Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Two of the qualities of life in our community in Vineyard Haven will be affirmed by voting no on Article I to permit the sale of alcohol in the town of Tisbury on April 27: our grandchildren and “getting away from it all.”

Children and grandchildren bring out the importance of family in our experience of Vineyard life together, as at the Memorial Day picnic and the Tisbury School family picnic, and as portrayed in Tori Campbell’s film, House of Bones. And they also identify our hopes for the future. Neither family nor our hopes for our children are enhanced by a dependence on the sale of alcohol in our town.

Henry Bettle Hough, on the opening page of his novel The Port, identifies thoughtful visitors to the Vineyard as talking about “the great outdoors, the beauties of nature, and ‘getting away from it all,’ that tired catchall of a phrase,” beyond which “is the recognition that they have arrived home,” comfortably on the foreshore of the earth. The restorative power of our sea breezes and the fragile, primeval beauty of our shores encourage us to affirm within ourselves the simplicity and awe of our being. Why would we seek to introduce anything that brings the distraction and lack of authenticity that we live here to get away from?

Thinking about and rejoicing in our children and grandchildren and the natural beauty of our shared life on the Vineyard, we encourage Tisbury voters to vote no on Article 1 on April 27.

Jim Norton

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

To the taxpayers of Martha’s Vineyard: last night (April 13) during the Edgartown town meeting between 8 and 9:30 p.m. someone slashed two tires on the passenger side of the County of Dukes County Integrated Pest Management Program truck as it was parked in front of the Dr. Daniel Fisher House on Main street, Edgartown.

The incident was reported and I was assisted by officer John Searle of the Edgartown police department.

The on-call tow service was called by officer Searle, and Walter Leite and his nephew John towed the truck to Island Tire and got me back to the house by 11 p.m.

Alan Wilson from Island Tire ordered two new tires this morning and they are being shipped to the Island for installation mid-afternoon today.

I would like to publicly thank those mentioned above for their service and timely assistance as well as the Island taxpayers who voted their support and funding for the County of Dukes County Integrated Pest Management Program.

To the pinheads with the intelligence of a squished tick that slashed the county truck tires I want you to know that in this recession economy you have squandered $754.77 of the taxpayers’ money by your malicious and cowardly actions.

T.J. Hegarty


The writer is the county integrated pest management program director.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am very surprised and upset by the lengthy article that appeared in the Friday, April 9 issue of the paper concerning my experiences in the Eighth Army in Africa and Europe during World War II. I am shocked and surprised that the article appeared having had no consultation with me and without my approval. So much of it is virtually word for word from an address that I gave to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Edgartown about a month ago. While there was nothing confidential in my address, I would have assumed if it was reprinted it would have been polite, at least, if my permission were granted to quote from it at a different time and in a different media. While the account is factual, and while I was proud of my service in the British Army, I certainly do not mean to broadcast my experiences to the public except to my closest family and friends, and/or those who have a legitimate reason to be informed. In no way do I mean to hide my service, but at the same time by no means do I desire to blow my own horn, or for that matter, have it blown by anyone else!

For two years I did my best to do my duty, worked hard, scared to death, and grew up. That’s really all one needs to say about Tom Hale or of millions of others around the world and on both sides of that terrible conflict.

Tom Hale

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Thank you for keeping the record open on the above-referenced project. Last week I was on my way back from San Diego by train, and unable to attend or submit anything in writing but Paul Foley and I spoke about the project and he very kindly included some of my comments in your material. Some additional comments are listed below.

The applicant has been at great pains to impress you with the environmentally sensitive nature of their application. It is true that their original project in the early 1980s (a very different time) did clean up a messy site, and for that they should be commended. However, that was over 25 years ago and regulations, and municipal planning, have changed significantly. Further, although Beach Road has now been sewered, the site is still environmentally sensitive and nothing can alter that fact. The original project was a very large one, and since then buildings and businesses on the site have been modified numerous times (with permission), sometimes quite significantly. In addition the businesses have evolved and flourished and the impacts are now far greater than they were when the project was originally permitted. Now Mr. Dunn would like to add three retail uses (one a token marine use to satisfy the overlay district) and an apartment in a 7,000-square-foot building with a third area to be developed in the future. This is unacceptable for the following reasons:

• The site is reported to be filled wetlands which may mandate certain very stringent considerations; further it is in an area of potential flooding in the event of a major storm. These two factors alone are suitable grounds for denial. To refresh your memories: on the corner of the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard building, just a few hundred feet down the street, there used to be a line indicating the 1954 hurricane mark; it was well up the side of the building. In a bad storm the whole Beach Road area could be under water. To allow further development in such an area is foolish. It has nothing to do with legalities, it is just common sense.

• The applicant would substantially increase the use of their existing portion of the site ignoring the fact that the parking is already inadequate for current use and the current businesses. As shown on the plan the new spaces designated for parking are inconvenient and inadequately sized, and/or would block any delivery vehicles as well as emergency vehicles. Further, there is no provision for employee parking and suggesting that they will park two miles away and bus to work isn’t realistic nor does everyone ride a bicycle. Because of the parking, cars could be attempting to circulate within the site while drivers attempt to find a parking space . . . the internal circulation pattern does not allow this which means additional traffic problems. As this project evolves, with an increase in the intensity of use (and more projected for the future) more parking will be required — of adequate scope and size — rather than less.

