Chilmark: finding balance

Finding peace and balance at Lucy Vincent Beach. — Valerie Sonnenthal

Let’s start with good news, heartwarming news. Remember Gabe? Not only does Gabe now have a Big Brother but so do four other boys on-Island. It would be so great to find 8 more men who are looking to mentor. I know I could have used a father figure growing up. If you’re interested in being a Big Brother don’t let social distancing stop you. Reach out to local foster parent Elexis Wildanger, call or text 508-326-1155, and check out

Menemsha Texaco and Menemsha Fish Market are both open. Mid-Island Cronig’s is closed.

As days unfold we are living in a new world order, at least for the present. Schools, town offices, and libraries are closed and events cancelled. Continuing day by day so anything is subject to change. Chilmark Town Hall is open by appointment only until further notice. Pathways is closed with all events cancelled or postponed. The MV Film Festival is postponed. OK, everything is postponed, cancelled, or moved online.

Tuesday Pizza Nights at the Chilmark Community Church are cancelled. The Chilmark Community Center is closed through April.

The Chilmark Public Library, now closed, can be reached at 508-645-3360 or go to The Chilmark library building is closed entirely this week, all staff  are working from home. They will still answer calls and emails. Library director Ebba Hierta has been speaking with various digital media providers to add additional resources like new movie and content streaming. RBDigital with AcornTV, IndieFlix, GreatCourses and StingrayConcerts should be up and running by the end of the week and she is waiting to hear back from Hoopla streaming as well. Patrons who need assistance accessing digital offerings should email their phone numbers and someone will call them back as available. 

A new Facebook group “Islanders Help” was started over the weekend. If you need anything picked up down-Island, or cannot feed your chickens or goats, or have a dog that needs walking, this is a site to reach out to. I have created a Facebook group called It’s a Chilmark Thing to share up-to-date information as it becomes available on closings, hours, town info, people can reach out there if they need helpMany people are not on Facebook, and if you’re reading this column and need help, getting groceries, mail or other tasks, please talk to friends who go online. Presently there is no phone number to call if you need help, but there are so many in our community eager to help others. Do not be afraid to ask for help from a neighbor or friend, even if it’s just to chat a while on the phone. Feel free to write me an email and I’m happy to use our community column to connect volunteers with those seeking assistance.

I stopped at the Outermost Inn last weekend and got take-out for my family. When we went to press they were deciding whether to offer take-out or delivered dinners. Look for their update on social media or call 508-645-3511.

There were lots of cars at our beaches and surfers catching some good waves over the weekend at Squibby which was nice to see. One thing that is disheartening is the amount of dog droppings, especially at Lucy Vincent Beach. I know if there was a receptacle for such trash we’d see a lot less of it on top of low climbing rocks and places we’d all like to enjoy. So please let our selectmen know if you’d support meeting the needs of our users or perhaps requiring a dog walking permit of $10 to help pay for garbage service and pick-up bags. Signs seem to have no effect, nor does consideration. Send your suggestions to our town leaders and perhaps we can make things more user-friendly for all.

On Saturday there was a sign on Middle Road painted onto a piece of plywood “Free Wood.” I had been wondering about the tree cutting going on and learned it is a Land Bank property that will be connected by a 45′ walking bridge over a ravine to the Fulling Mill property. You will be able to walk across Chilmark connecting to Menemsha Hills in the future. If you are interested in free wood from the Land Bank, which not only cuts it down to size but also helps load your vehicle, contact them at 508-627-7141 to make an appointment to collect a load.

Here are a couple of my favorite quarantine jokes: “Actually it’s only quarantine if it comes from the quarantine region of France, otherwise it’s just sparkling isolation.” And for those who prefer cocktails, Have you had a Quarantino? It’s a martini, but you drink it in quarantine.

The 2020 U.S. Census is expected to begin this week. Keep an eye on your mail for the initial notification letter, and be sure to fill out your census form online, or by phone or mail. The online and phone versions are available in 13 languages, including English and Portuguese, and the mail-in version is available in English and Spanish. All responses are strictly confidential. The census will determine about $16 billion in federal funds to Massachusetts, so an accurate count is essential. The census also affects political representation at the local, state, and federal levels, including the redrawing of legislative districts. For more information, or to get involved in your community, contact Keith Chatinover, chairman of the Dukes County Complete Count Committee, at

Don’t forget to email me if you need help and I can share your need with volunteers. Stay calm and wash your hands. Have a good week