Aquinnah: This is good news

— Kyra Steck

Sometime in mid-November, when I was returning from a walk with a friend, she excitedly pointed out a quail at the bend in my road. It was walking on the road, and then jumped into the brush when we got too close. Around the beginning of December, I saw what I assumed was the same quail with some baby quail in my driveway. Even though they would all scatter when I pulled in, I liked knowing that they were there and had found a home near our house. The night before New Year’s Eve, I pulled onto my road and saw a few neighborhood cats gathered on the stone wall — there were three of them, one was a neighbor’s cat whom I know well. They seemed to be holding a meeting which ended abruptly when they spied my car. I have not seen the quails or the cats since, but I keep wondering about what kind of meeting I interrupted and where the birds are now.

The social event of the month was held last Wednesday: It was the dispersal of free COVID tests at the town hall. I got caught up with some neighbors, including Meg Bodnar and Mallory Butler, as we waited in line. Jealous you didn’t make it? Don’t fret, word is there will be another one soon.

Last week I talked about the homeless shelter that is open on-Island every night of the week. The location of the shelter has now moved to the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services campus in the old Early Childhood Education building. This is good news, as now the shelter is in the same place every night, instead of moving around, and the space can house more people.

The Aquinnah library is now open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 6 pm, and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. They are also happy to make special arrangements if you need assistance outside regular hours. Please email or call 508-645-2314 with your inquiries or special requests. On Thursday, Jan. 20, at 5 pm, Ann Clare LeZotte will discuss her new book, “Set Me Free,” in which Mary, a young deaf girl from 19th century Chilmark, is called off-Island on an important mission.

Email to register and to receive the Zoom link. On Jan. 22 and 29, from 10 to 11 am, Jannette Vanderhoop will lead a virtual yoga class. This class is free, and all levels of yoga experience are welcome. Email to register. On Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 5 pm, the knitting group will meet on Zoom. This is a beginner-friendly knitting group for all ages, with all materials and instructions provided. Email to register and organize pickup of your materials.

The Martha’s Vineyard Nonprofit Collaborative has a job and volunteer opportunities page on its website, If you are looking to make a change in your work life, there are many jobs listed at various nonprofits, along with some wonderful volunteer opportunities, including Aquinnah’s own Sassafras Earth Education. Sassafras is looking for volunteers to work on the Land Culture project, and to finish building a barn. Contact Saskia Vanderhoop at if interested.

The Aquinnah Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is looking for volunteers who are interested in working at the town hall shelter or the Wampanoag Tribe overnight shelter. These are shelters that are opened when the town loses power for an extended period of time, or in case of another emergency. Training will be provided in the following areas: greeters, kitchen service, health services, communications, and childcare assistance. There will be a meeting at town hall on Saturday, Feb. 19, for potential volunteers, at 1 pm. For more information, contact Gabriella Camilleri at 508-645-2304 or

The League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard, in conjunction with MVTV, is sponsoring a series of interviews with elected officials from various towns on Martha’s Vineyard to inform citizens about the process of running for local positions. They will share their personal accounts of service in our towns. These brief interviews will be broadcast live on channel 13, and available for streaming later. The first interview with Emma Green-Beach, from the Oak Bluffs select board took place earlier this week. A second interview will take place in early February with Ben Robinson, planning board member in Tisbury. The third interview is planned for late February with Tara Whiting-Wells, town clerk in West Tisbury. For more information, contact