Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
Let's discuss Comcast's service, shall we? I'm wondering if anyone else out there is finding it to be, incredibly, even more abysmal than that of the lately departed Adelphia.
Our internet service has not been the same since Comcast took over, and their customer service has included being told that we need to prove that Comcast is responsible for the problem in order to not be charged for a service call (thanks, Steve), and, once a service technician determined that it was, indeed, Comcast's fault, being informed that a service repair technician could not be scheduled for seven to 10 business days after identification of the issue. My hope is that other similar examples of how customer service ought not to be will, in these pages, catch the eye of summer resident Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, and something might get done. I doubt the service works this way at his house. What do you say, Brian?
For the fowl
To the Editor:
Quite frankly, these people whose lifestyles are threatened by chickens and roosters can go get plucked.
Just a rural noise
To the Editor:
After reading the recent newspaper articles about the complaint registered with the town concerning the rooster noise in Longview, I feel compelled to write as follows to the West Tisbury selectmen and zoning inspector.
For as long as I have lived here, some 14 years, West Tisbury has always seemed to pride itself on its rural, agricultural heritage. Open fields, ponds, and small and large farms abound, scattered from the north to the south shores. It is the home of the weekly Farmer's Market and the seat of the beautiful Agricultural Hall, lovingly erected by so many Island hands not so long ago, when the Old Grange Hall no longer suited its growing needs.
I am the real estate agent that listed the property in Longview that was ultimately sold to Dyan Redick and Kurt Freund, who are currently being accused of noise violations due to their assorted poultry. It is interesting to note that while I was marketing the property, I would often sit waiting for customers to arrive and listen to the crowing of roosters just below the property at a nearby farm, a place noted for years for selling great eggs and meat.
Before the buyers purchased the home, we did our homework, going to the town to ask about any regulations and checking to be sure there were no association covenants in Longview that would prevent Dyan from bringing her chickens up from Maryland, when they moved to the Island. There were none that we could find.
With so many efforts being made to sustain and nurture the farming industry on-Island and throughout the state from conservation, Buy Local movements, Slow Cooking gatherings to the Island's own newly formed Island Plan, there is a growing concern to bring us closer to greater self sufficiency, including healthy and affordable eating. It saddens me that, of all places, this issue of chickens has become a concern in West Tisbury, never mind Vineyard Haven. I live in a neighborhood of even smaller lots than in Longview with the houses often closer together and we have chickens and horses. It has become part of the ambiance. It is, after all, the country.
It reminds me of articles written several years ago in the New York Times regarding city folk building their dream retirement or summer homes in Vermont amongst the bucolic rolling hills and scattered dairy farms that had been there for generations, only to find that pigs and cows actually do smell. These newcomers were insisting that something be done about the stench of the animals and the manure-spread fields.
In the big picture, the Harrises' complaint is just the tip of the iceberg. It threatens to upset that fine balance of compatibility and sharing that has existed between those folks that live here year-round, often trying to eke out a decent living, and those that come here to vacation in their secondary homes for just a few weeks of the year. This issue rears its head on many fronts, including the cost of food, gas, and housing, etc.
The Harris family may be cause for some roosters to be eliminated next door, but I wonder if their sophisticated sound detection equipment will do any good in the face of the determined crow population that arrives punctually every day on Island at sunrise to wake us all up. This is the country, and anyone who moves here ought to be aware of its inevitable natural noises. To a neighbor who complained about an unnatural noise during the summer emanating from the association pool next door to their home, it was recommended that they close their windows and install an air conditioner. It worked, and I recommend the same to the Harris family for the short time they are here on-Island.
I sincerely hope that a reasonable and sensible solution will be found that will not diminish the existing, unique character of West Tisbury. I feel we are on a bit of a slippery slope, in that any decision made by the town could have potentially long-term, negative repercussions for many trying to farm even in a small way. I feel that as long as our zoning by-laws continue to permit and encourage these kinds of small farms, real estate agents, like myself, will be able to explain to any potential buyer what can be expected if they chose to live in West Tisbury in the way of ducks quacking, cows mooing, sheep baa-ing and, yes, roosters crowing, almost but not quite as loudly as the crows.
