Letters to the Editor
Katama dredging hazard
To the Editor:
I am a sailboarder and a year-round resident of Edgartown. This summer, I was rescued by the Edgartown Sheriff's Department. Your paper reported the rescue on July 6, 2006, and I received well-deserved kidding from my wife, family and friends.
The day of the rescue the wind conditions were 30 knots out of the southwest, and I was blown off State Beach. A fellow sailboarder saw that I was having difficulty and notified the sheriff. Humbled by that experience, I decided that I was not the sailboarder I thought I was and that I needed to be more responsible - which brings me to last Friday.
The temperature was in the 50s, and the wind conditions were between 20 and 30 knots out of the north. After my experience earlier this summer, I decided to drive to Katama and sail from the boat ramp. I thought it would be safe location to sailboard in the event of equipment failure.
As I set out east from the boat ramp, the wind was steady, and I was comfortable and in control of my board and rig. Suddenly, I catapulted over my board. The water was five to six feet deep. When I came to the surface, I noticed the fin on my board was missing, making the board impossible to sail back to the boat ramp. I grabbed the board and rig and started swimming when I came upon a pipe the diameter of a narrow telephone pole floating just below the water's surface. I saw that it was one of many connected pipes heading north/south from Katama to South Beach.
I struck a dredging pipe. I know nothing about dredging. However, I believe that the pipe constitutes a boating hazard. The pipe was not anchored to the bottom. The pipe floated freely just below the water's surface. The pipe was not visible. And, the location of the pipe was not marked. Thankfully, I was not injured. However, boaters, sailboarders, and kiters should be aware of the hazard.
Post mortem on Edgartown's
To the Editor:
Copies of this letter have been sent to the Edgartown School Committee, superintendent James Weiss, Paul Dulac and the Marblehead Reporter:
This letter is in response to the recent lambasting the Edgartown School principal Paul Dulac has received over the past two weeks. I have been a parent at the Edgartown School for 13 years, and with my youngest now in kindergarten, we are looking forward to nine more years. My family reveled during the school's halcyon days and has floundered over the past few years during the superintendent shuffle, building shuffle, principal shuffle, and several hard-hitting retirements.
Thankfully, the Island has a new strong superintendent in Dr. James Weiss, which was never more discernible than during the recent dilemma at the Edgartown School. I believe Jim made a difficult but necessary decision in procuring the resignation of Dr. Dulac. I was not, nor would I have expected to be, privy to the personal and professional decisions that directed Paul to seek out alternate employment, and I do not condone the oblique way in which it was carried out. However, that should not diminish the extremely capable leadership Dr. Dulac showed during his time here.
Dr. Dulac came in strong and never let up. Within days he knew his staff, students and parents. The open communication among these groups became the best I have experienced in years. He worked tirelessly on the budget and getting the new building in order. Even during these past tumultuous weeks he has not wavered from his goal of moving the Edgartown School forward, and for this I am thankful. As a member of the search committee that recommended Dr. Dulac for this position, I was more than pleased by his commitment. I still believe that with the information we were given, we chose the right candidate for the job, notwithstanding that it would be extremely naive to conclude that money was not an important factor or that Island living is right for everyone.
Let's not vilify a man for putting his own family before ours.
I would be remiss if I didn't address the negative impact Dr. Dulac's untimely departure will have on the school. This is a setback but not a fatal blow. Our children will adjust, again, to a new principal. It is true that the students deserve a clear, stable leader but Paul Dulac is not the first person to abandon the school in search of higher wages or a better way of life. Hopefully, this will be the final blunder in years fraught with bad decisions and bad timing. I believe our extremely capable students, dedicated staff, and hard-working parents are ready to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Free spirits arise
To the Editor:
I have summered on the Vineyard for more than 20 years, and the close-to-nature, casual, carefree spirit of an Island populated by artists and creative folk have brought my wife and I back, year after year. However, we were horrified to learn that the town of Aquinnah has decided to end a decades old tradition of allowing nude sunbathing on their beach. Only the ill-informed and insecure are threatened by such a healthy and natural practice.
