To the Editor:
In last week’s cover story titled “Vehicle congestion a topic of discussion” (Block Island Times, Sept. 15), I was quoted as saying “There are more problems down there than just the taxi stands. There are new businesses down there, lots of new businesses, a lot of cars, a lot of taxis”, while also referencing the location of the town boat launch ramp that’s located there.
That is an accurate quotation, attribution, and reference.
The following paragraph containing two quotes regarding expansion, Weldon’s Way, quality of life, and tourists was incorrectly attributed to me. Those points were expressed by Noami Kerest, and the quotes should have been attributed to her, as in the subsequent paragraph that was appropriately attributed.
The point that I was making, which was not cited by the reporter, was that the Town Council should not be considering two designated parking spaces as a standalone topic but rather should be taking the winter to develop a more thorough approach to traffic management for the entire New Harbor area to include passenger cars, commercial vehicles, taxis, mopeds, pedestrians, and parking.
A heartfelt thank you
To the Editor:
The family of John Henry Tripler would like to thank the many people who attended his benefit at Capt. Nick's on Sept. 1 and those who responded to the Go Fund Me campaign online. Your love, kindness and generosity was and is humbling and overwhelming. John Henry had a wonderful time at his party; in fact, we haven't seen him smiling and laughing so much in many months. We hope everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves just as much as JH did.
We would like to especially thank Dominic Nardini, and Marc and Katie Scortino, for coordinating the benefit; they had a date and plans roughed out within minutes; to the Booze Beggars, Kelly Walsh, and Rob Davis, thanks for entertaining us non-stop for hours; to Sven Risom, thank you for coordinating the indoor raffle and auction, keeping accounts organized and your tireless promotion of the event; to all the cooks, bartenders, servers and bussers, thank you for working doubletime to keep all the guests fed and watered; to Perry Phillips for donating and shucking his delicious oysters; to Rich and Pattie Trethaway for being the first friendly faces at the door accepting donations. Thank you to all the merchants and individuals who contributed such a fabulous array of items for the silent auction; they were beautiful! Also, thank you to the folks at Washington Trust who helped walk us through the maze of benefit accounts.
As we go forward on our ALS journey with John Henry, we are now much more confident we will be able to safely care for him in his home where he wants to remain for as long as possible.
Thank you all, once again. The Block Island community is truly caring, concerned and compassionate.
For the family,
Emily J. Tripler (daughter)
Judy Tripler Katz (sister)
History of the herd
To the Editor:
I want to supply some history and perspective to augment the editorial in the Sept. 15 issue of The Block Island Times, “Reducing the herd.”
Decades ago, there was great concern about the proliferation of deer on the island and the consequent, alarming increase in Lyme disease in residents and visitors alike. At least three committees under different names were appointed over the years to try to solve the problem. At least once, the town council in office at the time voted to eliminate the deer herd, but there was no follow-through. Finally, after doing extensive research and gaining support from the community, a group called Citizens Concerned about Lyme disease persuaded the council to act.
At that time, The Block Island Times was instrumental in educating the public about the life cycle of the tick that carries the spirochete bacterium that causes Lyme disease, and how both small animals like mice and large, warm-blooded mammals such as deer are necessary for the cycle to continue. While it is obviously not feasible to eliminate the mice, it has been shown that eliminating the deer herd does do away with Lyme disease. No deer, no Lyme disease. It should be noted that other diseases carried by ticks, such as babesiosis and erlichiosis, are of equal or greater concern as public health issues on Block Island and elsewhere.
When the council established the latest such group, the Deer Task Force, the charge was to find ways to “drastically reduce” the herd. The task force was not instructed to discuss again whether or not the herd should be reduced to near-eradication nor did its stated mission include maintaining a healthy herd. It should be obvious that a healthy herd ensures unhealthy residents and visitors.
After much discussion, the White Buffalo company was hired to cull the deer herd to a level that could not sustain a tick population. It is not clear why White Buffalo failed so badly here in doing what it had successfully done in other locales.
I understand the position of some residents who do not wish to get rid of the herd because they object to killing such appealing animals. I won’t rehearse the counter-arguments about the deer not being indigenous or hardly an endangered species because we’ve been through all this before. For my part, I object to the needless killing of animals and the killing of people for any reason. The terrible and long-lasting health problems that tick-borne diseases cause, especially in children and older people, lead me to favor humans over deer.
Perhaps we need another deer count, although the number doesn’t really matter if any sizable number is too many. Perhaps we need to discuss the interests of hunters, and the interests of people who live and visit here, with the Department of Environental Management. What is clear is that we have to do something and nothing is being done now to rid the island of this scourge.
Movie Nights on the Beach
To the Editor:
This summer saw the official launch of Soundwaves, a weekly event featuring experimental art, music and movies every Tuesday evening at the Fred Benson Town Beach Pavilion. The event’s goal has been to provide islanders and travelers with a free and unique outdoor experience to enjoy with friends and family. Its major draw has been Movie Nights on the Beach, where attendees are invited to watch a classic movie through a state-of-the-art projection screen and sound system. They’ve been a great success, and I plan to continue movie nights every Tuesday (weather permitting) throughout the fall (and beyond?).
I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped make Soundwaves a reality.
First, to my partner/wife/super-love-deluxe Meg Vitacco, whose one-of-a-kind personality can be seen on every email, sign and online post promoting the event, felt in every movie choice and decision I make: everything you do inspires me to be a better person. Thanks to Shannon Tramontana, for conceiving and rigging up the perfect screen installation method; and to Dave Sniffen and Cindy Lemon of the Recreation Department for their unwavering support from the very beginning and for lending me the perfect platform to hold these events.
Thank you Kristin Baumann and the staff at the Island Free Library for letting me rent the projector for absurd lengths of time. I literally could not put on movie nights without you! Thank you Tamzen Mazzur and Kari Curtis at The Block Island Times for your ongoing support and promotion in the newspaper.
A very special thanks goes to Jill Seppa, Eileen Miller, and the Wellness Coalition for their recent sponsorship. I am committed to bringing more healthy and positive influences into our community, for all ages and walks of life, and your donation will help me continue movie nights while bringing new ideas, like interactive media events and night yoga, to fruition. It will also help cover a portion of the movie licensing and equipment upgrade debt I have accumulated over the summer. It’s been a costly and rewarding personal venture, and I’m truly grateful for your generosity.
Finally, I’d like to thank anyone that’s ever attended a Soundwaves event: your support and personal donations kept movie nights alive all summer, and justify that what I’m setting out to do — to bring people, nature and technology together in interesting ways that complement each other — is appreciated and worthwhile.