Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Recently, about the recent Martha’s Vineyard Commission meeting where they considered the nomination of five ancient ways in Edgartown as districts of critical planning concern. The story reported at one point: “When one woman Thursday suggested the Hall family might disregard the moratorium if the commission did not take action, she received a sharp rebuke from Therese Hall. “I think it’s disgusting to think the Hall family would do anything to hurt this town and this Island we love more than anything . . . you all think we are going to do something awful on this property and it’s wrong,” she said.

I would like to state for the record that I am the woman noted in the article who voiced my concerns that the Hall family would ignore the moratorium. I would also like to state for the record that J.C. Clark Trucking, working on behalf of the Hall family, was working along Middle Line Path, cutting trees and creating a roadway, ignoring the moratorium just as I feared. They were served with a ce ase and desist order, which stopped them from working in that spot but did notprevent the crew from doing the same thing the following day on Watcha Path.

While I am not personally passing judgment on the Hall family, it could be argued that letting rentalhouses fall into disarray, allowing hundreds of junk cars to be dumped on your property and allowing a treasured old building in the center oftown to remain emptyand all but completely falldown is hurtful to the town, supporting public fears that something negativemay occur on these pathways as well.

I leave that to the public to judge. However, I implore the town votersto support this endeavor to declare these paths special ways should it come to a town vote. Do not be duped into thinking that the town will be obligated to widen these paths to 40 feet and make them accessibleto motor vehicle traffic. The town can take contro l of themto protect them as special ways while keeping them as footpaths. I assure you, it is not the town that is jeopardizing and threateningthese wonderful paths.

I would like to ask the Hall family to publicly promise that they will discontinue the cutting of trees and the development of roads along these ancientways while the moratorium is in place and while the commission and the town of Edgartown continue to evaluate this proposal. That way, they could show the members of this town that they really do want to protect these ancient pathways and not alter their nature in any way.

Gail Gardner Craig



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing to express my appreciation to one of our Island’s well-known institutions. Last week I put together a care package to be sent to Afghanistan for our servicemen and women stationed at one of NATO’s bases. Lieut. Cmder. Bo Hornbuckle, who will supervise the distribution of this material, had given me a list of items the men and women could readily use and appreciate. (Commander Hornbuckle is the son in law of Judy Jardin of Chilmark.) T-shirts appeared near the top of the list. Of course, T-shirts are an Island-grown commodity. They are seen in every other store in every other town on the Island so I had many choices, but really only one truly unique one. I called on The Black Dog in Vineyard Haven and spoke with Robert Douglas Jr. Without any hesitation and with much generosity he provided me with shirts to outfit a squad, appropriately camouflaged and embossed with their famous Black Dog. I have requested that Commander Hornbuckle send back photos of the troops in uniform.

Many thanks to the Black Dog, Robert Douglas and Martha Louise for their assistance.

Jim Luther



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a mainlander I for the second time had the distinct pleasure of fishing the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, although I fished only for a few days and had to return to the mainland the same way I came — without a new truck or boat but by ferry. I departed the Vineyard with lifetime memories and more than a will to return.

The Island was alive with people, young and old, anglers and non-anglers alike. The anglers all had great expectations of catching that big one. Most of us only had a story of the one that got away in the end. Not by our fault mind you but manufacturer defect on tackle, equipment, or the seagull that swooped out of nowhere and stole it. Many like myself fished not for the prizes but the glory and to live in infamy for eternity, especially being an off-Islander. Once again the Island fishermen as always set the bar to beat high and rightfully so. I just wish this year they didn’t do so on the first days of the derby.

The weather was beautiful as was the Island and surrounding areas. I did also get to weigh and donate a fish, spend some time at the weighing shack and see the excitement and disappointment on lots of faces. I caught too many fish to count including 10 albacore on a light spinning rod on one of those days. (This great feat alone should have gotten me some kind of prize — I don’t think many have done it).

The real point of my letter is to thank everyone for all their hard work keeping the derby alive. I would bet you all are underappreciated and partial so because everyone sees just how much you love the derby. Keep it up, your reward is keeping alive all the memories for generations past and future. I hope to someday share this event with my son and someday see him with his son.

