To the Editor:
On Oct. 19, a beautiful fall day, I headed out from my house on Oak Lane for a trail ride to Misty Meadows. This is a ride I'd done numerous times with a friend, using the bike paths and fire lanes in the State Forest. What made this day different was that I, a novice rider at best, went out alone on a horse I'd had for barely two months. (A recipe for disaster.)
I was nervous, my horse was nervous. As we proceeded, it became more and more difficult for me to push him on and our anxiety levels were mounting. We finally made it to the end of Oak Lane and onto the bike path where I was able to get him to move on and trot. Then we needed to take a left turn onto the fire lane. We took that left, and he took another immediate left to a path he knew would get him home. I tried to turn him back, at which point he hit the eject button, left me where he assumed I wanted to be, and bolted for the comfort of home and his herd.
In an instant the amazing Vineyard good neighbor support system we're all so familiar with kicked into gear. A couple, out for a nice autumn walk on the bike path I had just left, came immediately to my aid making calls to 911 and to my barn partner, Annie. (Jeanette, thank you so much for letting me rest against you until the EMTs arrived.)
Soon the West Tisbury police and the Tri-Town ambulance were there. What a relief to see familiar faces - including a knowledgeable horsewoman. The care on scene, in the ambulance, and into the hospital was completely professional while at the same time personal and reassuring. I hope no one ever takes these folks for granted. It takes a very special kind of person to be willing to drop everything at a moment's notice to run to the aid of those in serious need, not knowing what they might encounter.
Upon arrival at the hospital the transition from the EMTs to the ER staff was seamless. And again, the professional care and concern of the ER nurses, doctors, and radiologists gave me great comfort and eased my anxiety. The decision was made that I would be having a sleepover, so off to acute, the nurses there continuing the professional and supportive care I'd been receiving all along.
I know there are names I either didn't get or don't remember, but I do want to thank everyone who helped me - those whose names I know (Officer Skip Manter; EMTs Fran, Sloane and Tony; ER nurses Beth, Patty and Betsy; Dr. Kasper and Dr. Pil; radiologists Ed and Kathy; acute care nurses Cheryl and Ellen) and all those whose names I don't know. I also want to thank Kathy Logue, who, seeing my horse galloping by riderless, followed him to my house and, along with my neighbor, Ebba Hierta, took care of him so that my barn partner, Annie, could dash off to find me - already being tended to by the EMTs. And thank you to the many friends who have called and have brought flowers and food.
Certainly, one hopes to never need this kind of care, but it is pretty incredible to be on the receiving end when you do. My heartfelt gratitude to you all.
We'll miss you
To the Editor:
We did not know her for long, but we spiritually feel that we knew her well. We know that we have lost a genuine, honest, compassionate, sympathetic, caring and wise woman; someone who would not compromise her beliefs to join the masses and believed in truth. We thank you, Catherine Mathiesen, and shall miss you.
Proud of Oak Bluffs School
To the Editor:
The following is in response to a front page story in the Oct. 11 issue of The Times titled "MCAS Score Gains Elude Two Schools". Although the information presented within the article was correct, the banner headline was, in our opinion, misleading to the Island community. It should be noted, that as a school we met or exceeded the state performance targets for both English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, with performance ratings of very high and high, respectively.
As you pointed out, some student sub-groups scored below the annual performance target. Specifically, it was those students identified as low income and/or receiving special education services. For these sub-groups, adequate yearly progress (AYP) was not met in ELA only, missing by as little as .8 percent or as much as 2.8 percent from the previous year's scores. As superintendent James Weiss points out in the article, there is a certain point in the performance life of a school, particularly those doing well, where there is little room for regress. Despite being a very small drop in performance, it was enough to result in not meeting our projected AYP. It is well known on the Island how the Oak Bluffs School meets the learning styles and needs of all of its students, no matter what their abilities are. As the School Advisory Council (SAC), we could not be more proud of our teachers, staff, and administrators. We know how good our school is. Yes indeed, we are proud to be from O.B.
For the Oak Bluffs SAC
To the Editor:
Bravo Zulu to The Martha's Vineyard Times for last week's article entitled Islanders in Service. These men and women are the greatest of my generation - all volunteers - many who have followed directly in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents.
Founded upon the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, Veterans Day is a special holiday that allows us to honor our military service members. I hope that each of us will take a moment to recognize their profound service and also that of their families who continue to support them at home.
