Edgartown: Solar eclipse science fair

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I would be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of my column this week to offer up a big thank-you to the Edgartown Police and the EMS/Paramedic crew, as well as the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital ER staff. We had a little scare last week with my dad, as he had a minor mishap with a car while riding his bike. He suffered some bruises and abrasions, but miraculously had no major injuries, and he was back out on his bike two days later. In the true Island way, Jonathan Searle tried to reach me, and when he couldn’t, he was assured by Patrolman Zach Townes that he had just seen me out running, so I’d probably get in touch soon! Only on M.V.  I am so grateful for our small community style. In all the excitement, I don’t remember who all was at the scene, but I do know that Jonathan, Zach, and Trevor Scanlon all helped to put Pop at ease, or at least as at ease as possible, given the circumstances. We are grateful to all who were there, for your service to the town and your excellent care of Pop!

I don’t have a lot of birthdays to celebrate this week. Busy days lead to slow news. That said, big happy birthday wishes go out to Jennifer (Burnham) Rose on August 14, Rebecca Norris on August 17, and the Edgartown School’s own Robin Davies on August 20.

The Edgartown library is holding a Solar Eclipse Science Fair on August 21, from 1:30 until 4. The height of the eclipse in Edgartown is at 2:45 pm. Features of the science fair are live-streaming of the eclipse from NASA, demonstrations of how an eclipse works, maps of its path, and a demonstration of a pinhole camera for eclipse viewing.

Their weather station will chart changes in temperature, and they will measure changes in light during the eclipse as well. Eclipse viewing glasses will be available on the day of the event, and Dr. R. Bruce Ward will set up telescopes outside the library for viewing the eclipse. It sounds like the place to be, for sure!

Also at the library, on August 24 at 10:30 am, meet Rick Felty, author of the Tabitha Fink books, who will be reading from his books “Tabitha Fink, the Cat with One Eye,” “Tabitha Fink on a Mission to Mars,” and “Tabitha Fink, Ninja at Night.” Mr. Felty will also have copies of his books available for purchase.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but school is just around the corner. We teachers go back on August 30 for some professional development and prep days, while kids will head back on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The annual open house is on Sept. 13, from 6 pm until 8 pm. Families should mark your calendars and save the date, because those family fall schedules fill up fast.

I was saddened to read the news of the recent death of Norman Vunk. I had pretty much known Norman for most of my life, having spent countless hours playing in their family home in Katama as a child, and then interacting with him again in the working world as an adult. My thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.

I try to stay away from politics in my column, for obvious reasons. It’s not the place to spark debate. However, I am writing this as I tune in to the constant news updates regarding the violence in Charlottesville, Va., as well as other uprisings and protests happening or proposed around our country. I am incredibly saddened by the levels of extremism in our country and the ever-widening divide between the left and right. My heart hurts for the family and friends of Heather Heyer, who died in the protests, as well as the friends and families of Virginia State Police Officers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who perished when their helicopter crashed while monitoring the protests from the air. I don’t know that I have the solution, but I think it starts with letting go of our fears and preconceived notions. Then we move forward by loving and respecting each other, regardless of race, gender, class, politics, or other traits and preferences. It starts with us. I promise to try harder. I will perform more acts of kindness. I will smile and say hello. I don’t know exactly what to do, but I can start with the little stuff. I have a bumper sticker that is going on my car tomorrow. It says “What you do matters.” I will try to do good.

I wish you a peaceful and joyous week.