Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Bradley Square is an affordable housing project in Oak Bluffs and, as abutting neighbors, has the support of the arts district. It has drawn negative attention from certain neighbors who, by all standards, should be in support. Fond memories of what it was like to grow up on Dukes County avenue in 1950 have masked the reality of what I moved into in 1994. The neighborhood had to cope with drug deals, flop houses, police visits to problematic tenants, people renting shacks with no running water and saddest of all, a drug-related murder. Add that to abandoned and condemned houses and what do you get? Well, it was bound to be an arts district. It was affordable space that no one else was willing to clean up and live in. The artists moved in and the area began looking better. Life started to return to an area still sparsely occupied.

One of the most vocal opponents, who lives in Vineyard Haven, has plans for a 19-unit complex on Dukes County avenue. Another so-called neighbor actually must reside on an empty lot. Plans for a take-out pizza shop are in the works by still another complainer. The arts district has been in support of their projects and we find their antagonistic rhetoric offensive. Bradley Square matters not because it’s in the arts district but because it will bring life to an old neighborhood. I hope people will walk around this neighborhood and see just who really cares about it. It’s obvious. I would also like to remind everyone that the meetings for Bradley Square were open to the public and attended by people who have been supportive.

Most of all I want to say to those who feel they are not part of the arts district, you’re always welcome to visit and have a cup of tea. And to the neighbors who have filed complaints and yet attended many artist receptions with their friends to have a good time, what’s up?

Holly Alaimo

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Edgartown selectmen:

The request of Peter Wells to raise the Chappy Ferry rates is disturbing. We are certainly aware that the cost of gasoline has increased, the currents of the breach add to the length of the ferry trip, that Peter is building a third ferry and that he has assumed a heavy debt in purchasing the ferry. We understand why he wishes to increase the ferry rates.

We are also very aware that ferry rates have risen dramatically since the purchase of our summer cottage in 1968. However, one reason we chose to purchase property on Chappaquiddick was because the necessary ferry ride provided a sense of seclusion during the touristy summer months. To pay $12 each time you take a car across plus $3 for any passengers to go to market, the drugstore, agricultural fair, Tabernacle events and the hospital adds up very quickly. We think very carefully about combining the necessary errands before taking our car over. We try to be ferry walk-ons and use the excellent public bus service and to make purchases in Edgartown when possible. When children and grandchildren come to visit, we remember that the treat of candy or an ice cream cone costs an additional $3 for each child over five.

Do not raise the passenger rate. By keeping the current passenger rate you encourage Chappy residents to use the bus system, to use Edgartown shops, to avoid in-town parking and to shorten the cumbersome ferry line. And, of course, walking is kinder to the environment.

Ann and Francis Creamer

Chappaquiddick and Waldoboro, Me.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was somewhat perturbed after having done a small business transaction in one of our local banks. I have had accounts in this bank for a quarter of a century, in fact nearer half a century. Now I had been made to feel like a visitor.

I may as well have done my banking on a computer! Do we want our friendly town to become computerized? Must it become business as usual? Isn’t there enough time for friendliness still?

Barbara Barslow

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Be aware that Connecticut drivers have their registration stickers on the inside lower left corner of the windshield — not on the license plates. I was stopped on April 19 and was told I was driving an unregistered vehicle and it would have to be towed.

My car, in fact, was legal and although the officer could not find the expiration date on the registration card, it was there.

Please alert all Vineyard departments not to presume a Connecticut driver guilty without first checking the windshield.

The idea of being left with no car and two small grandchildren and a 78-year-old friend was not a happy thought. Although the officer was willing to follow us to our destination on the Island, it was still scary to the little ones. Please be thoughtful when stopping people. Thank you.

S.B. Sayles

Guilford, Conn.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As part of an energy district of critical planning concern proposal in front of voters for the special town meeting before the annual meeting on May 13, the planning board has suggested a proposal to require an elaborate energy inspection of all buildings on the property in question for any building permit.

In addition to the permit, a separate appearance before the planning board review committee to get approval for “any work within the weather walls” of a building would be required. This is a serious and important issue.

The proposal would add thousands of dollars in costs to every building permit. Costs for the audit including expensive blow tests and the required time it would take to attend the extra meetings and prepare all the forms for the extra hearings would be added for a simple addition of a single window or modifying a bathroom.

We already have all new work complying with national building codes and requiring an applicant to upgrade where necessary when getting a new permit. The system in place already offers guidance toward energy conservation.

The town of Aquinnah should do everything it can to encourage people to improve their homes, not discourage them with elaborate unproductive red tape. Almost every building permit leads to some energy expenditure through adding more space or adding more windows.

This is not a bad thing. I would like to remind voters that every time a neighbor improves his house by taking out a building permit, his assessment goes up and everyone else’s goes down by that amount. We should be doing everything we can to encourage people to invest their time, emotional energy, and their money in Aquinnah. In the face of declining values and fewer jobs, the last thing we need to do is to put a lot of roadblocks in the way of progress.

Energy conservation should be at the top of everyone’s list of considerations when planning change, but the individual solutions to each specific project are so varied it is way more efficient to be flexible and leave the choices to the individual. It is certainly not constructive to require a process that costs more in fees than the likely energy savings from the process.

We should remember that most of our new houses are primarily summer use. The fact that a few owners heat their house in the winter is not a reason to require everyone to put in elaborate systems they do not need or want.

