Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The front-page August 30 story about the Edgartown Library describes additional library woes and I want to share my concern. First the slogan, Frankly, We Love our Library, has a negative and apologetic tone. There is enough confusion about the Edgartown Library without promoting a slogan that does not look to the future. The Edgartown Library serves the public well, and there is no reason to be negative and apologetic.

What the town decides about the brick and mortar future of the library influences the next 50 to 100 years. The present library functions well as a branch of CLAMS. If I cannot find the book that I want to read, CLAMS will soon make it available. There are fine purpose-built libraries a short distance away in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. Both are run and designed well and available to Edgartown residents as part of the regional system. I urge you to make the mental transition from town to region. Think CLAMS!

Many communities are struggling to understand the future of local libraries. A look at Amazon and major and small booksstores may be a clue to the future. All of my adult children and grandchildren now have a tablet as well as my wife, and I often prefer to read a book on my Kindle rather than print. I can carry an entire library in my briefcase. Since we are looking decades ahead, e-books are part of the future. We both listen to audio books on our MP3 players. I request books that I want to read on the Internet and pick them up at the library. I download e-books and audio books from the Edgartown Library and the Boston Public Library. Books in print are always vital, but electronic versions of books and the Internet are a significant element of the future.

What role should the Edgartown Library play in the decades to come?

Have a modern version of what it does now and continue to provide an interesting collection of print books and function as an intellectual service center.

Continue to have an increasing dependence on CLAMS for electronic-based literature.

Organize and offer remote learning opportunities. There is a wealth of low-cost or free material available. A good example could be iTunesU coupled with a discussion group.

Increase accessibility. Consider a lending or honor library on Chappy and at the Triangle. Certainly a drop box at the Triangle.

Encourage innovation.

I like the present Edgartown Library building and believe it should be preserved as a library since it is part of our community culture. The proposed replacement of the library at the old Edgartown School does not fit into my vision of the future. It may very well be a white elephant dumped on the library as an act of desperation to seek a low cost bricks and mortar replacement. If the present Carnegie building is kept as a library, the expansion building adjacent to the library could house electronic media, serve as a learning center and provide community space. In the decades to come, brick and mortar may not be the correct answer. The right answer may be vision, innovation, regionalization, service and the tracking of American reading habits.

A motto might be, “The future is our library.”

Charles E. Carlson



The following comment was posted on the Gazette Web site under the obituary for Helen Lamb:

Helen Lamb was my grandmother. My regards to Mr. Dunlop for his great writing about her life. I’m a journalist in Georgia and in 2007 I “interviewed” Hellcat. Here are some of her remarks. “Hellcat on Hellcat” if you will:

• “I’ve always been a rebel. I don’t think I do anything on purpose that makes me a rebel. It just happens.”

• “I don’t dwell on things very long. If I think it’s a good idea to do them, I do them.”

• “Make sure, if you get married, you pick someone that you really love. Really love. Irrespective of what they may do, you still love them very, very much.”

• “Be happy at all times. All times. Don’t let anything interfere with that.”

• “I’ve only, as far as I know, only cried once in my life. And that was after my husband died. But I didn’t do that until I got to bed at night so I would be alone.”

• “I love Lambert’s Cove on Martha’s Vineyard. I like looking up the cove. When I go, there’s hardly anyone there. I like the calmness of it. I love to hear the water just tapping onto the beach, the nice little rhythm in the evening, the sun setting.”

• “Love, it’s so nice and relaxing.”

• “Rules? I don’t think I have any, and I don’t think I gave my children any . . . I never said no to them unless I really had to.”

• “Am I crazy? Oh, depends . . . Crazy and not plugged in right.”

• “After camp one year . . . we went down to Edgartown, and why in the world we were in the coffee house there, drinking, I think we were drinking with a very small meal. And I got drunk. I went out into Water street, evidently, and sat down in the middle of Water street.”

• “The king only reigns for so many years.”

Joe Kovac Jr.

