Authors Posts by Megan Alley

Megan Alley

Megan Alley
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Saturday morning at 6 am the sun was starting to lighten up the sky and within two hours it was as black as night as those tremendous thunderstorms crashed in. The noise sounded like the sound track from one of those old black-and-white World War Two movies in the midst of a bombing scene. But as it always does, the sun has come out again, and now the weather has changed entirely.

My yellow Lab, sweet Sophie, missed her 15th birthday by a matter of hours. On Memorial Day evening she suddenly got ill and collapsed. A trip to the Vineyard Vet Clinic revealed many problems and a suspected cancer. So with tears in our hearts and eyes we made the difficult but loving decision that it was time to let her go. I cannot praise Drs. Williams and Dunnigan enough for their compassionate care for so many years and the gentle and respectful way that they assisted her on her last journey. Her 15th birthday would have been June 1, and I know that she had an unusually long and happy life. But how I miss her running to greet me with her “Lab wag,” carrying one of her toys in her mouth and brightening my day. I am so grateful for the 15 years of joyful memories she left me.

The Friday Conversations program at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center will have Polly Brown and Jane Hawkes of Vineyard Village at Home as their guest speakers on Friday, June 18. Vineyard Village at Home is a volunteer organization offering support services for older Islanders who need a little extra help to remain in their homes.

The library continues with its programs throughout the summer. On Wednesday, June 16, from 10:30 to 11:15 the Toddler Storytime for ages 1.5 to 3 will feature cats, as will the preschool story time for ages 2 to 5 from 11:30 to 12:15. On Saturday, June 19, from 11:00 to 11:45, there will be a Father’s Day Surprise Storytime.

Oak Bluffs school students Belle Dinning, Angela Hayes, Emily Moore, and James Robinson, and Charter School student Danielle Hopkins all have roles in “My Mom is Trying To Ruin My Life,” which will be running at The Vineyard Playhouse over the next two weekends. The play was adapted by MJ Bruder Munafo from Kate Feiffer’s book of the same name.

The annual Oak Bluffs School Fine Arts Night is Tuesday evening, June 15th, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. This is always an outstanding evening in which to browse through arts and crafts presentations, reflecting the hard work that the arts programs have done with their students over the year. The arts viewing will be from 6 to 7 pm, and will be followed by a 4th-5th grade concert from 7 to 7:30.

And save June 16 for the 8th grade graduation at 5:30 pm.

Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is having an auction to benefit their residents’ activity programs. They have a very small budget for entertainers and outings and this auction is an important part of their annual fundraising.

These funds are used to take the residents on outings to Home Port, Farm Neck, Grace Church for lobster rolls, the Minnesingers, Community Chorus, and plays, as well as bringing in entertainers, exercise programs, and many more activities. Auction items include a trip to France, a sailing cruise with lobsters and champagne, a day trip for two on a Black Dog Tall ship, and a handmade quilt. The auction is June 11 from 6 to 8 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. In addition to the silent and live auctions, there will be a raffle, hors d’oeuvres, and wine. Trip Barnes as auctioneer is worth the price of admission (zero) alone.

The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club will hold its monthly meeting on June 15 at 1 pm at the Old Mill on Edgartown Road in West Tisbury. Seasonal resident and Vineyard artist Nancy Noble Gardiner will present her beautiful flower photography. A hospitality hour with refreshments will follow the program. The cost for guests is $5; there is no cost for members.

We send birthday smiles to Hilde Combra on June 11, Maryanne Alwardt on June 13, Jaime Young on June 14, and Arthur Pye on June 15. Let’s all celebrate Flag Day on June 14 by flying the flag proudly.

Enjoy your week.