P.S. Message for the guy I fished with: I told you my fish you let go was the daily blue, you owe me a pin! for the Bonito. You can’t hide from me forever!

Francis J Barkyoumb

Killingworth, Conn.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There’s a line from the old movie network that constantly runs through my mind every time I take my dog out for a walk on the Ramble Trail, which starts at the end of my block in Vineyard Haven. The line is, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Thank you, Paddy Chayefsky.

I’m fortunate enough to live on the street that connects to the Ramble Trail. The reason I’m mad is because of all the garbage and assorted debris ranging from nips and Red Bull cans to old clothing and lobster shells left on the road on which I live, the small parking area in front of the trail, and on the trail itself. The Ramble Trail is a real gem put aside by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank for people to — how should I put it? Ramble on. They ramble by themselves, with their friends and lovers, with their dogs and, in my case, my cats as well. I feel very lucky to live close to the Ramble Trail. When it’s not bombarded with garbage, it’s a little slice of heaven where you can walk the assorted trails, smell the unique briny aroma of Lagoon Pond and daydream. But in the past couple of years I have noticed that individuals have discovered it and have made it a dumping ground. Whatever happened to carry in, carry out?

As I discovered recently, this is not an isolated situation. I walk with a friend of mine who lives close to Sunset Lake in Oak Bluffs. As we were walking the other day, I mentioned to her my frustration over the way people were using my neighborhood as a dumping ground. As we discussed various solutions to the problem such as putting a garbage pail in the parking lot, a neighborhood watch or a community cleanup, she looked down and saw a discarded plastic grocery bag filled with garbage in the middle of the road. She said not to worry; someone would come along and clean it up. Today she told me that the bag of garbage had blown all over the lovely park that runs adjacent to Sunset Lake, leaving behind old crusts of bread, corncobs and cigarette butts. Guess we should have picked it up when we had the chance and not waited for maintenance.

This past Sunday, however, was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. That day we received a telephone call from a friend that a property my husband owns on The Boulevard in Edgartown had been vandalized. We drove over to assess the damage and were frankly appalled by what we saw. Okay, so a window was broken. Kids break windows; maybe it’s some strange rite of passage. However, it wasn’t just the window that was broken; someone had come along and ripped the white picket fence apart. The gate was torn off and multiple slats of fence ripped off. What gives? To me this is an act of violence. While my husband and I were there doing cleanup, a lovely lady from the neighborhood came by and told us that there has been a rash of vandalism happening in the area and she herself had fallen victim to it when a pair of garden ornaments from her beautiful garden were destroyed by vandals.

These are things that you never worried about 10 years ago. What has changed that makes individuals have so little respect for their own environment and other people’s property? I don’t have the answer; all I know is I’ll continue to clean up when I see that it needs cleaning up and I’ll do my part and carry in and carry out as I have done my entire life, as I know my friends do. It would be nice if someone who has littered carelessly in the past reads this, takes it to heart and thinks before they toss garbage anywhere except in a garbage can. It would also be nice if whoever vandalized anyone’s property would consider getting professional help because, frankly, you need it.

Maribeth Priore

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The first annual Martha’s Vineyard kayak derby last month featured hard fishing and very few fish. Originally to last only three days in length, the derby was extended to a week following three days of unfavorable east winds and not a single fish weighed in.

The winning fish proved to be a 26.5-pound striped bass caught by derby co-founder Jim Feiner. The grand prize for the derby was a sea kayak from South Africa donated generously by Wilton Holmes worth $2,800. Mr. Holmes is the U.S. distributor of the Tunny, a unique lightweight sit-on-top kayak designed for both fishing and diving in a variety of surf and calm conditions. He has eight boats left from his original shipment and is hoping to sell them on the East Coast before departing for South Africa. Interested kayakers can reach him at 774-563-1057.

The derby, a concept originally thought of two years ago by Jim Feiner, was co-organized by both Jim and Chick Dowd, the spirited owner of Island Spirit kayak company. Their combined efforts to create a venue for avid kayak fishermen was well received with 17 applicants in the first derby and many more people who pledged to join next year. Mr. Feiner and a number of other kayakers feel strongly that a kayak is in no way able to compete with power boats and would like to see a kayak class added to the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby at some point in the future. The risks, effort and challenges of fishing from a kayak have spawned a new breed of eco-fisherman who feel it puts the sport back in sportsmanship.