As a postscript, I would like to add that one of the greatest joys I have when I think of living in Aquinnah is how few rules we have put in place. Except for the past eight years of elaborate district of critical planning district rules, we have almost none. This is not because we are unruly but because we respect each other’s rights. It is a great achievement. I personally would like to return to the rules of 1999 and return the political power to the town meeting floor where it belongs and remove it from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission where DCPC rules have it now.

I do not think we have the infrastructure or the experience to take on the chore of designing the perfect world or the political mandate as members of town government to require our citizens to structure their lives in specific styles. The fact that an individual may do something in a way I would not is not enough of a reason to claim control over his property, choices or dreams.

John C. Walsh



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I want very much to thank Lori Perry of Oak Bluffs for her beautiful gift to the children of a very poor school in Nicaragua.

This school has more than 800 students, going to school in two-hour shifts so they can all attend in the very limited space. The high school students sit on the ground outside because there is no classroom for them to use. There were 60 students who had no chairs to sit on. They sat on the floor. The preschoolers also sat on the floor. There were three math textbooks for 800 students to share.

These students are beautiful, talented, bright, eager to learn and have hungry minds, and now every student has a desk chair to sit in and many more books. Every preschooler has a little chair, and tables, each for six students to share.

Sometimes the need seems overwhelming, but if we take small steps, just a few chairs at a time, just a few books at a time, we can make a huge difference. The most terrible thing would be not to try at all.

We do not know what seeds we plant with our actions. Only God knows, but our job is to plant those seeds anyway. Lori Perry has helped us for years with food for the maternity clinic patients and supplies for schools. She is standing for something, and we should all be grateful for her example.

Anyone who is interested in helping to buy supplies and books in Spanish for this school, please contact me via e-mail at We buy our supplies here in Nicaragua and do not ship things anymore. Much easier.

Muriel Laverty

Masaya, Nicaragua


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council applauds Edgartown and Tisbury voters for approving the Iraq Resolution, which states: “We call upon our congressional representatives to vote against additional Iraq-occupation funds, and to approve only those funds necessary for the safe and rapid withdrawal of all our troops from Iraq.”

Town clerks are sending the resolution to Sens. Kennedy, Kerry and Reid, Reps. Delahunt and Pelosi and George W. Bush. The peace council encourages individuals to contact them as well. Addresses and telephone numbers can be found on green page 35 of The Island Book.

Chris Fried

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Helen Caldicott, author and peace activist, once said, “Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the Earth.”

In celebration of National Teachers Day on May 6, the staff of the Oak Bluffs Public Library would like to thank our local teachers for their dedication to excellence and their special efforts to mentor the future citizens of the Island community.

Danguole Budris

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We would like to recognize the impact that has been made to Island nonprofits by the manner in which Jonathan Bernstein and Geoff Rose have set up Our Island Club. They have enabled club members to designate how 20 per cent of your membership dues will be directed each year. That Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard has been the most often designated for these charitable donations is testament to the importance of its presence in the lives of so many of you. Hospice is there when a family is presented with the challenge of a life-threatening or limiting illness. It is there to help with decision-making, choices about treatment, dealing with grief and loss, and mending families. It is there regardless of your insurance status, ability to pay and length of use of the service — because it is free. It is there because of a dedicated and highly trained staff and because of the financial support of you, our friends and neighbors, who want the service to be there for them in their time of need. Hospice thanks you all for your thoughtful and generous support.

Sofia Anthony

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Gazette story on the apostrophe in Martha’s Vineyard in the April 11 edition invites consideration of another origin of the Island’s name. Martha was the name of Bartholomew Gosnold’s eldest daughter, named for her grandmother, Martha Golding. This Martha was born in 1597, thus five years old when her father set forth on his first attempt to lead a settlement in the New World. She was sufficiently cherished by the family that, following her early death, her name was given to another daughter, who was born in 1607.

The claim of young Martha for this distinction is far from original (compare Warner F. Gookin). The relationship of the daughter Martha to the Vineyard is celebrated in A Ballad of Martha Gosnold, which was first published in the Gazette in 1960. A revised rendering is attached below. It fits to the tune of the Scottish ballad “Yest E’en the Queen Had Four Marys,” for any who might enjoy hearing it sung.

That she drowned in her impatience to claim her Island home is, of course, an image of the poetic imagination. But it makes the retention of the apostrophe all the more appropriate.

Jim Norton

Vineyard Haven

A Ballad of Martha Gosnold

Bartholomew, in 16-0-2,

did sail across the sea,

To find a land, the goodliest land he ever did hope to see,

To name it for his tender child,

and claim it for his queen,

And to fill the bowls of England with the sweetest nectar seen.

The Concord was the sturdy ship that brought him safe and sound.

The crew with him the more rejoiced on sight of what they’d found.

A beauteous island they did see, a joy to all who roam,

A place of rest and plenty, to be his daughter’s home.

To found an English settlement, the first one in this land,

He sailed across to Cuttyhunk to shield his tiny band.

A tiny plot in midst of lake, a natural fortress found,

And built a fort to keep his stores, and gazed across the Sound.

Sad story there is now to tell, how stores by fraud did go,

And he a daughter slipped away, and why they did not know.

His hopes he saw dissolve, his dream in Fate’s cruel hand did flee:

His grave, unmarked, in Jamestown’s marsh, his daughter lost at sea.

She was not yet eight,

but she could not wait

To see her Vineyard land;

Twas only the wave that was her grave

Did wash upon its sand.

But, ah, the land is here to tell what beauties they did see,

Of lakes that were both clear and fresh, and meadows wide and free.

Of hedges made of stately groves; these delicacies still stand:

Memorial of a daughter loved, a dream of her Vineyard land.

The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters. The editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed and should include place of residence and phone number.