Letters to the Editor
An appeal for books
To the Editor:
My name is Matt Parker, a graduate of MVRHS class of 2005. I am currently a member of Ameri-Corps, which is an organization structured to help people in need in the U.S. I have been working for the last 12 weeks with children whose needs are so great I have decided to take on a community outreach program that I hope may help make a difference to some of the children I have come in contact with.
I have spent eight weeks in the town of Pearlington, Miss., which is directly in between Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans. As you can well imagine, this town no longer exists. It always amazed me with the trauma they have been through and the needs so great, that the people I have come in contact with still smile and are thankful for what they still have, which is very little. The following eight weeks I will spend in North Charleston, S.C., working with K-1st graders.
Right before coming home for Christmas break I started my project, or "spike" as they are called in Ameri-Corp., with my K-1st graders. I was amazed to see the lack of books these kids have access to. The books they have are old and outdated to say the least. It is my goal to send these five first grade classrooms and five kindergarten classrooms books they can actually read without torn pages, and books they do not have to read every other day because there are not enough to go around. I would like to put a donation box in each elementary school with a sign "Ready to Read" to collect used books that are in good condition which children in our community may not read any longer and would like to donate to these children.
I am looking specifically for books geared towards K-2nd grade. My goal is to reach 200 books, so each class will receive 20 books in good condition. I hope you can help me with this project, which will bring many smiles to these children. It would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to working with our amazing Vineyard community. Thank you.
Oak Bluffs and
Charleston, S. C.
Give them shelter
To the Editor:
I sent the following letter to Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel:
I currently hold a year-round parking permit at the Park and Ride lot in Tisbury and use it on a regular basis, as I travel weekly between my Island home and mainland home/office. I have heard for some time now about plans to change the configuration of the lot to put short-term free parking at the entry end of the lot nearest the bus shelter, and locate the long-term paid parking at the remote end.
While I see advantages to this system in making it more convenient to more people and encouraging a broader based use of the facility, obviously it seems punitive to those of us who are paying customers and want to stay out of the weather.
I would like to propose a simple solution to this issue that might keep everyone happy: If you construct a second shed at the opposite end of the lot for the long-term parking patrons, I think it will solve all the issues. The bus already goes to the far end of the lot first for both drop off and pick up, a perceived advantage, so having a new shelter there would make the arrangement attractive. First on/first off, a comfortable place to wait out of the weather, and less traffic to contribute to parking-lot dings and dents are all factors that more than compensate for having to drive a few extra yards.
As for funding, I suspect from what I read in the papers you might not be receptive to using the port fee funds collected by the Steamship Authority to construct such a shelter, but I would suggest that it would be an appropriate use of that money.
Not Mr. Davis
To the Editor:
This is an open letter to all the Island selectmen who have been appointed to the newly formed committee that is considering reviewing our Island's county government. I was not able to attend your last meeting on Dec. 8, but it is my understanding that county manager Winn Davis attended, and he claimed to be representing the county. I have not been able to find at which public meeting of the county commissioners that that appointment took place. However, I am respectfully requesting that at the next meeting in January, when all the selectmen meet again to discuss our county government, you all demand that county manager Winn Davis not be allowed to represent the county for a number of reasons, and I will only mention a couple of them in order to save time and space.
First, he is the senior county employee, and if ever a conflict of interest would exist, here is a perfect example. Secondly, a lot of the distrust, mismanagement, incompetence, and costly mistakes that bring us here concerns him.
Actually I have no clue which commissioner could or should be appointed, but certainly not Davis. To be honest, I don't think anybody from the county should sit on the committee. I would guess in the end the committee will recommend that an outside agency be retained, as was done years ago for the Tisbury Police Department.
Also, for those who might remember that during the "Borergate" scandal of 2003 the county, in fact all the present commissioners, agreed to police themselves and investigate the circumstances surrounding the buyback of vacation/sick leave time and the controversial departure of Carol Borer as county manager. What came out of that investigation was a document titled "Investigation of Carol Borer - Departure as Dukes County Manager - Interim Report to County Commission by Nelson W. Smith and Paul A Strauss, January 28, 2003." I must say, Nelson and Paul did quite a thorough job, but all the recommendations that I know of that they made to the commission, especially concerning the money they said Carol should return to us were never acted on. In fact, they were totally ignored, and she walked away not only with a bundle but left behind a terrible mess, including the present one-million-dollar-plus airport lawsuit that we are still involved in.
To close, each town on Martha's Vineyard has now stepped forward and appointed a member from their boards to be on this review committee. I could not be more satisfied with the choice each town has made in selecting a member, and I fully believe that they will be completely fair and have our best interests at hand. I hope you will take my request into consideration.