Opportunities abound to honor our service men and women. You can show your support by donating to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (www.fallenheroesfund.org), an organization that provides state-of-the-art services to our wounded military and veteran heroes and their families. Another way to give this holiday season is through America Supports You (www.americasupportsyou.mil), an organization that will connect you to our military members overseas and at home.
Finally, one of the most profound ways you can show your personal gratitude is by taking the time to shake the hand of a soldier or sailor and say thank you for their selfless devotion to public service.
To my brothers and sisters in arms, you have my heartfelt thanks. God bless.
Estate planning crucial to land rich
To the Editor:
I thought your At Large piece two weeks ago was a great warning to land rich/cash poor Islanders. While the estate tax has not disappeared, in the last few years the amount that can be passed federal tax-free to kids (or anyone else) has increased to $2 million. It will go to $3.5 million for one year in 2009. With proper advance planning a couple can still pass property worth $4 million to children, even more if a conservation easement is added into the mix. Unfortunately, most couples do not properly plan and get stuck only using one exclusion.
In its infinite wisdom, the Commonwealth de-coupled from the federal system and implemented a new estate tax system back in 2001. The state's exclusion is only $1 million. This creates more confusion.
Land on the Vineyard can be an albatross for many families. Trying to keep it can test sibling relationships. Having to sell it means some families will never return to the place they have called home for generations.
Thanks for shedding light on the issue.
Michael Dutton, an attorney, is the executive secretary of Oak Bluffs
A wonderful place
To the Editor:
Once in a while, something happens on the Vineyard that makes you take stock of the wonderful place where you live.
That happened to us Saturday, Nov. 10, when we launched our latest children's book, Thirty Dirty Sailors and the Little Girl Who Went a-Whaling.
Featherstone Center for the Arts agreed to host the party, providing the space for illustrator Susan Convery Foltz' original book illustrations. Since the book is based on a true story about the whaling industry from a child's perspective, we thought it would be good to provide some maritime activities for children. Hope and Brock Callen of Sail Martha's Vineyard and Lynne Whiting of the Martha's Vineyard Museum stepped in with enthusiasm, making sailor's valentines and soap scrimshaw with dozens of children who showed up for the free event. Our friend, Melissa Pitt, a teacher at the Edgartown School, came by to make newspaper sailor's hats. Our friends Jean and Bill Cleary and their children, Scott and Dani, made all the food, then served it up. (For anyone who was there: yes, those cookies and muffins were homemade.)
The three non-profits, working together, helped us host several hundred children and adults in what could only be described as a roaring success. We thank them all, along with Francine Kelly of Featherstone for her organization and sense of humor and Tom Dresser for volunteering to watch over the food and drink.
Thanks, too, to CK Wolfson for her coverage of the book and helping to publicize the launch event.
And, just in case we forget, to all the moms, dads and grandparents who brought their children out for a dull Saturday afternoon in November - and livened up our lives - we thank you deeply.
Jan Pogue and John Walter
To the Editor:
Several millennia ago man invented God, then claimed that God had created him, man, in his own image.
Today man attributes the current global warming cycle to his own activities. Is there no end to puny man's conceit in his unending quest for significance?
Peter Colt Josephs
To the Editor:
We wanted to take a moment to thank the Tisbury Business Association for hosting a trick-or-treat event on Main Street on Halloween. Although we brought a herd of 30 children and their families, we were not alone. We saw costumes and all manner of trickery from folks of all ages, child to adult, out enjoying the beautiful Halloween morning in town.
Not only was it a treat to bring children and their families to a safe, welcoming environment to partake in the festivities, it was also wonderful to greet friends and neighbors who were shopping, working and fully enjoying the spectacle.
Again, thank you to all of the business who participated, and were so obviously in the spirit on this spooky October morning. We are grateful to have the support of such a wonderful community.
Dawn Warner and
Leigh Ann Yuen
Garden Gate Child Development Center
A phone call might have helped
To the Editor:
This letter was sent to Chief Eric Blake of the Oak Bluffs Police Department.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 6, while driving on County Road heading for the recycle center, my 1983 blue two-door Volvo stalled- out. I restarted but only went a few feet before the engine again stopped. I coasted a few feet and turned the corner onto Wing Road and came to a stop about two car lengths from the intersection. Since I could not restart the engine, I turned on the rear warning lights, walked to my house, and telephoned Bay State Towing for a tow to nearby Bink's Garage. MacGee of Bay State said he would telephone me in about one and a half hours, when ready to meet at the site.
