Walking it off, delightedly
To the Editor:
In March, 2006, I embarked on a walk around the Island in an effort to get my squatty body back in shape. I even wrote a letter to The Martha's Vineyard Times inviting others to join me. I intended to walk a segment each day along the perimeter roads of the Island. Each day I began where my previous day's walk ended. I drove my car to the spot, walked a half hour or so, and walked back to the car, thus doubling the distance. For no good reason, I stopped about a month later, even though I had completed about 75 percent of the distance.
About a year later, I had a physical exam and learned that my weight was seriously up and that my blood sugar was elevated. I remember nurse practitioner Nancy Phillips asking me how I would feel about injecting myself with insulin twice a day for the rest of my life. This did not seem like a desirable way to live my life, so I decided, once again, to get back into shape.
Weight seems to be the greatest problem with blood sugar, and Nancy suggested that the South Beach Diet was a good place to begin. I invested $7 for the diet book and began following directions in June, 2007, when my weight was about 245. (This might be fine if I was seven feet tall, but I'm only 5 feet, 10 inches.) Nancy also strongly suggested that I revive my walk around the Island.
I have rather diligently stayed on the diet, which means, mostly, that I eliminate most starches and sugar. Yes, this means almost all things "white" including most bread, pasta, and sugar. I really did not resume the Island walk on a regular basis until late November of 2007. I finished it on Sunday, Jan. 6, by walking the 7.3-mile loop around Aquinnah via Moshup Trail and Lighthouse Road.
My weight is now 198, not quite the 155 it was when I returned from Asia in the early 1960s as a Marine lieutenant, but a heck of a lot better than last summer. My target is 175 and, Lord willing, I should be there by this summer. The irony of the story is that in today's mail, I received the pedometer that I ordered to keep count of all these steps, now that the Island march is over.
I heartily recommend my regimen to others. Forget you ever heard the word sandwich. Get a Land Bank map and a magic marker and begin the walk. Walk on the left, wave at the drivers. Be respectful of where you park. Leave a sign on your car's dashboard telling people that you're out for a walk. Wear good walking shoes and ignore the little aches and pains in the joints; they will go away. Enjoy the turkeys, the deer, and the flowing brooks. You really see this lovely Island from a unique perspective.
Just a thought
To the Editor:
Buy local. The Vineyard Haven holiday raffle was a great success, and it encourages us to shop on the Island to help the economy. However, I could not help but notice that the tickets for the raffle were purchased at Staples.
I called daRosa's, and they said that they sell raffle tickets, so maybe the organizers of the raffle should shop on the Island as well. Just a thought.
Remembering Bob Morgan
To the Editor:
When I first showed up to the Vineyard in 1988 as a candidate for state representative in the newly created Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket District, I knew maybe six people on the Island, and Bob Morgan wasn't one of them.
Fortunately for me, Bob decided I was his candidate, and he took me around to the VFW, the scallop shucking hall, the senior centers, the coffee shops, and other places where Islanders could be found in the off season.
I soon found out that Bob was related to a lot of Vineyarders and knew most of the rest, particularly in the down-Island towns. I carried the Island in that election, and it wouldn't have happened without Bob Morgan.
Bob was the Island's Legislative Liason at the time, and I was happy to keep him on in that post. The job involved periodic visits to Boston, and when he and I got there, I found the universe of people he knew included many at the State House. His courtly manner and Island accent had won him lots of friends, and he opened many doors there for this newly elected Representative.
Bob was not courtly all the time in those days. An elected County Commissioner, he felt strongly about many public issues and did not hold back his views. But his opinions were always based on what he felt was best for the Island and its people.
Years after his retirement, I would occasionally run into him, always accompanied by his wife and soul mate, Allouise. I knew for sure I would always see him at the Fourth of July Edgartown parade proudly wearing his World War II uniform, where we would share a big hug and a big hello.
The last time I saw him I was handing out my campaign literature at the Edgartown Post Office, and he asked if he could join me. He still knew everyone who walked in the door.
Goodbye, Bob, and thank you for your service - to your town, your Island, your state, and your country.
Doubts on climate change
To the Editor:
Why is it that the global warming groupies stake their faith upon dire climate forecasts for 50 or 100 years from now, yet the supposedly renowned scientists and climatologists making such assertions can't even give us a reliable weather forecast for three days from now?
In the overall scope of this planet, humans are truly insignificant, and to assert we can somehow alter the earth's atmosphere is the epitome of mankind's arrogance. The warming and cooling of our atmosphere predated humans by billions of years and will continue regardless of how many ugly, noisy, inefficient, feel good wind turbines we plaster over the land and oceans.
The buying and selling of so-called carbon credits is a cute premise, yet inherently silly. We need to direct our attention and resources to understanding how solar activity has historically altered our atmosphere and develop plans to effectively deal with the potential warming or cooling of our planet.
