Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I write to thank the residents of the Vineyard for the kindness extended toward the Williamson family suffering the loss of Peter Williamson, known on the Vineyard as The Chief.

I drove down from Boston on Jan. 27, the most wretched snowy day of winter with winds blustering around 50 miles per hour, with my sister, her daughter, and my cousin to attend the wake and funeral for Peter Williamson, our cousin.

The multitudes who came out on that awful Sunday evening and the following Monday for the funeral to pay their respects were so impressive. The kindnesses shown include the plowing of  streets around the family home by friends, the accommodations provided to us and other travelers by neighbors, like the Alleys, who provided homemade goodies, the help with directions when street signs were whited out with snow, and the guy who took control of my car when it was stuck in the sno w. This says a lot about my cousin but shows the love and support of the Islanders. Thank you.

Michelle Lamarre Jenney



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I have just finished reading my second article in as many weeks on the H-2B visa system and its effects on seasonal Island help. I just cannot seem to understand why the Vineyard businesses rely on the visa program, which allows employers to hire workers from abroad, when they should have a job fair in New Bedford and line up all the seasonal workers they could handle. Believe me with unemployment as high as it is in the New Bedford and Fall River area I am sure the shortage could be made up in this region alone. The fast ferry from New Bedford could make the commute an easy task in the summer and shoulder seasons, and if the businesses would pay (as a perk) all or part of the ferry cost it could work. And I am sure that some would even consider staying on Island if they could find the right accommodations. Let’s get the word out via local newspapers and radio, i.e. Standard Times and the Fall River Herald, WBSM 1420 and WSAR 1480.

Kenneth Charlton

New Bedford


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing to express my support for the valuable services provided by the Vineyard Health Care Access Program. Last September I was diagnosed with a chronic and progressive illness that is very expensive to treat. Two weeks ago, in an unrelated and totally unexpected development, I lost a full-time job that I loved. With it went my income, my health insurance, my pension and job security. For me, health insurance is not just a good idea or prudent, it is critical.

Friends who have been through their own battles with serious health problems immediately stepped in to reassure me that I could go to the health care access office and get help, and I found prompt, friendly, calm and competent assistance in this scary situation. We all know that living on Martha’s Vineyard is not easy for those of us in the lower income brackets. Services such as those provided by the health care access program are pieces of the puzzle that make it possible to keep people living on this Island, making up the community we love and thrive in.

We need to keep this program on the Vineyard.

Marina Lent

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Many of my colleagues at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School support the appointment of Stephen Nixon, the only Island candidate, as the next principal of the high school. I am writing on behalf of 77 faculty and staff members at the high school.

Janice Frame



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At a time when bad news seems to blanket the papers, it is great to see our Island newspapers reporting the achievements of our youth and professionals. Unfortunately, you missed an achievement that I believe is worth noting. Vineyard Golf Course superintendent Jeff Carlson was recently awarded the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America board of directors 2008 president’s award for environmental stewardship.

At a time when being green is in, it is important to know that this achievement was based on a career’s worth of work. Congratulations, Jeff, on your award, and thanks for continuing this pioneering work here in our own backyard.

Woody Filley



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Massachusetts Audubon is reviewing the Cape Wind Energy Project draft environmental impact statement. The public comment period began Jan. 18 and runs through March 20.

MassAudubon appreciates the thoroughness with which the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service has prepared this document. MassAudubon staff will be conducting a detailed technical review in the context of the organization’s Cape Wind Challenge. We will have a formal statement on the results of that review available at the beginning of the public hearing scheduled for March 10.

Some of the key points from the Cape Wind Challenge that will focus our review include examination of:

• Identified data gaps, such as nighttime distribution and behavior of hundreds of thousands of long-tailed ducks, movement of endangered terns and threatened plovers during the late summer to early fall migration, and sufficient radar data documenting the abundance and distribution of migrating songbirds.

• An adaptive management plan that includes a pre- and post-construction monitoring program.

• Mitigation measures in the event that the project results in significant adverse environmental impacts.

• A lease-sale agreement with the federal government for use of the outer continental shelf.

• A decommissioning plan if the post-construction project is abandoned.

For more information about the position of MassAudubon on this project and our challenge to federal and state permitting agencies and the applicant to get this project right, please visit

Jack Clarke