West Tisbury


Groundhog Day means two things in West Tisbury, Cynthia Riggs’s party and the beginning of the local political season. Guests circulate carrying petitions and nominating papers along with the wine and canapes. Of course, whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not will be acknowledged. But the main conversation will be who is running for what and the finer points of upcoming warrant articles. It’s a good place to see your neighbors, too. Bring an hors d’oeuvre if you like and come along. The Cleaveland House is on the corner of Edgartown Road and New Lane. Park along Edgartown Road (all four wheels off the pavement, please) or in Cynthia’s west pasture (first opening on left after you turn onto New Lane.) Take a look at her fabulous vegetable and herb gardens as you walk in. Call Cynthia with any questions, 508-693-9352.

Speaking of town affairs, here’s news from the committee chairmen of our two up-coming capital projects. Norman Perry, chairman of the Police Department Building Committee, announces that they are planning a public forum on February 9, next Thursday, at 4:30 pm. The meeting will provide information on the conceptual design phase of the project, including exhibits, floor plans, and a model of the proposed building. The committee is looking for evaluations, suggestions, opinions, and, hopefully, your approval of their plans. The meeting will take place at the Public Safety Building, Station 2, across from Cronig’s.

Library trustee Dan Waters and Hunter Moorman, chairman of the West Tisbury Library Foundation, want to let everyone know that the library has surpassed an important milestone in its capital campaign: the state’s requirement of raising $902,000 in private matching funds by January 31, 2012. They have raised $1.3 million dollars in private donations, and the foundation is confident that the remaining $200,000 will be committed by the April town meeting. So we still have work to do, and we will have to approve the project’s going forward at that time.

We have new babies to celebrate and welcome to town. How exciting to hear about all of them.

Hazel Morgan McCracken was born on January 15 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Her parents are Amy Upton and Edmund McCracken.

Kayla Mastromonaco and Elisha Boyd have a daughter, Fionna Kathleen, born on January 18, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

George and Mary Lu Hough announce the arrival of their great-grandson. Harper Neil Greene is the son of Neil and Amy Greene of Newton.

Hap Bernard was telling me he had spent the weekend working in his yard. This mild weather has been great for getting things done outside. After I finish writing this column, my friend Martha Fleishman and I are going outside to plant a red twig dogwood. Hard to believe the ground is completely unfrozen. Mixed feelings. We have already seen ticks on the animals, but we’re all enjoying being outside so much more than usual this time of year.

It’s been an education watching the very visible restoration of Jane Newhall’s old house next to Alley’s. Being so close to the road, one can observe the details – the old wood structure taken apart and rebuilt. I have always been interested in buildings, but from a visual and architectural perspective, how they look and function. But being married to a carpenter and years of This Old House has taught me to look underneath the skin to the bones of a house. So I’m grateful to Prudy and John Noon and their construction crew for a daily tutorial.

If you are looking for things to do this week, here are some possibilities. The JC Trio will play at the West Tisbury Library this Friday afternoon, February 3, at 4 pm. Saturday, February 4, the League of Women Voters will host a breakfast at the Howes House at 9 am in recognition of Black History Month. The keynote speaker will be Natalie Dickerson, former president of the Martha’s Vineyard branch of the NAACP. At 7 pm Saturday evening, West Tisbury resident Jonathan Bernstein will lead a discussion following a showing of “The Chosen” at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center.

I was sorry to hear that Sandra Hillman died last week. She was a longtime acquaintance, someone Mike worked for for years, and someone we both liked very much. She always had her own ideas about a construction project, prompting long and thoughtful conversations, but basically ending up by telling Mike to do it his way. We have a splendid tulip tree in the center island in our driveway, a gift from Mrs. Hillman. It was a foot-tall whip when she gave it to Mike. Although mostly uninterested in any gardening project, he planted it in a prominent spot and has tended it lovingly for many years, a tribute to his affection for its donor. Our sympathy to Elise and Howard Jr. and to the beloved grandchildren.