Letters to the Editor
Be it resolved
To the Editor:
My August Resolutions, 2006.
1) I will take some time to enjoy Five Corners, which is a wonderful dance of humanity, as long as you are on vacation and don't have to earn a living. But I will also stay out of town unless absolutely necessary, and at all costs on Saturday mornings.
2) I will not look down on those New Yorkers with big SUVs since a) I am from New York and b) my wife's Volvo gets only 20 mpg, so we are still going to need that wind farm, plus Middle East oil.
3) If a contractor doesn't return my phone calls and letters asking if he thinks he might possibly perhaps conceivably be able to start on the work within six months, I will remember how mellow I also feel after several weeks here.
4) I will walk through and appreciate, perhaps for the last year, the finest passenger ferry on which I have ever ridden, the Islander, before it is scrapped for reasons I absolutely cannot fathom, to be replaced by something with a name that sounds like a yuppie shelter magazine.
5) At John's Fish Market, if someone cuts in front of me on purpose, I will just consider it a gift of a few more minutes with nothing at all to do, and anyway if I corrected them, I would just seem like one more pushy New Yorker, even though I always observe the speed limit, unlike 99 percent of the pickup trucks on the road here.
6) I will go out to the highest point in Middle Ground at low tide and dive down to get some sand in a jar.
7) I will not allow my summer-person self to think that the only public service we get for our taxes is a dozen trash collections, even when it really, really does seem like it.
8) I will be extra polite when I suggest to the town of Tisbury - for the third time - that it restore the courtesy of an answering machine so that, when your trash is not picked up, one or two of those dozen times, you don't have to remember to telephone just when the office is open.
9) I will not be disappointed if I don't get a reply to this letter either, unless if I find out they put it in the "summer people file."
10) I will read with an open mind the identical letters published to the Gazette and the Times, even though I don't really think it's sporting, like submitting the same term paper for two courses, but then education has gone to hell too, hasn't it?
11) I will not say out loud that the Monster Shark Tournament seems even tackier than the Miss America contest, even though shark fishing does seem marginally more useful than a swimsuit pageant.
13) At least one morning after being awakened by their constant racket, at 5 am, I will think of crows as real birds, not just rats with wings.
To the Editor:
Just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to view the Vineyard Haven Harbor 24/7 via your webcam.
Having made 13 trips on Shenandoah between 1970 and 1987, and falling in love with the Vineyard in the process, it gives me great pleasure to be able to look at the harbor from time to time.
(An aside to Doug Cabral: I stayed in a front bedroom in your home over a Memorial Day weekend back in the early 80's.)
My goal was to start a history of Shenandoah, and Bob Douglas was kind enough to give me several hours of interviewing during his busy schedule. I was using a new portable tape recorder for recording so many facts. When I returned to my room and tried to play back some of our interview, I got nothing but silence. Upon closer examination, I discovered that the mike cord had a short in it and picked up nothing. Talk about being embarrassed. I could hardly face Bob Douglas the next day to tell him what had happened. We were both quite upset.
Oh, yes, I gave up on writing such a history, but I still think it was a good idea.
To the Editor:
Has anyone else taken notice of the court news? There seems to be a recurring trend. Last week at least half of the people listed were Brazilians or other foreigners, all going to court for no license or a fake license, no inspection, no insurance, etc. These people go to court, pay their $100 fine get back in their car and drive off, until the next time they're stopped and they do it again. It's good to see that the police are doing their job in stopping these people, but what good does it do if all they get is a slap on the wrist.
I guess it's good revenue for the county, but something more needs to be done. What happens when one of these (and not just the Brazilians but anyone not insured or licensed) hits someone else? Why should our insurance have to pay?
It's time the courts crack down on these people with heavier fines or jail time for repeat offenders.
quiet inn next door
To the Editor:
After absorbing the eye jabs and low blows that masqueraded as a well-reasoned Letter to the Editor in the MV Times of Aug. 10, the Madison Inn is now compelled to defend itself against not only audio, but also lowbrow, literary attack. Without dignifying the commentary in the letter such as "What deep communal need is filled by the Madison Inn?" and "Oak Bluffs isn't just a giant cash register by the sea," why don't we speak simply to the core issue: One business, in this case, Little Pete's Seafood Grill, is operating in such a fashion as to grievously and negatively impact their neighbor, the Madison Inn, by playing their amplified music, including live bands and DJ's, really loudly.