Brian C. Smith
Clarifying the 'yo-yo' debate
To The Editor:
I certainly hope my letter to the editor pertaining to the proposed ban on yo-yo fishing did not confuse too many readers the way it apparently did Ron Domurat. If that is the case, I will attempt to clarify the points I was trying to make.
As I stated in my first letter, I am aware of the reputation I have among some Island sport fishermen. All the fishing community knows I was banned from the Derby for 10 years for fishing out of bounds, just as they all know I have always, and still do, deny these allegations. This was a very long time ago and bears no relevance to the yo-yo issue. No comments I make concerning this issue are made out of spite or malice towards the Derby committee. They are very dedicated to preserving an Island tradition and did an admirable job dealing with the difficult situation of yo-yo weights being found inside several of this year's derby fish. I do, however, believe they have gone too far in petitioning the state to enact new regulations banning a method of fishing they know little about.
Mr. Domurat states that I have "childishly accused" Derby committee members of fishing out of bounds. Had he read a little more closely, he might have seen I never accused anyone of fishing out of bounds in the Derby. What I did say was that I have seen many Derby committee members and other sport fishermen fishing for striped bass in federal waters, which is against the law. This is very different from what the Derby committee accused me of.
I also stated that I have seen many of these same fishermen using undersize scup for bait, which I have. Mr. Domurat is correct that many fishermen should thank me for starting the practice of using scup for bait, although I am fairly certain he did not mean it as a compliment. I should point out that the legal size for scup when I began using them was five inches, not the current 10.
I have never claimed to be an angel, and I tried to make it clear that I don't care how other people fish. I simply think it is hypocritical to petition the state for new laws, when many of the petitioners are not abiding by the laws we already have.
I doubt Mr. Domurat is actually comforted that I believe most stripers pass swallowed sinkers. As I said, this is an opinion, although I would wager a more educated one than his. I still believe Lev's fish was an anomaly, and while not a desirable situation, let's face it, it felt well enough to eat.
The most egregious misinterpretation of my letter by Mr. Domurat concerns his assessment of attempts to improve yo-yo techniques. I never stated that we have developed a method of lip-hooking striped bass. All stripers caught yo-yoing are lip-hooked. Most importantly, what I said was that we have developed methods of retrieving the sinkers, a rather pertinent point to be overlooked, as it negates all the current complaints against yo-yoing.
As far as the up-Island commercial bass fisherman stating "there are cleaner ways to fish," give me a break. We all know who he is, and many of us know he yo-yo's. He is a good fisherman trying to earn a living, but he is not the champion of your cause.
Mr. Domurat should also have read my comments about yo-yo baits shutting off bass from other baits more closely. No, I don't think it stops bass from feeding "everywhere" in the ocean. It stops fish that are offered yo-yo baits from feeding on anything else. I would be pleased and amused to watch you try to catch bass by any other method when yo-yoers are present. If you like, let me know where you are fishing sometime and I will come give you the firsthand experience.
Mr. Domurat's comments concerning commercial fishermen are exactly why I feel, as one, much more than just "put upon." While I did state that 70 percent of striper mortality is attributed to recreational fishing, I did not say commercial fishing accounts for the other 30 percent. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) estimates place commercial mortality at 17 percent, with 13 percent going to other causes, mostly discarded offshore dragger by-catch. Commercial fishermen are closely regulated by DMF biologists, who determine a yearly quota for them based on a sustainable take. This quota is not determined by the number of commercial permits issued. Every striper taken by a commercial fisherman is accounted for through a check-and-balance system of annual fish reports and weekly reporting by licensed dealers. Recreational take, on the other hand, is a wide open field with no accountability of any kind, no season, no catch reports, and no records kept by the state. Let's assume Ron's estimate of 700,000 recreational anglers is correct. Let's also be conservative and say each of these anglers only takes two 20-pound stripers in a whole year of fishing. Wow, 28 million pounds of dead stripers. Last year in Massachusetts, commercial fishermen were allowed 820,000 pounds of bass and had less than 20 open fishing days. Commercial fishermen provide a valuable service to many thousands of people who like to eat fish but don't have the means to catch them. In a part of this country that was founded on commercial fishing, our piece of the striped bass pie is tiny and not at all unreasonable. Still, every year we are assailed from all sides by sportfishing lobbies and associations as would-be destroyers of our recovered striper fishery.
Mr. Domurat deems it unwarranted that I feel commercial fishermen have been targeted as the culprits in the current yo-yo controversy, yet I quote from the Derby committee's letter to the DMF. "I know you are very aware of the growing concern that many folks have about the inhumane "yo-yoing" technique being used by many commercial striped bass fishermen." Inhumane? This is a charge leveled by people who stick a large hook in a living creature's mouth, yank it, struggling, from its environment, then allow it to slowly suffocate on a deck or beach. If being inhumane is your concern you had better stop fishing altogether, not just try to make others stop.
