Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
I, on behalf of the entire board of directors of the Island Affordable Housing Fund, would like to thank the generous spirit of the Martha's Vineyard community, who contributed to the cause of saving and giving new life to the Bradley Memorial Church in Oak Bluffs.
As you remember, we had less than 150 hours in order to raise $180,000 to meet a contractual commitment to the heirs of Rev. Denniston, the first man of color to lead a congregation at the first African-American church on the Island. As of this letter, we have raised more than $204,000 in gifts ranging from $50,000 to a $1.50 that a child left for us in our donation jar during the Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival. That is what we knew would happen when Vineyarders heard about the project. That is what makes Martha's Vineyard unlike any place I know. You cherish your past and you care about your neighbors.
Now the real work begins and we will need your help. We have a couple surprises in store as we kick off the "Summer of Affordable Housing" fund-raising season. Watch for more information about our telethon on Plum TV-channel 76, our "Premiere Party," and a series of events throughout the weekend of July 26-29.
But for now, I say with heartfelt thanks, "We could not have done it without you!"
Island Affordable Housing Fund
To the Editor:
Many kind Island folks were concerned when they saw the posters of our beloved little white cockatiel bird gone missing from Aquinnah last week. She was found three days later, after an amazing 18-mile journey. She landed on the shoulder of one of the girls doing roofing off Lambert's Cove Road. The odds that a white bird standing out against the greenery would survive were not good - so many possible predators: hawks, owls, dogs, cats, even a visiting juvenile bald eagle. Cryssy was hand-raised, and is a people-friendly bird. She has no idea how to survive in the wild. It is a real miracle that she made it that far and was found in good shape. A million thanks to the wonderful girls who found her, and also to Lori the animal warden in Vineyard Haven, who received her and called me saying she had a "sweet little love bug" there; and to Joanie the animal control officer from West Tisbury, who was happily babysitting Cryssy when I picked her up. A reward and Chilmark Chocolates was given, and I hope enjoyed. Please accept our deepest, heartfelt gratitude.
Lauri Bradway and
A new library
To the Editor:
The last decade's efforts of the Trustees of the Edgartown Free Public Library to build a new library, which was last expanded in 1975, is finally becoming a reality. At the ZBA meeting of May 23, it was noted that the schematic plan for our new library has satisfied all legal requirements and boards.
A big vote of thanks is owed to Angela Hyatt of Schwartz-Silver Architects of Boston, all the hard-working library committees, and the residents of Edgartown for their continued and open support, as noted by the large turnout for all the public hearings and meetings related to our library. Indeed, the plan has been supported overwhelmingly at two town meetings, and again this May 23, with the enthusiastic public turnout at the ZBA meeting, with letters of support sent to the board of appeals, and a petition signed by Edgartown businesses urging Edgartown to keep the library in the historic downtown district.
The residents of the village of Edgartown can all be proud of the new library plan, in particular, in relation to the size of the building, the parking spaces, and the library's positive relationship with
nearby buildings. With an eye towards the next generation of Edgartown residents, the new plan will also encompass factors to create an environmentally positive "green" building.
We are deeply grateful for the public's support of our efforts to build a library of which the entire town can be proud. With town approvals in hand, we will turn this summer to the next level of our efforts - a capital campaign to raise the funds which will be needed to make this dream a reality.
David Blackburn, Chairman
Edgartown Free Public Library Trustees
Keeping an eye
To the Editor:
My wife and I love your webcam. Our son works at Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway. His name is Marty. Your cam gives us a chance to keep an eye on him, and what's going on with his work. We live in Kansas and come to the Vineyard every summer to see our son and visit the Island. Thanks for the webcam.
Tisbury FinCom urges rejection of state formula for high school
To the Editor:
At Tisbury's June 26 special town meeting, voters will decide whether the town will vote to appropriate the $236,768 difference between the statutory formula and the regional formula assessment to the town of Tisbury by the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. By a 12-1 vote, the finance and advisory committee (FinCom) does not recommend this article.
All six towns have approved the high school's FY2008 budget, but there is a disagreement between towns as to how that expense is to be allocated among them.
