Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I’ve just come from the first winter farmers’ market at the Agricultural Hall (what a perfect venue) and we are so lucky to have such a resource. The range of food from soup and baked goods to winter squash, potatoes, pork sausage, beets, beautiful dried flowers (Sue Silva, of course), jams and jellies, greens, cheese and yogurt was amazing.

And there were a lot of shoppers there loading up. There was even music. I didn’t see anyone with just a small bag; folks were staggering out laden with flowers (gorgeous dahlias), vegetables, handmade paper and cards, preserves and condiments, eggs, cheese, meat and all the rest.

I love it and I love it that it is at the Ag Hall with the photos of the various farmers whom we all remember, the structure of the barn itself, the collegial attitude of the farmers who are finally able to sell at a more leisurely pace while catching up with friends and neighbors.

This is a relaxed market not like the frenzy of the summer. Not sure when the next winter farmers’ market is, but it will probably be just before Thanksgiving. Don’t miss it!

Virginia Crowell Jones

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We heartily applaud the decision to put driver’s education back into the high school curriculum this year and congratulate Neal Maciel and Mike Dellis for taking this all-important training to the next level. Not only are the students now receiving more hours of training, but they’re using simulators donated by Martha’s Vineyard Drive for Life and the Furino family to give them more hands-on experience. With more distractions now than ever — cell phones and texting among the most common — it’s vital that new drivers be taught the most current accident-avoidance strategies.

We also praise and thank Joe and Natalie Thibodeau for having devoted 16 years of their hearts and souls to teaching driver education and hope they’re enjoying their “retirement.”

Tragically, we’ll never be able to eliminate all accidents, as accidents by definition are unpredictable and unintentional. But the Martha’s Vineyard High School is leading the way in reducing deaths and injuries by giving our inexperienced drivers the best possible training to keep them safe. We can’t give enough thanks to all involved.

Gayle and Bob Mone

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thank you for publishing Mark Lovewell’s fine cranberry harvest photos in your Friday, Oct. 14 edition. Since the location of the harvest was not disclosed, we thought your readers might like to know that the photos were taken at the Vineyard Open Land Foundation’s cranberry bog at Cranberry Acres on the Lambert’s Cove Road in Vineyard Haven.

VOLF, a local nonprofit whose mission is to preserve the natural beauty and rural character of the Vineyard, has been working for a number of years to restore a portion of the historic cranberry bog to active organic production as part of its conservation land use plan for Cranberry Acres.

We are pleased to report that the bog produced a substantial crop this year. The cranberries were dry picked for VOLF by machine as well as by hand scooping by Robert Keese, of Cranberry Hill Farm in Plymouth and his crew. Mr. Keese and his wife, Kristine, pioneers in organic cranberry cultivation, have advised VOLF throughout the entire renovation of the Cranberry Acres bog.

The premium, certified organic cranberries harvested from the VOLF bog are for sale at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown and from the Vineyard Open Land Foundation, P.O. Box 4608, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568 (508-693-3280) or at for $10 a pound and $5 for half a pound. All proceeds benefit the continuing renovation of the bog at Cranberry Acres.

Eric L. Peters

Vineyard Haven

The writer is chairman of the board for the Vineyard Open Land Foundation.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Oak Bluffs selectmen.

We are writing with regard to the Annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. Our grassroots group called Vineyarders Against the Shark Tournament (VAST) is in agreement with the position of the shark-free marina initiative that states:

“Sharks are being killed at an unsustainable rate. It is estimated that 70 million sharks are killed annually, primarily for their fins to be sold in the Asian market. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, roughly 200,000 of these sharks are killed by recreational anglers in the United States. Not an insignificant number by any means.

“The Jaws myths are fantasies created by Hollywood designed to scare us. Sharks should not scare us. Sharks are the guardians of the ocean. But they are being hunted, hunted to the very brink of extinction and our oceans are suffering.

