Tags Posts tagged with "Aquinnah"


The Winter Solstice is in ten days but Old Man Winter is definitely making his presence known. I have a sinking feeling based on the wind chill factor the past two weeks that we are in for a rough, cold winter. I’m taking solace in the fact that the holidays are such a happy, cheerful time on the Island, no matter what the weather. There are so many holiday parties and lights and decorations everywhere that even a trip to Alley’s in West Tisbury feels festive. Hanukkah starts on Tuesday, so there will be even more lights everywhere. I think I like the holiday lights more than I like getting presents, and I love getting presents.

Jessica Cramer’s jewelry is on exhibit and for sale at Santander Bank in Chilmark, if you would like to do a little local shopping for Christmas. Remember Chilmark Chocolates is only open until December 19 this year and then closed until the end of January.

There will be a big 1980s Dance Party at Dreamland this Saturday night as the Charter School hosts their annual Rock Auction at 6:30 pm. There are many great auction items including: a plane ride from Katama field with Capt. Livingston Taylor, a new freezer full of local meat and seafood, an authentic clambake for 12 at Hancock Beach and lots more. D.J. Jay Araujo will be spinning hits from the 80s. Attendees are encouraged to dine downstairs at the MV Chowder Co. prior to the party. Tickets are $20 at the door.

At the library this week, stop in on Thursdays at 3 pm for story time, and this Saturday from 12 noon to 3 pm, Barbara can help you make a driftwood menorah. On Saturday, December 20, in addition to the make-your-own-wrapping-paper craft, there will be a cookie exchange; bring some cookies you made and get some cookies others made. Plus this is an opportunity to show off your ugly Christmas sweater (not that any of us have them, of course).

The town Christmas party will be Tuesday, December 23, at the Old Town Hall. If you can help in any way with decorating, cleanup, present wrapping etc. please let me know. This is a potluck dinner for the whole town, so please bring a dish to share. Santa will be there giving out gifts (just to the kids, sorry) so this is a great time to catch up with your neighbors while the kids run around and lose their minds.

There were two items of very sad news this past week. Robbie Manning, son of Jyl Manning and nephew of June Manning, died, far too young at the age of 31. And Jean Entine’s daughter Jennifer Entine Matz lost her battle with cancer last week at the age of 45. Deaths are always hard but the fact that both of these two beloved souls were so young is especially heartbreaking, not to mention the fact that this is a particularly difficult time of year to lose someone. My heart goes out to the Manning sisters and to Robbie’s children and to Jean Entine and Jennifer’s two children.

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it (remember to get gelt for your kids and grandkids at Chilmark Chocolates).

In the first Gay Head 10k in 2013, starters have lighthouse at their backs. — File photo by Lisa Vanderhoop

The Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee announced that it has begun signing up runners for the second annual Gay Head 10K road race, A Race Against Time, to be held Sunday, Oct. 5.

The race is a fundraiser for the ongoing effort to restore and relocate the Island’s historic landmark.

The 10K will start at 10 am, under the beam of the Gay Head Lighthouse, then proceed down the hill past the Aquinnah Cultural Center onto State Road, and onto Moshup Trail, which leads back to the loop at the Cliffs, according to a press release. The finish line lands runners in the shadow of the lighthouse after they complete the circle.

“The course is at once challenging, historic, and picturesque,” said Martha Vanderhoop, committee member and 10K race director. “We are also working on having the race certified by USA Track and Field this year, which would, hopefully, make the Gay Head 10K a destination race appealing to elite runners.”

For more information and to register, go to gayheadlight.org. There is an entry fee of $30, and the field will be limited to 500 runners. The committee also welcomes donors to become involved immediately through various levels of sponsorship. For more information on sponsorships, contact Beverly Wright, chairwoman of the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee, at gayhead10k@gayheadlight.org.

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Erected by Air Force reservists in 2004, the Wampanoag tribe said it plans to convert its unfinished community center into a class II gaming facility. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV ruled from the bench Wednesday in U.S. Federal District Court in Boston that the town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Inc. (AGHCA) may intervene in a lawsuit Governor Deval Patrick filed to block the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from building what the tribe has described as a boutique casino on tribal lands.

