Islander's Blog

Archive for October, 2010

Waterfront News

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

It’s been a little slow around the waterfront as of late. I am pursuing an interesting hobby lately. Deer-watching. I bought a trail cam and set it up in the field and have been getting very good results. Here are a few shots the cam captured lately.
Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

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I want my Indian Summer. It feels as if fall jumped in too early. But then, we had such a sensational summer, there was no way that our current season could rise to that standard. We never seem to get two seasons in a row, both of them memorable, in a good way.

I’ve meant to put this in the column for three weeks now. When I went in to the Shellfish Department to buy a current family shellfish license, I asked Liz if they still cost $25. She answered yes, unless I was 60. Well, I crept across that landmark back in March. Not only did I receive a white, lifetime license, it was free. Other than turning 21, this is the only good thing related to age that has come my way.

Following up on that subject, I finally got out with my rake this week. The take wasn’t great, but there were enough for a dinner. Whatever problems the fishery has had with quantity didn’t affect the quality of the delicate morsels consumed that evening.

Nobody has come up and answered the question of why a parking garage in town is wanted, or needed. We, as a town, voted not to have one several years ago. Not only did we vote it down, the vote was two to one. Yet our town planners and some selectmen are staying with the idea of wasting our money for an idea we crushed when first proposed to us.

If a parking garage was built, we would need to have paid parking in town for it to work. Why would anyone pay to park in a garage if town parking was free? That would mean that all parking in town would cost us. I have to wonder how badly this would hurt (if not kill) businesses in the downtown area?

It would certainly stop me from coming into town, unless it was critical. To do away with a post office box I’ve had for over 35 years would hurt, but if I had to pay to pick up my mail, it would have to go. That and my pharmacy would change as well. Parking in town has always been a hassle. It won’t improve if we have to pay for it. Maybe it’ll be easier to find a space, but most people I’ve spoken with would be reticent to pay.

The wind turbine up by the high school doesn’t seem to be up and working. It’s easy to understand why. Should that machine fail, having seen the fiasco out by Bartlett’s Farm two decades ago and the more recent failure at Bartlett’s Farm, it could set this type of energy (on-island) back another decade. I desperately want to see alternative energy, where it’s put is the big question. The further away from people, the better most of us will feel.

Halloween is rapidly approaching. Of course with the way marketing is done these days, the Stop & Shop has had mini candy bars and candy corn out on the shelves for three or four weeks. Since Halloween falls on Sunday this year, Monday should see an awful lot of kids showing up in school with a sugar hangover.

Last Saturday, the place to be was the Nantucket Scallopers Ball. An event which consisted (mainly) of local folks was perfect as far as music, food and friends. Ecliff and the Swingdogs provided the tunes and really got partiers going. There was a raw bar that was going nonstop all evening, with long lines at all times. Other comestibles included a couple of different scallop dishes and wonderful appetizers. All in all, it was a very good night, for us.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror

Goodman’s Gam

Friday, October 15th, 2010

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There is no need for paid parking on our downtown streets. If Nantucket needs more income from people visiting the core district, a simpler solution is already in place. Keep the current regulations as they are. Police the area vigorously. Raise the fine for people that exceed the time limit. And, finally, tow vehicles once they’ve accrued a second violation in the same space.

This bad idea is similar to others proposed in recent years: the idea (quashed, thank goodness) of a rotary, excuse me, roundabout by the high school; a bike path through the Creeks, an environmentally sensitive area to say the least; and speed humps on Orange Street. They lasted a summer and now reside in a storage spot. I recall they cost a hefty chunk of change. Perhaps the town could have a yard sale and some private buyer could use them. We don’t need them and never did.

Let’s return to downtown parking for a moment. We know who the offenders are, when it comes to parking overtime. Employees and owners of businesses and real-estate folks move their cars all day long, while many of them accept tickets as the cost of doing business. If that’s the case, doing business as usual ought to help fill empty town coffers.

When owners of downtown businesses encourage employees to use NRTA buses during the summer season, many spaces would open up. Not only that, said employees wouldn’t need to exit the shop every hour or two to hunt for their next parking place. As it is, many people now skip going into town if possible. Some businesses are cutting their own throats by letting this parking place bingo continue.

Now that the NRTA buses are in the mix, why would they want to adopt a “mascot” and change their name? We all know who and what the NRTA is and does. They’re a local bus line and they perform a useful and beneficial service that too few people take advantage of. As for a mascot, why spend money for an unneeded item that would likely not add any new riders and confuse others. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Another bad idea that the voters have already said no to, and in a big way is a parking garage. The more I see of plans for Wilkes Square projects, the less I think of them. Few of us knew what the triangle on Washington Street was until a couple of years ago. Now, I wish we’d never heard of “improving” it. If it ain’t broke (and it wasn’t), don’t fix it.

That free wind energy we had hoped for in Nantucket Sound will cost at least double what we pay, using fossil fuels. I wouldn’t mind paying more for wind energy, but doing so while providing the developer a quarter of a billion-dollar profit (before a kilowatt is generated) doesn’t cut it for me. The only thing green about this project is the money Cape Wind will reap from consumers, in addition to federal tax credits (that’s all of us).

