Despite all the cold, rainy, windy weather, we’ve crossed the line, first, into Daylight Saving Time and now, with the vernal equinox on Wednesday, into spring. Neither has made us feel particularly spring-like. Sometimes I feel as if the only harbinger of spring is the fact that I’m looking for one, as in the way that I’ve started tipping my head to look up at the still-empty osprey nest along my road.
Winter storm Ukko (where do they get these names?) gave us a pass, for the most part. We had rain, not snow, and although the tides were high, we were able to travel to and fro, which wasn’t always true with what’s-his-name two weeks ago.
All the winter storms and extra high tides have been eating away at the land below the retaining wall at the Dock street ferry slip. Peter plans for repairs to be made on Saturday, April 6. That day, the ferry will run from 6 to 6:45 a.m. to take vehicles across, and then after that will take passengers over on the quarter hour, dropping them off at the corner of Memorial Wharf.
They’ll be putting concrete under the retaining wall to replace the scoured-out sand, and adding more stones to the front of the wall to provide more protection from wave action. The work may be completed by mid-afternoon, but the concrete needs to set up before the ferry can use the slip. You can leave a car in town on Friday or Saturday nights and not get a ticket, as long as it’s in a legal parking space.
To check on progress of the work, you can look at the ferry webcams at chappyferry.net, or call their hotline, 508-627-6965. Also, town hall’s tech person, Adam Darack, has set up a notification program to let people know when ferry service is affected by weather or repairs. To sign up, text the word “Chappy” to the number 69302 from, as Peter says, your “cell phone or any kind of phone type of palm thingy.”
Our little island has been in the news a lot recently with the Schifter house moving project. It’s probably good that people are paying attention, because the big questions this project poses will be coming up more and more as coastal erosion continues. As of now, our conservation commission and planning board have been relied upon heavily to answer these questions for our town, which is a lot of responsibility given the larger known and unknown impacts of any one project. They need to make decisions according to the law; hopefully we can make our laws reflect present and future considerations as we see what happens at Wasque Point and to the island, as a whole, during the process.
Peter said there has been some extra traffic on the ferry recently, mostly to do with delivery of coir materials and the people building the coir bags at the eroding bank at Wasque, as well as occasional site visits from town officials. Peter has been attending meetings to see what will be expected of the ferry. Some of the objects needed for the house move, such as the 90-foot long beams, can’t get through town to the ferry, so they’ll come by barge. At the selectman’s meeting this Monday at 4 p.m., they will discuss the unloading of beams and other equipment from a barge at the Point.
Liz Villard will once again host the Spring Egg Hunt and Tea on Saturday, March 30 at 4 p.m. at the Chappaquiddick Community Center. All kids living or visiting on Chappy are invited. Last year Liz hid the eggs, and the tea was potluck. You can call her at 508-627-8619 for more information.
On Sunday, March 24 at 4 p.m., What’s Written Within, the improvisational modern dance group with whom I dance, will be performing at the Matha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. The group includes a wide age range of dancers, from the mid-20s to the late 80s, and this year it includes men as well as guest artists from the Yard. Suggested donation is $5.
All Island Democrats are invited to attend a Platform Hearing on Saturday, March 23rd from 9:30 to noon, at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center. You can give your recommendations for changes and additions to the State Democratic Platform, the statement of shared beliefs and positions that guides our state elected officials. You can review the current platform and see what you think should be changed at: massdems.org/platform.
Bob O’Rourke informs us that March marked the first year of the Martha’s Vineyard Table Tennis Club. The club is affiliated with USA Table Tennis, and is open to Island residents and visitors of all ages and experience, with professional instruction available. During the school year, members play on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the West Tisbury School, and year-round they also play at the YMCA, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Bob said the club has doubled its membership since its inception in 2012. He is its president, and Allen Slater is also a member. Chappy summer residents Judy and Kitt Johnson, and Tom Pardee play when they’re here. The club also provides tables and equipment for the Chappy Pong program held on the porch of the Chappy Community Center each summer. Once a summer, Chappy Pong sponsors a popular open tournament. For additional information, you can contact Bob O’Rourke at 508-627-7902.
This is the time of year to watch out for potholes and sinkholes lurking beneath the puddles. The edges of the main road have been marked with orange paint at the locations needing pavement replacement, and there are a surprising number of them. In some places, the edge of the road has simply become a bunch of separate tar puzzle pieces, kept together solely by habit. We can expect the highway department, which has been cutting brush along the roadsides, to replace the asphalt this spring, which is said to have arrived.