Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Reading about Bradley Square brings me back to fairly recent history on Martha’s Vineyard. Remember when the golf wars dominated the headlines, and allegations of conflict of interest assaulted the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Island conservation community?

It was a real stretch on the part of the developer, Corey Kupersmith and his allies, to assert that three or four commissioners had a financial interest in voting against the golf course because they were board members, or related to board members or staff, of the Vineyard Conservation Society. Even though VCS later proved in the courts that the allegations were invalid, the allegations  managed to derail an important vote on the project, and cost VCS, the MVC and the Island community more than just money. In a sense, the aftermath of the golf wars has paved the way for the latest conflict of interest controversy, and once again the local press fails to take a real look at what is at issue.

I’ll say it — Our Sacred Cow on Martha’s Vineyard is affordable housing. The lack of scrutiny by the press proves it.

And then I ask, how can all of these sophisticated people — staff and board members — place a For Sale by Owner sign on “their” property and put it up for sale at nearly double the price they paid for it just last year? Ironies abound, and I will only point out the most blatant: I thought the affordable housing mantra was that escalating property values and prices have caused this housing crisis. And let’s not forget that bankers, realtors, contractors, architects and the staff of nonprofits have an interest in promoting projects, affordable or not, to stay in business.  

Where is Corey Kupersmith when you need him.

Megan Ottens-Sargent



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am reminiscing about Rev. Oscar Denniston, the Bradley Memorial Church and Noepe Theatre.

In 1901 the Rev. Oscar Denniston came to Martha’s Vineyard from Jamaica (British West Indies) at the request of Madison Edwards, a chaplain, at the Seaman’s Bethel in Vineyard Haven.

When Susan Bradley died in 1907 Reverend Denniston founded the Bradley Memorial Church on Masonic avenue in Oak Bluffs.

Reverend Denniston and his wife had six children. They were Madison, Dean, Baron, Gerald, Olive and Amy.

Dean Denniston and I were classmates and graduated from the Oak Bluffs High School in 1931. There were only seven in our graduating class. Many parents in those days felt that the eighth grade kids should go to work. Reverend Denniston’s African American Church membership grew rapidly. They needed more space during the summer months. The Noepe Theatre was available and was purchased. This building was nearby and at the top of the hill on Circuit avenue near Masonic avenue.

In 1939 my brother John Hughes graduated from the Oak Bluffs High School. He remembers the baccalaureate service at Reverend Denniston’s Noepe building. On the old movie screen was a painting of Jesus as an African American.

Reverend Denniston died in 1942 and the church lost its leadership. In a short time the members lost the church building. Later, Roscoe Heathman tore down their building. He used the lumber to build elsewhere.

The church on Masonic avenue has been closed for many years and needs many repairs. A group wanted to save this building and move it a little to make room mainly for affordable housing.

The building should be dismantled and demolished and then this area can be planned anew.

To memorialize this former Baptist Church many large and framed photographs of its former activities should be hung in the hallways of the new main building that might be built. A good example of this idea is in the hallway of the Oak Bluffs town hall.

Robert Hughes

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Your Friday Sept. 19 Vineyard Gardener column mentions scant little about gardening, and more about politics. A reference to corn planted in a field near visible automobiles and making the leap to contaminated soil? Sheesh?! I suspect more fluids leak from the cars driving daily by Morning Glory Farm. If I wanted to read such rants and unsupported logic, I’d subscribe to the Boston Globe.

Charles McGuire

Amherst, N.H.

and Edgartown


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Whose grandchildren?

Whose grandchildren will pay? Will it be my grandchildren, my children’s grandchildren or my grandchildren’s grandchildren or great-grandchildren?

They project $700 billion will solve this problem, but they tell us it could go to a trillion and we all know that actually translates into $2.5 trillion at best. (Have you heard of the Big Dig, well this hole is much deeper.) All this money is needed to solve a problem that was created by a bunch of greedy wolves preying on a flock of innocent, often uneducated and unsophisticated, trusting sheep. Blame them for their innocence.

Now we are going to reward the wolves. But why not? What rules have changed? Oh, I know, we are going to suddenly become more conscientious about who we loan money to. Genius! What an epiphany.

