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Chilmark

Sixty-four years, and still going strong.

Jim an Roberta Morgan at their 25th wedding anniversary, in 1975. – Photo courtesy of the Morgans

In an occasional series, some great Island couples tell us how they’ve made marriages last. We salute the love, goodwill, stamina, and compromise required of couples who stay together for a long time.Jim and Roberta Morgan of Chilmark were were married on Sept. 29, 1950, at the Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven.

How did you meet? At the Vineyard Haven Bowling Alley.

Who proposed and how? Jim proposed to Roberta, April 1950.

The Morgans at their wedding, in September, 1950.
The Morgans at their wedding, in September, 1950.

Describe your Vineyard wedding [We were] married in the Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven and had a reception at Albert Allen’s home on Daggett Avenue in Vineyard Haven. Bert’s sisters, Eva, Marjorie, Dorothy, and Mrs. Allen, provided the refreshments. Then we left the Island for a honeymoon at Niagara Falls.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Barbara and Jim. Both live on the Vineyard.

Do you both work? Roberta has the Harbor Craft shop at Menemsha. Jim is a retired commercial fisherman.

And at their 50th anniversary, in 2000.
And at their 50th anniversary, in 2000.

Briefly describe your years together — the good, the bad, and the wonderful … Sixty-four wonderful years together, two wonderful children, two wonderful grandchildren, two great daughters-in-law-to-be. Wonderful life.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Absolutely, great place to raise kids, a great place for a commercial fisherman in the past.

If you had one piece of advice to a couple about to be married, what would it be? Talk everything out, hold no grudges, work hard together, respect each other.

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The focus will be on the Squibnocket Beach plan.

From left, Selectman Warren Doty, Chairman Bill Rossi, Selectman Johnathan Mayhew and Secretary Tim Carroll, share a light moment while listening to Jessica Roddy highlight the accessory-apartment bylaw issue that was approved to be included in the April town meeting warrant. – Photo by Edie Prescott

Chilmark selectmen Tuesday approved an eight-article warrant for a special town meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 2, at which voters will be asked to take action on a complex and expensive plan, hammered out by a specially appointed town committee, to preserve the Squibnocket Beach parking lot and access to the Squibnocket Farms subdivision in the face of continuing erosion.

“It’s wonderful that we’ve had unimpeded access to that section of the beach for the past many many years,” selectman Warren Doty said, “but from my point of view, we need to nail that down and have it legally committed for the next 50 years, or however long it is, that we have a legal right, not just a privilege that the landowner gives us, to that beach frontage.”

Also Tuesday, selectmen agreed to place an accessory-apartments bylaw on the April annual town meeting warrant. Housing committee member Jessica Roddy provided selectmen with a summary of the bylaw provisions. Accessory apartments must be occupied year-round, and are limited in use to a homeowner’s parents, children, in-laws, caregiver, or a Dukes County-approved affordable housing candidate. One exception to year-round occupancy is made if a seasonal resident brings his own caregiver. “I’m glad that’s happening,” chairman Bill Rossi said.

Selectmen took no action on a county request to help fund the purchase of the former VNA building for use as a home for the Center for Living.  “We’re looking at a couple of different properties,” Mr. Rossi said, noting that the purchase and operation would be supported by all the towns.

“The program is a very needed program,” said Mr. Doty.  “We are an aging population but that said, it’s expensive.”

Selectmen declined to add an article related to a new public safety building to the February warrant. Mr. Doty said he favors the very visible spot of the current police department in the old school but added, “There is no question we need a new firehouse and an ambulance barn.”

Selectmen approved the appointment of Jesse Burton as a new full-time patrolman. Mr. Burton has been a federal air marshal for the past five years. “It was one of those situations where we had good applicants,” said Mr. Doty. “It was a very rewarding interview process for me.”