For several decades, the cost has been allocated through the regional agreement formula that allocates cost in proportion to the number of students from each town attending the high school. All six towns must unanimously approve the regional formula each year.
Since 1993, the state has offered any town in a regional school district the opportunity to veto the agreed allocation and force the district to use a different allocation formula (the "statutory formula") which allocates the cost based on a combination of factors including the total real estate value in the town, the income level in each town, and what percentage the town has been paying of a state-calculated "foundation level" of high school spending. The statutory formula has been continually tweaked since 1993, and it has been tweaked over the past six months.
If we switch to the statutory formula, it would be phased in over several years - the Department of Education has not yet specified the number of years. It could be as little as four years or as much as ten years. During this phase-in, Tisbury's assessment would be significantly higher. Other towns' assessments would also change, most notably Oak Bluffs, whose assessment would be significantly lower during this phase-in period. (See attached table.)
Once the statutory formula is fully phased in, the resulting allocation would be substantially the same as the regional agreement's allocation. (See the FY 2011 comparison in the attached table.) The significant differences only occur during the phase-in period, but they add to a large total amount.
At its town meeting this past spring, Oak Bluffs voted to break the regional agreement. This forces all six towns to the statutory formula.
Tisbury selectmen and other representatives have been trying to work with the Department of Education and with our neighboring towns to find a fair and reasonable solution.
The town of Tisbury has a sufficient balance in unreserved funds to pay the additional assessment. There would not be an increase in tax rates this year, if the town approves this appropriation.
Regardless of whether Tisbury votes to approve or disapprove this article, if the Island towns have not come to an agreement by July 1, 2007, the state will follow a procedure designed for a different situation: when towns do not approve the school budget. Under this procedure and using the statutory formula, the state will assess each town one-twelfth of its share of the FY07 budget each month. If we still do not have a resolution by December 2007, the state will review the situation and decide what the school's budget will be, and it will assess that number, (either the FY07 budget, or the FY08 budget, or any other number it sees fit) according to the statutory formula. Until then, the high school will be constrained to the FY07 spending level, which is $645,000 lower than the FY08 budget. The school would use some of its excess and deficiency funds to reduce that to $356,000, or 3.25 percent lower than the FY08 budget, which may marginally limit staffing and force delaying some summer maintenance/upgrade projects.
The Tisbury selectmen will advise the town to show its rejection of the statutory formula by turning down the appropriation of the additional funds. The Tisbury selectmen want that vote to send these messages:
To Oak Bluffs, that Tisbury is angry that Oak Bluffs broke a longstanding agreement and endangered the fragile infrastructure that supports the Regional high school.
To the Massachusetts legislature, that their statute is unjust and unfair when applied to the Vineyard, whose towns spend more on educating their children than the statutory formula is designed to compel.
To the Massachusetts Department of Education, that it is unwise to reward a town for breaching a longstanding agreement by requiring other towns to subsidize the breaching town for a period of three to 10 years while it "adjusts" to the expense of getting back to the same level of contribution that it had long ago agreed to.
The finance and advisory committee voted 12-1 to recommend that the town vote against this article. The FinCom fully supports the MVRHS. All towns approved the MVRHS budget for FY08. The issue is how the cost of the high school is allocated across the six towns. The majority argues that turning down this article will give the selectmen evidence of the town's dissatisfaction, which may prove useful as they work to resolve this issue. If this issue goes to mediation, arbitration, or litigation, it may be valuable to have the town's vote against the appropriation as a clear sign of Tisbury's rejection of the statutory formula.
The minority of the finance and advisory committee voted to recommend approving the appropriation of the additional funds by voting for this article for the following reasons:
Turning down this appropriation accomplishes nothing, since the state will assess costs using the statutory formula, no matter which way the town votes. It would be better to accept this year's result and work to resolve this question this fall, before we enter next year's budget cycle.
The selectmen want voters to send a message, but it is a symbolic message, at best. Tisbury can't vote down the statutory formula. A town vote for this article makes it certain that the FY08 budget approved by all six the towns will be available, and that somebody from the Department of Education will not set the MVRHS budget for the coming year.