The Madison Inn, formerly known as the Ship's Inn, has been a hotel for nearly 40 years, doing business at 18 Kennebec Avenue in a very peaceful, dignified and unobtrusive manner (it is not a "new inn" as stated erroneously by the letter writer). It has never been a bother to its abutters, never hurt anyone else's business, doesn't play loud amplified music; just a nice, relatively quiet 14-room hotel. It has even endured the nightly low-level audio assault from the nightclubs on Circuit Avenue without complaint.
Now, along comes a new business in the building right next door. Less than five feet separate the two buildings. They are a restaurant and bar. They have a full liquor license, and (perhaps this is the problem at heart) an entertainment license issued by the town of Oak Bluffs. On many nights they have a live band or a DJ. Less than 10 feet separates the drummer in the live band, or the guitar player's amplifier, or the DJs turntables, from the headboard of the nearest Madison Inn guest's bed. Imagine having a live band playing just outside your bedroom until nearly 1 am.
Sleep is impossible, and a normal conversation almost so. Now, who was there first? Well the Ship's Inn/Madison Inn was, of course. Should that give the Madison Inn lifetime immunity from the prospect that a business like Little Pete's will move in next door? No. But wouldn't it seem reasonable that the Madison Inn be entitled to some sort of protection from a business moving in next-door that has such costly consequences?
The Madison Inn has done nothing that causes Little Pete's to suffer financial harm. Why should Little Pete's be allowed to operate in such a manner as to cause the Madison Inn financial harm, to cause its customers to be so disturbed and annoyed by the loud music that they demand a discount, or a refund or, in some cases, actual relocation to another hotel, often in the middle of the night? This has become a regular experience for us at the Madison Inn and it seems unjust in the extreme. Business owners with any sense of fair play would probably agree that their right to "make a living" shouldn't infringe on any abutter's right to use and enjoy their property, including the hotel next door or the campground cottage behind.
Now that noise complaints from "whining neighbors," as the letter writer so graciously termed us, are front and center on the selectmen's plates, perhaps the town of Oak Bluffs and its voters will accept this as an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the manner in which entertainment licenses are meted out, and the parameters that govern them.
To the Editor:
We, the family of Robert Flanders, wish to extend our sincerest thanks to Devon Greene and Miles Whyte for their heroic efforts in saving not only Robert but his boat and gear as well.
These two selfless young men were in Menemsha Pond at just the right time to save this patriach of the Flanders clan. And in so doing, they gave our mom the best 65th wedding anniversary present of all time.
Devon and Miles, you were the second boat to come across the sinking, but you were the only boat to give aid. You both are true boatmen and for that, our family will forever be grateful.
So, Mom, my four brothers and I, as well as 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren thank you for saving this very special Menemsha man.
Luisann Flanders Bollin
An appeal to the NAACP
To the Editor:
This letter was addressed to Julian Bond, chairman, NAACP, Baltimore.
The African American presence on Martha's Vineyard predates the American Revolution, and we have contributed immensely to the preservation of the Island's values for all of its citizens.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission was created by the Mass Legislature in CHAPTER 831 ACTS OF 1977 AS AMENDED is a Act further Regulating the Protection of the Land and Waters Of The Island of Martha's Vineyard. SECTION 1; The island of Martha's Vineyard possesses unique natural, historical, ecological, scientific, cultural and other values and there is a regional and statewide interest in preserving and enhancing those values.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), created in 1977, have strangled and rejected for many years practically all of the African American's employment and business applications, proposals and opportunities, leaving only the "low end" "menial" jobs, such as mowing lawns, painting fences and the like. The MVC itself does not offer or encourage diversity with no African American employees or staff, and a common known island-wide perception that "we need not apply."
