Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A building permit is given to an individual in 2003, to construct a garage to replace an existing 200-square-foot garage. The proposed cost for the replacement garage was to be $22,000. Instead, the project grew to a three-story building with balconies, sliding glass doors and a roof deck. The cost probably exceeded $200,000.

My questions are:

Why must this saga continue?

Wasn’t the present garage built illegally in the first place?

Why should the Copeland District Review Board even be involved?

Why shouldn’t the garage be demolished since it is an illegal structure?

Why is the individual bleeding the coffers of the town of Oak Bluffs?

Why does his lawyer think that the town of Oak Bluffs and this individual should come to an amicable resolution on something illegal?

The 200-square-foot garage was not built. What was built was an illegal structure.

Why can an individual file an appeal when what he did was illegal in the first place? The building permit was not adhered to.

Since the project was illegal, the Copeland District review board doesn’t even have to become involved since they were not initially involved, but only after the fact.

If you or I or anyone else obtained a building permit and did what this individual did, would we be allowed to file several appeals and have a way around the Oak Bluffs building committee and zoning board rules even though what was done was illegal?

An individual who lives near me constructed a second story on his garage that was illegal and within one month, this second story came down since it was illegal. The building permit was not adhered to. What gives this individual a different set of rules to play by?

Oak Bluffs town officials and their legal experts are, I would at least think, smart enough to not be coerced into accepting a request to come to an amicable resolution on something that is illegal.

This individual is bleeding the coffers of the town of Oak Bluffs and the other individuals involved in this escapade, but why? Are his pockets deeper than the others involved? Does he not respect his home town that has provided him a place to conduct his business? Maybe he is only concerned about himself and to hell with all others.

Don’t you think this illegal monstrosity should come down without further delay? An end to this debacle now would also reduce the drain on the taxpayers in this community.

Eric E. Hohenthal

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I most enjoyed the interview that your Mike Seccombe had with Sen. Edward Brooke. I have always admired Senator Brooke.

The last time that I saw him was in 1978 when I was present at a reception at Emily and Henry Cabot Lodge’s home here in Beverly Cove in honor of the then U.S. Senator.

I frequently visit the Vineyard to see family members and recall the senator’s summer home location.

I have often thought that I would like to drop in on him to express my admiration and recall the reception in his honor when I was serving as president of the Republican City Committee.

Thanks for the excellent interview with a very special, talented and honorable citizen.

John Weinheimer



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I have written to the local newspapers before about problems that from time to time arise at the West Tisbury recycling shed. I regret to say I feel I must now write another one about our current situation.

Two troublesome matters bother us at present. The first concerns the condition of items that increasingly show up under the guise of donations. I have complained about this before and for a while things improved, but now it seems worse than ever. Things missing parts, things whose usefulness expired months or years ago, a pressure cooker with no top, an oil lamp with neither wick nor mantle (We always ask whether an electric appliance works and the donor always says it does. Can you imagine anyone replying “Well, no, not really. It turns on but it doesn’t chop/heat/play/toast!”) and so many clothes! Who on earth would want a large, topless cardboard box full of discarded clothes that looks and smells as though it has been sitting in a basement or garage for 20 years or so and now harbors spiders, some long ago bird droppings, an occasional deserted mouse nest, straw, feathers, and various forms of dirt. Are we really expected to paw through this to try to find something worth keeping?

The donors sometime have the nerve to complain when we reject such contributions, which only adds to the aggravation. Then there are the really infuriating people who when we are too busy to watch for them deposit at the other end of the building items — often large and unwieldy — a computer copier missing a vital part, half a dozen ugly, discolored plastic lawn chairs, an ironing board that won’t stand up and worst of all, a dead television set that will cost us $35 to dispose of. These, by the way, are not always summer people but are year-round Vineyarders who ought to know better.

This really is intolerable behavior, yet we have no choice but to cope with it nearly every time we are open, all year round.

Which brings me to our second problem, one that has developed only recently. We have a very dedicated staff of volunteers, some of whom have been working at the recycling shed since it opened over 10 years ago. We also were fortunate to recently acquire several new helpers, all of whom quickly learned to put up with a fair amount of unpleasant back talk from people who bring unacceptable items. (I should note here that we also have a great many conscientious donors who consistently bring in excellent things and are a pleasure to deal with.) But two of our volunteers — one recent, one long-term — have quit, saying they find it too depressing nowadays to work at the shed because there are so many ill-mannered, nasty people to deal with. This leaves us more short-staffed than usual at a time when even at this late date (September) we are still usually overburdened with contributions.

Ironically, the recycling shed may now be too successful. Too many people have taken to regarding our well-meant enterprise as a dumping place for any old thing they want to get rid of. And I guess that it is pretty easy to foist a lot of junk on us that you don’t want to pay to get rid of.

So we are asking all of you who read this letter to help make our tasks easier and less stressful, especially if you are one of the dozens of people who use and benefit from our service. Consult your conscience before you bury that iron that no longer heats under those pretty dishes you plan to give away. And if you see someone sneak up and put down, where we can’t see it, anything suspicious, especially a television or computer-related item, grab a volunteer and tell her about it. We need all the cooperation from the public we can get these days.

Jean Wexler

West Tisbury

Deeply Appalled

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Two letters in your August 10 issue really got my attention. What in the world is happening on the Vineyard? What are you thinking?

