Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We write to express our appreciation for the Martha’s Vineyard community’s support of our daughter, Virginia, during her life, and for its recognition of her inspiring qualities following her death on Oct. 5.

Virginia has loved this Island since she first came here as a seven-year-old child. Nine years ago she moved to the Vineyard to live full time. That decision was hers alone, and it was a brilliant choice. She had a gift for finding and creating community. The support and love that poured into her life was a joy for her, and it was a blessing for all of us who walked her difficult path with her.

Her death was full of sadness, but her life was full of joy. Her determination, humor, independence and friendship was recognized by this wonderful Island home. We thank the many people who were part of Virginia’s life for the love and support that surrounded her, especially over the last year of her life. We knew as soon as she was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2006 that she did not have long to live. Virginia, in her determined way, continued to the very end to live her life to the fullest. We gave her the “dignity of risk,” and she taught us all how to love and how to die with courage and fortitude.

The celebration of her life last Saturday was a gift from her. We wept, laughed, danced and mourned her passing. We thank the community of love and support that sustained us and Virginia. A friend sent us this blessing: Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be swift to love, and make haste to be kind, and the peace of God will always be with you.”

We love and thank this Island community for taking the time to gladden our hearts.

Lucy and Sheldon Hackney

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The cost of oil is skyrocketing and with it will go the costs of living, especially on the Islands. This will have a mighty effect on the working class here. A recent article highlighted this when the Steamship Authority said that every $10 added to the cost of a barrel of oil translated into $1 million in extra fuel expense.

But there are alternatives to fossil fuels. San Francisco plans two solar and wind-powered ferries that will cost a premium of 50 per cent over fossil fuel-only powered ferries. With the cost of fossil fuels ever rising this has to be an alternative worth looking at. Or look at Cousteau’s Alcyon driven by wind turbines since 1985 with transatlantic voyages successfully accomplished. These turbines combine with diesel power to drive the propellers and should be able theoretically be retrofitted to existing vessels. Sails are not used but cylindrical towers with rotors contained within. The overall savings to Alcyon were calculated to be one third. The carbon emissions from the diesel powered ferries add significant pollution to our immediate and overall environment and the time is here when a carbon tax should be discussed as is the case in today’s world where industries pollute.

If a carbon tax on the SSA was imposed the effect could be to push them to either retrofit their vessels to cleaner more sustainable energy sources, or in the alternative, to help to clear the financial logjam in the ports of Tisbury and Oak Bluffs where it is especially evident in the case of Tisbury that the plans to remove the telephone poles along Beach Road are in dire need of financing. If combined with the planting of trees all along Beach Road this would enhance the main entrance to the Island, ensure a counterbalance to the pollution emitted by the ferries and have the added benefit of welcoming more wildlife.

Frank Brunelle

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

For anyone who is tired of zoning rules and regulations, building permits, flood plains, septic regulations and setbacks to wells, let me tell you what happens without these rules! In Nicaragua, without zoning, without surveys, without boundary markers, without septic rules, there is chaos.

We have had torrential rains here for many weeks, beginning with Hurricane Felix. Sadly, there is no plan to prevent people from building on dry river beds or along little creeks. And when it rains a lot, these little creeks become boiling torrents carrying trees and rocks and mud and crushing homes and people. Then when the dry season returns, the homes are rebuilt in the same place.

And it is usually the poor who build along the rivers and streams. It is easier to walk a few steps to fetch water. The streams are also convenient places to throw garbage. Your garbage is always being washed downstream. Sewage drains from your outhouse down to the river and is also washed away, but your neighbor’s garbage and sewage ends up in front of you. From this contaminated water source, you draw your water to cook with, bathe with and clean.

There is a whole town, Chureca, built on top of the garbage dump for Managua. When the garbage trucks arrive every day, the children swarm the trucks, ripping open bags, looking for anything edible or of value. Chureca is where amputated body parts and syringes from the hospitals are dumped.

You can put an outhouse or dig a well (usually surface water) anywhere you want, even within feet of your neighbor’s well. You can take your neighborhood home and turn it into a disco or change the oil in your car and let it flow into the gutter.