The derby committee wants to offer a generous thank-you to all the sponsors who contributed to making this event fun and enjoyable for all.

At the wrap-up party some suggestions were floated that the kayak derby be the same length as the main derby and that a formal committee be put together to further promote safe fishing. To share your thoughts e-mail A formal web address will be created this fall.

Jim Feiner and Chick Dowd

Chilmark and Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It has been three weeks since my travel adventure — and what an adventure it was! I was all by myself, in a sailboat charting the high seas in a race around the world; I was from war-torn Uganda entering the highly acclaimed music and dance festival of Africa; I was an orphan on the streets of Singapore; I was part of a Brazilian kidnapping crime ring; I was in the lottery for a free house in Aquinnah; I was a polar bear cub traveling the Arctic snowfields; I made music in Istanbul; I looked for opal in Australia; I had love affairs in Paris; I was an aging aristocrat in Buenos Aires. And there were so many more places I could have gone, adventures I could have had if only I could be in more than one place at the same time. I could have gone Into the Wild with Sean Penn, I could have gone to Switzerland, to Denmark, to Delhi, to Cuba, to Iran, to Bosnia, to Croatia, to Beijing.

And when I had gone all the places I could possibly go in one day, I was rested and ready to share my adventures, with a glass of wine, great music and delicious foods at a beach party aboard and dockside the Alabama. Or I was on the Mansion House rooftop on the eve of a splendid, near autumnal equinox sunset. Or I was deep in the armchair comforts of Che’s. Or I was at the Oyster Bar with all the trimmings, or at a coffee chat at the Belushi-Pisano Gallery one day, Beetlebung the next, or at an English Butler afternoon tea. I listened to live music at the Bowl and Board and feasted on art gallery art and refreshments at the Art Walk on Main street.

All those places for a very small price to join the festive crowd and the International Film Festival on Main street in Vineyard Haven, movie schedule in hand, choosing my next adventure. Part of the big picture on a small Island.

Here for the festival, a new acquaintance exclaimed excitedly: “This is a big deal! This is a great secret! If you go to Sundance, you never get to tip your wine glass with, or hear the inside stories of the producers, the directors of these award-winning, soon-to be-released big ticket films.”

And so I share the secret — Richard Paradise’s secret, really. Next year (every year?), third week in September, the International Film Festival, right here in Vineyard Haven at the Capawock, the Katharine Cornell Theatre and the Vineyard Playhouse. A small haven in a big world. Pack your suitcase for adventure.

Jane Marsh

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Joining with Masonic lodges across the commonwealth, the Oriental Martha’s Vineyard Lodge in Oak Bluffs will open its doors to the public on Saturday, Oct. 13, as part of Square and Compasses Day, a statewide celebration of Freemasonry. If you’ve ever wondered who the Freemasons are, whether they are really the descendants of the Knights Templars, or what the inside of their building looks like, here’s your chance to find out.

In conjunction with the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, more than 235 lodges will be hosting open houses to help the public gain a better understanding of what Freemasonry is and the positive impact that it has on its members, their families and the community. Members will provide tours of their building, talk about Freemasonry’s history, discuss its rituals, signs, and symbols, and explain what they do.

Squares and Compasses Day is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about Freemasonry to meet and talk with Masons in their community; although many have heard of us, very few are aware that for nearly 275 years we have been part of an unbroken tradition of great men who have changed our world in ways both big and small. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thurgood Marshall and John Glenn, for example, all joined the Masons prior to achieving the greatness we recognize them for. There are countless other great men, whose names are not widely known, that made their families, workplaces, and communities better because they were Masons.

Freemasonry traces its roots to the stone mason guilds that built Europe’s cathedrals and castles during the first half of the last millennium. As the construction of these buildings declined, the stone masons began accepting members from outside their trade. These new members, influenced by the Age of Enlightenment, began transforming the organization from what was a precursor to today’s unions, into what has become the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. In 1717 Freemasonry was formally organized in London, England. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was formed in 1733, making it the oldest grand lodge in Western Hemisphere and the third oldest in the world. They will celebrate their 275th anniversary next year.