Woodrow W. Williams
To the Editor,
I read with deep sadness of the death of James "B" Gaffney, who as a young child attended First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven while I was pastor. He and his sister Nancy, the Baker children, were always in the front pew, participating and sharing in our worship and life as a congregation. The Sanborn family during that time had special ties to B and Nancy and their parents, assisting them, sharing with them. I found B to be a kind and compassionate young person, who brought, along with his sister, much joy to my wife, Phyllis, Heather, Jennifer and myself. We have shared so much memory and moments together that my daughters and I feel deeply sad at B's untimely death. When a loved one becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. And we shall remember this young man as a special child of God, who was loved by my family and myself.
The Rev. Peter Sanborn
in the State Forest
To the Editor:
With regard to Lisa Rogers "A place for off-roading" letter (MV Times, Dec. 22), I respond that I can in no way support her proposal to set aside space in the State Forest for all terrain vehicle (ATV) and dirt bike use.
As an abutter to the State Forest bike path, I frequently witness the destruction, disrespect for the law, and disregard for others who quietly enjoy the tranquility and safety of this natural resource by riders of off-road vehicles. Most of these riders are minors, many ride without helmets, and all travel at a high rate of speed.
Ms. Rogers writes, "There are few places to pursue the fun and excitement without raising the ire of many." The State Forest is not, and should not, be one of those places. I am one of those whose ire is raised, and I will work conscientiously to prevent the lessening of the well-thought-out regulations against such use of off-road vehicles in the State Forest. Has Ms. Rogers considered how these ATVs and dirt bikes might get to and from this "space in the State Forest"? Will the parents of these children drop off, pick up, and supervise them while they are pursuing their passion? Moreover, who will assume liability should a child be injured?
Those of us who live near the State Forest are keenly aware of the possibility of fire. Gasoline should not be added to the often tinder-dry conditions there. I would urge others who share these concerns to consider the consequences of Ms. Rogers's proposal and how it would lead to the escalation of other inappropriate uses of this peaceful and fragile resource.
To the Editor:
Last Sunday night, former President William Clinton was featured on the CBS news program "60 Minutes." He has started a foundation to help victims of AIDS worldwide, and the program focused on the foundation's work in China, where the government likes to pretend the problem doesn't exist. The foundation's purpose is to provide low-cost drugs to fight the symptoms of AIDS.
I would like to propose a common sense immunization against AIDS. The show explains that two problems help the spread of AIDS: sexual activity and drug use. The prevention is this: find a church that helps you develop a close relationship with the love of God, so that you do not need the artificial high that drugs induce. Then abstain from sexual activity until you are married, and then remain faithful to your spouse.
This regimen takes personal self-discipline, which flies in the face of the excessive freedom that so many in our society crave. But this cure is guaranteed to work.
Not good enough
To the Editor:
The left has been real busy the last few weeks with their attacks on President Bush, that he purposely misled the American people and our allies and tricked those Democrats that voted to authorize Bush to use force to remove Saddam from power about WMD.
But, according to Richard Miniter, author of the book Disinformation, [there were] 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, 1,500 gallons of chemical weapons agents, chemical warheads containing cyclosarin (a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin gas), and more than 1,000 radioactive materials in powdered form meant for dispersal over populated areas.
They claim Bush has alienated us from our allies. The only times we were allies of France were when we were saving them from the Germans in WW1, WW2, and when we came to their aid in Vietnam, just to have them pack up and leave. They only supported the first Gulf War because Iraq blew up their embassy in Kuwait. Ex-Chancellor Schroeder did send 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, but along with Russia, France, and China turned their backs on the U.S. in Iraq. Too many lucrative arms and oil deals to lose. The new chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, stated her core belief was that Europe should work with the U.S., not against it. Sounds good, but then she releases terrorist Mohammad Ali Hamadi, convicted of killing American sailor Robert Stethem 6-14-85. [Stethem] was tortured, beaten, and trampled to death by the Hezbollah terrorists for the crimes of being an American, a U.S. serviceman, and refusing to his last breath, to denounce America. Germany opposed our death penalty, they gave him a life sentence without parole. I believe not only were we betrayed by Germany, but they aided and abetted our enemy.
They also claim Bush illegally wiretapped and spied on American citizens. First, if you weren't born here, or naturalized, you're not an American citizen. If you are a citizen consorting with our enemies, you are not just a American citizen, you are an American traitor and shouldn't be afforded the rights of a American citizen. I don't believe this has anything to do with civil liberties, but just plan hatred the left, liberal news media, and Democrats have for this administration. They have a great thirst for power and they're still in shock over the 2000, 2002, and the 2004 elections. Hopefully, the shock wave will continue to 2006 and 2008. It seems like liberals and Democrats are worried more about winning elections than defeating terrorism. It's time for the Democrats in power to end the war of hatred and get back to fighting the war on terror. Your speeches of hatred, ignorant remarks, and insults about our troops, and their Commander-in-Chief (by John Kerry) are not what is needed to boost the morale of our troops. The only people that receive a morale boost from them were the insurgents and terrorist groups, our enemies.
