Letters to the Editor
The Island Home and getting home
To the Editor:
Reading the most recent article about our new boat, I am looking forward to riding on her. As much as I love the Islander, I do realize that she's not as accommodating as other boats in the Steamship Authority fleet. Like most of us, what I know about the Island Home is what I've read and what I've seen in photos. She seems to have a large lunch counter and an adjacent seating area, which is where a lot of people like to sit on the Martha's Vineyard, especially if we have kids.
She does have the bucket seats that the Martha's Vineyard does. You all know those empty seats that people avoid unless they have to sit in them? The area with a bench seat on the Islander holds three people, but holds two on the Martha's Vineyard? The seats that separate families into rows? I know, I know, some people like the bucket seats. Ever tried to get a child to sit in one of those seats after they've been couped up in car for a few hours? I know, I know, the benches on the Islander jam up with people, especially because of the opposing benches and that person with a golden retriever in the aisle. I know, I know, if there was an emergency there could be real problems. Still, I like the casual atmosphere of the benches. You can see who's on the boat that you know (I'm a talker). I have great conversations during that 45-minute ride.
I know, I know, you've got to let things go, and we'll make more memories with the new boat. Still, it's the Islander and as her engineer once said to me, "When you come over the hill and see that boat in the slip, you know you're going to sleep in your own bed that night."
What do we have to complain about on this Island? The hospital and the Steamship Authority, right? That's not going to change. People are people. Though I for one have decided to place a moratorium on my own complaints about the Steamship Authority. During the last few years, with my wife's illness, they have truly been as helpful as they could be. When we've needed to get off for a treatment, we can. Always. They have never let us down in five years.
We in turn don't want to ruin that karma (or goodwill) and never have taken advantage of that because I'm convinced that something would happen.
The latest was just this past Wednesday. We had to make the 5 pm boat back to the Island. My wife had been in the hospital for three weeks, and we just wanted to get home. We got to the dock by 4:35 pm. I had to load up our stuff, roll my wife to the dock and then park our borrowed car in the Wood's Hole lot. The guys on the dock were great. They helped me get my wife through the car deck and up to the lunch counter. I dashed back to the car, so I didn't have to drive up and down the hill again they backed me into the lot, and karma was with us, a space by the bridge. They were so great that I had to remind them to tear our tickets. We slept in our own bed that night - and we took the Martha's Vineyard.
To the Editor:
A hasty reader of your Feb. 1 editorial might draw the mistaken conclusion that you were aiming the insulting epithet of "Road hog" at Capt. Robert Douglas, for keeping his schooners moored in the approaches to the Steamship Authority's Vineyard Haven wharf. However, closer inspection shows that your target is in fact the mean old SSA itself, which is renewing its request that he move the moorings to a safer location.
Always happy to correct SSA management, The Times asserts that there is no safety issue, pointing out that in their present location, a schooner has been hit by a ferry only once in 42 years, and it blames that on "negligence" by the ferry's master. It has no figure for the number of times masters have had to lay a diverted course around the schooners in order to reach the wharf without risk of hitting one. What constitutes a hazard to navigation may look a bit different from a wheelhouse on a foggy night than it does from an editor's chair in a cozy office on shore.
Admitting that their vessels might under certain wind conditions present a difficulty to use of the SSA's south slip, the Douglases (and the editor) direct that the boatline just use the north slip instead. No word on what to do if it needs to use both slips at the same time. The Shenandoah and Alabama are handsome vessels and long admired ornaments of their home harbor. It is unfortunate that their owner appears less concerned about preserving their timbers than about preserving their mooring locations.
