Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing this letter on the 17th anniversary of my wife Phyllis’ surgery, and the news that she was near death. And I am writing it at a time when health care is being argued. I am also writing in praise of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, as you open your new wing. I want you to know how much I miss that Island hospital.

Having lived on the mainland for several years, I want you to know that I would trade it all for the personal care which both Phyllis and I received in your hospital. Where else could one be facing the impending death of one’s soul mate, and welcoming Mitchell into the world? When I had surgery in 1991, I was advised to go off-Island for good care, yet chose to have it done there. I might have done better, but I don’t think so, because these large hospitals don’t have the personal care of people that one knows . . . and I have told everyone with earshot down here in Florida that I miss the personal touch the Island hospital offers.

I miss doctors caring for people rather than statistics. I miss the contact with Pam, Laura, Sharon, Abbie, Kenny and all the staff that was there. I miss the human touch that is missing on the mainland.

While people on the Island complain about the hospital, I want to tell you from afar to be thankful for what you have: a health care system that deals with people in a human way.

I am thankful for the hospital, for all who have been or are connected with it.

Rev. Peter Sanborn

Melbourne, Fla.


Ediitors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regarding the letter from Tommye-Ann Brown (March 12). Get a life! Goodale Construction Co. was there allowing law enforcement and others to use their pit for shooting practice long before you and Deer Run!

I haven’t heard any children or parents from the Vineyard Youth Tennis right next door to them, and closer to them, than you complaining. The parents can probably watch them shooting while their kids are playing on their courts.

Have you ever heard Tilton Rentall Co., again, there long before you and Deer Run, ever talk about the noise, or of them loosing business, Saturday probably being their busiest day, because of Goodales?

My advice to you would be consider it the sound of freedom and enjoy it. Practice the low crawl and stay away from the windows, even though there has never ever been any type of accident on or off their pit concerning their firing range.

Jenny Martin

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Tommye-Ann Brown, yes, it is just you!

This letter is in response to Tommye-Ann Brown’s letter dated March 12 in the Vineyard Gazette. I don’t know how long you have lived here on the Island, but ever since I was a kid the police department have done their practice shooting at Goodales Pit on Saturdays and Sundays, so I don’t think your campaign to contact the police, selectmen, Obama and whoever else will work. Your quality of life is being protected everyday by our brave men in blue, so if you have to put up with a little “noise pollution” on the weekends, that’s a small price to pay if you ask me.

Phyllis Williams

Vineyard Haven

Daffodil days

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Next Tuesday, March 23, 1,200 bunches of daffodils will arrive at the boat terminal to be picked up and delivered by volunteers. That means $12,000 will be sent to the American Cancer Society from Martha’s Vineyard for their annual Daffodil Days campaign. We are always within the top 10 of groups participating on the Cape and Islands.

But then, no community can compete with this Island in caring for others. It is gratifying to know that we are a part of the American Cancer Society’s continued efforts in education and research to wipe out cancer.

This time next week our Island will be enjoying 12,000 beautiful daffodil blossoms, and you will be reminded that all of our volunteers will be grateful to you for what you have accomplished in this campaign. We are also grateful to those of you who donate part of your purchases so that we may give flowers to our hospital, nursing homes and senior centers. Our hardest and longest working volunteers who take care of the presales and deliveries are Kerry and Pat Alley, Katharine Colon, David Cron, Debbie Magnuson, Joyce Stiles Tucker, Susie Wallo. Marilyn Wortman and Penny Uhlendorf. Also, Brad Clough, John Clough, Kenny Ivory, Denys Wortman and Roger Spinney help with deliveries.

Every year we must give special thanks to our unsung heroes, the ones in each office who collect their orders and turn them in as presales. They are really the ones who determine how well we do, but are far too many for us to acknowledge individually.

Our ACS branch in West Yarmouth and headquarters in West Bridgewater have never heard of a community who handles sales this way. Again, Martha’s Vineyard is special!

On Wednesday March 24, Jacquie Renear will be selling daffodils at a table in the hospital and Dorothy will be selling at Cronig’s Market in Vineyard Haven. Debbie Magnuson will be selling on Thursday at the West Tisbury post office in front of Fella’s. Tony’s Market in Oak Bluffs will be selling as soon as the flowers arrive. Thank you, all who have participated with us and for all you have accomplished.

Dorothy Bangs

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a life-long Vineyard summer resident, career photographer/teacher and friend of Carol Lazar’s, I was saddened to hear of her passing in the Gazette last week.

I taught in her Chilmark Photography Workshops for several years in the 1980’s.

