Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

For seven years, Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center has provided positive educational and therapeutic interactions with horses to members of our community with special needs. What started as a dream for a small group of dedicated volunteers has become a reality for Martha’s Vineyard. Rising Tide is the only therapeutic equestrian center on the Island, offering programs to more than 150 clients throughout the year.

As knowledge about the therapeutic value of various types of interactions with horses has grown, so has interest in Rising Tide. Doctors, therapists, and school personnel refer riders to us. In the summer, our friends at Camp Jabberwocky ride for two consecutive sessions. During the school year, we see children from all grades, at every Vineyard school. We have never turned away a prospective client because of their inability to pay.

Rising Tide has been able to manage escalating costs only through the dedication of an amazing group of volunteers, who clean our stables, feed and groom our horses, and work with our certified instructors during lessons. But the expense of maintaining a barn, four horses and providing individualized lessons is extraordinary. Even with the support of our generous donors and the work of volunteers, Rising Tide now finds itself at a crossroads it had not expected. We now may be forced to close our doors or dramatically cut programs.

Perhaps many on the Vineyard are unaware of small programs like Rising Tide, which struggle to meet the needs of children and adults with disabilities, but the families of these children and adults know too well what the reduction in services across the board has meant to them.

We ask everyone whose family member has ridden with us, who volunteers with us or who knows someone with a disability to think about the loss of our programs to the Vineyard. There is no other service which offers a nonverbal child an opportunity to “speak” to her friend the horse, or enables a wheelchair-bound man the opportunity to ride high in the saddle.

For more information about Rising Tide, you may visit our Web site at or call 506-693-1855.

Clare Harrington

West Tisbury

The writer is president of the board of directors for the Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In all the discussions about the roundabout, little has been said of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank’s role in this project. The land bank owns three of the four corners at the intersection and voted to allow the state to take property with certain conditions. Have these conditions been met? According to the land bank enabling legislation the Secretary for Environmental affairs must sign off on a project like this on land bank property. Has this approval been given? Can we expect further paving projects on land bank properties? Like the ill-conceived roundabout project itself, there are just too many unanswered questions.

Kristin Buck

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I don’t want to pay for a roundabout either. And surely someone has figured out why the following is impossible. But couldn’t we at least improve the situation at the roundabout intersection — and Five Corners — with seasonal electric signs directing preference for lanes that are backed up? Something like: “Allow three cars from Edgartown to pass with each stop.” Directed from police department via cam, probably only part of each summer day. Even if only a quarter of the drivers followed it, it would help even things out.

Christopher Gray

New York city

and Chappaquonsett


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

National Safe Boating week begins on May 19. Everyone on the Vineyard is gearing up for the summer season. Most people will have to sharpen their skills after being off the water for over five months. With this in mind, it would be a good idea to have a free safety check done by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary on the Island. It is very simple and takes only about 20 minutes. Then you can start out the season knowing that your boat is fully shipshape. If you pass, you get an inspection sticker that is attached to your vessel. Typically, over 85 per cent of Vineyard vessels fail their first inspection. If the Coast Guard ever stops you on the water for a random boarding, the decal shows that you have all of the required equipment required by state and federal law for that year and chances are that you won’t get boarded. There are no fines involved with the auxiliary if you do not have the mandatory equipment. The sticker will be issued when everything is complete. The auxiliary uses the same checklist as the Coast Guard. If the Coast Guard finds missing equipment, that can result in a fine or even a so-called termination of voyage, where you are escorted back to your port and cannot depart until all discrepancies are corrected. Unfortunately this occurs many times on the Vineyard. A good place to check what you require is on the auxiliary Web site: You are also able to find an examiner (in all 50 states) by putting in your local zip code. We have many fully-trained examiners on the Island. The big push this year is for life jackets and safety education. According to recent statistics, 8 per cent of the people who drowned from a boating accident were not wearing life jackets. Of the over 4,700 accidents (fatal and non-fatal), only 12 per cent had any boater safety education. About 90 per cent of those accidents occurred in boats 23 feet and under. The three biggest causes of all accidents were alcohol, excessive speed and operator inattention. Let’s all be safe out there this year and enjoy the beautiful waters of Martha’s Vineyard.

Ron Walsh


The writer is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

What kind of hospital releases an 85-year-old patient from the emergency room at 3 a.m. to drive home with her 88-year-old husband after being treated for multiple injuries resulting from a fall at home? Apparently there is no compassion at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for an elderly woman who suffered injury and trauma to her head, arms, and knees after feeling dizzy, losing consciousness and falling in her bathroom late at night. Is this what health care for the elderly has come to? Admitting her to the hospital for a day of observation would have been a prudent medical decision in my mind — is that too much to ask of this hospital staff? Apparently so, as this incident actually happened early Saturday morning on May12 to my mother, a full-time resident of Chilmark for the past 26 years. Let this be a warning to all of you with elderly parents on the Vineyard: your hospital is quick to treat and release no matter what the circumstances.

Robin C. Morley

Long Valley, N.J.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

We find it well, in lieu of family returning to Tea Lane Farm, that the town of Chilmark has chosen Krishana Collins as the new tenant farmer. Given the long stewardship of my great-grandmother, Virginia Silva, it somehow seems fitting that a determined young woman will take on the rebuilding of the homestead and write the next chapter for this special place.

Together with our family, we pray she will be blessed with an abundance of passion, fortitude and community spirit as she labors to return the land to productivity. We wish her well!

Everywhere we have been in the last few weeks, people have expressed their concern and disappointment for us. To those who have nurtured us through the very long process in deed and spirit, words can’t thank you enough for all your efforts and enthusiasm in support of our proposal to revitalize the family farm. Our plan was sound, filled with our innate passion, community commitment and practical experience as well as the knowledge necessary to succeed in bringing it back to productivity.

As one of six semifinalists interviewed by the farm committee, we felt confident we would make it to the final round. Ultimately, it turned out not to be so. Disappointed to learn we did not make the final cut, we are extremely sad to lose the opportunity to bring all our agricultural endeavors together in one place.

Although this effectively ends what has been for us a decade-plus dream of farming this special piece of land, we will not be deterred. Our commitment to produce quality food for our family will continue as well as our advocacy to build a strong local food system. Our passion for sharing the need and value of sustainable agriculture will not be diminished.

This experience has touched our hearts deeply and words alone cannot even begin to express the fullness of our gratitude. We are blessed to count so many among our closest friends and can only hope we will be honored some day to find a way to repay everyone for their generosity.

Melinda Rabbitt DeFeo

and Mark DeFeo


Letters From the Web

What follows are comments from the Gazette Web site on the story about the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Minnesingers 45th anniversary.


Love the Minnesingers! Sang under both Tom Mills and Bob Nute and learned so much from both of them. I can still sing many of the pieces that we learned by memory. Thank you to them, and thank you to all who continue to support them!

Becky Luce

Lebanon, N.H.

I still have fond memories singing under Tom Mills.

Coleen A. Westover

Wolfeboro, N.H.

Being the son of the Minnesinger who named the group, I grew up knowing all about the Minnesingers and wanting to be one of them some day. Tom Mills was a friend of the family, so even though he was the director long before my time, I was lucky enough to know him and make some music with him. I have also known Bob Nute my entire life, and, although I was not in the Minnesingers until another director took over, he was my band director for four years and my music theory teacher. I will always consider him a positive influence in my life. I consider it a very special privilege to have been a Minnesinger. It provided musical and learning experiences that no other organization could have, and it is a very special part of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. When you’re a Minnesinger, you’re part of the history and legacy of the school, and it’s one of the things you’ll be remembered the most for by your teachers and classmates. I hope the group continues on for many decades to come.

Dorian Lopes

Vineyard Haven



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.