Town Columns

Valerie SonnenthalLife is buzzing in Chilmark. Can’t even pull into parking lots, local eggs are sold out by noon, and the bulletin board at Chilmark Store has no space left. I stopped there for breakfast last week in the rain and the porch was full. Laurie David and a friend in one corner, Doug Liman, Wendy Weldon, James Langlois, and others happily huddled under cover and enjoying morning coffee clutches. Monday brought back sunshine, and once again we are finding deer ticks after walking our dogs. Please remember to check yourselves and loved ones thoroughly. Take it slow on the roads and be sure not to cut off the Presidential motorcade.

Congratulations to Chilmark’s own Nancy Slonim Aronie, celebrating the 25th anniversary of her Chilmark Writing Workshop. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity. You will be happy you decided to give it try. I did her workshop during my second year living here and look forward to attending again soon.

The Allen Farm, Martha’s Vineyard’s oldest continuously working family farm, is hosting the 17th Annual Water Tasting by the Sea, Thursday, August 7, 2014, 5:30- 7:30 pm. A silent auction, raffle, and live music complete the event to benefit Vineyard House, sober housing for Islanders in early recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Call 508-693-8580 for tickets or buy online.

If you are starting grades 6 -12 it is not too late to enter the Elisa Brickner Annual Poetry Contest, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Poems are due August 11. Winning entries receive $200 first prizes or $100 for 2nd and 3rd prizes! For details stop by or call the library: (508-645-3360) or check

Come hear Alan Dershowitz, 75, Chilmark’s favorite resident scholar, and Lucinda Franks, radical hippie and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who married New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in 1977, speak about their memoirs on Sunday, August 10, 7:30 pm. Richard North Patterson will discuss the last book in his Martha’s Vineyard trilogy, “Eden in Winter,” a psychological and family drama mostly set in Chilmark. Both at the Chilmark Community Center. Tickets available at or at CCC (M-F, 9 am–12 pm only).

It is the last chance to join Roberta Kirn for a Community Sing at The Yard, Tuesday, August 12, 5–6 pm. All are welcome, no experience necessary. Free.

Learn about Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Campaign at the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Annual Reception, August 12, 5–8 pm, Old Town Hall, 65 State Road, Aquinnah. Free.

Don’t miss art historian Henry Adams’s talk about artist Thomas Hart Benton’s work and legacy on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, August 13, 5 pm. Benton made Chilmark his second home for nearly five decades, until his death in 1975. Sponsored by the Chilmark Historical Commission and Friends of the Chilmark Public Library.

Baseball lovers will enjoy Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s Dinner (7 pm) and a Movie (8 pm) featuring “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” with director Chapman Way and producer Juliana Lembi Wednesday, August 13, at the community center. This heartwarming and hilarious film documents one of the great true stories about America’s underdogs — in this case, the Portland Mavericks of 1973. For information goto

Bill Edison reports that when Ed Eger comes from California to Flanders Field, he is known as the best home run hitter since the Dave Flanders reign. Too bad for Ed. After hitting a tremendous drive headed over Pasture Road, his 20-something son, Will ,was waiting for the catch, robbing his dad of a sure home run.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.

Hermine-HullFlowers everywhere. August is the best time of summer gardens, arms full of flowers for bouquets around the house, baskets of produce for dinner. Squash and tomatoes and raspberries and beans to eat right in the garden. I can’t pick them fast enough.

Summer friends are arriving as fast as the summer’s produce. Dorothy Barthelmes and Bob Henry arrived for their six weeks at the Joshua Slocum House. Dorothy’s daughter Buffy Webber is here with them. Their first guests, Rick Trevino and Larz Pearson, have sent a case of wine ahead; they arrive next Monday for a week.

Michael and Linda Dzuba appeared at our house Thursday afternoon with their black lab, Mimi, a special friend of our dogs, Talley and Nan. We had the three of them chasing each other in circles around the yard, barking, full of energy.

Pat Ternes will come on Friday with her daughters, Liz Zeiss and Cathy Ternes, for the opening of an exhibition of watercolors and oils by her late husband, Bill Ternes, well-known painter and workshop teacher for many summers here. Bill died in February, so this show is my tribute to a dear friend and mentor. As with all of us artists, he has left behind a studio full of paintings. Hopefully, everyone will come and we will sell lots of them to those who remember Bill and those who discover his work at this exhibition. It will be at my gallery, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, this Sunday, August 10, 4 to 7 pm. Please park behind the Fire House and walk across the road; there is limited parking at the gallery for anyone who can’t walk any distance.

I love the summer traditions all these visits perpetuate, the looking forward to special meals and outings that have to be just as they always are. The Book Sale with Bob and Dorothy, our first dinner of pork tenderloin, potato salad, and corn, the amazing feast Larz and Rick will prepare, ladies nights out, just Dorothy and me, while Bob plays bridge and Mike works on the hamburger booth for the Fair. Michael and Linda will come for dinner tonight, lobster, which Mike hates, so we do it on a Monday when he’s at the firehouse; Mike’s famous hamburgers for their anniversary dinner on August 10. Pat is a wonderful cook who spoils us when she comes to visit. There are special breakfasts with Julie Kimball, firemen’s hamburgers at the Fair, lunches or dinners on my porch when Mark Reisman returns from a trip with off-Island treats, beach walks with Brooks Robards, Ellen Weiss, and Mary Beth Norton, movie nights with Chari Isaacs, seeing everyone at the Farmers’ Market.

