More help needed
To the Editor,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Island community for their generous support of the Family-to-Family program. By sending in $25, each family provided a Thanksgiving meal consisting of a 12-pound turkey, five pounds of potatoes, a pound of carrots, a pound of onions, two pounds of apples, stuffing mix, pumpkin pie mix, cranberry sauce, and turkey gravy. On Nov. 16, we were able to distribute dinners to 82 families, helping to serve 181 individuals, many of them elderly and on fixed incomes.
As happens every year, demand exceeded supply. This year, despite our best efforts, we provided 82 meals but needed more. It is very hard, standing at the desk giving out turkeys and looking down the line and knowing we won't have enough for everyone. Thank you for making it possible to help provide a meal for our neighbors.
We will distribute our Christmas meals on Dec. 14; we expect an even larger crowd. With high fuel bills looming in the future for all of us, those on a fixed income will certainly suffer.
A special thank you to the Pacheco family and Reliable Market for providing us with such nice dinners at a price we can afford.
As always, the First Baptist Church supplied us with storage space and a place to hand out the dinners. They are very busy this time of year and always find time and room for us.
Anyone wishing to help can send a check to the Vineyard Committee on Hunger, PO Box 1874, VH, 02568. Questions? Betty Burton 508-693-5339
Vineyard Committee on Hunger
A twinge over swans
To the Editor:
I'm sure I am not your only reader who felt a twinge of sadness at the photo of the beautiful dead swan in your Dec. 6 issue.
I suppose you rationalized your decision to print this photo by describing the swan as a "troublesome invasive species."
I would feel better about human beings as an animal species if fewer humans derived pleasure from the sport of killing other animals that are our fellow inhabitants of this planet.
Tisbury taxpayers look out
To the Editor:
I recently attended a late night meeting of the Martha's Vineyard Commission. The applicant, Bridge Housing Corp., was presenting changes to its previously approved plan.
The meeting's moderator mentioned that he is a tenant of the applicants' attorney, who was sitting at a table directly across from him. Near the end of the meeting, the moderator denied my request to ask a question about a substantial change that the applicant(s) had left out of their presentation. The late hour was not the reason for this denial, as my question could have been answered in a fraction of the time many commissioners spent heaping praises and congratulations on the applicants before the meeting was adjourned.
Apparently this is normal procedure for this type of commission meeting. It did not seem professional, ethical, or fair.
One change to Bridge Housing Corporation's plan is purportedly to now ask the town of Tisbury to fund its public water supply through a quiet diversion of the ferry debarkation tax. This will involve tearing up State Road from Snake Hollow to the Scottish Bake House, and likely cost around $1 million.
Regardless of the merits of Bridge's development, Tisbury voters should be allowed to weigh in before being asked to further subsidize this project.
To the Editor:
Before you ignore these comments as typical racist rant, please rest assured that, in no way, is this letter about nationalism, patriotism, imperialism or any of the other ugliness currently being exploited by our so called federal government.
Let me begin by pointing out that, to me, it is obvious and quite understandable why thousands of immigrants from South America, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and other impoverished parts of the planet are flocking to New England in search of jobs and a better life for themselves and their families. I am not going to scream about clogged emergency rooms, over-crowding, tax issues, crime, or illegal driving. My problem is more personal. I cannot find a winter job here on the Vineyard.
For nearly 20 years, one thing has remained fairly constant for Islanders: we could always find winter work at a bakery, restaurant, grocery store or gas station until springtime returned us to more gainful employment or long-time seasonal work. Most of the winter jobs that I mentioned have been grabbed by immigrants, many of whom are illegal or undocumented.
Okay folks, it is time to pull our collective heads out of the sand and deal with this growing problem. Here's why. First of all, there are far too many foreigners coming here to work and live. Remember "Poor Martha"? Please don't bore me by telling me this is about needing lots of low wage service workers and laborers because Americans don't want to work or that there is a shortage of them here. Greedy landlords and wild prices are the reasons working folks had to leave the Vineyard. Why else would 15 Brazilians share a small house? Do you think that they enjoy that type of lifestyle? I doubt it. And by the way, these are good paying jobs and careers to boot.
Just ask the Brazilian woman working at the post office in West Tisbury. About two years ago I warned anyone listening that this type of irresponsible local government was going to backfire and those contractors and businesses who were hiring these folks hand over foot were going to regret it in the near future. That those guys were going to eventually compete with those same people as they established their own businesses.
I recently overheard a painting contractor complaining that he had to lay off his crew because he could not generate enough work to keep them going through the winter season. When asked why, the fellow shrugged his shoulders and said that Brazilian painting outfits had cornered the market by underbidding Islanders. Geez, what a surprise. These people aren't dopes, and many of them are hard working and very pleasant too. That is not the point. How long do you think it would take the Brazilian authorities to round up and deport thousands of Americans trying to work and live in that country? Ten minutes tops. Local and state government has let us down. How is it possible that all of these people are entering this country and simply heading on down to the Vineyard for a new life? And please, don't insult my intelligence by calling this madness multi-culturalism and therefore good for the community. That is absurd.
