Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:00pm

The Block Island Medical Center

To the Editor: 

I am writing in to sing the praises of RNP Liz Dyer. In the years that she has worked on island as a medical provider, she has become a friend and an invaluable member of our community. Her patience, kindness, compassion and level of care is unparalleled. She has repeatedly proven her love for this island and commitment to providing exemplary care to those who live, work, and vacation here through her hard work and dedication. 

The decision to terminate Liz’s position at the Medical Center brings me great sorrow. Her contributions to our community will be greatly missed. 

To Liz, I wish to say thank you for all you have done for my family and fellow islanders. You have made a difference. We will miss you dearly. 

Aisha Wilson,

Beach Ave, Block Island


To the Editor:

My family is profoundly affected by the termination of NP Liz Dyer. We were not patients of the Medical Center, despite having lived here for 27 years, until I met NP Dyer, during an urgent care visit eight years ago. She saw my daughter for a visit a few weeks later, it was apparent she provided thorough and attentive care. It was at that visit she suggested that she could be our family’s primary care provider and have our records switched to the Medical Center. I filled out the appropriate forms that same day and NP Dyer and the Medical Center has been providing care to my family since then. Last fall, I showed up at the Medical Center, having exhausted all other avenues for a behavioral issue for a family member. In one visit, NP Dyer was able to resolve the issue after numerous attempts on my part to seek support from other providers. Our family was at the doors again of the Medical Center a few weeks ago after my first call to rescue delivered us efficiently to NP Dyer and Nurse Closter.

I sit here thinking about that night that I called the rescue. It was clear, that night, everyone was working together to care for my family. The Rescue Squad communicated well and were professional and caring. They treated each other with respect as well as coordinating with NP Dyer. 

It leaves me pondering what could be so horrific that it would constitute the immediate termination of an eight-year, well-respected and relied-upon employee? Also worth mentioning, the harsh, aggressive, unnecessary and empty press release lacking any respect or integrity, it seemed more like an attack than a press release. 

Come to find out, we, taxpayers, patients and community members will never know. In fact, as I heard from a board member, personnel files are sealed to the board and they simply supported Dr. Clark’s decision. As I inquired further, apparently Dr. Clark is CEO, doctor, Director, and has a vote on the board. This leaves a taxpayer to think, does one person really need all that control? If so, why have a board? Where are the checks and balances on this position? Most importantly, why would the Board support such a bold move when the doctor making the choice has himself sent in his resignation? I would think at that point the Board should take over all major decisions that affect the future of the Medical Center with a keen eye, since he is not part of the future of the Medical Center and the community? This action leaves Dyer’s patients at risk and the Medical Center vulnerable and weakened at the start of our busy season. 

I have also enjoyed the care of Dr. Clark. I was saddened by his resignation. I have been comforted by the growth of the Medical Center, first since NP Dyer joined the staff and years later when Dr. Clark joined. However, it is clear with multiple resignations and now terminations that the Medical Center is struggling again. This would clearly be the responsibility of the CEO, Director, and the Board.

I am not comforted by Dr. Clark’s statement that he released, titled “Changes at the Medical Center” which seems a bit mild considering the turmoil at the Medical Center. The statement goes on to say “we are committed to ensuring the continued, highest quality, urgent and primary care for you and your families, without interruption.” I am additionally leary at the thought of firing an eight-year employee and a foundational member, that care can continue care without interruption.  

I am requesting the NP Dyer be reinstated immediately and that a full third party review be conducted. I would also suggest that when replacing the doctor position that the roles are redefined and the checks and balances are strengthened.

Lastly, that outside support be provided to the entire staff as it is clear they have now been traumatized by this extreme upheaval. 

My children are asking me what happened and why was she fired? Sadly, I have no words for them. 


Jill Seppa

Block Island


To the Editor:

I was saddened to hear of Dr. Clark’s recent resignation. I am, however, devastated to hear of Liz Dyer’s termination. My son was in medical crisis last month. At 6:45 a.m., Liz responded to my frantic text and met us at the Medical Center. She was able to gain my son’s trust (which is not easily done), and helped comfort him with her dynamic personality.  

I hear there are other resignations resulting from this. From a high level, it doesn’t require a lot of brain power to surmise what is going on.   

While there were many good changes that occurred under Dr. Mark Clark’s brief time, the changes occurred because of the team — not solely Dr Clark. Now, Dr. Clark is leaving and is systemically dismantling our Medical Center. While Dr. Clark is a wonderful doctor, it appears to me he is not acting with the best interests of the island in mind. I would also hate to think this was a ploy to renegotiate his contract terms. Clearly, there is an agenda that does not serve the community and should not be entertained in any form.   

