A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A North Ferry vessel leaving Shelter Island during the winter of 1994 when two boats sustained operational above-waterline hull damage from ice during a period of severe winter weather.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO |
A North Ferry vessel leaving Shelter Island during the winter of 1994 when two boats sustained operational above-waterline hull damage from ice during a period of severe winter weather.

50 YEARS AGO
Looking ahead
The story might well have been headlined “Looking Southward.”

Shelter Islanders were observing their East Hampton neighbors take early steps to acquire land from the federal government that had once surrounded an abandoned Coast Guard station at Amagansett. The aim of the East Hampton Town Board was to buy a 5 1/2 acre tract of woodland for $26,100 without specific purpose, but it was speculated here it would become parkland. That sparked the discussion on Shelter Island about looking to acquire land here for a public park and the Reporter in 1964 editorialized that such a step should be given serious consideration while land was still available at a reasonable price.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, thanks to money garnered through the 2 percent land preservation fund, a tax on home buyers, money regularly is used to buy and conserve land, with many deals being a combined purchase by both the town and Suffolk County.

30 YEARS AGO
Lions get a lesson in fresh water
Dale Simmons of the United States Geological Survey, told members of the Lions Club that his team had identified problems with salting of wells in some areas of the Island when fresh water was pumped out and, because of the typography, fresh water didn’t flow from other parts of the Island to fill the gaps. He also said there were issues of higher nitrate levels in wells near the school and golf courses. Around the school, it appeared the higher nitrates resulted from an old cesspool and the team thought the higher levels around golf courses was a result of use of fertilizers.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, the town has authorized two new field studies to update surveys done in 1974 and 1984 as the Irrigation Committee explores whether or not to recommend banning further installation of automatic irrigation systems some think are a drain on the fragile aquifer.

20 YEARS AGO
North Ferry Company seeks maintenance engineer
Bridg Hunt resigned as North Ferry’s $40,680 -a-year engineer in the winter of 1994, after two-and-a-half years in the job. He said his resignation was personal and that he would remain with the company as a captain/purser. The resignation from the engineering job came shortly after two of the fleet’s four boats sustained operational above-waterline hull damage resulting from severe winter weather. But then Heights Property Owners Corporation General Manager Bernie Jacobson said there was no connection between the damage and Mr. Hunt’s decision.  He said he regretted Mr. Hunt’s decision to step down as engineer and wished he wasn’t leaving the job.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, Bridg Hunt is General Manager of North Ferry Company.

10 YEARS AGO
Rosenblum fills court bench vacancy
In 2004, former Shelter Island town attorney Helen Rosenblum was tapped to take the place of the late Edward Pete Hannabury, who died on New Year’s Eve. Ms. Rosenblum had served the town as its attorney for about 20 years, prior to the election of Art Williams as supervisor in 2002. While Mr. Williams had replaced her as town attorney, he joined the other four members of the Town Board in voting for her interim appointment to the bench.
POSTSCRIPT: Ms. Rosenblum was subsequently elected to a full four-year on the bench the following November. She continues to serve after being re-elected in 2012 to a third term, running unopposed.

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