Letters to the Editor, June 1, 2013
To the Editor:
Re: Police log
The bucolic setting of this beautiful New England island has taken a few hits lately. It’s not quite fair, considering the attributes that the island does have. That is the reason many of us will stay here to the end, despite the BIPCo (Block Island Power Company) bills, the rising taxes and a ferry boat monopoly that could do us in. Unfortunately, there is an unusual collection of personalities here with problems that confront the authorities almost daily and some that can and do confront each and every one of us.
The blame game is now one of these problems. Just a few weeks ago it was the Block Island atmosphere that was responsible for the drug use, the alcoholic abuse and the bizarre psychic problems abounding here. Then last week, after another personal tragedy, it was the community that was at fault. Now this week the blame goes to The Block Island Times for fairly reporting what shows up on the police log. This information had already spread across the island and most islanders knew of it from other sources.
To say that The Block Island Times bears some responsibility for this community calamity is so wrong and blatantly offensive. I can certainly chastise the paper for a few things, but it is our only connection to all the people here or there that love this island. The Block Island Times goes out of its way week after week, publishing all the attempts to try and figure out what to do about our problems. They have a new editor that isn’t afraid to publish even some of my letters.
I don’t claim to have any answers here, but our grief for these individuals that we all knew and loved should be directed away from The Block Island Times, the Block Island atmosphere, the community or the police department. None of these brought drugs to this island, nor paid for drink after drink after drink. If you have young ones, you will know when they are making a bomb in the basement, or collecting assault weapons in the attic, or coming home drunk — if you are watching and are there. You can’t spend enough time with your children.
For the older ones, they are responsible for themselves and should recognize it for their own good and try to correct it before they take someone else out with them, either with drugs or alcohol. None of this is easy; try talking sense to someone under the influence and then try and try again.
Beacon Hollow Farm
To the Editor:
I am sure that many of you were surprised to hear that I am stepping down as your Senior Coordinator, especially as you know just how much I have loved filling this position. The truth is that it was a difficult decision that I have been agonizing over since March, but one that I needed to make so I could totally immerse myself in my studies. When I took the position, I promised to dedicate a year and I worked as furiously as I could. So no, it is not because I don’t love my job as a Senior Coordinator, and no, it’s not because the pay was low. I worked the extra hours because I chose to and I was dedicated to get your programs going in a big way. Even if I were paid millions, I could not stay because there are only so many hours in the day.
During my time serving you, I was enrolled in classes full time and graduated in January as a Certified Holistic Health Coach and then after a conference in New York City in March, I unexpectedly fell in love with Functional Medicine and Nutrition and immediately enrolled in another year-long program. In another few weeks I will be starting back into the second leg of my Health Coaching classes, which will be intense as well, and so I will be enrolled in two different schools concurrently. For these reasons, I chose to devote more time to my studies and as someone studying health and wellness, I had to listen to my body, which was telling me I could not do it all.
I feel that the Senior Advisory Committee is presently in the perfect place for my shift in careers to happen. Our board members are quite dedicated and our programs are going strong. We have had a year of trial and error and have learned a great deal of what our age group is asking for. We have laid the groundwork for many new events in the future as well. Everything is in motion. Your Senior Advisory Committee always wants to know what it is that you are looking for, are interested in, or have a need for and even a hankering for. So please speak up!
I appreciate all of the support, emails, phone calls and letters and have always enjoyed speaking to each one of you in person. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns with me. It was my pleasure. Soon, I will wind down being on duty day to day. However, I will still continue to work behind the scenes for some of the projects that we have underway.
One of my greatest hopes is an island-wide calendar, with not just some, but all island happenings, with all committees, groups and individuals, and all in the same, single place. If I had a calendar in front of me of what was happening each week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I feel I would be better able to choose what activities to attend versus trying to find and remember what was happening where. I know how hard we each work to create an event and I am sure that this centralization would allow us to better support each other. Perhaps we can try it for a month and see what happens to participation levels!
