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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The Labor Day parade on Shelter Island is the lineup at North and South ferries as many summer visitors head back to their homes, while locals get to enjoy the quieter, but still pleasant days that usually attend September and October.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
The Labor Day parade on Shelter Island is the lineup at North and South ferries as many summer visitors head back to their homes, while locals get to enjoy the quieter, but still pleasant days that usually attend September and October.

This week in history 50 years ago

NASA launched its first orbital geophysical observatory

Actor Keanu Reeves was born

While The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” continued to hold the top spot on US music charts, in the United Kingdom, it was Manfred Mann’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” that claimed the number one spot

Robert Kennedy resigned as U.S. attorney general preparing to launch a run for senator from New York

President Lyndon Baines Johnson and running mate Hubert Humphrey were on the cover of Time

And on Shelter Island …

50 YEARS AGO
A matter of basic principle

With Robert Kennedy announcing his plans to seek a seat in the U.S. Senate from New York , popular Congressman Otis Pike was being honored at the Ram’s Head Inn and spoke out strongly against importing a candidate from another state to represent New York.

“The whole concept of importing a candidate to run in a state where he has neither bona fide residence nor an intimate knowledge of the people and their problems is fundamentally wrong,” Mr. Pike said. He backed congressman Sam Stratton  to carry the Democratic banner. The Reporter editorial at the time agreed with Mr. Pike’s take, but Mr. Kennedy went on to win the senate seat.

POSTSCRIPT: When Hillary Clinton, fresh from her days as first lady, opted to seek the Senate seat from New York, she was embraced by then Senator Patrick Moynihan. She won the seat, then gave it up to become secretary of state in the Obama administration and is today being touted as the likely Democratic nominee for president.

30 YEARS AGO
Rainy Weekends dampen Shelter Island’s summer season

Mother Nature unfurled her wrath on Shelter Island during the summer of 1984, leaving many summer business owners characterizing the usually bustling period as mediocre. There were 11 rainy weekends out of 14. Summer rentals picked up in August, but were not sterling.

Still, a few merchants reported the summer hadn’t been a complete bust for them. Those who reported the best business despite the weather were restaurants, because on rainy days, the best thing to do for visitors was eat and drink, owners said.

POSTSCRIPT: The judgments aren’t in yet about this summer, but one thing no one will be complaining about is the weather. Weekends were, by and large, perfect weather-wise and even August, usually hot and steamy, was relatively comfortable this year. With rare exceptions, the worst of the summer heat came right after Labor Day.

20 YEARS AGO
HPOC voters turn down water authority takeover

The Suffolk County Water Authority courted the Heights Property Owners Corporation just as it had the West Neck Water District. But when the vote was held among members in the private community, with 159 people casting ballots, SCWA lost by 17 votes.

The SCWA lost a similar bid to take over the West Neck Water District and efforts by SCWA to establish a townwide water district also failed.

POSTSCRIPT: Despite Shelter Island having a fragile aquifer and, in some areas, being troubled with salted wells or during serious droughts , no water at all, Islanders continue to eschew any SCWA takeover, seeking instead for ways to protect both the quantity and quality of water here.

10 YEARS AGO
Verizon: no contract yet for antenna at landfill tower

Could it be only 10 years ago that Verizon, one of the largest cell phone carriers in the area, still had no antenna on Shelter Island at the tower at the town landfill. That was the case, although the wireless carrier was negotiating with Highlander, owner of the tower.

The result then was only spotty service on Shelter Island for Verizon customers while Nextel, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile each had an antenna in place on the tower.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, all the major carriers have antennae on that tower, but because of buildings and tree growth, people in parts of Ram Island and Hay Beach have complained about spotty service. The concerns extend to the Fire Department that’s poised to have a tower erected at its station on Cobbetts Lane, despite some neighborhood protests. It will ultimately be up to the Town Board to decide whether or not to allow the tower.

j.lane@sireporter.com