Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
Stephen Schultz gets "upset" when he fuels his car on the Vineyard. Well face it, it is expensive on Martha's Vineyard. The April 12 article "Cost of living on Vineyard is higher by 57 percent" in The Martha's Vineyard Times went into great detail about how expensive it is to live on the Vineyard. Using that percentage as a baseline, gasoline should be hovering over $4.50. Why aren't Mr. Schultz and Michael Roitman upset that electricity costs 55 percent more on the Vineyard than Boston? Or the more astounding 68 percent overage in phone cost?
After wasting a large amount of time and money on this lawsuit, the following facts will be revealed:
- R.M. Packer Company does not bar entry into the market place.
- R.M. Packer Company chooses to pay a living/fair wage to its employees who are burdened with a cost of living - 57 percent higher than market average, thus increasing employment cost.
- Indiscriminate regulation by the Department of Homeland Security places a large overhead burden on R.M. Packer Company through port security and compliance cost.
- Indiscriminate regulation by the Department of Homeland Security makes barging of fuel inefficient and too risky, thus increasing cost.
- Opportunity cost (lost) of R.M. Packer Company waterfront properties exceeds annual net profit.
Facts aside, the real thing that upsets me is that Ralph Packer is an honorable man and does not deserve to be disparaged by Messrs. Schultz and Roitman. He provides an enormous amount of support to Island non-profits, from the Red Cross to high school booster clubs to local sailing programs. Every day, he works (actual hands-on work) to make sure that the Island has the fuel and materials it needs to survive and that those fuels and materials are received and distributed in as safe and as efficient a means possible - all while maintaining a reasonable quality of life for his employees. That is worth a lot more to me than 40 cents a gallon.
Rather than launching a frivolous lawsuit that will add tens of thousands of dollars to our fuel supplier's overhead, a far superior and simpler solution to "being upset" at Vineyard fuel prices would be fuel up off Island.
To the Editor:
It was disappointing to read your report on the West Tisbury herring runs. It perpetuates the same misunderstandings that have caused so much mischief in Edgartown in recent years. The important fact, which your article does not make clear, is that the herring in the runs are a completely different fish from the Atlantic herring. The so-called herring, which run into fresh water to spawn in April are actually false herring (Alosa pseudoharengus), and their correct name in English is the alewife. They are not good to eat. They have traditionally been used as bait and fertilizer.
The Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) spawn at sea and are found on both sides of the Atlantic. They are commonly eaten in Europe, grilled, smoked, or kippered. They do not enter the runs in the spring. It is important that these two fish not be confused, even though they are similar in appearance and are both commonly called herring.
The statistics given in your article on the thousand of metric tons caught at sea refer to the Atlantic herring, although the numbers do include a small amount of alewives that are accidentally caught by the same boats when they work nearer to shore.
The traditional harvest of alewives on the Island was not smoked and sent to Europe for human consumption. The alewives were salted and used as bait on the schooners fishing the offshore banks. The availability of diesel engines following WW I led to the adoption of otter trawls (towed nets) by the commercial fishing fleet, ending the use of bait, eliminating the alewife market. It was the lack of a market, not a lack of alewives, that ended the commercial alewife harvest.
Your article makes the statement that restoring the alewife runs is a positive step in reversing environmental degradation. This claim is suspect. Alewives are net importers of nutrients to their spawning areas. They feed on the zooplankton, which control the algae. The combination of increased nutrients and reduced grazing by zooplankton leads to proliferation of the algae. The increased algal density reduces the intensity of the sunlight which reaches the bottom of the pond, causing the eelgrass to die off. The loss of eelgrass has a cascading effect that reduces the stability and diversity of the pond ecosystem. Eelgrass is the keystone species in our coastal ponds, and its protection is of paramount importance in pond management.
Instead of promoting alewives, the West Tisbury authorities might consider opening the ponds at a time that would admit white mullet (Mugil curema). Mullet are herring sized and are often mistakenly called herring. They are good to eat. They are favored by bass and bluefish and, most importantly, they feed on algae.