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The Army Corps of Engineers will put off a project to widen and deepen the channel into Menemsha Pond due to permitting delays.

he Menemsha jetty and the facing Lobsterville jetty are scheduled to be repaired this winter. – Photo by Michael Cummo

A Rhode Island marine construction firm is scheduled to begin work this week on a $1.3 million federal project to repair the two stone jetties that guard the entrance to Menemsha harbor and Menemsha Pond. The jetties were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

The channel will be dredged next year. –U.S. Army Corps of Engineers map
The channel will be dredged next year.
–U.S. Army Corps of Engineers map

RC&D Inc., of Pawtucket, R.I., the contractor awarded the bid for the repair work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is working within a tight window because of environmental restrictions and the desire of Chilmark town officials that the work not interfere with the summer tourist season.

Construction on the west jetty on the Aquinnah side of the channel must be completed by March 31, to avoid interfering with the migration of piping plovers on Lobsterville Beach and adjacent dunes. Work on the east jetty in Chilmark can continue through May 21, until the town needs full use of the town parking lot. The work will involve transporting heavy construction equipment, armor stone, and other project materials to Menemsha, much of it by water.

The Army Corps of Engineers will supervise the project. “The repair work will involve reconstructing both the east and west jetties to prestorm conditions,” said Craig Martin, project manager for the Army Corps New England District. “Approximately 1,950 tons of armor stone will be placed for the project.”

“Displaced armor stone will be retrieved and reused where applicable, and new stone will be set in place to fill existing gaps in the jetties,” the Army Corps wrote in a news release on Jan. 5. “Repairs will require substantial moving and rehandling of existing stones to obtain the required interlocking placement and construction tolerances.”

Funding for the project comes from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, a $60 billion program authorized by Congress.

Dredging delayed

Another phase of the Army Corp’s project to repair Hurricane Sandy damage, a $2 million plan to dredge the Menemsha channel, was scheduled to begin this winter, but will be delayed until next winter because of delays in securing the necessary state and federal permits. The dredging project will be limited to the months of October through January.

“Unfortunately, because of the extremely limited window to complete dredging,” Mr. Martin wrote in an October memo, “we are not going to be completing the dredging project this year. We simply couldn’t fit what we expect to be 2 to 2.5 months of work into a 1.5-month period left after the contract award and mobilization of equipment.”

The Army Corps was also concerned that it might not be able to find a company able and willing to take on the dredging project this winter. A similar-size project in Cohasset did not draw a single bid when it was offered last September.

“Due to all the Hurricane Sandy work from other districts and states in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, we are finding a saturated market in the hydraulic dredging sector,” Mr. Martin wrote.

The federal government intends to push forward with a request for bids in the early months of this year, so the dredging can begin in October.

Depth of unhappiness

In 1945, Congress authorized periodic maintenance dredging and repairs to the jetty, to insure safe passage of vessels seeking refuge from storms. The current project is designed to restore the channel between the jetties to a depth of 10 feet above mean low water, and eight feet deep along the 1.2-mile channel into Menemsha Pond. The Army Corps says parts of that channel have shoaled to depths of less than three feet, creating hazardous conditions for commercial and sport fishermen as well as recreational boaters. Sand dredged from the project will be placed on Lobsterville Beach, to reduce the impact of coastal erosion. Under the planned terms of the dredging project, the contractor will be allowed to work 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The dredging project does not have the support of Chilmark selectmen. The town of Aquinnah and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) both favor the dredging project, as a way to improve the health of the pond by increasing water circulation, and to allow vessels access to Menemsha Pond.

Chilmark officials are worried about the effect on the scallop fishery and the potential for more and larger boats to use the federally designated channel to enter the pond. However, those town concerns were not enough to outweigh the Army Corps mandate to protect navigation through the federal channel.

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Chilmark defended the town's right to prevent the use of weed killer in Squibnocket pond.

 

Chilmark has prevailed in its two-year legal battle with the Squibnocket Pond Association, a group of six Squibnocket residents, that sued the town for the right to use the herbicide Rodeo to control the growth of phragmites, a non-native invasive grass, around Squibnocket Pond.
In a decision issued Dec. 29, 2014, Judge Gordon H. Piper reversed his ruling issued Jan. 8, 2014, which found the Chilmark bylaw that banned the pesticide around the pond was invalid because it was more restrictive than the Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act.

