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07/10/17 12:00pm

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50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

Crime boss Tommy Lucchese, who spent three years in Sing Sing after being convicted in Riverhead of auto theft, died in Lido Beach, Long Island, after suffering a brain tumor at age 67.

Patrick Kennedy, former Rhode Island congressman and son of Ted Kennedy, who was diagnosed with bipolar disease and had problems with substance abuse, was born in Brighton, Massachusetts, and, since his political career ended, has dedicated his efforts to working for improved mental health care.

The Who began a United States tour opening for Herman’s Hermits.

Surveyor 4, meant to test soil on the moon to prepare for Apollo manned flights, exploded just two-and-a-half minutes before touching down on the lunar surface, but still managed to send back photographs before its demise.

And on Shelter Island  . . .

(more…)

04/19/12 3:00pm

At a time of year when Shelter Island’s underground reservoir of fresh water is usually at its peak, many monitoring wells are showing a significant drop in groundwater levels compared to the levels of March 2011.

“Usually we’ve had a lot of rain” by this time in the spring, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said as he reported on the issue at the Town Board’s work session last week, “and the bucket is full. But the bucket is perhaps half full” with the usually drier summer season looming.

He said March 2012 was one of the warmest and driest March months on record.

Mr. Dougherty said the matter had been raised at the Monday, April 9 meeting of the town’s Water Advisory Committee, when the committee discussed the fact that water levels in almost all monitoring wells were down as much as 27 percent compared to the levels recorded at the same time last year.

The supervisor said the committee members seemed to feel there was no immediate need to call for public measures to conserve water. But if there are no April showers, the WAC “might have a recommendation after their April or May meeting,” Mr. Dougherty said.

Shelter Island has a small, isolated aquifer that is subject to saltwater intrusion in shoreline areas during times of drought.

John Hallman, chairman of the WAC, said this week he had no idea whether or not the WAC would recommend in the coming weeks that the Town Board impose water restrictions such as limits on car washing and watering lawns and plantings. “There’s another month to go before we really make a hard decision,” he said Tuesday.

It was a decade ago this month that the town, facing some of the lowest water levels recorded at test wells in 25 years, last imposed water restrictions.

Then-Supervisor Art Williams, citing his authority under the town code when drought conditions exist, declared a water emergency and put residential-only restrictions into effect. It wasn’t the first time a town supervisor has imposed restrictions but Mr. Williams said conditions were the most challenging in years.

The situation was critical only in low-lying areas where salt water intrusion or declining aquifer levels could interrupt water supplies. Some Islanders might not even notice an effect from the drought, Town Board members said at the time.

“There’s a lot of people around who think it’s a disaster scene,” said Ed Dooley, then a member of the town’s Water Advisory Committee. It’s not, he said, but the Island is in what he called full “alert” status.

Town emergency water restrictions went into effect that April banning the use of residential irrigation systems, except for newly seeded lawns where property owners could operate sprinkler systems and soaker hoses for up to 15 minutes at a time in each area between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. through June 30. No new lawns could be seeded as of July 1, according to the restrictions. And sod installation was prohibited.

Swimming pools could only be filled or topped off with water brought from off Island and pool covers were required to limit evaporation when pools weren’t in use. It was estimated at the time that Shelter Island had about 450 pools and that it would draw more than 12 million gallons of water from the aquifer if water weren’t required to be brought in from outside.

Residents using handheld hoses were limited to using water for any purpose for no more than 15 minutes per day.

Violators could be criminally charged, fined up to $250 and/or be sentenced to five days in jail. Each day that illegal use of water occurred would be considered a separate violation.

Restrictions applied throughout Shelter Island except for Dering Harbor, where Mayor Tim Hogue said he was considering imposing similar restrictions, and in Shelter Island Heights, where residents have their own community private water distribution system.

The following week, Mr. Hogue said he had been told by John Hallman of the town’s Water Advisory Committee that the village wasn’t “in bad shape with water.” But in view of the situation in the town, he was inclined to take some action, he said.

The Village Board discussed a village water law enacted in 1987 restricting use of automatic sprinklers, except between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. between April and October. But Mr. Hogue said the village had been successful in managing water usage through volunteer cooperation. The board did pass a resolution requiring homeowners to fill empty swimming pools with water brought in from off Island. But there was no restriction on topping off pools as evaporation occurred.