Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Words cannot express the emotional feeling that I felt, when my name was read by the principal of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School at the start of the Class Night ceremony for the class of 2010, at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs, on Friday, June 11.

I had volunteered for the draft and entered the Army in 1953, and did not finish my senior year in the Tisbury High School. Last Friday night I was presented with my high school diploma, dated 1953, under the Veterans Act of 2005. I had enough credits to qualify.

I cannot thank all the people involved enough for this great honor. Many thanks to Sgt. Neil Maciel, who, I am told, initiated the wheels turning. Many thanks also to JoAnn Murphy, the veterans agent who researched my records, and Stephen Nixon, principal of the regional high school.

The one thing to me in the center of life’s puzzle is a diploma from high school. I have almost finished life’s puzzle, and now I have the centerpiece. Thank you, everyone.

Stephen F. Nichols

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

So much has been said about the Brazilian students being allowed to wear Brazilian colors at graduation, that this may be a little overkill. However, I feel that we are overlooking some things. First of all, to counter what some Brazilian-Americans have said, all of us do not equate the word “immigrant” with the words “illegal immigrants.” And that really has nothing to do with the problem, anyway.

If we, as a community, decide that Brazilian-American students have the right to wear Brazilian colors at their graduation to show their pride in the fact that they came here from Brazil and have overcome many obstacles to be graduated from an American high school, perhaps we have changed a rule for the better. On the other hand, if we make this decision, we should also realize that the students in high school here have many different national backgrounds, not only Brazilian. What of the Portuguese who came here generations ago to settle here and who also faced many obstacles and hardships in order to remain and become loyal American citizens? What of the Italians, Irish, Greeks and those of other ethnic backgrounds? Have they not also a reason to be proud of their heritage? I, myself, am descended from Pilgrims who came to settle a new land and weathered terrible winters, starvation, and illness in order to help build a new country.

Perhaps, instead of the dark purple gowns, it would be a wonderful treat in the future to see the gowns embellished with colorful scarves of other nationalities. It would make a statement that we are a land of many immigrants who have come together to make a whole, who have come together to continue to help build a better future for our country. I think that graduates can be proud of their heritage and still be Americans!

Barbara Peckham

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am a proponent of wind and other alternative energy projects, but that does not mean we cannot be considerate to our neighbors, or to the Island. I question was it proper planning to allow a relatively large wind turbine to be installed at Morning Glory Farm so close to a scenic roadside district? Wasn’t it possible to set this turbine far enough off the road to lessen the impact? The owner has been a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for many years, and sat in on planning sessions to restrict other wind turbines, so what happened here? Even if there was a farm exemption, shouldn’t the owner have set a better example to reduce the impact by at least placing the wind turbine outside of the roadside district?

Once again, I find life on this Island to be often hypocritical, when it seems we apply our standards differently to different individuals. Would the newspaper articles and opinions have been different if the late Ernie Boch had just installed the same turbine as we just witnessed being built in Edgartown?

I think it is especially important that our respected planners set the correct example for others to follow. As I said in my last letter, I would rather see a few large turbines, that we all benefit from, rather than several hundred small turbines, very few of us benefit from.

Paul D. Adler

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The family of Stan Hart would like to thank everyone who joined us in the celebration of his life on Saturday at the Agricultural Hall. It was a special day and a fitting tribute to a great father.

We also felt compelled to say a few words about the important services and institutions that may easily be taken for granted outside of their use. Specifically, we are referring to the terrific care Dad received in his final days and weeks.

That begins with the outstanding efforts of Island Hospice and Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, whose total professionalism and constant compassion brought great comfort not only to Dad, but to all of us assisting in his care-giving. Terre Young, Ann Ledden and all of those who helped us through this difficult time provided us with the support we needed and were instrumental in ensuring his comfort. They were an invaluable resource.

We are also greatly indebted to the EMTs who responded quickly when they were needed. We were hugely relieved to see Alex Shaeffer, Tracey Jones, Jennifer Gardner and Eamonn Solway respond with their incredible care, compassion, intelligence and competency. The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital emergency room and ICU team that met us at the door and continued exceptional care until the end also receive our recognition and gratitude. They provided us with the supportive environment that made saying goodbye to Dad as easy and comfortable as it could be.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge another institution close to Dad’s heart. One of his greatest accomplishments was remaining sober from 1984 until his death. He was active in the Vineyard recovery community and joined the board of Vineyard House because he knew so many Islanders who needed the help it offered. We want to thank all of those who have donated or plan to give to the Vineyard House in his name.

Sloan, Max and Sam Hart



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Oak Bluffs Road Race is another success story for our Island community.

The mission statement of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard clearly states that we offer our services for free to all and that we are community supported. The community of Martha’s Vineyard and runners from as far away as Montana earned a huge gold star on Memorial Day weekend when many friends of Hospice turned out for the 17th annual Memorial Day Oak Bluffs Road Race.

On the morning of May 30th, 627 runners and walkers of all ages assembled at the Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs. The weather was spectacular and the number of families who registered to run this race together was truly heartwarming.

We greatly appreciate the Oak Bluffs Road Race committee and the commitment they make to our work when they choose Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard as the organization to run this race and work toward realizing the profits. We, indeed, use every dollar for direct patient care. Thanks to this year’s very generous presenting sponsor, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank and the associate sponsor Tony’s Market, Hospice will be able to use every supporting sponsor and registration dollar and offer our free care for patients and their families.

I would like to thank all who helped, including Roger Wey of the road race committee, the Oak Bluffs police and firemen for taking care of the official and safety needs of the runners, and to Peter Martell for providing space in the Wesley hotel for registration, and all the many other contributors, sponsors and volunteers who gave us their time, talent and energy to make the day so successful. The angels at the water table must also be thanked for their support for the runners, Lal Dowley and her grandson Turlock.

A sincere thank you to the runners and walkers who participated, especially the little ones who gave it their all in the one-mile fun run. You all make my day.

You see, we are truly community supported. Thank you for keeping the very important work of Hospice in your hearts.

Terre D. Young

West Tisbury

The writer is executive director of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Library Friends of Oak Bluffs thank you for a wildly successful book drive. Thanks to the generosity of our neighbors, the Friends have acquired a wide selection of high-quality books to offer at our annual book sale in late July. Now that our book drive is over, the Friends are busy sorting and preparing for what promises to be our best book sale ever.

We always welcome supporting and active members to keep the book sale and other Friends’ events going. For more information, go to the library’s home page (, click on “About the Library,” then “Library Friends.” To help us out with your time, interests and skills, check out volunteer opportunities on our page. Keep an eye on local events calendars, come out to the annual book sale July 23 to 25, and help support the programs and services of the Oak Bluffs Public Library.

Marilyn Miller

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I want to thank everyone on this Island who helped make the second annual Inspiration Weekend an outstanding event. It was a great five-day event featuring the biblical preaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. The Sunday morning offering was given to two outstanding Island organizations, Camp Jabberwocky and the Red Stocking Fund. Let’s hope that Dr. Stanley and the In Touch Ministry return next year.

Jeff Winter

Oak Bluffs

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.