Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a great nephew of Caroline Tuthill and a longtime supporter of Sheriff’s Meadow, I am completely aghast that this once well-respected, august conservation organization could have lost its way by straying from its core mission of preservation and conservation. It saddens me greatly that the efforts of so many on the Island to preserve and protect has been undone by greed, negligence and naivete.

I have read the mission statement at the bottom of the home page of Sheriff’s Meadow’s Web site, and I do not see how opening up conservation lands to exploitation by for-profit landscapers fits with that mission.

Lastly, I must ask, “Where was the board of directors?” They too have been remiss in their duties.

Alexander Lee Muromcew

Ross, Calif.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

To the person who hit my car: I am pleased that you like to visit our Island, but I am not pleased that on Wednesday morning, June 25, my car was severely damaged while it was in the hospital emergency room parking lot.

A reliable witness who saw your sport utility vehicle strike my car and then take off was kind enough to leave a note on my windshield.

Neither I nor the police believe that you were unaware of the collision — the damage was too extensive — but on the off chance that you are unaware, it would be a good idea to contact the Oak Bluffs police who are already working to identify your vehicle.

Muriel Mill

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

To the hit-and-run person who rammed my Doughdish sailboat in Clam Cove. If you have a shred of decency left, you will call me at 508-645-9897.

Hans Solmssen



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I write this letter because something happened to my family and me last year while we enjoyed a day on the beach. I hadn’t planned on writing a letter until my brother told me that he had a very similar thing happen to him on the very same beach.

A bit of background: I am an off-Islander, I live in upstate New York, I have been spending summers on the Island with my family since the 1970s and my family has owned a house on the Island since the 1980s. After college I moved to the Island year-round for several years. All of my friends were Islanders born and raised, and I have wonderful memories of hanging out with them. I was a business owner on the Island, I worked on the Island doing everything from driving a cab to painting houses. I love the Island — it is in my blood.

Last year, for the first time, I brought my family to one of my favorite beaches, up-Island to Aquinnah. We parked our car, paid to park and I became pack mule and hauled the many items down to the beach that a family needs to have fun for a day. This was my five-year old son’s second summer on the Island but I had never taken him up-Island, deciding that it would be better to keep him in the small waves of State Beach.

It was one of those picture-postcard days: the sun was perfect, the water was perfect, waves were good for my son to splash around in. I was splashing around in the water with my son and saw something right next to his foot that made my blood turn cold. It was the bottom of a beer bottle with the jagged edges pointing straight up. It was inches from my son’s foot and if he had taken a step to the right he would have shredded his foot on it.

After carefully picking up the broken bottle, I carefully looked around in the water and found many more pieces of broken beer bottles. These were not pieces of sea glass — these were freshly broken bottles from someone who had spent some time the night before drinking on the beach and purposely smashing many bottles onto the rocks in the water, for what reasons I cannot imagine.

As I mentioned before, my brother told me that he and his family had found a lot of glass broken on the same beach. In all of my years on the Island, I have never seen so much glass on any of the many other beaches I had spent time on, none of the down-Island beaches had glass like the one on the Aquinnah beach that day. I can only surmise that this is due to the heavy patrols by local police of the down-Island beaches at night.

No, I am not an Islander, but for most of my life my family has traveled from many parts of the country to spend time on the Island. The Island depends on the tourist industry to survive, like it or not, and keeping Island beaches safe and secure should be a priority. The people who live on the Island should strive to keep the Island beaches safe and beautiful because, like it or not, that is one of the major attractions that draw people to the Island.

I don’t know if the people who broke those bottles were Islanders or off Islanders and I don’t care. Islanders live on the Island year-round and should care what happens to it. Off Islanders come to the Island for brief periods to relax and enjoy life. It is up to all of us to keep the Island a clean, safe and beautiful place. I hope that the people who smashed those bottles think about a little five-year-old boy who could have shredded his foot the day they were sleeping off a hangover.

C.J. Hodge

Syracuse, N.Y.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Steamship Authority complains of persistent overcapacity? As someone who has just tried to change an arrival date on the Vineyard, that is almost comical. Trips to the Vineyard are sold out Monday June 30 until late afternoon on July 4 except for 6 a.m. spaces for a few mornings. I admit this is a busy week. But planning ahead to August, leaving the Island Monday August 18 is sold out, as is most of Tuesday. This sounds more like inadequate capacity rather than overcapacity. Yes it is summer, but these are not even weekend trips.

Despite the boats being sold out, I would wager that there will be empty spaces most of those days, and if you arrived early for your reservation you would be ushered onto an earlier boat because it had empty spaces. But how to access those empty spaces? There is no standby on Monday, and trying to get wait-listed on Saturday for a Monday space is not an option because the wait list closes two days prior to the travel date. The Steamship Authority helpfully advises that you can keep phoning in to check for space. Has the Steamship Authority ever tried phoning in? The lines are continually busy. Repeatedly phoning to check on space seems like a big time waster for the Steamship Authority, and certainly is not a convenient option for their customers. So Monday is sold out, and the Steamship Authority has effectively cut itself off from customers who would like to use one of those spaces on the boats that I am sure will end up being open on Monday.

Rather than worrying about overcapacity, perhaps the Steamship Authority should work harder on their reservations systems so they serve both the customer and the Steamship Authority better. These are the folks who did not even have a wait-list system until private entrepreneurs started a private one. I can’t suggest any easy solutions, but here’s an idea: start looking at the system from the customer’s point of view. It may work better for both of us.

Robert Knight

Hopkinton, N.H.

and Chappaquiddick


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to correct the Gazette’s misrepresentation of my comments at the Aquinnah town meeting regarding the proposed energy bylaws.

