This week in Shelter Island history

FILE PHOTO | In January 1993 School Superintendent Marlene Berman and Board of Education president Robert Reylek cut the  ribbon marking the opening of Shelter Island School’s new middle school wing.

Island will study option of bringing public water

Town Board members agreed in 2003 to work with Suffolk County Water Authority officials on a feasibility study of bringing public water to Shelter Island  At issue was whether the cost of installing public water to the Island would be cost effective. SCWA was paying for an independent study that could lay out various scenarios for providing off-island water to residents. While agreeing to the study, Councilwoman Christine Lewis said she didn’t think there was any groundswell of people asking for public water and thought there was an “aversion” to doing so. Still, she said residents had the right to learn about their options before a decision was made.

POSTSCRIPT: Today the Island remains independent of the Suffolk County Water Authority with generally strong feelings of wanting to continue to depend on well water.

New school wing opens

A ribbon cutting marked the opening of the middle school wing in January 1993. It was one of the area’s first middle school programs designed to provide special attention to students in grades six through eight, a time seen as critical in their development. The still operational program offers individual attention to students through advisory sessions with teachers. The focus is on both students’ academic and emotional development.

POSTSCRIPT: This month, Superintendent Michael Hynes outlined a long-term plan that will shake up academics and the use of space in the school. It won’t change the separate space and approach to the middle school, but will result in changes aimed at improving student performances in writing, math, science and technology.

Saving the yearbook

It was a tight economy back in 1983 when students approached the Board of Education to plea for a $2,000 infusion of money to save the yearbook for that year’s graduating class. Revenues from advertising were down and production costs were up, yearbook editor Rebecca Kilb  said. Without the money, the project would have to be abandoned, she said. But the board, sensitive to the importance of the yearbook, was able to move funds to accommodate the request.

POSTSCRIPT: The Board of Education is about to start its budget review process for the 2013-14 school year, again with the state-imposed 2-percent tax cap that will likely require dipping into the district’s reserve funds, but also curtailing spending wherever possible.

Ferry to Connecticut may disappear into history

That was a front page headline in January 1963 when the ferry between Orient Point and New London, then operated by New York City-based McAllister Brothers, was threatened with closure by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The company was warned that unless it improved equipment, it would not see its contract renewed to shuttle workers from Orient Point to the Animal Disease Control Center on Plum Island. Then Plum Island acting director Jerry Callis said the boats had inadequate seating, poor ventilation, insufficient facilities and were untidy. Company officials denied the charges and said if the government contract for the Plum Island run were to be cancelled, the ferry service between the two states would be stopped altogether or only run in summer months.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the Wronoski family operates Cross Sound Ferry that shuttles people and vehicles between Orient Point and New London and its owners were honored by the North Fork Chamber of Commerce  with a Community Service Award last year.