Thank you, islanders

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Following immediately on the heels of Penelope Dickens’ heartbreaking and tragic death on March 8 came an extraordinary outpouring of support from her Island friends and the entire Island community. Your heartfelt support is humbling in both its depth and breadth, and speaks so clearly to how many lives Penelope touched — and how much you meant to her. You rallied around our family and Pen’s off-Island friends at an exceptionally painful time for so many, and made so much possible in a situation where we could barely cope. The people who have done so much, so willingly — the list of deeds is so long, we cannot begin to capture all in this short letter of thanks. Our deepest thanks to Roxanne, Deborah, Tom, Malcolm, Jen, Ken, Karen, Leslie, Lorraine, Margo, Chris, Julia, Christine, Jim and Fred for extending your hands to us and doing so very, very much. To William, Joe and Melanie for your beautiful music. To Cathlin and Cheryl for your thoughts and prayers. The combined efforts of all of you, and many whose names we may have unintentionally omitted or don’t even know, brought about a beautiful service filled with music, song, flowers, prayer, reminiscences and a program that captured Pen’s essence. The celebration of Penelope’s life that followed was overflowing with kindness, warm personal thoughts, laughter, stories, food and drink, touching and funny slides and photos, and mementos to cherish. Those who made music filled the hall with beauty and dancing that truly celebrated Penelope. We know she was dancing with us. All of this came about as if by magic through all who labored in love to make it so.

Your support seems boundless not only in the complexity and hard work of organizing Penelope’s service and life celebration, but the kindness of feeding us, talking with us, insuring that many of Penelope’s personal belongings will benefit others, and helping with the myriad tasks that come with this sad and sudden circumstance of loss. Your outpouring of support speaks to the incredible hearts of each of you who came forward, both asked and unasked, as individuals and as the Island community as a whole. Perhaps most of all, thank you for the more than 20 years that you wrapped your arms around Penelope, with all her many faces and personas, and made the Island her safe haven.

Amy Dickens, Cindy Hayden

and family

Pittsfield, N.H.

watching the road

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As owners of Tony’s Market in Oak Bluffs, we want Island residents and officials to know that we are, and for a long have been, keenly aware of traffic issues on Dukes County avenue. The recent meeting of the Oak Bluffs roads and byways committee, attended by many thoughtful and concerned residents of Oak Bluffs, was helpful to us. It is clear that we, in concert with many others, must carefully examine all aspects of the complex issues presented by the many people, vehicles, businesses and homes involved in, and dependent on, a 33-foot wide street laid out in the 1870s, barely five years after the end of the American Civil War.

Tony’s has pledged to work with the committee and has already submitted to it data that may be helpful in their consideration of solutions to the issues on Dukes County avenue. We have just completed an intensive examination of the street from Tony’s to Wing Road and will submit our findings and suggestions to the committee. We will stay in touch with the committee, attend its meetings whenever we can be of help, suggest approaches and solutions, and be as helpful and responsive as possible. Our success has contributed to the problems on the street, and we will work with our neighbors and town officials to bring about a safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable roadway.

We invite anyone interested in discussing our operations or the area around us to contact Dave at Tony’s in person, by phone, by mail at Box 2106, Oak Bluffs or e-mail at Thank you.

Dave and Ellen Richardson

Oak Bluffs

Tennis, everyone

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Saturday, March 27, a fundraiser to provide money used to purchase uniforms for the boys’ tennis team at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School was held at the Vineyard Youth Tennis Center under the sponsorship of the newly formed organization, Martha’s Vineyard Community Tennis (MVCT).

Speaking for the high school, the boys’ tennis team and me, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the adult players who donated their time and money on behalf of the team. Additionally, I want to commend the MVCT and Scott Smith and his center staff for organizing this very successful event. Not to be outdone, I also want to extend my gratitude to the parents of the high school team who generously donated food for the participants.

As an aside, if there are those reading this that are tennis advocates, whether they play tennis or not, who would like to donate money on behalf of the team, please contact me via the athletic director’s office at MVRHS.

Ned Fennessy

Oak Bluffs

Move Cape Wind

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following are remarks presented on March 22 at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Cape Wind Hearings:

I would like to thank the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts as a commissioner of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, a contributor to the White House Inter-Agency Ocean Policy Advisory Board, a board member of the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board and a 12th generation native of Martha’s Vineyard.

Secretary Salazar stated at the Jan. 13 meeting that I attended in Washington, “I don’t believe that every single place is appropriate to develop wind.” Historically speaking, Nantucket Sound is not the appropriate place for wind. To promote the productive use of Nantucket Sound as a National Historic site, I recommend that the ACHP recommend that the Cape Wind proposal be denied and moved to an alternate site. The Wampanoags are a national historic cultural resource to protect, not develop.

