Letters to the Editor
Shop, then pay more
To the Editor:
How fortuitous your article on parking tickets since I had just gotten one a few days prior. It's not the ticket per se, or the cost (ten bucks is a lot less than one pays in NYC or Boston to park) but the fact that I had been to the hairdresser and then went shopping. I dropped just shy of $300 in Vineyard Haven. I must say I kind of resent being penalized for spending money there when they don't provide a good parking alternative. I parked in the Stop and Shop lot. There were empty spots when I parked and empty spots when I left two and a half hours later. I shop in Edgartown during the summer because I can park at the Triangle for free and ride a free bus to town. There is usually space at the park and ride lot. How about free parking for shoppers?
Nice, but too rich
To the Editor:
It never ceases to amaze me how well-intentioned people in a position of authority can be so powerless to enact common-sense decisions. The current case in point is the proposed Rattner-White house on the north shore of West Tisbury.‑This is a 15,573-square-foot single family house. Think about that for a minute: 15,573 square feet of living space.
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) recently thought about it for three and a half hours. At the end of that three-and-a-half-hour meeting, they couldn't figure out how it rated as a development of regional impact, and sent the proposal‑back to the West Tisbury planning board. This is where I become incredulous. This house has more square footage than eight or nine‑average houses. My no-brainer issue is with the amount of energy this house will use during its 50 or 100 years or more existence. That is the regional impact issue. Let me also be clear that it is not just this house, but the continuing torrent of ever larger houses, sucking up an ever-decreasing pool of unsustainable resources. While there is no real crisis right now, a house of this size for a single family is off the charts.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have met Mr. Rattner and Ms. White, and they are not the devil. They are nice people, but they have too much money, and no awareness of their carbon footprint. They can drive around in their gas guzzling Escalade, fly around in their private jet, and occasionally live in their 15,573-square-foot vacation home and never worry about the cost.
The cost, however, is not just out of their pocket, which they can obviously afford, but the collateral‑cost to the rest of us, which I think the towns should figure out a way to address. It is this mentality of wasting resources because you can that increases the demand of a commodity such as propane. Heating a house that size will require a whole truck's worth of propane every year. Multiply that by all the other trophy houses being built here, and is it any wonder that you can't get a reservation on the ferry, and petro products cost so much here. It's the demand that causes shortages and raises prices.
It's also not just a matter of heating supplies. Last summer there were some days when the electric company was running ads on the radio asking people to cut back on their power demand, and there were even some brownouts on the cape.
I have to say that every trophy house I have ever seen has generators as a standard feature. I doubt any of the owners of such houses turned their air conditioners off in response to those ads or will sit around in the dark during any future power outages. For the MVC and the individual town planning boards to allow a few individuals to create excessive demand on our energy needs by not considering how the potential energy use of these behemoths affects the region is truly as ridiculous as the trophy houses themselves.‑
And I won't even go into the unconscionable environmental damage that unchecked wanton burning of fossil fuels is causing .
I find it interesting that the local codes and covenants can tell you that you can't dry your clothes outside, have an unregistered vehicle in your yard, put up a fence, paint your house an off color, put up a windmill, and can even require a minimum size of house in a development, but you can build it as big as you want. It's totally backwards. I would like to see some bylaws enacted that put a cap on overall carbon based energy consumption. It seems the precedents have already been set. Current building codes mandate that all new houses have to have a certain level of insulation to conserve energy, and low-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads to conserve water. Modifying the building code to put an overall limit on energy use should be possible, if not inevitable. If a person wants to build a house that requires an excessive energy demand, then the owners can use solar or wind power to meet the additional demand. I am sure they can afford any additional expense for that.
Sorry, but I think the horde of local billionaires (or even multimillionaires)‑needs‑a little adult supervision.
Register and vote
To the Editor:
The Martha s Vineyard League of Women Voters (MVLWV) would like to remind everyone to register and to vote. The last day to register to vote is Wednesday, Oct. 18, in order to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 7 election.
The ballot will include governor, attorney general, state senators and representatives, Martha s Vineyard and Dukes County commissioners and ballot questions. Contact or see your town clerk or go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to register.
