Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

To Edgartown residents and Edgartown board of selectmen.

This letter is written on behalf of supporting the new plan for the town library, both financially and philosophically. We will not be able to attend the town meeting in April regarding discussion and vote on plans for the new library. According to Massachusetts law, you have to be physically present at town meetings and cannot obtain an absentee ballot to vote on issues, especially those involving expenditure of public funds for specific projects. Therefore, given no other choice, we are requesting that this letter be included in the minutes of the meeting.

Since we will not be able to attend the town meeting, I [Rolfe] have met with the vice-chairman of the building project and reviewed the plans and process for approval of the new library. I have spent my entire career in public service and was directly involved in over eight new or renovation of public projects involving over millions of dollars. I am aware of the process involved to obtain not only approval of projects but also what is involved in approving the financial components and the implications for the taxpayer.

When we first permanently moved to the Vineyard, the ongoing saga of the disastrous effects of the original library renovation plans, including the purchase of a building that could not be renovated, were a topic of discussion for years. The plan that is being submitted now, in my opinion, has methodically and professionally been developed to avoid potential issues regarding the capability of the project to be built, has responded to the needs of the community, has identified the financial requirements and has maintained the historical integrity of the old library. I believe the chairman, vice-chairman and the committee have developed a very viable plan, and if approved, I believe this plan will have a lasting and beneficial impact for the town of Edgartown. Therefore, we reiterate our support for approval of the plans for the new library.

Sara and Rolfe Wenner


Land Swap

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On March 27 I spoke at the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen’s meeting regarding the Southern Woodlands. I would like to share some of my speaking notes with you.

With the public auction slated for April 19 on land formerly owned by Corey Kupersmith, there are several questions the public should have answered. I stand here today not only asking those questions, but also volunteering to help answer them.

First, we must consider the entire Southern Woodlands region — it is one environmental system — from town-owned land fronting Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and the parcel commonly referred to as the “doughnut hole” to the $18 million investment of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank.

My first question: What is the status of the Oct. 26, 2004 “land swap” agreement between the town of Oak Bluffs and the land bank? I suspect this agreement could have a potential impact on the parcels currently up for auction.

Second Question: Has the Oak Bluffs planning board formulated a point of view or plan for town-owned land in the Southern Woodlands — either the land that fronts the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road or parcels targeted in the 2004 “land swap” agreement?

Question Three: Should the Oak Bluffs Housing Trust take part in the bidding of any of the recently foreclosed lots? If so, what steps should be taken before the April 19 auction?

Question Four: Are there pending environmental concerns/restrictions pertaining to nitro-loading or other watershed issues that should be made public before any public auction?

Lastly, and I consider this most important: What is the will of the public for the remaining undeveloped portions of the Southern Woodlands region, and what can the public do to make sure its voice is heard?

Ewell Hopkins

Oak Bluffs

Helpful Town Hall

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

When you’re off-Island for an extended period and receive a phone call from a trusted contractor friend that your “chimneys are leaking...right down inside the walls,” you figure your peace of mind is going to pretty much disappear for a while. I didn’t worry anywhere near as much about the money involved, and the logistics of handling this job while being a thousand miles away as I did about how I was going to negotiate the “red tape” of town hall, building inspectors, historical commission, etc. to get the clearances necessary to have the job done in a timely manner.

My home is in West Tisbury, and I’m pleased to report ”red tape” has been replaced in my town by helpful, understanding and caring town officials; neighbors who went out of their way to ease my mind, and do more than I ever imagined they would do to help me complete these urgent repairs. My thanks particularly to Jen Rand, Ernie Mendenhall, Nancy Dole and the folks on the historical commission, to my neighbors for being accepting of the changes that had to be made to the property, to Robin Robinson and Hollis Smith for spotting the problem and organizing the effort, and to Jason Baird for being on-the-spot and getting the repair work done.

I always chuckle when people ask me, “What’s so special about Martha’s Vineyard?”

Charlie Kernick

West Tisbury

Comcast Arrogance

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The hypocrisy and arrogance of Comcast official Steve Hackley’s March 16 letter in the Gazette is breathtaking.

What he describes as a “small number of citizens” calling for cable service on Chappaquiddick includes the unified Chappaquiddick Island Association and the Town of Edgartown Selectmen who have decisively refused to negotiate for a cable plan that would exclude Chappy. Mr. Hackley pretends that “a generous financial package” is being offered as a preferred option to Chappy service. The fact is the $5 million in franchise fees offered Island towns is not a gift and would be recovered from Island citizens through future Comcast rate increases. Comcast claims it would have to make a $2 million investment to service Chappy, yet refuses to offer any creditable details on the real costs of running a cable through the new under-harbor conduit available for use. It is laughable that Mr. Hackley claims Comcast is committed to “strong” community support for the Vineyard while his company’s behavior is a polar opposite. One condition of the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal last year was to “spur broadband to under served communities.”

