One Square Mile: Block Island

Photo by: Catherine Welch

Block island Forum

PROVIDENCE, RI – Several listeners responded to our request for Block Island memories. One listener gave us more than 20 memories, another told us how he met his wife on the island, and another gave us a fascinating story of adventure on the island.

Not all of the memories made it on the air, so we laced them together for this special addition to our online coverage of One Square Mile: Block Island.


Photo by Bradley Campbell.

Providence, RI – In 1875, workers constructed the Southeast Lighthouse on the edge of the Mohegan Bluffs. It worked for more than a century to help keep sailors safe. But in the 1990s, erosion forced the islanders to make a decision: save the lighthouse, or let it fall into the sea.

Islanders chose the former. And the Southeast Lighthouse continues to shine. But the story of the Southeast Lighthouse is something more.

Photo courtesy of Block Island Conservancy.

Providence, RI – Over the last 40 years or so, residents of Block Island have worked to conserve nearly half of the island. But there's still more work to do. So Justin Lewis who is continuing the effort. Lewis is in his thirties, and a surfer. But he's also the next generation of a family that's synonymous with conservation on the island.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Join us for a forum about research into tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease and Babesiosis, hosted by RIPR's Kristin Gourlay. It's at Smugglers Cove (next to Payne's Killer Donuts) on Saturday September 8th from 1-2pm.

Photo by: IAN DONNIS

PROVIDENCE, RI – As part of our `One Square Mile' reports on Block Island RIPR talks with Block Island top elected official First Warden Kim Gaffett. Her family has deep roots on the island, and Gaffett has been interested in local government since she was a schoolgirl. As she told Rhode Island Public Radio's Ian Donnis on a recent drive around Block Island, the demands facing the island change dramatically with the seasons.


PROVIDENCE, RI – Turns out that on Block Island, nobody really knows the address of where they work or live because there are no addresses on Block Island. This intrigued Rhode Island Public Radio's Catherine Welch so as part of our series One Square Mile: Block Island, Catherine sat down with editor of The Block Island Times, Pippa Jack, to find out how anyone on the island gets mail.


PROVIDENCE, RI – As part of our series One Square Mile: Block Island, we've been exploring the rise of diseases spread by ticks, which are a big problem on the island. But the problem is spreading to the mainland. RIPR health care reporter Kristin Gourlay speaks with our Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman about the rising threat of babesiosis in the region's blood supply.

Photo by: Elisabeth Harrison

PROVIDENCE, RI – On Block Island, a single public school serves all of the island's year-round residents. Kindergartners and high school seniors have classes in the same building and eat lunch in the same cafeteria. It's a close community, but it's also one of the most expensive public schools in the state.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

PROVIDENCE, RI – There's another, even more serious disease than Lyme on Block Island. That disease is called babesiosis. Like Lyme disease, babesiosis will make you think you have the flu - fever, chills, body aches, sweats. But if your immune system is already weak, it can kill you. It's spread by a parasite. And you can only get it from the bite of an infected deer tick. Now, most people try to avoid them. But for Lindsay Rollend, they're a living.

"So this is our tickery!"

Photo by: Catherine Welch

PROVIDENCE, RI – Most residents on Block Island support the construction of a five-turbine wind farm off the coast because it will reduce their power bills, which are some of the highest in the nation. The project has at least one vocal critic, resident and former Redmond, WA mayor Rosemarie Ives.

Block Island Power Company supplies electricity for the entire island.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Block Islanders are paying some of the highest costs for electricity in the nation. And a small-scale wind farm is planned to go up just off the island to provide some relief to those bills that can climb into the tens of thousands for some businesses. As part of our One Square Mile series focused on Block Island, we knocked on doors to talk with residents about business owners about how they cope with the high cost of power and the controversial wind farm that's promised to cut costs.

PROVIDENCE, RI – As part of our `One Square Mile' reports on Block Island RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes a break from the political circuit to take us for a ferry ride to Block Island.

Block Island s just nine miles from the Rhode Island mainland but a world away. Home in January to just 1,000 hardy souls, in summer the pork-chop shaped island's population bulges to ten times that.

PROVIDENCE, RI – This week Rhode Island Public Radio is rolling out the next installment in what we call "One Square Mile" It's a series that takes a look at one Rhode Island community and tells its stories. This time, we're focusing on Block Island. Originally part of Massachusetts, Block Island has long been the pride of Rhode Island --- a place so undeveloped it's almost like going back in time. We begin our series with the history of the island, reported by Rhode Island Public Radio's Flo Jonic.