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December 13, 2018

Archives for May 2013

Adam Sandler's maid rubbed poison ivy on him as he slept

Adam Sandler was recently horrified to discover his maid had been rubbing poison ivy all over his body as he slept as payback for having to handle the actor’s dirty underwear.

The Big Daddy star had no idea how he had contracted the itchy skin rash, and so he turned to his household security camera footage to ensure he wasn’t rummaging through his yard in his sleep.

And Sandler reveals he was shocked to discover who was responsible for all his discomfort.

He tells TV host Jay Leno, “It was a horrific event. When you get that as a kid it makes sense, but a man my age, it doesn’t make too much sense because I don’t even go… in the woods… So I thought maybe I was sleep walking or something like that…

“The security camera in my house, I put it on me in my bed to see what I do, and a housekeeper kept coming in and rubbing poison ivy all over my body while I slept and I was like, ‘What the hell is going on? Why is this lady doing that to me?’ So I wake up in the morning, I said, ‘Hey, what’s the deal? It’s itchy, what you’re doing to me is wrong. I caught you. Why (did) you do that to me? I’m very nice to you.’

“She went to the laundry hamper and pulled out my underwear and (pointed to the stains) and she said, ‘That’s why’.”

Link: 

Adam Sandler's maid rubbed poison ivy on him as he slept

School Notes: Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

The fifth-graders at Reading, Vt., Elementary School, all six of them, may be small in number. Yet in developing an eco-friendly solution to removing the poison ivy at their school, they’ve embodied the famous Margaret Mead quote that hangs in their classroom: that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

That’s not to overlook the efforts of Sadie, Izzy and Happy, the three Boer goats who have consumed the poison ivy leaves on the school playground. But Abigail Merseal, Hayley Mullins, Kit Oney, Nevaeh Sullivan, Nick Bishop and Sam Mitchell evaluated the cost-efficiency and environmental impact of each plan, came up with the idea of using goats, and approached the principal and the Reading School Board for permission to let goats graze on the school grounds.

Not only have the goats gone a long way in eradicating the poison ivy problem, but the fifth-graders’ eco-conscious project contributed to Reading Elementary being named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Collins’ class travels to Burlington today to be recognized by Gov. Peter Shumlin as a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. And the class is currently raising the $4,000 needed for a trip to Washington, D.C., to be recognized with all 64 schools nationwide that received the Green Ribbon designation, awarded to schools that adopt energy efficient and environmentally savvy practices.

Besides the addition of the goats to the school’s ecosystem, Reading has a school garden where vegetables are raised for the cafeteria and food scraps are composted, and the school’s third- and fourth-grade class built a covered bridge over a stream that connects the school to a nearby woodlands area, used for environmental education.

The Green Ribbon designation has given a boost in morale to the small elementary school, which in the past has been targeted for closure.

“It not only validates the importance of the school in our community, it validates the importance of having children in a community school,” said Principal Lou Lafasciano, known as “Dr. Lou” around the school. “That community spirit is alive and well. That’s the kind of school everybody wants their child in.”

The poison ivy problem on the Reading Elementary playground could have been improved with a chemical solution, but that was not a road the fifth-graders wanted to take. “This was a wetland,” said fifth-grader Kit Oney. “And if we put chemicals in there, it would have killed a lot of animals.”

Instead, the students considered several different eradication methods that would not be harmful to the land and creatures around the school, or the students and faculty who spend their days there. They ruled out covering the poison ivy with black plastic, and pouring a vinegar and soapy water solutions and boiling water over the weed. A Google search for “cute ways to eradicate poison ivy” yielded information about using goats, who have special enzymes that allow them to safely eat the plant.

They were further encouraged when Dr. Lou told them that he’d heard on Vermont Public Radio of how Stephen Brooks, the cemetery commissioner in Charlotte, Vt., was deploying goats to ameliorate the poison ivy in the town’s cemeteries. The students took it upon themselves to call Brooks and gather information about implementing a similar program.

