Letters to the Editor
The Island's backbone non-profits
To the Editor:
Recently, my husband Bob and I attended the Vineyard Nursing Association's clambake, the Possible Dreams Auction, the Affordable Housing Premier Party and tonight the Hospice dinner. I have reflected on how fortunate we are to have such competent, compassionate, and worthy organizations working tirelessly for our Island community.
When the music stops, the party lights dim and our summer families leave us, it is these Island organizations that are truly the backbone of our year-round and summer communities. Without them, the people who support and sustain the Vineyard, working people - Island families - would be hard-pressed to help our summer residents carry on the lifestyle they have come to enjoy. Anyone who has lived year-round on this beautiful Island knows that the winter season can be difficult. The mental and physical health of our year-round citizens is what makes the next season possible. For that, I thank you Hospice, Vineyard Nursing Association, Community Services, Island Affordable Housing Fund, and Martha's Vineyard Hospital for being there when everyone else has left. You are all to be congratulated for your hard and dedicated commitment to our Island community. Without your services, Martha's Vineyard Island would not be the special destination of so many people.
Political and other organizations come here to garner contributions, which is all well and fine. Remember, the health and well-being of our people is what makes possible the summers of tomorrow. Every dollar given to these Island community organizations is spent on our people, giving us a strong and thriving community.
To the Editor:
This letter is to inform the Island community of an upcoming meeting of the Martha's Vineyard Commission that will take place on Sept. 20 at 7:30 at the stone building in Oak Bluffs. This public hearing is to address the nominations by the Edgartown planning board of Ben Tom's Road, Pennywise Path, Middle Line Road, Tar Kiln Path, and Watcha Path as districts of critical planning. These five paths date back to the 1600s and 1700s, and some likely trace paths used by the native Wampanoag. Middle Line Path and Pennywise Path in particular were significant enough that they were used to define some of the earliest set offs of land to individuals.
These paths are valuable reminders of our Island history, and are used extensively today for recreational purposes. They are some of the few areas where Islanders can continue to walk, bike, and ride horses without the interruption of motorized vehicles.
If these nominations are approved, these paths will gain a new level of protection from alteration or expansion. If you enjoy walking, biking, or riding through the relative solitude of these quiet paths and don't want their character to change, you may want to mark your calendar now to show your support of the DCPC declaration. For more information, visit the Commission's web site at www.mvcommission.org. Thank you.
Gail Gardner Craig
End the garage saga
To the Editor:
A building permit is given to an individual in 2003, to construct a garage to replace an existing 200-square-foot garage. The proposed cost for the replacement garage was to be $22,000. Instead, the project grew to a three-story building with balconies, sliding glass doors and a roof deck. The cost probably exceeded $200,000.
My questions are:
Why must this saga continue?
Wasn't the present garage built illegally in the first place?
Why should the Copeland District Review Board even be involved?
Why shouldn't the garage be demolished since it is an illegal structure?
Why is the individual bleeding the coffers of the town of Oak Bluffs?
Why does his lawyer think that the town of Oak Bluffs and this individual should come to an amicable resolution on something illegal?
The 200-square-foot garage was not built. What was built was an illegal structure.
Why can an individual file an appeal when what he did was illegal in the first place? The building permit was not adhered to.
Since the project was illegal, the Copeland District Review Board doesn't even have to become involved, since they were not initially involved, but only after the fact.
If you or I, or anyone else, obtained a building permit and did what this individual did, would we be allowed to file several appeals and have a way around the Oak Bluffs building committee and zoning board rules even though what was done was illegal?
An individual who lives near me constructed a second story on his garage that was illegal, and within one month this second story came down since it was illegal. The building permit was not adhered to. What gives this individual a different set of rules to play by?
I am sure the Oak Bluffs town officials and their legal experts are, I would at least think, smart enough to not be coerced into accepting a request to come to an amicable resolution on something that is illegal.
This individual is bleeding the coffers of the town of Oak Bluffs and the other individuals involved in this escapade, but why? Are his pockets deeper than the others involved? Does he not respect his home town that has provided him a place to conduct his business? Maybe he is only concerned about himself and to hell with all others.
Therefore, don't you think this illegal monstrosity should come down without further delay? An end to this debacle now would also reduce the drain on the taxpayers in this community.
Eric E. Hohenthal
To the Editor:
To my patients at Island Health Care,
Very shortly, I will be leaving my position at the clinic. It has been a privilege and an honor to work with so many motivated patients in the last three years. I have been greatly impressed with your courage in facing physical challenges and making so many successful lifestyle changes! It has been a pleasure to watch so many people go from "just getting older," to "getting younger every day."
