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Vineyard Gazette
Edgartown, Massachusetts
April 23, 2010     Vineyard Gazette
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April 23, 2010

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"TEN VINEYARD GAZETI'E, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2010 VINEYARD GAZETTE Martha' s Established Vineyard's wn: " in 1846 Newspaper A Journal for 163 Years of Island Life Richard Reston, Publisher Julia Wells, Editor Joseph T. Pitt, General Manager Lauren Martin, Managing Editor Stephen Durkee, Director of Graphics and Design Phyllis Meras, Contributing Editor Richard Reston and Mary Jo Reston Publishers 1988-2003 Sally Fulton Reston and James Reston Publishers 1968-1988 Elizabeth Bowie Hough and Henry Beetle Hough Publishers 1920-1965 The Beer and Wine Question Tisbury, also the port of Vineyard Haven, remains a town divided over whether to allow the sale of beer and wine in restaurants. The question will be decided by voters at the annual town election on Tuesday, and a strong voter turnout is expected on this crucial issue that may well mark a turning point in the life of the town. Two years ago Tisbury sprit down the middle in an unprecedented tie vote on the beer and wine question. And now the question is back again, promoted heavily by town businessmen who believe that allow- ing the sale of beer and wine in restaurants will spark an economic revival in a town that has seen doors shuttered this winter during the deepest economic downturn in recent memory. On the other side of the argument stand many longtime town residents who oppose the beer and wine question just as passionately as those who back it, raising deeply felt concerns about the character of the town and believing that the sale of alcohol in restaurants will open the door to an avalanche of unwanted change. Letters on both sides of the question appear on the Commentary Page in today's edition. All are thoughtful and deserve the careful attention of readers, both in Tisbury and beyond. So what's the big deal, some may say; after all, the world will not stop spinning on its axis if beer and wine sales are allowed in Vineyard Haven restaurants. True enough. But in the final analysis the opponents of beer and wine continue to offer the most persuasive arguments, broadly drawn and made with the best interests of the town at heart. The proponents tend to follow a far more narrow track; beer and wine sales are needed to jump-start business in this town that is suffering, they say. But all Is- land towns have been suffering from the economic recession -- the whole country has been suffering. Put in that context, the beer and wine boosters appear to be reacting in knee-jerk fashion to a problem  0fthe moment.'And wla(/f th longer view? Consider Edgartown this winter- a town that allows all alcohol Sales. It's been mostly shuttered and dark -- even more so than Vineyard Haven. That's something to think about. On Tuesday, voters in Tisbury carry a great weight on their shoul- ders; it is the weight of responsibility for deciding the future of their town at a pivotal time in its three-hundred-year-plus history. And of course, only history will be able to judge the outcome. Bullies: A Community Problem There is such a prevailing culture of cynicism, incivility and incite- ment in the nation at large that perhaps we should not be surprised at a single, disturbing, violent incident of school bullying on Martha's Vineyard. Though many students seem to feel quite removed from the recent bullying incident at the regional high school, where threats and fisticuffs left one student suspended and facing assault charges and another student too fearful to return to the school, other students took this as an opportunity to express the anxieties they feel in their daily school life. All of our community, parents or not, ought to pause at these events to consider how we influence the youth around us. Because while it can be difficult for adults to see when some ordinary interpersonal conflicts between kids cross the line into bul- lying, it is exponentially more difficult for children, particularly young schoolchildren, to work out how to behave with empathy and civility while the adults around them are constantly raging. Whether online, on television or over coffee, vitriol seems to be the fastest way to recognition -- a book deal, a celebrity profile, a reaction. In his recently published book Snark, author David Denby notes there is a"tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is spreading like pinkeye through the media and threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true... Snarkers like to think they are deploying wit, but mostly they are exposing the seethe and snarl of an unhappy country, releasing bad feeling but little laughter." And if this is our culture, how do children begin to understand the boundaries of good behavior, of being kind and civil to others even when you do not like them, even when they are not like you? We are their models. Cynicism is demoralizing for young people trying to fashion their own ideals, and the constant carping counters kids' ability to be confident in who they are. Anger is contagious. So often we summarily dismiss those with whom we disagree as being ignorant and those who have done wrong as irredeemably evil-- be they in our private life or the masters of Wall Street or the Catholic Church. When we do this we teach our children to divide and fight rather than to find consensus and understanding. When children and young people bully, we ask the bullies to consider how the other person might feel, and the victims to consider whether there was more motivating the bully than pure meanness. Yet we in the grownup world show few signs of taking such a sophisticated approach ourselves. On the Island