Letters to the Editor, Dec. 29, 2012

Mon, 12/31/2012 - 3:41pm

To: the Editor—

Yes, Fred Nelson's letters are a little long at times, but if you take the time to read them, they make a good deal of sense.

They are scientifically accurate. I've never yet seen a disclaimer from a reliable source concerning the use of synthetic fertilizer, but it seems even more important and pressing in these time to give thoughtful consideration to the seemingly senseless expenditure of $6,000 per year for organic fertilizer for Heinz Field, when synthetic would do the trick for far less.

Let's hope the new council and the Land Trust will review this matter and come up with a sensible solution.

Paul Marte

West Beach Road

To: the Editor—

Please read the fine print in the proposed Interstate Navigation rate schedule increase carefully. While I appreciate what Interstate does for Block Island, this proposal is taking the island in the wrong direction and the changes do not feel like they are in the best interest of the island:

The proposed rate change eliminates the commuter discount for passengers and vehicles. So those most in need will be severely hurt – seeing the doctor just got a lot more expensive.

The proposed rate change eliminates a discount on a roundtip ticket. The proposed rate will increase the current islander roundtrip ticket price approximately 40 percent. The proposed rate change reduces the rate on all vehicles, thereby urging more people to bring cars to the island. I do not think we want more cars on the streets in the summer when traffic and parking are already a major problem. This is wrong.

I am not opposed to Interstate needing to increase revenues in order to make a profit, but the proposed rate increase will hurt the year round residents in absolute terms, as we rely on the boat for our major connection to the mainland. Interstate must know that the year-round residents are the foundation of Block Island tourism, yet this increase is at the expense of that very foundation. The ferry is a critical part of the island and I appreciate the hard work and service all the Interstate folks make, but I am strongly opposed to this rate increase as written and urge all residents and readers to quickly contact the Public Utilities Commission at 89 Jefferson Blvd, Warwick, RI 02888

Sven Risom

Corn Neck Road

To: the Editor—

I would like to respond to the editorial in last week's B.I. Times.

A little preface first. A few years ago, I'm not exactly sure of the dates, various types of politicians decided in their infinite wisdom to cast open the doors of most of the mental health institutions in this country, and to stop treating a number of folks suffering from mental illnesses. Most of them probably only suffered from relatively minor ailments that didn't make them a threat to themselves or their neighbors. But within their ranks were folks with a severe illness that would someday boil to the surface and cause them to erupt into violence of some sort.

There are also hundreds of thousands of very young people with hurts real and imagined who really need help in managing their own mental health. There is no one magic cure-all that will attend to these problems. Someone a lot smarted than I will have to come up with an equitable device to do that.

If our elected leaders had the intelligence God gave a gnat, they might have spent a few of those billions of dollars on finding and treating those folks instead of using it to fund nonsensical studies of the mating habits of crickets, newts, or amoeba of some sort. Or as the present administration does, and others have, giving billions to countries that are our avowed enemies.

The very first thing politicians must do when they undertake to put a proposal before the populace is that they must know, and be able to define, the object or idea of which they speak. Until the era of “The Clinton” there was no such term as an "assault rifle." That was a name coined by that administration to scare the pants off the poor folks of this country into banning those evil guns. With no guns to retaliate, the government can do as it damned well pleases. Witness what is going on today.

What is mistakenly called these days an “assault rifle” is one which is a select-fire, magazine-fed, possibly sound-suppressed gun with an intermediate sized cartridge (not all that powerful, as is a deer rifle), that may or may not have lights and a scope mounted on the rifle. Mostly used by the military and by crooks and criminals, they have been illegally obtained by the latter two groups.

These are fully automatic weapons. The AR-15 mentioned in the article is a semi-automatic. One pull of the trigger delivers one round down range. The action cycles inside the rifle and puts another round into the chamber of the rifle. It is a one-shot-at-a-time device, it just happens to have eight or nine more rounds in a convenient location. There has not been a fully automatic weapon sold legally in the U.S. since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934.

The most common caliber that you will find is a .223 Remington or a 5.56 NATO. These are a tiny bit bigger than a .22 you may have shot as a kid. They are not monster guns, although you can buy them chambered for any number of calibers. These particular rifles were regulated before they were even invented.

Any bolt-action rifle or shotgun, revolver, or other handgun is also a semi-automatic firearm. The only difference is that it takes a live body instead of a spring to make it work.

Why does every one of the hysterically shrieking “regulate guns” guys feel the screaming need to ban “extended capacity” magazines? A large one holds 30 or 40 rounds. A guy with one of those can empty it in about 30 seconds. Another person with three or four 10-round mags can put those same rounds down range in about 40-45 seconds or less. Where is the big advantage of banning the 30- or 40-round mags? Most people who own them have no intentions of ever using them against another human being unless the rule of law breaks down.

