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Edgartown voters will gather at the Old Whaling Church for a special town meeting October 25 at 7 pm.

Edgartown voters will gather in a special town meeting next Tuesday, October 25, to tackle a warrant with a range of issues, including new appropriations for payroll expenditures in several departments, new equipment for the fire department, money to evaluate the sale of the Warren House, and the location of mobile phone towers.

The meeting will convene at the Old Whaling Church, beginning at 7 pm.

Art Smadbeck, chairman of the selectmen, says he expects the cell tower issue to interest voters.

A warrant article asks whether selectmen should be authorized to change the use of silos on Katama Farm for the purpose of installing mobile telephone antennae and equipment. A two-thirds vote is required, according to the town’s bylaw covering mobile communication towers.

“That might bring out some people,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “It’s my hope that we have lots of interest and discussion surrounding whether or not to add cell towers to improve cellular service to areas of Katama that, at this point, are not being well served. If we can have plenty of discussion about that, it will bring out enough people for a quorum, because there are plenty of housekeeping items we need to take care of in the best interest of the town.”

He noted that the issue has arisen in two recent public information sessions during selectmen’s meetings, including some who have raised health concerns about the radio waves emitted by mobile technology.

Also on the warrant for the meeting is a question submitted by the library building design committee, to see if the town will authorize $10,000 for real estate appraisals and engineering drawings related to the prospective sale of the Captain Warren House. The money would come from an appropriation already approved by town meeting voters, for the committee’s work in siting and designing a new library.

The town bought the Warren House in 2005 for $3.5 million, as part of a plan to expand the library on North Water Street. The building proved to be unsuitable for library use, and the town scrapped plans for a 17,000-square foot library expansion at the North Water Street library when private fundraising fell far short of its goal. The town is now moving forward with a plan to build a new library on the site of the old Edgartown School.

“It used to be a hot-button issue,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “The fact that we’re moving in the direction of building a new library makes this surplus property. What they’re thinking of is to figure out a way to keep a portion of the parking lot and just sell the front part. It will be interesting to see.”

The 15-article warrant includes a total of $167,288 in town spending. Voters are asked to fund several items from the town’s free cash account, including $40,000 for new fire equipment, $27,000 for new software for billing and collections in the water and wastewater departments, $28,912 for final salary payments for a police officer who retired, $10,000 for legal fees related to tax takings and foreclosures, and $9,950 to purchase a new motor for the shellfish department boat.

The Edgartown Firemen’s Association will ask for $20,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to buy interpretive plaques for historic artifacts in the Edgartown Fire Museum.


Visit our news section for more stories from this week and to listen to the latest podcast. Times managing editor Nelson Sigelman discusses the latest Martha’s Vineyard news with NPR’s Dan Tritle every Monday morning.

Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week

Saturday gala will begin at 8 pm with a cocktail pre-party, and the fashion show starts at 9 pm. Tickets are available at $20 or $30 for premium seating. More details here.

The Bee Eaters

Thursday at 8 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

Oak Bluffs Beach Clean Up

Clean the beach and grass bank along sidewalk from Steamship Authority to Inkwell Beach. Saturday September 24, 8:30 – 10:30 am. Rain date is Sunday September 25. Free coffee and donut from MV Gourmet Cafe and Bakery.

Island Climate Action Network (ICAN) Parade

As part of a worldwide effort by to bring attention to alternative transportation issues, ICAN will host a discussion Saturday afternoon. Meet at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven at 3:30 pm then walk with the crowd to Grace Church for an open forum discussion about alternative transportation on Martha’s Vineyard. Wear a blue shirt to show that you support the cause.

FARM Institute Pick-Your-Own-Pumpkin Day

From 10 am to 4 pm, pick your own pumpkins at the FARM Institute. Pumpkins are $.90/lb for pumpkins 7 lbs. and under, and $.60/lb. over 7 lbs. Rain date is Sept. 25 and all proceeds will go directly to the institute’s educational programs.

Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard Golf TournamentBenefit golf tournament for Hospice of MV’s 30th Anniversary. Sunday September 25th with a shot gun start at 8:15 am. $100 entry donation will go to the organization.

Angel Flight Northeast

Fundraiser event for a nonprofit organization that provides free flights to anyone who needs to travel for medical treatments. This is the first fundraiser on Martha’s Vineyard for Angel Flight NE. Silent and live auction. Sunday, from 2 to 6 pm at Farm Neck Golf Club. For more information on the event and Angel Flight, click here.


