Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, my wife, Lauren Crosbie, called me on my cell phone. She was upset and proceeded to describe to me the seal that she and her friend Diane Levin had come across on a beach up-Island. The seal was tangled in some sort of a mat or rug and was in dire straits. It was dying and the surf was pounding.

Making a long story short, after many phone calls (made difficult by their remote location) and a lot of help from unexpected places, help finally arrived on the scene, but it was too late. The seal was simply unable to hang on.

The purpose of this letter is to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the people who extended their hands and hearts in this sad situation. I am going to list them here: Wayne and Dennis at daRosa’s Printing, the guy working on his house in the Camp Ground who loaned me a pencil so I didn’t have to scrawl phone numbers in the road with a rock, Gus Ben David, David Grunden, Officer Harris of the Oak Bluffs police department, the Aquinnah police department, the neighbors on Lighthouse Road who provided clippers, the people from the Woods Hole Aquarium and of course, Lauren, Diane and their dogs Molly and Tillie.

I have never felt more proud to call Martha’s Vineyard my home.

And the next time you see someone chucking a rug or anything into the harbor, be sure to report it.

Jack Ryan

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regarding the Edgartown selectmen’s decision to postpone a 14-passenger van tour for at least one season in order to survey their business community:

Martha’s Vineyard Transport has been doing van tours as a charter company, and has brought thousands of people to Edgartown who spent money that day and returned in the future. The selectmen have blocked my plans to sell tickets in Oak Bluffs and increase the number of people being brought to Edgartown. The selectmen say they want to take this summer to survey the business community for their opinion. The business person, by definition, wants more business, and to postpone a decision on my application for this reason is not logical.

The selectmen also want to survey the downtown homeowners to see if they would be against a ticket van tour driving by their summer homes. The van tours have been driving through the streets of Edgartown for many years without any complaints, and nothing will change except instead of averaging four people in a van, there will be 10. The historical town of Edgartown belongs to all and not just the homeowners. I believe that if their peaceful lifestyle and their safety is not changed by these van tours, the homeowners would be glad to share this beautiful historical town.

Martha’s Vineyard Transport is ready right now to create good paying jobs, bring money to businesses of Edgartown and make the Martha’s Vineyard experience better for many visitors, hoping they will return. The only thing preventing this from happening right now is the selectmen of Edgartown. An immediate approval or at least a public hearing held in the near future would be the only fair way of dealing with this application.

Ron Minkin

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

It is always heartwarming to read an article such as the one about Safe Haven Camp (Gazette, April 23). As a physician, however, it made me cringe. Do these children and their parents know their pictures will be published and their medical diagnosis revealed to the world? I noticed their last names were not printed, which in some way is supposed to shield their identities. Of course it does nothing of the sort as their home town is listed. Just maybe, some of these children don’t want everyone in their school or in their town to know about their diagnosis. In medicine, to reveal confidential medical information about a patient to anyone without the patient’s permission is unethical and against the law. HIV/AIDS is still a diagnosis that carries great stigma in our society, as much as I wish that were not so. I think a wonderful article could have been written stating it is a camp for children with chronic illness, without naming that illness. Please be careful about this in the future.

Julie Stanton

Amherst and Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Spring is finally here and the Multiple Sclerosis ride is this weekend, making it is a good time to remind everyone — motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians — to be aware of increased bicycling activity and review some rules of the road.

A starting point concerns the shared-use paths, a.k.a. bike paths. These paths extend along several main roads, and present an alternative to cyclists who would rather not ride in roadways. But even where these paths exist, bicyclists retain the legal right to ride in the roadway. Pedestrians, slow-moving cyclists and debris on the paths may make staying on the road preferable, especially for speedier cyclists.

When in the roadway, cyclists have the right to be in the travel lane used by cars. Some cyclists may choose to keep to the shoulder, but debris and variable shoulder width often make it safer to stay consistently in the travel lane. As there is still a lot of sand on many sections of bike paths and road shoulders, everyone should exercise caution.