there are issues of skin color, birthplace and wealth that did not divide us so a generation ago. An exper[ who noted the "gauntlet of cruelty" on the Vineyard said in this paper seven years ago, "We've been teasing and bullying for years, but as the anxiety of our lives goes up, it becomes more pronounced, it gets more hurtful and we lose the compassion and sense of people. And it's more pronounced on the Island as you become more diversified." Let us not only hope this incident was an isolated one, let us work to make ourselves a genuinely more civil community. Forsythia Glows in Downtown Edgartown Peter Simon LETTERS TO THE EDITOR GREEN SMOKESCREEN Editors, Vineyard Gazette: Regarding the close in last week's piece, headlined "Tribe Signals Court Fight Ahead As Cape Wind Decision Nears," those three-quarters of the 1,600 comments to Secretary Salazar favoring Cape Wind are more a sign of green smoke than any indication of public sup- port. Big Green, the corporate friendly wing of the environmental movement, is well-funded and quite adept at get- ting out the vote for whatever projects it favors (regardless of its drawbacks). The Web sites and mailing lists of Big Green were no doubt working overtime to get their followers to contact Salazar m support of the fight project m the wrong place. Of course, mostof the fol- lowers from afar, unfamilia with all the problems associated with Cape Wind," were quick to pile on. Hey, they don't have to live with it! People need to be more aware of the power of such well-funded groups. They can turn reality on its head and stick us with projects that require far more broad and deep consideration. Given the massive problems corporations and their friends have caused in this na- tion the past few decades, we would do well to challenge their sudden turn toward "green" solutions`All is not what it seems. Don Ogden Leverett and Oak Bluffs CONNECTOR ROAD CLARITY Editors, Vineyard Gazette: Is it true? At the special town meeting did we vote to put the new connector road three feet from the dog pound? Did we vote for the design shown on the graphic or some version the engi- neers are "working on?" When will we know? The proposed connector road has been planned for some time and the town has been asked to approve sev- eral stages. This crucial stage, the actual design of the road, deserves our careful attention.This is the road that will deter- mine our driving habits for years, I, for one, do not know whether what we voted for was the design shown on the screen or some version that the engineers said they are working on. We need more than a flat projection, poorly delineated and adorned only with little stamps to indicate vehicles, Will there be sidewalks, curbs, trees? None of this was addressed in the short presentation at the special town meeting before we voted. A project as important as this requires our careful attention. What we were shown last Tuesday evening and voted on so quickly did not meet the neces- sary cfiteria When the engineers'have' comPleted their design , will th board of public works schedule another hearing to clarify what we can expect? This matter deserves your attention. Mary H. Snyder Vineyard Haven CHURCH AND TOWN Editors, Vineyard Gazette: The decision of the town of West Tisbury at the annual town meeting to spend $150,000 in adcfi'tion to the $30,000 it has already spent on the Congrega- tional Church is totally unacceptable. I cannot say that it surprises me. It is just one more instance of a group of special interests being able to prevail on a local government, no matter how unconstitu- tional their actions are. Parishioners who attended the meeting stated that many groups use the church facilities, seem- ingly oblivious to the fact that the town owns seven buildings largely not used that could house these group meetings. I am quite sure many residents in the nicer historic section of town want to keep their part of the town picture postcard perfect. Forget about the other, not-so-nice sections of the town. It is not unusual to find 80 to 100 house subdivi- sions on dirt roads, some back to back, one of which has 20 traffc generating businesses on it, many of which are light industrial. One. would have to go to a third world country to find something similar. I have tried since 1987 to get the town to take responsibility for these sub- divisions, but they have refused, stating that they are private roads and instead have doubled their potential size by allowing residences in garages, barns and other structures` But money for a church is fine. The dust levels in these subdivisions are illegal. The town has the nerve to charge for habitation permits in areas they have rendered not fit for habitation. Since the finance committee recom- mended this spending, perhaps it will recommend the elimination of govern- ment and history classes in the schools to offset it. Clearly the teaching of concepts such as the separation of church and state are a0 waste of money in West Tis- bury. On the positive side, the American Civil Liberties Union has expressed an interest in this case. If they take it up, the finance committee can recommend pay- ing town counsel to defend it who was mum during the passage of this article. James Sepanara West qlsbury LONG REACH Editors, Vineyard Gazette: Presently I am 1,500 miles from the Vineyard.