2007-11-29 / News

Final tests for electrolysis damage show no problems

By Michaela Kennedy

Studies at East Ferry marina proved no electrical currents in the water were strong enough to cause the damage done to the new harbormaster's boat, Police Chief Thomas Tighe reported at the Nov. 21 Harbor Commission meeting. The findings will be sent to the manufacturer with a request for repairs.

Allegations by Joseph Lombardi, a marine surveyor representing Ribcraft, the boat's manufacturer from Marblehead, Mass., maintained that electrical currents in the water at East Ferry caused hull damage to the patrol boat. The claims were dashed in the executive director's report, however. Tighe noted that additional testing results from Prof. Otto Gregory, a chemical engineer from the University of Rhode Island, showed no problems with electrical currents. "Once we get Dr. Gregory's report back, we'll go to Ribcraft and ask if they'll repair it," Tighe said. The town hired Gregory as a consultant to review Lombardi's findings.

The boat damage, including hull corrosion, was not covered by insurance, Tighe also said. Commissioner Rick Anderson warned that the company doing the repairs should also be committed to the maintenance of the vehicle, in order to avoid future corrosion problems.

In an appeal concerning a mooring permit, the commission overturned a permit denial on a zone C mooring for Philip Gregoire of Watson Avenue. The commission listened to Gregoire's explanation of difficulties finding proper mooring tackle and his request for leniency in the mooring policy.

Gregoire received a permit availability letter last June, which stated that a mooring permit fee, boat registration and completed application should be sent within 10 days of receipt of the letter. Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz noted that Gregoire's permit for 2007 was still unpaid. Kallfelz also noted that the commission had "lots of reasons" for imposing a fixed period of time on mooring permit renewals.

Police Chief Thomas Tighe supported the claim by Gregoire and recommended giving him the mooring permit. Harbor Clerk Kim Devlin also suggested an exception, since Gregoire had been problems

in communication with the harbor office about the tackle issues. The commission agreed to the request, on condition that the past season's mooring permit fee was paid.

In a brief reference to upcoming budget planning, the commission discussed whether budget talks should start early, or be put off as late as March. Tighe noted that the town had already started to work on the 2008-2009 budgets and urged the commission to start as well.

In correspondence, the commission acknowledged receipt of a letter from Charlotte Zarlengo, president of the Jamestown Shores Association. Zarlengo and her husband, Philip, took the opportunity to repeat their opposition to the designation of a mooring field at Head's Beach on Seaside Avenue, across the street from their home.

Despite complaints from the Zarlengos that carried on for more than 20 minutes, board members echoed their deferment to legal opinion. Commissioner Richard Anderson was one of several commissioners repeating that the board continued to wait for a legal comment from the town solicitor regarding the concerns of Zarlengo. "It's not on the agenda to rehash the argument," he added, in an attempt to end the bickering.

No liaison reports were given, since no liaison members attended the meeting. Town councilman Julio DiGiando and conservation commissioner Kate Smith were both absent. The planning commission liaison seat remains vacant.

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