Letters to the Editor
Never mind Ice House, what about the beaches
To the Editor:
Now let me get this straight. The homeowners around Ice House Pond are being vilified in the MV Times for trying to deny the public access to the pond these past few months. Yet the up-Island towns have been doing essentially the same thing for years with their exclusionary beach polices. So where is the outrage about that from the editorial board of The Times?
Yeah, I'm not shutting up. Again, the proposal is simple. If someone walks or rides a bike, they should be allowed access to the up-Island town beaches. End beach apartheid.
Milton Mazer: still present in all we do
To the Editor:
In 1961, Dr. Milton Mazer arrived on Martha's Vineyard to begin his work. He had been invited by a small group of Vineyarders through a letter sent by the late Dr. Bob Nevin. The incidence of psychiatric problems had become a major concern on the Island, and Milton was known by the group because of his summer visits to the Vineyard. Led by Dr. Mazer, that group went on to incorporate Martha's Vineyard Community Services.
Upon arrival and taking on his new role as director of the Mental Health Center, Milton was able to gain the confidence of Vineyarders rather quickly. We soon learned that he cared deeply and respected who we are as people.
Throughout his work at the helm of MVCS, over a period of more than 20 years, Milton captured the special character and essence of what it means to be a Vineyarder. In his book, People and Predicaments, he not only contributed significantly to the field of psychiatry, he also put into words how we Vineyarders make sense of our lives and how we see ourselves in the world.
In his book Moby Dick, Herman Melville defined Vineyarders as "Isolatoes," people who do not acknowledge "the common continent of men, but each Isolato living on a separate continent of his own." Milton further defined the special characteristics and attributes of those who became Vineyarders. He helped to instill pride in our unique identity.
From the early days to the present day, Milton's values remain strongly visible in the mission of Martha's Vineyard Community Services. We take great pride in the legacy he left in our care - to do everything in our power to offer a helping hand, without reservation.
Milton's spirit surrounds every child who attends day care, every woman who needs supportive services, every elderly or ill person who needs nursing visits, every disabled person who is placed in a job, every person living the reality of mental illness who is a member of Daybreak, every person who shops at the Thrift Shop, and every person who needs counseling and support moving through a predicament. All of the services, that we provide to the hundreds of people whose lives we touch year after year, are connected to Milton Mazer and his calling to serve those in need.
The Island, and yes, the world, is a better place today because of Milton Mazer. So, as we move forward, Milton is still with us. He lives in our hearts, and he is present in all we do at Martha's Vineyard Community Services. His light still shines, his work continues on, and the love he spread to all of us shall never die.
Bad Land Bank
To the Editor:
Please save your Kleenex. The Land Bank has no problem tricking well-intentioned people, so when they get dealt "a poison pill" in return for what they dish out, spare us the sob stories. The Land Bank feels they've been treated unfairly over Ice House Pond? Haven't they ever heard of karma?
Had the Land Bank not practiced their own poisonous version of dispensing unfair and deceitful medicine, the public would not taste the bitter consequences. Unfortunately, it is the public that suffers for the Land Bank blunders and deceptions.
The Land Bank entirely blew the Ice House Pond deal. They are the ones who look bad. They are the ones who are responsible for setting the distrust in motion.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Sir Walter Scott said that; I didn't.
Loud music and neighbors can find common ground
To the Editor:
This letter was written to the Oak Bluffs selectmen.
As I am a full-time musician and year-round resident who has worked more in Oak Bluffs in the past 25 years than all the other towns combined, it seemed like a good idea to attend your preliminary meeting on the issues surrounding live music in Oak Bluffs this afternoon. I had to leave before the meeting adjourned, but I was there long enough to hear much of the discussion.
First, let me say that the residents and abutters who are afflicted by loud music need immediate attention. Their rights and quality of life come first, and all efforts to arrive at a satisfactory solution for them should be the highest priority. Kerry Scott twice recalled the police officer who begged for the tools to give those people relief, and they should have it.
