Islander's Blog

Archive for July, 2011

Goodman’s Gam

Friday, July 29th, 2011

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Last Friday as I was installing a bath shower, the woman who owned the house opened the door and asked me what I knew about the closure of streets because of the triathlon. I explained that it seemed a ridiculous time and place to shut down any roads, much less several main ones. She was livid about the entire thing. Basically, her house is just off Cliff Road, though she could have cut down toward Jetties Beach in a pinch.

No such luck, as the area was closed down as well. Her attitude was that she should have been warned about the closures. That morning, some friends had informed her of the upcoming problems. You would like to think that someone (perhaps the event sponsors) might have seen fit to post notices along the streets that weren’t going to be open to traffic. I realize that there were notices in the I&M. Over the years, many people don’t read it in a timely manner, or fail to look at every word written in here. Let’s hope the Board of Selectmen in the future sees fit to disallow these sorts of major disruptions during the summer months.

I remember when the idea of an enterprise account for the airport was first mentioned. It sounded like a pretty great idea. As the years rolled by, we began noticing that no funds ever were returned back to the town coffers. If the airport was breaking even or worse yet, losing money, I could understand it. That certainly isn’t the case here. It’s bad enough that the fund is making money hand over fist, but not good that their budgeting hasn’t been able to set aside money for unexpected occurrences. Now, we may need a Special Town Meeting to come up with money to cover for them temporarily.

Then, much ado was made about two new members of the Airport Commission who are “going to shake things up.” One of the two members got the boot (from the BOS) when he brought up some bad management practices years ago. With a second new member, maybe this “good old boys club” will get the message. That and the attorney general’s office may have more to say on this subject.

I knew there was something I forgot. No-bid contracts and cash bonuses to people for no apparent reason. Anyone who spoke up was slapped down and while I’m sure many working there liked the good wages, a few well-intentioned citizens saw taxpayer money being wasted. So they said something. Good for them.

While this summer hasn’t been as perfect as last summer, that’s no surprise. Last season was a once-every-decade beauty. This July is nice, but we seem to have had more precipitation than usual. August should be better.

Last Saturday it was clouding up, and then we heard thunder from a long distance. Checking the computer, it said we had a fast-moving thunderstorm coming our way. Fifteen minutes later, it got dark as night and within a couple of minutes the heavens opened up. Thirty minutes later and it was over. Another half-hour and the day was sunny and bright.

July is at an end. We have another few months of time to spend on the beach, cooking out in the yard and enjoying the many fresh vegetables that island farms and back yards provide. Blueberries are out and blackberries and beach plums are next. This is still the best place I know. Be well.
David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears weekly in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror

Waterfront News

Monday, July 25th, 2011

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This time of the year I spend a lot of time at Monomoy. It’s a great location to keep an eye on the waterfront and catch the last light of the day. It’s also a great place to grab a few shots of the sunset. I was at Monomoy this evening. It felt like fall. Summer is nearly over. Another five weeks and we will have our island back. I’m looking forward to it.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

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Lately I’ve noticed drivers parking, with their engine running, in order to run and do errands. Often, these aren’t 30-second dashes into a store or the post office. It’s obvious why this is taking place. The vehicle windows are closed tight, so this is all about keeping the air-conditioning running. On Nantucket, air-conditioning is needed a couple of times (at most) each summer, so do we really need it to run unceasingly?

Last weekend I was shopping for corn at Bartlett’s Farm. As I entered the store, there was a woman with a couple of kids by the deli counter. The younger child, who I’d guess was 3 or 4 years old, was throwing a tantrum. Mom conveniently ignored the yelling. After a couple of minutes she comforted him for an instant. It was to no avail, so she kept going as if it never happened. I hurried up and moved along the aisles, to avoid the continual shrieking.

In the 15 minutes spent in Bartlett’s, the noise never abated. A number of shoppers commented on the situation. All I could think about was what my parents used to do. As soon as a hissy fit commenced, one of my parents would immediately scoop up the offender and carry us out of the place. It didn’t take more than a few times before me and my sister learned not to scream when in public. Parents that allow the bad behavior are the problem, not the children. We’ve also seen this in eating establishments, which is even worse. By the way, the corn was worth it.

Round-up is a non selective herbicide that’s for sale at stores all over the island. People use it to rid their walks and driveways of weeds that creep through bricks and cracks. Before Round-up became commonly used, most folks removed noxious growth by digging out and pulling them up by the roots. Remember the term “non-selective herbicide.” It’s the key to why I wrote this.

When Round-up is used, it soaks through the surface and continues to kill whatever plant growth it encounters. Not only that, rain and snow help spread the stuff far and wide. This often leads to leftover herbicide washing down street surfaces and through sewers, where it eventually ends up in our harbors, marshes and fresh-water ponds.

We now have this non-selective herbicide killing off aquatic growth, something our eel grass cannot stand. In the past week, I watched an employee spraying Round-up along the back of downtown restaurant. Mentioning what I’d seen to a friend, she said her gardener had suggested using Round-up to rid her gravel driveway of grass growing through it. She said no, because she has young children and didn’t know enough about the chemicals in it.

