Community Notes

Ray Whitaker (right) working in the YMCA pool with regular client Michael Dubroff.

Ray Whitaker has been named the Elder and Additional-Needs Program Coordinator at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA. He will be responsible for developing and implementing programs and activities that include elders and additional-needs populations.

Mr. Whitaker came to the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard within the first month of its grand opening to the public. Having been a lifelong fitness enthusiast, he makes it his goal to help people get healthier.

Almost immediately, Mr. Whitaker started offering personal training to older clients and those with physical challenges. “These folks are a whole lot tougher than they’re given credit for,” he is quoted in a press release. “They want to be challenged, they want to be considered, and they want to feel vital.”

His ultimate goal, he said, is to have the Y become a center of all-around fitness, social engagement, and self-empowerment, and to develop more programs such as the Elder Tech Fair that he and Teen Center director Tony Lombardi launched several years ago (to fulfill community service hours, teens help elders understand their personal computers and handheld devices.)

Mr. Whitaker Ray is a native New Yorker  who moved to the Vineyard in 1993 to work at WMVY, where he met his wife, Laurel Redington, who is the Assistant Director of Alex’s Place at the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard. His radio show, “Just Four Guys,” can be heard on WMVY,, and Tune In Radio.

They live in Oak Bluffs with their almost 16 year old daughter, Tessa


Registration is open for all ACE MV fall classes. Class sizes are limited, and early registration is encouraged.

The fall catalog features 36 classes for all ages and interests, including a range of job skill training courses in computer technology and business, Math and English classes to prepare for college entrance or GED exams, undergraduate and graduate-level college courses, and a variety of enrichment classes such as iPad Basics, Creative Non-Fiction Writing, and Jazz Appreciation. Some courses offer certificate and college (both graduate and undergraduate) credit through Fitchburg State University. Adults may bring their children (6-12 yrs old) to learn the basics of Salsa and Latin beat together. Those approaching senior status may prepare for the aging process with Voice Craft, Understanding Medicare, or the workshop Envisioning Your Emerging Self.

Sponsors and cosponsors include Slavin Chiropractic (Eat Well – Move Well – Think Well), Media Voices for Children (Ethical Consumerism), SCORE (Successful Small Business Management), Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (Genealogy: Developing your Family History), Featherstone (Ceramics), The Yoga Barn (Yoga Teacher Training certification course with optional college credits, and Relaxed Body, Open Mind, Deep Rest), Blank’s Music Studio (Piano), McIntosh Motors (Auto Maintenance for Women), and the Chilmark Writing Workshop (Writing from the Heart).

Register online and see a downloadable course catalog at;  or register by mail or in person at the office ( 35 Greenwood Ave., 2nd floor, at the MV Family Center), or at the Course Sampling Fair Wednesday, October 1, at MVRHS from 5 to 6:30 pm, or during the Living Locally Harvest Festival October 4 from 10am to 3pm. Check the website for more details, or call Lynn at ACE MV at 774-310-1131 or  508 693-9222, or email


The Martha’s Vineyard Partnership for Health will kick off a free six-week workshop series next month to help people with chronic health conditions, such as chronic pain, depression, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Beginning September 13, sessions will be held weekly on Saturdays from 10 am to 12:30 pm at the Oak Bluffs Library.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (My Life, My Health) was developed by Stanford University. The program’s goals are to empower people affected by chronic diseases to self-manage their care to help them live a healthier, active, and independent life through lifestyle and behavior changes, according to a press release.

Participants will learn techniques to help them deal with the problems, frustrations, fatigue, pain, and isolation that sometimes accompany a chronic health condition, according to the workshop teachers, Rebecca Kline, a registered nurse, and Doreen Anderson, a certified health coach.

The sessions offer simple tools and interventions to help people better manage their health conditions, reduce the risk of falling, and improve nutrition and physical and mental health.

Participants will learn appropriate exercises for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance. Medication use and skills for communication between family, friends, and medical professionals also are addressed.

Pre-registration is required. Call 508-269-9044 to register by phone, or leave a message to request a registration form by mail or email.

MV Partnership for Health is a chronic disease management program run by Island Health Care and the Vineyard Health Care Access Program. The Partnership is funded by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Community Health Initiative.


Daybreak Clubhouse, a program of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, invites the Island community to join members and staff at the home of Paul and Linda Condlin, 21 Katama Farm North Road, Edgartown, on Saturday, August 16, from 4 to 7 pm for hors d’oeuvres, music, and presentations by Daybreak members.

A $30 entry fee for the event will directly fund educational scholarships for members, according to a press release. Scholarships have been used by Daybreak members for piano lessons and courses at Featherstone Center for the Arts, Cape Cod Community College and others. Daybreak Clubhouse is a consumer-run recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation program for those with mental illness, providing support to help individuals enjoy and fully participate in their community.


The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank is seeking a caretaker for its Wapatequa Woods Reservation on the Oak Bluffs-Tisbury town line. The position includes housing.

