Letters to the Editor

Thu, 02/18/2021 - 5:45pm

Thank you to the community

To the Editor,

I would like to thank all those who came to my aid following my recent surgery. First to Doctor Warcup, who detected the need for heart specialists to move into action. To the surgeons and professionals at Rhode Island Hospital who expertly performed the necessary open heart surgery and the staff that saw me through the early stages of recovery.

I thank all those who sent well wishes and cards urging a speedy recovery, in particular to the island pastors; Father Joe, Pastor Peter and the Reverend Eletha who asked their congregations to pray for a safe recovery. Where else but on Block Island?! God answers prayers!

To my family who, unable to visit because of the pandemic, stood by my side and stayed with me upon my return shortly after Christmas until I could take care of myself.

A big thank you to South County Home Health who recently approved and funded the presence of an island based home care nurse – such a welcome addition for home bound patients! Welcome Sarah Mott!

I am back on the island feeling great. I recently received more good news; commensurate with my age and medical condition I have been scheduled for my first shot for the virus. I look forward to the day when we all return to some semblance of normalcy.

Steve McQueeny
High Street


Lee Greenberg – a reminiscence

To the Editor,

On many summer afternoons when we were both on the island, Peter O’Connell and I walked from Mansion to State Beach and back. As we approached the beach pavilion, we would begin to scan for Lee Greenberg’s blue striped cabana. If she was “in residence” we were delighted to stop by to chat. Lee had known Peter since he was a boy. He is now a grandfather. I was a much more recent acquaintance. She was curious about us and our families. She was funny, smart, irreverent and charming. She regaled us with amazing stories, for instance the winter when she swapped houses with Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd. They lived in her Westport home while she and her family spent the winter skiing at their house in Switzerland. She also recalled that she and her husband Nat came close to persuading Paul Newman to buy the land that later became Rodman’s Hollow. His agent objected because, by that time he was primarily working in Hollywood.

After her one-hundredth birthday, Lee was too frail to come to the island. Peter and I were aware of that but nevertheless we would still scan the beach each time we walked, hoping that, by some fluke, we would see her one last time.

Harvey Waxman

Southwest Point Road


Questions on Champlin’s expansion decision

To the Editor,

Champlin’s Marina. How did it go from a “denied marina expansion application proposal” to “it is a done deal with no appeal?”

The most recent event in this saga was a final decision by the Superior Court denying Champlin’s appeal of two separate CRMC denials of their 2003 marina expansion proposal application to extend their docks 240 feet out into the Great Salt Pond. The Providence Journal headline: “Block Island marina expansion suffers potentially fatal setback” one year ago, seemed to make it clear that Champlin’s 17-year quest to almost double the size of their marina had come to an end. And yet, just last month, the Committee for the Great Salt Pond, the Town, and the other parties in opposition were notified that not only had Champlin’s and the CRMC secretly worked out a deal for a two-thirds size marina expansion, but also that the new plan was submitted to, and approved by, the full CRMC in a closed-door meeting. No one really knows what happened because the minutes of that meeting are sealed.

Typically, when a marina in the state of Rhode Island has an application for a marina expansion proposal denied, they go back to the drawing board, taking note the reasons for the denial, and then they reapply with a new proposal which is smaller, has less impact on navigation, the environment, and other public uses of the waterway. That application stands on its own merits and after public hearings, and if it meets the criteria for marina expansion approval under the CRMC regulations, it has a good chance to get a CRMC assent. If not, they need to try again until they finally propose a marina expansion plan which is permittable.

So how did Champlin’s bypass this process? Is the CRMC really that corrupt? One would certainly hope not! Block Island is fortunate to have town leadership and dedicated environmental organizations that have the wherewithal to fight back, and bring this issue to the RI Attorney General who is now investigating exactly who was involved in this unlawful process.

Hopefully, all of this will result in the CRMC rescinding their new Champlin’s marina expansion approval, and a complete overhaul of the CRMC including the removal of the members and their counsel who thought it was okay to reverse their two previous Champlin’s marina expansion denial decisions without public notice.

Henry duPont
Beacon Hill, Block Island


Thanks to all who participated in Oyster fundraiser

To the Editor:

This letter is late this year as we were in discussions with Orsted regarding any supplemental assistance they could provide for our traditional Thanksgiving oyster donation fund raiser for Block Island non-profits. They will be announcing their donation to this cause. We rescheduled the fund raiser to Christmas and I am happy to report that we raised $1,451 in a little over two hours. That’s about 3,300 oysters! The Block Island Historical Society received the $50 prize for the most creative donation container. With Orsted’s assistance, this year will have provided the most funding in our 13-year history of this effort. Several people donated funds that we have used to help those who cannot afford oysters and to put towards the non-profits. A little can go a long way.

Good job and thank you to everyone who participated. See you next year. Bon appétit!


Christopher Warfel
Sun Farm Oysters, LLC


Island locals deserve respect and affordable housing

To the Editor,

I’ve known this island for 32 years at this point. And in that time, I have consistently seen island locals (who are the backbone of the economy, and the island) suffer and compromise when it comes to safe, affordable housing.

At no point in that time have I not heard about folks struggling to find safe, affordable, and reasonable housing. Families crowded into one bedroom apartments without heat, summer workers living in close quarters without bathrooms, folks living in tents, cars, and on boats (sometimes year round) to make it all work.

The housing struggle here impacts the success of this island consistently. Each year valued members of the community move off island to breathe easier and have affordable housing.

And it’s not that folks don’t work hard... The backbone of this community works anywhere from 40 to 90 hours a week year round, in the hot sun, in the cold winter, without sick or vacation pay. The problem truly is that there isn’t affordable housing. Anything that exists has miles long wait lists, despite the fact that most year-round housing just isn’t adequate for those renting it.

For anyone to chastise a housing development shows a deep ignorance for the pulse of this community — the very same community that builds the houses, mows the lawns, keeps the grocery open, serves you dinner, helps you when you’re sick or injured, helps you get here, takes care of your children, and more.

To not give that community the deep respect it deserves — given their constant struggle for sustainable, adequate, affordable housing — shows a lack of humanity, and understanding that just isn’t found in this community normally.

I hope that in years to come, every member of the workforce on island is able to have adequate homes that everyone deserves.

Eli Holmes
Block Island RI