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Welcome to the Halcyon
by Chris Parks

Halcyon: A bird identified with the kingfisher and held in ancient legend to nest at sea about the time of the winter solstice and to calm the waves during incubation.

--Websterís New Collegiate Dictionary

Several years ago Shelly and I got the idea to start a small newspaper for Smith Island. It was to be a non-profit enterprise devoted to our islandís past and current events. Unfortunately, the cost of acquiring the necessary equipment made our dream impossible.

Just over a year ago we signed up for the Internet. When Shelly designed a Website for her potty training business, it occurred to us to put Smith Islandís newspaper Online too. Many of our friends and neighbors on and off the Island have acquired computers, making an Online newspaper feasible. Welcome to the Halcyon, Smith Islandís first and only Online newspaper. Our purpose is not to dazzle anyone. We can't compete with bigger newspapers and television stations. We want to carry stories relevant to Smith Island. Who but a Smith Islander could write a story about Matt Smith driving his truck off the county wharf? Some of the things we publish here will appear in other papers like the Crisfield Times. But most of the stories will be just for us. We expect to grow along with the increase in the number of computers on Smith Island.

The best thing about the Halcyon is that itís free. All you have to do is log on. You are welcome to write or to call us with suggestions, comments, stories and links that you think are interesting. We arenít shy about expressing our opinions about what happens here, and you shouldnít be either. Letters to the editor can be submitted right from the Website. We can also include community events, announcements and pictures. If you have a picture that you would like to see on the Halcyon, bring it by.

The Halcyon is starting out small, but as time and money allow we will add new features. The important thing is that the Halcyon will be truthful. We will try to be as accurate as possible, but if you catch us in a mistake, let us know. We hope you enjoy reading the Halcyon as much as we enjoy putting it together.

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The Smith Island Feral Cat Project
By Shelly Hitchings

October 8, 2000

Marsharee Wilcox, a visitor to Smith Island, fell in love with the young tiger-stripped stray who hangs out at the Driftwood General Store. She named the cat Pricilla and made Theresa promise to feed her from the bag of cat food she bought. When Marsharee told me about a friend of hers who sends money every month to a website that helps stray cats, I got the idea for the S.I.F.C.P.

The Smith Island Feral Cat Project addresses the issue of ownerless cats here. The website invites people to sponsor individual cats. Sponsors will be able to choose a cat, name it, and follow its progress over the Web. If it works, the islanders who feed cats will get paid to have them spayed and neutered as well.

Early indications are encouraging. Even while the website was under construction, the S.I.F.C.P. received three Havahart traps as a donation from Woodstream in Lititz, PA. The traps will be used to capture cats who wonít allow themselves to be handled. The trapped cats will be transported to the Worchester Animal Clinic in Pocomoke where Dr. Hafez has agreed to a special rate for S.I.F.C.P. participants.

Smith Islandís remoteness makes it different from other areas where stray cats are a problem. New cats coming in from other neighborhoods do not replenish the feral cat population here. That makes it possible to control the population through dedicated spaying and neutering. Altered cats are healthier and live longer than their intact kin do. They exhibit none of the obnoxious behaviors we are all so familiar with, spraying, howling, and fighting.

The website is aimed at wealthier cat aficionados who care about the plights of ownerless cats. They will be given the option of sponsoring a specific cat, supporting the project in general or sending an item from the Wish List. The Wish List includes cat carriers, feeding dishes, pet bedding, and food.

The website shows six Smith Island Participants; Cecil Laird, Doll Harrison, Fay Bradshaw, Flora Kitching, Missy Tyler and Edwina Evans. They are listed because they feed cats or because they expressed an interest in the project. If you feed four or more cats and wish to participate, call me at 410-425-5700. Iíll add pictures of your cats to the website. If a sponsor picks one, youíll get money to have it spayed or neutered, or receive supplies to help with its care.

The URL for the Smith Island Feral Cat Project is

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Firemen Celebrate After Busy Year

By Chris Parks

January 18, 2001

Donny B. Marsh and Billy Gene Smith On December 22 the Ewell Volunteer Fire Company commemorated its 43rd year of service to the Smith Island community. A banquet and awards ceremony was held at the Ewell Recreation center to honor the fireman and ambulance volunteers, and to thank the community for its generous support throughout the year. Outgoing Fire Company President Donnie B. Marsh and Chief Otis Ray Tyler hosted the event.

Mr. Tyler, who is completing his 20th year as chief, thanked the community and the Ewell Fire Companyís Ladies Auxiliary for their support. Chief Tyler also paid a special tribute to recently retired Deputy Chief Isaac Dize for his many years of service. President Donnie B. Marsh officially handed over the gavel to Billy Gene Smith, who will serve as president for the next two years. Richard Evans will replace Smith as Vice President.

Chief Tyler reported that during the year there had been one house fire, one controlled burn, two rekindled fires, four fire alarms, 19 landing zones for Trooper Four, forty medical calls, four medical assists, seven drills, eleven collateral duties, and two CPR classes. There were a total of 78 calls during the year averaging ten men per call. The average time on scene for each call was one hour and thirty minutes for a total of 1045 man-hours.

Four members were recognized for their years of service. Larry Marsh received a 25-year pin. Renee Tyler received her10 year pin. Michelle Whealton and Chris Parks each received a pin for five years of service. Eddie Evans was honored as Fireman of the Year for responding to 73 calls, meetings and other events. Dale Tyler, Mark Kitching and Matt Smith tied as runners up with 69 points each. Renee Tyler and Chris Parks were co winners of the EMS Provider of the Year with 184 points. Michelle Whealton was runner up with 66 points.

The Ladies Auxiliary announced that Carol Tyler will continue as President, Candice Smith as Secretary, and Ruthie Evans will serve as both Vice President and Treasurer.

Chris Parks and Dale Tyler Chris Parks, Janet Tyler dancing Chris Parks, Otis Ray Tyler dancing
Many thanks to the unidentified photographer who caught our esteemed editor in deepening stages of inebriation. 
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©2000 The Halcyon, 20967 Caleb Jones Road, Ewell MD 21824