Tisbury merchants brighten a gloomy day
To the Editor:
Last Wednesday was a wet, wild and blustery day - good for staying indoors. Our nine old hens barely ventured outside, but dogs need walking, and it was also time to head to Vineyard Haven, and go door-to-door with order forms for the American Cancer Society's Daffodil Days.
It was a real pleasure dropping in on the downtown businesses that remain open year-round, with warm welcomes and bright, cheery storefronts. What a great way to spend an otherwise gloomy afternoon - not to mention the incredible sales going on right now in some of the stores.
Thank you to all the proprietors, the staff and the Tisbury Business Association, for your efforts to keep our town alive and well during the quietest time of the year.
The facts on Bridge Housing
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the recent letter of Dick Mezger, president, Bridge Housing Corporation (BHC). In his letter, Mr. Mezger claims that the extension of water up State Road to the Bridge Commons affordable housing project was requested by the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) and the Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Mr. Mezger is less than candid.
Taxpayers, who will be asked this spring to approve a Community Preservation grant of $96,750 for this public water project, need to know the actual facts. Public water is to be brought up State Road, not at the request of the Martha's Vineyard Commission or the Tisbury ZBA, but because of regulatory requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts concerning water, wells, and sewage disposal.
The site of the project on State Road, opposite the Assembly of God Church, lacks enough area to allow septic systems and wells for a project of this density. During the initial Martha's Vineyard Commission hearings, which began in February 2003, the BHC representative presented a plan approved by the commission staff, which was in direct violation of the Massachusetts regulations mentioned above. This flaw in the plan was pointed out in testimony by a licensed hydrologist/geologist hired by an abutter. It was shocking to those in attendance to learn that this project, presented by BHC and approved by the commission staff, was in violation of state regulations.
At this point, the abutters assumed that BHC would lower the density of the project to conform to state regulations. But they did not. Instead, BHC decided to bring water up State Road from the public water supply at Tashmoo.
Taxpayers who will be asked to approve this use of their money need to be aware of the facts.
To the Editor:
If Mr. Dias were a licensed Massachusetts driver, would this terrible accident have been avoided?
If Mr. Dias had the reflexes of a race car driver, would this terrible accident have been avoided?
If Mr. Dias were a native of the Island, would this terrible accident have been avoided?
To the Editor:
At this time, when feelings are running high in the community about our Brazilian neighbors, I would like to praise two very honest Brazilian women. They are housekeepers at the hospital - not a high-paying job. They found my wallet (I did not even know I had lost it) and turned it in. It would have been easy for them to keep it or remove the valuables, as I would never have known. I say, bring on more immigrants like this.
Thanks, my friends.
Why not Waban?
To the Editor:
Why can't the Boston Pops concert be staged at Waban Park? That way, the parking spaces around Ocean Park and along Seaview Avenue would still be available for the shoppers and diners in downtown Oak Bluffs who are not attending the concert. Also, Waban Park is larger, so the organizers could cordon off an area for some off-street parking, thereby lessening the impact of traffic in the neighborhood.
The sale of alcohol at an all-day event on a hot afternoon could leave the town open to liability should an accident occur after the event. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the annual Fourth of July Pops concert on the Esplanade in Boston. Rather than allowing vendors to sell food and alcohol, the concert promoters and the town should allow the attendees to bring their own refreshments in picnic coolers.
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Chilmark selectmen Warren Doty and Frank Fenner about Menemsha mooring by-laws.
This is a friendly email to say that I think you both caved in by voting for an extension of the Chilmark mooring deadline date. Everyone I have spoken to has questioned the decision logic that you used.
It seems like a small constituency of vocal town citizens who spend significant time in Menemsha rules the day. Certainly they deserve consideration, but not at the expense of the board of selectmen overriding Chilmark bylaws. Everyone who has a mooring permit knows the rules and has ample time to renew their mooring application. For two of the three selectmen to vote for an extension to the deadline date to accommodate a small number of late applicants sets a bad precedent. Denny Jason, harbormaster, deserves the town's support on upholding the rules.
There are several potential problems created by the selectmen skirting the bylaws. Other town boards will be questioned when they attempt to uphold them. It makes Denny's job significantly more difficult; there are difficult residual issues, which now he is forced to address. Finally, it sends a signal to the town that laws don't mean a heck of a lot when our selectmen focus too much on politics.
I might add that I served four years on the Darien, Conn. board of selectmen, and I truly can't recall a time when we didn't back our town officials in upholding a regulation. We did change laws that were out of date. If the bylaws pertaining to the Menemsha harbor needed changing, I assume you would have done so in advance of your decision, in order to avoid this whole issue coming to a boiling point. Thanks for listening.
To the Editor:
I had the extreme pleasure of sitting in the Performing Arts Center at the high school on Saturday night, and witnessing a truly energizing show. "Chorus Line," a venerable and exciting musical, was performed by the very talented and ambitious cast of high school students. They were all stars that night.
