Town Column : Edgartown
The eve of the April 15 tax deadline did not deter about 250 residents from attending the Annual Town Meeting. What a beautiful setting the Old Whaling Church was for the meeting - from its elegant chandeliers to its charming pew boxes. All in all, the town's people demonstrated a solid understanding of the issues, and communicated them clearly. The moderator, Philip J. Norton Jr., was not only well prepared, but had a great sense of humor, to the delight of the attendees.
As you may have already heard, the town approved funding for repairs to the library's Carnegie Building. Agreement was also reached to undertake a small-scale study for a bike path on Chappy, which is a good thing since such a project would increase rider safety and reduce car traffic on the ferry. The feasibility study will formally evaluate the costs and benefits of such a bike path. The town also gave the go-ahead for design work to convert the old Edgartown School cafeteria into a theater (although subject to selection of a design service proposal).
It is a wonderful time of year for gardening and fixing up lawns and public green spaces. When treating your lawn, I hope you will consider the potential adverse health effects of weed killers on people, pets, and wildlife. Some common herbicides are known carcinogens, and can end up in our drinking water. An immediate step toward reducing possible health risks from herbicides in Edgartown could be accomplished by requiring the use of pesticide application signs. Switching to organic herbicides is an even better option. Priority should be given to protect areas where children play and near vegetable gardens. Melinda Rabbitt DeFeo, Edgartown resident and member of the Island Grown Initiative, shared some of her expertise on the matter: "If you apply a layer of compost to your lawn, treat it with corn gluten to kill weeds and milky spore for pests, within two years you will have a healthy and beautiful lawn, without the use of toxins."
Nicole Bourgault, a sixth grader at the Edgartown School with a passion for writing and gardening, gave me a tour of the new Edgartown School garden. Nicole explained that the first step in creating the garden was a visualization project that all Edgartown students participated in. Nicole visualizes the garden as "joyful, blissful, cheerful, and safe with the sun's rays shining through; sounding of birds singing, bees buzzing, and crickets chirping; and smelling of fresh air and beautiful flowers."
Ms. DeFeo, who is helping to promote school gardens across Martha's Vineyard, told me that kindergarten through sixth-grade classrooms at the Edgartown School each have their own garden boxes. The boxes were built by Robert Yapp, Industrial Arts teacher, and his students. The seventh- and eighth-graders are focusing on garden designs and stonework, with the help of art teacher Lisa Magnarelli. The school is holding a Garden Celebration and Health Fair on May 14, which will include garden tours and information on how community members can help.
Barbara Binder and her son, Benny, are celebrating their birthdays (just three days apart) by taking a trip to Disney World over spring break. The Craig family is also there this week with Amelia and Riley. Liz Stobart and her daughter, Lilly, are in Tampa, to take in the sunshine and have some mother-daughter time. I hope they all have wonderful vacations in the Sunshine State.