Good deeds with clear titles are hard to find, and if you do not have a good deed, you cannot get a mortgage or raise capital from the equity in your home.

We take so much for granted in the U.S. Sometimes we chafe under rules, but living without rules here makes me appreciate the rules we have back in the states.

To end on a good note, there is a 17-year-old boy who used to sell cigarettes and candies on the streets. He weighs about 115 pounds and is now a boxer, scheduled to fight in Japan. His nickname here is El Chocolate. For this fight he will make about $200,000 to start. We are all wishing him well, and can only imagine the excitement of going from rags to riches. If you see his name in the states, you will know where he came from. He is a fine young man, so wish him well.

Keep the faith and hugs to all.

Muriel Laverty

Siuna, Nicaragua


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I’m an avid Patriots fan. I wish I could afford season tickets and the cost of travel to and from the Island in order to attend their home games; furthermore I wish it were within my financial means to travel to all their away games and lend them my support. Unfortunately, for a working-class Joe like myself these options are beyond my means. I have therefore been searching Islandwide for the perfect venue to watch and support my team. Finally I have found my home.

Outerland is the only place on the Island to watch Patriots football. I went there on Sunday, after the derby awards, to catch the game and was totally blown away. They have just installed a 14-foot-tall, high definition projection screen on the stage, and it is amazing. Coupled with the most advanced sound system of any venue on the Island, this video system literally puts you right on the sidelines with coach Bill Belichick calling the plays, so you feel the thunder of the Pats as they move downfield.

The players appear larger than life and unlike many projection systems wherein the quality and contrast of the image is sacrificed to size, the system at Outerland allows the fan to view our champions with crystal clear clarity, and the roar of the crowd really makes you feel like you’re in the stadium.

I know that as Islanders we have more important things to contend with than merely wondering where to go to watch a football game, but we all know the winter season can be long here and that a fun diversion goes a long way to shortening the off-season whilst keeping at bay the chill of the harsh winter wind. The owners of Outerland and their chef have found a way to do that for each and every Pats fan on the Island.

What a great year to be an Island sports fan.

Mike Gilman



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to express my deeply felt gratitude toward the many Vineyarders who touched my life while I was conducting cultural anthropological field work needed to meet a dissertation requirement at Binghamton University of New York. A great number of Vineyarders showed their kindness, warmth, honesty, fairness and sincerity toward me in so many ways, great and small. Thank you for seeing the significance and value of my study as demonstrated through our discussions during chance encounters, at social events and during interviews. I am thankful to those who were polite while I pursued interviews through cold calls. I was pleasantly surprised at how few cold calls I had to make before people agreed to be interviewed. Thank you to those who helped in other ways, e.g. explaining Vineyard ways, county and town functions and land use on the Island, making suggestions about my study and pointing me in the direction of people who might like to be interviewed. I also would like to thank those who graciously said no upon request for an interview.

Heartfelt thanks to those Vineyarders who welcomed me as a friend. The level of joy and fun you brought cannot be described. I would also like to thank the many Vineyarders who helped my mom and our family after my mother (a Tisbury resident) had a severe stroke on Feb. 28. These include caregivers, neighbors and friends who helped. Their kind acts have played a huge part in her remaining in good spirits, making this huge tragedy far easier for our family to endure.

My next year will be used to sort and analyze data, formulate chapters and write my dissertation. The amount and scope of information I received is abundant and far reaching. It will enable me to show, through the eyes of the 250 participants who took part in interviews and other Vineyarders with whom I spoke (but did not interview), the Martha’s Vineyard health care system. My study includes mainstream and alternative health care providers. I will show how social interaction among Vineyard health care providers and those who use them enable or impede health care access. I will show how study participants believe their health care system can be improved and how they can maximize their health care access.

I will donate a copy of my dissertation to any Island library that wants it. My dissertation will be available both in hard copy and by download to those who wish to read it. I will write to the editor again as soon as my dissertation is available. It is my hope that Vineyarders will benefit greatly from my work.

