Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

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

Fishing is my hobby. Fishing is also my passion and something that started when I was a six-year-old on a dock in Old Saybrook, Conn. Since retiring to Martha’s Vineyard in 2002, I have been fortunate to play at my hobby a minimum of 100 times per year. I am a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters, having served as treasurer and membership chairman. Prior to my retirement I was the executive director of the Connecticut chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, a national nonprofit fisheries advocacy organization based in Houston, Tex.

Having stated that, I came into this process with an open mind and attended a recent Oak Bluffs selectmen’s meeting to hear both sides of the debate about the location of the proposed fishing pier. After hearing the arguments, I came away convinced that the proposed site is the best location for this pier. Although limited, there is or will be parking, handicap access, and toilet facilities — an important component for families with young children as well as handicapped people.

The neighbors are concerned about noise. The proposed site is in an area where a high volume of street noise already exists. I don’t see this pier contributing to that problem. Also, the L-shaped end of the pier where most of the activity will take place is proposed to be more than 300 feet from the sea wall and berm. Add to that the width of the berm itself, the Seaview avenue sidewalk and road, and you are looking at more than 400 feet, or the length of a football field plus a third of another. A long way for a voice to travel, even on the quietest of nights. The height of the berm itself will also serve as a buffer from potential noise and prevailing southwest summer winds will tend to carry noise away from the area.

I would also like to address the argument about the area being a dead zone with a sandy bottom devoid of structure. The same argument could have been made many years ago when the steamship dock was constructed. The area now teems with marine life. To quote a line from a popular movie, “If you build it, they will come.”

The most important aspect of this pier is the pleasure and memories it will bring to countless numbers of local and visiting families with young children who currently have no safe place to fish. In a community rich with a fishing heritage, this pier is a natural and long overdue on Martha’s Vineyard.

Please approve this project. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

Ron Domurat



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

What a surprise to hear that my friend Ann Allen had died. I expected her always to be there whenever I called and that wasn’t often enough in these last few years. Ann was a dear friend but also my colleague.

Through Ann’s guidance and leadership, we began the monumental task of assuring that each junior at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School would learn Island history by doing a local history project. Ann coined this local history work, CHIP: the Community History Project. She worked primarily with Quentin Bannister and myself, the U.S. history teachers at the high school, to create a number of different avenues for students to research and explore Island history. They could demonstrate their knowledge either through a hands-on project, an oral interview project, an electronic media presentation, or a written research paper. There were specific areas to research because we wanted our students to get a broad range of the people and events that are part of our Island history. In doing their research, you could find a group of students visiting the Norton House in Oak Bluffs or on a Saturday journey with Hughie Taylor out to Cuttyhunk Island, or a trip to Aquinnah to talk with Gladys Widdiss or Helen Manning to learn firsthand about Wampanoag history, or researching African American life through collecting oral histories with people like Della Hardman.

Ann would come in with tons of packets primarily using primary documents that she had compiled on her own time and with her own money, to hand out to the students when they chose an area to research. “We need to provide them with a good starting point,” she would often say. Ann was tireless in her work with each student, helping to find them additional resources, connecting them with Island people, and through it all, always teaching them a little bit more about Martha’s Vineyard. As was said in her obituary, she also taught adult learners about our Island history.

Oftentimes Ann would say, “Let’s go to lunch,” since she always wanted to hear about me and what I was doing. Never was she a proponent of Ann Allen and all that she was doing. Over those lunches, I would try to get a little bit more information on this complex woman and her life experiences.

Ann was a humble, hardworking, sometimes ornery, always very passionate, brilliant woman who taught me so much. I am so appreciative that I not only knew her but can truly call her my friend.

Marge Harris

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following verse is for Russell (Rusty) Walton, whose service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Chilmark Community Center this Saturday, Oct. 9.

Dear Friends and Loves

Of Rusty Walton

Do not Fret

For He’s Not Gone Far

From Mother Nature’s

Right Hand Man

To The Side

Of His Heavenly God

While On This

Earthly Plain

There’d Be The Quiet Sound

Of Rusty’s Footfall

Through Meadow, Woods

And Bog

Protecting Every Living Creation

From the Brilliant

Cardinal Flower

To The Pinkeltink Frog

So If you Think

Because Our Rusty’s Gone

You’re Safe to Smash

Nature’s Fragile World

While Tearing Fluffy Moss

From the Decaying Log

Think Again

Oh Destructive Ones

For Rusty’s Footfalls

Are Now Accompanied

By His Newest Sidekick,


Trina Kingsbury



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the West Tisbury zoning board of appeals:

My wife and I own the house at 600 State Road, at the corner of Old Stage Road. Our property abuts John Keene Excavation works.

Over the five years we have owned this house, we have endured objectionable levels of noise, vibration, dust and odors emanating from JKE. Each year the grinding area has moved closer to our back boundary on Old Stage Road and the noise and vibration levels increased well beyond the limits allowed by the state noise regulation. We are asking that this violation be addressed by the state Department of Environmental Protection as well as the town of West Tisbury.

