Letters to the Editor
To the rescue
To the Editor:
On Friday, Nov. 2, a few of the Windemere residents went out for an autumn ride to see the sights and get some hot chocolate. Unfortunately, our van broke down, leaving us stranded on the side of the road.
To our rescue came the Oak Bluffs police. Officer J.J. Mendez was wonderful to us. He was very calm and reassuring to the residents. He stayed with us until the VTA arrived with another van. Officer Mendez was instrumental in helping one of our more hesitant residents to leave our disabled van and to get on the replacement van. We are very appreciative of all his help.
We would also like to thank Joyce Look, a Windemere CNA, who stopped and offered assistance, as well as Debbie Tucker, also a Windemere CNA, who took our initial call.
We are grateful to Dimitry and the other gentlemen from the VTA who were so kind and patient with our situation. We all arrived safe and sound back at Windemere no worse for the wear.
It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a community to protect its elderly. We have that community here on the Vineyard, and we are very fortunate.
Recreation Therapy Director
Rachel Cottle Shea
Marine disaster averted
To the Editor:
Last Saturday, during tropical storm Noel, Edgartown harbormaster Charlie Blair was patrolling the harbor with the assistance of Donny Benefit, Mark Defeo, and Bill Bishop. I received a call from Charlie informing me that my boat had broken loose and drifted next to a dock. When I arrived and ran down the stairs to the dock, I felt like that person who you always see on the Weather Channel doing on-site reporting. I couldn't believe that in these hurricane force winds and pelting rain how quickly Donny and Bill in the patrol boat had a line tied and Mark on the bow directing the tow.
I was lucky enough to jump on, started the engines, and waited for Mark's signal to go. Wishing my windshield wipers would go faster, we headed for shelter in town. Arriving safely made me realize that I was indeed with "a few great men." Many thanks to all.
Sadness and joy
To the Editor:
We deeply appreciate all the things, large and small, that The Martha's Vineyard Times did to help us and the community celebrate the life of our daughter, Virginia Hackney, following her death on Oct. 5. We particularly appreciated the collage of photographs from your files that showed Virginia in the various aspects of her life. Your kindness is consistent with the community's remarkable support for Virginia during her life, and particularly in her final year as she struggled with pancreatic cancer.
Virginia has loved this Island since she first came here as a seven-year-old child. Nine years ago she moved to the Vineyard to live full-time. That decision was hers alone, and it was a brilliant choice. She had a gift for finding and creating community. The support and love that poured into her life was a joy for her, and it was a blessing for all of us who walked her difficult path with her.
Her death was full of sadness, but her life was full of joy. Her determination, humor, independence, and friendship were recognized by this wonderful Island home. We thank the many people who were part of Virginia's life for the love and support that surrounded her. We knew as soon as she was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2006 that she did not have long to live. Virginia, in her determined way, continued to the very end to live her life to the fullest. We gave her the "dignity of risk," and she taught us all how to love and how to die with courage.
The celebration of her life on Oct. 27 was a gift from her. We wept, laughed, danced, and mourned her passing. We thank the community of love and support that sustained us and Virginia. A friend sent us this blessing: "Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be swift to love, and make haste to be kind, and the peace of God will always be with you."
We love and thank this Island community for taking the time to "gladden our hearts."
Lucy and Sheldon Hackney
Beer and wine,
good for the town
To the Editor:
Consider a common refrain heard any given day (not exclusive to Vineyard Haven): "Why aren't they open?" (said usually in disbelief, if not disdain, because a shop is closed.) It's not esoteric, and it's not a conspiracy. If they made one dollar over their overhead, they probably would be open. I'm saving my Che Guevara T-shirt for the next revolution, too -but meanwhile local business is not the social service implied by double taxation and perennial donation drives.
"Beer and wine (B&W) benefits only a few." Again, God forbid anyone actually profit. But rest easy, as written, B&W would be a hiccup in history. A handful of restaurant owners will forfeit corkage fees and pay increased insurance and license fees. Still ruled by a short season, would someone please point out the big windfall?
The real winner (benefit) in all this (B&W in Tisbury) is general and incremental. The general health of the business community is elevated only slightly. It's dollars and sense. Eventually shops remain open longer as it becomes worthwhile.
Still want to sacrifice local business on the altar of "all change is bad"? Then put down your laptops and cell phones and tell me what hasn't changed in the past 10 years? The entire Island has received an upgrade. Fears of "slippery slope" didn't stop the blinking light, airport, SSA, rules and regulation changes, etc. Yet these things eclipse B&W in affecting Island aesthetic.
Except for the editorials, B&W would practically go unnoticed. The vote addresses a simple question: Do voters want a business community and downtown that closely resembles one?
No argument at all
To the Editor:
I just wanted to say, in response to Brian Kinal's letter to the editor, that I find that response quite humorous, to say the least.
"The wise board passed regulations that are so severe that they amount to a virtual ban on outdoor wood burning fireplaces in the more heavily settled neighborhoods of Tisbury."
To call the board who implemented these regulations wise is foolish. They placed regulations in place only because they stated they would be performing tests over the year. My father (Jeff Baker) had his outdoor wood stove shut down for the summer and not once did anyone approach him to conduct these so-called tests.
Sir, how would you like it if you had a, let's say, weekly barbeque that you and you family enjoyed. It saved you money from eating out and things of the like. Well then, let's say you have a neighbor move in and complain about your BBQ. The noise and the smoke (because let's not forget, BBQs also create smoke) and then they passed a law banning outdoor BBQs. How would that make you feel? Someone doesn't like what you do in your own yard, then they force you to stop.
