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Edgartown, Massachusetts
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May 5, 2017

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i EIGHT VINEYARD GAZETTE, MARTHES VINEYARD, MASS. FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2017 II I " " I Martha's Vineyard's Newspaper for 170 Years Established in 1846 A Journal of Island Life Jane Seagrave, Publisher Julia Wells, Editor Stephen Durkee, Director of Graphics and Design Bill Eville, Managing Editor Phyllis Meras, Contributing Editor Sarah Gifford, Business Manager Skip Finley, Director of Sales and Marketing Richard Reston and Mary Jo Reston Publishers 1988-2010 Sally Fulton Reston and James Reston Publishers 1968-1988 Elizabeth Bowie Hough and Henry Beetle Hough Publishers 1920-1965 Setting the Pace for Protecting Ponds Unafraid to stand up for environmental protection, the town of Tisbury has been staying a step ahead in the race to save the coastal ponds. In Vineyard Haven today there are stricter rules in place governing septic systems for new development near the Lagoon Pond and Lake Tashmoo, thanks to a bylaw adopted last fall by the board of health. The bylaw went through an open public process over many months and was revised in response to community concerns. The new rules will require denitrifying septic systems for all new construction in the watersheds for the two ponds. The board of health also has been working on a subsidy plan for failed septic systems. "Denitrification is to the benefit of everyone," board of health chairman Michael Loberg told the Gazette late last year. And it looks like that message is getting through. At the annual town meeting last week, Tisbury voters readily agreed to spend money for design and engineering work that is ex- pected to lead to expanded sewering in the State Road business cor- ridor which also lies in the Lake Tashmoo watershed. The preliminary work will cost $50,000. In a separate article, voters approved more money -- $60,000 -- to expand the capacity of the town wastewater plant by upgrading the leaching field. Then just a few days after the town meeting, the town learned that it had won a $150,000 grant from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly funded agency.that promotes clean energy tech- nology in the state, to test an innovative septic system in the final stages of development. The yearlong pilpt wil! test eight to ten 0f!fi ' alternative NitROE systems, which have beenshown to,remove the same amount of nitrogen from wastewater as a conventional sewage treatment plant. Early reports on the new system show it could be a game changer on the Island where there have been longstanding ef- forts to protect coastal ponds without spending millions on sewering. It is well known that many of the Vineyard's coastal ponds are under pressure from too much nitrogen, which can upend the ecologi- cal balance in ponds by promoting algae growth, blocking sunlight from the water column and depleting oxygen. On the north side of the Island, Lagoon Pond, Lake Tashmoo and Sengekontacket top the list of threatened saltwater ponds. On the south shore, nearly all the Great Ponds are in a precarious state. Mysterious algae blooms and shellfish dieoffs have been cropping up in recent years. The delicate balance of these unique ponds is at a tipping point. There has been ample study, thanks mostly to the Massachu- setts Estuaries Project which spent more than ten years creating a detailed, sophisticated scientific profile of most Island ponds. The information collected by marine scientists who led the MEP studies is publicly available and provides a solid springboard for the develop- ment of policies and regulations. The Martha's Vineyard Commission recently updated its own policy on nitrogen limits to align with the recommendations in the MEP. The commission, which has unique powers to regulate development that go beyond ordinary planning and zoning laws, was slow to update its own policy but finally took action on this important front. All new development that comes before the commission must conform to the stricter standards for nitrogen entering pond watersheds. In the end, most experts agree that saving the ponds will in- volve not one but many strategies. Curbing or prohibiting any more development in sensitive watersheds is a must. The acquaculture renaissance that has sparked a proliferation of small oyster farms comes as a boon to the effort, since oysters are filter feeders and help remove nitrogen from the water. And now thankfully technology and innovation also may be on our side, with exciting work taking place around the development of residential septic systems that can treat and remove nitrogen from human waste before it enters the groundwater. There is real hope that these innovations could mean better protection for ponds at a fraction of the cost of sewering. Extra credit goes to Tisbury for setting the pace. Another Choice Editors, Vineyard Gazette: Tisbury voters will head to the polls Tuesday, May 9. As Vineyard Haven business owners, we ask you to vote yes on Question One -- to allow res-' taurants to serve spirits to their dining customers. Just a year ago, town meeting voters approved placing; thia qucation on the ballot by more than a two to one margin. We believe the backing came not only from restaurant customers, but from residents who may have taken a wait- and-see approach after beer and wine licenses were granted in 2010. The last seven years have proven that allowing restaurants to