Solstice Hannagan, the first Vineyard baby of 2019 entered the world in dramatic fashion in the back of a Tri-Town ambulance. Maria Thibodeau

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The year began with an emergency birth, as six-pound, 15-ounce Solstice Hannagan came into the world just short of the Tisbury drawbridge - the first Vineyard baby of 2019.

Later that day, longtime Clerk of Courts Joe Sollitto descended the courtsteps while celebrating his last day on the job. The hardest part, according to Mr. Sollitto, was losing his coveted Edgartown parking spot.

Over the winter, two historic buildings on the Edgartown Harbor received face lifts - and actual lifts - as the Vose Family Boathouse and Edgartown Yacht Club responded to the threat of rising seas. 

Other Vineyard institutions received makeovers as well, including Camp Jabberwocky and the Gay Head Light. Island Grown Initiative got an in-vessel composter. The Santander Bank roof got its historic clay tiles back

In March, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) broke ground on a class II gaming facility in the tiny up-Island town of Aquinnah. Later in the month, crisis struck in West Tisbury, with a pre-dawn fire razing historic Flat Point Farm and claiming the lives of 90 animals.

The Island confronted its history during April and May. The historic Mill House was demolished without review, sparking concern from town officials, residents and the Martha's Vineyard Commission. A long-lost World War II-era plane was extracted from the Cape Pogue seafloor. And Oak Bluffs selectmen voted to remove two plaques from an Ocean Park statue that referenced Confederate soldiers. 

Throughout the year, the Island's youngest generation made its presence felt, protesting climate inaction, winning the Derby and continuing a historically dominant run in girls tennis and a state title in boys cross country. 

A VTA strike shook the Vineyard during the busiest summer months. Then a fall gale blasted the Island for three days, causing massive waves and 50-mile per hour gusts - perfect practice for the coasties.

And the working waterfront came into focus, with a series of projects proposed for Beach Road and a bumper crop to start scallop season in Tisbury.


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