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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

Edgartown

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

Edgartown

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.

And many other literary delights.

When: Monday, August 11, 2014
Where: Grange Hall in West Tisbury

Panel discussions upstairs at the Grange
Schedule:
8:00-8:45

Morning Edition: Writing for Radio
They say radio is the most visual medium. Find out how it’s done.
Sean Corcoran, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rob Rosenthal and Mindy Todd

9:00-9:45
Writing Children’s Books
Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, children’s book authors and illustrators often wonder, What’s the use of a book without pictures or conversations?
Richard Michelson, Florence Friedman Minor, Wendell Minor and Kate Feiffer

10:00-10:45
Writing in a New Media World
Have digital books, video gaming and self-publishing helped or hurt writers?
Susan Branch, Tony Horwitz, Nicole Galland and Jan Pogue

11:00-11:45
Narrative Non-fiction
When truth is stranger than fiction, write the truth and let it read like fiction.
Meryl Gordon, Joshua Horwitz, Alexandra Styron and Tony Horwitz

1:00-1:45
The Recipe for Cookbook Writing
It takes more than adding a pinch of salt.
Jessica Harris, Susie Middleton, Catherine Walthers and Tina Miller

2:00-2:45
Writing Workshops
Tough love or loving support. What works?
John Hough, Jr., Nancy Slonim Aronie and Lara O’Brien

3:00-3:45
From Journalism to Fiction
When journalists turn into novelists
Geraldine Brooks and Ward Just

4:00
Closing Thoughts
Peter Oberfest
David McCullough

Downstairs at the Grange
Author signings with the Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books, informational booths, The Journal Project with Barbara Parker’s journals, writing workshops sponsored by Noepe Center for Literary Arts and more.

Free Writing Workshops at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm
The Noepe Center for the Literary Arts will feature writing workshops. Taught by poets and writers Justen Ahren and Michael G. West, the sessions are free to anyone with any level of writing experience. The workshops are designed to foster and encourage people to write and explore “the images imprisoned within them (Rilke).” noepecenter.org

IW-Justen-Ahren-credit-Rob-Berkley-web Justen Ahren is the author of A Strange Catechism, his acclaimed new collection of poems, the West Tisbury Poet Laureate, and founder and director of the Noepe Center for Literary
Arts in Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency.

IW-Michael-WestMichael G. West is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and several new ones scheduled to appear next month from Sepiessa Press. He has published recently in Samizdat Literary Journal and Chrysanthemum and has also published three novels, Dutch Reckoning, XOC – The White Shark Murders and BUZZD – The Bee Kill Conspiracy.

Outside
The Flatbread Mobile Pizza Oven and the self-published authors tent.

Indy Authors Book Tent
Amelia Smith, Jib Ellis, Tom Dresser and more will sell their books and dispense advice on how to self-publish.

Panelist bios:

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing From the Heart: Finding your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and the founder of the Chilmark Writing Workshop. She was the recipient of the Eye of the Beholder award at The Isabella Stewart Gardener museum and she received The Teacher of the Year Award at Harvard University the three years she taught there. She is a commentator for NPR ‘s All Things Considered. chilmarkwritingworkshop.com.

Susan Branch is the author of twelve  Heart of the Home lifestyle books published by Little Brown and Company since 1986.  Her thirteenth book, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside, was published last year by Vineyard Stories.  It has been a best-seller in English Travel books on Amazon.  She and her partner Joe Hall recently launched Spring Street Publishing, dedicated to the publication of Susan’s future books. Susan sends her popular Newsletter, WILLARD to over 52,000 subscribers a month; approximately 400,000 people from all over the world follow her blog at susanbranch.com  and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

Geraldine Brooks is The New York Times bestselling author of Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, March (winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), and Year of Wonders, and the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons. geraldinebrooks.com.