I went to the Friends of the Library’s Book Sale this morning and came home with two boxes and a shopping bag filled with books. Since I have been writing more, my choices comprise volumes of poetry and essays, plus some mysteries and children’s books I couldn’t resist.

While there, I had an interesting conversation with Tom Thatcher about West Tisbury Library history I didn’t know. Tom was on the first Library Board of Trustees and had spearheaded the transformation of the second floor of the Music Street library into the first children’s room. It had been a museum filled with stuffed birds and memorabilia, rarely visited. The librarian of the day was Lena McNeil. Tom helped clean out the space, put in lighting and heat, brought in shelves and books. I remember it as a cheerful room with red-painted bookcases when I arrived in town in 1985. Ann Fielder and Gay Nelson were the children’s librarians. I don’t imagine it had changed much from the time of Tom’s renovation.

The library remains the place to go the year-round. Here is the schedule for this coming week: Poets Justen Ahren and Amira Thoron are reading Thursday, August 7, at 5:30 pm. This Saturday, August 9, there is a rocket-making workshop from 11 am to 1 pm, and a frozen Tisberry Yogurt Social at 4 pm with music by The Vineyard Sound. Mother Goose on the Loose story times for infants to three-year-olds meets on Monday mornings at 10:30 am. Mac Pro Paul Levy continues his drop-in help for those with Mac problems on Mondays from 11 am to 1 pm. The Monday Night Movie is Marcia Rock’s “Surrender Tango”the screening and tango demo beginning at 6:30, with dancing afterwards. On Wednesday, August 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm, Debbie Yapp will give a workshop for fifth and sixth graders on identifying, collecting, pressing, and creating art from botanicals found on Martha’s Vineyard. Yoga for Kids four to eight years old will be led by Laura Edelman at 10:30. Nicole Cabot will read and sing about melons in a special Island Grown Harvest Story Hour for kids on Thursday morning, August 14, at 10:30 am. Sue Guiney will read from her latest novel, “Out of the Ruins” on Thursday evening. Paintings, collages, and original prints by Elizabeth Langer are on display throughout August in the Program Room. Pre-register for Mathea Morais’s writing/reading workshop for ages 9 to 14 that will be held the week of August 18-21, 10:30 am–12 noon; snacks, books, paper, and pencils will be provided. All programs are free.

Tuesdays at Twilight, a concert series sponsored by the West Tisbury Library Foundation, will host Spotlight on Youth, a concert showcasing the Vineyard’s best new talent on August 12. The concert begins at 7:30 at the Grange Hall.

You may have noticed a photograph of a familiar-looking cat in a familiar-looking setting in Sunday’s Boston Globe. Jan Van Riper’s Prince, from Lynn Christoffers’s “Cats of Martha’s Vineyard,”appeared in an article about Vineyard books. Suzan Bellancampi’s “Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature” and “Morning Glory’s Farm Food; Stories From the Fields, Recipes From the Kitchen” by Gabrielle Redner were also mentioned.

Domingo Pagan will open his studio at 121 Waldron Bottom Road this Saturday, August 9, from noon-4 pm. He calls his show Flowers and Other Colors.

Allen Whiting has new paintings hung at his Davis House Gallery, open Thursdays-Sundays, 1–6 pm.

North Water Street Gallery opens a show tonight, Thursday, August 7, 5–7 pm, of work by Wendy Weldon, Carrie Gustafson, and Jim Holland.

On Sunday evening, 5–7 pm, the Field Gallery opens their new show of paintings by Craig Mooney and Traeger Di Pietro.

I attended the fabulous print show at Featherstone Sunday evening. Having been a privileged observer of Leslie Baker’s weekly sessions at the print studio (I’m on her way home, so she stops for coffee and to show me her latest monotypes) I have had my interest in monotypes rekindled. They are a combination of painting and printmaking, where the artist paints on a plate, then runs it through a press, transferring the image onto dampened paper. It only produces one impression, hence a monotype. They were called The Painterly Print in a show at the Metropolitan Museum back in the 1970s. Rembrandt, Degas, and Whistler were early masters. The show at Featherstone features some worthy continuers of this artistic tradition.

Kay-Mayhew What a wonderful week. Our darling granddaughters Rory and Fiona are back at Camp Nana, which this week includes adventures with Kids Discovery Days at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

Ages 5 and up learn all about bugs today at 4 pm at the Vineyard Haven Library. Marvelous Marvin teaches bug habits and the importance of bugs to humans with circus arts, magic, and music. Next Thursday at 4 pm, Mister Rocketman will show us how to make amazing rockets.The kids launch their creations, and it’s anyone’s guess as to where they will land.

