Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I read with tears in my eyes of the fire on Main street one week ago today, and wished that I could give Ann Nelson a hug and tell her what a treasure she is. Many hours were spent talking and listening to Ann, and few people know that while a minister on the Island she picked out the story each year that I would tell the children at the Christmas Eve service. There are a few people we meet along the journey who touch our hearts forever and Ann Nelson is a person who has left imprints on my heart.

Peter Sanborn

Melbourne, Fla.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Tisbury selectmen would like to take this opportunity to thank the Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown fire departments for their efforts in fighting the Main street Vineyard Haven fire of July Fourth. This was an extremely difficult fire to fight in conditions that were less than ideal. The firefighters fought valiantly to save the buildings as well as the property inside them.

The teamwork displayed at the scene on that fateful morning is a testament to each firefighter’s dedication to the profession and willingness to risk their own well being for the benefit of the community. We are extremely grateful to have a group of Island fire departments willing to assist each other in these times of need. We are confident that this level of cooperation will continue far into the future.

Thank you again to all who participated in this somber event; the selectmen and the residents of Tisbury are extremely grateful for your service.

Denys Wortman

Vineyard Haven

Mr. Wortman is chairman of the Tisbury selectmen.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Some people may be wondering why there are no trash barrels on the Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach. The answer lies in the Carry In/Carry Out posters by students in the Edgartown and Oak Bluffs schools that are prominently displayed along pathways to the beach.

Based on the national park concept of “leave only footprints and take only pictures,” the Friends of Sengekontacket-sponsored program, is now in its thirteenth year. Each year 44 posters are selected from over 200 entries. Students of winning posters receive an award from the Friends of Sengekontacket at the end of the school year. Posters are displayed on Steamship Authority vessels serving the Vineyard as well as on stanchions on the beach. The posters illustrate why it’s important for beachgoers to take their refuse off the beach with them and dispose of it properly.

Windblown litter is an eyesore and trash barrels attract stinging insects and rodents. State Beach is habitat for rare and legally protected species of shorebirds such as piping plovers and terns. Populations of animals such as skunks, raccoons, rats and gulls are attracted to the beach by the odor and presence of food and their numbers increase. They then prey on the eggs and chicks of endangered shorebirds.

Food packaging can also endanger animals that live along the coast. Pieces of styrofoam from coolers and plastic bags drifting seaward can be mistaken for jellyfish and ingested by sea turtles and other marine mammals who then die from intestinal blockage.

If each of us leaves the beach as clean and beautiful as when we arrived, we will have heeded the important message of our young Island environmental educators. Carry In/Carry Out!

Jeremiah McCarthy

Oak Bluffs

Mr. McCarthy is president of Friends of Sengekontacket.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I have just finished reading Thomas Dresser’s Mystery on the Vineyard. This is a very engaging, informative and comprehensive book about the 1940 unsolved rape and murder of a woman in Oak Bluffs. The story itself is highly readable and the reader gets good insight into the Martha’s Vineyard of seven decades past.

For contemporary meaning in the book’s pages, I refer the reader to Page 103. Here, the author is painting the backdrop of life at the Vineyard of the day: “A pedestrian was slightly injured when he was hit by a car while walking home from the late boat . . . . George Fisher Pease suffered minor injuries and was reprimanded by local constables for walking with traffic, rather than facing it.”

This is a problem endemic to the Vineyard. People insist on walking and jogging our country roads with their backs to the traffic. Facing the traffic gives the oncoming driver a better awareness of the person and the walker or jogger has an opportunity to move if the driver isn’t responding to his or her presence.

There should be signs posted at appropriate places to inform folks of this sensible rule of the road and today’s constables should reprimand violators as their forerunners did in 1940.

Jerry Muskin



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As I sit here on the beach looking out at the sea, I can just imagine what it will look like with Cape Wind’s manmade synthetic and metal structures in the water, disturbing this pristine scene. I can envision them moving out there now.

Wait, they really are there and moving now.

Oh, it’s just the sailboats from the Edgartown Regatta

Never mind.

Jack Burness

Chilmark and

Colorado Springs, Colo.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thank you, thank you. I was in the Fourth of July parade with my husband Danny, our dachshund Vera and my dad Tony.

My bike is a Yamaha Virago with a sidecar that is air-cooled. After talking to my son in law Dwight, I decided to ride in the parade. We didn’t think a fan on the motor was needed.

Well, now we know. As I reached the corner by the Edgartown National Bank, the bike stalled for the third time and would not restart. It was totally overheated. I got off and pushed while my Dad announced to everyone that I was conserving gas.

Many offers of help were issued. I assured everyone I was fine. The bike is light. After all, I am not that old. Imagine them thinking I couldn’t push my own bike.

Right. Breathing like a fire bellows, I reached the crest of the hill and gave in. Two young men pushed, allowing me to sit and recover my breath and realize I am not as young as my head thinks.

Thank you to everyone who offered their help to this stubborn, still-young-at-heart, approaching-the-golden-years motorcycle mama.

Cheryl A. Metell

West Tisbury