The messages the Selectmen want the town to send are all legitimate, but the vote (one way or the other) doesn't make a clear statement about any of those things. So why should Tisbury voters do the one thing that will make absolutely no difference in the application of the statutory formula for this year? Why subject the 2008 budget to the whim of a state bureaucrat? That has the potential to further erode the cooperative budgetary process the high school and towns have followed over the past ten years. The statutory formula will apply - no matter what the Tisbury voters do - until the six Island towns agree once more to use the old (or a new) formula. This is an Island problem and the solution must be found on the Island, not imposed from outside.
It is appropriate for voters talk to our selectmen, FinCom, and school officials and urge them to seek help from the legislature and Department of Education for future years that will enable them to negotiate a fair and just resolution among the Island towns. The minority of the finance and advisory committee argues that the Island is best served by keeping all decision-making about the MVRHS budget and its allocation among the towns on the Island, while our selectmen and school officials work toward an Island solution. The minority believes that is best accomplished by a vote in favor of this article.
Muriel Mill, Chairman
Tisbury Finance and Advisory Committee
The bench wasn't
for the taking
To the Editor:
Those of us who live here are always amazed at what we see happening when we think we've seen it all, and someone proves us wrong.
On Saturday night about 6:50, I was driving down the Vineyard Haven/Edgartown Road and watched a blonde woman and a boy taking the metal bench that has rested in front of the senior housing for years, the same bench so many people use every day, but unfortunately no more.
It was quiet and comical watching her trying to get this big bench shoved into the side door. I don't know what make the white minivan was, but it was new enough to have the side door behind the driver's seat.
The woman was smiling away, as proud as could be. People who live here year-round would know better. The bench has been sitting right there behind the bus sign for years.
I'm sure she thinks it'll look beautiful in her Island garden. The bench is either black or dark hunter green strips of metal or wood about one and a half to two inches wide on the back, and seat with arm rest.
Thank God she didn't see the matching one across the street. Oops, maybe she'll be back for that one too?
Most people know that stuff on the side of the road for free usually has a sign attached to it, or you ask the owner of the property if it's actually free.
I regret I didn't stop, but I was late for a meeting. On returning an hour later, I found the bench gone and reported it to the police right away, just a few more pages in my book.
Life on the Vineyard is never dull when our visitors arrive.
I'm asking friends and neighbors to be on the lookout for this bench. I suggest you call the police or arrange for her to return it, so the poor seniors citizens and Islanders who use it every day can rest in the sun instead of having to stand, because she found something "free."
To the Editor:
The mission statement of Hospice of Martha's Vineyard clearly states that we offer our services for free to all and that we are community supported. The community of Martha's Vineyard earned a huge gold star on Memorial Day weekend when many friends of Hospice turned out for the 14th Annual Memorial Day Oak Bluffs Road Race
On the morning of May 27, 493 runners and walkers of all ages assembled at The Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs and for all the years that Hospice has participated in organizing this race, this year was a record setter. The weather was ideal and the runners and walkers ready. The number of families who registered to run this race together was certainly heart-warming.
Thanks to this year's generous presenting sponsor, Dukes County Savings Bank and the associate sponsors; Tony's Market, Radius Construction, E.C. Cottle, Inc. and Keene Excavation, Hospice will be able to use every supporting sponsor and registration dollar directly for patient care.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their assistance and financial support. Roger Wey and the Oak Bluffs Road Race Committee for taking care of the official and safety needs of the runners. Thank you to Peter Martell for the excellent space in the Wesley hotel for registration and porch and lawn for cheering the runners on. Peter and Helen Hall of Broadway Screen Printing for the beautiful red tee-shirts, Tom Seaman and Marsha Shufrin of Vineyard Bottled Waters for the gallons and gallons of water, The PA club for ice to cool those gallons, Tony's Market for the cases of oranges and bananas, daRosa's for the printing of the applications. And thanks to the following supporting sponsors for their pledge of dollars; Basics, Jim's Package Store, Hy-Line, Season's, Down to Earth, Offshore Ale, Vineyard Vines, Marzibanian Construction, Sullivan O'Connor Architects, Cackleberry Farm, RM Packer Co, Giordanos, Secret Garden, Sanctuary, and Cape Cod Express.
