If the ecological police fined businesses for wasting paper, they’d surely cite the Vineyard Gazette every week in summer when its Tuesday edition comes out.
This past Tuesday’s paper, however, was worth a look. Being ecologically aware (not to mention too cheap and lazy to go to the store and buy a copy), I read it online. In “Island Conservation Leaders Look to Future” (this link may not work if you don’t have an online subscription), senior editor Julia Wells wrote this about Adam Moore, executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation:
For Mr. Moore that [SMF's agenda] includes a quiet shift toward increased public access to Sheriff’s Meadow properties, an ambitious project to remove invasive species and a concerted effort to raise visibility and awareness around the properties. “We want people to know that Sheriff’s Meadow is their land trust, and for a kid growing up here that Cedar Tree Neck is their property,” he said.
WTF?? How could Mr. Moore say this with a straight face? How could reporter Wells not follow up with a question about that contested parcel of land on Blue Barque Road, Chilmark?
Well, it’s summer. The Gazette has long been the summer people’s paper. The summer people are here, and the overwhelming majority of them don’t know diddly about the case or about anything else that happens when they’re not around. (It just dawned on me that my STOP THE ROUNDABOUT bumper sticker means, among other things, “I live here.”) And the Gazette‘s coverage of the story, while not as outrageously biased as that of the Martha’s Vineyard Times, still sounds as though it were written by SMF staffers.
So in the interest of truth, justice, and what we wish were the American way of life, I submitted this comment to the online Gazette:
Did Adam Moore really say that “We want people to know that Sheriff’s Meadow is their land trust, and for a kid growing up here that Cedar Tree Neck is their property”?
The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation is currently waging an expensive legal battle to prevent an island couple, Ben Ramsey and Nisa Counter, from building a home on their own property. They’ve resisted mediation all along, probably because when you’ve got big bucks but few facts on your side, suing makes more sense than working it out.
If I’d been interviewing Mr. Moore, I would have asked how he reconciled his statement with SMF’s actions. I’m surprised Ms. Wells didn’t ask him herself.
The Gazette “moderates” comments submitted to its website. My experience is that if they pass muster, they usually appear within an hour or two. This one hasn’t appeared yet, and it’s been three days. For days the story’s only approved comment started “Good article, Julia” and was written by a self-identified new arrival. This morning, though, what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:
In the article it says Mr. Moore has an “ambitious project to remove invasive species” from these properties. From what I’ve read over the last year I take that to mean the “invasive species” are the people who own and have owned the property for way more years that he has even been around. Let me know if I’m wrong [about] this.
It was signed “Dawn Wilson, NC.”
My own thought was that the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation itself might be an invasive species. In yesterday’s “Sheriff’s Meadow Gets a Makeover,” Gazette writer Katie Ruppel notes that SMF plans to “control and hopefully eliminate several invasive species that have displaced or destroyed native species” on the property for which SMF was named. SMF does seem to have displaced, or perhaps “misplaced” would be a better word, the ideals on which it was founded.
“As for the plants,” the story warns, “the nature of invasive species is so resilient and competitive that they have no chance without intervention.”
Got that right. It’s long past time for SMF volunteers, donors, and board members to intervene, before SMF displaces anyone else, or destroys their dream of making a home here.