The inaugural Martha’s Vineyard Comedy Festival will present three comedy shows on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights, Aug. 14 through 16. Events include a tribute to comedy pioneer John Belushi, which features a presentation of the Boston Comedy Club’s first John Belushi Larger Than Life award to Judy Belushi-Pisano, Island resident and widow of the famed comic.

An Evening With John Belushi features The Blues Brothers film and classic Saturday Night Live skits, culminating with a ceremony presenting an award to Ms. Belushi-Pisano in honor of Mr. Belushi’s contributions to comedy as well as introductions of attending celebrities and special guests.

The award will be presented next Monday evening at The Strand Theatre in Oak Bluffs during a free admission tribute event, said Jim Mr. McCue, comedian and organizer of the Island event. Doors open at 6:30 pm and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Island comedy festival is produced by the Boston Comedy Club. In a telephone interview this week, Mr. McCue explained the award.

“John Belushi changed everything in comedy. His work on Saturday Night Live broke all the barriers. Remember, at that time, only Johnny Carson was doing character skits regularly on live TV. John challenged everybody and everything. You can’t measure how he and that cast changed comedy. He lived on the Island so this is a night to celebrate him and the award in his memory,” Mr. McCue said.

“Honoring Judy seems right for the first John Belushi Larger Than Life award. We plan to present it every year to a comedian who embodies the humor and style of John Belushi,” he said. Mr. McCue said the 12-year-old Boston Comedy Club has national impact through its touring comedy troupes and a show on Sirius Radio. “And it’s also a local event because Judy is such a strong presence in the Island community and a supporter of Island arts,” he said.

“I am delighted that the Martha’s Vineyard Festival has chosen to honor John’s work and to establish an award in his name. He himself was awarded the UCLA Jack Benny 11th Annual Award, of which he was extremely proud,” Ms. Belushi-Pisano said this week.

“The plaque he received reads: ‘…in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of entertainment, thereby enriching the lives of people all over the world.’ There is no doubt in my mind that laughter is not only good for your belly, but for your spirit. I am forever grateful to those laugh-crafters who better our well-being — wisecracker, jokester, prankster, clown — those brave souls we call the comedians,” she said.

The laughs begin Sunday night up-Island at Nectar’s on Airport Road when Nick Di Paolo takes the stage at 9 pm. Tickets are $20, available at the door or on A national comedy headliner in clubs, he has performed on major TV comedy networks and late shows, Mr. Di Paolo also has several film and television acting credits in “Beer League” and “The Sopranos.”

Mr. Di Paolo’s brutally honest performances remind us of what great standup should be: funny, socially relevant, and a little bit reckless. He began his career in his hometown of Boston and two years later made the jump to New York, where he found his seething, sarcastic style was welcomed with open arms by New York audiences.

A critic has described his work as “Gentle as a starved wolverine and as predictable as a tipsy-hop through a minefield, Nick Di Paolo is an experience constrained only slightly by the demands of standup comedy.”

On Tuesday night, Aug. 16, the festival moves to Sharky’s Cantina in Edgartown for a 9 pm show featuring Steve Sweeney, “The King of Boston Comedy” joined by Mr. McCue. “I”m the new guy,” Mr. McCue told The Times this week. “I’ve only been doing this for 20 years.”

Mr. Sweeney’s Charlestown “nay-ba-hood” accent belies an advanced degree — an MFA from University of Southern California — and a strong sense of the social and political verities of tribal Boston. Mr. Sweeney assumed the regal comic mantle from best friend Dick Doherty whose continuing comedy career spans five decades.

Mr. Sweeney was part of a group of unknown comics, including the Island’s Lenny Clarke, Jay Leno, Steven Wright, Bob Goldthwait, and Kevin Meaney, who came out of the comedy clubs in Boston in the 1970s to become headliners in several entertainment media. Mr. Sweeney was the first of the group to cross over from standup comedy to film and television, appearing in “Park Street Under,” a sitcom which preceded “Cheers.”

Mr. McCue features thought-provoking material and improv skills with a style that encourages audience participation. He has been featured on Comedy Central, Comcast Comedy Spotlight, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and “Roughing It” on NESN in his native New England. He also founded and currently runs The Boston Comedy Festival, New York Comedy Competition, and Cheers Comedy Club. He works in top comedy clubs in Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Dublin, Montreal, Sydney, and Edinburgh.

Since 1999 he has also entertained U.S. troops at more than 100 bases around the world. An account of his experiences performing for the troops has recently been published in “Embedded Comedian,” which he describes as a “field manual for comedians in a war zone.”

Martha’s Vineyard Comedy Festival: Sunday, Aug. 14, Nick Di Paolo, 9 pm, Nectar’s.

