Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

From recent town meetings and newspaper articles it should be readily apparent that our Island is about to embark on a spree of wind turbine construction. The goal — to produce nonpolluting, cost-saving energy for local use — is something we all can support. However, there is one aspect of this initiative that should give us pause — the inclination of affluent homeowners to want to have their own green machine siting right there on the old homestead. Turbines of five to ten kilowatt-generating capacity are commercially available and for some, easily affordable. There are already several of these machines sticking their blades above the trees on the Island. If these become fashionable, and they will, there may come a day when the Island landscape resembles a forest of roof-sitting television antennae such as blighted 1950s American suburbia.

Our need for green energy might justify such a degradation of the horizon if it weren’t for the fact that these mini-turbines are substantially less efficient than larger models. Currently these “personal” machines generate power at two to three times the cost of that produced by small, industrial-sized turbines (100 to 1,200 kilowatts). It would therefore seem advantageous for our communities to find means to discourage installation of large numbers of small machines in favor of a much smaller number of the larger models. This could be accomplished through legislation at either the town or Martha’s Vineyard Commission level.

Bylaws could be fashioned to encourage homeowner and road associations to collectively fund and distribute electrical output from large turbines while making the boutique variety uncertifiable. Siting, power distribution, construction specifications and other factors would also need to be addressed by such ordinances. To accomplish this would require a good deal of public education and discussion. During the time interval required to attain a consensus and enactment of legislation a general injunction on building mini-turbines ought to be out in place. If action is not taken with all due speed, the consequent blight may become irreversible.

Sander Shapiro

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In reading Moyers on Democracy (by Bill Moyers), I think of the Vineyard Gazette. Journalism Matters (Chapter 25) reminds me of Jim Hickey. He has reported on many complex Island issues. I’ve been to meetings and then read his articles. Sorting out reality is hard to do and he “gets it right.’’ Thanks Gazette and Jim Hickey for being a true journalist.

Carol Carr Dell

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The recent festival event in Ocean Park occurred with no real problems from the standpoint of one who owns a house fronting the park. I must commend those that organized it and patrolled it — from the festival staff to certainly the Oak Bluffs police and fire department personnel.

I do have one problem though and that was the view for a period of two full summer days. The line of portable toilets significantly masked the usual view of the bandstand, park and Nantucket Sound. I wonder, is this worthy of a tax rebate with regard to loss of value? An alternative would be to capture that view on canvas and hang it across the solid line of portable toilets as a mural.

Arnold Carr

Oak Bluffs and

Monument Beach


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I returned from a visit to Martha’s Vineyard two days ago; while there I was given the opportunity to borrow a motorboat owned by my hostess. Due to my congenital (male) inability to listen to directions, I had a terrible time finding the boat. I blundered around, asking harbor master employees to help me find a boat — the nautical equivalent to a needle in a haystack.

It was the first week in August and the docks were busy, the employees were busy, etc. Nonetheless, these friendly people pulled out all the stops to help me find this boat. They checked ownership records in the marina, they accompanied me as I snooped prudently around a couple of likely prospect boats, and, in general, went out of their way to help add this boating experience to my stay.

Once the boat was finally found at Harborside Marina, Will O’Doherty went above and beyond the call of duty to help with a few mechanical glitches and get us underway. We had a lovely time on the water and came away very impressed with the level of hospitality displayed by one and all on the Edgartown waterfront.

Cheers to these hospitable, caring people.

Christopher Frey

Albany, NY


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Alex Jack is a longtime advocate of organic farming. His current newsletter Amberwaves again stresses that there is enough grain to feed everyone on the planet adequately (this is according to U.S. and U.N. statistics).

So with corn prices doubling in Mexico this past year, entailing great hardship and greater emigration, we should ask why (India and other countries are experiencing similar dislocation.)

In the latter cases of higher oil prices have meant increases in price of chemical fertilizer, something they ought never to have gotten hooked on. With Mexico, the move to boifuel in our country has caused less corn to be available for human consumption, upping the price worldwide. This and inflation have contributed to their woe.

Enter the speculators like Monsanto to again promote genetically modified (GM) seed as the solution. Not so, says Jack. Organic manuring still makes for the best farming with highest yields — all costs considered. Oriental farmers are learning that keeping rice fields damp, not flooded, doubles the harvest and then some.

William McNulty



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This summer, many people across the Island have helped support Island Grown Initiative’s Island Grown Schools program, and we want to express our thanks for all their work. Island Grown Schools seeks to bring more farm and garden-based learning into the seven schools on the Vineyard and more locally-grown foods into school meals and snacks.

After putting in a new school garden at the West Tisbury School in the spring, this summer we installed another new garden at the Oak Bluffs School. Thank you to the YMCA, the Farm Institute, John Keene Excavation, Vineyard Gardens, Hinckley’s, Morning Glory Farm, Beetlebung Tree Care, Coca Cola, Cronig’s Market, Chicama Vineyards and builder Bob Geary for making the garden build possible. Thanks also to principal Laury Binney, vice principal Gina Patti and her family, and all the students and families from the Oak Bluffs school community who came out to fill the 16 garden beds with plants and soil for the YMCA program to use in the summer and for Oak Bluffs School teachers and students to use as a learning tool the rest of the year.

Last week, 20 Vineyard teachers participated in the three-day Island Grown Schools summer institute, a workshop designed to help them make curriculum connections to farm and garden based learning and to develop new teaching units for next year and beyond. Thank you to all the teachers who devoted their time and energy to this workshop and to assistant superintendent Laurie Halt for donating time, food, and meeting space that helped make the institute a great success.

For more information on Island Grown Schools, please contact me at

Noli Taylor