The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Jul 16, 2012

Block Island Everywhere

Luis Fernando Montoya Velez writes from Colombia that he is the male vocalist for a tango music ensemble called La Bailonga Tango. The other musicians, young ladies with impressive musical backgrounds, include a pianist/director, flutist, cellist, and bass guitar player. Luis writes, “I have a lot of performance and traveling. I hope in the future I will go to the States. I miss my island a lot and in the future I will be back.” Pictures and other information about La Bailonga Tango can be found at the group’s website,

Linda and Jerry Powers headed to Tennessee this week for their son Jay’s change of command ceremony. Jay, a 1995 graduate of West Point, is a Lieutenant Colonel who will be taking command of the 3rd Battalion of the Army’s Special Forces 5th Group (Airborne). The ceremony took place at Fort Campbell on Thursday, July 12.

Not to miss

Author Jeff Mudgett will talk about and sign his book, “Bloodstains,” at the Island Free Library on Thursday, July 19, 5:45 to 7 p.m. The volume details Mudgett’s discovery that his great-great grandfather was the notorious serial killer H. H. Holmes, a surgeon from Chicago. In Mudgett’s own words, “My life became a roll of the dice, but not just any dice, for my gamble was with, for all extents and purposes, the devil, H.H. Holmes, the most diabolical, evil, yet intelligent man who ever lived. Our family secret for over 100 years. Great Great Grandfather.”

Find great values in gently used clothing at the Not New Boutique sales on July 18 and July 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the building behind St. Andrew Parish Center on Spring Street. Donations of clothing are still being welcomed as well, in the collection box next to the Parish Center.

Two new books that would be great gifts for oneself or for others have been released this year by Block Island authors: “Sword,” by Jack Lynch and “The Dawn of the Sea Monster” (see below), by Jim Stevenson.


Congratulations to Surf Hotel manager Kimberly Afonso and her stellar staff for their on-target opening for July 4! Fittingly, their creative “Breakfast at the Surf” entry in the July 4 parade won grand prize. We have fond memories of the famous Surf Hotel breakfasts in the hotel’s antique-filled dining room.

A very happy wedding anniversary to Pam and Jim Hinthorn on July 19.

About town

Artist Jean Valentine’s recent opening at the Spring Street Gallery drew a good crowd last Sunday, and works on display included a particularly fine painting of the historic pump house that once stood at the edge of the pond below the Spring House. Jean’s distinguished and wide-ranging career as a painter has included work in serigraphs, watercolors and oils. A past president of the Spring Street Gallery, Jean is also a former member of the Wickford and Mystic Art Associations. Her work has won over 30 awards. She is now, she said, hanging up her painting hat because “It’s time.” Thank you, Jean, for giving this columnist and many other people so many years of enjoyment of your wonderful work.

The release of Jim Stevenson’s new book, “The Dawn of the Sea Monster and Other Wonders of Block Island,” was marked by a book signing session at Island Bound Bookstore last Tuesday afternoon. Author Stevenson chatted genially with each purchaser as he signed books, and the sunny square beckoned all to linger and enjoy the day and the company. Strolling about was a glorious blue sea monster, aka Morgan Coy, son of Stevenson’s wife, Josie Merck. Some attendees enjoyed the distinction of being in the book, and sported special placards created by the author. Among these notables were Archer Coy, Morgan’s son; Steve Lighty; Justin Abrams; canine Lucy, of Joan Wholey’s Ink It t-shirt shop; and Saluki canine Luna, of Gillian Beebe’s gallery, Ambergris.

The book itself is a treasure, filled with Stevenson’s astute and concise observations about people, various animals, views, and rare objects of all kinds. His interviews with the characters in these pages will offer new perspectives to even their oldest friends.

An intriguing and original fundraiser this past week was the offer of tethered balloon rides, with donations accepted for the Early Learning Center. The balloon was available, first come first serve, last Sunday and Thursday at the Sullivan House, and Monday and Tuesday at the Narragansett Inn field, and appeared to be generating considerable interest. It has people wondering: when was the last time a hot air balloon has offered rides on Block Island? Kudos to Sue Brown Black and ELC board members for dreaming this up.

Speaking of balloons, artist Leah Robinson tells me that her husband Ron was one of the first hot-air balloon pilots in Massachusetts. He studied under Dr. Clayton Thomas, a highly respected name in ballooning to this day. Leah herself, in the 1970s, was the first woman to be on top of a hot air balloon while it was inflated; shortly after this event, the FAA made it illegal to do so.

It is delightful to see the byline of Olivia Simon in the pages of the Block Island Times. Olivia, a daughter of Beth and Joel Simon of Cooneymus Road, is serving her first internship at the newspaper this summer and is a former and very highly regarded employee of the Block Island Boat Basin.

Of cakes and candles

A slightly belated happy birthday to Rhetta Berry, 60 years young on July 8. Rhetta, of Corn Neck Road, is the wife of proud husband Bill Pease. Happy upcoming birthdays to: John Gorman, July 16; Diane Bean (now living in Wakefield) and Samantha Mazzur Fontana, July 17; Henry Moore, July 18; Richard Vargoshe, who celebrates his 86th birthday on July 19; Trudy O’Toole, July 21; Marty Gilpin, July 23; and Helen (“Hobbit”) Hubbard, July 25.

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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