SeacoastNH Home

FRESH STUFF DAILY
Seacoast New Hampshire
& South Coast Maine

facebook logo


facebook logo

Header_flag
SEE ALL SIGNED BOOKS by J. Dennis Robinson click here
Why Star Island Closed in 2007

Star Island Closed in Summer 2007 (c) SeacoastNH.com, Photo by J. Dennis Robinson
ISLES OF SHOALS

Rumors continue to fly about the 2007 summer from hell at Star Island. This page is being set up at the request of SeacoastNH.com readers who want to know what’s going on. When we hear something authoritative, we will post it. If you have comments, send them along.

 

 

 

Star Island at Isles of Shoals Closed Until August 2007

A NEW BEGINNING
Posted July 18
Star Island Executive Director Amy Lockwood has been gfven the ALL CLEAR to open Star Island to visitors as of July 22. Her announcement is posted on the official island web site (Click here).

LATEST BULLETIN
Posted June 27
From Amy Lockwood, Executive Director
and Brad Greeley, President, Star Island Corp

The Star Island Corporation profoundly regrets to announce that it expects Star Island to be closed through early August until further assessment of its electrical systems and mandated work are completed for fire safety purposes. Star Island expects to open fully in early August for the remainder of its normal conference schedule.

If you have concerns regarding a conference scheduled during this time period, please contact your conference chair. Conference leadership contact information is listed on the Conference Calendar page on our website, or in your Blue Book. Alternatively you may call the Star Island Corporation office at (603) 430-6272 so our staff can assist you.

The Star Island board and staff sincerely regret the difficulties being caused by this temporary situation. Those familiar with Star Island's history are aware of the legacy of communities which have successfully weathered the challenges of survival in our remote New England island setting. We are confident that this community will do the same, and we look forward to opening in August in a better and safer position than the island has seen before.

WHAT IS GOING ON?
SeacoastNH.com (Updated July 18)
Inquiring minds still want to know exactly how Star Island failed to comply with fire and safety standards this year and what the impact will be on the organization's financial situation and the future of the hotel. But for now, all efforts are focused on getting the most out of the rest of the 2007 season.

SeacoastNH.com (Updated June 30)
So far, we have not done any investigative reporting as to why this year has turned out so different from the last 100 years on Star Island. Fire safety on Star has always been a priority, since the Oceanic is one of very few surviving wooden hotels from the Victorian Era. The fire sprinkler system runs on sea water. Everyone who stays at the island is required to attend a lecture on fire safety and anyone seen breaking those rules, even by the slightest infraction, is summarily evicted from the island. The hotel staff is constantly updating and repairing the electrical and fire safety systems, doing each year, what is required by code to improve the situation.

Star Island is technically in Rye, NH and this year, for reasons still unknown, the fire chief in Rye and the state fire marshal have decided to get tough. Why they didn’t do this before the hotel season opened is unclear. Why they have required changes that they believe have not been met is unclear.

Either way, the delay in opening in this short summer season is likely to be costly for the nondenominational nonprofit agency that runs the conferences on Star Island. With the Laighton no longer running ferry service, the organization has contracted another boat company to deliver conferees, but none will be arriving in June and July. Star Island has to rent parking space at Rye Harbor at considerable expense for conferees to park their cars, but there are no conferees. It has to pay its summer staff and "pels" who do the work on the island. The gift shop, run by a separate organization, has no customers. And now it is likely Star Island Corp. is spending a great deal of money on electricians, getting the hotel up to the fire code as defined by the marshals.

Latest reports say the delay will cost Star Island Corp a million dollars in lost revenues so far, not counting its expenses and repairs. That will be  devastating blow for the nonprofit agency. The question, when the whole process is over will be -- were the demands of the fire marshals fair and in the public interest, or was the island hotel, singled out for extreme treatment, and if so -- why? Portsmouth Herald interviews (see below) with the fire marshal  place the blame squarely on Star Island's failure to meet fire code requirements and, to date, Star Island has issued an apology, but no clear explanation or defense of its reported failure to meet the codes.

