Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In November 2011 at a special town meeting, West Tisbury park and recreation proposed a regulation that would allow dogs access to Lambert’s Cove Beach from Sept. 16 to June 14, not allowing them access from June 15 to Sept. 15. The new regulation passed with much discussion. Petitioners have brought the issue back again, to be decided at this April’s annual town meeting.

This difficult decision by the parks committee to allow dog access only during the non-summer months came after years of trial and error and attempts by dog owners to manage their dogs on the public path and on the beach. Broken bones due to dog encounters, feces, dog fights and dogs climbing onto or clawing swimmers are just some of the challenges faced by the early morning beach users. Picnics disturbed, feces deposited and reclining beachgoers surprised by dogs are issues in the evenings. The problem is really one of density. Lambert’s Cove is one of the few, if not the only, beach that has allowed dog access during the summer months. It has also become an extremely popular beach from dawn to dark; the parking lot is always full and the beach is crowded. Too many people, too many dogs, and their needs often conflict.

There was a forum held recently to come together and share concerns and possible solutions to this issue. While expertly moderated by Pat Gregory, and empathy expressed all around for each side’s position, no easy answers were found.

Lambert’s Cove Beach is an uncommonly beautiful place, now open to all bipeds in the early mornings and evenings regardless of town residency. Fear of physical harm, distaste of feces, fecal bags hung on trees and in the woods and uncomfortable encounters with dogs led the parks committee to offer up this compromise. There are many places to walk dogs on Martha’s Vineyard; there are few places to swim in and walk on a protected cove. Nobody wants to say no to neighbors and friends who love their dogs and horses. But it is time to try this compromise and say yes to people during the three months of summer at Lambert’s Cove Beach. This seems like a fair compromise. Let’s share.

Nelia Decker and Ebba Hierta

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Hello, my name is Cooper. I am an eight-year-old English setter who lives in West Tisbury with a short, plump, balding human called Steve. Last night I attended my first public meeting at a place called the Howes House. A group of about 20 fully grown humans gathered to discuss the complicated issues related to me and many of my canine friends’ future use of Lambert’s Cove Beach during the summer months.

To my amazement, the meeting was all about hope and possibility. The humans, uncharacteristically, made a good faith effort to understand each other. One particular female human named Karen, I think she is a rabbi, suggested that a way must be found to accommodate each other’s needs and share the precious jewel of Lambert’s Cove Beach. Her wise and thoughtful ideas precipitated a subtle, yet profound sea change throughout the remainder of the meeting.

Prior to this experience, I must admit to having serious doubts about the potential of humans to act rationally and with compassion. I was encouraged. See you at the beach.


West Tisbury

Cooper is the companion of Steve Maxner of West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Edgartown wastewater commission.

Moving to metered billing has been talked about since 1996. It is time to move beyond the talking stage and make it a reality. The commission is undoubtedly aware of the important reasons for this change, but I will expound upon them anyway.

• Conservation: Fresh drinking water as time moves on is going to be realized as a more and more valuable resource, especially on an Island with a sole source aquifer. Billing for actual usage will encourage conservation when people realize it’s costing them to leave the water running. As it stands now a customer could run another thousand gallons a day into the plant and it’s not going to affect his sewer bill.

• Inequity: The inequity and nonsense of billing by the number of outlets to drain cannot be understated.

A single person living in a house with the same number of outlets to drain as a family of four with a fraction of the usage pays the same. A minimum rate will obviously need to be established because of the large number of seasonal properties along with realistic rates for residential, commercial and industrial users.

• Pirated lines: Whether we want to admit it or not they exist, and over time increase in number. Without metered billing these become lost revenue for the town.

• Verification of the number of outlets to drain does not exist. If you have seven or 17, who is to know.

• Metered septage for Edgartown residences should be a lower rate. We have a $20 million wastewater treatment plant after interest on the loan is figured in. All Edgartown taxpayers pay for the plant, but not everyone can be tied in. Edgartown taxpayers who every three to five years need to pump their holding tanks should get a reduced rate.

• Metered septage for nonresidents should be higher. Their cost per gallon should be calculated based on the cost of hauling it off-Island, which used to be the norm, minus a certain percentage. These higher nonresident charges would help us to offset our ever increasing sludge disposal costs which climb with septage dumping.