serve beer and wine has been a seamless, non- threatening event. There has been no fallout or problems either in terms of public safety or general nuisance. Frankly, putting the onus on the restau- rant operators to ensure patrons drink responsibly has proven to be a benefit. Vineyard Haven remains the Island's welcoming main port with a mix of retail shops and eateries. We believe allowing restaurants to serve spirits contributes to a business- friendly environment that could attract new restaurants and shops to Vineyard Haven. We're not suggesting this is a cure-all, but we believe that having full service establishments, like there are in the other down-Island towns, could benefit the larger Vineyard Ha- ven business community as well as the restaurants. It's important to note that all the re- strictive regulations and requirements will remain in place under this new bylaw. People cannot simply come in and drink at restaurants. Food must be served with any alcoholic beverage. A standard pour of beer or wine has the same alcohol content as a drink made with spirits. This is about offering an- other choice rather than the introduc- tion of something brand new. We ask for your support. Please vote yes on Question One and allow Vine- yard Haven restaurants to become full service restaurants that bring or keep business right here in Tisbury, Mary and Jackson Kenworth Vineyard Haven Sustaining Our Town Editors, Vineyard Gazette: '"I am deeply concerned about the possibility of having hard alcohol in the restaurants, inns and hotels in Tisbury. We love our beautiful town and have lived here for 45 years. Our youngest daughter was born at home in Tis- bury. We have two daughters, sons in law and six grandchildren who all love and live on Martha's Vineyard. I have a nonprofit creative arts, socially and environmentally conscious organiza- tion that educates and nurtures young people and I have a passionate heartfelt interest in their well being. I would like young people to continue to enjoy the sailing programs and be able to walk or ride their bikes into Vineyard Haven to attend a movie or buy an ice cream cone without fearing for their safety. Is serving hard alcohol in restau- rants going to magically increase the economic well-being of the town of Tisbury? The bu i.., o ..... af \Gnoyarcl 1-]:3- ven stretches from Crane Appliance to the west and Wind's Up to the east. So if you have numerous rental spaces, you are bound to have some empty store fronts. Hard alcohol is going to be served with a meal. How many drinks are customers allowed to have? At this time there are no regulations in place. If the vote passes to sell hard alco- hol, restaurants will have to hire a mix- ologist (bartender) and a place to store all the bottles in a way that they will be easily accessed, and a mixing area (bar). After they have invested in this expensive process, it seems likely that it will only be a matter of time before they will be back pressuring the town to vote for bars and package stores. Do you think that the restaurant owners have future plans and this is just one step in the process of getting to bars, and package stores? Seven years ago, a friend of ours who worked for one of the restaurants that has since closed, said the owners told him that they were not sure that campaigning for beer and wine was worth it, because they really wanted full service bars. Seven years ago when the issue of selling alcohol in restaurants in Tis- bury came up, the proponents begged to have beer and wine and swore that they would not come back later and ask for hard alcohol. Shortly after the law passed, six restaurants either sold their business or closed for various reasons: Zephrus, Moxie, Saltwater, Mediter- ranean, Nicky's and Le Grenier. The restaurants that do not serve alcohol are all still open. The formula for success in the restaurant business is good food at fair prices. Now five years has gone by and some of the same people are back again asking for hard alcohol. A hotel owner recently said that when people come and find out that they do not serve hard alcohol, they go to Oak Bluffs. That might be true for a few people, but if that was their sole interest they would not be coming to Martha's Vineyard. People visit the Vineyard for its true qualities, beautiful beaches, nature, peace and tranquility. At the recent Chilmark town meeting where they were voting on whether to change the town to become wet, some of the residents who got up to speak brought up the pending vote in Vine- yard Haven and how they did not want alcohol creep to invade their town. What is the definition of the eco- nomic well-being of a town? When we are promoting and developing our town it is in the best interests of the residents and business community to focus on core strengths and long-term sustainability. What are Tisbury's core strengths? Tisbury is the main harbor and gate- way to our Island. We will soon have the Martha's Vineyard Museum and its maritime heritage exhibits. Tisbury has many attractions: the harbor, the ~honandoah and .Adabama prosrams for young people, visiting boats, the sailing and windsurfing programs, Tall Ships, the Vineyard Playhouse, art galleries, the amphitheatre, historic churches, Lake Tashmoo, the overlook and the waterworks, the designated historic district of William street, Memorial Park, Owen Park and the bandstand, a cultural district walkway around the town and harbor, the lagoon, fishing and shellfishing, the shellfish hatchery, tra- ditional wooden boat building, artisans, stained glass, wrought