Governor Patrick first filed suit in December in state court. The Wampanoag tribe argued that the case rightly belonged in federal court. Earlier this month, Judge Saylor agreed, noting that the body of federal law supersedes state law with respect to gaming on Indian lands. On July 10, the town and AGHCA filed motions to intervene.

The case, now in federal court, could determine if the Wampanoag Tribe may build a casino in Aquinnah. The central issue and major hurdle in the tribe’s long-running battle to build a casino, either in southeastern Massachusetts or on tribal lands on Martha’s Vineyard, is the Settlement Agreement, signed by tribal leadership in 1983 and ratified by the state Legislature in 1985 and by Congress in 1987, which stipulated that the tribe was subject to local and state laws and zoning regulations in effect at the time.

Ron Rappaport, Aquinnah town counsel, said that the town has no interest in whether the Aquinnah tribe games anywhere other than in the town of Aquinnah. “We want to be heard because we want to protect the interests of the citizens of the town, and we’re pleased that we have now been formally allowed to intervene in the case.”

Molly PurvesThis is a big weekend for the Aquinnah Cultural Center (ACC). On Saturday at 5 pm is the 9th Annual Wampanoag Feast and Fundraiser — a benefit dinner to support the ACC’s programs, exhibits, and events. There will be a special guest speaker, Marge Bruchac, from the Abnaki tribe; her talk is titled, “On the Wampum Trail:  Stories Embedded in the Shell.” On Sunday, August 10, there will be a Storytelling Festival from 11 am  to 4:30 pm, “Ancient Words in a New Day,” featuring seven Native American storytellers from the New England area. There will be 17th and 19th century Wampanoag dishes prepared. At 3:30 pm there will be panel discussion on “The Meanings of Story in Native American Cultures.”  The price for this event is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and children under 12.

Along with these special events, the ACC is open every Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday at its normal times, 11 am to 4 pm. You can stop by for a tour of the homestead and to see the exhibit on Wampanoag whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries. There is also a new video program, “Land and Life in Old Gay Head.” If you would like more information, please call the ACC at 508-645-7900 or email them at aquinnahcc@gmail.com.

Upcoming events at the library include:

Tonight at 5 pm Peter Temple of the MV Donors Collaborative and The Healthy Aging Task Force will speak on “Aging in Our Community: The Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Vineyard and Our Aging Population.” In addition to discussing an overview of the Task Force, he will focus specifically on our community’s unique challenges, as well as its benefits.

This Saturday at 1 pm there is a Kids Ice Cream Social! This was a big hit last year and the library is doing it again. Barbara Lampson brings in all the ingredients to make your own ice cream. You do not want to miss this: it was so much fun and the ice cream (all handmade) was delicious as well.

Next Thursday, August 14, at 5 pm, returning guest speaker Duncan Caldwell will give a talk entitled “Some Glories, New Discoveries and Controversies involving the Rock Art of the Parisian Region.” The talk will take us into the richest concentration of rock art near a major city in the world, around 1,400 sites just outside Paris with paintings and engravings spanning tens of thousands of years.

On Saturday, August 16, at 1 pm, kids can build a fairy house next to the Library, with Barbara. The Friends of the Aquinnah Public Library’s Annual Meeting and Open House is also on this day from 12 noon to  2 pm, and all are invited and welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

This Saturday, August 9 (rain date Sunday, August 10), 3–5 pm,  the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee will host a Finish Line Party to celebrate the end of local kayaker Dana Gaines’s 52-mile paddle around the Island to benefit the relocation of the Gay Head Light. There will be music, cash bar with beer and wine, clams and oysters. The event is open to the public. It will be held on the terrace of the Aquinnah Shop.

The Gay Head Gallery will host an art event this Sunday from 5 to 7 pm. It is titled, “The Abstract Wild: Wilderness Lost?”  Michael Senatore, the vice president of conservation law at Defenders of Wildlife, will be present and the event will benefit Defenders of Wildlife. For more information, you can contact Megan Sargent at 508-645-2776.