The Board needs immediately to reinstate Liz and support the staff. I feel an independent and transparent investigation should be conducted to determine what happened to bring on such turmoil. All of the progress made at the Medical Center appears to be in jeopardy because of Dr.Clark’s decision to fire Liz ahead of his own departure.   

My sincere thanks to Liz, Linda Closter and the Brown medical student who helped my son (and I) on a horrible day.  

Eileen Birk 

Lakeside Drive


To the Editor:

Here we go again with the doctors.

I have been on this island for more than 40 years. I practiced family medicine in the same office, same town, for more than 30 years on the mainland without having the luxury of a Medical Board of Directors. Whether I liked it or not, I practiced here on the island for a few years on my weekends off when there was no doctor. There was always a Medical Commission, now called a Medical Board of Directors — or should I say: Destructors. The board was always a problem for me. I was assessed a $10 fee to use the clinic for each patient, even though I rarely charged anyone. They wanted me to carry a radio while on call, when I didn’t want to be on call, and told not to drink alcohol when I don’t.

I finally placed a sign on my front lawn, “John Willis, MD” and saw patients at my house until my wife asked how much blood do we have to have on our dining room table before we get nervous.

When I went to the clinic, my only saving grace was Linda Closter, a sister of mercy on all accounts. A park should be named after her. She would ask me to see a few patients on a Friday night, then make us dinner after. I eventually would only see patients if the Chief of Police called me directly — and he did on many occasions — and he would then personally bring me to their houses on a snowy night. I understand that a lot has changed out here since then. Sure, a ritual rotation of qualified, dedicated doctors, run out at the mercy of, you got it, the Medical Board of Directors. There were so many I lost count and it continues today.

Today, I lost my doctor, Liz Dyer, who happened to be a nurse caring for a doctor and she was great. Liz Dyer saved my life on a snowy January night just a few years ago and she wasn’t even on the island at the time — no doctor was. I told her I had a ruptured appendix, which came on after an agonizing afternoon of abdominal pain. She was able to immediately arrange safe transport off the island for me, since bad weather was setting in. I did not go to the clinic first, since there wasn’t enough time; yet Liz was criticized for not sending me there, where I might have died. 

My point being, to the Block Island Board of Directors, find a doctor and leave him or her alone. Making a doctor the CEO doesn’t work. If there is something wrong with a doctor people will just avoid them and they will self-destruct. The firing of Liz Dyer is just another terrible blemish on our Medical Center.

The Medical Board of Directors should be abolished.

John Willis MD.

Beacon Hollow Farm


To the Editor:

The dismissal of Elizabeth Dyer from the Block Island Medical Center is unconscionable, a travesty, and a tragic loss for the entire Block Island community.

“You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

For shame.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Old Town Road

Tales of the island

To the Editor:

The Block Island Yacht Club was pleased by the response to our announcement of the 2019 BIYC Creative Writing Contest. There were six students who expressed an interest in participating and five stories were submitted and approved to be judged under the contest rules. On behalf of the Flag Officers and Membership of the BIYC, Will Young, BIYC Project Director and I thank those students and the three BIYC judges for their efforts.

In addition, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to BIYC Members Margie Bucheit and Bill Ohley for their sponsorship of this contest, Cathy Giard, B. I. School Guidance Counselor, and Nancy Greenaway (English Teacher at the B.I. School) for their active support of this event.

We thank Lars Trodson of The BIock Island Times and his staff for the support of the The B.I. Times.

The BIYC is proud to announce the results, the story names, the authors and the awards:

First Place: “Lost at Sea,” Moira O’Neill 

Second Place: “The Lone Survivor,” Ruby Crawford.       

Third Place: “The Cooper’s Trip to Block Island,” Tim Connor. 

Honorable Mention: “Grey Brothers,” Savannah Brown.   

Honorable Mention: “Legends and Myths from Sea to Shining Sea.” Lydia Johnson.

In addition, the first and second place stories will be published in The Block Island Times at some future date to be determined. The awards were distributed to the contestants at the school on May 22 during an intermission in the school musical program. We look forward to the BIYC 2020 Creative Writing Contest.


Will Young, BIYC Contest Director

Jim Fiorato, BIYC Contest Administrator

BIYC Officers: Commodore: Ray Torrey; Vice Commodore: Jim Fiorato; Rear Commodore: Bob Krusewski; Fleet Captain: Julia Dunne

Shout out to the volunteers

To the Editor:

On Memorial Day, my wife Lauren and I had the great fortune of meeting several members of the Block Island Rescue Squad: Julie, Tracy, Clair, Tom, and Mary. I also said hello and thanked Chip and Steve  of the New Shoreham Police Department. Lauren was out running and took a spill on Corn Neck. She called me (audibly shaken and hurt). I, in turn, panicked, called everyone but the Postmaster, and sped down Corn Neck at 25 m.p.h. until I found her by Scotch Beach.

