Keepers of the Southeast Lighthouse

Keepers of Southeast Light

Enjoyed writing this article for the July issue of The Summer Times about a woman and her family’s rich history living and working at Block Island’s Southeast Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on the southeast side of the island.

Keepers of Southeast Light

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Patriots kickoff season amidst firestorm

The New England Patriots kicked off the 2015 NFL season by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-to-21 last night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Once again the Patriots are under scrutiny for a few things that happened during the game. I guess this is going to be par for the course for the Patriots since the NFL’s smear campaign ignited a firestorm that will probably surround the team throughout the season.

In my new column in The Block Island Times called “Cash’s Corner” I discuss the issues associated with the league’s curious and phony Deflategate scandal.

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Guardians of the Gates

Guardians of the gates article

This is an article I wrote for the September issue of the Summer Times. It details my perspective over the past year working as a reporter for The Block Island Times.

#BlockIsland #AReportersPerspective

Guardians of the gates article

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Block Island Wind Farm is historic

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For the past year I have had an up close and personal perspective of the construction of the Block Island Wind Farm. Watching the project go from theory to reality has been extraordinary to witness. No matter how you feel about the installation of wind farms, it is historic.

Within the next few days a large crane will lift and deliver 400 tons of steel into the water at a precise GPS guided location to construct the first of five wind turbine foundations. This moment is what Deepwater Wind, the company responsible for constructing the offshore wind farm, has described as “steel in the water,” and will mark a major milestone for the company.

The five turbine, 30-megawatt pilot project, which will be located three miles off of the southeast of Block Island, will be the first offshore wind farm constructed in the nation. Once it’s operational in the fall of 2016 it will provide enough energy to power 17,000 residential homes.

Deepwater Wind has blazed a new path by creating the permitting process and business model for building offshore wind farms in this country. Some say this $290 million pilot project has opened the door to spark and invite investment in the U.S. wind farm business.

I’ve written numerous articles on the subject, and will continue to write even more as I follow the evolution of the project from concept to its completion. Here are the stories that I’ve penned for The Block Island Times:

Approved

Fully funded

First Peek at Wind Farm

Wind farm fuels heated Town Council debate

EUTG: Wind Farm will “fundamentally change” electricity supply

Wind Farm “needs to be perfect”

RIFF wins Deepwater Wind (transfer vessel) contract

National Grid details wind farm cable process

National Grid ready for challenge

National Grid greets B.I. community

Wind Farm components en route

B.I. Wind Farm construction begins

Foundation One installation photos

Wind farm becomes island attraction

Deepwater Wind reaches milestone

A ‘Big moment for Block Island’

Deepwater Wind forges offshore wind energy path

RIFF excited about offshore wind business

B.I. Wind Farm: Fact vs. Fiction

B.I. Wind Farm project sees first on-island activity

Block Island seeks partner for broadband network

B.I. Wind Farm taking shape in the sea

A new kind of boat (L/B Robert) in our waters

B.I. Wind Farm foundations installed

B.I. Wind Farm safety measures critiqued

BIPCo: ‘Things are changing’

B.I. Wind Farm upgrades safety oversight

BIPCo sells land to accommodate substations

B.I. Wind Farm barge breaks loose

B.I. Wind Farm foundations completed

B.I. Wind Farm decks installed

Masters student writing thesis on B.I. Wind Farm

B.I. Wind Farm construction completed (for now)

Study: offshore wind farms can mitigate hurricanes

Gearing up for National Grid

Wind farm cable installation begins

National Grid teams deployed for cable installation

Deepwater CEO ‘confident’

Cable may lack extra capacity

A new American industry

Wind Farm vessel unveiled

Wind farm turbine towers revealed

National Grid constructing cofferdam

A first glimpse at the towers

Town investing in broadband network

Utility vessel to clear submarine cable route

National Grid asks Council for extension

National Grid rejects town’s offer on extension

Wind farm vessel christened

National Grid rebuffs town’s offer

URI Masters student presents wind farm thesis

National Grid to meet original deadline

Deepwater Wind cable installation begins

Beach cable work to continue into June

Deepwater Wind connects its cable

Cable connects island to wind farm

Cable headed to island

National Grid granted June 30 extension

Students tours B.I. Wind Farm

Cable lands on island (at Crescent Beach)

National Grid is off the beach

Block Island gets connected

The Block Island Wind Farm’s unique equipment

Final wind farm components en route

National Grid substation underway

Wind farm to be tested in September

Wind farm turbine installation begins

Construction completed, wind farm enters final phases

Wind farm blades turn for first time

Wind farm to deliver power in January

Storm delays wind farm commissioning

You can learn more about the Block Island Wind Farm and Deepwater Wind here.