Arlen Roth has been hard at work at his Aquinnah home on his new all-acoustic Rolling Stones album, with engineer Alex Salzman, who is visiting from New York. Alex and Arlen previously worked together on an album of Simon and Garfunkel music as well as one featuring the music of Bob Dylan. Alex is also working with Arlen’s daughter, Lexie, who is recording a new album. Eleven tracks of Arlen’s album have already been recorded. I can’t wait to hear it.

The graveside service for Carl Widdis this past weekend was filled with people, rain, and love. Carl’s nephew, Heath, and Carl’s brother, Donald, both spoke of Carl’s generous spirit and his helpful ways. I don’t think there was one person there that Carl had not helped at some point, and, as his brother said, “Some of you are still waiting for the bill.”

Kate Taylor played guitar and sang, Jason Baird performed the ceremony, and the Veterans of Martha’s Vineyard gave full military honors to Carl, a U.S. Navy veteran. Toward the end of the service as the rain came down heavier and heavier a clearly grieved Pam Glavin (Carl’s widow) spoke. After the service people gathered at the Aquinnah shop to reminisce. Donations may be made in Carl’s name to the Gay Head Lighthouse Fund, payable to the Town of Aquinnah, 65 State Rd. Aquinnah, MA 02535.

Got Aquinnah news? Click here to contact Molly.

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The wetu lookalike presents visitors to the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah with Wampanoag culture, history and current projects.

The Wampanoag heritage exhibit includes interactive displays. — Photo by Nathaniel Horwitz

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) welcomed tourists, tribal members, and Island residents on Friday to the grand opening of a heritage exhibit at one of the Gay Head cliff lots along the path to the popular scenic vantage point.

Great new destination in Aquinnah.
Great new destination in Aquinnah.

A one-room wetu, a traditional Wampanoag dwelling, is filled with furs, nets, and interactive displays. The tribe’s Natural Resources and Historic Preservation departments created the exhibit to display the history, culture, and present-day programs of the tribe.

The Friday morning celebration began with a smudging ceremony. Medicine man Jason Baird burned sage in and around the building. “It is to purify the space and welcome the people,” he told The Times.

Tribal chairman Tobias Vanderhoop thanked the tribal council, the Natural Resource Commission, and the contractors responsible for the wetu.

Natural Resources director Bret Stearns oversaw and coordinated the project. “It’s very exciting to be here, it’s been a long project,” he told visitors. “We started in 2011 when we went to the tribal council, the vision changed and it grew, and here we are today.”

The Environmental Protection Agency funded the exhibit with a grant of approximately $35,000. The tribe contributed another $35,000, Mr. Stearns said.

The turtle is a centerpiece.
The turtle is a centerpiece.

Tribal Historic Preservation officer Bettina Washington explained the significance of the exhibit. “This building has important elements of our culture,” she said. “Who the Wampanoag are, how we got here, and how we’re still here and what we’re doing.”

Visitors flowed through the building. They admired raccoon and skunk furs, brushed their fingers against a traditional fishing net and examined the displays, including an electronic, interactive kiosk in the corner.

The centerpiece of the wetu is a large floor tile that depicts a turtle crafted from stone and wampum, which represents the tribal concept that the world was created on the back of a turtle. Cultural Resource monitor Elizabeth James Perry created the tile. Tribal member Jason Widdiss used natural materials for the inlay. On the day of the opening, the turtle was wreathed in light from a skylight, representing the traditional smoke hole of a wetu dwelling.

“The doors are open, people are in, it’s great,” Mr. Stearns told The Times. “It’s easy to put up a building; it’s difficult to put up a culturally representative building.”

Tobias Vanderhoop, Jason Baird and Bret Stearns open the Wampanoag heritage exhibit.
Tobias Vanderhoop, Jason Baird and Bret Stearns open the Wampanoag heritage exhibit.