The Democrats may have gotten a little boost when the New York Times that "held this story for a year" chose to release the story right before a crucial vote to extend the Patriot Act. Seems like the biggest winners were our enemies. Besides, where was all the flack when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were doing the same thing?
The New York Times and other Bush critics have been accusing President Bush of ignoring the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) when he wiretapped terrorists phones operating inside the U.S., since the FISA Court almost always approves such requests. But three years ago the Times reported that FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley came forward with the allegation that the Bureau might have been able to stop the 9/11 attacks if investigators had been allowed access to suspected 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui's laptop computer. Moussaoui was arrested in Minneapolis on Aug. 16, 2001, four weeks before the 9/11 attacks, after an instructor at a local flight school he attended called the FBI to report that he suspected the Moroccan born terrorist was up to no good. In a May 2002 report, the Times noted, "Two days later, FBI agents in Minnesota asked Washington to obtain a special warrant to search his laptop computer." But, there was a problem. The paper explained, "Recent interviews of intelligence officials by The New York Times suggest that the Bureau had a reason for growing cautious about applying to a secret national security court for special search warrants that might have supplied critical information."
"The FBI," officials told the Times, "had become wary after a well regarded supervisor was disciplined because the FISA court complained that he had submitted improper information on applications."
The secret court disciplined Michael Resnick, the FBI supervisor in charge of coordinating terrorist surveillance operations, saying they would no longer accept warrant applications from him. Intelligence officials told the Times that the FISA Court's decision to reprimand Resnick, who was a rising star in the FBI, "resulted in making the Bureau far less aggressive in seeking information on terrorists." "Other officials," the paper stated, complained that the FISA Court's actions against Resnick "prompted Bureau officials to adopt a play it safe approach that meant submitting fewer applications and declining to submit any that could be questioned."
Among those who thought that the FBI might have been able to stop the 9/11 attacks if the FISA Court hadn't discouraged the Bureau from aggressively pursuing a warrant in the Moussaoui case was Sen. Charles Grassley. In a Jan. 2002 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Grassley noted that had a search been permitted, "Agents would have found information in Moussaoui's belongings that linked him both to a major financier of the 9/11 hijacking plot working out of Germany, and to a Malaysian Al Qaeda boss who had met with at least two other 9/11 hijackers while under surveillance by intelligence officials."
Seems like almost always isn't always good enough.
To the Editor:
I read with deep distaste a half-page "editorial" in the Boston Globe, Sunday, Dec. 18, written by none other than Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, described as "the senior Senator from Massachusetts," in which the Crown Prince of America's "royal family" impugns and derogates the president of the United States.
The towering hypocrisy to so criticize the president confounds belief, coming from this latter-day Dorian Grey, this "Prince" and drunken driver who left a young woman to drown in his car after he plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick 36 years ago and walked away unpunished, is just totally reprehensible.
Who indeed is Edward Kennedy to spout off about the law? Is it time for a change come election day? One can only hope.
William L. Boggess
Beyond our means
To the Editor:
We Americans are dangerously living far beyond our means. We're extravagantly spending much more than we are producing, and our large indebtedness is rapidly escalating. Will we dare to face that our addition to over-consumption is potentially deadly?
We need to grasp the precariousness of our economy. Our U.S.A. international yearly trade deficit is $750,000,000,000. Our federal government deficit this year is $300,000,000,000 and expected to rise, and our personal deficit (credit card, mortgage, car loans, etc.) is approximately $700,000,000,000 per year, or likely more. This means we the people are spending one trillion, 750 billion dollars a year more than we are making. If we translate this into understandable human terms, it reveals that the average man, woman and child of our 290 million people is going into debt (individual plus corporate) at the rate of $6,000 per year, which is over $100 per week.
Even if you were to argue these figures down by 25 percent, we still have the largest per-capita debt in the world and it is also climbing more rapidly than in any other nation. Do not suppose that trick financial schemes or selfish "cooking the books" can save us from these financial facts.
Let us not for a minute vainly imagine that our goodness, wisdom, and power make our economic system immune from collapse. History is rife with individuals and nations who imagined themselves impregnable even when they were rushing to their destruction.
When I was a boy in the 1930s, my dad gave me an imaginative account of how the Great Depression of that time began. It seems Mr. Rockefeller had just bought a cup of coffee in 1929. He reached in his pocket, no money. Someone saw and whispered, "Rockefeller is low on cash," and word spread like wildfire-Rockefeller is broke and will have to sell; people rushed to sell first before the market went down, the economy was disrupted; the rest is history.
