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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Yesterday’s Town Board gadfly today sits on the other side of the table. In 1994, he made waves when he resigned from the ZBA, charging it was acting politically.

Yesterday’s Town Board gadfly today sits on the other side of the table. In 1994, he made waves when he resigned from the ZBA, charging it was acting politically.


The Beatles arrived in San Francisco for their second U.S. trip playing to 14,300 fans in Washington State and vowing to stay together until death do them partThe Supremes earned their first of five successive first place hits with “Where Did Our Love Go.”

Lyndon Johnson was nominated at the Democratic convention to serve his only full term as president

President Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act funded at $1 billion to create community action agencies around the country as part of his “War on Poverty.”

And on Shelter Island …

Two important meetings

As sometimes happens, two major issues requiring public awareness and input occur at the same time. Such was the case in August 1964 when the Shelter Island Planning Board, looking at the future development of Shelter Island, and the Garden Club of Shelter Island,  focusing on ways to protect both salt and fresh water here , were both on the same track.

An Reporter editorial at the time focused on the importance of both subjects, advising residents that the issues were going to need their attention long term.

POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward to today and concern with water quantity and quality has both of these issues front and center as residents express concern about the effect of development on water use and the Town Board prepares to issue a report by the end of the year in response to an 11-month study of the impact of irrigation.

Both the Irrigation Committee and Water Advisory Committee are recommending attention to both water quantity and quality and the Town Board’s ultimate decision can be expected to go beyond the simple question of irrigation systems.

School postpones bond vote

In August 1984, the Shelter Island School District was contemplating a bond issue to pay for building repairs had to hesitate at setting a date because attorneys drafting resolutions necessary to such a vote hadn’t completed their work.

The $1.99 million bond that was to have a 15-year life in terms of paying it back, was calculated at costing taxpayers between $32.50 and $65 a year, depending on the value of their property.

The building needs included measures to bring the district into compliance with health and safety measures, to develop efficient mechanical systems and a high quality educational plant.

POSTSCRIPT: In September, voters will have a say on a $1.6 million building bond that is needed to enable the district to upgrade its heating and ventilation system, replacement of a fuel tank and ancillary work as well as repointing of some building masonry.

Shepherd nominated to County Planning Commission

Paul Shepherd, who had been a member of the Shelter Island Zoning Board of Appeals, was appointed in August 1994 as then County Executive Robert Gaffney’s nominee to the County Planning Commission, resigning his position on the ZBA with some rancor.

The ZBA resignation was unrelated to the county appointment, Mr. Shepherd said. Instead, it was motivated by what he described as “the shape that things were taking” locally. “There’s political footsie and I’m not invited to the game — it seems like there’s a larger political agenda,” he said.

The county seat had remained empty for some time as various candidates fell victim to political crossfire between the bipartisan Shelter Island Town Board and various county Republican leaders.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Shepherd, a registered Independent, for many years, was a Town Board gadfly, questioning various actions until he was elected to the Town Board in November 2011.

Lyme lobbyist defends 4-poster

It was in August 2004, four years prior to the time Shelter Island would become a test site for the Cornell University-Cornell Cooperative Extension program to test the efficacy of 4-posters, that David Weld, executive director of the American Lyme Disease Foundation, spoke with the Town Board about what he saw as the effectiveness of the units.

The feeding device poses minimal if any risk to people or the environment and is a greener  alternative than spraying, Mr. Weld said.

POSTSCRIPT: Controversy continues about the effectiveness of 4-posters, with the majorituy  of people majority of people on the Island in favor of the program. But some, like Deer & Tick Committee member Marc Wein, maintain that even if the units work, they may not be the most effective and efficient method of dealing with the growing tick problem.

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