Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

My family and I would like to thank the Edgartown police department and the Edgartown fire department wholeheartedly for their timely and effective response to the fire at our house early Monday morning caused by an act of arson. We would particularly like to offer our thanks and gratitude to Mike Snowden of the police department, who put his life in jeopardy by entering our house in order to extinguish the fire.

The residents of Edgartown are truly fortunate to have such a fine and dedicated police department and fire department.

E. Burke Ross Jr.



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing in favor of the proposed fishing pier in Oak Bluffs. This one will not be the first, however. Let me tell you about the fishing pier I grew up with.

Back in the mid 1950s the Oak Bluffs steamship pier was much bigger than the one that’s there now. It was L-shaped and had a large (to a little kid) roofed-over section on the end of the pier. There was a walkway, probably six to eight feet wide all around the outside of the enclosed part. What a great place to fish! All of us kids spent countless hours fising all around the outside of this dock. Oh the excitement when a school of bonito or blues would go splashing by! Of course we didn’t catch many of them, since most of us didn’t have poles. We used hand lines and caught scup and blowfish and the occasional fluke or sand shark.

Tautog were anther story. At the end of the pier the corners were made up of a number of pilings set close together in a semicircle. We would climb down under the pier and go along the beams underneath until we got to the pilings, then drop a line baited with green crabs inside of this semicircle to get some nice fish. (The crabs came from the little beach next to Our Market in the harbor).

I would love to see our present-day kids grow up with some of these same memories.

Bill Haynes

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This past month four Island families were awarded the dream of affordable home ownership in Tisbury on Lambert’s Cove Road. This milestone was reached after nearly five years of tireless work by the Tisbury affordable housing committee who secured a so-called friendly 40B comprehensive permit for a town-owned parcel of land. Through a public procurement process, the permitted land was transferred to the nonprofit Island Housing Trust in order to build four homes and ground lease the land with long-term affordability restrictions. The town of Tisbury has put a priority on promoting home ownership and rental housing for hardworking families with modest means, while placing a fiscal priority on protecting the town’s investment in affordable housing. This successful project, which came in under budget and ahead of schedule, serves as a model for future housing efforts and public-nonprofit partnerships in Tisbury and Islandwide.

It was a locally-driven process. At the heart of the Lambert’s Cove Road project were the combined efforts of many, led by the Tisbury affordable housing committee with the generous support of the Community Preservation Committee, zoning board of appeals, Dukes County Regional Housing Authority and town voters. Using a friendly state 40B comprehensive permit, the town was able to cluster four homes on a three-acre parcel not generally permitted under local zoning. This state affordable housing law, which has been used to create the great majority of affordable housing in Tisbury and across the Island, is under threat of being repealed through a statewide ballot initiative this fall. Please vote no on ballot question number 2 on Nov. 2!

The project had local control. After selecting the Island Housing Trust to build these homes and ground lease the land with long-term affordability restrictions, the Tisbury selectmen entered into a regulatory agreement with the Island Housing Trust to ensure that the town’s investment and interests are protected throughout the development, homebuyer selection, and long-term stewardship of these homes.

The project has long-term affordability. Gino Mazzaferro, whose Vineyard Haven construction firm ICMC was selected through an advertised bidding process administered by the Island Housing Trust, built all four homes for a competitive price that included many local material supplier and subcontractor discounts. These homes are modest in size, well built, and meet high-energy efficiency (Energy Star Plus) and performance standards that will keep them affordable to own and maintain for generations. Project savings were used by the Island Housing Trust to further reduce the sale prices of two of the homes in response to the greater need for affordable housing at the low and moderate income levels.

The project has ongoing stewardship. After selling the four homes, the Island Housing Trust will continue to work over the long-term to ensure that homeowners and homeowner associations are financially responsible, keep up the property and protect the public’s investment. The homeowners have an opportunity to build their equity and in return keep these homes affordable for the next generation of buyers by passing along the public’s investment when selling the homes.

Through this town-nonprofit partnership and hands-on approach to achieving long-term affordable home ownership, the town of Tisbury and the Island Housing Trust are helping create community stability by allowing more hardworking residents to buy homes today, maintain them, and keep them affordable for the future generations.

Jeffrey S. Kristal

Vineyard Haven

The writer is chairman of the board of selectmen.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Vineyard Committee on Hunger thanks all Vineyarders. This summer you put over $3,000 in change in the committee on hunger coin jars. We also want to thank the many Island stores who host these jars.

What is done with this money? A percentage of these funds is sent to international organizations for food distribution. Some is used to support Elder Service Programs for Meals on Wheels, Serving Hands, Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living and Family to Family. A large portion is used for ongoing funding to international organizations for food distribution. We give financial support to the Island Food Pantry and provide emergency food to Vineyard families. When the committee has a surplus, we send funding worldwide for food during catastrophic events (e.g. Darfur, Haiti, victims of Hurricane Katrina).

The committee works all year for these various causes. Your continued support is needed. If you are off-Island for the winter, please send checks to VCOH, P.O. Box 4685, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568.

Carole G. Early

Vineyard Haven

The writer is chairman of the Vineyard Committee on Hunger.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This weekend I reviewed the Martha’s Vineyard television (Channel 13) video recorded on August 11 at the Old Whaling Church — the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Dispute Resolution and Mediation Program presentation titled Political Challenges Influencing Those Serving on the Bench.

Toward the end of the video, a mediator asked the three judges if they “. . . had any professional or personal experience with mediation and what is your take on it?”

Joseph E. Sollitto Jr., clerk of courts for Dukes County since 1976, responded that he is putting a “plug in for mediation” and said he thought the Vineyard mediation group does an excellent job, and has taken a great burden off the court.

Robert A. Gammage, a Texas Supreme Court justice now retired and in private practice, said he has done a lot of mediation and he believes mediation, “worked right, saves a lot of time and money and anguish . . . and allows people to make decisions themselves . . . mediation is totally confidential and mediators cannot be subpoenaed.”

Norman H. Stahl, senior Federal Court of Appeals judge, First Circuit Court, appointed by George Bush in 1990, said he couldn’t agree more — mediation is an excellent idea.

As an 11-year member of the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Dispute Resolution and Mediation Program, I thrill at these words of the judges, and I highly recommend that anyone in need of settling disputes — family, business, community, etc., consider mediation first instead of litigation.

Jane H. Thayer


and 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.