deep sorrow

Editors, Vineyard Gazette

We are writing to honor Amanda Hutchinson, who died recently in Aquinnah of exposure after the snowstorm on Jan. 21. Amanda worked for us for more than 20 years so we knew her well. Amanda was a responsible, hardworking person with many talents. She was a superb seamstress who could sew anything. She could be found at events around the Island working for a caterer. She was a perfectionist housecleaner who would chase dust all over the house. She was a caretaker who watched over “her” houses as if they were her own, checking all systems regularly and informing home-owners when there was something that she could not fix (and she could fix a lot).

Amanda was crazy about her kids and would do anything for them. She also took care of an uncounted number of people in need. She nursed her beloved sister, who died in her arms in the Boston hospital where she was being treated. As we aged, she watched over us, pointing out dangerous throw rugs, reminding us to check things in the house, providing a helpful arm.

At the time of her death, Amanda was looking to the future and the next stage of her life as her children were almost grown up. She was also looking into programs for town health officers off-Island to improve her knowledge for her job as administrative assistant to the Aquinnah Board of Health. Sadly, none of this will come to pass.

Our hearts go out to Caitlin, Dylan and Alayna.

Zee and Bill Gamson


Pond View

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The town of West Tisbury is currently looking into what should be done at the town-owned Mill Pond, the last of seven man-made impoundments in the Mill Brook before it flows into Town Cove of Tisbury Great Pond less than a half mile to the south.

In the spring of 2010, the selectmen appointed a volunteer committee to investigate management options for the long-term preservation of Mill Pond. At the annual town meeting in 2010, voters approved an expenditure of $25,000 to allow the Mill Pond Committee to hire a consultant to explore such options. At their public meeting on Jan. 18, the committee and their consultant presented those options to the public.

What was NOT included in that slate of options is removing the spillway boards that contain the pond, and restoring the native stream habitat to improve connectivity and water quality for our native fish, including herring and sea run brook trout.

In an effort to learn more about stream restoration, I asked Beth Lambert of the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration to come here in November of 2010 to give a presentation of dam removal/stream restoration projects that the division had completed throughout the state, showing us how other communities across the state have chosen to deal with their obsolete dams and man-made impoundments. A standing room only crowd at the West Tisbury Library listened attentively, with lots of questions and discussion afterwards.

Since then, I have spoken with many people involved with stream restoration projects, and all roads led me to Michael Hopper. Michael is president of the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition, a nonprofit group dedicated to restoring habitat for sea run brook trout throughout the Northeast. Michael grew up in Wellfleet, an early and avid reader of our own Nelson Bryant’s “Outdoors” column in the New York Times, particularly Nelson’s essays about catching brook trout in the Mill Brook.

Tomorrow (Saturday) at 3:30 p.m. (rescheduled from Jan. 21, due to illness), at the West Tisbury Library, Michael will give a presentation that will include several restoration projects with which his group has been involved; the extremely beneficial results that restoration actions have had on native fish populations; and the significant funding that is available to towns for projects like these.

Please join us this Saturday!!

Prudy Burt

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a member of the Martha’s Vineyard aviation community for 28 years, still flying an aircraft weekly in and out of our airport, may I express our condolences from all the aviators that were saddened by the recent loss of two outstanding local pilots.

May I take this opportunity to present a safety concern I have written about before that still needs serious consideration.

For at least 28 years, our airport has not supported a mechanical repair facility. As a result many aircraft, both private and commercial, have departed our airport in need of repair, seeking another airport where there is a repair facility. Pilots cannot afford to bring in aviation mechanics, so sometimes safety is sacrificed due to these budgetary concerns. This is both alarming and dangerous.

From what I understand, our airport does not want to share gasoline sales, and a repair facility needs the added revenues from gasoline sales to support itself. Every other airport I fly into allows the local repair facility to share in gasoline sales, so we have a unique, if not dangerous situation here.

I suggest that the airport commission strongly consider hosting a repair facility to prevent untimely accidents.

Paul Adler

West Tisbury

BRILLIANT Collaboration

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Dec. 5 the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Committee voted to begin phasing out the Early Childhood Vocational Program and along with it, the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center (located at the high school) as of January 2014. This decision marks the end of a brilliant collaboration between the MV public schools and MV Community Services.

I say brilliant because it was a true community collaboration; high school students had a laboratory for real-life work with parents and children, and all families in the community had an inviting space in which to gather with their children for family activities, education and support — at no cost to participants. This was made possible through grants to MV Community Services from the Children’s Trust Fund and the Department of Early Education and Care. Many high school students began their education as infants in family center activities and have come full circle now as graduating high school students, remembering fondly where they started.

I am saddened to see the loss of the early childhood voc program as the importance of the early years in a child’s development is becoming more widely understood and the need for qualified early childhood teachers continues to grow. Research now proves that investment in young children and families yields high returns.

Apparently the number of high school students enrolled in the program has been dropping (for a number of reasons) and prompted the school committee vote.

Participation by the community in family center activities however, remains steady. Over 700 families each year for the last 16 years have attended playgroups, parent support groups, parent education classes, parent/child activities and been connected to other services in the community.

Raising children is by far the most challenging and important work in which any of us will ever engage, and it is clear that no one can do it alone. At the family center, connections are made from teen parents to grandparents and everyone in between. Information is shared, stressors are minimized and families are strengthened. Again, the model was brilliant.

January 2014 will come quickly. Community Services is looking to formulate a plan to keep the Family Center in our community without our present high school location. We would like to hear from the community members’ thoughts regarding the value of the services and any ideas for future locations and collaborations. Please send information to

Debbie Milne

Vineyard Haven

The writer is director of Community Services Early Childhood Programs.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I often dismiss news, op eds, and letters to editors like the one written by Peter Robb of Oak Bluffs about Congressman Keating and President Obama. I’ll admit I am disappointed with President Obama because he has moved way too far to the “right” for me, but when I read comments like Mr. Robb’s I worry for us as a country. It’s not just that some ignore the facts, or listen to Fox News and believe it,

The fear of losing the “right moral order” scares me and is wrong. It is so much more than guns, war, discrimination, free enterprise, right to life, etc. For example, the accusation about President Obama wanting to “impose a socialist system” on the U.S. is not only wrong but hypocritical. What I think Mr. Obama wants, and the people like Mr. Robb don’t, is a system based on our Constitution: justice and equality for all, etc. “All” is the key word, not “just some.” Our founding fathers fought hard to prevent discrimination and create a different and more just and fair society. What some seem to want is one characterized by anger, violence, fear, power, control and money. What went wrong?

Gerald Jones


and Hingham


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Who would imagine that in the middle of January on Martha’s Vineyard, a weekend with some of the shortest days and coldest nights of the year, the Steamship Authority would transport hundreds of visitors to our Island with one key destination in mind: the Martha’s Vineyard Arena. The regional high school boys’ hockey team took on Bishop Feehan Saturday night. The Nan Rheault high school girls’ tournament took place on Saturday and Sunday with teams from Wilmington, Scituate and Peabody all coming to compete. On Monday, Orleans came with the Coyotes squirt team to play a double header. Peppered among games and tournaments were other ice related activities: public skating with record attendance, adult hockey leagues, figure skating and a celebration dedicated to Sam Sherman for founding the girls’ hockey team 11 years ago. Thank you, Sam!

In all, the arena played host to well over 1,000 skaters and spectators throughout the weekend, many of whom traveled from off-Island to be here. In these frigid days, it warms me to think of the healthy outlet the arena provides to many and the support local businesses are receiving from arena-related activities. This coming weekend will continue the arena’s contribution to the Vineyard as we host a youth hockey tournament with six off-Island teams and their fans along with a girls’ varsity game on Saturday. Three weekends in February alone will also play host to teams and their fans from off Island. The arena is alive, well and a hot place to be in these cold winter months!

Christine Todd

Oak Bluffs

The writer is development director for the Martha’s Vineyard Arena.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At the end of one full year’s electrical production from the solar panels on Tisbury’s capped landfill, the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) will have sent the town checks totaling approximately $60,000. Sixty times this amount could be made available for sharing by the six towns, Dukes County, the State Forest, and the M.V. Airport if a cooperative partnership, through CVEC, were developed for producing commercial scale electricity on airport and state forest land.

Peter Cabana

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I want to thank everyone who cared for me during my most recent visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. I want to thank the ER staff, Dr. Fraser, Dr. Zack and the nursing staff in acute care for tending to my needs so patiently.

Virginia Lima Carbon


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.