The stage was set for a reversal after state Representative Tim Madden and Senator Dan Wolf filed a joint petition to authorize the town of Chilmark to prohibit the use of certain chemicals in the pond. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law in November.

The legal tussle began in May 2013, when the Chilmark zoning board of appeals told the group of six landowners, headed by Charles Parker, that they could not use Rodeo. The riparian group challenged the decision in Land Court that June and won.

In February 2014, on the advice of town counsel Ron Rappaport, town selectmen voted unanimously to appeal the state Land Court decision. Mr. Rappaport based his advice to appeal on a Wisconsin supreme court ruling from 1991, which held that local governments often have a better idea of their needs than does the state.

Minutes after police distributed his photo, the suspect unwittingly crossed paths with an alert town police chief.

The Mermaid Farm farm stand is now protected with surveillance cameras. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Increasingly, Martha’s Vineyard farmers are wrestling with a challenge unrelated to weather or harvests. Thievery from farm stands is hitting the bottom line.

The Mermaid Farm on Middle Road in Chilmark was the most recent target. Allen Healy, co-owner of the farm with his wife Caitlin Jones, didn’t discover he’d been robbed on Dec. 29 until he took inventory and counted the cash from the can the next morning. He checked the footage from his recently installed security cameras, and it clearly showed the alleged perpetrator in the act and the car in which he drove away. Chilmark police detective Sean Slavin responded to his call.

“The suspect didn’t look familiar, and his vehicle had out-of-state plates,” Detective Slavin told The Times. “He made four trips to his car, carrying as much as his arms could carry.” The suspect took milk, cheese, yogurt, and other goods worth $103, according to Detective Slavin. The video showed he left a $20 bill in the can.

Detective Slavin took a photo of the video footage on his cell phone and texted it to police officers in all six towns at 10:44 am.  At 11:05 am, off-duty Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi was driving in his truck when he saw the suspect’s vehicle drive by going the other way on South Road. “I’d received a photograph of the suspect from Detective Slavin, and the pictures matched,” Chief Cioffi told The Times. “I followed him to Alley’s [General Store], and with the assistance of West Tisbury police, we blocked him in. We’re happy we caught another person stealing from the honor system.”

Police arrested Daniel Levin, 41, of Washington, D.C. According to Detective Slavin, Mr. Levin gave police permission to search his home, where they found stolen goods and psilocybin mushrooms. Mr. Levin was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on charges of shoplifting by concealing merchandise and possession of class C drug.

Mr. Slavin said the Mermaid Farm theft had no connection to a prior string of up-Island farm-stand thefts. “We caught one adult for the farm-stand thefts this fall, and more recently we caught the kids who stole a cash box,” he said.

The 100-acre Mermaid Farm has a devoted following for its milk, yogurt, yogurt drinks (lassi), cheeses, beef, lamb, and produce. It’s one of few farms on the Island that sells raw milk, which goes for $14 a gallon.

Troubling trend
Mr. Healy estimates he lost about $50 a week to shoplifters in 2014. “When I did the numbers for last year, we were alarmed at how much was being taken,” he said. “The week of Thanksgiving, we lost over $400. I think the honor system is done.”

Three weeks prior to the theft, Mr. Healy had upgraded from a self-installed security camera to a professionally installed system, which he said cost him about $1,500. “I had four cameras installed,” he said. “There’s one on the cash can, one at the gate, one at face level, and another covering the general area. If you steal, you will get caught,” he said.

Mr. Healy said his new system, with bigger, more visible cameras, appears to be deterring would-be thieves. “I’ve actually gone three, four days without anything being stolen,” he said. “I have footage of a woman who took some yogurt and pulled cash out of the cash can, then she notices the camera and put it back. The look on her face was priceless.”