Please feel free to call me for a phone interview at 570-775-7853; if this entails a toll call, I will call back.

Thank you all again and again.

Sandra Polleys

Hawley, Pa.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On behalf of the Vineyard Nursing Association, the Dukes County Savings Bank and myself personally, I would like to thank the board of directors of the Vineyard Golf Club for the use of the course for our fifth annual Dukes County Savings Bank golf classic benefiting the Vineyard Nursing Association. I would also like to thank and complement the management and staff for a job extremely well done. With their help and hard work, we were able to raise almost $50,000, which will be put to a marvelous purpose, providing skilled nursing services to the Island population. The Vineyard Golf Club has once again stepped up to the plate (or should I say, the tee box) and made its marvelous facility available to an important charity of the Island. The golf club is a quiet but crucial force in helping us Islanders live better lives, and it should be thanked and applauded for its efforts.

Robert N. Wheeler

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Why take the Oak out of Oak Bluffs? One hundred years ago the town incorporated and became prideful of its designated parklands. Now parking, traffic and safety issues related to Veira Park’s change of use are requiring more deliberations and planning, as traffic surveys and studies have not been complete and accurate. The Oak Bluffs police department could not and would not share information concerning past records of accidents. The neighborhood clearly has had several, and no painted crosswalk or newly installed stop signs will end the pattern. Crosswalks give a false security and should not be trusted. Living on the border of one, I’ve witnessed multitudes of close calls because children believe they’re being seen and safe within those white strips . . . not so!

Professional guidance and planning is necessary when increased traffic and parking situations compound.

Let’s not be prideful and later wish we had addressed the issues more thoroughly. One child injured is not the price we should pay for potentially urbanizing the Oak grove!

Prudent behaviors of Little League petitioners and town planners (are they present?) may be the insurance we need for no regrets down the line.

I fought for decreased speed signs and safer measures on Wing Road years ago and was told, “Let’s not be adversarial.” The petition presented to town leaders had more Oak Bluff taxpayers’ signatures than any before. Amazing so many people in this town could agree on anything.

Safety of children remains paramount. Can we work together to find a safer setting for Little League’s expansion? Hope springs eternal.

Debbie Dean

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The neighborhood turkeys came to visit. It was a return trip as they frequent the yard. The idea is always to count them, 18 today. This is up from 13 in June. I rather like the idea of turkeys wandering the neighborhood on their own terms. A colleague remarked that deer season was open for bow hunters and turkeys had only a month before they too could be hunted on Island. These tame semi-domesticated animals shot! I find the idea depressing, out of sync and perhaps politically incorrect. Are there others who would agree? If Key West can protect its free-range chickens, we too should protect our turkeys, a reminder of New England independence and the origins of Thanksgiving. Could there be a movement to protect the neighborhood turkeys from hunters? If someone wants to eat turkey, it is about the cheapest meat in the supermarket. Buy it; do not kill these noble birds.

J. Randolph Williams

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to thank all the wonderful people in our community who have contributed their time and resources to help our young men, many of whom are at risk. It is not easy to tackle the enormous problems associated with young men getting through their teenage years. Yet our role models and mentors have persevered year after year and continue to give of their valuable time and energy.

Over the past several years we have hosted mentorship luncheons and have invited any young man within the high school community who would like to receive the advice, counsel, and tutoring of these mentors.

We live on an Island that has an incredible pool of talented volunteers and mentors for our young men. Some of these outstanding citizens are: Eric Adams, David Araujo, Alfred Badger, Walter Collier, Frank Daly, Chris Green, Norman Hall, Robert Hayden, Ewell Hopkins, Anthony Ibarrondo, Wade Johnson, Basil Jones, Jim McLaurin, Manny Neal, Ken Walker.

If you see them on the street please thank them.

Thanks also to Ryan Blakey and Sam Koohey of Stop & Shop for their generous offerings which allowed us to provide luncheon for the meetings, to culinary arts teacher Jack O’Malley for allowing the culinary classes to prepare the delicious meals, and finally to principal Margaret Regan for allowing our young men the opportunity to get together for these occasions.

W. Leo Frame Jr.