Letters to the Editor, September 7, 2013

Mon, 09/09/2013 - 2:00pm

To the Editor:

The story in the Aug. 31 edition of The Block Island Times entitled “Island Mopeds Now Using Synthetic Oil” does not tell the whole story. For more than 20 years (until four years ago) the Town Council each year appointed a committee for moped and bicycle safety. The primary responsibility of the committee was to reduce injuries caused by improper use of these vehicles.

A secondary aim of the committee was to look into ways to reduce the air pollution caused by the motorized mopeds and scooters. Several years ago, the entire fleet of 136 mopeds was composed only of vehicles that used two stroke engines. Two stroke engines use fuel that mixes gasoline with oil. One moped using such an engine produces many times the pollution of a single standard gas powered four stroke automobile engine which uses no oil, only gasoline as fuel.

Some years ago the moped safety committee reached a handshake agreement with the moped owner’s representative on the committee (the same John Leone pictured in your article) to phase out the two stroke model with four stroke mopeds. In fact they did just that, over a three- to four-year period. This greatly reduced the pollutants and totally eliminated the blue haze and stink of the two stroke machines.

About the same time that the transformation was completed, for reasons that were never explained, the First Warden and the then Town Council abolished the moped safety committee — that was four years ago. At present the entire fleet has been switched back to the two stroke model with predictable results. Once again “Moped Alley” and all the byways of the island, particularly on the hills, are again blue with the haze and smell. Synthetic oil does not eliminate that, only a return to the readily available four stroke model will.

Steve McQueeny

High Street

(Last chair of the Committee for Moped and Bicycle Safety)


To the Editor:

So, $40 per head to meet and greet two members of Congress. As it costs $83 million per week to fund Congress, for basically doing nothing, the morally correct thing would be (for them) to pay each one of us $40.

Just a thought.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Cooneymus Swamp Road


To the Editor:

I don’t understand why we need to put in place a surveillance system at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In the last 40 years that the plant has been in operation, how many acts of vandalism and theft have there been, and to spend up to the ridiculous amount of $4,000 to put it into place? Was it in the approved budget?

Here are some simple questions I would have posed if I had any say in the matter. What are the detailed justifications for putting a surveillance system in place besides a general statement that it “can be used to track “not just theft or vandalism but also for safety issues?” Let me see the metrics. Have there been problems in the past? What additional requirements and unintended costs will there be? Will the plant have to be illuminated more on the outside, which will detract from the beautiful night sky from which the neighbors of the plant enjoy? Additional lighting will only serve the ire of the abutting neighbors and B&B guests. Who will monitor this surveillance system? Will it be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation? Will it entail an outside contractor? Will vital machinery be monitored or is that alarm system already in place? Who will maintain the system and at what cost?

Oh, and please keep the hysteria of terrorism out of this. I mean, really? On Block Island? Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t think we’d be very high on the priority list for high valued targets.

And while I’m at it, the Sewer District should get out of the business of operating a parking lot for profit. Sell the property and stick to what you’re good at, running a sewer plant.

Bob Perry

CDR USN (Ret.)

Spring St.


To the Editor:

Last Friday evening, just before sunset, my kids and I found ourselves at Mansion Beach... with a flat tire. The parking lot was deserted and our cell phone reception was spotty. My heart sunk, since I have only ever experienced car trouble on the mainland and it can take hours for roadside assistance, especially on a holiday weekend!

Apparently that’s not the case on Block Island. Within minutes, two local contractors — Chris and Tom — showed up to help. They got to work installing our spare tire, cracked jokes that made my kids laugh, and had us on our way just before dark. They wouldn’t accept any payment, insisting that it was their pleasure to help and just asking us to “pay it forward.” I was floored by their generosity, and quite grateful for their kindness.

At 8 a.m. the next morning we went to Pete Mott, who took time from his schedule to plug our tire and put it back on our van. Within an hour, we were back to the sun and the surf. Our experience with the flat tire could have been a huge headache, but it wasn’t, thanks to the helpfulness of these men.

I just had to write to you, The Block Island Times, to remind you of what I’m sure you already know — you certainly have exceptional people on your island!

See you next summer! Thanks again.

Beth Fox Lepore (Jason, 8; Erica, 6)

Winchester, Mass.


To the Editor:

We are happy to report that we have exceeded our fundraising goal and will now be able to purchase a digital projector for the Empire Theatre. The strong support we got from people who love the Empire as much as we do was amazing. We would like to thank the hundreds of people who contributed to our fundraising campaign.

As we have been doing for the past 21 years, we will continue to bring the community first run films. Soon, we will also have the ability to project Metropolitan Opera productions, rock concerts and sporting events, maybe even playing an Xbox on a gigantic screen! If all goes as planned, we’ll be open year-round. We will keep you posted.

We look forward to the continued opportunity to refine the operation of the theatre in order that our patrons have the most enjoyable and memorable experience possible on Block Island.

Gary and Jessica Pollard

Empire Theatre