Happy New Year, everyone! I was thrilled to be landing on a Cape Air plane last night around 4:45 to see that it was still somewhat light out. The mercury might still make its expected winter descent at some point, but the days are getting longer. Can’t complain about that.

Congratulations to Conor Smith, who has received word that he’ll be granted a service academy nomination from Congressman Bill Keating. Conor hopes to attend West Point, and a congressional nomination is required for him to be considered in the application process. We should all be proud of this outstanding young person and the testament he is to how we raise ’em right here on M.V.

We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Bethany Haveard (nee Sylvia) who died suddenly leaving a husband and five small children. Her friends will host a silent/live auction Saturday, January 7, at the P-A Club to benefit her family. There will be live music at 10:30 as well. For further info, contact Barbara Magnuson at 508-627-0909. Let’s all do our best to support Bethany’s family.

Max Sherman announces the first meeting of Vineyard-Men for Abuse Prevention (V-MAP), which will be held Wednesday, January 11, at 6:30 pm, at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven. The meeting will include a PowerPoint presentation and a special guest. V-MAP will be a men’s group that intends to raise awareness of abuse and how men can stand up against it. All are welcome to attend this community meeting, which will discuss the group’s mission and plans to protect this island’s members from all forms of abuse.

Kelley DeBettencourt and Ezra Agnew have been busy this past year with their awesome food blog, hungrynative.com on which they review restaurants that they happen upon in their travels, with a strong focus on local fare. Many of you know Kelley is a very talented photographer. Well, wait to you see her food pics that are included in each restaurant review — she even makes chicken feet look good. You will drool on your keyboard. Check it out.

The MV Center for Living will continue their Cultural Luncheon Series by honoring the Scottish influence and contributions on the Vineyard. Saturday, January 14, from 12 noon to 2 pm at the Grill on Main, speaker Steve Ewing and bagpiper Howard Wall will present while you enjoy a traditional meal including a taste of haggis. Tickets are available by calling Leslie Clapp at the Center for Living, 508-939-9440, or by going to the Center’s website: center4living.org.

ACE MV announces their Winter/Spring catalog, which offers over 60 classes, including several for college credit. For a full catalog listing and information on how to register, visit acemv.org.

We have a lot of birthdays this week. First up, Deanna Ahearn Laird and Jake Sylvia celebrate on January 5.

January 6 belongs to Alex Morrison and Lindsay Medeiros. On January 7, Paul and Ashley Gilbert wish a hearty happy seventh birthday to daughter, Lexington Palmer. Monday, January 9, we fete Anastasia Oliveira and Kristin Warriner. January 10, Fire Chief Peter Shemeth extinguishes his candles with a big ol’ hose. And last but certainly not least, Becky Minnich Beeson celebrates her day January 11. Hope you all have fun.