JOHN S. ALLEY
The spring flowers are in bloom most everywhere and Wednesday was the first of May bringing baskets hung on doors and Maypole celebrations and dances announcing the arrival of spring officially sending old Jack Frost on vacation. The baseball field hosted a youth baseball game and the tennis courts were busy. Short sleeve shirts was the clothing of choice over the weekend.
Last week I missed sending in a column for the first time in over 12 years, not that any of you missed it. Will Monast was supposed to sub for me but he didn’t get the message from my son Sam. On the 15th, Anna and I began our journey to Florida.
Shortly after arriving at her sister Nina’s family home in Providence we were notified of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Like everyone else, we watched television to keep up with news on the horrific crime. We left for Fort Lauderdale the next day and managed to make our way up to Hobe Sound and visit with old friend Denise Mount. We were joined the next day by our daughter Nicole and grandson Robbie. The main purpose was to babysit Robbie as Nicole was to be a bridesmaid. I was asked to offer a blessing, and Robbie was the ring bearer in Caitlyn Staskiewicz’s wedding ceremony that Saturday. Nicole’s husband Arsen arrived Friday afternoon. On Saturday we all headed to a rustic old hunting lodge, the Bonnett Hunt Club in Palm city, for the wedding ceremony and reception. Nicole and Caitlyn became friends when they worked at the Broken Arrow many years ago. Catilyn also worked for Larsen’s Fish Market for several summers. She is now a park ranger and her husband Kyle Kirkland is a firefighter and paramedic.
On Monday we all headed to Miami Beach for more sun, pool and beach time. My gosh, the number of hotels and all the people! We enjoyed a very nice dinner that evening, but Arsen unfortunately had to return home to his engineering jobs Tuesday morning. On the way back to our suite Nicole purchased a variety of Cuban breakfast food. Robbie, by this time, was very excited to see all the new people, swimming pools, food and everything that was going on. Television sets everywhere were tuned in to the Marathon mess and flags flew at half staff. Everyone was kept apprised of the rapidly unfolding events. We visited Lincoln Square and sat in a sidewalk café and watched all the activity on the pedestrian mall. On our last day in Miami we dined in a Cuban restaurant and got a little more beach time before heading back to Fort Lauderdale. On our last night we stayed at a fine hotel and used the pool, drank some adult beverages and reflected on what a nice time we had and decided we must do it again soon. The following morning we began the long trek back to Providence and the Vineyard. My thanks to Susan and Noah Block for sorting the mail and Alan Gowell for assuming my cemetery responsibilities.
Kristin Buck, president of the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network reports that MVWN is awarding its annual business grant of $2,500 to Heidi Feldman and Curtis Friedman of Down Island Farm. They are the producers of MV Sea Salt. They “harvest” water in Katama and then dry and package their product in this town. Look for it on store shelves starting in June. The grant will be awarded at the network’s final program of the year on Thursday, May 9, at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs. The program is entitled Kick Off, Survive and Thrive and it begins at 8 a.m. with a walk around the Featherstone trails and features Dr. Wendy Chabot of Vineyard Mind & Body Medicine and Kim Cartwright of Om of Motion who will offer tips and strategies for healthy living during high season on Martha’s Vineyard. Please visit mvwomensnetwork.org for more info.
Dionis Montrowl reports that tomorrow the First Congregational Church will hold a family work and play day, so bring your gloves, weeders and rakes. The children can plant annuals around the church, and plant sunflower seeds to take home and care for in a competition for the tallest sunflower (to be judged just before the Agricultural Fair). There will be games for the kids and a barbecue at noon. RSVP at the church office 508-693-2842 so they know how many to cook for. She recommends you bring a water bottle or other drink container. The church will provide water and lemonade and compostable utensils and plates.
Lynne Christophers reports that Fred Waskin held a book signing event at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. The occasion was his newest book The Dream Merchant. Fred is a summer resident on Music street.
Emily Gadd of South Road arrives today to spend a good deal of time at her house.