Thanks also to all the volunteers, Hospice staff and board members who answered the call to go above and beyond, when they have already gone the extra mile. The angels at the water table must also be thanked for their support for the runners, Lal Dowley, Don Hill and grandchildren. Thanks to the MV Times and the Vineyard Gazette whose coverage and pictures give us all the details and visuals of a very successful and happy day. Thank you all!
A sincere thank-you to the runners and walkers who participated, especially those little ones who give it their all in the one-mile fun run. You all make my day.
You see, we are truly community supported. Thank you for keeping the very important work of Hospice in your hearts
Terre D. Young
Hospice of Martha's Vineyard
To the Editor:
I would like to thank the following individuals who helped save the Louisa Gould Gallery on Saturday June 2, at 2am. All of the artwork is fine. Thank you:
Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling and the whole Tisbury Fire Dept., Amy Levine, Nancy Cramer and Dick Burt, JB Lamont, Alan Brigish, Ken Burwick, the Wortmans.
Also, my neighbors at Madame Falcroux, Deneen and Andrea.
And all the letters and cards from the Tisbury Main Street Stores.
Thank you to all of these people who helped saved my gallery from further water damage and all the artwork of the following artists: Jules Worthington, Nat Benjamin, Steve Hart, Dimitry, Mark Sutherland, Kate Huntington, JB Lamont, Louisa Gould, Steve London, Jeanne Campbell, Karin English Malin, Robert Jewett, Janet Messinio, Howard Park and Gray Park.
We hope to be open within several weeks time, at which point we will post an announcement of the Grand Re-Opening Party for the Louisa Gould Gallery. Everyone who helped and everyone in the community is welcome. Thanks so very much.
to be heard
To the Editor:
I had the good fortune to hear Alice Rothchild at the Chilmark Library last Friday night, talking to a small group about her new book, "Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience. Hearing the personal stories of suffering on both sides made the conflict come alive for me in a way that newspaper accounts can't accomplish. I would like to urge the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center or other community institution to bring her back for a larger audience. These stories need to be heard.
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Martha's Vineyard Branch of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, I would like to thank the Stop & Shop of Edgartown for their generosity. They did not hesitate, when we asked for a donation or a discount rate for water in our preparation of 72-hour kits. The managers are always willing to help with donated items that will help to community, and with little recognition.
We encourage all people to consider making 72-hour kits with enough food, water, clothes, medicines, and hygiene necessities for each family member. Not only is it to one's advantage if a natural disaster occurs and we need to relocate, but also in case of fire in the home or if a loved one needs an emergency trip to an off island hospital. It is one less thing to be concerned with when any type of crisis occurs. Above all, it is better to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. To help meet your family's needs, we encourage you to check preparedness web sites for 72-hour backpack ideas. Try www.ready.gov, www.fema.gov, www.redcross.org, www.providentliving.org, www.des.utah.gov, www.BeReadyUtah.org
Martha's Vineyard Branch Presidency
The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints
To the Editor:
On June 2, the Pink Squid Yacht Club held its 11th annual fishing tournament to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Island scholarships. The event was a great success. We would like to thank all the volunteers and participants that made it an enjoyable day for all. We would also especially like to thank the following:
Classic Aviators, Lattanzi's Restaurant, The Grill on Main, Petunia's
Granite City, Electric, Schwab , Electric, Shirt Tales, Alchemy Restaurant, Trader Fred, Fishbones Restaurant, Shiretown Meats, Summer Shades, Edgartown Seafood, Donoroma's Nursery, The Wharf Pub, Dock Street Coffee Shop, Duke's County Savings Bank, The Chappy Ferry, The Ice Cream and Candy Bazaar, Your Market, Edgartown Fire Department, Ed Jerome and the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, Herring Creek Marine, Osterville Angler's Club, and Welch Electric.
Finally, a very special thank-you to Baynes Electric for the Red Sox tickets and parking pass. Hopefully we will see everyone again at our upcoming annual meeting T.B.A. (new members welcome).