Having said that, I would speak from my experience, and caution against Draconian measures that affect all establishments regardless of their past history. In my view, a danger lies in painting with too broad a brush: one of the phrases I heard a lot was 'amplified music'.
Almost all the music one hears anywhere is amplified. I would take issue with Ms. Scott's recollection of "dancing herself into the ground" every summer to music that was not amplified. I would submit that it was amplified, just not too loud. Were it not amplified somewhat, there would be little chance of hearing it. Practically all the instruments that we play are amplified. I play piano, and as I can't drag a real piano into 99 percent of the establishments where I work, I bring my keyboard and amplifier. When playing jazz at the Offshore every Tuesday evening, I play at a very low volume. I turn down the amplifier. The music is meant to be part of a fabric that makes up the ambience, not an overt dominating presence.
When I play later in the week, also at the Offshore, with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, my amplifier is turned up more to accommodate the dancers and reflect the blues and R & B that we're playing. We, however, can and do play more quietly when it's called for. Again - we turn down the amplifiers.
As I understand it, the bulk of the complaints last season were directed at two establishments that, more often than not, do not feature live music: The Lampost, a discotheque with a DJ blasting a huge bass-heavy system (it's almost always the bass frequencies that are the culprit in a complaint), and the Island House - usually but not always playing canned music: often Reggae with a heavy bass.
I remember many nights playing with a full band when it was David's Island House, with never a complaint, as far as I know.
Little Pete's and Caleb Caldwell needn't be addressed here: as Caleb said, it's a unique situation with two mutually exclusive endeavors vying with each other at a distance of five feet. Perhaps an entertainment license should not have been granted.
As far as the Oyster Bar, Ben DeForest (owner/chef of the previous incarnation, Balance) fought with the abutters for years over the few times he had music. The tin ceiling made for an acoustic nightmare. Perhaps without the kind of sound insulation that Caleb mentioned, it's not a viable location for live music.
What about the Ritz? I first played there in 1983, and on a good night, it's the most magical spot to make music in the world. Janet King, the owner, has always tried to keep the doors and windows shut and work with the bands to arrive at a reasonable compromise on volume. To my knowledge, neither the residents of Central Ave, nor those on and behind Kennebec suffer from volume problems at the Ritz. Should the Ritz, with its long tradition as a great little bar where one can hear lots of good bands up close and personal, suffer from the problems that arise at other venues?
This question leads to a general one about the bar culture. Mr. Diono, who seemed to advocate the idea of an 11 pm limit on amplified music, stated that he is in bed by 11. He likely doesn't realize, as Chief Blake pointed out, that the music crowd shows up in Oak Bluffs around 11. In season, when people are on vacation, 11 pm to 12:30 am is when the Ritz starts cooking. I've been there every Tuesday night with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish for the past 12 years or so, and the place would have no reason to even have a band if at 11 the music stopped. Week nights in July and August do not differ greatly from the weekends. Maybe the culture could change, and we could all get the dancing, live music crowd out from 8 to 11. I know that in many quarters, including my house, this would be a welcome change, and for family-oriented shows, street fairs, town-sponsored concerts, it's great. But in certain types of places, exemplified by the Ritz, such a change would be the end of it. The bars would no longer function.
What about Lola's, out of town as it is. Would they be held to the same rules? They're serving dinner until 9:30 or 10. How could a place that now bills itself as a dance club turn off the music at 11?
Oak Bluffs is a vibrant music town. You should be aware of the variety and quality of the bands that play here on a regular basis. Many people on the Island tend to take it for granted, but it's apparent to many visitors and Islanders as well that the music on the Vineyard and Oak Bluffs in particular is of a consistently high quality.