Finding a group of goats was no trouble . Malisa Williams, the sister of the third- and fourth-grade teacher at Reading, raises goats, but needed to let her land recover from their grazing for a few months. “She was willing to let her goats go for six weeks in the fall,” said fifth-grader Abigail Merseal. So Sadie, Izzy and Happy found new homes at the Reading Elementary playground, penned in by an electric fence, and with all the poison ivy they could want.

More difficult was compiling their research for a presentation to the Reading School Board, in order to secure permission to bring the goats to the school. They had to figure out what possible arguments board members might raise, and come up with alternate plans in case any part of their proposal was rejected. “It was — how should I put this …” Sam Mitchell began.

“Nervewracking,” Nick Bishop interjected.

“Good one,” Sam continued. “We were nervous, but we did a good job.” At present, the goats have consumed one-and-a-half acres of poison ivy on the school grounds, and the students have received a grant for $907 from the Woodstock Union High School Foundation to purchase supplies like a goat shelter to keep the goats at the school.

And, if the class manages to raise $4,000 in the coming weeks, they’ll travel to the White House with the other Green Ribbon School recipients; about $3,500 has been raised thus far

“A little class is going to Washington, D.C.,” said fifth-grader Nevaeh Sullivan. “If we were at some other school, this probably would never happen.”

To make that trip happen, though, the class is once again looking to the community to lend a hand. To donate, visit www.razoo.com/story/Green-Goat-5th-Graders-Go-To-Washington.

Achievements

Susannah Howard, a sophomore at Thetford Academy, was accepted to MedQuest 2013, a program at Lyndon State College that exposes students to health care career options through job shadowing and training in medical procedures like CPR. MedQuest 2013 will be held from July 14 to 19.

∎ Yuzhou “Oscar” Lin, a student at Thetford Academy, was named one of nine statewide winners in the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition’s 20th annual Talent Search. Lin was honored with fellow recipients at a dinner in South Burlington last month and is invited to attend the Governor’s Institute in Mathematical Sciences this summer at no charge.

Graduations

Kelsey L. Jordan of Lebanon graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude.

School Notes appears most Tuesdays. Email news and announcements to schoolnotes@vnews.com.

Source:

School Notes: Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

The fifth-graders at Reading, Vt., Elementary School, all six of them, may be small in number. Yet in developing an eco-friendly solution to removing the poison ivy at their school, they’ve embodied the famous Margaret Mead quote that hangs in their classroom: that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

That’s not to overlook the efforts of Sadie, Izzy and Happy, the three Boer goats who have consumed the poison ivy leaves on the school playground. But Abigail Merseal, Hayley Mullins, Kit Oney, Nevaeh Sullivan, Nick Bishop and Sam Mitchell evaluated the cost-efficiency and environmental impact of each plan, came up with the idea of using goats, and approached the principal and the Reading School Board for permission to let goats graze on the school grounds.

Not only have the goats gone a long way in eradicating the poison ivy problem, but the fifth-graders’ eco-conscious project contributed to Reading Elementary being named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Collins’ class travels to Burlington today to be recognized by Gov. Peter Shumlin as a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. And the class is currently raising the $4,000 needed for a trip to Washington, D.C., to be recognized with all 64 schools nationwide that received the Green Ribbon designation, awarded to schools that adopt energy efficient and environmentally savvy practices.

Besides the addition of the goats to the school’s ecosystem, Reading has a school garden where vegetables are raised for the cafeteria and food scraps are composted, and the school’s third- and fourth-grade class built a covered bridge over a stream that connects the school to a nearby woodlands area, used for environmental education.

The Green Ribbon designation has given a boost in morale to the small elementary school, which in the past has been targeted for closure.

“It not only validates the importance of the school in our community, it validates the importance of having children in a community school,” said Principal Lou Lafasciano, known as “Dr. Lou” around the school. “That community spirit is alive and well. That’s the kind of school everybody wants their child in.”

