The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Mar 22, 2013

About town

By the time this paper hits the street, ‘twill be done: Mary Donnelly’s resignation as state nurse will have become final, an event that many have wished would never happen. The good news is, Mary is not going any place. Her shining smile and seemingly limitless energy will still benefit Block Island as she continues to volunteer her talents here, there, most likely almost everywhere. And, the Mary D Fund, which received a boost when it came to national attention a couple of years ago, will still be personally administered by its wise originator. So we are delighted to report that there is no need to say, “Mary, we’ll miss you” — you’re still with us, and still doing!

We winced when we began to read that Sharky’s restaurant has changed hands, but what great news it is that Greg Kyte is the new owner! Congratulations, Greg, on your challenging new venture, and a very happy “retirement” to Rich and Patty Tretheway, and Gary and Sheila Censorio. We know you’ll all stay plenty busy!

Block Island everywhere

Thank you, Sue and Ray Torrey and Dodger, for your account of your road trip through Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and who-knows-where, by the time you’re done. I’ve enjoyed my share of leisurely road trips in the past, and always enjoy hearing and reading the places other people have discovered on their own excursions. As the authors said at the end of their first installment, “stay tuned,” and we will.

Our own travels have taken us farther afield, or rather a-mountain, this year. We were still high in the Andes until recently; we climbed a mountain, went through various streets that all go uphill to get to Spanish school every morning. At first we found that the least uphill climb (including even a set of stairs) left us short of breath, and we had our list of places to lean or sit along the way. During these brief rests, we observed passers-by who had grown up in this terrain, going briskly uphill carrying huge, full baskets, sets of full milk jugs, large assortments of items strapped to their backs, and much else. Some, not so heavy-laden, pedaled bikes briskly up, or run up long sets of steps. They must have the largest hearts in the world. The good news is that we acclimated somewhat to the “thinner” air and found that we could climb that mountain to the temple of learning without needing to stop and pant. We give partial credit to morning at-home yoga practice, which helps us regulate our breathing.

Another discovery for us here, on Friday, March 8, was the enthusiastic celebration of Feliz de las Mujeres, or International Women’s Day, in this part of the world. We thought at first that this celebration of women’s contributions to family life, work, culture, and professionalism was a local event, then looked it up and discovered its international status. Never heard of it on Block Island or anywhere else, and realized what we had been missing: on Friday, during our school break, we were served a special whipped cream and fruit-topped cake in honor of women, and that weekend, we enjoyed street fairs featuring women’s handcrafts, produce, and cooking, along with professional performances of lively folk dancing (which looks like a great deal of fun).

Trivia tease

In this space two weeks ago, Block Island Trivia author Robert Ellis Smith posed the question, “What was the original function of the restored white, square Georgian-style building on Beach Avenue next to The Hygeia House, and when was it built?” We received two responses, both from Corn Neck Road residents: the first, from Rich Payne, stated correctly that it was the U.S. Weather Bureau station. The second, from architect Doug Gilpin, added the date of completion, 1903, and (of course) the name of the architectural firm, Harding & Upham, of Washington, D.C.

Now here’s where it gets a bit sticky, answer-wise. Bob’s answer, furnished some months ago, gave the date that the weather station ceased filling that function. Thanks to a corrupted hard drive on my computer, I have lost that file of most of my writing and sources (temporarily, I fervently hope), and so do not have the correct answer at my keyboard-tip, so to speak. I think it was 1953, and if that is wrong, I hope my good friend Bob and/or the many others on Block Island who will know for sure will write in and correct me. (Can’t readily find it on Google either.)


A happy anniversary to Rachel Healy and Peter Voskamp, who celebrate their fourth on March 21.

Of cakes and candles

Happy birthdays to: Melanie Blane Wilk, March 18; Renée Brielmann and Paul Quackenbush, March 19; Pattie Murphy, March 21; Sue Brown Black (SueB), March 22; Sue Gibbons, March 23; Missy Sanchez O’Reilly, Tina Wileikis, Julia Dunne and Jim Stockman, March 24; and Susan Dwyer, Joe Houlihan and Jessica Blanding, March 25.

Got news for this space? Family celebrations, visitors from afar, trips elsewhere, births, anniversaries, other special occasions, honors, or other items — all are welcome. Deadline is noon on Tuesday, and the column appears every other week. Fran can be reached at

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