Thu, 12/24/2020 - 5:45pm

Heroes all

To the Editor:

Now that we’re almost at year’s end, it is a perfect time to look back. Everyone on the island was affected by the Covid crisis. As I look back, it seems we owe exceptional credit to many people and organizations. My list covers the biggest heroes — yours may be longer. These organizations were quick to adjust their way of doing business, often to their disadvantage.

• Interstate Navigation: They quickly and properly reduced their boat schedule to adapt to new needs. But all the while, they carried our food, gasoline and diesel fuel, propane, mail and freight, all to our benefit.

• New England Airlines: They, too, quickly reduced their schedule to no passengers. But still they fl ew daily to bring some freight and medicines from Westerly pharmacies.

• Block Island Depot and Block Island Grocery (BIG): They changed procedures to accommodate us. BIG added employees to take orders by email or phone. They then put our orders together and placed them at curbside. They then called to tell us to pick up the order. It worked like a dream from day one.

• Block Island Medical Center: They closed their door but were in full operation. Instead of appearing to be seen, you had to make an appointment by phone. Always there for us but earning less income.

• Volunteer Rescue Squad: The time demand on this volunteer organization was enormous. Newer stricter protocols were required by the state. Unhappily they had more work to do with fewer people. Some of the volunteers were concerned about Covid so work increased for remaining volunteers. There were two fatalities to deal with. The typical moped driver was younger than usual, a result of Covid and their level of safety was less than what we usually expect. In short, the stress on volunteers was enormous. The best word to describe the summer was “overwhelming.” Heroes indeed — every one.

• Island Free Library: They changed their operation to outdoors. The catalogue was available outside, but obtaining the book required a new way of life for librarians.

• Washington Trust Company: Even though the bank was closed, some banking took place under the door to deposit—and back under the door with a receipt. Very labor intensive, but it worked.

Certainly there are other heroes. We should thank all of them for helping to make our lives as pleasant as possible under this horrifi c pandemic. May I suggest that if you have additional heroes you mention them here.

Peter Greenman

Center Road


Holiday lights 1986

To the Editor:

I pick up The Block Island Times whenever I stop at Healy News in Wakefi eld. This past week I read the article about the school’s Student Council encouraging folks to put up Christmas lights for the season. A few years back I was the music teacher at the Block Island School and my colleague, physical education instructor Jay O’Connor and I conducted two thorough evaluations of the holiday lights, the second evaluation being on Dec. 14, 1986. We logged almost 30 miles that evening, kept an audio journal of the route and copious notes of the judging. The audio journal still exists but the copious notes have wandered off.

Light displays (exterior only, no indoor lights such as trees were eligible for judging, however we did note menorahs and/or multiple lights in the windows) were rated from 0 to 3 beeps on the spot via the car horn on my 1986 Mitsubishi Montero. Ratings were determined by 1) sheer number of lights, 2) tastefulness of the display and 3) earnestness. There were very few threebeeps that night but there were lots of 2s and 2.5’s. There was a decided antipathy on the part of the judges to all-blue lighting displays and regardless of the number or lights employed or earnestness the all-blue displays received serious raspberries.

We let everyone know that we would be out at 8 p.m. sharp that evening and even conducted reconnaissance the Thursday before. We rated over 50 displays that night and travelled almost every road and driveway on the island. The results were noted in the next issue of The Block Island Times. I’ve included a photo of the judges, who, by the way, were the Student Council advisors at the time and we had just held a meeting that evening in the apartments of St. Ann’sby-the-Sea.

The photo was taken by one of the students.

Hope all is well and Happy Holidays!

B.J. Whitehouse

(on Conanicut Island)