Charlie-NadlerCharlie Nadler grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from MVRHS with the class of 2002. Until mid-March, he lived in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles where he worked in the film and television industry and performed stand up comedy. He’s just relocated to New York City, where he will continue to muse about his life on and off Martha’s Vineyard in his weekly “From Afar” column.

I spent 11 months summoning the courage to write my first five minutes. In retrospect, I don’t know why courage was required to tell jokes at a forgettable open mic in the back room of a dive bar, but it was.

As I wrap up my fourth year performing stand up, I am relieved to have that rookie chapter in my rear view. It feels great to shed old fears and form new, scarier goals. Or maybe I just tell myself that to rationalize my obsessive behavior that transforms every comedy milestone into a false peak.

The moment I realized I could tell one joke successfully, I began to target the “milestone” of performing as a headliner, and I’m proud that I achieved this the other night; I told just under 45 minutes of jokes in my favorite town in the world: Oak Bluffs.

Preparing for this performance was a combination of a lot of living, thinking, writing, bombing, rewriting, and re-bombing. I arrived on the New Bedford fast ferry the night before very uncertain, and frankly unsatisfied, with several portions of my material. I rarely get more than five to ten minutes of stage time here in New York, so a good portion of my setlist had barely been tested, and I had no idea how it would all flow as one work.

I don’t know how this happened — maybe it’s the Fluoride in the water — but while reviewing my material in Oak Bluffs the afternoon of the show, I made a handful of last minute tweaks and punchline rejiggers, and suddenly felt completely reassured. I was irrationally comfortable. I probably should have sought medical attention.

I think this moment of Zen came from knowing that the audience deck would be stacked to an almost illegal level. Family, friends, so many types of wonderful people from all different chapters of my life turned out.

The immense love and support in the room that night made me feel like I could tell any joke I wanted, in any way I wanted, so I did. I am so thankful to have had such a special environment and memory. Oak Bluffs always has a knack for this kind of magic.

Serendipity has always played such a fun role in my development a comic, and I have so much appreciation for Tony Lombardi, Alex’s Place, and the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA for putting this all together for me. What started with my question about open mic night last summer, turned into opening for the IMPers, and now this year’s show. There is new talk about doing this every summer, so if you’ll excuse me I’m going to jump off this false peak; I have some more bombing and re-bombing to attend to!

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A perfect day for a bike ride in the State Forest.

President Barack Obama and daughter Malia ride through the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in what would be a rare public sighting. (Ivy Ashe for the Vineyard Gazette) — Ivy Ashe for the Vineyard Gazette

On another gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard summer day, President Obama, Michelle and daughter Malia behaved like any other vacationing family — the difference being a train of SUVs, reporters and Secret Service agents —  and went for a bike ride in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

President Barack Obama rides through the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.
President Barack Obama rides through the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

President Obama departed his vacation home in Chilmark at 11:18 am for West Tisbury, according to pool press reports. The motorcade arrived at a bike path in West Tisbury at 11:38 am and the Obamas and their security contingent pedaled away.

The traveling press pool traveled by van a few miles to a scenic spot on the bike path and waited for a fleeting sighting of the bicycle-riding Obama family. Mr. Obama, the First Lady and Malia passed by, pedaling at a leisurely pace. “Hey guys, nice day, huh?” Mr. Obama said to the pool.

All three were decked out in athletic wear, with Michelle Obama in gray spandex capri pants and a short-sleeved top. Malia wore running shorts and a black T-shirt.

The president wore a black athletic shirt, dark gray pants, white socks and black Nikes. All donned bike helmets. A phalanx of Secret Service agents followed closely behind.

The press pool saw the president and family for only seconds as they continued to make their way down the path.

President Obama’s motorcade departed at 12:33 pm, a little less than an hour after arriving at the bike path.

First Lady Michelle Obama.
First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ten minutes later, the president arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club, his third trip since Saturday to the popular Oak Bluffs Course. Today’s golf partners, according to the White House are: Glenn Hutchins, Cyrus Walker and Robert Wolf.

The State Forest was created in 1908 in an effort to save a dwindling population population of heath hens. Only 45 remained on Earth at the time. The State Forest has since expanded to 5,343 acres and the heath hen is extinct.


To the Editor:

Thanks, Joyce and the the MV Times, for a wonderful article (August 5, “Kids and parents collaborate to stage Spring Awakening”) that really captures what the Spring Awakening project was all about!