Here are a few additional reminders for safe bicycling and driving on Martha’s Vineyard.

For cyclists:

• When using roadways, always ride with traffic. It is against the law to ride the wrong way on a one-way street. By law, cyclists must ride on the right side of the travel lane, or in the shoulder, unless positioning to turn left. Ride single file to allow motorists (and faster cyclists) to safely pass.

• When using the shared-use paths, use caution and be alert for vehicles crossing the path from side roads and driveways. Stay to the right. Remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way, and give them an audible warning when passing (say “bike passing” or “on your left”). Also, pull off of the path when pausing, so as not to obstruct the path for others.

• Riding on sidewalks is permissible, except in downtown areas. Again, yield to pedestrians and do not block others from using the sidewalk.

• Protect yourself. Although Massachusetts law requires riders 16 and under to wear a helmet, all riders should. It’s also the law that you have proper lights and reflectors when riding after dark. Bicycling with headphones or ear buds is strongly discouraged.

For motorists:

• When crossing a shared-use path — whether exiting a driveway or turning off a main road — remember that cyclists and pedestrians always have the right-of-way. (The stop signs for bikes at most path intersections are cautionary and will be phased out by the towns.)

• When passing cyclists on the roadway, please do so cautiously and courteously. Allow plenty of room, and pass only when you are sure there are no oncoming vehicles. Bicyclists can usually hear a vehicle approaching from behind; if you wish to sound your horn, do so before you are so close as to startle them.

• Remember that bicycling is beneficial. Every adult who is biking may be one less car on the road and one less car hunting for a parking space. Bicycling is also healthier, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly than driving.

For more information on bike safety, biking to work or school, or bicycle laws, visit Vineyard bike shops can also provide you with information, as well as helmets, lights, and other gear.

For information on how to get involved with bicycle and pedestrian issues on the Vineyard, or for other cycling-related information, call me at 508-693-3453, extension 15 or e-mail, or contact JTC bicycle and pedestrian representative David Whitmon at 508-693-4905, or at

The bicycle and pedestrian planning advisory committee, a subcommittee of the Martha’s Vineyard Joint Transportation Committee, meets at the MVC office on the third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and participate.

Safety first.

Bill Veno

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I love where I live. I appreciate the varied communities that surround me here. As I write this, it is the end of April vacation week and many of you are off to recover from our winter. Many more, including our Minnesingers, weren’t so lucky. For me, it had been a rather mundane week of some work, some yard chores. Then on Friday afternoon I sat down in my favorite chair with a cup of tea. I randomly put my hand down on a lovely old magazine rack that came from my grandparents’ home in Oak Bluffs.

That rack holds special items. The university graduation booklets from two of my granddaughters’ ceremonies, a booklet about Peace House, a high school for Aids students in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa where my oldest son is the director, a saved October 2005 issue of Time Magazine, highlighting Dr. Andrew Weil. Lastly, eight editions of Refocus, What We See, Know, and Learn, the Martha’s Vineyard Education Journal.

I was hooked for the weekend except for an equally wonderful event, the spring social at the tribal building in Aquinnah.

But back to the journals. From the years 1991 through 2000, eight copies of this journal were published through the Educational Resource Center office of the Martha’s Vineyard school system. An invitation went out to interested faculty to help create the first publication. Those who responded became the first editorial board. After a successful first edition, a call was extended to the community asking for submissions of essays, poetry, research articles, journal excerpts, case studies, book reviews and art work.

It is an example of a grassroots effort to create a journal “offering Island educators a forum for the exploration of issues and ideas.” If I listed all those who became board members over the next nine years, there would be over 20 different names! My appreciative kudos go out to those original responding members who had such a love of the power of words and original art work.

