Outgoing fire chief Walter Delaney (right) with Jim Vercruysse, his successor. — Photo by Molly Purves

There will be a blood pressure clinic today, November 17, from 2 to 3 pm at the Aquinnah Town Hall. It is free and open to all residents of Aquinnah.

Story and craft time today at the Library will be focused on Native American stories and picture books. Crafts will honor Native American heritage and traditions. Story and craft time is from 4:30 to 5 pm, and please fill out a survey while you are at the library.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival will be hosting a special down-Island screening of “Another Earth” on Friday, November 18, at The Capawock in Vineyard Haven. This screening is free to MVFF members and $10 for non-members. The screening starts at 7:30 pm,

The Second Annual Cultural Festival of Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard is this Saturday, November 19, from 5 to 9 pm. This benefit at MVRHS celebrates Island diversity and culture. There is a lot going on at this festival. For a complete roster of events go to There will be children’s films from around the world supplied by MVFF & Cinema Circus. In the cafeteria local chefs and caterers from Deon’s, Sai Mai, Tropical, among others will host the Ethnic International Food Court. There will be a lot of different kinds of music and dancing demonstrations along with a silent auction. And there will be some familiar Aquinnah faces: Saskia Vanderhoop salsa dancing, the Black Brook singers, and items from up-Island craftspeople in the auction. Tickets to the event are $15 and children under 12 are free. Call 508-693-1033, ext. 240, or 774-310-1131 or e-mail to purchase tickets.

Chilmark artist Wendy Weldon will hold an open studio over Thanksgiving weekend. From 11 am to 4 pm on Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26, or by appointment, she welcomes visitors and collectors to her studio. She has beautiful canvases and paintings on paper for sale, spanning many years of creating art. For directions, please email her at or call her at 508-645-3199. Images of her artwork may be seen on line at

Also Thanksgiving weekend is the World Music Dance Party to benefit Media Voices for Children and the coffee kids from Kenyan Schoolhouse: Saturday, November 26, doors at the Chilmark Community Center open at 5:30 pm for dinner and dancing with DJ Di.

This past Sunday was Walter Delaney’s retirement party, celebrating 17 years as Aquinnah’s fire chief. Jim Vercruysse (the acting fire chief) started things off joking that this was not a retirement party but actually a recruitment party. He then got serious talking about Walter’s many years of service, getting a little choked up when he talked about Walter’s dedication to the department and the seriousness of being on call all the time.

Walter stated that it was “quite an honor to serve” and paid tribute to the attendees of the party as he gestured to the crowd.

“One thing about Aquinnah: if you want something just ask and the return is great. This return is great.” He thanked his wife, Nancy. The selectmen thanked Walter for being such a tremendous asset to the town. Walter was then presented with four flags by the most decorated Cub Scouts on the Island, one of which had flown over the Capitol on May 31 in honor of Walter. Carl Widdis presented Walter with a fire extinguisher, upon receipt of which Walter joked, “Do you have the instructions?”

When I asked him how it felt to retire, he said, “It feels great. I’m going to take it one day at a time.”

After the ceremony everyone dug into the food that had been piling up on the tables on the side of the room including a very cute firetruck cake made by Kathy Newman.

Speaking of Kathy Newman, she and her husband, Jim, just returned from a trip to Paris where they saw Phil and Penny Weinstein and presumably ate a lot of good French food.

Mike and Mary Broderick hosted a farewell dinner at their family’s house in Aquinnah on Sunday evening, before heading to the west coast on Tuesday where they will continue to train and race their beloved mountain bikes.

Before Veteran’s Day gets too far behind us, I would like to send a very humble thank you to all the men and women of our country who have served in the armed forces and especially to those who never made it back home. Thank you.