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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island Center firefighters demonstrated their newly acquired jaws of life back in February 1984. Then chief Alfred Kilb Jr. (left) operated the machine held former fire commissioner Fred Ogar.

Shelter Island Center firefighters demonstrated their newly acquired ‘jaws of life’ back in February 1984. Then Chief Alfred Kilb Jr. (left) operated the machine held by former Fire Commissioner Fred Ogar.

Weekly word from Town Hall

During  a late February 1974 television interview, Supervisor Thomas Jernick was asked his opinion of increasing tourism on Shelter Island. His response was a terse, “Tourists can go fly a kite.”

In a column he wrote for the Reporter following that interview, he sought to deflect criticism that came his way for that remark. He said he wanted to distinguish between part-time Island residents — those who owned or rented on the Island and those who stayed for a week or more versus those who spent only a night here before moving on to other venues. He defined the Island as having an economy not based on tourism, but on second homeowners. Tourism is fine for some venues, including Greenport, Mr. Jernick said. But Shelter Island at the time had no attractions for tourists, he said. If it depended on tourist trade, there would have been a push to erect bridges, rather than make the Island accessible only by ferry, he said.
POSTSCRIPT: Times have changed and just this week, the Town Board indicated it would approve issuing day passes to tourists who want access to Island beaches.

Tool takes bite out of disaster
It can rip the roof off a car in a matter of minutes, lift six tons effortlessly and spread apart crushed metal as though it were putty. That’s how the Reporter described the newly acquired jaws of life that the Shelter Island Center Fire Department in 1984 had just added to its inventory of equipment. The device is powered by hydraulic pressure through hoses connected to a small gasoline engine. It can be operated by a single emergency responder and was slated for use at accident scenes where there could be a need for extricating a driver and/or passengers from a smashed vehicle. The aim was to rapidly free victims so that they could start receiving immediate medical care for their injuries.
POSTSCRIPT: Today the jaws of life are commonplace at accident scenes.

Set affordable housing meeting for prospective buyers

As affordable houses were being constructed along Bowditch Road, those who might qualify to purchase them were being encouraged to attend an early meeting in February 1994 to determine whether they met necessary criteria. Among the requirements were that applicants be first-time home buyers, have a household income that didn’t exceed $42,000, were already Island residents with a minimum three-year work record and had the ability to qualify for a bank mortgage. They also had to have at least $5,000 that could cover a down payment and closing costs. What was originally expected to be a lottery among 13 initial applicants for the six affordables dwindled to just six applicants as others dropped out for various reasons.
POSTSCRIPT: The Reporter revisited the neighborhood in 2012 and discovered that original buyers were still in the houses and most, as their personal finances improved, added to the structures. Landscaping of the properties and changes at the recycling center across from the houses resulted in shielding the houses from what could have been a less than desirable place to live and today’s neighborhood doesn’t at all resemble cookie-cutter houses one might have expected in such a development.

Turmoil for 10k committee

After 23 years at the helm, Race Director Jim Richardson in the winter of 2004 announced that he had enough and it was time to resign from his leadership role with the 10k committee. It was without anger and unrelated to the decision by the Special Olympics of Suffolk Country to end its affiliation with the race, he said at the time. John Strode, a race co-founder with Cliff Clark, and then president of the 10k committee, was also rumored to be contemplating a resignation. But when it came to race time — the 25th annual 10k on June 12, 2004, he was still in place and reflecting on how he hadn’t expected the event to last so long when and he Mr. Clark first organized it.  Mr. Clark said at the time that there were some concerns, but the race wasn’t in jeopardy
“We have the people to make it happen . . . but there is obviously some turmoil, these things happen ­ like a family,” Mr. Clark said.
POSTSCRIPT: With snow still in forecasts, it may seem hard to think ahead to this year’s race on June 21. But race director Mary Ellen Adipietro and her crew of dedicated volunteers are already hard at work, planning the event.

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