Thank you, Rescue Squad
To the Editor:
One night in early June of this year, my father passed away on Block Island.
My daughter and her friends were visiting my parents at their summer home on the Island when his artificial heart pump malfunctioned and he lost consciousness. My daughter called 911 and the Block Island Rescue Squad promptly arrived at the scene. From the moment of their arrival they showed the utmost caring, compassion, and professionalism and helped my mother and daughter immensely amidst their shock at his sudden passing. Later in the summer my mother was afflicted with what turned out to be a painful kidney stone. EMS was called and the same crew showed up on the scene, again acting with kindness and skill in helping my mother at this difficult time.
We cannot thank the Block Island Rescue Squad enough for their able assistance to our family. They are a priceless community resource that we should all be proud of and support.
David Wolfe, M.D.
Off the grid, but on the ballot
To the Editor:
Do you believe that all members of the soon-to-be-elected Block Island Utility Commission should be ratepayers?
When I attended last September’s special Financial Town Meeting on the purchase of BIPCo, one of the selling points was that the ratepayers would make the decisions and control it, not the town. But first the town had to prepare legislation for the formation of a utility district that must be passed by the state legislature.
So when our ratepayer ballot arrived, I was surprised to read that non-ratepayer, Barbara MacMullan, was a candidate. It is public knowledge that she has been “off the grid” for years and is not a BIPCo customer. I attended the candidates’ forum only to find out that the 12-page town-authored legislation included language that would allow a ratepayer to assign voting rights to another individual. This loophole could technically allow all five board members to be non-ratepayers. I do not believe that ratepayers were made aware of this loophole and would not have supported this if asked.
I wrongfully assumed that Ms. MacMullan’s employer had assigned its vote to her, but I was mistaken. I was surprised to learn that it was First Warden Ken Lacoste who did so. There is no professional relationship in this instance that might justify this designation. This sleight of hand may be legal, but feels like “gaming the election,” a maneuver to allow a favored non-ratepayer to have decision making authority as a board member over the utility.
Candidates MacMullan, Bill Penn, and Everett Shorey have been the core members of the Electricity Utility Task Group (EUTG) for over eight years. During that time I attended many of their meetings and carefully followed their agendas. It was evident that their blind, unconditional support for Deepwater Wind going forward took precedence. Here are six clear indicators of why I believe the people were not served well:
They promised major reductions in electricity costs up to 40 percent. Take a look at your July 2017 bill. It’s about the same as July 2016.
They did not encourage/recommend to the Council to negotiate for the following: free electricity; long overdue, well documented, at least $4 million upgrade to the distribution system; appropriate remuneration for the access at Town Beach that was at least commensurate with what Deepwater Wind offered to Narragansett.; a multi-million dollar contribution for Phase 1 of broadband that would connect our community facilities such as Town Hall, the School, the Medical Center and the Library.
They led people to believe that Block Island would be “green,” running totally on electricity from the Wind Farm. That is not the case. The electricity from the Wind Farm flows to a substation on the Island and then it flows from the substation to the mainland via the cable. National Grid is paying Deepwater Wind 24.4 cents per kwH, initially. The Island is receiving its electricity from the mainland through the same cable at a purchase price of 3.5 cents per kw from Shell Energy via the ISO.
I believe these are substantive issues that profoundly demonstrate that it is time for a change.
There will be plenty of opportunities for interested, non-ratepayers such as MacMullan, and ratepayers such as Penn and Shorey to provide input and participate in other ways and in other settings.
We have a very capable administrator in Jeffery Wright who has current and pertinent experience to move the new utility district forward. We need to support him in this endeavor by voting for candidates that will put the ratepayers first.
More on the dinghy dock
To the Editor:
My wife and I recently enjoyed our annual summer sail to your island. We’ve come to love our yearly visit to Block Island and the features and amenities that it offers.
Our first sail to the island was in the summer of 1975. We have photos of the Salt Pond with very few boats present on what was a beautiful day in the first week of August. What an amazing difference to a visit it at the same time today.
We began taking our children in the early 90s, and today we include their respective spouses. We look forward to sharing the experience of Block Island with our grandchildren, currently just toddlers.
As a cruising boater that enjoys visiting interesting harbors and waterfront towns, we always face the challenge of taking the dinghy ashore, finding a place to tie it up where there’s access to walkways or roads, finding available freshwater and a place to dispose of trash and recyclables.
Just like many of the other boaters that visit your island, we enjoy trying the many restaurants there. Over the years we have enjoyed so many of the different eateries.
My wife and I remember going to Dead Eye Dick’s in the 1970s. At that time, men were required to wear sportjackets. Things have changed!
The dinghy dock at the Boat Basin has always been our tie-up spot for our dinghy. It has always been, for the most part, the preferred option affording us an easy walk to town as well as the convenience of the Basin’s store for ice, milk, bottled water, etc.
I understand that things are changing and the Boat Basin has decided to limit the size of the dinghy area. We read the story in The Block Island Times while visiting the Island in early August. We actually attended the Town Council Work Session on Aug. 2 to hear the discussion. As you know, the topic was not raised that evening.
We spoke with your Harbormaster, Steve Land, whom we found to be very competent. He, along with his staff, do a fine job. His process for assigning private moorings each day alleviates much frustration, gives the late day-arriving transients another option and also generates an obviously strong, daily revenue stream.
I urge the Town Council to proceed with the exploration of a concept plan for the Harbors Facility to include dinghy dock access and refuse disposal.
The need is evident.
Alton & Jackie Evans
S/V Soft Rocker
Atlantic Highlands, N.J.