Freemasonry seeks to bring together men of every race, religion, nationality and opinion and develop bonds of friendship. Through a large variety of North American Masonic philanthropies, more than $2 million is given to charities, 70 per cent of which benefits the general public. During its initiation ceremony, which uses symbolism and allegory, members are encouraged to value principles, ethics and morality and to live their lives accordingly. By its motto of making good men better, Freemasonry positively benefits its members, families and communities. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts includes 40,000 members and more than 235 lodges throughout the commonwealth.

Leonard R. Verville

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I read your history of Martha’s Vineyard on the Internet and saw that you had just a brief note on the Navy airfield that said that the field was used to train pilots to learn to fly on and off aircraft carriers and for aerial gunnery. There was more to it than that. I was in VS 33 and we were the first to use the field to fly anti-sub missions from the Island. We used OS2U, two-man aircraft. We had a pilot and radioman and we carried depth charges. I was an aviation radioman second class. (I am now 85 and one of the lucky World War II vets to still be around.)

The Navy rotated the crews back and forth to the mainland at Quonset Point, R.I. I remember there were not many people about on Martha’s Vineyard and it was very cold in the winter, though I was struck by its beauty when flying back from a patrol.

We usually flew two plane missions and went out about 100 miles from the Island. We usually flew dawn patrols and then in the late afternoon and always had to get back before dark. I have enclosed two pages from my log as all the radiomen and the pilots had to keep logs. Also a picture of the plane we flew in. On our missions we saw lots of ships and a few that had been hit by submarines during the night. And we saw lots of whales and other sea life, but we never saw a sub while on patrol. The last sub sunk in World War II was three miles off Point Judith, R.I. The German sub was a V853.

So I thought that your readers might find it interesting that Martha’s Vineyard was almost like a stationary aircraft carrier during World War II and patrols were flown from your airfield.

Joseph McLaughlin

Orange Park, Fla.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

You’re a young or youngish woman who drives a large, fairly new pickup truck. On a recent Monday evening at around 6 p.m. you were heading west and south on West Spring street in Vineyard Haven and when you took the sharp turn just before the waterworks you were driving — fast — in the middle of the road. Your truck was straddling the center line and you were surprised by my car coming around the corner. Fortunately I was in my lane, and my reflexes were working, so I was able to drive up onto the road bank before you hit me. My passenger and I were, needless to say, shaken and then angry. I hope you were scared and Ihope thatscare taught you a lesson.

Susan Forbes Hansen

Vineyard Haven

and West Hartford


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a family, we took the overnight boat from New Bedford to Oak Bluffs. My brother and I thought that was an adventure. The Uncatena.

We rented a house, Edgemere, at Eastville. It had a dock and we swam off it.

Then we rented houses at East Chop. We swam at the East Chop Beach Club, played tennis at the Tennis Club and attended the dances there. Oh, the rides on the merry-go-round at Oak Bluffs. And treats at the Darlings candy shop.

My mother died in 1943 on the Island. We continued coming to the Vineyard with our stepfather and our young sister. We ate our main meal at the Ahoma Inn.

I married in 1945 and still enjoyed summers at East Chop. My brother owns a house on the bluffs.

We built up-Island in Chilmark. Our three children enjoyed our wonderful beach on Menemsha Pond.

So many memories and now I am going to be 90 years old in January.

My children and grandchildren love the Island and its beauty. One son lives on the Island year-round with his family; another son comes over weekends with his son. My daughter lives in Savannah with her family. I have a stepdaughter who lived in Hong Kong but now is a year-round resident with her family. She owns a famous business.

My first husband died on the Vineyard and is buried at Abel’s Hill. My now husband, though a Californian, agrees that Chilmark and Martha’s Vineyard are very special.

I have been blessed.

Eleanor Wall Jensen



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

My wife suffers from COPD. The abbreviation means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It means that she smoked too much for too many years. Now her breathing needs medical assistance. I installed a stair lift so she can get to our second floor, and so on.

Please inform your readers that smoking really does kill and that isn’t sudden; it means a slow death. Any smoker may as well buy the best health insurance policy or again suffer the consequences.

Jim Masek

Vineyard Haven