Mr. Healy said he’s considering hiring someone to work at the stand this summer. “It’s a tradeoff between how much you pay someone to be there and how much you could lose,” he said.

Other merchants are also feeling the pinch from pilfery, according to Mr. Healy. “Or maybe we’re just noticing it more,” he said. “Either way, just about everybody I know has cameras now. There’s a honey farmer I know who hasn’t, and he’s always getting robbed.”

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Selectmen Tuesday approved up to $10,000 for initial buckling floor repair.

Chilmark selectman Jonathan Mayhew listens to Rodney Bunker explain the current state of the Chilmark Community Center roof. – Photo by Edie Prescott

Chilmark selectmen focused on the need for floor, roof, and vestibule improvements to the Chilmark Community Center at their meeting on Tuesday, December 16.  Marc Rosenbaum of South Mountain Company of West Tisbury and Chilmark custodian Rodney Bunker highlighted the problems and the proposed solutions for selectmen.

The community center floors have buckled for a long time and the fundamental issue is moisture absorption. “The key biophysics going on here is that there is just as much moisture coming from the top as from the bottom,” Marc Rosenbaum told selectmen. “No matter how much we dehumidify the crawl space, it’s not the whole story. It’s seeing unconditioned air in the summer, it’s in a very moist place, and it gets a lot of traffic in and out. The floor needs room to expand.”

Mr. Rosenbaum proposed two options to remedy the problem. The first, and more costly, would be to pull out intermittent lengths of flooring and put narrower pieces in. The second, and more economical, he said is to “kurf,” or groove or notch, the wood with a cutting tool such as a track saw.

Due to good maintenance with oil there is “a lot of life left in the floor,” Mr. Rosenbaum said. “The floor has an indefinite life if we can make it safe.”  All agreed that the floor has character and should be saved rather than replaced. “It’s good news,” said selectman chairman Bill Rossi.

“I think the floor is very attractive and really fits with the building,” selectman Warren Doty said. “It’s just right. It would be great to save that floor rather than replace it. We have talked about this problem a lot and this seems like a good idea.”

Selectmen approved “up to $10,000” to be taken from the joint maintenance account for the initial cost and to pay Mr. Rosenbaum for his work thus far. The flooring work is expected to begin in April.  The amount of kerfing to be done and its spacing was not determined.

Flooring expenses could eventually reach $38,000 “or maybe more,” Mr. Bunker said.

The roof of the building was also a topic. Mr. Bunker explained that there was water inside the building after the recent storm. The money requested for the roof project will be put on the annual town meeting warrant and the work will be done in the fall. Total roof costs are expected to be about $30,000. Selectmen have already appropriated $17,000 for vestibule costs and depending on the vestibule design an additional $25,000 may be required.

In other business, selectmen heard from Sam Hart, executive director of Adult Community Education (ACE), which is seeking town financial support. Mr. Hart explained that more professional development offerings were needed. Currently the offerings are 80 percent lifelong learning and 20 percent professional development, he said. Mr. Hart said he aims to get this more in balance, and he discussed two new certificate programs, one in fertilizer safety and one in pesticides.

“I like what you’re trying to do, but prepare yourself for a tough financial committee meeting,” Mr. Rossi said.

Lastly, Mr. Doty said the town needs to further the affordable housing effort for resident home sites. “I’d like to see us commit to developing ten resident home sites over the next five years,” he said.

“I think that’s a worthy accomplishment, but I’m very interested in elderly housing,” selectman Jonathan Mayhew said.

“I don’t mean to say that I’m not in favor of elderly housing: I’m the oldest person on this committee and I might need it first,” Mr. Doty said jokingly, “but resident home sites are doable. We’ve already done it, we know how to do it, and it’s been a success. I’m all for elderly housing, but that is not going to be easy.”

Selectmen agreed to look at town land at Peaked Hill and discuss the issue again at a later time.

