The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Apr 20, 2013
Photo by: Pat Queally, March 15, 2013 "It's a dog's life," say doglets Tia Maria and Coco Chanel, "and we love it!"

About town

Don’t forget: If you need a parking permit for the car lot in Galilee, get it at the New Shoreham Police Station on Monday, April 22, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each person requiring a permit, even if from the same household, must appear in person with a valid driver’s license and car registration. Prices are $150 for a Rhode Island resident; $75 for a Rhode Island senior (age 65 or older); $250 for an out-of-state resident. Prior to April 22, passes are available at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management office in Galilee, but enough passes will be reserved for the Block Island sale day of April 22.

There is still time to contact Cindy Lasser at Island Bound Bookstore if you want to be a volunteer for the 2nd Annual World Book Night, April 23. Volunteers have the privilege and pleasure of giving free books to people who might enjoy them or might be encouraged to read if given a book. All are welcome to take part, and Cindy can be reached at, or through the bookstore. The free books, covering a wide range of interests, are printed by the national World Book Night organization specifically for this event.

Not to miss: the Birthday Hoedown (all invited!) in celebration of Adrian Mitchell’s 70th (can anyone believe it?) birthday. The Hoedown happens Saturday, April 20 (the date on this paper!), 8:30 ‘til whenever, at the Spring House. Tasty edibles, cash bar, and live music from the Booze Beggars and John Henry Tripler. Requested: a $10 donation to benefit the B.I. Volunteer Fire Department and the Rescue Squad.

Block Island everywhere

Congratulations to Colin Tripler and Mira Todorova Milkova, who were married Sunday, April 14, in Bulgaria. Colin is the son of John Henry Tripler and Charlene Tripler, and the news was imparted to this columnist on Monday the 15th by a beaming John Henry.

It is Tuesday, April 16, as this column is being written, and some may recall that April 16 was proclaimed Fred Benson Day by the Town of New Shoreham in 1990, when Fred was 95 years old. Coincidentally, Robert Ellis Smith wrote in about some national television coverage of Block Island that took place Sunday, March 31. Some of it involves Fred and for those who missed it, here’s the scoop:

Block Island scored a rare daily double on national television on Sunday, March 31. First, the  “Sunday Today Show” on NBC interviewed correspondent Bob Dotson about his new book, Make it Memorable. Dotson was given an assignment by NBC years ago to find fascinating people around the U.S. for interviews.  “None is more indelible than the one I got from Fred Benson, the richest man on Block Island, Rhode Island, who lived his life in an unheated room in a home he didn’t even own,” Dotson said. The show featured scenes of the island and at the end, one of the TV personalities remarked that she loved to visit the Block Island.

Thirty minutes later, “Sunday Morning” on CBS featured a short appreciation of lighthouses, showing a video of the Southeast Light being moved in 1993.

Both events were unannounced and unanticipated. Fred Benson, who held about every job imaginable on the Island and was loved by kids and adults alike, is featured in Dotson’s new book. Dotson’s video of Benson, done when Fred was 91, is well worth viewing, whether again or for the first time. The cover shot of the video shows Fred reading a book to a child. Can someone identify that child? (Tried to lift the photo off the website to put in this paper, but could not.)

The link to the video, picture, and excerpt from Dotson’s book is:

Trivia tease

Doug Gilpin wrote in to say that his source for the 1903 building date of the Weather Station was a historic resources directory that the state compiled  “about 20+ years ago,” and he agreed with my guess that the project may have been commissioned in 1902 and completed in 1903. The directory that he mentions, I would further guess, is Historic and Architectural Resources of Block Island, Rhode Island, published by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission in 1991.


Belated anniversary congratulations to Betsey and Don DiMaggio, married on April 15, 1972.

Happy anniversary wishes to Anne and Brad Marthens, April 26.

A very happy anniversary to Patsy and Cap Easterly, April 29.

Of cakes and candles

A very happy birthday to Ruth Mooney, who celebrated her 100th on April 13. Ruth is the mother of Terry and Mike Mooney.

Happy slightly-belated birthdays to: Zenith Gross, April 15; Adrian Mitchell, whose 70th was on April 17; Heather Sniffen and Bruce Johnson, April 19.

Happy upcoming birthdays to: Dick Lemoi, Queen Elizabeth II, Laurie Gempp, Virginia Dare and Neil Lang, April 21; John Lehman and Nancy Worth, April 22; Marguerite Donnelly and Ray Pellegrino Sr., April 23, and a special happy birthday wish to Bob Gilpin, who turns 80 that same day (hard to believe!); Lyn Reale, April 24; Marty Hemingway, April 26; Elsa Hamlin Hunziker and Skippy Sanchez, April 28; Merrill Bonelli (who will be 2), Helen Sanchez, Lulu Kiley and Rob Brown, April 29; Pam Gasner, April 30; Mary Anderson and Charlotte Herring, May 1; Benjamin Jeffrey Browne, who will be 5, and Beckett Hayward Alker, who will be 3, both on May 2; Jessica Lee Filkins, Jane Lohr, George Dodge, Sue Schaller and Don Warner, May 3; Norman Ward and Ted Merritt, May 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

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