Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We have all lost a mother, grandmother, aunt, former school teacher, lover of ex-greyhounds (and other dogs she had) and of course horses. The very well liked person, of course, is Mrs. Samuel Leighton, who was married to Sam for over 40 years. I, like a lot of people on the Island, go way back knowing this caring, talented and good person. I knew her years ago when I was little; I used to babysit for her girls. She got them a pony named Sugar; that was just the start into the horse world. Then as the girls got older they got their horses Lancer and Missy.

So then I was the horse transport person to get their horses to the shows. Through many hours of lessons she taught her daughters, and they did well at the shows as time went on. I remember I used to see her walking these very big dogs; they were retired greyhounds. She also had German shepherds. You used to see these big dogs riding around in the van with her and the kids. Well, the girls grew up and the horses didn’t get ridden as much, but Mrs. L. always took care of them until their last days.

As for Mrs. L. being the school teacher in Oak Bluffs for many years, there were many kids she taught. I remember she was my gym teacher in Edgartown at one time. And don’t forget she was a great 4-H leader for the Boots and Saddle Club. Many of us Edgartown girls learned a lot from her about horses. Which brings me back to the point about animals.

I’m sure she was concerned about the shelter being shut down. So I am making a donation in Mrs. L’s memory to the newly established shelter that opens today.

All you former students, 4-H kids and Boys’ and Girls’ Club kids (all grown up now), think of Mrs. L. and make a donation to help the shelter carry on.

Send donations to Dukes County, P.O. Box 190, Edgartown MA 02539.

And may Mrs. L. be among lots of dogs and horses in heaven.

Sandra Grant



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A light went out on Chappy on Sunday, April 19, when Helen Miller died. Helen was an institution on the Island. She knew when the tides came in and out; you didn’t need a weather report, you just asked Helen.

She was always aware and interested in what was going on in town, and ever the activist, she shared her opinions and offered her advice, solicited or unsolicited. Helen knew the rules and regulations, the history behind them, and fought for what she believed was right. She was a formidable opponent.

Helen loved “her” Island and opted to spend her final winter and spring in her home, on her beloved Chappy. She maintained her independence until her final days.

She was most proud of her family, children and grandchildren and shared that pride with her friends. I was fortunate to have known Helen for over 27 years and I will miss her, but never forget her.

Judy Champ

St. Louis, Mo.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We want to thank and commend the extraordinary actions performed on Sunday by three Island fire departments, saving our home and at least two others from a wildfire. Though we were off-Island, the fire, which apparently started in an NSTAR box, was spotted by a neighbor who called 911. Edgartown, West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs companies all responded quickly and effectively — more than 35 firefighters in all, sacrificing a beautiful Sunday afternoon (including a Celtics game). Their efforts were fantastic, beating back flames that came within 20 feet of our house.

While they remain mostly nameless to us, we want them to know how extraordinarily grateful we are to them for their magnificent work in saving our home.

Robert J. and Leah S. Rukeyser



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In a recent article I was quoted as saying that I was “furious” over the decision by the Edgartown planning board in approving a wind turbine to be located on the shores of Edgartown Great Pond. This and other inaccuracies in the article prompt me to have to set the record straight.

I remain concerned about trends in development on Martha’s Vineyard and it is my hope that we make intelligent and carefully planned decisions, not emotional ones. Martha’s Vineyard is in many ways a home for passionate causes, but all too often we collectively do not fully consider the broader impacts of those causes. Wind energy is an example. My concern is the impact of turbines on ospreys, shorebirds and bats, specifically in the case of ospreys due to the intense breeding and feeding activity of this species on and around the pond. The planning board and previously the conservation commission noted these potential impacts to wildlife by requiring that bird mortality studies be performed. The planning board also noted that the approval granted the project not be considered precedent setting for any future projects and noted that any impacts on neighbors (noise and vibration) would be carefully monitored. These are hardly decisions that would generate a “furious” response.

The article also inaccurately noted my concern over what the reporter termed “visuals.” I don’t use that term; the appropriate standard is impact on scenic vistas or visual impacts. The planning board did consider this impact as well. Lastly, the reporter noted that I was opposed to the Morning Glory turbine. This is curious since I really don’t know anything about that application. I commented only that it’s likely location would not represent the same threat to the osprey population as the one proposed for the shores of the pond.

