The bluesman says thanks
To the Editor:
My story of late has been one of terror and miracles, and I could go on at length of such magnificent institutions as the U.S. Coast Guard and Brigham and Women's Hospital, without either of which I would not be alive today.
This is a Vineyard publication about Vineyard life however, and I wish to report to your readers of some Vineyard matters:
First, the Oak Bluffs Ambulance that was at my house within three minutes of notification of my emergency, and the people who got immediate control of the scariest situation I'd ever experienced.
A young EMT named Jason stayed by my side from my living room couch, through three ambulance rides and a wild chopper ride all the way to my bedside at Brigham and Women's. I cannot overstate the skill, compassion, and concentration this man displayed. If he were a guitar player, he could have burned Clapton that night.
Second, our world-famous ER was that night everything its honors and awards say it should be. Dr. Cathy Beland wasted not a second in getting a diagnosis and a dramatic course of action. She also gracefully dealt with the emotional situation that my family was in. Her compassion and wisdom were there not just for the guy in the bed, but for all of us.
A nurse whose nametag read Richard H. fed off of my corny wiseguy humor and got a hopeful feeling going. He got me comfortable and ready to go and started an IV line that was later much admired for its artistry by the Brigham and Women's IV techs. They usually put in their own line, but Richard's handy work was with me for my whole stay.
Finally, the outpouring of kindness and support from our Island's most beautiful jewel, our year-round population.
Believe me, I felt every prayer in my heart. My wife, my son, and I are humbled by the love we have received.
Most notably this has come through the Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group, my brothers and sisters in the recovery community, and the tribe of young Vineyard musicians now playing on this Island. They are all real nice to this old bluesman.
Look around you, my friends, the real beauty here is not beaches and sailboats, it's hearts and minds.
Thanks to everyone from one lucky old bastard.
To the Editor:
Recently you printed a letter from Scott Terry ("History of 'yo-yoing' says prohibition unenforceable", Dec. 20, 2007) regarding the controversy over the use of yo-yoing for striped bass. Mr. Terry has a reputation for being a very good artist as well as a very good fisherman, and he has certainly had his share of press over the years. I remember reading about him losing at least two boats, the most recent on the rocks off Nomans and another sunk while at its mooring. He also received a 10-year suspension from participation in the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby for fishing out of bounds - something he now childishly accuses others, including derby committee members, of doing.
But after reading his letter, I guess we should be thankful to him for a number of things. One of which is introducing the practice of using live scup as bait for striped bass, something that is now widely practiced by striped bass anglers including "many derby committee members and other well-known sport fishermen" that he also accuses of fishing with undersize scup.
Mr. Terry points out there have been no actual scientific studies that have shown levels of lead in striped bass, and that lead is not going to dissolve and seep into a striper's flesh. I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't knowingly consume a striper whose digestive system contained lead, and I commend the Derby committee for their decision to not distribute to senior citizens the fillet of any striper that contained the remnants of a yo-yo jig in its belly.
It's also comforting to know that Mr. Terry believes most striped bass pass or regurgitate the lead weights. By now we all know of a few that didn't, and I'd be surprised if a human, let alone a 20- or 30-pound animal could regurgitate or pass a 12-ounce chunk of lead through its digestive system. He says that he and "many other commercial fishermen" have developed a method of yo-yoing that virtually guarantees 100 percent of bass caught by yo-yoing will be hooked in the upper lip, thereby ensuring the safe release of unwanted fish. We can only hope that's the case. As one of the better up-Island commercial striped bass anglers recently stated, "There are cleaner ways to catch fish."
Mr. Terry claims he never wanted to be a yo-yo fisherman, as he was able to catch his fish with live scup and eels. Something changed his mind I guess. He goes on to say, "it completely stops fish from feeding on anything else when yo-yo baits are available" and "it became necessary to learn or go home." Now that's quite a statement. Are we supposed to buy into that? "Completely stops fish from feeding?" Everywhere? I guess the rest of us might as well learn how to yo-yo or stay home during the commercial season. There's a lot of water out there and a lot of different ways to catch fish.