Another vision that I have had for years is an even greater mentoring program with a sharing between the young and the not as young. We have such an incredible and dedicated community out here from all walks of life and I have always envisioned a much larger medium for people in which to share their talents and passions. I appreciate that the lifelong connections made with mentoring are a win-win for both age groups. In light of the recent sadnesses on the island, I am even more convinced that we need to reach out in a bigger way. I am proud to be part of the Senior Advisory Committee and the Block Island School creating a Mentoring Program in addition to the Senior Projects that are currently in place at the school. If you didn’t see our writeup a few weeks ago, we are adopting our logo from the South Kingstown Cares Program with the motto, “1/1/1” One child for one hour one day a week. We are initially asking for a minimum of a month commitment and we will begin with reading, math and gardening. If you are interested in being a part of this program, you may call Kristine Monje at 466-5600.
Lastly, my thoughts, like many of others, are on growing an even stronger care system for each other. We have offered many programs but would like to see more people be able to enjoy one another who might not be able to attend our programs. I am aware that we have so many angels, starting with Mary D, and many, many others, some anonymously, caring behind the scenes. But perhaps we could all benefit from a more forthright plan. Just like an island-wide calendar of events, we could have a “Calendar of Care” for the month, with a person’s name listed for a particular day of the week. If we start small, we could have 52 people sign up to be on loan for one day a week, maybe for 4-6 hours that day. It is such a small amount of time and such a huge return for both parties. Anyone that needs a ride, a meal, a smile or a hand could contact that person, directly, ahead of time to make arrangements for that day. Just think, if we could each offer even two days a year, then we could lend a hand to islanders twice a week. Think of what fun it is to mix and match so many of us!
If people knew that someone had devoted a day, because they wanted to, then you wouldn’t feel badly having to ask someone for something. There would be very little time in organizing this, as each helper would set up their own schedule for their one day and would be looking forward to hearing the phone ring! We all know that it feels as good to give as it does to receive. So let’s start with one day a week. I will be on call this coming Tuesday, June 4, and if anyone wishes to call me, so I can lend a hand, please do so. My number is 466-7712.
In closing, I wish to say that I was so grateful that so many of you turned out to voice support ofyour town sponsored Senior Advisory Committee. It is your team of seniors going to bat for you and we are only as good as you make us by letting us know your needs. Each time we ran a program we had a few more faces and a few new ideas. The very important part of sharing in activities is that we can enjoy events and remain communal despite what side of the fence we are on when it comes to various opinions. Even if we agree to disagree we are always at our best when we unite for the same cause.
You may still reach your Senior Advisory Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (401) 466-5419 ext. 2, or mailing to: P.O. Box 220, Block Island, R.I. 02807. If you have more of an urgent need, you may call Gail Pierce at 466-5470 or email her at email@example.com.
Thank you again for the privilege of being your Senior Coordinator. My very best wishes for a happy and healthy summer.
Ed. note: Each week, The Block Island Times publishes three comprehensive, island-wide calendars of events and meetings: On the Block, Off the Block, and All Around the Block. Any individual or organization is welcome to submit their information directly to Kari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
Attention Crescent Beach Dune Restoration Volunteers.
We have scheduled another work day for June 8 to install snow fencing on the two access paths at Mansion Beach. This is the final stage of the restoration project so we need your help. When we complete this installation, we will have installed snow fencing from Baby Beach north to Mansion Beach.
We plan to meet at the Mansion Beach Parking Lot at 9 a.m. and work till noon. Bring your shovels, post hole diggers, gloves and community spirit.
Bill Penn, President, BIRA
Ned Philips, Jr., Chairman, Conservation Commission
To the Editor:
A great thank you to all blood donors at our last drive.
The drive produced 32 pints of blood. January produced 26 pints and, in March, 29 pints. We are heading in the right direction. This will save lives. This was also an affirmation to the Blood Center for the 330 pints they sent to Boston hospitals immediately after the Marathon bombing.
Holding the drive in the school, as we do every May, has many advantages. Students learn at a young age the importance of giving. It is also easy for students and school staff to donate. There will be no blood drive in July because of the high incidence of Lyme disease in July. The next drive will be at Harbor Church on Friday, Sept. 6. Please save the date.
Peter H. Greenman, Coordinator
Rhode Island Blood Center
To the Editor:
O what a night! Our Middle School Dance was a wonderful success and a night to be remembered. Thirty-five well-behaved and well-dressed students owned the cafeteria dance floor as they moved to DJ Josh Maldonado’s mix of pop, rock, and hop.