The poison ivy problem on the Reading Elementary playground could have been improved with a chemical solution, but that was not a road the fifth-graders wanted to take. “This was a wetland,” said fifth-grader Kit Oney. “And if we put chemicals in there, it would have killed a lot of animals.”

Instead, the students considered several different eradication methods that would not be harmful to the land and creatures around the school, or the students and faculty who spend their days there. They ruled out covering the poison ivy with black plastic, and pouring a vinegar and soapy water solutions and boiling water over the weed. A Google search for “cute ways to eradicate poison ivy” yielded information about using goats, who have special enzymes that allow them to safely eat the plant.

They were further encouraged when Dr. Lou told them that he’d heard on Vermont Public Radio of how Stephen Brooks, the cemetery commissioner in Charlotte, Vt., was deploying goats to ameliorate the poison ivy in the town’s cemeteries. The students took it upon themselves to call Brooks and gather information about implementing a similar program.

Finding a group of goats was no trouble . Malisa Williams, the sister of the third- and fourth-grade teacher at Reading, raises goats, but needed to let her land recover from their grazing for a few months. “She was willing to let her goats go for six weeks in the fall,” said fifth-grader Abigail Merseal. So Sadie, Izzy and Happy found new homes at the Reading Elementary playground, penned in by an electric fence, and with all the poison ivy they could want.

More difficult was compiling their research for a presentation to the Reading School Board, in order to secure permission to bring the goats to the school. They had to figure out what possible arguments board members might raise, and come up with alternate plans in case any part of their proposal was rejected. “It was — how should I put this …” Sam Mitchell began.

“Nervewracking,” Nick Bishop interjected.

“Good one,” Sam continued. “We were nervous, but we did a good job.” At present, the goats have consumed one-and-a-half acres of poison ivy on the school grounds, and the students have received a grant for $907 from the Woodstock Union High School Foundation to purchase supplies like a goat shelter to keep the goats at the school.

And, if the class manages to raise $4,000 in the coming weeks, they’ll travel to the White House with the other Green Ribbon School recipients; about $3,500 has been raised thus far

“A little class is going to Washington, D.C.,” said fifth-grader Nevaeh Sullivan. “If we were at some other school, this probably would never happen.”

To make that trip happen, though, the class is once again looking to the community to lend a hand. To donate, visit www.razoo.com/story/Green-Goat-5th-Graders-Go-To-Washington.

Achievements

Susannah Howard, a sophomore at Thetford Academy, was accepted to MedQuest 2013, a program at Lyndon State College that exposes students to health care career options through job shadowing and training in medical procedures like CPR. MedQuest 2013 will be held from July 14 to 19.

∎ Yuzhou “Oscar” Lin, a student at Thetford Academy, was named one of nine statewide winners in the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition’s 20th annual Talent Search. Lin was honored with fellow recipients at a dinner in South Burlington last month and is invited to attend the Governor’s Institute in Mathematical Sciences this summer at no charge.

Graduations

Kelsey L. Jordan of Lebanon graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude.

School Notes appears most Tuesdays. Email news and announcements to schoolnotes@vnews.com.

Read this article: 

Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

What's Going Around

Physician Assistant Dan Moore at McLaren Greater Lansing Internal Medicine in Lansing is treating poison ivy this week.

Symptoms include:
–Itchy, red, raised rash that appears in lines or streaks
–Blisters that break open and ooze clear fluid
–Localized swelling
–Feeling of warmth at the exposed area

Most poison ivy cases can be treated at home.

It’s a common misconception that poison ivy is contagious. The rash itself isn’t contagious, but the spreading of the plant oil is. That’s why it’s important to wash the irritant off the skin as soon as possible with soap and hot water. Clothes should also be washed.

Take an oral antihistamine and apply topical hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion. Cool compresses can help, too.

See a doctor if there’s swelling around the face, mouth, neck or eyes. You should also see a doctor if the rash is infected, or appears all over your body.

Moore is also seeing patients with allergies.