Age limits limit Outerland crowds
To the Editor:
At the Outerland there has been and will be an array of concerts, including Stephen Marley, Citizen Cope (twice) and Israel Vibration. But the thing restricting a lot of their fans from going are the rules. At Outerland, one of the rules to abide by is that in order to get in you must be 18 or older. If there should be an age rule, it would make sense for it to be 21, because of alcohol distribution. But, I do not see why 18 is an age that you are allowed to go to concerts. Because of this rule there are many kids that now cannot see their bands live. I am sure if we had the bands' opinion, the rules would be much different. I can't even see why they would want to restrict minors from seeing the show. It would only bring more people and more tickets being sold.
To the Editor:
During the past three or perhaps even four weeks the Oak Bluffs Post Office has been without air conditioning. The lobby is hot and quite stuffy when you walk in. Over the other side of the window where the employees work sorting through the mail doesn't appear to be much cooler.
However, even under this not-so-comfy condition, the postal employees continue to greet their customers in a cheerful manner. They wave to the children as they go by to check their boxes. They are always wearing a smile and care enough to ask how your day is going. With the millions of pieces of mail that must be handled in our growing summer season, it is nice to see that the Oak Bluffs Post Office has not lost its small town charm.
Thank you, Paul Leonard, postmaster and your postal staff for the jobs you do every day, brightening our day while you do them.
To the Editor,
While my family and I have enjoyed many enjoyable evenings at The Cornerway, reveling in the delicious food and gracious atmosphere, we also happened to find out just how kind and generous the owner and chef, Deon Thomas, is. Traveling back from down-Island late one night, my daughter and I had a flat tire. It was late, dark, and the roads were deserted.
The lights were still on at The Cornerway, so we pulled into the parking lot. Chef Deon was on the porch seeing off his last guests. My daughter and I approached and shamefacedly asked if someone inside could advise the two of us on the basics of changing a flat tire.
Asking if he could have a look at the problem, Chef Deon proceeded to change the tire himself, still in his white chef's jacket. We protested: we could walk to the police station, we could call AAA, and he shouldn't get his jacket dirty. He waved away all objections and said he would hope someone would do the same for his wife and daughter.
Now, not only can I recommend The Cornerway for its delicious fare, I know now where the gracious dining ambiance originates. Thank you, Chef Deon Thomas.
Mary Lou Shriber
Why he stayed
To the Editor:
To Don (All set) Graves's friends on Martha's Vineyard,
I now understand why Donnie once visited Martha's Vineyard and then returned to live his life for 28 years until his passing. What a beautiful place.
I knew my brother Don to be a smart, innovative, honest, "down to earth," and deeply spirited, true soul. He always told me stories of people on the Island. Many of these people attended the funeral service on July 20, at the Little Bridge. I cannot describe how beautiful the service was. Don had many true friends in his life. Each of these friends shared his spirit of a true soul. That is why he let them in.
It was heartwarming to hear all the stories his friends shared at the service. It warms my soul to know there were so many people that truly cared about him. I want to say thank you to everyone for offering a muffin, a cup of coffee, or for just trying. Don really was all set; he had so many chosen friends and lived the life he wanted to live. I believe he is at peace. I believe his spirit remains on Martha's Vineyard. That is why I will return, to visit him and his friends I met during my visit.
Did anyone know he was an extra in the movie Jaws? It's a fact. See if you can spot him. If anyone wants to share stories about Don, I would love to read them. My e-mail address is email@example.com. My home address is 3 April Drive, Nashua NH 03060.
Rest in peace, Don.
Nashua, New Hampshire
To the Editor:
This is a letter I hoped to never write, and yet it is long overdue. I'm a fourth generation descendant of Azorean Portuguese immigrants, all of whom made their livings in the construction trades on Martha's Vineyard. Due to recent events involving illegal immigration on national, local, and personal levels, I can no longer refrain from commenting on this issue.