Peace

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Well, we almost had it. A perfect three-day Memorial Day weekend that is, until of all things, smoke from wildfires in Canada sent smoky haze over the Island on Monday. But we managed to still enjoy the sunny weather, welcome many tourists, and observe the Memorial Day parade.While shopping the other day, I met the “Queen of Avon,” Grace Frye. I want you to know that she is still as beautiful and happy as ever. It was so good to see her and talk to her for a bit.Last summer John Swan Sr. died after a two-year battle with cancer. Shortly after John died, his widow, Pam, was diagnosed with breast cancer from which she has been recovering. This spring Pam and her children — John Jr., Julian, and Jackie — brought some hydrangeas and other plants to place on John’s grave. When they went to plant them last week, the plants had disappeared from the graveyard. The only word that I can come up with that fits this ignorant act and the people responsible for it is “disgusting.”Barrier beaches are essentially strips of sand with water on both sides. Join naturalist Dick Johnson for a walking tour of Eastville Point Beach to learn about these dynamic environments. Johnson has 20 years experience working on Martha’s Vineyard, and barrier beaches are his favorite habitat. He is a member of the Eastville Point Beach Committee which is working to prepare and implement a comprehensive restoration and management plan for this small public beach close to the towns of Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. Call for registration and car pool info, 508-693-9426.Maddie Alley and her friend Ella Jernigan want to get the word out that they were the first to jump off the new Second Bridge on Beach Road shortly after it opened. Island residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a beloved children’s fantasy when the Martha’s Vineyard School of Ballet presents “I Do Believe In Fairies, Journey To Never Never Land” at the MVRHS Performing Arts Center tomorrow Friday, June 4, at 6:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $10. Performers from Oak Bluffs are Jocelyn Baliunas, Rebecca Mandelli, Ava McGee, and Elizabeth O’Brien.Sunday’s Hospice Memorial Day 5K Race had the biggest turnout in its history. The view from the Wesley Hotel porch was magnificent. The harbor was crowded with boats and the sidewalks were crowded with sightseers and onlookers. Grandson Jeremy Alley-Tarter came in 5th overall.The entire Oak Bluffs School staff and student body took part in a Memorial Day observance with an all-school assembly in the gym on Friday afternoon. Students performed songs, recited poems, and read passages reflecting our country’s respect and homage to our brave veterans. Several local veterans were on hand, including staff members Rae Carter and Brian Weiland, as well as special guests, courtesy of the Oak Bluffs VFW and American Legion, Mev Good (US Army), Jim Dorsey (US Army), and Gene DeFelice, retired Capt. US Marines. Jim Dorsey and Mev Good spoke on their experiences in the armed services.Dates to remember at the school are the June 4 string concert and on June 6 to June 11, the 8th Grade Philly Trip.Big Times in May for the Labell family. Wally Labell celebrated his 60th birthday on May 26 and he and Linda celebrated their 35th Wedding Anniversary on May 24.They had a bash at Nancy’s on Saturday the 22nd with approximately 120 family and friends. Son Jeff was the deejay and it was a terrific time.We send birthday smiles to Jamie Reilly on June 1, my sister Ann Hearn on June 5, Hilda Mitchell the next day, Rory Moreis on June 7, followed by Bob Murphy the next day, Ernestine Kinnecom on the 9th, and Suzanne Walker, Lisa Williston, and Donald Bendavid all celebrate on the 10th. Anniversary wishes to Willy and Susan deBettencourt on the 10th.Enjoy your week.Peace.

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Well, it looked like an almost impossible task, but the crews building the sidewalks and resurfacing the roadways downtown have finished, and what a great job they did. From the new and attractive SSA ticket office all the way to the bulkhead in front of the Wesley Hotel, the town is brand-new. Now that there are no more of those ugly orange barrels or tapes blocking your way, you can easily swing into Jim’s or stroll into Scoops right next door, where those of you who missed Kati’s sandwiches can find her working to dish up delicious concoctions and non-stop conversation. You can line up under green trees while waiting to go into the movie theatre or Giordanno’s and easily maneuver our pedestrian-friendly downtown. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this possible.

