Letters to the Editor
Science says reducing deer density will reduce tick density, researcher asserts
To the Editor:
Cheryl Jacobson of the MSPCA suggested in a letter last week that reducing the deer herd is a "Band-aid solution," and justifies her comments by modifying fact with misconceptions or misinterpretation. Her words - "history has shown that reducing the number of deer in an area will not reduce the number of ticks" - ignore the scientific fact, as demonstrated by peer reviewed publication, that reducing deer locally, particularly in island situations, does indeed reduce the density of deer ticks.
Although her review of the deer tick life cycle is fundamentally correct, and her statement that adult deer ticks are not associated with human risk is also true, Ms. Jacobson pretends to miss the point about deer reduction. Deer reduction is source reduction. If adult ticks did not have anything to feed on, there could be no tick reproduction, because the bloodmeal taken by a female deer tick is turned into eggs. Each adult, female deer tick that feeds successfully will lay 2,000 eggs; and 95 percent of all adult deer ticks feed on deer. Thus, removing the source of the reproductive bloodmeal is critical in reducing the density of deer ticks.
One might suggest reducing the density of mice, chipmunks, or certain birds to reduce the chance that larvae and nymphs will feed on them and develop further (and also become infected), but killing one fed adult female deer tick is equivalent to killing 2,000 larvae and nymphs. It is clear that Ms. Jacobson understands some aspect of the concept of source reduction, because she concludes with the suggestion that her preferred alternative of deer treatment stations will reduce 90 percent of adult ticks feeding on deer.
The assertions that when deer densities are reduced more ticks will be found on the remaining deer, and that one would have to virtually eradicate deer to see any effect are arguments that MSPCA has used for many years. These statements are based on cherry-picked sentences from actual peer reviewed publications (one of which I helped contribute). Cherry-picking a sentence from a study without placing it in the context of the full study is poor scholarship or intentionally misleading. Good scientists add qualifying sentences and alternative explanations in their papers to be thorough in their analysis. None of the studies that are the basis for MSPCA statements had as an overall conclusion based on the data that deer reduction was a useless measure. Mathematical modeling of the deer tick life cycle independently corroborates the fact that reducing deer density to fewer than 10 per square mile will reduce deer tick density by an order of magnitude over 10 years. Eradication (deer density of zero) is not needed but would indeed be more effective.
There is no one magic bullet for reducing Lyme disease. I have always suggested an integrated approach with deer reduction, habitat management, and public education. Habitat management is the least likely to be practical given the expense of brush clearing. Public awareness is increasing. That leaves deer reduction as the cornerstone for intervention. The methods Ms. Jacobson advocates as more "practical, effective" solutions (deer treatment stations, Damminix/Maxforce, and habitat modification) should be considered as complements to, and not as replacements for, efforts designed to reduce deer density. These other methods would work far better if there were fewer deer/deer ticks. As it is, however, the alternatives to deer hunting cost money, and would cost money each year for an unspecified and probably interminable number of years. How many families can afford to pay for these things? If at the community level, should taxes be raised to pay for distribution of these anti-tick measures by the board of health? (Wouldn't the extra funds from taxes be better spent on general health-care delivery issues?) Hunters reduce deer for free and contribute to the local economy. We cannot afford to wait for the perfect humane solution, nor can we as a community afford to pay for it.
Sam R. Telford 3rd, ScD.
Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases
of Veterinary Medicine
To the Editor:
My wife, Connie, suffered a broken ankle two weeks ago - inconvenient, but she manages to move about the house in a wheel chair, and is recovering nicely. Over the weekend, one of her tooth caps popped out. We contacted our dentist, Dr. Robert Herman of Vineyard Haven, and he said if we brought her to the office, he could fix it in no time. However, his office is on the second floor of an office building. So, he came up with a creative solution, as you can see.
I call that, Thinking Outside the Box. (Or maybe it's inside the box.)
Robert A Iadicicco
is a dish
To the Editor:
In an ongoing culinary quest to master soufflés and other lofty delicacies, I had consulted various cookbooks for guidance on how best to fold beaten egg whites into the mixture without deflating it. Most advised along the lines of "quickly but gently." However, I found that focusing on either one of these was to the detriment of the other. Then I found a directive that created a mental set that helped me coordinate a successful action, "proceed assertively but compassionately."