“Everything has balance. The ocean is a fragile ecosystem. Without sharks the balance is lost. Without sharks our food chain collapses. A world without sharks is a frightening thought. It is both tragic and regrettable that over 100,000 sharks are killed every day. That’s a lot of sharks! Gone! That’s real and that’s not a myth, and it’s totally unsustainable! Our world needs sharks. Killing sharks is not cool. It isn’t a sport and it certainly is not part of a mindful culture. Killing sharks is killing the ocean.”

VAST is working to save our oceans. Our focus is to stop the Annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. The logic is simple — without sharks, smaller fish take over the ecosystem causing habitat destruction and eventual catastrophic damage to the global ocean network. In our view, the monster shark tournament unnecessarily contributes to the declining shark population. We have enclosed numerous resources and scientific references, which relate to this decline. We are hopeful you will review these materials as you consider the future of the monster shark tournament in Oak Bluffs.

Help us protect the guardians of the ocean. This is our world and our world needs sharks.

Joyce Maxner

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry:

I am writing to remind you that Edgartown and Tisbury voters passed a resolution at their 2011 April town meetings to stop funding U.S. military activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Our reasons for passing the resolution remain, and include:

• We wish to halt the killing of Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis.

• We wish to halt our nation’s economic crisis. We believe that our present military expenditures are excessive, and are preventing us from adequately funding much-needed domestic programs, such as those for education, health care, etc.

Please use your experience, skill and position in the Super Committee to recommend substantial cuts in our country’s military budget now. Cutting the Pentagon’s $545 billion base annual budget 25 percent would allow the committee to meet its $1.5 trillion, 10-year reduction-target, and would please your constituents throughout Massachusetts.

I thank you for giving this letter your consideration, and look forward to receiving your response.

Chris Fried

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Sunday Oct. 23, The Daytrippers, a great new Island band that plays Beatles songs, held a benefit concert for Island Grown Schools at the Performing Arts Center at the Regional High School.

It was an incredible show and an incredible turnout, with some 600 people in the audience who helped raise $3,000 to support our work to bring healthy, locally-grown food, garden-based learning, and food education to our more than 2,000 Island students.

There are many people to thank who made this event such a great success, starting with the band members themselves: Boaz Kirchenbaum, Doug Brush, Eric Johnson, Brian Weiland, Charlie Esposito and Shelagh Smilie, and all the players who joined them on stage. Great thanks also to the staff of the PAC, emcees Laurel Redington and Ray Whitaker and all the volunteers, supporters and ticket outlets who made the concert possible.

Noli Taylor



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

How much fun it was to have Edgartown School’s third and fifth grade students, families, and teachers join us for Celebrate Fall with Jake and Marji! It was a party fit for the Great Pumpkin himself and we hope everyone had a wonderful time. Many thanks to all who helped. Extra thanks go to the Edgartown police department for keeping South Water street safe for nearly 180 guests at our home.

We are most appreciative for the neighbor-helping-neighbor spirit embraced by our Island businesses and friends which made this event tons of fun for so many families. As we continue to enjoy this season of harvest, we hope that each of you will reach out to your friends and neighbors to lend a hand when needed. is an online clearinghouse for our neighbors to post critical needs they have and other neighbors to post offerings of random acts of kindness. This can be as simple as offering a meal, a ride to the ferry, or maybe clothing which your children have outgrown. Youths can participate, perhaps by offering to rake leaves or shovel a sidewalk this winter for an elderly neighbor. The possibilities are endless. Please check out the site. It will only be fruitful to the extent we all utilize it.

Scott and Danielle Pendergraft



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The All-Island Band program would like to take this opportunity to thank the Island community for its support with our annual fall fundraiser. Your generous donations, along with 50 per cent profit from sales, will allow our students once again to participate in exchange concerts and festivals. It will also enable us to purchase larger, more costly instruments for students to use throughout the year.

With over 200 students in the band program, and escalating costs, your support helps sustain the program, allowing our students to continue to achieve high scores at regional festivals. Thank you for sharing in our Vineyard pride.

Ruth Scudere-Chapman


Julie W. Schilling

Vineyard Haven

The writers are All-Island Band directors.

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.