50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK
Angry West Berliners attacked a Soviet Army car, heavy truck and trailer halfway through the western police barriers protecting the hated Berlin Wall.Senator Edward M. Kennedy learned he wouldn’t need surgery for a broken back sustained in a June plane crash and that he would heal and be pain free with proper bed rest.
President Lyndon Johnson said his opponent in the 1964 election, Senator Barry Goldwater, was doing a disservice to the nation by erroneously claiming the United States was prepared to use nuclear weapons against North Vietnam.
The man who brought us 007 agent James Bond, Ian Fleming, died.
Dean Martin’s “Everybody Loves Somebody” was at the top of the music charts
And on Shelter Island …
50 YEARS AGO
Term of office on November ballot
Thanks to a decision by the Town Board in August 1964, voters were going to be given the last word on whether the offices of supervisor, superintendent of highways, town clerk, receiver of taxes and assessors served two- or four-year terms. But an Appellate Division ruling that came down a week before the election in November comfirmed an earlier Supreme Court ruling striking the question from the ballot.
POSTSCRIPT: It wouldn’t be the final time the town entertained a question of term lengths. Today, the supervisor and highway commissioner’s terms are two years with others serving 4-year terms. In 2011, there was a move to reduce Town Board seats to two years, but it was soundly defeated.
30 YEARS AGO
Bus company ends business
The Jernick Bus Company, serving Shelter Island School and the town Recreation Department decided in August 1984 to end its run after 24 years and concentrate efforts on the Jernick family’s moving and storage business.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, Sunrise provides transportation services to the school district and Recreation Department.
20 YEARS AGO
HPOC members to vote on opening to SCWA
It must have been a hot August in 1994 for Heights Property Owners Corporation members to be slating a September vote on whether to enter into detailed negotiations with the Suffolk County Water Authority to take over the 160-customer water system.
But by the time of an early September vote, residents had regained their equilibrium and turned down such negotiations, falling short of the 80 votes that were needed to proceed by 17 votes. Had that resolution passed, it would have led to a second vote by the late winter or early spring of 1995 to approve or reject the outcome of such negotiations.
POSTSCRIPT: Despite ongoing concerns about the Island’s fragile aquifer, Shelter Islanders in the Heights and throughout the town have rebuffed repeated efforts by SCWA to supply water here and when the issue was briefly mentioned during Irrigation Committee meetings this year, it was with a firm statement that no one wanted to examine water needs here with an eye to considering any arrangement with SCWA.
10 YEARS AGO
Library seeks 25 percent raise from taxpayers
It was 10 years ago that the Shelter Island Public Library, trying to keep up with the demand for more online databases and media beyond books, magazines and newspapers was looking at a budget request of $310,000, up 25 percent from its $248,000 spending plan.
By today’s standards with the state trying to impose 2 percent tax caps on raises, the figure might seem huge. But to keep up with media and computer demands and capital needs such as a new heating system, underground fuel tank and general upkeep, the hike was necessary, according to library board president Jo-Ann Robotti.
POSTSCRIPT: The library has increasingly become a community center offering far more than a place for reading and research, and the despite sharing of materials among Suffolk County Libraries, the need to spend more has continued to a necessity. In the past two years, the library board has had to pierce the state-imposed tax cap, asking for a 6.7 percent hike in 2012 and a 2.7 percent raise to support the current budget.
Just as Ms. Robotti was quick to tell taxpayers 10 years ago that the 25 percent tax hike would cost them an additional $5.80 a year if their property was assessed at $500,000, she has offered similar figures for more recent years. Next month, the library will be rolling out a new budget request for 2015.