Letters to the Editor
You ought to vote
To the Editor:
One of the most fundamental rights we have as an American citizen is the right to vote. To take part in the process that enables us to make a change in our town's current issues. I recently participated in the elections last Thursday in Oak Bluffs. I read the results in the Gazette and was amazed at the reported turnout of voters that showed up to vote.
To some, the town elections may seem a joke. I hear people say they are sick of how the town is run, but when asked if they voted they say, "Why bother?" or "I didn't have the time."
If you are disappointed in the outcome, then maybe you should have taken the time to vote. I may not get to every town meeting, but the one thing that is important, especially when I disagree, is that I vote.
For as many people that complain, maybe they should start paying attention and participate. If you want change, then be the advocate. Right now, in my opinion, what Oak Bluffs residents are lacking is exercising their constitutional right to vote, and that is a disappointment.
Are Canada geese
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to the Oak Bluffs selectmen.
As a resident of the Ocean Park area, I have watched the Canada goose population grow steadily over the past few years, and as the latest generation joins its elders it occurs to me that the time has come to give serious consideration to addressing what looms as a potential health problem. A brief walk through the park at this time of year, even on the paved walks, is a rather unpleasant experience because the ground is literally covered with goose excrement.
Aside from aesthetic considerations, as the human population of the park grows with improving weather and children begin playing on the grass, I wonder about their potential exposure to serious disease from this bacteria-laden material. While I don't want to sound like an alarmist, with all one reads about the risks of avian-borne disease, fewer and fewer parents are going to be willing to let their children play there, and the town may face a serious liability issue in the unlikely but not impossible event that a child does become seriously ill as a result of playing in the park - particularly since the problem has become worse with each passing year, and the town so far has taken no action to address it.
The problem may very well have a simple and relatively inexpensive solution. Ocean Park is not the only place on the Island that has faced this problem because of the rapid increase in the goose population. As cited in the 9/1/05 issue of the MV Times, Farm Neck Golf Club had also become a favorite spot for these birds, and one of the things they tried that was at least partially successful was to employ a border collie to chase the geese away. Given the somewhat more limited size of the park, I would think that a border collie under the supervision of the Park Department would be worth a try to make life in the park somewhat less hospitable for the goose population and more hospitable for humans.
In any event, I think it's time to take some positive action.
John F. Kelly
Let the people
To the Editor:
Two years ago, selectman Roger Wey served as chairman of the Oak Bluffs selectmen. From the beginning of his term, he stated his intention to create an atmosphere that would encourage public participation at meetings, returning the spirit of public collaboration and cooperation that had been lost in recent years.
People used to attend meetings all the time - it was an important feature of life in Oak Bluffs. The meetings were productive and cordial and people enjoyed taking part in the political process. They felt involved and engaged.
Roger's action was well received, because it meant providing more opportunities during the meetings for public comment. Of course, public attendance increased and people once again showed an interest in and took part in these important meetings.
If an agenda item seemed to have generated specific public interest, he would allow public input when that subject was being discussed. In addition, he invited department heads to the meetings to share their work and concerns and to introduce them to the public.
At the first selectmen's meeting after the 2005 election, it was disappointing to hear Duncan Ross, the newly elected selectman, clearly state his belief that these meetings belonged to the selectmen, not to the public.
Historically, the people of Oak Bluffs have shown their eagerness to participate in all public meetings and it would be a shame to continue to discourage this tradition.
Ann L. Margetson
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter sent to the Oak Bluffs selectmen:
I am writing to share my thoughts regarding your decision to authorize and support the upcoming Monster Shark Tournament.
It is my belief that killing sharks for amusement, prizes and gambling payoffs is an indefensible position by any reasonable standard. I came away from last Friday's selectmen's meeting frustrated and saddened by our collective contempt for the sanctity of life. The idea that we, as a community, deliberately place the pursuit of the almighty dollar above simple, uncomplicated compassion for an imperiled and declining species, is a disturbing commentary on our humanity. By supporting the Monster Shark Tournament you send a direct message of disrespect for our environment to the very great detriment of our planet.
Regardless of how you "spin it" (advancing marine science, feeding the elderly, boon to local economy, etc.) there can be no justification for killing and publicly displaying the lifeless bodies of these magnificent fish. The recognition, money and notoriety the town receives through its agreements with ESPN and the promoter (Boston Big Game Fishing Club) indelibly taints Oak Bluffs and impugns the good character of Martha's Vineyard.