The Island Home will soon be in service. On entering Vineyard Haven, it will not have to do a 180 to back into a slip, and it will not become unsteerable at low speeds. It may reveal no idiosyncrasies of maneuver at all, but it will certainly be very much larger than anything seen here before, and therefore may need more room. "The Road to the Islands" should not be an obstacle course. A competent editor would not encourage a distinguished shipowner to be stubborn, but instead would advise that he moor his valuable property in safer ground, even if there are difficulties in the relocation.
for all people
To the Editor:
Thank you to Paul Adler and Erik Albert for pursuing this issue in their letters. I think it is fair to say that most Island citizens agree with you that our beaches should be accessible to all of us. My children have grown up here and feel the exclusivity of the policies that prevent them from using many of the most spectacular beaches in the summer. It is ludicrous for someone to say, "Well, you can use the beach - in the off-season, and before 8 am and after 5 pm." That somehow makes the point more forcefully to a child - you are not good enough to use the beach in the middle of the day, when most people would like to go to the beach. We share the down-Island beaches with everyone - along with the roadways, the hospital, the 4th of July parade, the fireworks, illumination night, etc.
Obviously, parking is an issue - at all beaches at this point. Have you tried to find a space at South Beach or State Beach in the middle of the summer? Do you suppose that there are a few Chilmark residents or renters using those spots for a nice day at the beach with their young children? Maybe we should use a swap system - if you are coming to the beach in Oak Bluffs, you must swap your car with an Oak Bluffs resident in order to park at State Beach.
I personally favor an Islander beach permit; it's the only fair system of sharing our community.
Pay no attention
to the sign
To the Editor:
Regarding the issue of access to beaches, I think that it is wholly unacceptable to perpetuate the policy of privately owned beaches. This is exactly one of the Vineyard paradigms that really must go. This issue was resolved years ago in California to general satisfaction - allowing public access to the beaches of California. I would encourage everybody to do as I do, and that is to practice civil disobedience and disregard any sign indicating a private beach.
Vineyard Haven and Chapel Hill, N.C.
Did you see it?
To the Editor:
Just wondering if anyone saw the meteor on Saturday night, Feb. 2. Beautiful.
To the Editor:
A great big thank-you to all the wonderful people who helped me at the time of my recent fall and pelvic fracture: Chilmark police chief Tim Rich, Sgt. Jonathan Klaren, paramedic Debby Cini, EMT Max McCreary, and all the others whose names I can't remember. Thanks to the caring and compassionate emergency room nurses and x-ray technicians and the wonderful nurses: Chris, Pam, Marcia, Linda, Kathy, Grace, Roxanne, Stacy, and nurses' aides Carol and Nina, and those whose names I can't remember. I love you all.
Your friendly, efficient, and tender care made my two stays at our wonderful Martha's Vineyard Hospital as good as could be. Special thanks also to dietician Doreen, who arranged a festive Christmas dinner for me and my husband by the Christmas tree.
Last but not least, thanks to all my friends for their visits, calls, cards, flowers, and delicious casseroles. What a wonderful community we live in. I'll be forever grateful to you all.
To the Editor:
Thank you for CK Wolfson's essay on Art Buchwald. It brought back a great memory of that dear man and illustrates every positive quality CK mentioned.
In the winter of 1997, I was volunteering at the Vineyard Haven Library when Art Buchwald dropped in to pick out some videos. One of the librarians, while checking out his items, leaned across the desk and removed a drycleaner's tag from his shirt. "I miss having a woman around," he sighed; his wife had died a few years before. After he left, I told the librarian how much his books and his columns in the Post meant to me. I grew up on military bases, part of a pro-Vietnam, pro-Nixon Republican family. "You ought to tell him," she said. "You'd make his day." But I never had the nerve.
A couple years ago, Mr. Buchwald had a book signing in Vineyard Haven for his book We'll Laugh Again. He was recovering from a stroke, and the event organizer announced that we should not ask him to "personalize" our books; with so many people, he only had the energy to sign his name. I realized then that it might be my last chance to tell him. After his talk, when I got to the head of the line, I handed him my book and said it was my father's Christmas present. "My family's all right-wing Republicans," I added, "but I started reading you when I was 10, and I'm a Democrat." He leaned back and laughed, then grabbed my book and scrawled across the inside cover: "Bill, I hear you're a Republican. Thank God for your daughter."
It was my father's favorite gift that Christmas.
To the Editor:
I am raising money to purchase oxygen masks for animals. These masks come in sets of three and can be used on cats, dogs, bunnies, etc. The masks will be put on fire trucks and ambulances in each Island town. If anyone is interested in donating, there are donation cans at the Island vets and at both Cronig's as well as SBS. You can also send checks to me at P.O. Box 4434, Vineyard Haven MA 02568. Please write "oxygen masks" on the memo. Thank you.