During my childhood on the Island during World War II, life was very different. I remember walking into town with my mother — no car, because you needed ration stamps to buy gas so only used a car if you had one, which we didn’t, for emergencies. We would have to wait in a long line to buy butter, if it was available, coffee, shoes, and many other items that ration stamps were required for. Bananas and bacon were a luxury. No lights could show after dark; the air raid warning siren would frequently sound and the steamers that carried us to and from the Island were painted a battleship grey instead of white in hopes of making it difficult for them to be spotted by the enemy. The fact that we no longer have to live this way is due to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives to keep the freedoms we enjoy today. So this weekend please honor those who died in service to our country by attending Memorial Day services before you partake of the pleasures of the holiday that we are now free to observe.At 7:30 am in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven your help is requested to assist in raising the flags for the avenue of flags, and in taking them down that day at 3 pm. The parade will lead off from American Legion Hall at 9:30 am and proceed to the cemetery for the ceremonies. Participants are invited back to Legion Hall for refreshments afterwards. Please take time to thank all the people who work so hard so that our veterans are remembered forever.Just a reminder that the 17th Annual Oak Bluffs Memorial Road Race will take place on Sunday, May 30, to benefit Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The 5K Walk & 5K Race start at 11 am, preceded by the 1 Mile Fun Run at 10:30 am.On Thursday June 3, from 6 until 7:45 the special movie presentation at the Oak Bluffs Library is the inspirational movie about Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s national rugby team. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.The Oak Bluffs 6th grade held their annual DARE graduation. Principal Laury Binney opened the ceremony with many words of praise for the DARE program, thanking the health teacher Kathy Perrotta and Captain Ogden and the sheriff’s department for such strong support.A reminder from the school that with warm weather having arrived, many children are choosing to ride their bikes to school, so wear bike helmets please.Every Thursday morning, middle school teaching assistant Doug Brush leads a running group at the school. It starts at 7:40 am on the soccer field and it is open to all 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-graders.Hundreds of seedlings ready to plant, along with furniture, glass, and things you just can’t live without will be on sale at the Chilmark Community Church yard and plant sale this Saturday, May 29, from 9 am to 1 pm. You will find bargains aplenty at this sale at 9 Menemsha Crossroad.Andrew Welch, son of Chris “Bobcat Man” Welch and stepson of Amy Billings, recently made a quick visit to his Island family to say goodbye because he is moving to Australia. Andrew is a recently graduated paramedic and decided to “stretch his wings” with friend Cody to have an adventure before he settles down. The family will miss him, and they hope he won’t like it there so much that he stays! He managed to see everyone except Jaime Lynn who is just finishing up her first year at Roger Williams University.The Friends of Oak Bluffs board of directors have teamed up with the board of the new Martha’s Vineyard Animal Shelter and are planning an exciting fundraiser for this summer. The two non-profits are sponsoring a concert for July 3, at the Performing Arts Center at the high school, featuring the Ramsey Lewis Trio, the ever-popular jazz group. More information will be coming soon or you can contact Duncan and Anne Ross, Renee Balter, Nancy Billings, Priscilla Sylvia, Susie Wallo, or Judy Williamson.A new venture for the American Legion in Vineyard Haven is their lobster roll and chowder sale on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 pm .We send birthday smiles to Mia Rebello on June 2 and Bert Combra on June 4.Enjoy your week.Peace

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The entranceway to the town is now almost complete. Sidewalks, curbs, and new traffic lanes are now done and trees have been planted to add some greenery. I understand that planters will soon be placed around the brickwork to make the approach even more inviting.

With all of this work being done around town I was hoping that the powers that be would finally correct the dedication plaque in the Dennis Alley Community Park that reads “Oak Buffs” instead of Oak Bluffs. I have made a few requests to have it replaced but no one seems to be correcting it. It is almost three years ago that it was installed. Seems to me that a solution should have been found by now. The lack of action leaves a feeling that it just isn’t that important. What’s the story?

I am sorry to have to tell you that Matt Bose is leaving the library. There will be a reception for him on Friday, May 21 from 2 to 4 in the Library Meeting Room. Matt kept me and so many Times readers informed of events at the library over the past few years, so please stop by to thank Matt for all he’s done and to wish him well.

We send our condolences to Beth and Gary Smith, and daughter Meredith, on the loss of their daughter Alison. We are so very sorry.The 17th annual Oak Bluffs Memorial Day Road Race will take place on Sunday, May 30, to benefit Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, starting at 11:00 am for the 5K Walk and 5K Race, preceded by a 1 mile fun run at 10:30 am. Pre-registration cost is $15 and you will get a free tee-shirt with pre-registration only. If you register the day of the race, the fee is $20. To register, please go to hospiceofmv.org or for further information, please call Roger Wey at 508-693-7887.Louis Dahill was happy to share the news with me that thanks to the generosity of family, friends, and the community, Team Bink was the top donation earner for the Miles of Memories Walk on May 16. A worthy cause and a beautiful day shared by many. Congratulations to all who helped out however they could.Belated birthday wishes to Marion Cardoza who was 89 on May 12. Annette Moreis celebrates on May 21, Doreen Anderson the 22nd, Kay Manning on May 24, and James Trip and Connie DeFelice on May 26.Enjoy your week.Peace

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Thank you to everyone who extended so many positive comments regarding my Mother’s Day column last week. I am glad it touched so many people.

