Letters, Nov. 11, 2011
To: the Editor—
I'm just back from Washington, D.C., and the trip was definitely worthwhile. The Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and National Wildlife Federation had got together with a number of other environmental groups and recruited people who had worked with them before on conservation lobbying.
We had a "sherpa", who was a young woman who had spent two and half years on the Hill for Defenders. She made the appointments for the Rhode Island delegation and escorted us. Rhode Island had three people out of the total of 15.
We also had a backup staff of 40 that we had worked with the day before. We actually talked to the whole state delegation as well as their staff, and got double dips with Senators Whitehouse and Reed. Senator Reed is particularly important as he is chair of the Environment Subcommittee of the Budget Committee. We saw the senators and their staffs twice because we cornered them when they were there for a press conference on taxing the oil companies. We were particularly impressed by the amount of time Senator Whitehouse gave us.
The state is very lucky in having four people we can in good faith vote for. We knew we were preaching to the choir, but our goal was to give them ammunition they could use in talking with their Republican colleagues. In particular, we gave facts and figures on how fishing, hunting and tourism are money and jobs producers, and on how endangered species attract money.
The funding Congress now gives to all wildlife programs is about 0.03 percent of the federal budget and is "chump change," but a bill now up before the House is based on not believing in endangered species or climate change. The House even zeroed out the Neo-tropical Migratory Bird Act, which funds, with a few million dollars, programs for bird habitats from Alaska to Patagonia. Some of these birds stop on Block Island in their trips. We noted that the multiplier effect on the island has been strong with U.S. Fish and Wildlife cooperating with the state Department of Environmental Management, The Nature Conservancy, Block Island Conservancy, Block Island Land Trust and the Audubon Society. Statewide, the figure is 1:6.25 in value added from wildlife grants.
This is a classic conservation issue that traditional Republicans should support. Communicate to whomever you wish how important this small amount of the federal budget is.
To: the Editor—
While taking a walk to get some much needed exercise I happened to notice a mother deer with her baby standing in a clearing. The two of them looked so innocent. Neither of them seemed afraid of me as I came closer. They probably didn't feel threatened by my presence. I didn't have a bow and arrow or a gun with me, and I wasn't afraid of them either.
Although I know about the dangers of deer running in front of cars and causing damage (and sometimes injury and death) and the fact that they eat natural plants for nourishment and strength, I can't find it in my heart to want to kill one because they don't fit into my ideal conditions.
If the herd needs to be thinned, I am glad it is not my responsibility to do so. For those hunters that enjoy the sport, I simply ask that you never leave a deer behind, especially before the bleeding has stopped.
West Side Road
To: the Editor—
The pots and pans are washed (those borrowed — thank you — have been returned to their owners, if you’re still missing your pie plate let us know). The turkey carcasses have gone to soup, the chairs and tables are back in storage. The Harbor Church Roll Call Dinner is behind us for another year.
Thanks to all who participated, too many to list: the turkey and pie bakers, the businesses that lent us storage and kitchen space and donated and/or facilitated the purchase of food. Thanks to the students who were our wait staff, the folks who peeled, cut, cooked, carved and served, to those who kept cheerful order among the waiting, to those who set up and broke down, to all who helped.
We would be hard pressed to continue this tradition without the participation of so many members of the community, of all faiths. Most of all, thanks to all who came to eat and displayed the extraordinary generosity that always make the dinner a financial success.
Roll Call is a ritual of the fall that ties us to those who have gone before and points us toward God’s tomorrow. Thank you for your support.
Cheryl Blane, Roll Call Dinner Chair
Harbor Baptist Church