Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This is an open letter to the greater community on Martha’s Vineyard. Someone is repeatedly destroying a split rail fence with a chain saw and we need your help. We are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of this person.

The fence is on the beach near the Oak Bluffs seawall. It marks the beginning of a wildlife refuge, primarily piping plover and oystercatcher nesting grounds. The beach is in the care of the Vineyard Conservation Society. It was given to this purpose by the William H. Hart Realty Co. and the Harthaven community.

Most recently, the fencing was cut down in July after having been reconstructed a month before. The police have been notified.

We recognize that some believe that all beaches should be public. But that is not the case in Massachusetts. Sections of beach are privately owned and, obviously, taxed. There are proper venues to change an existing law, but lurking in the shadows of the night and destroying private property is not one of them. It is cowardly and it is criminal.

Through the years the residents of Harthaven have made substantial gifts to the community. What is now a large section of the Silvia Beach, enjoyed by many, was given to the state by Hart Realty, as was part of the land occupied by the Oak Bluffs elementary school.

We have made such donations to benefit the community and have never asked for anything. However, now we need your help.

The fencing near the sea wall has been reconstructed again. The Oak Bluffs police have been alerted. But to further ensure that the fence might last, the boards of Hart Realty and the Harthaven Community Association have authorized payment of a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the person who has cut down our previous fences. Please contact me or any other resident of Harthaven if you can help us.

Alfred Woollacott 3rd

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This letter is directed toward the twisted individual who thinks that it is okay to steal plants from an innocent girl’s memorial. After planting flowers for my friend Brandy’s memorial at the intersection of the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven and County Roads for the second time, I was confident that whoever had stolen the plants the first time, in late May, would have gotten it out of their system but I was mistaken.

About a week ago, the last week of July, I had planted more plants for Brandy, and within two days they were all ripped out of the ground yet again. It seems to me that this disrespectful display of vandalism is personal. If the person who has ripped up Brandy’s plants was simply doing this for free plants there are many places near by that would seem more appropriate and that have a much more abundant plant supply. If the person who has ripped up Brandy’s plants is doing this out of pure spite then I will pray for you. You need to seriously evaluate your morals and your motives — an innocent girl is dead, please let her have her flowers.

Emma Vancour