In a later conversation, Mr. Stearns said he encourages Islanders with old photographs or cultural artifacts to call his office at 508-645-9265 about putting them on display.  “We don’t just want it to be a one-time visit, we want to change the content so that residents and visitors can go there and enjoy it multiple times,” he said.

The exhibit will be open throughout the tourist season each year. “Now that it has been open for a few days it’s been incredibly well-received,” Mr. Stearns said. “People go in there and enjoy it and read the material, and I think it really provides a great destination.”

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The case, now in federal court, could determine if the Wampanoag Tribe may build a casino in Aquinnah.

Erected by Air Force reservists in 2004, the unfinished community center will be converted into a class II gaming facility, if the tribe's current plan is executed. — File photo by Nelson Sigelman

The town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Inc. (AGHCA) filed court documents last Thursday, July 10, in U.S. Federal District Court in Boston in which they asked to intervene in a lawsuit Governor Deval Patrick filed to block the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from building what the tribe has described as boutique casino on tribal lands.

Governor Patrick first filed suit in December in state court. The Wampanoag tribe argued that the case rightly belonged in federal court. Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV agreed, noting the body of federal law supersedes state law with respect to gaming on Indian lands.

In a statement issued in response to the ruling by Judge Saylor, Cheryl Andrews Maltais, Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation chairman, (AWGC) said, “The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission have each provided formal legal opinions in support of our rights. We now have all of the federal approvals required to proceed with gaming on our existing trust lands, and we are confident, in light of this decision, that the federal court will confirm Aquinnah’s sovereign and federal statutory rights to do so.”

The central issue and major hurdle in the tribe’s long-running battle to build a casino, in southeastern Massachusetts or on tribal lands on Martha’s Vineyard, is the Settlement Agreement that led to federal recognition for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

The Settlement Agreement was signed by tribal leadership in 1983 and was ratified by the state Legislature in 1985 and by Congress in 1987. That agreement stipulated that the tribe was subject to local and state laws and zoning regulations in effect at the time. In November, the tribe said a legal analysis from the National Indian Gaming Commission underpinned its view that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) supersedes the Settlement Agreement.

The town of Aquinnah takes the view, outlined by town counsel Ron Rappaport in a seven-page opinion dated April 27, 2012, that the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head Inc. cannot operate a gaming casino in Aquinnah because the 400 acres described in the Settlement Act are subject to the zoning regulations in effect at that time.

The state’s 2011 expanded gaming law authorized up to three licenses for resort casinos in Massachusetts, with a directive for the Patrick administration to negotiate gaming compacts with federally recognized Native American tribes.

Mr. Patrick negotiated a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which is seeking to build a casino in Taunton, but refused to negotiate with the Aquinnah Wampanoag.

The Patrick administration contended that the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe was free to compete for a commercial gaming license under the strictures of the casino law, but forfeited its rights to tribal gaming when it signed the land settlement.

In turn, the Wampanoag tribal membership narrowly voted to turn its unfinished community center in Aquinnah into a Class II gaming facility. The building, erected by two teams of Air Force reservists in 2004 and 2005 has sat unfinished for more than nine years while the tribe engaged in a multimillion dollar casino effort. The vote split the tribal membership, with many Island residents opposed to any casino on tribal lands, and mainland members in favor.

Class II gaming encompasses high stakes bingo, poker, pull-tab cards and associated electronic games that do not require coin slots. Unlike class III gaming, which encompasses all types of gaming and requires a tribe-state agreement, tribes may regulate Class II gaming on their own lands without state authority, as long as the state in which the tribe is located permits that type of gaming.

James Newman, chairman of the three-member Aquinnah board of selectmen, which includes two tribal members, said the motion to intervene is necessary to protect the town

“It was the right thing and the natural thing to do to protect ourselves from the casino,” Mr. Newman said Tuesday.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport said the town believes it is appropriate to be a party to the state lawsuit for several reasons. “First, we are a party to the settlement agreement; second, and most importantly, we are the party that enforces zoning, and zoning does not permit commercial gaming. So we stand uniquely suited to advocate through the courts that our local rights need to be preserved.”

