From the Vineyard Gazette editions of June, 1979:

Hot Tin Roof, a combined dance hall, restaurant, and stage for live performances at the Dukes County Airport, opens Thursday evening with the 24th Street Band, a rhythm and blues group from New York city. The steel building has been designed and erected in 67 days with two bars, a dance floor, a separate banquette seating area for dining and a deck overlooking the dancers and stage, George Brush, the manager and one of three principal owners said. Herbert Putnam and Carly Simon, the singer with a home in Vineyard Haven, are the other partners. Work has gone on in two shifts, day and night, to meet the opening plans.

On June 14, 15 and 16, Tom Rush will come with his four-piece backup band. Mr. Rush, a familiar performer to many Islanders, is largely a soft rock and folk singer. Steve Goodman arrives at the Hot Tin Roof the next weekend. Peter Koines, a former chef at the Black Dog restaurant on Vineyard Haven harbor and at the Capawack in Gay Head, is the chef for the Hot Tin Roof.

Requests from Vineyard gasoline dealers for increased fuel deliveries out of emergency state standby reserves were cut sharply for the month of June, possibly leaving the Island in a tight energy squeeze for the immediate weeks ahead. Most Island dealers agree that the situation is changing, and not for the better. They also agree the Vineyard is not yet facing the severe gas crunch reported from many mainland areas. But the fuel picture on the Island is getting tighter. With regular monthly allocations off by 20 to 30 per cent and consumer demand up anywhere from eight to 15 per cent, the squeeze on the Vineyard grows even more pronounced. Clearly there is a rising concern and uncertainty here about what the fuel picture is going to look like the rest of the month and beyond to the even heavier tourist period of July and August.

The incidence of tularemia here last summer shows the highest reported rate for the disease anywhere in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. There were 15 cases of the acute disease, most often transmitted to humans by infected animals such as rodents, rats and rabbits. Tularemia, both in its atypical pneumonic form and in the more usual ulcerative lesion, is sometimes carried by ticks feeding on diseased animals. CDC officials believe that the infection which caused all seven members of the Coe family in Chilmark to become ill could have come from an aerosol source. Of the additional eight cases, five were identified with tularemic pneumonia when epidemiologists checked Martha’s Vineyard Hospital records for reported pneumonia cases. In two of the sporadic cases, the patients were gardeners; in one case, a sheep shearer became quite ill in New Hampshire, after working on Vineyard and Cuttyhunk farms.

The Island selectmen, bound, they said, by the recorded sentiments of their constituents, agreed Wednesday evening to place two voting representatives on the hospital board as one condition of the $189,000 approved by Island voters. And in a series of confusing and conflicting votes taken before the outcome was clearly determined, the association also asked that the hospital bill be assessed to the towns on the basis of patient use in the long-term care wing and not via the county tax. While the selectmen’s decision is loyal to the Island vote, it promises to incite a legal challenge. Tisbury and Oak Bluffs selectmen warned their associates at the Katharine Cornell Memorial Theatre in Tisbury that they will fight the use assessments scheme to the end.

United States Air Force proposals to expand the bombing range around Noman’s Land met with sharp and extensive opposition this week. The proposal, which would place military restrictions on more than 450 square miles of air space to the north, west and south of Noman’s, were challenged on several different fronts. The most serious opposition to the air force plan came from within the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), which is now evaluating the request for a huge military operations area immediately off the shores of both Noman’s and the Vineyard. It also led to a sharply critical reaction from the Vineyard community, specifically pilots, members of the air safety committee, airport officials and leaders of the local chamber of commerce.

“We intend to point out what a horrendous situation this would be for air traffic moving in and out of the Vineyard should these military plans be approved,” said Truman A. Place, manager of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. “If the military request were approved, air traffic to and from the Vineyard would have to circle a tremendous area to get in and out of the Island. It would be a disaster for our traffic. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe the foolishness of the air force proposals.”

Compiled by Alison Mead