Go to www.votinginfo.info for information about voter registration, poll procedures, absentee voting, ballot questions, and positions to be filled.
Go to www.dnet.org for information about Election and Voting issues. Be sure to look for the now required posting of the Mass Voters Bill of Rights prepared by the LWVMA and signed off by Gov. Mitt Romney and state Secretary William Galvin.
Martha s Vineyard League
of Women Voters
To the Editor:
We want to thank the Oak Bluffs Fire Department for the quick response and care that they had while fighting a fire at our mother's house. We were all impressed by your quick thinking, your professionalism and your conscientious efforts to save her belongs and pictures. We are very fortunate to have such caring individuals in all our towns. People who spend hours of their own time training and watching out for our well being does not go unappreciated. We applaud our fire department, EMS personnel and our police officers.
The Mabel McCarthy Family
To the Editor:
In the last year, I have written about two matters on the Vineyard which I feel can stand a little improving. Healthy criticism is not "bashing." It is simply an attempt to have matters of public concern brought to the attention of those who are the objects of the criticism.
My latest concern with the MSPCA has brought out such irate letters that I feel I must make my stance clear. My first concern - with the Martha's Vineyard Hospital - was never looked into by the hospital, but the doctor about whom I was concerned now has criminal charges pending against him, so I feel somewhat vindicated that my concern was valid. Possibly had the CEO had some respect for my concerns and other patients, he might not have placed the doctor, his family and the hospital in such a public and unpleasant position. Nonetheless, time has passed, and it is out of our hands.
My negative feelings about the CEO's ability to run a first-class hospital are alive and well. I, however, do not dispute his ability to raise funds for a new institution which should have a full-time, well-trained medical doctor at the helm.
Since both the objects of my Letters to the Editor are institutions which deal with life-and-death situations and suffering, I feel that when I do write something about them that others might be hurt if I did not speak up. It is with this spirit that I have written about both the hospital administration (please note, I mention administration) and some of the practices of our MSPCA. I am not an exceptional person. What happens to me might and probably does happen to others. I still am exploring the negative situations at the MSPCA, acknowledging that acts of kindness are also done there. I am only concerned with improving the MSPCA and therefore the lives of animals who cannot speak. An institution that purports to assuage suffering and bring joy to those in need should be able to withstand a little healthy and truthful criticism. And it should not refuse to take seriously one woman's experience there, neglect of which may lead to further mayhem down the road. Thankfully, persons who are encouraging me have long-time, personal experience with the shelter, and I am now not alone in my hopes to improve the treatment of our animals on Martha's Vineyard Island, however long it takes.
Roberta B. Mendlovitz
To the Editor:
It's always interesting to read a new version of the Land Bank executive director's evolving story of how and why a Chilmark bridge on Land Bank property came to be built and used. And it's nice to know the announced date for opening the bridge to the public has been changed from March, 2006 to the year of "eventually" - or earlier, I imagine.
We live on an Island where it is unconscionable to try to pull the wool over the eyes of a trusting, nature-loving public. There are a growing number of people who, while heartily approving of the Land Bank's mission, do not tolerate methods of secret deals, special favors, breached promises, non-disclosure, altered facts, and violations of abutters' rights.
Everyone knows that abusing public trust is no way to accomplish one's vision, no matter how grand or grandiose the scheme.
Well, at least the Capawock Theatre is really opening. Nov. 1, "or earlier" is fast approaching. Imagine if the movie-loving public had succeeded in seizing that theatre by eminent domain. What a thought.
Above and beyond
To the Editor:
Many thanks to Eric Walsh of the Steamship Authority. Eric went above and beyond to help us with a car problem. We have been traveling the ferry since 1979 and have had nothing but kind, professional help from ferry personnel.
Cheers for Eric Walsh.