Scott Terry obviously feels put upon and states that commercial striped bass anglers bear the brunt of every fluctuation in striper stocks, and that yo-yoing has become the most recent target du jour of recreational anglers. Interesting comment as the Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters letter to the DMF director asked that the practice of yo-yoing be banned from use by recreational as well as commercial anglers. He is right about one thing, though, that recreational fishermen account for 70 percent of striper mortality. He probably just forgot to mention that in Massachusetts alone there are at least 100 times more recreational anglers than commercial, 700,000 more. According to numbers released by Massachusetts DMF, in 2002, only 1,200 commercial permit holders reported any landings of striped bass. If my math is correct and DMF's numbers are to be believed, it means that in Massachusetts less than .002 percent of the total anglers account for 30 percent of striped bass mortality. Let's be thankful there aren't more commercial striped bass permit-holders and the season isn't longer.
Finally, Mr. Terry believes that the prohibition of yo-yoing is unenforceable by the DMF. I disagree and believe that any method of fishing that forces lead, cement, spark plugs, wood, steel, or any unnatural substance into a bait that could potentially wind up in the stomach of a striped bass can, and should be, enforced.
An Island-wide wish
To the Editor:
Today Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, and as I was driving back home from downtown I made a realization. Christmas is really for the children, waking up early and looking to see what Santa left for them beneath the tree. It does bring a great deal of pleasure to watch their eyes open wide and their jaws drop moments before jumping in the gifts left under the tree for them.
A children's holiday for certain, however my realization is that it celebrates the joys of friendship among adults, the feelings of respect and honesty of our neighbors reaching from one end of this Island to another. It truly brings joy to look someone in the eye, shake their hand and wish them a Merry Christmas.
There are many times when each of us would say that we'd rather live somewhere else. In truth, this is a wonderful environment to live. I honestly don't believe that there is another place in this world where when one needs help or assistance, the entire community comes together and helps. I would like to send an Island-wide wish for Happy Holidays this year and every one that follows.
Walter and Linda Hammond
Thank you all
To the Editor:
The Martha's Vineyard Service Unit of The Salvation Army thanks everyone who has donated to our Red Kettles at various Island locations this year.
Our unit is supported financially by these contributions.
At this time of year, 100 percent of donations to these Kettles is designated for local use.
Under the guidance of divisional headquarters in Boston, the service unit is responsible for wisely using the funds entrusted to them to meet community needs.
Our mission is to make Salvation Army services and spiritual ministry available to Vineyard residents.
A fundamental aspect of The Salvation Army's faith is service to those in need, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or age.
We have been particularly blessed this year by the help of our volunteers and the tremendous support of our local merchants. These merchants have been very generous in allowing us to establish "countertop kettles" in their stores as well as placing the familiar large kettles in front of their establishments during the Christmas season. These merchants include: Mardell's Gift Shop, Cronig's Market, Stop & Shop, Shirley's Hardware, Reliable Market, DeBettencourt's Gas Station, and Woodland Market.
For information, or to volunteer, please contact me at 508-693-4271. For assistance, please contact our welfare secretary at 508-560-2052.
You may also write us at:
The Salvation Army, Martha's Vineyard Service Unit, c/o Capt. Richard S. Reinhardsen, P.O. Box 1996, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
Thank you all once again.
Richard S. Reinhardsen
To the Editor:
Thank you for the films of the New Year's Eve fireworks on The Times web site. The silhouettes of the boats backlit by the pyrotechnics were especially graceful. Have a happy and peaceful New Year.
Public v. private
To the Editor:
Harriet Bernstein of West Tisbury wrote a letter to last week's Times against the wind farm. What disturbed her was "the private use of pristine, public expanse." I wonder if a public expanse treated as a private one is equally disturbing to her. Lambert's Cove Beach is a public park owned by her town of West Tisbury, yet the town denies access to non-residents. Where is the outrage over that? End beach apartheid.