Macon, Ga.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was recently told that more people are killed by cows than by pit bulls, so I suppose we should have considered ourselves lucky to find a pit bull, and not a cow, roaming around our yard last night. Even so, an unknown pit bull in the yard is not a particularly welcome sight, especially when you would like to walk across the yard with your daughter in order to get to your house. While this dog may have been friendlier than even Ferdinand, the peace-loving bull, we decided not to find out. I am requesting that, for the consideration of your neighbors, the owners and caretakers of dogs that belong to breeds with tarnished reputations make sure their dogs are securely enclosed in their yard or house. The rest of us have no way of knowing if your roaming Fido is a Ferdinand, or not.

Kate Feiffer

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The selectmen of Tisbury, Edgartown and West Tisbury should grow up. If you don’t like the information messages, just hang up.

Robert Iadicicco

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a summer person for 30 years I’ve seen a lot of changes. Sometimes it seems like without Taylors and Simons’ riding coattails there wouldn’t be anything consistent about Martha’s Vineyard at all. But unlike so many of my friends and neighbors I’m mostly glad. Sure, I remember parking right next to the ferry (someone must park in there, just like someone must have Giants tickets) but I also remember an Ocean Park of bare ground, bare wires like weeds from broken globes on crumbling light poles and weird blue empty “ponds” with three inches of goose stench and debris like off-season swimming pools at some upstate motel. The crown jewel of the town looked like a post-apocalyptic mini golf.

I remember when we could sit on the open windowsills around the back of the Flying Horses and park at the Reliable, but I also remember when every third house in the Copeland District was collapsing, and now it’s only every tenth! Yes, a lot of things are better now, but even I’m starting to worry, because one thing we don’t do well in America is stop at the zenith, and there’s something Martha’s Vineyard is starting to take too far. Are we getting just a little too . . . intelligent?

The Gazette’s list of upcoming events says we are. There’s almost nothing in there that seems like fun. A pianist/psychologist is going to analyze the musical score of West Side Story in a public lecture? This is someone’s idea of vacation? In the very same week we have not only Hamlet, but also the show I Am Hamlet, in which one man tries to deliver all the themes inherent in Hamlet. No one told them the original Hamlet is a show in which one man tries to deliver all the themes inherent in Hamlet. It’s one thing to limit these sorts of events to Vineyard Haven and Chilmark, but they’re spreading like an over-educated virus! With apologies to the bard, having sanctuary enough, shall we desire to raze waste ground and pitch our goodness there? Where am I supposed to take my kids? When did Martha’s Vineyard start taking itself so seriously? What would Mad Martha say? I don’t want to go back to hippies living in the gazebo, but couldn’t we go back just a little, back to the simple days when one phrase of ancient Greek letters on our houses was enough to show the world how clever we were, and it didn’t take three?

I have a lot of respect for the President, but I think he’s part of the problem. When you see that man he just makes you think of libraries and dignity. Remember a few years ago when the President who visited stood for bad choices and cheeseburgers? Isn’t that summer?

Congratulations, Martha’s Vineyard, you’re better than ever. But lighten up. You’re not Hamlet.

Mark Makuch

Willington, Conn.,

and Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Thanks for inviting your readers to write the President for your August 19 issue. People from all stripes were allowed to express their opinions. And that is certainly a good thing.

However, I do take exception with one letter. Jerry Kohlberg, the new owner of the Gazette, accuses the Tea Party (and Republicans) of “blackmail” and “extortion.” Strong charges indeed! This is not fair or accurate and only inflames the political dialogue as we try and work our way out of a fiscal crisis.

First of all, the Tea Party has a big tent, including Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians and folks from all walks of life and every corner of the nation. Second, it’s not blackmail or extortion, it’s politics, something Mr. Obama and his staff are very familiar with. Third, Mr. Kohlberg has an obvious prejudice against conservatives that merits further consideration rather than a short letter to the editor.

The Tea Party is the most exciting and hopeful political movement in a generation. It hews to the wisdom of the founding fathers and the Constitution. The Tea Party speaks for the many Americans who oppose the Democrats’ liberal agenda. Recent polls show Mr. Obama’s popularity plummeting and confidence in his handling of the economy is headed for single digits. The Tea Party expresses the fears and concerns shared by the majority of citizens who want to end runaway federal spending. They want to stop government waste and reduce the size of government. They want to keep government out of their health care. They want our borders protected. They want a president who represents their interests and believes in the greatness of our country.

