West Tisbury: Whiting farm, town election, M.V. Democrats, Howes House, and Vineyard Smiles

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—MV Times

When Tara Whiting-Wells and I carried on an email conversation last week, I told her she had basically written my column for me. There are lots of new lambs at the Whiting farm, plenty of eggs, frisky horses and dogs who are enjoying the cool weather, and two resident barn owls living in a nest box. Tara isn’t sure yet whether they are an active pair, or just a couple who dropped in, liked the accommodations, and decided to stay. Over at her house, she has a screech owl, who pokes its head out of its box every evening to serenade her and Peter.

In town hall news, Tara reported that the ballot for our upcoming town election is almost completed. Town Meeting will be on Tuesday evening, April 11, at a new time, starting at 6 pm instead of 7. Town Election Day is scheduled for Thursday, April 13. We both commented on the number of young candidates running for offices this year. Jessica Miller will run for her full three-year term on the Select Board after filling Kent Healy’s seat after he passed away last year. Ken Vincent is running for board of health, and Emily Fischer for library trustee. Emily was a child when her mother, Christa, served on the library board with me in the 1990s and 2000s. There are no contested races this year.

M.V. Democrats will meet this Saturday morning, March 11, 9:30 to 11 am, on Zoom. On the agenda are approval of minutes and a draft letter urging State Senator Cyr and State Representative Fernandes to support House Bill 353, banning the sale of semiautomatic weapons in Massachusetts, then guest speakers Richard Andre of Vineyard Power, and Liz Durkee, climate change planner for the M.V. Commission.

Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm, Eric Johnson, Brooke Sofferman, and Sean Farias will perform at the West Tisbury library’s Second Sunday Jazz Concert.

Don’t forget that daylight saving time starts Sunday morning at 2 am.

The Up-Island Council on Aging is planning a day of activities on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17. Beginning at 9 am, bake soda bread with Beth Kramer. At 10 am, play Food Pantry Bingo to support the Island Food Pantry, and end the day painting watercolors, starting at 1 pm. Dan Sauer is in charge of the free lunch offered at 11:30. Call 508-693-2896 to sign up for any or all events.

Vineyard Smiles will return for appointments in April for island residents over 18 who don’t have regular dental care. They will set up shop on April 17 and 18 in the Woodside Village Community Room for residents of Island Elderly Housing, then move to the First Baptist Church Parish Hall from April 19 to 21. Text 978-549-0659 or email polishedvhca@gmail.com for an appointment.

MV Falls Prevention Coalition and Healthy Aging M.V. will host eight two-hour classes, “A Matter of Balance,” at the Howes House, beginning on April 4. The classes are for seniors interested in improving their balance, flexibility, and strength. To register, call Susan Merrill at 508-693-2896 or email coaoutreach@westtisbury-ma.org.

Megan Mendenhall was home for the weekend, and invited me over for a visit. The house smelled delicious when I opened the door. Megan and her mother, Kathy Logue, were baking oatmeal cookies loaded with chocolate chips and cinnamon. I will remember that Megan puts in more cinnamon than my recipe calls for, and it is a definite improvement.

“What Makes West Tisbury Tick? A Users’ Guide to Small-Town Structure, How Things Work, and Participatory Government” is a slender bound pamphlet that Kathy had found at her mother, Margaret Logue’s, house earlier in the day. It was the result of a workshop sponsored by the West Tisbury Free Public Library and the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard in February 2017. Margaret was a living example of community participation, and she encouraged others to show the same public spirit. Here is a quote: “There are 41 elected officials and over 120 appointed positions that encompass Town government in West Tisbury. According to the 2015 Town Report, ‘This large number of citizens sacrifice a great deal of personal time for the Town. All the entities on which they serve tackle many, often intricate, assignments, and make West Tisbury the fine example of participatory democracy that it is.’” That’s something to be proud of.

A summer friend, who lives in New York City during the winter months, sent me an email after attending the Stella Waitzkin exhibition at the Slag Gallery in Chelsea. The exhibition is mostly of her book sculptures. His comment was, “She has her fans, and the smallish room was full of people.” FYI, if you plan to be in the city.

It has been lovely to see all the witch hazel and cornus mas bushes in full yellow bloom, making bright spots of color all around town. Indoors, it’s time to force forsythia or quince or cherry branches. I have never tried forcing dogwood or magnolias, but every spring I see stunning displays of those tall branches at the local nurseries.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.