You are familiar with Moth and NPR. Saturday evening at the Tabernacle hear islanders sharing brief true stories told live. Time is 7:30; cost is $40.

Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield will be in the Community Room at Hillside Village at 2 pm Sunday, after the NAACP meeting. Their book, “Martha’s Vineyard in World War II,” is already in a second printing. They talked with Vineyarders who were here during the war, including my husband and his cousin Buddy Mayhew, and researched files of the Gazette and the Museum. Views of life on the home front of Martha’s Vineyard during the war range from plane spotters at town hall to workers at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard. The talk is free, the book is $20.

On Tuesday adults can hear Susan Klein speak on Folklore & Mythology From A Woman’s Perspective. That’s at 8 pm at Featherstone.

Students from fifth grade through high school were chosen by their music teachers as the most talented and hardworking young singers and instrumentalists on the Island. They will perform at 7:30 pm on Tuesday at the West Tisbury Grange Hall to benefit the new West Tisbury Library. Tickets are $15 and half price for age 12 and under, available in advance at Tisberry Fro Yo off Main Street.

I should remind you that shopping online harms our local businesses. But I am a realist; I know you sometimes order stuff from Amazon anyway. Next time you do that, use this address because 1% of the sale can go to charity:

Next Wednesday, author Josh Ruxin will speak about his new book “A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda” at 7 pm at the Vineyard Haven Library.

This is the story of a Columbia University professor picking up and moving to deepest Rwanda, where he helped revitalize a village and fell in love with a little restaurant called Heaven. Hear about living in Rwanda, building a village, then constructing a restaurant, and, during it all, beginning his own family.

How can anyone think bicycles don’t have the same rights as cars on our roads? The moped riders have these rights, too. Owning a vehicle does not give you the right to be the only one on the road. If you find these people slow you down, you should have left home earlier. Your being late is not their fault.

Peter Pan! Live! A week from tomorrow, August 15, the Island Theater Workshop presents a benefit performance of Peter Pan at 7:30 pm at the MVRHS Performing Arts Center. The performance is directed by Kevin Ryan to benefit the MV Center for Living and support services for Island seniors. $25 for adults and $12 for children. More at 508-939-9440.

You will want to know about two special events at the Federated Church in Edgartown next week. On Sunday morning from 8:30 to 10:30 is the annual blueberry breakfast. Then on Tuesday afternoon five lovely homes on School Street and South Water Street in Edgartown will be open for you as a benefit for the church. Historian Mary Jane Carpenter will speak at 1 pm before the afternoon tour begins. Tea and refreshments are offered at the Mayhew Parsonage. Tickets are $35 at the Meetinghouse on the afternoon of the tour. More: Anne Vose at 508-627-7077.

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out to John Edmond Coogan today. Wish the best tomorrow to Bobbie Donavan. Happy birthday to Goodie Stiller Corriveau who parties next Wednesday. Belated greetings go out to Sharon Coogan.

Heard on Main Street: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

Got Tisbury news? Contact Kay Mayhew here.

Megan-AlleySummer seems to be whizzing by — unless you are stuck in traffic going anywhere on the Island this year. It seems to me that either drivers are very considerate in letting cars into the lanes from side streets or they are extremely rude and childish, coming so close to the back of your car that all you can see is the windshield or speeding around your car when you are waiting for people to go on a crosswalk and then leaning on the horn so you will notice.  Perhaps they will grow up soon and make it easier for everyone.

Crafts shows and other opportunities for early Christmas shopping take place most every week during the summer, so take advantage of these events to get some different and handmade items for the holidays. The Annual Craft Fair is being held at the Oak Bluffs Tabernacle in the Campground on August 2 from 9 am to 3 pm, rain or shine. Admission is free and you will find beautifully handcrafted items made by the campground residents for sale.

Have you ever been curious about the inside of some of the beautiful Edgartown houses?  Well, each year five gracious Edgartown families open their beautiful homes so that the public can tour them, for the benefit of the Federated Church in Edgartown. This year’s tour will be on Tuesday, August 12, and will feature a variety of homes from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, located at 75 and 96 S. Water St. and 80, 64, and 96 School St. in Edgartown. An introductory talk by historian Mary Jane Carpenter will be held at the Federated Church Meetinghouse at 1 pm with the tour following, from 2 to 4:30.  And after the tour, tea and refreshments will be provided at the Mayhew Parsonage on S. Water St. Tickets may be purchased at the Meetinghouse, 45 S. Summer St., Edgartown, on the afternoon of the tour.

The price is $35 per person. For information, please call Anne Vose at 508-627-7077.

Moderator Robert Iadicicco has arranged an interesting Friday Morning Conversations program at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center for Friday, August 1, from 10 to 11:30 am. The  guests will be a large group of students in The Woods Hole Partnership Education Program. They have come from all over the country to spend 10 weeks at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to study and work on marine and environmental research projects including at-sea experience. They will describe the program and their work experiences.