And then one day, as I was driving home, it struck me: that's how you do Five Corners! Driving anywhere on the Island, in all seasons, one encounters countless courtesies, and nowhere is this more evident than at Five Comers (although it comes close at the State Road and Look St.-Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road dogleg intersection, which is less notorious but similarly interesting). Those who call for traffic directors or traffic lights at Five Comers are missing the magic of that intersection - how remarkably well traffic feathers and molds through it. The traffic delays often encountered are due to the sheer number of cars. The delays won't be mitigated, but rather compounded, by systems that thwart the give-and-take that fills the interstices and facilitates the flow. It is not surprising that a traffic director tends to slow things up. With all due respect, that person's one pair of eyes can assess the situation less efficiently than can those of four or five drivers.
There is pleasure in participating in the creative road sharing that happens at Five Corners. "Proceed assertively but compassionately." (That is "assertive," not "aggressive.") Approach with patience and good will, respectful of priority, alert for opportunity. Someone waits and gives another a sign to allow a left turn; a friendly smile, a wave of thanks. And a nearly seamless meshing, as of gears, continues. These are our friends, our neighbors, our guests. (A parade of machinery, cued by a traffic light, gives no such connections.)
And what of that occasional driver who just "doesn't get it?" A good measure of that compassion here. He/she may have an emergency, or perhaps come from a place where such kindness is not apparent. A calm smile is such a peaceful reaction.
Although seeking ways to divert some of that traffic is a good idea, the efficient action at Five Corners is one of the unique flavors of the Vineyard. Enjoy the soufflé!
To the Editor:
Memorial Day. The beginning of summer, puttin' on the barbie and partying down.
What about the veterans? There seem to be less and less of them marching every year.
More than 1,000 WWII vets die every day. We line the parade route for the 4th of July wearing our red, white, and blue, but very few of us line the parade route for Memorial Day. Yet, we would not have a 4th of July without vets, our country's first vets. If one goes to the parade, one can still be at the beach or private party by 11:30 am. A small price to pay to respect those who keep us "free." Let's see a large turnout next year. Teach your children well.
Here's a very moving web address for you to check out - managedmusic.com.
Marcia A Draper
To the Editor:
Mark London is from Canada, and therefore, that he does not quite understand our American rules of church and state separation is understandable. In the United States of America, our government, which should include the Martha's Vineyard Commission, has pledged not to interfere with religion.
Therefore, organizations that are religious-based should have no right to make separate deals with a governmental body such as the MVC that might affect other religious organizations in the future. Imagine dictating to the synagogue or catholic church how many services per week? Totally un-American.
The location of the World Revival Church is about a mile from Sengekontacket Pond and quite frankly three urinations per hour or 10 during late night services probably is not going to make any difference to anyone in the pond, with the exception that possibly Larry David's wife who blames SUV drivers for causing global warming while flying exclusively her own private jet might, well - Hmmmm....
There is a reason why religion is protected from government interference in the United States of America. In general, we are proud of it and support it.
The MVC should be cautioned against any further obstruction of United States rights.
Chilmark affordable housing?
To the Editor:
The frustration grows as the state of our union continues to squeeze the middle class. How, they wonder, can a government supported by their own tax dollars so blatantly favor the wealthy class and ignore everyone else? Anger wells up when, again, those in power say all the right things in public and then turn around and give them the proverbial finger, while voting once again to favor the elite. Yes it is a frustration that has grown into epic proportions in the current political climate, and there is no encouraging end in sight. I am, of course, referring to Chilmark.
Is anyone really shocked that the town voted down the affordable housing project that was defeated in a recent vote? I've seen nuclear power plants receive more of a welcome. You'd have a better chance of replacing the Home Port with a Red Lobster than giving Jethro and Ellie May a Lucy Vincent sticker.
It reminds me of the time the Hari Krishna tried to move into Beverly Hills, except the Krishnas were at least given a trial probationary period before Hollywood had had enough and sent them back to the airport where they came from. But in the case of Chilmark, I can't help but wonder how this brainstorm ever made it as far as it did.
