Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

My name is Rebecca Perkalis. I have bipolar disorder. I would like to have the community know that Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 2 to 8. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the United States Congress established the first week of October in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness. NAMI is an organization that fights mental illness stigma and promotes advocacy.

Mental illness, including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, is a brain disease that affects millions of people. Although mental illness is a brain disease, it is treatable by medication. Counseling therapy is also effective. There is no cure.

The following are national statistics for the above-mentioned disorders. Over 10 million people are affected by bipolar, 2.4 million people are affected by schizophrenia, and 15 million people are affected by depression. Island Counseling and Emergency Services, a part of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, serves 9,200 people annually. As you can see, the local population is also significantly affected by mental illness.

Stigma is a major barrier to understanding mental illness. People with mental illness often are misunderstood or get treated differently due to their illness. Reducing stigma, including through Mental Illness Awareness Week, allows the public to recognize mental illness as any other illness. The more people understand mental illness, the more those affected will be able to be accepted within society.

If you know someone with mental illness who is not getting treated, let them know there is help, locally and nationally, Local resources include the Community Services Island Counseling Center (508-693-7900). Nationally two good Web sites include NAMI ( and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance ( Please reach out for help. You’ll be glad you did.

Rebecca L. Perkalis

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As a Viet Nam veteran, a volunteer for Veteran Anglers of New York, and a longtime derby angler, I heartily congratulate the Nixons and all who support their efforts in the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge. The program contributes to the overall rehabilitation of the military service participants and is an outstanding example of support for those who have fought for our freedoms. And of course, to all the vets — welcome home, and thanks for your service.

Sol Watson

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The totality of all the points Peter Elliot and Mike Lion attempted to make in their respective letters, “False Narrative and Single Dip,” August 26 must be regarded within the context of the actual economic and political environment. Mr. Obama is being falsely blamed by Mr. Lion and Mr. Elliot for the traditional do-nothing behavior of a Democratic lame duck congress that had already deserted the President as blue dog Democrats became frightened of the tea party rhetoric which was catching fire. The subsequently new Republican congress that was elected replicated the hostile, disrespectful, dysfunctional and fatalistic ignorance of their voters.

The system did indeed work as it was designed and the people such as Mr. Elliot and Mr. Lion are reaping the unintended results of a dysfunctional congress they helped to elect. Add an over-friendly supreme court to big businesses, a much-too idealistic President and you have the causes for the current economic, political and moral disaster.

Mr. Obama is surely guilty of violating the first rule of using effective executive power and leadership, which is to never concede power or compromise with self-serving people who disrespect the office and their President, and the country he represents. Such people will never subordinate their anger or bias to their love of country, i.e. Mr. Lion’s glee over the downgrading of U.S. credit rating because he believes that the world credit markets blamed Mr. Obama instead of an impotent congress.

There is no hope for people like Mr. Elliot because he simply refuses to take the first step to educate himself. At the least he should attempt to know the persons and institutions who are indeed wearing the shoes that are kicking his economic butt. There is nothing in the Obama-endorsed legislation that fits the kinds of shoes causing his problems. Both writers need to stop learning their economics from Paul Ryan, the role of government from Rush Limbaugh, and take their moral guidance from God instead of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman.

Charles Frazier

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On Sept. 7, I did a really foolish thing. After playing a few holes of golf in the afternoon (I birdied my last hole), I kept my rubber golf spikes on in the house. My spikes caused me to fall down several stairs and crack my head open on our tile floors.

My wife called 911. Fire department personnel Chuck Cummings, Elmer Vanderhoop and Matt Millman together with police department personnel Tom Smith and William Bishop responded to the call immediately. They all arrived at my home almost instantly. The medical treatment I received was delivered in such a professional, caring way that it made my daughter who is visiting us from Sanibel, Fla., comment that although she hopes nothing like this ever happens to her, if it does happen she sure hopes it happens right here in Edgartown.

My wife’s dad was a 40-year career police officer. He was a police chief in Mansfield, Ohio and Sanibel, Fla., for 25 of those years. Both my wife and her mom (who stays with us in the summer) know good police work when they see it. They both recognized that Sergeant Smith and Officer Bishop did their jobs in an extremely competent and compassionate manner.

The performance of all these fine men reflects very well on your departments and the entire town of Edgartown.

Ken Monahan



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This year, 43 New York city children found out once again just how special summer is on the Cape and Islands. Fresh Air Fund hosts, volunteers and local supporters dedicated their time and efforts to help these inner-city youngsters experience simple summertime pleasures, including afternoons of swimming, fishing at sunset and roasting s’mores over a campfire.

None of this would be possible without Cheryll Sashin, your local Fresh Air Fund volunteer leader, who works throughout the year to make sure host families and children have the opportunity to enjoy memorable summertime experiences together. I invite you to join Mrs. Sashin and the local Fresh Air Fund committee to help spread the word about the wonderful opportunity of hosting next summer.

