East Choppers owe Liz Durkee a big thanks! Liz led the effort to fix Lake Huss, the annoying water problem along Mill Square road that developed following major rain storms. She found the money to solve the problem in a Coastal Pollution Remediation Grant. She worked with the Oak Bluffs highway department to oversee the construction of the gravel and vegetation wetland that filters the rain water safely into the harbor.

Currently, Liz is working with the Oak Bluffs Conservation Commission on the Sea View avenue project. Because the seawalls from the harbor to Inkwell Beach are old and failing, this area is threatened by sea level rise and storm activity. The project will seek ways to protect these beaches, the road, and the houses above them.

Finally, Liz is writing a series of articles for the Gazette on the impact global warming will have on the Vineyard. Liz argues that global warming is already here. Sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are changing. The effect of rising sea levels on an island are self-evident. Liz also points out how expected weather changes will impact local agriculture, the fishing industry and human health. Warmer temperatures, for example, will lead to longer pollen seasons which will negatively impact people with allergies and asthma. Look for her articles in the Gazette. They are serving as an important wake-up call.

Why is Liz involved in these important endeavors? First, it is her job. She works as the conservation agent for the town of Oak Bluffs and for the Oak Bluffs Conservation Commission.

Even more important, she has a deep love of the Vineyard and a passion for protecting it. She has been coming here all of her life. Her parents, Bill and Sylvia Dolan, first came to Oak Bluffs in the 1950s. They later rented in East Chop for many years. Liz presently lives in East Chop with her husband, Stephen Durkee, who is the director of graphics and design at the Gazette. East Chop is a better place for all of Liz’s hard work. Many thanks!

East Chop is also a better place because of the Dowley clan. The family gathered at Lal’s home on East Chop Drive on the weekend of June 18. Thirteen grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren of Marion and Leroy Dowley attended the reunion. Leroy was the eldest son of George B. Dowley, the founder of the East Chop Beach Club in 1931, and the cofounder of the East Chop Tennis Club in 1910. George B.’s house on the bluff is now owned by his grandchildren, Ted and Anne Lewis. Marion and Leroy’s sons, Bob and Pidge, founded the East Chop Yacht Club in the 1930s with Bob designing the club ensign of the green star on a white field. At the family dinner on Saturday June 18 Lal wore a beautiful ecru, eyelit, linen suit which belonged to Augusta Dowley, wife of George B. This suit was bought for Augusta by her daughter, Gladys Dowley Lewis, in Italy in 1914. How are you doing with all of this? I hope you have these family members figured out because we owe the Dowley family a big thanks for their large contribution to the history of our community.