I want to give a special shout-out to actor Joe Mendick who played the lead role of Melchior in our production. A 2014 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Joe devoted his time and talents to be a part of this collaboration, bringing together elements of professionalism, talent, and craft to breathe life into Melchior. This immensely talented actor is headed out to L.A. for a very successful career, I’m sure.

Another shout-out to MVRHS junior Ben Davey who blew me away with his knowledge and ability to design, move, and run lights. His devotion to the show and getting things right was impressive and greatly appreciate.

Additionally, many thanks go to Brian Nelson and family for the use of their beautiful chairs.

And to the following community people and organizations: schools superintendent James Weiss, Charlie Esposito and the PAC staff, Kathleen Forsythe for her poster design, the Youth Task Force, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the YMCA, Lily Lubin, Elina Street, MJ Bruder-Munafo and the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Cynthia Bermudes, Joanne Cassidy, Julie Sierputoski, Jil Mastriciano of Rise MV Performing Arts, Richard Paradise, Bob LaSala, Chris Mara, Sean Conley, Nancy Gilfoy, and Cronig’s Market.

What a fantastic island this is!

Michele Ortlip

West Tisbury

To the Editor:

On Thursday, July 24, the Island was presented with the opportunity to discuss bringing back the heath hen at a community meeting at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. The idea that sparked that event came from the simple mention of the iconic bird at a picnic about a year ago — almost to the day. Since then the community of Martha’s Vineyard has taken me on an eye-opening journey.

My goal in this project was to engage the community in a conversation. Until the Ag Hall event, my position on this subject was genuinely neutral within the contextual guideline of “Do no harm to the Vineyard.” Whether or not a heath hen ever sets foot on the Vineyard again, I championed the idea because there were so many benefits to be gained in just attempting to undertake this huge project. Most of those benefits I learned about over the course of a four-day visit to the Island in late March with Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan, the creators of Revive & Restore, a conservation-based project of The Long Now Foundation that is dedicated to long term thinking and problem solving. The highlight of our visit was an informal, creative, brainstorming roundtable at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum with many of the Island leaders and stakeholders where the question was posed: “How could the Vineyard benefit from bringing back the heath hen?”

The list was long and varied with benefits ranging from dialing down the predators to opening view corridors, to building new affordable housing, to the potential of creating a regional bio-tech institute on the Vineyard, to bringing back the bobwhite quail. But perhaps the greatest benefit of all is that the discussion around this extinct bird provided an invitation to the Island people and conservation groups to come together and ask themselves what do they want their Island to be in the long-term future — 10 years from now, 20, 50, or 100? And how can we work together to get there?

We had a couple of working titles for the Ag Hall heath hen event over the last year, but eventually we settled on “The Heath Hen Could Come Back,” which voices our intention best. It expresses an opportunity to be developed or not by the community, to become the first community on earth to re-introduce an extinct species.

Despite a lot of hard work over the last year, and a lot of support from many enthusiastic Islanders, I remained neutral on the subject; even bringing back a virtual heath hen I thought would have its benefits. But as the lights began to dim Thursday evening at the Ag Hall, and the room began to fill with 175 residents from around the Island, an image from the event poster filled the screen and I sat there in silence for a few moments just looking at this majestic pair of beautifully arrayed heath hens. And for the first time in a year, I became really present with this bird whose large image now loomed over us. And though I had asked myself and many others, this moment was the first time I asked the bird, “What do you think? Is this a good thing? Do you want to come back?” Sounds a little nutty, but I have always trusted my intuition in business and life. So I can confidently tell you, I strongly sensed that YES, this species wants to come back.

I sincerely hope someone steps up from the Island to become the steward and leader of this project. The Island and the heath hens are lucky to have the attention of Mr. Brand and Ms. Phelan, pioneers at the frontier of cultural re-imagination, who have access to the scientific resources to work with you on this cutting edge proposition.

While hanging the event posters around the Island I had many conversations with shopkeepers, gas station attendants, fishermen, artists, educators, church-goers, farmers, chefs, and religious leaders. With deep gratitude I thank them for their support and open-mindedness. And here’s an extra shout out to the Islanders, whatever position they may hold on this subject. I am filled with gratitude that they listened to what first sounded like a crazy idea. Thank you for offering your counsel, your time, your encouragement, your courage, your address book, your enthusiasm, your ideas, and your criticism. Critical thinking will bring us to the best place. And many thanks to all those Islanders who attended the Chilmark Library seminar of Wednesday night and the Agricultural Hall event on Thursday to learn about this unique concept. I am proud to have held a long-term relationship with an Island that must have one of the highest concentrations of thoughtful and creative people in the world. If this will happen anywhere, which eventually it will, I think it has its best shot with our community.

