Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing to confess a sin of omission. Last week we distributed our summer newsletter in your paper. The newsletter described the effects of the recession on the Vineyard and highlighted nonprofits that have gone the extra mile to help the community get through this crisis.

One effect of the recession was the Oak Bluffs School closing for the summer due to budget cuts, and this meant the YMCA camp lost its venue and had to close for this summer.

Many working Vineyard families count on low-cost camps like the YMCA and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club as affordable childcare while working long summer hours. Many of the 90 affected families turned to more expensive camps looking for scholarship money, of which there wasn’t enough. So the newsletter appealed for donations for camp scholarships.

Due to space limitations I did not salute the Boys’ and Girls’ Club for the great things they did to compensate for the closing of the YMCA camp, and by this omission, I now realize, gave the impression they did nothing.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Club added space for 10 more campers and, being sensitive to the needs of working families, expanded the length of the camp day by 45 minutes, to 9.75 hours if parents opt for both the early-bird drop-off and late pick-up. Finally, realizing that many families have less this year, they are providing over $20,000 in financial aid, a significant increase, and 60 of the 139 kids enrolled are receiving aid. Qualifying families can pay as little as $96 a week.

They deserve recognition for their efforts and we’re glad to give it.

Peter Temple


Peter Temple is executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Donors Collaborative.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Vineyard Nursing Association (VNA) is proud to be marking its 25th anniversary, and we continue as ever in our dedication to providing quality home health care to the Island community. This year, however, has brought its share of financial challenges, with the economy in recession, charitable donations way down, and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements significantly reduced.

As a result, the VNA is relying more than ever on its annual clambake to raise needed funds — and hope you’ll join us.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22, at 6 p.m. at the Field Gallery. And the menu — a generous lobster dinner by the Martha’s Vineyard Clambake Company — is only the beginning of what promises to be an exciting evening.

The a cappella group Vineyard Sound will provide their special brand of musical entertainment and the live auction includes, among other things, a limited edition Ray Ellis print, dinner for eight catered by Jaime Hamlin and a wine-tasting party at a beautiful East Chop house overlooking Vineyard Sound.

As for our hosts, the actor and comedian Lenny Clarke (Fox’s Rescue Me) has ably assisted Kenny Goldberg, the voice of Vineyard football, for the past three years. Unless his schedule changes, Lenny will again help Kenny brighten up the festivities with his wit and lively repartee.

The summer is always a busy fund-raising time for the Vineyard’s nonprofit organizations, and we’re aware of the abundance of worthwhile causes on the Island. We appreciate your support, and would love to see you at the clambake. For ticket information, please call 508-696-0785. Robert Tonti

Vineyard Haven

Robert Tonti is chief executive officer of Vineyard Nursing Association.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette: 

With the onset of summer comes the release of bicycling enthusiasm. As this coincides with the increase in motor vehicles on the roadways, it is all the more important for cyclists and motorists to understand the rules of the road, be patient and travel safely.

A starting point concerns the shared-use bike paths. These paths extend along several main roads, and present an alternative to cyclists who would rather not ride in roadways. But even where these paths exist, bicyclists retain the legal right to ride in the roadway. Pedestrians, slow-moving cyclists and debris on the paths may make staying on the road preferable, especially for speedier cyclists. 

When in the roadway, cyclists have the right to be in the travel lane used by cars. Some cyclists may choose to keep to the shoulder, but debris and variable shoulder widths often make it safer to stay consistently in the travel lane. 

Here are a few additional reminders for safe bicycling and driving on Martha’s Vineyard. 

For cyclists:

• Always ride with traffic. It is against the law to ride the wrong way on a one-way street. By law, cyclists must ride on the right side of the travel lane or in the shoulder, unless positioning to turn left. Ride single file to allow motorists (and faster cyclists) to safely pass.

• When using the shared-use paths, use caution and be alert for vehicles crossing the path from side roads and driveways. Stay to the right. Remember that pedestrians have the right of way, and give them an audible warning when passing. (Say, “Bike passing”, or “On your left.”). Also, pull off the path when pausing, so as not to obstruct the path.

• Riding on sidewalks is permissible, except in downtown areas. Again, yield to pedestrians and do not block others from using the sidewalk.

• Protect yourself. Although Massachusetts law requires riders 16 and under to wear a helmet, all riders should. It’s also the law that you have proper lights and reflectors when riding after dark.

• Bicycling with headphones or ear buds is strongly discouraged. 

For motorists:

• When crossing a shared-use path, whether exiting a driveway or turning off a main road, remember that cyclists and pedestrians always have the right of way. (The STOP signs for bikes at some path intersections are cautionary and will be phased out by the towns.)

• When passing cyclists on the roadway, please do so cautiously and courteously. Allow plenty of room, and pass only when you are sure there are no oncoming vehicles. Never frighten cyclists by honking your car horn. They can hear you coming without it.

• Remember that bicycling is beneficial. For every adult who is biking, there is one less car on the road, and one less car hunting for a parking space. Bicycling is also healthier, less expensive and more environmentally friendly than driving. 

For more information on bike safety, biking to work or school and bicycle laws, visit Vineyard bike shops can also provide you with information, as well as helmets, lights and other gear. 

For information on how to get involved with bicycle and pedestrian issues on the Vineyard, or for other cycling-related information, call or e-mail senior planner Bill Veno at 693-3453 ( or JTC bicycle and pedestrian representative David Whitmon at 693-4905 ( 

Safety first.

Bill Veno and David Whitmon

Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Advisory Committee

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regarding your sappy soliloquy to Robert McNamara: the fact of the matter is that he should have been hanged as a war criminal.

Sylvia Weiss

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We can’t imagine our visits to Edgartown without Bill. Here are some random thoughts and memories:

• His Republican views (fun to bait him on these),

• Those letters to local papers,

• The great stuffed eggs,

• An avid reader,

• A cat lover, who didn’t kill Mr. B after getting medical attention for a bite,

• His love of wooden boats,

• Those twinkling blue eyes,

• His talent at fixing things, and how he shared it by helping us,

• Feisty nature which kept him going,

• Hatred of loud motorcycles,

• Sense of humor,

• Love of written notes, not e-mails,

• Always interested in our lives,

• His volunteer work,

• The yard and garden,

• And mostly, his courage and love of life.

• Life on Bankers Way (Bill, is there an apostrophe required?) will not be the same.

Brian and Barbara Mulcahy

Sharon and



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I joined 100-plus others in Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs Saturday evening at Operafest 2009 to be entertained by 12 talented and attractive young artists from the Claudette Peterson Vocal Studio. The singing and acting were exemplary, the costumes and stage settings professional and the accompanist supportive and sensitive.

Mark your calendars for Operafest 2010 on Martha’s Vineyard.

Joseph Sequeira Vera

Oak Bluffs

and Cambridge


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A celebration was recently held in the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs celebrating the 75th birthday of Earle Engley.

It was an evening party, held in the garden of the Engley cottage, As Time Goes By, with many surprises for Mr. Engley. Twenty-five guests gathered and the rest arrived by land, sea and air.

Mr. Engley’s entire family — children and grandchildren — came marching into the party singing Happy Birthday.

They came from Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Boston and Rhode Island. This family had not been all together in 20 years.

The party was planned by Isabel Engley, John Crowley and Glen Caldwell. The event was catered by Mr. Caldwell, manager of the Offshore Ale Co.

A very happy time was had by all.

Isabel Engley

Oak Bluffs