A pleasure and honor to meet Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg and members of the Kohlberg Foundation at the Vineyard Gazette reception on Monday morning. The air was filled with enthusiasm and an immense amount of positive energy. It is a new day dawning with their acquiring the Vineyard Gazette. All the best to them in their latest endeavor.

My personal thank you to the Reston family for their 17 years of mentoring, encouragement, critique and guidance all along the way, although I am still “too opinionated.” In June 1993 I was officially hired by Richard Reston, the eldest of the Reston men. Over the past few years, Dick Reston has quipped about my being his favorite columnist. Upon my meeting James Reston Jr. in 2009, he inscribed one of his books to me with “soon to be my favorite columnist as well.” Of course I met Thomas Reston at Dick’s retirement party. Jody Reston was the business manager during much of my time with them, and I just met James Reston Jr.’s wife, Denise Leary, and their children, Devin and Hillary. What a journey. Thank you immensely for the wonderful opportunity over all these years and with my deepest admiration and incredible friendship I am deeply grateful. May the Reston family enjoy their retirement years. It was a pleasure and an honor. THANK YOU.

The Aquinnah Special Town Meeting convened on Tuesday evening with a quorum finally being achieved by 7:40 p.m. Thank you to Natalie Francis, who lives the closest, for making the quorum of 40 people, which makes one wonder where all the registered voters might be. All nine articles passed without much ado. The affordable housing articles will assist with perhaps rental units or an affordable housing lot, and the popular passage of tax amnesty for penalties and interest was a favorite on the warrant. There should not be such a wait to achieve a quorum; perhaps the rules and responsibilities of the community you register to vote in must be revisited. The jury duty list is derived from the voting list, and if you are not at the listed address, your notice will not be able to be delivered and you will be fined for failure to show during court session — just one example of registering where you truly reside.

Appraisal Day will be on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the library at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Appraisers Stephen Fletcher and Jane Prentiss of Skinner, Inc. will evaluate your most precious treasures and prized antiques. Reservations are required. Please call 508-627-4441 to register. One item will be appraised for $15, or three items for $40. A portion of any items considered for sale by consignment will benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

Reminder: Cooking at the Aquinnah Public Library on Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 4 to 5 p.m. Decorating cupcakes will be the fun activity for children accompanied by their parents and caregivers.

The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force will kick off their 2010/2011 lecture series by sponsoring Johnny Cupcake on Dec. 8 at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Johnny will speak with the student body at 9 a.m. At 7 p.m. at the school’s performing arts center, Johnny will make a presentation before the general public in an open and free lecture. Johnny Cupcake has deep local ties to Martha’s Vineyard and a desire to offer his expertise in community building and to inspire and motivate people. In 2008, Business Week voted him the number one young entrepreneur of the year. While still in his teens he created a multi-million dollar T-shirt brand and has toured across the United States with his shirts and his message.

The annual Minnesinger Winter Concerts will be held at the Old Whaling Church on Dec. 10 (at 8 p.m.) and Dec. 11 (at 4 p.m., kids free). Elsie Fantasia, daughter of Edward and Lorraine Fawn (Vanderhoop) Fantasia of Aquinnah, will be performing. The concerts are under the direction of music director Jan Wightman, also of Aquinnah.

Deer week has been rather quiet this week, much quieter than usual. With that said, the herd will be on the loose following the annual season and will be captured in the more conventional method — with automobiles. Therefore, if you would like to have your name placed on the list of being on the receiving end of obtaining one of the vehicle/deer collision mishaps, please call the Aquinnah Police Department at 508-645-2313 to have your name placed on a list to receive a deer.

Chief Randhi P. Belain and his fellow Emergency Medical Technicians would like to invite you to their Open House on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at the West Tisbury Firehouse in North Tisbury, a wonderful opportunity to meet your island EMTs, who are ready to meet our emergency needs 365 days a year. A new basic EMT class starts in early January and runs through April, with classes on Friday evenings and Saturday days. You will have the opportunity to become an EMT by summer 2011. For further information, call Tisbury Ambulance at 508-696-4214 or visit Tisburyambulance@comcast.net.

The Martha’s Vineyard Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists will hold their final meeting of 2010 on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Family History Center in Tisbury. The first meeting of the new year will be held on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. Dues are $25 for the calendar year. Please feel free to join us as a guest to see if you would like to become a member.

Condolences to the family and friends of Helen Burt, who passed away on Nov. 23. Over the years, Helen has been of tremendous assistance to our sister Community Baptist Church and always lent a hand when needed. We shall miss her.

Mrs. Betty Joslow returned home on Friday after spending her Thanksgiving holiday on the South Shore with her daughters and grandchildren. She was accompanied home by her daughter Wendy, who then returned to her home in New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon.

Noah James Manning returned home on Sunday evening after spending the week with his grandparents, William and Joan Kistner, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. While there, Noah visited with his extended family members as well. They enjoyed a trip to Manhattan on the train, a grand stroll taking in the Empire State Building, the NBC news building and Rockefeller Plaza with friends Sally and Sophie.

Jamie and Woody Vanderhoop returned home on Tuesday after spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Rhode Island with her Spears family. They then flew to Oklahoma City to attend the wedding of Justin Boos, a former classmate of Woody’s at Dartmouth and a frequent Aquinnah visitor.

Happy birthday wishes this week to fellow Gazette columnist John S. Alley, who will celebrate his special day today.

Jane Bankoff-Popkin will party on Dec. 4 and shares the day with Jacob Lester Vanderhoop and Soroya Lynn Randolph, who will be three years old.

Melissa Mahoney will celebrate her special day on Dec. 5 and shares the day with Ted Howes and George Szilassy. Liz Durkee will party on the 6th. Anna Alley will observe her special day on Dec. 7, as will Marjorie Spitz and Jonathan Klaren. Candace A. Nichols will celebrate her special day on Dec. 8 as will twins Russell Smith and Robin Kahl. Polly Renear will celebrate on Dec. 9 and shares the day with Deborah Hancock. Paul Henry Jeffers-Mayhew will be 14 years old on Dec. 9. And, a very special birthday wish to Tamara Buchwald on Dec. 10.