To think that just a few years ago, when easy money was being loaned to anybody and everybody without proper qualifications and done without accountability, this mess was created. And doesn’t it make any sense that in the future a cash infusion of $1 trillion or so will only create a larger tsunami. What’s that you say, that is then and this is now.

Well isn’t that truly the real problem? Isn’t it simply a matter time, a measure of time or, more specifically, a function of time.

The banks want to see their money now, right away. Don’t they even get their fees and interest back at the closing? Sure they do.

There is nothing wrong with making a profit, that’s business, but it is the time frame that makes that profit attractive . . . and only that. To change the rates every three years, every two years or even every year only means higher profits.

And that’s where the problem is and that’s where the solution is. The federal government should force the banks to take their profits over a longer period of time. It is not the fault of the consumer; it is the fault of the predatory lender. In fact, one alternative might be to have a lifetime mortgage, one where the current occupant of the home may never achieve ownership but his or her grandchildren may. Then, instead of enslaving our grandchildren we might emancipate them.

On another note, has there been even one indictment for this fiasco? I don’t know of any. But then, would it surprise anyone should an investigation begin that any such proceedings would lead directly to the White House steps.

Sadly, America needs help, lots of help.

Ken Lay



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

About a two years back I started to develop the suspicion that George Bush was trying to break the country. Now I believe he has succeeded.

John OToole

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

My 87-year-old mother hired Dan Larkosh to defend her in a frivolous lawsuit claiming that she maliciously cut down six trees in the woods of West Tisbury.

Apparently Dan Larkosh did not take her case seriously although she met with him several times to discuss the matter. He never visited the site, he took no depositions, he got no experts to look at the trees (to see when they were cut down, and if they had even been alive or even where they were located). He did not follow up on any of our suggestions on how to defend our case — instead he intimidated my mother and sent her on her way telling her: “I will take care of it.”

Due to his lack of concern and preparation our family has had to raise $473,000 to pay for these six scrub oaks in the middle of the woods.

After two years of struggling to resolve this matter Dan Larkosh approached my mother with an offer to help her with an appeal. A bit too little, way too late. Interestingly two weeks later, he announced he was running for office.

It is very difficult for me to look at his campaign signs claiming he is fighting for the needs of our community when I know his history is to lay back and do nothing.

Carol Lattmann

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was pleased to see Dr. Richard Koehler’s ad in the newspaper recently as I had used his surgical services in the past and was again in need of them. I assumed he would be asked to be on the medical staff here at our local hospital, as many patients and doctors regretted his departure and would welcome his return. I was surprised and disappointed when he told me the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital administration (not the doctors) was refusing to let him even apply to be on the medical staff. It seems odd to me that any hospital, much less one designated as a critical access facility, would refuse any physicians who wanted to apply. I hope the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital administration will reconsider.

Ellen Reynolds



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On behalf of the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA I would like to thank the staff at the Oak Bluffs school for helping to make the Treasure Our Island Children’s Summer camp not only a possibility, but a resounding success.

As a “Y without walls,” it can be difficult to find housing for our larger children’s program. The Oak Bluffs administration opened two classrooms and their home economics class room for our summer use. Also, campers were able to access three different playgrounds for outside activities, and the use of the gym on rainy days. Being afforded this space allowed the YMCA to enroll over 75 Island children throughout the summer.

I would like to thank in particular Gina Patti, acting assistant principal, and Carlin Hart, acting principal, for all the ground work they did in helping establish a base to house the camp, and Laurie Binney, principal, for his help as he resumed his duties over the summer. Thanks, also goes to Helen Hall, Michelle Bettencourt, and Judy Kitchin who work in the front office for all their help with keys, paperwork, and anything else we needed guidance with. The custodians who helped us out over the summer were an enormous help, especially Fred Thornburgh who was always one step ahead of us in addressing any needs we had. In return for their generosity and use of space, the YMCA was happy to provide financial assistance to the school’s new garden beds as a thank you to all that the Oak Bluffs School has done for the YMCA.

As the new school years starts, the YMCA looks forward to collaborating with all the elementary schools: West Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs, that provide the YMCA space, enabling us to run a safe, healthy and affordable after-school program serving the greatest number of Island families.

Michelle Scarpone

Oak Bluffs