Letters to the Editor
This past week was school vacation week, and while many were off skiing or sunning themselves, I took the opportunity to reflect upon my first eight or nine months as the Island's superintendent of schools. What a wonderful place this is, with hardworking, dedicated people who truly support their children and their schools. Once again, I am struck by how fortunate we are to live in a place that cares.
By way of explanation, let me describe some of the experiences I have had in the past few weeks, as they represent what I mean.
First, I had the pleasure of meeting with finance committees and selectmen from across the Island to discuss the school budgets for the 2006-07 school year. While this is often a difficult, and sometimes adversarial, process, I found the FinCom members and selectmen careful money managers who wanted to be sure that our resources were being used wisely. When reductions or changes were needed, they were mutually discussed and the outcome was always what was best for the entire community.
During this same time period, I was able to attend numerous athletic events at the elementary and high school levels. I wish everyone on the Island could have experienced the excitement of the elementary basketball tournament finals in the Edgartown gym. It didn't matter who won, but the cheering from young and old alike was something to see. Even the team that lost felt enriched by the experience. And talk about excitement with the high school boys win over Greater New Bedford Voc Tech in the middle of a snowstorm. Islanders - young and old - made the trip on the Fast Ferry just to be supportive and to watch our team fight its way back to victory.
I was also struck by the vast support shown by the community for our boys and girls ice hockey teams and their booster club's annual auctions. Not only did many Island businesses offer merchandise and services to be auctioned off, but also community members who had no children in our schools bid significant dollars to support these teams and their hard work. This was also the case with the auction held in support of the high school's Minnesingers' annual trip abroad.
Finally, Islanders demonstrated their pleasure at watching the many school drama productions, such as the Oak Bluffs school's rendition of the Wizard of Oz and the high school's Grease. The audiences were packed for these and other performances, helping to get the entire community through the "quiet" off-season.
The true winners in all of this are our children, who are afforded a wonderful education in a caring, supportive environment. That is truly something to be proud of in this sometimes difficult world in which we live. Thank you, Martha's Vineyard, for all you do for our future - our children. And thank you too for allowing me to become a part of this community.
James H. Weiss
To the Editor:
I'd like to offer gratis my services as an occasional proofreader for French phrases. I mean that in the nicest way. I love the Times, and I want to help make it even better.
"Laissez les bons temps roulez" is approximately equivalent to "Let the good times rolls." It confuses the infinitive suffix "-er" with the plural/formal second person suffix "-ez."
Call me any time.
Editor's Note: Generous of you. We'll put you on speed dial. Actually, we discovered the error Thursday morning within moments of beginning our regular review of the printed product. Why we didn't notice it before we went to press on Wednesday evening, I don't know.
To the Editor:
I find it amazing that the Wampanoaq tribe owes that much money for a future development that may not go ahead. To me and my wife this is a classic case of envy for what others have.
The element that gambling and associated trades bring have no place on the Vineyard or any of the surrounding areas. The sea and land are the area's greatest commodities; revenue should come from these two sources, if they are not also mismanaged to a point that the intrinsic value diminishes below what is and will be desirable. We feel the tribe has gotten themselves into a very bad financial position by accepting that much money on a proposed venue.
Michael and Shirley Daniels
Lost mail inquiry
To the Editor:
I have lost confidence in the United States Postal Service and its ability to get the mail off this Island and reach its destination. Recently, I mailed a package that included original artwork and text to a publisher for layout and printing. The fact that the large envelopes were certified should have secured their safe delivery; however, it's been since January 24, and alas, no package has arrived, received or returned to sender.
After mentioning it to several year-round Vineyarders, I am beyond confused - it seems no one in the post office or the community has high expectations of the mail process here on the Vineyard. One friend said, "Oh really, I had a similar problem during the holidays." She had mailed several gifts out long before Christmas, so that they had enough time to reach their destinations, but after not getting any thank-you notes or comments on her gifts, it turned out that they were never received nor returned. I was shocked. When I told another person, he said, "Oh you shouldn't have mailed the package in Chilmark, I think that they have had a lot of problems in Chilmark and Edgartown."