The next day, while driving up Main Street, I watched a man spraying Round-up along the edge of the brick sidewalk bordering his yard. Both the restaurant employee and Main Street gentleman sprayed in areas that almost certainly will eventually wash into harbor water. Round-up isn’t illegal to use, but it is bad for our environment.

There are two easy ways to rid your yard of weeds. First, pour boiling water on the weeds (be careful not to spill it on yourself). Within a few days they should pull out more easily. The other choice is the old-fashioned way. Get on your knees and used a sharp tool to yank out the unwanted growth.

Too bad the idiot(s) who tried to steal the whale tail didn’t make off with it. Within a few days, the smell would have given them away and they could have been apprehended.

In another fish story, the Pearl had one of its magnificent aquariums self-destruct in the middle of the night. I was surprised to see they were able to save the fish. Unfortunately, The Boarding House suffered badly, as the almost 500 gallons of water soaked through the ceiling and flooded the ground floor. The restaurant reopened Saturday, and Angela and Seth are sure to get through this and rise above the major setback.

Nantucket seems to have any number of bike and running races and triathlons taking place here each summer. Closing down entire streets is unacceptable and there has to be a better way. These races need to be run on the shoulder, or in the off-season. It would be better for everyone involved.
– David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears weekly in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

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I hear the MedFlight helicopter going over the house at least a time or two each day. What amazes me is how few fatalities occur here each summer. Watching the vehicles dashing to and fro, bike riders assuming that said vehicles won’t bruise them and pedestrians who are far more cavalier than those riding bikes. I see potential accidents that could be very serious every single day.

Some of my favorites are walkers, often two (or more) abreast, often with babies in carriages. Here come the lemmings, daring cars to veer over the center line in order to avoid hitting them. The worst stretch I’ve seen is along Cliff Road. This is a curvy, somewhat hilly drive that has a speed limit of 30 mph, insufficient time to allow for sudden appearances of pedestrians in the road.

While I’m looking at the Cliff Road area, the (unfinished) bike path is being used, even though the telephone poles centered there are hazards, especially in low-light conditions. I’m beginning to wonder if this entire fiasco will be wrapped up by Labor Day. The pace from the utility companies is making snails look peppy.

Not only is the path dangerous, but most of the sawhorses blocking bikes from using the menace have been shoved aside and mean less than they did before. For cars and trucks, the paving hasn’t been completed around the sewer grates, making for a whoop-di-do ride. This is a sad situation and there is no good reason for it.

Losing T.J. Malvesti as the chief at Brant Point was sad, but I’m happy for him and his family. Serving in the Coast Guard, one has to expect to move every few years. Freeport, Texas, get ready, you have a true leader coming your way.

Of late, there has been news here and on the Cape regarding great white sharks being spotted in shallow waters, where they normally stay well offshore. Like any other fish, sharks follow the food. In this case, its seals, primarily, gray seals. To accompany this information is that there seems to be fewer gray seals hanging around Great Point. On the other hand, out around Tuckernuck and Muskeget more seals are congregating on the sand bars. With all the shoal areas out there, sharks would have a difficult time getting close to dinner in most cases.

We lost some good people over the last few months. Preston Manchester was honored last week in a memorial service. I moved here a few months after the Bosun’s Locker closed, so that was an experience missed. I did try to make up for the loss by spending time shooting pool at Preston’s Airport Lounge, while listening to the best juke box in creation. “Poison Ivy” was a favorite tune.

Phyllis Perelman passed away a couple of weeks ago. She was a gentle soul who campaigned for her son when he ran for sheriff. I’m happy that she lived long enough to see Jim win.

Jane Lamb passed away July 4. She lived her whole life in her home “Chaos Corner” in Wauwinet, although during World War II, she also moved closer to town, due to a shortage of gas so she couldn’t commute. I did some work for her about 20 years back and she was a dream customer.

Another old-timer was Warren Valero. He left us on the first of July. Warren was a funny guy, really good at everything he did and a lifesaver for people who locked themselves out of car or home. I watched him remove the side of a house one afternoon, as there were tens of thousands of bees inhabiting the inner walls. He had no fear as the clouds of bees hovered all around him.

Have a good week. Be well.
David’s Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears weekly in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Monday, July 11th, 2011

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If you can deal with the crowds this time of the year, twilight is a great time to visit the waterfront. I have my secret spots I go to every evening alone to enjoy the last light of the day. A visit to the Boat Basin is a must. There’s always a great variety of mega-yachts there to view. All of them are rather ugly to me and I hardly ever give them a second look. Give me an old wooden Harvey Gamage eastern-rigged dragger or scalloper any day and I could stare at her for hours! I ventured down to the waterfront recently at twilight and captured a few scenes . . .
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Waterfront News

Monday, July 4th, 2011

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It finally arrived. Summer. After the worst June in recorded history, summer has arrived and it looks as though it will be here to stay for another eight weeks. Each day now is shorter by one min. I love this time of the year but am also looking forward to winter when we can have our island back. There are only so many people and cars the island can handle before it becomes unbearable to live here. It seems particularly worse this year.

I am always able to escape the crowds and madness in my boat. I was out this weekend on the water and grabbed a few shots of the waterfront.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog