Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

To our family and friends, we extend our sincere gratitude for all that you have done to see us through our loss. For errands, flowers, cards, phone calls, food, kind words and especially for the hugs — a heartfelt thank you!

Your love and concern for our family has warmed our broken hearts and been a tribute to Bob that will not soon be forgotten.

Thanks for all the ways that you have been present for us.

Allouise Morgan



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Offshore wind offers an immediate, clean, safe and effective answer to both global warming and energy security.

Given the stark urgency of global warming, now is the time to take every action available to slow the impacts of this problem. In fact, we should have started long ago. Offshore wind is a big step in the right direction and can contribute quickly to a reduction in global warming pollution.

From local jobs to clean energy, this project is right for America and right for the Cape. In years to come, the people of Massachusetts will be proud of this contribution to the clean energy revolution. Massachusetts politicians should openly endorse and support Cape Wind, and see that Massachusetts breaks ground on this project as soon as possible.

Aileen Lubold

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Copies of this letter are being sent to Massachusetts senators and other state officials and newspapers.

I am a lifelong resident of Martha’s Vineyard. My family settled here in 1920. I am also a member of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. My father and uncle are both commercial fishermen in the local waters here and my grandfather was a commercial fisherman and whaling captain in these waters. It would truly and honestly be a disastrous mistake to proceed in giving Minerals Management Services (MMS) and Cape Wind permits and other go-aheads to invade our precious waters with their proposed wind farm project.

Let me firmly state that we as an alliance are not against wind power or any other forms of alternative energy by any means, but actually are all for it. We do, however, stand strongly against the construction of this wind farm in its proposed location. There are far too many risk factors involved with this project that could spur disastrous results. All of our points and research are clearly stated on the Web site ( and I will not get into all of them now. The biggest risk factors are, however, major traveling routes in the Sound that serve as major shipping lanes for oil tankers and cargo vessels, when combined with high winter winds could so easily be thrown off course smashing into one or more of the massive wind turbines. And if that happened, then what? We would all have an enormous ecological disaster on our hands.

Second: the fishing industry and marine wildlife. The potential loss of industrial shellfish and marine wildlife from the incredible dredging and drilling and installation of the wind turbines would be immeasurable if MMS and Cape Wind are permitted to build them. Once the natural ocean floor’s habitat is disrupted from all of the operation, the wildlife will be driven out for good. And they would never reinhabit Horseshoe Shoal again. That in itself would destroy an entire industry that produces huge revenues around the Cape and Islands and take away thousands of middle-class working men’s livelihoods.

For all of these reasons I implore all state officials to re-examine this immensely detrimental proposed project in our natural, harmonious environment. To allow MMS and Cape Wind to go ahead with this project would be a major mistake in so many ways and for a multitude of reasons. And if you have never been down to this area of the state to see and appreciate the raw, natural beauty of our surrounding waters and habitat, I invite you to just travel down to the Cape and Islands for a day to observe that natural beauty that so many thousands of Cape and Island residents have come to cherish and call home for yourselves. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our cries for an end to this proposed project.

Daniel Benefieta

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Over the past few months, Thad Harshbarger and Peter Palches have written several letters to the editor advocating a new way of allocating the cost of the regional high school to the six towns of the Vineyard. This allocation method is not new to the Island; it is used by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the county and the refuse district.

Mr. Harshbarger and Mr. Palches propose that the costs of the regional high school be allocated to the towns based on the equalized valuation of the real estate in that town. In this way, financing the high school would affect the tax rate of all six towns in exactly the same way. This, they argue, is a fairer way of allocating costs than by the method followed in the current regional agreement, namely student population.

But fairness is measured not only by one’s ability to pay but also by what one receives for one’s money. It is difficult to measure what each town receives from its assessment by the commission, the county and the refuse district. It is very clear what each town receives from its assessment by the high school — a quality education for their children.

Under the current formula, all towns pay the same amount, $14,138, for each pupil they send to the high school. Under the Harshbarger/Palches proposal, Oak Bluffs would pay $8,451 per pupil, Tisbury $9,346, West Tisbury $10,142, Aquinnah $13,164, Edgartown $20,417 and Chilmark $71,424. Clearly, such a disparity in the cost to educate one child is also not fair.

I believe that there is a middle way, one which recognizes that a greater share of the high school costs should be borne by the wealthier towns but also recognizes that what one receives for one’s dollar is also an important factor in establishing fairness. That way, which is used by many regional school districts across the country, is a combination of property values and student population. Arriving at an equitable distribution of the costs between property values and student population will not be easy but it is worth striving for.

Let me add three postscripts.

The high school budget is made up of two separate pieces. The foundation budget, a concept of the state, is based partly on equalized valuation, while the other piece is based on student population.

While no one complains about the use of equalized valuation for the commission, the county and the refuse district, you have to remember that these agencies are younger then the high school and that equalized valuation is the only assessment method they have ever used.

On the other hand, the high school has based its assessment on student population since its founding. Change is never easy. To abandon the student population method and move to a totally new method of assessment in one fell swoop will not happen.

Finally, I should point out that the value of one’s property is not the sole measure of a person’s or a town’s wealth. There are other assets. There is one’s income. If one wanted to be very, very fair with regard to allocating cost based on wealth, other assets and income should also be placed on the scales to determine fairness and equality. But, then, we are talking about a very different country.

Al DeVito

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard is moving forward in building its fifth house on the Island. The house is being built for a teacher in Vineyard Haven who has three boys. It’s exciting to see people work at the site: learning how to shingle, digging holes for the decks, installing windows, and seeing Island people give their time to frame and roof the house. And now that the cold weather is here, we are headed inside to complete the house.

The basement floor is to be poured any day now and then the rough plumbing and electrical wiring will be done, followed by the installation of the heating system. We will need volunteers to help with the installation of sheetrock, trim work, interior doors and painting. We are fortunate to have people at the site who can train you in all tasks to be done. All skill levels (even the unskilled) are welcome.

If you would like to volunteer your time and energy, please either email us at or call the office at 508-696-4646. The build days are Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To come to the site, please park on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road between Winyah Lane, and Cook Road and Skiff Avenue, four-tenths of a mile from State Road. The build site is on Andrews Road, off of Mud Puddle. There is no street sign for Mud Puddle so please look for a Habitat sign. Walk down Mud Puddle to the build site.

This is my fourth house build since I’ve been involved with Habitat. To work alongside new friends, learn new skills, and have a lot of fun at the same time has been most rewarding. All of us deserve a decent place to live and to be a part of helping someone’s dream become a reality is the best. Please be a part of that dream.

Julie Willett

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We had been planning to make this year’s annual month-long PeaceCraft holiday benefit sale our largest. The crafts were purchased and our postcards (donated by Modern Postcard) were already in the mail when we learned that we had to change location.

Our local community once again came to the rescue. MVY Radio sent out our SOS and Sylvester Schavone, owner of the Belushi Pisano Gallery building, graciously donated the downstairs space which he has available for rent. The location worked out just fine. We sold more crafts this year than ever before and raised more than $3,000 for the Fish Farm for Haiti Project.

Thank you to everyone who is pitching in and joining us as we try to help the poor of the world help themselves.

Margaret Mayhew Pénicaud

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club would like to commend the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard for their contribution toward beautifying Island spaces.

In November the club planted one thousand daffodil bulbs in Owen Park in Vineyard Haven.

We look forward to spring (not that far off) when we will all be able to enjoy this spectacular sight. We encourage other Island organizations to follow suit and gear some of their community service projects toward the beautification of our precious Island. Thank you to all the Rotarians.

Barbara Harnen

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There are good reasons why the Tisbury Ambulance Association is the major sponsor of Last Night First Day. Primarily, we know how important it is for families to have healthy, safe and fun-filled activities and we want to support those opportunities on New Year’s Eve. And after putting aside the seed money to ensure that next year’s celebration will happen, funds raised by this event will help our ambulance service be the best possible through enhanced training and equipment for its personnel and volunteers.

Special thanks goes to Ernie Boch Jr. and family for their generous and steadfast support of our celebration. Additionally, we would like to thank button buyers, fireworks cruise attendees and raffle entrants for their support of the Last Night First Day celebration. We especially would like to recognize the numerous individuals and loyal local businesses and sponsors who gave generous cash or in-kind donations helping to underwrite this great family event. Our local businesses and citizens are asked to support many worthy causes and organizations. We recognize that and thank you for supporting Tisbury EMTs.

Melinda Loberg

and Jeffrey Pratt

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It is without fail that my subsequent visits as an adult to the Island reawaken memories of my childhood summers here that I thought were buried and irretrievable. Although the Island is filled with an ever bigger, never ending sea of new faces, and even though many icons of my childhood history are gone, enough of the general landmarks remain to make me reminisce about the objects and places that seemed magical many years ago.

This entire train of thought was elicited by watching the young fudge makers on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs as they danced around the marble slab with spatulas, seeming like elegant candy morticians. It was this and the photograph of Darling’s Candy Store of the early 20th century that made me think of a day when the candy store was more in tune with the industrial revolution, rather than a schedule of demonstrations of manual labor. This reminded me of the old taffy-wrapping and pulling machines. The two machines were stoic reminders of a bygone era. So I started remembering machines of the Vineyard’s past that have fascinated me.

The brickyard, just a mile or so along the beach out of Menemsha, holds ruins from the pre-Civil War era and was at one time a neat, orderly machine that extracted energy from a brook via a water wheel which was transmitted down a long iron shaft acting as a source of power for those other machines involved in brick making. That water wheel is still there, as is the shaft, oven, and chimney. Nature has been busy reclaiming its own, but enough remains to visualize the business of the past.

On the top floor of the garage next to the Strand Theatre I once was privy to a large graveyard of slot and pachinko machines. They were rusty and mottled with bird droppings but they were an impressive mechanical spectacle to a 10-year-old boy. I’m still not sure when they were last used, but my guess is that they were the residue of a previous era of summer fun in Oak Bluffs.

There was also the elevator in Vineyard Haven that brought friends and clients to Henry Cronig’s office on the second floor. I was told that this was the only elevator on the Island at that time. I was doubly fascinated because I got to use it myself once in order to fetch Mr. Cronig a nickel cigar from Leslie’s for which I received the shiny aluminum tube as a runner’s fee.

Of all these, though, Darling’s machines were the best because they labored almost every day, and you were allowed to witness their inner workings as intimately as you desired. The taffy puller was seemingly dull with its endless swooping up and down like a carnival ride, but its steel strength, cadence and taffy odor had a particular entrancing effect, not unlike television. Then there was the taffy wrapping machine. This Rube Goldberg contraption sucked in a cord of taffy from a floured canvas conveyor, chopped it into precise lengths, wrapped it in colored paper, cut the paper, and even twirled the ends before the release and sliding fall into a basket. What made this machine so special was not its inherent mechanically programmed complexity or the syncopated cacophony of clicks and clacks, snaps and taps as it digested the candy snake. Rather, it was watching the machine act out its own agenda much to the dismay of its operator, by intermittently gagging on too much taffy, running out of paper, or simply breaking the paper stream, again, again and again. The rhythm was always unchanged but the symptom of the latest failure would change the timber of the sounds as it would go from ka-chinka-ka-chinka-ka-chinka to ka-chink-flap-ka-chink-flap-ka-chink-flap. Then the machine would be stopped, corrected, and off we would go again, merrily clattering and clacking until the next interruption.

Tim Barritt

South Burlington, Vt.

The writer is a 1977 graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.