Thank you to Dispatcher Smith, and to the many folks I mentioned above. I know what it is like to live in a community that relies on emergency service volunteers, and I am grateful that New Shoreham has such dedicated and qualified responders. Lauren is limping today but nothing is broken, though she is also embarrassed that so many had to stop their day to tend to her.

We both are enormously grateful. 

Rich and Lauren Payne

Corn Neck Road

A sincere ‘thank you’

To the Editor:

The sun was shining and throngs came out to the Bake, Book and Bloom fundraiser to support our wonderful Island Free Library.

The plants provided by Clark Farms were glorious. Many thanks to all the bakers who provided so many delicious treats. Hats off to the URI Master Gardeners who once again answered our questions and tested soil. And of course, there were tons of interesting books to be bought.

The Silent Auction this year was very successful due to the generosity of the following Block Island businesses: 1661 Inn, Adrift, Aldo’s Restaurant, Aldo's Bakery, Anita Miller, Atlantic Inn Restaurant, The Block Island Times, Beachhead Restaurant, Bethany’s Airport Diner, B.I. Ocean Adventure, B.I. Oyster Bar, B.I. Cookie Company, B.I. Pizza, B.I. Reservations, BITs, B.I. Sports Shop, B.I. Trading Company, Blocks of Fudge, Cameron Greenlee, Gerard Closset, Club Soda, Comings Family, Darius Inn, Diamondblue Surf Shop, East of the River Nile, Eli’s Restaurant, Ernie’s Restaurant, Golddiggers’s Jewelry, Glass Onion, Hassinger Family, Ice Cream Place, Interstate Navigation Co., Island Bound, Island Hardware, Jennifer's Jewelry, Jessie Edwards, Kate Bird, Kimberly’s Restaurant, Lazy Fish, Leslie Hartnett, Lisa Sprague, Los Gatitos, Lynn Brown, M & C Gas Station, Mahoney’s, Marye-Kelley, McAloon’s Restaurant, Mutt Hut, New England Airlines, North Light Fibers, Old Harbor Takeout, Old Post Office Bagel Shop, Persephone’s, Photo Dog, Poor People’s Pub, Red Right Return, Salt Hair Shop, Salty Dog/Peppered Cat, Sea Breeze Inn, Smitty’s Ice Cream, Solstice, Star Department Store, Spring House Restaurant, Strings & Things, The National Hotel, The Oar, Three Sisters, Tiger Fish, Traveling Seamstress, True North, Wave, and Winfield’s. From the mainland, Champlin’s Seafood and the seafood market on the wharf provided gift certificates. Interstate Navigation also provided the transportation for the Clark Farms’ truck.

As always, many Friends helped with the event during the planning stages and on the big day. The staff of the Library provided invaluable assistance. And of course, there were all the people who came to enjoy the event and contributed to its success.

To all of you, the Friends of the Island Free Library extend our sincere thanks.

Mary Sue Record, President

Friends of the Island Free Library

A little landscaping, please

To the Editor:

At last a near-perfect Memorial Day Weekend! Visitors and islanders alike flocked to Mohegan Trail to view the work in progress at the Southeast Lighthouse. As described in The Block Island Times a few weeks ago, another $1 million is being spent to enhance this jewel. But what does one see from the road? Closest to the road is a rusty World War II-era chain link security fence, behind that a row of unkempt bushes and vines. For the last few summers, behind the bushes, a large food truck with several umbrella tables. All of these obstructing the view of this architectural masterpiece. For a tiny fraction of the monies being spent, the keepers of the light could remove the fence and bushes and replaced them with a white picket fence as per the original and banish the food truck to a more remote part of the property.

We need to take pride and properly take care of this magnificent structure that we have taken 30 years and millions of dollars to save.

Steve McQueeny

High Street

Supporting Ms. Gutierrez

To the Editor:

I want to publicly add my voice to the school and community support for Marsha Gutierrez. Although it looks like the legal facts of her case will play out in the court system, these are the facts as I understand them.

Marsha’s last three year contract covered the years 2014-2017, was approved unanimously by the School Committee, and included the health care benefits currently being denied. The meeting minutes show that at the May 15, 2017 School Committee meeting, another unanimous vote of the School Committee approved a one year extension of Marsha’s contract with no change in benefits. She was not informed before the required deadline of May 30, 2018 that the School Committee wished to renegotiate her contract for the 2018-2019 school year. Consequently, Marsha’s 2017-2018 contract rolled over for 2018-2019. She stayed for a final year only to assist with a transition to a new superintendent. After 36 years of steadfast service, Marsha is due her contracted benefits legally, ethically and morally.

Susan Gibbons

Voter, taxpayer and Block Island School teacher