Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
My children are fourth generation visitors to your fine Island. My two oldest boys, 13 and 14, mention Oak Bluffs under their online personal descriptions that their friends read. Our summer vacations and boating schedules begin, end, and revolve around visits to Oak Bluffs. It is, by far, our family's favorite port of call.
We have made lifelong friendships and have catalogued innumerable memories docked "stern-to" the bulkhead. The atmosphere is unmatched, and the lifestyle is intoxicating.
As a lifelong boater and fisherman, I have had the pleasure of traveling to many parts of the world to sample local angling. Let me tell you: Oak Bluffs is the fishing capital of the world in our eyes.
Recently, one of my Island friends e-mailed me to tell me that the Oak Bluffs selectmen may be considering banning the Monster Shark Tournament. To say the least, I was shocked.
We have fished this tournament as a family for many years. It is a family tradition that was chronicled in your fine paper two summers ago when we allowed one of your reporters to join us for the trip. We have also had members of the ESPN production team on board filming.
I am certain that our story is similar to hundreds of other anglers that enjoy your waters and the hospitality found back on shore after a long day of fishing. It is most definitely the highlight of our summer.
This event has become a legend in our circle. It has been the topic of eighth grade English papers. The photos, the shark stories - and yes, "the shark lies" - are omnipresent.
I won't even risk telling you how much cash my crew and I pour over the Island that week. I am afraid my wife might read this letter.
While we are there, we order breakfast, lunch and dinner for the crew every day. Jim's Package and convenience store has a line just for us. The arcade eats more quarters than the I-93 tollbooth and my kids are begging me to go scupping on "The Skipper" five minutes after we get in from sharkin'.
There are trips to Vineyard Haven for boat parts, bait and tackle runs, ice cream, ice cream, and ice cream, fudge, and more ice cream.
Don't make me beg. It would be a travesty if this tournament was banned. It is well run, the fishermen are responsible, and the Islanders make us feel at home. I understand the concerns of the activists, but they are uninformed and a small minority. We are regulated by authorities, tournament officials, and more closely by our fellow anglers.
Sport fishing is a fantastic family activity, a rite of summer, and a huge part of the draw to Martha's Vineyard long before Mr. Clinton strolled down Circuit Avenue
Keep it in Oak Bluffs. For the sport, for the economy, for the tradition, and for my kids. Thank you for listening.
Allen B. Gammons Jr.
East Greenwich, RI
Fishing Vessel Slacker
To the Editor:
My husband and I enjoyed the best show in town last Friday night as we cheered on our boys varsity basketball team, which was stacked up against an undefeated team from Seekonk. The Sancy Gym was filled with enthusiastic fans who were kept on the edge of their seats as they watched a game that went right down to the wire.
Coach Mike Joyce has done a great job this season. He has taken young athletes of all shapes, sizes, abilities and personalities and woven them into an outstanding team that has fun playing basketball. All of the players on both teams played well in the game, but I was especially proud of John Swan and Matt Rivers who led our team to victory. I had the pleasure of coaching both of these boys on a youth basketball team when they were in the fifth grade. They were good back then, but they are fantastic now. Isn't that what Vineyard Pride is all about?
Three who are
To the Editor:
Our community is full of characters. Recently we've lost three of them. They are somewhere else, not to be forgotten. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Margaret Landers, Peter Duart, and Dougie Abdelnour.
Melanie Godek and family
Hospital for the Blinker
To the Editor:
Add my voice to those in favor of seeking an alternative site for our Island hospital. Many of us urged moving it to a more central and less vulnerable location, not on a marsh and on the other side of the bridge, during the 1970s, when the present facility was a proposal. The same concerns still apply, if not more so today. Near the blinking light is the most accessible population density center of the Island. It has the added advantage of giving impetus to a common sewerage treatment facility for the hospital, the high school, Woodside Village, Community Services, and the YMCA facility, should it be added there.
What about the Redstone site, on the northwest corner of Barnes and Edgartown Roads? It was purchased initially for a central bank administrative center, and subsequently purchased by the Land Bank. Could sufficient local support be generated to move the wheels of the Land Bank boards and the state legislature to make a portion of this site available for a 99-year lease to the hospital? (That is the arrangement by which Community Services presently occupies land owned by the high school across the street.)
No credit to the county
To the Editor;
In a Gazette article dated Feb. 3, it seems that John Alley and the Dukes County commissioners came up with the idea to place the question of a county charter study commission on the state election ballot, scheduled for Nov. 7.
Let me make it clear that John Alley and the commissioners had nothing to do with the idea of the creation of the commission study. A few totally fed up citizens, beginning a number of years ago, began pressuring and requesting that the all-Island selectmen from a committee to study our county government which "they," the commission, was supposed to do a long time ago. The selectmen finally responded, and that is how the present county review committee was formed.
During a recent county review committee meeting, Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel stepped forward with the idea of taking before the voters the idea of forming another Dukes County charter study committee made up of 15 citizens, just like the one formed for its creation. John Alley, Winn Davis and the commissioners were now in a terrible position. They saw that this idea of Tristan's had some teeth and that this was going to go over big-time, so they decided to spin the heck out of it, to no one's surprise.