• Four more business units plus an apartment will add more traffic to Beach Road; Beach Road is already overburdened, if not actually failed. This is particularly true in summer or any time the Lagoon Pond Bridge opens for marine traffic. Many of us do not shop in Vineyard Haven except in the dead of winter, and the amount of traffic is a significant factor.

• When sewering was proposed and installed on Beach Road, the premise and the promise was that sewering would be growth neutral. In other words, sewering should allow no further density or intensity of use. That concept applies to this project.

• As the site plan has been laid out (buildings and designated parking areas) access to the southern portion of the lot is restricted, and there is no access to the area occupied by Gannon and Benjamin, a marine business of the sort that the zoning district explicitly allows. How does the applicant propose that Gannon and Benjamin will access the section that they are occupying? How will they be able to move boats through the area? How will emergency vehicles access the southern section or the area in back of the current buildings?

• The green roof, though laudable perhaps, is actually a cynical and laughable perversion of environmentalism. Cloaking a badly conceived and designed project in green does not convey any tangible benefit. Unfortunately I fear that we will see more of this sort of misplaced sort of thinking where there is an attempt to cloak, in a sort of inverted Robin Hood green, the greed which is an intrinsic part of this project.

I urge you to deny this project for the reasons above, and those expressed by other opponents.

Virginia Crowell Jones

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As the Island prepared to dedicate its new hospital on Sunday, I was thinking of the days spent within those walls — as a patient and as a chaplain. If those walls could speak they would talk of the seasons of life on Island, of the people as they awaited the cries of little infants through these years, of the hours of waiting for doctors to operate as they awaited the news of their loved ones. They would speak of the hours of selfless working by all the doctors, nurses, secretaries, carpenters, dietary workers, people like you and me who have cared so lovingly. They would speak of the sunset moments of a person’s life, and they would speak of the Island’s people. As well as thanking all those who have given so generously, we must be sure to be grateful for the people who in their caring and compassionate care have made the dream come true. Congratulations.

Peter Sanborn

Melbourne, Fla.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

After several years of one-sided news regarding the vicious chicken-killing dogs of one resident family of the town of Tisbury, I would like to make a proposal to end this drama once and for all. For all the money you have spent, supposedly $14,000 and a running daily tab of $300 in the effort to separate this dog owner from his beloved family member pets, you could use that money much more effectively and assist the chicken farmers in Vineyard Haven by building high security coops for their chickens.

To start with, install dog-proof electric fencing with possibly underground concrete footings which would surely ward off the most aggressive, blood-thirsty chicken-killing dogs. If that isn’t enough to mollify angry chicken owners, why not eliminate all chickens from the town of Tisbury, and compensate the exhausted and ready-to-retire chicken farmers with a lifetime supply of free eggs and/or monthly supply of organic chicken meat from another Island town that has not had these problems?

In defense of the poor dogs (after all they are only following their instincts and should be kept from running loose), it should be noted that raccoons, predator birds, skunks and other animals have attacked and killed our feathered [chicken] friends, and no one has imposed fines and legal or other action against them or threatened to move them all off the Island. In my opinion, this family has shown that their love for these dogs is so great as to put up with years of hearings, paying fines, court visits and being publicly embarrassed in the local papers, and moving off the Island two of their dogs that broke the law, and I truly believe that they have made every conceivable effort to pay their debt to the chicken owners and to the town they live in.

To continue this witch hunt shows a complete lack of compassion by the folks in charge of dog problems. Don’t we have enough real problems on this Island to be wasting so much time and money on punitive action against one dog-loving family? As an animal lover I wished that more people loved their dogs as much as the Garde family does. I think it is commendable how hard they are fighting to keep their dogs. It shows that they are sincere about making sure that they won’t become the subject of another complaint. Following the often stinging and sarcastic reporting on this matter for the last couple of years, it seems to me that while this family did once have a problem keeping their dogs in check, they have clearly paid the highest price by giving away two of their dogs. Dog shelters across the state are overrun with dogs that are abused, neglected and abandoned. Let’s look at the true picture of a family that clearly loves their dogs and give them a break.

Elaine Vanderhoop



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Approximately 60 people attended the Oak Bluffs Public Library’s second annual technology fair on Saturday, March 20. The library trustees and staff are grateful for the tremendous support by the Martha’s Vineyard Times, Martha’s Vineyard Library Association, Library Friends of Oak Bluffs and our volunteers for the event. Your efforts promoting and helping to host the fair were essential to its success. Thank you to all who helped out during the fair, and to all the community members who attended. It was a fun and educational day for everyone involved. Please visit the library soon to learn about more upcoming community events, as well as educational and money-saving library services.

Danguole Budris

Oak Bluffs

The writer is director of the Oak Bluffs Public Library.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I enjoyed the limericks from the West Tisbury Library contest, and particularly Eileen Maley’s limerick. After I stopped laughing, I had a “friend” from that other island write a response, which appears below:

A woman who hails from Nantucket,

said “Inward is where they have stuck it.”

“The Vineyard’s so prim,

No one acts on a whim,

It’s like they have all kicked the bucket!”

It’s occurred to me that this could set off an Island versus Island limerick contest, but so be it.

Emil Drottar

Oak Bluffs and

Palm Beach, Fla.