Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Chappaquiddick Island Association holds its annual meeting the first week of July each year to update and raise topics of interest for both summer and year-round residents. Over the years, vital issues to the town of Edgartown and Chappaquiddick such as affordable housing, the bike path and the eligibility for the Island to be declared a district of critical planning have been discussed. Since the association’s inception in 1952, topics such as these have been aired in an open and sometimes spirited forum.

As the 10-year renewal of the Islandwide contract with Comcast was on the docket for Martha’s Vineyard this year, and as Chappaquiddick was not included in the last contract with Comcast, residents began writing to the town selectmen, Comcast and state representatives to underscore the importance of making sure that our island be included in any eventual cable contract. Indeed, over the past two years we are told that hundreds of letters have been written, virtually all in favor. We have attended town meetings to discuss and make our views known to Edgartown’s elected representatives and Chappy residents have attended virtually all of the Islandwide negotiations that have taken place during the past 10 months.

In order to bring summer and year-round residents up to speed with the negotiations this past July, we invited Mary O’Keefe, senior manager of government and community relations and governmental spokesperson for Comcast, to speak to CIA members at our 2011 annual meeting. Unfortunately she was unable to attend. In her absence, however, our membership was provided an update of the progress being made at the six-town Comcast negotiations. At the close of the discussion, there was a request for a vote regarding the association’s continuing interest in having cable installed on our Island. The 100-plus members in attendance were virtually unanimous in their expression of the need for this vital service on Chappaquiddick. Few issues that come before us have collected such unmitigated support.

As these discussions have unfolded, it has become abundantly clear to us that positive change can only take place within a framework of constructive interaction with our government officials where there is a relationship of respect, free discourse, trust and a genuinely egalitarian concern for all constituencies involved.

We understand that we are a rural environment, but that doesn’t negate the need to provide what has become an essential service. Indeed, the Federal Communications Commission cited the urgent need for cabling rural areas when it granted approval to the NBC-Universal-Comcast merger this past year.

Yes, the year-round residents of Chappaquiddick are small in number compared to the rest of Edgartown’s population, but Chappaquiddick is a vital part of the town’s tax base, and the island’s pristine waters and beaches are important attractions to the summer tourists who are so vital to the town’s economy. Put simply, Chappaquiddick doesn’t ask for much from the town of Edgartown; the fire department is volunteer and the EMS service is also run by volunteers. Chappy gives back to the town much more than it receives.

If the Edgartown selectmen, led by town administrator Pam Dolby’s negotiations, are successful in their support of this essential service for Chappy, then it will truly be a signal of residents and elected officials working together to bring about change. If they fail to ensure that there is agreement among NStar, Comcast, demonstration of government failure to represent the interests of its constituents.

In this time of cynicism toward government at the national level, what a wonderful time for the Edgartown selectmen to take a firm stand on behalf of Chappaquiddick residents, and in so doing, send a powerful message to Comcast, that it is time to start laying cable and provide 21st century communication and media access to its Chappy residents.

Peter Getsinger and Cynthia Hubbard


The writers are copresidents of the Chappaquiddick Island Association.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to add my voice to those expressing a very strong desire to have Comcast service available to those living on Chappaquiddick. Comcast has an obligation to extend cable lines to rural communities such as Chappaquiddick and they need to fulfill this obligation.

Maria Bryant



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

When are the people of Chappaquiddick going to get a clue? Your little cul-de-sac of a neighborhood will not get anything from the town of Edgartown unless it directly benefits the majority of the town of Edgartown. Chappaquiddick has approximately 100 registered voters compared with over 3000 in the entire town of Edgartown. This means that the selectmen are in no way beholden to the people of Chappaquiddick. Other than fire department expenditures, has Chappaquiddick gotten anything it asked for? The DCPC, an extended ferry waiting line on Chappaquiddick that is anything but a gravel pit on the side of the road, bike paths, cable, how about safety details during major utility projects — these are all examples of projects or needs of Chappaquiddick that the town of Edgartown has either ignored or basically said that Chappaquiddick as a community should deal with it on their own.

Think of Chappaquiddick as a cash cow for the coffers of Edgartown. You give the town roughly 20 per cent of its budget in property taxes and should expect next to nothing in return — deal with it as there is nothing you can do about it.

Tom Williams



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Twenty-seven years is a long time — time enough to have made some good friends with our neighbors and so many of our loyal customers and employees, time enough to watch babies grow up to have babies of their own and tell us, “I’ve been coming here all my life!”

We will miss having our store on Main street in Edgartown. We will miss hearing our customers tell their friends “Come in here, I have to show you this place — it’s so cool!“ (Sometimes I thought if we charged admission, we would have an easier time paying the rent!) We will miss the children, with eyes wide open, playing with the wooden puzzle toys, pushing the trucks, trains and planes around on the floor. We will even miss the “pop, pop, pop” of those wooden pop guns played by thousands of excited children over the years, too young to read the sign (one pop per person, please) and even the sharp whistle of the flutes played by the children pretending to be the Pied Piper. For 27 years, parents have been taking their annual pictures of their children on Woody, our life-sized rocking horse (and then sneaking a ride for themselves too!)