iron, bronze and copper metal works and lots more. I feel that we, the residents of Tis- bury, need to emphasize real solutions for our town if we want to have a vibrant economy, We must continue building on the profound, authentic and long lasting vision of our unique culture that will further enrich the sustainable values of our beautiful town. Pare Benjamin Vineyard Haven Safety, Character at Stake Editors, Vineyard Gazette: A yes vote on Question One will create profound changes to the fabric and character of Tisbury. Restaurants will have to hire trained bartenders and create setup areas and these are financial investments that will soon have them back at the table asking for full bars to maximize those very same investments. Bars will change the face of our town. Many of the proponents of question one have said in the past that they could live with just beer and wine and would not ask for hard liquor when that issue was being debated, and yet here we are again. I realize that character is in the eye of the beholder but our town is safe and friendly. Hard liquor and the bars that may follow will start to reinvent the face of Tisbury, cause more law enforcement issues and create a place that will be unrecognizable from the welcoming year-round community we have today. At present most parents would not have qualms about dropping off their 12 year old with a friend on Main street at 7 p.m. to get some pizza and ice cream and watch a movie and to then pick them up at 9 p.m. after the movie is oven Our town is safe. Would anyone feel the same about unsupervised kids being left off on their own in the downtowns of Edgartown or Oak Bluffs during the evening hours? Both are great commu- nities but they have made decisions re- garding local iclentity that are currently different from those in Tisbury. Addiction and alcoholism are major problems our society wrestles with ev- ery day. Adults are free to make choices but the argument that beer and wine are not sufficient enough spirits to have with dinner is troubling. If the food and atmosphere of a restaurant is good, does a shot of whiskey make or break that catabliahrncnt? ,~-~c wc ~o willing to sell ourselves out to benefit a few? Will more books or ice cream or clothes or gifts be sold because we now have mixed drinks in Tisbury? Will the modest increased revenue the town may receive from fees offset the addi- tional costs of oversight and enforce- ment? Our town is vibrant and thriving and unique in so many ways. It has its challenges but it is a place I am proud to call my home, Economic vitality is important but so is community and safety and the eclectic character that makes Tisbury stand out. We must be measured when we embrace changes and look at how those changes affect us in the long run Vote no on Question One. Tristan Israel Vineyard Haven Draw the Line Editors, Vineyard Gazette: Many cheerleaders for yes on Ques- tion One do not live in Tisbury, includ- ing a number of businesspeople. Many people who own businesses in Tisbury believe that hard liquor in Tisbury will boost their businesses by increasing the town's "vibrancy." I am unaware of evidence that alcohol has this "contact high" effect for other businesses. However, alcohol creep --whereby requests for beer and wine licenses inexorably are followed by demands for hard liquor, then bars, then package stores -- is well documented through- out the commonwealth. Promises of alcohol advocates that they will make no further demands for greater and easier access to hard liquor are predict- ably empty. It is up to Tisbury voters to decide the character of their town and the type of activities and businesses they want to patronize and encourage in Tisbury -- not to have the town's character defined for them by nonresidents as dep, nder gn, hard liquor sales, Ifl?thi eriSe O./ flon One is a home rule issue. :: Tisbury voters have a clear choice: A yes vote on Question One is a vote for bars and package stores down the line -- very likely a short line. A no vote is a vote to "draw the line at beer and wine" and get off the slippery alcohol slope now. Katherine Scott Vineyard Haven More letters on Question One appear online at Do No Harm Editors, Vineyard Gazette: It's all about the money; I see it all the time, in my business, in politics and in corporate America. In the medical profession, the number one promise within the Hippocratic Oath is first, do no harm. But we can forget about that noble idea. Instead, what seems to be foremost in the mind of the attorney for Jason Leone is that every day he not in business, it is costing him money. In this life we are constantly adapting to changes, and when one thing is not working we need to be flexible and try something else. A perfect example of being willing to change is the owner of Sun 'n' Fun rentals who saw the hand- writing on the wall and relinquished his moped license in exchange for car rental license. It is time for the people on this Island to stand up and make their voices heard. It is time for the selectmen in Oak Bluffs to stop waffling, stop procrastinating and do the right thing. There is a clear proposal for Oak BIoffs to use their power on May 9 to vote what other towns on this Island have voted for, which is no more moped rentals. This home rule petition would go beyond the nonbinding votes taken by the other towns this year, and actu- ally make it feasible to prohibit moped rentals. A vote for home rule petition is a vote for no mopeds. So please Island lovers, no matter in which town you live, let the Oak Bluffs