No March madness


What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, we were in one of those patterns that had the Island being battered week after week, after week. Meanwhile, the Steamship Authority was having problems keeping its ferries floating on the good days. It made for a pretty miserable month of March — more lion than lamb.

This year, so far, March has been mostly lamb. Monday’s temperatures felt springlike, even though it never did top 50°. And the extended outlook is for sun and temperatures in the mid to high 40s.

Is this for real, or are we being lulled into a false sense of security? Here are some other thoughts as we march ahead toward spring:


The SSA didn’t hit rough seas when it came to the Island last week to talk about the top-to-bottom review by HMS Consulting — mostly because the report had been out for two months before SSA administrators and their consultant finally made it here to talk about it.

It was the equivalent of the old basketball strategy of playing the four corners to run out the clock at the end of a game.


The renovations to the Black Dog Bakery on Water Street in Vineyard Haven are looking good, at least from the outside. We’ve missed the convenience of grabbing a cup of Fog Buster or a BLT, but it looks like it will be worthwhile when all is said and done.

But the best is yet to come. It will be especially great when the sidewalk gets repaired as part of the project and we no longer have to tiptoe to avoid that elevated curbing. It’s all designed to keep the restaurant and gift shop from flooding every time there’s a heavy rain. That remains to be seen.


When the Tisbury board of assessors convenes on Thursday, March 14, at 3 pm, its first order of business should be to admit making a terrible mistake and then approving the abatement requested by the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse administration and board.

To refresh your memory, the board of assessors revoked the tax exemption for the M.V. Playhouse saying it did not have enough information that such an exemption was justified based on state law. Incredibly, they got their information from the Playhouse website, instead of having a meeting with the executive director and board.

On Feb. 28, the board of assessors scheduled 15 minutes for Playhouse officials to make their appeal. After 45 minutes, the board had been given enough information about the programs offered both for free and at reduced rates that an abatement and, ultimately, a return to a tax-exempt status should be a slam dunk.

In fact, the only way to justify not voting that day is that one of board members was missing from the proceedings and would have to listen to the presentation on tape.

It’s beyond time to right this wrong.


We’ve had two stories recently that cast an ugly light on the current state of politics —  both in Falmouth. In one instance, a supporter of President Donald Trump allegedly used his plow to splash some folks in Falmouth holding signs on the town green in opposition to Trump.

In the other instance, a woman with ties to the Island allegedly attacked a man wearing a Trump “Make America Great Again” hat in a Falmouth restaurant.

If you find yourself cheering either of these incidents, as we’ve seen people do on social media or in our comments section, you may want to reflect on just how divisive your views have become.


Let’s end on a high note. The Island has an amazing number of people doing great things not just on the Vineyard, but also across the world. A case in point is our story on the Precious Project, which is a school and orphanage established by Oak Bluffs couple Susie Rheault and Gil Williams, in Tanzania.

David Finkelstein, an Island optometrist, spent some time with the Precious Project providing eye exams for children in the village of Nshupu, and returned to share his story and the story of this wonderful effort.