A person of average intelligence seeing an auto with an Oak Bluffs dump sticker stopped on a road in Oak Bluffs with its rear warning lights on would assume that the owner had walked home to arrange for a tow. If that person were a police officer, one would assume (s)he would learn the name of the owner from the plate number, check the local telephone book, and contact the owner.
However, when a police officer came upon the auto, (s)he did none of the above. The officer contacted John Leite of Martha's Vineyard Towing at about 10 am and directed him to tow the car to his storage lot. When Bay State arrived at 11 am and could not locate the car, he returned to Edgartown. When I arrived shortly after, I walked to Bink's looking for the car. John Leite drove by and informed me that to retrieve my auto, I would need to pay $110 in cash for the towing and storage. At my request, Bay State returned from Edgartown, we retrieved my auto, and towed it to Bink's. MacGee charged me only $60 for both his trips.
At 4:50 pm on Thursday, Oct. 4, the Falmouth Police telephoned to me in Oak Bluffs to inform me that the Christmas Tree Shop was coating and lining its parking lot later in the evening and that in order to avoid being towed, I would have to move my off-Island car. Knowing that many persons who park overnight in this lot take the Island Queen to Oak Bluffs, the Falmouth Police apparently learned my name from the plate number and my telephone number from the Vineyard telephone book. I was able to catch the 5 pm Patriot to Falmouth and move my car, thereby avoiding tow fees.
It is ironic that although I pay no taxes or fees to Falmouth, its police took the time and trouble to trace me; while, although I pay over $8,700 in taxes and fees to Oak Bluffs, its police made no attempt to contact me.
My 1983 blue two-door Volvo is the only one on the Island. It has been parked every day for the past four years on its off-street space marked VERA on upper Kennebec Avenue, across from the Reliable Market lot, about three and a half blocks from the police station. Thousands of people have driven by it, including many police officers. It is difficult to believe that the officer who saw this vehicle disabled on Wing Road, about five blocks from its usual parking space, with its Oak Bluffs dump sticker, was not aware that it was owned by an Oak Bluffs resident.
Joseph Sequeira Vera
Oak Bluffs and Cambridge
Your gifts will help your neighbors
To the Editor:
The Salvation Army maintains an active volunteer service unit on Martha's Vineyard.
Service units are established in areas where the Army has no officer/pastor assigned. Our mission is to make Salvation Army services and spiritual ministry available to Vineyard residents. The program is flexible, endeavors not to duplicate the services of other agencies, and is designed to meet genuine needs quickly, without time-consuming red tape.
The Martha's Vineyard Service Unit is supported financially by contributions from local residents. Donations raised here are used to help Vineyard residents in need.
Under the guidance of Divisional Headquarters in Boston, members of the service unit are responsible for wisely using the funds entrusted to them to meet community needs.
A fundamental aspect of The Salvation Army's faith is service to those in need, regardless of race, creed, color, sex or age. We believe all people deserve to have their basic human needs met.
A wide variety of assistance is offered to individuals and families in need and is available on an as-needed basis in areas such as:
Utility assistance through the Good Neighbor Energy Fund; clothing assistance; food/grocery store vouchers; rental/mortgage assistance as funding is available; counseling; referrals and case management.
Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services are available in the event of a major fire, hurricane, winter storm, or other similar event. Our trained Island volunteers are prepared to serve rescue and response crews with refreshments and meals, as well as to assist victims and their families. We work in cooperation with other volunteer agencies.
Soon you will see our familiar "Red Kettles" around the Island. We hope you donate generously knowing that those donations will be used locally to aid your fellow Islanders. This is the season of giving, but please remember that need knows no season. Your gifts will aid local people any time they are in need of a helping hand.
For information, or to volunteer, please contact me at 508-693-4271 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For assistance, please contact our welfare secretary at 508-560-2052.
Richard S. Reinhardsen
The Salvation Army
Martha's Vineyard Service Unit
Can you help?
To the Editor:
The YMCA Teen Center of Martha's Vineyard, located at the Cottagers' Corner in Oak Bluffs, could use your help.
Do you have a regulation-size pool table that's in good shape that you're not using and would like to donate? We would gladly come and get it and put it to good use.
Our YMCA of Martha's Vineyard offers a wide variety of safe, enjoyable activities and programs for children and teens of all ages. Please support us, as the pool table will be enjoyed by all.
Please call Debbie at 508-843-0097 or the YMCA office at 508-696-7171. Thanks for your help.
Help and understanding
To the Editor:
We wish to thank all those who helped so much to ease the traumatic experience of our pet's passing. To the Vineyard Veterinary Clinic, Steamship Authority and South Shore Animal Hospital, we can only say thank you all for your sincerity and understanding. It was deeply appreciated.