But most of all, we will miss the children. I’ll never forget the little boy who, this summer when he heard that we were closing, came behind the counter, threw his arms around my waist and said, “No, it can’t be true. Please don’t go.” And his sister who stood there in what appeared to be shock and said: “There must be something we can do!” A bake sale, perhaps?

On Dec. 31, In the Woods will be closing its door for the last time. It’s true, there were a lot of false starts, but this time it’s for real. Our lease is up. So before we go, we would like to thank everyone who loved our store. We loved it too, and if it were not for you, we would not have been able to last for 27 years. You are the best. And we will miss you.

Kathy Cerick



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I receive the Vineyard Gazette at my home in New York city, so I am sorry if this response is a few days late. I followed with interest the study by the University of Massachusetts Medical Students on the incidence of Lyme disease on the Vineyard. Their analysis of the high number of doxycycline scripts (the treatment of choice for Lyme disease) filled in the local pharmacies versus the low number of filed incident reports was a good catch and is a strong indicator that the disease is severely underreported.

However, as dramatic as that analysis was, it fails to take into account all the tourists and second home owners who contracted Lyme disease during visits to the Island but were treated near their primary residences.

I have a second home in Edgartown. I contracted Lyme this summer after a tick bite during a stay on the Vineyard and was treated in New York city. My 78-year-old mother who visited most of the summer also contracted Lyme but was eventually diagnosed at her primary residence in Florida. She was extremely incapacitated, spent a week in the hospital and had weeks of recuperation. Her friend Betty, a summer Chilmark resident for close to 40 years, also contracted Lyme this summer and has been sick for several months in the Boston area.

Although a nurse by training and not an epidemiologist, I would concur from personal observation that we have a dangerous epidemic on our Island. In addition to the negative consequences on health, this has the potential to wreak havoc with tourism and the second home market and destroy the economic vitality of the area.

I am heartened that it is being studied but I can’t over emphasize that the problem is probably much larger than it appears. There needs to be a social and economic mandate to treat this as an emergency situation. Also, we should aggressively press for the passage of legislation to approve the prophylactic treatment of tick bites without prescriptions.

Personally, I will be far more diligent this summer. As for my mother, when I told her she need not feel obligated to come back to visit this year she replied, “I had the time of my life last summer and I am not going to let a little tick spoil my fun!”

Despite our personal tenacity, I fear that others may take a more conservative approach and avoid the Island altogether. We need to address this situation more aggressively before the damage becomes irreversible.

Maureen Regan

Edgartown and

New York city


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard supports the expansion of the state’s open meeting law to the state Senate and House of Representatives.

Every town board, town committee and school committee on Martha’s Vineyard is subject to the state open meeting law requiring that their business be conducted in public. The state legislature thought transparency was important enough to pass that open meeting law.

But the House and Senate designated one exception to that transparency guideline — the legislature itself. The recent spectacle of an amendment to the casino gambling bill being hashed out behind the closed doors of the Democratic caucus reinforces the need to pass legislation requiring the legislature itself to be subject to the open meeting law.

The League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard urges voters to contact our state Rep. Tim Madden and state Sen. Dan Wolf and express your support for subjecting the legislature to the same open meeting rules imposed on all other government bodies.

Diane Purvis

Vineyard Haven

The writer is chairman of voter services for the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Martha’s Vineyard Arena, in collaboration with the Rocksprings Foundation, would like to thank everyone who attended the free skating clinic this past weekend. The children who participated in this clinic all had a blast and they learned preliminary coordination, strength, skills and patience on ice skates.

The arena would also like to thank Jane Taylor, Max Sherman and John Fiorito for donating their time and knowledge for this clinic. This clinic would not have been possible if it weren’t for their love of the sport.

Beth O’Connor

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I would like to take this opportunity to let our community know of the great compassion and generosity that the students at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School have exhibited recently during our Food Basket Drive (for families of high school students). During this time of thanks and reflection, our students have risen to the occasion by finding the necessary resources to make this holiday so much more meaningful to themselves and those that they have been able to help. Sponsored by the Young Brothers to Men, our students raised more than $1,100 to assist more than 25 families with a complete Thanksgiving meal (turkey and everything that goes with it). This shows that our young people do in fact care what happens in the community and they are willing to do something to help those who may be less fortunate.

Events like this don’t just happen, and I would like to acknowledge those who made this food basket drive possible. The idea came from a student, Doug Andrade, who along with his mother, Maria Andrade, was instrumental in initiating the drive. Stephen Nixon, our principal, along with nurse Linda Leonard was also pivotal in its success. Leslie Floyd and the cafeteria staff, chef Jack O’Malley, the guidance department all went above the expected to help make our drive so important and integral in our week leading up to Thanksgiving. Finally I want to acknowledge the giant heart of Steve Bernier; our community should recognize and give thanks to this unassuming angel on our Island. Mr. Bernier and Cronig’s Market donated over $600 worth of turkeys to fill every basket given away. Thank you one and all.

Everyone should feel proud to live in a community of loving and caring people. We wish the entire community a warm and thankful holiday. We try always to remember to pay it forward and to be the uplifting light in the world.

W. Leo Frame Jr.

Oak Bluffs

The writer is a teacher and advisor at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.