Edgartown: How did we get to this place?


I am struggling tonight to find words for a column. My heart and my head are in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The tragedy of this weekend’s shootings is sitting heavily on my heart, as I know it is with so many others. I simply cannot wrap my head around the senselessness of these shootings. How did we get to this place where people have such disregard for human life? And what can we do to fix it? I refuse to believe that we can’t turn this around. It’s time for our politicians to act to solve this.

August is upon us and suddenly, the upcoming big summer events are a week or two away. I posted a picture to my Facebook page the other day that said “August is the Sunday of summer for teachers.” And as a friend pointed out, for students as well. I’m making every effort to enjoy the next few weeks, while also getting some work and planning done. 

I’d like to send out a big thank-you and congratulations to the Amity Island Running Club as a whole, and Megan McDonald, Nedine Cunningham, Kara Shemeth, and Darren Belisle in particular, for a well-run (pun intended) 5K race this past weekend. It was hot, humid, and sunny, which makes for a very uncomfortable run. But everyone had a great time with no major problems, and I’m already looking forward to next year. That last part is kind of a lie, but I threw it in there to make Megan M. laugh.

Happiest of birthday wishes go out to my sister, Pam, who celebrated on August 5. She and her husband, Phil, also celebrated 22 years of marriage on August 3. Congratulations to them both.

Other birthday wishes go out to Tom Sullivan and Colette Kurelja on August 6, my son from another mother, Ben DeBettencourt, on August 7, and Marna Waller on August 10.

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Chicken Alley Thrift Shop will host its 16th annual Art and Collectibles Sale on Sunday, August 11, from 1 pm until 5 pm on the corner of Church and Main streets in Vineyard Haven, moving this year due to road closings for the Beach Road Weekend music festival. All proceeds from the sale benefit the programs and services of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. Line placeholder numbers will be handed out starting at 7 am, and the sale will begin promptly at 1 pm. 

Donations to the art show can be made to the Chicken Alley Thrift Shop at 38 Lagoon Pond Rd. until Thursday, August 8. Donation hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 am until 3 pm, or by appointment. Call 508-693-2278. Scheduled pickups by the Thrift Shop will not be possible from August 5 through the 19th.

The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury will present its annual Peach Festival on Saturday, August 10, from noon to 4 pm. They will be serving fresh peaches, smoothies, lemonade, peaches with ice cream, and peach shortcake, and Mad Martha’s special peach ice cream. Take home something delicious from the baked goods table, pick up something fabulous from the vintage jewelry table, and relax on the church lawn with lemonade sold by the Sunday school kids. All proceeds of this fundraiser help support this historic church and our Island community.

The 12th annual Edgartown House Tour and Tea will take place on Tuesday, August 13, at 1:30 pm, with historian Mary Jane Carpenter’s presentation at the Federated Church Meetinghouse about the historical importance of the homes on the tour. Then the guests will tour classic New England homes on South Water Street, and tea will be served in a backyard waterfront overlooking Edgartown Harbor and Chappaquiddick. Tickets go on sale at 1 pm the day of the event at the Federated Church Meetinghouse. Parking is available at the Edgartown School parking lot. For more information, call 508-627-7077.

I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I’ve only recently just come across details about the proposed “Meetinghouse Place Development.” While I knew that there was a proposal to develop property off Meetinghouse Way on the edge of Edgartown Great Pond, I had no idea that the scope of the project was so large. I started Googling the project, and was floored by the proposed sizes of homes. Houses are limited to seven bedrooms and 6,300 square feet. Wow. My house is 650 square feet, and would fit in these proposed houses 10 times. I also see that there are some important species living and thriving in the area of this subdivision. I admit that I don’t know many details yet, but this is referred to as one of the largest subdivision proposals to go before the M.V. Commission in recent years. And rumor has it, there has been very little input from town people. Some of the talking points I came across are the various species, including the imperial moth, that thrive in the area; the fact that the contribution to affordable housing is based on the assessed value of the property at the time of purchase, which was just $2.4 million, which seems ridiculously low for 54 acres on Great Pond; and concerns about the water needs and wastewater issues caused by such mansions. At any rate, there is clearly much to learn. If you are interested, you can visit the M.V. Commission website at mvcommission.org. As I noted, community feedback and participation in the process has been low so if you’re interested in it at all, contact the M.V. Commission to learn more or give feedback. They would like to hear from you. In the meantime, if you have any useful information that I could share here, please feel free to email me at ggardnermv@gmail.com.

Have a great week.