We’d like to thank Jill Seppa and the Prevention Task Force for sponsoring this event and the B.I. School for hosting it. Thank you to Megan Hennessy, Vicky Carson, Matt Moran, Shannon Morgan, Lynne Fletcher, and Scott Nelson. Thanks to Papa’s Pizza and Club Soda for donating 10 delicious pizzas to our kids. Huge appreciation for all his time, talent, and generosity goes to Josh Maldonado.
Thank you to our wonderful chaperones: Allan (disco ball) MacKay, Jackie Brown, Meg Vitacco, Elizabeth Holmes, Glen Pence, Ally Marcotrigiano and Kathleen Hemingway. Thanks also to Julie Conant, Casey Hennessy, Millie McGinnes, Bernadette McNerney and Tracy Heinz for contributing desserts and helping with clean-up and to Wendy Crawford for the disco ball loan and to Carrie Todd for the punch bowl loan. And thanks again to Virginia Dare for helping us to figure out the best sound system that transformed the cafeteria into something else entirely.
Andre Miller and Eileen Miller
West Side Road
Alcy Stiepock MacKay
and Lisa Stiepock
To the Editor:
We like to hit the road to get away. Northern New England’s hidden villages are favorites. When we come home our spirits tell us to take a walk by the wall and look at the ocean. And, we do. We say to each other, “Why go away when it’s so great just being here.” Why is this?
When Deepwater Wind agreed to bury its power cables under Narragansett, we realized that the towns in Vermont that attracted us were towns with buried underground cables. We are pulled to Woodstock and Grafton. Both are small and have no utility poles and are very compelling. Like magnets. We realize that utility poles become barriers. They make every town look like any-town USA. There is something special and inviting about not living inside a frame of wood and wire. It makes people more friendly. Visual freedom does that.
I’ve been really excited about the prospect of having no poles in the Pier. Perhaps, as with my Vermont examples, our unemployment rate would go down and our average middle class income would go up. People would smile more, too.
I had to be sure that this dream would come to reality, so I contacted Deepwater Wind and they said “no” to removing the poles and “no” to burying the existing cables along with their proposed high voltage cables.
I would like to see Deepwater Wind leave a legacy by contributing “beauty not bucks” to our town. As it stands now, Deepwater Wind intends to do significant digging through the backbone of the Pier, bury its cables, and then disappear. We will be no better but plenty bitter once it is over. We will be promised a chunk of money but with no assurance as to when it will come.
Narragansett needs to come out ahead under the best-case or worst-case scenario. I believe that Deepwater is not the answer.
Overlook Road, Narragansett
To the Editor:
The Bake, Book, and Bloom sale at the Island Free Library was a tremendous success this year.
Clark Farms sent many beautiful plants and an extensive selection of vegetables and herbs. They also contributed a gift certificate for the Silent Auction.
The Silent Auction this year was huge due to the generosity of the following businesses: BIRM, MacSperts, Bethanys, Aldo’s Bakery, M&C Gas Station, Jessie Edwards Studio, Star Department Store, Island Hardware, New England Air, Poor People’s Pub, Diamond Blue Surf Shop, Building Blocks Toy Store, Old Harbor Take Out, BeachComber, Wave, The Block Island Times, North Light Fibers, Socha Cohen, The Oar, Spring House, The Manisses, Block Island Reservation, Mike Kiley, National Hotel, Chef Jerry Sinotte and the Surf Hotel, US Foods, Ice Cream Parlor, Three Sisters, Aldo’s Bikes, Beachead, Eli’s, Atlantic Inn, Ballard’s Inn, Island Bound, Interstate Navigation, Rags, B.I. Tees, Finn’s Restaurant, Jeff Smith, Old Post Office Bagel Shop and our friends on the mainland: Stop-n-Shop, Scott’s Cleaners and Jerry’s Hardware in Narrangansett and Shelter Harbor Inn in Westerly, R.I.
Interstate Navigation also provided the transportation for the Clark Farms’ truck.
There was a wonderful assortment of delicious baked goods for all to enjoy. We are fortunate to have so many bakers on this Island who are generous in giving of their time and talents.
As always, many Friends helped with the event during the planning stages and on the big day. The staff of the Library provided invaluable assistance.
And of course, there were all the people who came to enjoy the event, despite the rainy weather, and contributed to its success.
To all of you, the Friends of the Island Free Library extend our sincere thanks.
Mary Sue Record, President
Friends of the Island Free Library