For 15 years, I worked to master my trade with the Island's most respected and well-known painting contractor. Recently, I've started my own painting business, because of prolonged layoffs with my former boss. He was continuously underbid by other contractors who employ undocumented foreign workers. I am dismayed by the nation's anti-immigrant response to this labor crisis. Should the worker be blamed for low wage driven capitalism? I say no. In fact, it is the greedy contractor that pays cash to low wage, undocumented workers and feeds a system that propagates itself.
I recently aligned myself with a general contractor who claimed to be the best. I had hopes of affiliation and future success. As it turned out, this contractor handed out envelopes full of cash to undocumented workers on a weekly basis but failed to pay legitimate subcontractors for weeks of work.
If our federal as well as state governments continue to do nothing about this problem, then we must do something at the grassroots level. We should ostracize these greedy contractors that cheat the American system. Many of these businessmen are in our town governments and often highly respected in our communities. We can no longer afford respect to any company that uses these truly un-American labor practices.
Many in America promote isolationism by wanting border fences to stop immigration. Perhaps, then, it is time to remove the Statue of Liberty from her pedestal. The only realistic way to curb illegal immigration is to eliminate the invitation of work. Our own president calls these jobs ones that Americans won't do. Wrong, Mr. President, we'd be happy to do these jobs for a living wage with decent benefits. We need to all do our part and not use businesses that game the system. They don't save you money. Instead, you help line their pockets while the rest of us struggle to make a decent living.
There are legitimate guest worker programs in this country with proven track records of success. We need to expand on these and bring people out of the shadows. It is time for blunt dialogue on Martha's Vineyard and anywhere else this problem exists.
Steven H. Carreiro
Wasteful shark protest
To the Editor:
The Humane Society seems to be burning a lot of fossil fuel and contributing to CO2 emissions by flying planes with signs to protest the shark tournament in Oak Bluffs this weekend. I wonder how many similar planes they are flying elsewhere across the country to protest similar causes, contributing to global warming and in turn the degradation of habitats for many endangered species. Regardless of where one stands on the shark tournament issue, this seems an interesting point to consider.
To the Editor:
John Brant Eaton, whose ashes were scattered on Vineyard Sound recently, touched many Americans and not a few Vineyarders. John had invented, in the 1950s, the "Bing Crosby Return a Putt," an office and home gadget that got airtime on the Tonight show, network television and countless Hollywood movies.
No, John had never met Bing Crosby. One of his innovative ideas in the early 1950s was to open a "Drive Through Restaurant" in Seekonk that guaranteed a hot dog in 60 seconds, an electrocuted Hot Dog that had electrodes on either end. The franchise holders were comedians Abbot and Costello.
John's recent invention in his early eighties was to reinvent himself. Having gone blind, he became a vegetarian, attended a school for the blind in Connecticut at age 83, and developed a taste for the Metropolitan Opera, John tried to get their Saturday radio feed to the Vineyard. Undoubtedly his best recent idea - sitting, blind and sedated in a nursing home bed far from his beloved Vineyard home - was to reinvent himself, one last time, for life's most wondrous journey. Farewell, eternity traveler and inventor, John Eaton.
a vibrant resource
To the Editor:
From the person who answers the phone in the office to the person who gives the hands-on nursing care; from the person who helps deal with the grieving process that comes with a devastating diagnosis and its consequences, to the people who visit to be good company or give respite, Hospice of Martha's Vineyard is a large group of caring people who want to make a difference. A certified Hospice and member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Hospice of Martha's Vineyard has been a presence on the Vineyard for 26 years. It gives services free of charge, supported entirely by donations from the community.
Somewhere between 60 and 100 people form the hospice corps on the Island. Estelle Surprenant, the eighty-something volunteer who goes into the office daily, has the longest tenure. Janet Catino, RN, BS, is the newest addition to the team. She will be joining the Island's hospice from her hospice in Florida for the rest of the summer, to cover for the vacations of the regular nurses.
