Town Columns

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - October 5, 2006

Just when you think your husband never listens to anything you say, he does. Last night I asked Mike about the training session this past Saturday for the new "Jaws of Life" tools the Fire Department had bought. This morning, upon returning home from my Space Needs Committee meeting, I found an informative synopsis, handwritten by my husband, placed neatly on my desk. So now I can explain it to all of you, with the following caveat: my computer doesn't have spell-check for fire and rescue equipment and Mike is a terrible speller. I apologize in advance if he researched the correct spelling of Holmatro (he doesn't get home for lunch till after I file my column).

The West Tisbury Fire Department has purchased a set of four rescue tools from the Holmatro Company, replacing the two-piece set they bought in 1988. Included are a cutter, spreader, ram, and mini-cutter, with a gas-powered power unit. The 2006 version is lighter, more powerful, and more mobile; it can run two tools at once instead of just one. As the new equipment is compatible with those used in Vineyard Haven, Chilmark, and Aquinnah, Chief Estrella invited Rescue Team members from all the Island towns to a four-hour instruction and demonstration practice at the Public Safety Building, led by a representative from the Holmatro Company. The highlight of these training sessions is always the cutting up of a vehicle, useful practice if you or your loved ones are trapped in a car and need to be cut and peeled out of it. Training will continue at the monthly Rescue Team drill on Monday night.

Saturday was a busy day in town, especially at the Ag Hall, which hosted a Horse Show, the Antique Engine Show, and the Annual Harvest Festival. A very handsome scarecrow, dressed and made up like a pirate, stood at the entry to the Hall, welcoming all who entered. The Ag Society had a full day and night of events planned and I know that lots of folks from off-Island came for the weekend.

Saturday was also the next-to-last Farmer's Market of the season. There still seems to be an abundance of flowers for bouquets, and gorgeous vegetables on the stands. Mark Hearn and his children, Devon and Blake, were here from Abingdon to help Glenn and Linda at the market, then to head over to the Harvest Festival. Beth Kramer asked me to let people know that she will be baking this week and Douglas will be manning the Biga booth on Oct. 7. She mentioned special orders, which can be picked up on Saturday; it hadn't occurred to me to order a winter's worth of sticky buns to keep in the freezer. Victoria Phillips told me there will be a special Farmer's Market tote bag for sale, for $12, to benefit the market.

Pat Waring was off-Island last weekend attending the Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. "Usually lots of Islanders go, but I didn't see anyone this year." She didn't run into Toni and Richard Cohen, who were also there. But she did run into a cute black baby bunny, who has joined Claude in the Waring rabbit hutch.

Lanny McDowell has just returned from a painting and birding trip to Monhegan, Maine. He was joined there by a revolving cast of friends: Bob and Gail Mone, Toni and Richard Cohen, Eleanor and David Stanwood, and Peter and Barbara Oberfest. Monhegan is, according to Lanny, "a painter's heaven, also a mecca for birders, almost unchanged over the 30 years I have gone there." Lanny returned home to hold court at the opening of an exhibition of his paintings at the Dragonfly Gallery. The paintings are of waves and breaking water, observed from his boat on trips to Naushon. Marcia Smilack's photographs, also of watery reflected views, share the exhibition space through Oct. 8.

Our Town Treasurer Kathy Logue is now our Officially Certified Town Treasurer Kathy Logue. It takes three years on the job and three years of classes before even being eligible to take the test. Kathy did and passed with flying colors. Congratulations.

The Personnel Board needs a new member. They meet once monthly,‑on the second Monday, at 5:30 pm. If you have experience in personnel or human resources, or if you are interested to volunteer and learn, please send a letter to Maria McFarland, Personnel Board Secretary, at P.O. Box 278, West Tisbury 02575.

Julia Humphreys called to tell me about amazing Xochi's latest exploits, among them helping her care for a box turtle in her back yard and riding in a canoe on Chilmark Pond. I gave the wrong name of Lisa Vanderhoop's calendar last week; it is Vineyard Seadogs. Lisa is still following Julia and Xochi around with her camera for next year's calendar.

Stephen Schneider is here from Bordeaux, France, for a visit with his mother, Nina, on Music Street. While here, he will be having dinner one evening with Tom Vogl and Katherine Long. I wondered if they were serving devilled eggs or soufflé for dinner, but it seems that Stephen had requested swordfish. Katherine's eggs will be used in the crème brulée for dessert.

The Library will have some new faces on the circulation desk. In response to ads for a new Assistant Librarian to replace Ebba Hierta, Beth Kramer was promoted to fill that that position. Then Ava Castro, Emily Smith, and Jennifer Tseng, all West Tisbury residents, were hired for circulation clerk positions. Beth's job has been posted and advertised, a 20-hour per week job also on the circulation desk.

Don't forget that because of the Columbus Day holiday that schools, Town Hall, and the Library will be closed on Monday, Oct. 9.

This Saturday, Oct. 7, Elaine and Dan Pace are expecting 60 friends and family members at their home on Pond Road West to witness and celebrate the marriage of their daughter, Rebecca, to Chris Barclay of Newtonville. We are all hoping for a beautiful sunny day.

The Polly Hill Arboretum will hold a workshop next Saturday, Oct. 14, led by Holly Bellebuono of Vineyard Herbs. Participants will begin with a walk to identify medicinal weeds and herbs on the Arboretum's grounds. Then they will move indoors to make oil infusions and beeswax-based ointments. All supplies are included in the $40 fee/ $35 for PHA members. Pre-register at 508-693-9426.

A book of photographs featuring the work of West Tisbury's Alan Brigish is now available. "The Brigish Collection 2006 Limited Edition" is a retrospective of his documentary photographs of the past ten years. It includes images of Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Cuba, India, Namibia, and South Africa, as well as of our own beloved Martha's Vineyard. Online images of the book may be viewed at

Happy Birthday to Howard Curtis. Although the official day was Oct. 1, he was feted by the library staff at breakfast Monday morning before the library opened, and with chocolate cake at the Monday night movie.

I hope everybody has a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and the changing season. There is a russet-colored ruffle around the Mill Pond and a fire-engine red one across the way at Whiting's Pond. The town seems to glow with the clear autumn light. The days are noticeably shorter already.

P.S. Re the first paragraph, he did check and it is the correct spelling.