Just for fun, participate in the Library Lock-In on Friday, August 1, from 6 pm to 12 midnight. You will get locked in the library after hours and enjoy movies, games, and pizza. Parental permission is required and the program is for ages 12 and up.

Explore Oak Bluffs town vehicles with the Touch–A-Truck  program for all ages at the library Saturday, August 2, at 10:30 am, weather permitting. Cancelled if raining.

Join the Flying Horses Story Walk on Friday, August 8, at 9:30 am. You will walk to the Flying Horses from the library. Stop along the way to ride the carousel. Space limited to 20 children. Pre-registration is required.

On August 5 there will be a Tuesdays at Twilight concert at the West Tisbury Grange Hall featuring Dana Edelman and his Slammin’ Band. The concert is sponsored by the West Tisbury Library Foundation.

August is peach season and on Saturday, August 16, from 12 noon to 4 pm., the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury will hold its fifth annual Peach Festival. This is a delicious family and community event. Come and enjoy peach treats on the lawn with neighbors and meet new friends! Enter the raffle for a delightful peach tree! They will be serving fresh peaches, peach smoothies, peaches with ice cream and peach shortcake. Baked goods to go will also be there to enjoy: Blueberry/Peach Cobbler, and Peach Pies. For those who like something tart with their peach treats, minted lemonade will be served. Look for the peach banner and bright balloons on the church fence in the center of West Tisbury.  All proceeds go to the support of the church, its missions and outreach. In the event of inclement weather the event will be held indoors.

Appraisal Day with Skinner, Inc. is Friday, August 1, from 9 am to 3 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum Library, 59 School Street, in Edgartown. Appraisers from Skinner, Inc. will evaluate your prized objects in a summer version of this popular off-season event. Items may be consigned for sale by Skinner with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Museum. Reservations required. Call Jessica, 508-627-4441, ext. 117. Appraisal of one item costs $15, or three items for $40.

A reminder to adults that there will be a talk about education in Nepal at our library on Thursday, July 31, at 10:30 am. And I am sure everyone would enjoy the Ice Cream Social and Concert later Thursday, at 3 pm. Along with your ice cream, you can enjoy a Vineyard Sound Concert.

Geek the Library Art Show takes place on Wednesday, August 6, from 3 to 5 pm. There will be photographs by Eli Dagostino for our “Geek the Library” campaign with more than 100 portraits of community members. Refreshments also.

We send birthday smiles to Sofhia McGroarty Sampaio and Garrett Brown on August 1, Nancy Gardella on the 3rd, and Tricia Bergeron on the 4th. Susan Klein and Alison Reynolds share the 5th and Evamae Magee on the 6th.Enjoy your week. Peace.

Hermine-HullThe hazy, hot, humid days of summer are with us now. Occasional rains and thunderstorms, otherwise heavy gray skies. Foliage is heavy, too, dark unrelievedly green. The dogs and Nelson seem to sleep all day, worn out by having to hold themselves up against all this weightiness. They leave circles of golden fur wherever they have lain.

The sign for the Fair has appeared in front of the Ag Hall. Only three weeks away. Still plenty of time to plan your exhibits, get your art framed, pick out vases and plates with which to display bouquets and perfect vegetables, save your pennies for rides and games.

Meanwhile, summer continues at its hectic pace. There are more events than one can possibly attend or remember, and the thought of braving traffic is daunting. So I am grateful for all the things right here in town. Traffic and parking remain a challenge, but less so than trying to get anywhere down Island. I remember when I first moved here people saying, “I never go to Edgartown/Vineyard Haven/Oak Bluffs in the summer.” It struck me as odd; it wasn’t such a distance. But over 30 years living up Island I have become one of those people, too, relentlessly insular within my own domain. Or demesne, so deliciously medieval sounding.

I attended John Hough’s reading from his latest, “Little Bighorn,” at the West Tisbury Library. It was interesting to hear an author read his own prose and talk about the research and excitement that went into writing his novel. John will do it again at the Chilmark Library later in August, if you missed this one.

The Author Lecture Series continues at the Chilmark Community Center. A Tribute to Sheldon Hackney begins at 7:30 tonight, Thursday, July 31. Andre Dubus III will read from his book of four intertwined novellas, “Dirty Love,” on Sunday, August 3. Ron Suskind is the presenter next Thursday, August 7, telling the story of his autistic son in “Life, Animated.” Programs at 7:30. Tickets at

The biggest summer event for many of us is The Friends of the West Tisbury Library’s Annual Book Sale. This year it runs from August 1 to 4. Come to the West Tisbury School gymnasium between 9 am and 3 pm to fill your bags and help support our library. Books are half-price on the 3rd and free on Monday, August 4. Donations are always welcome, of course.

If you have always wanted to make your own hula hoop, your opportunity is this Saturday, August 2, 11 am–1 pm. Michael Black will teach a workshop for kids ages 5 and up at the West Tisbury Library. There will be no drop-in craft that day.

