Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
A lot of Vineyard organizations have been hurt over the past decade or so by the clash between two types of leadership: the rigid, fear-based, fundamentalist thinking and the flexible, creative, servant leadership which regards its clients as individuals with individual needs.
The unavoidable split that occurred several years ago at Camp Jabberwocky thankfully resulted in the founding of a new camp for the disabled on Nantucket, known as The Tulgey Wood and run by Gillian Butchman who had directed, with other members of her family, our Vineyard Camp Jabberwocky for 35 years.
Many Vineyarders I know who tried not to take sides, continue to support Camp Jabberwocky yet still support Gillian and will always be grateful for her caring and creative approach to those who are challenged physically and/or mentally. While the overwhelming majority of the former Camp Jabberwocky July adult campers and counselors followed Gillian to Nantucket, the way I see it, we are fortunate to have another camp for these challenged campers who before only had the Vineyard camp. This summer will mark the Nantucket camp’s third year of operation. And the Vineyard camp continues as well.
Gillian’s fearlessness and enthusiasm are contagious. I can only speak for the handful of Island kids I know who have worked every year since high school as unpaid counselors under Gillian’s mentoring, but these kids have grown into adults who are totally committed to community service and who, without exception, have gone into the fields of medicine, osteopathy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, sports therapy for the disabled and the like. As a parent and as a member of the Vineyard community, I will always be grateful to both Gillian and Camp Jabberwocky for leading our kids in this direction.
We need to support visionaries like Gillian by financially supporting her work. If we don’t, regulations promulgated by the government, the insurance industry, etc. will frighten all the love out of this extraordinary brand of community service which is offered joyfully to those in need of our help and we will have institutions‚ not summer camps like these. In the words of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, “only when differences are accepted not as a threat but as a treasure, is each one free to be him or herself.”
The Tulgey Wood camp needs to raise just $70,000 to cover the three largest annual expenses: rent, food and transportation for 70 participants (campers and counselors) during their three-week camp this summer on Nantucket. Tulgey Wood is funded 100 per cent by volunteer dollars, operated entirely by volunteers, has a one-to-one camper/counselor ratio and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.
Can you help? If so, please make your checks payable to Katie’s World, the umbrella 501(c)3 — your contribution is tax deductible — and mail to The Tulgey Wood, c/o Gillian Lamb Butchman at 12504 Rolling Road, Potomac, MD 20854. Thank you in advance.
Carol E. Lashnits
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
The following was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.
I attended the May 22 public hearing regarding the Bradley Square project. It was quite apparent that the larger objections raised were to the density of the project and the parking problem that it was perceived it would cause.
The parking problem is not a problem of where to park, but a problem of access and excess use of cars in areas never designed for their current volume — directly due to population growth (and our exuberance for riding everywhere). Since we cannot reduce our population dramatically, we either have to face the reality of more cars, or change the way in which we manage their use. If we really want to solve the parking problem, we should ban casual use of cars in dense areas altogether (I would exempt those driving to their home and commercial delivery in the area, which could also be limited by time of day). Parking cars on the periphery of congested areas and providing effective shuttle or trolley service, encouraging walking by promoting such mixed use projects as Bradley Square, and making it easier to use bicycles all would provide enormous benefit while reducing (or eliminating) the parking problem. Such a solution is the purview of the town, not a private developer.
In any case parking is not and should not be the only or even primary focus of the MVC’s deliberations regarding Bradley Square. You hopefully are looking at the overall benefits: affordable housing, historic preservation, neighborhood revitalization, business development — not to mention the addition to the town’s tax base (not so unimportant today in Oak Bluffs). There certainly is no such thing as the perfect project. But to reach a fair compromise must involve weighing overall benefit against real detriment, and eliminating erroneous perceived detriment from the consideration altogether.
As to density, it appears to me this is less dense than the seven-unit project approved by the commission last year on Summer street in Edgartown, another example of smart growth planning of a mixed-use project in a business district. That project comprises just over 6,000 square feet of habitable space in seven units on .2 acres. Bradley Square as proposed is under 11,000 square feet of habitable space in 11 units on .44 acres. That’s 30,000 square feet per acre on Summer street versus under 25,000 at Bradley Square.
Whether we like it or not, population density is increasing and must be addressed. You cannot solve that or the parking problem by rejecting or severely conditioning a project that in other ways has so many benefits — to the neighborhood, the town and ultimately the entire Island. The population grows and the cars will just keep coming.
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 115-35 on Thursday, May 22, to approve a landmark bill to guarantee safe registered nurse staffing in all Massachusetts hospitals. The measure calls upon the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to set safe limits on nurses’ patient assignments, prohibits mandatory overtime and includes initiatives to increase nursing faculty and nurse recruitment. The law, when enacted, will make Massachusetts only the second state in the nation to set safe staffing limits in hospitals.