An image of the first steel foundation components sitting on a barge three miles off the southeast coast of Block Island. Photo by Paul Maloney

Wind farm (Maloney)

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A Boy Scout Adventureland

An article I wrote in South County Life magazine features a 100 year old Boy Scout camp called “Camp Yawgoog” located in Rockville, Rhode Island.

It was amazing touring the historic camp and meeting the Boy Scouts, who seem like great, mature-minded kids. I highly recommend taking a drive out to the camp to visit the campground during the summer season.

You can learn more about Camp Yawgoog here.

 

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Book signing at Island Free Library

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I’m very PLEASED to announce that I will be hosting a signing of my new novel entitled “The Seduction of Mallory McKenzie” at the Island Free Library on Thursday, July 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Block Island. Refreshments will be served.

The book is an erotic romance novel about a divorcee who finds love when she didn’t think she was capable of it, and when she least expects it. The book is dedicated to all of the divorcees who no longer believe in love. You can find it here.

I’m really excited about introducing this new book to the public and look forward to discussing the subject of romance and dating in our complex and, at times, challenging society.

Thank you to Island Free Library Executive Director Kristin Baumann for inviting me to the library to sign copies of my new book. And many thanks to her staff for being gracious, kind and supportive with me throughout the process.

I look forward to seeing everyone on July 30!

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Is the steroid scandal good for baseball?

Note: This article was published on the Huffington Post on July 24th, 2013

Every time I hear news about the steroid scandal’s impact on the game of Major League Baseball I cringe. I don’t know why, but even after all of the revelations I still find it shocking. Call me a purist. The latest news involves Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun who was suspended for the remainder of this season for his violation of the league’s drug policy. This action clearly demonstrates that the league is not going to turn the other cheek, and is getting serious about cracking down on the steroid issue that has plagued the game for the past decade or so.

Allegedly, from what’s being reported, Braun cut a deal with the league to attempt to preserve his career. According to USA Today, the suspension will reportedly cost him about $3.85 million dollars in income this season. The suspension will be for 65 games. Baseball wanted more than 50 games for his ‘first-time’ violation of their drug policy because his actions went beyond simple abuse. It appears the league wasn’t too pleased with Braun’s conduct amidst the scandal. Braun had initially stated that the league’s drug collector was out to get him.

After hearing, and reading, all of this news, I wonder what the ripple effect of Braun’s actions will be. How have his performance-enhanced-accomplishments tainted the game? How many games have been impacted by his swing of the bat? Should he have been the National League Rookie of the Year in 2007? Should he have been the NL Most Valuable Player in 2011?

Many people believe that Braun should be punished for throwing the drug collector under the bus. They say that his lies raise questions about his character. They also say that his future as a professional ball player should be in question. These are probably valid points worthy of being explored and examined further.

As for those people who love the game this has got to be a dark day. I know that this isn’t a new issue, but it’s still a developing story. For me personally, I have had a love of the game since my father took me to see my first ballgame at Fenway Park when I was a young boy. My passion for it led me to attempt to pursue a career in the sport. I pitched a no-hitter in high school, played college ball and was fortunate enough to be scouted by the Major Leagues. But, never during my time playing the game did I ever think that steroids were a part of it. In fact, I thought PEDs were just used by weight lifters and some football players. So I was blindsided when I first learned of the drug’s use in the sport was of epidemic proportions.

On a side note, I ponder the fate of the players who were passed over in the minors, or even at the high school level, in favor of the sexy ballplayer who looked like a freak and was juicing. I saw many great players who never made it to the show. Might they have made it to the majors if the playing field was level? Did they end up like Crash Davis in Bull Durham because they weren’t juicing? If that’s the case, then this issue is even more tragic than we ever imagined.

In January it was reported by the Miami New Times that the league’s marquee player Alex Rodriguez was linked to the Biogenesis Clinic. Then in April of 2013 the New York Times published a story that A-Rod had purchased documents from Biogenesis. Two months later, the league announced that it would be investigating the matter and suspending players linked to the clinic and guilty of taking PEDs. Baseball has significant evidence in the Biogenesis scandal against numerous players.

The baseball purists will say that this has been a long time coming. They will say that the day of reckoning has come for the abusers. So, getting back to my original question; is all of this good for the game of baseball? Only time will tell if the game can recover to rise above this devastating scar on its landscape. As Walt Whitman once said, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game – the American game.”

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Love is elusive

Love is elusive. Or, should I say, love can be elusive. I’m not speaking of love for a family member or friend. I’m talking about romantic love. I’m talking about the rare, coveted experience that two people are fortunate to share. I’m talking about deep, spiritual love that takes your breath away.

I started to ruminate over the subject of love while developing a concept for a new story which I intend to write. Of course, in exploring the subject of love, I’m referencing and including my own personal experiences with it during my life. And, although this is my own perception, I feel like it’s a universal perspective.

I believe that love can be like a rare, exotic butterfly. It’s beautiful and alluring yet not easy to capture or obtain. The essence of it is a mystery.  It entices, confounds and frustrates us. Even when we catch it, become involved with it and wrestle with its complexities we’re still aware of its indefinable impermanence.

Love. The mere mention of the word piques our attention. What is love? What is it about it that attracts us to it, and sometimes repels us at the same time? It’s impossible. It’s intangible. It’s beautiful and brilliant and puzzling.

We try to reach out and grasp love, but it slips through our hands. We try to love each other the best we can, but like a distressed fabric we come apart at the seams. There is nothing to hold onto to allow it to exist past its inherent expiration date. The transparency of its inevitable demise is ever present in our lives, threatening to win in the end and make us face our fragile mortality.

Yet, aware of its intricacy, we bravely march on, ignoring its betrayal in hopes that we can capture it in its purest form. We dance with it, sing along with it, embrace it, and masquerade as infallible beings with it, in order to attempt to possess it.  We are noble and courageous souls on a solitary journey to obtain the unattainable.

Sure we may have our precious little time with it. We may have great experiences that last much longer than expected.  We may have surprised it, and grasped it in our hands. And we may have had more than our fair share of it. But what we might not realize, whether we’ve been fortunate enough to indulge in it or not, is that it’s literally beyond our reach. We may fail to understand that its beauty can simply be found in its enigmatic elusiveness.

The feeling of elusiveness I believe is best illustrated in one of my favorite novels, “The Great Gatsby”. If you saw the movie you might remember the image of Robert Redford’s character Jay Gatsby reaching out for the green light on Daisy’s dock across the harbor from where he lived. The author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, wrote, “He (Gatsby) had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”

In the movie “Moonstruck”, Nicholas Cage (Ronny) tells his love interest Cher (Loretta) what he thinks about love. The following edited dialogue is from when they’re standing outside of Ronny’s apartment in the cold and snow…

Ronny

“Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is and I didn’t know this either. But love don’t make things nice, it ruins everything, it breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We’re not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die! The storybooks are bullshit. Come upstairs with me! Don’t try to live your life out to somebody else’s idea of sweet happiness. Come upstairs with me and get in my bed! Come on! (pleading) Come on…”

That kind of says it all, don’t you think? Beautiful…

 

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Why Did Aaron Hernandez Fumble It All Away?

“When All the Laughter Died in Sorrow,” an autobiographical book written by troubled Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lance Rentzel in 1972, seems like the perfect title for the story of former Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez.

The daily news that keeps unfolding regarding Hernandez has led me to ponder his sudden and precipitous fall from grace. How does a guy who seemingly had it all; good looks, charm, charisma, talent, a star tight end in the NFL, receiving passes thrown by Tom Brady, a huge contract, and family, decide to embrace the dark side and flush it all down the toilet? I’m flabbergasted by how a person in his position could act in such an irrational manner to jeopardize the dream life that he had built for himself.

I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out why. I also know that this kind of thing has happened many times before. I know that O.J. Simpson’s presumed actions in Brentwood, California in 1994 bear a similarity. I know that former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth was found guilty of conspiring to murder the woman who was carrying his child in 1999. It’s just hard, knowing about these past crimes, to comprehend the rationale behind someone following suit, ignoring good fortune and allegedly committing cold-blooded murder.

Does this man truly know what he has done? Does he know that he had it all and just fumbled it all away? Did he know, before his alleged poor judgment, how lucky he was? Did he know that he had been handed the key to the kingdom and rudely threw it away? I’m assuming that he will probably be found guilty and spend a long time in jail, although the possibility of his lawyers working miracles, to dare I say, have him acquitted, has crossed my mind. I mean, stranger things have happened, right?

I know that there are star athletes who have made the mistake of falling in with a bad group of people. For whatever reason they would rather socialize with the wrongdoers than mix with a better brand of people. They’re use to a certain way of life and can’t abandon it no matter the level of their success. They become victims of past associations, unable to leave their old street life behind. So, instead of doing something beneficial, or productive with their lives, they end up being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or become an accomplice to some sort of illegal activity.

However, you can’t apply this type of scenario to the Hernandez situation. From most accounts reported by the Boston media it appears that Hernandez wasn’t the victim of being pulled or lured into a bad situation. He ostensibly invited it. He apparently was the bad person. He was the one who purportedly orchestrated the execution of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Massachusetts on June 17th.

This clearly didn’t jive with the public persona of Hernandez, who looked like a well-mannered, nice, fun-loving guy. People around the team knew him as a polite, likable and courteous guy who was accommodating to the news media and fans. That’s why when news of Hernandez’s possible culpability in the murder of Lloyd came to light it was such a big surprise.  In a flash, a seemingly decent man with a promising, bright future became an alleged violent criminal right before our eyes. The gridiron god was now being painted as a villain, a murderer, a sociopath. And, just like that, as a bewildered Robert Kraft stated at a news conference, “We were all duped.”

It was fascinating watching the image of Hernandez transform into one of a monster as evidence began surfacing of his unscrupulous behavior. There were photos of him dressed like a gang-banger while proudly wielding a firearm. But nothing beats the image of a defiant looking Hernandez being led from his house in handcuffs with a white T-shirt haphazardly draped over his arms and torso.

Of course, the media, doing its due diligence, wondered why the Patriots organization didn’t properly vet the player before signing him to such a high-priced contract. There was news that other NFL teams took Hernandez off of their 2010 draft boards because of his questionable background. But who can fault the Patriots for taking a gamble on such a talented player with the 133th pick in the fourth round whose only real negative trait seemed to be that he smoked a little weed?

Last week the Patriots let fans swap their Hernandez jerseys. According to Will Brinson of CBSSports.com, 1,200 Hernandez jerseys were returned, costing the Patriots $250,000. The team plans to destroy the jerseys by grinding them up so they can donate the material for recycling purposes. When I heard about this I felt like Hernandez-the-player had been extinguished, erased from existence.

All of this brings me back to my original question: Why would someone like Aaron Hernandez allegedly commit a violent crime and throw his great career and life away? I’m sure we’ll probably never know the answer. And, that is all so terribly puzzling, sad and tragic.

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Find diversity in your writing

A few months ago I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of speaking about the subject of writing (and politics) with Professor Caroline Heldman’s Elections and Campaign class at Occidental College. While I clearly expected the discussion to be centered around politics, especially the campaign process, I didn’t expect that the students would have such an interest in the art of writing. They peppered me with questions about the craft of writing during and after my presentation. It was a real gratifying experience for me, interacting with such eager and passionate minds. I was extremely pleased to see that these college students were interested in the art of writing and how they might utilize the written word to express themselves and do something productive and positive with their lives.

Professor Heldman’s class is focused on being an agent of change in the world, and how everyone can make a difference with the choices that they make. It is refreshing to see that a teacher like Professor Heldman is educating college minds about the potential of being an advocate for social change and a combatant against injustice in the world. She understands that a sea change can develop and evolve when a single individual decides to improve the world by being an agent for change. It doesn’t matter what the cause is, as long as it is aimed at fighting inequality and social injustice. At the very least one’s interests should be geared toward trying to make the world a better place.

This brings me to the subject of diversity in writing. I think as a writer you should strive for variety in the subject matter of your writing. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, as long as you have some to write about. If you’re a political, creative and business minded individual like me then you will appreciate this discussion. I started out writing short stories when I was younger from pure imagination. As I grew older I started to understand the value of writing about something of substance. I think that happened to me when I began working in the broadcast news business.

Find value in writing about different subjects. Believe me everything you learn will serve to inform, or educate you, making you a much more evolved writer.

Recently, I contributed some movie news articles to Examiner.com. You can find them here.

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