From Gazette editions of October 1986:

The Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby will no longer be sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce. The announcement came from Karl Buder, chamber president, at the derby award ceremonies at the Edgartown Yacht Club.

“There is nothing so powerful or potent in this world as an idea that’s time for which has obviously arrived. It has become increasingly obvious for a couple of years to the derby committee and the chamber of commerce that the derby committee has the wherewithal financially and in terms of expertise and the desire to run its own derby,” Mr. Buder said.

Last Thursday the board of directors of the chamber voted to sell the trademark name, Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, to the committee for $1. Mr. Buder said: “The derby should be run by Islanders for Islanders and as a part of its nonprofit fashion be for the benefit of Island charitable causes. From this day forward the derby committee shall stand on its own.”


A shipment of 145 bales of sea-soaked marijuana with a street value of $15 million was recovered from a sailboat run aground on Nashawena Island. State and federal investigators are trying to determine the whereabouts of the owners. The 42-foot, white-hulled ketch was found awash on the rocky beach by David Lynch of Cuttyhunk Marine. He notified Coast Guard station Menemsha, which responded with a 41-foot utility boat. Coast Guard Lieut. Paul Wolf said Mr. Lynch found 70-pound bales of marijuana floating in the water. It took all day for guardsmen to remove all the bales for transfer to Woods Hole.

Sgt. Richard P. DeRoche, investigating state trooper from Barnstable, said he is looking into all leads, including a tip from Cuttyhunk that the crew of the ketch were picked up by a Vineyard-based boat.

Mr. Wolf said law enforcement agents belonging to a drug task force are investigating whether the vessel came up from the Caribbean or whether the bales were transferred from a mother ship. He said 1986 was a big year for drug confiscation. “This year we’ve seized more tonnage than usual. A year ago marijuana cost $800 a pound. This year it costs $1,500. It shows there is a shortage in the area and based on our seizures we’re the cause of the shortage.”


An official from the state Department of Environmental Quality engineering said this week that Edgartown, West Tisbury, Chilmark and Gay Head will receive consent orders by the end of next month, requiring them to begin immediate steps to clean up their landfills. Diane Druyetis, a senior sanitary engineer with the DEQE said she is not sure whether the orders will go out at different times or all at once. She said DEQE found poor sanitary conditions at the dumps, lack of on-site management, inadequate supply of cover fill, open fires and inadequate fire backup. On October 7 the West Tisbury landfill was burning out of control. “We have allowed towns time to pursue funding steps like town meetings to pay for expensive aspects [like capping landfills]. There are areas you can address right away — stop burning now and clean up scattered litter.”


Before he left for Boston, and for a trip that two weeks ago turned him into the Vineyard’s first heart transplant patient, James (Barney) Bernard packed his police scanners. From the recuperating bed in the isolation unit of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he listens to the doings of the city’s emergency crews. “I listen to the Boston police, to the ambulance runs. You know, before they had rescue teams the tow truck operators were the rescuers.” That’s the job he always did here. He is the owner of Bernard’s Towing in Oak Bluffs, but he has had his employees care for the business throughout his heart ailments, which included a series of cardiac arrests. His options dwindled, and the family made the brave decision to wait for a donor heart.

Mr. Bernard says that when he returns home, he is going to change some of the ways the business is run. He has a different perspective on a lot of things now, including life itself. “On the Island we work like hell in the summer and we wonder where the money is coming from in the winter. We’re under so much stress. I’m glad the Vineyard hospital is starting up a cardiac rehabilitation center. You only live a few years, but you’re gonna be a long time dead.”

Mr. Bernard has progressed well, in the eyes of his medical team at the hospital. A lot of phone calls, cards, and flowers and gifts from the Vineyard have streamed in. “You can get down in your mood, and all of a sudden Raul Maciel in Vineyard Haven calls. Or Bobbie Kinnecom. It all makes you feel good.”

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner