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This week in Shelter Island history: Hilo drainage problems solved
10 YEARS AGO
Hilo drainage problems solved
An ongoing conundrum of how to tap into state funds to prevent stormwater runoff from going into West Neck Bay may finally have a solution, then highway chief Mark Ketcham told the Town Board back in 2002. The problem was that plans to put drains on private property meant the town couldn’t tap into state funding restricted from being used, except on public property. Mr. Ketcham suggested that the 10 drains instead be placed on public property in the area of Stearns Point Road and Behringer Lane, still accomplishing the effort to avoid rainwater runoff from Hilo from running into the Bay.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, government mandates require that all communities participate in an MS4 program to deal with ending pollution from stormwater runoff, and several efforts have been undertaken with others planned. But the costly problem of providing adequate drainage to protect the waterways remains a challenge with tight budgets in place at all levels of government.
20 YEARS AGO
Scallop season opens
Back in 1992, the scallop season opened in early October, but historic scalloping grounds — Coecles Harbor and West Neck Bay — were still feeling the effects of brown tide algae infestations and then supervisor Hoot Sherman was anticipating there would be no rush of scallopers expecting to reap a rich harvest. Since brown tides invaded many East End waters in 1985, efforts to replenish the supply by seeing areas hadn’t taken hold. But Mr. Sherman was promising that the effort would continue with the hope of restoring East End scallops.
POSTSCRIPT: The Cornell Cooperative Extension SPAT program to replenish oysters has been successful and, while the scallop season doesn’t begin now until the first week in November, there is optimism among scallopers. But the question for some is whether, as was the case last year, the prices will be so high that they might discourage some people from buying scallops, except for special occasions.
30 YEARS AGO
Town stalls budget plan
Town Board members in 1982 held off on voting on a $1.5 million budget proposal from then supervisor Mal Nevel who told board members he wanted taxpayers to weigh in on his plan. Councilman Ralph Gross said he was willing to go along with the request and let taxpayers suggest spending cuts, but then councilman Ken Lewis argued there was $140,000 in unexpended funds and he preferred that the board take some action to pare down the budget. But Mr. Nevel said the money was needed as a “buffer” in case an emergency expenditure was needed. The following week, the board approved by a 3-2 vote a preliminary budget calling for a 30 percent increase in spending, instead of the 48 percent spending hike that was contained in Mr. Nevel’s plan.
POSTSCRIPT: Town Board members have been engrossed in budget meetings this month, working to pare down Supervisor Jim Dougherty’s $10.4 million proposal that would increase spending by about 0.5 percent from the current year.
40 YEARS AGO
Gardiner entourage invades Hall of Justice
Shelter Island Police arrested Cyril Madison, campaign manager for Robert D.L. Gardiner, who was running for the First Congressional District seat on the Republican ticket opposing Congressman Otis Pike. Mr. Madison was charged with defacing traffic signs by affixing labels on them that supported Mr. Gardiner’s candidacy. Mr. Gardiner lost the race to Mr. Pike the following month.
POSTSCRIPT: Today’s battle for that same seat is between incumbent Tim Bishop, running on the Democratic ticket, and Randy Altschuler, running on the Republican, Conservative and Independent lines. The campaign has had its share of differences between the two men. Mr. Bishop brought his campaign to Shelter Island School students this week and Mr. Altschuler is expected to do the same prior to the November 6 election.