The MVC has decimated the preservation of our long-time presence and forced the middle class blacks to leave the Island. Practically all of the past few years have seen the MVC reject black businesses and approve white businesses, even though the African-Americans' proposals in many instances would bring some economic relief to the entire Island population.
Example: Jack Robinson Sr. (former NAACP President, Boston) has been attempting to enlarge the only African American resort-type bed and breakfast by eight rooms for four years, and the MVC has refused to provide an unbiased hearing or approve this small enhancement while approving white establishments with proposals 20 times larger.
All of the basic community institutions of blacks have been rejected or psychologically destroyed, we have no churches, barber shops, beauty shops, grocery stores, fuel oil, gas station facilities and other basic aspects of a community.
In a claim filed for discrimination at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the MVC boastfully proclaimed that the MCAD had no authority to investigate their sovereignty; however, the MCAD did find probable cause by rejecting their contention and will schedule a hearing on this matter.
I realize that there is a NAACP Chapter on Martha's Vineyard and I feel obligated to advise you and Mr. Gordon about this glaring condition here. Mr. Gordon is scheduled to speak at the NAACP on Martha's Vineyard on August 19, 2006, and it would be a travesty for him to unknowingly endorse the status quo here on the Island.
Jack E. Robinson, Jr.
Martha's Vineyard Resort
Good will, not fear
To the Editor:
The Martha's Vineyard Peace Council publicly warned early in 2003 that if the U.S.A. should make a pre-emptive attack on Iraq it would cause such a catastrophe as to make the Vietnam War look like a Sunday school picnic in comparison.
Still we have sympathy for those who (perhaps forgetting our U.S. Constitution, Article 1 section 8 which gives Congress alone power "to declare war") voted in effect to allow President Bush to go to war. Congress trusted Mr. Bush. They were mistaken. Our President misled our beloved country.
Some might think the Peace Council is recommending a weak defense. No, rather we are favoring a wise defense, which is the only way to make us more secure. Goliath worked for and apparently had tremendous armor for his defense. But David had a wise defense. David prevailed.
The U.S.A. has a large, aggressive, and short-sighted defense which antagonizes others, builds hostile opposition to this country and so increases our insecurity. Almost five years after the 9/11 terrorist attack it is obvious this approach is decreasing our security: our C.I.A. says we're no more secure from terrorism than on 9/11 (airlines are back on high alert), Afghanistan is a mess, we're losing in Iraq, and much respect for our nation has already been lost among the nations. A truly wise defense listens to those who differ from us in order to understand and appreciate the needs, problems, and opportunities in other countries and with justice and generosity respond to their needs and aspirations.
A U.S.A. policy based more on good will and less on fear makes for a wiser defense of all that is worthwhile in this country.
Cape Wind could help
To the Editor:
New England experienced record high electric demand on August 2nd of this year.
To cope with the record demand, the New England electric grid manager had to dim the lights a bit by implementing a five-percent voltage reduction. Here on Cape Cod, electric supplies were so tight that NSTAR asked authorities at the Massachusetts Military Reservation to run their generators to free up between two and three megawatts of needed electric supply.
Critics of Cape Wind often say, incorrectly, that the wind farm would be of no help during these hot summer electric peak days because the wind is light in the summer.
As any sailor knows, offshore winds pick up in the afternoon on hot and sunny summer days because of the difference in air temperature over land and over the ocean. Hot and sunny summer afternoons are also when the use of electricity peaks as people run their air conditioners.
The scientific data tower on Horseshoe Shoal recorded decent to strong winds during each afternoon of the past six record-breaking high electric demand days, when Cape Wind would have been providing between 100 to 420 megawatts of needed electricity to the Barnstable substation.
To the Editor:
We would like to say thank you to the Oak Bluffs Fire Department and the Oak Bluffs Police Department for their quick response to our recent incident with the chimney for our brick-oven pizza.
Having our brick oven down for two weeks during August has been disappointing to all, but the support and understanding from the community has been overwhelming and very much appreciated by all the staff at Offshore Ale Co.
Additional thanks goes to John McCormick and his crew for their hard work getting our pizza oven up and running again.