If we keep on spending more than we are earning and supporting prodigal spending by borrowing from others (and against our future) someone, maybe China or Japan or a domestic leader, will soon think their chance of repayment is uncertain and want their money now. Then other creditors will rush for theirs and the debtors, that's us, will be unable to pay. So the creditors force us into bankruptcy making for great economic dislocation, collapse, unemployment, suffering, and likelihood of civil unrest.
When this happens, and it will unless we radically reform our addiction to spending, do not say, "We were not warned." Rather than realize our arrogance and conceit, and our greed and selfishness in profligate consumption have richly deserved our catastrophic collapse. The time is not to live within our means before we destroy the means to live.
Rev. Alden Besse
Edgartown teens show "right stuff"
To the Editor:
Last week the Edgartown School eighth graders once again tackled the Challenge by Choice, Ropes Course Adventure Program. This commendable program is offered to our students through the Dukes County Sheriff Office. We thank Sheriff Michael McCormack and especially Program Coordinator, Captain Robert Ogden who put our teens through their paces.
Captain Ogden really connects with our young people. The class was split up into two groups, one attending on Monday, November 28, 2005, and the other group on Friday, December 2, 2005. Friday, December 2nd was a cold day on the Ropes Course, which is located out by the airport. Our students were on the course at 8:30 A.M., where Captain Ogden took a group of "individuals" and allowed them to mold themselves into a team who understood the value of teamwork and trust. I witnessed the student's exhilaration at together accomplishing the "low ropes course", which is impossible to complete individually. Leadership sprang from unexpected sources as individual students stepped forward to help their classmates consistently. I was proud of our youngsters stepping forward to help those who needed extra help. Captain Ogden was especially effective at leading our students to successful completion of this seemingly impossible task. We were all impressed to witness the innate character of our children emerge through the "low ropes" exercise, which lasted three hours through the morning.
Next, Captain Ogden introduced our students to the "High Ropes Program, featuring 'the catwalk' Element". The good Captain again weaved his magic by allowing our students to discover for themselves the power of working through their fear by climbing the 30' apparatus. Each individual eighth grader then discovered the power of trusting their "teammates on Belay" who kept them safe and secure.
It was a privilege to observe Edgartown's Eighth Graders show their stuff, the discover their "right stuff". Thank you again Captain Ogden for allowing our students to discover the inner strength and abilities. As was stated last year, "It is important that our schools, parents and communities work closely together to continue offering our children incredible opportunities, like the days on the ropes course." Our students will always remember this experience.
G. Paul Dulac
Thanks to so many
To the Editor:
As fundraising chairman for Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey, I'd like to take a moment to thank the Island merchants who helped make our first annual holiday raffle such a success: Sioux Eagle, Mardel's, Davies Landscaping, Allen Farm, Granite Stores of MV, Vineyard Hearth and Patio, Vineyard Gourmet, CB Stark, Perry's Unfinished Furniture and Lighting Showroom, Vintage Jewelry, Cecilia Designs, Woodlawn Variety and Grill, Cumberland Farms, Vineyard Auto Works, Mix, Bob's Pizza, Island Entertainment, Hollywood Video, Craftworks, Island Home Furnishings, Rainy Day, Bunch of Grapes, and so many more that really made our raffle successful. I thank you all and I'm sure the kids thank you as well.
I'd also like to thank all the kids and parents who worked hard at getting donations and selling raffle tickets. A special thank you goes out to Linda Dickson, who picked up the tail end of this fundraiser after my emergency knee surgery.
Congratulations to Virginia Omar of Edgartown, the winner of our Holiday Raffle. Ms. Omar bought only one ticket for $2 in the optimism that she has never won anything in her life. Hope this helped her with some Christmas gifts for friends and family and something she could enjoy herself. Thank you to all who purchased tickets as well.
For over 30 years, the Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey program has been an incredible, non-profit program for thousands of Island children. It has continually allowed each skater to grow in the sport along with the opportunity to learn the value of teamwork, self-discipline, and commitment to others. And without the help and support of our Island community we would not be able to go on. Thanks to everyone for all your help and support. Keep the kids on the ice!
Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey
And one more makes six
To the Editor:
When my father, Craig Kingsbury of Vineyard Haven, died in August, 2002, I prepared his obituary for the local newspapers, including all the facts I knew about his busy and colorful life. In his 89 years on the planet, he had done much, but he was even busier than I thought.
I listed five children as survivors of the man. I am pleased to add one more to that list. She is Martha Regina Kingsbury, daughter of Craig and Clair Ford Kingsbury Davis of Fall River. Martha, 51, grew up in Falmouth, and lives in Onancock, on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
Craig was full of surprises, although my mother Turk often said he was full of something else.
Kristen Kingsbury Henshaw