To the Editor:
Brandy was a beautiful young woman with a great heart. She tried so hard not to mess up, and to have good luck. Somehow bad luck always found her, no matter how hard she tried. Nothing could overcome her smile and her appreciation for life. Her soul moved to live with her grandmother, where they are watching over us, as if they were still here. Her laugh and smile are with me always, like the last time I saw her. Let us all remember the good things that happened during her short time on earth with us and keep them in our prayers.
To the Editor:
"Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit." Mahatma Ghandi.
In the wake of a local tragedy, a rising tide of intolerance and racism has left me unsettled and disturbed. During the past week a flood of anti-immigrant comments have been posted on message boards on The Martha's Vineyard Times website.
The Brazilian-Americans on Martha's Vineyard are an integral part of our small community. I have worked alongside many Brazilians over the years, I have attended weddings, shared meals, and made countless lasting friendships. The responsibilities of friendship have therefore led me to publicly defend the character of the many Brazilian men and women I have the honor of knowing.
Who knows who's wrong?
To the Editor:
Brandy was a great girl. I knew her personally. I went to school with her.
Now, I would like to address you all with a few of questions.
1. Should I remind us all that we are all immigrants to our dear, beloved America?
2. Be it immigrant or American, who knows who's wrong in that accident?
3. Does the fact that an illegal alien (the real term for undocumented immigrants, though not used here) who was driving one of the cars change the fact that her car rammed into his, being that this "scumbag," "undesirable," "alien," "Brazilian" is still to blame.
4. Will all the stupidity of racism, ignorance and lack of understanding on both sides negate the fact that they weren't wearing seat belts?
5. It makes me very sad that the life of this beautiful, young lady was taken, really, if the "scumbag" that was hit, had been taken instead of her, would that be better? Would it be one less Brazilian to take the jobs and the money from U.S.? Would it have been wiped off the newspapers and forgotten just like the Brazilian that got ran over and killed? Or maybe the girl from Slovakia that got run over and killed on her moped by an American driver? Hmm, maybe so.
So, please, let's stop blaming and start thinking. To all of you, drive safe, don't drink and drive, wear your seatbelt. And let's be considerate about all around us.
Maybe the one you step on today will be the one who will help you tomorrow.
To the Editor:
Something needs to be done about the unlicensed drivers on this Island. As someone who knew Brandy very well, adding to my grief after reading the article concerning her accident, I am both deeply saddened and totally outraged that this whole incident might have been avoided if laws concerning unlicensed operation were enforced. White, black, brown or purple, all citizens of this country, both legal and illegal, should be aware of this law.
Our state passed Melanie's Law to both protect our communities statewide from repeat drunken drivers and to deter future offenders from breaking the law; where is the punishment for those who repeatedly operate vehicles without licenses and the deterrent for those who haven't been caught yet? Isn't this just as serious of a crime? Between the dates of Jan. 2 and Jan. 10 alone, there were 24 "operating motor vehicle with suspended license" and "unlicensed operation of motor vehicle" cases heard in our court, all of which were dismissed. We need a steeper penalty for this crime. I read the local court report every week and see the rolls of people who operate their vehicles with either a revoked license or without one, and each and every case is dismissed with a fine to be paid. Someone's paying a fine this time, all right - everyone who knew Brandy.
Brandy was a fun, vibrant, intelligent, beautiful woman, with an infectious laugh that penetrated the souls of everyone she encountered. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and her community. Let us hope we can avoid such senseless occurrences in the future.
Time to confront the issue
To the Editor:
The young life of Brandy Gibson was taken last week tragically in a car accident. It happened - everyone's greatest fear has been realized. One of the many unlicensed drivers on the Island has cut a life short, and as a second-generation Islander, I feel that it is time that we confront an issue that is often mentioned but rarely dealt with in an honest and meaningful fashion.