The sight of shrubs and trees in bloom, and gardens ready to be cleaned up, and new flowers planted in them is beckoning me outdoors, but due to an un-specific knee injury, I have had to rely on someone else to do this work. I must admit the results of this are most pleasing and beautiful. I must rely on crutches for awhile, and I find it difficult to be a patient patient, but I am trying.

I can tell you some very specific places in town that are not at all friendly to anyone on crutches or who has difficulty walking. Cracks, dips in the sidewalks, opening heavy doors to stores, etc. make me so very grateful that my condition is only temporary and also most sympathetic to anyone who has difficulty getting about for any reason. So count your blessings.Get ready for the Oak Bluffs Senior Center’s first Foxwoods Trip of the season on Wednesday, June 2, and travel with this fun group to Foxwoods for a day of entertainment. The cost is $25 for the bus, and participants are responsible for their own boat fares, lunch, and spending money. Sign up with Rose at the Center where you can also get more details regarding the trip.Maureen and Bill Anderson had special guests over the weekend. Their granddaughters Astoria and Olympia spent some time with them while their parents, Ben Hall and Gretchen Anderson, were in Boston taking in the sights and also watching a Red Sox game. The rain did not dampen the children’s spirits and they all managed to find some interesting things to do in spite of the bad weather.Judi O’Donoghue is a very proud parent as her daughter Ellen is graduating cum laude from James Madison University, where she will complete her graduate work in one year and obtain a Masters in elementary education. Congratulations to Ellen and her parents .Please join Susan Whiting, local birding expert and co-author of Vineyard Birds 2, for a free Vineyard birding tour on Saturday morning, May 22. The number of participants will be limited, so please call the Oak Bluffs library to sign up. Also join us at the library on Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 pm, for a recap of Susan’s birding expedition to the offshore islands of New Zealand.The route for the Miles of Memories Alzheimer’s walk on May 16 has been changed due to construction at the bridges along State Beach. The new route is from the High School to Dodger’s Hole and back .The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital will provide $1,075,000 for community health projects over the next five years. The money will be available to the community through a grant process, sometime in the late summer or early fall. A broad-based citizens planning committee has been working over the last five months to review community data and identify our most pressing health needs. A forum will be held at the Howes House in West Tisbury on Tuesday, May 18, from 7 to 8:30 pm. Another will be held on Thursday, May 20, at the Vineyard Haven Library, also from 7 to 8:30 pm. Your reactions to recommendations and your further ideas and suggestions on priorities would be appreciated. The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group is holding its annual spring gala celebration, “An Evening Under the Stars,” on Thursday, May 20, from 6 to 9 pm at Mediterranean restaurant in Oak Bluffs. MVCSG is in its 24th year helping Vineyarders in two very important ways. There is a support group meeting for cancer patients and their families every Wednesday at 12 noon at the MV Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. The group also provides financial assistance to Island cancer patients in need. Since 2000, the group has given over $250,000 to Vineyard families. MVCSG is run by a volunteer board of directors; there is no paid staff. All monies raised go directly to Vineyard families living with cancer.The Sweet Life Café begins its 4th annual Wine Dinner series to benefit The Yard on Wednesday, May 19, at 6 pm at The Sweet Life Café in Oak Bluffs. Tickets are $95, and include the prix fixe menu with wines. For reservations, call the Sweet Life Café at 508-696-0200We send belated birthday smiles to Aaron Campos on April 29 and Skip Campos on May 4. Smiles to Steve Garvin on May 14, followed by Lester White the next day. Andrew Farrissey, Louise Dahil, and Heidi Jardin all share May 18, and Bob Kinnecom, Keith Crosland, and twins Jaime and John Pacheco will be celebrating on May 20. Enjoy your week.Peace.

