Letters to the Editor, January 4, 2014
To the Editor:
A few weeks ago there was an article on what might happen to the Solviken property. Suggestions ranged from steps down into the foundation to a covered pavilion. Costs were estimated at over $47,000.
Here’s my suggestion: sell the wonderful faced foundation stone to a contractor if there is a market for it. Fill in the foundation to normal grade for appearance and safety’s sake. Then leave it as it is, a beautiful place to park and view the ocean and a jumping-off spot for surfers. No designated parking spaces. People can figure that out. There’s already a path to the shore of Harbor Pond. Most preserved land on Block Island is in its natural state, as it should be. A single sign designating this as a natural park is all that is needed.
Save the money and reserve it for additional land acquisition.
To the Editor:
My New Year’s resolution is to be more appreciative of all the people on Block Island that volunteer their time and services to various boards and commissions. I want to make more of an effort to thank them for being willing to volunteer, as I know that most folks who serve have the best intentions and feel they work for the good of the island.
There are, I believe, 19 nonprofit organizations on the island along with several municipal commissions that require brigades of volunteers. We have, for example: Helping Hands, Deer Task Force, Block Island Residents Association, Block Island Maritime Institute, Committee for the Great Salt Pond, Ocean View Foundation, Block Island Conservancy, Friends of the Library, Tourism Council, Early Learning Center, Medical Center, Rescue Squad, Land Trust, Historical Society, and the Volunteer Fire Department, just to mention a few.
Where would we be without these groups working for the good of the island? I know that I personally have benefited and feel fortunate to be part of a community that has so many giving people.
Thank you to all and Happy New Year.
To the Editor:
I applaud the efforts of everyone who led us to the deer culling plan that the Town Council voted to approve 3-0, with one abstention. Although necessary, it is distressing that the community must solely bear the cost of year one, and presumably the follow-on years since I’ve seen no reporting to the contrary.
I use the word “community” precisely to mean the combined private and public participation in the cost. Taking half a million dollars out of the community, whether through taxes or from private sector donations, denies those funds from supporting other important island causes, such as the Block Island Health Services, land protection, the Early Learning Center, a new Fire Department building, churches, mental health support; pick one.
I have also not seen any reported discussion at the island meetings acknowledging the uncertainty about how the post-culled herd will be sustained at the state-defined appropriate level so that Block Island doesn’t keep paying for culling over and over again. With regard to the long-term, The Providence Journal quoted the Department of Environmental Management’s [biologist] Brian Tefft on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013: “We will have to do a better job with our hunting program to maintain what we have. That’s down the road.”
While we can only speculate about what that means, we do know that the components of the current approved culling plan, that will make it successful, include 1) cooperation; 2) shooting; 3) safety; 4) conservation land; and 5) money.
I have no doubt that the current culling plan, likely with some modification, will run its course for up to five years, or until the target population is achieved. At that point, population biology kicks in. We need to start talking about this with the DEM sooner rather than later because a plan to sustain must be in place on the day that the cull is declared complete. Otherwise, we’ll be paying to cull again some years later.
My thanks to Fran Migliaccio who, in a letter to The Block Island Times a few weeks ago, voiced concern about sustaining the future lower herd level and the potential for paying to cull indefinitely into the future. She also pointed out that Block Island is hardly in control of how all this plays out. With the potential for a reduced herd inching over the horizon, it’s not too soon to start thinking about the day-after success.
To the Editor:
In 1967, eight deer, four bucks, and four does were intentionally ferried to Block Island for their “peaceful ways and gentle beauty.” Almost 50 years has passed, and yes, Santa Claus, reindeer do mate!
It is approximated that 800 to 1,000 deer inhabit the island today. Despite the framework of time that has since passed, this amount of deer does not seem like an out-of-control epidemic. However, the goal set by Department of Environmental Management is to bring in out-of-state “hired guns” to “systematically” cull the deer, leaving 100 to 150 deer remaining on the island. It is estimated to cost the tax payers of Block Island a whopping $129,000.00 for the scheduled winter culling, inclusive of lodging ($200 a night), travel expenses, bait, ammunition, staging, a hired “mobile butcher shop” and police support. The systematic killing would take place in intervals of approximately 200 deer at a time.
This process would include luring the deer with bait to an isolated area of the island, confining them, and then on elevated platforms take out the alpha male and or alpha female first, then proceed to systematically “massacre” the remaining frantic and frightened deer one by one.
A hired mobile butcher shop will be brought in to dispose of the carcasses, where they would be processed, skinned, butchered, bone crushed and ground, packaged and frozen, on the spot, and then distributed. Tragic, barbaric and inhumane treatment of innocent animals brought to Block Island for their “peaceful ways and gentle beauty” in the first place. Traumatic and expensive for the taxpayers: an estimated $640.00 a deer. Furthermore, it does not seem implausible to wager that it would cost the taxpayers a lot less trauma and money to re-locate the deer, potentially in intervals, as was done originally in 1967.
Better yet, invest in ethical, progressive and peaceful resolutions for us to co-exist in harmony with them. Hard-earned dollars would be better spent investing in ethical and humane solutions, rather than the repeated, systematic, expensive, and tragic decimation of innocent animals.
To the Editor:
In your story “Power company to convert streetlights to LED” by Renée Meyer (Dec 26, 2013), you quote Block Island resident Bill Penn claiming someone at the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) meeting (which had to be me) said: “the laying of the cable under the ocean floor would cause ‘vast’ amounts of methane gas to be released.” The fact is, I wasn’t there at the meeting, and my statement consisted of Narragansett resident Bob Shields reading the exact words of my letter to the DEM into the record, which stated, in the relevant part: a) The ocean floor outside of harbors and entrance channels is where about half of the planet’s accumulated carbon is sequestered. Digging it up will release significant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which will combine with oxygen to become carbon dioxide, which is a factor in creating global warming. In addition, the process may well dig into and release large pockets of trapped methane gas, which is 22 times worse for global warming than carbon. There has been no independent investigation of the amount of carbon that is likely to be released, or the location of methane pockets and the amounts likely contained in them.
There is a big difference between what Mr. Penn is reported by you as saying and the statements “may well dig into” and pointing out there has been no investigation into the “location of methane pockets and amounts.” Either your reporting is way off or this guy Bill Penn appears to be the one who misstates the facts, which would be typical of the types that swarm around this Deepwater project.