Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We are writing to express our strong conviction regarding the so-called beer and wine issue in Vineyard Haven. Our conviction grows out of a good many years of experience and observation in a considerable number of communities where we have been associated.

We recognize the business community’s desire to make as much money as possible, especially from the so-called tourist population with which we live. We also recognize the right and desire of many of us, including ourselves, to enjoy a glass of wine at a favorite restaurant.

However, all these supporting arguments pale and fail when measured against the negatives of changing from a dry town to one where beer and wine will flow more freely, no matter what restrictions are adopted. (And, by the way, even the restrictions we now have in place are not enforced to any significant degree. Who can assure us that the proposed restrictions will be enforced any better — and by whom?)

We realize full well that this is a very subtle thing, extremely hard to articulate or even recognize early on. But it is an irrefutable fact that communities with a freer flow of beer and wine are not as family friendly or as safe and quiet and desirable as the so-called dry communities.

We hold up the very obvious example of Ocean City, N.J., which is virtually the only resort on the Jersey Coast where one would want to live or raise a family — and when all is said and done the reason is that somehow amid political upheavals and changes of trends they have remained dry these 125 years, and are proud of it.

Please, Vineyard Haven, think long and hard before going down a road we will soon enough regret.

John and Jane Wilbur

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thank you for the article about the growing use of wind as an electricity resource for the Vineyard. It is exciting as the wind is considered to be our most valuable renewable resource.

I want to correct the information about the value of producing electricity for the Island. Because we have net metering in Massachusetts, you get monthly credit for any power you generate. In any given month, you receive retail rate (about 21 cents per kilowatt hour) for any power you generate that you use. If you make more than you need, then that excess portion is valued at wholesale rate (about six and a half cents per kilowatt hour). In addition, you can sell the value of making clean electricity for the state — called renewable energy credits and receive an additional six cents per kilowatt hour for any power that you make.

I hope that clears up what is often a confusing topic.

Kate Warner

West Tisbury

Kate Warner is director of the Vineyard Energy Project.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This is in response to an opinion piece by Carlos Montoya titled Harnessing Wind Power at Aquinnah Cliffs that appeared in the Sept. 28 edition of the Vineyard Gazette.

Mr. Montoya’s contention was that a 300-plus-foot wind turbine would be a good thing for Aquinnah and the Vineyard. I could not disagree more for the following reasons.

• Virtually all advertisements, brochures, Web sites, and other tourism materials show a picture of the Gay Head Cliffs and/or Gay Head Light. This area is the most photographed spot on all of Martha’s Vineyard. This area looks very much unchanged as it did 30, 40 or even 100 years ago. It presents an appealing vista that entices tourists to visit. Imagine how a 300-foot-plus wind turbine, essentially a power plant, would affect all the tourist advertisements from now on. Folks come to this area to enjoy unspoiled views of nature’s majesty, not a power plant.

• Mr. Montoya states that “a wind turbine at the Cliffs would locate it at the geographic end of the line, Islandwide, thus reducing visibility from Island roadways to the absolute minimum.” Can he be serious? This would be one of the most visible structures on the Vineyard. Peaked Hill the highest spot on the Vineyard is 308 feet. This tower will be taller than that. It will dominate the entire Island.

• Mr. Montoya states that “visually speaking, a large 300-foot-plus tall turbine on a monopole would have a clean, archetypical, minimalist appearance.” A 300-foot tower is not minimalist by any stretch of the imagination. The Gay Head Lighthouse is 51 feet high. This wind turbine would be more than six times higher than the lighthouse. All photos will now be dominated by a wind turbine instead of a 300-year-old historical structure. It will change the character, and appeal, of the area forever.

• The Cliffs are a national landmark, not something to be turned into a power generation station.

• The town of Aquinnah has some of the strictest building height restrictions on the Vineyard, 18 feet in the Cliff area. These regulations are in place to prevent the town vista from being marred by houses popping out of the landscape but a wind tower that will be visible from much of the town is acceptable? Can you imagine the outrage of a homeowner, and taxpayer, who is told that they cannot put a second floor on because of height restrictions but a 300-foot tower can go up next door? The town should be prepared to defend itself on this one.

• Mr. Montoya attempts to make an economic case for the tower. If it is pure economics why not just line up a row of towers along the Moshup Trail? Surely that would generate even more revenue for the town. The economics of the Vineyard are tied to the tourist trade. Many folks who call the Vineyard home would not be able to do so were it not for the dollars that tourists pour into the local economy. Changing the character of one of the most scenic places on the Island will have a negative effect on the tourist trade. Tourists come to Aquinnah to see the Cliffs and the lighthouse, not a wind turbine six times higher than the lighthouse.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the residents of the town of Aquinnah have made great efforts to ensure that the character of that area will not be spoiled by tall buildings. Please do not let the recent zeal for wind power undo all the good that has been done over the past few decades.

