Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
There was a noteworthy softball game played last Sunday at the Peaked Hill field in Chilmark. It was the first ever Columbus Day Weekend game of the Chilmark Softball League, a league-less pick-up game played every Sunday from the 4th of July through Labor Day weekend, where all comers are welcome and there are always extra bats and gloves for the batless and gloveless. Bill Edison of Chilmark is the long-time commodore and resident heckler, and Billy Meegan usually calls the games to order. This is a game more than 60 summers long, played previously at Toomey's Field, and prior to that, supposedly, on some mud flats at Menemsha.
Though a typical summer game draws upwards of 30 players, at last Sunday's game, just 11 hearty souls braved a stiff breeze and threatening skies to get in a last swing of the bat and a last attempted catch of a fly ball hit long to center field. There was plenty of rusty play evident; it had been Labor Day since most of the fellows had put on a glove.
Will, Ed's son, missed several fly balls that just a month ago would have been a cinch. Jerry was not his usual sure-handed self and the pitching, save for Steve's, was uniformly formless. On the other hand, Ed had two home runs, one of the inside-the-park variety, and another that was his usual big bomb to right field. Tony, Jim, and Chris were in good form, hitting long fly balls to center and left fields, where the wind moved the ball around sufficiently to render them mostly uncaught. Arlen's repaired rotator cuff appeared to be working fine, though Billy's bad shoulder seemed balky in the cool weather. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants were de rigueur, where only a month ago it was shorts and tee-shirts. There was a winning side, probably, but it's never important to us to remember which team that was for very long afterward. A fine time was had by all, and any interested players are encouraged to join us next year, when the first game will be played Sunday July 6, 2008. Look for a mention in The Times and Gazette.
To the Editor:
It would have been preferable if The Times editor and its reporter had actually read the complaint and the M.V. Commission enabling legislation (at section 8), so that you would have known the facts, before you decided it was perfectly good journalism to write such libelous remarks about me and my family. You have only provided credibility to the actionable remarks of others. Would you join the rush to judgment train? Is The Times sponsoring a lynch mob attitude? I thought we long ago discredited the attitude of "Witches must be burned!" I would ask you to immediately post corrections and retractions on your web site today and print the same prominently with an apology to me and my family on your front page next week.
There has been no violation of any moratorium, and any suggestion that we have done so and violated the law is an outrageous lie. Limbing and cutting of trees that have grown to impede access along an easement way is common, whenever the ways become difficult for passage and a perfectly legitimate activity. No permit to work where work has been performed was ever required. The road associations that maintain these ways already, but not along the stretches we have used, have been cutting trees and brush and cutting back deteriorating shoulders and grading road beds for years. How do you think these ways came into being and have been maintained all these years in the first place?
The manner in which these other people are acting is what borders on or is unlawful. These folks have directly participated in threatening our contractors, interfering in our agreements to have this work done. Your article tries to paint us as criminals, when all we have done and continue to do is to act well within the bounds of the law, whilst these other folks have assaulted our workers, and illegally violated our rights by interference and our workers' rights by threatening them with arrest for perfectly lawful activities.
They have used boulders to block access to our property off of the very same ways they use to access their lands. They have cut trees along these ways in a manner far more aggressively than we ever have or would, but only for the same purpose, for access by ourselves and for emergency vehicles. Why haven't you bothered to report on this extraordinary development of spontaneous and unfounded hateful behavior by others? How can the town sponsor, encourage and even participate in this kind of behavior? Now The Times has fully participated is espousing this mis-information, becoming a tool of the wrong-doers.
The town in its recent rush to judgment lawsuit to stop our legitimate activities is a politically motivated attempt to press the court to find these ways to be public, a 180-degree turn from years past and does not seek to enforce the MVC moratorium, recognizing it is not being violated. The question that everyone seems to be ignoring is "Is a 16-foot wide town street along these old roads what everyone wants?" I do not think so, but it should not be up to me alone, nor to the neighbors who have shown up en masse in a threatening way, using the political force of numbers to press the selectmen to take this unwise course of action, nor should this question be asked of a single judge. Nor should the town be threatening or impeding private landowners for exercising the very same rights they and others have been exercising for years.
I say put an article on the floor of town meeting to formally make these ways into fully, unquestionable public ways that the town will build and maintain, and let the town decide, not a handful of folks who have a vested interest.
Does the town want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and maintain these roads, thoroughly destroying the nice rural feel of these areas? This is exactly what the selectmen do not want to do - get voter approval to own and build out these ways. Making Middle Line Path a public way, as well as these other paths, would create a public by-pass road everyone would use to escape the snarl on upper Main Street. Perhaps this is what the selectmen are actually trying to do, in the name of saving these ways. Beware what you are asking for.
It is my humble opinion that keeping the ways private and subject to the well-established case law would best serve the public good. That way these roads would remain rural, and the threat of a full on by-pass road with signs designating the same would be averted.
But, The Times does not seem to find that plausible. The Times would rather sponsor unfounded, hateful and threatening speech as a way to sell more papers.
Benjamin Hall Jr.
