The Block Island Times

Letters to the Editor, April 20, 2013

Apr 20, 2013

To the Editor:

I was unhappy to read that H.J. Willy’s Dog Waggin’ hot dog cart was returning to Settler’s down at the North End. That vendor belongs right at Ballard’s, not down at Settler’s Rock. It’s so beautiful down there. Why ruin such a beautiful spot with an eye sore such as that?

I saw it there years ago and I couldn’t believe that the town would let something like that be in such a beautiful place. It certainly takes away from the beauty of that spot and cheapens the area.

What a shame!

Barbara Taylor Renza

South Kingstown, R.I.


This letter was written to the New Shoreham Town Council and copied to the Block Island Times:

To the Editor:

The New Shoreham Democratic Town Committee adopted the following motion at its meeting on March 13 and requested that it be transmitted to the Town Council, with a copy sent to the Block Island Times:

“Residents of, and visitors to, Block Island sometimes need the immediate attention of qualified medical professionals. Fulltime residents need ongoing availability of medical advice and preventive care, as well. The Democratic Town Committee understands that some of the financial support for the operation of the Block Island Medical Center comes from patient fees and insurance payments, and some from donations and fundraising efforts. But it wishes to support the view that, under the leadership of the town council, the town should augment these sources with public funds to the extent justified by responsible and transparent budgeting so the community can continue to have the excellent medical care that it has received in recent decades.”

Bill Wilson

Chair, Democratic Town Committee


To the Editor:

I ask that this letter be read into the record at the April 17, 2013, New Shoreham Town Council Meeting.

I am a year-round island resident and I am opposed to the nighttime deer hunting plan that was presented by the Deer Task Force (DTF) and approved by the Town Council. I ask the Town Council to reconsider its vote and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to deny approval of this plan. The State of Rhode Island does not allow night hunting and as a resident of the town of New Shoreham, R.I., I ask to be afforded equal protection under the law. I am in agreement with our Chief of Police, Vin Carlone, as quoted in the Block Island Times of April 6, 2013, “hunting is dangerous.”

I firmly believe that approving even the concept of nighttime hunting, without a fully detailed plan including exactly which properties are being proposed, would be irresponsible. As per the B.I. Times, April 6, 2013, three members of the DTF were aware that more details were needed, but said DEM approval of the concept was necessary before any more time should be put into the details of the plan. I believe  “the devil is in the details” and ask that out Town Council members and the Rhode Island DEM request a detailed plan from the DTF denoting all areas being considered for a night hunt before any ruling is made. Unless the public knows the exact details of where, when and how the proposed night hunts might occur, there is no way to make a fair assessment as to their safety or their public support. Many landowners who currently give permission for their lands to be hunted spend the hunting season off island.

I ask our Town Council and the DEM to be more diligent in determining and eliminating the impact nighttime hunting will have on the safety of those in residence during hunting season. Most importantly, it is my strong belief that all abutting landowners of the properties considered for night hunting must give their approval before night hunting is permitted. Our safety, our pets and our farm animal’s safety should not be jeopardized by a neighboring landowner who may not reside on the island during hunting season and thus likely to bear none of the consequences.

I offer an example of the potential inherent dangers: Several winters ago, while my sheep was grazing in my backyard alongside a deer, an off-island hunter, with hunting permission from a neighbor, discharged his firearm across two properties toward the deer. Although the hunter had written permission to hunt on the land, he did not act in accordance with a state law that states that the  “discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling without written permission” is not permitted. The hunter only had permission from one property owner and there were four homes within 500 feet of the hunter’s discharged firearm.

I’ve never seen a hunter take out a tape measure before he or she fires a weapon and it is likely that most off-island hunters have no idea whether a dwelling is occupied or not. With regards to night hunting, a 500 feet firearm discharge requirement is inadequate and, to be reasonably safe, should be several multiples of 500. It is not uncommon for farm animals to graze along a property line stonewall or fence during the day or night. They could be well within the 500 feet discharge restriction and at night could easily be overlooked or mistaken for a deer. As an abutter to hunted land, there would be no way to protect our animals, especially at night.

I ask the DEM to reject a night hunt proposal that does not include specific hunting locations and signed letters of approval from all abutters. I further request that the DEM reject any night hunt proposal that has not been approved by the Block Island Chief of Police.

Thank you for your consideration.

Amy Kravitz

Beacon Hill Rd.


To the Editor:

I want to thank Lisa Starr and her planning team for bringing the 10th Anniversary Poetry Project to the island. This conference packed Harbor Church’s sanctuary for several events with crowds I’d estimate at 130. The vast majority were visiting poets from across New England and several distant states.

I was especially thrilled to have Coleman Barks and Li-Young Lee speaking from my pulpit — and I use the word  “pulpit” deliberately, because both of these men were addressing how we connect with God and speak of the divine. As different as they were in appearance and affect, when they began to speak about poetry they wanted to speak about God. The four sessions they led in our sanctuary were no doubt some of the most spiritual hours that 60-year old room has witnessed. I am challenged to bring as much God-seeking to my worship services as I saw in the Poetry Project.

It is a remarkable thing that on our little island a group of us have had the opportunity to interact closely with some of the best poets of our time. These sessions inspire many of us to get back to the hard work of writing. None of this would have happened without Lisa Starr, but this year’s conference — and the beautiful 10th Anniversary anthology, Where Beach Meets Ocean — would not have been possible without the team of Tracy Dillon, Nancy Greenaway, Eileen Miller, and Lisa Sprague. All Harbor Church did was provide a building; they did all the work. As a member of the Roosa Fund Advisory Committee, I want to thank Dave Roosa for his continued support of the Poetry Project, which has made the weekend possible for the past two years. It was a great four days for the island on many levels — and for many of us the level is, for the moment, high.

Steve Hollaway

Water Street


To the Editor:

I am responding to your April 14 article on Deepwater’s offer to upgrade the airport’s VOR navigational device.

In my professional opinion, which is based on a career as a U.S. Navy pilot and additional assignment as manager of an air traffic control center, the modification of the VOR will not solve the problem. And it is likely that the Federal Aviation Administration will be removing the VOR in the future anyway. A VOR cannot be replaced completely by GPS, because all navigational systems must have an independent alternative to verify their accuracy. During a clear day, that is your eyesight. But at night or in poor visibility it has to be another system. If VOR is not available, that would be airborne radar. These 70-story towers will not only be a direct hazard to aircraft in poor visibility, but they will disrupt the effectiveness of the radar systems relied on by both ships and larger commercial and military aircraft. As such, they will create blind spots for military and air traffic control radars, as well as local aircraft either in transit or arriving at or departing from Block Island.

Benjamin C. Riggs

CAPT, USN (Ret.)

Newport, R.I.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Robert Albino | Apr 23, 2013 07:28

I think that the hot dog cart(w/ water and soft drinks) is/was a great addition to the North Light parking area and Block Island. Why would it be better near Ballards? There is great food already in/near Ballards. I have bought hot dogs and and a cold drink after riding my bike or driving my truck there. The atmosphere was awesome! The Block Island puzzle has new pieces added every year. Thank you Willy`s.

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