My father has been quite neighborly. He has always helped people in the community. Staying up late hours with his snowblower, plowing out the neighbors' driveways without them even asking. Offering free wood to neighbors in the winter so they could burn it in their fireplaces.
More people on Martha's Vineyard enjoy woodstoves and fireplaces inside their homes. I ask you this, do you truthfully believe the wood in my father's stove puts out any different chemicals than those fireplaces and woodstoves? And let's not forget, those are directly inside your homes.
As for the comparison to burning tires in a trash can, ever place your head inside an oil furnace? I assure you the smell would be much worse than that of an outdoor woodstove.
And on a final note: In response to this remark "Perhaps to him, diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma are quaint old American maladies that tug at the heartstrings of a slow-witted weekly newspaper raconteur."
I'm sure Mr. Kinal thinks about those things every morning when he starts up his car.
I think that the main issue here is this, my neighbor doesn't like the noise from my father using chainsaws to cut his wood. I think others are mad that people are using outdoor woodstoves to save money on oil, and they have to continue paying the high fuel prices.
I would just once like to see a decent, educated argument on outdoor wood furnaces.
Do the research
To the Editor:
It was with some incredulity that I read last week's letter to the editor regarding outdoor wood boilers. Brian Kinal actually has the gall to say the columnist is less well informed than he is about wood boilers and proceeds to compare wood boilers to burning tires. Well, it took me less than 10 minutes to find proof that burning tires has up to 10,000 times the mutagenicity of any other form of combustion previously studied, including wood burning.
Mutagenicity is the capacity to mutate your DNA, causing such problems as brain damage, birth defects, and cancer. Additionally, wood boilers have certainly been around since prior to WW II, when the country of Sweden was almost entirely fueled by wood, including their vehicles. So is Mr. Kinal really enlightened or too busy preaching his own opinions to worry about the facts.
In regards to wood boilers and their emissions, let me enlighten a few people. There are two types of wood boilers, the older and far more common single combustion chamber ones like I have, and the far more advanced wood gasifiers commonly sold in Europe. While they come in a variety of sizes, both types typically provide between three and 10 times the amount of heat of a certified wood stove. With the older boilers that have efficiencies only slightly lower than certified wood stoves (55 percent vs. 63 percent) to produce the extra heat that much extra wood needs to be burned. The EPA and later studies have confirmed that emissions per pound of wood burned for both the old wood boilers and certified wood stoves is essentially the same. This is why the state is looking to establish regulations for wood boiler emissions to equal federal certified stove emissions on a per-pound of fuel or per BTU basis.
As for the new gasifier type of boilers, sadly most American manufactures are far behind the European technology. One of those boilers sold commonly across Europe has an overall efficiency close to 90 percent and dramatically fewer emissions. Yes, the efficiency is better that most oil burners. For the very eco-conscious, two of these wood gasifiers meet the stringent Nordic ecolabelling standards, which regulate everything from their manufacture to the packaging to their emissions. Of course all of this information is available online for those of you willing to go beyond Google's first page of results when doing your research.
Correcting the record
To the editor:
Last week's story entitled "Aquinnah wins costly lawsuit, begun in 1977" contained the following errors:
The litigation began in 1997 - not 1977 - with a claim filed by the Vineyard Conservation Society against the trustees of Bear Realty Trust in Dukes County Superior Court. The town of Aquinnah joined VCS in the lawsuit.
During the current appeal, our challenge to the Aquinnah DCPC was dropped, and we focused on the zoning freeze. And, I am an environmental engineer and cannot represent anyone other than myself.
I look forward to an opportunity to present our side of the "never-ending story" and the diligent efforts we have taken to save everyone from this long, complex and expensive litigation.
James J. Decoulos
special education planners
To the Editor:
I am responding to the articles in both of the Vineyard papers regarding the new proposed special education programs. I will suspend most of my sarcastic, cynical and critical comments regarding this proposal in hopes that there really is an altruistic motive and not just a cost-cutting motive.
In hopes that the new special education program is truly being developed as the best quality program a family could ask for (and not just for saving time and money for the Martha's Vineyard Regional School District), I would like to address a few issues.
Is the superintendent's office going after every grant available to get the best specialized equipment for these students? Are they going to build a much-needed sensory Integration space to help the kids regulate their bodies? Are they going to provide the latest visual systems and auditory communication guides that are available? Are they going to bring in specialists from around the country (who usually love to come to the Island) in order to get out-of-the-box ideas in order to help these children succeed? Will they provide the needed social skills tools for these children as well as integrated social play times? Will they provide relationship-based therapies as well as behavioral programs? Will this program make the parents' hearts sing when they walk into the classroom? I do believe that there is an opportunity to create an amazing program on the Island, and it will take a great deal of creativity, time, and resources.
One issue is not addressed in the article, namely, whether this is a one-size-fits-all program. What if a family chooses not to participate? Can they still attend their preferred school?
I do hope that the creation of an amazing special needs program will be the crowning glory for the people in the superintendent's office. I will need much more information than the articles provide.
Seeing quotes such as, "Hopefully this is a bump..." and "We see the need to provide a consolidated program to focus in the students' individual needs..." taxes my brain. Having a positive impact on the life of a child with developmental challenges is priceless.
Mary Kuh Ambulos