The town will not stand alone. The Gay Head community association, which has carried the fight to defend the settlement agreement in the past, will do so again.

In an email to The Times on Tuesday, retired lawyer and longtime AGHCA president Larry Hohlt said, “As noted in AGHCA’s filings, the tribe’s recent gaming-related actions directly implicate the meaning and enforceability of the 1983 Settlement Agreement and the implementing Federal and Commonwealth Acts by flaunting numerous agreements, restrictions, and general provisions set forth in those documents. At the core of this case is the question of whether the agreement struck among the town, the Tribal Council, the Commonwealth, and AGHCA’s predecessor (the Gay Head Taxpayers Association) in 1983 is going to be enforced.

“Each of the parties to the 1983 agreement derived great benefits from it, and made significant compromises to obtain those benefits. We strongly disagree with the Tribe’s position on the interaction of IGRA (the Indian Gaming Reform Act) with the 1983 Settlement Agreement and implementing acts, and with the legal opinions from the Interior Department and the NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission). We have therefore moved to intervene in the present action in order to take the steps necessary to ensure that the Settlement Agreement is properly interpreted and applied, and that the parties to the agreement receive the full panoply of benefits for which they bargained — just as we have done in the past, and will continue to do in the future.”

In a prepared statement emailed to The Times Wednesday, Ms. Andrews Maltais, AWGC chairman said, “We fully anticipated the town and taxpayers would try to intervene. However, as the court stated, this is a matter of federal law. So in my opinion, the Commonwealth is fully capable of representing any interests they may feel they have; since I believe all of their interests or rights are derived from the Commonwealth.”

Molly PurvesSummer officially starts on Saturday! Maybe now it will stay warm for more than two days in a row and I can take the comforter off my bed. Although we did badly need the rain we got last week. Aquinnah now looks so lush and beautiful, which seems almost shocking when you think back a few weeks ago when there were hardly any trees blooming. We took our first trip to Red Sand Beach and there were many kids romping in the water. People are getting their moorings and their boats in as well, although there are a lot of “regulars” that I don’t see yet at the pond.

There is a Summer Solstice party at the Lighthouse on Friday, 5–8 pm, with food and music. Everyone is welcome to attend.

There will be a summer Solstice potluck party at Sassafras, AKA David and Saskia’s house, this Saturday starting at 7 pm with a fire and music and I assume many people delighted to be finally saying goodbye to this cold spring.

At the Aquinnah Cultural Center this week:

On Friday, June 20, the ACC welcomes special guest speaker Matthew Stackpole of Mystic Seaport Museum, who is traveling with the whaling vessel, Charles W. Morgan. Mr. Stackpole will speak on the restoration of this last whaling vessel and its relation to Gay Head whale men — by donation. On Saturday, June 21, and Wednesday, June 25, you can stop by and see the new exhibits on Wampanoag whaling and the Gay Head Lighthouse. You can also get a tour of the homestead during regular hours which are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 11 am to 4 pm. For more information on exhibits and programs, call 508-645-7900 or email us at aquinnahcc@gmail.com.

Summer Reading signup starts this Saturday at the Aquinnah Library. The big all-Island Summer Reading kickoff will be at the Ag Hall on July 5. Come and sign your kids up and then they can get prizes for all the books they read over the summer.

The “Dogs for Dads” party at the library was great fun. There was a grill on the deck and hot dogs for anyone who stopped by. We spent a very pleasant hour chatting with Eddie Stahl and his wife, Elissa; their daughter Lucille has gotten so big and she is so delightful. Jim Verycrusse stopped by to deliver a new outdoor sign he made for the library. Thank you, Jim.

Yoga at the Yard will start on June 28. Classes will be Monday through Friday at 7 am, Saturday at 8 am, and Sunday at 9 am. You can go to dancetheyard.org for all the information. I have heard also that Janette Vanderhoop is going to be teaching yoga over the summer at the Old Town Hall, but I haven’t gotten anything definite yet.

