out to dine on what's left in your gullet before turning to your bigger parts and organs, there is always the chance of being set up for a fleecing. Getting in and out without the loss of too much is very beneficial.
In the Pacific, as all around the world, the markets abound with the good farmers selling their produce and the others, the sellers of drugs, the scammers, pimps, miscreants. I spent the better part of the week we were in Fiji hanging out with the gang, and I am afraid to say it was really a gang. Most of the guys were friends from prison, and the tattoos were for the most part done in prison. There was actually some "nice ink." Maybe because of my experience on the streets over the years, or because I spoke the right language, for some reason I was accepted by the "brothers." We in fact became fast friends.
When I was not on the ship I was usually to be found downtown sharing beer surrounded by 10, 15, or 20 of the gang in the favored bar overlooking the market. We drank in the Fiji style - one person pours for everyone else, using a small glass. The glass is passed back to the pourer and he decides who will drink how much. It comes from the way one drinks kava. Kava is a root that is crushed and washed through coconut husks and the water is consumed, for many a ghastly thing to drink because it has shall we say a very earthy taste, quite like dirt in fact. So, often-times I sat with the boys and we enjoyed beer drinking in the old-fashioned Fiji way.
When I first went to town, I would be accosted by all sorts trying to hustle me. I noticed that I was no longer being hustled, I remarked to Joe, the head man, and he said, " I know, I told them 300 meters, they stay away, you are my brother Joe, I am taking care with you now."
The final fresh shopping day for me is always hectic. I must get hundreds of kilos of fruit and vegetables bought and transported to the ship. It's not like home where you can call Sid Wainer. I have to go and buy the food, keep it somewhere and then arrange a truck to take it to the wharf. In Fiji, it was all different because of Joe and his band of ruffians. We found a spot near where Joe and the boys "worked" and he stationed the guys around to watch it. Believe me, there was no one in Suva who was going to take anything from us. Partly because the likely candidates were the ones watching the food.
We slowly built a great heap of fruits and vegetables. Often one of the farmers or one of the people in the market would come up to me and say, "Be careful, these men are very dangerous." The only reply that I could come up with that made any sense was, "I know, they are my friends."
Then it came time to move the goods. We had a parade of all the hardcore guys from downtown Suva, with baskets of food on their heads or over their shoulders. Heaps of fruits and vegetables walking by and often all you could see was the tattoos. The people in the market were amazed that here the very dangerous guys, the very scary guys, the denizens of the dark and seedy underbelly of Fiji were all marching along with the strange American. We brought the food to the fish dock where mafi was waiting with his speed boat, and we brought the food to the ship. Admittedly, even the crew were afraid of these guys when we got to the ship. I have a tendency to hook up with, shall we say, the less than well bred. When approached by a crew member who asked, "Joe, are these guys OK?" All I could say was, "Don't worry man, they're my friends". I have found that the old adage is pretty true, "Not all bad people are all bad, and not all good people are all good." I know that I will always have friends in Suva, if I ever get back there. That is, if they are not in jail.
Aboard Picton Castle
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to Mark London, executive director, Martha's Vineyard Commission:
I went to a scheduled regional transportation planning meeting called on this date by the commission and found that a meeting on the Lagoon Bridge was continuing well beyond the scheduled meeting start. When the meeting was started, it was determined that an insufficient quorum as determined by an unwritten (at least no one knew) bylaw requiring four of seven representatives of the county and the island towns. In answer to my question, the chairman of the transportation planning committee answered that the Steamship Authority is not a signatory to the work of the transportation committee.
Anyone with an ounce of brains should know that an Island transportation committee of any kind that did not include as a signatory, the 'lifeline' to the Island is useless. Beyond the Steamship Authority, any transportation means to the Island should be included in order to properly represent both those and the Island's interests. Those transportation interests include the grandfathered ferries not under Authority's jurisdiction; tugs and barges; private vessels bringing visitors to the Island; as well as general aviation and commercial air service including passengers and freight.
If the Vineyard is to be well served by its transportation planning activity, it must include representatives of the transportation industry as well as local government entities. In the transportation arena, there is once again solid evidence the Martha's Vineyard Commission does not have criteria to base its selection of participants in an area vital to Vineyard life. Congestion is a critical Vineyard issue and subset of transportation that must be addressed for the Island to be the place its residents, guests and visitors desire.
Transportation may well be the most critical element of infrastructure for an Island, and the commission in keeping with its charter must provide greater attention to the issues associated with transportation of people and goods. By not including the Steamship Authority and transportation to and from the Island by all means, the commission is invoking oversight with a hope of its disappearance in a manner similar to thinking three-acre zoning cures land use.
Planning is a key ingredient to a successful future, and starts with thinking.
in hospital discussion
To the Editor:
Here is a second side to the hospital site issue. Martha's Vineyard Commission is very correct to review the subject. Many feel that dollars are reason, it should not be so. This Island has always reached ahead in planning and development. The new hospital can be a reality of regional planning to our 100-year future community.
The Island airport with all its problems is growing to meet new needs and different issues and has been very successful (save losing Bill W.) in creating a future Island Air Facility. Our towns have been learning their new responsibilities. Developing plans and new departments to meet these needs is just the beginning.
Like it or not, the medical challenges for the next 100 years are only now being explored; our Island has the greatest of all to face because we grow and shrink seasonally by factors of ten. Problems that have not been seen since 1938 or 1944 are only going to be magnified by 1000 times. Islanders who remember these storms are few.
