Letters to the Editor, January 18, 2013

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 3:00pm

To the Editor:

A fair number of long time readers must be wondering how Rebecca ended up in the trash. I knew nothing prior to seeing the photo in the paper and learned of the whole situation only minutes before last week’s Town Council work session.

Right now, the good news is Rebecca was salvaged from becoming scrap through the efforts of Seth Dulac and his wife Jess Veldman to whom to all owe a debt of gratitude. The day after the session reported, Seth agreed, probably with some trepidation, to meet with Block Island Historical Society Executive Director Pam Gasner and me.

Pam and I came away from that meeting optimistic that we can reach a long-term solution and be sure Rebecca is in safe hands in the interim (she is not exposed to the elements, neither is she rusting under her secure cover). Seth displayed a real passion for history that he and Jess share, one Pam and I were thrilled to see and want to encourage. The future of the Historical Society is not with us; it is with younger, caring people like them.

There are, rightly, skeptics out there who need to know the Historical Society has come a long way over the last few years. We have floors rebuilt from the joists up, a porch deck that is solid under a roof that doesn’t leak, heat and (sparingly used) air conditioning on the long list of improvements made under’s Pam’s tenure, largely with grant funding she has secured; we have in Bob Willis a new president with determination to match his enthusiasm; we have both new and newly-energized board members.

The Historical Society is not just for old folks, we have had a number of young people working for us, currently our winter intern is high school student Wade Ortel.

Again, thanks to Seth and Jess, and, yes, to Block Island Power Co. for its many years for good stewardship. We all need to heed the quote carved in stone on a bench in front of the Historical, “take from the altar of the past the embers, not the ashes.”

Martha Ball

Historical Society Board Member


To the Editor:

A family member has asked that two additional Payne properties acquired for conservation be acknowledged:

Estate of Doris Payne to BILT      Plat 9, Lot 122-2        2.5 acres

Estate of Doris Payne to BILT      Plat 9, Lot 118            2.6 acres

Also, the Payne brothers, Frank, Ray and Roy, donated the property to the town in memory of their father, Edward Sands Payne, for the construction of the Block Island School.

Michele Phelan

Payne Road