Happy birthday to Adam Wilson, our very organized and hardworking town administrator. Is that his official title? I’m not sure. It could also be Town Hall Gatekeeper or Man Who Knows All about How Aquinnah Runs — either of those would work too. Anyway his birthday is on Monday, so wish him a happy one if you see him.

Got Aquinnah news? Share it with Molly here.

Molly-PurvesIt’s like this every year isn’t it? February, March, and April drag on and on with their cold, wet weather and then May hits and in the beginning it’s still more of the same and then, boom, everything starts blooming and the to-do lists grow longer by the minute. Do I always leave everything to the last minute or is there just so much more to do in May? I think it’s the latter. More work, more jobs, more cleanup, and of course more people and more traffic.

Dreamcatcher at the Cliffs is opening Thursday, May 22, at 11:30 am. Come on by for some lunch or for ice cream or both. The Outermost Inn will be opening for dinner on Friday at 6 pm. They will be open Friday-Sunday until the beginning of June and then go to Tuesday-Sunday. They will be serving their $79 fixed price meal, and you can call 508-645-3511 to reserve a table. The Chilmark Tavern opened this past weekend and will be open Thursday-Monday until late June and then seven days a week in the high season.

At the library this Saturday, starting at noon, there will there will be a pizza garden planting party. The harvesting of which will result in a pizza party at the end of the summer.

Joan LeLacheur will host an open studio at her home this Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. She has new creations of wampum, abalone, and conch and moon snail. If you are looking for a gift for a graduate, a bride, or just someone special. Come on by 42 Old South Road. Call 508-645-9954 for more details.

Congratulations to Juli Vanderhoop who is now a selectman of Aquinnah. The results were announced at the Orange Peel Bakery during pizza night last week and much raucous celebrating ensued. It’s going to be a hectic summer for Juli with her new schedule, but I’m sure she can handle it. Many thanks are due to outgoing selectman Beverly Wright who served for three years. I found Beverly to be fair in her judgment and well educated on whatever subjects came before the selectmen. Thank you, Beverly, for all your service to the town.

Paula and David Eisenberg are headed to Croatia this week for their son’s wedding. When I asked why Croatia, was his bride from there? They replied no that the couple just wanted to get married someplace interesting and picked Croatia. The Gerhard family welcomed a new puppy into their family this weekend, whose name is Oscar.

Of course the whole Island was rocked by the news of Pat Gregory’s senseless murder last weekend. I knew Pat only slightly because of his work at Educomp, but he was always so kind to me. Whenever I saw him, no matter what he was doing, be it watching his grandchildren play soccer or working at Educomp he was always happy and calm. He seemed to radiate good will. There is no way that I can make sense of this pointless crime that has robbed Pat’s family and all of us of his wonderful presence. I know he will be greatly missed for many years to come.

Got Aquinnah news? Share it with Molly.

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Beverly Wright, left, and Julianne Vanderhoop.

Annual town meeting season on Martha’s Vineyard wraps up next week in Aquinnah. On Wednesday, May 13, voters go to the polls to elect town officers. The only contest is for one seat on the three-member board of selectmen.

Incumbent Beverly Wright faces a challenge from Julianne Vanderhoop. Both women are members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) (WTGH/A) and will square off against a backdrop of uncertainty over how tribal efforts to pursue casino gambling will affect the town.

The tribe insists it has the legal right to convert its long-unfinished community center into a Class II gaming facility. The town of Aquinnah and Governor Deval Patrick take the view that the Wampanoag Tribe cannot operate a gambling casino in Aquinnah because the lands described in the state and federal legislation that led to federal recognition are subject to the zoning regulations in effect at that time.

Beverly Wright is intimately familiar with the issue of gambling. A former five-time chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe from 1991 to 2004, she unsuccessfully attempted to secure a gambling facility on the mainland when state law and the political currents did not favor casino gambling.