Roger Howlett



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I recently returned to the Island after spending seven months in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. My family and I would like to thank all the people who greeted me at the boat: the color guard from the Vineyard Haven American Legion Post #257, the police and the Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven fire departments. I would like to thank all those who had a part in the wonderful time I had on the Island. To my friends and friends of the family thank you for the time I had with you all. And I hope to see you all soon again.

Cpl. Duncan MacMullen

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Terrific Headline: “Magistrate Reduces Hefty Fines in Case Against Joseph Alosso.”

I guess the magistrate found him guilty, but the fines were a bit too high. Oh wait, as I read on, I see that two of the charges and fines were thrown out, and the remaining one is still under review.

Apparently your editor had difficulty identifying the really important parts of the decision.

Robert A. Iadicicco

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Well, another Martha’s Vineyard fishing derby has come and gone but not without controversy. One of our local sharpies boated a very large bass whose belly was full of lead weights. The fish was disqualified. For most of us, however, it was plain that the fisherman in question in no way violated the derby rules. The yo-yo rig is forbidden during the derby and stuffing a fish with anything is a major no-no. After a certain amount of public outcry the fish was reentered, but without the pound and a half or so of lead found deep in its gut. Was that fair? A question sure to be debated over the course of a long cold winter.

Forget the derby for the moment. For me, the pressing question has nothing to do with the derby. Instead, the incident forwards a larger and ultimately more important ethical question regarding the general use of the so-called yo-yo rig to catch striped bass. It was explained to me that these baits involve the use of multiple lead weights stuffed inside large bunker (bait fish) and skewer-like steel wire or wood inserted for stability. The rig is yo-yoed from the boat and irresistible to large hungry bass. Many of the larger bass that swallow these rigs break free from the fisherman trying to boat them and I have been told that it is extremely difficult for these fish to digest the wire and lead.

We all know about the horror of lead poisoning, so how is it okay to be directly responsible for causing these fish to swim around for years with sometimes pounds of pure lead trapped inside their bellies? To me this is cruel. To help prevent unnecessary tissue damage, most of us have modified our fishing techniques by breaking off barbs from hooks, using circle hooks when bottom fishing, etc. Fish-friendly techniques help to preserve this fishery. These so-called yo-yo rigs are brutal, and pounds of lead and metal left lodged deep inside the bellies of large striped bass sounds like we are poisoning the very fish we claim to love and revere! I urge everyone who cares about the food they eat and the creatures that swim in the ocean to seek out information from local fishermen and biologists. Voice your opinion and help outlaw the cruel yo-yo rig and do your bit to preserve and protect the striped bass.

Jeffrey Leistyna

East Chop


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Leonard Jason Sr., who died Oct. 6, was much respected and liked by all the U.S. Coast Guard personnel in Menemsha while I was stationed there from 1957 to 1959. I believe his fishing boat was named Little Lady. I am sure he will be missed by his family and friends.

Charles Gerhart

Allentown, Pa.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Did you see 100-year-old Josephine Spahr cruise along in her wheelchair in the annual Miles of Memories Walk on Sunday Oct. 14?

She represents the tenacity of people with Alzheimer’s who strive to curtail this dread disease. Another wheelchair participant, Florence Bruder, enjoyed the sunny afternoon in support of this worthy cause. More than 50 walkers raised over $9,000 for Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod and the Islands. When they put their feet to the pavement, they show how much they care.

Tom Dresser

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Sept. 28 my wife and I visited Oak Bluffs on board the cruise ship Norwegian Spirit. We decided to visit the lighthouse and asked for directions. We were told that the shortest route was through the park and we set off. Of course we got hopelessly lost and came upon some houses in the park. We then saw a lady on the porch of her house and asked her to redirect us. The lady did more than that, and despite our objections she closed the house and took us up to the lighthouse and insisted on waiting and returning us to the town with advice on the places to visit. We believe her first name was Caroline, but we failed to obtain her surname.

I was unaware of your publication until I contacted the Oak Bluffs town clerk Deborah Ratcliffe deBettencourt who gave me that information and has attempted to find Caroline. We wondered if a mention in your Gazette would get results so that we could thank her properly.

Brenda and Norman Balderson

Grimsby, England