The news from Vinalhaven

By Susan Raven | Nov 22, 2012
Photo by: Susan Raven High waters encroach on Clam Shell Alley.

The chill seems to have set in this week, most of the trees are bare, and we’ve seen an increase in the amount of chickadees, goldfinches and juncos. This week’s high tides made things interesting as such very high water transforms downtown into a Venice-like panorama of buildings seemingly hovering over the ocean. The water was almost up to Clam Shell Alley with trucks, traps and driveways in the water.

Municipal news

The town office was the location of some interesting discussions at the Island Institute’s Community Meeting. Eleven community members, our Island Fellow and four Institute staff members were present. Robb Snyder spoke about the structure of the Institute as well as how programs come from the feedback and needs of islanders. After hearing more about past and current programs the group discussed needs they see on the island ranging from adult education and training to school programs and how to keep island living sustainable. Discussions from this and other islands will help inform the Institute’s next three year strategic plan. If you missed the meeting and have ideas for the Institute, send them along via their website

School events

A nice write-up in the Wind this week informed the community about literacy plans at the school and the new addition of Darlene Basset of Windham, who is working with the school as an educational consultant specializing in literacy strategies. Recommendations that are being implemented with the younger students include small-group guided reading, phonics instruction and purchasing of leveled reading books, which have been proven to increase reading fluency and while introducing new ideas in a format kids enjoy. Older students will be sharpening their skills using literacy journals among other techniques. Federal funds can be thanked for the ability to finance Basset’s work with the school and I’m sure many of us appreciate the teachers’ willingness to embrace her suggestions.

Business around town

Friday, Nov. 23 is the day most businesses men and women have on their mind right now with an impressive line-up of Black Friday sales, foods and events all culminating in a tree lighting, caroling and cocoa at 6 p.m. Nine businesses on Main Street will be open and encouraging shoppers to buying locally this holiday season. Dollars spent locally benefit not only the store where you spend your money, but also the general economics of town since those storekeepers are investing their money locally by paying staff, buying groceries, and such. Called the local economic multiplier effect, money spent locally keeps more money local, and that’s good for all of us here. Another way to support locals is to attend the Silver Thread Artisans holiday sale on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Barn at Windy Way.

What folks are talking about

In talking about programs or gatherings that should occur on the island (crafting nights, concerts, dances, adult education classes, etc.) folks seem to be skipping right over December with an eye on January and February. I’ve been told things should be scheduled then when there’s nothing going on. I’ve heard so many folks say that program x,y, or z will be scheduled for January and February because there’s nothing going on that surely the opposite will be true. There could definitely be worse things than a packed calendar during the depths of winter.

But enough of looking that far ahead, back to more immediate things like local organizations doing good things around town. In hearing of Black Friday incentives to encourage donations to Vinalhaven Community Outreach, VCO, I realized that I didn’t know much about VCO and others might be in the same boat. VCO’s mission is to help people in time of crisis or emergency such as a family going through a medical crisis or enduring a fire. The organization is entirely dependent on contributions which can be given for a specific person or family, or given generally so VCO can use it as needed. Donations can be given during Black Friday evens or sent to VCO c/o Linda Whittington, treasurer, PO Box 383, Vinalhaven, ME 04863. The VCO committee is made up of the town manager, representatives from each of the churches, the bank. A social worker and ministers are also advisors. My thanks go to Carol Thompson for helping to inform me about VCO so I could pass it on to others.

If you have news to share or an organization that you would like to see highlighted in this column, please drop me a line at or leave a message at 863-4134. Happy Thanksgiving!

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