Ms. Wright is married to Robert B. MacDiarmid, a tribal member, and has two children. She is on the board of the Aquinnah Cultural Center, a member of the tribal health committee, and chairman of the Save The Gay Head Lighthouse committee.

Julianne Vanderhoop is the owner of the Orange Peel Bakery, a popular stop for visitors from around the Island. The mother of two children, she has been a commercial shellfisherman for more than 20 years and has served on a number of boards, including the Aquinnah Parks and Recreation committee, Chilmark School advisory committee, and the Tri-town ambulance committee. She has also served on the Aquinnah Board of Health and the Wampanoag tribe education committee for the past seven years.

This week, The Times asked each candidate why she is running for office, their position on a casino, and what issues the next selectman is likely to face. Their emailed responses are reproduced below, edited slightly for style and conciseness.

Why do you want to serve on the board of selectmen?

Ms. Wright: Three years ago I saw that the board of selectmen were not working well together and I wanted to be part of changing that atmosphere. I think that has been accomplished; there are still disagreements, but they are worked out in a professional manner. The employees and the selectmen all have the same goal of providing the best service to the residents of Aquinnah. It is gratifying to see that issues are handled with respect, efficiency, and dedication. I would like to continue to be a part of this ongoing process. Also, the board of selectmen now has a cooperative working relationship with the new administration of the WTGH and that is a good thing for Aquinnah.

Ms. Vanderhoop: I am running for the office of selectman in the town of Aquinnah because as a lifelong resident I feel a responsibility as a person of my generation to step up and into the arena. As a selectman I can help give back to my community. I know this land historically and care for our fragile ecosystem.

The issues that I hope will come in front of the board of selectmen include some familiar ones, like the need for affordable housing lots, and some new. For example, there is a large movement to promote farming on the entire Island. I hope to see Aquinnah support the growth of farmers and agriculture and once again look at our short- and long-term plans for housing and open space and so that our community can help promote sustainability.

If elected, would you be prepared to support legal action to block tribal efforts to create a boutique casino in the tribe’s unused community center?

Ms. Wright: This question is easy to answer. First, throughout my political career with the WTGH/A as chairman I have never advocated for a gaming facility to be on our traditional homelands in Aquinnah. Our elders worked all their lives and gave their lives so that future generations of Aquinnah Wampanoags would have a place to call home. A home that represents all the good qualities of our native heritage, a home where

our young people can know the feeling of walking in the woods to gather berries, nuts, grapes. A home to gather knowledge of fishing, quahoging, and the feel of our beautiful clay in their hands.

Secondly, as a selectman I represent all the residents of Aquinnah, tribal and nontribal. Not one person has spoken to me in favor of a gaming facility. As selectman, without hesitation, I would support legal action to block tribal efforts to create a boutique casino in our community center.

Ms. Vanderhoop: I do not support gaming in Aquinnah. I will support all efforts on Martha’s Vineyard to prevent the transition of the tribal community building to a gaming facility.

What issues do you think town leaders will need to confront in the future?

Ms. Wright: The board of selectmen has already acknowledged some of the issues that will be forthcoming. A capital expenditure committee has just been established and at town meeting on May 13th the voters will be asked to create a capital expenditure fund and to deposit free cash in the newly created fund.

Aquinnah is growing and the selectmen must find ways to fund growth without continually raising taxes. What is needed in the future is a DPW facility, a new police station, enlargement of our fire station and more office space in the town hall, plus vehicles. These projects, along with others, will be discussed by the committee and brought to the attention of the voters so they will have advance notice and input. Funds will be available to at least conduct a feasibility study and to give the voters a heads up as to what they will be asked to fund at upcoming town meetings. The biggest issue is growth and the means by which this growth is funded with the least impact to the taxpayers.

Ms. Vanderhoop: There are needs within the community of Aquinnah and as these arise I think that we need to have some creative thoughts go into how to address them. The people within our community must come together with our knowledge and create a community that works for everyone.Trying to control budgets but also trying to stay up to date with the new technology that surrounds the world.  If we can move our lighthouse then that should be the beginning of a movement to enlighten and strengthen us within our community.