Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This letter is in response to an article published last week concerning Sheriff McCormack’s decision to permit Kelly McCarron to serve the remainder of her sentence on the bracelet program. In November, the sheriff sought out the Pothiers at their place of business in order to discuss the possibility. During that visit, he not only learned that they were opposed, he also learned that their opposition had been communicated to the DA’s office while Kelly’s guilty plea was being negotiated. Finally, Sheriff McCormack learned that Terry and David Pothier were under the impression that electronic monitoring via “the bracelet” was specifically addressed in the plea bargain and prohibited by the court. Based on this, Sheriff McCormack assured Terry and David that Kelly would remain incarcerated. But he was only pretending to honor their wishes, which is an insult to them personally as well as disrespectful to the memory of their daughter.

Sheriff McCormack later learned that the Pothiers were misinformed and in fact that there was nothing in Ms. McCarron’s plea to prevent her being released on the bracelet. He should have immediately contacted Jena’s family to set them straight. At the very least, they deserved to know that it was not prohibited and that it was under consideration. Sheriff McCormack acknowledges pressure, “persistent calls from [McCarron’s] family and the attorney representing Ms. McCarron.” Jena’s family were denied this opportunity to advocate their position by Mr. McCormack’s false statements and empty promises. Yet Sheriff McCormack claims to have empathy for the Pothiers. I think not. The articles suggest that he spent some time contemplating the matter and trying to decide what to do. During this period, didn’t it occur to him that they were still in the dark? The last time they spoke about it, Sheriff McCormack told the Pothiers that it would not happen. Apparently, that was just politicking, an easy promise to make given that everyone thought it was prohibited by the court anyway.

Sheriff McCormack claims that rehabilitating Kelly through the community corrections process will help re-introduce her to society. Good point, but what he fails to mention is that this could also have been done after she had completed her sentence. Ms. McCarron will be on probation for five years. The probation department will have ample time to work with her and to assist and supervise her rehabilitation and re-entry into society. Seven month’s incarceration is too short a punishment for the crime — think about all the decades that Jena will miss, the decades her parents and brother will spend missing her.

The sheriff claims: “I wish I could [help the Pothier girl].” Making her killer accountable would have been a good place to start; honoring his word to her family should have come next.

Cara and Don Harding



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was saddened to read of the passing of Barbara Flanders Seward in last Friday’s (Jan. 14) Gazette.

Almost greater than my sadness, however, was my disappointment in the editor who chose to put her obituary so far from the front page, where truly it belonged.

Page Eight is no place for the Gazette to give its goodbye to Mrs. Seward — and why no photo of this woman whose life touched the lives of so many?

Not only was she “Menemsha’s Last Postmaster” (your sub-headline), she was, for years, the friendly presence behind the grocery counter and the post office window at Seward’s Seagoing Grocery. She was warm and motherly, wearing a cobbler’s apron and a pretty smile for anyone who came through the door.

She will be missed.

Please print her picture.

Kristen K. Henshaw

Vineyard Haven

and Wakefield


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Martha’s Vineyard Fish Farm for Haiti Project continues its mission. The donated VTA bus is at the regional high school where students are preparing it for shipment to Haiti by removing some of the seats, the luggage rack, and building a partition behind the driver’s seat. This Friday students will be painting a logo on the bus so the bus will be recognizable when it is in Haiti. Volunteers to help load the bus when it is ready are being sought.

Twenty-five children attending school at the Project in Lilavois are in need of sponsors. These children are attending school now but because of the earthquake the parents are in need of financial assistance to keep their children in school. There are very few public schools in Haiti. Each sponsor will receive a picture of his or her child and further information about the progress of their child.

For more information about the Fish Farm for Haiti Project and to learn how you can get involved, go to or call 508-693-0368.

Margaret Mayhew Pénicaud

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.