Puritanical New England at its very worst is rearing its ugly head. We were all born naked, and to celebrate the beauty of this Island in a perfectly non-sexual and natural way is a rare and wonderful treat for any family. Apparently, the actions of just a few individuals have caused this pendulum to swing full tilt. Yet the persistent actions of countless drunken partiers on any given Saturday night in Oak Bluffs have not resulted in a ban on drinking.
By far the nude section of Aquinnah's town beach has been far more peaceful as measured against the daily population that Circuit Avenue or many other public venues on the Island. There are countless beaches available for those who are threatened by nude sunbathing. Unlike the rest of the world, there are very, very few choices for nude sunbathing in the U.S. Are we a country where we insist on instilling values of the majority onto the minority?
As a free country, we should all rise up and fight this disaster. Write the ignorant selectman. Write Rhandi Belain, the ill-informed police chief who wishes to force us all to adopt his own personal values. My wife and I have made many, many friends on the Island over the years, and we will sorely miss them as we choose to summer elsewhere, where prevailing attitudes are more accepting and consistent with our own free spirits. We hope that soon the good townspeople of Aquinnah will allow their spirit to speak, and press the selectmen and the chief of police to come to their senses.
To the Editor:
Here is a clarification regarding the Edgartown Community Preservation Committee
On Thursday, Nov. 9, an article appeared in the MV Times regarding the use of Edgartown CPA funds, which seems to reflect a misunderstanding.
As chairman of the Edgartown Community Preservation Committee, I need to clarify our role for town residents.
We welcome the selectmen's input, along with other town boards, for various proposals in order to make sure that there are no conflicts with other projects currently under review by town boards. Those proposals then return to the Community Preservation Committee for further review of their merits and Community Preservation Act suitability.
We expect to have a slate of proposals for the town warrant by Dec. 14, at which time the public will be invited to an open meeting to express their views prior to our final submission of proposals to the town warrant.
All decisions made by the Community Preservation Committee are independent and subject to final vote by town residents at town meetings. The final decision about the uses of funds, already collected and matched by the state, belongs to you, the voting residents of Edgartown.
To the Editor:
I was watching TV the other night when a commercial came on for Airport Mobil. It was a shock when they said that they have the least expensive gas on the Island. I thought I was getting the best deal at Up-Island Auto, paying $2.80 gallon, so I went to get the better buy, and it was .08 cents more a gallon. I was upset that someone would false advertise. You would think the advertisement company that takes the information would do some research to make sure all the information is correct before it is put on the air. I know myself, I like to save money wherever I can. So please, if you want to save money, don't always jump on what you hear. It might be false advertisement.
Check the rate
To the Editor:
For all Vineyard residents who leave the Island in the winter and have either high speed Internet and/or TV with Comcast, formerly Adelphia, and place their service on winter rates, watch what you are charged. It should only be $5 per month. If it is greater, call Comcast, and if the agent cannot help you, get a supervisor. This is the rate for all former Adelphia customers for this year. Next year, I was told the rate will be much higher for this type of service.
Boca Raton, Fla.
To the Editor:
Thanksgiving is of course always a time of travel, family get-togethers, turkey dinners and pumpkin pie. For some of us there is much to be thankful for, but the world remains a sorely troubled place - seemingly worse than at any other time in history - and I hope that every family takes the time to murmur a prayer for peace and an improvement in the welfare of so many folks who are starving, sick, or struggling under devastating circumstances. And we must add a plea, too, for tolerance and religious freedom (although it might be more appropriate if it was freedom from religion) which is what the Pilgrim Fathers were seeking when they sailed from Southampton in 1620 on the Speedwell and Mayflower. As it transpired, the Speedwell proved to be unseaworthy, the vessels turned back, and eventually all the Pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth, England. Their journey took two months, and then they cruised the East Coast of America looking for an appropriate place to land and settle, finally choosing a spot near a large rock which they named Plymouth. Thanksgiving was held the next year in a dinner which they shared with the Native Americans who had welcomed them, and all gave thanks for having survived the long and arduous sea journey and a winter of privation.