We share many things in common, not the least of which is our love for the Vineyard. My hope is that you will find the courage to resist the entrapments, glitter and easy money associated with this event. I further hope you will, in the stillness of your hearts, consider these thoughts as you go forth leading the great town of Oak Bluffs into the future.
To the Editor:
For anyone interested in keeping Frank J. Williams's memories alive, please go to frank-williams.memory-of.com. Keep his memory alive. We would love for you to visit this site. Thanks.
The Williams family
To the Editor:
During the recent election season, freshman selectman Duncan Ross expressed his doubts about the propriety of Roger Wey serving as both cirector of the Council on Aging and selectman. Mr. Wey was running for his seventh term.
Mr. Ross must have been aware that the town administrator, the ethics commission, the employees union, town counsel, The board of directors of the Council on Aging, and the board of selectmen all studied the matter of Mr. Wey's dual roles and gave it their approval.
As an alternate member of the Council on Aging, I assure Mr. Ross that his colleagues who voted for Mr. Wey did so with the assurances of the town administrator that every single one of the above boards and officials had determined there was no reason why Mr. Wey should not serve, and he has done so, with diligence and distinction.
To the Editor:
In last week's edition, Shaun McCarron wrote a lovely heartfelt letter about his daughter Naomi. Naomi was a friend of mine, and I as well as everyone who knew her miss her so very much. She had a smile that would light the darkest of days. She had eyes that let you know she really cared. And most of all she had the heart of an angel, because of course that is what she was and still is.
Nay helped those around her whenever she could, and all she asked for in return was for you to help someone in need. Whether it be physically or emotionally.
She was a lover, not a hater. She loved life, and unfortunately hers was cut short, but during the time we were blessed with her, she helped many. Nay will always remain in the hearts of us who loved her so much, her family and her friends. We all love and miss you Nay, and thank you for helping us all in some way or another. Not many people can name their guardian angel, but I can. Her name is Naomi Lynn McCarron.
To the Editor:
On April 13 and 14, the Oak Bluffs School hosted students, teachers, and community members from across the Island for the first of two Brazil Fests to be held in the Martha's Vineyard schools this year. The hallways, classrooms, and playing fields were alive with students learning about and enjoying Brazilian language and culture. They listened to Brazilian music, watched a Brazilian folk tale performed by puppets, drummed and danced to Brazilian rhythms, were entertained by a fashion show while eating delicious Brazilian food, studied the rainforest, acted out Brazilian folk tales, and more! Many people contributed to this effort, including Rick Bausman, the Spindrift puppets, Kori Thomas, Peggy Wong, Phyllis Vechio, Anna Luckey and various parents and Island businesses whose names I don't have. Thank you all, and I apologize for not including everyone's name. Most deserving of our thanks are Rebecca Geary, whose energy, passion, commitment and creativity made it happen, Laury Binney and the entire Oak Bluffs School staff and community who gave valuable time, space and energy, in the midst of MCAS pressure, the Brazilian students who came from Tisbury, West Tisbury, Edgartown, and MVRHS to represent their schools and take what they learned back and who along with the Oak Bluffs students helped to plan and run all the activities. Oak Bluffs and Tisbury students spent long hours planning for this festival and the one to follow at the Tisbury school on June 11th and 12th under the guidance of Rebecca Geary and and Kori Thomas. A special thanks to the high school students who pitched in at the last minute and did a great job teaching dances to students and teachers. Thank you all.
What the media doesn't report
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Erik Albert's letter titled Hunt for the good news, in the April 13 Times.
Mr. Albert seems to believe what Anthony Zinni says. Zinni is a retired commander in chief of the United States Central Command, in charge of all American troops in the Middle East, the same job held by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf before him, and Gen. Tommy Franks after him.
I say it was biased reporting. Chances are you won't find the following being reported by the liberal news media. According to NewsMax.com, former General Zinni, who has been calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign because of Rumsfeld's alleged incompetence in running the Iraq war, admitted six years ago that he made the disastrous decision to have the USS Cole use the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling, where the ship was blown up by al Qaeda terrorists. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in October 2000, a week after the Cole attack, the then recently retired Zinni said, "I pass that buck on to nobody." He said he personally signed off on berthing the Cole in Yemen, even though their coast is a sieve for terrorists. Gen. Zinni said that cutbacks in the size of the Navy's fleet during the Clinton years made it necessary to use regional ports for refueling, noting, "ten years ago, we did all refueling at sea" using Navy oilers. Still, prior to the Cole attack, there's no record that Gen. Zinni ever complained about the Clinton era defense cuts. Who was incompetent here, Zinni or Clinton?
