Letters to the Editor, Nov. 2, 2012

Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:47pm

To: the Editor—

Meg’s and my first acquaintance with Herman and Doris was at a St. Ann’s potluck dinner held at their house in mid-January of 2008. We were on the island to be interviewed and otherwise evaluated in regard to becoming the vicar of the parish. We enjoyed them and their hospitality very much, and soon came to appreciate them as faithful and stalwart members of the parish, although Herman soon let me know in no uncertain terms that he was a Lutheran.

It was a marvelous thing to see two people who had reached four score years living life with energy and looking forward to what life would bring them. Their relationship was a model to be emulated by any married couple. Deeply in love, they were realistic about each other’s foibles and had learned to overlook them, even if they mumbled about them sometimes.

They brought much to the community of Block Island and they will be sorely missed.

Fr. Dan and Meg Barker

Vestal, NY

To: the Editor—

On November 5 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center, the Town Council is holding a public hearing. On the agenda is an amendment to “Chapter 10 Section 16 Hunting, take of game and discharge of firearms.” The proposed change would prohibit the overlapping of seasons for firearms and bow hunting.

As Chair of the Deer Task Force, I urge everyone who is interested in the important topic of deer management to attend the public hearing, listen to the arguments, and express your opinion to the Town Council.

Mary Sue Record

Old Mill Lane

This letter was sent to the Town Council and copied to the Times:

As a Block Island homeowner and a member of the Deer Task Force, I am writing to oppose the proposed amendment to the Town’s hunting regulations that would eliminate bow and arrow hunting concurrent with shotgun hunting. I believe that the approval of this amendment would be a significant step backwards in the town’s charge to the Deer Task Force to eliminate or substantially reduce the deer herd.

Thank you for your consideration.

Ruth S. Perfido

New York, NY

To: the Editor—

Thank you for publishing the rendering of the Deepwater Wind Farm on the front page of your October 6 issue. Am I correct in assuming that this rendering shows what Deepwater believes 600-foot turbines three miles off our shores would look like on a clear day?

Also, can we find out what focal length lens was used to make the base photo? Photographers have long and effectively toyed with the viewer by selecting a long lens to intensify the height of things and a short lens to relax them.

I think it would be fair to your readers, who might be relying upon this rendering as a true indication of what the wind farm will look like, to have these questions answered.

Peter MacGill

Cooneymus Road

To: the Editor—

Although there are more important matters to contend with at this time regarding the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, I want to let everyone know that the Time Capsule started in 2011 to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the Settlement of Block Island remains unscathed and safe.

Sandy was an amazing display of the power of wind and waves. It is equally amazing that Block Island has endured harsh weather, politics, and changes of all kinds.

This Time Capsule serves as a reminder of the changes that help shape the history of Block Island. Most of all it preserves some fond memories of a special place in time.

Cheryle Gagnon

West Side Road

This letter was sent to BIHS leadership and copied to the Times:

Apparently, the monthly meeting of October 29 has been adjourned to November 19, which means the community must now wait for nearly two months (from 9/24 to 11/19) to be updated on developments since 9/24, and to give the board input on community concerns.

Ostensibly, 11/19 was chosen because it was the earliest date upon which a sufficient number of the board members could attend. Were there fewer members, there would be fewer personal schedules to accommodate and the board less unwieldy and more functional in reaching a consensus on any given issue. The Town Council itself manages to function with five, plus appointed supporting boards and agencies. Not that five would suffice for BIHS, but surely something less than 11. Norris Pike alluded to that at the 10/17 meeting when he suggested a reduced board among other possible changes should be considered.

As for management agreement negotiations, it is my understanding that in lieu of the monthly meeting of 10/29, the board went into another questionable and, indeed, unwarranted closed session and came to a consensus on further (unspecified) positions or revisions to the proposed agreement.

It went into closed session on the pretext that the Management Agreement was a lease and that under § 42-46-5 (a) (5) of the Open Meetings Law, a lease is exempted from an open meeting and is allowed to be discussed in a closed meeting.

The subsection (5) exemption reads, as follows:

(5) Any discussions or considerations related to the acquisition or lease of real property for public purposes, or of the disposition of publicly held property wherein advanced public information would be detrimental to the interest of the public.

However the management agreement has, in its entirety, been made public and all the negotiations have been in open worksessions. The drafts of the agreement are public documents and available to the public. There is no secret about the leasing aspects of the agreement: $1 a year rent and the annual maintenance subsidy by the town (this year, approximately $87,000). The major provisions of the agreement deal with the management of a medical center.

Hence, in this case no “advanced public information would be detrimental to the interest of the public.” And the board had no right to go into closed session.

