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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, providing that if a president resigned or died in office, the vice president would become president and if a president became disabled, he could inform Senate and House leaders so that the vice president would temporarily assume responsibilities until the disability ended.

American actress Laura Dern was born in Los Angeles to actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.

“The War Game” was pulling in movie audiences in the United States.

“The Secret of Santa Vittoria” by Robert Crichton was one of the best selling books of the time.

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was airing on Friday nights on CBS. the program proved to be so controversial because of its satirical approach to news of the Vietnam War era, that CBS fired Tom and Dick Smothers and left one show unaired.

And on Shelter Island …

40 YEARS AGO
North Fork Bank to open Island branch

It was 40 years ago at this time that North Fork Bank announced its plans to open a branch here.

The location was to be in the A. Wesley Smith building in the Heights. The opening would be delayed since the building needed work to convert it for use as a bank.

Plans called for the Smith building to be a temporary home while the bank scouted around for a site for its own business.

POSTSCRIPT: North Fork Bank was absorbed by Capital One that now maintains an office at the corner of West and North Menantic roads.

30 YEARS AGO
More joint sports teams eyed

Shelter Island, Greenport and Southold coaches were meeting to discuss ways to field combined teams in baseball, softball and tennis back in the winter of 1987.

The aim was to give students from the three schools an opportunity to participate in sports where any one of the schools might not have a sufficient number of players to form a team.

It was early in the planning stage, but what Coach Chris Tracey needed from the Board of Education was permission to continue the exploration with an eye to forming combined teams,  something board members were willing to entertain.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, Shelter Island students not only participate in combined sports teams, but have also been involved in academic programs with other schools. Teachers and administrators have been laying the groundwork for combined programs with Montauk and Bridgehampton.

Only once in recent years did Shelter Island have to back off from combined sports teams for budget reasons because it was too expensive to transport students to the North Fork for games. But that’s something that has since been restored.

And now there’s an emphasis on giving students at all levels more opportunities to get off the Island and explore the wider world.

20 YEARS AGO
Town eyes Taylor’s Island bequest

Under the terms of a will written in the 1940s, the town learned it could become the owner of the 1.5 acre Taylor’s Island on the southern shore of Coecles Harbor. At the time, a second separate parcel of .87 acres was also in the offing. The sites had belonged to S. Gregory Taylor.

The bequest to the town was with the proviso that it would become a public park for the enjoyment of the general public. The land had initially been willed to Mr. Taylor’s immediate beneficiaries for their use with the understanding it would eventually go to the town.

At issue for the Town Board was what use it might make of Taylor’s Island and how it would be maintained.

POSTSCRIPT: Enter P.A.T. Hunt who took charge of the effort to restore the cabin on Taylor’s Island. She enlisted a group of volunteers to get involved with the project and was able to secure grant money and raise funds for renovations. Most of the exterior and interior renovations have been completed and the Taylor’s Island Committee continues to oversee its use and maintenance needs.

While Taylor’s Island is accessible on foot at low tides, it must be reached by boat at times of high tides.

10 YEARS AGO
$15 million open space bond pitched to Town Board

Before he was town supervisor, Jim Dougherty chaired the Two Percent Committee — now the Community Preservation Advisory Board that oversees allocations from a 2 percent transfer tax on property.

He approached the Town Board asking for a $15 million bond to be floated to enable acquisition of land with the bond to be paid back as money flowed from the CPF tax to town coffers.

POSTSCRIPT: The fund that was established by the State Legislature in 1998 and began to generate funds in 1999 has poured in $1.19 billion that the five East End towns have been able to use to preserve open spaces and farmland.

As of November 2016, voters agreed to allocate up to 20 percent of CPF funds going forward for use in financing specific projects to protect water quality.

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