Flotsam & Jetsam: Recent News You Can Sort of Use

Full Disclosure?

Peter Simon

When a newcomer washes ashore on the Vineyard, it’s natural for their pals who are already here to offer advice on how to blend into the scene. Thus, when John Kerry recently forsook buttoned-up Nantucket for the much more laid-back up-Island scene, his friend the lawyer, Chilmark porch pontificator, and nude-beach mainstay Alan Dershowitz suggested ways the former secretary of state might potentially make the switch from whale ties to letting it all hang out. “The key for him being welcome is he has to start dressing down,” Dershowitz told the Boston Globe. There you have it, on the highest legal authority, from a counselor with a reputation in these parts for not dressing down. Or up. At all.

Just When You Thought it was Safe to Get Out of the Water

Mark Lovewell

Sharks may be the stuff of nightmares lurking beneath the surface of the deep, but it turns out a more tangible menace lurks beneath the surface of the sand. In a search on Cape Pogue from March to December 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers discovered 14,000 bomb pieces – leftovers from World War II, when the Vineyard was used for target practice. The bulk of the bombs posed no explosive hazard, but about 1,000 did. We all love a bang-up beach day, but a word of advice: be careful where you put your towel....Land Shard!

Sanctuary Beach, Anyone?

At its annual town meeting, Chilmark joined all the other Island towns in asking local police not to use town funds to enforce federal immigration laws. Local law enforcement officials will still, however, presumably respond to requests from beach owners and Volvo-driving sticker collectors to assist in the removal of undocumented bathers.

Say Armen, Brother

Mark Lovewell

Quick, what do Methodist ministers do when they retire? In the case of Armen Hanjian, a lot more work. Hanjian took over the leadership of the Island Food Pantry in 1996, back when he was just a kid of sixty. Now eighty, he has decided to retire from the entirely volunteer organization that helps feed more than 500 families each year. And yet he’s still four years younger than West Tisbury’s newly elected freshman selectman, Kent Healy. Perhaps Hanjian’s got a third career in store. Good luck and thank you, Armen.

Submitted for Your Approval


Consider the Cat Man, a gentleman who for years roamed the Island on a bicycle with a cat perched on his shoulders. In most places, such a man may have been a bit loopy, as all cat lovers in some sense must be. On the Vineyard, however, he would also work at M.I.T., in a field he invented himself called ideonomy, or the science of ideas. Cat Man’s real name was Patrick Gunkel and his death this spring marked the passing of a unique character who bicycled to the beat of his own drum, one meow at a time.

“On Martha’s Vineyard, summers end but grudges remain.”

So said attorney Elizabeth Mulvey, representing Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard, describing the events being examined at the latter’s Board of Bar Overseers disciplinary hearing. (From the MV Times.)

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