We feel very fortunate to operate a business and live in such a supportive and caring community. This Island is truly a rare gem in today's world.
Colleen & Phil McAndrews
Offshore Ale Co.
Humiliating Mr. Alley
To the Editor:
I am outraged by the way West Tisbury's selectmen have forced John Alley out, suspending him as cemetery superintendent. They have seized upon the power of their office to humiliate, debase, mortify, and shame him.
They have silenced those who disagree with them and those who offer a way to halt their one-sided vendetta. They have refused to hear, see, or comment on anything that would clear Mr. Alley of their trumped-up charges. Equally disturbing, they also have refused to hear, see, or comment on anything that might provide a solution.
Edgartown's cemetery commissioner Alan Gowell, as quoted in West Tisbury's weekly, The Broadside, said, "I marvel at the stipend of less than $4,000 they [West Tisbury] pay him [John Alley]" while the Edgartown cemetery superintendent "gets $40,000 and hires helpers."
At this past week's selectmen's meeting, Glen Hearn proposed that the town spend $900 on a cemetery management software program that would, in his opinion, catalog each and every cemetery lot. Actually, the software Mr. Hearn referred to was priced at almost $1,800, plus an annual so-called maintenance fee of around $375.
Yet several weeks before, in order to assist both the selectmen and Mr. Alley, Jonathan Revere volunteered to develop a simpler yet more efficient software program, install it on the town computer, train town employees to use it, write an easy-to-understand manual, and troubleshoot as needed. All without charge.
When I asked the selectmen why they had not looked into Mr. Revere's offer before proposing to spend town funds, I was gaveled down, the meeting was adjourned, and the selectmen walked out, leaving me as humiliated as Mr. Alley must feel.
It would appear that our town fathers believe they have absolute power. As Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
A building with history
To the Editor:
A few years ago, Oak Bluffs lost a significantly historic African-American building, and our community does not want this to happen again.
One of the landmarks of the African-American experience on Martha's Vineyard is in danger of being lost. From 1907 to 1953, a large rambling building on Masonic Avenue in Oak Bluffs was the home of the much beloved and respected minister, the Rev. Oscar Denniston and his family. It also housed the first African-American church on the Vineyard, the Bradley Memorial Church.
For decades, the church was the center of the year-round and summer African-American community on the Island. Although in need of much repair, it remains largely unchanged from its days as an active church and residence.
The building is now for sale. What a wonderful opportunity to preserve this important element of the rich African-American history of the Island. Might there be an individual out there interested in securing the property? A collaboration among historic preservation, affordable housing, and perhaps other interests could be formed to determine the feasibility of creating a museum to celebrate the Island's African-American heritage and the special role of the Bradley Memorial Church. The six-bedroom house could potentially provide affordable housing and housing for a curator.
These are exciting and ambitious ideas, but I believe that if there is any community where such a vision can be realized it would be here on Martha's Vineyard. For anyone interested in learning more about the history of the church and its community, call the Martha's Vineyard branch of the NAACP.
We don't want to lose an opportunity to preserve our African American heritage on Martha's Vineyard.
Marie B. Allen
Capawock isn't Vineyard Haven's hub
To the Editor:
Let's be fair. I am responding to letters I have recently read in the Gazette and the Times regarding the Hall brothers and the Capawock Theater. One letter was a reference to the brothers Grimm; another offered up an idea for taking the theater by eminent domain. I grew up on the Vineyard, in Tisbury, and perhaps I am mistaken, but I don't believe the Capawock theater was ever the hub of the town? I am not saying that the theater isn't important, but like Art Buchwald's editorial reference, the notion that the theater is the sole reason that Vineyard Haven business is down is a fairy tale.
Shouldn't we be a little grateful that the Hall family is selective about the businesses they allow to operate on their properties? Because of their discretion, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown are not overrun with T-shirt shops and junk tourist stores. Personally, I shop at Bowl and Board, Sioux Eagle, and Claudia's (all tenants of the Hall brothers) because they are fine establishments that sell good products and have for years in the same location, so let's be fair.