A well-managed campaign to deal with volume and restraint, mixed with some of the ideas Caleb CaIdwell proffered about sound insulation would be a better alternative to shutting bands down at 11 and creating a dire situation for the establishments that count on the entertainment in the short season. Accountability on the part of the establishments and well-defined consequences for not adhering to guidelines must be a part of the solution. Don't let Oak Bluffs be a town that extinguishes the proud musical tradition by imposing too-stringent rules before making a strong attempt to work with the establishments and the bands to arrive at a reasonable compromise.
Let's make the loud places quiet down and give the neighbors their peace. But, let the music play if it can be done right.
To the Editor:
I recently took the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority bus to Vineyard Haven, and it was a pleasure. The only negative was that there were so few riders. They were mostly young people. The bus even stopped at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, a destination for so many.
I thought, what a boon it would be if more took these buses, especially in the summer. One could greatly contribute to the resolution of the summer auto gridlock by taking the bus.
If you are visiting friends in a remote area, of course, you will have to drive. But, if you are traveling between towns or to the hospital, it is so sensible to take the bus.
William R. Meyer
He's for traffic lights
To the Editor:
Here's my two cents. Call me crazy, but it is possible that I am the sane one.
Oh, ye mad Islanders of the 19th century, heed my call to arise and step forth into the realms of the 20th century, where modern inventions such as electricity makes possible can govern the flow of automobiles (another recent invention) safely and securely through town. Some of these contraptions are already in use in the boroughs of New Haven and New York, effectively preventing loss of property and limb, and even life itself. Indeed, I have seen with my own eyes an amazing invention, the likes of which I dare say has scarce been seen in these parts, called by the name of traffic signal light, whereby if the automobile handlers or "drivers" of the community are properly trained to recognize the color-coded system being employed by the traffic signal light, they may, with great regularity and ease of flow, enjoy the passage of their vehicles with the ultimate comfort and the utmost safety, unencumbered by the stress and trepidation involved when negotiating an unregulated roadway interchange chock full of diverse vehicles and drivers of circumspect abilities jockeying for position without regard for the general welfare.
And, to speak directly to the issue of general welfare, the costs of this revolutionary and controversial new system are indeed minimal when compared to that extravagant and grand transformation currently being planned, which in my considered opinion is nothing more than a roundabout way to extract ever more revenue from our good taxpaying citizens. These costs would likely include training of the local population and visitors to our Island in the recognition and use of the new light-based interchange system, and the cost of stringing the electric power cable to the location necessary. Barring these impediments, the cost of the light unit itself and its mounting cables and hardware would be all that would be left to bear, and I am told that with advancements in the technology, the amount could be well below any current budget proposals.
I beseech ye, fellow Islanders, to heed this call for sanity, both in our fiscal duty to, and our obligation to provide for the safety of all good citizens of the Commonwealth, and consent thyself to be dragged, yea kicking and screaming if necessary, into the 20th century, where contrary to popular belief, these amazing new discoveries of science will someday help all of our society to enjoy safer and more productive lives.
I believe that we are nearing an era where these so-called automobiles will become ever more numerous to the point of replacing our horse-drawn transportation entirely. You may think me to be daft or mad, but I truly believe this will come to pass. With these new vehicles, ever heavier and more powerful, the issue of personal safety attains paramount importance, and it has been shown most conclusively that the safest, most cost effective method to regulate busy vehicle interchanges in the modern horseless era happens to be this wonderful new traffic signal light.
I do realize that unfamiliarity with these strange and wondrous new inventions can be hard to overcome for some of us rooted in our treasured past, but I see a world where the solutions of modem technology are equal to the problems of the modern era. It is my belief that these new machines and inventions are not to be feared, but welcomed and harnessed for the common good, and I ask all responsible Islanders to consider which century they wish to remain in. I for one choose to move forward, into the 20th century.
should go elsewhere
To the Editor:
The G.O.O.D. Co. application for a health club facility is again coming before the Edgartown zoning board on Feb.21.
It has been reported that the application remains essentially unchanged from the previous application for a special permit.