-I got a call on my cell phone from a shop in V'meyard Haven;Two Su- sans is the name.The message on my cell said that perhaps I had left my cell phone' in their shop. Hmmm, I am listening to this message on my cell phone. I quickly deduced that a very dear friend of mine has a habit of leaving and/or forgetting where her cell phone was last laid to rest. I called the shop and asked,"Is it a small, black Verizon phone?" Yes, "Was Dolly Campbell in your store?" Yes Then I left a message on her home phone and with a close-by friend as to the whereabouts of said cell phone. All along I imagined her scouting the streets of Vineyard Haven for it. Around nine O'clock that night Dolly got her cell phone back; she had reached one of the Two Susans. Funny, we are so far away and yet so connected. Such is the Vineyard-- very long-stretching arms. J. Goodman Vineyard Haven O HOSPITAL THANKS Editors, Vineyard Gazette: I'd like to take this opporttmity to thank everyone who joined us on Sat- urday evening and throughout the day on Sunday, for making our community's dream of a new hospital come true. To our contributors, we will be for- ever grateful for yottr overwhelming generosity and support for this project. Your belief that high quality health care should always be available on the Island is a true testament to your community spirit. I'd also like to thank our board of trustees who have consistently had one goal in mind: to ensure we have been able to provide the best care possible and to work toward improving the health of our neighbors, friends and family. I feel confident that our goal of be- coming one of the finest small commu- nity hospitals to be found anywhere is now within our reach. My thanks to the dedicated staff of medical professionals and support staff who bring a level of caring to their jobs each and every day; that is truly unique. Finally, my thanks to all of our vol- unteers, including the honor society from M a?tha's V'meyard Regional High School; your help was indispensable. Congratulations to everyone. We could not have done this without you! Timothy J. Walsh Oak Bluffs The writer is president and chief ex- ecutive officer of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital A Different Island for Every Islander What Martha's Vineyard do you live on? The question isn't as strange as it might seem. All the road maps and atlases agree that there's just one Martha's Vineyard, but none of us live on those maps. I'm talking about the map that lives in each of our heads. Call it our psychic map. This is the map we navigate by every day. No two psychic maps are exactly the same, though they overlap at many points. The Steamship Authority dock in Vineyard Haven is on just about every Vineyarder's map, but no two of our Martha's Vineyards are exactly the same. On my Martha's Vineyard, State Road ends right around my friend Cris's house, across from Rainbow Farm. Back when the earth was fiat, some maps wamed"Here be dragons" where terra cognita came to an end. On my map of Martha's Vineyard, that's where residents of Chilmark and Aquinnah live. My map also starts to dissolve about half a mile east of Barnes Road. It snaps into existence when I have to go to the dentist or to Edgartown Books, then it recedes back into the mist. At the Edgartown post office, I rarely recognize anybody either in line or at the counter. That's how I know I've crossed the border into another country. Where do you do most of your grocery shop- ping? When I go to Reliable Market or up-Island Cronig's, I recognize the cashiers and many of the customers. When I go to either Stop & Shop, I can't find anything and I don't know anyone. Try going to a supermarket or a post office that you rarely visit. See if you don't feel at least a little out of place, not quite at home. When a place doesn't exist on your psychic map, going there can be downright scary. Your imagina- By SUSANNA J. STURGIS tion fills the void with dragons. Heading into my first winter on Martha's Vineyard, I had the psychic map of a summer person. On a summer map, Martha's Vineyard winks out of existence around Columbus Day. By the end of September almost everyone I knew had left. I knew exactly one person who lived here year-round. What was I doing here? Fortunately some people are very good at ex- panding the psychic maps of others, and within a few months I had met one of them: the late Mary Payne, founder and artistic director of Island Theatre Workshop. Mary was a pint-sized dynamo who rarely took no for an answer. She thought theatre should be on everyone's psychic map, whether they knew it or not. I didn't need much persuading. I didn't know anybody on Martha's Vineyard and I needed a life. Come by Katharine Cornell Theatre, said Mary, and we'll put you to work. Well. I knew where Katharine Cornell Theatre was, but it takes more than that to put a place on one's psychic map. Being reasonably rational, I knew no dragons lurked on the other side of the door, or alligators or snapping turtles either. But I couldn't make myself go in. I imagined a huge, dimly lit space, with ceiling so high and walls so far away I couldn't see them. In the far distant corner, tiny people would be going about their business, oblivious to my presence. Could I imagine crossing that endless floor and introducing myself to strang- ers? I could not. Finally, after at least a week of walking past the theatre and probably some nagging by Mary, I mustered the nerve to open the door and walk in. Katharine Cornell Theatre looked nothing like the gloomy warehouse of my fears. It was bathed in light from the several tall windows on two facing walls, and not all that much larger than some living rooms I'd been in. Mary introduced me to the people who were painting'scenery and testing lights. I was put to work. Walking through that door more than doubled the size of my Martha's Vineyard. Theatre people became my first Island family, the ones I hung out with and learned the ropes from, the ones who invited me to join them for holidays and special events. My involvement in theatre also expanded my range as a writer, enriching my relationship to the written and spoken word. More than a dozen years after I opened that door, I was startled to hear a native Islander, a horsewoman, ask where Katharine ComellTheatre wax This mystified me -- until I'd been involved with horses myself for a year or so. Horsekeeping is like theatre in that it tends to take over your life. If you work full-time, neither leaves much time for other recreation.As a result, horse people and theatre people often live on such different Martha's Vineyards that they don't run into each other very often, or know each other very well. People often talk about Martha's Vineyard as if it's one big community. It isn't. Martha's Vineyard is made up of many o,erlapping communities that exist in one geographical space. Our psychic maps are so different.A place familiar to me may barely exist for you.A venue that you find welcoming may turn a cold shoulder to me. The Island's real fault fines don't lie between the six towns but between the maps we have in our heads. Susanna J. Sturgis is the author of The Mud of the Place, a novel about Martha's Vineyard. She lives in West Tisbury. THE GAZETI'E CHRONICLE Ferries Interrupted From Gazette editions of April, 1960:. As the boatline strike entered its sec- ond full week, business continued to be brisk for the skippers of small cruisers who had set up an impromptu ferry ser- vice between the Vineyard and Woods Hole. Their port of call at the Island is the Dukes County Garage wharf in Vineyard Haven, which since the strike began has sprung into an unaccustomed role of activity and importance. On Monday the boats came and went, dis- charging passengers from the mainland and then picking up some more for the return trip.The tiny parking area at the edge of the wharf was jammed with ve- hicles. Taxi drivers hovered confidently, expecting some business from visitors who were forced to abandon their own cars on the other side of the Sound. This lively atmosphere was in sober contrast to the scene at the Steamship Authority dock a couple of hundred yards north. There, union pickets strolled across the parking lot. Behind them, idle and si- lent, lay the ferry Islander. It was that way, too, in Woods Hole. The massive facilities of the Authority were deathly still, but at one comer of the wharf the little boats hummed and buzzed, as they absorbed their handfuls of slightly bewildered voyagers. At the Vineyard Haven Garage wharf, the travelers be- trayed an uneasy sense of adventure. One Vineyard man, clambering out of a motorboat, greeted a welcoming party with:"Well, I figured I'd make it one way or another!" The Bonnie Jean's skipper, Capt. Wil- liam Eaton of West Falmouth, intends to rent his craft for summer fishing parties and run an excursion service to Oak Bluffs, His present shuttle operation should give him plenty of experience. Jesse E Morgan of Edgartown has bought the former Lima service station on Main street, and it is opening as the Depot Comer Service Station. Behind this name is a good bit of history and the desire of Mr. Morgan to perpetuate an association that most of the present-day public knows little about. At the site of the station, across from the jail, stood the Edgartown depot of the old Martha's Vineyard Railroad, a wooden structure through which the locomotive, which bore the name Active, pulled the cars of the old line and halted at a wooden platform. The depot had plain wood sides, ornamented gables, and a louvered turret which presumably allowed engine smoke to escape. Here the passengers of the era from 1874 to 1896 boarded the cars for Cottage City or for Katama to see the surf or partake of the famous clambakes at that place. Following a question of commercial oystering in Chilmark Pond, a motion that "it is the will of the meeting for the selectmen to issue permits for com- mercial taking of oysters in Chilmark Pond" was adopted.The Chilmark Pond Association had gone on record for two years as opposed to commercial fishing in the pond, and this opposition was expressed by several at the hearing. It is this group which opens the pond to the sea at appropriate intervals, Lynn Murphy, originator of the peti- tion to open the pond to commercial oystering, presented his views. Joseph Kraetzer said that although he person- ally was not opposed to the plan, it seemed to be true that every time a pond on the Island was opened commercially, there was considerable depredation, and his insurance agency received nu- merous claims for property damage. Bradford Norton said that the associa- tion did not open the pond enough for the propagation of oysters and that if the pond were to be used commercially, the town should be responsible for the openings. The moderator, Benjamin C. Mayhew Jr., then took to the floor and spoke in favor of issuing the licenses. He stated he believed in maintaining property values, and that he owned property on one of the salt water ponds that had not been damaged by commercial fishing. He said that he believed there were a thousand dollars worth of oysters in Chilmark Pond, and added that a right of way had been made available. The way of ducks in the springtime led to a case in district court at Edgar- town. Gentlemen ducks belonging to Robert Marchant had entered the prop- erty of Nathan Willey, who happens to have a lady duck. Result: Mr. Willey brought a complaint against Mr. March- ant for duck trespass. The gender of the ducks was not mentioned in court, Mr. Marchant entering a plea of guilty, and the case was continued. Mr. Marchant is to build an enclosure satisfactory to the court officer, John O'Neill. It does not appear in the record, or in the un- derlying facts of the case, that Mr.Willey wished to frustrate the natural impulses of gentlemen ducks in the spring. But he is a gardener, and gardeners also have a tryst with spring and the growing season. His complaint was prompted by the damage "the ducks were doing to his garden. The solution indicated by the court promised to be satisfactory to everyone except the ducks. Compiled by Cynthia Meisner