Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

An article in the April 22 Gazette says the roundabout project will go out to bid in November and will be completed over three construction seasons. That makes it sound like it’s too late to stop it, but it seems like the wrong solution to the blinker intersection. I’m pretty sure the rules for a roundabout are the same as the rules for any other Massachusetts rotary traffic circle — the car already in the roundabout has the right of way. What this means in practice is that if one of the roads leading into the circle has a steady stream of cars, nobody can get into the circle from the other roads. The steady stream of cars always has the right of way, and there is never a break. Cars on other access roads back up for miles. This happens in a city during rush hour, and I imagine it would happen on the Vineyard a lot of the time in the summer — maybe in the off-season, too, but I’m less experienced with Vineyard traffic patterns in the off-season.

I think a four-way stop, with people taking turns, is the right solution.

Julia Livingston


and Cambridge


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It was one year ago when a volcano in Iceland disrupted air travel throughout much of Europe and around the globe — and turned the Minnesingers’ long-awaited European performance tour into ashes. The tour, two years in the preparation, would have taken the singers and dancers to Prague in the Czech Republic to perform for the European audiences. Instead, the trip had to be canceled. Work began immediately to reschedule for the following year and the process also began to create a new show.

And here we are, one year later. The Minnesingers and their support group have just returned from an incredible journey and the trip of a lifetime for these young entertainers. They sang their hearts out to the citizens of Prague and Paris. They performed in schools, churches, cathedrals and synagogues. They sang in iconic city squares, on famous bridges, in restaurants, in the Metro, on the river Seine in Paris and on the Vitava (Moldau) river in Prague. They sang at the gates of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. These ambassadors delivered a message of peace, harmony and love. And when they performed, the audiences smiled and applauded with appreciation, or shed a tear of joy.

The tour was a well-planned and orchestrated balance, on the one hand between the hard but enjoyable work of rehearsals, sound and stage preparation, and traveling to venues and on the other hand, the opportunity to soak up culture, interact with citizens from other countries and go shopping. They sang traditional choral arrangements and performed numbers from American Broadway musicals. They traveled with formal dress and dance costumes and hauled their own sound systems and technical equipment. It all came together because they melded into a team of mutual support and camaraderie.

Their support group, the chaperones, acting as dutiful shepherds watching over their precious flock, melded into a team of their own and brought their individual talents to bear, handling finances, taking care of any medical issues, accompanying on the piano, directing the choreography, dealing with costuming, handling the sound and technical requirements, conducting and directing the productions and managing an incredibly full schedule.

But most of all, the Minnesingers brought their music and talent. What they left behind were the memories and experiences shared with their many audiences, a real look at America as delivered by our traveling troubadours and a shared appreciation for music, the common ground that transcends cultures. And all the while, they were courteous, respectful as guests and great fun to be with. As ambassadors, they represented our high school, our beloved and special Island and America with a character and behavior of which our community can be very proud.

Now, after returning from their 7,000-mile journey, the group is back to rehearsing, polishing and perfecting their show to present to their favorite audience of all, their Island families, friends and neighbors. Two performances are scheduled in the high school Performing Arts Center: Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m. And so they sing and dance. See you there.

John Wightman


The writer is the husband of Jan Wightman, director of the Minnesingers.


The following comments were posted on the Gazette Web site this week.

Reacting to a story about the election of Jeff Kristal as Tisbury selectman:

“Twelve votes doesn’t even come close to saying how big it was, because this was on his turf, these were his local people that came out and got out the vote. And it was my friends and my smart supporters who got out. I’m really energized and impressed.”

I thought a sitting selectman might view all of his constituents as “his turf.” Twelve votes is the real margin, not imagined. I hope more people have the courage to bring forth ideas to keep the democratic process alive by running for elective office. People vote for the job someone does, not their friendship for an individual. If that were true a whole lot less people would vote.

George Stein


Reacting to a story about the first bluefish caught at Wasque:

I have never been so happy to hear such wonderful news!

Bill Pfluger