The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Oct 01, 2012

Block Island everywhere

Great news: Oscar (“O.J.”) Berlin may be making his way closer to home. O.J. has received treatment at Rhode Island Hospital for the last two weeks, following an emergency trip to the mainland. I caught up with Mitzi Berlin via telephone earlier this week, and she told me that O.J.’s doctors at Rhode Island were trying, that very day, to make the decision to move him to a nursing facility within easier reach of Block Island. Mitzi said O.J. has improved greatly, but stipulated: “The doctors are saying he’s not out of the woods yet. He must be within reach of the dialysis treatments he needs to have three days a week.”

She added: “We’ve been talking every day on the telephone, ever since he’s been well enough to talk. He always asks me how Pinky, our cat, is doing; they are best friends! And Oscar is very, very grateful to all who have called or tried to visit him. He says a huge thank you — we both do — for all the calls and care and concern shown to both of us by our many wonderful friends!”

Former Washington Trust manager and Block Island choir director Diane Bean, in the process of moving from Wakefield, R.I., to Delaware, sent this timely note: “As of October 1, my sister Judy and I can be reached at our new home address: 14 Lost Tree Court, Dover, Delaware 19904. Telephone (302) 724-7023.”

Diane added, in her email of September 21: “The moving van should be here sometime next week whether we’re ready or not. So we’ll be on a new adventure! Keep safe and healthy, everyone. We’ll try to do the same!”

Marilyn Bogdanffy will have an exhibit of oil and watercolor paintings at the Edward Williams Gallery of Petrocelli College at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N.J., from October 1 to November 2, in case anyone is traveling that way or would like to notify friends in that area of the show. One painting that will get exposure is the one featured on the announcement for the event. It is a fine one of oars hanging from the ceiling at The Oar, located at the Block Island Boat Basin.

About town

Kathleen Mitchell, Senior Coordinator of the town’s Senior Advisory Committee, reports, “We are official! We have the space at the Island Free Library with the large screen TV to start up our Tai Chi group. We will start this Thursday, October 4 at 4 p.m. at the library. Our plan is to have a session every Thursday through October, beginning at 4 p.m., then assess whether that works for most participants.” Kathleen added that instruction will be from a professional instructor via a CD lent by Martha Velie-Gass, and that the Tai Chi sessions are open to everyone.

Olympian medalist and U.S. National figure skating champion Michelle Kwan became engaged to Clay Pell September 3 on Block Island, as the two were enjoying an impromptu dip in the coastal waters over Labor Day weekend.

Kwan, the winner of nine U.S. national figure skating championships, five world championships and two Olympic medals, began working in Washington, D.C., in 2006 when then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named her public diplomacy ambassador, a non-salaried position.

Today, she serves on the Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, having received that appointment from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in June. She also continues her work as a public diplomacy envoy in the State Department.

Pell is director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council at The White House. He is the grandson of the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell.

The couple met in April 2011, the year Pell began working at The White House.

The Spring Street Gallery has put out the call for new island artists to exhibit there in the 2013 season. Artists who are on-island at least three months a year and are able to be working members of an active artists’ co-op are eligible, and may contact Gallery Director Connie LaRue at Work will be juried on Thursday, October 4, with preference given to year-round artists.

Trivia tease

Our last column, two weeks ago, featured a “trivia question for the vault” from Bob Smith, author of Block Island Trivia.

The question was: “The Town Manager, the First Warden, the State Senator, the State Representative, and the chief executive of the boat line. What do they all have in common?”

The answer: “They are all women.”

Bob, author also of a new book entitled The Magnetism of Islands, which is available in a Kindle edition, added as an aside, “One of the ideas in my book on islands is that many of them are matriarchies.”

This week’s trivia question from Bob is, “Who is regarded as the oldest person on the island?”

Answers and guesses are welcome, e-mailed to your columnist at the address below.


A very happy third anniversary to Jonmathew and Abby Swienton, on October 10.

Happy 50th wedding anniversary to Suzann and Frank Walsh, who were married October 13, 1962.

Of cakes and candles

Happy birthday to Ben Wohl, September 30. My birthday book said he will be 80; disbelieving, I called Ben to verify it. “Yes, I will be,” he admitted. “I can’t believe it either.”

Happy upcoming birthdays to: Suzann Walsh, October 7; Claire McQueeny, October 9; Ruth Perfido, October 10; Shane Howrigan, October 11.

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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