To the Editor:
It is with hearts filled with gratitude that we write this letter today. It has now been 10 days since our family was riding in our skiff and was struck by a jet ski. What started out as a fun summer day for the four of us quickly turned into a painful nightmare we will never forget. What we will also never forget, however, is the many, many people who came to help us, who took care of us and our children, and who continue to give us support and encouragement.
We are so grateful for the people on the beach who called 911, the men who dove into the water to help our children get to safety, the folks who tried to calm our boys on the jetty as they cried for their parents, for the amazing EMS personnel and the fire rescue personnel and the police who rushed to the scene to help us and to transport all of us quickly and safely to the hospital, for the wonderful Emergency Room staff and trauma team who expertly cared for us in such a
comforting manner, and for all of the friends, family, and members of the community who have offered us such incredible support in every way imaginable.
You have all managed to show us the blessings that can arise out of an incredibly difficult experience. We thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope you know how much your actions have meant to our family.
Anne, Allan, Benjamin,
and Jason Davey
Standing with respect
To the Editor:
Standing up as a proud American at the Aug. 17 fireworks display was such a disappointment for me and my family. The fireworks were brilliant, but the crowds behind us were beyond rude. We were screamed at to "sit down" as we stood with respect for the national anthem. Because we have attended without fail for 20 years, we know that this event always begins with the band concert, which ends with the Star Spangled Banner. Then the spectacular fireworks display begins.
I ask that the sponsors of this event make it clear that all should stand with respect to our nation and the fact that we have the privilege to attend such events.
For those who do not recognize your national anthem, perhaps a trip to our wonderful Island libraries may help. Before speaking up behind someone with an uproar, ask yourselves if you really know why they are standing? Stop and observe before shouting out with only concern for your own view.
The fair is
To the Editor:
I know there are letters written every year after the end of the annual agricultural fair, but if all the families that I heard grumbling about the prices at the fair wrote a letter expressing their views, maybe there could be a change for next year. I have lots of family members who are members of the Ag Hall society, and I am not writing this letter to blame the Ag Society, but just to call attention to the frustrated families. It's just really sad that the Island kids wait all summer for the fair to come to town, my kids making me drive by a few days before the fair opens so they can see what rides will be here this year, kids doing extra chores and saving all their hard earned money to go to the fair and ride the rides and win some prizes from the games.
Then the big day comes and they head off to the fair, and once there most are told by their parents that the money they have there is it and once it is gone that is it, no more dollars. The parents or kids go off and stand in line for the ride tickets, and once at the window there is a list of how many tickets are required per ride, most are four or five tickets per ride, that makes for not many rides per sheet of tickets per child.
I know that the carnival people charge the Ag Society more every year and they in turn have to charge the public more, but if this continues, the fair is going to be a thing of the past for many year-round families and the sad, disappointed children.
I personally get so excited every year to go to the fair. My husband reminds me it is really for the kids, and I am like one when it comes to the excitement of the fair, all the rides and games. I loved it as a kid, all the great Islanders at their booths selling Island-made stuff. Are my memories blurry, what has happened to all of them? I would much rather support other Island businesses than spend $10 on a balloon.
I remember as a kid there was a man who would draw a cartoon drawing of you - how neat. Where did he go? The games also need work, too many balloon games that are hard for kids to throw the $3 per dart. More variety would be nice. Whatever happened to the rope you could climb and at the top was $50?
Many, many parents were complaining about the rides and not only the price. I and others had to go on the small kiddy rides with our children who were too young to go on alone or who were a little nervous, so we went on with them and not only do the kiddy rides require four or five tickets but they make the parents give four or five tickets for them to accompany their kids, for a 60-second ride. Parents should not have to have tickets for themselves to go on the rides with their children. The bigger rides like the Ferris wheel and such yes, but the kiddy rides no.
I love the fair and want my children to have long-lasting, happy memories, but I am afraid they won't if the fair continues to be so expensive. It is an Island fair, and for many Island kids, this is the one time a year they get to experience carnival rides and games. We Islanders should not have to take out a small loan so we can give our kids this experience.
