Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Environmental Defense Fund:

I have just received a reminder to renew my membership in the Environmental Defense Fund. I have been a member for a number of years and have made donations from time to time. I admire EDF’s work and look forward to your continuing success.

But I have a problem. I live in the same town on Martha’s Vineyard as Laurie David and I am well aware, as are other Islanders, that Ms. David has been building over wetlands on her property. She has been cited by the town of Chilmark for violating the town’s wetlands regulations, and was fined for doing so and told to correct the violation. The story of her violations has been covered by the Vineyard newspapers. In addition, Ms. David has brought legal charges against a whistle-blower who drew the attention of the town to these violations. The judge dismissed those charges twice.

These facts speak for themselves. I believe that Laurie David is on the board of the EDF and a major fund-raiser for the organization. If this is so, doesn’t her behavior contradict the mission and values of the Environmental Defense Fund?

I’m curious to know your thinking about this situation. I hope you will take my comments as those of a strong supporter of the organization.

Zelda Gamson



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a serious, self-published, lay student of ticks as vectors for disease I want to thank the Gazette for its fine article (July 24 issue) on same.

I hereby take a cue from the late, distinguished Alexander Langmuir, M.D., for his brilliant and correct diagnosis of a number of years back (see New Yorker article) of airborne tularemia in humans at a Chilmark, Abel’s Hill, summer camp during another rainy summer. The family dogs had apparently rolled on a wet, dead rabbit and then come inside wet and shaking their fur. This had stumped the medical community, particularly the Massachusetts Division of Public Health and its then-director despite Dr. Langmuir’s analysis!

I would like to suggest that another possibility of airborne tularemia in humans may be the family cat. How often do we cuddle and bury our faces in their fur and smell? I live next door to a small, gray, tiger “killer” cat — a pet. Besides birds, he routinely brings down full-grown rabbits twice his size. There hasn’t been a rabbit in my yard in years and they used to mow my lawn! I rest my case.

Peter Colt Josephs



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I have just returned from spending an all-too short week on your sublime Island.

My Monday afternoon ferry departed from Oak Bluffs. While I was waiting I walked along Seaview avenue. There, rolling in the shallows was a dead shark, one of the victims of the Monster Shark Tournament. A very sad end for that shark and my holiday.

I am compelled to write to you and the chamber of commerce to voice my astonishment that this event continues to be supported by Martha’s Vineyard.

I suppose this is sport to those who participate, hoping to get the largest fish and the prize that goes along with it. The token gesture, sending the meat to the Boston Food Bank.

To Oak Bluffs and the Island it brings in money.

Eighty per cent of shark species are on the endangered list.

This is a barbaric, sad event.

The chamber, I am sure, consists of intelligent people who can develop other events to attract visitors and their money.

Sue Ellen Rothery

Avon, Conn.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter is addressed to President Obama:

Your confidence in your plan is based on something — something that I cannot define and certainly not understand at all based on your news conference last week.

Medicare and Medicaid, VA hospitals are in disarray — fix them first.

Not counting you, the senators, representatives etc. have a health care plan that is more generous than what most Americans have.

You want reform — have the government (except you — since you are the President) move to the type of plan you propose — let it cook for a few years and then come back.

You came across as a country preacher telling how wonderful heaven is — yes, I want to go to heaven but I don’t want to die right now to achieve it.

Yes, we need reform, but reform the delivery first, then spend the savings.

Jozef and Sheila Sliwkowski



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

In the late 1980s, I shared a house in Edgartown with good friends from Washington and their two young sons. The older of the sons — about ten years old — had taken up fishing and his father took him down to the Edgartown Memorial Wharf to fish while he went to a shop nearby. When he returned, his son said “Daddy, I want you to meet my new friends — Bob and Walter — who are showing me where the fish are.” My friend’s jaw dropped. “Walter” was Walter Cronkite and “Bob” was a wonderful man who worked in a local supermarket and has been renowned and honored in these pages for helping youth on the Vineyard. As has been noted so frequently, Mr. Cronkite was someone whom Americans just trusted. And so — unknowingly — did my friend’s son.

John Scales

Alexandria, Va.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Now that President Obama is expected to visit Chilmark in late August, it will be interesting to see if his security is as good as that at Lucy Vincent Beach. Perhaps the Secret Service will be able to pick up a few pointers from the LVB staff.

Elkan Katz

West Tisbury

and Philadelphia, Pa.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing this letter to the Gazette to try to reach as many Vineyarders as possible who have so recently touched my life.

On the Fourth of July, my father, Bill Boggess, died at the Cape Cod Hospital. Within hours of his passing, a network of friends and acquaintances made themselves available to assist with arrangements, transportation, food, housing and above all else — emotional support.

I arrived in Edgartown from northern New England on Monday, July 6 with my brothers to assist in the process of preparing for Dad’s funeral. Many of the details for the funeral had already been planned, thanks to Dad. As many of you who knew him will remember, Dad loved to write, (including letters to this paper). His will was in order and his funeral instructions were clear. However, there were still many issues to address. Friends and neighbors (too many to count) arrived at my Dad’s and Betsy’s house to assist with the slightest details. During the next four days I met many of the people whose names I had only heard in conversation. Forgive me for not remembering all your names; you must believe me that I will never forget the kindness and compassion you extended to my family and me.

My other purpose in writing this letter is to remark on the incredible sense of community and caring that was evident every minute of every day I was on the Island. Heartfelt hugs from complete strangers, delicious food delivered for every meal, sleeping accommodations graciously offered and humbly accepted. My brothers and I, our spouses, children and friends were and are overwhelmed by the generosity bestowed upon us.

We can only hope to be as generous, kind and caring in our own communities when there is a family in need.

Thank you all so much.

Rebecca Boggess

Rutland, Vt.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Hon. John E. Potter, United States Postmaster General:

Please fix the troubles which have gone on for years at the U.S. Post Office of Edgartown on the summer resort Island of Martha’s Vineyard off Cape Cod.

The cordial and well-intentioned folks at this post office have to endure constant customer complaints and outright ill-will about slow mail delivery in the extreme. They, no less than the community, deserve a solution to at least two problems in particular, supposedly imposed from above:

• The population of the Island varies, according to the Vineyard Gazette, from 15,007 in the winter to 105,624 in the summer. But the post office is allowed little or no additional staff for realistic peak months’ requirements.

• All mail, most oddly including all locally addressed mail, is required to be bagged and taken all the way to Providence, R.I., and only then sorted and sent out.

Without having direct knowledge of the other three Martha’s Vineyard post offices, I assume they are similarly hobbled.

Certainly, there are many “horror stories” in Edgartown! My latest:

Two pieces of first class mail addressed to me as above were dropped sometime in June, by local Edgartown senders, into the separate wall slot still labeled “Edgartown delivery.” But they went, not the 40 feet or so to my box, but instead all the way to Providence, where they were postmarked June 27. They then took a 19-day trip back to Edgartown, finally getting to my box on July 16.

Please consider the following steps:

• Revoke at once that most peculiar directive that stops locally originated mail from going straight to local P.O. boxes.

• A thoroughgoing outside inspection and audit of the Edgartown post office to identify and cure all resources problems, routing eccentricities and work rules now preventing timely mail processing at all stages.

Let’s finally get a good, curative look at these extremely dysfunctional circumstances! Neither the Edgartown post office staff nor your customers deserve to be treated this way any longer!

Arthur Yorke Allen



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Last weekend’s celebration of Della Hardman Day for the fifth consecutive year was a joyful, spirited series of events for people of all ages. The town of Oak Bluffs, with support from individual donors and many contributors including the Featherstone Center for the Arts, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, the Oak Bluffs Public Library, the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard and the Vineyard Gazette, presented a sunset concert and lighthouse tour, a photography exhibition and calendar, an essay contest for youth, and a spoken word performance with legendaryjazz saxophonist Oliver Lake and legal scholar and writer Patricia Williams.

On Sunday, in a tribute at a Vineyard church to Miss Della — Goodwill Ambassador-at-Large, storyteller Susan Klein recalled that “Della knew she hadn’t come here to stay, and she was that rare individual who followed her own advice . . . and rigorously and joyously savored every moment.”

All the events were free and open to the public and attracted a combined audience of nearly 400 people who formed a community to savor the moment on this magical Island that my mother loved so dearly. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a success and see you next year on July 31, 2010!

Andrea L. Taylor

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Recently I revisited Martha’s Vineyard, staying at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven, where I hadlived for aconsiderable number of years. Two nights before I was to leave, I took a friend to dinner at the Black Dog. It was past midnight when I discovered my wallet was missing. And of course, the sheet of paper bearing a copy of my license was backhome in my filing cabinet. I spent the rest of the night planning how to get ID to my Boston hotel before the flights. Not a simple project, in my case.

At 6 a.m. I called the Black Dog and was told to call back in half an hour, which I did. I was then told, by a very cheerful voice, that yes indeed, the wallet was there and I could come pick it up immediately. I did just that. Nothing was missing, A hundred or so dollars, my credit cards, and that oh-so-necessary license were all there. I offered a reward and it was refused, so this letter is the only way I can call attention to the honesty of the staff, and express my thanks to them.

In this difficult time, it is wonderful to find that the Vineyard hasn’t changed. I had hoped, but cautioned myself that the hope might be foolish. It was not!

And the meal was all that I remembered as well.

Thank you Black Dog staff.

Nancy Hoffmann

Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Unitarian Universalist Church and Cronig’s Market:

I am sure that many other shoppers have found it easy and convenient to put an item in the basket for the food pantry as we shop on Saturday afternoons. Our best intentions often do not survive the trip to the church basement on any other day, but this arrangement is an incentive to do good.

Thank you for a practical way for us to carry out those good intentions.

Mary Snyder

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard gazette:

Every year one of the premier Vineyard fund-raising events is held at the Field Gallery. The Vineyard Nursing Association’s annual clambake was a resounding success this past Wednesday night as auctioneers Lenny Clarke and Kenny Goldberg entertained the sold-out audience at the same time as they enticed the crowd to participate in some very spirited bidding.

But beyond the auction, this event is a wonderful community night supported by year-round and part-time Islanders with equal zest. These Islanders recognize the need to support the home care efforts of the Vineyard Nursing Association as we help over 1,500 Vineyard families every year. We thank all those in our community who attended and helped to make this fundraiser very successful.

Also, everyone at the Vineyard Nursing Association knows the tremendous effort that it takes to stage this event and I would like to thank all the wonderful people and generous businesses that help make the event possible.

And as the chief executive officer of the Vineyard Nursing Association, I want to personally thank the members of the clambake committee, all volunteers, for the time and effort that they put into the planning for this event. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t especially thank Kristin Buck, our development director, and Nisa Poulos, her able assistant, whose tireless efforts day and night, weekends included, pulled all this together and provided for all of us a wonderful and successful evening.

Thank you to all.

Bob Tonti

West Tisbury