One can only assume that Chilmark really thought no one would notice if they secretly built their project in, say, Oak Bluffs, and then just took credit for it and had a little welcome potluck to celebrate. It worked with the Katrina family, didn't it? But it all just got out of hand when they realized that 'in Chilmark' really meant 'in Chilmark' and they saw their property values falling faster than the approval rate for Congress. No, enough was enough. For God's sake, they already had the deer ticks, so can't someone else deal with the homeless? What about that huge front field at Seven Gates? They don't even use it for God's sake.
But, wasn't it obvious that this plan was doomed to go down in flames when the town, having suffered momentary amnesia, ignored the sacred Vineyard rule: You can talk forever about wonderful causes and altruistic ideas as long as no one gets all carried away and actually tries to do it. Affordable housing is great and everything, but isn't there any other landfill they can use? After all, if you build it, they might really come.
And seriously, don't the homeless have enough trouble without subjecting them to up-Islanders? Does anyone even offer a crash course in vinaigrettes and summer soups? In Chilmark, the homeless would fit in about as well as those feral children who are raised by wolves and then get dropped in the middle of Peoria to fend for themselves. I know people say that God only gives us as much as we can handle, but even the Divine hasn't had to sit through an endless poetry reading instead of watching the final episode of American Idol. Everyone has a breaking point.
For a town that usually takes to change the way an alcoholic does to Near Beer, Chilmark showed what can only be described as poor judgment in this instance. In the future, I advise that they remember that life isn't all about poetry, picnics and padlocks. Oh, wait, actually it is all about poetry, picnics and padlocks. Just next time, aim a little lower, like one of those charities where we help the underprivileged sailing teams or some endangered crustacean or something that, well, doesn't want to move in.
Thanks to you
To the Editor:
I woke up this morning and realized that we have angels right here on earth and living on Martha's Vineyard. I know this because if you were one of the lucky parents whose child participated in this year's June Jamboree performance at the Old Whaling Church on Friday, June 2, you would have seen those amazing angels. The women I am talking about are Cindy Andrews, Becky Donnelly, Heidi Schwab, Heidi Cook, Kalle Connelly, and Jen Wilcox. These women are known lovingly to me as my child's preschool teachers at the Rainbow Place Preschool in Edgartown. I had always known they were top-notch educators, but after witnessing last night's performance, now I know they are also magical. Any person who can organize and orchestrate a concert of 42-plus preschool children in a few short weeks has talent and strength, in my book. The show was wonderful and the children were fabulous.
I want to personally thank all of these women for inspiring my child to become a better human being and for teaching me to become a stronger parent. I am so blessed to know these women and our Island is a better place for having them in our community. The show was a huge success, but more than that I realized how hard these women work every day to teach our young children to be leaders and "stars." I am truly grateful that my child has been lucky enough to know these women. Thanks again, ladies, for all the hard work you do! We love you all so much.
Jennifer McHugh and family
Casey at the helm
To the Editor:
Casey Sharpe is not just the Oak Bluffs town administrator, she is a long-time resident, protector and lover of Martha's Vineyard, and Oak Bluffs in particular. She ran this town with the patience and passion of a loving parent matched by the fairness, strength, and acumen of a noble leader. Casey's resignation is a huge loss to our community. That Ms. Sharpe consented to stay on in her position until July is further testament of her continued commitment to Oak Bluffs. Casey's future is bright with opportunity and good fortune. History has proven that with Casey at the helm one has guaranteed integrity, honesty. and know-how.
As for the particular people (and you know who you are) who worked diligently against Casey, you didn't win, you've been exposed for your self-serving hypocrisy and now more than ever the eyes of the town's people are upon you. There are many, like me, who will no longer support or frequent your businesses - IBM or otherwise.
institutions failing, speaker says
To the Editor:
As a kickoff to Memorial Day weekend, the Vineyard Nursing Association (VNA) held its 22nd annual meeting at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. We were privileged to have Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) as our principal speaker for the meeting.
