Town Column

Oak Bluffs

By Megan Alley
Click here to contact Megan

Posted August 30, 2007

Labor Day weekend is here. That weekend that looked so far away in June is upon us with all the end of summer celebrations and farewells 'til next year. I am sure that somehow the days are half the length they were when I was younger and in school myself because time has gone by so quickly. When I was in school, yes, I can remember that summer seemed to last forever and when school started all of our school chums that we had not seen for two months appeared to have grown at least a foot. So take care of all the children headed back to school next week who may be walking or riding their bikes once again.

Eva Mae Magee received a wonderful gift in celebration of her 82nd birthday. Her daughter Julie took her to Mohegan Sun where she saw a Keith Urban concert. Over 8,000 people were there and Eva Mae said she had a wonderful time. This was the first time she had been off-Island in five years.

The Martha's Vineyard Cultural Council will be holding a meeting on Sept. 10 at 7:30 pm at the Howes House in West Tisbury. They are looking for proposals for community-oriented arts, humanities, and science projects and they want to help all those interested in applying for grants that support cultural activities in the community.

Seamond Ponsart Roberts, has sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to her local newspaper. If you remember, Seamond was a former resident of Tisbury and the daughter of one of the West Chop Lighthouse keepers. She has sent me several messages regarding her family's experience in New Orleans both during and after hurricane Katrina. The letter states that what started out as a FEMA fiasco revolving around FEMA trailers turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Her family had evacuated New Orleans the day before Katrina and as soon as possible went to the FEMA Office in Lafayette to see if they could obtain a FEMA trailer. After eight hours of waiting at FEMA, they were told outright there were no such thing as FEMA trailers, even though they were in an RV park right there in New Iberia in which at least 50 of them had been moved in with evacuees through the New Iberia Red Cross. There was one less than 30 feet away with a sign saying FEMA VEHICLE. They went out and rented a mobile home on their own. FEMA called in January, 2006 and when they were told they had rented a trailer on their own hung up on them. Well, now the Roberts are grateful things worked out the way they did because they ended up not getting formaldehyde-ed as others who occupied the FEMA trailers have been. But she states "The next time all agencies must do better than this. FEMA, like its initial, gets an F in my book. On Katrina's anniversary they should give this 2005 moment serious thought and promise the citizens of the United States that they WILL do better when there is a next time."

Tracy and Keith Olsen hosted a large party on Sunday last. The occasion was a multiple celebration including the 82nd birthday of Tracy's dad, retired Oak Bluffs Fire Chief Nelson Amaral, numerous milestone birthdays in Nelson's daughter Linda Dickson's family, a gathering of Amaral relatives, and a surprise retirement celebration for Tracy and Linda's mom Eleanor. Friends, relatives, and fire personnel were on hand to honor Eleanor, who was the administrative assistant to the Oak Bluffs Fire Department for more than 20 years.

I was surprised to see among the numerous Amaral family members, Brian Deese, who I last knew as a student at the Oak Bluffs School when I worked there. Brian and his wife Deanna along with daughter Talia, who live in Colorado, were visiting his mother Catherine Deese and were pleased to be here in time for this family party.

The first annual MSPCA Walk For Animals will be held on Sunday, Sept. 9, starting and ending on the grounds of the Edgartown School. Registration begins at 10:30 am, with the walk getting underway at noon. The cost is $25 and participants are encouraged to get sponsors for the fund-raiser. You may pick up registration forms at the MSPCA. There will be refreshments, raffles, contests, pet photos, and agility demonstrations, as well as some vendor tables, so start planning now to take part in this worthwhile walk. If you would like more information, you may contact Jen Morgan, projects coordinator at the MSPCA at 508-627-8662.

An important notice from Roberta Mendiovitz who wishes to remind all pet owners to take special care with your animal friends when leaving the Island to go to winter homes. Cats and dogs do not do well fending for themselves on the Island in the autumn and winter. Please make sure that your summer animals are well cared for either by a non-kill shelter, like Second Chance in Oak Bluffs, or left for adoption at the MSPCA if you cannot take them with you. Phone numbers are in the telephone book and lost animals should be listed with the animal control officer in your town.

Last Thursday, Tom Newton was hit by a car while riding his bicycle in Vineyard Haven. He was sent to Massachusetts General Hospital, but is now recovering at home. Tom and his wife Dorothy often teach ballroom dancing with the Island group on Sunday nights. Get well wishes can be sent to Tom at P.O. Box 1422, Oak Bluffs, MA.

Don't forget: the documentary film "Darfur, Too Dark Too Far" will be shown at the Oak Bluffs Public Library tonight at 6:30 pm. This documentary, which was screened at the Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival and awarded the Best Social Documentary at the New York International Independent Film Festival, will be shown on the library large projection screen.

We send Birthday Smiles to Ed Ben David, Sr. and Evelyn Christopher on September 2, Ruthie Metell the next day, and Skylar Christopher Hall on Sept. 7.

Enjoy your week and send your news along.