To the Editor:
The Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (BIVRD) would like to thank Block Island Residents Association (BIRA) for their recent, generous $3,000 donation. This donation was in response to our concerns of limited resources, amid the ongoing pandemic and with the busy summer season quickly approaching. The funds will help to keep our dedicated volunteers safe by providing additional PPE. BIRA has been a longtime supporter and advocate to the Block Island Community. It is reassuring to know our concerns are being heard. Thank you again!
Tracy Fredericks, Captain
Block Island Volunteer Rescue Squad
To the Editor:
I was heartened to see Rosemary Connelli’s coverage of last week’s rally in the name of racial justice. As a teacher from Providence, who will be working on Block Island this summer, I am thrilled to see folks engaging in active anti-racism.
As someone who grew up in a segregated suburb, I continue to identify, and unlearn, many internalized racist beliefs and behaviors. The Walk for Justice is a small, yet significant step towards a peaceful and just society. No matter where we live, we each have an essential role to play in working for racial and economic justice.
Four years ago I visited Block Island in August and was hurt and outraged to see that someone had painted “Black Rocks Matter” on Painted Rock. At the time I could not comprehend why someone would disparage a legitimate cry for justice.
To now see Block Islanders carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter” gives me hope that the practice of active anti-racism is finally becoming a social norm. It is about time.
Michael C. Urso
Michael Urso teaches writing and history at CCRI, URI, and the Department of Corrections.
To the Editor:
I am vastly entertained by young catbirds coming in low and strafing the lawn.
They use the top of my privet hedge as a runway.
There are four hop-and-stop robins and later after the sun has made it over the eastern hill wicked bluejays and boisterous Carolina wrens calling to their trepidacious fledglings to test their wings.
We are in the most verdant early summer, like our part of the Earth is telling us not to be sad.
There is life and living all around despite what we are in the midst of.
It is good to be reminded.
To the Editor:
The “clarification” offered by Anthony Pappas, Administrator of the Block Island Solar Initiative, is inaccurate and misleading, and greatly misses the concerns that I have raised, and I raised those issues with him and Don McCluskey many months ago. They were ignored. So, I will restate them. Using the Rhode Island Foundation as a conduit to donate money and using a contractor in Florida, in order to exclusively install equipment on Block Island, is wrong on many levels. As I explained to them both, selecting qualified contractors, including local contractors to install solar systems or whatever is the technology, is how this initiative could have avoided this blow-back. That is how these initiatives are done throughout the country and for good reason.
In addition, contrary to Pappas’ statement, the BISI is also being used to install systems for people who are not in affordable housing. In addition, BISI will not fund any project for qualifying non-profits unless the contractor from Florida installs it.
Let me be very clear Mr. Pappas. This is not a win-win situation. This initiative has harmed local businesses. In addition, the ham-fisted approach to encouraging renewable energy technology has resulted in island energy policy being negatively impacted. I know, because I have dealt with these issues for my entire professional career and I informed you both well in advance what would be the consequences and repercussions of your actions. You recently offered a system and all electric utilities/appliances to the power company as a “take it or leave it” proposition, all the time wanting to be referred to as an “anonymous donor.”
Frankly, who do you think you are to throw your financial weight around like this? You should have, and you do know better. You’re on the Planning Board. You are supposed to be aware of the Town planning documents for the economy and the environment. I have asked that BISI be investigated because of the concerns raised. Who knows what the outcome may be, but for certain, you are very wrong that this is a “win-win” situation.