Letters to the Editor, Jan. 12, 2013

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 4:28pm

To: the Editor -

It is never good to criticize without giving praise when actions are taken to make a problem better.

On Tuesday morning I watched as the catch basins were being pumped out. This is progress. When heavy rains come it is nice to know the water has someplace to go rather than making large puddles on the ground.

How are the road repairs coming?

Being aware is the first step toward progress.

Cheryle Gagnon

West Side Road

To: the Editor —

I applaud the article by Gloria Redlich in last week’s Block Island Times concerning the omnipresent existence of semi-automatic guns (henceforth, assault guns as defined by recent assaults using semi-automatic guns). It was a thoughtful, comprehensive and powerful article. In the previous week’s Times, another prominent Block Island citizen, Everett Littlefield, provided a useful discussion of gun technology. He also described those opposed to assault guns as having a “warped outlook” and those in favor as having “rational thought processes.” Evidently, he defines people who think rationally as people who think like he does.

Together with commentary on television and from Everett’s letter, I gather that justification for assault guns are: first, the need to combat bad guys who may also have assault guns and, second, the need to combat a bad government as in 1776. A solution to the first need is obvious; eliminate assault guns. The solution to the second need already exists; it is called universal suffrage. On Block Island we do need guns that can shoot deer, but not people.

George Mellor

Cat Rock Road

To: the Editor —

The Block Island Chamber of Commerce is deeply concerned about the negative impact to the business community that will be incurred if the proposed rate increased requested by Interstate Navigation is granted by the state Public Utilities Commission.

The Chamber will be drafting a letter to the Town Council and would like your input so that our letter can adequately and accurately articulate your issues.

Time is of the essence so all responses must be received by Monday, January 14, 2013.

Kathy Szabo

B.I. Chamber of Commerce

To: the Editor —

The Board of Directors of Block Island Health Services, Inc. is pleased to announce that Barbara Baldwin has accepted the position of Executive Director of BIHS, effective February 1, 2013. Currently living in Providence, Ms. Baldwin will visit the island regularly in January to work with Dr. Peter Baute to facilitate the transition before moving to Block Island at the end of January.

Barbara Baldwin has many years of employment in healthcare management. Between 1977 and 2000, she served as Executive Director of Planned Parenthood organizations in Rhode Island, Utah, Tennessee and Georgia. Since 2000, she has led collaborative programs focusing on cancer care and children’s health, serving for the past five years as the Program Manager for the R.I. Healthy Kids Initiative. She brings experience in grant writing and administration, strategic planning, quality assurance, marketing, fundraising, budgeting, and managerial accounting. Through her years with Planned Parenthood of R.I. (1987-1996), the R.I. Cancer Council (2004-2007), and the Healthy Kids Initiative (2007-2012), she has established an impressive network of professional contacts throughout Rhode Island and across the nation. These are resources that will be most welcome at BIHS. In the next several months, we plan to have a number public events to introduced Barbara to the community.

We would publicly like to thank the hardworking Search Committee for finding such an outstanding candidate for Block Island: Susan Bush, Mark Emmanuelle, Dr. Rob Hayden, Jack Lynch, and Laura Risom.

The BIHS board and staff are also grateful to Dr. Peter Baute for his unpaid leadership as Interim Director. Since mid-July, Dr. Baute has worked hard on quality assurance policies and procedures for the center and has worked closely with the staff to move forward with an electronic medical record system, which must be up and running by the end of 2014. Dr. Baute and Pete Tweedy, our Board Treasurer, have provided hours of volunteer help with reimbursement and accounts receivable issues that are multiple and complex, playing havoc with our ability to maintain a steady cash flow.

We are pleased to have new board members who were elected in the November public election: Bill McCombe and Susan Hagedorn were seated at the December meeting. The Board appointed Bob Fallon at the January meeting. Bob will fill Judy Tierney’s unexpired term. It was with regret that we said goodbye to George Henault and Millie McGinnis who provided more than 10 years of service to the Board.

On January 7, the Town Council approved a new agreement between BIHS and the Town of New Shoreham and appointed Second Warden Ken Lacoste to represent the Council on our Board. We look forward to a positive and fruitful relationship between the town and the health center as our organization moves forward.

We are moving forward with renewed focus and energy, but we continue to face financial challenges. The gap between patient revenues and operating costs continues to widen, requiring us to increase our fundraising revenues. Although we had noticed a drop in donations over the past three or four months, we are happy to report that good returns from the Lights Of Love campaign and a number of large end-of-year contributions may allow for a more modest 2012 draw on our endowment than previously anticipated. More information will be available once the books on 2012 have been closed.

All who spend time on Block Island depend on the medical center to be there in time of need, and it has been there for us since 1984. To strengthen BIHS and move it forward, we urge you to consider joining us as volunteers and/or financial contributors. The center is there to serve us, and we should serve it in return. If you are willing to participate in the work of committees, please let any Board member know of your interest. If you can’t volunteer your time, we hope you will make a contribution to BIHS, and/or join us as a BIHS member for $25 per individual or $45 per family.

Pamela Hinthorn

BIHS Board President