Monday, Aug. 15, An Evening with John Belushi, 6:30–9 pm, Strand Theatre, Oak Bluffs.

Tuesday, Aug. 16, Steve Sweeney & Jim McCue, 9 pm, Sharky’s Cantina, Edgartown.

Bittersweet berries add variety to floral arrangements, but the plant has fewer beneficial motives in the wild.

Vegetable garden “real estate” is about to open up as Island garlic crops near harvest. In my garden, eight rows of hardneck garlic take up about one-tenth of the garden space. The plants’ foliage has begun to yellow, in the wake of having their emerging scapes removed about two weeks ago. (After digging, the garlic plants are cured in a cool, airy space.)

I have already inserted some cabbage transplants between the rows of still-standing garlic. Cabbages need 24 to 30 inches of space around them to develop. There is room for rows of another crop: carrots, turnips, more beans, radicchio, broccoli, more kale — anything I would want to have as fall crops.

Most of these second-season crops should be seeded by mid-July to reach successful harvest. Other good succession crops are salad greens, Asian greens, beets, spinach, bush beans, sugar snap (mange-tout) peas, and summer squash, keeping in mind heat conditions.

Start weekly application of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) on Brassicas. It controls the caterpillars that blight this group, including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Asian greens, and Brussels sprouts. Cucurbits are attracting squash bugs and striped cucumber beetles. These and squash-vine borers are very difficult to control. If you are deft, hand-picking in the cool of morning or evening, when insects are sluggish, is one means.

Continue to deadhead and deadleaf in the ornamental garden, and keep after weeds while they are small.

Roses, roses, roses

June roses have been exploding in wonderful abundance, and July looks set to be show time for the ramblers. Rosa rugosa, also called beach rose, has been, along with all the rest, in splendid bloom. Its scent on the fresh Island air, along with that of its less welcome, invasive cousin, R. multiflora, is a delight. Welcome to summer!

Rose sawfly larvae, skeletonizers of rose plant leaves, seem to have emerged later and had less impact on plants’ vitality and bloom quality. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is ineffective against these caterpillar look-alikes because they are not Lepidopteran caterpillars but Hymenopteran larvae of non-stinging wasps. Japanese and oriental beetles have yet to make much impact. However, insecticidal soap, neem oil sprays, and horticultural oil all seem to give roses and foliage protection from these pests. Apply early or late in the day to avoid foliar damage.

Clean up rose petal drop where practical, to reduce the numbers of earwigs, sow bugs, and other such insects that find cover in the debris. Fertilize after bloom flush is past. I use two cups of low-number organic fertilizer — “soil food” — scratched in lightly per rose. Foliar feed and fungicide applications are made with tank or hose-end sprayers. In addition to fertilizing, deadheading roses encourages formation of more flower buds. With climbing roses, such as New Dawn, cut back laterals to about 12 inches.

Conservation goals

Rosa rugosa’s use as plant material in conservation areas and shore stabilization leads me to make the following observation about all such plantings: They often become nightmares for property owners and gardeners, and need to be entered into carefully and with forethought.

The reasons have little to do with the plant material itself and rather more to do with the idea that an area can be planted and left to its own devices. Why not? you say, “low maintenance” is just what I wanted!

In the past we did not have many invasives here. Today the Island hosts vast amounts of invasive exotic plants. Many formerly advocated plant materials, such as autumn olive and multiflora rose, have themselves become plant pests. Nursery stock has arrived on the Island from all over the country, in staggering amounts. It brings with it additional seeds and weeds. Some characteristics of invasive plants are their ability to out-seed, out-spread, and out-compete with the native plant cover.

Mass Audubon’s publication Connections recently featured a warning about mile-a-minute vine. Be on the lookout for it here. Arriving in Massachusetts in 2006, Persicaria perfoliata “sports leaves shaped like equilateral triangles and round, cup-shaped ocreae (or sheaths) which form at the nodes of the stems… the flowers are inconspicuous, but the clustered berries display a beautiful deep blue, each one containing a seed. This aggressive vine can grow up to six inches a day.” The seeds remain viable in soil as long as six years and can float in water for more than a week. Learn more at

When we plan for naturalizing and look for suitable plants, obviously we are looking for trouble-free plants, or planted areas, that can take care of themselves. When we plan and plant a thicket of low-maintenance, all-native cover it can and will host wildlife, a good thing.

