Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

First let me say we love the fair. We go every day. We enter chickens and eggs and art work. We love the rides. We love the woodsmen’s contest and skillet throw. We love the food. We love the old friends you see and new people you meet.

So I was in shock when we went to get our chickens to find one missing, and were told a story about someone trying to steal two of our baby chickens in her purse.

I want to thank the 12-year-old girl who saved our baby chickens from being stolen. She stopped her.

Thank you for my two daughters who love their baby chicks. Unbelievable you say. Well, one of our hens was stolen and so were two others from the youth section. One of those chickens was the best in show bantam.

Yes, I’m in shock. We live on the Vineyard, why steal chickens? From kids. I’d like to hope that it was some misunderstanding. But the reality is someone took one of our hens out of a cage with three other chickens in it. And of course, someone tried to take baby chickens in her purse.


I would like to thank the staff, who were wonderful. We will bring chickens again next year. For us, it is about letting people and kids see these animals up close. We loved letting kids hold the baby chicks; their faces are precious. Our two daughters love sharing their chickens.

Also, thank you so much Scarlet for giving the girls another hen and rooster to go home with. The chickens are more than just chickens to them; they are their pets with names.

Heather Capece

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Here on Chappaquiddick there isn’t really much to do. One of our simple pleasures used to be going to Wasque to look at the surf. Now when there is good surf the rangers from the Trustees close the beach, so no more surf viewing unless you count the distant view from the parking lot as satisfactory surf viewing. Same for the rest of the Island, and the commonwealth for that matter. Thank goodness we have the “authorities” to keep us safe!

In my youth my mother would forbid swimming when the surf was too rough. Now my mother has passed on but our governmental authorities have taken over our mama’s role, telling us not only when it is too dangerous to swim, but even forbidding us to go to the beach to look at the waves. What did we ever do before we had our current nanny state?

Robert Knight



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was disheartened to read that the town of Oak Bluffs is facing a $500,000 budget shortfall during the current fiscal year. While I was disheartened, I was not surprised that our national and state economic troubles found their way to our tiny town. The question now is what to do.

The present financial crisis presents Oak Bluffs with an opportunity to reassess excessive expenditure on law enforcement. Currently Oak Bluffs residents pay too much for law enforcement. Comparing the town of Oak Bluffs to the town of Nantucket gives some interesting insight into how much Oak Bluffs overpays for law enforcement. The two towns make good comparisons because both have ferry terminals, establishments that serve alcohol and fluctuations between year-round and summer populations.

Comparing total expenditure of full-time personnel from both towns revealed that during 2008 Oak Bluffs spent $1,455,635. With a population of 3,731, that works out to $392.03 per person annualized. Nantucket during that same period spent $3,586,620. With a population of 10,379 that work out to $345.56 annual expenditure per person. Oak Bluffs spends $46.47 more per person for year-round police personnel than residents of Nantucket. In the aggregate this number totals $172,551.85, nearly half the cost savings Oak Bluffs must find in order to balance the books for the current fiscal year.

Do we the people of Oak Bluffs need an additional $172,551.85 of police protection? I would argue no. During this past winter while driving at 5:15 a.m. to catch the first ferry, I traveled past two speed traps within a mile of each other. I asked myself, do people really speed that much this early in the morning to warrant not one but two speed traps? Again I would argue no. So why are we paying for it?

The Oak Bluffs police budget has grown from $899,924 in 1999 to $1,706,906.55 in 2008. This is an annual growth rate of 9.96 per cent. Townspeople of Oak Bluffs, has your household income increased at the same pace over the last nine years? I know mine has not. If your income has, congratulations. Would you mind covering the additional cost the police department is levying on the town budget?

Many in the town might want to make cuts in the school budget before looking into the police department budget. I would respectfully request before we ask our young people to sacrifice their education and our collective future, we take a realistic view of the current demographics of our town and what the law enforcement needs actually are. The Oak Bluffs School needs all the resources it can muster to continue its success in building MCAS scores. I am not sure we can afford to eviscerate our school budget while letting our law enforcement personnel costs continue to rise at a higher rate than inflation. Here are some recommendations:

• Convert some current year-round officer positions to summer only. With the average police personnel costing the town $85,625.59, the savings here are obvious.

• Combine resources with a neighboring town. Given such a small year-round population, do we really need to support three police chiefs and accompanying administrative and officer support for the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven? Given that our own chief’s total compensation equals $121,149, if we were able to split this cost three ways it would save Oak Bluffs $82,099.33.

• Given the recent 80 per cent reduction of the state’s contribution toward the Quinn bill, Oak Bluffs should reassess whether the town can continue this program. In 2008 the Quinn bill cost the town $140,612.

It’s time we take our law enforcing cost seriously and make sure that we are not overpaying for overprotection. The current fiscal crises requires us to make cuts and find savings through combining resources. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity while adequately funding our school so our town’s future is secure.

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Celebrities, first families and the famous summer on Martha’s Vineyard for the same reason we all do: to bask in its beauty, to relax by the majestic ocean or the soothing waters of Nantucket Sound. The crowds may detract from the sheer joy of being here, but seldom enough to keep us from appreciating what nature has bestowed upon us.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to degrade that wonder and beauty, in large part, by letting some corporation erect an industrial-scale wind plant the size of Manhattan in Nantucket Sound? What is the saying: once it’s gone, it’s gone forever? I have my own saying: Cape Wind: the right project in the wrong place.

Don Ogden

Oak Bluffs and Leverett


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The results of health care reform are easily predictable. I lived in Canada for 35 years and then moved to the U.S. 25 years ago. I was first covered by private insurance in Canada, then by a government system when Canada nationalized its health care. I returned to private coverage when I moved to the U.S. My experience is the following: if you do not have health care insurance coverage, you will be better off with a government-backed system. If you currently have a private insurance plan that you like, you will be worse off. The outcome depends, of course, on the extent to which employers switch to a government-subsidized option to lower costs. Which option would you vote for?

Robert Simons



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As an aging baby boomer, I face mounting health care issues in the coming decades. Fortunately I’m married to a wonderful woman who has health insurance.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Recently, Rev. Raphael Wornock of the Ebenezer Baptist Church pointed out, in his superb sermon at the West Tisbury Congregational Church, that when we bless the Lord, we give thanks for his or her comprehensive love, offered without deductibles or withheld for preexisting conditions.

I support health care for all, because when you have your health, you have everything.

Thomas Dresser

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The wording of the actual temporary flight restriction is much more draconian than Sean Flynn suggests. Every pilot that is not doing airline flying has to be given a waiver to enter the restricted space, regardless of previous approvals. That approval will take five days. The flight plan has to be submitted three days in advance. There is no provision for weather, so if you want to fly on your appointed hour, you may have to brave dangerous weather or wait another three days to get a flight plan approved. Safety for the arriving pilot is not addressed in the restriction.

One can suspect that after all that approval, there could be a hitch at the gateway airport. And there you are, unable to proceed. If the checker at the gateway has any doubt — any — he will not let plane continue. And why should he? No, and he keeps his job. No, and he made the President safer.

The net result is that there will be virtually no general aviation traffic during this time. The plan is designed to keep out the public, and, effectively make the job easier for the protectors of the president.

So is it fair? I have mixed feelings. Could it be done differently by the bureaucrats? I doubt it. Do I want the president to be safe? Absolutely.

Peter Williams

Vineyard Haven