Thu, 04/09/2020 - 6:45pm

In support of food benefits

To the Editor:

We are writing to support the idea that the Block Island Grocery accept SNAP (food stamps) during this emergency period, and beyond as the need demands. 

Block Island has always been a community where people take care of one another in hard times, but these are extraordinary times. The entire country is experiencing massive unemployment and the island is no exception. As in most of America almost all work here is temporarily suspended, the tourist season and summer work are in question, and people living here may need assistance. Some of us who have never used SNAP may now have to in order to get enough food for our families.  

Even before the COVID-19 emergency there were elderly on fixed incomes, low wage workers, and those people reliant on the summer trade who were already under pressure to make ends meet.  Subsidized school lunches, the food pantry and the annual housing “shuffle” on Block Island attest to this fact. As the main source of food staples on the island, BIG should step up to this challenge by making it easy for people to use SNAP benefits.

Peter Kinoy and Mary Lutz

Corn Neck Road


Only on Block Island

To The Editor:

I arrived on Block Island for the first time on a Memorial Day weekend. A city boy, born and bred, I was transfixed by the human emptiness of the place and the thrill of nature all around me waking for another year. On that Monday, it rained and in company with realtor Alice Ball Barker, then somewhere in her eighties, I arranged to buy along with the four-acre lot on which it had sat for the better part of a century the wood-shingled cottage I live in now — $10,000, furniture included. The year was 1962. A long time ago.

Since then I have seen good days and bad. Mostly the former, I’m glad to report. And now I have one more item to add to that happy list. A couple of days ago, I received a call telling me to look on my back porch for a gift. What I found tucked into my arbor was a plastic bag containing three cloth facemasks, hand crafted from some sewer’s rag bag scraps. Multi-hued, gay, and each bearing straps to fasten over one’s ears. Perfect! I began to write this letter to thank the sewer, or sewers, personally. 

So, thank you! Thank you all. For whereas in my inner ear I hear the oft-repeated phrase: “Only on Block island,” as usual is the case, it is much better than that. In this COVID-19 tainted time, I know that kind gestures like these three face masks are being repeated, person to person, millions of times the world over. That thought has put a smile back on my face. Which brings me to an addendum to this letter of thanks, that I can’t resist.

Be it known that recently I have been visited by a hoard of lethargic, black flies that gather in small groups on the inside of my window panes, seeking freedom. Instead, I have been swatting them. Now, in my more understanding mood, I have found another solution. So lethargic are the flies that I have no trouble grabbing them, one by one, gently ‘twix thumb and forefinger, and releasing each out of doors. It’s in each fly’s nature, I guess, to do what it does. Poor fly, it just doesn’t know any better.

Likewise, I have awarded a personal pardon to our President, whose shameless greed and self-aggrandizement has long riled me. Poor man, he just doesn’t know any better.

P S. Wood

Old Mill Road


Listen to the doctor

Dear Town Council Members:

The dilemma facing the Town Council now regarding returning to work should not be about the economy, it should be about the health of our community. The voice of reason should not be the business profession, it should be the medical profession. Please heed the advice of the Block Island Medical Center. We are very fortunate to have their expertise and dedication at this difficult time. Also, their compassion. Dr. Clark is our Dr. Fauci. Imagine how much more dire our situation would be if Dr. Fauci’s recommendations were not the basis for the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Clark is carefully considering our entire community not just one segment of it. A short period of unemployment, although difficult, is not crucial to our working population and businesses. However, loosening the restrictions now in place could be crucial, even fatal, to our island community, especially the elderly.

We have faith the welfare of all our citizens will be your highest priority.

Blake and Michele Phelan

Payne Farm