Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was relieved to read that the Quansoo Beach Association membership took action to reconfigure its leadership. I am proud to have been in a leadership position on that same board a number of years ago. I found the various news reports of the Quansoo access conflict quite distressing during last winter’s months. It is the Vineyard after all and that kind of contentiousness is more often seen in the local political arena.

I have lived and worked on our Island since 1971. Before that I was a summer kid all the way back to 1953, the year of my birth. During that time I realized being a part of this community was a distinct privilege, not because it conveyed some form of stature, but that living here meant something much deeper. The Island community exists alone and in many ways disconnected from a social order one finds in towns across the country. The boundaries Mother Nature gives us, in the form of the ocean, conditions and defines each and every day. By insular necessity we are innovative, tolerant, and caring. It defines the nature of the Vineyard.

We can’t just walk away from someone who has angered us, for on an Island we will surely see that person tomorrow or in due time. In disengaging we more often find a path that allows us to re-engage, which is also often the case. We see one another frequently, perhaps in the post office, the grocery store, or at school with our children. Despite deep differences we find ways to continue to work together and we move from tolerance to acceptance then sometimes on to friendship. Almost all of us have had the experience of seeing a dear friend from 20 or more years ago in the grocery store. What ensues can be a conversation lasting an hour or more. We catch up about the kids, work, and share political views all in the briefest of moments. When it happens to me I reflect on just how much it means to live in such a caring environment. I know that if I was in a pickle, someone and maybe even a number of folks would quickly be there to lend a hand.

That way of life is the missing element for many who visit and enjoy the Island. For so many this is a place of near unimaginable beauty and surely it is. But our beauty is far deeper and at times more ethereal. To feel it, one must let down their guard, trust in others, and live with a sense of care that extends beyond oneself.

There is a simple metaphor in my life. My driveway is the long dirt Quansoo Road. I almost always pull over, whether coming in or out, for oncoming traffic. I love being courteous, and besides, it offers an opportunity to see friends and share a moment of exchange. Sometimes we are too busy to stop, but there is invariably a wave and a smile. This is true most of the fall, winter, and spring months; however, when peak season arrives it all changes. I still pull over but the interaction, the wave, the smile, the acknowledgment that I have given way mostly stops. Drivers and passengers alike just zoom by looking straight ahead. Any opportunity created by my kindness is lost in that instant. They are missing the moment of pleasure a simple smile or wave can bring.

It’s a gift to live on Martha’s Vineyard. That gift and our way of life is something to enjoy while on-Island and even bring to our off-Island homes. The most important thing to remember and understand is that we are all members of a greater community and we all need to remember and act on that notion. If we do that as a community and as a nation we will move successfully into our common future.

David Damroth



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was extremely disappointed with the August 13 Gazette story on wind turbines because the fuzzy photo renderings presented the turbines as specks on the horizon. This impression is wrong because they will be extremely visible. I live on the Chilmark north shore three miles east of Menemsha. The Aquinnah lighthouse is 5.5 miles away and 140 feet high. Cuttyhunk is nine miles away and 135 feet high at its highest point. Similarly, Nashawena and Naushon are six and a half and five miles away and 125 feet and 110 feet high. These measurements come from my best efforts with Google Maps (distance) and Google Earth (elevation).

All of these places are very visible and much lower and further away than the proposed wind turbines which I understand will be three to four miles offshore and 300 feet high with a blade wing span adding another 150 feet. How can your paper show a visual rendition with tiny specks on the horizon which are two to three times closer and three to four times higher than other clearly visible places? It is no defense that you used photos from other sources if you knew these photos were misleading.

These photos did not show Noman’s Land, but the implication is the same. According to Google, Noman’s is three miles off shore and 70 feet high at the highest. If Noman’s is clearly visible from our shores, and from well inland too, how visible will the wind turbines be around Noman’s at six times the height or more? I repeat: six times the highest spot on Noman’s and 10 to 20 times higher than many other Noman’s elevations. Will these turbines just be specks on the horizon too?