Nov. 22 was the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and there are some of us who feel that politics and government have gone steadily downhill since his death. Certainly there was an intellectualism present in Washington that has disappeared along with the elegance and style of a White House where the president entertained world leaders, leading artists, musicians, and writers, as well as captains of industry and leaders in many fields. So much has changed in just 43 years. When we look back upon the administrations of Kennedy, Johnson and perhaps Clinton, it was obvious that the emphasis was placed on finding staff members and advisers with world class credentials and qualifications.
Does this happen today? The answer is unequivocally no. Can you imagine President Bush hosting a dinner where he looks around the room and comments that "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."? This was President Kennedy as he welcomed a group of Nobel Laureates to dinner. I don't think that President Bush even knows what a Nobel Laureate is.
Or, can you imagine the current administration coming out with "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." Well, that was President Kennedy again, and it was a bit of a pious platitude. Further, he wasn't perfect, but at least he was a thinking person, and he gathered around him an amazingly bright group of people to help him lead our country. I remember (as so many do) the day he was shot, and I still mourn for what might have been.
As the world moves forward, let us work for an end to religious fanaticism and the terrorism that it fosters, and let us work to alleviate the root causes of so many of the world's evils.
Virginia Crowell Jones
Thanks to the chief
To the Editor:
This is a letter to Chief John Schilling.
This Dec. 15 marks the fifth anniversary of the fire that destroyed The Tisbury Inn. It might be easy for some when they see the rebuilt Mansion House, to forget that night and the heroism of the Tisbury Fire Department, but we never will.
With fear and admiration, we watched that Saturday night, as then Chief Richard Clark and you conducted your volunteers and orchestrated the safety of the town. We held our breath as other firefighters showed up and went to work.
The fire that started Saturday night and wasn't fully extinguished until Sunday afternoon, underscored the importance of our community, friends and staff. Because the fire was trapped, unseen, behind the walls, our staff had to insist that Zephrus diners, health club members and inn guests leave the building. The EMTs and the hospital were ready, but not one person got hurt because of the dedication of the Tisbury Fire Department and their colleagues in our neighboring towns. We feel so blessed that our loss was measured only in equity and effort, not in injuries! Their dedication inspired our determination to quickly rebuild.
There aren't enough words to express our continued appreciation. But on this fifth anniversary we want to say thank you again by offering all the members of the Tisbury Fire Department and their colleagues in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, a small token of our appreciation in the form of a two-week membership in the health club. All they have to do is come in this December and show their firefighter I.D. card and they will receive a two-week health club gift certificate that can be used anytime. If not inclined to use it, perhaps they can give it to the significant someone who worried about them that night, as their heroism kept the loss to one replaceable building and prevented the history of 1883 from being repeated.
We are very proud and happy in our new building, but prouder and happier that the cornerstone of Mansion House is built on the dedication of Vineyard volunteers and the memory of a brilliantly successful, rapid response to an old building's last hurrah.
Please share this with your department and accept our thanks once again.
Susan and Sherm Goldstein
This letter was intended for publication in full in last week's Times, but due to a production error only a portion of it appeared.
To the Editor:
There are two four-way stop intersections on the road from Oak Bluffs to the airport. On one recent visit to Martha's Vineyard, I had occasion to travel through these crossroads many times. Each time, I watched as all vehicles came to a stop and the drivers wait their turn to proceed. Many times other drivers would signal or wave other drivers to proceed.
My thoughts were always on what a perfect place for a roundabout. On normal traffic days, no vehicles should ever have to stop, but would simply feed into and out of the circles. Even with heavy traffic, all lanes could continue to move with multiple cars in the circle at any one time.
Lewis A. Carson
SSA helps caregivers
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter addressed to the members, management, agents, and staff of the Steamship Authority.
We, the members of the Island Veterinary Emergency Service, would like to thank the Steamship Authority. On many occasions you have facilitated passage for our patients.
These horses, dogs, cats, birds and other creatures need medical and surgical treatment not available here on the Vineyard. We rely on the SSA to help us get our patients the emergency care they need.
We would like you to know that each time you grant passage, you are helping us, the animals, and the families that love them. It is wonderful that you are working with us to provide the best care we can.