The Patient Safety Act will now move to the Senate for consideration. The bill responds to increased concern over quality care in Massachusetts hospitals, as well as to evidence linking disease and deaths to poor patient oversight caused by nurses being forced to care for too many patients at one time. In recent years, medical errors and hospital-acquired infections have soared. Numerous studies link the rise in hospital-acquired infections and other medical complications to understaffing of nurses. Most recently, a report published in the July issue of the journal Medical Care found that safe RN staffing levels could reduce hospital-acquired infections by 68 per cent.
To date, 130 of the state’s leading health care and patient advocacy groups have endorsed the Patient Safety Act and have joined forces to push for its passage in both the House and Senate. Recent voter surveys indicate that more than 80 per cent of the public supports establishing safe staffing limits.
The next move is to the Senate. Please call or write Sen. Robert O’Leary to ask for his support for this bill. For more information about this legislation you can go to the Massachusetts Nurses Association Web site at massnurses.org/safe_care/index.htm. This is your chance to make it safer for you, your family, and all Massachusetts citizens when they are hospitalized. We need a vote before the end of this legislative session on June 30, so please act now. Your call, e-mail or letter will make a difference.
SOMETIMES THE ANSWER
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
War is not the answer, but . . .
This is a sentiment with which I’m sure we can all agree — except for the fact that it is incomplete. The word “but” should be appended together with the following phrase which is very simply: Sometimes it is the only answer to an implacable evil or confrontation which unchecked, may threaten to engulf the peace of the world. Sometimes evil must be confronted with implacable defiance when all other attempts have failed. Those of us who have lived through the thirties, forties and fifties know all too well that the seeds of catastrophe of World War II were sown by the victorious powers in 1921 who imposed diabolical restraints and punishment against militarily defeated, economically ruined and politically distraught Germany; restraints against which there was no appeal and which led directly to the blossoming of the horrific disease of Nazism in the mid thirties. Only when it was too late did we realize what we had let out of the cage as we tried unsuccessfully to imprison and execute the animal. But it was too late and even as good men frantically tried to undo the damage they had allowed to happen, those whom we had defeated a few years previously now were perfecting military machines and churning their populations into screaming hotbeds of an almost Satanic hatred of those who had caused their country’s downfall and degradation while waiting for military and social redemption.
Efforts by many good people in many frightened countries did their best to reverse the trend toward war but the juggernaut was under way and unstoppable and in September 1939 German troops invaded Poland. I remember it well. The desperate attempts to forge a peaceful solution were called appeasement; whether they might have worked is unknown and immaterial now and the world can only speculate on what might have been possible, but in the light of what was to follow it certainly had been worth a try. World War II might have been avoided, but by September 1939 there was no way out. We and our allies had to confront our several enemies in a desperate effort to preserve our very civilization for untold generations yet to come. We had no choice.
In early May of 1945 I had been driving a combat ambulance for over a year and I had every reason to question whether there might not be or at least have been a better solution to the world’s problems. Then one day I saw the Bergen Gelsen Concentration Camp just after it was liberated. The vision has stayed with me ever since and that is why I say with deepest conviction that while war is not the answer, there are times when a military confrontation cannot be avoided.
Yes, there are those who say we must talk with our potential enemies. I say, of course we must talk with our potential enemies, but even as our forefathers did in 1776 we must be willing if all else fails to stand ready to defend and protect our future lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
During the week of April 14, students at the Edgartown School jumped all over heart disease and stroke by participating in Jump Rope for Heart. The students raised more than $3,000 for the American Heart Association.
Donations raised during Jump Rope for Heart helped fund research to fight heart disease and stroke and also support the American Heart Association’s public and professional education programs. Heart disease is the top killer in America and strokes rank third. The event was a huge success, and we are proud of all the jumpers.
Jump Rope for Heart is a program that promotes physical fitness and heart health through the fun activity of jumping rope. It is co-sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
The following letter is addressed to the Oak Bluffs selectmen:
By permitting two instances of illegal activity to take place year after year, the town is forgoing $19,000 of additional income.
Although the town’s harbor regulations prohibit a person or entity from maintaining more than one private mooring and from renting a mooring to another, and although the state inspector general has issued opinion letters to the towns of Chatham, Harwich and Chilmark ruling that it is illegal for a person or entity to hold more than one private mooring and to rent them to others, the town year after year issues licenses to the East Chop Beach Club to maintain 20 private moorings which it rents to others. The town receives $150 for each license. However, the club rents the town moorings for $900 each. When these 20 licenses expire at the end of this year, the harbor master should manage these 20 moorings for the town and rent them to those owners of sailboats who presently moor their boats in the lagoon and wish to moor them in the harbor to avoid having to require the bridge to open every time they enter and leave the lagoon. The net increased income to the town will be $15,000.
The second illegal activity is the owner of Nancy’s restaurant maintaining a four-space parking lot on town land rent free. If the owner wishes to provide parking for his customers, which the former owner promised and was required to provide when he added 50 seats to the restaurant, he should rent the four spaces from the town at the going rate of $1,000 each and designate one of them for disabled customers as required by federal law. The increased income to the town will be $4,000.
Joseph S. Vera
Cambridge and Oak Bluffs