I am fairly certain this reporter either confused his notes or was attempting to suggest a stronger level of polarization on this issue than actually exists. I do believe the Vineyard needs to begin considering the long-term impacts of any level of commitment to wind energy. I believe we don’t really need any more symbolic statements or emotional responses but rather progress toward realistic long-term changes in how we generate power and how we allow that power generation to impact our environment. These are decisions that will be with us for decades and represent huge commitments of resources. It would be great if we got it right the first time and it would help if the media began looking at our common interests in solving the problem rather than looking for ways to exaggerate our differences, especially here on this Island. While I’m on my soapbox, I will also comment that I think this is one of those issues where we desperately need the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to continue to take a strong stand.

This is the kind of issue that needs the guidance, research and structure that only the MVC can provide. Our local boards and elected officials will face increasingly difficult decisions as our efforts to deal with this topic become more advanced and to find solutions we will need the benefits of regional planning.

David Nash



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

So many have written cards or letters to Marcus. It has meant an awful lot to all of us, especially to Marcus. Marcus continues to make great strides with the healing process. He has been located in the Acute Rehabilitation Unit since Monday, April 20. This is the final step of our hospital stay. Here one learns to transfer from bed to wheelchair, begin the process of walking and generally return to the outside world. Pain medication has been reduced and physical therapy has begun in earnest. Four hours a day is devoted to topics ranging from navigating a shower, to throwing a ball, learning to stand up, dealing with the physiological fallout of the trauma and more. The physicians and therapists are all top-notch and the range of issues they deal with on this ward are extreme.

This past Monday, April 27, as we began the fifth week since the ordeal began, Marcus was allowed to lower his right leg for brief periods at a time. That allowed him to begin to use a walker. Each day Marcus has walked farther down the corridor. His determination continues to drive remarkable results. The permanent casts were removed from his forearms yesterday and temporary splints have been fitted. That made showering and using the wheelchair so much easier.

The best news is that we expect to be able to leave the hospital this weekend for Scottsdale, Ariz., where Barbara, Marcus’s mom, lives. Our plan is to spend the month of May there with a therapist and trainer. Then Marcus will return to his home in West Tisbury for the summer. In September he will be returning to USC. We are all looking forward to these next steps, as each one brings us closer to the normalcy we long to return to. The support we have gotten from all of our friends — including friends we have never met — has been outstanding. Marcus has been getting more mail than anyone else in this hospital, and every letter or note has been instrumental in the extraordinary recovery that he has been working so hard to achieve. To think that anyone could survive this tragedy and be in a position to leave the hospital so quickly is astonishing.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everybody who has taken the time to include us in his or her thoughts and prayers. His address for the month of May is: Marcus Garfinkle, 18939 North 101st Street, Bungalow #13, Scottsdale AZ 85255. From June 1 thru August 20, it will be 39 Sarita Walker Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Myron Garfinkle

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to Our Island Club.

On behalf of the board, staff, volunteers, patients and their families, I send our sincere appreciation for your most generous gift of $2,954.40 in support of our mission to give quality care to patients and their families. That Island Club members have chosen Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard to receive a percentage of their membership is a wonderful gift to our program and the community.

Your gift honors Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard with recognition for our work that enhances the quality of life. Although hospice often signifies care for patients and families as someone’s life is ending, indeed, our focus is really all about quality of life. We emphasize work with our families to give them the best days together, as many as those days might be.

Excellent patient care is at the center of our mission and your support offers your commitment to our important work toward the promise of that mission. Hospice truly benefits from your generosity and you are making a difference in the lives of the patients and families that we serve. We will use every dollar directly for the care of our patients and their families. Thank you!

Terre D. Young

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thank you Johnny Hoy, for playing at the Ritz this weekend. It was a great treat. And having had the Mudman (Edmund Silva) sing with the band at a young 70 (?) was the best! Thanks, you rock star.

Paulette Silva

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Dan Greenbaum’s facts on the summer ball games are correct. It is time the Gazette’s were as well. Bill Smith should not be forgotten. There was one more set of baseball games in Menemsha in another field but those were held in the spring before the summer crowd arrived. That is a story for another time.

Everett H. Poole