Symptoms include:
–Runny nose
–Watery eyes
–Sneezing
–Coughing
–Itchy eyes and nose
–Dark circles under the eyes

Avoid allergens by staying indoors on dry, windy days. Use eye drops and cool compresses, and take antihistamines.

If you have asthma, stick to your prescribed treatment regimen.

Allergies can lead to sinus infections.

Read original article:

What's Going Around

Homeopathic Pain Medicine Contains Poison

Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron, derived...

Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron, derived from poison ivy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At my local mega-grocery store last weekend, I happened to stroll down the aisle dedicated to homeopathic treatments. I saw shelf after shelf of brightly colored packages, all claiming health benefits. Most of these “medicines” were not cheap.

Amazing. To an average shopper, all of these products look like real medicine. The packaging is similar, the claims are similar, and it’s all on display at a respectable grocery store. The difference, though, is that none of these products do what they claim to do. Thanks to a special exception for homeopathy created all the way back in 1938, none of the claims on these medicines need to be tested. The homeopathy aisle is an organized, state-sanctioned scam.

The 1938 law was the brain child of a U.S. senator, Royal Copeland, who happened to be a homeopath. Sen. Copeland inserted language into a major food and drug law that declared homeopathic preparations to be drugs. It also allowed homeopaths themselves to maintain the official list of these drugs, called the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse! Thanks to aggressive lobbying by homeopaths, homeopathic ingredients are not subject to the normal review required of real drugs. Most importantly, homeopathic drug makers do not have to prove their products are effective.

Homeopathy is based on the long-discredited beliefs of Samuel Hahnemann 200 years ago. Hahnemann thought that “like cures like,” as long as you dilute the substance sufficiently. Thus caffeine will cure sleeplessness, poison ivy extract will cure an itch, and paralyzing plant toxins will cure pain. None of this is true.

The other key principle of homeopathy is that the more you dilute something, the stronger its effect. This is not only wrong, but it is exactly the opposite of what really happens. Greater dosage levels, unsurprisingly, have stronger effects. In Hahnemann’s defense, science wasn’t very far along when he came up with these notions.

Real medicine moved on long ago. But homeopathy persists, because there is money to be made – lots of money.

Back to my grocery store. Several shelves were filled with something called Topricin(R), which claims to relieve pain. Sounds like a medicine, right? Real drugs often use “cin” or “in” in their names because the word “medicine” itself ends with that sound. Clever! In front of me I saw Topricin for pain, Topricin foot cream, even Topricin for children. The Topricin packages and the company’s website proclaim, in big letters, “Ideal Pain Relief”, and in slightly less big letters: “Safe. Effective. Free of Side Effects.” It also claims:

“Topricin’s 11 homeopathic medicines are proven to be safe and effective for the elderly, pregnant, children, pregnant women and all skin types. Experience Topricin’s relief for damaged muscle, tendon, ligament, and nerve tissue.”

This is simply not true. It even seems to go beyond the bounds of what the (very weak) FDA regulations allow. The website specifically claims that Topricin is effective for arthritis, back pain, bruises, bursitis, fibromyalgia, minor burns, tendinitis, and more.

Well, what is it? Let’s look at just two of the homeopathic ingredients in Topricin:

  • Belladonna 6X…………….. Treats muscles spasms, night leg cramps
  • Heloderma 8X…………….. Relief of burning pain in the hands and feet
Old Belladonna remedy, homeopathic.

Old Belladonna remedy, homeopathic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Belladonna for pain? Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants known to man. Eating just a few small berries is lethal. And the one study I could find showed that it has no clinical effect when used in a homeopathic preparation. That’s lucky for unwitting consumers: if it wasn’t so diluted, Belladonna would make them very sick indeed.

Heloderma? That’s the venom from a gila monster. Although rarely fatal, it causes severe pain, bleeding, nausea, and vomiting. This is not something I would take for pain – and I certainly would never give it to children.

