Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This is a crisis — our clinic is at risk.

Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard has been providing reproductive health care to Island men, woman and teens for nearly three decades. In 2010, our community clinic provided safe, confidential and affordable care for over 1,000 clients, greater than eight per cent of the total year-round population.

This year, the federal government cut funding for Family Planning nationwide by $17 million. This will result in cuts in funding to our agency of between 5.5 and 10 per cent. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently preparing its budget for fiscal year 2012, and there is a real chance that they, too, will make deep cuts to the line item for family planning.

The clinic cannot operate without sufficient state and federal funds.

Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard is at risk of closing its doors! There have been budget cuts in the past, but nothing as drastic as these potential cuts. Reduction in funds from the state on top of the federal cuts could be the death knell for our beloved clinic.

If you support the work of Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard, please let your state senator and representative know. You can reach Sen. Daniel Wolf at 617-722-1570 or by e-mail at Rep. Timothy Madden can be reached at 617-722-2810 or by e-mail at We need your help.

Thank you for your support!

Miryam Gerson


The writer is president of the board for Friends of Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard Inc.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission on Monday of this week:

As I am unable to attend this afternoon’s hearing, I am writing this letter to comment on the extraordinary devotion of the Goodale family not only to conservation, but to the Island community.

I can categorically state that the creation and subsequent success of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary would not have been possible without the support of Robert and Elizabeth Goodale. That support continues to this day through their children. The Goodale family is equally responsible for the success of the osprey program here on the Vineyard. Tears come to my eyes when I reflect upon all that Bob and Elizabeth Goodale did for my family as I was starting out in my lifelong devotion to wildlife and their management.

I hope that this complex situation between the Goodales and the surrounding property owners, which in all reality could affect the entire Island community, can be resolved in a professional and amicable manner.

As a naturalist with extensive mileage and experience, I must add that we as a society must watch carefully so as not to enter a slippery slope in our effort to protect all living life forms. In reality, that goal is impossible.

Augustus D. Ben David 2nd



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement:

We have reviewed the draft call for information and nominations as presented at the task force meeting in New Bedford on May 2. We have discussed active commercial fishing areas described and we would like six blocks removed from the potential leasing area . . . These six blocks could be replaced by adding . . . eight blocks.

The six blocks that we want removed comprise a very active fishing area called The Tongue by older fishermen and The Claw by younger fishermen. It is an area fished by draggers targeting cod, yellowtail flounder and winter flounder. It is a very active area for lobster fishing. Many gill netters working on monkfish are in that area. And it is a good area for sea scallops for the smaller scallopers. This area of the six blocks listed above is fished actively by many fishermen representing at least four different gear types.

The blocks defined in the AMI area stay relatively close to shore. The blocks in the Massachusetts RFI area go much farther south into deeper water and further from shore. We think the AMI area should add blocks to the south and remove The Tongue from the leasing area.

Warren M. Doty


The writer is president of the Martha’s Vineyard/Dukes County Fishermen’s Association, a Chilmark selectman and the town representative to the state task force on offshore wind development.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Gazette story “More Islanders, A Little Older, More Diverse,” is much too kind to the folks who sloppily planned and then sloppily executed the latest census canvass.

I live a short distance down a partially paved lane that connects with a fully paved road. My lane is marked. I am not “sequestered.” I am on the voting rolls of West Tisbury. I have a land line phone. I buy electricity from NStar. Even with a Vineyard Haven mailing address and a West Tisbury locus, I am known to UPS, to FedEx, to various service providers new and old. Indeed, I am known to anyone who doesn’t know exactly where I am who has a GPS device. How many more locational clues, how much more technology, does the Census Bureau need? In fact, attempting to perform an accurate census count without using GPS today is to invalidate it on its face.

And yet, the census canvassers missed me. Doing so, I can well understand how they likely missed a material number of persons who are actually difficult to find.

The bureau did a bad job. As your article points out, we suffer from the undercount. It is important that our local governments coordinate their efforts to ensure that this dismal performance isn’t repeated the next time around.

Nicholas W. Puner

West Tisbury


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Mr. Dutton, as the town administrator of Oak Bluffs, you are either the highest paid employee or close to that in the town. With that pay comes great responsibility — the buck stops at your desk. Therefore the financial problems of this town rest on your desk.

Since our most recent fiscal woes became public we have yet to read or hear a shred of responsibility or regret from you. While we realize that some issues (like an employee being ill) are beyond your control — how the situation is dealt with is not. Our tax dollars help pay your salary and benefits. Most recently the newspapers informed us that there is a shortfall of $180,000 to pay for health benefits and there will be a third time an override needs to be voted on. You were quoted as saying it was “under budgeted, plain and simple.” There is nothing simple about that! How was $180,000 overlooked in the budget process? If it was due to department heads or human resources — why didn’t you catch it?

To add insult to injury we read that the Attorney General’s office is looking into the town’s bidding procedures. You pleaded ignorance on that one — as town administrator it’s your job to know. And this process is costing us even more money! You served as a selectman in this town before being hired as town administrator — there is no excuse for this mess.

You owe the taxpayers of Oak Bluffs an apology accompanied by a plan that illustrates how this fiscal mess can be prevented from happening again. I hope the board of selectmen will hold you accountable. Mr. Vail — you campaigned on a platform of financial responsibility. Mr. Santoro — you ran as a fresh voice. We voted for you both. You along with the other board members are Mr. Dutton’s supervisors — please do your job and hold him accountable.

