Editors, The Vineyard Gazette:

The report of the Chilmark selectmen’s meeting in the Nov. 6 Gazette should have been titled “Reporter’s Errors and Omissions.” This story supposedly focused on my request that the selectmen reconsider their decision for the training rather than the removal of the dog that killed our little Yorkie.

Your story states that my wife had attended the original selectmen’s meeting and “did not object to the selectmen’s ruling.” This is not true. My wife did not attend the meeting and did not, nor does she now agree with the selectmen’s ruling. The impact of this erroneous reporting is that it gives the impression that my wife is comfortable with the ruling and that I am not. The fact is that we are both dismayed at the reckless lack of concern for public safety that the Chilmark selectmen have exhibited.

I cannot understand the newspaper’s omissions of facts and misrepresentation of this traumatic event. The story states, “the terrier, Chip, was attacked while being walked.” The actual facts are that the 10-pound Yorkshire terrier was being walked on a leash in our neighborhood, on a dirt road bordering our property. The large hunting dog struck our dog and despite my wife’s efforts the large dog ripped our dog apart to my wife’s horror.

The facts are glossed over by the report that, “Last month Maisy attacked a Yorkshire terrier that later died as a result of his injuries.” In fact Chip, the Yorkie, was wrapped in a shirt and rushed to the vets. The veterinarian, seeing that the dog was in agony and beyond saving, suggested the only humane thing to do was to put the little guy to sleep rather than to allow for more suffering.

The story does not report that I questioned the public safety issue in that the training that the Selectmen accepted as a reasonable course of action focuses on control of the dog by collar, leash and voice commands. This training ignores human nature and dog nature. Over time one expects that the current situation will fade into memory on the part of the dog owners and their vigilance will become less and less. If the dog runs free for any reason, it will resume its nature and the experience it has had most of its life of hunting and striking game.

The story failed to mention that only three weeks before this attack, a young child was in residence only one house removed from the location of this incident. When I asked the selectmen if the child had been on this road on that morning and been attacked would they have come to the same decision, they failed to respond.

The selectman failed to deal with the question of the town’s and their own legal exposure should the same animal attack again.

It might have been appropriate to have reported that we are dog lovers and have been dog owners for many years. Also, that we have had and expect to continue to have a cordial relationship with the owner of the dog, Maisy.

I respectfully request that the Gazette review the videos of the Oct. 20 and the Nov. 3 Chilmark selectmen’s meetings and print an accurate and reasoned account of what for our family has been a traumatic event and in our opinion an irresponsible course of action taken by the elected officials of our town.

Lastly, I would have expected the selectman to give us the opportunity to be present at the Oct. 20 meeting. A phone message left on our answering machine, when we were away, just a few days before the meeting hardly seems to show fairness or consideration to a resident of the town.

Robert Zeltzer



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

When Charlie Marinelli died a couple of years ago a small group of us, after the funeral, went to the interment at the Oak Bluffs cemetery. Standing there among the graves, under cloudy skies, between the Oak Bluffs School and the water department, I reflected on the drama I had just witnessed in Our Lady, Star of the Sea Church — Linda, thin from her own recent brush with death from cancer, walking alone up the aisle, one hand on the casket, the other occasionally holding on to a pew for support. Now, here in the cemetery, Father Nagle finished the burial ritual and said to us, “A member of the family has arranged a special musical offering.” I don’t think anyone had told Father Nagle what it was going to be. We looked around, and there were no musicians — just a large pickup truck next to the black hearse, with some sound equipment and a man was bustling about. Soon we were hearing Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind by Confederate Railroad.

“I had nothing to do with it,” Linda commented afterward. Charlene, her daughter, had worked it out, she said. It was Charlene’s way of saying goodbye, thanking Charlie for being the down-to-earth, loving person he had been.

Now Linda is leaving us, too. Not in a hearse. She’s moving to the Cape. Once again Charlene is involved in helping us say goodbye, working with Sara Crafts on a potluck for Linda at the P.A. Club this evening.

I had wanted to go but I can’t. I want the gathering to know why I have always admired Linda, so here are the top 10 reasons.

She has always lived close to the earth. Her plant sales were a first spring stop for down-Island gardeners. She made a living with her scallop shucking operation and truck garden at Sengekontacket. This was before “sustainable” became such a green buzz word.

She took people under her wing, giving them food from her own refrigerator, a job when she could.

She never went to college or high school. But despite having her formal education cut short at an early age, she would herself go to the law library at the Dukes County Court House, find the appropriate sections, and bring them to bear on local issues.

