Chappaquiddick was well represented at the Lesley University Graduate School commencement last Saturday in Boston. Both Jenna Zadeh and Katherine Villard-Howe received master’s degrees.
Jenna studied for a dual master’s degree in special education and elementary education while interning at the Maria L. Baldwin School in Cambridge. Her parents, Harold and Patty, her brother, Lari, and her fiancé, Matthew, were there to share in her delight.
Kate studied for a master’s degree in clinical psychology while serving as assistant caseworker for Roxbury Youthworks. Her mother Liz attended the graduation and relayed to me that she was very impressed by honorary degree recipient Liz Walker’s speech, which ended with the phrase, “the universe arcs toward justice.”
I can tell you firsthand that it was a joyful occasion because I watched the video. Just Google “Lesley University Commencement 2013.” I’ll tell you the shortcuts to see Kate and Jenna. Kate’s name is called at 1:18:00 and she descends the stage stairs a few seconds later. Jenna’s name comes at 1:57:48 and just before she appears on the screen, you can clearly hear Kate call out, “Chappy!” Take a look at the video. I guarantee you will laugh and smile.
Jenna and Kate knew that they were both attending Lesley but were unaware that they were graduating together. The two families also discovered upon departure that they were parked only two spaces apart. In a place as big as Boston, what were the chances?
Though the festivities of the day were lighthearted, these Chappy offspring have completed a serious task as reflected in the words of the president of Lesley University, “Your graduate degree is not just a personal benefit. A graduate degree is also expected to be a public benefit where the degree holder adds value to the life of another individual.” Jenna and Kate, I know that this milestone in your lives is a continuation of your ongoing dedication to improving the lives of others.
Slip Away Farm hosted its first open house and party on Saturday. Lily Walter wrote me a thank you note for the column. I saw no way to improve upon the message, so here it is in her own words: “I would like to thank everyone who came out to the party on Saturday. We were so pleased with the turnout. Many of our Chappy neighbors came as well as some folks all the way from Chilmark, some of them claiming to have NEVER been to Chappy before. We believe that we had over 100 people come by.
Chef Gaby Rednor, with the help of many friends, made an incredible meal of locally sourced food, including Slip Away greens, pea shoots, onions and eggs, Farm Institute lamb, Morning Glory arugula, Mermaid Farm yogurt, Not Your Sugar Mama’s chocolate and many foraged greens, including Chappy greens and herbs foraged by Lily Morris. Lily also spent an entire day making gluten-free graham crackers for the homemade s’mores.
We could not have had the party without all of the help from many friends before, during and after the event. It was incredible! We absolutely plan on doing something like this again in the future. We are so pleased to be a part of this community and are amazed at the support and outreach we have had from everyone. We feel so incredibly lucky! Thank you to everyone. We are humbled by all of the positive support.”
Last Sunday, children and grandchildren of Chappy’s firefighters made their annual pre-Memorial Day visit to the Chappy cemetery to put new flags on the firefighters’ graves. Sarah, Gladys and Matilda Jeffers, along with Tony Bettencourt and Harold Kelley, are buried here. They all served many years ago when the island depended upon just one pickup truck-sized fire pumper. There are also two more amongst them who retired from off-island departments: Roger Heywood, from Pembroke, and Richard Sears, from Muddy Brook. I believe that their spirits enjoy the occasional presence of our fire trucks and the cheerful voices of Chappy’s youngsters.
Roger Becker has departed for the Mississippi River where he will join his brother and brother in law on an 800-mile voyage from Hastings, Minn., to St. Louis, Mo., aboard an aluminum pontoon boat. You can follow their progress on Facebook at “Mississippi River Pontoon Trip.”
The highway superintendent has notified us that Lawrence-Lynch has scheduled the Chappy Road repair to begin Tuesday, May 28. Expect to share the ferry line with asphalt trucks that day.
The next community potluck will be hosted by Judy Buss and Paul Cardello on Wednesday, June 5. There will be delicious food and great company. No one has signed up to host the final potluck of the season on June 19. Contact the CCC office at 508-627-8222 if you want to be the one to make the grand exit. The 12-step program continues on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Tai Chi began today and will meet Fridays and Mondays at 9 a.m. Check for more events coming up on the CCC calendar on the porch, or at the ferry or online.
The Trustees of Reservations start up their active season this weekend with lighthouse and kayak tours. Check their website or call 508-627-3599 for Chappy tours, or 508-693-3768 for Long Point.
The Chappy Comcast Committee provided the following update on the Comcast buildout of Chappy: “As everyone is probably aware, Edgartown’s contract with Comcast is complete. Everyone should have received it in the mail. The good news is that most of the roads on Chappy are included by Comcast permitting high-speed media from the Chappy point to the tip of Wasque. We currently have over 100 residents who have indicated their intention to sign up. . . . Comcast is required to send out the formal commitment letters in the next four to six weeks. We then have four months to reach the 270 homeowner threshold to initiate the cable build out of Chappy. The earlier we reach our threshold, the greater the possibility cabling could begin in the fall. When you send back your commitment response to Comcast, please email us so we can track the number as well.
“The bad news is that Edgartown apparently miscalculated the number of eligible homeowners on Chappy. The contract states there are 540 homes, but in reality there are less than 420. Unfortunately, there is little the town or Comcast will do. Guest houses will not be billed an additional fee, but they do not count toward the tally. Anyone who hopes to join later will still be required to pay the initial fee, and most important, by delaying, may eliminate the community’s chance to share in what the rest of Edgartown and the Island already has. We are not alone in this venture, as parts of Chilmark have organized to extend their Internet capabilities.
“We have also asked Comcast’s top management to lend support to our efforts. As you would expect, we have not had an adequate response. Everything hinges on our own efforts to secure the required number of 270 homeowners.
“That being said, it’s up to all of us to educate our neighbors to this community effort to upgrade our media infrastructure in line with the 21st century. Without 270 residents signing up, the attempt to add high-speed media for those of us who require it for work, play, education or communication, for our children, grandchildren, or ourselves is dead in the water. Those of your neighbors who are satisfied with their DSL are gambling that Verizon will maintain servicing this older technology. Most carriers are eliminating DSL service in favor of fiber optic technology. . . . . Some of us have been lucky to have it over the last 10 years, but most of our neighbors are too far from the Verizon office to support service. Most of us feel it is the ‘Chappy Way’ to support a community-based effort to extend the umbrella of high-speed media to everyone.
“Once we have Comcast, we will be able to bundle service, and thus, save money by combining telephone and Internet, and or TV. The savings long term will mitigate against the initial signup fee. Most important, we will have access to high speed, reliable Internet on par with the rest of the Island. Some of our neighbors have generously donated to help other families who are not able to come up with the initial fee. If anyone else is so inclined please let us know. This can be done directly or anonymously.
“If each of us can recruit two of our friends and neighbors, we will be easily over the threshold for cabling. This is a community effort and will require everyone’s input if we are to succeed. Please give us a call if you have any questions or if it would be helpful for you to know who in your neighborhood is on board already. If we fail in this effort, there is no appeal. Without 270 homeowners signing up, the Comcast contract specifically restricts the cabling of Chappy for the next 10 years.” The update is signed by the following committee members, reachable via email: Dennis Goldin, firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob O’Rourke, email@example.com; Jonathan Cobb, firstname.lastname@example.org and Woody Filley, email@example.com.