West Tisbury documentary filmmakers Robert and Marjory Potts start off the library’s August series of films by Island filmmakers this Monday, August 4. Their “Lives in Art: Robert Henry and Selina Trieff” begins at 6:30 pm. Many of you will know Bob Henry and Selina Trieff and their family, longtime Vineyard residents and articulate describers of their art-making processes and devotion to making art within all the rest of the daily stuff we call “life.” The second documentary shown will be “Making Music: The Emerson Quartet,” a group has performed on the Island since their formation in 1976, many times as headliners of the summer Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concerts.

There will be an artists’ reception Friday evening, August 1, 6–8 pm, at Shaw Cramer Gallery — a bittersweet evening because Nancy Cramer has announced that she will close the gallery at the end of this season. Twenty years is a long time to be running a gallery full-time. Nancy has done it beautifully and with a professionalism that is unmarred. Although we will all miss her gallery, it’s hard to begrudge her the opportunity to spend more time in her studio weaving tapestries and sewing, creating the hangings, pillows, and “art-to-wear” garments that are her passion. For now, let’s continue to celebrate the Shaw Cramer Gallery.

Ken Vincent will give a painting demonstration at North Water Gallery this Saturday, August 2, beginning at 11 am. New work will also be on display at the gallery. For fellow painters, it is always interesting to see how someone else works, what they choose to focus on, how they design their painting’s surface, mix their colors. Interesting for non-artists, too. Ken sees the Island in a unique and stylized way, so his demo should be particularly informative.

Featherstone Printmakers open an exhibition this Sunday, August 3, 4-6 pm, in the Virginia Weston Besse Gallery. Work by West Tisbury artists Leslie Baker, Ruth Kirchmeier, and Nick Thayer is included.

Everyone is raving about Kara Taylor’s new show that opened last Sunday. It’s called “Hull” and features paintings of boats, abstracted and well-designed, giving the viewer a new and personal perspective on a familiar subject.

The Granary Gallery will host an opening this Sunday, August 3, for three very different painters: Mary Sipp-Green, Scott Terry, and Kib Bramhall. I mean “very different” in style and technique from one another. They are all landscape painters. Their opening is from 5 to 7 pm.

Also on Sunday, Cindy Kallett will perform at the Grange Hall at 7:30 pm. She will be joined by Grey Larsen, Ellen Epstein, and Michael Cicone, all for the benefit of Felix Neck Fern & Feather Camp Scholarship Fund. It’s close to the heart for Cindy, a former Fern & Feather Camp counselor and Felix Neck naturalist. Tickets are available online or at the door. Call 508-627-4850 for more information.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation’s Tuesdays at Twilight concert series continues this Tuesday, August 5, at the Grange Hall with Dana Edelman and His Slammin’ Band.

Poet Laureate Justen Ahren and Amira Thoron will read a selection of their poems at the library next Thursday, August 7, at 5:30 pm.

Leslie Prosterman’s second poetry workshop, Transition, will meet in the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Library this Sunday, August 3, from 10 to noon.

In the summer mind-rush, I forgot to wish Isabella Larsen a Happy Birthday last week. Her birthday is July 24. So is Stephanie DaRosa’s and so is my husband Mike’s. Belatedly, I hope you all celebrated and had a great day.

Linley-DolbyGood-bye, July, we hardly knew you. Onward, to my favorite month of the year. With the Fair and the Fireworks still up ahead, and the Commander in Chief due for his annual visit, we’re really just getting to the good part, the meat of this summer sandwich, so to speak. But what I want to know is, where are all the pancakes?

I’ve been following the plight of Kennedy Cunningham for months now, and I’d really like to get the word out to the Vineyard community about this amazing child. You all remember the Vegas? Livvy and I were Edgartown Eagles together back in the day. Now her life has taken her to Philly, where she is married to a heavyweight boxer and has three little cuties. Among the little ones is daughter Kennedy, who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital heart defect where the the left side of her heart was under-developed and unable to function. She had her first open heart surgery at two days old and the second six months later. She was hospitalized for the first year of her life and suffered many setbacks along the way, including a stroke, many blood infections and also required a trach and vent for several years when she was younger. Now, almost 9 years later, Kennedy is awaiting a heart transplant, and continues to show that Dad isn’t the only fighter in the family.

Thoughts and prayers for this brave little one are vastly appreciated, and if you care to help out monetarily, as the logistics of this surgery, among other things, include a cross-state move for the entire family, visit×15/kennedy-s-heart-transplant-fundraiser. Let’s send Miss Kennedy and her family that warm Island community hug.

Congrats to Shane Quinlan Gallagher, son of Arthur and Vera Gallagher of Edgartown, who graduated from the Boylston Police Academy on June 19. Shane is currently employed with the Tewksbury Police Department. A graduate of Endicott College, Shane is a former member of the USMC 3nd Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom. He retired with the rank of Sgt. from the USMC in June 2013.

Sandy Joyce shares with us the happy news that Kerry and Bob Branca welcomed a new member to their family on July 14, Jacob Kent. He joins two big sisters, Laila (age 5) and Allie (age 3). Proud grandparents include Betty Branca of Canton, Sandy and Mike Joyce, and Annie and Ray Long, all of Edgartown. Sandy reports that Jacob’s sisters adore him and all are excited to welcome a little boy into the family.