Sean Corcoran is the managing editor for news at WCAI and WGBH Radio. He is a graduate of The George Washington University and the Columbia University School of Journalism. After nine years of newspaper and magazine reporting, Corcoran moved to public radio in 2005. The following year he received the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award — the highest award in broadcast journalism — for a 20-part series about hidden poverty. Since then, Corcoran has received a Gabriel Award, and numerous other national awards for his investigative series. Corcoran’s radio stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and BBC iAmerica. capeandislands.org.

Nicole Galland, who hails from West Tisbury, is an award-winning performer and screenwriter who swore off the performing arts* to write historical fiction. (*Despite this oath, she co-founded the Vineyard Playhouse’s Shakespeare for the Masses.) Her novels include The Fool’s Tale; Revenge of the Rose; Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade; I, Iago; and Godiva. With six collaborators, she co-created the Mongoliad, originally a serialized, interactive narrative project (and now a popular print-book trilogy). She is currently working with people geekier and smarter than herself to create ungodly chimerical hybrids of literature (yes, actual literature) and online games. nicolegalland.com

Kate Feiffer is the author of eleven books for children, including Double Pink, Henry The Dog with No Tail and The Problem with The Puddles. Kate is collaborating with MJ Bruder Munafo and the composer/lyricist team of Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee to turn her book My Mom is Trying To Ruin My Life into a staged musical, which is scheduled to have its world premiere on the Vineyard in 2015. An editor of MV Arts & Ideas magazine, Kate is one of the organizers of this event, so if you have nice things to say about it, tell her. katefeiffer.com.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry extending her work  to  all media at various times. Hunter-Gault joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards. Her most recent book is To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the  Civil rights Movement  for young readers.

Meryl Gordon is the author of “The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark,” and “Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach.” She is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times and New York Magazine. She is the director of magazine writing at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. A native of Rochester, N.Y., and a graduate of the University of Michigan, she lives in Manhattan but has been spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard since 1994. She is married to the political journalist Walter Shapiro. merylgordon.com.

Jessica B. Harris is the author or editor of seventeen books, including twelve cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. She has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has written extensively for scholarly and popular publications. Harris consults internationally, most recently for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on their new cafeteria. Dr. Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Université de Nancy, France, and New York University. Dr. Harris is a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. in New York and at work on several new projects. Africooks.com.

Joshua Horwitz is the founder and publisher of Living Planet Books, which specializes in works by thought leaders in science, medicine and psychology. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three daughters. warofthewhales.com.

Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. His books include the New York Times bestsellers Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, and A Voyage Long and Strange. His latest work is Boom: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush that Could Change America Forever. Tony is a native of Washington D.C. and a graduate of Brown University. He has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Tony lives year-round in West Tisbury with his wife, novelist Geraldine Brooks, and their sons Nathaniel and Bizu. tonyhorwitz.com.

John Hough, Jr. grew up in Falmouth and now lives on Martha’s Vineyard. He is a graduate of Haverford College, a former VISTA volunteer and speech writer. He is the author of six novels, including Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg. His most recent book is Little Bighorn. He teaches creative writing in his living room in West Tisbury. johnhoughjr.com.

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.”  He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. His books include: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, John Adams, 1776, and Truman. Mr. McCullough is presently working on a biography of the Wright brothers.

Richard Michelson’s many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker. He has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award (2X), the National Jewish Book Award (3X) and is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His most recent book for children, S is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his Oak Bluffs gingerbread cottage, and his next adult collection, More Money than God is forthcoming in the Pitt Poetry Series. Michelson is the current Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA. RichardMichelson.com.

Chef/writer/farmer Susie Middleton is the author of Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press, 2014), as well as the best-selling Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books 2010) and The Fresh & Green Table (Chronicle Books 2012). The former editor and current editor-at-large for Fine Cooking magazine, Susie writes for many national and regional magazines and blogs regularly about cooking and growing vegetables — as well as life on the farm — at sixburnersue.com. Susie and her partner, Roy Riley, founded Green Island Farm in West Tisbury in 2010.

Tina Miller was born on the Vineyard, studied cooking in France and opened her first restaurant at age 24 in the location where State Road is today. She is also a cookbook author of Vineyard Harvest and has written for Bon Appetit, Edible Vineyard, MV Magazine and Vineyard Style. She lives with her two sons and husband in West Tisbury.

