The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Dec 21, 2012
Courtesy of: Liisa Holm Annie Kulunas Holm and her sister-in-law, Doris Holm Lundberg, at the Solviken house in the 1970s. Doris's mother-in-law, Sara Lundberg, owned the house with her sister.

Here and approaching

December 21, the day this paper is published, is the Winter Solstice. A festive and happy longest night of the year to all, and may we all take cheer in the knowledge that longer days begin tomorrow.

Otherwise, a very Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Celebratory Kwanzaa and Happy New Year to all, and we hope to see you all at the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day.

That said, we have been admiring the decorative lights that homeowners and businesses have set a-twinkle on the island, and for the second year in a row, a huge hooray for the lobster pot “tree” at Esta’s Park!

Block Island everywhere

Diane Bean writes, in her Christmas letter, of her recent move to Delaware with her sister Judy and “best friends” Abby, a dachshund, and Einstein, a Pekingese, so named “‘cause he looks like Albert,” said Diane. The ladies are delighted with their newly adopted state: “Downtown Dover reminds us of Williamsburg, Virginia, with its cobbled streets, colonial buildings and the Golden Fleece Tavern where Delaware signed the Declaration of Independence. It was the first of the 13 colonies to sign, so Delaware is known as The First State. We’re enjoying the new and larger library, the Modern Maturity Center (saw their Christmas show. You Ecumenical Choir members would have loved it!!), the Amish markets, buggies and horses, no sales tax, gasoline that’s 30 cents cheaper than R.I., lower real estate taxes, a large medical community, great roads, the bird sanctuary, and warmer winter weather!”

About town

The Solviken house and property have been much in the news this year, and family member Liisa Holm recently sent pictures from some family slides taken in the 1970s. One, a picture of an obviously inhabited Solviken house (this columnist has never seen it that way, unfortunately), shows two ladies sitting on the front steps. A query to Liisa yielded an identification: “The woman on the left is my mother-in-law, Annie Kulunas Holm, and the one on the right is her sister-in-law, Doris Holm Lundberg. Doris’s mother-in-law, Sara Lundberg, owned the house with her sister.”

A special thank you to the Block Island Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary for their care and diligence in bestowing baskets of goodies here and there on the island. The accompanying cards were made by island students at the library and at school, we were told. Ours had a green Christmas tree on the front, and said, “Merry Christmas, love, Gwenneth.” Merry Christmas and love right back to you, Gwenneth, and thank you for your beautiful card.

Arriving on-island this weekend for a brief visit is Kimble Burke Snyder, en route to a new job. Kimble, who has visited family here twice in the past couple of months, spent last summer and fall working the presidential campaign trail as a member of Michelle Obama‘s staff. Kimble is now relocating to the D.C. area, where she will be managing one of the upcoming inaugural functions.

Trivia tease

Two weeks ago in this space, the Block Island trivia question posed by Robert Ellis Smith was, “Who is the fiancé of Michelle Kwan? Hint: he is a Coast Guard man known for his political lineage in Rhode Island.”

The question was one of a series of questions on Kwan, winner of nine U.S. national figure skating championships, five world championships and two Olympic medals, who became engaged on Block Island September 3.

The answer: “Clay Pell, grandson of the late Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell.”

Clay Pell is director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council at The White House. He and Kwan met in April 2011, during Pell’s first year there.

Kwan currently serves on the Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, to which she was appointed in June by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also continues her work as a public diplomacy envoy in the State Department, having been named to that position by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Bob’s Block Island Trivia book is available as a holiday gift from Island Bound, and, and “Block Island Trivia” can be played on the boat or airplane when the quiz e-book is purchased from


A very happy anniversary to to Rich and Lauren Payne of Corn Neck Road. Rich writes, “My beautiful wife and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary December 22. We took our vows at the Spring House five years ago, and are blessed to continue to be summer residents of Block Island.” He added that he was on-island earlier this month, “And took pictures of all the beautifully decorated stores and houses, the lobster pot tree being particularly wonderful!”

Congratulations to Bill and Margie Comings on their 50th wedding anniversary, December 22!

Of cakes and candles

Happy birthdays to: Andy Transue, a solstice baby of December 21 (the day this paper hits the street); Troy Reynolds, Jennifer Lighty and Bill Blake, December 26; Bob Newhouse and Nancy Pike, December 28; Bo Gempp and Oliver Mott, December 29; Gail Dugan, December 30; Lorraine Cyr and John Willis, December 31; Beverly Sniffen, Anne Dickinson and Noella McMullen, all New Year babies of January 1; Beatrice Cyr, January 4.

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

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