Comcast chairman Brian Roberts, who owns a home in Chilmark, recently reported company revenues of over $55 billion in 2011, an annual increase of 47 per cent, including substantial financial gains in its theme parks. Apparently the success of theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood is more important on the Comcast agenda than service to our small island.

Bob O’Rourke


Tisbury Economic Hope

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a business owner along Main street in Vineyard Haven, I am very pleased with the recent decision by the selectmen to equalize the tax burden between commercial and residential property owners. I hope this is the booster shot that we need to get our port town upgraded to sea level.

Over the years, I have traveled to many port towns. Most of them are flavorful and inviting to visitors. Buildings are shiny and clean and well maintained. For the past 10 years I have seen the slow but perceptible decline of our safe haven. Buildings have been allowed to decay, storefronts have remained unrented, and foot traffic has declined considerably.

For an Island whose economy is based upon tourists and summer residents, Vineyard Haven hasn’t been giving a brilliant first impression, to say the least. Hopefully, things are about to change. Stop & Shop will renovate the string of shabby store fronts as we turn left off the ferry. Maybe the Boch property will actually turn into a waterfront park where kids can play and people can eat with picnic tables. What a concept! Maybe some of the unsightly buildings along Main street will be given some much needed TLC. Maybe some landlords will finally take some pride in providing a graceful space for their renters.

I sense Vineyard Haven is heading in the right direction, finally! New businesses are dotting the landscape. Art strolls are being planned. Maybe the town won’t shut down after five every day. Let’s hope for a thriving season, where our town of most arrivals can greet our friends with dignity, respect, good food, shopping, and entertainment. Is that too much to ask?

Peter Simon


Solar Arrays

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

By the end of the year, Islanders will notice a one megawatt solar array at the end of the park and ride on Tisbury’s landfill, emitting zero carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases.

If a current Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas proposal becomes a rule and survives litigation, any new coal-fired power plants would have to ensure emissions no higher than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity produced, which is equivalent to the carbon dioxide released from producing 1 megawatt of electricity-burning natural gas. The EPA does not have any similar rule in place requiring that coal-fired power plants emit no more greenhouse gases than natural-gas-fired power plants.

Fossil power plants in Massachusetts have the ability to generate about 7,000 megawatts of electricity by burning natural gas and coal. Replacing 7,000 megawatts of fossil-generated electricity is a formidable but doable task. And, it could start here.

A partnership of Martha’s Vineyard, the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative and the state can lead the way. Using the state forest, or a combination of the state forest and the airport, could provide the necessary real estate. Sen. Dan Wolf, Rep. Tim Madden and others in Boston understand and are supportive of a plan that could bring this about.

Significantly, reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases is everyone’s goal. Although Martha’s Vineyard’s potential 70 megawatt of “clean” electrons (enough to meet both current and future Island electrical needs) would only replace one per cent of Massachusetts fossil generation capability, it is a positive first step that could demonstrate large scale amounts of “clean” commercial electricity can be produced locally.

This will give new meaning to “living local.”

Peter Cabana

Vineyard Haven

Menemsha Insurance Woes

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I’m out of luck and there’s no one to blame. We tied up on a Monday for a week-long vacation and slept on our boat. A few nights after our friends arrived we stayed at their beach house for a few nights. On the morning that we were scheduled to sail back to Milford, Conn. we stopped at a local grocery store and loaded up the car with provisions for our voyage back. We drove to Menemsha and when we got near the bridge that leads to the drive-on pier a police officer had the road blocked. I told my friend Chris “Don’t worry I’ll take care of this.” I told the officer, “I have my boat tied up in one of the slips. And a trunk load of food. Can you let us through?” His answer was, “You didn’t hear?” There was a fire yesterday. The coast guard station burnt down. My heart sank. The officer continued and said you’re going to need to speak with the harbor master. We turned the car around and proceeded to go to the harbor master’s office on the other side of the harbor. He let me borrow his binoculars and at first glance I could see that it was covered with soot and the American flag was black. Later that day we went to the Coast Guard office and they said not to worry, that I could put in a claim. Well, here we are over $4,000 worth of damage, almost two years later and the claim is denied. I wonder how may more boat owners are getting the same story? We did manage to motor back to Milford after my friend, Chris, his wife, Diane, and my wife, Ilona, performed preliminary clean p of the boat. But that’s another story.