The other day I drove down to blustery Menemsha to get gas. It was nearly closing time, and no one was visible. I popped my head inside the store and called out, ”H-ell-o, hello.” No one answered. I figured they couldn’t be far since everything was open, so I headed back and began pumping gas. After a few minutes a tall woman emerged and apologized for not realizing I was there as she had gone dockside to tidy up before closing. It was a pleasure to meet Deanna Withers, who followed her best friends to the Island. Originally from Colorado Springs, she has been back on Island for two years now. I had to ask if she was named for anyone special; when she answered “yes,” I wondered if it was Deanna Durbin, which shocked her since younger people haven’t a clue.

Although I have not been able to participate except for one time with the MV Gleaners, I did volunteer to roast vegetables for their Island Grown Gleanings Annual Appreciation Party. When I dropped by the two large serving dishes of roasted root vegetables, I passed Debbie Athearn following the youngest walking member of her family and had a chance to say hello to Philipe Morin, Betty Burton, and Uma Datta. Gleaning is a great way to stay in shape while making new friends and helping a great Island cause, but Island Grown Initiative does many things; learn how you can become involved at islandgrown.org.

We’ve had much-needed rain, enjoyed the full moon, and more rain and cold. Holiday lights and cheer greet us in the early dark of evening. There are so many activities going on for the holidays, but you may enjoy the Annual MVRHS Minnesingers Holiday Concerts at The Old Whaling Church on Friday, December 12, at 8 pm; tickets $15 or the Family Concert on Saturday, December 13 at 4 pm; tickets $10, children 12 and under free. Look out for Chilmarker Delilah Meegan; she has a beautiful voice which you can check out on Youtube.

Aquinnah designer Jessica Kramer has a show of her fantastic jewelry, affordable and interesting, at Santander Bank through December 12. Next up is a show of Anne Reveruzzi’s photographs, another lady of Aquinnah, December 12–26.

If you do not want to stray far from home come on over to the Chilmark Community Church for their Holiday Flea Market and enjoy lobster rolls and Christmas specials from 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday, December 13.

If you’re looking for Santa, an elf told me he’ll be arriving at the CCC on Wednesday, December 17, at 5:45 pm. If you are bringing your child for the first time, please let Katie Carroll add their name to Santa’s List. Drop her a line at squidrow@vineyard.net. Be sure to thank the Chilmark Volunteer Firefighter’s Association for securing Santa’s safe arrival.

If you need a little help decorating, stop by the Chilmark Public Library for their Holiday Party where they will supply the greens, wire, ribbons and pruners so you can head home with your holiday swags, and don’t forget to enjoy the food and drink on Thursday, December 18, 4:30–6 pm.

I was very sorry to learn about Herbert Slater’s death and that I never had the chance to know him. Sending Jane Slater, the love of his life, much strength of heart as she adjusts with the support and love of her extended family and community to this great loss.

And don’t forget to get your chocolate shopping done at Chilmark Chocolates before they close for the year on December 18, though you do have a few extra shopping days as they have added Tuesday, December 16 and Wednesdays, December 10 and 17. They will open again on Saturday, January 31, 2015.

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The lottery winners, all Chilmark residents, each won the opportunity to build on a one acre site off South Road.

Chioke, Mathea and Zora Morais won one of the Nabs Corner lots in the Friday lottery. – Photo by Edie Prescott

In a standing-room-only joint meeting Friday, the Chilmark selectmen and the town housing committee held a lottery to decide which of 13 qualified applicants would receive one of four one-acre house lots in the soon to be developed Nab’s Corner affordable housing parcel  fronting South Road.

“We are here this evening to award four lots to very deserving families,” selectman chairman Bill Rossi said. “It’s been a pretty exciting process. There’s a lot of excitement here tonight, and I wish everyone the best of luck.”

Selectmen honored former selectman Frank Fenner, the chief shepherd of the project to acquire the land, which involved lengthy negotiations and a lawsuit, with an invitation to select the lottery numbers at random from the number jars. “There’s not a more noble venture, as far as I’m concerned, than to try to make affordable housing,” Mr. Fenner said.