town officials know how you feel. It is not about the money the business owner is losing, it is about the limbs and lives that are lost every summer by people simply trying to enjoy our wonderful Island. Let's all get on with life and do no harm. Peter C. Fyler West Tisbury End the Danger Editors, Vineyard Gazette: The following letter was sent to the Oak Bluffs selectmen. As you deliberate on the moped con- troversy, I ask you to give weight to the wishes of the 85 per cent of people polled Islandwide, and especially to those of us who call Oak Bluffs home. In addition, I ask for your consideration on behalf of the victims of moped ac- cidents. I do not believe there is anyone who wishes to deliberately harm the owners of these moped businesses. But the future of said businesses is far out- weighed by the irrev_ersible harm done to so many, including those who have lost their lives. I feel that the owners can -- and rightfully should be -- aided in rebuilding with a safer enterprise of their choice. That is only fair, and it's only fair that we, as a community, act decisively to end the danger. The newly minted Oak Bluffs board of selectmen has an opportunity to turn the page on this sad chapter and lead the fight at the state level to rid the island of rented mopeds..There is little doubt that the Island population will stand with you overwhelmingly and gratefully. Chip Coblyn Oak Bluffs Unity on Bag Bylaw Editors, Vineyard Gazette: As the town meeting season ap- proaches its close we would like to take this opportunity to thank Oak Bluffs for becoming the sixth town to overwhelm- ingly support a plastic bag bylaw, and thank the Island community in total for addressing this issue. We are incred- ibly proud that our Island as a whole, has taken this powerful step toward reducing the amount of plastic in our environment. We have approached this change town by town, but the end result is now one consistent, strong bylaw, Islandwide, that will reduce litter in the landscape, pollution in our waters and stress on our recycling systems. We would like to thank the voters that came out for not one, but two nights of town meeting in Oak Bluffs. We would like to thank all of the many individuals we delayed with our flyers at the town post office in the days and weeks leading up to the vote. With few exceptions, you heard us out, asked questions -- and agree or disagree -- gave us a moment of your time. We would like to thank all of the people who met repeatedly this past winter in an effort to draft a bylaw that satisfied environmental issues while addressing business concerns. Thanks also to the folks at town hall who assisted along the way. A special thank you is due to the businesses that heard the environ- mental concern and made adjustments away from plastic many months ago, even before an Oak Bluffs vote. Despite the extra year it took, the applause as the Bring Your Bag bylaw passed in Oak Bluffs was thunderous. It should be noted that this applause was both for the bylaw and for the effort -- right up to the last mom6nt -- to marry two sides of a difficult issue. While not exactly accurate, in broad strokes the bag bylaw issue in Oak Bluffs was painted as the environment versus local business. It was wonderful to see that, in the end, people did not see it as an either-or situation -- supporting the bylaw and the environment did not mean turning our backs on wonderful and unique small businesses. The Oak Bluffs businesses initially opposed to the bylaw should also be commended for not turning their backs on the process -- a thank you to them for their time and commitment. They could have just brushed off the bylaw idea altogether and simply opposed it. Period. But they did not. They looked at options. They presented different approaches. They became well-versed in different bylaws and strategies. It does not feel easy to take sides in a small community and yet our two sides continued, even when it was not easy, to meet, talk and in the end to find a solu- tion. We hope it feels to all involved, in hindsight, like a great outcome/ We worked through differences. We voted. Our businesses have or are in the process of making adjustments. The entire Island will soon live with the same bylaw. Now comes the part we can all participate in. Not just in Oak Bluffs, but Islandwide -- please show support for our businesses that have worked and spent money and adapted to make this change. Shop local. Bring your own bag. Reusable bags work great at all retail stores, not just the grocery store. Invest in a reusable bag that can fold up in your purse, or the glove box of your truck, or anywhere else that is handy. If you think of it, thank the businesses that are really embracing this change and celebrating it. And finally, take pride in being part of a community that has taken on an issue and is making a difference. So often, especially right now, problems feel too huge to know where to start. This is one issue close to our heart -- disposable plastic is negatively affecting the ocean at a rate and to a degree that we do not yet even fully understand -- and we do not need to delay, We do not need a particular government leader or new technology or really much of anything. We can all participate with the simple ac- tion of carrying our own bags. Our many individual small efforts equal a powerful change for the better. Many thanks. Nina Hitchen and Samantha Look West Tisbury Betty Ann's Legacy Editors, Vineyard Gazette: I want to share some good news. In 1995 The Betty Ann Lima-Bryant Schol- arship fund was