The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Mar 26, 2012

Well done!

The Block Island Hurricanes Boys Varsity Basketball team made it to the final playoff game of the season off-island March 10, facing off with Masters Regional Academy. The Hurricanes missed victory by only six points and, coming from behind by 16 points at the end of the first half, gave Masters a run for their money. Final score was 54-48, and it had to have been a great game! Members of the Hurricanes Varsity and Junior Varsity teams who competed in playoff games are Captain Noah Gasner, Kody Nicastro, Sam Spier, Tom Conant, Jaixen Hall, Oliver Mott, James McNerney, Mason Littlefield and Tadhg O’Neill. Congratulations to all on an exciting 2012 season very well played, and to stellar coaches Mark Mollicone, Paul Vito and John Tarbox!

Congratulations to the six Block Island residents who have been named winners in the United Chambers of Southern Rhode Island 40 Under 40 Awards! The six, cited for excellence in their professions and community service, are Tourism Director Jess Willi, Recreation Director Rob Closter, New Shoreham Water District Director David Simmons, BI Accommodations Services’ Cariona Corcoran, McGovern’s Yellow Kittens employee Danielle Bates and Dennis Heinz Construction Company employee John Bates. Another award-winner close to our hearts who has spent much time on Block Island with the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Council is Interstate Navigation’s Megan Moran. All 40 winners will be honored at an awards ceremony Thursday, March 29, at the Ocean House in Westerly, R.I.

About town

Clam Shack is back, 5:30 p.m. on Fridays at McGovern’s Yellow Kittens, a time to greet old friends and meet new ones. That happened last week, when Mary Willis and Penny Young started talking, realized they’d attended the same high school in Burlington, Conn., and were on the cheerleading squad together. “I’d seen Penny on the ferry and thought she looked just like my friend from high school, and finally talked with her at Clam Shack and realized she was!” said Mary.

This year’s Grand Marshall for St. Patrick’s Day, named and honored at the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner at McGovern’s Yellow Kittens, is Avery Kirby. Congratulations, Avery, on an honor well-deserved!

St. Patrick’s Day host Ed McGovern, recently returned from eight days in Ireland, was sporting an elegant Irish tweed vest hand-woven in Donegal on century-old looms. Keep the faith and the style, Ed, and thank you for all you have done and continue to do for this community!

The founder of the St. Pat’s dinner, Nick DePetrillo, attended with Ronnie Monahan, nearly unrecognizable in green-dyed beard and hair. Some will remember Ronnie as the television repairer and installer on-island for many years.

Got stuff?

Two new places on the web for Block Island people who have stuff are and Block Island Exchange offers a forum for selling items of every description, giving things away, and posting listings for jobs wanted, jobs needed, housing, items or services wanted. For starters, placing a basic listing or uploading photos are always free.

Block Island Mall is more of a commercial venture, giving Block Island merchants with any size business greater exposure in the larger world than they might otherwise have. The website is currently accepting island merchants and will be going live in May.

Both are the brainchildren of John Barry, and well worth a visit.

Block Island everywhere

Rick and Renée Batchelder have recently returned from a cruise to Hawaii aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria. Also aboard and sharing a dining table with the Batchelders were Lucinda and David Morrison. Remarked Rick, “The ship had the fleet’s first female captain, which was wonderful.” The name of the captain is Inger Klein Olsen, and she is the first and only female captain that Cunard has had.

The two-week voyage took them to the Big Island, Oahu, Kauai and Maui. In Los Angeles, where they embarked on the Queen Victoria, the Batchelders spent several nights aboard the old Queen Mary, now a floating hotel, in the ship’s Churchill Suite.

To get to and from Los Angeles, the Batchelders took two cross-country trains, the southern route going west and the northern route coming back east. A layover in Chicago found them at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, where they saw a German U-505 submarine, captured and sunk off the coast of West Africa in June 1944. The museum’s written description of the exhibit said that Carl Milner worked on the salvaged vessel’s electronics, and that he had visited the museum with his sons, David and Jim, for the opening of the exhibit. Carl, of course, was a well-known resident of Block Island during his retirement years.

“My father did decommissioning work on quite a few things,” said Dave Milner, reached for comment. “He was a radio instructor during the war, and he later did presentations on the U-505 in schools. He was with the underwater sound lab in New London when the U-505 was stripped. He brought the electronics home and put all the components in his basement.” In the early 1950s, when Carl learned from the Chicago museum that they had acquired the vessel and wanted to rehab it, he gave the museum the equipment and went to Chicago to show them how to put it together.

“One of the greatest moments of my childhood,” continued Dave, “was when my father took us to the Chicago museum to see the U-505. I was 8, and Jim was 10. We took the train, and that was exciting, and we got a special tour of the museum and the U-505. When we went down inside the sub, though, they fired it up for us to show us what it was like. The noise scared the bejeezus out of us! My brother is still frightened when he thinks about it now. Of course, I’m now working at the power plant, and I’m reminded regularly of what it was like. I’ve gotten accustomed to it.”

Penny and Will Young vacationed in Puerto Rico this winter, returning in early March. While there, they had fun showing Puerto Rican acquaintances some fabulous pictures of Puerto Rican history-in-the-making that have been scanned into Will’s cell phone. Will’s great-grandfather Horace Mann Towner, of Iowa, was appointed Governor of Puerto Rico in 1923 by President Warren G. Harding. Towner served for six years and was a progressive leader, responsible for many public works projects and a retirement law for public employees. Will’s large and valuable collection of pictures includes visits to Governor Towner from Charles Lindbergh and President Calvin Coolidge.


Kody Nicastro has been accepted to two colleges: The University of Rhode Island and Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. Congratulations, Kody!

Congratulations to Muriel and Fred Nelson, who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary March 29! Fred wrote, from sunny Florida, “We feel we have been blessed with good health and fortune to achieve this landmark.” He added that the couple’s offspring, in Ohio and Connecticut, are unable to celebrate with the Nelsons in Florida on the actual date, so all hope to make up for it this summer on Block Island.

Sharon and John Lehman have a new grandbaby! “Yep,” wrote John, “That’s what they call them down south, grandbabies!” The Lehmans’ daughter Heather, married last year on Block Island to Dave Fenity, gave birth to baby girl Reese Monday, March 12, in Boulder, Colorado. All are doing well and are very happy, said John, adding, “Sharon and I are headed out to Boulder to begin years of spoiling.”

And I will add, I love the word grandbaby and have taken to using it. Those southerners do know how to coin a cozy phrase!

Of cakes and candles

The Painted Rock said it: “Happy 21st Paul,” so wish Paul Quackenbush a slightly belated 21st birthday, as of Monday, March 19!

Happy birthdays to: Missy Sanchez O’Reilly, Tina Wileikis, Julia Dunne, Jim Stockman and Cormac Baird Rigualts Lang, all on March 24, the date on this paper! Cormac will be 2 years old, and proud grandparents Betty and Fraser Lang will attend the birthday party. Happy upcoming birthdays to: Susan Dwyer and Joe Houlihan, March 25; Fraser Lang, March 30; Kurt Tonner, March 31; Ray Pellegrino, Jr., April 2; 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.

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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