In closing I would like to reinforce the fact that the Edgartown wastewater treatment facility is a town-owned business, and like any other, needs to produce a profit. In this case that means paying for itself. If commissioners or the town cannot run this facility so that it is not a burden to taxpayers, we should lease it to someone who can.

Jay Guest



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In recent weeks, numerous residents from all six Island towns have been working on an initiative to bring to our town meetings. This initiative supports a Massachusetts resolution cosponsored by Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Tim Madden, who are working hard to see it passed. It calls on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission.

This Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United has been responsible for the surge of SuperPAC money funneled into political campaigns by large corporations for the last two years. This unheralded corporate spending far outweighs spending that ordinary citizens can devote to their choice of candidates. Thus, the outcome of elections is greatly influenced in favor of candidates aligned with, and accountable to, specific corporations and their special interest groups . . . candidates who serve the interests of these powerful corporations instead of the interests of the people.

A majority of Americans are now feeling that our democracy is being undermined by corporate spending and SuperPACs, which are determining the outcome of elections through their buying power. Growing numbers of citizens now believe that corporations are exerting increasingly uncontrolled influence at all levels of government. A recent poll by Hart Research found that 85 per cent of Americans feel this way. As of mid-March, 25 states have reported some activity against the Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United. Close to 15 bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress proposing amendments to overturn this damaging ruling. It is our hope that the Massachusetts resolution will be one of these.

We would like to remind people that their vote on resolutions set to be introduced at the upcoming town meetings will allow them to express their support of the Wolf/Madden bill. This would be a way to thank Dan Wolf and Tim Madden for their efforts on our behalf. A yes vote on this resolution would enable us to be part of the rapidly growing grassroots move to level the playing field in our elections and to ensure that our government serves the interests of its citizens and not those of corporations. It would send a clear message to congress that we want this fixed!

We urge your attendance at your town meeting. Four will occur on April 10; Chilmark’s is on April 23 and Aquinnah’s is on May 8. Many will take place at locations other than the town halls, so watch for notices in the papers. We urge you to make your voice heard with the hope that the towns on the Vineyard will join a growing list of towns and municipalities across the commonwealth and across the nation in similar votes to demand an end to undue corporate influence in government and the restoration of our democracy.

Thank you for your time in reading this. By exercising our rights as citizens, we will keep them!

Sarah Nevin


This letter was also signed by Zelda Gamson of Chilmark, Ann Rosenkranz of West Tisbury, Chris Fried of Vineyard Haven, Richard Toole of Oak Bluffs and Michael West of Vineyard Haven.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the West Tisbury selectmen concerning an Islandwide problem with the U.S. postal service:

Attached is a copy of a letter hand-delivered to Cong. Bill Keating on Jan. 9. I have never received a reply from his office.

The problem of the U.S. Postal Service refusing to recognize West Tisbury addresses unless they are P.O. boxes continues to be not just vexing, but seriously troublesome, time-consuming, and costly.

For example:

A tax bill sent by the West Tisbury tax collector to my address at 620 Edgartown Road, West Tisbury, was re-routed to Vineyard Haven, where it was marked “undeliverable” and returned to the tax collector (see attached).

An order for $135 in office supplies from Quill that was sent to 620 Edgartown Road, West Tisbury, was automatically rerouted to Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven and was never received. Quill sent a replacement after a half-hour telephone discussion with a representative involving manually changing the zip code back to West Tisbury, 02575.

An order for a $900 shipment from L.L. Bean was automatically changed from Edgartown Road, West Tisbury, 02575 to Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven, 02568. Fortunately, I caught the change before the order was shipped. Again, this involved a long phone call with an L.L. Bean representative.

Supposedly, the postal service has instituted this policy in the interests of efficiency. However, the policy is creating huge inefficiencies, and is costly in terms of time and money lost.

I hope you can bring this to the attention of someone who can act on it. Representative Bill Keating’s office apparently is not interested in helping his constituents to straighten this out.

Cynthia Riggs

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I hear all too often rich people, who usually call themselves conservatives, accusing more liberal and poorer people of resorting to class warfare. This happens when the less prosperous suggest that the rich people pay more income taxes. Leaving aside that, class struggle would be a more adequate description. I suggest that the continuing economic struggle between rich and poor is as old as history itself.

It is well known by psychologists and psychiatrists that there is a strong tendency for people to accuse those who oppose them of being guilty of just the faults that they themselves most abundantly have.

