It’s a new year, and some islanders had a bone-chilling start to 2014 when they braved the icy waters of the State Beach during the 4th Annual Penobscot Bay Polar Dip Jan. 1. Participants pledged $10 to run into the ocean in traditional Polar Bear Plunge style, with all of the proceeds benefiting the Vinalhaven Public Library. This year’s dip promised to be a little bit colder than last year’s, when there wasn’t a speck of snow on the ground. In addition to several inches of snow and ice on the beach this time around, as of this week’s deadline, the daytime high on New Year’s Day was listed as 12 degrees Fahrenheit!
Some people are enjoying the cold weather more than others so far this season. Kids have been spotted skating and playing hockey on the ballground, and the few people on the island who own a snowmobile have been able to use them — something that doesn’t happen too often with island winters.
Kids and teachers have been enjoying an extra long Christmas vacation, with the holidays landing in the middle of the week this year. School will be back in session Monday, Jan. 6, and elementary students can look forward to a visit from Northern Stars Planetarium that day, which was rescheduled from Dec. 16. The presentation — sponsored by Vinalhaven School Enrichment and a favorite of students for years — is held inside a large inflatable dome, with stars and planets projected on the ceiling.
It seems as though no event on the island is safe from being rescheduled lately because of the severe winter weather. Mike Michaud’s Dec. 14 visit to the island was canceled in the panic before Winter Storm Electra. “He had a tight schedule and was supposed to come over on a lobster boat, but with it being so cold that day and the storm coming, they were afraid he would get stuck over,” said Maine Lobstering Union trustee Yvonne Rosen. She said they are going to try to get Michaud to come to the island in the spring.
Assuming the weather doesn’t take another turn for the worst, both boys’ and girls’ high school basketball games vs. North Haven have been tentatively rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7. And the Community Chorus concert was postponed once more to Dec. 29 because of icy conditions; hopefully the third time was the charm.
The winners of the Vinalhaven 2 NYC Walking Challenge were recently announced, with “The Striders” KJ Wadleigh and Lynn James finishing in first place with 410 combined miles. All teams walked 5,100 miles in total, the distance from Vinalhaven to Hawaii. If you want to keep tracking steps with your pedometer but the below-freezing temperatures and messy roads have you discouraged, open walking at the school will resume on Jan. 6.
If you have any news to include in this column, please contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.