The Cape Wind proposal has been full of challenges that do not only include problems with the findings and process in the Section 106 hearings. There are documents that show other locations in the original [environmental impact statement] proposal for Cape Wind.

As we fulfill our stewardship as leaders to promote responsible domestic energy production, we strengthen our national security, improve our environment and improve green energy jobs to achieve President Obama’s goals and fulfill his vision.

While I worked for Senator Paul Tsongas in Washington, I promoted renewable energy and looked for answers to our National Energy policy issue. By choosing the right way to permit applications and involve local/state government officials in a transparent way, Cape Wind and future proposals will work best.

Historically speaking, the National Park Service declared that Nantucket Sound does qualify to be listed as a National Historic location.

Historically speaking, Nantucket Island is itself a national historic district connected to the mainland by a direct line through Nantucket Sound.

Historically speaking, Nantucket Sound is the only passageway connecting Cape Cod with Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Islands.

Historically speaking, the Wampanoags have asserted their claims and rightly so.

Historically speaking, the documents which I’ve seen of another renewable energy project — the Bonneville Pacific/Portland General lawsuit by the United States Attorney — illustrate the indifference and collusion that developers showed in promoting hydroelectric plants across the northwest U.S..

The Bonneville Pacific/Portland General case, which I worked on for the U.S. Attorney, alleged conspiracy, collusion and misrepresentation between developers of renewable energy hydroelectric plants throughout the northwest United States and the government.

I was in charge of 44 people working on those documents and saw firsthand how the process of building renewable energy can be full of dangerous legal pitfalls.

I saw the documents that put many federal, state, municipal and corporate officials before a federal court. I see the same pitfalls with portions of this process.

As our country moves forward with improving our domestic supply of clean, renewable energy, to strengthen our national security and increase jobs, let’s together set an historic benchmark of establishing a prototype offshore wind project. South of Tuckernuck Island is a viable location. I urge you to consider an alternate site and not recommend Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound.

James R. Powell

West Tisbury

share the road

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Saturday afternoon I was returning home from grocery shopping at Cronig’s. I rode down State Road and turned right onto the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. After a short climb to the crest of the road just past Skiff I was able to take it up to 40 mph with little effort for the ride to the blinker.

I slowed to a stop at the blinker intersection (I have brake lights) and signaled my intent to turn right (I have bright amber turn signals). I took the turn and accelerated to 20 to 25 mph as I signaled to take a left turn into Deer Run. I was just to the right of the double yellow line in anticipation of my turn. In my rearview mirror I saw a subcompact behind me start to ease over the double yellow line to pass me. I did a little wiggling in my lane and the motorist tucked back in behind me. I had my turn signal going all the while. Applying my brakes while keeping my eye on my rear viewmirror, just as I started my turn into Deer Run with the nose of my “bike” crossing the center of the road, this motorist came around me, passing me on my left, missing me by inches.

It was a dark grey subcompact, two-door I believe, with a purplish graphic design on the passenger side door. I can only assume the same graphic is on the driver’s door.

So what was this motorist’s rush? How many seconds did they gain in their trip?

Tail light, brake light, turn signals, flashers, orange reflective material on the tail end of the bright yellow body of the strangest looking vehicle to ever hit the Island, and it still doesn’t make the road any safer when my fellow road users are intent on being dangerous jerks.

I must add that after riding 2,000 miles this past winter, I have not had a single problem sharing the road with my fellow vehicle operators, night or day, up until now. The motorists have behaved themselves very well, of which I’m most appreciative.

Keep up the good work.

David Whitmon

Oak Bluffs

helping haitians

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The volunteers of the Martha’s Vineyard Fish Farm for Haiti Project would like to thank all the individuals who have donated financially and materially to our earthquake relief efforts. We thank all the groups who have organized benefits on-Island and off-Island as well.

This week Vineyard volunteers Karen Flynn and Jeanne Staples (PeaceQuilts) are in Haiti with volunteers from Haitian Outreach of Leominster. They brought with them funding, donated supplies, gifts to the sponsored children, elbow grease and an ample supply of good will and cheer to brighten those traumatized by the earthquake.

We are continuing our earthquake relief drive and are now accepting donations of children’s clothing, as well as medical supplies and equipment. For more information check our Web site at where we will be posting our updates, or call 508-693-0368.

In solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters,

Margaret Pénicaud

Vineyard Haven