Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

At the Feb. 22 special town meeting, called by the Oak Bluffs selectmen to get approval for a quarter-million dollar list of cuts to the current year (FY 2011) budget, the library trustees will move to amend that list by reducing the amount removed from the library budget by $12,000. We will be doing this in to order fill, without further delay, the position of reference librarian, a position approved at the last annual town meeting.

We are very aware that these are tough times. Our library is experiencing, as are libraries everywhere, increased usage. For a variety of reasons people need their libraries more in tough times.

We want to be part of the solution to the town’s fiscal problems. We will tighten our belt along with all the other departments. However, we think the library has been targeted disproportionately.

The single-article warrant, printed in this newspaper, deserves a close look. We think it makes our case for us. At the Feb. 22 meeting we will also explain the importance of a reference position as our library and its users learn to fully understand and take advantage of new technologies.

Beatrice Green

Oak Bluffs

The writer is chairman of the Oak Bluffs library trustees. This letter was also signed by trustees Shelley Brown, Lloyd Henke, Bob Huss, Peter Palches and Ann Ross.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Last week this newspaper printed a news item from the American Cancer Society, headquarters in West Bridgewater, about our Daffodils to Fight Cancer campaign which is going on now on the Island. Our faithful volunteers are now reaching schools (not students), town halls, banks, offices, stores and other businesses for their participation in the presales for these Flowers of Hope. It is their purchases that help us determine how many flowers must be ordered.

There are so many ways that the American Cancer Society is fighting this disease and is helping those who are going through this battle. More money is spent by them for research than any other organization. Our daffodil campaign helps provide free services, education and prevention throughout this country. There are two Hope Lodges in our area, one in Worcester and one in Boston, which provide free lodging for patients who are going through treatments. And free transportation is provided from Woods Hole for patients who must go to Hyannis or Mashpee. Volunteers wait for you and return you to Woods Hole.

And the Vineyard is very well known by the American Cancer Society. Every year we have been among the top donors to this campaign. Last year we were first in the Cape and Islands unit.

In the New England campaign we were fifth. And they are greatly impressed by the way we do it. They know that we are able to give free daffodils to our nursing homes, senior centers and the hospital because some of you donate part or all of your purchases to make this possible.

The period for presales will end on Friday, Feb. 25. The bunches of daffodil buds will arrive on Tuesday, March 15. Our volunteers will meet at the boat, pick up their orders and spread out over the Island to deliver them, and in a day or two the Island will be ablaze with these huge, lovely flowers. The next day, March 16, they will be sold at Cronig’s in Vineyard Haven and at the hospital near the cafeteria. Last year we sent in $12,000 — during a poor economy!

We shall report the results when the campaign is over. Many thanks to all who participate, our great volunteers included!

Dorothy Bangs

Vineyard Haven

Judy Baynes



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to thank Carlene Gatting very much for her commitment and helpfulness in working tirelessly on behalf of the Island veterans while she was chairman of the Dukes County Commission.

Very briefly — not long after Obama came into office — veterans health care here began to feel the effects of his plan for socialized medicine. Through my experience and research, he wanted to bring as many outpatient clinics that treated disabled veterans who lived a great a distance from the VA back under its umbrella. Our clinic here was working very successfully for the previous 10 years with only a few minor bugs, which we could all live with.

Then, overnight and under the cover of darkness those plans went into effect without giving any veterans notice of the intentions. Veterans here only found out that we had no more clinic at the hospital when we began to receive medical bills and then letters from collection agencies demanding payment from us for our treatment on the Island. My bills amounted to several thousand dollars when I should have never seen a bill.

By simply not renewing the contracts they had with this outpatient clinic, it once again forced veterans here to go — in our case back to Providence, R.I. — for all our medical treatment. The Martha’s Vineyard Times did a story on this problem last summer when Obama was on vacation here.

Last May I had formally sought help from Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry, President Obama and Cong. Bill Delahunt. Mr. Delahunt was on his way out and only wrote a couple letters to the VA asking what was going on; Scott Brown’s aides kept saying they would look into it several times but never did; and there was not a word or reply as expected from Obama and Senator Kerry — but I wanted to try anyway.

When Noreen Mavro Flanders brought the problem to the attention of the county commissioners at one of their meetings last year, Carlene Gatting immediately made it one of her priorities, especially when she heard that we had to get pre-approval from Providence to see our primary care doctors here on the Island, which could take a couple of weeks! She had county manager Russell Smith look into it right away, and he made calls and fired off e-mails until they finally got the VA’s attention in Providence.

They never heard back from Mr. Kerry or Mr. Obama; Mr. Delahunt was packing his stuff and Scott Brown sent them a long, formal request form to fill out if they wanted his assistance.

I was hoping that the problem would be solved before Carlene had to turn her gavel over to Tristan. The VA is just sandbagging now and is very slowly, in fact extremely slowly, looking into this issue — and I just think it too bad that some people can just zip over to our new hospital 24/7 and walk in for services free of charge, while veterans have to jump through hoops like this.

As soon as my house sells here, I will be moving near a Marine Corps military base in South Carolina where medical treatment won’t be an issue for me at all. But I worry about the veterans I will be leaving behind here.

I just want to thank Carlene very much for the great job that she had done for us so forcefully, honorably and with such dedication and for her to know that she will be greatly missed in that position.

Woody Williams

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This afternoon some of us were privileged to watch four playlets put on by the third and fourth grade classes from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School at the Vineyard Playhouse — part of a 12-lesson “experience” in all facets of the theatre. The kids wrote the dialogue, played the parts (with several very talented local players in supporting roles) while learning about and undertaking stage production: everything from selling tickets to painting (and moving) sets, lighting, sound and so forth. Thanks to everyone who has helped to give our kids, and grandkids, such a wonderful experience. It was marvelous.

Virginia C. Jones

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

What is happening on our Vineyard when thieves steal under your bedroom window to steal the bed liner out of your pickup truck? Crime is going haywire when lowlife creeps creep up the driveway, debasing thievery to the depths of robbing me of my truck bed liner. Vineyard crime has sunk to its nadir, perhaps caused in part by weak, continued-without-a-finding, slap-on-the-wrist courts that degenerate into wink, nod, pat-on-the-hand repositories of lackluster and long-forgotten justice. There’s no substitute for a full-to-overflowing jailhouse teeming with these miscreants. I’m sick of being told in the Island press that crime is increasing here in paradise. Bring back paradise; put down crime! Bring on the barbed-wire housing trailers and fill them!

Someone has my Ford Ranger truck liner to prevent dings in his or her truck bed — dents that should be made instead in their larcenous noggins by my trusty hammer which somehow they neglected to steal.

Bruce Doten

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On behalf of the students of the Irish history class who will be traveling to Ireland on Feb. 23, I wish to thank all of the members of our community who have supported the necessary fund-raising in so many different ways. Our Island community has opened their hearts to these young people and, in many cases, made their trip possible. We will think of you all when we visit the Emerald Isle next week and travel to theatres, museums, donkey sanctuaries, Gaelic football games and the traditional seaweed baths.

There are so many people to thank, from the families who turned up to fund-raising dinners, baked cupcakes, donated items or gave their own time to help, to the Island businesses who donated items for our silent auction. We owe thanks to Cronig’s Market for their incredibly generous donation of enough chicken for us to cook a feast, and to the Portuguese-American Club which provided the venue for our Be the First to Celebrate St. Patrick Dinner last week. We are deeply grateful to Nadine Barrett who cooked our Irish feast for us, giving up a whole day of her time, and to Linda Jean’s for their generous donation of vegetables. Our grateful thanks to our own resident leprechaun, Jimmy Flynn, who brought Irish magic and auctioneering skills to our event and to Rainy Day, Midnight Farm, Larsen’s, Net Result, the Toy Box, Merrily and Frank Fenner, Bill O’Callaghan, Teri Brown, the Ocean Club, the Bunch of Grapes, Denise Guest and Circuit Style for their generous donations.

Thank you to Colleen and Phil McAndrews of Offshore Ale for their generous hosting of a fundraiser for us and to Sharky’s for their donation.

Such generosity makes me very aware that this is a community that values each and everyone of its children and is willing to do what it takes to give them every opportunity.

From our hearts we thank you.

Elaine Cawley Weintraub

West Tisbury

The writer is chairman of the history department at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

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.