The driver, Francellyo Dias, a native of Brasil driving a Humphreys van after normal business hours had been cited on three previous occasions for driving illegally. The fines issued to him amounts to the price of a nice dinner in town. The first offence levied to Mr. Dias occurred two years ago. Is he here on a visa sponsored by Humphreys? Why is it that uninsured, unregistered, unlicensed and all too often illegal immigrant drivers are able to get off with what amounts to barely a slap on the wrist? Why is it that young people interested in learning the trades find that many of the entry level positions are filled by Brazilian laborers? Certain segments of the core industries that drive Island life (landscaping, painting, etc.) have all but been taken over by labor provided by illegal immigrants. These are people who drive cars, delivery vans and often large trucks in every town, day and night. Our little corner of the universe is faced with an immigration issue that can be frustrating, and in the case of the family and friends of Brandy (as well as the Island community as a whole), tragic. Now is the time. How are we going to avoid the next preventable tragedy?
Which paper is correct?
To the Editor:
Who is giving us a correct report of the fatal accident on Jan. 29? Let us compare the accounts published by The Times and The Gazette.
The Times says the deceased, Brandy Marie Gibson, was driving westbound toward Vineyard Haven, and that her car struck the van driven by Francellyo C. Dias. Her car struck the van's side front wheel with enough force "to push both vehicles back some 50 plus feet," and "the exact speed of Ms. Gibson's vehicle has yet to be determined." The Gazette says that Ms. Gibson was driving east toward Edgartown, and that her car was struck by Mr. Dias' van. The front wheel of the van struck the Gibson car. "[The van] struck with enough force to push both vehicles back some 50-plus feet."
So, in what direction was Ms. Gibson driving? And did her car drive the van 50-plus feet, or did the van drive the car that distance?
I suggest both newspapers revisit this story, and try to agree on a presumably accurate description of the accident.
Editor's Note: The complete results of the police investigation of the Jan. 29 crash are not yet available. The Times report, published on Jan. 31, quoted exactly from a statement issued by the Oak Bluffs Police, in the immediate aftermath of the accident. The direction references in The Times article are also based upon conversations with police, in which investigators made it clear that Ms. Gibson's car was traveling from Edgartown toward the County Road intersection, and therefore westerly. As is the case in every news report of this sort, The Times confronts the available facts and the accounts by authorities and those present and attempts to offer the most accurate news story possible. We do not depend upon or collaborate with the reporters or editors of other newspapers. How the Vineyard Gazette assembles its news reports is unknown to us, and even mystifying at times.
Cost accounting for unlicensed drivers
To the Editor:
In the tragic accident on January 29, which resulted in a young woman's death, the driver of the second vehicle was described as an unlicensed driver, a Brazilian.
Since a legal resident has a right to a driver's license, it can be reasonably assumed that this man is an illegal alien. (Which means, of course, that his employer, who owned the vehicle he was driving is violating federal law by employing him.)
Now it might be thought that the state of Massachusetts, by refusing to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens, is trying to keep illegal aliens from driving on our roads.
Not true at all. Illegals are welcome to drive without a license, but they may have to pay a price. To illustrate, this Brazilian driver is reported as having paid $100 in March 2007 on a charge of driving without a license. So, if an illegal alien is found to be driving without a license, he pays $100. If caught a second time, he pays another $100. If caught a third time, another $100. And so on. Depending on his driving experience, an illegal can continue to drive here indefinitely at a cumulative cost, which can range from zero to some hundreds of dollars.
I have been driving on this Island for many years. Through a combination of cautious driving and just plain good luck, I have been stopped only once by a policeman and asked to show a license. If I had been an illegal alien during these years, my total cost would to date be $100. That is less than the total amount I have been charged to renew my license every few years. Not a bad deal.
To reiterate, if you think the state of Massachusetts is making a serious effort to keep illegal, alien drivers off the road , you are decidedly mistaken.
R. E. L. Knight
Editor's Note: To be faithful to the facts, Francellyo C. Dias, who was involved in the fatal auto crash on Jan. 29, was unable to present a driver's license at the scene of the accident. This week, police confirm that he was indeed unlicensed in Massachusetts. Although he had been in court previously on motor vehicle charges, he had not been convicted of being an unlicensed operator.
