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This week in Shelter Island history

BRIDG HUNT PHOTO North Ferry’s Manhansett boat was under construction in August 2004 in Florida before debuting on the Shelter Island-Greenport run in 2005.

North Ferry’s Manhansett was under construction in August 2004 in Florida before debuting on the Shelter Island-Greenport run in 2005.


A major race riot resulted in 341 people injured and 774 arrested

Lady Bird Johnson was on the cover of Time Magazine

The Beatles continued their US tour at Forest Hills in New York

Mary Poppins was pulling in the largest movie audiences

The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun was at the top of the music charts

And on Shelter Island …

Library officials ready ground breaking ceremony

Shelter Island public Library officials were prepping for an imminent ground breaking ceremony for a new building that would stand on North Ferry and Bateman Roads. The projected cost was about $70,000, up from an anticipated $50,000 because the plans had been redrawn for a larger building, according to then Library Board President Andrew Fiske.

The added space would provide for a librarian’s workroom and lavatories. The cost of labor and materials had also increased, Mr. Fiske said. There were ongoing fund-raising events to pay for the project.

POSTSCRIPT: The building underwent major renovations in 2012 to create a new entrance to the downstairs program room. Today’s downstairs provides room for events as well as the book sale room and gallery and has moveable shelves to increase meeting space as needed.

An elevator was installed to create access to the downstairs from the main level. When voters turned down a bond for the work, the board went to the community with fundraisers and also secured grant money to pay for the estimated $800,000 project.

School mulls PTSO suggestions

Members of the Parent Teacher Student Organization presented Board of Education members with a list of issues they would like to see addressed as school was about to get underway in 1984. Suggestions ranged from how disciplinary suspensions were handled and supervision of early arrivals by students to a review of the number of students being held back at the junior high school level and more consistency in grading.

The Board President Bob DeStefano and superintendent Fred Bement agreed that many of the suggestions were good and would be explored.

POSTSCRIPT: Since being named superintendent this month, Leonard Skuggevik has been spending time of the Island asking locals about how they like their district and what issues are important to them. His aim was to open up communications with the community as he familiarizes himself with the challenges ahead.

Music director resigns from Shelter Island School

Typically, by August, school administrators are hoping their staffing is complete, but just as school was about to begin in 1995, then superintendent Lydia Axelrod had to tell the Board of Education that music teacher Tim Hooker had resigned to take a job with the Bronxville School District, leaving Shelter Island in the lurch.

Mr. Hooker had been on the Island since 1987 and was an integral part of the school’s music program. The hunt for a replacement had already been started, Ms. Axelrod told the board. Because of the late notice, Mr. Hooker promised the district 30 days of teaching before he would start his Bronxville job.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, it was popular social studies teacher Brian Doelger who resigned, but he notified the Board of Education early in August that he was taking a job as assistant principal in the Patchogue-Medford School District. Classes will begin with a substitute while Acting Superintendent Jennifer Rylott said the aim is to get a permanent teacher in place by mid September or soon thereafter.

New boat taking shape

In August 2004, North Ferry unveiled pictures of a new large boat being constructed at the Freeport Shipbuilding Group in Florida. The new boat was to become a sister to the MV Mashomack, the ferry service’s other large craft and was due to join the fleet prior to the summer of 2005. Management was mum about the name for the new boat that we know today as the MV Manhansett.

POSTSCRIPT: While the two large boats have seriously reduced ferry lines through the years, there’s an ongoing issue about traffic accessing the boats on the Greenport side. A plan was devised, came under heavy criticism and no solution has yet been implemented.

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