This week in Shelter Island history

10 YEARS AGO
Siller to get a rematch

Former supervisor Gerry Siller, a Democrat, in June 2003, announced he wanted his old job back and was ready to stage a campaign against incumbent Republican Supervisor Art Williams. In announcing his candidacy, he told his party members he was accepting the nomination with “mixed emotions” because he thought the town was moving in a “very bad direction.” He said while he loved serving as supervisor, he had also enjoyed the last two years  being out of office. Ultimately, voters in November decided they wanted another two years with Mr. Williams who won by a slim margin, 783 to 727.
POSTSCRIPT: The Democrats have just announced their slate for the November 2013 election with incumbent Supervisor Jim Dougherty leading a team that includes Town Board candidate Robert Reylek and Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr.

20 YEARS AGO
Blackout disrupts holiday weekend

In 1993  a blackout darkened  Shelter Island disrupting plans of residents and visitors and spurring calls to then Supervisor Hoot Sherman, the Reporter and, of course, police to find out what happened and when power might be restored. A failure of a submarine cable linking a Southold with Shelter Island caused the problem that started on a Sunday morning about 9 a.m. Radar was used to detect a fault about 300 feet from Shelter Island and the Long Island Lighting Company was able to restore electricity in just under two hours.
POSTSCRIPT: Superstorm Sandy last October damaged a cable linking Shelter Island to Southold and a project is under way to install new cables to ensure there will be sufficient power on the Island during the heavy summer season this year.

30 YEARS AGO
Budget meeting set

After the Shelter Island School District’s budget was defeated in mid-May 1983, administrators and Board of Education members opted to present the same $1.9 million budget to voters for a second look on June 8. But prior to that vote, they set a “brass tacks” meeting with the public to explain the spending plan and answer questions. Nonetheless, voters on June 8 again turned thumbs down on the budget.
POSTSCRIPT: This year voters gave a resounding “yes” to a more than $10 million budget.

40 YEARS AGO
St. Gabriel’s hosts anniversary party

The year was 1973 and the Passionist Fathers were welcoming Islanders to a party in celebration of the first decade of their work here. During their tenure on Shelter Island, the Passionist’s offered counseling to youths and other residents of all faiths. Money raised from the dinner dance tickets and contributions went to the monastery to help support such work.
POSTSCRIPT: St. Gabriel’s has been closed now for several years with the final piece of the property that belongs to the Passionist Fathers up for sale. There has been an ongoing debate about whether Community Preservation Fund money should be allocated to buy the remaining property and preserve it as open space or allow it to be purchased by a private developer. The jury is still out, but Supervisor Jim Dougherty is pushing for public purchase of the site overlooking Coecles Harbor.