As much of the state talks about the delights of February school break, Vinalhaven is plowing ahead with February. We traded in our February and April weeklong breaks again this year for a two week break in March, so we’ve set our eyes on the prize that’s not far off now. With possibly the biggest storm of the winter behind us, and warming temperatures lurking out there somewhere, it’s helpful to note that there are only a couple of weeks until Daylight Savings Time.

Municipal news

In town news, the budget process is under way and Marjorie Stratton encourages folks to propose any items for consideration now before the selectmen and budget committee have completed the process. Speaking of budgets, there are two openings on the budget committee and one vacancy on the town planning commission. If you are interested, please send a letter of interest to the board of selectmen. In town this last week, the rabies clinic was well attended with the fire station parking lot busy with dog owners with firm holds on dog leashes on Thursday morning. I’m sure many folks were thankful that the weather was above freezing while they waited.

School news

Students and teachers in 10 island and coastal communities including Vinalhaven are now competing in the Energy for ME Subpanel Slam. This competition is part of the Island Institute’s Energy for ME energy-education program and designed to encourage students to save energy in their school. To make things more fun, Energy for ME is giving away $2,000 eBucks that schools can redeem to make efficiency upgrades and will also reward a trophy to the overall champion with the greatest energy reduction.

Each school involved will win a percentage of the $2,000 eBucks based on the electricity saved on the one subpanel in the school that they select to concentrate their efforts on for this competition. Students can monitor the amount of electricity used in various parts of the school using the eMonitor on site. According to Nancy Carter of the Island institute, the eMonitor at the school was installed as part of the “multi-year energy education project funded through a competitive grant from the National Science Foundation to increase students’ interest and proficiencies in science, technology, engineering and math.” The competition began Feb. 5 and the results will be announced on March 5. To learn more about the program, look up .

Also at school, as mentioned last week, a call has gone out to the community to join the school Vision Committee which will first meet Feb. 27, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the school. “Our vision will express what we want our school to look like in the future. Your participation is critical in creating a map for improvements that will lead to the kind of future Vinalhaven residents desire," writes Robb Warren, school leader. The process may take up to five meetings in the next two months and if you are interested in serving, do call the school at 863-4800 to let them know or send Amanda an email at .

What folks are talking about and business around town

After last week’s big storm, high snow banks, and the unprecedented closing of the ferry terminal and the post office, the conversations about the storm’s impact are only just starting to dwindle. Downtown the storm resulted in drifts right to the rafters of storefronts, making snow removal difficult and resulting in deep gouges in the sidewalks in some places from a claw used in snow removal. This of course made shopping difficult, and shopkeepers had to do some major digging out. Already narrow roads were much narrower, and everyone had a tale to tell about trees down, roofs needing patching, or plans canceled. Luckily there were also plenty of tales about good sledding, snow forts, and kids climbing huge snow mountains. Surely this storm will become the big one told about in stories by these kids when they’re grown up.

The heavy rains and higher temperatures that followed a couple days after the storm melted much of the snow and resulted in a few days of icy conditions, slush and puddles. Now, one week later, many road surfaces are clear and bald patches of ground alternate with snow piles 4 feet high and higher. Now there’s almost a hint of a spring thaw in the air and the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring, is only a month away. So, if you have a woodstove like us, try to enjoy lugging wood, we won’t need to do it too much longer.

If you have news to share that you’d like to see in this column, please drop me a line at or leave a message at 863-4134.