Steve Atwood, VMD; Constance Breese, DVM; Michelle Jasny, VMD; Kirsten Sauter, DVM; Dave Tuminaro, MRCVS; Rogers Williams, VMD
To the Editor:
On Saturday, Nov. 4, an auction was held at the Holy Ghost Society to benefit the MVRHS Minnesingers. It is with our warmest appreciation that we thank Susan Madeiras, Jenny Pye, Coreen DeBettencourt, Bonnie Parent, Tiffany Ellis, Rebecca Cohen, and everyone at the P.A. Club for their help. Our success would never have happened without all of you.
A huge round of applause to our generous donors and to John Powers for his wonderful auctioneering efforts. And loud and long-lasting kudos to Jan Wightman, Dan Murphy, the Minnesingers, their parents and families, and our wonderfully supportive Island community.
Minnesingers Parent Group, Inc.
To the Editor:
It is not demeaning to the service of others that I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War.
A friend, William T. Powers, a great scientist and a veteran of WW II, wrote this letter to his local paper and sent me a copy. He speaks for my aching heart; perhaps not mine alone. He says:
"I am writing on this Veterans Day to thank our troops in the Middle East, and everywhere else they are posted, for their bravery, their strength of character, their refusal to give in to adversity, and their willingness to use up their lives to protect all of us. It is hard to feel deserving of such sacrifices.
"It is hard, too, to say what I have to say here: that these men and women who obey their commander-in-chief so readily and willingly are often misused and, like police or firefighters answering false alarms, give their lives because of someone's stupidity, ignorance, or incompetence. They know this. We all know this. So it is even more to the credit of our armed forces that they commit themselves to danger simply because not to do so would put future generations in jeopardy when there really is a wolf. In just the same way, police and firefighters respond to all calls for help even knowing that many of them will be a waste of their efforts. These men and women believe it is better to answer 10 false alarms than to ignore one real alarm. That is bravery - real, grown-up bravery - 10 times over.
"So I say to all our troops who face death every day, you have not wasted your bravery, your bodies, or your lives, even if, this time, your country has wasted them. You have been there when you thought you were needed, and because of that you will be there, you and those who follow you, when you are in truth needed to protect your friends, your parents, your spouses, your children, your country. You will come home as heroes just as soon as we can manage to get you home without wasting your efforts even more. From all of us, eternal thanks, and for what little they are worth, apologies."
To the Editor:
The Oak Bluffs 8th grade Auction held last month at the Ocean View Restaurant was a tremendous success! The students, families, and staff would like to thank our hosts, the local businesses, and artists for their generous donations to the annual auction.
The 8th graders would especially like to thank Trip Barnes and Carlin Hart, our dual auctioneers, and the Jackson Family for their hosting the highly spirited evening.
There were over 200 donated items to help raise funds necessary to send the class on the Philadelphia trip. Again, this year, the staff of the Oak Bluffs school offered over 25 "Possible Dream" items; including birthday parties, breakfasts, story time, sleepovers, and many trips off Island. The dedicated staff give their all for our students and our whole community.
Thanks also to those who attended the auction in support of our class trip. Our students are truly fortunate to be the recipients of such support, and to learn that sense of community.
Sandy Ciciora, Joanne Lambert, Kimberely Morris-Wadleigh, Kathy Perrotta, Judy Pizella, Colleen Silva, Vicki White, Lisa Williston
The Auction Committee
To the Editor:
Holiday cheer visited Martha's Vineyard Community Services on Tuesday when students from the West Tisbury School arrived with their teachers, Robyn Maciel-Wingate and Marsha Curtis to deliver 40 Thanksgiving Baskets to be distributed to families in need.
Students Genevieve Hammond, Niki Alexander, Crystal Miske, Jessica Kelleher, Caitlyn Serpa, Hannah Webster, Justin Smith, Cooper Chapman, Molly Fischer, and Gordon LaPierre arrived bright and early to deliver baskets brimming with all of the traditional holiday favorites. It is always moving for everyone to see the students proudly stewarding the baskets to the different agency programs where they are distributed to Island families.
We share heartfelt appreciation with Robyn and Marsha and the students they inspired and hope that they all take great pride in the fact that they made a big difference in the way 40 Island families will be enjoying Thanksgiving this year. Beyond the lovely meals provided, the knowledge that they care is sure to bring great warmth to the holiday for those they helped. Thank you.