West Tisbury and Cotuit
Overdue, but thanks
To the Editor:
First, let me say that this letter is nearly a month overdue, and I apologize for having taken so long to say thank you to the Island community for coming together to help me through a very hard time.
My father, John E. Holmes, passed away in late November, following a year-long battle with liver disease. He was a well-loved and respected member of the Island community, although he had been living on the Cape since 1999.
He left no will, and his estate will most likely be tied up in probate court for several months. Upon hearing that I was having trouble taking care of expenses following his death, a couple of my close friends, Jamie Rogers and Jannette Vanderhoop decided to organize a benefit to help me pay for his cremation, a memorial service, and other immediate expenses until his estate is resolved.
The John E. Holmes Memorial Benefit Concert and Dinner was held on Friday, Dec. 7, at the Chilmark Community Center, and more than a hundred people attended. The benefit raised more than $1,900 in one night. It was a truly amazing show of both community and generosity, and the event was a lot of fun for everyone who came.
I want to thank everyone who was involved in making the benefit possible, and everyone who came and showed their support. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and I look forward to being able to give back to the community in kind as soon and as many times as possible.
First and foremost, I would like to thank Jannette and Jamie, without whose tireless efforts the show would not have happened. It's hard to express how comforting and reassuring it is to know that I have friends who would go to such lengths to help me, and to make sure that I'm okay.
Secondly, I want to thank those who donated time and space for the hosting and publicity of the event: WMVY, WVVY, the Vineyard Gazette, and The Martha's Vineyard Times for advertising; the town of Chilmark for allowing us the use of the Community Center.
Thirdly, I want to thank all of the bands and musicians: Jelly Bone Rivers and the Maniacs of the Heart, Ballyhoo, Kamona, Nina Violet, Joe Keenan and Colin Ruel (and anyone else who sat in on stage while I wasn't paying attention). Also, a special thanks to Alex Karalekas, who donated musical equipment and took care of making sure the musical part of the evening ran smoothly.
I would also like to thank everyone who donated food: Jannette Vanderhoop for the clam chowder and cornbread; Zach Clark and Jamie Rogers for the delicious chili; Tom Osmers, who brought and shucked heaps of fresh oysters; Sarah Goodhart, May Muckerheide and Tanya Koch, who all brought side dishes, and anyone else I may have forgotten to mention. A special thanks also to Wilde Whitcomb, who oversaw the food operations.
A huge thank-you to everyone who volunteered their time for setup, food service, door, and /or cleanup: Jannette Vanderhoop, Jamie Rogers, Zach Clark, Michelle Jones, Nancy Padulla, Laura Kelty, Alex Karalekas, Brad Tucker, Mark Ferrarini, Liz Davis, Tanya Koch, Tom Osmers, May Muckerheide, Julia Rappaport, Wilde Whitcomb, and anyone else whose name I may have forgotten to mention.
Last and most importantly, I want to thank everyone who came to the benefit and showed their support. The generosity and caring that the island community has shown me in the weeks since my father's death is truly touching, and won't be forgotten. In a world where many people don't even know their neighbors' names, Martha's Vineyard is a place where community still exists, in the true sense of the word. I hope that doesn't ever change.
I have organized a scholarship fund in my father's memory, the John E. Holmes Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will go to help Island students who are interested in pursuing metal working, drafting or engineering. Once my father's estate is settled, I would like to give back to the community by donating a matching $1,935 to the scholarship fund. My father was a teacher among many other things, and I know that one of his few regrets towards the end was that he hadn't gotten the chance to teach someone all that he knew. The best way that I can think of to carry on his legacy and to thank everyone who showed us their support, is to help young Islanders to get a quality education which will help them to make a career out of something that my father loved to do.
Thanks again to all who participated in the benefit, and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2008.
Martha A. Kent-Holmes
Vineyard Haven and Somerville
Beware of potholes
To the Editor:
We begin to hear more and more about potholes in our streets as the seasons progress.
Anyone (including ambulance drivers) who must turn right to enter the ER parking lot at Martha's Vineyard Hospital has experienced the jarring impact with the almost bathtub-size pothole at that right turn. Avoid it if you can, but treat it with care for the sake of your car's suspension and your right side tires. This pothole began life as a baby a few years ago but continues to thrive. How can it go unnoticed and/or untreated by the hospital maintenance department?
Can one believe that it would go unnoticed, were it smack dab in the director's personal parking spot?
William L. Boggess
Renovation vs. demolition
To the Editor:
The recent media disclosure of yet another controversial call regarding the Boathouse Club (former Navigator reconstruction) should concern everyone. The difference between a replacement and a renovation should not solely be based on the so-called 25 percent rule, since we have all observed the classic "one flimsy wall left standing" approach to development on Martha's Vineyard.