established to help sup- port the education of an Island resident who demonstrates an active interest in human rights and the welfare of others through a commitment to community service. Some years it has been easy for. our committee to choose a recipient. Not this year. Not only was the appli- cant pool large. It was outstanding. On paths that range from social justice, law, and nursing to music therapy and immi- gration assistance, many Island young people are dedicating their lives to the service of others. It is very heartening. Laura Wainwright West Tisbury TH E GAZETFE CHRONICLE On the Hook From the May 9, 1947 edition of the Vineyard Gazette: The pugs bite, and spring is here; not because the pugs are abroad, but because they will take a hook. And neither is it spring because they will take a hook anywhere, but because they will take in the open water. All of which is some- tldilE; odd, but thc pu~, well, the pug is something in the fish line that is a law unto himself, and let's see anyone capsize the natural program of the critter. What is a pug anyhow? Plenty of people, mostly pilgrims, ask this ques- tion, and it has been answered again and again and again, as somebody used to say, Local belief is that the native Indian attached the name of"paug" to various kinds of fish, in conjunction with a de- scriptive syllable, such as "scaupaug," generally known as "scup" today in this locality. Then there is another theory that the nose and mouth of this fish somehow resemble those of the pug-dog of the Gay Nineties. Perhaps it does, on a very miniature scale, but right or wrong, it is a pug so far as the local fishermen and ultimate consumers are concerned. Getting away from the local people and the pug masquerades under vari- ous names, depending upon where he is found, and how large he may be. For the sole, the winter flounder, and on occasion, plaice, may well have started out in life as the ordinary pond pug, as the oldest of Islanders used to call it. There are undoubtedly places in the sea where the pug habitually spawns. No doubt the same authorities who have followed the eel to the Bahama Bank and back, know exactly where this is. Local people have never given it much thought, but from the pres- ence of pugs no more than an inch long in the salt ponds of the Vineyard, it has always been believed that these places are more or less favored by the "inshore run" of these fish. That others go elsewhere is generally accepted by fishermen. In older days, when cold storage was not known and very few vessels pursued the fish in winter, Vineyard- ers seined the great ponds, and along with the perch which they sought, they captured numbers of these sole. At such times they were usually small, perhaps no .ore than six inches long after .the had been removed, and smaller at times, but they were-fresh fish and, browned in the pan; brought delight to the "fish hungry" people of the Island towns. But it was not possible to seine at all times, and the movement of these fish was closely watched. As soon as they would take a hook, a time which depends upon the weather, there were people looking for them. It is even so today, for the fisherman who goes for sport is as unchanging as the passage of time and will ignore no opportunity, however slim, to dip a line into water, be the atmosphere what it may. And it is not to be supposed that a single speci- men of the spring flat fish even goes to waste; there is always someone who is eager to dine offhis sweet, juicy flesh. But the pug, flatfish, winter floun- der or what-have-you, is a creature of moods, or deeply-centered habits. This year, 1947, the first pugs to be taken in open water with a hook were landed April 26, which is admittedly early. Yet they had been seen, sculling around in shoal water, weeks before that, and had been taken with a hook in salt ponds more than a month before. Oh yes, agree the oldest inhabitants, they always bite earlier in the ponds than outside. Why? Well, that again is a query for the scientists; the local people do not know and refuse even to guess, but it is so. And then there is the question of bait, which may or may not have much to do with it. One group will swear that nothing is as good as the wriggly, leggy clam-worm either brown or red. It'll catch 'em, there is no question about it. Another will reveal, with glowing pride, the store of scallop-rims, salted last fall, and preserved with care for this purpose. It'll take 'em, too, and no one disagrees about that. But there are oth- ers who have good luck with a quahaug, freshly dug, and others still who regard as best of all the razor-clam, carefully sliced - and all have luck. But the habitual clam-digger who wades on the winter fiats and delves for his prey in the sand and mud, will tell you that even in mid-winter, when the water is iced over, and the temperature is down to freezing, he has had pugs swim right to him, following the cloud of bottom mud which has drifted to looward from his rake. And he will be telling the truth. All of which is relatively unimport- ant. What does matter is that as of this date the pugs are biting and the boats are out, whenever it's warm enough to keep from freezing and calm enough to keep from sinking. And the pugs are as welcome as ever, despite the stores and markets filled with fresh fish. For the Vineyard retains many of its ancient instincts, and will go down to the sea according to what the calendar may state, there to play the sport that was a necessary and comfortless task in grandfather's day. Compiled by Hilary Wall