February break started early for Vinalhaven students and staff with the arrival of Winter Storm Pax Feb. 13. School was released at 12:45 p.m. last Thursday and was canceled altogether on Friday. Many had plans to spend their vacations in warmer climates, but the blustery winter weather made travel difficult. Some feared the ferry wouldn’t run and hopped on the boat early, while others had to drive further south to catch a plane after their original flights were canceled. Now that everyone has made it to their final destinations, let’s hope they have time to enjoy themselves before they are forced to come back to reality.
The teachers still have work to do during their winter break. School employees are currently participating in a Staff Fitness Challenge, coordinated by phys ed teacher Jake Tuminski. The goal of the contest is to see which staff member can circumnavigate the island — 268 miles — first by tracking their physical activity.
Each type of exercise is worth a certain number of steps, and distance is calculated with a steps-to-miles conversion chart. Participants track their mileage by multiplying the step-count by the amount of time they spend on each activity, while reporting their progress to Jake every Monday. At the end of 12 weeks, whoever has racked up the most miles will win a grand prize. Teachers have been walking, ice skating, playing volleyball, stacking firewood and using the treadmills and rowing machines in the school’s weight room — but swimming or strolling on the beach may be the exercise of choice for some this week.
Three brave swimmers got in a workout when they dove into the icy waters of the State Beach Feb. 16. The Fourth Annual Penobscot Bay Polar Dip — the Public Library fundraiser that was rescheduled from New Year’s Day — was officially canceled again after the second storm of the week brought more snow and strong winds Sunday. Organizers didn’t feel comfortable holding the event without an EMT present, but the fact that the water was colder and the windchill was worse than Jan. 1 couldn’t keep some participants out of the water. Anne Marie Lazaro decided to take the plunge again, as well as Durene Martin and Anna Poe. Pam Alley said the Polar Dip may be replaced with a “Peace Plunge” around Memorial Day, as long as a hurricane doesn’t hit Vinalhaven that weekend!
Some islanders have been spending a lot of time at the Augusta Civic Center lately. The Lady Vikings punched their ticket to the Western Class D Regional Tournament after winning their preliminary game against North Yarmouth Academy 51-47 on Feb. 11. The girls faced No. 1 Forest Hills in the quarterfinal round on Feb. 18, which they were still anticipating as of this week’s deadline. Vinalhaven fans have also been supporting the North Haven boys team, who won their first-ever tournament game on Saturday vs. Greenville. The Hawks played their semifinal against No. 2 Hyde School of Bath Wednesday, Feb. 19, and although the score was unavailable by presstime, there were surely many fans from their neighboring island in attendance.
An advertisement printed in The Wind caught many art lovers’ eyes last week. The Maine Crafts Association and Maine Arts Commission are seeking 2,000 drivers to pre-pay $29 for a new specialty license plate featuring Vinalhaven resident Robert Indiana’s artwork. Indiana’s iconic “LOVE” image in red and green is set to the left of the plate, with the words “The State of the Arts” printed at the bottom. The money raised from pre-registrations will go to the MCA — with a portion going toward the Maine Arts Commission — and will help support the arts in Maine through each organization’s initiatives and programming.
If the 2,000-plate goal is reached, those who have pre-paid will receive a coupon in the mail to redeem for a new license plate. The plates will then be available for others to purchase at any Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. If the number falls short, the $29 fee will be considered a donation to the MCA. The BMV allows two years to collect 2,000 pre-payments, and the MCA has one more year to close the gap. Visit mainecrafts.org to sign up for a plate and show your LOVE of the arts.
If you have any news to include in this column, please contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.