Fri, 07/31/2020 - 9:45am

Building the broadband

To the Editor:

It is with great pleasure and pride that we can now move forward with the construction of an island wide fiber broadband network thanks to the voting public’s affirmative support on Monday evening. A lot of hard work and thought has brought us to where we are and the project is ready to start, hopefully within weeks.

A special thanks to all of those who enthusiastically voiced their support especially the Block Island Residents Association who donated the necessary funding to enable the Broadband Committee to approach the community with a letter of appeal and some neat bumper stickers.

The New Shoreham Broadband Committee


Make restitution

To the Editor:

The parishioners of St. Ann-by-the Sea were shocked and saddened this past Sunday morning when they discovered the Episcopal flag that had been hanging by the church’s sign on Spring Street was tossed into the brush and its pole broken in two.

It is a sad commentary on what Block Island has become in the summer season. This was a despicable, disrespectful act that should never be tolerated.

We hope that whomever perpetrated this act will think about what they have done and make restitution to this tiny parish.

Anna Marie Lofaro

Parish Musician


Helping the Fire Department

To the Editor:

I read with alarm about the grappling at the last Town Council meeting (blockislandtimes. com July 23) over how to get the money to fix up a fire truck.

These are extraordinary times due to Covid-19, of budgetary shortfalls, loss of income, the stress of unknowns.

We see that played out in the paper (The Block Island Times, July 25) with boards and committees, and fraught emotions in the community, among most notably now our school’s teachers.

It is sad and disheartening to see feelings being rubbed raw, but feelings are one thing and they can be patched up.

What can’t be patched up is a calamitous fire in our town.

I know everybody is working hard these days under trying circumstances, but not everybody volunteers to put themselves on the line when trouble descends on us or stands by ready to confront it at a moment’s notice.

And speaking of where thanks go, it goes without saying how much our community supports our school, to the tune of over $5 million of our tax dollars, but that’s just money.

More importantly we trust our children — and that means our future — to our school and its fully-committed teachers, and we get to see how it pays off.

Just look at the new volunteers to our fire department for community commitment, social responsibility, and educational preparedness.

Are our teachers, our friends, and our boards thankless because they are under financial constraints due to contractual obligations as well as local, state and federal regulations?

I don’t think so.

It’s not personal and shouldn’t be.

But I understand why in these trying times emotions boil over, they have in the past and they will in future.

But I take heart that we come together as a community when the chips are down and push comes to shove, as the sayings go.

Which brings me back to the fire truck that needs fixing.

I am sending a $100 to our volunteer firefighters earmarked to help get that firetruck up to snuff so they can count on it.

We count on them.

I encourage anyone else who can dig into their admittedly poorer pockets these days to follow suit and help out our Volunteer Fire Department and the new firefighters who are still being taught, cared for, and educated by our wonderful Block Island School teachers.

With respect to all,

Douglas Gasner

Block Island


Shout out to the Fire and Rescue

To the Editor:

The Medical Center had a challenging few days this past weekend with multiple traumas and other health issues. BIHS couldn’t have managed without the tremendous support from the EMS crews.

I want to publicly thank Kirk Littlefield and Tracy Fredericks for their leadership and friendship. My career has led to me to serve in both community and academic environments which allows a perspective that their dedication to our community is unique, impressive and heart-warming.

Those who know me know that I respect the “doers” of this world and my hat is off to that entire team.

On behalf of the entire BIHS community, “Thank you.”

Dr. Tom Warcup

Medical Director and CEO of BIHS


An excellent meeting

To the Editor:

A shout-out is in order for the town employees and elected officials who ran a flawless Town Financial Meeting on July 27 under less than ideal circumstances. We all owe a big thank you to these people who no doubt spent many hours anticipating potential problems and planning how to allow us to congregate safely. Their efforts paid off.

Susan Bush

Old Harbor Meadow


Monitoring the mopeds

To the Editor:

Stringent moped monitoring to rein in accidents won’t be enough to solve the reckless habits of moped renters. Island residents are increasingly harassed this summer by needless beeping and fast, errant mopeds on dirt roads, both illegal. Last week alone, I saw mopeds on Champlin’s Road, Dorrie’s and Grace’s Cove Roads.

As a result, I surveyed moped operators last week to understand education protocols for customers It’s abundantly clear moped customers are not consistently informed of the rules on the island and, other than failure to wear a helmet, our police do not hold violators accountable for infractions. This system failure is dramatically, negatively impacting quality of life for island residents, tenants and visitors alike. Here are some easy solutions the town can enforce:

1. Address the overtaxing of our medical center and rescue squad by imposing a $1 tax on all moped customers to be split between the two entities;

2. Follow Island Moped’s example and require all moped operators to place stickers directly beneath the handlebars in full view warning renters of the $50 fine for non emergency beeping, and that driving on dirt roads is dangerous and prohibited;

3. The police must begin ticketing moped drivers regularly for beeping and dirt road infractions. One moped operator said police department-reported customer tickets are for helmet infractions only.

4. Require moped operators to install large, clear signage at point of sale reinforcing these rules. Having customers sign a contract is not enough; one Old Harbor Moped and Bike Rental employee tasked with renting mopeds wasn’t aware of the beeping rule!;

5. Install signage—not too much, but enough — on all roads leading out of and into town to re-enforce these rules. This cost could be covered by a $1 infrastructure tax on all moped customers, or by residents willing to foot the bill for signage on their roads;

6. Interstate Navigation should run moped renter awareness videos on all ferries with video monitors.

In the 1980s, the NOPEDS campaign led to town rightfully restricting the number of mopeds on the island. Thirty-five-plus years later, it’s time to ramp up behavioral messaging for and accountability of all moped customers for infractions. Bad customer habits will never change without enforcement, for the sake of day trippers and the island community.

If individuals wish to mobilize formally around these recommendations, please contact me at sarah.bacon9@gmail.com.

Sarah Bacon

West Side Road


Nominating an island treasure

To the Editor:

The Block Island Residents Association is again looking for nominations to receive the 2020 “Island Treasure Award.”

If you would like to nominate someone, please submit the name and a paragraph about why you think the person would be a good candidate for the award. We do insist on having a paragraph as to why the candidate would be qualified, not just the name or one sentence.

You can email your nomination to me at: donna@coreyaccounting.com.

This year, as you know, will be challenging but we are hoping to have a virtual annual meeting in September. We will keep you posted.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at (203) 876-7343.