I would like to offer warm gratitude to Penny Franklin (office manager and LPN), Jakeline Oliviera (medical interpreter/ receptionist), and Dr. John Lamb (medical director), as my standard of clinical care would have been impossible without their learned and capable support.
To my patients, I encourage you to take responsibility for your health. Access to health care isn't enough; and I hope you will insist on being heard, learning about your diagnosis, and being treated with respect and patience as you pursue your health-care goals. Finally, I want to thank my patients and colleagues for teaching me so much.
Carol Anne Lindsey, PA-C
When a donation
To The Editor:
I have written to the local newspapers before about problems that from time to time arise at the West Tisbury Recycling Shed. I regret to say I feel I must now write another one about our current situation.
Two troublesome matters bother us at present. The first concerns the condition of items that increasingly show up under the guise of donations. I have complained about this before and for a while things improved, but now it seems worse than ever. Things missing parts, things whose usefulness expired months or years ago, a pressure cooker with no top, an oil lamp with neither wick nor mantle.
(We always ask whether an electric appliance works and the donor always says it does. Can you imagine anyone replying "Well, no, not really. It turns on but it doesn't chop/heat/play/toast!") And so many clothes! Who on earth would want a large, topless cardboard box full of discarded clothes that looks and smells as though it has been sitting in a basement or garage for 20 years or so and now harbors spiders, some long ago bird droppings, an occasional deserted mouse nest, straw, feathers, and various forms of dirt. Are we really expected to paw through this to try to find something worth keeping? The donors sometime have the nerve to complain when we reject such contributions, which only adds to the aggravation.
Then there are the really infuriating people who, when we are too busy to watch for them, deposit at the other end of the building items - often large and unwieldy - a computer copier missing a vital part, half a dozen ugly, discolored plastic lawn chairs, an ironing board that won't stand up, and worst of all, a dead television set that will cost us $35 dollars to dispose of. These, by the way, are not always summer people but are year-round Vineyarders who ought to know better.
This really is intolerable behavior, yet we have no choice but to cope with it nearly every time we are open, all year round.
Which brings me to our second problem, one that has developed only recently. We have a very dedicated staff of volunteers, some of whom have been working at the recycling shed since it opened more than 10 years ago. We also were fortunate to recently acquire several new helpers, all of whom quickly learned to put up with a fair amount of unpleasant back-talk from people who bring unacceptable items. (I should note here that we also have a great many conscientious donors who consistently bring in excellent things and are a pleasure to deal with.) But two of our volunteers - one recent, one long-term - have quit, saying they find it too depressing nowadays to work at the shed because there are so many ill-mannered, nasty people to deal with. This leaves us more short-staffed than usual at a time when even at this late date (September) we are still usually overburdened with contributions.
Ironically, the recycling shed may now be too successful. Too many people have taken to regarding our well-meant enterprise as a dumping place for any old thing they want to get rid of. And I guess that it is pretty easy to foist a lot of junk on us that you don't want to pay to get rid of.
So, we are asking all of you who read this letter to help make our tasks easier and less stressful, especially if you are one of the dozens of people who use and benefit from our service.
Consult your conscience before you bury that iron that no longer heats under those pretty dishes you plan to give away. And if you see someone sneak up and put down, where we can't see it, anything suspicious, especially a TV or computer-related item, grab a volunteer and tell her about it. We need all the cooperation from the public we can get these days.
An era ending
To the Editor:
While it is certain that Barbara Hersey was many things to many people, her death on Aug. 16 is the further settling of the Lillian Hellman era on The Vineyard. In a time when tourists stepping off of the steamship in Vineyard Haven would often ask to be pointed out the legendary playwright's home (and not the nearest ATM), Barbara Hersey and her late husband, author John Hersey, were counted amongst Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett's best friends. In fact, the Herseys had Lillian over for dinner the day before she died at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, June 30, 1984. Afternoons on Mill House Way would often find Lillian, a fanatical scrabble player, and Mrs. Hersey, a worthy opponent, engaged in a "battle of words" and likely the Island's most intelligent conversation. The Vineyard will never be quite the same.
Work of many
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to the Edgartown School.
This past summer nine chowder suppers were held at our church to benefit the Island Food Pantry, under the sponsorship of the Federated Church's Growth, Renewal, and Outreach (GRO) program. Happily, this community outreach program raised $1,600 for the IFP.
Our success was based not only on the work of many volunteers, too numerous to list here, but also on the advice and assistance of your cafeteria manager, Gina de Bettencourt. Most of us were not accustomed to cooking and serving large quantities of food. Gina lent us serving vessels, pots and pans, and her expertise. For this, we thank her and the Edgartown school.