40 YEARS AGO
Center commissioners tired of merger talks
In the spring of 1974, Center Fire District Commissioners let it be known they had grown weary of discussions aimed at merging with the Heights Fire District.
Among the issues driving a possible merger was a need for a central compatible alarm system. The previous December, the Center commissioners said the Heights had to fully equip department members with individual Plectron radios, something the Heights District planned to do if a merger were in the offing.
But even if the Heights agreed to equip its members with the radios in advance of a merger, then Center Commission chairman Ezra Wade would only say that purchase of the radios would be a start. He still wasn’t ready to commit to a merger.
POSTSCRIPT: The debate continued for some 20 years before a merger between the Heights and Center districts occurred in the 1990s. Today there is a single Board of Fire Commissioners on the Island.
30 YEARS AGO
Scouts honor Hallman with Silver Beaver Award
At the annual Suffolk County Scouting Council Fellowship Dinner in May 1984, Islander John Hallman received the Boy Scouts highest award, the Silver Beaver, in recognition of his exceptional service to youth in the area.
It had been 20 years since a Shelter Island resident had been selected to receive the award. At the time of the award, Mr. Hallman was assistant district commissioner for the Peconic Bay Region. He had been active in scouting since he was a child and became a Cub Scout. In 1980, he chaired the Peconic District Expo and for 15 years, ran the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.
POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Hallman continues to serve the Shelter Island community today as chairman of the Water Advisory Committee and as a member of the Irrigation Committee.
20 YEARS AGO
Chase Creek Bridge opens to traffic
Almost seven years after the New York State Department of Transportation declared the old Chase Street Bridge unsafe for traffic, a new bridge was officially opened in May 1994.
Planning and construction had been beset by problems throughout the years, including some rerouting of heavy trucks onto New York Avenue that caused potholes described as having “heroic dimensions.”
The original aim was to keep a lane open on Bridge Street in order to avoid having to use New York Avenue, but that wasn’t feasible throughout the project.
POSTSCRIPT: Today’s focus is on building up roadways in low lying areas such as the Rams so that the amount of washout that occurred during Superstorm Sandy doesn’t plague Islanders. But with escalating costs, that process is slow to proceed.
10 YEARS AGO
Citizen of the Year: Lions honor Gert Bourne
Just 10 years ago, Gert Bourne, a true harelegger born at Sylvester Manor, has contributed a lot of time and energy to volunteer work on Shelter Island, was celebrated as the Lions Club Citizens of the Year.
Among her many contributions, she has been active in rendering service to seniors, a practice she continues today.
POSTSCRIPT: This year’s Lions Club Citizens of the Year are Edie and Dick Petry, well known to Islanders as proprietors of the Pridwin. They will be feted there on May 22 for their work with youth on the Island and their many contributions to Island life.