Dr. John B. Thomas’s comment on the Shark Tournament was right on the money. I was born in Oak Bluffs and somewhere along the line everyone I know must have died or moved away. I can’t imagine anyone of my generation allowing this disgraceful treatment of any thing that swims in Island waters or any water, anywhere.

I have voiced my opinion to your selectmen before and I’m doing it again. Stop this horrible display of tortured sharks. Where in the world did the citizens of Oak Bluffs dream up this idea of sport? I’m so ashamed and glad I no longer live there, with people who allow this type of violence to be displayed in your town. Shame on you!

Letter #2 by Steven Carreiro regarding the payment of cash wages under the table to your undocumented workers who have come to Vineyard to work and live there. Where is your Steamship Authority?

Some businesses are owned by your town run government members and respected, plus they are hiring people who have no legal documents or Social Security cards that are registered or have passports to be here to become part of your society. How many W-2 forms are being filed by Jan. 31?.

Like Steven, my parents were from the Azores arriving with my sister and brother in tow, passports in hand because we still retained this important document. They all became American citizens after a required amount of time, only after my parents studied English with Harry Dorn, the Oak Bluffs teacher who taught them and other immigrants from Portugal plus half of Oak Bluffs residents.

I now live in Tucson and near the Mexican border and unfortunately have the same problem. The carpenters, painters and pickers come to Arizona to get jobs and paid cash by your business owners who also are people in high places.

The laws are more in line now, all owners of businesses must be licensed and bonded, plus all workers undergo a drug test. A background check is required also. It’s so easy for your employers to use the internet to see there is no one with a criminal background and there with proper documents.

The I.R.S. is always interested in people who are cheating them out of taxes. You can be reported and it will cost you a few bucks for being a cheat plus a jail term.

I hope Steven sees this letter, because he deserves a decent wage to continue to live there, and the business owners wise up, so that the light in the Statue of Liberty continues to shine for all the young people that were born here can maintain their proud Portuguese heritage. Be honest with yourself and stop doing the wrong thing by cheating your government and your Island people.

Dorothy Frank

Tucson, Arizona


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Of all the stories in any edition of the paper, the one about Tuesday the Vineyard Haven cat has to be tops. It is superb. Although our vacation is over, I feel the need to come back just to see Tuesday for myself.

I love you Tuesday

You’re so very sweet,

You’re a friend I’ve yet to meet.

I think your tiger stripes are very neat.

I like your style, you darling cat,

You know just where it’s at.

We share the same affection,

Travel the same direction,

Doing all the Vineyard Haven spots to perfection.

A deli meal on Main

Then, the Bowl and Board.

A trip to Bunch of Grapes, Mardell’s and banks

That’s all it takes

To make a morning stroll complete.

There is no other paper that

Would give half a page to a photogenic cat.

Thanks to the Gazette is what I say,

You really made my day.

Lucille Lapinskas

Nashua, N.H.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Eat a peach and heal the earth; a local peach that is. Here is something to think about, if every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.

Eating food items that are grown locally makes sense. Apples from New Zealand can be found in the produce section of the grocery stores, when apples are being harvested right here in Massachusetts! Think of the extra gas that is used to ship food thousands of miles across the globe. If the food is also organic, it saves even more oil, because of the fossil fuels used in the synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

The local farm stands are brimming with the season’s bounty and their fresh-picked taste is exquisite. While being a treat to the taste buds, it is also a good way to conserve on fossil fuels by eliminating the transportation of the produce from all corners of the earth. Buying local also supports our local farmers and open space.

Eat your way to preservation. Massachusetts loses 40 acres per day to development. Often local farmers have to sell their land because they can’t afford to keep it. Buying local food helps to preserve the rural landscapes of cows grazing in pastures, golden hay fields, blossoming apple orchards and the extra open space that fills out most farms. Support farmers by eating farm stand produce, local eggs and milk; use local honey instead of sugar shipped from the tropics and read the labels at the grocery store to see from where the food has traveled.

Then there is the taste. One of the best tips for making excellent food is simply to use the best ingredients available. The flavor of a ripe raspberry, a crimson garden tomato or a juicy fresh peach can’t be beat. Recipes are delectable when fresh ingredients are used. An added benefit is better nutritional value. Various studies have shown that nutrients can be lost during storage and transport. Experiment with food that is in season. Grill asparagus in the spring, make tomato basil salads in the summer and try casseroles or soups that feature the squashes in the fall.

It doesn’t take much effort to change some buying habits to benefit our local economy, our health and the environment. You will be surprised at all the edible items that are grown in our backyards and in New England. Every little bit helps.

Anne Mazar


Autumn classic

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There was a lump in my throat as I sat watching the last Chilmark softball game on the Labor Day weekend. Here were some 30-plus baseball addicts thoroughly enjoying each other, while competing in the final games. The first one was 9-8; the second ended in a tie. The play was a bit ragged. Perhaps the ten-game schedule had extracted its toll. No matter, there were no losers, only winners. High fives were given all around. Arlen and Howie provided a hot dog roast for all. Then there were the plaintive farewells and “see you next year.” Commissioner Meegan began picking up the bases, home plate and bats to store for the winter. But wait — “Hey, what about a Chilmark softball World Series on Columbus Day weekend?” someone cried. “Yes, yes,” came the chorus. So, on Sunday, Oct. 7, around nine in the morning, the first and only game of the Chilmark World Series will be played at Peaked Hill Stadium. Maybe there’ll be a follow-up game on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe, the softball season will never end. This is the stuff my dreams are made of. Keep the Label up!

Bill Edison


The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.