Neighbors’ Voices: A collection of essays by Island leaders

— Photo by Tim Johnson

Goodbye to 2011, with a glance at the year about to end and a look ahead to the fresh one.

As has been its annual practice, The Martha’s Vineyard Times invited several Island leaders and community members to consider some of the accomplishments and challenges of 2011 and to look at what may lie ahead in 2012.

James Lengyel is the long-time executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, the Island’s only public land conservation organization and owner of more than 68 properties totaling almost 3,000 acres, open to the public. He is a dedicated champion of public access that mixes recreational use with conservation protection.

Edgartown Police Chief Antone “Tony” Bettencourt joined the Edgartown police department in 1982 as a seasonal police officer. A native Islander with deep Vineyard roots, he rose through the ranks to lieutenant and became police chief in August 2010, when his predecessor, Chief Paul Condlin, retired.

Judge H. Gregory Williams, a Cape resident, a former litigator in private practice, and a former assistant attorney general, is First Justice of the Edgartown District Court and Presiding Justice of the five-justice Southern District of the Appellate Division.

John Schaefer, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation president, is a seasonal Edgartown resident. He retired from Morgan Stanley, where he was a member of the management committee and president and chief operating officer of the Global Wealth Management Group.

Dawn Braasch of Vineyard Haven is the owner of the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Main Street and the president of the Tisbury Business Association. She purchased the bookstore in October 2008 where she previously worked as events coordinator. She has also managed a successful trucking firm and taught preschool in Chilmark.

Senator Dan Wolf, elected November 2010, is a former flight instructor and aircraft mechanic who helped found Cape Air, the company he now heads and one of the largest independent regional airlines in the country. He serves on several committees that include labor and workforce development, environment, natural resources and agriculture, and health care financing.