Commodore Glenn Searle, Rico Robb, Cheryl Welch, and Scott Morgan
To the Editor:
In England, laws prohibit the construction of dwellings that would impact negatively on existing homes and neighborhoods. Unfortunately, such is not the case here on Martha's Vineyard.
We looked on in amazement as the incredibly wealthy have built super structures to be used a few months a year, seen our water views disappear as a result and suffer the indignity of having our new abutters overlook the former privacy of our bedrooms. However, there may be, to us long-time residents, a more disturbing trend.
This involves the purchase of gigantic modular homes, arriving on flatbed trucks with huge cranes, then lifting them up level upon level.
Now, equally disturbing is the overnight appearance of a monumental three story house towering over the neighborhood's more modest homes on the former Tashmoo Avenue tennis court site. I suspect it will house more than one family as does the other modular home. If my prediction proves correct, parking, already a problem for the Montessori School, will increase up and down Tashmoo Avenue.
I recognize that housing for workers continues to be a dire need here, but to transform a quiet neighborhood with modest homes into one dominated by not just the one inappropriately sized dwelling but the possibility of three more when the other lots are sold seems shortsighted at best and unjust to the current residents.
Equally disturbing are the potential health hazards if these minimum size lots, with mega-sized houses and their potentially large human populations, are unable to absorb the sewage discharged.
From the outset, I railed against the division of the tennis court property behind the Montessori School into four 50-foot frontage lots, with much increased density than this neighborhood has experienced. Now, an even worse, nightmarish scenario is potentially unfolding. I fervently wish we had the wisdom of our fellow Englishmen, where existing homeowners and retention of already well-established neighborhoods are the first priority.
Wizards and swindlers
To The Editor:
I am a retired television photographer, and Oak Bluffs residents far and near ought seriously to take time and read my scrutiny and disbelief. The Martha's Vineyard Times reporter Aubrey Gibavic, I am sorry to say, was swindled by the wizards behind the curtain. The proof is in the pudding. Abandon ship and go for a dip and head toward the mainland. Remain, if you can stomach the annihilation of Island principles, tastes, and integrity, as the multi-product conglomerate, commonly know as Music Television (MTV), doubts you'll batten down the hatches waiting for the bikinis to pass by your windows. Don't cry over spilt coffee.
Thursday evening, I followed closely rumors that eight-track tape would make a comeback when pigs fly. I said," Alright!" and gazed out my kitchen window waiting for the sun to set and keeping an eye out waiting for any or all flying pigs to pass. Meanwhile, sitting in a chair, about to enjoy a fresh mug of hot coffee, I read quickly the day's mail. Somewhere amid the stack of mail I happened upon my complimentary copy of The Martha's Vineyard Times. What began as a peaceful night abruptly came to a close when I happened to see the words "MTV...reality show." Those seven words hit me hard right across the face. However, it might have been one of the flying pigs that did the damage?
As I read further, Aubrey Gibavic's article titled "MTV scouts Oak Bluffs for reality show" was when things really started going downhill. Forget the damn pig for now, because it was nothing more than a poor attempt at a poor joke. "What?" I heard myself say aloud?
Ms. Gibavic failed to ask, why shouldn't MTV film a reality show featuring whites, poor and rich, Brazilian, Hispanic, Irish, Catholics, Protestants or other countries? If blacks are the same everywhere, then is there something special about Oak Bluffs blacks MTV refuses to define? Aren't blacks the same everywhere? If not, then who is speaking for all blacks? Is MTV implying that Vineyard blacks breathe a different type of oxygen? Do Oak Bluffs blacks have kinder and gentler eyes? Could it be that all Oak Bluffs blacks are more politically correct? How can Oak Bluffs selectmen and residents allow such a racist reality show depicting what is black and what isn't black? Will these Martha's Vineyard blacks keep MTV's viewers laughing? How will "The Bluffs" reality show affect Martha's Vineyard's international image and the image of Oak Bluffs residents? Put your color on the table.
Ms. Gibavic should have dug deeper. Should "The Bluffs" audiences prepare themselves for another trumped up program managed by burnt-out producers fabricating what life may be like for some young foot-shuffling, black-shoe-polished, bug-eyed faced blacks "hanging and partying" this summer in Oak Bluffs?