The Pan-Mass Challenge is the most successful athletic fundraising event in the nation. It features a bike-a-thon every year on the first weekend in August that crosses much of Massachusetts from Sturbridge to Provincetown. A typical year will find 5,500 to 6,000 cyclists participating in the event. They are all members of teams who have spent much of the year raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Two of the most successful teams are headed by East Chop couples. Linc Cornell first rode 28 years ago to honor a second grade classmate who died of brain cancer. He was soon joined by his wife, Lois, who in addition to raising money for the team is a Pan-Mass board member.

Erin and Ted Callahan have made the PMC into a family business. A year after their daughter Molly was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, they had a team in place which includes several East Choppers.

The two couples have each raised more than $800,000. They have a similar goal of exceeding a million. Let’s make it into a friendly competition of who gets there first. If you would like to help team Cornell, email Linc at For team Callahan, you can call Ted at 617-974-7697. Although it may take two years for this little contest to play out, I think we can declare right now that both couples are big winners.

On another matter, you may have heard that the Steamship Authority has undertaken a $40 million project in Woods Hole. To find out precisely what they are up to, I contacted Bob Huss. Bob has been a member of the port council for the last 10 years, which is the advisory board for the authority’s board of directors.

According to Bob, the three-year project is designed to solve two problems at the Woods Hole facility. Currently there are two slips for boats to land and leave from. If one of the boats is down for mechanical reasons, it will use one of the two slips which leaves only one for normal operations. In busy times, the loss of a slip could cause significant complications and delays. As a result, the authority plans to add a third slip where the current ticket office stands. The two existing slips will be refurbished. The second problem is the administrative building which houses the ticket office is vulnerable to flooding. A new administrative building is being constructed on higher ground in the Palmer lot and should be completed by the end of the year. The authority promises there will be no disruption in service during the three years of the project because the three slips will be worked on one at a time. The movement of cars will change, again according to Bob, which may create some confusion in the beginning, but the project is well planned and any inconveniences will be kept to a minimum.

The East Chop Association held its annual July meeting at the beach club last Saturday (July 15). While you hear people complain about crowded beaches, Vineyard Haven traffic or the problem of finding a parking place in Edgartown, our little community is blessed in contrast. You can walk the back roads of the Chop and imagine it’s the 1950s. An important reason for this blessing is the large amount of land owned by the association that has become parks. The important message I came away with from the meeting is that the board is committed to maintaining the integrity of the parks by working with abutters to insure that no encroachment takes place. We can all be thankful for the work of the association on this issue.

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