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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

Three astronauts — Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died during a launch pad rehearsal when the Apollo 1 command module caught fire.

The heaviest snow storm in Chicago history dumped 23 inches of the white stuff on the city in about 30 hours, stranding people in offices and schools and leaving 800 buses and about 50,000 automobiles stuck on roadways.

The Outer Space Treaty was signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain banning use of nuclear weapons in space.

The Beatles signed a nine -year contract with EMI records.

50 YEARS AGO
East End rejects Dennison proposal to use County Police

In 1967, then Country Executive H. Lee Dennison was pushing for expansion of Suffolk County Police Department to replace the individual town and village departments beyond Brookhaven.

His entreaties were winning no converts among East End officials.

POSTSCRIPT: To this day, Suffolk County Police are only called in to assist some of the local police departments on major crimes such as murders.

30 YEARS AGO
LIPA and how it can shape Long Island’s Energy Destiny

It was late January 1987 when columnist Reporter Karl Grossman was hailing the newly created Long Island Power Authority that replaced the Long Island Lighting Company amidst hopes that it would both dismantle the Shoreham nuclear plant and bring the interests of Long Island residents to bear on operations and costs.

Shoreham is gone, but ratepayers are still being assessed for closing costs.

POSTSCRIPT: Most of the great hopes that ushered in LIPA’s start ended in disappointment and many of the criticisms have been voiced by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) who has complained about costs and other frustrations about LIPA’s operation.

PSEG-LI entered the situation and while rate increases haven’t pleased many, general operations have met with more applause, especially on Shelter Island where response to outages has been rapid and sustained.

20 YEARS AGO
Does public have to access Reel Point?

Twenty years ago, after the Peconic Land Trust acquired most of Reel Point, the spit of land that separates Coecles Harbor from Gardiners Bay, there was a sign asking anyone wanting to access Reel Point to first touch base with the land conservation organization. Logs lay across the area stopping vehicles from being able to drive out tot he point.

Tim Caufield was PLT vice president at the time and he said the plan wasn’t to totally restrict access, but said some limits needed to be established.

POSTSCRIPT: Years of  people riding to the end of Reel Point and Mother Nature have combined to threaten the area with becoming a tombolo,  similar to what exists at Taylor’s Island where access at high tides can only be had by boat.

Efforts to dredge and use spoils to shore up Reel Point have provided only temporary relief. A new study was recently completed and both the town and PLT are working on finding a more permanent solution to saving Reel Point.

10 YEARS AGO
Board members balk at memorandum

Councilwoman Chris Lewis heard skepticism from her Town Board colleagues 10 years ago when she asked for their response to the Sustainable East End Development Strategies report primarily dealing with transportation issues.

Ms. Lewis acknowledged that talks that had been ongoing with other East End towns for four years had largely dealt with process rather than development of a product that would speak to transportation needs.

But there were indications that on the horizon were revised train schedules, shuttle buses and other means of improving regional transportation.

POSTSCRIPT: Ten years later, Ms. Lewis still represents the town on a regional board trying to solve the East End transportation problems. She recently told her colleagues she isn’t seeing much happenning that gives promise of any near-term improvements.

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