Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The meanest person on the Vineyard is the grinch who stole my handicap parking permit from my mirror in my car at the Vineyard Haven post office.

Olga Hirschhorn

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Let Vineyarders Decide is a grassroots organization formed to discuss the commonwealth’s decision to try to place 166 wind turbines surrounding our valued vistas and treasured waters around the Vineyard. A meeting was held at the Chilmark Community Center last Tuesday evening, followed by a meeting at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with the representatives from the governor’s office on Wednesday evening.

This is one issue that has had a unanimous vote from each and every selectman on Martha’s Vineyard. Could one really imagine the sight of such an atrocity, 166 turbines at 50 stories high, especially when they are bobbling around in a good northeaster? The visual impact would be astonishing but nothing is more astonishing, inconceivable, or unconscionable than the fact that the commonwealth would even consider allowing such a capitalistic venture to destroy our ancestral views, pollute the waters that have nourished us for centuries through recreational and commercial fishing, and worst of all demolish what tourists have come to the Vineyard for more than a century to enjoy — the spectacular views and vistas at nearly every turn.

The commonwealth officials have not taken into account the historic value of our vistas, nor have they fully realized nor acknowledged the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and our historic presence nor the fact that we are a federally recognized tribe that truly exists. We have some of the busiest shipping lanes which have been known for more than 200 years. Wow — how much will it cost to restructure all the maritime maps?

Our Wampanoag ancestors have kept the Vineyard as pristine as it is for centuries and let us keep it that way!

As the largest resort Island on the East Coast, why would the commonwealth allow this even to happen? We can lead the nation in other areas around the commonwealth and let us be proud of what we already have as we lead the nation in the field of medicine, we are known for tourism, our fishing industry, our early American history and the historical sites that abound. Be proud of our commonwealth.

Let us target our carbon footprints in another direction for the time being. At the present time, the wind energy is blowing hot air from Beacon Hill. If you would like to be a part of Let Vineyarders Decide, please contact Andy Goldman at 508-645-9840. Volunteers are needed at every level, from fund raising to telephone trees, to clerical assistance, to the state house.

June Manning



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At a time when our schools are cutting teachers and aides, the Vineyard needs to reconsider the value of our high school sports programs. Our schools’ primary goal is to educate our students and to prepare them for the world.

Sports are extracurricular — they have little to do with education or preparation for the world of adults. Remember, we do classwork and homework, but we play sports. Few kids will get athletic scholarships, and a miniscule number of our students will become professional athletes.

Big sports cost big money, and those tax dollars support the activities of only a small subset of students. To support big sports, we already have big boosters, which suggests that parents are willing to fundraise for the programs they support.

At many colleges, most sports are run as student clubs with little or no funding from the school. In many smaller sports, as well as in music and other extracurricular activities that can become professions, students and families raise their own funding to pursue excellence.

Let’s make our tax dollars work to benefit all our students.

Jon Snyder

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson:

This letter is to voice my uttermost dismay in the current policy of the way the Steamship Authority issues the senior citizen travel card. It is my opinion that a person becomes a senior when they reach a certain age, notably 65 when most people have to sign up for Medicare. However, the SSA now has a discriminatory practice of only recognizing residents and seasonal residents of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and residents of the towns of Falmouth and Barnstable (who are 65 and older) as people who qualify for senior travel cards. It is not good enough to show an ID such as a license to prove your age and address, but you have to fill out an application and be issued an ID card to have the privilege of being able to buy a senior discount ticket. While this privilege is offered to both year-round and seasonal residents, there is no definition of what the requirements are to be classified a seasonal resident. What a nightmare to administer and keep track of.

It is shameful to think that when I bring my 91-year-old mother (who lives off-Island) to the Island for a visit, that she has not earned the right to purchase a senior ticket!

Glenn F. Provost

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to thank Vineyard Youth Tennis for the scholarship to the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida and the incredible opportunity to play and train with hundreds of the world’s best junior tennis players and their coaches, not to mention some of the world’s top professional players. I would also like to thank Scott Smith, Mike Halisky and all the other coaches who trained me at Vineyard Youth Tennis and made it possible for me to compete on a level with the players at Bollettieri, the parents and friends of Vineyard Youth Tennis who helped contribute to the scholarship fund, Nicole, and of course the founders and private donors who made it possible for hundreds of kids like me to participate and compete in this wonderful sport.