As each name was picked and read the news generated applause, and in one case tears of joy.

The four lucky winners included families and individuals: Chioke, Mattea and Zora Morais, age 5; Caitlin Cook, Calder Martin and Maeve Cook-Martin, age 6; Dennis Jason Jr.; and Gerald Caton.

All of the winners enjoyed “preferred” status, a ranking that increased their odds based on their having lived or worked in Chilmark for a minimum of five years.

When asked if he was thrilled, Chioke Morais, a carpenter who has lived in Chilmark seven years, told The Times, “I am.” Mattea Morais is a teacher at The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School.

Caitlin Cook was happy and a bit overwhelmed as well. “This is crazy: I cannot even process this,” she said, beaming. “I’m nervous too. It’s a big undertaking to build a house.” Her husband Calder Martin also teaches at the Charter School.

Dennis Jason, Jr. is a commercial fisherman and the son of longtime harbormaster Dennis Jason. Gerald Caton is a Chilmark firefighter and fine woodworker.

Thirteen families and individuals were part of Friday’s lottery. Those with Chilmark preferences were weighted more heavily in the process. All 13 applicants received a drawing number to rank them, and if any of the winning four families should back out, then whoever has the next highest-ranking number would be able to take the vacated slot. Overall, it was a young-looking group.

The winning applicants will sign a 99-year ground lease at a cost of $25,000, designed to ensure the permanent affordability of the property. Any future sale must meet affordable housing program guidelines.

Mr. Doty summed up the evening’s excitement. “We have been working to create more opportunities for housing for people of modest means,” he said. “We’re very proud of our Middle Line Road development. According to housing assessment needs, rental units are needed more than ever, but they are the most expensive for the town to create, so we have moved more toward resident home sites.”

Housing committee chairman Jim Feiner agreed that there is an “obvious need.”

“It’s hard because somebody wins and somebody loses,” Ms. Wallace said. When asked what might be done differently the next time, she added, “I think we are going to look at the (implementation) guidelines, as they were last voted on in 2007. We are going to clarify definitions; for example in the appeal process if someone wanted to appeal, what could they appeal ‘on.’”

The next steps for the Nab’s Corner home-site winners is to go to the zoning board of appeals for a special permit, and obtain a building design and a financing plan. All winners already have a letter of approval from a bank deeming them eligible for a loan to build a house, which was part of the application requirement.

“It doesn’t actually mean that they have the loan,” Mr. Doty said, “It means that the bank said they could qualify.”

Mr. Doty said he hopes that those who were not lottery winners Friday night will “stay in touch” because there are plans for more resident home sites in the future.

The four affordable housing lots are the product of a complex land swap and a long-running legal battle. In 2007, the Hillman family, the Land Bank, and town of Chilmark concluded a three-way land swap agreement designed to create four new affordable house lots, new conservation land and trails in Chilmark, and consolidate the Hillman’s property holdings.

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Josh Aronie, chef, framed by the door of The Food Truck in front of the Chilmark Store. Josh will operate his truck again this winter. — File photo By Kaylea Moore

Chilmark selectmen focused on shellfish Tuesday night. Selectmen agreed to establish four new shellfish grants in Menemsha Pond which would increase the number of available grants from six to ten.

“In terms of producing shellfish,” selectman Warren Doty said, “it seems to me that the 12 grants in Edgartown are producing something like 3 million oysters a year and if they are selling at between 50 and 60 cents a piece, that means a million-and-a-half dollars are being generated out of that project — and maybe more. Here in Menemsha if we pushed it a little, we could be producing a million oysters a year out of our aquaculture project.”

Selectmen also agreed to open the recreational oyster season for Tisbury Great Pond on November 1. The commercial bay scallop season will open Nov. 3 for Nashaquitsa Pond and a portion of Menemsha Pond. The limit is two level boxes per day, Monday through Friday. The remainder of Menemsha Pond will open for commercial scalloping on Dec. 1.