The Hall brothers have been conscientious landlords over the years, despite having both the right and the opportunity to use their properties for great personal gain, to the degradation of the Vineyard. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt; they seem to have earned it.
thanks to so many
To the Editor:
On Aug. 5, we hosted the 14th annual Vineyard Scoops 5K Tour of Edgartown at Katama Farm, aka The Farm Institute. The event, once again, was a success, and we were able to donate to the YMCA, Strictly All Contact Karate group and The Farm Institute.
Our success continues to be due to many people. Thanks to Geno and Barbara Courtney with Adnon Sabeh of Scoops Ice Cream as our premier sponsor. Every year they give the race shirts and many free ice cream cones to the tots who run in the fun run. Thanks to The town of Edgartown police and highway departments, The Farm Institute, Vineyard Bottled Waters and all of our very dedicated volunteers who give their time and spirit to all of our events.
If you have not already done so, check out The Farm Institute. They have transformed the property into a true working farm and learning facility.
A matter of horse sense
To the Editor:
On Saturday, August 5, I took my pony for a ride. Sure, it was hot out at 9 am, but something just was not right with Norman. He was pokier than usual and not trying to eat leaves. The second time he turned around to go home, I let him. Close to home I dismounted. His breathing was too rapid. He stopped walking and looked like he wanted to lie down. I encouraged him to the edge of State Road where no one would let us cross. Finally, because the law in Massachusetts states, "You must stop if a rider or driver (of a horse-drawn vehicle) signals you to do so," I stuck my arm up and crossed when the cars stopped, waving my thanks in both directions.
As I pulled my 800-pound friend across the road toward home, loud verbal abuse was hurled at us from an older Ford pickup that had failed to stop. Wow, I don't expect you to know that Norman was showing signs of what is probably Lyme disease. His temperature was 114. He needed a vet, pronto. He needed IV antibiotics and a cool hosing down. I did expect you to notice that you were in the middle of a clearly posted horse crossing zone. I hope you got to your destination two minutes faster than you would have if you had followed the rules and common sense. Thank you always to everyone who stops.
Elizabeth C. Rogers
Effort to protect greyhounds will be revived
To the Editor:
We would like to thank all who signed the Dog Protection Act petition this year and last.
Unfortunately, the owner of the two dog tracks in this state, George Carney, convinced the state's Supreme Judicial Court to strike the Dog Protection Act from this November's ballot. Mr. Carney was able to convince the court that the three areas of the act were unrelated. I'm sure the decision was not based on the large greyhound racing lobby.
The voters of Massachusetts will not be able to vote as to whether police dogs will get more protection when they are injured or killed by people committing a crime; nor will they be able to vote stronger penalties for those involved in dog fighting; nor will they be able to vote to ban dog racing in this state.
This also means that we, through our taxes, will continue to pay millions to these two racetracks. Money in the form of over $11 million in tax breaks over the last four years. This tax break has already been extended for another four years by our legislators. Money better spent on education. Greyhounds in the greyhound racing industry are treated as a product, not a loving, trusting dog. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 greyhounds are killed each year. Some not very humanely.
Grey2k and we have not given up on protecting dogs that cannot protect themselves. You will be asked to sign a petition again in the future. Please understand and sign again and hopefully the next time will be the last time.
How about returnables?
To the Editor:
I noticed while I was recycling at the Edgartown dump many people were throwing away returnables. I feel if there were a container for returnables, they could be redeemed and any money go to charities - e.g., Boy Scouts, housing, etc., especially during the summer months.
Louis A. Ricciardelli
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Sen. Robert O'Leary.
Thanks for your efforts on the housing bill. We look forward to you picking up the battle again next session.
I have a concern which I do not think is getting the proper degree of attention by the press or the government. It involves heavy metals, especially mercury, in consumer products, especially household batteries, but, also, fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs. These dangerous chemicals are released into the environment when they are not properly handled for disposal.
Other states have strict regulations about disposing of and handling these items. Massachusetts is not one of the eight states, notably California and New York that strictly regulate disposal. We should be. See http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dshm/hzwstman/lampdisp.html
With all of the recent publicity about using compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy (over that used by incandescent bulbs), the public is being directed to buy these products in droves.