We need to listen and join in the effort to keep these young people excited about something happy in their lives. Please support the ongoing fight to keep the arts in our schools, for all our enjoyment. Just think about how many students are worth the effort, now, and in the future.
Thanks to the cast, crew and their directors, producers, musicians, etc., for a thoroughly stimulating evening.
Forever in his heart
To the Editor:
The phone call this morning (Feb. 18) telling me of Freeman Leonard's earthly death brought tears of loss to my eyes, but the shadow of his life shall live forever in my heart, and in that regard he shall live forever.
One could list his myriad accomplishments, an impressive list indeed, yet that tells little of the person that he was. One cannot measure the meaning of his life in such a way. One had only to sit with Freeman and Connie for an hour or so and realize that we were honored to be in their presence. His words, his countenance, spoke of his excitement with life itself, whether it was talking about his garden, some project worked on, or about his squirrels that saw in him, not only a person who fed them, but cared for them.
In later years, when I would call them from Florida, they would both be on the phone, and oh, how we laughed and enjoyed each other's friendship. He was a teller of stories, and now the teller of the stories becomes part of the story. Freeman was a special friend of mine, as Connie is. He always would say "Peter, our minister and friend" as we hung up. I might say that Freeman was a dear friend, and I can see the shadow of his smile even now. Thank you and Connie for the pleasure of your gracious company. I love you both.
Rev. Peter Sanborn
Concerned about cell tower system
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to my fellow Aquinnah neighbors who may or may not have been at last week's special town meeting. During the meeting, a discussion ensued concerning the approval of money to pay for engineering at the town landfill in preparation for the future Distributed Antennae System. I spoke out on behalf of concerns that I have in the placing of this system near a small running stream and the ultimate number of antennae poles that will be required. In speaking with individuals the next day who had attended the meeting, I realized that my motivation for speaking up and my deeper sentiments on this topic were unclear to them. (I am not a person who speaks out just to hear my own voice; I would rather have oral surgery!) So, I would simply like to explain where I have been coming from during this entire two-plus years cell tower /D.A.S. system process.
Our property abuts the landfill; this was a known quantity when we bought here 10 years ago, and we live with that fact (and the ambient noise). Placing either of the aforementioned systems on this property appears to me to change the land usage to what has been informally called by town officials an "industrial zone." Be that as it may, I want people to understand that I am very concerned, even fearful, of the health implications of either of these systems. I did not vote for the D.A.S. system to be placed at the dump, I had hoped it would be put on one of the other town sites, which afford more space around the infrastructure. I was told that "they did not want to place it near people (behind town hall), because, you know, some people think it causes cancer..." Well, when this system goes up it will be within 150 feet of us.
I am admittedly baffled and confused as to why we, being such a small town, will be housing a system that will serve three towns - Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Some residents believe we will be making a nice sum on this venture. Well, with a yearly town operating budget of $2.8 million dollars, the mere $3,600 dollars per year that renting out the plot of land this system will be located on seems somehow miniscule. I am not clear on why Aquinnah, the farthest most point from the majority of the D.A.S. usage and the town with the least real estate to house this system, desires to have it here. It honestly makes me quite nervous to think that a multi-million dollar company will own a vastly expensive, highly technological system on a piece of our town's real estate. What if we are unhappy with the system? Our town certainly could not afford to enter into a legal suit with such a company. After the company spends so much money putting up this system, they will certainly be with us for good, like it or not. Nantucket has a D.A.S. system, but it is very far away from residential areas, and so appears to not be a worry to people. I realize that our engineering process is in the works, but is it too late to rethink this location? I wonder....
The last thing I want to do in this world is to make other people's lives more difficult, and I can just hear the sighs and moans, "why doesn't she just let it go?" I will tell you why. As the mother of a five-year-old, vibrantly healthy child, I feel that it is my duty to offer my child the healthiest upbringing possible. Therefore, it is also my job to make my concerns known. I do, however, realize that the town officials are feeling pressured to take action in getting this D.A.S. system up and rolling before some big cell tower moves into town uninvited. We have a difficult situation here and one that is no doubt playing itself out all across the country, and world, for that matter; the need and desire for excellent communications being fueled by big money, I mean really big money. This doesn't leave much room for those of us who just want to raise our families in a peaceful, healthy non-toxic environment.
As I voice these concerns to friends and neighbors, people ask "are there health risks due to intense radio waves such as these?" We just do not know for sure; the research is limited, yet in Europe, where the government pays for health care, they seem to think that there is risk. Perhaps I am worrying too much. Sometimes when I just get exhausted by it all, I allow myself to go into a nice numb land where all is going to be okay, and they (you know, the governmental "they") would not allow something really toxic to be exposed to people, would they, so it must be safe, and I am driving myself crazy for nothing. But then I come back to reality and recall all that I know that has transpired over the years in relation to governmental approvals and health.
By the way, if anyone has info regarding the health risks, (or benefits!) of a D.A.S. system, I'd be really interested, and would especially want info putting my fears to rest - that would be the best. And to all the people in Aquinnah who are and have been working so hard on this topic, I know you are attempting to do what is best for the town as a whole, and that we are such a small geographic region and thus difficult to accommodate such technologies without perhaps making some people, such as myself, uncomfortable. I commend all your efforts, and understand the reasoning of your choices. Namaste.
