Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Once in a while, something happens on the Vineyard that makes you take stock of the wonderful place where you live.

That happened to us Saturday, Nov. 10, when we launched our latest children’s book, Thirty Dirty Sailors and the Little Girl Who Went a-Whaling.

Featherstone Center for the Arts agreed to host the party, providing the space for illustrator Susan Convery Foltz’s original book illustrations. Since the book is based on a true story about the whaling industry from a child’s perspective, we thought it would be good to provide some maritime activities for children. Hope and Brock Callen of Sail Martha’s Vineyard and Lynne Whiting of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum stepped in with enthusiasm, making sailor’s valentines and soap scrimshaw with dozens of children who showed up for the free event. Our friend Melissa Pitt, a teacher at the Edgartown School, came by to make newspaper sailor’s hats. Our friends Jean and Bill Cleary and their children, Scott and Dani, made all the food, then served it up.

The three nonprofits, working together, helped us host several hundred children and adults in what could only be described as a roaring success. We thank them all, along with Francine Kelly of Featherstone for her organization and sense of humor and Tom Dresser for volunteering to watch over the food and drink.

Thanks, too, to the Gazette for its coverage of the book and helping to publicize the launch event.

And just in case we forget, to all the moms, dads and grandparents who brought their children out for a dull Saturday afternoon in November — and livened up our lives — we thank you deeply.

Jan Pogue and John Walter



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to Oak Bluffs police chief Eric Blake.

On Saturday morning, Oct. 6, while driving on County Road heading for the recycle center, my 1983 blue two-door Volvo stalled out. I restarted but only went a few feet before the engine again stopped. I coasted a few feet and turned the corner onto Wing Road and came to a stop about two car lengths from the intersection. Since I could not restart the engine, I turned on the rear warning lights, walked to my house, and telephoned Bay State towing for a tow to nearby Bink’s garage. MacGee of Bay State said he would telephone to me in about one and a half hours when ready to meet at the site.

A person of intelligence seeing an auto with an Oak Bluffs dump sticker stopped on a road in Oak Bluffs with its rear warning lights on, would assume that the owner had walked home to arrange for a tow. If that person were a police officer, one would assume he would learn the name of the owner from the plate number, check the local telephone book and contact the owner.

However, when a police officer came upon the auto, he did none of the above. The officer contacted Leite of Martha’s Vineyard Towing at about 10 a.m. and directed him to tow the car to his storage lot. When Bay State arrived at 11 a.m. and could not locate the car, he returned to Edgartown. When I arrived shortly after, I walked to Bink’s looking for the car. Leite drove by and informed me that to retrieve my auto, I would need to pay $110 in cash for the towing and storage. At my request Bay State returned from Edgartown, we retrieved my auto, and towed it to Bink’s. MacGee charged me only $60 for both his trips.

At 4:50 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, the Falmouth police telephoned to me in Oak Bluffs to inform me that the Christmas Tree Shop was coating and lining its parking lot later in the evening and that in order to avoid being towed, I would have to move my off-Island car. Knowing that many people who park overnight in this lot take the Island Queen to Oak Bluffs, the Falmouth police apparently learned my name from the plate number and my telephone number from the Vineyard telephone book. I was able to catch the 5 p.m. Patriot to Falmouth and move my car, thereby avoiding tow fees.

It is ironic that although I pay no taxes or fees to Falmouth, its police took the time and trouble to trace me; while, although I pay over $8,700 in taxes to Oak Bluffs, its police made no attempt to contact me.

My 1983 blue two-door Volvo is the only one on the Island. It has been parked every day for the past four years on its off-street space marked Vera on upper Kennebec avenue, across from the Reliable Market lot, about three and a half blocks from the police station. Thousands of people have driven by it, including many police officers. It is difficult to believe that the officer who saw this vehicle disabled on Wing Road, about five blocks from its usual parking space, with its Oak Bluffs dump sticker, was not aware that it was owned by an Oak Bluffs resident.

Joseph Sequeira Vera

Oak Bluffs

and Cambridge


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Every year on the Vineyard, Island EMTs get together for a 24-hour recertification known as the DOT. We’re required to complete this recertification every two years, with approximately half of us attending one year and the rest the next. On Saturday and Sunday morning, Oct. 15 and 16 the Martha’s Vineyard Association of Emergency Medical Technicians provided breakfast for approximately 65 EMTs and instructors. We’d like to say thank you to Edgartown Stop & Shop for their generous donation of coffee, cream, cups, orange juice and six large bowls of fresh-cut fruit. Thanks also to Humphreys for donuts and muffins. We would also like to say thanks to all those who worked so hard to make the DOT so interesting, informative and fun. And not to forget Sloan Hart for making dinner for everyone on Friday night. Delicious fuel to keep us all going.

One final thought: All Island towns are looking to enroll new people in the January 2008 EMT course. You can give us a call at 693-4992 and we’ll fill you in on the details. It’s a great way to give back to our Island community. Or come by the Edgartown fire station on Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to noon and meet some of the many folks just like yourself who are there when you need them. Thanks.

Betsy Macdonald

West Tisbury