 

Star Island Links

OFFICIAL SITE: Star Island Corporation News Page (click here)

Conference Site: Life on a Star 
Conference Site: Arts Conference
Conference Site  Young Religious UU
Conference Site: Natural HIstory

Local Newspaper Article LInks

Star Island gets OK to reopen
July 18, 2007  Herald

Star Island "Dropped the Ball" 
June 30, 2007  Herald

Star Isle Closure extended 
June 29, 2007   Heraldf

Star Island Closed Until August
 June 28, 2007 Herald

Star Island Conference Center Waits for Okay to Open 
 June 26, 2007 Herald

Star Island conference center closed for safety violations 
 June 13, 2007 Fosters

Star Isle is forced to close 
 June 12, 2007 Herald

SEACOASTNH.com Readers Respond

July 2
OUR SPIRITUAL HOME
The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home.
Bob Booth

July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home.

June 30
PUBLISH THE REPORT

Ref: June 27 Bulletin from Amy Lockwood an Brad Greeley of Star Island Corp

The writers say they don't know (and certainly don't communicate to readers) what the electrical problems are that caused Rye to order the Star Isalnd hotel to be closed.

They almost certainly have a written report from the Town or State officials stating the life safety and electrical code violations that have resulted in the closing. If they really want the public to know the reason, they can publish the pertinent parts of the official report describing the life safety violations.
Robert Campbell

July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home. July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home. July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home. July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home. July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home. July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home. July 2The latest information that I have read, posted by your newspaper on 6/30 states that Star Island management had not corrected electrical violations made known to them back in 2002. If that be correct, I have to ask where was the oversight by Star Island Corporation to see that these conditions were rectified? Quite honestly, I'm less concerned about their loss in revenue for the 2007 season, than about the families that have occupied the island during that time and the potential jeopardy for their personal well being. As a former Star Island conferee for many years, I am saddened by this turn of events and I truly hope that the island will be brought up to code expeditiously. For us old and those new Shoalers, it would be a tragegy to lose Star Island, our spiritual home.

NEWSPAPERS DON’T TELL ENOUGH
I agree with Phyllis (letter below) that I'd like more info on the Star Island failure to meet fire inspection. I see by today's posting on the Star Island site, that they are canceled to at least August.

I've read all the local newspaper reports and even written to a reporter to ask them to dig deeper on the story, but at the same time I know that editors love pictures of actual fires, not stories about fire prevention.

Am I alone in the following line of questioning: What is different in Summer 2007 compared to Summer 2006? The structures are the same. The usage is the same. Star Island Corp. and the Rye Fire Department are existing entities that presumably have an ongoing relationship. So, why wasn't there an inspection last fall, leaving all winter and all spring to fix problems? Did the code suddenly change? Is it as much politics as actual fire code? Etc. To me this is a more interesting mystery than the worn-out murder on Smuttynose! Will some reader tell us more?
Jim Cerny

June 14
TELL US MORE
We certainly appreciate the vast links of info on this site relating to the very special Isles of Shoals. You're always including some interesting tidbit, whether it be a reprint of a past article or a brand new captivating piece of trivia that sparks our interest. We especially enjoy your yearly adventures as Smuttynose Stewards. Recently, there's been the news of the heavy damage on White Island from the mid-April '07 storm, and now word of the hopefully short-lived closing of the Star Island Conference Center due to fire egress issues. We are surprised neither of these have been mentioned by you, especially the White Island news since it was awhile ago. Any possibility you could research and get more details as to the amount of damage; time frame for repairs; impact in general; maybe pictures, etc.? Also, what will it take to get Star Island up to speed for the summer; is the Corporation healthy enough to weather this unexpected turn; are they still struggling with boat issues since the Steamship Co. stopped ferrying people out? Lots of questions and requests. Once again, we appreciate your dedication to this site and look forward to any updates you can give. Phyllis

Please visit these SeacoastNH.com ad partners.

News about Portsmouth from Fosters.com

Saturday, November 18, 2017 
 
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Copyright ® 1996-2016 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Site maintained by ad-cetera graphics