The Tea Party has helped energize and refocus the Republican Party that lost its way during the Bush years. This new Republican Party retook the House in 2010 and will likely win the Senate in 2012. That will go a long way toward undoing the damage done by the Pelosi-Reid cabal. I am very optimistic that the United States will come back stronger after the great recession. God bless the Tea Party. God bless America.

Peter Robb


and Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Mr. President, I will only trouble you with a few lines, but judging from what I have seen in the past two and a half years, there is no longer a liberal or a Democratic breath left in you, your administration or the leadership of your party.

You have all become authoritarian socialists, and as such, appear to be cut from the very same cloth as those from whom my grandparents once fled.

Michael F. Fontes 3rd

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The fair was a magical place for our four-year-old grandson Lucas this year.

His favorite animal was the miniature horse named Stormy.

His favorite person was Malcolm, the frog man. Malcolm has been doing his show since 1963 and hasn’t lost the spark of making children laugh and giggle. After the show he let children hold his frogs and really talked with them. In fact he talked with our grandson for over a half hour. I hope he is back next year because Lucas has thought of a plan on how to get picked as a contestant — he’s going to hop like a frog and call out ribbit, ribbit.

If anyone knows how to get in touch with him, please forward this to him with our thanks.

Julie Coleman



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was with my parents at the Agricultural Fair this year on Saturday night. We had just finished eating and were browsing through the stalls of jewelry and crafts. One of the stalls had mermaid items, and anybody that knows me would call me one! So I asked my mom if we could take a second to look. The artist had sea-inspired jewelry, calendars, trinkets and wool-dyed and spun figures — one of these particularly caught my eye. In a little basket there were a handful of wool-spun mermaids with all different shades of skin, hair and tails. Immediately I found me! A mermaid with tan skin, dark brown hair and a pink, coral tail — I was so elated and sort of shocked that I picked her up and turned to my mom and said, “It’s me!”

To which my mom replied without hesitation, “Oh that’s nice but you don’t need another piece of junk.”

I sadly put the mermaid back in the basket where I had found her and went on to look at the jewelry. The little mermaid cost $18, and I am on a budget.

Not a second later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a little paper bag was pushed toward me. At first, I thought it was from my mom or dad and they had bought candy. But a woman I did not know said, “Here, it is you. You should have it.”

It took me a second to register what was happening — that the mermaid I had wanted was in the bag that this stranger was holding out for me. My mouth probably dropped and I replied, “Oh no, I can’t take this, it’s too much.”

The woman just shook her head and pushed the bag to me. “It’s you,” she said again.

And all I could say was, “Thank you, thank you, you shouldn’t have.”

The artist even chimed in, “It’s too late, she already did.”

The woman walked out of the stall and I stood where I was, still stunned, holding the little paper bag. The shock was beginning to wear off and I started getting teary-eyed (which never happens) from this amazingly random act of kindness and thoughtfulness. When I was able to pull myself together I walked up to my parents waiting outside the stall for me and told them what had happened. My mom was shocked too and asked me who the woman was — I spotted her talking to a friend in front of another stall. Somehow I didn’t feel thank you was enough, I really wanted to let this woman know how much I appreciated her gift, so my mom told me to go thank her again and give her a hug. And that is what I did. I walked up to the woman, still clutching my little paper bag with the my mermaid in it and told her that I wanted to thank her again and gave her a hug. She could see the tears in my eyes but I didn’t care. I told her how special her gift was and that it had made my night.

For the rest of the night I held on to that little paper bag and hung the mermaid in a special place in my room. My mermaid means so much more because of the kindheartedness of one wonderful stranger — if you are reading this, thank you again — I will never forget you!

Christine Koesler

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to thank Dr. Pieter Pil and the entire hospital staff for the excellent care that I received last month as a patient at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. From triage to discharge, everyone that I encountered was attentive and responsive to my treatment needs. This was my first experience with your hospital and it is very reassuring to know that such high-quality care is available in your small Island hospital. You have a great team and I thank you all for being there for me when I really needed it.

Melanie Caruso

Rocky Hill, Conn.

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.