Congratulations to one and all for their fine job, their special part in making the Vineyard Gazette the Newspaper of the Year. It is really quite an honor for one and all who make it happen each and every week to provide the news for the Vineyard community and beyond.

Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 2 — the Aquinnah polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please exercise your right to vote — democracy is not a spectator sport.

The 26th Women’s Symposium will be held at the Chilmark Community Center on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon. Kristina (Kestenbaum) Leslie will be one of the featured speakers on the theme Making Memories. The event is free but donations are welcome to help cover expenses. There will be small groups for discussion. Refreshments will be served.

Halloween will be as scary as usual at the Aquinnah Town Hall on Sunday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. The Aquinnah community programs committee, under the guidance of Betty Joslow, will once again host the Aquinnah children while they welcome the ghosts and goblins.

The Massachusetts Society of Genealogists will hold their 35th annual meeting and conference on Saturday, Nov. 6 from 9 to 5 at the Courtyard Marriott in Marlboro. The Martha’s Vineyard Chapter will be well represented at the meeting. We have been actively collecting many intriguing items with a Vineyard flair for our silent auction table and for the door prizes and raffles. Thank you to authors David McCullough and Henry Louis Gates for their generosity and contributions. The public is invited to attend, admission is $35 for each participant. There will also be an Ancestors Road Show to assist you with those illustrious brick walls we all know about, and consultations will be available. Many professional speakers will be leading groups throughout the day. The Martha’s Vineyard Chapter of MSOG meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Family History Center in Tisbury at the Merchant Mart at 7 p.m. Membership dues are $25 for the calendar year. You may attend as a guest especially for the months of November and December to see if you would like to join. A guest speaker is on the agenda for each meeting. Members are those from beginners to intermediate to professional. Assistance with your research and journey is always available.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and the Island Grown Initiative will be cosponsoring a benefit to fund a humane slaughterhouse on the Vineyard. Tickets are $50 per person, $75 per couple, and kids eat free for an all-you-can-eat dinner on Saturday, Nov. 6 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Ag Hall on Panhandle Road. Tim Laursen and Everett Whiting of Local Smoke will prepare local roast pork and chicken with sides from Morning Glory Farm and the Scottish Bakehouse. Dessert will be from Tisberry Yogurt with yogurt from the Mermaid Farm. Tickets may be purchased at Alley’s General Store, Cronig’s Market, and the Scottish Bakehouse. Music will be provided by the Eric Johnson Trio and disc jockey Di. It has been a number of years since there was a local slaughterhouse, and it would be nice to have one on the Vineyard once more rather than transporting to an off-Island slaughter house.

Aquinnah chef extraordinaire and now organic farmer Dan Sauer will lead a discussion on From Farm to Market: Meeting the Local Demand on Monday, Nov. 1 at the Grange Hall. Dan will lead the panel discussion which will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Congratulations to Dan’s wife, Wenonah, whose name was drawn as the winner of an iPad in the charter school’s annual scarecrow festival!

If you would like to assist a family in need during the holiday season, a donation may be made to the Vineyard Committee on Hunger through the Family to Family Program. For $25, it will help considerably and your contribution will feed a family at Thanksgiving or at Christmas for holiday dinners. Checks may be mailed to Vineyard Committee on Hunger, Box 1874, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Carolyn Feltz and her sister Janice Feltz Cournoyer returned home over the weekend after spending the week in New Jersey with their parents, John and Alice Feltz, and extended family members. They enjoyed family time while Alice recuperated from her recent surgery, trips into Manhattan to visit Jesse and Maggie Wiener, a little shopping and just relaxing.

Paul Henry Jeffers-Mayhew was very excited to host his exchange student from England, Joshua, and will be equally excited when he travels to England in the spring. Kristy Mayhew and her six-year-old daughter, Emma, have recently returned from a trip to Disney World that they enjoyed immensely.

John W. Mayhew Jr., our former mathematics teacher at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Windemere. His actual date of birth is Nov. 2. The Mayhew family would like to invite his former students, colleagues, neighbors and friends to this grand celebration.

Speaking of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, newly appointed athletic director Mark McCarthy (yes Dan and Mabel’s son, and sibling of MVRHS guidance counselors Michael and Mary Kate) called this week. He has requested my assistance in finding Raymond Smalley and a few other members of the first MVRHS football team and cheerleading squad. It has been a nice adventure to speak with a few of the students that I have neither seen nor heard from in nearly half a century. Mark is diligently working on a reunion of the first football team and cheerleaders, who will be recognized and honored at the annual Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket football game in November. This should be a very special event for many of us who attended MVRHS over the past half a century, to observe the festivities and to support our former schoolmates. As for Mark McCarthy — he had not even been born when that first football team played, the team his father, Daniel G. McCarthy, successfully organized and coached.

Condolences to the family and friends of Clement Packish, who passed away this week. His services will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Tisbury on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. For those of you who remember, Clemmie was the first United Parcel Service driver on Martha’s Vineyard and the only one for several years. He enjoyed meeting and greeting everyone along his route over three decades.

Congratulations to Jesse Wiener on his recent performance with Leonard Bernstein: A Celebration on Oct. 22. Jesse was requested to perform with Essential Voices USA at Symphony Space in Manhattan. Jesse, under the mentorship of Judith Churman, the music director and conductor of the celebration, performed at her request.

If that wasn’t enough, Jesse’s wife, Maggie, was accepted for a part that she had tried out for recently and was called in on Wednesday to be a member of the cast. All the best to this young couple following their dreams in Manhattan.

Happy birthday wishes this week to Capt. William D. Vanderhoop Jr., aka Captain Buddy, who will observe a major milestone today. Arlen Roth will celebrate on Oct. 30. Carla Cuch parties on Halloween as will Cooper Davis.

Deborah Bramkamp celebrates on Nov. 1 and shares the day with Shirley Donaroma. Dr. Bryan B. Graham will celebrate on Nov. 2 and shares the day with Chief Ryan Malonson and Mary Griffin Edwards. Abigail Lana Peterson will party on Nov. 3 and shares the day with Janice Cook Sylvia and Craig Tankard, who will observe a major milestone. Melissa Vanderhoop Abram will party on Nov. 4 as will Katy Smith and Cheryl Holenko. Elizabeth Witham and Gary Cook share the day on Nov. 5.