First, I do not own a wind turbine in Brookline. Constructing such a beastthere would be a herculean feat!

Second, I am, indeed, a strong supporter of wind-driven energy production. Large turbines that generate enough energy for a community are quite beautiful and make very little noise. Consider the decibels of a traditional window air conditioning unit — in my view the air conditioner unit noise is more unpleasant.

I strongly oppose individually owned turbines. At this point in time, they are an expensive proposition providing minimal power return for the financial outlay.

I heartily support one large, community-owned wind turbine in our lovely, windy town.

Peg Steinberg



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We are writing in opposition to the cruel, barbaric and inhumane shark tournament that takes place in Oak Bluffs every summer. We are very disappointed in the Oak Bluffs selectmen for allowing this event to take place year after year. Clearly the sole purpose of this event is to make money for the town of Oak Bluffs. Innocent creatures are being killed for a profit, while disrupting the natural balance of sea life. Why doesn’t the town of Oak Bluffs consider hosting another event instead, such as a blues or reggae festival? That could bring in even more revenue to the town without having to kill these magnificent creatures that are being endangered.

We would be willing to volunteer to help form a committee for a blues or reggae festival.

Let’s have people come to Martha’s Vineyard for music and not for killing.

Klaus and Vicki Broscheit

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The title of your editorial, The Cost of Wind, misled me. I thought I would finally be reading about your support of Cape Wind. Instead I learned about the development of windmills in Chilmark. Cape Wind hopes to provide us with a vital service and I am disappointed that the Gazette is not expressing favor with it.

When Cape Wind is operational, it will save tremendously on the use of gas and oil and help sustain us through the global challenges we face. Environmental impact statements provided by credible sources conclude there will be minimal avian loss and, for those who are familiar with the nature of fish, the new underwater habitat provided may very well improve the fishing.

John McSweeney



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I wish to thank the West Tisbury School principal, staff, students, parents and bus drivers for my surprise farewell.

On June 19, when I walked out of the West Tisbury School central office, I was pleasantly surprised. The entryway was filled with teachers, students and parents all joyfully calling out my name and clapping.

It was it was exciting and overwhelming to hear my name over and over. It was like when you watch a special event, it’s the background music that sets the scene.

And when I stepped outside, there were people everywhere, stretching all the way along the sidewalk down by the buses. It was the entire West Tisbury School plus!

They had all come to wish me well in my retirement.

Needless to say, I was overcome with a range of emotions and the tears came streaming down my face. My supply of tissues in my pocket fell short, and soon my personal valet (James Flynn) was by my side with a much-needed box of tissues. The tissue box with legs stayed near me as I continued on.

Ellie Pate and Morgan Estrella (who ride my bus) presented me with a dozen red roses and a card from the faculty.

As I continued on, the children came up to me. “Thank you for being my bus driver, please don’t stop driving the bus because you’re the best bus driver ever, I’ll miss you, you are awesome,” etc. Even some who at times I wanted to put on a sky hook.

It’s hard to imagine after almost 31 years how many times I’ve said, “Get back in the seat you were in when you boarded the bus, sit down or return the hat.”

I must admit my favorite card had a school bus drawn on it with the number 67 and signed by the class. The bus had sleek lines and appeared sturdy. Now if only we could have this design, maybe the powers from above would get our new buses faster!

I will always remember what a great group of people I have been fortunate enough to work with. I now have the pleasure of locking many happy memories in my heart forever.

Thank you for my wonderful gifts, kind words and cards.

Barbara Maciel

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

One more bench!

“It is about time for the Island benches to be filled with sitters,” was the lead sentence of your recent editorial . . . so true!

However, in the list of memorial benches you failed to mention the granite bench in the Tuthill Reservation in Edgartown. It is facing the marshes off Sengekontacket Pond and provides a welcome resting place halfway on the hiking trail in the reserve. The bench is dedicated to Elga, a longtime summer resident of Edgartown.

Thomas Bier


and Stamford, Conn.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Last Friday evening Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard held its sixth annual art and more auction and dinner at the Harbor View Hotel. With over 170 attendees it was a busy, exciting and successful event. This year proceeds exceeded last year by over 30 per cent, putting us on the way to funding our next home on 10th street in Edgartown.

There is not enough room to list every person who needs to be thanked. The biggest debt of gratitude goes to the dozens of artists and craftsmen and women who donated their work to the cause of affordable housing on the Vineyard. Without their donations year after year, this event would simply not be possible.

I want to thank everyone who contributed so generously of their time and effort to making this the success it was, including our fabulous auctioneers Susan Klein and Rick Lee who contributed great ideas as well as their sales skills. Many Island businesses provided goods and services at a discount or gratis rate which helped to keep our costs down.

Of course, thank you to all of the attendees who bid on and purchased not only a great piece of art, but a piece of a new Island home.

Habitat’s houses are true community projects. Our latest house utilized over 200 volunteers, approximately 2,000 volunteered hours, and tens of thousands of dollars of donated materials; dozens of island businesses donated services as well.

Thanks to those who contributed to the auction’s success we have a jump start on our next house, due to begin construction sometime this month. With that, some more volunteer effort and a bit of luck, by year’s end another deserving family will move into their home, able to remain on the Island helping to provide the support services all of us need.

Doug Ruskin



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

My granddaughter is a skunk and I could not be prouder. This weekend’s premiere performance of the Rise Student Dance Troupe was impressively creative and entertaining. The contemporary music coupled with the colorful Island theme was exemplary. From the littlest skunks to the stage-savvy ballet, tap and hip-hop dancers this show was a smile and a joy all the way through. Lead hip-hopper EvanHall  subtly entranced the audience not only with his talent but also with his charisma and pure love of performing. Kudos to Rise.

Nina Garde

Vineyard Haven