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Our town is looking brand new with all the activity going on around Circuit Avenue and in front of the Steamship Authority wharf. New curbings, brick sidewalks, newly built areas for plants, and numerous workers and police detail workers have been seen everywhere in this area. The way things are, I think we will need a map to learn our way around the traffic lanes, but it promises to be very attractive when finished.

As you are doing your spring-cleaning, if you have some books you no longer want, drop them off at the Oak Bluffs Public Library, at 56R School Street and Pacific Avenue, next to the Oak Bluffs Town Hall. Call ahead if you are bringing in a large donation so someone can assist you. If you have books to donate, but can’t get them to the library, please call Gail Barmakian at 508-693-1274 to arrange a pick-up.

The Oak Bluffs Public Library is sponsoring a photography contest to select 14 images featuring Martha’s Vineyard that reflect Della Hardman’s legacy theme — “Savor the Moment.” The winning entries will be published in the Oak Bluffs Public Library Calendar for 2011. Contest entries will be accepted at the Oak Bluffs Public Library until 4 pm, May 29. Entry forms are available at the front desk or online at www.oakbluffslibrary.org.

My sister Joyce Wadsworth has been here this past week from her home in Paso Robles, CA, visiting with her daughter Lynn Rebello and her grandchildren, James, Ashley and Joel. On Saturday, Joyce and her longtime friend and former classmate at Tisbury School, Cynthia Schilling, left for a week’s vacation in Washington, DC.

Alex the Jester will perform at the Vineyard Playhouse on Saturday, May 1, at 11 am and at 2 pm. The first show will be appropriate for younger audiences (as young as four) and the second show will be geared more for teens, adults, and kids nine and up. The Martha’s Vineyard Library Association and the Vineyard Playhouse sponsor the show. Tickets are on sale at the Oak Bluffs Public Library, area libraries, and at the door.

Author Carol McCleary will talk about her newly released historical suspense novel, “The Alchemy of Murder,” on Saturday May 8, from 2:30 to 3:45 pm. The book features Nellie Bly, the world’s first investigative reporter, as well as historical characters such as Jules Verne, Louis Pasteur and Oscar Wilde.

Please join in at the library for a special movie presentation of a newly released DVD on Thursday, May 6, from 6 until 7:45 pm. Don’t miss this historical drama about the young Queen Victoria, England’s longest serving monarch, starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend.

We send birthday smiles to Fred Hall Jr. and Todd Alexander, on May 5, Andy and Kathy Farrissey celebrate their wedding anniversary on May 6. I remember friend Marilyn’s birthday, on May 7, and Lisa Cottrell on May 8.

Enjoy your week. Peace

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Easter Sunday could not have been better if it had been designed by a script writer. The weather was warm, the fog lifted by late afternoon and the sun shone. Flowers were seen everywhere on lawns and in stores and beautiful displays in the churches.

Our South Carolina family — son Dion, Debra, grandchildren Ben and Paige — came up to spend Easter holidays with us, their siblings. and numerous cousins. My late mother-in-laws’ 40-plus-year tradition of an Easter egg hunt continued with now four generations participating plus numerous guests. Memories linger on.

Donna Klier and her children were here for the day joining her mother Wendy Rose, John Pachico, and other family members for Easter dinner.

On Tuesday, April 13, at 7 pm at the high school is the Oak Bluffs annual town meeting. This meeting is very important as both the town and school budgets will be discussed and voted upon. There will also be voting on a number of override measures on Thursday, April 15, from 10 am to 7 pm at the town library.

The Oak Bluffs School’s drama department will have their spring production of Show Of Shows this weekend. The play begins at 7 pm on Friday and Saturday and starts at 2 pm for Sunday’s matinee.

A special thank-you to the Oak Bluffs Highway Department for their immediate help when I called and inquired about painting stop lines at the 4-way stop at Hudson and Alpine avenues. As usual, they were most accommodating.

