The news from Vinalhaven
It is finally feeling like the spring we’ve been waiting for: sunshine, blue skies, sparkling waters, and cookout-worthy evenings, which of course, since we’re in Coastal Maine, means that it’s summer. More and more boats are being seen being backed up on trailers and delivered down the boat ramp, sailboats are starting to appear in the harbor, and on my walks around town I’m seeing more folks eating out on their porches, lawns and wharves. Peonies, lilies and rhododendrons are in bloom, and strawberries are ripening in the garden. So school is out and summer plans can now get set in motion, which means different things for different folks, and means all sorts of things are happening around town.
The annual town meeting was set for Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at the auditorium at the Vinalhaven School. There are lots of topics to be discussed and voted on at the meeting, but one that is getting major coverage is Article 42. This article is asking for funding to continue the Island Fellow position for Andy Dorr who is working hard on updating Vinalhaven’s Comprehensive Plan for the town and working with the chamber on ways to strengthen the island economy. The Island Institute funds much of the position but the additional costs that the host town assumes need to be covered and this article is the way to do it. Hopefully folks will find time in their schedules to come out and be part of their local government and support this article and others that will improve our island way of life.
Once school is dismissed for the summer and baccalaureate and graduation have come and gone, school events are few and far between. The Vinalhaven School, however, is a space well used by the community and the Smith Hokansen Memorial Hall is the home of movies, concert series, plays, and other events throughout the summer season. While going to those events, everyone can enjoy the K-12 Summer Art Show organized by our very talented art teacher Heather White who will never run out of amazing ideas to inspire kids of all ages. The show will be presented on the halls throughout the school. Says Mrs. White, “Because of our unique status as a K-12 school, there really is a little bit of everything in this show, from bouncy ball paintings by 5-year-old students, to repeated unit linear sculptures created by 17-year-old students, and everything in between. You’re bound to find a favorite piece that you just keep coming back to.”
Maybe you’d have time to check out the art show before the June 23 Cinder Conk concert. Possibly an unusual name for a group, but how often do you get to enjoy a night of amazing Balkan music? Tickets are on sale in advance at the Paper Store, or from firstname.lastname@example.org. This concert is an offering from Partners in Island Education (PIE) who will also be hosting an Artist Panel on July 12 and an Arts Night and Buoy Auction on Aug. 10 if you want to plan ahead a bit and get these things on your calendar.
Business around town
Summer brings with it thoughts of reading, and why not get credit for your reading with Vinalhaven Public Library’s Summer Reading Program? Here’s how it works. Kids first record the minutes they spend reading for themselves, others or being read to by others. Then the library will give children a penny per minute to spend on books of their choice through the library. The library often receives 40 percent off book purchases, so your pennies can go quite a long way. Reading logs are available at the library.
The Chamber of Commerce Monthly Meeting was scheduled for June 20 at the library with coffee. The chamber website at Vinalhaven.org is a great one to give out to any visiting friends and family to help them plan their trip. Information about members of the chamber, the school and other island institutions, the community calendar and even a listing of community organizations can be found there. And aren’t they smart? There’s even a link to The Courier-Gazette. Do send along the chamber website to folks who might find it useful.
What folks are talking about
Are folks talking about Bert’s Driving School coming to Vinalhaven on July 30 and how we should all take to the sidewalks as new drivers take to the streets? Are they talking about the artistic buoys created around town in preparation for an auction in August? Yes, those things and more. But I have definitely heard folks talking about the Emergency Services Benefit Challenge to be held Sunday, July 29 at 9:15 a.m. I have heard them talking about it in winded gasps as they thud by on the running route as they practice for the big day.
This is the 10th annual Challenge, and the challenge is this: Find a partner or go solo to complete a 2.8-mile run through the village followed immediately by a 9-mile bike ride over both tar and dirt roads. It’s a lot of fun to watch folks train and to go to the big event. There’s plenty of time till then, so if you’re motivated, start getting in shape, or just keep up with the shape you’re in as many of us see it as a way to help our Emergency Services here on the island have an active fundraiser, and a way to chat with old friends and meet new people. There are certificates at the end for those who excel in various categories, and superb snacks are always in abundance. Volunteers hand out water along the route, and there’s even a walking component for those who want to stroll along and enjoy the activity at a slower pace. My daughter was 3 last year and did the walk as a fun-run and had a blast if that tells you how all-inclusive the attitude is. And though the race includes many of us on island already, many folks also look at it as a great day trip, or excuse for an overnight, so there’s time for you to plan that too.
So as you mull over going to a Balkan music concert, checking out student artwork, keeping track of your reading minutes and going out for a jog, I’d like to say thanks to all the folks who have made comments about this column recently. A number of people here in town have expressed thanks for there being a Vinalhaven column in The Courier-Gazette. It’s also been nice to hear from folks who are reading the column from off-island both in its print and online formats. Feedback is always welcome as are tips of what should be included here. As for my tips for you…get out and enjoy the sunshine, try to go discover something in your town you haven’t seen or done before (or haven’t for a long time), and enjoy the start of summer.
If you have news to share that you’d like to see in this column, please drop me a line at email@example.com or leave a message at 207-863-4134.