Bruce and Susan Desmarais

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The board, staff, actors and audiences of the Vineyard Playhouse are very grateful to our donors, and particularly to the people of Tisbury and the Community Preservation Committee for their generosity in helping us refurbish the exterior of our classic 1833 traditional New England meeting house in the heart of the Vineyard Haven William street historic district.

Drive by 24 Church street and feast your eyes on a grand architectural Diva who this winter received a splendid facelift just in time for our robust summer season.

Your playhouse now takes her proper place as one of the most beautiful buildings in Tisbury and an even more wonderful venue for sparkling drama in a truly classic and intimate space. Thanks to all our donors, and special thanks to the people of Tisbury.

A large portion of the funding for this first phase of our capital campaign has come from Community Preservation Act grants. Completed plans for the next phase of our reconstruction are also on display in the playhouse lobby. We are moving toward our goal of $1 million to complete phase one of our capital campaign — the restoration, renovation and expansion of our historic building.

Next year, our 30th anniversary, we hope to complete this project, so the town and the Island will have a truly solid and magnificent — inside and out, top to bottom — architectural landmark where great theatre stimulates and unites our dynamic Island community.

Thanks everybody, and let’s keep the mojo going strong! It’s very exciting and fulfilling to see so many people united behind this fabulous project, an investment in the future of our town and our Island.

Gerry Yukevich

Vineyard Haven

The writer is president of the board of directors for the Vineyard Playhouse.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Winslow Myers, author of Living Beyond War, presented to members of the Unitarian-Universalist Social Justice group, Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council, Quaker Friends, and concerned members of our Island community Sunday evening the message that war is obsolete, and communicating peace to our confused and frightened world is essential.

The interest, attention and thoughts were intense.

The group encouraged Mr. Myers to focus education and dialogue on the younger generations.

He also shared his experience of talking to members of some Rotary clubs in Oregon. The result may be that Rotary Clubs International, which have peace committees throughout the world, may wish to support This would be a fantastic happening in our world in turmoil.

Stay tuned.

Jane and Roger Thayer


and Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was addressed to Janet Hathaway and Alan Gowell:

As past chairmen of the Edgartown affordable housing committee, you have both been instrumental in leading the evolution of the town’s affordable housing programs from simple house lots in subdivisions to an established program consisting of a whole range of affordable housing options. We have every confidence that affordable housing in Edgartown will go on in the most meaningful ways in the future because of your leadership, sacrifices, and hard work.

At the advent of the buy-down program, the members of the Edgartown affordable housing committee would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation for all that you have done for our town and wish you the very best in the future.

Mark Hess



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was sent to Sharky’s Cantina owner Jonathan Blau.

Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living (MVC4L) would like to thank you for a very successful Dine to Donate evening at Sharky’s Cantina on April 26. The funds raised will benefit our programs and the folks we serve.

MVC4L collaborates with Councils on Aging and other organizations serving Islanders 55 and older, to provide an unduplicated array of programs, services and information to support a healthy, active life style. Your generous support of our Island community is most appreciated.

Leslie Clapp



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network would like to thank the many people who helped produce a remarkable evening on Tuesday, May 17, at the Old Whaling Church when Liz Murray, author of the book Breaking Night: From Homeless to Harvard, spoke to a large crowd.

First, a special thank-you to our co-sponsor, Bunch of Grapes, who helped bring Liz here. Second to Rickard’s Bakery for supplying the desserts, and third to Janet Heath at the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust for making the Whaling Church available to us. And finally to both the public and our own members, who showed up to hear Liz tell how she had survived (and ultimately thrived) living in a family with drug-addicted parents. We could not mount the six or eight programs a year that we do without the continued support of our nearly 100 members.

This was also the night the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network handed out $5,000 to two businesses on the Vineyard that we believe will enhance the economy of the Vineyard, Holly Bellebuono of Vineyard Herbs, Teas and Apothecary and Ann Smith of the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Collaborative. Congratulations to them, and a special thanks to Jan Pogue at Vineyard Stories, who matched our grant so that we could offer two.

Margo Urbany-Joyce


The writer is president of the board for the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following letter was addressed to author Geraldine Brooks, whose most recent book is Caleb’s Crossing, a work of historical fiction:

We met previously at events in Vineyard Haven and also at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, where I assisted you in looking up the information available here about Caleb Cheeshahteaumauck.

I have just finished reading your delightful new book Caleb’s Crossing. Your characterizations of many of the early Islanders seem potentially very accurate to me. I must admit I delighted in Makepeace and consider that he is perhaps a very apt drawing of Matthew Mayhew. I also found your afterword a valuable clarification of fact versus fiction.

However, my reason for writing is that you have an error in the afterword. On page 305 you describe the Rev. Experience Mayhew as the son of Matthew Mayhew. This is untrue. Experience was his nephew, the son of Matthew’s brother Rev. John Mayhew. [See Banks’ History of Martha’s Vineyard, vol. III, pages 302-3.]

Your book is a delight. Probably no one else would even notice the error about Experience. But not only am I the genealogist at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, but it also happens that my husband is descended from the Rev. Experience Mayhew.

I have enjoyed reading your books and thank you for this latest one.

Catherine M. Mayhew

Vineyard Haven

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.