Worse still, at least one report indicates that Gen. Zinni may have played a role in an August 1998 leak that tipped off Osama bin Laden to an impending U.S. cruise missile attack, allowing the top terrorist to escape.
Currently, there are about 4,700 living members of the retired general officer corps, most of whom left active duty between Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Last week, .13 (point one three) percent of them decided to help write the Democrats' 2006 midterm election playbook. Six retired officers (seven, if we include former Demo presidential hopeful Wesley Clark) issued public indictments of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's conduct of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is worth noting, because the liberal left media hasn't, that the six complainants are all alumni of Clinton's Pentagon cabal. Neither has the liberal left media mentioned the support Secretary Rumsfeld has received from more consequential retired generals such as former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers or former OEF and OIF commander Tommy Franks.
You probably won't find this being reported by the liberal left either. James Risen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his New York Times report last December that revealed President Bush's previously secret terrorist surveillance program, a revelation he uncovered while researching his book "State of War," makes an equally explosive claim in the same book about President Clinton's relationship with the CIA, which his editors at the Times have so far declined to cover. Upon taking power in 1993, Risen reports, the Clinton administration "began slashing the intelligence budget in search of a peace dividend, and Bill Clinton showed almost no interest in intelligence matters." The agency cutbacks combined with presidential disinterest took their toll almost immediately. Over a three- or four-year period in the early to mid-1990s, Risen reports, virtually an entire generation of CIA officers, the people who had won the Cold War, quit or retired. One CIA veteran compared the agency to an airline that had lost all of is senior pilots. After Clinton CIA Director John Deutch cashiered several senior officers over a scandal in Guatemala, the situation got even worse. Morale at the CIA plunged and, less willing to take big risks, the CIA was less able to recruit spies in dangerous places such as Iraq.
The Clinton era also hobbled CIA efforts to get Osama bin Laden. In early 1998, Risen said, the agency was prepared to launch a special operation to kidnap the al Qaeda chief in Afghanistan. "To be sure, the operation was high risk, and there was a strong possibility that it would be so messy that bin Laden would be killed rather than captured. CIA Director George Tenet and CIA lawyers worried deeply about that issue; they believed the covert action finding on al Qaeda that President Clinton had signed authorized only bin Laden's capture, not his death." Frustrated by restrictions that made dealing with the big challenges too difficult, the agency turned its energy to lesser problems, Risen reports. Thanks to Vice President Al Gore, for example, the CIA briefly made the global environment one of is priorities.
As for the journalist leaving the green zone to cover Easter egg hunts in Iraq, that would be nice, but Easter egg hunts coincide with Easter, a Christian holiday, not a Muslim holiday.
alive and well
To the Editor:
As another year passes I'm sitting here so moved by the depth of our community. As you may know, The Safe Haven Project invited 40 young people living with HIV and AIDS to spend a week on our Island as part of our 12th annual "Vineyard Project" camp. As is tradition, the camp was housed at the Youth Hostel in West Tisbury. After meeting Bridget Tobin at the boat, campers spent the week immersed in all that the Island can offer. Campers were treated to one activity after another, from a workshop with IMP, mini-golf at Island Cove, basketball at the Boys and Girls Club. So many people offered many activities that it seemed we spent the entire week jetting from one place to another.
Pam Benjamin and The Mad Potter joined in again for arts and crafts. Linda Dewitt and Robert Greene opened up Green Acres for a day of scavenger hunts and s'mores. Members of the Farm Institute joined them, as well. The Surfcasters and Coop's took the kids fishing. Nat Benjamin let them tour the boat he was building. The kids were so welcomed. Jocko McCarthy lovingly transported us all from place to place in a donated bus from Island Transport.
The campers enjoyed meals daily prepared by our Chef, Marvin Jones with assistants Heather Rynd, Karen Russillo and Leah Mercaldo, from food donated by Cronig's Market, Island Food Products, Beth Kramer, Arthur Cormier, Reliable Market, Humphreys, The Harbor View Hotel, and individuals who baked goodies and provided them through Jeannie Pearson. Nightly, under the watchful eye and skilled hands of the MV Harley Riders, dinners were offered from Linda Jean's, Doug Reid, and the PA Club. At Outerland during our dance party, campers enjoyed almost 50 pizzas donated from Papa's, Louis', Pomodoro, Offshore Ale, and Edgartown Pizza. Campers danced the night away thanks to Barry Rosenthal and Corey Cabral of Outerland. And let us not forget the annual Harley Rider cookout and egg hunt, truly a highlight for our campers.
