Town Column

Oak Bluffs

By Megan Alley
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Bill Bettencourt, Paula Morris, and Rachel Cottle-Shea
Windemere resident Bill Bettencourt, center, just after he rode the Ferris wheel at the Ag Fair. He is shown with Paula Morris, left, and Rachel Cottle-Shea, who rode with him, on the right. It was Mr. Bettencourt's first trip to the Fair. Photos courtesy of Betsy Burmeister

Posted August 23, 2007

Wasn't the fireworks celebration last Friday evening just the best ever? Or do we say that every year? The crowds of people worked their way into town throughout the day carrying chairs, picnic baskets, warm jackets, blankets, and other items, obviously prepared for an afternoon and night of enjoyment. Many thanks to all the people who made this beautiful night so enjoyable, including the many individuals and businesses that so kindly donated to the Oak Bluffs Fire Department Civic Association and the many firemen, EMTs, and Association members who worked hard for over a year, raising money and then donating their time to erect traffic barriers, signs and tapes and preparing the grounds for parking and the final fireworks displays. Also adding to the success of the occasion were the efforts of the Police Department, which was diligent in keeping traffic moving safely and quickly, and of course, the Highway Department, which gave assistance wherever it was needed both before and after the celebration.

On Friday, August 31, our guests at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center Conversations program will be Matt & Dolores Goode, who have recently returned from a trip to west Africa. They observed the celebration of Ghana's 50th anniversary of their independence from Britain. They have photos and CDs of the sights and sounds of that country and will relate their experiences in that far-away land that we do not know much about. The program runs from 10 to 11:30 am.


The British have landed! Mick and Di Prince, Jim Yea, Dr. Bernard Walters, and Kate Smith have encamped at Ken Rusczyk's house near Lagoon Pond. The three teachers and two professors are enjoying barbeques while reading, swimming, and sunning (a rare UK event) on the Lagoon by day and hitting dining spots and the brewpub by night and a delish seafood dinner at Sara Crafts house. They were wowed by the Grand Illumination and Jon and Dee Lairds' house party in the Campgrounds. Soon, it's back to grey days and teaching.

Summer may be just about over, but there are still some interesting events taking place at our Oak Bluffs Library On Saturday, August 25, there will be an author talk as Charlayne Hunter-Gault, author of "New News out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance." Ms. Hunter-Gault is a highly decorated and widely acclaimed journalist and news correspondent, as well as one of the first black students to attend the University of Georgia, in 1961.

August 29 will be the end of summer pre-school story time. Come at 10:30 am and join in the musical parade!

The Friends of the Vineyard Haven library will present a tribute to two beloved Vineyarders, Art Buchwald and Bill Styron, on Sunday, August 26, at 3 pm. Mike Wallace, Alexandria Buchwald, daughter of Art, Leslie Stark, and Tom Styron, son of Bill, will do the readings. There will be refreshments served afterwards.

We send birthday smiles to Nelson Amaral on August 26, the brothers Marchand, Andrew and Matt, and grandson Chris Alley on August 28 and on August 29, Alice Rose will celebrate her 97th birthday.

The George V. Tankard, Jr. Memorial 5K Road Race and one-mile Fun Run is coming up on September 15. For more information, call Carrie at 508-693-2797. I will have more information and details on this event in the next few weeks.

Oak Bluffs contemporary artist Bettie Eubanks's exhibit at the Cornerway Restaurant in Chilmark will end this Sunday, August 26. During this last week, 50 percent of the purchase price will be donated in the name of the purchaser to Sisters Network Inc., the National African American Breast Cancer Survivors Organization.

Well, last week ended with three teachers from the Oak Bluffs School being involved in a couple of serious accidents. Kindergarten teacher Ann Davey, her husband, Allan, and their two sons, Benjamin and Jason, were involved in a collision with a jet ski while the family was enjoying a peaceful Sunday afternoon on the water off of Eastville Beach. The whole family ended up in the water, and fortunately no one was injured more seriously than they were, but it was an extremely narrow escape and the recovery from their injuries and the experience will take some time before things are back to normal again.

Then on Wednesday, Pam Melrose and Priscilla Sylvia, both retired teachers from the school, were in Pam's car in the parking lot when, in Pam's words, the car suddenly went berserk. The car went out of control throughout the lot and every attempt by Pam to brake was not successful and even when the car finally came to a halt against a tree, the air bags did not deploy. Pam seems to be doing fine but Priscilla took the worst of it, suffering a couple of broken bones in her hand and perhaps some cracked ribs. Miraculously there were no cars or pedestrians in the lot so no one else was injured. We just want to send speedy recovery wishes to all of these families and let them know we are thinking of them.

The Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at UMass-Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities are sponsoring a talk at the Oak Bluffs Library on Friday, August 24, at 3:30 pm. Assistant Professor and Oak Bluffs native Chris Larkosh will speak on the topic of contemporary Portuguese-American Literature.

Enjoy your week and send your news of upcoming activities to me.