I know that Big Pharma is often guilty of deceptive marketing, and I’ve criticized Pharma many times. But CAM CAM (“complementary and alternative”) pharma is every bit as bad. Big CAM takes advantage of generous laws to make medical claims with impunity, often skirting as close as possible to what the law permits. And the Big CAM companies profit handsomely in the process. Everything on the Topricin package – the name, the packaging, the claims – is designed to make the consumer think that it is an effective pain treatment. It’s not. It’s a modern package of snake oil.

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Homeopathic Pain Medicine Contains Poison

Dear Crabby, how do you deal with poison ivy?

Click to enlarge

Dear Crabby,

I recently came into contact with poison ivy and have these terrible red rashes. Is there a good and quick remedy for this?

Sincerely,

Joe Notsocool

Dear Mr. Notsocool,

Yes, I have had my fill of poison ivy in my lifetime! When I was younger, I would seem to get this rash every summer. I would simply walk past an area in the woods and this stuff would attack me from a distance!

I think my mother and father bought more calamine lotion for me than they did food for a few summers. I would get the blisters all over my hands and up to my elbows. The other kids called me the pink pizza boy because that calamine lotion was bright pink for the simple purpose of embarrassing anyone using it!

I did have a friend though that got it worse than me just recently. He was out trimming bushes and doing some yard cleanup in his own yard of all places and it got him bad. I guess he still doesn’t know what the stuff looks like. But from the looks of him afterwards, he not only got it on his hands and elbows, but on his neck and face and beyond.

When I saw him, he had blisters everywhere so I asked, “Is what I can see the worst of it?” His reply still gives me chills. He had answered, “No, I also had to go to the bathroom while I was out there and got it all over that area!” Ouch! He ended up going to the doctor and getting a steroid shot to help alleviate the pain he was in.

I guess there really isn’t much else you can do for this type of rash. It would be great if you could get inoculated or something to prevent this from ever happening again. It does seem however that some people get it worse than others. My father told me he never once contracted the rash until I was born. Continued…

After I got it a couple of times, he ended up getting it and then he would also get it about once a year as well. I guess I just have that way with people.

So my advice to you is to learn to identify the leaf, stay away from it, and if you do somehow touch some, don’t go to the bathroom! It is also a good idea to keep plenty of calamine lotion on hand for an immediate application! Good luck, and if you get it – stay away from me!

Sincerely,

Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Go to www.dearcrabby.org and ask your question.

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Dear Crabby, how do you deal with poison ivy?

Preventing and treating poison ivy

poisonivy.jpg

Poison ivy is a native plant so it can’t be eradicated, but there are ways to get it out of your way for the season. (Courtesy of the USDA)

WASHINGTON – It’s the time of year when everyone starts heading outside. And it
is also the time of year when doctors see an uptick in poison ivy cases.

The plant itself is not seasonal. It grows year-round and poses a threat even in
the dead of winter.

However, people are more likely to come into contact with poison ivy when
gardening or
engaging in more active outdoor activities, such as hiking.

Poison ivy is a native plant, which means it will never be totally eradicated.
But WTOP Garden Editor Mike
McGrath says there is a safe way to get rid of it for the season.

He says herbicides are not a good option because even after application, the plant
is still allergenic to the
touch. He also warns that garden gloves should never be worn when removing poison
ivy because the oil in
the plant that causes a rash is easily spread from one surface to another.

“It’s going to be on doorknobs, it is going to be on car handles, it is going to
be on your steering wheel,” McGrath says.

Instead, he says get a big rolling trash can, a helper with a hose and a bunch of
thick plastic shopping bags
from the mall (McGrath says plastic bags from the supermarket are too thin).

“When you see a poison ivy vine, have your helper wet the soil around the base
using the hose. Let it go for
about 3 or 4 minutes until that soil is really saturated,” he says.

Once that is done, slip a plastic bag up each arm, and gently begin to pull out
the roots. McGrath says when
the final root comes out of the ground, pull the bags down over your arms without
touching the vine and
throw the bags and the vine in the trashcan.

Under no circumstance should anyone burn the vines with yard debris because the
oil in the plant mixes
with the smoke, McGrath advises. This mixture can be very dangerous if inhaled.