Dr. Berwick, one of the world's leading advocates for health-care quality improvement, spoke to the crowd about setting new standards for the health-care system in the United States. Surprisingly, while Americans believe our health care to be one of the best in the world, the facts tell a different story.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), more than 100,000 people die each year in the United States from medical errors. Dr. Berwick, a member of the IOM, shared information showing how enormous and costly gaps in the American health-care system impact the safety, efficiency and timeliness of patient care, causing people harm daily. Institutions that are supposed to provide care to Americans are failing us, according to Dr. Berwick, because they "are not yet working together and are trying to achieve separately, what can only be accomplished together."
While sounding many alarms associated with our national health-care system, Dr. Berwick was careful to express his optimism and shared examples where progress is being made.
The Vineyard Nursing Association, whose 22-year mission has been to provide high quality and state-of-the-art care for patients and families of the Vineyard community, was pleased and honored to have someone of Dr. Berwick's stature speak at our annual meeting and to help us all learn about the growing issues in American health care.
Robert Tonti, CEO
Vineyard Nursing Association
Filling in a blank
To the Editor:
After reading Jo-Ann Taylor's article on Farm Pond in Oak Bluffs, I felt compelled to elaborate on the creation of this saltwater habitat. The article states, "At some point, an opening to the sea was created." In fact, the pond was deemed a saltwater habitat by an act of the General Court.
The story begins in Edgartown with a storm opening Edgartown Great Pond to the sea in 1933. Up to this point the pond had been freshwater. During the duration of this opening to the sea, bay scallops, quahogs, oysters, steamer clams and mussels spread their eggs in the pond. Upon seeing the shellfish in the pond, fisherman Cyrus Norton called his state representative. The state sent a marine biologist to survey the pond and report to the taxpayers of Edgartown. His report confirms the sea life in the pond. He reports in detail a plan to grow more than $100,000 a year of shellfish in the previous freshwater pond. Upon hearing of this report the Island towns petitioned the state legislative body to declare seven great ponds on Martha's Vineyard suitable for growing shellfish.
In 1937, four years after the biologist report, the following Island ponds were deemed saltwater ponds: In Edgartown, Trapps, Poucha, Edgartown Great, and Oyster ponds.
In West Tisbury, Tisbury Great Pond. In Tisbury, Lake Tashmoo. In Oak Bluffs, Farm Pond.
Jo-Ann Taylor wrote a great article on this pond, and this letter is not meant to criticize her; it is merely meant to fill in the blank space as to how Farm Pond came to be open to the sea.
Michael A. Picciandra
Friends and Fishers
of Edgartown Great Pond
To the Editor:
What do we do here up-Island? We drive down-Island.
For all your work
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Glen Searle of the Pink Squid Yacht Club.
As co-president of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Martha's Vineyard, I'd like to thank you and the members of the Pink Squid Yacht Club for all of your work on our behalf at your 10th Annual Fishing Tournament this past Saturday.
The tournament was a huge success for us, not only because of the generous donation of money the Pink Squid Yacht Club made to our program, but also because of your continued support of our work with Island children.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters is a mentoring organization that believes that children from single-parent homes benefit from having a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult. We are completely supported by donations from the community and could not operate without financial and volunteer support. It is only through the generosity of businesses, and organizations like the Pink Squid Yacht Club that our program can grow and continue its work.
Thank you for your hard work and generosity to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Martha's Vineyard.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of M.V.
To the Editor:
The Board of Martha's Vineyard Cerebral Palsy Camp, Inc. (Camp Jabberwocky) is pleased to report to the Vineyard community that this summer's July and August sessions will be filled with the fun, swimming, art, pottery, drumming, music, singing, dance, fishing, horseback riding, and new adventures for which Jabberwocky is well known. We wish to thank our amazing Co-Directors (Arthur Bradford, Johanna Romero De Slavy, and Jack Knower) and their wonderful administrative staff (including Jeff Caruthers, Madeline Way, Rick Bausman, and Rachel Winter, among others) for planning the Jabberwocky experience. For those of you who don't know, our Co-Directors, Administrative Staff, and counselors all volunteer their time to ensure a wonderful camp experience for our delightful campers. Please look for us at the Fourth of July parade in Edgartown, at our booth at the Tisbury Street Fair on July 8th, at the Agricultural Fair, and at the Carousel and beach throughout the summer, often accompanied by our Red Bus. Our July performance, "Congocycle Live," presented by Rick Bausman, will be held at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs on Monday, July 17. Our August play will take place at our campus on Greenwood Avenue on August 19. None of these Jabberwocky activities would have been possible without the vision of Helen Lamb and her family and the support of the Island community for over 50 years. We are most grateful.