Susan Johnson Banta

Chilmark and Stinson Beach, Calif.

To the Editor:

On behalf of Eastville Beach visitors, residents and beachgoers, we request that that an industrial, for-profit oyster aquafarm proposal be discussed and reviewed prior to any final approvals. We have significant concerns about this proposed farm and would encourage Island residents and the public who use Eastville Beach to voice their concerns. If approved, this farm would be among the first views visitors have of Martha’s Vineyard as this busy harbor is the gateway to the Island for visitors and residents.

A commercial oyster farming operation just off the beach at Eastville on this beautiful and busy public recreational area will negatively impact not only the residents of Beach Road, but the many Island visitors and residents who enjoy Eastville Beach and its waters. Our concerns include significant hazards for navigation and swimming, pollution of the beach with material, buoys, odors, and permanently-moored barges in the water as well as noise from power washers. Oyster farming risks biofouling with invasive species, such as sea squirts.

We have the following key concerns:

What environmental impact will an aquafarm have on the quality of the public beach, water quality (which has been improving since residents paid for the sewer system to be installed, benefitting residents and beachgoers), and impact to public and private property? What farming and cleaning practices will be utilized? No details have been provided by the proposers to assuage resident’s concerns.

Residents are concerned that a similar proposal by the Martino brothers in the Lagoon Pond (that was defeated unanimously by the selectmen of Oak Bluffs) provided residents more time for review. The Lagoon residents were given a four-month period while Eastville Beach residents were given only a few weeks.

It defies logic that the Eastville Beach location would be approved when the Lagoon proposal was defeated. All of the same negative impacts at the Lagoon site are present in the Eastville site. But the Eastville site is more exposed, and thus, more prone to a farm failure or environmental impact due to currents and storms.

The process for review of this proposal was minimal for those being impacted. The time for review was prior to the shellfish committee meeting in February — where minutes of the meeting do not even mention the Eastville proposal. Why is it that the agenda for that shellfish meeting did not mention the Eastville location? It is clear from the agenda that the Martino brothers were proposing an aquafarm, yet they never mentioned the Eastville location. By the time the residents became fully aware of this proposal, the shellfish committee had already given their approval to proceed. The first opportunity to comment on this was at the March 15selectmen meeting where comments were allowed yet no discussion of the comments was permitted. At that meeting, an immediate vote was taken without allowing any discussion and the selectmen approved the proposal.

Why is such an exposed location being proposed? This location will be prone to movement of materials away from the farming zone and is located in very active recreational, sailing and boating waters. There is no commercial activity in this area. Is this area now being considered a commercial or industrial zone?

The proposal will introduce significant navigational hazard concerns for swimmers, boaters, sailors and other recreational users. Consider the moored barges of uncertain size, the undetermined number of buoys, cages and lines, and the sheer size of the area. Consider also that the sailing program through the V.H. Yacht Club trains in the waters off Eastville Beach throughout the summer months and this is a major hazard to the young sailors.

Residents are concerned about the placement of a private commercial venture within the boundaries of an environmentally protected area.

Residents are concerned that another oyster farm in Menemsha Pond failed and         material and hazards from that farm were not cleaned up for years. To this day, rotting material from that failed farm continues to sully the environment around that pond, and residents were not provided an appropriate remediation process.

What relevance do the FEMA Velocity Zone Designations have on this proposal? Have those been considered and reviewed?

Finally, the Martino brothers have already expressed plans to “substantially increase” the scope of this commercial farm. It must be said that they are not experienced aqua farmers; that is a fact. Few details about this proposal have been discussed in a public forum and impacted parties have not been informed about this aquaculture application by the Martino brothers.

As residents and recreational users of Eastville Beach and its surrounding waters, we ask that the Selectmen do not grant final approval of the application for an aquafarm off Eastville Beach for the same excellent reasons it was denied in the Lagoon Pond proposal.

Patricia, Jacob, Wendy, and Amy Ludwig

Oak Bluffs

When the rotary at the blinking light was approved, I was dead set against it. I thought it was too small, that there was not nearly enough room for large trucks to navigate, and I was absolutely positive that the summer drivers would slam on their brakes and cause an accident like never seen here before. Well, after driving through it a thousand times, I was wrong. It has done exactly what it was designed to do. Traffic flows easy and relatively free — there are no real issues with trucks to speak of, and it actually looks pretty nice with the cobblestone design. I have proudly eaten my words. I was wrong.

To the installers, the designers, and to those who came up with a working idea: well done, nice job, and thank you.