Why are these flying off the shelves? Because millions of people are worried about exactly that coming to pass in the near future, and they want to be able to defend themselves and their families. If all of we folks with these weapons were as crazy as the left leaners believe, there would be none of you left to complain!

Detachable mags, flash hiders, barrel shrouds, collapsible stocks, all these items do is hold your spare ammunition, keep the flash of the fired round from blinding you, keep you from burning your hands, and makes the rifle usable by folks of the same family with different arm lengths. They are not evil accoutrements.

So where do all these illegal weapons come from? Certainly not from any licensed gun shop. Think about where and how they get into the country. Why, wonder of wonders, they follow the same trails and routes that the illicit drugs do.

Now we are inundated by the call of all the politicians, for more gun laws to stop these horrific mass murders. Well there are well over 20,000 laws on the books now. You can pass a million more gun laws outlawing this gun, or that rifle, but not one single criminal or ill person will abide by them any more than they have the last 20 thousand!

About those “Gun Free Zones” and “No Guns Allowed” signs you see all over the place: All those signs do is to inform the criminal that innocent victims here have no means of protecting themselves.

For other voices on gun control, I urge you to look up Dr. John Lott or Dr. Gary Kleck, or follow this link: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control.

I know in advance that none of this will change the warped outlook of most gun banners, but it just may be an inspiration for someone with an open mind, and a rational thought process, to evolve another idea of just what the role of firearms is and what was intended by those smart guys from the 1700s. They were a whole lot more prescient than we folks of the here and now.

Everett R Littlefield USN Ret.

Old Town Road

To: the Editor—

With a K-12 enrollment of approximately 100 students, it is fiscally irresponsible and statistically unnecessary to employ more than the equivalent of a full-time principal/curriculum coordinator. The concern that a principal could possibly be off island 30 days represents only 8 percent of a 12-month employee's time. Certainly this does not warrant the Block Island School incurring the cost of an additional administrator, no matter what the title, even a 50 percent employment.

As the Common Core Learning Standards are implemented nationwide, modules are being released on state websites. Each module contains units of study with mandated lessons and materials.

Since this is a nationwide initiative, Rhode Island will be held accountable to the same standards. Therefore the Block Island School needs to follow the prescribed protocol and not one chosen by teachers or administrators, as suggested by Dr. Hicks.

Last year the School Committee approved the paid sabbatical of a teacher to get an administration degree and simultaneously hired this person, on leave, for a newly created paid position as a math support, due to Common Core.

Now the discussion has turned to English Language Arts and the need for yet another principal/curriculum specialist to unravel the shifts in instruction. There are boards of cooperative education services in every state that provide support with regard to any new endeavor. Take advantage of available resources within the existing staff, from other districts and from the state. Collaborate and think outside the box — the cash box!

If the intention is to replace the present principal(s), consider at what cost financially, ethically and morally. No one should be guaranteed a job, and the School Committee needs to deny this transparent request of Dr. Hicks.

Jane Leddy

Harriman, NY

To: the Editor—

The next Blood Drive is from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., January 4, at Harbor Baptist Church. January is Blood Awareness Month. To reward all donors, Dunkin’ Donuts will give each donor a bag of their delicious coffee.

Donors must be at least 17 years old. There is no older age cutoff. You may donate at 16 with a parent’s permission.

As we all wonder, in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, how we can be of help, here’s a wonderful opportunity to perform an act of kindness. One pint of donated blood can save three lives. Thank you in advance.

Peter  H. Greenman, Coordinator

Rhode Island Blood Center

To: the Editor—

Oh no, not again! But oh yes, it happened again.

On Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 7:40 am, I encountered the exact same flooding on the same roads as was experienced during Hurricane Sandy. You would think that after spending so much money, time and effort to fix the roads that were damaged the problem would be resolved. It isn’t. The road that leads to Payne’s Dock was flooded to the point that it looked like a new pond without the ducks floating around.

On Spring Street, at the exact same place where the roads were repaired there were waves just as high as they were during the hurricane. The water threw stones up onto the road and I had to drive around the biggest of them.

This is a perfect opportunity for the Sewer Commission to have an “open to the public” discussion about putting sewers along the streets in areas that are known to get flooded during stormy weather.

This problem will keep repeating itself unless something is done to correct it. Sewers might be the answer to this repeated problem.

Although I appreciated the free car wash, I don’t think flooded roads are good for a car or truck. We have the time now to make the needed changes.

Cheryle Gagnon

West Side Road

To: the Editor—

How fortunate were we of the island to have had Pippa at the helm during her last and final run: bold but balanced, conscientious and diligent, articulate and gracious, community-minded and a loving mother.

We wish you well in your new endeavor and will sorely miss you.

Richard Weisbroat

West Side Road