Town Column : Edgartown
My son Lukas and Amelia Craig are both turning seven on May 20. It is an exciting time of the year in the eyes of a child. The lilacs are beginning to bloom and carry that sweet smell; the candy store in town is open, although choices have to be made between penny candy, chocolates, and ice cream; and the opportunity to wade in the protected waters of the Edgartown Harbor presents itself on usually warm days that come now and again this time of year.
Sixth grader Nicole Bourgault provided me with an update on the Edgartown School garden: "This week the sugar snap peas which the second graders planted are starting to sprout up. This past Friday, Melinda Rabbitt DeFeo [member of the Island Grown Initiative] set up a station in the Edgartown School Library so that the teachers could come and meet with her. Melinda started to hand out seeds to teachers to plant in their class gardens. The teachers picked out where their class garden would be. Most of the grades will start planting in their own particular vegetable patch this week. Hopefully, next week the potato plants will start to sprout up out of the ground." Thank you, Nicole, for your contribution to the column.
Back in February, I wrote that signs of an economic turnaround may be evident as soon as spring. There is no magic: the government stimulus package is helping to create jobs and improve consumer confidence, while the bank bailout is helping to ease credit. The positive effects are being felt locally. Hotels in town are reporting favorable bookings, and vacation rentals are up substantially since January and February. The rising stock market and lower mortgage rates are helping to bring Martha's Vineyard's construction industry back to life. Despite the improvements, consumers will likely remain cautious for a long time to come. I am glad to hear that many restaurants in town are adjusting menus to accommodate the cost-conscious customer.
Habitat for Humanity is seeking applicants for the new three-bedroom affordable house to be built in West Tisbury. Applicants must be year-round residents, have a steady income, and currently lack adequate housing. The deadline for submitting an application is May 18; call 508-696-4646 for information.
It was great to hear from Harvey Hines, Edgartown resident and Rotary Club member, this past week. Harvey told me that the organization raised over $25,000 in 2008 from events like the pancake breakfast at the Anchors (scheduled for August 9 this year), the antique show (scheduled for July 30 through Aug 2), and the great lobster raffle (kicking off on June 1). Monies raised are supporting many charities, including the Martha's Vineyard Hospice, Meals on Wheels, the Island Food Pantry, Dianne Smith's work with HIV/AIDS patients in Kenya, and the Rotary Fund for Polio, with matching gifts from the Gates Foundation.
Jayne DeBettencourt from the Edgartown School has been an active volunteer for Hospice of Martha's Vineyard for about two years now. She asked me to announce that the 16th annual Oak Bluffs Memorial Day 5K road race and one-mile fun run will take place on May 24. Jayne also remarked that Hospice is always looking for new members for their fundraising volunteer group, which meets on the first Tuesday of each month.