This has turned into a list of complaints, so, what’s one more? The windmill over on school land has turned into a fiasco. Why was the location changed? Supposedly, placing the structure by a cemetery was not to be. I have yet to hear a complaint from the residents (six feet under) concerning noise or the way it looks. Not so for the other neighbors.

It appears that we’ll be seeing a new sitcom with Nantucket in its title. “Naughty in Nantucket” is going to be a CBS comedy which is going to be every bit as much about our tiny pile of sand as “Wings” was. Now, there will be even more people thinking things about us that don’t exist.

These past few years we have all known people who have lost their house, or a job. For Mike Sturgis, the closing of Cinco is a loss of both. Cinco opened as the financial world came to a crashing halt and apparently it was too much to overcome. I wish Mike and Connie the best.
“Goodman’s Gam” appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Goodman’s Gam

Friday, October 8th, 2010

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Monday morning we celebrate Columbus Day. For most of us this is just another three-day weekend. There are likely to be more visitors to the island should the weather be nice on this holiday. We often have a visitor from the northeast to commingle with the other off-islanders. According to weather forecasts, however, we are due to have cooler temperatures than normal, with no storms in sight.

I was shocked by the announcement of Margot Hartmann becoming president and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. They got it right, selecting her. Isn’t it about time we had a leader who has actually labored in the trenches? The hospital has had bureaucrats/bean-counters running it as long as I am able to remember. Dr. Hartmann is a refreshing change to lead the hospital.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed how many traffic signs are lost in foliage around the island. There are dozens of stop signs obliterated, with speed-limit signs running in second place. Aside from hedges and trees masking signage, there are myriad streets where a driver has to edge out into traffic (risking an accident) in order to avoid an accident.

Then there are people who have urged the Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting to adopt national standards for our bike paths. These measures would mean trimming back undergrowth along the paths, in order to improve visibility for both riders and drivers as well. At one point there were branches hanging over the paths, not to mention paths that became too narrow for a couple of bikes to pass by one another.

Most of the complaints have come from riders who live out of town and use the Polpis bike path. My supposition is that there are fewer riders on that particular path, compared to the Surfside or Madaket bike paths. The path on the Milestone bike path is the oldest and the least impacted by overactive plant life. On Tuesday, the DPW was clearing part of the Polpis bike path. Now for the rest of the offending brush . . .

I was happy to see that our current sheriff has taken back his opposition to using the soon to be “old police station” as a new sheriff’s office. It has been said that Richard Bretschneider caved to town administrators and the police department. I’d like to add that it may help him secure a few votes in the upcoming election.

Last week’s Nantucket Maritime Festival went over very well. An officer on duty at the festival estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 people attended. Even if the low estimate is accurate, that was an exceptional number of people, having a wonderful day in the sun. I can’t wait for the second version of the festival.

Another recent happening here was the opening of family scalloping season. A friend of mine went out for her first time on Sunday. For a couple of weeks prior to the season we conferred on waders and the other accouterments necessary to harvesting and opening the tasty mollusks. This time around, our favorite shellfish is more precious than in recent years, and that’s saying quite a bit.

My friend and her husband set out to push-rake the Monomoy area. We had both heard that there were a handful of scallops there, compared to almost nothing down harbor and in Madaket Harbor. I received an e-mail that evening, reporting that the two novices had brought home a little over two dozen scallops. Not only that, they were checked out by a warden and their catch was legal.

I was taken aback when I read that they figured out how to open the scallops by watching a YouTube video. It seemed as if the old way of learning to open by watching someone in a shanty had gone the way of dragging dredges behind catboats. Still and all, it was a good first try.

It appears that beachcombing has taken on a new meaning of late. I had a friend (back in the 1970s), who used to go walking along the south shore, looking for flotsam and jetsam. On most of his early-morning walks, he found fishing lures, along with the usual debris we are all used to seeing. One morning he found the body of a gentleman who drowned several days before. That put an end to his early-morning jaunts.

The New York Yankees’ hopes of capturing the American League East title were put to rest by Boston Red Sox last Sunday. That wasn’t as good as getting into the playoffs, but that made most of us feel a little better about the way the season ended.

The New England Patriots put a hurting on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. A road win against a division rival goes a long way to boosting a team’s spirit. Our Whalers had a road win this past week, too.
Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Monday, October 4th, 2010

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I took my boat up to Coskata this summer. It’s beautiful country up there. Not a lot of people who live here get to experience it. I was able to bring my boat into Coskata Pond only because it was high tide. I would not be able to do it on a low or even a mid tide. I went exploring while I was there. I have never seen so many fiddler crabs in my life. There were thousands and thousands of them there. The shark you see was well inland from the shoreline. I suspect it ventured in on the high tide, got disoriented and was stranded at low tide. The Coskata Caves pictured are interesting. They are located at the mouth of the pond and are quite large. Here are the pictures of Coskata I took while I was there.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog