Martha’s Vineyard Community Notes


Veterans advocate will be here Friday

Cheryl A. Belisle, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) public contact advocate, will be available to talk to Island veterans from 1 to 4 pm on Friday, September 6, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Ms. Belisle, who is based in the VA Providence Regional Office, has been making trips to the Vineyard on a regular basis over the past several months to answer local veterans’ questions and provide them with information regarding VA claims and health care and other benefits.

For more information, contact Dukes County Director of Veterans Services Jo Ann Murphy at 508-693-6887.

Conor Smith completes West Point cadet basic training

Conor James Smith, the son of Mr. and Ms. Thomas Smith of Edgartown, recently completed cadet basic training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Cadet Smith entered the academy on July 1 and successfully completed six areas of training before starting classes on August 19.

A graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, Cadet Smith plans to graduate from West Point in 2017, at which time he would be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

A trail map of Massachusetts gardens

Massachusetts boasts some of the oldest and most beautiful gardens in the country. The cool-temperate climate is highly favorable to a wide variety of plants of ornamental and economic value, many indigenous to the state or region. Botanic gardens, which display these plants with their proper scientific names, have long been a treasured resource for residents of the Commonwealth, who look to public gardens as a source of beauty and inspiration as well as information on how to create and maintain their own gardens.

In Massachusetts, 10 botanic gardens located across the state have joined forces to make it easier for tourists to discover them. With the support of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, and several regional tourist councils, the gardens have created a new website, that provides descriptions, photos, and directions to each of these horticultural gems.

Included on the list is the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury, which holds an extensive collection of woody plants, many not hardy elsewhere in the state, according to a press release.

Discover garden gems in the Commonwealth at

Gay Head Lighthouse 10K needs volunteers

The Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee needs volunteers for the first annual Gay Head 10K race to be held at 10 am, Sunday, October 6. Proceeds from the race will help fund the move and restoration of the Gay Head Lighthouse.

Volunteers are needed for the following tasks: promotion, registration, race site preparation, medical aid stations, course security, refreshments-water stations, awards, and clean up, according to a press release. The committee is also in need of a volunteer coordinator. To volunteer, or for more information about the race and the project to save the lighthouse, or to make a donation, visit

Digital Literacy program is accepting applicants

Alex’s Place Teen Center at the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard is accepting applicants for the Comcast Digital Connectors Digital Literacy Program, a free program for teens to earn an IT certificate and netbook.

All teens 14-19 years of age are eligible to apply, according to a press release. The application period begins September 5 and will close once the program reaches capacity.

Application materials are available at Alex’s Place Teen Center and at the YMCA Member Service Desk. Each applicant will be interviewed to determine admission.

Digital Connectors students are required to attend all scheduled classes, perform 56 hours of community service, complete all course modules, Cisco IT Certification online program, EverFi financial literacy online course, as well as all in-house additions to the program.

Call for Nominations for Spirit of the Vineyard Award

Nominations for the Spirit of The Vineyard Award are open. This award, given annually, honors those who have served for one or more non-profit organizations on the Island, and whose work has made a difference to individuals and to the community as a whole. The criteria for selection include selflessness, the range and depth of service performed, the length of volunteer service and the effect on the quality of life of the individuals who received help and for the Island community as a whole, according to a press release.

The sponsor of this award, Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, is a free, community-supported program whose mission is to meet the unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all who are facing advanced illness and loss, and to give them hope, comfort and compassion.

Past recipients are Jack Ware, Estelle Surprenant, Ron Rappaport, the Possible Dreams Auction Committees Past and Present, Nellie Mendenhall, Kerry Alley, Dorothy Bangs, Judy Williamson, the MV Harley Riders, Polly Brown, Melinda Loberg, Denys and Marilyn Wortman. Emily Bramhall, and Greg Orcutt.

Nominations can be emailed to or sent to Spirit of the Vineyard, PO Box 1356, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.