New science is also coming onboard, following the hurricanes of 2005, Federal agencies have been forced to review and update geographic and population data and make new plans for catastrophic events. Ongoing updates of the Federal Base Network/Cooperative Base Network are being carries out state-by-state using CORS networks to remove inconsistencies in public data. In short, the Island some time after 2007 will get updated profiles of where we stand in the ocean. This will affect us all because finally we will be recognized for having areas of environmental impact to plan around. Our dock builders will tell you that "when working in low tide environments, there are times and places where previously installed systems are no longer exposed for repair" meaning sea levels are up, way up.
Small changes in sea level mean big issues during storm conditions. Who remembers the 2005 snow and tidal flooding of Five Corners in Tisbury? Ask your highway snow-plow driver. Ask Chappy Ferry captains about Northeasters and the 20-year-old ferry ramps and street flooding in Edgartown. What about Beach Road? You pick which one. Access to the hospital is one critical component of a new site proposal. Changes and growth in the demographics on Island is another issue.
National Weather Services mathematically predicts we have a 30% chance of a Cat. 3, 4 or 5 storm, annually. Our 100-year storm is due soon. What if? "Island hurricane 2009: 13,000 evacuated, 7,000 survivors, 140 medical injuries and patient needs, triage at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, evacuation from Martha's Vineyard Airport, EMS has 300 calls in 48 hours, 1,000 are sheltered at Edgartown School. SSA vessels are inside the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier awaiting repairs to its terminals to resume service. Oh, this was just Edgartown's part of a Category Four Storm passing west of the Island in August with the 18-hour notice. The access and damage to the hospital is severe and its site was cut off for 2 days due to the effects of 140-mph winds and 17-foot tidal flooding."
Explore current issues of medical transport and delivery speed of EMS with your Island Fire, Rescue, and EMT when researching a new hospital location. Add in the possibility of using the existing regional features of our Island to our benefit and you quickly see the relocation of the hospital is needed in a 100-year plan. Cost should be secondary to protection of all life on Martha's Vineyard.
Robert E. Gilkes
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to the president of Panther Marketing Inc., Scottsdale, Arizona:
Suppose you are asleep, alone on a remote, deserted comer of an island. The phone rings in the middle of the night. You reach unsteadily for it, your throat dry, your heart suddenly double speed. You think someone you love has died.
At the other end of the line is the whine of a fax machine. You hang up and try to get back to sleep. The second call comes minutes later, and this time you are calmer. You let it ring, and soon you hear your fax begin to work.
This actually happened to me a few nights ago, at 2:48 and 2:55 am. The next morning I was greeted with a copy of "Hot Stocks on the Street." Of course I called the conveniently offered 800 number in order to be removed from your list. It was not in service. Had I the means to dismantle your egregiously intrusive program I would cheerfully do so, but I am an elderly, powerless woman.
So, I think I'll just turn off my fax machine.
Elizabeth P. Weinstein
To the Editor:
I would like to wish you and your staff a Merry Christmas.
Hello, my name is TSgt Jason F. Canha and I'm currently in the United States Air Force stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. I'm a resident of Martha's Vineyard, and I've been in the USAF for 12 years. I'm wondering if it possible, could place a small holiday message in your paper for me.
My family - Kimberly, Dominick, Krista and I - would like to wish Mike and Brenda Canha of Oaks Bluff a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Since we're unable to be with them this year, we would like them to know that were always thinking of them, and wish we could be home so they could enjoy the holiday season with their two grandchildren. We love and miss them deeply and can't wait to see them in the summer. I would also like to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my family and friends living on MV. God Bless and Happy Holidays.
Jason F. Canha, TSgt, USAF
A life saved
To the Editor:
I have lived and worked on the Island of Martha's Vineyard for 33 years and considered myself lucky and fortunate. On Dec. 10, however, I became ill. After calling 911 and within what seemed like seconds, EMTs and Edgartown police arrived and noted on the monitor that I was having a heart attack. I was quickly brought to Martha's Vineyard Hospital and within minutes given medication, whereby my symptoms and EKG improved. Thanks to their wonderful care and expertise, my heart and my life were saved. I was sent to Mass General Hospital via Coast Guard jet to the cath lab within one hour.
I cannot thank everyone enough, and I know I could not have been in better hands. I give you my deepest thanks.
Robert D. Arcudi
Butterflies need you
To the Editor:
Be smart and save the monarchs by getting our cards. I'm Oren Osnoss, and I'm in the third and fourth grade class at the Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School. We have been studying about the monarch butterfly. We are selling cards to raise money to buy stoves for the Mexican people that live near the wintering habitat of the monarch butterfly.
The major reason that we are raising money is that that the oyamel trees in Mexico are getting cut down and there is no place for the butterflies to winter over. Their habitat is dying. Therefore, buy our note cards and help the habitat of the monarch butterfly too. We are sellling our cards at the Charter School in West Tisbury.
Help the monarchs
To the Editor:
We need your help. The monarch butterflies are in danger. The M.V. P.C.S. 8-, 9-, and 10-year olds are selling butterfly note cards for $5. We will use the money to help the monarchs.
Oyamel trees in Mexico are being cut down for firewood. The oyamel tree is one of the few winter Monarch habitats. One way we will use the money will be to give it to the poor Mexican people who use the oyamel trees for firewood, so they can buy gas stoves. One hundred percent of the money will go towards helping the monarchs. So please buy our note cards at the Charter School and help save the monarchs. Yay for the monarchs.
To the Editor:
Behold the ultimate travesty of a trial now taking place in Baghdad, the trial of a mass murderer and tyrant. Also, behold the presence of the erstwhile, senile traitor, Ramsay Clark. Why not merely behead Saddam, as he had done to some of ours, and send Mr. Clark into permanent exile in Iraq, along with Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, etc. etc. They should all then be able to strive for peace and justice together. Oops, forgot Hanoi Jane, sorry Jane.
William L. Boggess