I would just say to the Ag Society officials, please take notice of the situation and try to come up with a change or you will lose a lot of Island families and their hard earned dollars. I know fairs off-Island charge a higher admission fee, but people pay it because it includes all rides once inside, or you can buy a pass so your kids can ride all the rides all day for one price. Let the children enjoy and have fun on the rides and games.
I also want to say thank you for the hard, stressful job that Ag Society members and volunteers go through to make the fair happen. I know a lot of hard work goes into making the fair happen, and you all do a great job getting it done every year. There are just a few things to work on, the prices and ride situation. If you are reading this and you agree with what I have said, write a letter, let your voice be heard. Change cannot be made by one disappointed mother alone. Islanders need to take charge and protect the future of the fair for our children.
See you at the fair next year, hopefully.
A unique fair
To the Editor:
Having been to the Ag Fair this past Friday and Sunday, and having lived in New Paltz for over 20 years, I can honestly say the Ulster County Fair (New York) has nothing on this jewel of fairs. Where else can you watch the horse pull, participate in a dog show, and cheer on the 64-year-old and older women tossing skillets?
The new to New Paltz (Ulster County) letter writer last week who complained about the costs of rides is giving my old town a bad name. Perhaps you should skip a ride or two and open your eyes to the uniqueness of the Island fair.
and Oak Bluffs
To the Editor;
Forget tularemia, forget Lyme, cranial rectal inversion reigns supreme this summer, primarily among the motoring public. The point and shoot mentality, the conduct and inattentiveness of those who somehow buffooned their way into getting a driver's license is amazing. The stunts I see pulled on a daily basis by those driving multi-ton vehicles is incredible, and yet our powers that be continue to accommodate more and more of them onto the Island roadways.
There is no cure save cutting back on driving and or giving up their cars and seeking alternative means of transportation. Otherwise, those with C.R.I. are stuck like that forever.
for the Galley
To the Editor:
And, to our Galley customers, we are saddened to tell you that a fire has robbed us, and you, of the final months of our season. Our Galley crew consists of a splendid team of hardworking kids and adults, of whom we are extremely proud, and we all want to relay to you our heartfelt thanks for your patronage and generosity.
We will be rebuilding soon and will return ready, willing, and able to serve you next spring.
Barbie, Frank and
To the Editor:
Item from the Town of Aquinnah web site: The Aquinnah Cliffs are a national landmark; yet they are seriously threatened by carelessness. To protect the Cliffs, climbing and the removal of clay are both prohibited by law.
Item from the MV Times, Aug. 6, 2007: The (Aquinnah) cliffs, including all the brilliant colors, have been disappearing at the rate of about two feet per year. There is very little holding the clay together, and it doesn't take much...to get things moving.
With this in mind, one has to wonder why, in the words of Vineyard Style magazine, "earth mother," artist and singer-songwriter Kate Taylor decided to climb onto these fragile cliffs so Peter Simon could take her photo for the cover of Vineyard Style magazine (Fall 2007) and its shameless, commercial 18-page promotion of Mr. Simon's new CD. (Since when does reprinting a CD's liner notes constitute good journalism?)
It's a beautiful photo of Ms. Taylor, sure, but jeopardizing the fragile cliffs in the name of self-promotion is irresponsible and inexcusable, even for so-called Island icons. Why Vineyard Style editor John Budris agreed to run this photo, which seemingly tells the world that it's OK to climb on the cliffs of Aquinnah so someone can take your picture, also shows poor judgment.
I recognize that both Ms. Taylor and Mr. Simon have contributed their talents to support various Island organizations or causes - and for that I'm grateful. But as longtime Vineyard residents, they also should have known better.
It's my hope that the town of Aquinnah or whatever agency is charged with protecting the cliffs will issue steep fines to Ms. Taylor and Mr. Simon. The evidence of their blatant infractions for self-gain is certainly irrefutable.
To the Editor:
The casual reader of your Aug. 16 coverage of the latest judicial ruling on a much-litigated building in Oak Bluffs might conclude that all the litigation is because a "businessman" (i.e., a respectable citizen) has been trying unsuccessfully to compel town officialdom to respect his right to do as he wishes on his own property - in this case, merely to alter a small garage. Tsk! Think of all his legal expenses.