Registered nurses Marie Laursen, Ann Ledden, and Jane Marsh, and social worker Cheryl Lewis are steeped in the hospice mission of meeting the unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all who are facing advanced illness and loss, and to give them hope, comfort, and compassion.
Marie was the first hospice nurse on the Island, and she has returned to continue the work she and others started more than a quarter of a century ago. Marie remembers the early eighties when Hospice's sole employee was a Hospice care coordinator. "She was hired by the organization when they split the job between a nurse and a social worker. She followed her nursing tenure with seven years on the board.
"It is really impressive that a volunteer board, together with its staff and community base, has kept the tremendous work of fundraising going for 26 years, so that nurses and others can give care as needed without regard to a person's financial/insurance status. It is specialized care. We work hard to achieve our goals and to meet our patients' and families' needs. A lot has been accomplished. We have grown so much."
Ann Ledden comes from a nursing position with an oncology clinic. She is a certified hospice and palliative care nurse. Ann's brother and father died without the benefit of hospice care. To her, "being there for someone else is so very important. We can provide support to get a family through a very challenging experience." Any time there's a devastating diagnosis, she says, a hospice nurse can be a wonderful resource. They can accompany a family to medical appointments and help understand the options given them and help communicate with the medical staff. If it's not time for hospice, the nurses and social worker can refer people to other agencies, and then be there for them if the time comes for palliative care.
Jane Marsh has recently joined the hospice team. Her work with Ann Ledden reminded her of the value of hospice work. "The gift my husband gave me to be with him during the dying process was incredible," she said. With medical help from others, they were able to read poetry together, go for drives, listen to the birds. She hopes that her help and that of volunteers will allow families to function normally in such an emotional, highly personal time. "I want to be there for people. I've been there, too."
Cheryl Lewis has a bachelor's and a master's degree in hospice social work, graduating summa cum laude. Helping people deal with loss isn't like taking a blood pressure or temperature, she says. Results are measured by behavior, including that of the children and grandchildren. Cheryl entered this work because she didn't get the support she needed after her son died. She didn't know what was missing, but she knew she could help other people better than she was helped. "It takes a lot of trust to talk with a hospice worker," she said. "A total stranger comes into your life at the most vulnerable time." Most people believe in something greater than themselves, she says. Her goal is to help people "reconnect to their personal strength or higher being or god before they die." She added that hospice is a real team effort. The whole staff - including the person answering the phone in the office, nurses, social worker, volunteers - are addressing a process, not a task. Grieving starts early in a diagnosis. "Grief is hard. I can help bring a series of options to reconcile with grief."
Kate Desrosiers is the office administrator. She comes with a wealth of skills. The wife of longtime treasurer and board member, Ted Desrosiers, she also understands and agrees with the philosophy of hospice work. "It's so easy to work here because the staff and volunteers are so dedicated and willing to help out in any way that's needed," she said.
Sue Ellen Piccus works part-time, answering the phone and doing other clerical work. She started with hospice eight years ago as a volunteer, wanting to "give back what I received in some manner." After her son died, the hospice social worker helped her and her husband "get through a lot of pain." She says she is delighted to be part of the team which gives that help to others, too.
The organization is led by Terre Young, who has been with hospice for six years. "Terre is a visionary. Her creative leadership sees all things as possible," says Cheryl Lewis. For many years, Terre's goal was to have time and the opportunity to be a hospice volunteer. When a job as office manager opened up, she jumped at the chance to be a part of the team. She took over the reins about two years ago. Working with families at this time of their lives is important, she says. "Although death is a frightening concept, we help make it not so frightening for the entire family. We have the caring, expert resources to bring peace and acceptance."
Medical director, Dr. Stuart Kendall, the chaplain, Roger Spinney, and about 45 volunteers and a board of 15 directors, including clergy representative Rob Hensley, round out the team.
Hospice of Martha's Vineyard is a vibrant force in the community, well worthy of the praise so freely given by the families it has served over the years.