Each year five gracious families open their beautiful homes so that the public can tour through them, for the benefit of the Federated Church in Edgartown. This year’s tour will be on Tuesday, August 12, and will feature a variety of homes from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, located at 75 and 96 South Water Street and 80, 64, and 96 School Street. An introductory talk by historian Mary Jane Carpenter will be held at the Federated Church Meetinghouse at 1 pm with the tour following, from 2 to 4:30. Tea and refreshments will be included, at the Mayhew Parsonage on South Water Street. Tickets may be purchased at the Meetinghouse, 45 S. Summer St., Edgartown, on the afternoon of the tour. For information, please call Anne Vose at 508-627- 7077.

It’s time for the Board of Trade’s annual sand sculpture contest, which will take place August 7 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at South Beach. This family-oriented event is great for the creative at heart and your budding little builders. So pack your pails and shovels and head to South Beach to enjoy a day in the sun and fun creating your sand masterpieces.  For more info, call 508-939-0199.

Birthday wishes go out this week to Barbara Phillips and Jane Barbini, who celebrate August 1; to Peter Lambos, August 2; to Derek Avakian and Claire Maxwell, August 3; to Melanie Rankow Prescott, Pam Dolby, and Zach Ward, August 5; and to Colette Fischer, August 6. Also, folks, Sunday is a holiday of particular reverence in the Dolby household, as we toast the birth of Tom Brady. Plan your observances accordingly. Go Pats.

Kathy Cerick (left), husband Charles Fitzgerald (center) and daughter, Kate at their Chilmark Flea Market tent while daughter Liane helps customers with swimsuits under the white tent.

Valerie SonnenthalThis was the final week for my niece and nephew’s first Island visit, but on their last day we had a real scare when our babysitter was stung by a bee, a first for her, and she turned out to be allergic. Do not delay, call 911 if you have trouble breathing after a sting. Luckily everything turned out okay. We’ve had rain, stunning sunsets, Saturday night fireworks visible over the ocean and everywhere I go cars, cars, cars. I guess the real crowds arrive this week and we have nine days before President Obama and his family arrive. Keep enjoying summer.

I finally made it to the Chilmark Flea on a perfect Saturday and the first people I ran into were Kathy Cerick and her husband Charles Fitzgerald (owners for 27 years of Edgartown’s In the Woods store). They  are doing the Flea this summer with a mini-version of items they used to carry and are enjoying their daughters, Kate (a Yoga instructor and actress in New York City) on Island for a brief visit,  and Liane who was under the white tent next to theirs selling her line of Roy swimwear. The last time we ran into one another was in NYC. So glad they told me to try the Thai spring rolls for sale, a perfect lunch.

Congratulations to Thorpe Karabees, from Chilmark, invited to join the class of 2018 at University of Vermont’s Honor College. He went up to Vermont in June with his mom and younger brother for his orientation and looks forward to majoring in history. In the meantime Thorpe can be found working at Chilmark Chocolates.

The Chilmark Library will be busy with Felix Neck Director Suzan Bellincampi discussing her new book, “Martha’s Vineyard: A Field Guide to Island Nature,” Wednesday, July 30, 5 pm. The book is an updated version of “Moraine to Marsh,” a companion of Vineyard nature enthusiasts since 1988, written by Anne Hale, one of founders of Felix Neck. Next, Boston University Professor Cathy Utzschneider will talk about her book “Mastering Running – Run Your Best at Age 30 and Beyond,” a guide for runners and athletes of all ages on Wednesday, August 6, at 5 pm. For more information, call 508-645-3360.

Coming to Chilmark Community Center (CCC) Author Lecture Series are Andre Dubus III discussing “Dirty Love,” a collection of four novellas about love and betrayal set in a New England coastal town, Sunday, August 3, 7:30 pm. Ron Suskind will speak about “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism,” detailing how he and his wife, Cornelia, turned their son Owen’s fixation on Disney movies into a remarkable journey to reach him and find a common language to express complex thought and emotions. Tickets available at CCC  (M-F, 9-12 only) and

Come and celebrate with sixty-year Chilmark resident Jules Worthington at his 30th anniversary exhibit of paintings at the bank (Santander), Friday, August. 1, 4–6 pm.

This week I picked up Turar Abakirov who needed a ride on Middle Road to his job at Chilmark Tavern. Turar last worked on the Island four summers ago and has since received his B.A. from the American University in Central Asia and is now pursuing an MA in Accounting at New York’s Pace University. He is looking for an accounting internship and is available immediately; if you or anyone you know can help, contact Turar at 646-920-4058 or

Put your dancing shoes on for “Pride, Not Prejudice,” an outdoor Tea Dance open to all ages celebrating 10 years of marriage equality in Massachusetts, Saturday, August 2, 4 – 10 pm. at The Yard. For more information,

Kay-MayhewThere is a memorial tribute to Sheldon Hackney tonight at 7:30 pm at the Chilmark Community Center as part of the M.V. Book Festival. Many who contributed to the book “Dixie Redux” will speak. Hackney was president of the University of Pennsylvania for many years and head of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Clinton. Charlayne Hunter-Gault will moderate and a reception will follow. More from Suellen Lazarus,

Careful — here comes August. Where has the summer gone?

