MV Museum Hiring Guides for Gay Head Lighthouse

Gay Head Light, old location

We are posting this on behalf of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum:


The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is hiring seasonal staffing for lighthouse visitor services positions at the Gay Head lighthouse from late May through mid October.

Duties include greeting visitors, handling admission fees and retail transactions, and ensuring the security of the properties. Candidates should enjoy interacting and visiting with the public, be reliable and able to work independently, be able to climb stairs and stand for long periods of time, and be enthusiastic about the lighthouse and Vineyard history. Visit for additional information and application. EOE.

Kitras-Decoulos Litigation Decided: No Easement by Necessity for Landlocked Parcels

This map shows the approximate location of the tracts of land that the Appeals Court ruled are entitled to access.

The highest state court in Massachusetts issued a very significant opinion on April 19, holding that there are no easements by necessity for “setoff” lots in the Town of Aquinnah. This is in connection with a legal action known familiarly as the “Decoulos/Kitris” litigation, which was brought against the Town, the Land Bank, the Vineyard Conservation Society, and a number of individual property owners off Moshup Trail and sought rights of way over a number of properties from “landlocked” properties owned by the plaintiffs.

This litigation was commenced in 1997 and has required the expenditure of much time and money by all of the defendants. A number of statewide organizations and both AGHCA and the Tribe filed amicus briefs in this matter. Click here to read the Kitras Slip Opinion 4 19 16.

MV Times article

MV Gazette article


State Supreme Court Upholds Town, VCS in Moshup Trail Case

Land off Moshup Trail has been at center of heated legal battle for nearly two decades. Mark Lovewell

The state Supreme Judicial Court has handed a decisive legal victory to the town of Aquinnah, the Vineyard Conservation Society and others who have been battling a private developer for years over whether a wild expanse of land off Moshup Trail can be opened up for development.

In a ruling issued today, the state’s highest court said that landowners James Decoulos and Maria Kitras do not have legal access to two landlocked parcels totalling about 30 acres off the trail, a public road that runs through the remote western reaches of the Vineyard.

Continue reading….


SJC rules no right exists to access landlocked parcels in Aquinnah

Moshup Trail, Aquinnah

In a significant and far-reaching victory for the town of Aquinnah and Island conservation organizations, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that a group of property owners who had sought to develop landlocked parcels they own off Moshup Trail have no rights of access.

In his 26-page decision, Justice Francis X. Spina reversed an Appeals Court ruling issued in January 2015 that the owners of three tracts of land off Moshup Trail in Aquinnah had the right to access their properties based on the historical “custom and practice of common access” by members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

Moshup Trail in Aquinnah, on a quiet day. — File photo

The Appeals Court decision, which overturned an earlier Land Court ruling that there was no access, nor was access intended, opened up the prospect of development in an area long considered landlocked, and which is bordered by conservation lands.

The unanimous SJC decision is rooted in the 19th century history of Gay Head, its incorporation as a town, and the “paternalistic system of governance” in effect at the time for tribal members, which gave way to full citizenship.

The case hinged on the legal question of easement by necessity, a doctrine that considers whether an easement was really intended, and whether at the time the state legislature set off lots from the common lands of what was then Gay Head in the 19th century, there was an intent to create easements by necessity to create access to the plaintiffs’ lots.

Justice Spina said no access was granted or implied, irrespective of tribal customs in effect at the time. Citing specific instances where access rights were granted, he said the there was no omission but an intent

Continue reading SJC rules no right exists to access landlocked parcels in Aquinnah

Gay Head 10K Set for October 2, 2016

The fourth annual Gay Head 10K road race will start from the Aquinnah Circle at 11:00 AM on Sunday, October 2, 2016.

The race, which began in 2013 as a fund-raiser to help save the endangered Gay Head Lighthouse, has become a major community event in Aquinnah. This year’s race will raise money for on-going restoration and maintenance of the historic building.

Click here to register, or scan the QR code below. Early-bird pricing of $25 is in effect until May 1, when it goes up to $30. Race day registration will cost $40.

What are we to make of it? Editorial – MV Times

We report with cautious optimism this week that the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)says it plans to complete the unfinished community center that teams of Air Force reservists from Oklahoma and Alabama erected over the summer of 2004.

It is unlikely those citizen soldiers ever contemplated that 12 years after they left the Island’s smallest town, the building would remain unfinished, or that but for a legal challenge and a decision in favor of the town, the sound of basketballs on a gym floor might have been replaced with the noise and lights of electronic gaming.

Hopefully, the tribe will move with all haste to complete the community center so that it can be used for summer activities of the type originally contemplated for the 6,500-square-foot building that is to include a gym, kitchen, and meeting space.

For years, the building has represented a wedge between the tribe, and the town and wider Island community. In repeated votes, off-Island members of the tribe prevailed over Island members and directed the tribal leadership to pursue a so-called “boutique casino.”

That changed on Jan. 24, when the tribal council voted to complete the community center. There is now the possibility that the finished building will become a gathering place for tribal and nontribal year-round and seasonal Island residents. The Chilmark Community Center provides a good example of a vibrant space that serves many needs and constituencies.

Still, questions remain. Will the tribe comply with town building-permit and inspection requirements, or will it engage in another protracted legal struggle with the town over that issue? We hope that will not be the case, and that the tribe will put those objections aside for another day and a future ruling.

On Monday, lawyers representing the tribe filed a notice of appeal in

Continue reading What are we to make of it? Editorial – MV Times