While never a man-hater, she constantly worked against discrimination against women in politics and the workplace.

She was a zealot for transparency. She frequently invoked provisions of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law. She pioneered the videotaping and broadcasting of public meetings, thus changing the character of local Island government.

She was not intimidated. When Bill Graham, then chairman of the emergency board of trustees at the hospital, called for a meeting of the all-Island Selectmen up at Howes House in West Tisbury, Linda, who had served on the hospital’s board, was at the time a selectman in Oak Bluffs. She showed up at Howes House with her video camera. When Mr. Graham said there would be no videotaping, Linda insisted that the open meeting law applied. The meeting did not take place.

She modeled the motto: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

She gained public access to the beach at the mouth of Oak Bluffs harbor, securing a right-of-way over the protests of the East Chop Beach Club — not the only instance when she fought for the public’s enjoyment of its own property.

She often ran for office and usually won — school committee, board of selectmen, board of health, finance committee.

She wrote and had published a wonderful biography — Never Say Die.

Linda is leaving us her way, on her own steam. Still, we are diminished. Who can replace her?

Peter Palches

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a Wampanoag Indian, I am not opposed to alternative energy development. The problem I have with the Cape Wind proposal is its location — Horseshoe Shoal — where evidence of tribal existence is present. The federal government has yet to do its job and show that the area does not contain the burial grounds we believe are there. Until it does I cannot support the construction of the wind turbines. The disrespect and ridicule of Wampanoag people and their religious cultural practices which has surfaced in the news media would clearly be called racism if aimed at another people’s religion and culture. Would non-native people quietly stand by if the threat was to their ancestors’ final resting place? I wonder.

David Pocknett Sr.


The writer is former vice chairman and councilman for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I wish to correct any misunderstanding that might have resulted from the article in last week’s Gazette headlined “Din at the Inn: Construction Chaos Resounds in Edgartown.” Simpson’s Lane is quickly developing into a charming neighborhood with fine homes lining the lane, replacing what was a short time ago a dilapidated eyesore. While the Lightkeepers Inn guests were inconvenienced, there was a fine spirit of cooperation with the builders and a concerted effort made to minimize the normal problems associated with construction. When I look across the street, I do not see a gaping lot of barren soil, facades and scrap heaps, but a rapidly emerging place of beauty, and am in awe at the skillful transformation taking place.

John Chirgwin



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Are gift certificates a good idea? With the holidays approaching, I would like to warn readers about them. Recently I went to a store to finish up a gift certificate. I was told after a scan in the computer that someone with my last name had used the certificate in August. But it was not me. The mistake happened when a store clerk scrolled through the computer and allowed someone who did not have the card to finish it off. The card was mine, the remainder on it was mine and it was in my purse. Needless to say I was not happy. The manager said she would have the store owner call me. This did not happen. Who knows which stores will honor gift certificates properly? I think they are not a good idea.

C.A. deBettencourt

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

A recent Saturday morning guided tour of the new YMCA facility marked an amazing milestone for Martha’s Vineyard.

Walking through the structure made it easy to imagine the splashing and shouting and squealing soon to echo within the busy halls of this magnificent new Y.

After a decade and a half of careful planning, negotiating, soliciting funds and building, the Y has at last become a gorgeous physical reality for us, for our children and for their children.

Located directly across from the high school and adjacent to the hockey rink, this capacious and neatly-designed structure offers a centrally-located, state-of-the-art aquatic center, as well as multiple other services to engage youth of all ages.

As a physician who has treated Vineyarders of all ages, I know the influence of the Y on Vineyard life and health will be tremendous. Hats off to the Y committee for bringing us this close to an ambitious and essential goal!

According to Y spokesman Christine Todd, recent challenge grants will make it easier to finish the campaign, but the committee still needs significant support to complete the home stretch.

The Y is going to be wonderful for Vineyarders young and old alike, so if you haven’t given yet or haven’t given enough yet, do it now! Your gift will greatly benefit the physical and emotional health of Vineyarders for generations to come.

Dr. Gerry Yukevich

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was pleased to read your article on Oct. 30 on former Sen. Ed Brooke’s receiving the Congressional Gold Medal on Oct. 28. The entire ceremony in the Rotunda was televised on C-Span-2 and was a very moving occasion.

One aspect not mentioned in the Gazette was that Sen. Ted Kennedy, a strong admirer of the Republican Brooke, had recommended him for the medal. Mrs. Vicki Kennedy was among those present, and Patrick Kennedy, a representative from Rhode Island, was among those who spoke.

Leigh Smith

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I read about the closing of Garcia’s Deli with great sadness — both for the Garcia family and the tribe.

Paul Garcia has done such a wonderful job slowly building a business in a spot that is actually not a great location for a business. It has taken a long time to get to this point where both the Garcia family and the tribe are making money. For a long time, it was only the tribe.

Now the tribe is going to “kill the goose that laid the golden egg” by trying to charge more than the business can support. Congratulations to Paul Garcia and his staff for a job exceedingly well done for seven years.

The tribe had a great deal and soon will have no deal. A new owner will reap some of the benefits from Paul Garcia’s business acumen, but will soon find out it is not easy to replicate a concept just by virtue of being there.

The onerous rent will put the new owner out of business before he or she has a chance.

I had McDonald’s Restaurants as a client for many years. Think what you will about that company, but they surely know how to run a business. They charge their owner-operators a fixed rent every year that does not come close to the total percentage of sales that the tribe has been charging Paul Garcia.

For example, an average McD’s restaurant does $1.5 million in sales per year. Rent on that store will be around $140,000 or 10 per cent. McD’s is successful because they believe that the owner-operator should reap most of the benefits for their hard work. The corporation rakes in plenty and everyone is happy.

I would be willing to bet that Garcia’s does not gross even a quarter of an average McD’s sales and the tribe is charging $100,000. How shortsighted and greedy on their part, yet he has been making his payments and we all benefit by having a very well run business that sells wonderful food and drink to a large community.

I have been consulting with retailers for nearly 40 years and have been teaching retail marketing communications for the past 12. I see disaster for the tribe and it is so easily avoidable if they would just rethink what they are doing.

I hope the tribal leaders are smart enough to do just that so we still might have our deli sandwiches everyday.

What a sad day for all involved if they don’t.

John C. Verret



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am an islander from Mount Desert Island in Maine. I am appealing to fellow Islanders because one of your own is in deep need of help. She lives in West Tisbury; her electric service has been shut off and she has no phone, no television and no money. She can’t work. She has breast cancer and is in the third or fourth stage now. She has a young child as well. It would be so kind and nice of you Islanders to put out a helping hand if you could. She is a loving person and could really use your help in these hard times. I can be reached at, or at 1-207-460-3053 during the day. I know this may sound like a strange request, but she really needs the help and I have helped as much as I can; that’s why I am asking for help on her behalf.

Bill Pelletier

Bernard, Me.

Late Start

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

For better than two years the Waters of the World team has worked to provide the people of Martha’s Vineyard with a place of educational recreation they could enjoy year-round. We’ve realized the lack of recreational centers for children and wanted to bridge that gap by providing your children the opportunity to interact with aquatic animals from across the world. Many things had to occur to make this possible: structural renovations, major construction and the delivery of animals to be exhibited from all corners of the globe. We tried to open by April of 2009, but there were many holdups. Nevertheless, we pushed forward to be sure we could offer your children a chance to pet a shark or stingray or enjoy a birthday alongside those animals. Our opening date became August 16, which gave us only a taste of the summer season, which greatly affected our cash flow position, which puts us in serious danger of having to close our doors. We must therefore ask for your support. With the sale of enough memberships, school trips and birthday parties, we can get by until next summer which will allow us to hold our own. We’ve established a nonprofit (The Waters of the World Educational Aquatic Center) which we intend to use to realize grants or donations which we will use to open the doors during the off-season for free for you in the very near future. Your children love Waters of the World, as do many those of you who’ve dared to interact with our species. Please help us to continue to put smiles on all of your faces!

Edward McGill

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The concert at the Whaling Church on Saturday, Nov. 7 was a wonderful evening of music thanks to the hard work and generosity of David Crohan, pianist extraordinaire, Katie Mayhew, regional high school senior and Minnesinger with the voice of an angel, the Minnesinger parent group, Janet Heath and the Preservation Trust, Merrily and Frank Fenner, and the appreciative audience made up of community members, including former Minnesingers and their parents. Thanks to everyone for your support of David, Katie, and the Minnesingers and for making this such a successful event. The Minnesingers hope to see you at their Christmas in Edgartown performances in December.

Janis Wightman

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to thank everyone who helped out by participating in my summer research project, sponsored by the Levitt Summer Research Fellowship at Hamilton College. Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, I have always felt that we live in quite a unique environment. I was especially interested in finding out how those of us who live on the Vineyard year-round navigate and understand the Island throughout both the winter and summer settings. I know the summer can be a busy time for a lot of us, but all of your input was both interesting and a valuable addition to my final paper and project. All of your comments were much appreciated.

Samantha Rabin


The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.