McGrath says firefighters dealing with wild fires routinely use respirators to
protect their lungs, and they
wear a clay-type compound to protect their bodies from any poison ivy allergens
that might get on their
gear.

That compound — Ivy Block — is available over-the-counter and is a good source
of extra prevention for
those who are extremely sensitive to poison ivy. McGrath says for most people, the
best thing to do is just
remember to rinse any exposed areas with cool water immediately after contact with
the vine.

“The more you wash it with cool, clear water, the better the chances you have of
getting the oil off your skin
before the reaction can begin,” he says, noting it takes 10-30 minutes for the oil
to penetrate the skin.

Washing the skin with cool water is key because it dissolves the oil.

Dr. Howard Brooks, a Georgetown-based dermatologist, says he urges his garden
warrior patients to
routinely take a cool shower after working outside, even if they are not sure they
have been exposed to
poison ivy.

However, if patients are exposed, he is ready with a plan of attack. Brooks says
most garden-variety poison
ivy can be treated at home first with cold compresses to reduce inflation,
followed by aloe vera, calamine
lotion or over-the-counter hydrocortisone.

Severe cases demand medical attention, especially when on the face.

“Any infection on the face, around the mouth, nose, if you have swollen eyes,
swollen skin and blistering,
you really want to go in and see a dermatologist,” Brooks says.

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Preventing and treating poison ivy

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Walls: Poison ivy arrives with warmer weather

While walking in the woods the other day, a couple of observations reminded me that it is the season that people will be venturing outdoors for warm-weather activity.

Besides the many fire ant mounds that I encountered (I wrote about the scourge of fire ants a few weeks back), one plant that can cause some real discomfort was readily evident on several tree trunks and posts that I walked past. Poison ivy was heartily growing all along my route.

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Poison ivy has leaflets of three leaves per segment. Thus, the saying “Leaves of three, leave it be.” On many plants, the vines have hair-like tendrils that assist in attaching the vines to the tree trunks on which they are growing.

Approximately eight out of ten people will have some sort of skin reaction to poison ivy. When coming in contact with the oil contained in all parts of the plant (roots, vines, stems, branches and leaves), a skin rash of varying degrees of severity will break out between eight hours and three days after contact with the oil. The rash can last a few days or two to three weeks depending on your body’s reaction to the oil and where on the body you come in contact with the oil.

Touching a garden implement or clothing exposed to the oil or pet hair exposed to poison ivy are additional ways to break out in a reaction. There are also reports of people breathing in the smoke of someone burning poison ivy. The lungs and poison ivy smoke are not compatible. This can be a serious situation and medical attention is always recommended. In most cases, exposure to someone with a poison ivy rash is not contagious. It is the direct exposure to the oil in the plant that causes the rash.

Although many of us do have a reaction to exposure with the oil in poison ivy, many types of wildlife readily feed on the berries that will be on the plants later on in the year. In addition to some small mammals, more than three dozen species of birds have been recorded feeding on poison ivy fruit.

On one tree, accompanying the many vines of poison ivy was a similar plant often misidentified as poison ivy. Virginia creeper was mixed in with the ivy. “Leaves of five, let it thrive” is the saying that applies to Virginia creeper. There are reports of some poison ivy plants having leaflets of five, but I have not yet found this. It is advisable to learn the difference in the two types of plants. The best bet, however, is to avoid any climbing vine if you are not sure. Better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t be afraid to venture out this spring or summer. Our great outdoors hold wonderful experiences for all of us. Just take a bit of time to educate yourself about the plants and animals that are our wild neighbors. In most cases, they were here long before we arrived in the neighborhood.

Enjoy your nature trails.

For questions or comments, email jwalls443@gmail.com.

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Walls: Poison ivy arrives with warmer weather

A murderous itch on campus: Serial killing becomes an elective

A murderous itch on campus: Serial killing becomes an elective

By Jack Shea
May 6, 2013


Photo by Lynn Christoffers

Fresh off the press: the author checks out her new book.