On the contrary, the board’s obstinacy in insisting that the requirement for BIHS to comply with the Open meetings Law be lessened is against the public interest for transparency, disclosure and input from the membership as to the community’s views and concerns.

The negotiations thus far have been tedious, in general, and unproductive, in particular, as to the provision requiring BIHS to comply with the Open Meetings Law and Access to Public Records Act. The board’s aforesaid 10/29 consensus as to further revisions will exacerbate the situation.

In the real world, negotiations are conducted on a one-to-one basis between a representative or lawyer on each side with reasonable authority to decide most issues and to report back to the “client” for further guidance as to any major stumbling block.

To have four or more board members negotiating every jot and title is a time-wasteful and futile exercise. Your lawyer has continued to propose revisions and handed them off to the board to tediously negotiate as a group. He has remained remote and faceless. He should have met with the town solicitor and proceeded on a one to one basis, as aforesaid.

In spite of the last two negotiating sessions at which the Town Council has dug in its heels as to the requirement that the board comply with the Open Meetings Law and Access to Public Records Act by the board, the board persists in trying to water down the requirement.

It is now high time to get done and for the board to take cognizance of the non-negotiable fact that the Town Council, on behalf of the community, is adamant in requiring BIHS to comply as aforesaid. There are no “ifs, ands, or buts”: if BIHS wants a Management Agreement, these requirements have been presented as a “take it or leave it” proposition.

Richard Weisbroat

West Side Road

This letter was sent to the Zoning Board and copied to the Times:

After leaving the hearing for the Cooneymus Road variance, I have concerns I feel should be addressed by your board.

Foremost is the comment by the chair that applications are often “amended” during the hearing. If that is normal procedure what about due notice to the public? How is one protected if you allow the application to be changed? Are applications reviewed by the town’s zoning attorney to see if they are complete? Does he also check to see if indeed you as a review board can grant what is being asked for, in accordance with our town Zoning Ordinance?

From the audience last evening it appeared to me that one of the attorneys, Evan Leviss, was interrupted many times in his presentation and being asked to get to the point. It has been my experience, when in court, that judges usually allow an attorney latitude to build his/her case, until the final point is made.

My final criticism is the awkwardness of the room for conduction of a hearing. There is no lectern on which attorneys may place papers, having to use a chair if one is empty. The table where the special counsel, Ms. Ellsworth, sat during the hearing of October 24 did not have a microphone close enough for her to use comfortably. Our Town Hall has a very poor sound system that I have been complaining about for four to five years. Perhaps your board could put some pressure on the Town Council or Town Manager to see if a better sound system can be installed and at the very least a lectern, with a microphone, for use by attorneys and witnesses.

I know how hard it is for volunteer boards to serve the town and I appreciate the many hours you give. My suggestions are offered as constructive ones to make future hearings quicker, smoother and legally correct in every way

Edith L Blane

Corn Neck Road

To: the Editor—

Thank you to the following volunteers par excellence who put their quilting talents towards creating the “Famous Block Island Quilt.”

Carrie Todd for doing the North Light; Marie Shepherd, the four corners with flowers; Jessica Veldman for the colorfull sailboats; Lois Bendokas for Settler’s Rock; Sandy Greenman for the Double Ender; Rheba McKernan for the Southeast Light; Becca Hollaway for the statue of Rebecca; Karla Sargent for the Town of New Shoreham’s flag; Eleanor Garrett for the iceboat under a full moon, the stone cottage on Beacon Hill, the old windmill and the center map of the Island.

Thank you to Ann Fagan who tackled the monumental task of assembling the squares, selected the backing fabric and added the sashing and the binding; and to April Gilroy of Wakefield, who did the beautiful machine quilting.

A thank you to the following who worked behind the scenes: Rheba McKernan, Martha Ball, Eleanor Garrett, Ellen Jacke, Kaden Williams and Cindy Pappas.

The quilt was displayed at the following places and much appreciation goes to them: the Farmer’s Market, Smuggler’s, B.I. Depot, B.I. Grocery, Washington Trust, Historical Society, the Bird’s Nest, Surf Hotel, Salty Dog, Esta’s Park, Building Blocks, Sullivan Real Estate, Nicholas Ball Park, Ernie’s and the 1661 Inn.

The following volunteers displayed the quilt on some of the hottest days of last summer and three cheers go out to Bill Penn, Sue Gill, Karla Sargent, Lydia Littlefield, Barby Michel, Eleanor Garrett, Sally Marte, Ellen Jacke, Lynn Paquin, Barbara Temple, Becca Hollaway and Carol Brown.

Raffle tickets may be purchased during the week by calling 466-5960 Tuesday to Friday  from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. up until November 25, when the winning ticket will be drawn at 11:30 a.m. at the Harbor Church.

Eleanor Garrett

Corn Neck Road