Thousands of mostly undocumented, non-English speaking immigrants who contribute an absolute minimum to support the local economy are not good for the Island. So get over it. Go ahead call me a racist. What a convenient excuse to ignore this problem, while thousands of foreigners steam to the Island in search of work, housing and free services. In my opinion there are two disasters that occurred almost simultaneously here on the Vineyard. The first was when local government decided that it was okay to let super wealthy New Yorkers and other moneyed elites destroy the beauty of the Island by building grotesque trophy houses and sprawling beach castles. Some of you guys made a fortune didn't you? Shame on all of us for letting that go unchecked.
The other disaster was the unmonitored flood of immigrant labor allowed to set up shop here and in all of New England. If there was suddenly a mountain of work on the Island and a lack of laborers, then we should examine over development for a change and question the notion that growth is good. Most of those castles are empty for 10 or 11 months a year. They are investments, folks, and we are paying the price.
The whole thing is insane, unless of course you choose to ignore it and pretend that everything is wonderful. Look, I am not calling for pitchforks and torches. I am not calling for Republican-style cruelty either. We made this bed because local and state government have failed us. Here is what I am suggesting. It is high time that we demand a limit to the number of immigrants allowed to stay here year-round, that we begin to consider carefully the long-term consequences of hiring so many foreigners. The notion that Americans do not need work is pure Fox television nonsense.
And while we still have a modicum of local power, I am imploring all of you to demand an end to the construction of monstrosities like the disgraceful eyesore at the gates of West Chop. Who let that happen? Maybe if we say no to crazy over-development we will also see the end of the second part of the crisis. And to the immigrants that I am speaking about, please do not take it personally; if I had it my way, there would be strict limits to the number of New Yorkers allowed to stay here too.
Santa wasn't always a chub
To the Editor:
The uproar denouncing obesity has reached to the very heart of the Christian world. Santa Claus has become a bad influence to our children. A recent newspaper article condemned the jolly old elf's rotundity and showed pictures of numerous department store Santas taking aerobics classes in Central Park.
St. Nick was not always obese. Apparently Santa developed his bowl full of jelly belly in the early 1930s, in a Christmas Coca Cola ad, the purpose of which was to show prosperity at a time when there was little. Up until that time, as far as anyone can tell, Santa was of average girth.
And these people think he should return to his original healthy size. One has to wonder if it wasn't all the milk and cookies that did it. Tradition is nice, but not if it affects your benefactor's cholesterol.
Which begs the question, if you can't leave Santa milk and cookies, how do you show your annual appreciation? Skim milk and low fat cookies would be a start, but that only helps cut some calories. If he has to eat them at every house he visits, he will still consume more than he needs or can work off in one night.
There must be something Santa would like that isn't a food product.
Children love to make Christmas gifts. Hand prints and ash trays are okay for a parent who loves you, but I think Santa deserves something a little nicer. Someone I know suggested condoms, but I'm not sure Mrs. Claus would appreciate him coming home with several million. Besides, I think the reindeer deserve a break on the trip home. All night they look forward to that empty sleigh and they should have it. After all, how would Santa bring all our goodies were it not for Rudolph and the rest.
A shot of bourbon would be nice. I'm sure that on a cold night, he would really appreciate it, but after a few hundred houses, he wouldn't be able to finish his rounds. Imagine the scandal of a drunken Santa crashing his sleigh and eight reindeer running loose and leaving piles of reindeer poop all over Ocean Park. And the question of nutritionally empty calories is still there. No, I guess booze isn't the answer.
Santa will become the equivalent of great Aunt Sadie. She has everything, needs nothing, but you are still obligated to give her a gift that will say, "You're wonderful." And unless it is something without calories that he can enjoy in those two and a half minutes he spends in your living room, you can forget next year's list because he'll look at it twice and cross your name off.
I've wracked my brain. I simply can't think of anything that would delight Santa.
A spa membership? That might shut up those health nuts.
A nice colorful banner that says Welcome Fat Man? (The kids suggested that.) Tickets to the Rose Bowl? He'll probably still be sleeping off Christmas Eve.
A stripper? She'd have to be pretty fast. Don't forget, we only have two and a half minutes. And a stripper without finesse is just a gal getting ready to take a shower.
Well, maybe a few calories won't kill him. Compromise is the name of the game here.
If he promises to get a little exercise during the rest of the year, I suppose a little low fat milk (no eggnog) and a Frookie or two might be in order. Just don't tell the kids.
