As we begin the new year, Forrest Alley, our dedicated highway superintendent for the town of Aquinnah and what was once Gay Head for the past 23 years, has officially retired. Perhaps it was the past two weeks of significant snowfalls that made him realize it was enough, although I realize he has been contemplating his long awaited retirement for the past few months. As I drove past the town hall on Monday evening I noticed the town truck with the snow plow already attached. Over the years, we simply needed to keep an eye on what Forrest was doing: if the plow was attached, we knew it would really storm. He was always more accurate than the weatherman. For now, he will still remain the first one in Aquinnah to have their Christmas lights in place. Always very accommodating, professional and reliable are the qualities I have known of Forrest for the past six decades.

Family and friends of Paul Benedict will gather on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. at the Vineyard Playhouse to commemorate his well-lived life as an actor and a friendly Aquinnah friend and neighbor. For further information and to remember Paul with one of your favorite potluck dishes, please call Joan Lelacheur at 508-645-9954 to RSVP and to sign up for the list of treats. Joanie may also be e-mailed at joanlela57@yahoo.com.

A grand welcome to Dr. Willie J. Cater upon his arrival as an orthopedic surgeon at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital this past week. Our friendship extends back nearly four decades, when he was a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine and spent a rotation in the gastroenterology department. In the 1970s he spent the summer working at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and it is wonderful that he has chosen to return and enjoy the Vineyard. On Monday afternoon we caught up with each other and our lives and reminisced about the colleagues we have known over the years. Please warmly welcome Dr. Cater when you see him around the Vineyard.

Get well wishes to Lorna Tilton Flanders who is a patient at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Sincerest condolences to the family of Alexander K. Galbraith 3rd who died on Jan. 5 at the hospice in Reading. Alexander was the son of Marjorie Vanderhoop of Everett and the late Alexander Galbraith Jr. He is also survived by his brother Paul and his family of Newton, and sister Pauline (Polly) of Everett, as well as his wife Linda and his children Craig, Amanda and Alexander. He is survived by his uncles John and Edwin Vanderhoop, and numerous cousins in Aquinnah and across the nation. Alex was a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and a descendant of the Diamond, Manning, Smalley and Vanderhoop families of Aquinnah. Services will be held at Saint Patrick’s Church in Stoneham this morning. A memorial service is being planned on the Vineyard with services at Community Baptist Church.

Happy new year greetings to friends and neighbors from Ken Kaufman and his wife Corinne Majno as they called from their vacation spot on the island of Saint Croix. The weather there has been rather balmy with high winds for two weeks straight. They have been concerned as the hurricanes have taken a toll on the economic state of the island since their previous visit, and they have noticed that many neighborhoods are now deserted and businesses closed.

The Manning family returned home this past week after spending the Christmas holiday in Pleasant Valley, N.Y. with Bill and Joan Kistner, their children and grandchildren. Paul, Theresa, Noah James and yours truly spent the holiday week with the Kistner clan, with family dinners at a different home in and around Poughkeepsie almost every evening. Two-year-old Noah delighted in his gifts on Christmas morning and engaged nearly every member of his family in many games of Zingo and to also try out his new tent. We had a wonderful first Christmas holiday together.

Beatrice Patadal returned to her home in New Jersey over the weekend after spending a long holiday visit with her mother, Joan Gentry Patadal, her grandmother, Mrs. Beatrice Vanderhoop Gentry, and her aunt, Barbara Gentry.

Condolences to the family of Mrs. Elaine Fortes Ramsey who died on Jan. 1 in Norwood. Elaine was a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe, daughter of the late John and Jennie Andrade Fortes, and granddaughter of the late Antone and Frances Britto Fortes and John and Julia Manning Andrade. Elaine was a descendant of many Aquinnah families. She is survived by her brothers Douglas and Alan, her sister Andrea, and her daughters Amanda and Olivia. Services were held on Thursday at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs.

Matthew Scott returned to his sophomore year studies at Dartmouth College on Saturday after spending nearly a month with his parents Frank and Linda Scott and his siblings Sam and Naomi.

Welcome to Jamie Speers, who started her duties this week for the County of Dukes County as the assistant coordinator for the Youth Task Force. Task force coordinator Theresa Manning and Jamie have attended a training session in Washington, D.C. this week.

Pam Vanderhoop arrived on Tuesday for a visit with Chief F. Ryan Malonson and to celebrate the new year. She has been visiting with her sister Lisa and their mother, Jewell, in Boston.

Get well wishes to Dr. Gary Zwicky, a patient at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

At the Vineyard Haven Library, on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. there will be popcorn available while watching a classic film of an Agatha Christie story by Billy Wilder. Thank you to Betty Burton Sundman for presenting her evening lecture series.

The Aquinnah Public Library will be working on the papier mache birds tomorrow and will be the final day to complete the birds.

On Thursday, Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. there will be a potluck dinner at the library and a movie night. Popcorn will be provided. Please bring a small dish to share. You will enjoy watching the movie in the new and cozy library space at the town hall.

Belated happy third anniversary wishes to Flip Scipio and Mitzi Pratt as they celebrated their special day on Dec. 30.

Gloria Fisk will celebrate her birthday on Jan. 11 and shares the day with her son in law Michael F. Sellitti Sr. Gordon C. Perry, the Vineyard’s new year baby a few years ago will party on Jan. 12 and shares the day with Pam Glavin and Priscilla Belain. Caleb Hallett will be 13 on Jan. 12. Genevieve Rogers will be 93 on Jan. 13 and shares the day with Nyssa Duarte who will be 12.

If you head to the hospital on Jan. 13, stop by the switchboard and wish Edie Baker a very happy birthday on her special day. Faith Vanderhoop will party on Jan. 15.

Carol Mayrand will observe a major milestone on Jan. 15. Chester Cook and Derrick Mays celebrate on Jan. 16.