Edgartown: Congratulations Chief Schaeffer


I am very happy to say that we have finished college applications in our house. Finally! It certainly has changed since back in my day. It’s all online now, with many schools accepting a common application. You just fill it out once and submit it to the schools that take it. The hardest part was kicking the teenager in the rear to get it done. Now on to scholarship applications.

Congratulations to Alex Schaeffer, who was sworn in as the new fire chief this week. And thank you to Peter Shemeth for all your years of service. Seeing all of the firemen and firewomen in the lobby of the town hall to support them both was pretty amazing. It reminded me of all the good people who give so much of themselves to our community.

There’s a little bit of topsy turvy-activity going on at McIntosh Motors these days, but rest assured, it’s all good. From the customer’s point of view, everything will look pretty much the same, except for maybe the sign out front. As of this month, McIntosh Motors will be known as Andrea’s Autos. Andrea (Dello Russo) Campbell has been a mechanic there for several years, and will now be taking over the business end of things. But fear not. Bruce will still be there, working as a mechanic, getting his hands greasy, and helping to keep things running, literally and figuratively. So the long and short of the story is everything there is basically very much the same as far as the customers are concerned, and our cars are still in good hands. Actually, they’re still in the same hands. Congratulations to both Andrea and Bruce for working together to make a great business.

Felix Neck is offering up an evening of stargazing with Mark Lovewell on Jan. 17 from 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm, and again on Feb. 14 from 6 pm until 7 pm. Take a closer look at the night sky through stargazing and storytelling. Mark Alan Lovewell will point out the cosmic happenings each month. The cost is $7 for a member family or group or $10 for a nonmember family or group.

I try not to get political in my columns. It can be so divisive, and the last thing we need is more of that. Sometimes, though, “Edgartown news” involves local government and politics. So which way does one go with that? To write about it or to not write about it?

Suffice to say, one of the hottest topics in town right now is the hiring of a new police chief, and it comes with its share of discussion. I know several officers on the department, many of whom I’ve known my whole life. Many of them grew up here, and are committed to this town. I certainly don’t have the answers about how to hire a new police chief. And I certainly don’t know whether bringing someone in from off-Island is the best option or not. All of which probably explains why they haven’t asked for my help.

What I do know is that the people in our department are good people, who have given many years of service to this town. They have strong ties to the Island. They know the members of the community. They have kids in our schools, and parents and extended family in town. In my heart of hearts, I feel that that should count for something. I know that valid points can be made for hiring a company to assist with this important task. But someone did have an interesting point at the selectmen’s meeting today. Why promote the fire chief from within but hire an off-Island agency to look outside our community for the police chief? I don’t know all the ins and outs about it, but I do think it would be safe to say that it may be time to have a written policy for how to hire for this position from this day forward and stick with it. It may ease some minds in our close-knit community.

There will be a parent education evening on Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 5:30 pm until 7 pm at the M.V. Family Center titled “Violent Play: Yay or Nay,” which deals with violent fantasy play. According to their email, our culture is full of images of violence that are far too complex for young children to comprehend. At the same time, the play encouraged by these images makes adults uncomfortable. How can we encourage healthy play and help the children to arrive at rules and limits that will help them feel secure? This workshop will explore the ways young children make sense of violence in our culture, and ways we can help them deal with it constructively. The workshop will be presented by Jane Katch, author of “Under Deadman’s Skin.” Dinner and childcare are provided, and preregistration required. Call or email the M.V. Family Center to register at 508-687-9182 or mvfamilycenter@gmail.com.

Happy birthday wishes go out to my cousin, Kevin Ryan, on Jan. 7, and Alissa Mattison Purda on Jan. 8. And a happy first anniversary to my other cousin, Jonathan Ryan, and his wife, Riss Rosado, on Jan. 7 as well.

Don’t forget that this Friday, Jan. 12, is a professional day for teachers Island-wide, and Monday is Martin Luther King Day, so kids have a four-day weekend ahead of them. Be sure to plan accordingly.

I am still in disbelief that we lost Coo Cavallo last week. Talk about someone so full of life. I saw him laughing and joking in the Post Office parking lot on the Saturday morning before he died, and I was greeted with a big wave and smile, as always. Oh, how I loved the Barbershop Deli back in the day. It had the best roast beef sandwiches. Yes, I always got the same thing back then, and they were perfect. I can remember the tables and decor like it was yesterday, and Coo behind the counter. He was such a huge part of this community, and I never heard a bad word said about him. In this day and age, that’s rare. Sending my thoughts to his family during this sad time.

I wish you all a healthy and happy week ahead.