The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Feb 01, 2013
Photo by: Joe Kunz Block Island dog Cinnamon lounges on the beach near her winter home in Matunuck, R.I.

About town

For years, Lew Gaffett hosted the Groundhog Day Census: at Samuel Peckham Inn, at The Albion, and this year, for the first time, at his newest enterprise, Old Island Pub. The 2013 census will kick off at 5 p.m. at that establishment on Saturday, February 2, the date on this paper. As a counter for many years, I know it is not out of line to counsel census takers to sharpen minds and pencils, start looking over those mental maps, drive around and see where the lights are, and lend an ear to various neighborhood “reps” to find out who’s who and who’s where. Best of luck to all in guessing the winning number in the betting pool!

Just prior to the census count, 4 p.m. at Old Island Pub, Deepwater Wind will host a meet-and-greet session open to any and all members of the public who would like to meet and talk informally with representatives from Deepwater.

As I write this, a beautiful day-long snowfall has just ended, blanketing the ground with a pretty, and not overly abundant, cover of fresh snow. Given the frequency of snow so far this year, it’s a good bet that Head Groundhog Punxsatawney Phil will see his shadow and we’ll be in for another six weeks of winter (and, well, what’s new?). Phil is the current leader of The Punxsatawney Groundhog Club, founded in 1887.

Block Island everywhere

Go Hurricanes, and please everyone, get out to those games at the school gym and support the home team! Last year’s season was an exciting one, and the Hurricanes finished with glory as runners-up for the state championship in their league. Whether you’re an avid sports fan or not, these games are lots of fun to attend.

Summer resident Joe Kunz, who works tirelessly at the Block Island Boat Basin from May through October, acquired a new puppy, Cinnamon, toward the end of last summer. A beautiful reddish-hued Golden Retriever, Cinnamon has gotten a lot bigger now and loves to take Joe outside for walks, playtime and romps on the beach near his home in Matunuck. A bona fide Block Island dog, Cinnamon is one of several offspring of Okie, who belongs to Roberta and Rob Closter; and Ruka, canine “best friend” of Becky Pappas and Tim Clark.

Cinnamon will be back on her native turf this summer, taking up residence as Head Dock Dog at the Block Island Boat Basin. She is an absolute charmer, perfect for her new role.

Yes, it’s well after the event, but word got to the Block Island Times too late to make the column of two weeks ago. Social notes from all over:

Ms. Frances Huggard Migliaccio and Mr. Arlen Dean Snyder both received invitations to the inauguration of President Barack H. Obama on Monday, January 21st. The couple was unable to make the event, as notice was short and they had prior commitments. (And, lest people feel they must tell me, I hasten to add that the invitations were commemoratives, not tickets.)

Mr. Snyder’s daughter, Kimble Burke Snyder, mentioned before in this space, worked on the staff of Michelle Obama last summer and fall and, from early December on, was a team leader on the Presidential staff for the Inaugural Committee.

Trivia tease

In our last column, Block Island Trivia author Robert Ellis Smith posed a new trivia teaser: “When was the last time a tornado hit the island? And when was the first time a tornado hit the island?”

The question garnered a guess from long-time summer resident Suzanne Cotter, who hangs her winter hat in Jefferson, Mass. Sue writes, “I believe, or rather my guess would be (if one can believe the news and official weather reports), the First, Last and Only ever recorded tornado to hit Block Island was last August, around the 8th or 10th, 2012, while we were staying there! I believe the Times reported “It’s Official” about it. My guess anyway. Hope your winter’s not TOOOOO windy!!”

Dead-on, Sue, and the date was August 10.

At the time, WPRI Eyewitness News reported “Tornado confirmed on Block Island in Washington County Rhode Island on August 10, 2012. Estimated time, 3:54 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Estimated maximum wind speed, 70 miles per hour. Maximum path width, 20 yards. Path length, four miles. No fatalities or injuries.”

Crediting the Block Island Times with much of the information received, the account continued:

“A tornadic waterspout over the waters south of Block Island moved northward onto land as a tornado over the southern portion of the island around 3:54 p.m. On Lakeside Drive there were a couple of felled trees. Deck furniture was thrown 100 yards away. Screens were blown off a house. Damage to an anemometer occurred at a home on Sands Pond Road. There was also a report of 50 trees blown down on a farm. Lawn damage was reported on Chapel Street on the east side of the island.

“Farther to the northeast there were eyewitness reports of a rotating column that moved steadily across a narrow region just to the west of Jerry’s Point. There was reportedly a path of flattened brush at least 50 feet wide there. Radar indicated that the storm exited the northeast part of Block Island at 4:00 p.m.”

Your columnist can only add that she is grateful she was busy at the Block Island Boat Basin, blissfully unaware that a tornado raged just across Sands Pond Road from her home. Having suffered flood damage in 2010 that forced total demolition and reconstruction of the entire lower level of her house, she did not need a tornado.

Bob’s current trivia question is, “Who wrote this?” —

“Well I’m on the Downeaster Alexa

And I’m cruising through Block Island Sound

I have charted a course to the Vineyard

But tonight I am Nantucket bound.”

Guesses will be welcomed; send them to the e-mail address at the end of this column.


Hearty congratulations to Danielle Woodward, named to the fall 2012 Dean’s List at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa., where she is a freshman. Danielle’s proud parents are Dr. Janice Miller and Hank Woodward.

It should be no surprise that Glenda Luck has been honored with the 2013 Fellowship in Music Composition by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. This annual award to one recipient in the state of Rhode Island is much sought-after and very competitive. Contestants remain anonymous, and their work is judged solely on artistic merit. Three judges — one from Rhode Island, one from out of state, and one regional member — are selected for their involvement or accomplishments in an arts discipline. The music that Glenda submitted is Block Island based, from her current project entitled “Manisses, a People and a Place,” scheduled for release this spring. She also submitted a song from another album, “Little Red Lipstick,” due out this summer. In awarding their decision, the judges found Glenda’s work the “most surprising” of all work submitted, and observed that listening to her music made them want to hear more.

Of cakes and candles

Correction: two weeks ago in this space, I noted the January 19 birthday of Sara and Kate Sprague — easy to remember, as it is also my own. A cranial glitch, however, caused me to switch the twins as I typed, identifying them as “Sara Sprague and Kate Sprague Turenne.” Wrong. It is Sara who is the proud mother of Adrian Turenne. So happy birthday all over again, simply, to twins Sara and Kate Sprague, as I have always known them.

Happy birthdays to: Roy Rowan, who celebrates his 93nd on February 1, the day this paper hits the street; Cindy Pappas and Diane (Lady Di) Jones, February 3; Sandy Greenman and Kari Curtis, February 4; Debbie Filkins, February 7; Sue Littlefield and Carol Hill, February 8; Ellen Jacke, February 9; Elliot Taubman, February 10; Julia Gasner, February 11; Lillian Martin, Meghan Mitchell and Becky Ballard, February 16.

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 (1)
Posted by: Joseph Wiedenmayer | Feb 02, 2013 16:24

No need to guess. It's Billy Joel. Great song.

Joe Wiedenmayer

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