Jane Price Schwartz and Lynne L. Wolf
Co-Chairs of the Board of Trustees
Martha's Vineyard Cerebral Palsy Camp, Inc. (Camp Jabberwocky)
To the Editor:
In reference to Bank of Martha's Vineyard Notes on page 9, May 25:
I take great exception to the many things written under the message from Paul Watts as to the bank doing what it advertises, most notably, "We are a Vineyard Community Bank"; "To demonstrate our commitment to Island-oriented, local customer service"; "My goal is to provide the kind of local service Vineyarders expect"; and "give us the opportunity to serve you".
Where was the bank in 1997, when the local community needed it to step forward and help the bowling center, named Spinnaker Lanes? The bank's short-sightedness back then helped cause a very popular year-round entertainment center to close its doors. Spinnaker Lanes provided a much-needed social environment day in and day out year-round. When Spinnaker Lanes closed, a big void was left in the lives of those involved who chose to either bowl or play pool. The lanes served well over 500 year-round residents of all ages in addition to those who vacationed here and enjoyed this facility, especially during those rainy days when they had nothing to do and at night after beaching it during the good days. The lanes were very well maintained and managed by people who put their hearts and souls along with their life savings into it.
In closing, I am among many people who believe that if this business was either golf- or tennis-related, the bank would have stepped forward and helped this organization. The bank chose not to do so, with the result that we don't have a thriving and much needed year-round entertainment facility on this Island that would be thoroughly enjoyed by people of all ages for years to come.
A senator's luck
To the Editor:
A short while ago, we heard the frightening news that our esteemed senior senator's plane was struck by lightning. Apparently no one was injured, and the airplane was able to land safely. I guess the luck of the Chappaquiddick champion swimmer has not abated.
Folklore has it that lightning seldom, if ever, strikes in the same place twice. Guess we can only hope.
Grateful for all of you
To the Editor:
As I sit here with all the thank-you notes, I realize how proud I am to be part of this community.
My husband Jack Nevin was an Island-born guy with tons of friends and ties to the Island. When the EMTs, medics, police, and rescue squad got the call, it was with great difficulty because most of them knew my husband Jack, and this is almost always the case here.
I gratefully acknowledge all the efforts by them to rescue Jack. I truly thank the Tisbury Police, Tisbury Ambulance and the Oak Bluffs ambulance.
Thank you to the Good Shepherd Parish and all my church family. A huge thank-you to the Tisbury School. What a wonderful staff I am part of.
May God bless all the ladies in the kitchen: Linda, Beth, Janice, Pat, Bernie, Judy, Maureen and all.
Thank you to all who brought food, money, masses, flowers, conversations, and for being our friends.
Lastly, to the community at large, Girl Scouts, MS Society, M.V. Regional High School softball teams, and to my family and special friend Peter Sanborn.
I want to thank my son Taza for his wonderful friendship he had with his step-dad Jack. Jack taught him how to be a plumber, and that is something that Taza can keep for the rest of his life. With all my love to you all.
To the Editor:
My family and I would like to thank the Oak Bluffs Police Department, Oak Bluffs Fire Department, Oak Bluffs Ambulance and EMTs for their quick and professional response to our home last Tuesday evening. We would also like to thank the Martha's Vineyard Hospital Emergency Room, surgical, and acute care staff for their professionalism in taking care of our family and helping us through a horrific time. Our final thank you goes to our friends and family who were there for us in our time of need. Words cannot express how much you helped us. Thank you.
Eric, Hope, Emily, and Ben deBettencourt
To the Editor:
I am looking for Mardell and Alfred, who had the good intentions to hand deliver an unaddressed father's day card to their son-in-law, Gary, last year. I found the card and slipped it behind the windshield visor on my vehicle. Please call me at 508-645-2586 so I can return the card, and its contents, to you.