The cover will also host the seeds of invasive plants, or maybe merely poison ivy, becoming itself infested, not such a good thing. There are problem areas in half a dozen gardens where we work, areas amounting to a steady encroachment by roots, stolons, and seed stocks that gobble up the owner’s property and cost countless hours and dollars to combat. Oriental bittersweet, black swallowwort (the Monarch butterfly killer), bindweeds, Japanese honeysuckle, phragmites: all these and more thrive in low-maintenance areas once their seeds arrive.

Regulations provide for the protection of conservation or shore zones in most towns, and conservation commissions are tasked with that protection. They often ask that the site in question be planted appropriately. I would ask that conservation commissions and landowners both take a careful look at their means and ends, and not create monsters in the pursuit of good management.

Slow Food MV

On August 23, Slow Food MV will present Terra Martha, an Evening with Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food International, at the Tabernacle. For additional information see

Jimmy Moffat 5th of South Attleboro caught these bluefish fishing with his dad, Jim 4th and his uncle Ron Erzk, with charter captain Ed Jerome of Edgartown.

Striper snobs look down on bluefish. Not me. I think bluefish are fun to catch and great to eat.

Last Friday, on the recommendation of Ken Brede, whom I encountered while floating off West Chop Thursday, Tom Robinson and I pointed his 19-foot Sea Strike in the direction of Mashpee. We were headed to the flats off Popponesset Beach, but we really did not know where we were going.

We knew about where we were going. I fished Popponesset from shore many years ago and knew it was a great spot to catch bluefish. Ken said he had found schools of bluefish in shallow water on either side of the channel.

Tom and I picked our way across, looking for what I recalled it should look like. After about 45 minutes of fumbling around and casting with no results, we located what we were looking for — schools of hungry bluefish in about six feet of water.

One of the charms of bluefish is that there is nothing subtle about them. Cast a popping plug, and if the fish are there they will announce their presence with a crushing strike.

We were on a mission to fill the Masterbuilt smoker we bought together a few years ago. Mission accomplished: Tom and I caught 10 fish each.

Friday night I brined the fish, and Saturday I smoked up my batch. I smoked the fish for about five hours at 180 degrees. I was pretty happy with the result.

I also contacted David Nash for a smoked bluefish recipe he got from Don Mohr. In his note, Dave said, “Don’s recipe had lots of ‘optionals’ in it, but I just added them all, plus I now also add a teaspoon of capers and a generous splash of cognac. Plus, to make it a bit healthier, I use half low-fat cream cheese and half tofu cream cheese.”

Many readers will remember Don, a wonderful gentleman who moved south with his wife Marian last year. With the exception of memory issues, Ron Domurat tells me Don is in good health. His e-mail address is The home address is 114 McIntosh Way, Roswell, GA 30076. I know he would enjoy hearing from friends.

This is Don’s recipe and I highly recommend it.

Don Mohr’s Smoked Bluefish Pate

Thoroughly mix:

8 oz. cream cheese softened to room temperature

6-7 oz. shredded smoked bluefish

½; tsp prepared horseradish

a dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. fresh Lemon juice

1/2 tsp any Dijon mustard

A pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to taste.

This can be done in a food processor to obtain a better mix of the ingredients. More cream cheese (or less bluefish) can be used if the bluefish is especially strong flavored.

Last, fold in a medium finely diced red onion.

This tastes better if it sits for a few hours to absorb and blend all the flavors.

Welcome home Marine

Last week, I reported in this space about the catch and release tournament and fishing with members of the Massachusetts National Guard. I received the following email from Cliff Moore.

“It was very nice to read this story about the National Guard vets returned from Afghanistan, who you invited to go fishing. My son, Cpl. Bill Moore, USMC, is also just home in one piece after serving in Afghanistan. He begins terminal leave in a few weeks after eight years in the Corps. We live in Rocky Hill, NJ, so to read Washington’s Farewell Address, written some 100 yards or so of where I am writing this email, is an especially nice way to start my day. We’ll be on the Island in July. Save us some fish. Best wishes to all our ‘Friends of Bill!’”

Welcome home Bill and welcome to the Vineyard.

Sad news

In my last column of 2010, I wrote about a poignant moment at the 65th Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby awards ceremony.

It occurred when Scott Duhaime carried his cancer-stricken son Brendan up on stage to receive an award for the second biggest bluefish in the mini-junior division, and the crowd cheered as the little boy inwardly beamed from a frail body too tired to smile.

Brendan Duhaime, 7, of Bolton has trouble walking and standing. His dad had to help him up on stage. But the brain cancer that was robbing him and his family of so much has not taken away his love of fishing.