Thanks to all
To the Editor:
Every year on the Vineyard, Island EMTs get together for a 24-hour recertification known as the D.O.T. We're required to complete this recertification every two years with approximately half of us attending one year and the rest the next. On Saturday and Sunday morning, Oct. 15 and 16, M.V.A.E.M.T. [Martha's Vineyard Association of Emergency Medical Technicians] provided breakfast for approximately 65 EMTs and instructors. We'd like to say thank you to Edgartown Stop and Shop for their generous donation of coffee, cream, cups, orange juice and 6 large bowls of fresh-cut fruit. Thanks also to Humphreys for donuts and muffins.
We would also like to say thanks to all those who worked so hard to make the D.O.T. so interesting, informative and fun. Jeff Pratt, Martina Mastromonaco, Dan Johnson, Fran Bradley, Charlie Curran, Chuck Cummens, John Shannon, Stephanie Andrade, Jennifer Haynes, Deb and Chris Cini, Tracy Jones, Deb Dolliver, Beth Smith, Dr. Shapiro, Dr. Kohler, Dr. Hirshberg, and Gerry Stetson. And, not to forget Sloan Hart for making dinner for everyone on Friday night. Delicious fuel to keep us all going. Thanks everyone. One final thought. All Island towns are looking to enroll new people in the January, 2008 EMT Course. You can give us a call at 693-4992 and we'll fill you in on the details. It's a great way to give back to our Island community. Or come by the Edgartown Fire Station, Pease's Point Way on Dec. 1, 9 to 12, and meet some of the many folks just like you who are there when you need them. Thanks.
To the Editor:
You have to just love Bill Cosby. He cares deeply about his people and all Americans and about this great country. I was fortunate to catch him on the Larry King show last week. He was plugging his new book, "Come on People," which talks about, "Turning victims into victors." It certainly sounds like a great book and one I am sure worth owning.
What struck me most during the interview was the statement he made regarding successful children. He stated, "Behind every successful child stands a parent who put their foot down and said, 'Over my dead body you will!'" That certainly sums it up. However, there is more we must do as parents than just stand up to our children, we must also stand up for our children.
These are troubling times. It is not only difficult for us as parents to provide for our families but also for us as adults to provide for our own individual futures. But if it is difficult for us it must be absolutely frightening for our kids. What kind of future can they expect? What have we done, what has our government done, what have our leaders done to ensure that their future will be one of hope, of confidence and of stability?
Sadly, I must admit we have not done much. We have let government and big business keep us dependent on foreign oil, export our manufacturing jobs to Asia, embroil us into wars that have no chance of victory. They have aligned us with some of the most despicable tyrants on the planet - Noriega, Marcos, Saddam Hussein, the Shah and now Musharraf. We must understand that you can't have it both ways; you can't support a tyrant and advocate for human rights at the same time. It's hypocritical.
Yet we as impotent followers keep our mouths shut and say to ourselves, "They must know what they're doing, I hope." Adhering to that old adage, "If you don't have anything good to say, keep your mouth shut." But, what if you have something bad to say, something that is the truth, a strong opinion against someone or something, does this statement, this old adage, mean for you to keep your mouth shut even then? Well, I think not.
What is Freedom of Speech for anyway, if it's not to speak out against people who are intent on controlling, manipulating and enslaving our people, our children and our future, what purpose does it serve? Didn't Americans speak out during the revolution when they fought and died for our independence, to keep from becoming enslaved by England?
Americans fought then and fought fiercely and that is why we have what we have today. That is what we must do, what you must do. You must "Put your foot down!" and say, "No more!" Not even for one more minute.
We must come out swinging and declare war on energy dependency and fight with every weapon in our arsenal.
One country that could serve as an example of energy independence might be Brazil. It has made great strides with methanol refined from sugar cane and their country is nearly 100 percent energy independent. I don't know anything about farming, but I would love to see tobacco replaced with sugar cane if it can be done.
We must draft an energy constitution, a declaration of energy independence, and restore hope to this great land and this great country.
Thanks for the thought
To the Editor:
Our thanks and appreciation to the couple (and their dog) who on this past Monday afternoon took the time to write happy congratulatory notes on the path back from Sepiessa Point, after they discovered that our small wedding was about to take place.
Your actions and thoughts personify the wonderful spirit of Martha's Vineyard and added to the joy of the occasion.
Peter McChesney and
Judy Holland McChesney