Connie and George Cowan
County pork barrel
To the Editor:
In his headlong rush to praise and defend county engineer Steve Berlucchi, Brian Kinal trips over the pork barrel from which Mr. Berlucchi fills his plate. We Americans dislike political pork of the kind generated by our sheriff if indulging in cronyism and patronage. While Sheriff Michael McCormack may argue that he can appoint anybody as deputy, he must not do so wastefully, as demonstrated by Deputy Berlucchi's waste of: county wages, clerk Joe Sollitto's resources, voided parking tickets, paid county automobile mileage, precious gasoline, manpower by Mr. Berlucchi himself while acting as deputy and law enforcement's reputation.
The designation county engineer implies both higher education and a salaried career that should obviate Mr. Berlucchi's need to double-dip at the county trough, despite Sheriff McCormack's patronage and the high cost of Vineyard living. If Sheriff McCormack pads the county payroll by paying its full-salaried engineer "pork" to write bogus parking tickets, the greasy finger of culpability points directly at the sheriff.
In spite of Mr. Kinal's naive insistence that Mr. Berlucchi was "roped into writing parking tickets," a grown man of Mr. Berlucchi's alleged character doesn't get "roped into" double-dipping; Mr. Berlucchi knows what he's doing at our expense.
Being deputized, is Mr. Berlucchi eligible for uniforms, badge, gun, bullets and car mileage at our expense, while drawing down his engineer's salary, plus expenses? Is there a blurred line crossed by Mr. Berlucchi in using his engineer's automobile as deputy sheriff, perhaps being paid double mileage while issuing bogus parking tickets? Or does he switch to a sheriff's car? Is he writing tickets off-duty or on engineering time? Is county overtime being paid? Mr. Kinal would do well do ascertain the full facts before crying out on behalf of such a noble Berlucchi. The all too apparent mischief is, or should be, a matter of public record yielding a Vineyard mini-Pulitzer Prize for the first of our fine newspapers dipping to the bottom of the sheriff's pork patronage.
For his "wrong way" thoughts as a former police officer, Brian Kinal gets high marks. In pointing out an unnamed Tisbury police officer twice in his letter, Mr. Kinal obviously has an axe to grind with this troublemaker, much in the public's favor.
Considering Mr. Berlucchi's gouging of tourists who pay a lot of Vineyard overhead, as well as ripping-off ticketed Island denizens, Mr. Kinal's advice to police chiefs to "ease up" on wrong way tickets is sound. Allowing wrong way State Beach parking was best explained to me by a helpful Oak Bluffs officer who pointed out that, "being deprived of parking along Sengekontacket Pond, it is better to allow alleged wrong way parking than to risk, and clean up after, U-turn accidents."
Regardless, the sheriff's pork barrel is the real issue underlying the Berlucchi controversy. Dumping this offensive, chafing barrel of sludge is the task at hand. Ah, therein lies the porcine rub.
Honest and thoughtful
To the Editor:
I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Good Samaritan who found my wallet with all my credit cards, $31 in cash, and innumerable other bits and pieces of paper and cardboard; who returned it intact by leaving it on the dashboard of my car in my driveway at night. Your honesty and thoughtfulness are deeply appreciated.
To the Editor:
I want to offer congratulations to Joe Alosso, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown Wastewater manager,‑for successfully hosting a conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association and the New England Water Environment Association.
The attendees were wastewater managers, operators and administrators, numbering about 40, from Massachusetts communities from as far as Springfield.
They heard talks about latest technology, including a great presentation by Andy Farissey about underground directional drilling and Dig-Safe methods.
They‑then‑toured the Tisbury and Edgartown wastewater plants. Everyone was very impressed by our wastewater facilities.
Oak Bluffs Wastewater Commission
To the Editor:
I found a northern flicker dead in a wood stove I was moving recently. The flicker is a large type of woodpecker with brilliant yellow and black underwings, a spotted chest, and a red spot on the back of its head. It was very beautiful. There were holes in the stovepipe where it had tried to escape; we buried it in the garden before continuing our tasks.
I remember as a small child opening the door on the outside of a chimney on my way home from school. A chickadee flew out, its flapping wings grazing my face in its hurry to be free. I opened the chimney door each time I passed after that, and often a bird came rushing out.