Kevin Lord of Bolton, a friend of Brendan’s dad Scott, had arranged for Brendan to fish the Derby. He contacted Cooper “Coop” Gilkes, Derby committee member and tackle shop owner.

Coop called Derby president and charter captain Ed Jerome. The Wednesday before the Derby ended, Brendan, Scott, and Kevin met Coop and Ed at Derby headquarters where they gave him a hat, tee-shirt and pin. Then they went fishing.

“This is the perfect place to bring a little kid who loves fishing,” Scott said when I spoke to him. “And where else in the world are you going to bring somebody where everybody, just about, is fishing. I thought this would be perfect for him. I thought of it as a little Derby make-a-wish.”

This week I received the an email from Kevin addressed to the Vineyard Derby fishing community:

“Guys, Just wanted to let you know that Brendan Duhaime passed away this morning. Thank you so much for being a part of his life over the last many months. The times that you spent with him were some of the highlights of his life. He never forgot his second place derby bluefish this year, and there are pictures on his blog of him fishing in FL with the rod/reel that he won, as one of his many derby prizes.

“He was fishing up to the last moments of his life, last evening at the local pond. It’s ironic that he would catch fish at this pond every day, but last night was the first time he caught nothing. It seems like it was God’s way of telling him it was time to move on to a better fishing hole. The link below is to his blog and the last entry chronicling ‘the fight of his life,’ a bigger fight than any fish we’ll ever catch.

“Please keep Brendan and his family in your prayers as they go through the time of great loss.”

From the MV Surfcasters

Thanks to the extra effort of Matt Sudarsky, once again the club has been entrusted with a key to the winter access to Long Point, said Bob Lane.

At the request of TTOR this access is open to the general public as well as MVSA members.

Same rules as before: Night access for fishing only, call 508-693-3678 before you go in, no guided trips, no access on the nights of the Full Moon Kayak Tours, carry in-carry out.

To use the property contact Matt Sudarsky at 774-226-3276 or 508-693-2117 to arrange to get the key. Then call the property manager Dave Bouck at 508-693-3678 so he knows people will be on the property.

Big Bass

In 2008, Peter Vican caught a 76-pound, 14-ounce striped bass and set a new Rhode Island state record for the largest striper.

On Sunday, June 19 he beat his old mark. He caught a 77-pound, 4-ounce fish on a live eel fished off Block Island at 3:30 am. reported.

Rod and Gun Club celebrates

The Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club will celebrate its 100th birthday for members with a celebration cook-out on Saturday, June 25 from noon to 3 pm. For more information call 508-627-3019.


Edgartown police have traced a cyberspace trail through more than a dozen states in pursuit of a craigslist scam artist who cons people into sending money to Martha’s Vineyard to buy a nonexistent all-terrain vehicle.

This week, they turned to their own high-tech tools, surveillance video, and their own new crime-fighting website, to track down the Internet thief.

Officer Michael Gazaille first began investigating the scam in December, when Brian Cullen called the Edgartown Police Department from Oregon, Wisconsin.

Mr. Cullen saw an advertisement posted on craigslist, the wildly popular online aggregation of free classified ads offering everything imaginable for sale from locations around the world. The ad offered a Polaris four-wheel, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) for sale. The price was $2,920.

The seller directed Mr. Cullen to an eBay web page where the well-known online auction market arranges escrow service for people buying and selling items at a distance. The escrow service holds the money, until the buyer gets the merchandise and approves the sale. Then the service releases the money to the seller.

Except, it wasn’t really an eBay web page. It was a spoof, intended to look like a page on the eBay site, although Officer Gazaille said there were some fairly obvious clues that something was amiss.

Mr. Cullen filled in all the information required by the fake web page. The seller instructed him to wire the $2,920 price to Martha’s Vineyard, by Western Union’s money transfer service.

He did. Big mistake.

Someone picked up the money at the Stop & Shop grocery store in Edgartown, which offers Western Union money transfer service. The suspect listed an Oak Bluffs address on the form. Asked for the required identification, he showed the clerk an Illinois driver’s license issued to Luri Kankadze. Police could not find anyone by that name in any local records. He is not at the address he listed. Police assume that the I.D. was also a fake.

Tangled web

When Officer Gazaille began to untangle the web of deceit, his investigation seemed to branch in hundreds of directions.

“It’s frustrating,” Mr. Gazaille said. “You want to get the FBI involved, but they’re completely overwhelmed, unless you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scams.”

But he kept at it, though he doesn’t have any special training in cyber-crime fighting. He learned as he went along, using the Internet.

He got a subpoena for information about the email accounts that had been used. After more than a week, the mail services sent him 48 pages of information.

