Letters to the Editor, April 28

Fri, 04/27/2012 - 1:23pm

To: the Editor—
For my family and Block Island family. I want to thank everyone for the cards, flowers, phone calls, visits and so much more during the last seven weeks. The outpouring of love and support has truly been overwhelming. I wish I could thank everyone individually, but there are just too many. Due to the generosity of Cindy and Tony Pappas I have recently moved from professional care to their private residence in Providence for the near future. At this time I am unable to return home even for a short visit. I have many months of treatments ahead, but welcome all who are able to visit. The best days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The address here is 155 Brown Street, Providence, RI 02906 and I can be reached on my phone at 401-714-3961.
Tom Wilkinson
Old Harbor Meadow

This letter was sent to Rep. Donna Walsh and copied to the Block Island Times:
I just read your guest opinion column in the Block Island Times regarding your proposed H-7151. I support the goal behind your proposed amendment of eliminating gender discrimination in insurance. However, by limiting its scope solely to health insurance, H-7151 actually reinforces rather than eliminates discrimination by insurers.
The provisions of H-7151, as drafted, would solely prohibit gender-based discrimination in health insurance, but would permit gender-based discrimination to continue in life insurance, automobile insurance, and other types of insurance and insurance products sold in the state of Rhode Island. By permitting gender-based discrimination on other types of insurance, you send a clear message that discrimination is only objectionable when it hurts women as a class, but not when it hurts men as a class.
Men have always paid more for life insurance; the premium disparities are far greater than those you cite for health insurance. Further, they affect all life insurance policies, not only those purchased on an individual (non-employment-based) basis. Due to actuarial determinations that men have shorter life spans than women, men pay more for life insurance. Due to actuarial determinations that women’s health care costs more than men’s, women pay more for health insurance.
If you believe it is acceptable to discriminate based on gender, then men should continue to pay more for life and automobile insurance and women should continue to pay more for health insurance. If you believe (as I do) that gender-based discrimination is unacceptable, then all gender-based rate discrimination in insurance should be illegal. The European Union has already done this. It’s time for Rhode Island to do the same.
H-7151 is completely unacceptable as it states that certain types of gender-based discrimination are acceptable while others are not. I urge you to revise your proposal to make a true stand against gender-based discrimination.
Joel Maxman
Center Road

To: the Editor—
In response to Glen Pence’s letter in the April 21 issue of the Block Island Times: That’s a great idea! [Pence suggested putting in hydroelectric if the Town Hall bridge is replaced.] I’d like to add to that. Why not include walkways in the bridge replacement project? I believe it would be beneficial to Block Island and visitors alike to have some kind of plank walkway (with railings) along the outer sides of the bridge, particularly in that area because the narrow roadway poses such a safety issue for walkers, bikers and autos. If only we had had the forthought, we might have recycled some of the materials from the dock replacement at Ballard’s this past winter.
Donna Smith
West Side Road

To: the Editor—
We want to greatly thank the Block Island Fire Department and Rescue Squad for extinguishing a brush fire on our neighbor’s property Saturday, April 21. The fire was stopped 20 feet from our house and we were spared any damage due to the quick and professional action of the fire department. So, to all readers, please:
Make a donation to the Block Island Fire Department and Rescue Squad as they are a critical backstop of our island. They protect all of us.
Do not burn brush. We are in the midst of a draught and the roots, ground cover and brush are all dry — very dry. One rain will not fix this.
Again, thanks to the fire department.
Sven and Laura Risom
Corn Neck Road

To: the Editor—
The Land Trust had an opportunity to put the organic fertilizer tempest to rest by merely acceding to the request from the Town Council to cover the organic fertilizer cost since it is the trust that insists it be used rather than “synthetic” fertilizer.
Trustee Harold Hatfield said he found “the type of organic fertilizer the town was using was the most expensive out of half dozen suppliers he polled” and that it did not contain corn gluten, a natural weed suppressant. With the benefit of all of Hatfield’s research, why didn’t he present his facts and figures and compare them to [Rec. Director Rob] Closters’ program so that a comparison could be shown particularly that the total of the nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were equal? As to the inclusion of corn gluten, this subject has never been a topic of discussion over the past three years.
Corn gluten is an organic preemergent herbicide. It has no effect upon existing weeds. Research shows that it usually requires 2 years of application to be effective. At recommended rates of up to 3,200 pounds per application, the cost can range from $2,173 to $2,300 per application. The shipping, time and labor to apply the corn gluten would also be added to the cost.
Why Town Manager Nancy Dodge would suggest that the Conservation Commission should have more input on the field maintenance in the future is beyond me. Already, we have a Recreation Director (who in almost any other community in the state has the sole responsibility of maintaining recreation fields), the Town Council and the Land Trust. Further, the chairman of the Conservation Commission has a professional commercial interest in organic culture, so what would be the added benefit?
No matter what organic program is developed, there is no question that it will cost the Block Island taxpayers considerably more than a “synthetic” fertilizer program. Thus, I still challenge both First Warden Kim Gaffett and Land Trust Chair Barbara MacMullan to explain what facts have led the Town Council and the Land Trust to determine that it is in the town’s financial interest to mandate the use of organic fertilizer at an annual cost of more than $6,000 in lieu of equally effective so-called “synthetic” fertilizer?
Frederick H. Nelson
Beach Avenue