A beneficial sail
To the Editor:
Because I am a recent widow, Hospice offered my daughter and me a sail on the beautiful schooner When and If, on Sept. 8. The owners are to be commended for this generous act of kindness. It was great sailing weather, and we had a wonderful, peaceful and educational six-hour experience which was beneficial for our spirits. Thank you so very much. The "crew" couldn't have been better.
To the Editor:
Thank you to everyone involved with the benefit Friday, Sept. 28, for my daughter Ella.
It is quite remarkable how the people of this community are so willing to help and lend support when someone is in need.
Friday's music ran successfully thanks to my wonderful brother Erich and dear friend Dan Groover. The collection of money was possible thanks to my lovely sister Talia.
The musicians on this Island are so incredible, and I thank all of the musicians who came out to play and support my family. Five hours of music: unbelievable.
I am so grateful and proud that Martha's Vineyard is my home; there is no place like it. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Sabrina B. and Ella Luening
You're welcome at Square and Compass Day
To the Editor:
On Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, the King of France, Philip IV, sprung his trap. His agents arrested hundreds of Knights Templar simultaneously all over France. The Temple constituted the international banking system of the era, possessed fabled wealth, and Philip owed them a lot of money. In a peculiar combination of collusion and competition with Philip, Pope Clement outlawed the order for imagined heresies and ordered their torture by the Inquisition. Since that day, Friday the 13th has been considered unlucky.
Seven years later, and despite that the Pope had secretly absolved them, Philip had Grand Master Jacques de Molay and one of his lieutenants burned at the stake for repudiating confessions they had made under torture. Within the year after that, both king and pope were dead. But this order of warrior monks, for almost two centuries answerable only to the Pope, was suddenly betrayed, unchartered, and its loyal brethren outlawed.
Not all kingdoms complied with the Papal edict. In Spain and Germany, the Templars were found innocent and allowed to merge with other orders. In England, Edward I "Longshanks" had just died in July, and his successor Edward II delayed under one excuse or another until the Pope sent inquisitioners to show how it was done, thereby introducing torture for the first time into English jurisprudence. In the intervening years, Templars in England had time to set up means for going underground, safe houses, and secret means of recognition derived from existing Templar practices.
Nor were all caught in Philip's net. No one knows where the large Templar fleet went, though it is surmised by some historians that they sailed around England through the Irish Sea to Scotland, and were made welcome by Robert the Bruce, himself excommunicated. They may have been the mysterious cavalry in white whose arrival struck terror into Edward's army at Bannockburn, resulting in his decisive defeat. Many Templar graves have been found in Scotland. In England, they very probably helped organize the so-called peasants' revolt of 1381, with calls for reform that echo in our own Declaration of Independence.
During this period were founded the first lodges of Freemasonry in Scotland, Yorkshire, and Ireland, though much of the documentary evidence is lost, and may in fact have been destroyed during the Jacobite-Hanoverian conflicts a few centuries later. All the facts may never be known, however fancifully the Dan Browns of today embroider them, but it is indisputable that exactly 700 years later on this coming Saturday, October 13, the doors of Oriental Martha's Vineyard Lodge will stand open to the public for Square and Compass Day, and brethren of the Lodge will be ready with refreshments and willing to dispel some of the mystery about Freemasonry today. It appears to be a secret, for example, that Masons in the United States give an aggregate of $4 million dollars a day to charitable causes.
You are most cordially invited.
oppose Cape Wind
To the Editor:
This lifelong visitor and former working class resident of the Cape and Islands has about had it with Cape Wind proponents such as a recent writer to this column who tried to give M.V. Times readers the impression that the proposed industrial wind plant has all kinds of support from union workers and fishermen. Driving away from the Cape today, I noticed the proponents even have a bumper sticker now designed to appeal to us workers, further playing the class card and giving the false implication that only wealthy shore residents are opposed to Cape Wind. Such disinformation shows just how low Cape Winders will go to push their privatization scheme.
The list of working people who have serious concerns about the project is long and diverse. Try these: Cape Cod Marine Trades Association, Edgartown Charter Fishing Association; Edgartown Shellfish Organization; Massachusetts Marine Trades Association; Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association; Massachusetts Commercial Fishermen's Association; Mass Bay Inshore Commercial Fishermen's Association; Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association; and the Provincetown Fishermen's Association, to name just a few. In addition, I'm told the Steamship Authority and Hy-Line ferries are critical of placing an industrial power plant in the middle of Nantucket Sound.
If Cape Wind proponents would put as much energy into seeking alternative sites for their beloved project as they do misinforming the public, we might be able to reach more agreement on the need for such projects.
Let's see the World of Reptiles
To the Editor:
The new Five Corners webcam is an interesting addition to your excellent web site. The partial view from the webcam of the weed-infested Boch Park brings to light the waste of this waterfront property. Several years ago, we were quite willing to pay the fee at the attractive, well run parking lot while we shopped in Vineyard Haven before we could queue up for our ferry passage. I hope that Ernie Boch Junior will "come on down" and persuade the town of Tisbury to once again allow parking on this site. It is convenient and would be beneficial for the local businesses.
If you are considering another webcam location, I would like to suggest Gus Ben David's World of Reptiles and Bird Park. Throughout the year, the outdoor fowl pens are teeming with life and motion.