The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Nov 24, 2011

About town

Not to miss: November 20, 3 p.m., the BI Ecumenical Choir and Ministries will present “Thanksgiving — Reflections and Remembrances" at the Harbor Church. All are welcome to this annual community celebration of Thanksgiving.

An open house at the Historical Society Museum on November 26, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., will be sponsored by the 350th Anniversary Committee as a thank you to the community for a successful year of events. All are welcome to come and enjoy cider, wine and nibbles.

Great to see Susan Huggins, admiring a lovely portrait of her parents, Alice and Bob Huggins, at the well-attended opening of Marilyn Bogdanffy’s splendid and varied collection of Block Island portraits at the Island Free Library. The portrait collection may be viewed in the downstairs room of the library for another week, and there will be a closing reception for the exhibit on Saturday, November 26, at 3 p.m.

Another guest at the reception was artist Peter Gish, spotted around the island for a couple of days afterward working on his own canvases.

Drivers, be careful of the dear deer! A recent incident in Lincoln, R.I., involving a buck that jumped through a windshield, became entangled in the back seat of a car, and injured a passenger, reminds us all of the hazard deer can present on the roads. Drive slowly and cautiously, be aware that those jumping deer are all around you, and be prepared to react quickly.

Block Island everywhere

Hope everybody caught the splendid news story about our own Mary Donnelly on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams last Tuesday night, November 15, at 6:30! If you missed it, go to and click on Mary’s picture.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and headed by Sargent Shriver. We on Block Island boast at least five Peace Corps alumnae in our midst: Neil Lang, Fraser Lang, Susan Bush, Carol Leslie and Jon Ives. A recent plea in this paper yielded a fifth name: Rebecca Epstein, now serving in Guatemala. We would love to know of others; contact us at, or 401-466-2222.

George Taber completed a walk of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), earlier this fall. The 38-day trek took him from France across gorgeous northern Spain, to Santiago de Compostela. He was joined for the last 30 miles by his wife, Jean, who gamely kept up despite a sprained ankle. While George does not plan to write a book about this experience, the well-known oenophile does have a new book just out, “A Toast to Bargain Wines.” Red Bird Package Store has a few copies for sale.

After a sendoff from “Let’s Dine” pals, Beth Rowe is happily ensconced in new digs in Sonoma, Cali. She writes, “I might as well be on another planet. I don’t recognize any of the plants, and the birds are so large they cast a shadow like a plane when they fly over. The sun is shining and the grape vines are turning colors. All very beautiful.”

Linda and Sam Spak’s son, Jonathan, spent three days on-island earlier this fall, helping his parents with seasonal work at their house. The Spaks returned the favor by inn-sitting in Fryeburg, Maine, while Oxford House Inn owners Jonathan and Natalie Spak took time off in Costa Rica. The senior Spaks will return to Fryeburg in December for their annual stint of serving hot chocolate aboard the Polar Express.

Bells are ringing

Engaged this summer: Legal eagle Amy Dodge, daughter of Nancy and George Dodge, became engaged to Patrick Murray at Settlers Rock on August 13. Their wedding is planned for June 9, 2012.

Maureen Quackenbush and Fred Betts also became engaged recently, and are planning a wedding for next September.

BI Times editor Pippa Jack and Sean O’Rourke became engaged earlier this fall while on one of their favorite walks at Bluestone. Sean, long a summer resident of the island, now lives here year round, working for Johnson Electrical Services. He and Pippa began dating three years ago while both lived in Providence. Pippa is sporting a gorgeous ring from Golddiggers.


A very happy 44th wedding anniversary to Erica and Kurt Tonner on November 19 — that’s today! Reminisced Erica, “I remember it was the first light snow of the year on our wedding day. We were married at Resurrection Church in Rye, N.Y.”

Happy upcoming anniversaries also to Doris and Herman Hassinger November 22; Joanne and John Warfel, November 25; Helen and Frank Magennis, married in a hurricane on November 25; and Cliff and Sara McGinnes, November 26. Both the Hassingers and the Magennises were married in 1950.

Of cakes and candles

A belated happy birthday to Romaine Olney Perry, who celebrated her 93rd on November 15. Miss Perry, who resides in Waltham, Mass., is the great-great granddaughter of Isaac Church, the last Manissean to live on Block Island. This information comes courtesy of Romaine’s cousin, Jan Turner, a resident of Washington, D.C.

Happy birthdays to Lisa Sprague, November 20; Lisa Ommerle, November 21; Frank Walsh, November 22; Ed O’Reilly, November 23; Molly O’Neill, Chloe Weber, Sarah Szabo and Dave Milner, November 27; Silas Littlefield Barrows, aka Dub, who will be 88 on November 28; Greta Heinz, November 29; and Barbara MacMullan, Rick Batchelder and Yordanka Martin, December 1.

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 466-2892 or


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