Letters to the Editor, Oct. 29, 2011

Fri, 10/28/2011 - 1:14pm

To: the Editor—

I normally wouldn't be writing to the editor so soon, but this has now approached an emergency basis. By this I mean the paid advertisement in the BIT this week by Block Island Recycling Management, or Sean McGarry and Michael McGinnes. The essence of this ad is that we, the taxpayers of Block Island, should be buying Block Island and supporting Block Islanders like Sean and Michael, who haven't given the town one penny in over 11 years, while using our transfer station and charging us at the same time.

What about the only gas station, with it's price per gallon; and should we be happy to pay our outrageous electric bill because people like the owners of the Block Island Power Company depend on us for our support? Well, you tell me who doesn't fill up with gas before putting the car on the ferry to BI, who doesn't load up at Stop & Shop before returning to the island or "Pea Pod" the green boxes all summer long? Many people on this island can no longer support themselves, never mind the island businesses. What about the livelihoods of the families here that need that $72,000 transfer station bid yearly to hopefully offset our increasing taxes?

We don't need neurosurgeons to run the transfer station, we need a person who knows trucking, who is familiar with getting loads from one place to the next, who is neat and keeps things tidy. We need someone who is willing to share the load and finally give us something back. Take a look at one of Cullion's trucks sometime and tell me if your car is any cleaner after coming out of the car wash. You probably won't see a paid advertisement in this week's BIT from Mark Cullion bashing his competing bidder — that is not his style. He is an honest business man and we need to do business with him. What the Town Council has done to Mr. Cullion goes over the line of fair business practice into an abbyss of incompetence and specific partiality in favor of BIRM, and now the council can't figure a way out. So we all sat for an hour and fifteen minutes at the last meeting for nothing. This bidding fiasco has got to stop — yet when a good bid finally comes up, the council does everything possible to stop them. Block Island taxpayers deserve better than this.

John Willis

Beacon Hollow Farm


To: the Editor—

I read the recent BI Times editorial about tourism budgets and then a letter from Mr. Jon MacKenzie of the BI Trading Company. Jon’s point was “shouldn’t we be doing more about the shoulder season?” I know that in the past, there were some attempts, such as an $80,000 ad in the NY Times, but I see some low-hanging fruit here, just as at any coastal resort. I tend to agree that it is the job of the state tourism board to attract as many tourists and “heads in beds” as possible during the high summer months — but the locals have to do something on their own to jump start any weekend traffic in the slow season.

Consider that while the weather is an issue, it really doesn’t get nasty until January usually, and some weekends can be downright pleasant, perhaps cool and windy at times but a nice ferry ride. Many actually would love Block Island for not being so overrun with tourists everywhere. I don’t think you need lots of money, but a web portal which can connect to Facebook, Twitter, mobile phones, the BI Times, and stuff like that. You want to make it like a kid’s “meet up” but instead of like the 4th of July, make it something for the more serious, well-heeled visitor. Birding, surfing, and even winter cod fishing can be quite popular. Even cleaning beaches of trash can bring many dedicated, happy people. You folks know your island — do you need a Clam-A-Thon or what? If you have the right internet buzz going, you get folks to come over just to watch football inside an island bar (I kid you not). If such hedonistic pleasures aren’t your bag, church groups can be a great asset.

I write as an occasional visitor who has been coming to the island since the late 1960s, and always wondered why Block Islanders seemed to slam the door shut a few weeks after Labor Day, with some holdouts until Columbus Day and then bam! It was like you’re tired of the “seagulls” on your island — yet the islanders often protest about the lack of revenue after the summer crunch. I have found the off-season to be my favorite time to visit just because I don’t like the crowds, and I think many would agree with me. No, you’re not going to get rich on the shoulder season, but why refuse thousands of dollars of potential revenue if it can be had? Why not pump it up by using our computers for cheap? You could even get the school working on it! I applaud Jon MacKenzie for pointing out that the shoulder season should be promoted.

Sam Wells

South Padre Island, Texas


To: the Editor—

Not surprisingly, people with mental disorders such as anxiety, major depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and eating disorder are common in the United States, with one in four adults having a mental disorder in any one year. As the population continues to grow, it is expected that these numbers will increase.

Mental disorders often start in adolescence or early adulthood. A national survey reported that half of all disorders began by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. When mental disorders start at this age, they can affect the young person's education, occupational choices, and important social relationships including marriage and the ability to be a responsible mother or father.

But in society, only the most common and severe problems are talked about. In sports, politics, business, entertainment and even religious organizations there are a mind-boggling number of people who have overdosed on both alcohol and prescription and illegal drugs, and have committed suicide — people the public would never associate with having a mental disorder. There are many different types of mental health problems and not all of them are easy to identify.

I am now certified in Mental Health First Aid USA, which is coordinated by the National Council For Community Behavioral Healthcare. I have been trained to provide initial help to people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and substance use disorders. This certification became effective on September 28 and texpires on September 28, 2014.

If you have questions or need to find qualified assistance, please don't hesitate to ask. The Mental Health Task Force aims to help people in our community.

Cheryle Gagnon

West Side Road


To: the Editor—

This past Saturday we interred the cremated remains of my aunt at the Island Cemetery.

She was Frances Estelle Gemma, daughter of Francis M. Tinker and Mary Olive Mitchell Tinker, who passed in June of this year at 90 years of age. (Obituary was published by BI Times).

The family and friends of Frances would like to thank Mike Shea and his staff for making the arrangements at the Island Cemetery, and Kim Ward and the employees of the Beachead restaurant for providing our guests with true Block Island hospitality after the service.

William Murphy

Chester, New Jersey and Corn Neck Road, Block Island


To: the Editor—

I would like to extend my greatest thanks to Steve Land and Ken Lacoste for pulling our sailboat off the beach last weekend.

While the boat had survived the summer and fall storms, the mooring line broke during high winds last weekend and the boat went aground. The boat suffered very little damage due to their quick thinking and dedication.

Sven Risom

Corn Neck Road