It has become increasingly clear in this country that in the economic struggle the rich have been growing richer and the poor becoming poorer. This is not a coincidence. A significant number in the USA make at least $10 million per year, which is a thousand times more than many of our poor, who make no more than $10,000 per year. It is also true that 30 large and prosperous companies, which make large profits for their stockholders, paid no federal taxes in a recent year. This is neither fair, nor just, nor sustainable. Yet I do not hear of the rich and conservative complaining of class warfare, when through their disproportionate political power and dubious, if not underhanded, political and economic power they have decreased taxes while increasing taxes on the poor.

In olden times, most slave owners never complained of class warfare when the grinding of their poor workers resulted in riches being heaped at the top. This led to such grave injustice that slavery was forcefully thrust aside as too unjust to excuse any longer.

Alden Besse

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Mental illness affects not only the person who is ill, but their families and loved ones as well. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Massachusetts is sponsoring a free Family-to-Family educational course for family members of individuals with a serious mental illness. The NAMI Family-to-Family course has been given nationwide to over 100,000 family members since its inception. It is taught by two trained family member volunteers and is intended to help family caregivers cope with a close relative’s mental illness.

We are pleased to again help increase awareness of this valuable, important program. This year, the 12 classes, offered free of charge, will be held in Oak Bluffs on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9 p.m., beginning Wednesday, April 11, and ending on Wednesday, June 20.

Funded in part by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the course consists of 12 weekly two and a half hour sessions. The classes will cover information about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders and borderline personality disorder. The program also cover topics such as coping skills, crisis and relapse, listening and communication techniques, problem solving and limit setting techniques and the family caregiver’s need for self-care.

Peter Weiden, M.D., author of Breakthroughs in Antipsychotic Medications, says: “Family members who take the NAMI Family-to-Family course are better equipped to work with mental health clinicians in a collaborative manner. My bottom-line recommendation? Take this course. It will help you learn to cope successfully with a major challenge in your life, and that, in turn, will help your loved one as he or she works toward recovery.”

The course is open to close relatives and significant others of persons with a serious mental illness. It is not open to individuals who themselves suffer from a serious mental illness, unless their condition is stable and they wish to attend as caregivers for close relatives who have a mental illness. The class size is normally limited to 20 people and advance registration is required. Please call 508-693-7880 with any questions and to register.

We are so fortunate to have this program on the Island. Please take advantage of the support it offers.

Julia Burgess

Oak Bluffs

The writer is executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

There are the brisket wars and the brisket woes. If you are Jewish you’ll know what I’m writing about. “The queen of Passover” — Brisket. Brisket is a special cut of beef that no one talks about, or thinks about, until Passover. Conversation goes like this.

“My mother always did this.”

“Yeah, but My mother always did that.”

A slight exaggeration, but in keeping with our deep holiday roots.

I guess we’re all somewhat attached to “mother” or is it just that time to look back and reminisce. It was all so good.

My own daughter is in her 40s and just discovered the joys of brisket. I’m still the mother, and she’s telling me how to cook a brisket. I can’t believe we’re on the phone discussing this. But she remembers everything I told her; keeping the tradition intact but adding her personal touch, as I guess I did too.

Imagine, Ellen and I discussing the joys of brisket. I am so proud of her.

P.S. If you want to know the recipe, call 508-627-3913. It is forbidden to write it down. It must be passed by word of mouth, through the generations.

Dorris Housman



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Round and round goes the roundabout.

Some have praise while others have doubt.

It has come to a vote, not once but twice,

Comments and banter anything but nice.


Buses and trucks and trailers with boats,

Mopeds and motorcycles, walkers with totes,

Joggers and rollerbladers, cars and bikes,

And doggies on leashes and kids on trikes.


All converge at the busy crossroad,

Some like a rabbit, some like a toad.

Some will be texting or checking the map,

While others have drinks and food in their lap.


Most will travel in the hours of daylight,

Other will pass in the dark of the night.

Some know the rules, for others it’s new,

And those from abroad may not have a clue.


For most of the year, the stop sign works fine,

For two busy months, it’s all about time.

So, what are the options, what will be right,

Blinker, stop signs, or full traffic light?


The people will vote in most every town,

They’ll give it thumbs up, or give it thumbs down.

What are the answers to what will work well?

What must happen for the banter to quell?


While the options have been a really hard sell,

One thing is for certain...the future will tell.



By the time we fix our traffic lanes,

Our vehicles will be aeroplanes.


John C. Wightman