Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Though from Illinois with a modern surveyed system of property delineation, I have summered on Martha’s Vineyard since 1948 and am familiar with the metes and bounds system inherited from our colonial forebearers and widespread in New England, and notably Tisbury. I cast my moral, if not legal, vote for keeping fence viewers. Some years ago I got into a dispute with a neighbor who was a downtown lawyer. Our common property boundary lay along some complex topography, a twisting ravine, and some trees had grown up to partially obscure our view of Lake Michigan. I hired a tree service to trim them and they inadvertently cut some of the trees in the ravine that were on his property. Despite my profuse apology he insisted that I had done this intentionally and filed suit. He had no view of the subject trees. The state ordered three appraisals of the value of his loss, the highest of which was about $145 which I offered to pay. He nevertheless pressed his suit and my homeowner’s insurance company settled it for $70,000, an amount that seemed insane to me! I’m sure they looked at the issue as a business decision and that the lawyer would tie them up for years with motions and appeals. If a fence viewer can take work away from a lawyer, I’m all for it; and we should have them and use them in every town!

Barry Carroll

East Chop


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers, New England district:

We, Alvida Cleaveland Riggs Jones, Ann Lewis Riggs Fielder, and Cynthia Riggs, jointly own property in Chilmark at Quansoo (Map 022, Lot #115) that has been in our family since 1920.

During World War II, Quansoo Beach was used for bombing practice. The bombs had only enough explosives — sometimes simply flour, sometimes a smoke charge — to mark the site of impact for observers.

As children in the post-war 1940s we, like many Island children and adults, hunted spent bombs that had been dropped on the beach. Many households had — and still have — bomb doorstops (the Cleaveland House, home of Cynthia Riggs, has one such doorstop bomb). Larger bombs were used as standing ashtrays during those smoking days. The nose was removed, the center hole was stopped up with a cork, the bowl-like nose was inverted and filled with sand, and the bomb then was stood on its fins.

We understand the Army Corps of Engineers has received $5 million in funding to search the Quansoo beach to locate any “unexploded ordnance and munitions.”

During the Island’s short life of about 6,000 years, the sea has been eroding the south beach, which includes Quansoo, at an average rate of about five feet per year. Since the mid- 1940s, when bombing practice stopped, the site of the former bombing target range is now some 300 feet out in the Atlantic Ocean. For the most part, the heavy ordnance has sunk into bottom sediments. After almost seven decades of immersion in salt water and exposure to sea action, it is unlikely that any of the minute quantity of explosives contained in the practice bombs is still viable. The flour is unlikely to be a problem.

We are concerned, as taxpaying citizens of the United States, about the amount of money being spent on this exercise, and do not wish to grant access to our property to the Corps.

The Corps has informed us that, should anyone be injured by detonation of ordnance on our property, we are legally liable.

We accept that.

Alvida R. Jones, Ann R. Fielder

and Cynthia Riggs

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Regarding the story about dogs on Lambert’s Cove Beach:

I bet I’ve lived on this Island a whole lot longer than Mr. Tim Ryan, whoever he is. Once upon a time I did live in West Tisbury but I don’t now. I still have lots of friends and even relatives there and to tell the truth, I’ve never heard any of them speak so mean-spiritedly about summer visitors or about the rest of us who live on Martha’s Vineyard year-round.

Mr. Ryan is upset about the “crap” — his word, not mine — he finds on his daily walks on Lambert’s Cove Beach. And he’s come to the conclusion that none of what he finds on Lambert’s Cove Beach emanates from West Tisbury dogs. (Evidently West Tisbury dogs don’t “crap.”)

He feels that it all comes from individuals he refers to as “these people” who “could care less about the beach” — meaning summer visitors who just happen to be the Vineyard’s bread and butter — and also from “riffraff” — everyone else on Martha’s Vineyard who just doesn’t happen to live in West Tisbury.

Personally, I think Mr. Tim Ryan is full of you-know-what.

Patricia Carlet

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Volume 165 Number 47 of the Gazette had a quote from DAW: “When no one else believes in the spring, the faithful peeper starts to sing. She makes the winter melt before us with her hallelujah chorus.”

Not possible. Male frogs (only) do the calling, or courting or singing always. Oops.

From Skiff avenue, Vineyard Haven to Seth’s Pond, West Tisbury the little guys are looking for females to mate with and therefore the species will continue to thrive.

Thanks for taking note. Someone should let DAW know also.

Carson Drew

Clifton Heights, N.Y.