Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At last the garage monstrosity will come down, but what will rise in its place? My off-Island neighborhood has been plagued with gigantic homes that are built right up to the property lines, crowding the smaller original houses.

Over the last five years, Mr. Moujabber has been granted the opportunity to wring out every last ounce of his rights — I hope the next round of deliberations will focus more on the rights of his neighbors.

Chip Coblyn

Oak Bluffs and

Bethesda, Md.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A situation has arisen in Oak Bluffs and cat owners should be made aware of the threats made against cats allowed outside. Apparently four or five cats, two wearing collars have been walking through a lady’s yard. She claims they also sit and lounge on her deck. Having asthma she also claims the dander coming through her windows can give her an attack. Those are her words, not mine.

Threats made were voiced to the Oak Bluffs health department, the animal control officer and a police officer accompanying her to the residence, as well as to me by phone. The lady spoke of using rat poison to control the situation. As many know, I’ve worked with PAWS of the Vineyard and over 10 years with Cattrap Inc. and recently with Second Chance Animal Rescue, so to resolve the problem I agreed to trap, hold to locate the owners and return the cats, letting the owners know of the threat. With further discussion the lady mentioned her sister’s idea to wet down the cats with a hose. A wet cat will dry off; rat poison is extremely painful and without immediate care results in a dead cat! Trapping and removing an animal from their environment should be the last resort when a simple solution is possible. My response to the wet-down treatment was why didn’t I think of that. That ended our first phone conversation.

Two days later the lady phoned to advise she decided not to wet down the cats. She had decided she wanted me to trap. I no longer felt trapping was an option and she informed me of her sister’s other idea which was to put down antifreeze. My regard for her sister’s ideas slid downhill. She retracted her thought to put out rat poison, but once threatened makes it impossible to disregard. Another plan: her husband will remove the cats and drop them off in Menemsha or beyond. All plans are preferable in her mind to picking up a hose for a light sprinkling.

Rat poison, antifreeze, putting a little something in food would endanger cats, dogs or any wildlife nearby. Should your cats fail to arrive home or show up sickened with poison, call your vet immediately.

Verna Carr

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Back in May, on one of those lazy warm spring days, I brought my old record player over to Maynard and Basia’s house along with a few ancient blues records — Jimmy Reed, Sonny Brownie and John Lee Hooker — Mississippi Delta Blues guys. Maynard and I had a great time as he regaled me with his sojourns to those places, those times. The visit ended much too soon as after two hours he’d gotten tired and said he needed to nap. We hugged goodbye and I realized it was probably the last time I’d see him — in this lifetime anyway.

We’ve lost an Island treasure — a native son whose musical talent was just one of the many gifts he gave us. Maynard’s life was a life lived well and that’s an understatement and yet a statement simply put as he would describe it himself.

He painted signs. He raised a son, a young man who now carries on with his own brilliant musical legacy and a source of such intense pride to his dad. He married an incredible woman. Together they walked this final path with grace and dignity and enduring love.

Maynard, we thank you for your music — that gritty existential working class Zen Buddhist blues — the music touched our souls and spoke to all who have loved, lost love and regained love. Maynard, you were the troubadour of those misty cold and dreary February evenings as well as those summer nights at the street fairs and starry night backyard barbecues and countless shows at the Ritz and so many other places. Maynard, hanging out with you was a reaffirmation of being real and in the moment.

Thank you for the music.

Thank you for Milo.

Thank you for that unique presence.

And thank you for that reminder that we all suffer and we all dance with joy and everything in between.

There’s a small sign in the Ritz Bar window that says it all:

“Maynard Silva is the Vineyard.”

Rest in Peace, Maynard.

Sig van Raan

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This is regarding the recent story headlined Wild Turkey Terror Reigns in Up-Island Rural Neighborhood. I would like to point out that while Altino DaSilva is a delight to work with and would no doubt be a fine husband, I am very happily married to my darling husband of 14 years, Andrew. The turkey did not attack a couple, but rather two co-workers. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers.

Alissa Keenan



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There is a growing concern among Islanders and vacationers on Martha’s Vineyard about the free distribution of Red Bull energy drinks. If you’ve been on the Island for more than 24 hours you’re sure to have seen the cute little cars with the sexy girls handing out free cans of Red Bull — the popular, highly caffeinated energy drink.

It all looks and sounds great but sadly enough, young people are becoming addicted to these highly caffeinated drinks — there are 80 milligrams of caffeine in each can.

Researchers at Wayne State University reported on Fox News in November 2007 that within four hours of consuming the energy drinks, the participants’ maximum systolic blood pressure (top number) shot up by as much as 9.6 per cent, and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) increased by as much as 7.8 per cent. Heart rate also went up by as much as 11 per cent. These drinks are putting the health of millions of America’s youth in serious jeopardy.

