Approaching the age of Medicare, supplementary insurance, pharmaceutical coverage, online registration and telephone calls, ad infinitum, has been made a great deal easier with the assistance of our Up-Island Council on Aging (COA) Director Joyce Bowker. Blessings to Joyce, who has provided her knowledge to get through this never-ending maze.

The Medicare book has arrived, which is sort of personally autographed by Dr. Donald Berwick, who was appointed Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by President Obama. Dr. Berwick is a long-time summer resident of the Vineyard and a former emergency room physician at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. One would most likely find him in line at Larsen’s Fish Market during the summer, which is where we had our last conversation while he was awaiting this national appointment. Just trying to get all of this health care insurance in order is daunting in and of itself. Medicare and You will take a while to wade through. After working in health care for decades, I was certainly not prepared for this abundance of endless paperwork. Perhaps with the four programs that I will now have for coverage, it will be a little less stressful than the state-mandated one of the past few years.

While at the Up-Island Council on Aging at the Howes House, one may obtain their application for a Steamship Authority passenger pass for elders. Elders are encouraged to obtain an application at their local COA office.

A correction to my elder tip of a week ago: Menemsha Fish Market extends their 10 per cent discount to elders every day of the week. Thank you Stanley Larsen for your generosity.

The Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living provides a round-trip taxi from Woods Hole to medical appointments in Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich and Hyannis. This service has become increasingly popular with the 55 and over clients who pay at a significantly reduced rate. To keep the service affordable, a grant has funded part of the service but that funding is nearly depleted half way through the funding year which covers the unmet need. For further information regarding the service, please call center director Leslie Clapp at 508-939-9440. If you would like to send a small donation to assist in providing this vital service for our Vineyard elders, please mail to MV Center for Living, Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, MA. 02568. All gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

The next Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living Cultural Luncheon will be held on March 3 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Grill on Main in Edgartown. The Brazilian community will present their influence and contributions to the Vineyard life. Chef Anthony Saccocia and his staff will prepare a culturally significant lunch. There will be Brazilian music during the program. Tickets are $25 per person and are available by calling Leslie Clapp.

Join the Martha’s Vineyard Cub Scouts and learn more about their program tomorrow at the ArtCliff Diner in Tisbury from 9 to 11 a.m. There will be a buffet breakfast with donations only. Learn more about the MV Scouts with a presentation from Ewell Hopkins.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake and Scrambled Egg Dinner will be served at the First Baptist Church parish house in Vineyard Haven on William street on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. There will be fellowship, games and service. All are welcome to attend. For further information, please call 508-693-1539.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21 the Island Autism Group will be the recipients of Sharkey’s Dine to Donate at both locations. Get your VIP card at the door. A portion of all food sales for the day will be donated to Island Autism Group.

Betty Burton noted that because of a decrease in funding, she has found it is necessary to have donations for the Easter dinners to be provided at the Family to Family Food Cupboard. If you would like to make a small donation, please mail a check to Vineyard Committee on Hunger (Family to Family Program) at Box 4685, Vineyard Haven, Mass. 02568. Thank you.

The Family to Family Food Cupboard will be held on Friday, Feb. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Parish house in Vineyard Haven.

The Martha’s Vineyard Order of St. Luke is sponsoring “A Day of Prayer and Reflection” retreat on Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church Parish house in Vineyard Haven. Brown bag lunch. Beverage and dessert will be provided. Suggested donation $10.00. The presenter will be Ethel Fraga of Boston. Ms. Fraga has been a daily meditator and student of contemplative spirituality for 45 years. She has studied with many wonderful teachers including Dom Bede Griffiths, Fr. Thomas Keating, Thich Nhat Hahn and Sharon Salzburg. Following retirement from full-time work as an English teacher and librarian, she has focused on teaching workshops on Christian contemplative spirituality and Jon Kabat Zinn’s “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course” and serves on the board of Contemplative Outreach of Boston. In this mini-retreat, Ms. Fraga brings together her experience and deep respect for scripture and for mindful and contemplative living. Preregistration and information: Susan Kelly 508-627-9946, Peggy McGrath 774-953-7464, Reverend Alden Besse 508-693-3930, or Gloria Wong 508-696-5856.

Congratulations to Lydia Fischer, daughter of Albert and Linda, who is on the Dean’s List at Berklee School of Music. Lydia is a senior at Berklee where she is studying Music Performance and enjoys writing music especially for her performances in and around Boston.

Congratulations to Evan Hall, son of Norman Hall of Oak Bluffs and Saskia Vanderhoop of Aquinnah, who is on the Dean’s List at Berklee School of Music. Evan is a freshman studying Music Composition. On occasion, Evan performs with his friends at gatherings across the Vineyard.

Kristina Leslie returned home this past week after spending two glorious weeks in California with her daughters and their families. She spent one week in Los Angeles with Jennifer and her husband, Doug, and their children, Max and Charlie. She then spent one week in San Clemente with Samantha and her husband, Cliff, and their children, Jack and Madeline. On Thursday, Feb. 23, Kristina will present a Wampanoag cooking class featuring venison stew and journey cakes for Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Tickets are $10 each.

Get well wishes to Katherine Mazza, who is recuperating from her recent surgery while enjoying the sights and sounds along Moshup Trail. She is presently staying with her daughter, Dona Mazza, and her husband, Gordon Perry.

Happy 38th anniversary wishes to Mark and Susan (Lana) Shea as they observe their special day on Feb. 23.

Happy birthday wishes this week to Linda Toland Hobbs as she celebrates on Saturday with most of her cousins. John Robey will also party on Feb. 18. Linda Scott, Rose Marie King Roberts and Olivia Marie Sims all share the day on Feb. 19; Wendy deGeofroy and Cedric Belain on Feb. 20; Brenda Lehman, Lenny Jason, Jr., Anne Vanderhoop Madison and Constance Iadicicco on Feb. 21; Ginger Duarte, Chelsea Ives and Rita Jeffers on Feb. 22; Jeanne Taylor and Donna Nagle on Feb. 23, and Rocco David Marshall will be two years old on Feb. 24.