A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Former Shelter Island Board of Education president, retired golf pro and now Reporter columnist, Bob DeStefano was chosen in December 1983 to lead the school board.

Conservationists oppose New England bridge

Conservationists United for Long Island became the first group to oppose construction of a bridge linking Eastern Long Island with New England. The group’s president, Grace Barstow Murphy, called it a threat to the North Fork’s water supply, shoreline and wetlands.

Construction of such a bridge should be delayed until desalted sea water becomes a source of fresh water because “there is not enough fresh water to support such development the bridge would bring,” Ms. Murphy said.
POSTSCRIPT: Conservationists and others who opposed the bridge clearly won the day just as Shelter Islanders have resisted any proposal to replace their  ferry services with bridges to the North and South forks.

DeStefano leads school board

In December 1983, Bob DeStefano was elected president of the Shelter Island Board of Education. He had served on the board since 1975 and succeeded Chris Lewis as president. He had been board vice president. Ms. Lewis had tendered her resignation from the school board effective in 1984 and board members were pondering who would fill her seat once her retirement took effect.
POSTSCRIPT: Mr. DeStefano has retired as golf pro at Gardiners Bay Country Club and spends at least some of his leisure time writing a column for the Shelter Island Reporter.

Oysterponds School Board votes against choice

In December 1993, the Shelter Island Board of Education got word that the Oysterponds school board had voted against offering students form Orient and East Marion a choice of schools that could have meant added income from tuition here.  Then, as now, Oysterponds was tuitioning its seventh through 12th graders to Greenport, but its contract was due to expire and the board there was talking about widening choices for secondary education. Ultimately, the Oysterponds board opted to keep its secondary students in Greenport
POSTSCRIPT: The Oysterponds Board of Education had many subsequent discussions and studies about tuitioning students to schools other than Greenport, but each time, ended up concluding that such a move would be impractical. The most recent two years ago resulted in a look at Shelter Island and Mattituck and then another contract with Greenport.

Hunter: shotgun season is not safe

Local businessman, resident and hunter Darrin Binder called on the Town Board in December 2003 to restrict the shotgun season for deer because he said it was too dangerous on the Island. With the exception of three properties where shotgun hunting was allowed by state rules, Mr. Binder said the rest of the Island failed to meet safety standards.

“No one wants to see anyone get killed,” Mr. Binder said at the time. “You guys need to look at this and regulate it,” he said.

Hunting then, as now, was not permitted within 500 feet of a house or road, but outsiders unfamiliar with the Island had hunted here and there were five near misses, he said. One involved two women walking on Conrad Road who reported that they heard a slug hit a tree as they passed by it.
POSTSCRIPT: Just last week, the Town Board heard a plea from hunters not to allow sharpshooters to come to the Island to help cull the deer herd. Their arguments were similar; people not familiar with the Island would pose a danger to residents. They also argued that the cost would be prohibitive, judging that for the few days the sharpshooters might be on the Island, it would end up at a price of about $1,000 per deer and have little impact on the herd here.