Unless the application has been modified, it will still have serious detrimental impacts on Edgartown. According to the applicant's traffic engineer, within two to three years, impacts from this project could contribute to the need to have the Katama/Clevelandtown Road intersection monitored by the police to deal with traffic flow. Other alternatives suggested by the applicant's traffic engineer were the removal of stop signs or the addition of turning lanes to handle peak traffic flow. These are potentially serious impacts on a residential neighborhood.
The impacts on our town's ability to manage growth and development are equally threatened. To allow a project to connect to the town sewage plant solely because it cannot treat its own wastewater on-site sets a bad precedent for our future. Treatment plant capacity needs to be dedicated to the existing highest priority sources of contamination to be able to most effectively reduce impacts of growth on receiving watersheds. We already have many dense subdivisions with on-site Title 5 systems contributing to the nitrogen loading of our ponds, watersheds and drinking water every day.
Overly dense land use practices will rapidly degrade the quality of life in any location and especially one as heavily developed as Katama. This project would contribute to rapid uncontrolled growth by encouraging density of development. Allowing such dense development further from the existing infrastructure also stresses the delivery systems that provide electricity, water, goods, and services. Practices which allow for excessive growth density in such areas only serve to degrade the environment and quality of life as development spreads farther and farther from populated areas.
The developers need to look beyond mere convenience and propose a project for a more appropriate location.
To the Editor:
The local election season is fast approaching, and Chip Mitchell has broken out of the gate at a full gallop, having taken out papers to run for the Oak Bluffs board of health.
There are many reasons why people run for office and, apparently, revenge is one of them. Readers may remember the vitriolic letter to the editor Mr. Mitchell wrote in October regarding the health agent's closing of a local restaurant for a short time because of a food code violation.
Mr. Mitchell has not - at least so far - invested in newspaper ads or mass mailings extolling his own qualifications and personal virtues; instead, he has launched his political career by crafting a not-so-clever notice which he posted at the town hall and possibly other places yet to be discovered. This notice looks like it had been written by Shirley Fauteux, the health agent. It invites town employees to bring their pets to work three days a week, and to call her for details.
Shirley did not, of course, write this notice. I know this because (1) I would have typed it for her; and (2) I caught Chip in the act of tacking it up outside our office door. Later in the day, an identical bogus notice was found posted at the entrance to the town hall, under the Board of Health Notices.
I hope Mr. Mitchell will reconsider his run for the board of health, or any other office. This pathetic display of sophomoric behavior is not exactly what the town is looking for in a public servant.
An esteemed neighbor
To the Editor:
Our sister June lives on Main Street, almost across from Art Buchwald's house. We enjoyed watching him walk to town - always with pretty young girls accompanying him.
Years ago, the Patisserie was situated where the bagel place is now. Holding court on the outer deck was Art, hosting Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Kramer, plus many others. They greeted everyone walking by - so warm, so friendly.
When our parents (Henry and Mae Cronig) sponsored an Israel Bond breakfast, they asked Art to be our speaker. We called it "Bagels with Buchwald." His remuneration - a large coffee cake baked by my mother, which he requested and loved. The good that he did will live on - so will his memories for all of us. We held him in high esteem.
Shirley (Cronig) Smith
Carol (Cronig) Abraham
June (Cronig) Kapell
Gifts from the heart
To the Editor:
We would like to thank some wonderful people who gave from their heart for Valentine's Day. Several Tisbury School students and teachers spent Sunday having their hair cut to donate for the Locks of Love organization. It is an organization that accepts donations of hair to create hair piece for children who have lost their hair from illness. It was an amazing afternoon that could not have been possible without the help of many people. Jackie Menton, Emma Urban, Sue Leonard, and Whitney Burke who worked on a great slide show that was shown on our morning show at the Tisbury School. The slide show helped encourage and educate other students and staff about Locks of Love. Kate Grillo, Natalie Krauthamer, Judy Baynes, Anne Williamson, and Kate Harding made a keepsake bracelet for each donor.
These bracelets were given to them as a token of thanks and even more as a reminder that they should be proud of the gift they gave.