Rest in peace
To the Editor:
After experiencing the loss of a beautiful young vibrant woman who had so much potential, I am angry as well that her life was snuffed out. I have read all of the comments posted, and I have read all the condolences sent to Brandy's family. Everyone talks about if she was wearing a seatbelt, she would be alive - evidently no one was - and would that really have saved her or might she had been worse off.
No one knows.
If the person pulling out from County Road had properly stopped, the accident would never have happened. Pure and simple, stop means stop. Stop blaming a young woman traveling home. The truth is that unfortunately the man driving the van was a Brazilian and was unlicensed and had been in the court system with a tap on the wrist. He pulled out in front of an automobile that had the right of way. Shame on him. As a community we all realize there is good and bad in everyone and there are some very nice law-abiding Brazilians out there, but then there are those that are not law-abiding and their whole community suffers. I'm sure the law-abiding Brazilians are just as angry with these unlawful ones. The non-abiding ones are the ones that cook and sell meals out of their kitchens without being inspected, pile 10 to 20 illegals in a home so they each pay a tiny bit of rent, get paid 20 to 25 dollars an hour for cleaning services and standing in Stop & Shop to send home huge sums of money. If they are going to be here then respect the country you chose to come to and live by our laws. Hopefully the court system will enforce heavier fines. Brandy is gone and we can do nothing but keep her in our memories and keep lighting candles in her memory. I have even overheard conversations where they laugh about a speeding ticket. I am sorry that good people have to suffer for the bad. Laws are laws.
I wish the justice system was at the memorial for Brandy to witness the pain in the whole community. These young adults pulled together to remember a beautiful life with their tears, testimonials and love. Healing will take a very long time and she will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, sweetie.
Riccie (Momma Ric) Tucker
Seat belts save lives
To the Editor:
We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Brandy Marie Gibson. We did not know her but understand she was a beautiful young woman. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.
According to the police, Brandy and the two other people severely injured in the accident were not wearing seat belts. We know about the pain of losing a loved one and the importance of seat belts. Our son, David Furino, turned 17 on May 3, 2004, and died four days later on May 7, in a car crash, along with his best friend Kevin Johnson. Neither boy was wearing a seat belt, and both were ejected from the car.
Life changes in an instant. Your child or loved one is gone forever. They will never walk through the door with a smile on their face. Their dreams and yours cease to exist.
At first you feel unknowable sorrow and then anger. Why did they have to die? Who is to blame? What happened? Why did they forget to buckle up?
How many children or adults will die or become injured, until we realize how important it is to wear seatbelts? We see drivers young and old and only half are wearing seatbelts. We've talked to parents who buckle in their children but don't buckle themselves in. Education is the key from grade school on up and it begins with adults setting an example for their children.
Some people think that this Island is the yellow brick road. It may have been in the past but not now. There are more cars, uneducated drivers, and more hazardous situations. Others think, "Oh, I'm just going to the store." But any drive poses the risk of an accident. Statistics show that 80 percent of traffic fatalities occur within five miles of home and below 40 miles an hour.
They think air bags are enough, but air bags were never intended to be used without a seatbelt. An airbag increases the effectiveness of a seatbelt by 40 percent and is only three percent effective when used alone in preventing serious injury.
The automobile is the number one killer of teens and young adults in this country. Approximately 68,000 teens died in the past ten years. More than half were not wearing their seatbelts. Tens of thousands are seriously injured every year.
Sadly, too many young people have died on Island roads. They leave behind parents and families living their worst nightmare. We should do everything we can to learn from those accidents.
Driving is a privilege. We believe every driver should have the proper education and training and be licensed. In untrained hands a car is a lethal weapon.
This letter was written to try to make a difference. Please wear your seat belt. We all need to stick together on this. If you know someone you love that does not wear a seat belt, convince him or her to wear it. Telling someone to "buckle up" means I love you. You don't want to live with this kind of pain.
Rest in peace, Brandy, and a speedy recovery to Francellyo Dias and Lessa Keila.
Tom and Barbara Furino
Martha's Vineyard Drive for Life
To the Editor:
I remember, as a young girl, discovering my next door neighbor as she gardened in her backyard. Her name was Louise Bugbee.