Our annual kindergarten orientation will take place on Wednesday, April 28, in the Oak Bluffs School Library from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Derick Araujo was injured in late February and tore the patellar tendon in his knee, which required surgery to be repaired. He will be out of work for a few months as he recovers and his wife, Rachel Araujo, has been unable to continue working as the Asst. O.B. School librarian in order to tend to Derick at home. The community is rallying to give them some help financially. The school is sponsoring a Spaghetti Dinner Benefit at the P-A Club on Sunday, April 18, from 5 to 7 pm. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased ahead of time from the O.B. school or from family members of Derick & Rachel.

The Women Empowered dinner will be held at the Mediterranean on Sunday, April 11, from 5:30-8:30. They had a great time last year and extend an invitation for anyone interested to attend this year. Please call Mediterranean at (508) 693-1617 to make your reservations.

For Vineyard Babe Ruth softball and baseball sign-ups, call 696-0461 or 693-1033, extension 235.

Ace MV will be holding a Writing to Learn workshop with Judy Miller, Ed.D. on April 10 from 9 am to 12noon at MVRHS. Register online at http://www.acemv.org, call 508-693-1033, ext. 240 or write lynn@acemv.org.

We send birthday smiles to Tevin Araujo on April 10, Michael Rebello on April 12, Sarah Neubert on April 13 and Nicholas BenDavid on April 15.

Enjoy your week.

Peace.

Sunday morning at dawn, I was treated to a beautiful winter sunrise. The horizon to the east looked as if it had been kissed with hues of pinks. The colors stretched across in ribbons of ever-brightening sky, treating the onlooker to a beautiful picture. I do miss the green foliage of spring and summer, but their lack offers me opportunities of viewing these sunrises to the east. And then at dusk, as I turn to the west, another panorama of color greets me to end a beautiful day. Even the rainy weather that followed that evening did not dampen the uplifting feeling brought on by that beautiful scene.

Our library has some interesting programs coming up in the next few days. On Saturday, Jan. 23, from 2:30 to 3:45 pm, come and connect on the subject of fossils. Dr. Fred Hotchkiss will bring an assortment of the fossils he takes to Vineyard classrooms. He hopes to engage you using these materials. Please feel free to bring fossils that you would like to show or to ask about.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, Jay Schofield, author and Vineyard resident, will discuss his book, “Beach Detecting in Surf & Sand,” and the art of metal detecting, including authentic treasure hunting success stories. The book talk will take place from 6 until 7:45 pm.

We send birthday smiles to Buddy deBettencourt, Michael Blake, and Paul Buckley on January 23, followed by Joe Peters, Megan Klein, and BJ Bailey on the 24th, Wayne Barrett and Julia Bettencourt on the 25th, and Caroline Davey on the 27th.

The news of the earthquake in Haiti has had far-reaching effects especially for our Island volunteers for the Fish Farm for Haiti Project. They have learned that the Fish Farm project in Lilavois is intact, but the Ste. Marie in Canapé Vert and the school in downtown Port-au-Prince have not faired as well. All the buildings in the compound and the Mother House of the Daughters of Mary Queen Immaculate have either collapsed or are too perilous to live in. The Sisters are sleeping in a tent in the courtyard. The front half (the older section) of the school in Port-au-Prince collapsed. One thousand girls attended classes in this school. Luckily the earthquake started at 4:53 pm, when classes were out.

The Sisters, in their blue nuns’ habits, were a familiar sight a few years ago when they made a short visit to the Island to assist in the fundraising for the farm. There are many organizations that you may donate to in order to assist in bringing help to this devastated country. Among them are the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Services, and Doctors Without Borders. Please consider helping out if you are able to.

Remember when the Carousel was called the Flying Horses, the Gazebo was the Bandstand, and who among you knows where Noepe Hill is?

Enjoy your week.

Peace.

All the people who decided to go to the warmth of Florida after the holidays must be shivering in the cold by now, just as we are here. At least the latest snow storms did not leave us too much to shovel, but we still have enough snow and ice underfoot to make walking treacherous.

A reminder that tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 15, is a professional day for teachers and staff. There will be no school for students on that day. There also will be no school on Monday, Jan. 18, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Due to a conflict with the Strings Concert, the Oak Bluffs School PTO meeting has been postponed.

