Chilmark: Author Africa Brooke, town election, folk pottery trail, pizza night, and a poem

—MV Times

There is nothing as engaging or comforting as the sensation of recognition when a much younger writer eloquently describes a perspective you have honed for decades.

“I have a deep devotion to playing my part in creating a world where we can speak thoughtfully yet bravely, where we can disagree without dehumanizing each other, where we can become better communicators and start to practice the art of speaking with a fierce intention, where we can change our minds, where we can make mistakes and not be held to them for all eternity, where we stop confusing punishment with true accountability, where we don’t force our worldview on one another, where we listen with an understanding ear — not an ear that scans for offense and malicious intent.” —Africa Brooke

I preordered her book, “The Third Perspective: Brave Expression in the Age of Intolerance,” out in May 2024.

We filled the Chilmark Community center to consider, question, and vote on 33 articles under the 2024 warrant. Janet Weidner expertly moderated us through the gauntlet of issues. She firmly kept us on track. She repeated what we were considering as many times as necessary to make sure we understood every amendment, and amendment to the amendment, under consideration. She encouraged every voter who had a question or concern to raise their voice. She gently guided quieter speakers to the microphone. She patiently guided speakers back to the confines of the particular question up for consideration. She applied her exquisite sense of humor with perfect timing. At around 10 pm, past the traditional Chilmark midnight of 9 pm, Janet deftly honored the standing request for an Australian ballot (a paper vote versus a stand-and-be-counted vote) on the final and most contentious issue, and the much-appreciated withdrawal of that request. To Janet and all those who questioned and those who provided answers, thank you for leaving us shaking hands and putting chairs away together.

Congratulations to everyone who ran for elected office. I commend you all.

Congratulations to our new select board member, Jeffrey Maida. Thank you, William David (“Billy”) Meegan, for running. It was a close race.

Congratulations to Leonard Jason Jr., on your re-election to the board of assessors. Congratulations to Jan Buhrman, on your re-election to the board of health.

Congratulations to Jane Kaplan, on your re-election to trustee of the Chilmark Free Public Library. Thank you, Caitlin Kane, for running, and for your commitment to expanding welcoming and safe spaces for Chilmark children.

Congratulations to Vicki Divoll, for your re-election to the finance committee. Congratulations to Linda Coutinho, for election to the finance committee, and for unofficially receiving the most votes out of all the candidates for any office.

Congratulations to Constable Marshall Carroll, and thanks to your wife, Katie, for reminding us to write you in. Paperwork and deadlines are important, and so are recovery plans.

Congratulations to Richard Osnoss, on your election to the planning board. Congratulations to Laurissa Rich, on your election to cemetery commissioner. Congratulations to Frederick Khedouri, on your election to the Land Bank. Congratulations to Keith Emin, on your election as tree warden.

Congratulations to Julie Flanders, on your re-election as surveyor of woods, lumber, and bark. Congratulations to Everett Healy, on your election as surveyor of woods, lumber, and bark. I love that we continue to have this role. A surveyor used to be called upon more often to measure and look over what you’ve bought, to make sure you are getting what you pay for. So if you live in Chilmark and you have a question about the cord of wood, or lumber that was delivered for your building or project, you can give them a call.

Congratulations again to Julie Flanders, on re-election as fence viewer. Her grandfather was one, dad was one, and it is lovely that Julie continues the tradition.

Bill O’Callaghan and Heather Goff’s gallery is open every day in May except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Their hours are 11-5, except Sundays 2-5. The Folk Art Trail has new sculptures, and is open every day 9 am to dusk.

Join us at the Chilmark Church at 6 pm for pizza, conversation, and games.

By Dinah Maria Craik (1826–87)

OH, THE COMFORT — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words — but pouring them
All right out — just as they are —
Chaff and grain together —
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them —
Keep what is worth keeping —
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,