Again shocked, I thought, what do you mean? That is where I mail everything. He went on to say that it went to post office hell. Is that up-Island or down-Island, I wondered. Is there such a place? In the meantime, I have contacted the Postmaster General himself, the sending post office here in Chilmark, the distribution center located in Bourne, the Lost Mail centers in Atlanta and St. Paul, the Consumers Affairs Office in Providence, Rhode Island, and so far the package is missing altogether.
What is really going on? Are the Postal Service employees overworked or understaffed? Or are they simply not that interested here on Martha's Vineyard? Or are they very nice but not really concerned? They open late, close early, and sometimes have inappropriately nasty attitudes. I can say that in no other community in which I have worked and lived, have I ever seen such a lack of concern about customer service. Perhaps customer service is just not a big deal here on Martha's Vineyard.
Where I'm from (Southern California) people are taught to smile and be polite, and I was taught that a smile and genuine concern always made a difference. But not on Martha's Vineyard, a tourist spot for the lifestyles of the rich and famous? I am not rich (yet), nor famous, but before, during, and after, I hope to I see customer service improved on this Island before we all go postal.
Please forward or return to sender.
To the Editor:
To the Edgartown Elementary School family and Edgartown community:
Please accept my appreciation in both English and Portuguese for the kindness extended to me during my time on Martha's Vineyard throughout the interview process for the Edgartown Elementary School principal post.
I have been an admirer of the Island since the mid-eighties when I first fell in love with Edgartown while documenting and researching its architectural integrity and history, and finding comfort among the houses, the water, and the welcoming community. My visits brought me to Martha's Vineyard during late summer and spring, and each and every time, I believed the Island to be a magical place, and my admiration grew.
Since then, my passion has extended from restoring and building buildings to developing young minds and preserving a love of learning. In architecture and historic preservation, the pleasure of witnessing and being a part of the development of a building taking on its own identity, is also awaiting what details of character will be revealed. The same rings true in the life commitment I've made to both children and adults in education - helping to build and grow the next generation of compassionate thinkers, imaginative learners, and confident leaders while being in the company of effective leaders and educators.
In my current post as an instructional leadership coach and professional development consultant with Highlights for Children and Zaner-Bloser-Voices, I travel all over the world working with governmental organizations and school systems to cultivate strong, positive relationships in schools by sharing and exchanging stories, and helping to improve literacy and social skills for grades K-12 through the teaching and modeling of best practices. As a result, I've been blessed by the many learning adventures I've shared with school families in the United States, and across the eastern and western continents with several islands in between.
Even though I enjoy the varying perspectives of what I do, I truly miss the permanent connection I had with students, teachers, and families as an elementary principal. I consider it an honor to have been chosen as one of the final candidates in the culminating stage of the interview process, and was impressed with the professional and gracious nature of the principal search committee.
My hope is still grounded in the dream of returning to a school committed to instilling in its young men and women curiosity, integrity, social responsibility, and a commitment to one another and the world. I got to experience this first hand when visiting Edgartown Elementary School's 100th day celebration. Mrs. Fligor and Dr. Weiss were the consummate tour guides, capitalized by the courageous students whose articulate, curious, and compassionate questions kept me on my toes, but more importantly, confirmed what an amazing treasure of learners and committed teachers, faculty, administrators, and community members the Edgartown Elementary School possesses.
Now, more than ever, I know the Island community is filled with residents and families whose values and principles embrace the spirit, creativity, energy, and commitment animated in the deep history and beauty of Martha's Vineyard - all of which have left an indelible imprint on my heart. Upon future visits, I hope to have the pleasure of being in your company again.
Thank you once again for your gift of kindness and friendship.