Reid Yennie

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Tisbury selectmen:

On Thursday morning, Oct. 22, my son and I went to the Scottish Bakehouse for breakfast. My son needed the truck for the day so I said I would walk with his dog Sniper through the woods back to our home on the far side of Lambert’s Cove Road. Sniper is a light-framed, long-legged, four-year-old black dog mutt which my son John Ripley rescued from Biloxi, Miss.

I have done this walk on many occasions in the three decades we have lived on Lambert’s Cove. There are many old ways, woods paths, deer paths and roads connecting the way home. I knew that the best route was to cut over the wooded ridge by the east side of the bakehouse parking lot thereby avoiding State Road, then heading north into the woods. Since the last time I had done this walk a new driveway had been made there next to the bakehouse. From a conversation I had recently with a landlocked resident I had thought this was a new right of way connecting to the Bilzarian property which I thought would surely get us to the old ways in the woods. When we emerged over the ridge we came into a drive which seemed to go to a private residence and it was posted. So we made for a nearby way off to the right into the woods to skirt the property.

At this point three dogs came running down the hill from the house. My dog reacted by barking and motioning toward them. I collared him and made quickly for the woods. I noticed a line of white flags between us and the three dogs which I took as marking an invisible fence. As we reached the way in the woods all three dogs had crashed through whatever invisible fence may have existed and they were upon us.

A vicious attack ensued and I very quickly realized this was more than a fight for territorial dominance. These three dogs were intent on killing Sniper. The ferociousness had the surreal quality of sharks attacking . . . large powerful jaws repeatedly clamping down with a violent sideways thrashing to tear flesh and cause damage. Sniper was completely outmatched. They were going for the throat. By kicking a dog in their private place and pulling hard on the collar I could effect a release but immediately another dog would fill the gap. Then they started inflicting hard bites on the hindquarter as well . . . all three dogs biting all over, all at once. As this whirling violence progressed I saw flesh tearing from Sniper’s neck. One of the attacking jaws caught my thumb and broke the skin. I was overwhelmed. The way it was going I knew that in a less than a minute Sniper would be killed. At this moment an older man came running down from the house yelling at the dogs to stop. With much difficulty and yelling he managed to pull them away and retreated with the dogs to the house. The attack was over.

Sniper and I quickly moved away from the area and into the woods in a state of utter shock. Fortunately we were not followed by what I later learned were American bulldogs. They looked to me like pit bulls but with larger, wider jaws. Two were brindle and one was white with spots. We made our way through the woods. Sniper could barely walk. With a cell phone I called my son. It was 8:34 a.m. He picked us up at Mott’s Hill Road and drove us home. I reported the incident to animal control; then Sniper was taken to the vet and treated for trauma. His wound was stitched up. His leg was bleeding but left to heal. There was evidence of subdermal trauma and we were told that such dogs often inflict unseen damage below the skin to the muscle tissue and organs; 24 hours later Sniper seems to be improving.

David Stanwood

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I took Peter Simon’s photography workshop over Columbus Day weekend and it was awesome. It meant more to me than I could ever show. Being my father’s youngest child, I have very few memories of him. My mom also has very few pictures of my dad, so when I think of my father, oftentimes it is one of Peter’s iconic photos of him that pops into my head. Peter and his wife, Ronni, have a wonderfully warm spirit, and I am very grateful for having this experience.

Niambe McIntosh


The writer is the daughter of the late Peter Tosh.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The first signs of fall these days seem to be the start of winter functions, and the newest if not the best is the Edgartown Yacht Club dog show. There was one last year and it was such fun that there had to be a second annual this year.

It was just like the one last year with about 20 odd dogs showing up with about 30 owners. The dogs ran and chased each other or tennis balls, while the owners drank wine and ate chili.

There were the usual ribbons for the best collars, and prizes for the owners. A pooper scooper was on hand as were puppy biscuits; the gates were locked, so no one escaped and the dogs were judged on a variety of things, such as which dog was most likely to bite the mailman and which was the politician to have the next affair. Sherry Mattison did all the work. She brought the ribbons, the cheese and chili fixings and made the chili, all from off-Island, just in the nick of time. She judged the dogs and recorded all the data about the various winners. There were many rescue dogs from both on and off the Island. Again one of her King Charles spaniels won most likely to bite the mailman and nearly bit the judge as she awarded the ribbon.

And then when it was all over, just like last year she went to Cape Cod with the list of the winners, so no one really knows what happened.

There were all sorts of breeds: some old, some bouncy puppies, golden poodles, and one so small the handler was afraid it would get lost in the grass.

Edith Blake