This type of marketing is not new; in fact, in the 1940s, cigarette companies stood outside high schools giving away free cigarettes. This type of marketing caused a whole generation to become addicted to cigarettes. Don’t you wish someone stood up and said, “No, this is wrong?”

Some countries are saying no. France banned the sale of Red Bull altogether.

Martha’s Vineyard should say no, too. No to Red Bull’s attempt to hook our youths on their product. No to increasing a company’s bottom line at the expense of our children’s health. Let’s not allow corporate America to have that much control over our children. Let’s teach our youth about the hazards of this drink. Teach them to just say no.

Erin Wise Ackenbom

and Laina Niarchos

Palmyra, Va.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I understand that WGBH has a current plan to place a radio station at every other number available on the FM spectrum on behalf of CAI-NAN, and future planning calls for every other individual house to have their own WGBH tower, in their effort to achieve full market saturation.

Not being satisfied with wiping out my favorite station, UMass’s 91.1 FM — now available at 89.3, WUMD fans — in a successful effort to drive Pacifica News out of the local market, my shop radio can no longer pick up Classical 107.5 because of an unbelievable fifth local WGBH station out of Vineyard Haven at 107.9, ostensibly because WGBH should be the only provider of classical music, I should suppose. Why not be done with it, WGBH, and just buy the whole local FM spectrum off the FCC, and then you can set your eyes to the AM band, the Federal Aviation Administration, weather and emergency services bands as well? I feel like I am watching the Fourth Reich take place.

As much as I like National Public Radio and Jay Allison and hearing my adopted grandmother Alberta Costa’s voice from time to time, you are starting to get on my wick. Who else in America has five same-named stations within spitting distance of each other? I thought that kind of thing wasn’t allowed.

John O’Toole

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

One of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever visited is Moshup Beach in Aquinnah, also known as Gay Head. Ever since that first visit, I thought this was a special place. It’s on the remote side of the Island, and it’s never crowded even when the parking lot is full. That reason alone makes it a great beach, but it is also just a beautiful setting with its majestic cliffs and wide swath of sandy coastline as far as the eye can see.

When I first began my annual visits to Moshup, my Vineyard-savvy friends told me there was a section further down the beach where nude bathers gathered. It was easy to co-exist with the nude bathers because they were really out of sight and donned clothing when they walked to and from their designated area. However, over the last few years, the nude bathers have progressively encroached toward the clothing-preferred areas of the beach. This year they are a mere 350 steps from the entrance. I had to measure because I couldn’t believe my eyes. There is a sign posted at the entrance to the beach that notifies everyone that no nudity is allowed. The beach custodians would have to be blind not to notice the migration of nude bathers edging their way closer to the entrance to the beach.

I have no problem with nude sunbathers, but I do have a problem when families travel to Martha’s Vineyard for a vacation and are blindsided by nude sunbathers within eyeshot of little Johnny as he skips along the beach. Especially, since the entrance sign assured that family that no nudity is allowed.

Trying to get accurate information about this beach online is hit or miss. Here are two examples of misinformation from the Web:

• Nude sunbathing was informally allowed within a specially zoned area in years past — today bathing suits are required in all areas. (This is from kaboodle.com. Who is enforcing this?)

• Moshup is a “clothing-optional,” not “nude” beach. Swim-suited bathers will feel perfectly comfortable here, as long as they don’t mind seeing strangers in the buff, of course. This quote is from national.citysearch.com. Although this statement is closest to the truth, who has the right of way here, nudists or families who don’t want to be exposed to this?

So what is it, no nudity or clothing optional? Obviously, nudity is allowed by the local government. What is the problem with making it official? Put a sign up: “Clothing Optional Beyond This Point.” As far I can tell, there is never anyone of authority on the beach. So I don’t know how anything can be enforced. But at least if there is a line of demarcation established, someone might step up and direct people in the right direction.

Mark Janson



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Thursday evening, July 17, I attended a gathering at the waterfront home of Denys and Marilyn Wortman, our gracious host and hostess, for the benefit of the Tashmoo spring building restoration fund. It was a lovely event with tastes from the Island farms, waters, restaurants, caterers, wine shops and brew pubs, with live music and a silent auction.

I would like to thank the Wortmans, the committee that organized the event and all those who contributed to this perfect evening.

The Tashmoo spring building is an old brick building that overlooks Lake Tashmoo and rests on the site of the outdoor summer amphitheatre, the Memorial Day town picnic and the Tisbury Waterworks.

Work has already begun to save this building and ideas for its future use such as an aquarium of natural sea life have been suggested.

As an artist I have enjoyed painting at this site and have taken students there to paint.

I am glad to see that so many people want to restore and preserve the building, one of many here on the Vineyard that need to be appreciated and cared for. These places are an important part of our Island’s history and character. We need to do everything we can to treasure what we have before we lose it.

I hope those who feel as I do will support this cause and all similar causes to keep that from happening.

Ellen McCluskey

Vineyard Haven