I am writing on behalf of anyone concerned with skyscrapers around Noman’s and off the Aquinnah and Cuttyhunk coasts, whether you live there or not. There are many important factors to consider in the wind energy discussion. Visibility is one of them. It undermines the discussion to present misleading information on any of these important factors.

Robert Kenney



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In her July 23 column, Bettye Foster Baker quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” I only know one quote of his: “When God calls man, he bids him to come and die.” I like the famous Gandhi quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.” I heard the Dalai Lama speak in Central Park. He said when we have ruined this world, we will have no place to go. This is like dueling quote on my Bonhoeffer quote . . . I hear the fear of death is behind every other fear man has. It must be what would make eight of nine Supreme Court justices recently vote that the atrocious act of selling pictures of dog fights and crushing animals to death is legal while NFL quarterback Michael Vick just went to jail for dog fighting in Virginia. If shown the pictures, how many Americans would say, “Yes, I want this to go on”? Does it matter what Americans want anymore? The law seems to have become the tragic flaw that is called an Achilles heel!

Do not get me wrong. I am not suggesting less law. I do not know what to suggest. We have hinged our pride as a nation on how just we are. Virtue was supposed to bridge the gap between the law and common sense. It has not. Our jails are full. We are a prisoner to the law.

The July 30 column question was how can America be united rather than divide. My question is, is America a Greek tragedy? I do not think so because we control the law. The question is how do we enforce the law with common sense and have it project what Americans hold dear? Which Americans, you may wonder. Well, not one judge in San Francisco. You cannot try to please every man and project what a nation wants to stand for because you end up in the courts where, generally, those who do not vote are argued for. I know the rule against a preposition at the end of a sentence but I have seen it in perfectly respectable writing of old.

Maybe Supreme Court Justices should not be elected for life. The consequences of such a change would have to be examined. The key question: What to do about everything I have written up to now is never discussed because it seems so insurmountable. Maybe we could agree that something needs to be done. We cannot go on this way.

Bonnie Green

Atlanta, Ga.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regardless of what you may be hearing or reading in the mainstream news, the worst ecological disaster of its kind in U.S. history continues in the Gulf of Mexico. As we enjoy our pristine beaches and estuaries here on the Islands during these, the last days of summer, we would do well to remember what has taken place down south. BP, and sadly, many in our federal government, would have you believe that most of the environmental destruction is behind us. This is another kind of damage control that serves only the status quo and, in fact, makes matters worse in the clean-up effort. One need only scratch the surface on the internet (and literally in the Gulf and its shores) to find both scientific and anecdotal evidence that this horrific disaster continues, and will continue for a very long time. We cannot put this tragedy behind us no matter how much our immediate (and beautiful) surroundings tell us all is well.

This writer certainly does not wish to spoil your holiday with grim news from beyond our shores, but if we hope to maintain the serene beauty and ecological integrity of our environment here in New England we cannot ignore what has taken place elsewhere. Some of the oil and toxic dispersant used in the Gulf of Mexico may well find its way up the East Coast, but even if it does not, the forces that created that disaster know no boundaries. Likewise, those who would have you ignore the realities of offshore drilling and its destructive results are not confined to the Gulf of Mexico. Having said that, this epic disaster has presented us with the perfect opportunity to make a seismic shift to clean, renewable energy that is appropriate in scale and placement (that leaves out Cape Wind!). Our governments have not taken that opportunity to its fullest potential, perhaps because corporations have far too much power to maintain business as usual. Let us commit ourselves to leading them to the light.

Don Ogden

Leverett and Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This is to the friends of Johnny Seaview (Oliver Perry). The other day we were wondering about Johnny, haven’t seen him on the street for awhile. We miss his fresh-picked posies, chainsaw, cowboy hat and unbelievably true stories. By chance, the very next day I met a friend who told me that he’s in a care center Malden. Coincidentally the next day we found ourselves near Malden and paid him a visit. He really appreciated seeing old friends and actually said, “I didn’t think anybody cared.” I encourage his friends to pay a visit or write a letter! He’s at: Glen Ridge Nursing Care Center, 90 Hospital Road, Malden, MA 02148-3517, 781-395-0365 Ask for him by his birth name: Oliver Perry.

David and Eleanor Stanwood

West Tisbury