Louise wasn't just my neighbor; she had become a great friend who offered me the comfort of her friendship, who schooled me with her wisdom, and, when I was troubled, would always lend me her ears. We became so close, that soon, I would come to call her Aunt Louise.
After our first meeting, I couldn't wait to see if she were in the backyard again so that I could run over and spend some more time with her. It wasn't but a day later, and I eagerly ran over. Before long, Aunt Louise would have explained to me every detail about the plants in the yard, right down to their species and families. I can even remember helping her re-plant some grapes in the backyard that she would later use to make her jellies with.
I so enjoyed our little backyard meetings. I found myself there nearly every day. I feel as though she was as happy as I was with our meetings and would present herself in the yard even when there was nothing much to do, hoping I would run over for another visit.
As time marched on our meetings moved to the inside of the house where I would help with general housework, and when that was done we would curl up in the living room, and she would tell me stories that fascinated me for hours.
Unfortunately, when people grow up and start families of their own, many times, they often grow apart from the family they already have. I am afraid that I allowed that to happen with Aunt Louise. I am happy though, that I did have one last visit with her just before her move to Florida.
Aunt Louise will always remain in my heart and my head as a very important woman to me, and in many ways helped me become the woman I am today. I will miss her dearly.
To the Editor:
This early evening, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008, our son learned a valuable but sad lesson in life. Charles was at the Mansion House with his dad swimming. As he walked into the workout area, he still had his Ipod in his ears. He removed the Ipod, slipped it into his jacket, zipped up the pocket and put the jacket in his locker downstairs. He did not have a lock, unfortunately for him. Upon his return from his swim workout, he discovered his Ipod missing. He and his dad checked the locker room, the upstairs, and the truck. They reported the theft to the front desk.
All we can think is someone saw him take it off and place it in the pocket of his jacket. The person then must have entered the locker room and looked for his jacket and taken the Ipod. A Christmas gift gone, but more importantly faith in fellow mankind momentarily destroyed. The Ipod can be replaced with earnings from his ice hockey ref job. I am not too sure when his faith in his fellow man will be restored.
I hope the person who has taken his Ipod might think twice about their actions and return it to the Mansion House, no questions asked. Restore our faith in our Island community. Thank you.
To the Editor:
I was disappointed, after the first real snowstorm of 2008, that a lot of the sidewalks in Vineyard Haven were not cleared. It left many of us walking in the middle of the road, which is not safe. Please remember that it is helpful to have sidewalks shoveled.
To the Editor:
This is a copy of an e-mail I sent to my son, Garth, in appreciation of local talent.
6 am, Saturday: Awoke. Coffee in bed. TV channel surfing . Hit on Channel 13 - MVTV.
Some church service on. Don't recognize the church. Can't change channel until I am certain it isn't the Old Whaling Church . The pews look like it as do the windows, but the backdrop is all wrong. My mind won't let me go until I solve the puzzle .
Lia Kahler ( Bunch of Grapes Ann Nelson's twin sis) starts to sing, so I know it is local. Getting more intrigued. Can't let go .
Then I began to notice the quality of the filming. Local stuff, as in selectmen meetings and others of that ilk, are/were of the type where the camera is set up and seldom gets moved. This program was extremely well done. Then I noticed the sound quality. Again, above the norm.
When the program was over, I watched the credits to see which church it was, and lo and behold there was the credit for filming and editing (if my memory is correct through the shock ) stating that they were done by Andrue Carr, your buddy and classmate. Never knew he was into that. Why hasn't he made that his career? Do you have his address? I would like him to know how professional I thought his work was.
PS: The church was the Chilmark church.
To the Editor:
In 19th Century American presidential campaign/election politics, it was deemed an advantage to have grown up in or been born in a rude log cabin. To wit, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.
In 20th Century America, a little "rent" house filled the bill. To wit, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.
In 21st Century America, it may well be a plus to have lived in or grown up in a registered or unregistered car, to show that one is of appropriate humble origins and "one of the people."
Peter Colt Josephs