All of you Oak Bluffs residents and taxpayers who are concerned about the present financial situation in town need to come to the Oak Bluffs Finance and Advisory Committee meeting today, Thursday, Jan. 14, at 4 pm in the first floor meeting room of the Oak Bluffs Library. There will be a public session to hear town residents’ opinions about how to balance next year’s budget. Current projections suggest that Oak Bluffs will have a $1,500,000 shortfall next year.

Areas that contribute to the shortfall will be shared and budget-balancing possibilities such as implementing hotel and meal taxes, cutting town services, freezing wages, collaborating with other towns, and raising taxes through overrides will be discussed. Opinions and ideas from the meeting will guide development for the fiscal year 2011 budget. My suggestion would be to take the Town Reports from the last three years and compare expenses for various departments over that time. That way you will be able to see which departments have increased their expenses significantly and you will have information to present suggestions at the meeting.

Priscilla Sylvia has received word that her son, Carl Hjelm, and his wife, Kirsten, will be moving from Idaho to the Portsmouth, N.H., area soon. Carl has been an assistant fire chief in Idaho and hopefully he will be able to continue in this endeavor in New Hampshire.

We send birthday smiles to Roddy Santos today; followed by Jessica Peters, Catherine Deese, and Tyson Araujo tomorrow, Katherine deBettencourt on the 17th, Marcia Valentzas on January 19, Alfie Araujo the next day, and granddaughter Talia Rogers on January 21.

Enjoy your week and send your news along to me.

Peace.

It’s always nice to start off the first column of a new year with an uplifting story. A friend related to me that retired Fire Chief Nelson Amaral and retired Deputy Fire Chief James Moreis were very pleasantly surprised when after one of our recent snowstorms, their driveways and walks were being cleared of snow. The person who performed this good deed was Oak Bluffs Fireman Ken Davey. So to Ken goes our first Act of Random Kindness Award for 2010. If you have someone in mind that you think should be recognized for a good deed, please either call or email me.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, from 2 to 4 pm, our library will again be showing the very popular movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, again due to popular demand. Come and enjoy this movie on the wide screen while beverages and popcorn will be served.

To celebrate 25 years of ownership, the Mansion House is hosting a slumber party during the month of January. All Vineyarders are invited to book a room for $25 per person and view Main Street or the Vineyard Haven Harbor from their hotel room. This slumber party includes all the hotel perks including free use of the health club and a complimentary breakfast at Zephrus.

On January 12 the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network will have as their speaker Michael L. Bejtlich, a professor of management and entrepreneurship at Cape Cod Community College. Professor Bejtlich will offer detailed advice on writing a business plan to help you start or expand your business. You may get more details at info@mvwomens network.org. The meeting will begin at 11 am with registration and check-in.

How could I have possibly omitted Robert Duarte in my remembrance of those lost to us in 2009 in last week’s column? We shall remember him as a devoted police officer, husband, father, and grandfather.

On Friday, Jan. 22, the Oak Bluffs Senior Center Conversations Program will have as their guest speaker Melissa Vincent of TRI, who will talk about the Grant Program under which TRI distributes Federal Funds for Home Improvements for those people whose incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the local median income. For example: a family of four would be eligible for a Home Improvement Grant if their combined income does not exceed $65,000. The program runs from 10 to 11:30 am.

Mary Alley and her son Jeremy Alley-Tarter spent New Year’s weekend in Natick at the home of Heather and Leon Holt and their children Myles and Lucas. They all had an enjoyable but quiet holiday and made it back to the Island just before the weekend storm.

Lana BenDavid came from North Carolina to visit her parents Linda and Eddie BenDavid this past week. She visited with her brothers, Ed, Jason, and Randy and their families and her sister Vicky White and her two daughters also. All in all it was a happy family holiday week.

The library children’s story time will continue on Wednesday, Jan. 14. The toddler story time starts at 10:30 am followed by pre-school story time at 11:30 am. Martin Luther King and Peace are the themes for both groups.

We send birthday smiles to Brenda Leonard on January 10, Grandson Sam Alley and Richard Combra Jr. on January 11, Jack deBettencourt and Richard Mavro the next day, Gert Knowlton and Genevieve Rogers on the 13th, and Pat Dorsey on January 14.

Enjoy your week and please keep an eye open and a helping hand reached out for your neighbors during these cold winter weeks.

Peace.