“They’ll give you information on the last two months,” Mr. Gazaille said. “Emails sent, where they were sent from. Most of them were in the Kansas area.”

The seller listed the location of the non-existent ATV as Montana. The seller sent email from hundreds of different locations. Those turned out to be public places such as coffee shops, libraries, and other outlets that provide free wireless internet service, open to anyone.

The Edgartown officer followed the money and discovered something interesting. Michael Cummings, of Glencove, Ontario fell for the same scam. Same craigslist advertisement, same price, same amount wired by Western Union to Martha’s Vineyard. This time the suspect picked up the money at the Stop & Shop in Vineyard Haven.

“The only connection to the Vineyard was the money was actually wired to the Vineyard,” Mr. Gazaille said.

But he also discovered what looked like many other attempts to con unsuspecting buyers.

“It’s probably a bigger scam than the Vineyard,” Mr. Gazaille said. “Kansas, New York, a couple were sent from Illinois. Texas police are involved.”

Cyber crime-fighting

If Mr. Gazaille were a fireman, he might fight fire with fire. But he is a police officer, so he fought a cyber thief with cyber tools. Posing as an interested buyer, he answered the craigslist advertisement, which was still posted online.

“I went back and forth with these people for a couple of weeks,” Officer Gazaille said. “They went through the same process with me. I was hoping they would send the money here. But at the last second, they wanted me to send the money to a different guy at a different place.”

Though the investigation stopped just short of the point of money changing hands, police considered sending an actual wire transfer of money, hoping to nab a suspect when he picked it up on-Island.

“We were thinking about it,” Mr. Gazaille said. “We talked about it for a while.” Police sometimes use real money during their investigations. District attorneys may keep funds for that purpose in closely monitored accounts. The source of the money is often cash seized during drug investigations.

All attempts to catch the cyber criminal have not yielded a suspect. But police do have some important clues. By going through Western Union records, Mr. Gazaille found the time the thief picked up the money, and matched that to surveillance camera images. The same person picked up the money at the two different Stop & Shop locations.

Officer Gazaille asks that anyone who recognizes the images published in today’s Times call the Edgartown police department’s crime tip line at 774-310-1190.

Police have surveillance video, which could offer further clues. The two-minute 42-second video, posted on the police department’s new website shows the suspect filling out the Western Union paperwork and speaking briefly with the Stop & Shop clerk, as well as a store patron who was next in line at the counter.

If police can catch up with the thief, he will face charges of larceny and wire fraud.

Fair warning

Online marketplaces like craigslist and eBay display prominent warnings about fraud and how to prevent it. Though they thought they were taking precautions by using the fake E-bay escrow service, the two victims in this case violated several simple guidelines posted in multiple places on both sites.

“Deal locally with folks you can meet in person,” warns craigslist under the link “avoid scams and fraud,” on its home page. “Follow this one rule and avoid ninety-nine percent of scam attempts on craigslist.”

Another warning in bold type advises against using a money transfer service.

“Never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram, or any other wire service. Anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.”

There are several places to report Internet fraud.

Victims of cyber-crime may file reports at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) operates a telephone help line where you can get information about identity theft and other on-line crimes. The number for the FTC is 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338). Complaints can also be filed at that number.

Collectively, federal, state, and local law enforcement receive many thousands of complaints about Internet fraud. As Officer Gazaille found out, tracking down the perpetrators is a frustrating and time-consuming process.

The reports help investigators track trends, discover new scams, and issue appropriate warnings. But it is unrealistic to expect individual cases of fraud will be solved, and the money returned to the victims.

The best way to do that, Officer Gazaille says, is be wary enough to steer clear of the con in the first place.

Roger Schaefer, the winner of a new Eastern boat, motor and trailer in the 65th Derby, celebrates his good fortune.

The 65th Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby concluded with a dramatic awards ceremony. The common thread among the many boisterous well-wishers crowded into Nectar’s was the fishing contest, but in fact it was a fishing contest that is about more than catching a fish.

Scott Duhaime knew that was true when he carried his cancer-stricken son Brendan up on stage to receive an award for the second biggest bluefish in the mini-junior division, and the crowd cheered as the little boy inwardly beamed from a frail body too tired to smile.

Roger Schaefer, a man who had lost everything he worked for but still retained the things that are important, won big when his key opened the lock of a brand new Eastern boat %u2014 much to the delight of his 101-year-old grandfather, who celebrated like a man not past 70.

“So many things have changed from when I was a kid but the Derby is still the Derby,” Roger told a cheering crowd.