To the Editor:
The following is a copy of a letter to Stephen Bernier.
Thank you so much for your generous donation of Cronig's Market canvas shopping bags to the Vineyard Affordable Child Care Project (VACCP) of the Martha's Vineyard Public Schools. The VACCP received a grant from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to purchase developmentally appropriate materials, children's books, copies of the Read Aloud Handbook, and other child-care-provider resource books for the 11 family child-care programs that are contracted with the VACCP. The canvas bags that you so kindly donated have allowed us to deliver these books to the family child-care providers in an organized, attractive, and convenient way. The materials and books will rotate among the family child-care programs as a lending library for all to enjoy, and thanks to Cronig's Market, the books will travel in style.
The Vineyard Affordable Child Care Project is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, and recent years have brought us deeper budget cuts. Your donation of canvas bags is just one small but shining example of how important community partnerships are to the effective use of resources on behalf of young children and their families.
Pat Ingalls and
Lay off Chickie
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to Jeff Kristal and the Tisbury zoning board of appeals.
Please quit picking on Chickie. And please quit picking on Jessica Seidman. And, for heaven's sake, issue her a permit to keep Chickie where he belongs, at her side and in the microscopic community of his hens.
It is clearly winter on the Vineyard, without enough to do for some who need to get all in a twist about a rooster. If they listened with less suburban ears and fewer aspirations to some odd notion of keeping up with the Joneses (or pick your celebrity), they might hear with some delight the call to wake early, see the sunrise, and love the silhouette of pine boughs against an azure sky.
I'm not exactly channeling Nancy Luce, but I know her spirit is disturbed, and it is never a good idea to upset a legend.
Please revisit this matter, clear your eyes, and do the right thing by Ms. Seidman and her handsome and Best-in-Show winning Chickie.
Dana K. Anderson
To the Editor:
The idea of the roundabout at the Blinker intersection has been fuming in my mind for a couple of years, and it's about time to get it off my chest. I cannot believe that any sensible person could possibly think a roundabout is the best. I have been on the Island long enough to see the changes in traffic patterns in this area increase beyond the frustration point. Many times I have started to pass (my turn) through this intersection when the car right behind the one in the middle of the intersection attaches itself to the rear bumper (pun intended) and follows through, not waiting its turn. I can only guess the drivers are somewhat blind or have not yet been able to count 1, 2, 3, 4.
Though I do not attend meetings concerning this project, I did happen to watch the film presented in favor of roundabouts. I wonder if I was the only one to notice that there were never more than five or six cars in the area of the roundabout at one time. The film reminded me of one of those corny staged '50s films we used to see in grade school.
I am wondering why anyone would be so much against a stoplight. A light could be timed to allow Barnes Road airport traffic, boat traffic, or after-school traffic to pass at greater lengths of times as necessary. Maybe a trip switch to change the light if traffic builds up beyond a certain point. Why not widen the roads a little at the Intersection so right turn traffic can proceed after stopping? As I see it, a red or green light would be easier for those to understand, given that some cannot count to four or understand the principal of courtesy.
If you think for a minute that a roundabout will stop these idiots from cutting off another driver, you are sadly mistaken. I would suggest you spend some time at the rotary under the Bourne Bridge and listen to the horns blowing. It's almost laughable. I was recently informed that other places, having tried the roundabout method, are changing their mind due to increased accidents.
Another concern should be with our not-so-environment-friendly society and the amount of pollution stop-and-go traffic can cause. The greenhouse gas effect and heating of the earth is a real problem, and it appears that if we all did a little to change our lifestyle it might help This Blinker light project is indeed minor in the scheme of things but would be one of those little things that could just help. The simple process of hitting the gas pedal from a standstill, one car at a time, would create far more pollution than 10 or 15 cars moving through the intersection in unison.