We would also like to thank Aubrey Gibavic, the reporter from the MV Times, who was so inspired by the students that she also donated her hair.
The day was so special thanks to Martine and Maureen from Panache, who opened their salon on a Sunday and treated each donor like a princess.
Flowers were donated by Rosebuds and Morrice The Florist and hot chocolate from Mocha Mott's on Valentine's Day when we went to the Vineyard Haven Post Office to mail off the donation. Thank you to the teachers who donated not only their time but their hair, Natalie Krauthamer, Jenna Gosson, Erin Ducatt, and Alice Robinson. The biggest thank you must go to the brave and generous girls: Diane Reed, Nina Levin, Yare DaSilva, Taylor Maciel, Jenna Silvia, and Hailee McCarthy who are not only beautiful on the outside but the inside, too!
School Guidance Counselor
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.
Value the arts
To the Editor:
Thank you MJ Munafo and the Vineyard Playhouse for hosting the fourth-grade theatre project. As a parent of a child at the Tisbury School, I thoroughly appreciated the opportunity my son had in this project. It was apparent to me that the project encompassed many lessons for the students. I saw children making change at the snack bar, collecting and counting money for the ticket sales, working the advertising component, then of course the wonderful artistic talents for the scenery, writing and then the chances many had as actors and actresses. The class had a real opportunity to work as a team to bring a wonderful project to fruition. I am sure the memories of their efforts will last a lifetime.
Many thanks to the Tisbury School for continuing this project in its curriculum. At a time when many schools in the nation are letting valuable art programs go by the wayside, it is wonderful to know we live in a place that can value the arts.
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Cynthia Mitchell, executive director of Island Health, Inc.
"Vineyard Smiles" spent several days this month at the Tisbury School, providing dental check-ups and services to our children, and presenting an educational dental health lesson to our first-grade students.
The program ran very smoothly and was a benefit to many Tisbury families. The success of "Vineyard Smiles" was a result of organized and efficient handling of paperwork, scheduling to accommodate other school programs, and the friendly, professional staff who serviced the children. Thank you to Henrietta McElheny, coordinator, Debbie Simon, educator/dental assistant, and Dr. Ghassan Khoury, the participating dentist.
We appreciate your dedication in working toward the goal of making health care available to all who need it. Thank you to Sarah Kuh and Island Health Inc. for procuring the grant through the Oral Health Foundation, the charitable arm of Delta Dental of Massachusetts, making this program possible. We are all smiles because of what you have given the community.
Stop & Shop workers
in contract battle
To the Editor:
There are 43,000 Stop & Shop workers throughout New England; including 6,500 in Massachusetts who are presently mired in difficult negotiations with their employer. These workers are in the fight of their lives to maintain quality, affordable heath care, fair wages and to save their pension plan from destruction.
The loyal workers at Stop & Shop are the reason why Stop & Shop is number one in market share in Massachusetts as well as the rest of New England. They have made sacrifices in the past to assure that Stop & Shop continues to be profitable.
Despite their hard work, Stop & Shop seems intent on turning its back on the very workers to whom they owe their success. The grocery giant ran ads in last weekend's papers in an attempt to recruit replacement workers in the event of a strike.
Stop & Shop also, in the middle of negotiations, cut back store hours and decided to eliminate service employees in the florist and seafood departments by making them self-serve departments. Stop & Shop workers in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts have already received unanimous strike votes from their membership due to the company's proposal.
Stop & Shop owes it to its workers and its customers to engage in real negotiations. Stop & Shop workers are among the most productive workers in the industry. They have shouldered the burden of the company's Enron-like accounting problems caused by its European parent company, Ahold.
Local 328 has always been Massachusetts's neighborhood union. More Massachusetts residents either are presently or have been members of Local 328 more than any other union in the state.
We are prepared to fight for our good jobs in our communities. Stop & Shop should think twice before turning its back on its loyal work force.
David P. Fleming
UFCW Local 328