Michael A. Paone of Newtonville arrived every weekend to fish the Derby. On the same trip, his 13-year-old son Giovanni caught a bass that put him on top of the junior division and dad landed the 37.60 pound striper that landed him a new Chevy Silverado pickup truck, courtesy of the Clay Family dealerships.

Gary Root, 68, of Colrain wore a bemused expression on his grizzled face when he stepped up on stage to receive a special award given to the non-resident senior who catches the heaviest shore bluefish.

“I didn’t know I was going to get an award,” he said with a smile. “It’s only because I’m from off-Island and I’m old. I walk four miles a day to fish.”

Charlie Smith of Edgartown, longtime Derby night weigh master, received a special award: a big hug from his daughter Heather Smith after the presentation of the first Martha’s Vineyard Surfcaster’s Sportsmanship Award.

“Sportsmanship shows how devoted you truly are to something and I can’t think of anyone more dedicated to something than my Dad to the Derby and everything it stands for,” she said in her nomination letter read from the podium (available at

True spirit

The mood of this year’s contest was not lost on Ed Jerome, long time Derby president. In his opening remarks he said it epitomized the true spirit of what the Derby is all about.

It was also, Ed said, “The year of the big wind and the small fish.”

Derby numbers tell a story of enthusiastic and optimistic fishermen (we all start out that way), and tough shore fishing.

The Derby registered a total of 2,797 men, woman and children. That total included 216 fly rodders, some of whom also registered in the all-tackle division.

The Derby weighed in 147 boat bass and 237 shore bass for a total catch of 384 fish. That was the lowest number since bass were reintroduced to the Derby in 1997 and eight fish less than the previous low set in 2008.

According to a review of Derby records, the boat and shore grand leader bass were the smallest fish ever weighed in the Derby’s 65 years.

As for bonito, faggetaboutit! There were 11 from shore and 173 from boat. A total of 131 albies got weighed in, but that figure likely does not represent all the fish caught given the restrictions imposed on fishermen to limit the catch of a fish not considered table fare even for cats.

Thank goodness for bluefish. There were 936 boat and 329 shore bluefish weighed in during the course of the Derby.

Gred Skomal, Derby committee member and Division of Marine Fisheries biologist, told me that except for bluefish (2% increase), all species were down significantly (bonito down 50%, albies down 47%, bass down 9%).

But the scarcity of fish was forgotten on Sunday amid the excitement of the awards ceremony. Each year’s award ceremony reintroduces long time Derby participants to many familiar faces. We have grown used to watching kids grow up in one-year increments on the Derby stage, and recognizing adults who were once those kids, walk up to claim a prize.

One moment Sunday was particularly poignant. The opportunity to cheer for a brave little boy.

Wish came true

Brendan Duhaime, 7, of Bolton has trouble walking and standing. That is why his dad had to help him up on stage Sunday. But the brain cancer that was diagnosed last November and is robbing him and his family of so much has not taken away his love of fishing.

Kevin Lord of Bolton served on his town’s conservation commission with Brendan’s dad Scott. Kevin, a longtime Vineyard visitor, has followed the Duhaime family’s battle on Brendan’s blog (available at and was aware of the young boy’s love of fishing.

“It popped into my head that he is such a fanatical fisherman and the biggest thing around is the Derby,” Scott told me in a telephone call. “And I was going down there, so I thought, let’s see if we can get him down.”

A shore fisherman, Scott needed to find a charter boat that was kid-friendly. A friend with a house on East Chop put Scott in touch with Cooper “Coop” Gilkes, Derby committee member and tackle shop owner. “We’ll take care of him,” Coop assured Scott.

Coop called Derby president and charter captain Ed Jerome. Last Wednesday, Brendan, Scott, and Kevin met Coop and Ed at Derby headquarters where they gave him a hat, tee-shirt and pin. Artist Ben McCormick gave Brendan an album of his fish art. Then they went fishing.

“This is the perfect place to bring a little kid who loves fishing,” Scott said. “And where else in the world are you going to bring somebody where everybody just about is fishing. I thought this would be perfect for him. I thought of it as a little Derby make-a-wish.”

On Sunday Brendan’s wish came true.

Grandpa’s wish

That afternoon the Derby awards came down to eight fishermen on stage, each one wishing his or her dream of winning the grand prize of a new boat or truck would come true.

But first, he or she had to catch the fish that would put them on stage with an opportunity to pick a key. Roger Schaefer came close to throwing his winning fish back. Honest.

Roger grew up in Lexington with neighbors who had a house in Oak Bluffs. So he spent a lot of time on the Vineyard fishing with his pal Adam Darack, now of Edgartown.

