Thu, 11/21/2019 - 9:00pm

To the Editor:

The early morning breakfast roundtable (now square) at Bethany’s Airport Diner has had a major transformation. More than just the move from Ernie’s summer breakfast theater, the group has had a number of members that have moved much further. The losses of Willis Dodge, Howie Rice, and now Frank Leslie have significantly changed Bethany’s morning “breakfast table” landscape. Frank Leslie was the table patriarch and even at 94 years old, it paid to pay attention to his wisdom, his quips, and his witty remarks. He was a gentleman of gentlemen, a remark you hear quite often, but in his case it was the real thing.

Born on a barge on the Amazon River where his father’s employ brought the family, Frank told me he has been able to avoid the pirañas from the beginning. If that wasn’t enough, he then served four years on the USS Massachusetts in the Atlantic and Pacific during WWII as a bosun’s mate on the aft turret gun emplacement. His name is on a plaque aboard the ship at the Maritime Museum in Fall River.

Talk about steady habits. Not known to me to be either a smoker or drinker, he did order the same thing for breakfast every single day. He called it one, one, and one. A single egg, one slice of bacon and one piece of toast. He was a man of perfect dress, ironed and starched shirts, dress pants with a rotation of belt buckles, something not often seen here on Block Island. His daughter may have had something to do with that, especially in his later years.

It was probably a combination of his years of pristine life with his beautiful wife Dorothy and his nautical history, but Frank visited his wife in a mainland hospital for years. Traveling well-dressed every morning by ferryboat, and back again that same evening if there were boats available. Never a tear in his eye, but his love of the woman brought him to her daily, day after day, year after year until her death. Managing well as an independent individual, his last few years and days were spent on Block Island. He would be with his friends especially at 6:30 every morning at Ernie’s for the summer and Bethany’s for the winter. He was his own man with wise opinions — taking a pot shot at all of us one time or another right up until his very end just a few weeks ago. We loved him and miss him.

He unintentionally bequeathed to me a dubious distinction. I am now the oldest regular member of the “breakfast table.” Unlike Frank, but wanting to be like him, I have two, two, and two and no collared shirt, unless we are on our way to Newport.

John Willis

Beacon Hollow Farm


To the Editor:

I was appalled to read, in "Cabbies disapprove of Town Council’s jitney proposal for anti-ride sharing legislation bill,” by Cassius Shuman (Nov. 16), that Town Councilors Willi and Risom are of the opinion that the Block Island taxi business is a “monopoly.” Far from being a monopolistic, corporate-held entity, the Block Island taxis are a collection of 32 privately-held small businesses that have been under regulation by the Town of New Shoreham since 1929 (as pointed out by First Warden Lacoste).

Uber and Lyft are the would-be corporate monopolies in this debate; the Block Island taxis are individually-held and individually-run business that are all owned by Block Island residents. A “jitney,” as described in the article, would have an enormous negative effect on the livelihoods of 32 Block Island business owners and their families, as well as at least 100 taxi drivers (some of them family members) employed by these small business owners.

Fran Migliaccio

Sands Pond Road and Seattle, Wash.


To the Editor:

There has been much discussion among the management and Board of the Block Island Utility District regarding net metering and whether or not other ratepayers are subsidizing those who have net metered solar electric systems. To my knowledge, there is no credible professional study that has shown this to be true. In fact, most studies show that the value of these systems is higher than the revenue lost by the utility. Research indicates that the amount of net metering can be up to three times greater than the current three percent cap allowed on Block Island before there would be valid concerns of ratepayers being harmed.

The problem with just citing costs is that you leave out the value of the benefits. (The town made a decision to reduce the use of plastic bags and straws. Why? The cost to the businesses was deemed less of a monetary issue than the benefit of reducing waste and environmental harm.) A similar exercise needs to take place with customer generation. I’ve asked that BIUD undertake work to monetize the value of solar and other distributed generation. This is not a simple task, but if our utility is to effectively plan for the future, it really should be a major part of the planning discussion. There are funds available for such planning and BIUD should apply for these funds to help direct these important decisions with our collective long-term interests in mind.

I feel it is very wrong to restrict or penalize customer access to technologies that have significant benefit. That’s what is done in planned economies and those have shown to be less robust than reasonably regulated competitive markets or technologies.

Christopher Warfel

High Street