Far more relevant is the future use of a structure, and in this case even if one were convinced to accept the interpretation that part of one standing wall equals 25 percent of a structure, future use in this case will result in a much more aggressive use of the facility with respect to impacts on the downtown area. It is very discouraging to think that this flawed interpretation allowed this project to go forward without the potential benefits of review by the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Our elected officials and government and regulatory staff are obligated to do their best to protect the Island community and resources from any misdirected practices of developers. Whether a town building inspector or the Martha's Vineyard Commission, the general public has no choice but to rely on these regulatory authorities to effectively manage future development. When a project manages to avoid more comprehensive review due to misrepresentation, overly flexible rulings or other forms of convenient interpretation, the impacts of that project and of future growth can be horribly compromised. Projects with such long-term impacts must have review that looks after the interests of the majority of citizens and not just the narrowly defined interests of the minority.
Equally damaging are some of the recent revelations concerning projects that have not complied with rulings by the MVC. Without an effective means of enforcing the decisions made by those who regulate activities, the entire process loses credibility. Unfortunately, some in the regulated community simply weigh the potential costs of getting caught should they violate the conditions of their approvals and choose to violate, knowing that enforcement action is unlikely. It further encourages others to do the same.
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Shaun McCarron's accusation that my letter to the editor published two weeks ago was nothing more than a racist rant.
Upon first reading Mr. McCarron's letter, I decided not to respond. I decided to stop trying to shed light on the growing problems that affect the year-round people who actually live here. However, as I discussed it with friends and others, I was encouraged, and in some cases urged, to respond.
Let me begin by recognizing the fact that in these times of extraordinary ugliness in Washington, D.C., it is difficult to address immigration issues without sounding racist and mean-spirited. I can understand how Mr. McCarron might misconstrue the intention of my message. Let me be clear: ultimately this is not about race, my personal life, or my discontent with the Bush administration. This is about the Island of Martha's Vineyard and the serious issues that threaten to destroy this fragile place.
The Island is rich in multiculturalism and has been for more than a century. I love that about the Island. But, you bet I'm unhappy with the government's failure to monitor thousands of mostly undocumented, non-English-speaking immigrants flooding the Island grabbing jobs, free services, and stressing the housing shortage that already exists here.
Super-wealthy New Yorkers and other greedy, moneyed elites and their excesses, over-development and related problems have combined to bring this crisis to a head.
Times have changed, and those who are comfortable with these developments are not paying attention to the consequences. Take a look at the price of a basic home today. We want to stay here, but most of us are not willing to break zoning laws and pack our houses with 15 or more people to make it possible to afford the obscene prices for ordinary homes that have tripled in price since the Island has become the playground for the rich and mighty. More and more people who care about the Island are beginning to wake up and remember why they came here in the first place. My hope is that they begin to take a stand against these insane trends.
Many of us who live here on the Island - Wampanoags, African-Americans, whites, Portuguese-Americans, and others - are not interested in the Island becoming a place where the bulk of the year-round population is represented by immigrant laborers trained to groom the Island for the leisure class that arrives in Lear jets to visit their fortresses and sprawling beach-front private properties. Mr. McCarron's fond remembrance of life on the Island 30 years ago and his successes dating Portuguese immigrants are quaint, but have nothing to do with the hard issues Islanders face today here on Martha's Vineyard. Is it wrong for me to love the Island and fight to save some of the very things that make this place so special?
I welcome anyone to debate the issues I spoke about in my first letter.
Impeach Dick Cheney
To the Editor:
On Nov. 6, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney (H. Res 333). But for some reason, our Congressional representative - William Delahunt - was among those who tried to kill it (by "tabling").
Given the fact that most of our district's voters favor Cheney's impeachment, I am baffled by Delahunt's behavior. (I've called him many times for an explanation, but have received none.)
"Allowing Dick Cheney and George W. Bush to finish their terms without being impeached means future presidents are free to copy their lawless behavior" writes Linda Boyd at www.washingtonforimpeachment.org.
I agree, and encourage everyone to call Delahunt at 1-800-870-2626. Tell him to join his Judiciary Committee colleagues and begin impeachment without delay.
To the Editor:
The students and staff at Martha's Vineyard Adult Learning Program (MVALP) would like to give a heartfelt thank you to Steve Bernier and Cronig's Market for their generous donation of $1,000 to our program.
MVALP is a moderately funded, yet full-service, professional program that provides quality English classes to Island adults. Our aim is to assist students in the achievement of their educational, work-related, and community goals. Toward that aim, classes in English as a second language are offered at six sequential levels. In addition to the English language course work, the program provides cultural adjustment counseling and linkages to community agencies, events, and activities.
This type of generous donation greatly supports us in meeting our goals. Thanks again for your kindness, and please receive best holiday and New Year wishes from all of us here at MVALP.