Editor's note: The Associated Press is citing officials saying President Obama is expected to make a statement today about a video showing Islamic State militants beheading American journalist James Foley. It is unclear when Obama will speak, but he will be receiving regular updates on the situation. Currently, Obama is resuming his vacation on Martha's Vineyard. - Aaron
Martha's Vineyard (Wampanoag: Noepe) is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, known for being an affluent summer colony. It includes the smaller Chappaquiddick Island, which is usually connected to the larger island, though storms and hurricanes have been known to separate the two islands. The last such separation of the islands was in 2007, and as of April 2, 2015, the two islands are again connected.
Often called just "The Vineyard", the island has a land area of 100 square miles (260 km2). It is the 58th largest island in the United States and the third largest on the East Coast of the United States, after Long Island and Mount Desert Island. It is not connected to the mainland by a bridge or tunnel.
The island is located in Massachusetts, as a part of Dukes County, which also includes Cuttyhunk, as well as the island of Nomans Land, the latter of which is currently a US Wildlife preserve closed to the public, due to possible unexploded ordnance dating from its role as a practice bombing range from 1943-1996. The Vineyard was also home to one of the earliest known deaf communities in the United States; consequently, a special sign language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL), developed on the island.
The 2010 census reported a year-round population of 16,535 residents, although the summer population can swell to more than 100,000 people. About 56% of the Vineyard's 14,621 homes are seasonally occupied.
Martha's Vineyard is primarily known as a summer colony, and it is accessible only by boat and air. However, its year-round population has grown considerably since the 1960s. Each decade from 1970 to 2000, Martha's Vineyard’s year-round population grew about a third, for a total of 145% or about 3 to 4% per year (46%, 30% and 29% in each respective decade). The population of Martha’s Vineyard was 14,901 in the 2000 Census and was estimated at 15,582 in 2004. (Dukes County was 14,987 in 2000 and 15,669 in 2004). Dukes County, which includes the six towns on Martha's Vineyard and Gosnold, grew by more than 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to Census data released Tuesday, gaining nearly 1,548 residents. The Island's population increased from 14,987 to 16,535.
A study by the Martha's Vineyard Commission found that the cost of living on the island is 60% higher than the national average, and housing prices are 96% higher. A study of housing needs by the Commission found that the average weekly wage on Martha's Vineyard was "71% of the state average, the median home price was 54% above the state's and the median rent exceeded the state's by 17%".