Shellfish Constable Isaiah Scheffer told The Times the newly designated grant area is basically unfishable. “The bottom has a lot of sedimentation and it is pretty deep water. It really has no commercial or recreational value. It’s a water usage issue really,” he said. “If someone holds a grant in that area you really can’t have someone sailing through. This is the reason selectmen wanted it to be on the eastern side so that there are no conflicts with other pond usage, which really makes a lot of sense.”

In other news, selectmen learned that the town has received 14 applications for the four proposed lots in the Nab’s Corner affordable housing development. Notification letters of eligibility will be sent out November 7. The lottery is scheduled for December 5.

Selectmen also approved Josh Aronie’s permit to operate a food truck from November 3 to May 2 in either the Home Port or Chilmark Store parking lots; approved a preliminary screening committee’s selection of 14 police patrolman applications; and approved an application to the state Department of Transportation to reduce the Beetlebung Corner area speed limit from 25 to 20 mph from the police station to the bank.

Valerie SonnenthalSummer movie on Menemsha Beach with Sylvia Earle and Bob Nixon, Backyard Bash on a gorgeous evening enjoyed by families and all ages, Chilmark Road Race with more runners than ever, the First Family nestled into their vacation digs, hearing Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Foundation founder and president Dr. John Aucott speak at an informal gathering, one of my sons returning from a summer semester in Poland and one off camping in New Hampshire, dancing in Built on Stilts, girlfriends from Rockland County, N.Y., visiting — it’s the August blur under the Supermoon and Perseid meteor showers. It’s time to start thinking about the Ag Fair, what to enter, and enjoying the myriad of offerings all over our Island.

The other morning in Menemsha I spotted a woman standing by the creek working on a small canvas, fog making the world of this painter a timeless quiet. It was Karen Cuchel, an artist and teacher born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She works plein air whether at home (still in Brooklyn) or every summer when she, her husband, writer/teacher Jason Dubow, and their kids visit Chilmark, a family tradition started by his parents over 30 years ago. Also our sons will share a common experience, The Mountain School, a one-semester program for high school juniors — we wish Ari Dubow a great semester.

Kara Taylor’s last gallery opening of the summer season is her NIGHT exhibit Sunday, August 17, from 5 to 8 pm. Come see her newest work; I know she’s been busy painting every day. For more information, 508-332-8171.

Last dinner (7 pm) and a movie (8 pm) in Chilmark is “Art and Craft,” a documentary about Mark Landis who has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, though he donated his work to museums under the ruse of being a philanthropist. Come meet Mark Landis on Wednesday, August 20.  For tickets and information, tmvff.org/artcraft.

The Chilmark Public Library gets serious this week with author/activist Rebecca Gordon, a professor at University of San Francisco, discussing her new book, “Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post 9/11 United States” on Wednesday, August 20, at 5 pm. Catch West Tisbury author John Hough Jr. discussing his new novel “Little Bighorn” on Thursday, August 21, at 5 pm.

The last session of Author Lecture Series at the Chilmark Community Center offers three masterful memoirists discussing writing their personal stories. Come hear Gail Sheehy, Richard Hoffman, Katie Hafner moderated by Alexandra Styron on Thursday, August 21, 7:30 pm. Tickets available at ticketsmv.com and the CCC (M-F, 9-12 only). The last Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concert will be Carol Wincenc on flute, Jay Campbell on cello, Delores Stevens on piano, playing J.S. Bach’s Duo from the “Well Tempered Clavier,” and other works by Gabriella Lena Frank and Jake Heggie.

All Chilmark Community Center programs and classes run through August 15. The Chilmark Flea Market runs through Saturday, August 30. Remember, Chilmark Chocolates is now closed until September 4. You can still take yoga and dance classes through September 7 at The Yard. Lobster Rolls to Go at the Chilmark Church runs Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 pm through September 9, and yoga at the church with Primo Lombardi on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 am runs through August 28.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.