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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island’s exploration of 4-posters to combat ticks started 10 years ago when a resident told the Town Board about use of the devices on Martha’s Vineyard.

Shelter Island’s exploration of 4-posters to combat ticks started 10 years ago when a resident told the Town Board about use of the devices on Martha’s Vineyard.

Griffing bids Rotarians be wary of bridge and canal

Evans Griffing was Shelter Island supervisor 50 years ago when he carried a message to North Fork Rotarians: don’t embrace any of three proposals for bridges and a canal that could link to New England.

His words met with mixed reactions back then, but his warning was clear. A link could easily result in changing the bucolic East End into more industrial communities like those developing in Nassau County.

Some saw bridge projects as a potential boon to business, while others worried it would change the very nature of the East End.

POSTSCRIPT: East End residents continue to resist any proposals that could make their towns and villages more susceptible to major development and Islanders continue to embrace North and South ferry companies as their chosen links to the mainland.

Bucknell graduate takes all in 10k run

It was George Buckheit of New City, New York, a graduate of Bucknell University, who took the honors in the Shelter Island 10K in 1984 with a time of 29:42.

His time was the slowest winning time to date, later attributed to a combination of high humidity and a change in the course, upgraded to The Athletic Congress standards that added 60 yards.

The course was in line with mileage in the past, but TAC regulations required that a one-tenth of one percent be added, according to Cliff Clark, who was race director at the time.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, it was Yonas Mebrahtu finishing the 10K at 29:06, but still not a course record. That’s held by Simon Ndirangu who ran the race in 28:37 in 2012.

Focus on lawsuits at HPOC

In June 1994, a hot topic among members of the Heights Property Owners Corporation was a proposal from the Suffolk County Water Authority to take over the private community’s water system.

SCWA was also making a bid at the time for the West Neck Water District. A member of the Town Board’s Conservation Advisory Council, Ralph Gross, charged the Town Board and the Reporter of “hysteria” in campaigning against a SCWA takeover, arguing that the bid by the county utility needed to be vetted slowly.

The Reporter editorialized at the time that SCWA couldn’t be trusted to live up to its written contracts.

POSTSCRIPT: Shelter Island remains independent of the Suffolk County Water Authority despite the utility’s frequent bids to serve the Island. Aside from the general mistrust of the off-Island utility, there have been concerns that linking up to the county system would open up the possibility of too much development here.

Early consideration of 4 posters

It was 10 years ago that Shelter Island began wrestling with lone star ticks that, unlike the deer ticks that were found mostly in tall grassy areas, were making themselves at home on lawns and spreading disease.

Martha’s Vineyard was first experimenting with 4-poster units to combat the invasion and that started a push to study what might work on Shelter Island. But it wasn’t until four years later that Shelter Island became one of the test communities for the Cornell University-Cornell Cooperative Extension program to see if 4-posters might lessen the problem.

During a three-year period, the Island had 60 units deployed with only a small part of the costs being paid with local tax money. The concluding report gave the 4-posters high marks for effectiveness in cutting down the numbers of ticks and tick borne diseases..

POSTSCRIPT: Following the experimental program, Shelter Island lacked the money to put out 60 units and cut back to fewer than 20. This year, it has increased to 38 unites with consideration of continuing to increase expenditures to eventually get back to the 60 unit level.

While many praise the effectiveness of the units, a small group of Islanders argue there’s no proof they work and money is being wasted on deploying them.

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