A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Members of Charlie Company, 10th Signal Battalion on Shelter Island in 1993 for Operation Golden Circuit, designed to improve communications throughout Suffolk County in the event of a hurricane or other emergency.

One day of ferry delays

Ten years ago, North Ferry was hobbled with serious delays when its MV Mashomack, the company’s largest boat, had to be taken out of service for repairs to its steering mechanism. The fact that one of the company’s 12-vehicle ferries was also out of commission, leaving three small boats made for long delays for drivers. Some reported waiting as long as four hours. The problem was further compounded by the need for Corazzini Asphalt to bring large trucks loaded with asphalt to the Island for paving work. And, wouldn’t you know,  it all happened on a Thursday, that day of the week when truck traffic is particularly heavy with many suppliers bringing goods here for the weekend. It took until the following day to get the part for the Mashomack and get it back in business, restoring service to the normal summer levels.
POSTSCRIPT: Last Saturday’s Shelter Island 10k demonstrated that North and South ferry companies were well up to the challenge of handling particularly heavy traffic from the North and South forks. Boats were full and heavy, but lines moved relatively fast with no complaints about wait times that may have been a little longer than usual, but very tolerable.

U.S. Army sets up command post on Shelter Island

When members of Charlie Company, 10th Signal Battalion were spotted on Shelter Island in late June 1993, rumors abounded about what brought them to this community that locals and visitors consider paradise. Was it related to a cargo ship of Chinese refugees recently grounded off Rockaway? Or was it linked to terrorist activity that resulted in the bombing at the North Tower of the World Trade Center the previous February? Try none of the above. In a relatively peaceful period when troops weren’t being deployed around the globe in the numbers they have been in more recent years, it was all part of a training exercise for a hurricane emergency response to test communications between all the towns in Suffolk County. Then Supervisor Hoot Sherman said he had been informed of the dry run, but never expected it to take the form it did with so many soldiers on the Island. He would have informed residents in his weekly Reporter column had he been told the nature of the troop deployment, he said.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, there are efforts throughout Suffolk County to improve responses to emergency situations such as hurricanes. But much of the emphasis is on local  preparedness, recognizing that it could be several days before outside emergency help could arrive to shore up relief efforts. Police Chief Jim Read leads the effort on Shelter Island, meeting with various emergency responders to assess previous efforts and determine what needs to be done to improve Islanders’ abilities to handle a crisis.

Bergman, Card picked as top scholars

Anja Bergman was Shelter Island School’s valedictorian and Donald Card Jr. was salutatorian in June 1983. Ms. Card was headed to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship while Mr. Card planned to attend Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, on a four-year Navy ROTC scholarship.
POSTSCRIPT: This year’s valedictorian is Katy Binder, who plans to attend Villanova University as a physics major. The salutatorian, Morgan McCarthy, plans to attend Geneseo. Both will address their classmates and those who attend Saturday’s graduation ceremonies.

Landslide vote re-elects Village trustee

The year was 1963 and five residents out of the 19 eligible turned up to vote in Dering Harbor’s village election that swept William O’Connor back into office. He won all five votes and was elected to another two-year term.
POSTSCRIPT: Heather E.G. Brownlie and Richard A. Smith were re-elected on Tuesday to the Village Board.