Roger was a builder and developer in Colorado. Life and business was very, very good. “I had started five businesses in 15 years,”Roger told me. “I was doing well and I risked everything on my most recent development.”

The economy sank like lead. Roger, 35, lost everything %u2014 his house, life savings, all his assets %u2014 trying to hold on to his business in what he described as the worst two years of his life. But he never lost what mattered most, his family.

“We have a one and a three-year-old child and we had lost every dime we had,” he said. He and his wife Dana moved into his parent’s house in Falmouth and began trying to put their lives back together.

Coincidentally, the Darack’s, his old neighbors who had provided his introduction to the Vineyard and the Derby, wanted to put an addition on their house and hired Roger. He was grateful to have work.

The job began on October 1. Rather than commute, he slept on the job site and he fished. A third place daily bass ignited the fire.

“As soon as I got the fever going again, I was fanatical,” he said.

When he hooked his bluefish he thought it was a bass. He was disappointed to see it was not and considered throwing back what he thought was about a 9-pound fish.

He walked into the weigh station the next day feeling a little bashful about his catch. “That’s a nice fish,” someone said. “Yeah, but I wish it had stripes,” Roger said.

He did not pay attention when the fish went on the scale. He was talking to the weigh station women. “I was definitely the last person in the room to realize I had become the leader,” Roger said. “And when I found that out, I was running down the dock and jumping around because I never really thought I’d see my name on that grand leader chalkboard.”

Roger could not wait to share the news with his grandfather Roger Gentilhomme of Falmouth. The two are very close, and after years of success that had made his grandfather so proud he said it was hard not to feel like he’d let him down.

On Sunday, Roger stood on stage. A section of the badly frayed mono leader he used to catch his fish was in his pocket for good luck. But he had all the support he needed.

As Roger stood on stage holding his two children I leaned over and asked his grandfather what he thought.

“I knew he’d win,” his grandfather,” said beaming. “I’ve been praying hard for him.”

Sunday night Roger drove his grandfather home to Falmouth. “When I dropped him off at his house he said to me that was one of the best days of his life. I was glad to have made him proud again.”

Stocked tackle bag

I ran my own contest that concluded Monday. In a column published Sept. 23, I described how Eben Elias of West Tisbury found a stocked West Marine tackle bag that no one had claimed despite my best efforts to get the word out. When I said I thought it now belonged to him, Eben said he’d like to give it away.

So I invited readers to think of someone who could really use or deserves a new fully stocked tackle bag.

I received eight nominations. The emails reflected many of the personal bonds that make fishing on the Vineyard memorable.

For example, several wives nominated husbands for more tackle. Jennifer Rand nominated her husband Kenny Abbott. “He is the most selfless fisherman I have ever met,” Jen said.

Melissa Moore nominated her husband Adam with this hope: “Lord knows the stuff he’s got hasn’t worked and he tries so hard.”

Karen Manning nominated her husband Mark, “an awesome husband and dad to four children … he never takes much time for himself to enjoy his fishing hobby.”

Conversely, Bill Moody nominated his wife, Whitney Moody. Describing an award she won last year he said, “She went fishing by herself that morning while I was at work. She did everything just right.”

John Nichols of Waltham, a seasonal Island resident born on the Island, nominated his youngest son, Johnny Nichols, 17, who recently enlisted in the Army. “I am very proud of him,” John wrote, “and this would be a nice present for him and get him some recognition for his selfless commitment to his country.”

Mark Shelton nominated his nine-year-old son, Drew, who lives in an urban environment with his mom but visits the Island in the summer and loves to fish.

“Fishing is the world to Drew … He participated this year in the Kid’s Derby and though his 13.5 inch black sea bass was not the winner, he did take home the consolation prizes, one of which was a fishing lure.

“When we got back to the car that morning after the ceremonies, Drew took out the lure and he said, ‘Dad, this is really my first lure. Can you believe it?’ This lure now resides prominently on a shelf in his room.”

The winning email came from Sydney Mullen. She nominated her dad, Jim Mullen. “He loves to fish and he loves the Vineyard and I’m sure he’d love some new tackle,” she wrote.

I contacted Sydney to tell her she was the winner. I mentioned the email about Drew. Sydney wrote back, “Please do share with the ‘runner up.’”

What a great sport. And what a great note upon which to end my last weekly fishing column of the season as I trade the rod for the bow.

Thank you to my fellow Island fishermen for the stories and camaraderie, the readers who encourage me and the fish, even the uncooperative ones.

Order these Derby photos and more here