Carol loved people and had the great ability to coalesce them around a common interest which, in those years, was photography. We would help build or repair the darkrooms for the workshop in the spring and then would congregate in the summer. She pulled in all kinds of photographers from the network she had in New York but also from farther away. Students came for some photography and a wonderful dose of the island in full swing. When students arrived we would photograph all over the Island on field trips, hold class in her living room or back porch, have a meal and discuss our discipline until late at night. Carol was always right there with us, learning from the professional teachers among us but also teaching us things from her experienced perspective. She was such a wonderful lifetime learner. These were good times, and it was Carol that had made them happen. Through her I met and became friends with so many people I taught at her workshop over the years.

I will miss her a great deal and send my sincere condolences to her family for their loss.

Neal Rantoul

Chilmark and Cambridge


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The entrants are probably wondering,

while the jury is judiciously pondering

which limericks might have won

as honorable mention or number one

Do be patient and no despondering

The staff of the West Tisbury Free Public Library would like to express a heartfelt thanks to the master of rhymes, Joe Eldredge, for presiding over our limerick challenge, our jury members Donald Nitchie, Jonathan Revere and Susanna Sturgis for keeping us in order, and our musical guests Gregg Harcourt, Mary Wolverton and Mattie for graciously providing Irish music for inspiration.

A special thanks goes to our participants: Harriet Bernstein, Doug Brush, Barbara Chandra, Kathy de Rham, Wayne Greenwell, Maureen Hall, Marilyn Hollinshead, Alan Janger, Margaret Kelley, Robert Knight, Pat Lee, Brigite Lent, Jesse Leo, Paul Levine, Eileen Maley, Jack Marshand, Marion Morris, Domingo Pagan, Beth Parker, Jonathan Revere, Michael Sears, Pam Speir, Susanna Sturgis, Linda Voluckas and William Marks for their entries.

The jury is still out. The winners and honorable mentions will be revealed next week.

The library will host a second challenge this summer. To this, we will compile an anthology of Vineyard Limericks for 2010. This publication will be available this fall.

Thank you.

Colleen E. Morris

West Tisbury

Ms. Morris is the program director at the library.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was saddened to learn that Tony Lombardi had resigned from Safe Haven, the camp he loved so much. I had the privilege of several short meetings with Tony when we donated supplies to his summer camp for kids with HIV last summer. His passion and dedication was inspiring, and his love for those kids so very real. Tony was without a doubt the soul of that camp, his passion its air. It feels like the sun shines a bit less brightly today, for the kids, for the Island, for you and for me and for hope.

We need to stand up for each other more than we do. We need to fight for the rights of decency and fairness and to finally stand up when we see something that is wrong and simply say, enough is enough. I would have stood up and fought for those kids and for Tony. Not because he is a close friend — he isn’t. And not because he is the friendliest person I know — he is not. I would have stood up because he believes in a world that is better and brighter and kinder and most importantly because we need the Tony Lombardis of this world to keep the hope for a better future alive and well and to give those kids who have suffered more in a short life than any should have to a moment, no a week actually, where they get to feel where they get to feel like everything is okay and good and kind and visible.

I dream of a world where everything is possible if we just find a way to put each other before ourselves, where passion and dreams can replace selfishness and fear, and where the value of a person isn’t measured in dollars.

The list of people in this world that I truly admire is a very short one. But Tony is on it.

Mark Martin

Vineyard Haven

Seven years of war

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It is encouraging that Special Forces now are accountable directly to General McChrystal in Afghanistan. They have caused almost all deaths of innocent civilians there. We hear little, however, of the role of mercenary soldiers, the “civilian contractors” who continue unanswerable, outside the chain of command in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq that began with “shock and awe” seven years ago this Saturday, March 20, has since put down roots in 75 major U.S. military bases. About $900 billion of U.S. taxpayers’ funds has been spent or approved for spending through Sept. 2010 at a rate of over $7 billion a month, or about $5,000 per second. Deploying one U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq costs almost $400,000.

This is aside from war material and just plain cash money that is lost, missing or unaccounted for in Iraq. In 2004 alone U.S. contractors “lost” $9 billion of taxpayers’ money and $549.7 million in spare parts, and 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles. At the end of 2007, CBS News reported among the missing $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. 2007 Congressional hearings reported $10 billion mismanaged and wasted in Iraq, and the Pentagon classified $1.4 billion in Halliburton overcharges as unreasonable and unsupported; $20 billion was paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items, $3.2 billion of which was questionable or unsupported according to Pentagon auditors. At the height of the invasion, contractors bragged of shipments of “sailboat fuel” — convoys of empty trucks driving across uncontested desert roads and earning them combat hazard pay.