Last Friday while in Providence, Anna and I took Sal Laterra out for lunch on his 87th birthday. We all enjoyed the lunch at Costantino’s, his favorite eating spot on Federal Hill.
Baron Ludwig Von Ochs, of Vienna, Austria, known to Vineyard folks as Peter, and his wife Gudrun Waltenstorfer arrived last Tuesday for eight weeks. You can’t miss him on the road as he will be buzzing around in his yellow car.
Phyllis Meras of Music street, a nationally recognized travel writer, returned home Wednesday after a meeting and assignment in Missouri and other western states. She stopped to be with Sal over the weekend and help celebrate his birthday.
Dawn Barnes, the new employee in the assessors department, began working for the town last week. She is from the western Massachusetts town of Wilburham and has rented the Rodegast house on Old County Road. She looks forward to adapting to the relaxed Vineyard lifestyle. Welcome to town!
Bea Phear of the planning board reports and urges all voters to attend the special town meeting on Tuesday, May 21, at 7 p.m. in the school gym. As you know, the voters approved an initiative petition making the medical use of marijuana legal. The Department of Public Health is drafting regulations that are expected to be adopted on May 24. There will be two items on the town warrant, both relating to this subject. First, there is a bylaw prohibiting public consumption of marijuana. Secondly there is a proposal for a one-year moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in West Tisbury. This moratorium will allow the planning board time to study the state regulations and consider what, if any, conditions to impose. Considerations include whether or not to allow dispensaries as a home business, or to require them to be placed in the business district only, to mandate a certain distance from schools, and to set an application fee.
Old friend Antone Rezendes passed away while we were on vacation. He was a plumber by trade and janitor at the school for many years. Our condolences to all his family. Also Pam Thomas’s mom Ruth Bowen passed away over the weekend and we send condolences to her family.
Renee Balter reports that she has a fairly large show of her work at the Vineyard Haven Library. It is a program called Art in the Stacks. It will be up through May 2.
Tom Dresser has a new book out, Women of Martha’s Vineyard. It contains biographies of 15 prominent women who made significant contributions to the Island community. He selected Nancy Luce, Nancy Whiting, Dionis Riggs and Polly Hill from our town. His book would make a great gift on Mother’s Day. Look for it in bookstores or online at tomdresser.com. His first talk about the book is at the Vineyard Haven Library on Wednesday, May 8, at 7 p.m. Ginger Duarte reports that the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living will be the recipient of proceeds from Sharkey’s Restaurants Dine to Donate benefit on Tuesday, May 7, at both the Oak Bluffs and Edgartown sites. There will be a raffle and silent auction at the Edgartown location on Upper Main street. Join them for great food and support the center’s programs: supportive day program, medical taxi, your local emergency food program and more. For further information, contact her at 508-693-6570. On Sunday at 1 p.m., the Land Bank staff will lead a guided walk at Blackwater Pond Reservation off Lambert’s Cove Road. The walk will last approximately one or two hours rain or shine, so dress for the weather. For more information, call the Land Bank office at 508-627-7141. Happy birthday to Ernest Medeiros, Nick Puner, Matt Taylor and Lynn Flanders today, and Charlie Burnham, Wendy Briggs, Tucker Hubbell, Karen Ogden and Betsy West Dripps tomorrow. Leslie Hurd, Bill Graham, Jeanne Smith and Sean Rooney celebrate on Sunday, and Judy Counsell, Peter Vann, Betsy Gately and Sharon Johnson, on Monday. Wish Ken O’Connor, Madeline Tramontano, John Jahries and Skye MacDuff a happy birthday on Tuesday, Shanti Blum, Lynne Whipple and Karen McDowell on Wednesday. Phyllis Meras, Chris Decker, David Kish, Courtney Buttler and Betsy Burmeister celebrate on Thursday. Belated birthday greetings to Bob Schwartz, Sal Laterra, Dick Knabel, Martha Tack, Shirley Mayhew and Prudy Burt. That is all of the social news for this edition. If you have any news, please call or email me. Have a great week.