Florence Friedman Minor is former film editor for ABC News. Florence works with her husband, Wendell Minor, creating books that entertain, teach and inspire children. She manages the business aspects of their studio and also  writes books that Wendell illustrates. If You Were a Penguin, her second collaboration with Wendell, was chosen by the state of Pennsylvania for their “One Book” Literacy Program, and If You Were a Panda Bear, celebrating the eight species of bears, was a Summer 2013 Kids’ Indies Next List selection. Florence currently has a book about rabbits under contract, and is working on several other book concepts; minorart.com.

Wendell Minor is nationally known for the cover artwork he has created for books by Pat Conroy, Fannie Flagg and David McCullough, among others. He has illustrated 54 children’s books, collaborating with Jean Craighead George, Charlotte Zolotow, Robert Burleigh, Mary Higgins Clark and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.  He has authored six books of his own. Reviewers are raving over Wendell’s brand new book, Edward Hopper Paints His World,  which is being sold for the first time at this event; minorart.com.

Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks; six focus on Jewish cooking, two highlight Israeli cuisine, and two focus on American cooking. Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, which made both the New York Times’ and NPR’s lists of the best cookbooks of 2010; joannathan.com.

Peter Oberfest and his wife Barbara became partners in owning and publishing the Martha’s Vineyard Times in 1995. In a remarkable example of magical thinking, they became sole owners of The Times and its web and print publications this past May. Peter also maintained a strategy and organization consulting practice for more than 40 years. Peter was educated in the New York City public school system, the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research; mvtimes.com.

Lara O’Brien Lara O’Brien was born in Dublin and raised on the wild and wondrous hill of Howth. She now lives on the sister Island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, four children and writing companion Tukka Rex, a great golden, and talking dog. Lara published her first book, a novel for middle grade readers,  Chesca and The Spirit of Grace last  fall; laraobrien.com.

Jan Pogue is the founder and owner of Vineyard Stories, which has published more than 40 Island books since 2005. She has a long history in publishing, writing, and editing. She authored twelve corporate histories, including the story of the founding of the American Cancer Society. Previous to becoming a publisher, she was a journalist at several newspapers, among them USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered topics as disparate as hunting alligators in Louisiana and the real story behind the founding of Atlantic City as a gambling center. She has lived on the Vineyard since 2003 and is proud of the fact that although she lives in Edgartown, she has friends all over the Island; vineyardstories.com.

Mindy Todd is the host and executive producer of The Point on WCAI which examines critical issues for the Cape, Islands and Southcoast. She brings more than 30 years of experience in radio and television to the job. Her career has covered nearly all aspects of broadcasting.  She has been a radio disc jockey, a traffic reporter, a television news anchor and reporter, a program director, talk show host, and even a ski reporter.She has received numerous awards, most recently another National PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) and an Associated Press award. In February 2012 Mindy was named Managing Director of Editorial; capeandislands.org.

Rob Rosenthal is the lead instructor at the Transom Story Workshop, an eight-week intensive for new radio producers in Woods Hole. He’s taught documentary radio for 14 years. Rob’s also a producer of documentaries, features, audio tours, and multi-media. For several years he’s produced a podcast on audio storytelling called HowSound; capeandislands.org.

Alexandra Styron is the author of the 2011 best-selling memoir Reading My Father and All The Finest Girls, a novel. Her work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, Alexandra currently teaches memoir writing in the MFA program at Hunter College. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York, and has spent every summer of her life on Martha’s Vineyard; alexandrastyron.com.

Catherine Walthers is a food writer and author of four cookbooks, including Raising the Salad Bar, Soups + Sides and her newest, Kale, Glorious Kale, being released this August. She also works as a private chef and offers cooking classes for groups in her West Tisbury “Kitchen Lab.”

Islanders Write is sponsored by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas Magazine and co-sponsored by WCAI, The Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books.