Claude Blouin

Harwinton, Conn.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As moderator for the Empowerment and Education Working Group of Occupy Martha’s Vineyard, I would like to thank all the volunteers and businesses whose time and donations made The People’s Kitchen and our first Eyes Wide Open free community meal and movie event this past Saturday possible. The People’s Kitchen is modeled after those of the same name that arose at the various Occupy camps around the country before they were dismantled violently. The People’s Kitchen is supported solely by food donations from individuals, farmers, restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses who can contribute to our sanitation and food preparation needs.

The community support was not only generous but absolutely amazing! We would like to express our immense gratitude and give recognition to Cronig’s Market, Tropical Restaurant, Vineyard Grocer, Tisbury Farm Market, Jimmy Sea’s Pan Pasta, Lattanzi’s Restaurant, Espresso Love, Waterside Market, Rocco’s Family Style Italian Restaurant, Mermaid Farm, Shirley’s Hardware, Cash & Carry, The Net Result, Alley’s General Store, Orange Peel Bakery, Stop & Shop in Edgartown, Reliable Market, Our Market, and Sarah Nevin for their food donations. We would also like to thank Rick O’Gorman and WVVY for inviting us on his show to discuss the event and the film, and the Vineyard Gazette, the Martha’s Vineyard Times, Martha’s Vineyard Patch, and WMVY for spreading the word about our event.

It is our mission to empower and educate our fellow Islanders through various interactive social events in order to help create a sustainable, supportive community for all in these challenging times. We resonate with Thomas Hardy and his quote, “If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst.” When we look at and discuss dark realities together we are much more unlikely to fall into fear, hysteria and unconscious reaction, enabling us to cocreate positive solutions and outcomes for our Island, our country, and the world. Power to the peaceful.

Lisa Vunk

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I need to thank Remy Tumin and the Vineyard Gazette for the well written feature about my companies in the March 23 paper. Remy did a stellar job and clearly is a great talent. While the piece was about my philosophies, I wanted to mention my business partner and chef, Alexander Nagi, from the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company. He is the driving force behind the amazing kitchen production and a longtime associate, confidant, and great friend. Not only would I have not opened MV Chowder Co. without him, more importantly I would not have wanted to.

Thank you.

JB Blau

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thanks to the generosity of Islanders, over 1,100 bunches of daffodils were purchased this year, to benefit the American Cancer Society, raising over $11,000! Donations were also made to provide bouquets to the M.V. Hospital, each town’s senior center and to Island nursing homes, bringing smiles to all who encountered their cheerful announcement of spring. This fund-raising effort has helped give assistance and hope to the many who are battling cancer and funded research that will someday (very soon, we hope!) win the fight against it. We are very proud to be part of such a caring community.

There are many faithful volunteers who work behind the scenes to ensure the success of this campaign. We are indebted to the people who sell and deliver the bouquets in each town (Pat and Kerry Alley, David Cron, Debbie and Eric Magnuson, Jacquie Renear, Joyce Stiles Tucker, Penny Uhlendorf, Susie Wallo, Marilyn and Dennis Wortman, and Jim Tuck). In addition, we thank the volunteers in each bank, store, school, office and town hall who collect the orders within their buildings, to the Steamship Authority for transporting the flowers, and to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Cronig’s, Tony’s Market, and the Edgartown Stop and Shop for allowing bouquets to be sold on their premises, and to the Island press (both printed and airwaves) who gave great coverage to the American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days. These individuals and organizations are all vital to the effort and deserve much of the credit for its success.

Our heartfelt gratitude to you all!

Dorothy Bangs

Vineyard Haven

Judy Baynes



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Hello, my name is José Navarro. I am a fifth-grader at Napa Valley Language Academy in Napa, Calif.

The reason I am writing to you is that my class is doing state reports and I have chosen your beautiful and magnificent state, Massachusetts. I would really like it if you posted my letter in your newspaper so that I can get all the help I need for my report. What I need from you or your readers are pamphlets, postcards, souvenirs or anything else that would be useful.

I will be writing about your state’s agriculture, history, economy, famous people, events, historical figures and national parks. I will also be doing an oral report poster and Microsoft Power Point presentation.

Thank you for your support and help in making me a great researcher of your outstanding state.


José Navarro

Napa Valley Language Academy

c/o Mrs. Dearborn

2700 Kilburn Ave.

Napa, Calif. 94558