Maureen Williams and Family
To the Editor:
The Scottish Society of Martha's Vineyard (SSMV) would like to thank the following individuals and businesses that helped make our 21st annual Robert Burns Dinner such a success. All of the profits from the raffle and auction go to the High School Scholarship Fund.
Thanks to: Conroy/Scanlon families, Dick Brown, Cape Air, Joe and Mary Cressy, Bob and Pat Wheeler, Madeline Fisher, Farm Neck, Shirley Craig, Alan Reekie, Richard Hamilton, Deborah Medders, Your Market, Michael Gillespie, Al's Package Store, Phyllis Meras, Phil and Coleen McAndrews, Ed Pierce, Nelson Smith, Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank, David and Susan Wilson, The Edradour Distillery, Vineyard Vines, and Steve and Claudia Ewing.
Special thanks to the crew of the Oyster Bar Grill for the great food. To the Vineyard Gazette and the Martha's Vineyard Times for the great coverage. To Phil Dietterich and the Scottish Society Singers. To piper Jim Joyce and harpist Sandra Bitterman. To all the members and friends who pitched in . And especially to Pat Wheeler who just makes it all happen.
SSMV is open to all, and if you would like to become a member, call Deb Medders, membership committee, at 508-693-1039.
Thanks, and see you next year.
(Outgoing president, SSMV)
Swift and decisive
To the Editor:
This is a copy of a letter to Congressman Bill Delahunt.
I am writing this letter to thank you for your efforts on my behalf with regard to my retroactive Combat-Related Special Compensation for injuries received through a device of war while on active duty as a Navy SEAL. If you will recall, I had been working for well over a year to obtain 14 months of back disability pay to no avail. I contacted you with my situation, and through your swift and decisive action the problem was resolved. I had my back pay in less time than it has taken me to get you this thank you. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in the future.
LCDR Tom Rancich (Ret)
A remarkable Valentine's Day
To the Editor:
For Valentine's Day, my boyfriend and I went to the Ocean View for dinner. Silly us, we didn't make a reservation and had to sit over in the bar section - no big deal. In fact, I think it was incredibly fortuitous.
Often times when I am out and about, I hear people asking what is wrong with kids these days. I bet if you ask any woman who was sitting in the bar section of the Ocean View around 7 pm on Valentine's night, they would tell you absolutely nothing.
Two very sweet young men very humbly handed out roses to all the women seated in the bar section. They walked up to complete strangers, handed them a single rose and simply said, "Happy Valentine's Day," then turned and walked away. There was not a woman in the place that didn't have a smile on her face.
The two young men (I am guessing they are about 14 or so) are Yannick Gonsalves and Adahy Gonsalves. On behalf of every woman there, I would like to thank you. Not only for the rose and Valentine's wishes, but for that simple act of kindness.
A woman sitting at the bar heard me ask the young man for his and his friend's name. I told him why I was asking, so he wouldn't think I was some weirdo. She came up to me a bit later and told me that she and her friend had offered to pay the boys for the roses, but they had refused. (Miss, I am sorry but your name got drowned out by the noise.)
On a day that leaves so many women feeling sad, these two were a humble ray of light. How refreshing to see two young men making so many women happy.
Thank you for what you did; you made Valentine's Day even more special for all of us.
Winter dinner a success
To the Editor:
On Monday, Feb. 11, Island Grown Initiative and the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Culinary Arts program teamed up with Chef Dan Sauer of the Outermost Inn to offer a Winter Local Foods Dinner. Sixty-seven people attended and enjoyed a delicious meal made with 85 percent locally grown ingredients donated by Island family farmers. We were able raise more than $1,500 for the Culinary Arts program, which will help them continue using Island-grown ingredients in their classes and events.
It was a wonderful evening and a great reminder of the bounty available to us on this Island, even in the middle of winter: scallops and ham and beef and eggs and carrots and greens and potatoes and garlic and parsnips and onions, and so much more.
Our heartfelt thanks go to the farmers who contributed so many delicious ingredients to the dinner: Berta and Vern Welch, Hollis Smith, Jim Athearn of Morning Glory Farm, Rebecca Miller of North Tabor Farm, Clarissa Allen and Mitchell Posin of the Allen Farm, and Oscar Thompson of Thompson Family Farm.
And thanks also to Dan Sauer for contributing his time and expertise to making the dinner a great success; to Jeff Rothwell of the Vocational Education Department at the High School and Jack O'Malley of Culinary Arts for their interest in locally grown food and commitment to their programs; to the students who prepared and served the meal with great skill; and to everyone who came out to support Culinary Arts and local food and farmers.
This was the first public event in Island Grown Initiative's new Farm to School program, and we look forward to many more occasions celebrating and promoting local food in our schools. For more information on Farm to School, please visit www.islandgrown.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Island Grown Initiative