Some might have missed a few recent news reports in both Island newspapers, or the county review committee's meetings shown on MVTV, but don't let the commission take credit for anything but creating this very serious and expensive mess that we are now in. Simply put, a few fed up citizens and the present county review committee gets the credit for this one, certainly not John Alley, Winn Davis or any commissioners. What John Alley did was called major damage control.
Woodrow W. Williams
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to the manager of Stop & Shop in Edgartown:
The staff, students, and parents of the Edgartown School gratefully acknowledge the Edgartown Stop & Shop's very generous discounted food items for this year's Red Stocking food baskets. Due to the store's generosity we were also able to purchase additional gift cards from Stop & Shop to assist Red Stocking in the purchasing of food throughout the year for families in need.
The Edgartown School has been assembling these food baskets for Red Stocking at holiday time for 26 years. It is due to your generous community support that we are able to continue this important tradition. We look forward to continued years of working with you and Stop & Shop.
Sandra Joyce and Barbara Reynolds
Leave State Forest unmolested
To the Editor:
It has been my understanding that the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest was set aside and was to be preserved so that current and future generations can enjoy a unique coastal island forest - not a racetrack, not a hospital, not Central Park East, nor as a site for anyone else's fancy little schemes.
Please relocate your ideas, and if you are too blind to appreciate the place for what it is, then don't go in there.
To the Editor:
I have a couple of off-season driving gripes to get off my chest.
My first complaint is where drivers stop on Eastville Avenue in Oak Bluffs, by the emergency room. As I drive toward Temahigan from Vineyard Haven, I put on my blinker, signaling I'm turning left. More than once, the driver at the stop sign starts up and cuts across my path. I come to a screeching stop. I've tried it without the blinker, with the same results. Police recommend no signal and proceed with caution, and they say cars from Vineyard Haven do have the right of way. I say: be careful.
On another matter, I drive nearly 500 miles a week, mostly behind the wheel of a school bus. When I have to turn left, an approaching vehicle slows, but does not stop. Does this mean the driver wants me to turn or wait? A more direct approach would be to come to a complete stop, flash his lights or wave me on, instead of a slow roll. Just a thought.
And of course I'm very aware of drivers who go through the flashing red lights of a school bus. I report your registration number for that infraction.
Just a few ideas to chew over. Thanks for listening.
ATV riding in State Forest possible
To the Editor:
Regarding dirt biking and ATV riding on Martha's Vineyard, just a few comments. First of all, having done a little research off-Island this past weekend, I find that it is possible to have a small part of the State Forest open to trailriding, that is, with dirt bikes and ATVs. Most Massachusetts state forests have seasonal trailriding on designated trails, maintained by clubs sponsored by the New England Trailriders Assoc. With a lot of support and a little education, I think we could get a few acres open. It is possible to co-exist with horseback riders, bike riders, hikers, hunters, etc. We only want a few winter months, no summer riding. No fire concern; Massachusetts law requires spark arrestors anyway.
Regarding Dave Whitmon's letter, well, all I can say is that he is wrong. One quarter or quadrant of our forest has not been trashed at all. In fact, I seriously doubt he even was able to access the small area that is used for dirt-bike or ATV use, and the trails mentioned are and have been used for many years by all sorts of traffic, from horses to trucks. They certainly were not ruined.
The people I have met on these trails are extremely courteous; they pull off the trail and stop their motors for pedestrians and horses and bicycles (more than I can say for cyclists!) They are certainly not the people Mr. Whitmon depicts as villains.
What is really the problem with these dirt bikes and ATVs? A couple rainstorms cover any tracks. There is some noise, I agree. However, that can be muffled with a little education. Even Nantucket has sanctioned trails. And Cuttyhunk's whole transportation system is based on ATVs, golf carts, and motorbikes. Also, they are less polluting than riding lawnmowers, weed-whackers, leaf-blowers, and all the pesticides and weed-killers everyone uses.
Hey, life is too short; the way the world is going, what's wrong with a few kids and adults having a little fun? People have been riding in the State Forest since the internal combustion engine was invented, and it has survived just fine.
I do question Mr. Whitmon's right to ride a three-wheeled vehicle on state roads with miles of traffic backed up behind him, and I question his right to adorn his hat with wild bird feathers. I think there is a law against both. However, live and let live. At any rate, I think we can create a safe place for people to ride with just some education and support. Thank you.
This is progress?
To the Editor:
In October 1927, work began on the George Washington Bridge, and it opened for traffic on Oct. 25, 1931. The towers are 604 feet high, the span 4,760 feet, and the cost to build the bridge was $59,000,000. On Jan. 5, 1933, construction started on the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge opened on May 27, 1937. The towers are 746 feet high and the suspension is 4,200 feet long. That bridge is built to withstand winds of more than 100 miles per hour. The bridge cost $35,000,000. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened in 1964 after nearly five years of construction, at a cost of almost $100,000,000. The span is 4,260 feet and the towers are 693 feet high. All of these bridges encountered enormous new engineering challenges which were met and overcome.
The Gazette recently reported in an article about the Lagoon Pond drawbridge that the project will be completed in 2013, at a total cost of $29,000,000, which includes the temporary bridge.
Small wonder that China is rapidly gaining on the United States economically and in productivity.