James Alexander


To the Editor:

Regarding Nis Kildegaard on vaccinations (Soundings, August 6, “If everybody did”), I agree that unless everyone is vaccinated, the epidemiological problems can be difficult. But the writer now goes a step further and compares those who oppose vaccination with those who deny climate change and are therefore ”deniers.”

The comparison is weak. Dow Corning was ruined as a company due to silicone scares that we now know are unfounded. DDT and malaria, Malthusian population explosions, food shortages and commodities scarcity, alar in apples, and all manner of issues were rendered certain by scientists over the last 40 years. We had Carl Sagan in the 70’s ranting about the ice age coming There were many deniers at the time and they were correct. Thousands of scientists are questioning the so-called climate scare and there is plenty of evidence that the globe has not warmed effectively for the last 17 years when carbon emissions were at their highest point.

Are we denying those in the third world an economic opportunity by railing against the dreaded carbon? Millions of lives have been saved and improved due to gas and oil being plentiful, including independence from OPEC and the Middle East turmoil. Mr. Kildegaard should stick to libraries and not venture beyond his capacity. To foreordain things that will come to pass due to the meticulous providence of a writer is intellectual arrogance at its finest.

Andrew Engelman

Vineyard Haven

To the Editor:

To the Edgartown police officer who yelled at me when I was trying to get my motorcycle started; I do not choose when and where the bike breaks down on me. Telling me that the bicycle path is for bikes is a little silly, as I am a full-time bicycle mechanic working in the best full-service shop on the Island. I am very aware what the bicycle path is for. I would have walked it to a more convenient spot to try to start it had my issue been something other than the clutch, which would not allow me to roll the bike at all. I have never seen a walker chastised for being on the path, as they seem to be constantly in the way of cyclists, even when there is a sidewalk running directly parallel to the path. One would think that you being employed as a public servant, you might have the compassion to offer help to a stranded motorist, rather than a hard-nosed attitude.

Zachary Sawmiller


Diligent police work led Edgartown police to the man who assaulted Stephen Caliri, 63, the owner of the Victorian Inn, late last Friday night in Edgartown, after Mr. Caliri confronted a man urinating in the parking lot of the elegant inn on South Water Street.

Edgartown Police Detective Sergeant Chris Dolby said police will seek charges of assault and battery, assault and battery on an elder and trespassing against Peter Mara, 33, of Hingham.

Mr. Mara was one of a group of intoxicated men in Edgartown that night for a bachelor party who went into the back parking lot of the inn, according to a police report, where the confrontation occurred that sent Mr. Caliri to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for treatment of his injuries, which included a fractured nose, cuts, and bruises. The men ran off when Karyn Caliri heard the commotion and ran to help her husband, who was on the ground and being pummeled by Mr. Mara, according to the police report.

The identification of Mr. Mara and his friends began with the discovery of a blue “Hurley” baseball cap and pair of “Havaianas” flip-flops one of the men left behind when he fled. Detective Dolby recognized the hat as the one worn by a man he had seen the night before in the Seafood Shanty restaurant. Based on the description provided by the Caliris, police viewed the restaurant security tape and identified a man paying his bill who was with a group that included the man wearing the hat. That man told police that another member of the group had gotten in trouble and been arrested. A check of police logs led police to William “Denny” Grant, one of the group, who was arrested for disorderly conduct. Police later learned that Mr. Mara had bailed Mr. Grant from jail. His photo on the Registry of Motor Vehicles database matched the description of the assailant, police said.

Police conversations with all three men in the parking lot that night described a night of drinking. Police reached Mr. Mara at his home in Hingham and asked him to return to the Vineyard for a conversation. “I showed Mara the blue hat and flip-flops and asked him if they belonged to him and he said yes they were his,” Detective Sergeant Dolby wrote in his report.

Marinelli Beach, adjacent to the East Chop Beach Club, was closed due to high bacteria counts Tuesday. Oak Bluffs health agent Shirley Fauteaux posted signs at 9 am, Tuesday morning advising beachgoers that the water is unsafe for swimming.

A water sample taken Monday showed Enterococci counts of 624 colony forming units per 100 milliliters, exceeding the standard of 104 or less, according to results posted on the state’s Bureau of Environmental Health website. Under state regulations, bathing areas are closed if samples taken on two consecutive days show high bacteria counts.

Enterococci are a group of bacterial species within the Streptococcus genus, some of which are typically found in human and animal waste.

Swimming in polluted water can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, sore throat, cough, runny nose, and sneezing, earache, eye irritation and itchiness, skin rash and itching, and flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills.