Hello BIRA Friends and Members!
Thank you for your membership in BIRA and your continuing support of all that we do.
Well, another summer is upon us, and whether you are a year-round islander or seasonal resident or a frequent visitor, we hope you, your family and friends can truly make the most of all that this wonderful island has to offer during the summer months!
Our Board meets monthly and we were delighted to have our first fully in-person meeting in over two years in late April. (Thanks to Melissa, at Coralberry Block Island for lending us her lovely space to hold our meeting!) This meeting also gave us an opportunity to step back and assess what BIRA has accomplished over the past few years and to further define our goals for this year and the near future.
We came away from this meeting with a sharper focus on BIRA’s mission and purpose…
“To advocate for, raise awareness of, and financially support programs and initiatives that address critical issues facing Block Island with particular attention to the environment, public policy, and our unique community.
With this in mind, here is a quick recap of our activities so far this year:
BIRA continues to support efforts to improve or enhance access to the island’s shoreline. Working closely with the Town, we have committed $10,000 to a private/public initiative to create safer public access at Grace’s Cove.
EverVerdant Electric Vehicle Project
BIRA has joined forces with Will Young and several Island conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, Block Island Conservancy, The Committee for the Great Salt Pond, Ocean View Foundation, & ConserFest and is contributing $3,000 to the EverVerdant Charging (EVC) Project which will be the first electric car charging station on Block Island. The charger has been ordered and paid for and the installation is scheduled to be done by the end of the year. It will be located at the Block Island Power Company and while this project won’t be turning a “profit” in the near term, net proceeds will eventually be used to support island nonprofits.
Block Island School students visit Washington, DC
A group of 15 students from the Block Island School spent six days in Washington from March 20 to 25, meeting with members of Congress and talking about key issues the United States faces today. In Washington, the group successfully completed the demanding “Close Up Washington” student program. This included spending over 80 hours with students from schools nationwide, and using the nation’s capital as a living classroom.
Block Island has been sending juniors and seniors to Close Up every other year for over 30 years, with the exception of 2020. With the support of the Block Island community, every student who wants to attend this trip is able, through fundraising efforts by parents and local organizations. BIRA was pleased to contribute $1500 to support this year’s student trip to Washington, DC.
Sign #RespectBI’s Petition to the BI Town Council.
BIRA continues to support efforts to implement sensible Moped Reform on Block Island in order to achieve a safer, healthier, more enjoyable island experience for residents and visitors alike.
For greater public safety on our beautiful island, urge Block Island’s Town Council to lobby the RI state legislature to amend the moped statute so that New Shoreham has more elbow room to regulate mopeds. The more voter, resident and visitor signatures we get the greater the pressure on BI’s elected governing body to craft lasting, common sense moped reform for summer 2023 and beyond. Sign petition here.
And thanks for spreading the word to family, friends, neighbors & colleagues. For more on #RespectBI’s initiative, watch their 5/3/2022 Zoom announcement.
Community Support and More
Through membership dues and donations, we continue to support organizations that include Helping Hands, the Deer Task Force, Block Island Health Services, Block Island Fire and Rescue as well as programs for island students through the Block Island School. We are also happy to support entertainment activities like Soundwaves’ Movies on the Beach and Blues on the Block. With your 2022 membership and donations, we hope to continue to support these worthy organizations and activities.
Your annual membership is a stake in Block Island’s present and future. We truly need your support and welcome your participation.
Thank you in advance.
Joe Loya, President