Martha's Vineyard Community Services
Unique and home grown
To the Editor:
On Saturday evening, Nov. 18, Outerland presented a unique dinner theater experience, featuring a gourmet three-course dinner and a poetry-dance-jazz performance of To Breathe (based on our poems). This was an unforgettable evening of dining and entertainment, as anyone who was there can attest.
We would like to thank everyone connected to this undertaking: Jil Matriciano and Daryl Owens who designed and presented a fantastic dance program; Tauras Biskis, Eric Johnson and, especially, Don Groover, whose musical program framed and complemented the show perfectly; Chris West and Shauna Capen who provided the light and sound; Ken Wentworth who captured the show for us on video; Chef Brad Stevens whose slow food, Island-grown cuisine set the perfect tone; Mona and Barry Rosenthal who had the courage and vision to put the show on, Cory Cabral who made the show possible (and professional in every way) and the many other individuals who made contributions large and small.
A production like this, home grown and bootstrapped from the beginning, takes enormous commitment from everyone involved, and we would like to thank especially those who were there to see and hear and taste and feel the experience.
Linda Black and Michael West
An educational diversion
To the Editor:
Sexual orientation at the elementary school level? You've got to be kidding me. I hope this is not to be seriously considered.
Speaking as a father of a sixth grader, I can say these kids have enough to try and grasp. The kids here on Martha's Vineyard start at the K level with a foreign language before they even have a handle on their primary language. There are students struggling in math. Just look at Edgartown's MCAS results from the spring of 2006. This is not to reflect on any school or teacher, but to prove the point of the academic struggle some kids have.
The teachers in the M.V. school system are some of the best in the country. They work very hard for our kids, in a job most of us would not have the patience for. So why should the extra burden of a political subject that we as adults have not even come to agreement on, i.e., civil union/gay marriage, be their responsibility to teach.
In the Julian Wise Nov. 9 article, "Teaching tolerance," Ms. Ferro is trying to tell us that the purpose of Nov. 13 showing of "It's Elementary" was "not to impose a sexual-orientation curriculum on the Island school system, but to foster a discussion about acceptance and diversity." However the premise of "It's Elementary" was to take cameras into American classrooms to examine whether gay and lesbian issues should be discussed in American schools and, if so, how. One statement is contradictory to the other.
Parents and those concerned please speak up now about this to your school system while you still have a chance. Don't think this is a one-time event with no agenda. If we don't voice our concern of sexual orientation in the elementary school level, we will have one subject with your children, depending on the individual child, that they probably don't need to address in their young lives yet. On the other hand, it will give us a chance to teach our children the immoral and ungodly acts of others. We were always taught the three Rs, not one of which stood for rainbow; after all, it's elementary.
On another subject, I was just about to board the M.V. Islander at 11:30 am Friday, Nov. 10, when handing my ticket to Bridget Tobin she said, "Sorry to make you wait in stand-by so long, it's kind of a busy day." After she said that I pulled onto the ferry and thought I should have thanked her for still being there and this is why.
It was a typical busy holiday weekend and I had to leave the Island unexpectedly for a few hours. I got to the terminal around 7:30 am and thought, This isn't too bad, I've seen much worse lines in stand-by. Well, after several boats came and went, some taking not one stand-by, I was getting anxious. When out of the side-view mirror I noticed the W.T.F.D. brush truck behind me and looking like it too was going off-Island. I figured, Damn, that truck must need to go to some Veterans Day parade and will surely take up two spots. Well, it was close enough to me that I could see the driver get out and speak with a woman holding a little American flag.