He misjudged the president
To The Editor:
I think George W. Bush's secret plan to turn the tide of immigration is ingenious, so much so that I can smell the hand of Karl Rove in there (and I don't really want to): drive the value of the dollar down so low that there is no longer a viable reason to come to the U.S. and work long, thankless hours for now truly minimal wages.
Now I read that hopeful immigrant workers are either leaving or staying home in droves, whether they are in the local service industry trying to build huge estates back home, or world-famous green card bearing supermodels, not necessarily known as having a head for the higher machinations of finance, intelligently refusing to be paid in U.S. dollars.
Making the business environment economically undesirable for visiting workers through drastic worldwide dollar devaluation - sheer unadulterated genius. I don't even feel like traveling myself. I fear I have been sorely misjudging the clever little what-have-you all along.
To the Editor:
The Unity Club of the Edgartown Federated Church is very grateful to Mr. Koohy, manager of the Vineyard Haven Stop and Shop, for all his help with our recent Christmas Fair. He was very cooperative and donated many of the things we needed, without which our fair would not have been nearly so successful. We realize that organizations are constantly calling upon the generosity of the Stop and Shop, but Mr. Koohy was more than courteous and helpful. We are fortunate to have him at the Vineyard Haven store.
To the Editor:
Many thanks to many people for helping to make the recent Scallop Raffle and Holiday Bazaar to benefit Friends of the Tisbury Senior Center highly successful.
We are grateful to Anna Marie D'Addarie and Eleni Collins of The Martha's Vineyard Times and Lauren Martin of the Vineyard Gazette. Joyce Stiles Tucker, director, and Sandy Whitworth, activities director, were enormously helpful, as was Anthony Guyther and all the talented vendors. Special thanks go to Rita Roberts, Irene Baugh, and Sandy Pratt.
Albert and Florence Koster
Tisbury Council on Aging
A kind person
To the Editor:
Many thanks to the kind person who found my wallet in the Tisbury town parking lot on Thanksgiving Day and turned it in to the Tisbury Police Department.
Trimming energy use
To the Editor:
We mustn't kid ourselves. Hybrid vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable technologies aren't going to halt global warming. They're only going to slow it down and reduce its severity. That's the bad news. But there's also some that's good: We have another climate stabilizing option - one that's simpler, less expensive, faster acting, and more effective (than using hybrids, etc.). I call it energy weeding, and its something that all of us can do. Here are examples of weeding I've done with great success (saving me money, and preserving the environment):
I've turned down my home's thermostats (and dressed in warmer clothing).
I've closed doors so that I heat only the bedrooms at night, and only the kitchen and den during the day.
I've stopped using air conditioners. I use fans instead.
I've stopped using hot water for washing clothes I use warm and cold.
I've stopped using the clothes dryer. I hang clothes outside.
I've learned to wash dishes in a bowl with one quart of heated water (instead of washing under five gallons of running water,)
When using the dishwasher, I push the "cool dry" button so no electricity is used for drying,
I've shortened my showers from 10 minutes to seven.
I've replaced my high-flow showerhead with a water-conserving model.
I've stopped leaving lights on when they're not needed (inside and out).
I've stopped using Christmas lights. (Wreaths and other non-electric decorations can be just as attractive.)
I've stopped using a hair drier.
I've Installed a power strip to completely turn off my computer, printer, etc.
I've raised the setting of my dehumidifier from 50 percent to 70 percent RH (thereby reducing its run time and electricity consumption).
I've reduced use of my car from 20 miles a week to 10. For most errands, I walk, use my bicycle, carpool, or take the bus,
I've stopped warming up my car's engine for more than one minute. (Manufacturers agree that one minute is adequate.)
I've stopped using recreational motor boats, jet skis, ATVs, snowmobiles, sports cars, and motorcycles.
I've reduced use of my lawn mower from eight times per year to four.
I've stopped using a weed whacker and leaf blower. (I'm strong enough to trim and rake by hand.)
Admittedly, some of these energy and climate saving steps are somewhat inconvenient. But when one considers the damage being caused by global warming, the high cost of hybrids, solar panels, etc., and their inability to rescue us, E-weeding seems to be our best option - one that we should embrace immediately.
To the Editor:
For several years, the Vineyard Health Care Access Program has enjoyed the support of the Rotary Club of Martha's Vineyard. The Access Program, which is a program of Dukes County, uses this support for emergency assistance for Islanders who cannot afford prescription medication, medical supplies, or medical transportation. The Rotary Club's contribution goes directly to reimburse pharmacies and other vendors, who supply vital products and services to the medically needy, including elders, people who are seasonally unemployed, people who have acute illnesses or injuries, and the disabled. The recently re-named David Kurth Memorial Fund has helped hundreds of Islanders since 2003.
The Access Program is pleased to be a lifeline for Vineyarders who find themselves in the difficult position of choosing between paying for housing, fuel, food, or medicine. We are so grateful to once again be a recipient of the Rotary Club's generosity.
Vineyard Health Care