Letters to the Editor, February 23, 2013
To: the Editor —
As a bartender, it’s known you should avoid talking politics or religion because hot button issues tend to be more of a distraction than a medium for a good time. As a bar owner, talking politics or religion should be avoided at all costs especially if living in a small community. That being said, I would like to go against my instincts and say a few things about the proposed Deepwater Wind project.
On Block Island, there are about 10 weeks a year where businesses can make enough money to carry themselves through for the year. That is why most close the doors and call it quits before Columbus Day, walking the line between profitability and loss. And for the businesses who are open year-round when the tourist dollars are not here, the challenge becomes knowing how to cut costs to make it through. Product, labor and utility are the the big three expenses. The first two can be manipulated somewhat, the third seems to be the one that can really drag you down.
Block Island has some of the highest electricity rates in the country, and to be honest, it’s a killer. Unplugging the most unessential equipment and changing the light bulbs can take you only so far. The only way to get through it is to take whatever profits you have made during the busy season and pay it forward to keep the lights on.
From what I’ve read, I believe that the wind farm project will, in fact, reduce costs for everyone who pays for electricity on B.I. Including the small business, the young family and those who are here for the right reasons despite the high cost of living.
A friend of mine told be me to speak from the heart if I was going to write this letter. I believe we live in a progressive community, where people grow gardens, recycle and try to do things the right way. To me this issue has just as much to do with direction as it does costs, view shed or any other argument against Deepwater. It is the right thing to do. As a business owner, as a community, as a parent, and as a nation. It is the right direction. Thank you.
West Side 20
To: the Editor —
I have had sewer problems at the Seaside Market on Water Street for the past two weeks. As anyone can imagine a sewer problem is always a disaster and is the worst nightmare imaginable. Sewage is just downright nasty.
I want to especially thank several of our Town elected or appointed officials, some town employees and contract professionals.
My first instinct was to make two phone calls. The first to Chris Blane, the sewer superintendent, and to James Geremia, the New Shoreham town engineer. Chris Blane was so professional and responded so quickly and has been so willing to help fix my issues that I cannot say enough about him. He definitely cares about the Sewer Company and its customers. He was wonderful and a huge thanks to him.
James Geremia immediately guided me back to the proper path. He told me to call the Sewer Commission Chairman, Peter McNerney, and deal with all matters through him and Chris Blane. He was helpful in telling me how to prevent this sewerage problem from occurring again — install a proper backflow prevention valve — which I am in the process of doing now. Mr. Geremia is a very knowledgeable and professional man. He was very kind and compassionate to me in my agitated state, and I thank him for his guidance.
Chairman Peter McNerney came to Seaside and talked with me several times and assured me the support of the staff in helping resolve the issues. He was very pleasant and assuring, and I thank him for that.
I want to thank Nancy Dodge, our Town Manager, who is always ready to handle any problem quickly and efficiently. I have always believed one of Mrs. Dodge’s strongest assets is her ability to handle any immediate crisis. And God knows that here on Block Island there always seems to be some huge immediate crisis needing fixing! Mrs. Dodge is very capable of making decisions that allow this kind of issue to come to a fast closure, and I certainly admire her and thank her for her support in this matter. Mrs Dodge even took the time to call me at home to give me details of the clean up of the situation, and I would say that is pretty taxpayer friendly!
I also want to thank Kim Gaffett, our First Warden, who was more than kind in listening to me ramble on and on about the issues. I called her to be sure to tell her that I had an excellent and professional response from Chris Blane, Peter McNerney, Nancy Dodge and Jim Geremia. And wanted her to know it, and asked if she could relay my thanks to everyone. Everyone always complains to the First Warden, but sometimes we all forget to say thank you for a job well done — and I want to make sure everybody knows how appreciative I am.
To many in the community I know that I am known to be a strong personality to deal with, and I know just how loud I can get when I am excited. Dealing with me can certainly be a challenge, and I recognize it! Each person that dealt with me in this minor crisis was so professional and calming that I just find the need to tell everyone in our Town how fortunate we are to have the folks working in our town that look after us in our times of need.
Thanks also to Mike Ernst, a definite first responder, who is always professional as well as extremely nice and patient with me and does fantastic work to boot.
And to John Henry Tripler, the man who is ALWAYS there instantly when any plumbing disaster has happened at the B.l. Grocery or Seaside in my 27 years of management. John, you are always magnificent.
And lastly, thanks always to Steve Dubois, at Oceanside Plumbing. Not only a master plumber extraordinaire, but also a kindred spirit, who can be as much of a challenge as I can be personality wise
Thank you, thank you. You are all the best!
Mary Jane Balser
BIG and SS caretaker
To: the Editor —
First, I want to thank all 26 donors who gave so generously at our last blood drive. As a percent of our total population Block Island probably has the highest percent of donation of any municipality in all Rhode Island. The Blood Center had a goal of 26 units and they made their goal. The next blood drive is Friday, March 1, at Harbor Church from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. So please mark your calendar and hopefully we can top 26 units. As for eligibility, anyone can give over age 18 — regardless of age. You can donate between age 16-18 with parent’s written permission. For the first time identification will be required. Either a blood donor card if you have given before, a driver’s license, state issued identification, or a photo identification is required. If you have any questions of any kind call me at 466-2950 and I will have answers for you before the drive.
Coordinator R.I. Blood Center
To: the Editor —
As a Block Island home owner and hunter I would like to provide a list of things that the Deer Task Force might consider discussing in order to increase the yearly deer take, reduce the tick infestation and possibly open up new revenue sources.
1. Allow hunting on weekend days. Perhaps just Saturdays. This may incent more mainlanders to come over and hunt.
2. Lower the cost of tags and or make them available on the internet so hunters can purchase them prior to arrival.
3. Streamline the process of obtaining land owner permission and registering with the Police Department.
4. Provide hunter services like free ice for coolers, discounts for room rates, discounts for restaurants, discounts for ferry transit.
5. Talk with the B.I. tourist board about making B.I. a “hunting destination,” not unlike the ways we sell fishing.
6. Set up stations to apply pesticide to the deer to control the ticks. I’ve seen this done on Fire Island. Here are links to their program.
http://www.nps.gov/fiis/naturescience/deer-research.htm Scroll to the heading “4-Poster Tick Management Technology Study on Fire Island: 2008-2011”
http://wildlifecontrol.info/tickstudy/pages/default.aspx This is the Cornell University study on the devices used.
My historical research on the topic of deer population control methods for geographically captive herds lead me to the conclusion that eradication by any method has an associated cost that the island has no means to support. If we simply do the math, the cost per deer of achieving in excess of 90 percent kill in a given season would bankrupt the island’s coffers. That being the case, I believe a paradigm shift in thought is necessary. Perhaps we can look at the deer problem as an opportunity to leverage a new revenue source in the off-season. Opening up an new industry of providing guided hunting expeditions for archers and gun hunters could supply needed revenue and employment for the island during slack times.
Additional consideration should be made to controlling the tick population. Research shows me that a project combining deer population reduction with tick reproduction controls may be the means to the end.
The only wild card is how to pay for it and creating a “hunting industry” may solve the financial problem.
Corn Neck Road