Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Having summered on the Vineyard since 1939 one can only imagine the conflict with which I was faced this week when the Vineyard high school girls’ basketball team traveled to Ashland to face the lady Clockers in a tournament game. You see, my eldest granddaughter, Maryssa DeBonee, a junior at Ashland High, is a member of the team. I’ve been following the ups and downs of the various Vineyard teams for too many years to count. Always rooting for them and, on several occasions, traveling to the Vineyard to watch the annual Vineyard-Nantucket football game in the fall.

As Tuesday’s game got under way I found my conflict melting away as I watched the Ashland ladies keep the score tight until the end. But truth be told, my eyes hardly ever left my granddaughter, Rissy.

Congratulations Vineyarders for a job well done. I can now openly hope you gals go all the way to the championship!

Mason Buddy

Marblehead and Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This is in response to Anna Alley’s letter to the editor published in the Gazette last week titled Mill Pond Decision, which misrepresented certain facts.

The estimated cost mentioned in the preliminary evaluation for dam removal (site recon report by Stantec Engineering, June 2011) fails to acknowledge the fact that significant funding exists for stream restoration projects. This fact was covered by Michael Hopper during his presentation at the West Tisbury Library on Jan. 28. At Red Brook in Wareham, for instance, the cost of removing four dams was about $400,000; the town of Wareham had to come up with just $3,000 of that total.

Second, the Mill Brook 2010 Water Quality Assessment report by Bill Wilcox mentioned in the letter did not consider or compare the option of stream restoration at the Mill Pond, or the incredible ability of a restored stream and associated wetland to attenuate nutrients and sediment before they reach Tisbury Great Pond. A comparison such as this was not part of the scope of Bill’s sampling project at the time. To date, there are no water quality issues in Mill Brook or Mill Pond that warrant the kind of dredging project with associated wetland construction currently proposed by the Mill Pond committee.

There are significant costs, both financial and ecological, associated with maintaining the current status of the Mill Pond, which are not addressed by the Mill Pond committee’s extremely complicated proposal.

With stream restoration, these costs go away — forever.

Prudy Burt

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It will be so sad to see the Family Center lose its location at the high school in 2014; it is just very hard to imagine it being anywhere else. I am a mother with young children and started coming to the Family Center for baby’s first year and then graduated to the open play groups, potluck suppers and endless other workshops and programming. I am currently serving on the parent advisory committee and volunteer there as well. This is not just a place to come and bring my children, but a very welcoming and warm source of support, friendship and fellowship. All the mothers and fathers who come for the programs here I think feel exactly the same way. The location is part of the reason it helps young families and new moms feel connected. Especially on a small Island, this resource is so important to so many.

Kristen Coogan



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

During their November 2011 meeting, the Oak Bluffs selectmen were presented with a detailed, well-researched packet of information that summarized the thinking of many international acclaimed marine biologists with regard to the status of shark populations throughout the world. The stark conclusion of these scientists is that sharks are being hunted to the very brink of extinction and our oceans are suffering as a result of this dramatic decline. These respected and renowned biologists emphasize that the ocean is a fragile ecosystem, and without sharks the balance is lost. Without sharks our ocean food chain collapses. Killing sharks is killing the oceans.

The Oak Bluffs selectmen were encouraged to recognize that the annual Monster Shark Tournament unnecessarily contributes to the current shark population crisis. They were provided with information and examples of how other municipalities along the East Coast have successfully transformed their “kill” shark tournaments into catch and release events. They were advised that the town is apparently in violation of its own existing harbor management regulations by allowing the display of shark carcasses on town owned property. Additionally, they were advised that the tournament itself is likely a town-sponsored event that takes place on town property and not a private business venture between the owner of Our Market and the event promoter. They were reminded that the payout for last summer’s winner of the so-called “captains bet” (secret wagers between boat crews) was a purported $180,000. Further, they were informed that, according to many child development experts, exposure to the spectacle of publicly displaying shark carcasses, children under the age of four can develop symptoms of emotional stress.

To date, the Oak Bluffs selectmen have stonewalled and otherwise ignored these issues. Efforts to place these issues on recent selectmen’s meetings agendas have been thwarted. Regrettably, the message from town government is clear: declining shark populations do not matter; displaying shark carcasses to vulnerable children under age four doesn’t matter; the fact that killing sharks is killing the oceans doesn’t matter; the fact that the town violates its own regulations in order to sponsor the tournament doesn’t matter; the fact that the town apparently sanctions illegal gambling activity doesn’t matter.

Our oceans are dying. Every system on earth has its limits. The time for politely walking around this important issue is over. Consecrated local business profits generated by the monster shark tournament must yield to the greater good of future generations.

With regards to its relationship to the shark tournament, the town of Oak Bluffs is adrift in a foreboding sea. There is no doubt that leadership’s subservience to business interests stands in the way of accepting reasonable scientific and moral arguments against the tournament. There is no one at the helm in Oak Bluffs town government. Captains have abandoned ship and taken refuge behind their special interest business handlers. It remains for the crew to right the ship and keep it from going aground. Surely the courageous and wise people of Oak Bluffs will recognize the longstanding failure of their leaders in this important matter and imaginatively create a way to navigate through this prolonged and troublesome storm of ineptitude. Our children and grandchildren await your response.

Steve Maxner

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing you today to acknowledge the important gesture the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank has made over the past 18 months. I am pleased to be one of the featured artists the bank has allowed to exhibit in some of their branch locations. Last spring I displayed three of my paintings at the Flying Horses branch, as well as displaying four of my 3-D paintings at the Uncas avenue branch this winter. I commend the bank for the wonderful opportunity it allows Vineyarders, both artists and bank customers to enjoy the art culture that thrives on the Vineyard.

There is a bouquet of great talent inspired from the surroundings and the people who call this Island home.

Thanks to the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank for saving our art culture.

Taalibah Cabral

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to Rep. Bill Keating and Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown:

I am a veteran and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who believes with increased conviction that 9/11 was a false flag operation perpetrated by a handful of insiders, modeled after (Google) Operation Northwoods, a 1962 military approved false flag plan, (stopped by JFK), designed to justify treasonous acts of terrorism and a U.S. military invasion of Cuba. What convinces me of this belief is not so much the scientific clarity and position of 1,600 licensed architects and engineers (see that only controlled demolitions could bring down the World Trade Center in such manner as they fell but that, more significantly, any and all evidence for use of controlled demolitions was summarily ignored and dismissed by the official 9/11 Commission Report whose job it was to determine, amongst other things, how the buildings fell. The implications of such withheld evidence speak for themselves. We know that our government intentionally lied and fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident, resulting in a blank check from Congress to war mechanism and the death of 60,000 of our own troops and over a million innocent Vietnamese civilians. Even more shameful and telling is the complete and great silence of a complicit mainstream media and our representation which feels it can ignore the people’s call for reason and justice with pathetic ad hominem accusation. What, there is not to be found one single anomaly worthy of investigating in all of the official report, full of more holes than Swiss cheese? The media can’t hold out forever. And the longer it tries the worse its credibility becomes — and yours, now and into the future.

No politician wants to be the last to see the light. Stick together if you will, like cowards, and go down together. What’s desperately needed for what’s left of a free world to continue is not another top-down report (Warren Commission Report, 9/11 Commission Report), but a true and proper, open and independent investigation with subpoena powers which considers all evidence before reaching any legitimate, not foregone conclusion. Only with such a proper investigation can our deepest fears be put to rest.

Nick van Nes

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Friday, Feb. 17, the Edgartown School had an all-Island middle school dance to fundraise for our school’s eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. There were many people that helped make the dance possible and we would like to thank them.

The whole Valentine’s Day mood was really set by the fantastic decorations done by Pati Nelson and hung by her husband, Chad, along with our math teacher Bonnie Deitz and some of the students.

Paul Donnelly provided a photo booth and lights for amazing entertainment and Darren (The Matchmaker) Belisle pumped out fun tunes that kept everybody dancing. All of these people, along with the chaperons, volunteered their time and energy to help us have a really fun night while raising some money for our trip.

We are lucky to have these people involved in our school.

Amadine Muniz and Marlla Lemos



The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving residents of the Island who are dealing with cancer. We are able to provide emotional support as well as give temporary and emergency assistance to those in need of financial help during a difficult time. The board of directors is made up of members of the community and many are cancer survivors themselves. We are enthusiastic about our mission and are gratified that we have been able to assist hundreds of Island cancer patients and their families.

In 1986 a group of Island cancer patients began to meet regularly to share their experiences, strengths and hopes. The support group for cancer patients, their families and closest friends continues to this day, meeting every Wednesday at noon in the library of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center on Centre street in Vineyard Haven.

One of our aims is to help enhance the quality of life for Vineyard cancer patients and their families. In 1996, the nonprofit M.V. Cancer Support Group Inc. was created. We provide funds to those who qualify to help with travel expenses to and from treatment and for other expenses not covered by insurance.

For information on applying for financial assistance, you may contact any board member for an application. Current board members are Jane Carroll (president), Michael Taus, Katharine Colon, AnneMarie Donahue, Ellie Beth, June Miller, John Durfee, Myra Stark and Michael Cassidy.

We also provide information about resources available to Vineyard cancer patients on the Island and elsewhere in New England.

In order to continue our work we must raise funds. We are so grateful to the many Island organizations and vendors who have helped us in the past. This year our major fundraiser will be held at Lattanzi’s Restaurant in Edgartown on May 17 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Our motto is “No one with cancer needs to be alone.” For more information on the MV Cancer Support Group, please call 508-627-7958 or 508-696-9849. We are always looking for people to serve as a board member, willing to volunteer and hopefully willing to donate to our organization.

Jane C. Carroll

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing to thank the staff at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for the care given to my dad, Danny Whiting, during his heart attack. Also, to the MedFlight, Dr. Tim Guiney and the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital for the all their hard work. Finally, thanks to my friends and family for their help and support which allowed me to be with dad, and bring him home safe and sound!

Tara J. Whiting

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Girls’ Ice Hockey Booster Club held our annual auction at the Rod and Gun Club in Edgartown. It was an incredible event organized by a tireless group of devoted parents.

We could not have asked for a better venue. It was a great evening and would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the Vineyard community. We realize how lucky we are to live in such place that values our students and continuously helps and supports them.

The girls’ ice hockey team qualified for the state tournament this weekend in a 2-1 victory over Marshfield. For the first time in the history of the program these young women will represent the Vineyard. Congratulations to Coaches John Fiorito, Nell Coogan and Andre Bonnell and to these groundbreaking athletes.

On behalf of the girls’ ice hockey booster club, I thank you all for your continued generosity and support. Go Vineyard!

Susan Mercier



The writer is president of the girls’ ice hockey booster club.