The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven’t Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Apr 05, 2013
Photo by: Fran Migliaccio A cluster of daffodils signals the beginning of Spring on Block Island.

Having photographed my share of deer, I couldn’t help but love the photo of “Bambi” featured online with Stephanie Turaj’s article on the meeting of the Deer Task Force and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management. Hmm…

The 2nd Annual World Book Night is nigh upon us, April 23. Island Bound Bookstore, sponsor of this event on Block Island, is asking for volunteers to give free books to people who might enjoy them and/or might be encouraged to read by the gift of a book. The national World Book Night organization is printing the books for local sponsors to distribute. As the Island Bound announcement says, all are welcome to take part and all you need to be a volunteer “is a little time, a love of books, and a desire to give something to your community.” Contact Island Bound at to participate, and receive details of where to be and when.

The titles all look good and offer a wide variety, from classics by Willa Cather and Ray Bradbury, to comic journalism by David Sedaris; a book about Tina Fey with her picture on the cover; Tracy Chevalier’s “The Girl With the Pearl Earring” and several others — 12 titles in all.

It was good to see the early and comprehensive piece in this paper about this year’s 25th Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week, beginning June 23. The Block Island Boat Basin has welcomed Storm Trysail since the club’s earliest days here, and has been honored to be the “headquarters” marina for Race Week.

Commodore Nick Langone recently e-mailed me: “In 2011 we had 136 boats for Race Week. So far we have 131 entries for this year with three months more to go, which means this will one of the biggest in the last 10 B.I. Race Weeks.”

Around the world in one night

March 23 was the sixth annual “Earth Hour”, or, more romantically phrased en español, “La Hora del Planeta.” Originated by the World Wide Fund for Nature, “Earth Hour” is meant to raise awareness of the need for action on climate change, and to save carbon emissions and energy expenditure in the process. During that hour, individuals, businesses and governments are encouraged to turn off all non-essential lights; most participating cities turn off lights of landmark buildings and public monuments.

In 2007, 2.2 million residents of Sydney, Australia turned off lights for “Earth Hour”, and the following year the event was adopted by many other cities around the world. It has become a light festival of sorts, giving rise to candlelight get-togethers and apparently, according to one source, “concerts and shows” as each participating city, in turn, douses extraneous lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. (It is difficult to imagine concerts and shows taking place in the dark, but — candlelight?)

This year, starting in Samoa and ending in the Cook Islands, cities the world over observed “Earth Hour”, turn by turn; our local paper here in the Andes reported participation by cities in India, China, Japan, France (105 cities plus Paris), Spain (200 cities), Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Vatican City, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Palestine, Rwanda, French Guiana, Surinam, Tunisia, Saint Helena and the Galapagos, among others. Of United States participation, mention was made of the Empire State Building and Niagara Falls, and we read elsewhere that Los Angeles, Santa Monica and dozens of other California communities joined in. And surely, throughout the U.S., there must have been more.

Random statistics: a Canadian utility found that energy saved in Ontario alone during last year’s “Earth Hour” would be enough to completely power a city of 50,000 for that hour. This year, South Africa achieved 629 megawatts average reduction during the hour. The Christian Science Monitor, investigating whether the event itself reduces carbon emissions, concluded that candles used during the hour to replace electric lights do not pollute as much as the lights do.


Julia and Matt Lensing welcomed baby daughter Madison into the world in October and, they write, “We are enjoying every minute of parenthood. Our pup, Lily, is a sweet big sister and loves giving kisses to Maddie.”

Proud Block Island great-grandparents are Joanne and “Hutch” Hutchins, grandparents of Matt. Matt and Julia reside in Harker Heights, Texas. The Lensings didn’t exactly have a lot of time to send out cards in 2012, so they notified friends with Valentine cards. This writer, with forwarded mail, received word a little after St. Patrick’s Day. Doesn’t matter, it’s still great news, and word does get through.

A very happy anniversary to Anna and Mike Lofaro, on April 12.

Block Island everywhere

Parades happen every so often in this part of the Andes where we find ourselves, and in a mountain city with narrow streets a parade takes its share of attention. Our first parade here was in February, on a Sunday. Religious in nature, it appeared to be celebrating Epiphany and Carnival all in one. Children in elaborate costumes represented shepherds, the three kings; a young girl in queenly attire led the procession. Many were mounted on horseback, while others rode in their families’ highly decorated cars or trucks. A couple of cars full of costumed participants, several blocks across town when the procession came to rest in a church square, were piloted through traffic by drivers who plied their horns liberally as all aboard smiled and waved.

The parade rest at the church was sufficient to give a long line of horses a good rest while their costumed riders attended to other duties. There may have been a ceremony or enactment of some sort. Special pastries and other foods for the occasion were being sold and consumed in abundance. At what we think was the end, the straight-backed, elegantly costumed girl whom we guessed was the queen led the parade out of the square looking very regal indeed astride her horse.

The next parade, entirely different, took place on a Monday at mid-day, amid the usual bustle of traffic in the city center. Led off with a van full of soldiers and a military band, this parade commemorated the 85th anniversary of Social Security in Ecuador. Due most likely to traffic, the parade took up about five city blocks with gaps in between as some of the mid and rear sections strove to keep up. Marchers were on foot, many of them groups of women in professional uniforms carrying street-wide group banners, with sections of men in business attire marching in between. The women’s uniforms differed from group to group, and we’re guessing that the banners and groups represented the various branches of Ecuador’s social security administration. It is interesting to note that social security in the United States was established several years later, in 1935.

P.S. to trivia tease

I’ve located my files since the last column, and have found Triviamaster Robert Ellis Smith’s answer to the weather station trivia question: “The restored white, square Georgian-style building on Beach Avenue next to The Hygeia House inn was a weather station, built in 1902 and in use until 1953.” Responder Rich Payne also gave the building date as 1902, but I’m guessing that Doug Gilpin, who knew the name of the architectural firm, probably has some authoritative source on his date of 1903. Perhaps the building was commissioned in 1902 and completed in 1903?

Of cakes and candles

Happy birthdays to: Kurt Tonner, March 31; Ray Pellegrino, Jr., who celebrates his 55th on April 2; Bill Millikin, April 3; Diane Tripler, John Gasner and Kathy Martin, April 5; Peg Montgomery, Arlene Tunney and Pat Balles, April 6; Leslie Dodge Slate and Rick Kyte, April 7; Lew Fagan and Roberta McCormick, April 9; Jim McCormick, April 10; Edith Blane and Brad Marthens, April 13.

Let us know what’s happening! Visiting relatives, special occasions, updates on friends near and far, projects… Deadline is Tuesday morning, and Fran can be reached at

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.