The casual reader might wonder how the building pictured could ever be called a garage, but perhaps the judge (and the reporter) never actually saw it. The photo does not do it justice: a stack of three jerry-built apartment-boxes, it looms over its modest neighbors like Godzilla over Tokyo. Its inappropriateness in North Bluff is not only a question of style, of which it has none, but of sheer bulk. No mere fudging of trim could reduce that.
The judge and The Times show little concern for the abutters, as they call the folks next door to this monstrosity, whose daily lives have been the most negatively affected by it. They have had legal expenses as well, imposed by the town's failure to enforce its ordinances, for which they will never be compensated.
Selectman Kerry Scott has asked whether the building is a liability to the town. "Justice delayed is justice denied," and the unfortunate abutters of North Bluff have been denied the removal of an illegal and obtrusive structure far too long. The garage itself may not be a liability, but its continuing existence in defiance of the law certainly detracts from the town's reputation.
W. R. Deeble
To the Editor:
Yesterday, Tuesday, about lunch time, I was waiting to make the left turn onto Main Street at Educomp, when a large trailer truck headed up-Island went by. The trailer was loaded with squashed cars. Possibly four cars long by two to three cars deep. My question: Why would anyone bring squashed cars to Martha's Vineyard? Or, was this some manifestation of traffic routing to get the huge vehicle onto an off-Island boat? I am truly puzzled.
get off the fence
To the Editor:
If Senators Edwards, Clinton, and Obama want our votes, they must address our problems.
We have a large South American population, seemingly mostly illegal. They love our schools, hospitals, roads, and court system.
I imagine you all are enjoying your stay, most likely in some of the finest homes that are cleaned, painted, and yards maintained by South Americans charging big bucks for such labor.
America is great when you pay no taxes and are catered to by every public institution.
However, 10-plus people in a three-bedroom home is tainting our tender ecosystem.
Fence walking is only a circus act. We all need the circus to roll up its tents and go home, because our children are the only ones leaving. Any suggestions?
To the Editor:
Across the globe, people had saved the date for weddings and gambling junkets. Numerologists and all manner of soothsayers hailed the day as a phenomenon for the aura. Yet nowhere on Earth on 7-7-07 did it seem the good vibrations were more at work than at the public dedication of the proud new porch at the Aquinnah Public Library.
A year-long effort that summoned the resources of many and sundry individuals and organizations, the porch was put to the test that sunny Saturday as delighted library patrons and friends from hither and yon gathered to celebrate its completion. Many of those responsible for its conception, fabrication, and assembly were present as well, the heroes of the day.
Amid tuna salad finger sandwiches and bowls of fresh fruit, APL director Jennifer Christy took center stage to welcome the guests and honor the contributors. A collaboration with the community preservation committee, and funded in part by the Aquinnah Community Association and the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the APL, the porch project aimed "to enhance the usability and accessibility of (the library)," according to Ms. Christy.
The design and long-term consultation for the porch was undertaken pro bono by architect Joseph Eldredge. The students of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School vocational building trades and industrial arts fabricated the modular units, under the supervision of instructor William Seabourne and department director Jeff Rothwell. Aquinnah resident Jim Glavin of DECA Construction donated a truck and trailer to transport the units and necessary materials to the site.
The assembly of the porch took the time and skill of myriad community volunteers, done over the course of two days in December and March. Ms. Christy spoke on behalf of the library and the town to thank the aforementioned, as well as Wayne Guyther of H. N. Hinckley Co., E. C. Cottle, Inc., contractor Len Butler, electrician Mark Forbus, garden designer Laurie Burnett Brown, landscapers Carlos Montoya and Donaroma's Nursery, and the countless others who donated their efforts in a show of good will.
Toward the end of the ceremony, with the apple juice nearly exhausted and the afternoon sun glinting off the lily pads on Schoolhouse Pond, FAPL president Carolyn Feltz presented Ms. Christy with a fluorescent-pink hard hat. It serves as a commemoration of her leadership in bringing the porch to fruition on this lucky day. It passed the test, it seems, with flying colors.