About 40 Chappaquiddickers gathered at the Edgartown town hall on Monday afternoon for a meeting with town selectmen regarding the Chappy Ferry. After an unannounced increase in ticket book prices last fall, some Island residents became concerned and are calling for more town oversight of the ferry.

Rick Biros began the meeting with a slide show presentation laying out the requests of these individuals. He made four recommendations to the selectmen: 1) Review all rates. 2) Roll back rates until a review is complete. 3) Redefine resident status. 4) Form a governing board.

After hearing public comments, the selectmen decided to form a steering committee to explore the issues raised. The ferry co-owner, Peter Wells, will join the steering committee and the selectmen have asked for other volunteers from the community. Those interested in participating should send a letter to James Hagerty, town administrator, by March 2.

If you have spent much time outdoors on Chappy in the past few years, you most likely have come across a covey of bobwhite quail. There was once a thriving wild population of these sweet little birds on Martha’s Vineyard and Chappaquiddick but in recent history, increases in predation from raccoons and skunks eradicated the quail from our woods and fields. But in the last few years, Chappy residents have attempted to reintroduce the species to the Island. It is hoped that the quail can help reduce the increasing tick population here. Last year, residents released 300 birds into the wild.

The quail come from a man named John Tuomala who has been raising quail at his home in Wareham since 1990. He hatches and raises the birds until they are around 10 to 12 weeks old and strong enough to live without heat and survive a rainstorm. He times their release to occur mid-summer when there will be plenty of bugs for them to eat and cover to keep them protected from predators. Because the birds can travel up to a two mile-radius, a midsummer release also enables them to find the best areas for food and cover before winter sets in. There are usually 25 to 35 birds in a covey and they tend to stay grouped up in the wintertime and then separate come spring.

If you would like to order quail to release at your home, you can contact John via email at cattledog3@verizon.net. The cost is $6.50 per bird with a $1 per bird deposit. You can pick the quail up in Wareham or pay an additional fee for shipping. John encourages customers to purchase as many quail at once in an order to ensure a higher survival rate. Once the birds are released, they do not require any food and water but they do like to gather under existing bird feeders, particularly ones that are close to the safety of cover and bushes.

The next Chappy Art Night will be Feb. 20 and then every other Thursday until April 2. Bring a project of your own, or an idea to share, or draw from a still life set up for the evening. A warm fire will be laid and tea and goodies served.

At Slip Away Farm, we are now accepting applications to join our 2020 CSA membership. We have bread, flower and vegetable share options available. For more information, please visit our website slipawayfarm.com or send me an email at slipawayfarm@gmail.com. We would love to have you join us as we enter our ninth season growing for the Chappaquiddick Community.

The next Chappy potluck is Feb. 18. Don’t forget to bring a dish to share.