The violation I bring for action by the zoning board of appeals is the zoning designation of the JKE area of operation as light industry. The definition of light industry as stated in the zoning regulations is:

“Manufacture, assembly, treatment, processing or packaging of products in a manner that does not emit objectionable levels of smoke, noise, odor, glare or vibration beyond the property boundaries.”

We submit that the JKE operation is totally in violation of this definition. Light industry does not encompass continuous operation of backhoes, bobcats, 10-ton trucks and extremely noisy wood and stone crushing machinery as well as exposed mounds of gravel, wood chips and mulch material. The odor and dust emanating from this operation goes well beyond the property boundary and the noise and vibration is not light industry, but more akin to open pit mining.

We ask the zoning board of appeals to take immediate action to bring the JKE operation in compliance with the zoning definition of light industry.

The board has an obligation to vigorously enforce its own zoning regulations.

Henry Kudish

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The MCAS scores that measured how well our children are doing in school were released last week. MCAS exams are the state’s standards-based student assessment programs. Superintendent of schools James Weiss and assistant superintendent Laurie Halt said they were pleased with the results.

What I read shows that 31 per cent of the third grade students in Edgartown need substantial improvement in math, 51 per cent of the students in Edgartown need substantial improvement in fifth grade science and technology and 47 per cent of the Edgartown students require substantial improvement in eighth grade math. And 52 per cent of eighth grade students in Tisbury need substantial improvement in science and technology.

To be fair, our local schools do excel in one category — sports. Whether baseball, football or whatever, our students do obtain championships.

Children who have the resources flock to Falmouth Academy where students excel in learning, but alas do not win many sports championships. Playing sports is important, but isn’t it secondary to actual learning in English, math and science?

To our school officials and teachers, where are your priorities? MCAS scores show you are lacking in the leadership and skill for which you were hired.

Michael Murphy



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We would like to thank the members of the Chilmark fire department for their able and considerate work to contain the fire in our Tisbury Great Pond camp.

Thanks to David Norton and his able crew, as well as the other firemen who were standing by that we may not have noticed or forgotten. Also thanks to Brian Cioffi and Jonathan of the Chilmark police department.

Susan Whiting and

Flip Harrington



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

American oil and natural gas companies claim that sufficient amounts of unconventional natural gas can be extracted by safely fracturing trapped gas a couple miles below the earth’s surface by injecting a chemical cocktail under high pressure needed to release this trapped gas.

In a sharp rebuke of one of the state’s biggest Marcellus Shale gas drillers, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday, Sept. 30, ordered an $11.8 million pipeline built to deliver water to 18 rural residences in Dimock Township whose household wells are contaminated by natural gas. DEP has amassed overwhelming evidence that Cabot’s wells were poorly constructed and caused massive leakages of natural gas.

Is fracturing the underbelly of America’s fragile crust an acceptable option for trying to achieve energy independence? Are we willing to continue to trust and believe that Big Oil and natural gas will always operate safely? Or is it realistically possible that a land-based Deep Water Horizon has just begun in Dimock Township, that will soon spread to other areas served by the Marcellus Shale deposits up and down the East Coast?

Peter Cabana

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Oct. 5, Cape Wind and the U.S. government signed a lease that will usher in a new era in our country’s energy independence. Across America, we can harness the wind and sun to power our future and leave dirty, dangerous energy sources behind. In fact, we possess renewable energy resources that are equal to, if not better than, Germany and Denmark, the solar and wind energy capitals of the world.

But instead of embracing a clean energy future, some members of the U.S. Senate support measures that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from curbing pollution from big smokestack industries, the largest source of climate change pollution. For instance, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s Dirty Air Act ensures that big polluters continue to enjoy an unfair competitive advantage compared to those in the business of creating clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power, a burgeoning industry on the Cape. We need to act now to reduce threats to our groundwater, our wetlands, our beaches and detrimental economic impacts to our tourism and fishing industries.

We are already behind in the global renewable energy race. Senator Rockefeller’s proposals keep us there by protecting old, polluting energy sources. His bill impairs our investment in clean energy technology and new clean energy jobs.

This is not a partisan issue. Both Senator Brown and Senator Kerry should oppose Senator Rockefeller’s bill and any other measure that would hinder the emergence of a clean energy economy.

Prerna Sekhri



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thank you to the person who turned our handicap parking placard into the Edgartown police department.

The officer I spoke with said they get a lot of calls about lost handicap placards, but very few are turned in to them.

We appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Gail and Francis Allen

Lakeview, Ore.


Editors, VIneyard Gazette:

I have a nocturnal robin who for months now has been singing at night. Surely he will stop any time now that fall has officially arrived, but I heard him just last night, the first of October.

He follows the same routine each time, though not when it’s rainy or very windy. Around 12:30 p.m. he begins his familiar chirping and trilling in one of my neighbor’s oak trees. Around 5 a.m., when the sky begins to lighten a bit, he stops, and so far as I know, sings no more until the middle of the next night. I presume he spends those daylight hours doing whatever most robins do. But he doesn’t sing then.

I am curious whether this is an unusual event. I know of at least one other bird that sings at night — I believe it is the mocking bird. And of course, there are owls, whippoorwills and nightingales. But they are patterned to sing in the dark.

I don’t think robins are. Except for mine.

Jean Wexler

North Tisbury

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.