One annual event is our trip to the cliffs in Aquinnah for our "remembrance" celebration. This year, members of the Wampanoag tribe came to the hostel to drum, and dance and then met us at the cliffs to share legends and to help us remember those we have lost along the way. All this after climbing the lighthouse, thanks to Joan Lelacheur.
It takes many hands to make an experience like this a success. Safe Haven is especially grateful to Mary Shea for coordinating all of the week's activities. Her desire to bring the camp to life for our kids has been a cornerstone of our experiences for over nine years and is not an easy task. James Rowell and his mom, Dr. Harris, Kevin and Beth Carr, Melissa Breese, and Jonathan Kelly donated houses where our nurses stayed during camp. Everyone had a place to rest their head.
I am honored to have a place in this community. Dave Butler and I share our appreciation of this place and all that the people here willingly share. We're appreciative of the dozen nurses and 20 counselors who donated their time and energy to assure that safety was always maintained. This camp is a model of care that many across the nation recognize as rare and exceptional. This is due to the kindness of each of you who helped us either in person, by donation, or in spirit. The Island community is alive and well. Thank you all once again.
Director of Programming
The Safe Haven Project Inc.
To the Editor:
Another successful week of American Cancer Society Daffodil Days has come and gone, and again I am so amazed at the number of people that have continued to come forth to help.
In February, some of them started collecting their pre-sale orders and turned them in to me by March 3rd. The result was that 2,000 bunches of daffodils arrived at the dock on March 21 and were met by volunteers who collected their required number of bunches and hustled off to deliver them. The remainder of these beautiful blossoms were sold the next day at five different locations on the Island and because there were so many people making donations over and above the cost of their flowers, we were able to give flowers to nursing homes, the hospital, and senior centers.
This year's brown team included Nancy Allyce Colter, Kerry and Pat Alley, Maggie St. Denis (Bangs), Stuart Bangs, Cynthia Barletta, Patricia Brown, Helen Burt, David Cron, Kenny Ivory, Debbie Magnuson, Dee Smith (Geiger), Sharon Spinney, Becky Renear, Jacquie Renear, Lynn Tuck, Penny Uhlendorf, Susie Wallo, Denys and Marilyn Wortman, and Tony's Market.
And then there there are the unsung heroes. Every school, town hall, bank and office has one person who takes orders and collects the money for the pre-sales. How else could we reach so many people? I wish I could list each one of them but that is impossible. You know who you are and you know how grateful I am for what you do.
The daffodil is the flower of hope for those suffering from cancer. Researchers supported by the American Cancer Society strive to find a cure and make it a disease of the past. We ourselves are urged to fight cancer by preventative methods, early detection, prompt treatment and education. See a doctor if you are in doubt. Do not delay.
My thanks go out to everyone who has helped to make this 2006 campaign such a success.
Benefits Fair a success
To the Editor:
On April 6, the County of Dukes County held its annual benefits fair for all municipal employees. Its success was the result of planning and cooperation. I would like to thank the following people who spent the day supporting municipal workers.
The health care plans were represented by Bill Rowbottom of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mark Powers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Katalin Hundt of Delta Dental. With the ever-changing health industry this was an opportunity for employees to have a one-on-one discussion with these representatives. Kim Andersen from MyMedication Advisor came to inform employees of additional ways they could save on their prescription medications.
Kelly McCracken of the Dukes County Contributory Retirement System was available for questions regarding the municipal pension law. Also at the fair were investment professionals who could give insight about the deferred compensation plans that employees may take advantage of. Christopher Flanders represented AXA Financial Advisors, and Ricardo Diaz-Lane and Robert Veringia were there from ING.
Local podiatrist Dr. Jay Segel brought his portable ultra sound machine so that all interested employees could have their feet scanned. Terry Forde, Cheryl Kram, and Laura Murphy of Vineyard Nursing Association donated their time to check everyone's blood pressure. Connie McHugh gave complimentary day passes from The Workout and encouraged all to increase activity and strength training.
A special thank-you goes to the high school assistant principal, Ann Lemenager, for the use of the culinary arts dining room. Also, the effort of all the municipal benefit administrators who helped get the word out about the fair was greatly appreciated.
Senior Financial Clerk
County of Dukes County