Aquinnah: Safety in the woods

— Kyra Steck

This is an information heavy column this week, sorry this is a less lighthearted chatter but hopefully that will return next week.

Here is the voting information for Aquinnah voters, it’s a lot of information so read carefully (I myself had to read it a couple of times to make sure I understood what action I needed to take depending on how I was voting). First, the deadlines: The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 3, 2020 election is Saturday, Oct. 24. On that day you can come to Town Hall between the hours of 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 8 pm to register. You can also register to vote online here: The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, by 5 pm.

If you are choosing to vote by mail, you must: sign the document, use your street address where you are registered, and include your mailing address where you want your ballot mailed (if different than your street address). As of press time the ballots for early mail-in voting had not arrived. When they arrive, they will be mailed out to all registered voters who applied for mail in voting. You have some options to get your mail-in ballot to the town clerk: mail it to the address on the enclosed envelope, put it in the drop box in the entry to Town Hall at 955 State Road, or deliver it to the town clerk directly, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm.

In-person early voting begins Saturday, Oct. 17, and ends Friday, Oct. 30. Here is the schedule: Saturday, Oct. 17, and Oct. 24, Sunday, Oct. 18, and Oct. 25, 10 am to 12 pm. Monday, Oct. 19 through Friday, Oct. 23, and Monday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Oct. 30, 8:30 am to 1:30 pm.  You can also go old school and vote in-person on the day of the election, Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 am to 8 pm at the Town Hall. If you have any questions about voting (even after reading this information twice) contact Gabriella Camilleri at the town clerk’s office, via email at or by calling 508-645-2304.

Bridgewater State University is presenting a Plymouth 400 Signature Event virtual Indigenous History Conference titled “Here it Began: 2020 Hindsight or Foresight.” It began this past weekend but there are still seven weekend sessions left, they run through Nov. 22. The object of the conference is to inspire people to learn about creation histories and traditional life; colonization and its aftermath; and the continued resilience and life of New England Natives today. You will see some familiar faces among the presenters, including Juli Vanderhoop, Christina Hook, Adriana Ignacio, Berta Welch, and Tobias Vanderhoop, among others. The conference is free, which is an incredible gift when you look at the line-up, but you must register for sessions. Go to to register.

The next meeting of the Virtual Book Group at the Aquinnah library will be next Thursday, Oct. 15, at 3 pm. The group will meet to discuss Julia Spiro’s “Someone Else’s Secret.” and the author herself will be present. Email to sign up.

If you spent some of your time during the pandemic decluttering, I have some good news for you. Martha’s Vineyard Community Services will host an Electronics Disposal Day this Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm on the MVCS campus. Mask wearing is a must, and everything will be as physically distant as possible. All funds raised will benefit MVCS and the myriad of programs that serve our community.

Not to be the bearer of bad news but there have been 13 reported cases of tick-borne disease in Aquinnah from last April to now. They include cases of Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Please do not wait to seek diagnosis and medical treatment; the sooner a tick-borne disease is treated, the better the recovery. For more information about ticks and disease prevention visit

Lone Star ticks have become especially prevalent in Aquinnah, Chilmark, and Chappaquiddick. There have been many reports of bites by the larvae of the lone star tick. The larvae hatch into October, and while they do not carry disease, the bites can itch for a long time and they can cause an allergy to red meat called the alpha gal syndrome. Everyone please be careful, tuck your pants into your socks if you go walking, treat your clothes with permethrin and your skin with a DEET-containing bug spray. For more information on ticks and personal protective measures please visit or email Dick Johnson at

A friendly reminder for all who like to walk in the woods that archery season for deer has started. Wear your orange or walk on the roads.

Happy birthday to my neighbor, Walter Ricciardi, and to Megan Grennan who both celebrate on Saturday, Oct. 10.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Molly Purves,