Chilmark: Strategic planning

Life can simply be about the right balance- a visual reminder on Lucy Vincent Beach. —Valerie Sonnenthal

Yes, it may have rained, but that sunshine and warmer weather are making more people smile, walk barefoot at the beach, share their interludes with pinkletinks, spend more time outdoors getting their hands back into the dirt, preparing gardens, getting rid of storm debris, and the list goes on. A couple of friends have already been swimming in Island ponds. All I can say is I hope the ferry breakdowns are over for the rest of the summer! Dennis Jason is stepping down as Chilmark harbormaster after 19 years at the helm. Thank you for your service, and enjoy your new life.

Virginia Jones wrote me to tell me about participating in the ongoing community workshops for strategic planning “on how to cope with climate change, sea level rise, and natural disasters.” She says, “By going through the strategic planning process, we’re working toward having the towns certified or preapproved to apply for financial or other assistance. The ferry system was the big winner for needing some serious planning and revision. We need to have some new blood on the port advisory committees, and some new thinking on capital improvements. The tick project (Nan Doty reported about a way of testing ticks, available in Waltham, which allows an almost instant diagnosis).came in high on the list, and so did forest fire problems. Another big winner was communication issues (and electrical grid), as well as a regional potable water source accessible during emergencies. Road and bridge/culvert infrastructure rated high, as well as coastal erosion, the Great Ponds (and the shell and fin fish resources), marshes (very important to resiliency), and other natural resources. Finally, a big topic was the need to feed ourselves — maximizing agriculture — both crops and meat/poultry production, and the need to provide communications and possible assistance to isolated seniors (or anyone with logistical challenges) during storms, etc.

“There is always a need to make sure that access to medical services are available (pharmacies, hospital, clinics, medical personnel, assistance with meds, dialysis and oxygen, etc.). There will be another meeting to present the consultants’ synthesis of what the four tables of people spoke about and identified as the community’s top potential problems, and some possible solutions. I don’t know when that will be, but I’m guessing in June.” And I’ll be sure to let you know. If you have not attended the last two meetings, you can still contribute your ideas by contacting Tim Carroll at

Chilmark Chocolates is open from Thursday, May 10, through Sunday, May 20, if you need to restock. The Chilmark General Store will open for the season on Friday, May 18.

Time to be inspired at the MV Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, May 12, from 10 am to 4 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury, a show-and-tell format for people of all ages.

Come celebrate Greg Mayhew and share your stories on Saturday, May 12, at 3 pm at the Chilmark Public Library. Refreshments will be served.

Enjoy Mother’s Day with photographer Lynn Christoffers, who is offering free photo sessions to all grandmothers, mothers, and families in the West Tisbury library’s Children’s Room from 2 to 4 pm on Sunday, May 13. JPEGs will be sent to you.

Tuesday Pizza Nights continue at the Chilmark Community Church from 6 to 7 pm; enjoy free food, conversation, and community. All are welcome, free. 9 Menemsha Crossroads, Chilmark.

Hear Mark Rasmussen, president of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, at the Chilmark library on Wednesday, May 9, at 5 pm. He’ll discuss their work, recent successes in tackling nitrogen pollution from wastewater, wetlands restoration, and watershed land conservation — all of which have strong parallels with efforts underway on Martha’s Vineyard. On Wednesday, May 16, hear Dr. Walter Collier speak about his latest book, “Why Racism Persists: An Uncomfortable Truth,” and learn about some of his practical solutions. Make sure to stop in the Meeting Room to see Cody Jephcote’s exhibit of mixed-media collages, constructions, and paintings, up though the end of the month. Wednesday Afterschool Crafts with Irene runs weekly from 3 to 4 pm. Stories with Rizwan are Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 am. For info or questions call 508-645-3360 or email

Time for Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group’s annual fundraising gala, An Evening Under the Stars, at Farm Neck on Thursday, May 17, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The evening features a buffet dinner, silent auction, music by Mike Benjamin, and a cash bar. All proceeds from the event will support the group’s mission of helping island cancer patients and their families with medical expenses and other treatment-related expenses. For further information and to purchase tickets, please call AnnMarie Donohue at 508-627-7958.

If you find bats living in your basement/cellar, contact Biodiversity Works at 800-690-0993, which will help transition them to a natural habitat.

Have a great week.