By Jacqueline Sexton - August 10, 2006

In case you didn't notice the heat last week, NStar did, and left messages on answering machines telling us how to conserve energy. And executive secretary Tim Carroll sent e-mails to long lists last Wednesday imploring everyone to "PLEASE shut off all unnecessary electrical equipment today." He added that "ISO New England is running at 10 percent over yesterday. At 5 pm on Tuesday we were using 27,180 megawatts. They re expecting to break the record and use over 22,000 megawatts today."

Considering the fact that every air conditioner on the Island was going full blast, it's amazing that we survived the heat wave without any serious or prolonged outages. (So far.) Now we can brace ourselves for the next electricity bill.

Like so many of us, Phyllis and Bob Conway stayed cool at home during the torrid days, emerging only on Sunday to go to the beach where Bob flew one of his kites and went swimming, and Phyllis enjoyed feeling "slightly cooler."

Let us hope it's really cooler this weekend for the runners in the road race on Saturday. Remember that there is no flea market this Saturday because of the race. It's a good idea to plan any excursions through town for later in the day as gridlock will probably prevail during the morning.

The winners of the library's Brickner poetry contest will read their poems at a ceremony at the library next Monday, August 14, at 5:30 pm.

Thaw Malin and his wife, Karen English, are back amongst us until October. They report that they love Texas, triple-digit heat and all, and are practicing the "y'all" drawl. You will recognize Thaw by the 10-gallon sombrero he's sporting.

Peter Simon's 2007 calendar is out to general acclaim, as always. He will be the subject of an interview on Jim Powell's MVTV Ch 13 program sometime soon.

John Maloney will read poems from his new book "Progress Report," next Wednesday, August 16, at the library, 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. The event is sponsored by The Friends of the Chilmark Library.

The indomitable walking women will assemble at 9 am next Thursday, August 17, at the Sepiessa Point reservation. Newcomers are always welcome. Wear long pants and socks to protect yourself against ticks, and bring water or juice. For more information, call Julie Coleman at 508-645-2261 or Judy Maynes at 508-645-3460.

The Community Center's birthday celebrations continue on Saturday, August 12 with a filming of David Modigliani's "Barefoot at Beetlebung" at 6:30 pm, after which everyone is invited to share the big birthday cake. At 8 pm, Clare Muldaur and her band, "Clare and the Reasons" will give an outdoor concert surrounding the Alex Cohen memorial marathon basketball game. The film will be shown again on Sunday at 1 pm and at 6 pm.

Next Thursday, August 17, at 7:30 pm the center will show Marc Levin's film "Protocols of Zion," which deals with the resurgence of anti-Semitism after 9/11. The award-winning filmmaker (Sundance Grand Jury Prize 2005 for SLAM.) will join viewers for a discussion after the film. The film length is 93 minutes.

Kitty Murphy and Enos Ray are showing paintings, prints, and jewelry at the Stanley Murphy Gallery on the South Road. The gallery is open daily, from 1 to 6 pm, through September.

And Jules Worthington is showing paintings at the Sovereign Bank with an opening reception tomorrow, Friday, August 11, 5 to 7 pm.

For the younger set, the pig, the storybook character from "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" and "If You Give a Pig a Party," will be on hand to greet the audience next Monday, August 14, from 11 to 11:30 am for a library program at the community center.

A reception will follow the final concert of the season at the community center by the Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society next Tuesday, August 15, The concert starts at 8 pm and will feature oboe selections by Humbert Lucarelli.