“Poison Ivy” by Cynthia Riggs, paperback, 247 pages, copyright Cynthia Riggs 2013, $16.95 from Cleaveland House Books. Available at Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven, at Edgartown Books, on Kindle, at Amazon, and at Island libraries.

“Poison Ivy” is the latest in an engaging series of mannerly murder mysteries, 11 in all, by West Tisbury’s Cynthia Riggs.

The novels are set on Martha’s Vineyard and feature Victoria Trumbull, a 92-year old West Tisbury poet, deputy sheriff, and amateur sleuth. How can this be: a 92-year old poet as the super-sleuth? Well, every definition of fiction I’ve seen includes the phrase “willing suspension of disbelief.” And that’s what happens here.

If you’ve read the Victoria Trumbull set, you understand how it happens. Mrs. Trumbull — Mrs. T to her friends — does that for the yarn. She uses the advantages of world wisdom and experience provided by her age to become a quietly powerful central figure in the novel. She operates seamlessly within normal physical limitations that 90 years of living exacts on us. And this being the Island, there is no shortage of strong backs to do the heavy lifting that occurs in a murder mystery.

Ms. Riggs has got that suspension of disbelief thing down. “Poison Ivy” trundles out a fanciful plotline that features just mountains of bodies found at Ivy Green, a three-building local college established 10 years ago somewhere just north of Franklin Street in Vineyard Haven.

Mrs. Trumbull has been brought on as an adjunct professor of poetry by Thackery Wilson, the dean and founder of Ivy Green. Mrs. Trumbull arrives on a late summer day for orientation. Discovery of a decomposing body in a lecture hall, unused during the summer, gives the term “orientation” a whole new meaning. And we’re off on a tale of uncontrolled ego, uncontrollable weather, and a clear view of life on this Island.

Ivy Green is Dean Wilson’s life passion. He’s built it hand over hand and defends it from the disdain of an off-Island oversight board of academics who missed the brass ring of success but perfected the arrogant part. Dean Wilson has a wicked big problem because, quick as you can say “Holmes Hole Road,” we are treated to the discovery of 10 more bodies of tenured professors on the campus grounds. Turns out nobody missed them. Several have been tenured underground long enough to have earned a sabbatical. And we begin a layered story so well done that readers will settle in and integrate comfortably with the cast.

Ms. Riggs has written a central character she believes in because she lived with her. Mrs. Trumbull is drawn from the character and personality of Ms. Riggs’s mother, Island poet Dionis Coffin Riggs, who lived to the age of 98 and was actively participating in her life until the end. Island author Tom Dresser includes Dionis Coffin Riggs’s story in his new book, “Women of Martha’s Vineyard.” In it, he quotes Ms. Riggs’s story of canoeing regularly with her mother on Tisbury Great Pond until six months before her death.

Ms. Riggs’s depiction of wacky, off-beat Island characters and Island venues is spot-on. A sort of Greek chorus of Islanders appears in front of Alley’s General Store from time to time, Red Man in cheek, to pass on the latest gossip on the investigation. As we know, the speed at which gossip travels here is breathtaking.

Ms. Riggs gets this Island. You might expect that, given she’s the 13th generation of her family to live here. But it’s the “mud of the place,” as Islander Susanna Sturgis called it in her debut novel of that name several years ago. Ms. Riggs’s locals convey an understanding that the laws of nature govern islands such as ours, where the citizens fight to protect the land and to protect themselves from the sea.

Her characters often seem bemused as they compare the often harsh reality of their world with the concerns that press off-Islanders. In “Poison Ivy,” academic tenure is the concern that drives the main plot and a significant subplot. Ms. Riggs did the research on real-world tenure practices bizarre enough to make the Mafia look gracious. Good stuff.

I’m thinking that this is a book with hidden threads that Islanders will see, but it also allows non-residents to better insight about two questions all us wash-ashores have asked: Who are these people, and what makes this place tick?

One other question: Why couldn’t there be a college here? We’ve got the firepower to teach — and tenure is no problem.

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