Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing in reference to the Gazette article on Dec. 11 regarding Sam Dunn’s plan to develop that lovely plot of land looking out on the Lagoon by the Tisbury Marketplace — shame on him and on the Vineyard Commission if it is allowed! That view of the Lagoon is beautiful and I can’t imagine it being hidden by another development. And furthermore the little island named Ferry Island is an historic spot, a place where the sailing packets in the early 1800s picked up passengers for Woods Hole; it would be blocked from sight!

I am an 84-year-old lady who has summered at the Vineyard all my life, and it seems to me that our Island is being overrun with these developments.

Please protect the few places of beauty that still exist, and do not allow this to happen.

Patricia A. Mann-Sherman



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Dear Senator McCain:

I read with interest an article in last week’s Vineyard Gazette about your Stimulus Check-Up and the inclusion of the Vineyard Power Smart Grid program in your list of 100 silly and shortsighted projects.

Indeed. I feel that the current effort to modernize the American electrical grid into a smart grid by the GridWise Alliance and the Department of Energy is a priority for this country and will create jobs.

A smart American electrical grid will set up two-way communication between a utility and its smart grid customers’ home appliances and heating and cooling systems.

During periods of high demand, a utility would be able to reduce electricity use by its smart grid consumers and reward them with lower rates. For example, this could mean that a utility would ask a customer’s water heater to heat up to a slightly lower set point or an air conditioning system to cool a house to 75 instead of 72 degrees.

The idea is that most of these sacrifices would in fact be invisible to the consumer but would offer many benefits. The reliability of the grid (much of which is fairly old and working beyond its original capacity) would be improved, consumers would save money, energy efficiency would be encouraged through thoughtful electricity use, and America would be more secure through reduced foreign fossil fuel imports.

I don’t see where any of this is energy savings Big Brother style. Building this new smart grid communications infrastructure will create new green collar jobs as utilities move their systems into the 21st century.

Perhaps a bit of history will help illuminate the situation (unearthed relatively easily by this humble mechanical engineer).

In the 1940s, the visionary Philip Sporn and his colleagues at American Electric Power (destined to become one of the nation’s largest utilities) developed and built the modern electrical grid to serve the industrial might of America. Their efforts made our growth and world leadership a reality. They also looked into the future to see how the grid could be made more efficient, more reliable, and economical for its users.

In 1947, they proposed, developed and installed residential heating systems using electrically powered heat pumps. These heat pumps used air for a heat source, heated water in a storage tank for off-peak energy storage and interlocked with other household appliances to control overall energy demand from a residence.

Their frustration was not having an Internet to allow two-way communication between homes and the utility to permit the homeowner to choose between optimum comfort and optimum efficiency through adjusted electricity use.

Fast forward to 2009, 62 years later.

Two months ago, at Living Local (the annual Vineyard energy fair), we unveiled the Daikin Altherma, the latest heat pump from Europe (by way of Japan).

Built from the ideas from 1947 of Philip Sporn and his colleagues, it uses air as its heat source, heats water in a storage tank for off-peak energy storage, and comes factory equipped with a connection for the local utility to allow the homeowner to choose what level of optimum comfort or optimum savings they desire through their level of electricity use by the heat pump.

I for one am tired of having a relentless stream of innovation from this country be discarded or forgotten through a lack of vision and support from our leaders only to be developed and exploited by Europe and Asia.

Through the efforts of the Department of Energy and the Vineyard Power group, we have a local opportunity to join the smart grid effort and directly affect our energy use through the intelligent management of the electricity we use.

By making the development of a smart grid a priority, I see an opportunity to help make America once again be a world leader in energy innovation, research, and efficiency.

Brian K. Nelson

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In the recent blizzard we lost power around 3 a.m. during the most intense part of the storm. Because my wife uses an oxygen concentrator 24/7, I always call NSTAR to be sure that the outage has been reported. I was surprised to get a real person on the line at that time in the morning. She quickly took our information and assured us that they would be working on the problem and would update us as work progressed. It wasn’t long before the flashing lights of the repair trucks could be seen in the area — again, during the height of the storm. It took a bit, but our power was restored and we did indeed get an update message from NSTAR telling us to call back if their repairs had not addressed our particular outage. All the while I couldn’t stop thinking about the repair crews that were out there in the teeth of the storm, working in their bucket trucks on dangerous circuits that would present a challenge even on a bright, sunny summer day. I couldn’t be more impressed with their dedication and courage and wish to thank them from the bottom of my heart. They are truly all local heroes.

Jack O’Callaghan

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As vice president of the Oak Bluffs Association, I want to write this open letter to all the landlords who rent space to businesses in Oak Bluffs and on the Island in general.

This year, more than ever, businesses are struggling to stay afloat, to keep people employed and to pay their bills. I have spoken to many of them and I know how difficult a time it is.

A few business owners have told me that their landlords are going to raise their rent in the coming year and that this could easily be the last straw for them.

The purpose of this letter is to ask all landlords to hold off on any raises for this year and to consider the consequences and the prospect of having to find a new tenant in this dire economy.

Tenants who have been reliable especially should be given a chance to survive.

I sincerely hope that all landlords, especially those who might be considering a rent increase for 2010, be willing to wait for one more year.

I know that the hard working members of the Island business community can and will survive with just a little help from us all.

Renee Balter

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

While I enjoyed the Gazette story on Vineyard calendars, it omitted a very beautiful and important calendar.

Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Chilmark School have created a beautiful calendar celebrating their intergenerational program.

The students are buddied up with a resident for the school year and given cameras to take photographs of their lives growing up on the Island. The students then share the photographs that they have taken with their Windemere buddies on their visits.

These photographs (along with wonderful quotes) are put in the calendar Growing up Island which is on sale at the Chilmark School and Windemere in the recreation room. The price is $15. The calendar benefits the Windemere activity department and the intergenerational programs.

If anyone has questions, please call me at 508-696-6465, extension 722.

Betsy Burmeister



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

All summer I marveled at the beauty of Ocean Park’s gardens. Now I am thoroughly enchanted by the magic Mark and Bernadette Crossland and their workers have created in Ocean Park, Sunset Lake, at the foot of Circuit avenue and along the Oak Bluffs harbor. The tree in Sunset Lake is indeed the piece de resistance! Thank you for the wonder you have created.

I also applaud the Oak Bluffs highway department which has made Circuit avenue and the David Healey mall additional areas of beauty. Thank you for making our town so special this holiday season.

Joyce C. Dresser

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Rick Bausman’s piece in last week’s Gazette was timely and reflective. His words showed he is a man of good will. Thanks, Rick.

Priscilla Sinatra


The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.