Thu, 03/26/2020 - 5:15pm

Thanks for making us more secure

To the Editor:

A big thanks to the Block Island Grocery store for opening early for us senior citizens to shop. My husband used this service this morning and it works like a charm. Folks had plenty of room to keep a six-foot distance, even at the check out line. I hate getting up early, but this way of shopping worked so well I plan to use it during the coming weeks!

We are all in this together, so thanks again for helping us feel more secure as we shop for needed groceries.


Margie Comings

Pilot Hill Road


More amazing island women

To the Editor:

First and most important, thank you so much for printing the amazing series of outstanding Block Island women. I’ve known these women for years and it never occurred to me there were so many. It caused me to think about the realty industry out here. All real estate offices are owned and operated by women. Most agents are women, as well. I hope in your newspaper work you will remember more. Here are a few and I am sure there are others. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. 

   1. Joan Abrams. Here’s a woman who developed an enormous enterprise from scratch. Thanks to her, the Block Island lodging and restaurant business is thriving. 

   2. Edie Littlefield Blane. It would be difficult to list all her accomplishments. Town Clerk, Town Councilor, founder of Offshore Properties. As Town Clerk, she revolutionized its operation

   3. Bethany Campbell. There’s only one person on island who produces breakfasts and lunches 363 days a year — for years. Excellent institution and fine food. 

   4. Linda Closter. She is the all-time anchor at the Medical Center. Dr. Lenz, here after a 20 plus year career in the Navy, said "the best nurse I have ever known.” Always there for us. 

   5. Mary Donnelly. She is the only person I’ve ever known for which there are no words in the dictionary to describe her. The best I can do is "legendary.” If only we all could accomplish as much as she has. 

   6. Marguerite Donnelly. Not only is she the best caregiver, she will also insure that the Mary D. Fund will continue. 

   7. Rita Draper. Rita is one of the biggest reasons her mother, Joan Abrams, succeeded. Rita continues to improve what her mother established. And, her sons are significantly involved, as well. Three generations! Rita also has given valuable time to public service. 

   8. Catherine " Caty" Littlefield (1755-1814). Born on the island, no schools then, she left the island for schooling and married Nathaniel Greene. He became a Major General, George Washington’s number one man. Greene is  the reason we won the Revolution and Caty had a big part to play. Read "Caty," which is available at Island Bound Book Store. 

   9. Kimberly Ward. This woman learned well from Joan Abrams. Kim has formed an extensive restaurant and catering business anyone would be proud of. 

Please think of other prominent Block Island women and let The Block Island Times know. 

Peter Greenman

Center Road


The Easter Bunny will miss you

To the Editor:

An open letter from the Easter Bunny:

To my esteemed and beloved friends on Block Island:

First, I hop (sorry... hope) that this finds each of you taking care of yourselves, and listening to whomever is trying to keep you healthy and safe during this unprecedented spring season. (How do you do it with such small ears?)

I would imagine that you take directions from your Bunny Council? You probably call it a Town Council. Or, maybe you get directions from Doc “Thumper” Clark, or Chief “Cotton Tail” Carlone? It is super important to listen to them!

My R.I.C. — Rabbit In Charge — called today. I answered the phone as I always do: “What’s up, doc?” He advised me that I, the Easter Bunny, must also self-quarantine. I’ve been asked not to hippity hop anywhere... including Block Island. I was told that I needed to burrow down into my freshly grass-lined den. As disappointed as I am, I look forward to spending time with my doe (that’s what a female rabbit is called) and my kits. (You guessed it, that’s what we call baby rabbits.) I will do this until I am told that it is once again safe to hop about. And it will be!

Just because you don’t find colorful treats at your door this year does not mean that I have forgotten you. I am only trying to keep you safe, and to follow the rules.

Please accept my best wishes for a happy Easter. Enjoy, and be kind to one another, and know that I love you.


E. Bunny

Somewhere out there


A recommendation

The following was sent to the Block Island Town Council and copied to The Block Island Times:

To the Editor:

Relative to my request to the Town Council dated March 22, 2020, I ask the Town Council to further amend the Emergency Ordinance of the Town of New Shoreham regarding COVID-19, specifically Item 7, or as an additional item. I believe this applies to Class A licenses in the ordinance:

Non-restaurant operations that hold a Class A liquor license within the Town of New Shoreham, shall be required to apply to become a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP — aka food stamps) retailer. Those that refuse to do so shall have their license to sell liquor, beer, wine, etc. revoked at the next license hearing or at the next meeting of the Town Council via a Show Cause Hearing. The application must be filed with the USDA no later than two weeks from the date of this amended ordinance, and proof of completion of the application and receipt by the USDA must be provided.


Projections by the United States Federal Government indicate that severe economic disruption will take place at least well into June, if not longer. Many residents on Block Island are dependent upon the tourist industry for their livelihood and could see their income greatly reduced if not eliminated. Many residents, if not all of working age, have paid to fund SNAP through their taxes. Currently, there is no grocery store that provides SNAP on Block Island. It is a fact that New Shoreham is the only town in Rhode Island to not have a SNAP provider. Therefore, those who have paid federal taxes cannot access SNAP in any reasonable manner. In addition, the Town Council’s amended ordinance relative to COVID-19, requires those who travel to the mainland to isolate upon return. Therefore, if a person goes to the mainland to use their SNAP benefits, they must, by Town ordinance, isolate. This further inhibits SNAP-eligible recipients to benefit from SNAP. Furthermore, the USDA is considering granting greater access to SNAP. If we have an increasing population that needs to access SNAP, the status quo only further bates the economic dilemma faced by those who qualify for SNAP, but cannot reasonably access SNAP.

There is a moral character clause in the granting of licenses. If a grocery store, which is also the holder of a non-restaurant liquor license, cannot see their way clear to apply as a SNAP provider in this community, I would argue they lack the moral character to sell liquor. What’s the equating factor? Food is essential to a person’s health and life, liquor is not. If the store has to choose between liquor or food, I am certain they would choose to sell both if possible. Amending the ordinance as requested will allow the store to continue to do both. Otherwise, they can make a decision as to what is more important: the income-affected community’s ability to get affordable groceries, or their alcohol sales. It’s past time. It’s their choice.

Christopher Warfel

High Street


Care and support

To the Editor: 

I want to personally thank U.S. Congressmen David Cicilline and James Langevin, and U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse for their leadership in this time of crisis from COVID-19 and for working quickly to address issues that our elderly and those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia face now by approving legislation to provide them with the support and care they need in the community, including the Coronavirus Relief for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act. 

I want to further thank our Congressional delegation for their continued support for legislation and appropriations such as passing the BOLD Act, the Older Americans Act, funding $350 million for research through the National Institute of Health, and other actions that will help us continue our mission of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

Recent data shows that Alzheimer’s is now the fourth leading cause of death in Rhode Island, and our daily fight against this disease does not end. We appreciate all you have done so far and are fully supportive of your continued commitment to make these issues a priority in Congress.  

Eric Creamer

Director of Public Policy,  Alzheimer's Association Rhode Island Chapter