And, to Portuguese speaking members of the community:
Ao Edgartown para família Elementar de Escola e comunidade de Edgartown:
Por favor aceite minha apreciação em tanto inglês e português para a bondade estendido a mim durante meu tempo em Vinha do Martha por todo o processo de entrevista para o Edgartown Escola Elementar poste Principal.
Foi admirador da Ilha desde que os médio-oitenta quando eu primeiramente caí em amor com Edgartown enquanto documentando e pesquisar seua integridade arquitetônica, história, e conforto de achado entre as casas, a água, e a comunidade acolhedora. Minhas visitas trouxeram-me a Vinha do Martha durante verão atrasado e para mola, e cada e cada tempo, eu acreditei que a Ilha ser um lugar mágico, e minha admiração cresceram.
Desde que então, minha paixão estendeu de restaurar e edifícios de construção a desenvolver mentes jovem e para conservar um amor de aprender. Em arquitetura e preservação histórica, o prazer de testemunhar e são uma parte do desenvolvimento de um edifício toma no própria identidade, também espera que detalhes de caráter será revelado. A mesma verdade de anéis no compromisso de vida eu fiz a tanto crianças como adultos em educação- ajudando construir e crescer a próxima geração de pensadores compassivos, aprendizes imaginativos, e líderes confiantes enquanto está na companhia de líderes eficientes e educadores.
Em meu poste atual como um treinador de liderança de instructional e consultor profissional de desenvolvimento com Destacar para Crianças e Zaner-Bloser-Vozes, eu viajo no mundo inteiro trabalhando com organizações governamentais e sistemas de escola cultivar relacionamentos positivos fortes em escolas por compartilhar e trocar histórias, e ajudando melhorar aptidão literária e habilidades sociais para K de níveis-12 pelo ensino e modelam de melhores práticas. Como um resultado, eu fui abençoado pelo muitos aprende aventuras que eu compartilhei com as famílias de escola nos Estados Unidos, e através dos continentes ocidentais orientais com várias ilhas entre.
Mesmo que gozo as perspectivas variáveis de ele que que eu faço, eu verdadeiramente perco a conexão permanente que eu tive com estudantes, professores e as famílias como um diretor elementar. Considero-o uma honra ter sido escolhida como um dos candidatos finais no que culminando etapa do processo de entrevista, e foi impressionado com o profissional e natureza graciosa do Comitê Principal de Procura.
Minha esperança ainda é aterrado no sonho de retornar a uma escola cometido a instigar em seus jovens e para curiosidade de mulheres, integridade, responsabilidade social, e um compromisso a si e para o mundo. Recebi experimentar este visitar de primeira mão Edgartown Escola Elementar celebração 100 de dia. Sra. Fligor e o Dr. Weiss eram o consumado excursão guias, capitalizado pelo corajoso estudantes cujo loquaz, curioso, e compassivo perguntas manteve-me em meu dedos, mas o que é mais importante, confirmou o que um surpreendente tesouro de aprendizes e cometido professores, sentido, administradores, e comunidade membros o Edgartown Elementar Escola possui.
Agora, mais que nunca, sei que a comunidade de Ilha é enchida com residentes e as famílias cujos valores e princípios cingem o espírito, criatividade, energia, e compromisso animado na história funda e beleza de Vinha do Martha- todo que tem à esquerda um permanente imprime no meu coração. Sobre visitas futuras, eu espero ter o prazer de estar em seua companhia outra vez.
Agradeça-o mais uma vez para seu presente de bondade e amizade.
Com todos meus votos de felicidade.
Many views needed
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to the Tisbury Beer & Wine Committee.
At the Selectmen's meeting last night you spoke of sending out a survey to some 600 people whom you felt had an interest in the issue of the sale of beer and wine in our Town. I appreciated your sense that you should get some quantitative data from a wide spectrum to help you in your deliberations. You also spoke of holding a public meeting to discuss the findings.