In the so-called “good war” of the 1940s this was called “war profiteering.” For the manufacturers and purveyors of war materiel who engage in this, enemies are profitable, enemies whom you arm against each other are repeat customers, and longterm enemies who can never be decisively defeated ensure longterm profit. Corporations have no national allegiance and no social responsibility beyond effective public relations. Given the manifold manipulations of public opinion and outright lies at the start and throughout the “War on Terror” to date, these must be sobering considerations even for the most ardent seeker of vengeance for 9/11, another tragedy shrouded with more questions than answers.

This is all finance. What of the human cost? Between 4,000 and 5,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed. Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly underreported. Official reports range from 50,000 to over 100,000. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualties at over 600,000. This is in addition to nearly 10,000 Iraqi police and soldiers killed. In other words, Iraqi men, women and children killed as civilian “collateral damage” are between 10 and 60 times as many as American military deaths.

Almost 32,000 U.S. soldiers are reported as seriously wounded. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychological injuries are not included in this count; 30 per cent of U.S. troops are acknowledged to develop serious mental health problems within three to four months of returning home. The cost of this to families and communities has not been calculated. And that is collateral damage close to home indeed.

Families are already hurting in the collapse of our economy (which the rabid right incredibly blames on the present administration). Our military expenditures exceed the military budgets of our nine nearest competitors put together. Ten students can go to college for the cost of deploying one soldier. Massachusetts plans cuts to services in order to reduce a $1.1 billion deficit. The missing trailer trucks in Iraq would pay that off.

So many questions on this unhappy anniversary, and war is not the answer.

Bruce Nevin



Dear Editor,

The Vineyard Committee on Hunger would like to thank all of you who are a part of our Island community — you are so generous!

Have you noticed the coin jars with the purple labels which say VCOH and those that say The Island Food Pantry? Ever wonder where the money in the coin jars is spent? The money in those that are labeled Island Food Pantry goes in its entirety to the food pantry. The coins in the jar labeled VCOH are divided between on-Island and off-Island organizations. The on-Island money goes to support Meals on Wheels, Serving Hands, the Island Food Pantry and the senior centers’ food programs. Another 40 per cent goes to combat worldwide hunger.

The remaining amount is for emergency use. Recently we sent money from these funds to aid people displaced by the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. These two disbursements are in addition to charities which we support on a regular basis.

The VCOH is a 501c(3), volunteer organization with operating costs of approximately two per cent.

All donations are tax deductible and may be sent to the VCOH, P.O. Box 4685, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

Carole Early

Vineyard Haven

The writer is chairwoman of the Vineyard Committee on Hunger


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On January 27 the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan was released. The ocean plan work group identified 11 fossil energy generating facilities and one nuclear facility adjacent to the planning area with a total generation capacity of 7,942 megawatts. A megawatt generates about as much electricity as 225 to 300 households use.

Coal, oil and natural gas are burned to generate 75 per cent of Massachusetts’ electricity; hydroelectric 18 per cent; and nuclear 7 per cent. Massachusetts has no reserves of coal, oil (except offshore) or natural gas (except offshore).

Natural gas is the principle carbon-based fuel burned by Massachusetts utilities for generating around 40 per cent of our electricity. Natural gas is received by pipeline from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canada, and imported via liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals in Boston. The Everett and Gateway LNG import facilities serve the Northeast, while a third facility (Neptune LNG) was recently approved.

There are currently three major natural gas pipelines that transect Massachusetts ocean management plan area: Hubline, a natural gas pipeline that brings product from landside sources, and two ocean pipelines and their accessory infrastructure that bring natural gas from LNG ships, which are (or will be) moored at deepwater ports seaward of the planning area.

Massachusetts’ increasing dependence on natural gas for power generation, coupled with its high population density along the coast and its lack of real estate for developing utility-scale land-based wind electrical power generation facilities, make it a prime candidate for the pursuit of utility scale offshore wind.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that more than 900 gigawatts (GW) (close to the current installed U.S. electrical capacity) of potential wind energy exists off the coast of the United States, with more than 50 per cent located off the North Atlantic coastline. New England is an ideal location for wind farm development because of its high wind resource in shallow waters close to major population centers.

Massachusetts’ offshore wind is classified as excellent to outstanding by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Offshore wind projects could produce over 100 per cent of the electricity used by the residents in Massachusetts.

Peter Cabana

Vineyard Haven