I started this weekend by rereading issue one and couldn’t stop myself! I read short stories, “aha” moments, poetry, personal journal entries, innovative accounts of classroom practices and travel stories from Africa to China. I heard the voices of close to 50 different teachers, from those who taught physical education, languages, social studies, art, math, music, language arts, and technology. As well, from elementary through high school teachers and exchange and retired teachers. I read pieces from nurses, administrators, guidance counselors and librarians.

Then there was the community, over 23 different individuals contributed, social workers, writers, artists, and members in other professions. But I believe my happiest moments were rereading the contributions from two of our past Vineyard students, one with Teach for America in Los Angeles, and the other with the Peace Corps in Africa. To say nothing of the joy of art work by young school-aged Vineyard students alongside those of professional Island artists.

I am sure that many of my Vineyard neighbors enjoyed visiting new and exotic vacation locations this past week, but I enjoyed living the old teacher adage, “Books can take you on a journey.” I retook a journey without leaving the Vineyard.

Ann Hollister

Vineyard Haven

The writer is a retired third grade teacher at the Edgartown School.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Don’t be exploited by potential purchasers and their agents who enter your home.

We sold our home at 12 Meadow View Road in Oak Bluffs over two years ago.

What a shock I had and how violated I felt when surfing the Web two days ago. To my surprise, I found that the purchaser was renting the property and misrepresenting the rental by using my personal pictures, which are still in my possession. He or she or the agent must have photographed them while I was away and the house was for sale.

They are antique pictures of my old Edgartown, Marchant, Osborne and Pease family mostly with nautical scenes. The new owners must have liked my pictures better than their own. I think this is fraud.

Marie Thompson



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

After living on Martha’s Vineyard for more than 20 years, I have come to believe that because we are an Island we have the unique ability and now a window of opportunity to become self-sustaining by creating our own electrical power.

Which is one of the reasons why I originally became a member of the newly formed cooperative called Vineyard Power last December. Much has happened since then, and rather than continue the volatile debate on wind power, I would like to offer an alternative. It’s called Bloom Energy; yes, it is new, and yes, it has not been proven, (other than Walmart and Federal Express being technological guinea pigs), but neither was the electric light bulb when Edison originally invented it.

Bloom energy is a clean, cheap, green method of providing reliable, renewable and affordable energy with negligible carbon dioxide emissions.

The power in a plant is basically a box containing fuel cells that soak up oxygen on one side and fuel on the other side. When combined the two create a chemical reaction that produces electricity.

We are presently spending huge sums of money (the exact amount I was unable to obtain from the Steamship Authority) to ship our trash off-Island. Why not use this money (in the millions) to create landfills that would then produce the fossil fuel that would power the so-called bloom box?

I am told that both former President Clinton and President Obama would support and encourage this type of renewable energy and since General Colin Powell is on the board of Bloom Energy, he also might be of assistance.

For anyone seeking more information the Web address is

June Parker

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Each spring

I wait

So patiently


One day

So gracefully

The shad



Early bloom

After herring


By fluttering


Leave silver scales

On low tide rocks

Near fresh pond runs

Sweet shad

O’er hangs

These pools

Discreet harbinger


Hardy strong

And true

A feathery

Red brown leaf

Gently flushing


White flowered


— Dedicated to Scott Ewing

April 25, 1960 - Feb. 15, 1985

Steve Ewing



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

April 22 was Girl Scout leader appreciation day, set aside to purposefully thank the wonderful volunteers who give not only their time but their humor, skills, values and hearts to young girls in scouting. Leaders will often say: “It’s all about the girls,” and of course it is. But without our volunteer leaders, the Girl Scouts wouldn’t be able to experience the wonderful leadership journey that we offer. Without our volunteers as role models for courage, confidence and character, the unique success of Girl Scouting would be unlikely to culminate in the development of the future women leaders as it does so effectively.

So to all our Girl Scout leaders and volunteers, leader appreciation day is about you. Thank you for all that you give to our girls. Girl Scouting would not and could not happen without you.

Ruth N. Bramson


The writer is chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachu setts.