On behalf of all of us at the Fresh Air Fund, including the thousands of children who benefit from Fresh Air programs, I would also like to thank you for the terrific exposure you gave the Fresh Air Fund in the Vineyard Gazette this year by featuring our Volunteer Host Family Program in your community. The coverage supports the efforts of Mrs. Sashin and our local volunteer leaders to recruit more dedicated host families who open their homes to New York city children for up to two weeks during the summer. By sharing wonderful summer memories with your readers, you have helped to spread the word to other potential supporters, who keep our programs flourishing in your area.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to over 1.7 million New York city children from low-income communities since 1877. For more information on how you can help to continue this wonderful tradition of volunteering, please call Cheryll Sashin at 508-696-6421 or visit

Jenny Morgenthau

New York, N.Y.

The writer is executive director of the Fresh Air Fund.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I came home from the mail today to find an overfed, irate Chihuahua mix in my yard, and when I got out of the car it was growling and barking at me. I started to walk to my house and it chased after me snapping its jaws with its hair standing on end. Shaking, I called the Oak Bluffs police department and told the secretary, who told me repeatedly: “I’m sorry ma’am but there is nothing we can do, we do not have an animal control officer.” I told her I didn’t want to hear it, and they can come up here and tell the owners there is a leash law and to keep the dog on their own property. I was then told, “Ma’am, the voters voted not to have an animal control officer.” I then told her I needed to speak to the officer in charge, which she repeatedly denied me until I raised my voice and told her it is my right to be able to speak to an officer. Officer Morse told me I needed to call the selectmen with a vicious dog complaint. Which I have done.

I have a question at this point. Back in August there was a complaint of a loose pit bull to which Officer Marchand responded. This animal was able to be captured and put into a cage by the complainant. So obviously this dog was of no threat to anyone if it was gentle enough to be put into a cage. Why was that call any different than my call? My call was for a vicious dog chasing me into my house on my property. Why does it matter that this was a small dog and the pit is a notorious breed? For one thing, pit bulls are all different and if they are brought up correctly there is no threat to anyone involved. They always get a bad rap by the irresponsible owners who bring them up bad. The dog that chased me was more vicious than the pit bull, but the call was ignored.

I called the town clerk to find out if this dog was licensed as it has lived at the same address for at least four years now. No, the dog is not licensed. No collar, no license, and most likely no shots. Isn’t that comforting? I then sent an e-mail to police chief Erik Blake telling him of the incident and explaining that if anyone in my house is bitten by this dog on my property, there will be a full-fledged lawsuit against the town of Oak Bluffs. Tell me why an officer did not come here and tell these people to keep this dog restrained. Whether there is an animal control officer or not, they could at least do that.

While I am on the subject of animals, I might as well tell you of our most recent encounter with the new trend of hanging farm animals in trees, then proceeding to skin, gut and mutilate them for all to see. One month ago, at about 8 p.m., we heard what sounded like knives being sharpened outside our window. Unable to figure it out, we ignored it until my granddaughter was going up to bed and yelled down the stairs that there was a dead animal hanging in the tree outside her window. Appalled, we ran upstairs to see some kind of animal strung up by its back legs and four men standing around it cutting it up. You could actually hear the hacking of the animal with the cleaver. We also had full view of it because they were kind enough to illuminate it with not only truck headlights, but a very bright spotlight pointing at our house. We called the police, to no avail. When they were through with their bloodbath they washed their own bodies of blood and proceeded to carry two large trash bags over to the woods on the other side of the house. Why on God’s earth would they do this in the open on our side of the house is beyond us. They have full woods on the other side and back of the house, but they chose to do it on our side. I have lived here for 33 years and know many hunters, including my husband and his family, and have never witnessed anything like this. It was horrifying. All the hunters I know clean their deer inside a shed, garage or woods. Certainly not illuminated in the open for all to see. Imagine this being the last thing your child sees before she goes to bed at night? Can’t exactly say sweet dreams, can you?

I just can’t understand what goes on around here. Why have people become so inconsiderate of their neighbors? Why is this town so broke when we pay such high taxes? I mean, if I am paying $4,800 a year and some are paying much higher than that, why can’t you even feel protected by your police department that you fund?

Here’s an idea — why don’t you get rid of that waste of money information booth that I understand costs us $15,000 a year? Today most visitors to any destination have already researched where they are going, and now about the accommodations and restaurants. Oak Bluffs is not so big that the day-trippers cannot find food or T-shirts. Take that money and put it to use for a part-time dog officer. The excuses are nauseating at best. This town sounds like a bunch of crying babies who didn’t get their way. No, we cannot afford any higher taxes. Maybe some can with their town-secured paychecks, but not everybody is lucky enough to have a weekly paycheck, so back off and stop blaming all the financial problems on us.

So there it is folks, Oak Bluffs has gone to the dogs!

Cathy Peters

Oak Bluffs