I also don't believe that allowing the flow of traffic through the intersection would only be increasing the traffic load at Post Office Square in Edgartown. It is highly unlikely that this is where all the backed up traffic is heading. The short of it is that a roundabout is not the answer and will be a waste of taxpayers' money. The simple fixes are a little widening of the road for right hand traffic turns, and a computer-controlled light. Hopefully those that cannot count to four are not also colorblind.
To the Editor:
As a parent of a Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey player, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved in our 17th Annual Invitational Tournament in Memory of Ryan Mone and Eric McLean. The Tournament began on Friday, Jan. 26, and continued on Saturday morning and Saturday night, ending on Sunday morning, at the ever-accommodating M.V. Arena.
Despite the frigid temperatures inside and out, everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Thank you to all the parents and teams that made the long journey. The parents were patient and kind, and their children displayed sportsmanship and great competition to our children. Both Vineyard Squirt Teams (8 and 9 year olds) battled it out to a victorious first-place finish.
The directors and organizers of this tournament deserve another huge pat on the back for a successful weekend. Referees, score/timekeepers, bus drivers, and other parents who helped are as always appreciated. Our last-minute fundraiser was pulled off without a hitch, thanks to the family of Warrior Hockey player Christopher Perry. His Aunt Brenda fed us, and his Uncle Kenny Paul donated four pounds of Island Scallops to the raffle. His grandparents, Roy and Sherrill Hope, were the backbone of the raffle. Sherrill was able to create the most wonderful eye-catching displays and baskets with her artistic ability, and Roy was our "go to" guy to help with everything. Emerson Mahoney's mom, Julie, hit the pavement off and running and obtained much-appreciated donations from Educomp. Cutting Edge, Mac Sales, Green Room, and Rainy Day of Vineyard Haven. Miniature hand-knit purple and white sweaters were all the rave, generously donated by Barbara Almquist of Edgartown. Many people contributed to Youth Hockey by selling or buying ads in the booklet, which helps the program a great deal. On Sunday we were able to celebrate courtesy of Pomodoro's in Oak Bluffs. They threw a large pizza party for both teams, which was a perfect ending to a great weekend. And last but surely not least, to the volunteer coaches: without your commitment and dedication to our children, none of this would be possible, Thank you on behalf of myself and other parents.
Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey is a non-profit organization in constant need of the community's support. If you would like to make a donation to our program, you may send it to P.O. Box 2319, V.H. MA 02568. Remember, in our case, it takes an Island to raise a child.
very hard work
To the Editor:
This weekend many of us will gather to remember and say goodbye to Milton Mazer. In the weeks since Milton died, I re-read his book People and Predicaments and realized afresh how deeply he loved the people of this Island and cherished the many roles he was allowed to take while here.
A role I especially am glad Milton had was that of Island Counseling Center director and supervisor. In these times of cost cutting in the helping professions, clinical supervision is often seen as an unnecessary expense. While working at the Mental Health Center in Milton's final years there, I was fortunate to spend many supervisory hours talking with Milton about how best to work with a person or family in the context of this community. Patiently, he helped me learn how living in this specific community can deeply affect each of us. Together with clinical knowledge, he conveyed well the sense that every person has battles in this life, and that it is our task as clinicians to really hear and learn from another's needs, and seek to address these needs front and center, instead of trying to fit these needs into some favored psychological theory.
Milton also spoke to the importance of not isolating as a clinician, but rather conveyed his strong belief and personal practice of spending time with family, participating in or creating community structures, as well as enjoying the pleasures that come from living on this Island. Milton encouraged each of us to identify and spend time working on some community endeavor that would address unmet Island needs.
In the final chapter of his book, Milton very pointedly comments on the need we all have to work to decrease the amount of poverty here and elsewhere, as this affects the mental health of all of us. He specifically addresses the stress inherent in any community that primarily relies on tourism as its major economic force. He argues well for the need to diversify and develop other sources of industry. Along with contributing financially and supporting better governmental aid to the multipurpose Martha's Vineyard Community Services, which Milton envisioned and worked to create, together with many others, it might be a fitting legacy to him to politically and socially support all endeavors that would create different kinds of work here.
Thank you, Milton, for your vision and your very hard work on behalf of all of us. You will continue to inspire and inform all of us who choose to call the Island our home.