Reserve your spot now for the concert at the MV Film Center on Friday evening at 7:30 pm. Meet New Orleans jazz-based cellist, singer, and composer Helen Gillet on the Island. This is the first of several musical concerts this summer at the film center.

This Sunday evening at 8 pm be sure to enjoy the concert in Owen Park with the Vineyard Haven Band. Take a picnic and appreciate the sunset as you listen to the music.

Today at the Vineyard Haven Library at 4 pm, kids aged five and up will enjoy a mystery activity. Whatever it is, be prepared to get messy. Also brought to you by the library, kids can see the Whalemobile at the Tisbury School on Wednesday, August 6. Marvelous Marvin will bring circus arts, magic, and music to the library next week on August 7 at 4 pm for five and up.

Under three year olds will enjoy storytime on Tuesday at 10. Three and up are offered Chappaquiddick Lullaby story time with author Stacy Hall at 11 am.

If you haven’t signed up for summer reading at the library, it’s not too late. You could win Bunch of Grapes gift certificates and Island Cove Mini Golf all-expenses paid adventures.

This Saturday the Tabernacle Craft Fair opens from 9 am to 3 pm with a grand assortment of Island-made products from photographs and jewelry to hand-knit sweaters. Celebrate the handiwork of Island artists in a casual stroll around the Tabernacle.

Our daughter, Laurel Mayhew Olson, was visiting this week from Fort Collins, Colorado. Her one request was for lobster. I believe I can safely say that she is sated — at least for the time being. She had not been back on the Island for some years which meant she had fun visiting all over the Island. We hope she comes back again soon.

She and her brother, Craig, had just completed a week-long bicycle ride across New York state. They were delighted with the trip and the weather and especially their time together. They returned home just in time to celebrate the ninth birthday of Craig’s eldest daughter, Rory.

Next Monday you can revel in the music of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish at Featherstone’s Musical Monday from 6:30 to 8 pm. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 with Our Island Club, children under 14 are free. You can go back to Featherstone on Tuesday to ponder a purchase at the Flea & Fine Arts Market from 9:30 am to 2 pm.

Dying to gamble? Try Foxwoods with Friends of the Oak Bluffs Council on Aging on Tuesday, August 26. Bus cost is $30 round trip from Woods Hole. You buy your SSA ticket and take spending money. You leave on the SSA at 7 am and come home on the 6:15 from Woods Hole. Sign up now with Rose at 508 693-4509, ext 3.

The Grace Church Lobster Rolls are served every Friday all summer from 4 to 7:30 pm, now $17. For info and orders, call 508-693-0332

Did you know that August this year will have five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. This happens only once every 823 years. Such an event is supposed to be good luck for all. It is said the Chinese call this phenomenon “Silver pockets full.”

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to Dale Perry. On Saturday wish the best of birthdays to Ellen Miller. Sunday belongs to Nancy Gardella and Tom Colligan (that’s Thomas H. Colligan). Mary Goss and Jesse James Little celebrate birthdays along with Dr. Peter Laursen on Wednesday.

Heard on Main Street: Get out in the world every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

Award recipients - Bret Stearns, Paul Manning, Ben Retmeir, Tri-Town Ambulance Chief Zeke Wilkins, Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi Belain, Curtis Chandler, Susan Schofield, Jonathan Klaren, Alan Ganapol, Kristina West, Tracey Jones and Don Scranton. The award recipients were honored for saving the life of Chilmark resident, Christopher McCloud, on June 18, 2014.

Molly-PurvesSuch sad news in Aquinnah this past weekend. Carl Widdis died on Sunday. I will miss seeing him around town, usually with his family, and getting an annual phone call from him telling me of the Hot Rod and Antique Car show every June. My first summer on the Island I drove my car off an embankment on my road. After calling a couple people and trying to get help from a neighbor — all to no avail — my then boyfriend, now husband, said, “Call Carl Widdis.” I did and very shortly Carl showed up and quickly got my car set right. He did it so kindly as well.

My husband and I frequently talk about what a friend of ours calls “the grief tax” here on the Island. The grief tax is the amount of grief you must “pay” when you break something and bring it in to get fixed. For instance you got into a fender bender and you bring your car in to be repaired and the mechanic says something along the lines of, “What happened? You just couldn’t put the phone down and pay attention?” or “You realize what your rear view mirrors are for, don’t you?” Carl never charged me grief tax (more than I can say for my husband) and for that I was very grateful. I felt so embarrassed and silly for driving my car off the road and Carl was so sweet about it. He always had a kind word for people and was quick to laugh. To me he seemed like part of the landscape in Aquinnah. I know he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Much love to his family and friends.