I applaud your efforts. I think that the survey done by the planning board for the master plan may help you, too. My concern, however, is that there is a probably unquantifiable issue that will affect the future of Tisbury just as profoundly. How will this change in the town affect the character of the town? And how can you predict it?
I think of Tisbury as composed of middle-income working families. Our concerns are for the environment of our children and their futures, for our ability to find goods that meet our everyday needs, to use the parks and waterfront, and to enjoy our friends: the activities that make up our daily lives. Others may have a different view. You need to know those, too.
Your committee has the ability to call on "experts" in many fields as well as residents to help you look at the ramifications of the changes that are proposed. I salute you and wish you well.
Mary H. Snyder
To the Editor:
This week's Martha's Vineyard Times [March 2] has three installments on the Young amendment. A news item on the Steamship Authority letter, which, except for one sentence devoted to Senator John Kerry, puts forward only pro-amendment perspective. The Op Ed page runs that letter in full, and then your At Large chimes in to agree. Any reader looking for any other perspective on the Young amendment would need to find another newspaper to do so.
What floored me was this line from your At Large: "...especially when you consider that the cost of fuel to create electricity is becoming an increasingly less significant part of the energy generating equation, as clever technical and engineering types discover ever more efficient ways to do more with less."
Huh? Since I first met you in 2002, the price you pay for electricity for your home (per unit used) has gone up dramatically. The reason given by the Cape Light Compact and NSTAR? Rising fossil fuel prices. In fact, the generation part of your bill has more than doubled, assuming you are a Cape Light Compact customer, as are most residents of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard.
To the Editor:
Your "Mariner's judgment" column of March 2, states that "The image of 130 turning, humming, lighted wind turbines lining that route [to Nantucket] offends the mariner's eye." Offense, I suggest, is in the eye of the beholder. I too have sailed that route many times, and I look forward to the added aesthetic delight of sailing among tall, graceful, quietly swishing turbines like those I have seen in Denmark.
The issue of safety also has two sides. As navigator of a Coast Guard buoy tender in the 1950s, I participated in a rescue operation near Horseshoe Shoal during a howling northeast blizzard that hid the land and made our radar all but useless. To make matters worse, the loran signals were intermittent. I would have given anything for a visual fix from some tall lighted towers on the shoal.
Surely, the Coast Guard is keenly aware of navigational hazards and safety at sea. In fact, the Coast Guard commissioned a study of the Cape Wind project that found no risk to navigation; indeed, the numbered towers could help in locating small vessels in distress. It would be truly ironic if the Young amendment to the Coast Guard appropriations bill, introduced without debate, killed a project that the agency itself has not faulted and that might actually enhance maritime safety.
Back to sailing, which is another sort of wind power. Like you, I find the sight of Nantucket after dealing with currents and circumventing shoals to be profoundly satisfying. Sailing past wind towers on the way over there would have the added value, for me, of knowing that a lot of power is being generated without contributing to global warming and the resulting increases in sea level that will make Nantucket really hard to find.
Other wind farm issues
To the Editor:
This is an open letter to Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Representative Delahunt.
If ferry maneuvering ease were the only consideration for deciding the Cape Wind proposal, I would play it safe and vote against its construction. The same is true if appearance were the only consideration.
But the proposal involves hundreds of considerations, not simply navigation and real estate values. The wind farm has the potential for improving our nation's energy independence, reducing our competition and military action for oil, improving our international relations, decelerating global warming, reducing the pressure to construct coal and nuclear power plants, reducing the production of radioactive materials, reducing targets for terrorists, reducing airborne pollutants, reducing the cases of asthma and cancer, lowering the amount of mercury in our fish, preserving forests, streams, and wildlife preserves . . . the list goes on.
This is not a proposal for practicing tunnel vision. We need to look at all of our pressing issues, and then embrace far-reaching solutions.
While not perfect (what is?) the Cape Wind design is a sensible, ready-to-use option for generating much-needed electricity in a clean and safe way.