However, they are not being advised adequately that these products contain very dangerous heavy metals, in some cases, like the CF bulbs, that contain not insignificant amounts of mercury. When one breaks a fluorescent bulb, the mercury contaminates the immediate area. If it is inside a home where there are children, the mercury naturally will make its way through the skin or though the air into the kids. The fluorescent bulb manufacturers have done a good job of marketing, being touted as the best substitute for incandescents for energy saving. However, there are safer and more energy conscious alternatives. With the new LED technology for light bulbs, there is an alternative that uses even less power (on average one-tenth the power of a CF bulb, see www.mulelighting.com), and LED bulbs have the benefit of not containing mercury. Perhaps it is more a consumer awareness problem than anything. But, since it is local governments that are charged with watching over solid waste, the Commonwealth must enact proper legislation to regulate and guide the proper disposal of these products.
Imagine the energy savings and effect of preserving the environment if every household installed 5 LED bulbs, which use only two watts on average (not 23 watts of the average CF bulb). It would have 10 times the savings of that indicated by the Vineyard Energy Project from using CF bulbs and no mercury would result from use of these LED bulbs.
Before groups start "sponsoring" the use of certain products, we ought to all be informed about the alternatives and the external costs (i.e. likely Mercury pollution) of the products being sponsored.
I trust you are as concerned about this issue as anyone. I ask that you work to further enhance existing protection of our environment by proposing strict disposal guidelines for fluorescent bulbs and other heavy-metal-containing household products. Further, I hope that the legislation would contain an education element so that consumers become more fully aware of the hazards of these products, the safer and more efficient alternatives (LED bulbs versus CF bulbs) and provide an efficient, consumer-friendly way of proper disposal of these items. Please feel free to contact me or any of the other recipients of this letter (Cape Light Compact, Vineyard Energy Project, the Vineyard newspapers) with your thoughts or concerns. I look forward to working with you on this "think globally, act locally" issue.
Benjamin L. Hall, Jr.
To the Editor:
Upon my return home from the beach on that hot Thursday, Aug. 3, there's an empty space on the street across from our house where our blue van was parked. After calling the police to report our vehicle missing, I was told it had been towed as an abandoned vehicle. (Old car discrimination?) This shocked me, as our van is registered on Island and has the proper residential parking sticker. It cost me $119 to retrieve our car.
According to the 2006 application for 24-hour parking stickers (Spring Street area), the permit is not to be used for "extended parking" and we are to park "as close to our residence as possible." In other words, we may use the car and park in the same spot because it is "as close to our residence as possible." And what is "extended parking"? One week, two weeks? Turns out it is 72 hours. According to the police chief, if your car is not moved in 72 hours, it can be considered abandoned. At the very least, this should be clearly stated on the application.
We love the Vineyard, our family is part of the year-round community here; if there was concern over our van, how about a neighborly note on the door? Our address is on the parking sticker. The knee-jerk reaction of towing the car is not at all in keeping with the community spirit I know exists among most Vineyarders.
Toward resolution of the Chappy dispute
To the Editor:
I am part of a group of 10 Chappaquiddick homeowners who appealed the decision of the Edgartown ZBA to grant special permits that would allow three non-conforming houses to be built on Sandy Road, which studies have shown to be environmentally sensitive.
The area of Sandy Road in question consists of seven acres along one side of a cul de sac. The special permits issued by the ZBA would make it possible for six homes to exist on seven acres. Three-acre zoning has been the rule for nearly 30 years on Chappy. The building of three additional homes on environmentally sensitive Sandy Road would mean that there would be three times as many houses in that area as are allowed under current rules on the rest of Chappaquiddick.
During the past year, we have suggested, through third parties, offers to reach a negotiated resolution to this matter. Each of these offers would have provided recipients of special permits with homesites, while also compensating the seller of the property, and providing for open space. We believe these offers to have been reasonable and fair to all interested parties. We continue to believe that with the help of people of good will on both sides, apparently outstanding differences can be readily resolved in a mutually satisfactory way.