“The caretaking position calls for 19 hours of work each week managing the Land Bank’s  Wapatequa Woods reservation plus several nearby conservation properties, under the supervision of the Land Bank foreman,” according to a press release.  “A rent-in-lieu-of-wages agreement has been prepared and prospective applicants are urged to read it in order to learn the extent of the position’s duties and responsibilities. The agreement calls for a term of two years.”

Documents are available for review on the Land Bank website (, or call 508-627-7141 for more information. It is recommended that applicants attend an on-premises site-visit scheduled for Wednesday, August 20, at 8 am; directions are found on the website. Applications must be received by 3 pm, Friday, August 29.

Thimble Farm, experimenting in hydroponics, is looking for volunteers. — Randi Baird

Island Grown Initiative is looking for volunteers for the hydroponics greenhouse at Thimble Farm, building new systems, maintaining our current systems, seeding, harvesting, cleaning. No experience is necessary. Everyone can volunteer and the staff will show volunteers what to do. People who are interested should contact farm manager Keith Wilda at 508-687-9621.


The 5th Annual Walter Cronkite Awards will take place Tuesday, August 5, 5–8 pm, at the home of Karen and David Brush in Edgartown (the former home of Mr. Cronkite). This year’s ceremony, which benefits the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative (MVYLI) will feature speakers Bob Schieffer of CBS News and Christopher Callahan at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Awards will be presented to Dr. Sylvia Earle and Sam Low for “using the power of media to create positive social change in the world,” according to a press release. This year’s theme is “oceans.” MVYLI is a project of the Stone Soup Leadership Group, where Mr. Cronkite served as honorary chairman for over a decade. Seating is limited, and the suggested donation is $150. Please RSVP at, or by emailing Address and parking instructions will be provided when you RSVP.

(From left) MVPCS science teachers Jane Paquet and Louis Hall, architects Bruce MacNelly and Reade Kontje-Webster, school director Robert Moore, West Tisbury selectman Skipper Manter, MVPCS student Jack Rizza. — Paul Karasik

The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School (MVPCS) began the building process of two new classrooms and a community basketball court with a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, July 1. With a $200,000 grant awarded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center this spring, MVPCS will dedicate the addition of new science labs and equipment to implement a modern science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to accommodate the K-12 school’s ever-growing student body.

Board members, students, parents, teachers, architects and other members of the community gathered outside the school to celebrate the groundbreaking. Students used their existing scientific knowledge to present science-related projects to the crowd in anticipation of the new facilities. Astrid Tilton displayed her cyanotype prints that require darkroom chemistry, Jack Rizza a data analysis piece, and 2014 graduate Greg Allan led his peers through a computerized tour of the classrooms.

According to development director Paul Karasik, the labs will will supply students with up-to-date equipment for biology, chemistry, physics, botany, and environmental studies beginning on the first day of school in September, 2015. The basketball court will be ready for use by the end of this summer.

Said Mr. Karasik, “The Charter School firmly believes that our country needs world-class scientists and that the only way to foster them is through a world-class facility.”

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - Governor Patrick joins legislators, organized labor, business leaders and worker advocates at the State House to sign S. 2195, “An Act Restoring the Minimum Wage and Providing Unemployment Insurance Reforms," a landmark bill that gradually raises the minimum wage to $11 over three years, lowers unemployment insurance (UI) costs for employers across the state, strengthens safety protections for workers and makes permanent the multi-agency task force charged with combatting the underground economy. — Photo by Eric Haynes

As of Thursday, June 26, the newly designed town flags of West Tisbury, Aquinnah, and Edgartown hang proudly at the State House in Boston. This June marked the 20th anniversary of the State House’s flag program, which allows the banners of nearly all towns across the Commonwealth to fly in the prestigious Great Hall of Flags.

Town officials James Neville, Matt Montanile, and Adam Wilson traveled to the state’s capital to present the flags to Governor Deval Patrick, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and Representative Tim Madden. Mr. Neville’s brothers, John Neville and Matthew Malone, and his father, Jack Neville, and supervisor of the Dukes County Community Corrections Center startup, Pamerson Ifill, were also in attendance.

The seven Island residents also witnessed the minimum wage bill signing ceremony in the Nurses Hall after presenting the flags, which now stand among over 350 other town flags, including those of Oak Bluffs and Tisbury.

Island veterans, law enforcement personnel, and first responders are invited to join in a 26.2-mile rucksack march on Saturday, May 31, in support of Carry the Fallen and Active Heroes.

Offshore Kinetics of MV is sponsoring the march, which goes from 6:30 am to 4 pm. It begins and ends at the VFW in Oak Bluffs.

Owner Michael Blake said there is no cost for participants, who should bring a rucksack or backpack filled with any supplies they might need throughout the day.

Starting at 3:30 pm, the Island community is invited to a post-march cookout, where everyone can meet the participants, enjoy music with a D.J., and view displays by various Island law enforcement and first responder agencies. Donations will be appreciated.

Carry the Fallen aims to raise money for Active Heroes, a nonprofit that provides veterans and military families with financial support and programs geared toward combating post-traumatic stress disorder and veteran suicide, according to a press release from Mr. Blake.

For more information, call 774-521-7545.