I'm going to put a grate up over the chimney to prevent more birds from being trapped. I thought I'd share these stories in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.
Nina Violet Muckerheide
To the Editor:
When you die and go to heaven, you will find that paradise is just like the Vineyard, only not so expensive.
Vital preschool work
To the Editor:
Preschools deserve a pat on the back for the work they diligently do in standing up for children's rights through continually advocating the legitimacy of child-centered approaches to learning, their own professional development, and the implementation of currently approved and accredited strategies for teaching young children from 0-8 - integrating social, and emotional development with the aspects of cognitive age-appropriate development that initially appeared to be the main focus of the preschool movement by many. Preschool was praised for helping children to be well prepared for entering grade school, and providing children with day care while their parents worked.
A lot has been achieved over the past 25-30 years. The recent article about The Oak Bluffs School having thoroughly embraced the Responsive Classroom program over the last 10 years and the growing interest of the other Island schools is a testimony to the professionalism of the preschool movement. The preschool movement being the first to so strongly emphasize social/emotional curriculums intertwined with academic learning, the importance of daily parent teacher communication, a morning greeting at circle time, dialogues to validate self and other respect, group awareness of responsibility and individual interests, all stemmed from advocates of special education mainstreaming and early childhood education preschool initiatives.
People know now that the early verbalizations: of infants and toddlers and their gestures express their early curiosity and need to learn through a series of developmental stages that consist of social, emotional, and cognitive needs; building a repertoire of communication and experience to reflect on previous knowledge and build on skills through trial and era. Preschool teachers have long since stood up for learning through seeing the child as a whole person and not just an academic learner.
Through all the trends, research, and innovative approaches perhaps the next one is to make room for, and validate the needs of, children's social/emotion development in grade school by lowering the child to teacher ratios; spending more time in positive dialogue, and more support for individual growth. In this busy age of MCAS testing and push for academic achievement in the No Child Left Behind Act; a response to the ongoing academic crisis in our country yet its creating more pressure in schools: we must pair with it a new priority for children to have adequate breaks throughout the day, physical activity, movement in the classroom, and free time of their own at recess with support and guidance. Hopefully as trends and research continue to shape our teaching of children well keep the gems as we add to them.
Our community is very special because it's so family focused and full of great preschools. Most parents have had three of four years of their children in a preschool and are familiar with early childhood teaching ethics; of integrating social, emotional and cognitive developmental strategies, before their children even enter grade school. Our community is small enough to keep each other accountable, and to participate in a wide arena of community service and support. Relating well to one another is key. Our school systems have had a wonderful opportunity to embrace the Responsive Classroom program initiated by the O.B. School over the past 10 years. Those I've spoken with in the preschool community are applauding it. General aspects of the program are promoting time set aside for positive conversation, morning greetings, problem solving, group connections, a focus on individual responsibility, interests, thoughts and ideas, as well as family accountability, and daily communication between parents and teachers. Time set aside for positive dialogue is key and is something preschools have vested a lot of expertise in.
I especially want to applaud the director: Sue Burgouyne of the MV Hospital Learning Center (a Preschool) where I co-teach. Sue has remarkably kept the gems and traditions passed on by previous years and ideologies, and taken a stand for preserving an atmosphere that is calming, clean, simply arranged, has wonderful equipment, is full of educational toys that are creative and interesting. One visitor recently said; "When you walk in everybody is calm and having a nice conversation, you don't feel like it's staged and you can see teachers are really relating with children" Sue deserves a lot of credit for allowing an atmosphere that is good for everyone and is supportive of everyone in providing a joyful, healthy, well-maintained, communicative environment.
So, to all you dedicated preschool educators and care givers who work for eight hours a day with a class full of children, then put in on your own time to plan curriculums, and dip into your own pockets to purchase materials, write progress reports, meet with special ed. consultants, and go to yearly conferences and training: Pat your selves on the back for taking a stand for early childhood education over these past 25 years. Think of what this profession is doing for children's rights all over the world. In our own community it's having an effect on children's quality of life. Keep up the good work and ongoing professional development that is always offering us gems and causing in each of us to plant seeds of quality.