Nancy Caldwell will speak today at the Old Town Hall at 5 pm as part of the Aquinnah Public Library Speaker Series. The topic is, “Negotiating Troubled Waters” between Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center is open this week Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. Stop by for a house tour and to see the exhibit on Wampanoag whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Wampanoag Tribe’s Heritage Exhibit has opened and is on view daily at the Cliffs. The exhibit was created by the Natural Resources and Tribal Historic Preservation Departments.

The Gay Head Gallery is open daily, 12 noon–5 pm. Up right now is the exhibit, “Keep the Lighthouse in Sight;” a portion of the proceeds of sales will go to the effort to save the Gay Head Light.

This Saturday The Yard will host “Pride, not Prejudice: A Pride Celebration.” This is a “public dancing allowed” event that honors all LGBTQ people and celebrates ten years of marriage equality in Massachusetts, and I know it is going to be so much fun with great DJs. The dance starts at 4 pm and there is a $10 suggested donation.

Dana Gaines will be kayaking around the entire Island on August 9 to raise money for the lighthouse. If you would like to support him go to

The Annual All Island Art Show will be this Monday, August 4, from 10 am to 3 pm at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. Art created by artists from all over the Island will be on view and available for purchase.

The public safety day held by the Aquinnah police and fire departments this past Saturday was a huge success and very fun. There was a raffle, food, and a bouncy house (perhaps the biggest hit among the younger set). Simon Bollin, our fire department chief, led a great and very informative demonstration of how the department uses the “jaws of life” and other equipment to rescue people from a crashed car. There was a pin ceremony honoring all who helped rescue Chris MacLeod when he had his heart attack a month ago. Parked around the front lot of the fire station there were all the vehicles of both departments on display, and kids could sit in them and get a tour of all the equipment. I’m toying with the idea of joining the fire department so I can use the new Jet Ski that they have.

Valerie SonnenthalGlorious days, fog, much-needed rain, clouds and perfect sunsets — besides enjoying fresh home-baked breads by my younger son, assorted new fish and shellfish for the visiting niece and nephew, blueberry everything at home and at the West Tisbury Church Blueberry Festival, sunset and dinner outside the Aquinnah Shop, exploring the beach, and each day filled with new wonder. So much to be grateful for this July!

Maybe you’ve seen the neon orange Chilmark Fire Department shirts? I did, on three different people in one evening. Fire Chief David Norton tells me for a donation you too can support our local Fire Department and may find some volunteer firefighters offering shirts off the back of the fire truck parked for sunset in the Menemsha Beach parking lot. If you miss them there, there’s always the Wednesday, August 6, Backyard Bash at the Community Center (CCC), 5–8 pm.

This week I got to talking with the ladies at Menemsha Fish Market and here’s what I learned: Ekaterine (Kate) Tchelidze, from Georgia (yes, the country) has returned for her third summer working with Stan Larsen. It is here where she met fellow American University student Erisa Rodra (second summer) from Albania. Erisa, majoring in Economics and Business Administration, has one more year, while Kate, majoring in Journalism and English, has one and a half years left until graduation from their university in Bulgaria. Kate hopes to intern at one of the Island papers this fall.

Bill Edison tells me that Lucas from London, aged 10, arrived for his second summer visit with his grandmother, and after practicing “rounders” on the other side of the pond, he got a hit and ran all the bases proclaiming, “I’ll be back next week.” My nephew Alex from Berlin enjoyed pinch-running in this week’s game and looks forward to playing when he returns next summer.

Popular Story Book Character Ladybug Girl, from the books by David Soman & Jacky Davis, visits the Chilmark Community Center with Kristin the Chilmark Library’s Children’s librarian on Monday, July 28, 11 am. Sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Library Association. Everyone is invited, not just campers .

One new easy way to support Island nonprofits is to do your online shopping through Tisbury Turkey. Go to and you will be supporting Friends of Family Planning through August 31.

A reminder to Riparian Owners of Tisbury Great Pond: the annual meeting will be held at 10 am, Saturday, July 26, at the Howes House in West Tisbury. Any questions please contact Ellen Sturgis,

Join host and executive producer Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Charlayne Hunter-Gault for a joint benefit for MVVY 93.7 and Democracy Now! A catered Beach Plum Inn reception, 5–6:30 pm, precedes Amy’s 7 pm Katharine Cornell talk about “The Silenced Majority.” For tickets and info:

Next up at the Author Series at the CCC on Sunday, July 27, 7:30 pm, are The Beekman Boys (Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge), who gave up city life to become goat farmers in upstate N.Y.  Known from their hit TV show on the Cooking Channel, their new cookbook, “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook”, is a trip through their farm’s year-round vegetable bounty.

On Thursday, July 31, a tribute to beloved Island resident Sheldon Hackney, a distinguished scholar of civil rights and social justice who died last year. Charlayne Hunter-Gault will moderate the evening and many contributing essayists for “Dixie Redux,” a series of essays honoring Hackney will be on hand to speak, followed by a reception.  Tickets are available, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, and Chilmark Community Center (Mon.–Fri., 9 am–12 noon only).

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.