Monday, January 31, 2005

Fleas Featured on BBC Radio Program

A remembrance of entomologist Miriam Rothschild includes flea circus owner Professor A.G. Gertsacov

January 31, 2005 Providence, RI

Professor A.G. Gertsacov, Rhode Island flea circus impresario and proprietor of the Acme Miniature Circus, was featured on BBC radio program "Outlook" today. The occasion was a remembrance of Dame Miriam Rothschild, a noted British zoologist who was known for many years as "Queen of the Fleas" for her outstanding research in studying and cataloging fleas. Dame Rothschild passed away last week at the age of 96.

The show features a 15 minute interview with Gertsacov, as well as other noted flea authorities, including entomologist Amorette Brandt of the Royal Natural History Museum, and Ian Burgess, an insect specialist who sells insects to British scientists. On the program, Gertsacov recites flea poetry, does a bit of an old-fashioned flea circus "grind" from the show, and talks a little bit about the amazing acts he has taught his fleas to perform.

Gertsacov, who has performed his show over 700 times in the last 8 years, says of Rothschild, “She was an amazing woman who dedicated an enormous amount of her time, intellect, and money to a tiny creature. She really contributed to the world’s scientific knowledge of the flea in a great way.”

To hear the show, visit the website" And click on "Listen to Monday's show" (To listen to the show you need Real Media's free player (available for free at

The entire flea interview starts at minute 26:30 and Professor Gertsacov's entrance into the program starts at minute 34:30

The show will be archived for the next week on the radio program website.

For more information about the flea circus, visit Gertsacov's website

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Pier Market to Close: Victim to Greed (or perhaps its just the times)

The Pier Market, a small community market in the heart of Narragansett (and minutes away from the beach) is set to close because the developer and owner of the land (Gilbane Properties) decided to triple its rent.

This is from the Rhode Island Policy Reporter on December 7:

As was reported in the Projo this morning, Gilbane Properties, the landlord, offered to raise the Pier market's rent from $75,000 per year to $225,000.

I called Wes Cotter, the Gilbane Properties spokesman quoted in the story, and he told me that they aren't losing any money there, but the property is "undervalued" and they can get much more out of it. For the record, the town assesses the grocery building at $180,000. With its share of the land underneath it, the taxes on the market are around $6,500.

While tripling rents from one year to the next is clearly an excess, I also don't think that Gilbane should be forced to keep their rent at way below the market value. It's a hard question--because from an individual perspective, it makes perfect sense to maximize your income and utilize your assets to their best value. But what Gilbane apparently hasn't factored in is that the community is not a cash tree that they can shake. Gilbane is part of the community, and their desire to "monetize" should take a 5-10 year plan to raise the rent to a more "market-value" number.

The same thing with the information that follows the article about the approximately 88 apartments that will be renovated, and rents increased.

A new RI blog!

I said, new above, but really, it's only New to me!

I just was doing a search for "Bright Night" information. and found a blog that was linking to the event that I didn't know anything about!

(It's always nice when that happens!)

Looking through, this guy seems to have a great blog, with photos, opinions, news snippets, and personal commentary.

I definitely would recommend checking it out.