We do not believe that affordable housing, sensitivity to the abutters, and conservation need be mutually exclusive. It has never been our intention to thwart the dreams of those who were chosen to become owners of the affordable lots. We have been, and still are, willing to resolve this situation to the reasonable satisfaction of all those directly involved, as soon as possible.
Recycling shed etiquette
Editor's Note: The following three letters were received by The Times in mid-July, but were misplaced. They resurfaced on Aug. 10.
To the Editor:
This is an appeal to the people on the Vineyard who visit and bring donations to the West Tisbury recycling shed. Please, please do not leave anything outside the building when it is closed.
There is a large outside sign that forbids this, and for a long time people respected it. Then, for some reason, on Saturday, July 8, someone left some things before we opened. Then someone else did. And someone else, and stuff began to pile up, and by the time the volunteers arrived to open for the day, donations were piled the whole length of the building and extended out several yards. And of course people had been and still were pawing through it and making even more of a mess.
The doors remained locked for an hour or so while the hapless volunteers - distressed, angry, and overwhelmed - tried to establish some sort of order, finding as they did so that much of the stuff was junk that we (instead of whoever left it) now have to pay to discard. Meanwhile, several of the people standing around pitched in and were a great help.
To make things worse, this happened the week before the state inspectors who periodically check all landfills for health violations were due in West Tisbury. Since we are functioning on town land, thanks to the generosity of the town officials, we are under the supervision of the board of health and subject to several restrictions, one of which states that nothing is to be left outside the building when it is closed. Obviously what happened recently was a flagrant violation of this perfectly reasonable rule and we are thus subject to being permanently closed, not because of negligence on our part, but because of the thoughtless, lawless behavior of a few individuals.
The recycling shed's popularity and importance as a free communal source of just about everything has skyrocketed, and we volunteers are hard put not only to keep up with the influx of donations but also to keep the place adequately staffed, especially during these summer months.
So I urge you all to understand that we need not only our hard-working staff but also a public that is sympathetic with our situation. If you find the shed locked up when it is supposed to be open, it is for a valid reason, not because someone just didn't feel like wasting part of a lovely summer day sorting through other people's discards. Please don't drop your things off outside when this happens - or at any other time. And perhaps if you see someone else unloading things when and where they shouldn't be, you might stop and tell them to pack them up again. Let's not jeopardize the existence of this important community resource.
Jean S. Wexler
To the Editor:
I now live in California, having grown up in Taunton, known for its once-a-year 80-foot Christmas tree in the city's rotary. Everyone seemed to pass through Taunton on their way to somewhere else; yet among all the small cities across America, Taunton alone was labeled the Christmas City. Liking the designation, the city did its best to maintain its reputation by decorating the town center each Christmas.
Oak Bluffs has been the site of our family's summer home for more than 80 years. And, strangely, it too is known far and wide, thanks to ESPN and its town selectman, for a once-a-year event.
My grandson said it best, "Is that where they kill sharks, Grandpa?"
My reply was accurate, I think. "Well, unfortunately, that's what Oak Bluffs is now known for."
Time to enforce the rules
To the Editor:
Shortly before I left the Island last fall I learned that both the owners of Nancy's Restaurant and the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen had been informed that federal law required that one of the four parking spaces in front of the restaurant be designated for the handicapped/disabled, that the town's parking bylaw in effect when the restaurant expanded by 50 seats required that the four spaces be designated for customers, and that the owner's restaurant license for 2006 was in jeopardy unless the parking requirements were met. Having dealt with the politics of the town since 1958, I was not surprised to note when I arrived back this spring that the owner of Nancy's Restaurant had not complied with the parking requirements, had obtained his 2006 license, and his "one-story garage for storage" which looks like a three story, six-apartment building is still proudly standing on the North Bluff.
One of my five daughters is the first and only state regional building Inspector, and the only one of either sex to have passed the three commissioners' examinations within the first year of her appointment. In her opinion, our new building inspector is very knowledgeable. If the board of selectmen does not support his enforcement efforts, we may lose him.
Joseph Sequeira Vera
Oak Bluffs and Cambridge