I put my window down and decided to eavesdrop; nothing else to do after 3 1/2 hours. The driver told the lady that Pete Forend was coming back from Iraq and was about to drive off the Islander. Well, I looked around a little bit harder and realized that the W.T.F.D. was not alone, every town had sent a F.D. and P.D. vehicle as well as a color guard to welcome home one of its own. At this point I got out of my vehicle and this is what I saw. As Mr. Forend drove off the ferry he had a big smile and was waving to people he recognized. He pulled the vehicle off to the side and got out to a warm and exuberant welcome of applause and sirens. He walked up to the color guard, saluted all individually, shook hands with some and hugged most. But the part that brought a tear to my eye was the welcome he received from his family. He wrapped his arms around all his children, all the while his daughter was crying tears of joy for her deeply missed father. I don't know you, Mr. Forend, but I was glad to be a small part of your return home. Thank you to all you service men, welcome home Mr. Forend, and God bless you.
It's not all turmoil
To the Editor:
I could not have agreed more with Gail Craig"s letter published in last week"s Martha"s Vineyard Times regarding G. Paul Dulac"s final resignation and all of the events leading up to it. As a parent of children who attend the Edgartown School, I also felt frustrated, disappointed and deceived. However, despite all of the turmoil at the Edgartown School these past several weeks, there are many positive things to be said of our school.
We have many fine teachers and staff members who do excellent work with and care greatly about our children. We are fortunate to have programs to ensure that all students" needs are met. Not only do remedial programs, such as ESL and reading support, exist, but so does the enrichment program. The enrichment program, headed-up by Ann Hoyle, is unique to the Island and truly adds to the educational diversity at the Edgartown School. This program includes Stanford University"s EPGY (Education Program for Gifted Youth) for students who excel and are capable of doing work beyond what is provided in the regular classroom. While the truly talented students are pushed beyond their boundaries by working on projects tailored to them (EPGY), others are encouraged to participate in activities that are not common in other schools and bring a real added value to our educational system. As there are different levels at which to teach enrichment, many of our students benefit from this program. Mini-courses are provided to all students in grades 5-8 and include activities such as mock trials with local lawyers, stock market games sponsored by the NYSE and the Boston Globe, journalism, introductory French, and Fly Tying, just to name a few.
I can speak from experience on behalf of both the remedial and enrichment programs, as my children have partaken in both. When we moved to the Island two years ago, my daughter needed particular help in reading and writing in English. I was very pleased that the programs in place brought her up to speed in no time. Today, both my son and daughter benefit greatly from the enrichment program. It was only this morning that my daughter mentioned to me that she couldn"t wait for her Problem Solving class, which often involves working with the community to solve a current issue, as a town official was coming to this particular enrichment class today to discuss the idea of turning the closed landfill into a sledding area this winter. Why not?
I am very pleased to know that such options as these are available right here in my children"s school. Thank you to all who make the Edgartown School what it is, and for providing such a well-rounded education to our children, assuring that all students at the Edgartown School receive the education they deserve and need.
Whale of an auction
To the Editor:
Last Saturday, the whales stranded on Martha's Vineyard were auctioned off to the highest bidders on the front porch of the Agricultural Hall, where Andrea Rogers had graciously allowed the whale pod to congregate during her Thanksgiving Artisan show.
Trip Barnes did a great job - thank you, Trip - in orchestrating the eager participants to bid to their hearts' contents: $3,400 was raised from Peggy Zablotny's "Whale of a Garden" to share between the Big Brothers Big Sisters of MV and the Boys and Girls Club; Sail MV received $3,330 from the sale Maynard Silva's whale; MV Hospital is richer by $2,700 thanks to Washington Ledesma's colorful "Whale Cared For" and the YMCA most certainly can use the $10,250 raised by Dana Gaines's "I must go down to the Sea" painted whale.
The whole auction wouldn't have happened without the help of the sponsors, especially Jon Nelson of the Bunch of Grapes and Bob Crane of Crane Appliance. For that matter, many thanks also go to Eleni Collins of the MV Times for her interesting series of articles on the whales, their sponsors and the benefiting non-profits. The Tisbury Printer was very helpful in developing some promotional materials. And last but not least thanks go to the whale watch volunteers, Ann Gallagher, Dick Sherman, Sandra Kingston, Dana Gaines and who saw to it that the pod remained unperturbed on the porch.
It has been good fun in a win/win situation. Who knows, next year the Vineyard may develop an actual whale trail of its own, and more Vineyard businesses, artists and non-profits can be involved together to the benefit of all.
Accidental MV Whale Coordinator