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09/25/15 11:59am
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Ten years ago it was (from left) Hap Bowditch Jr., Al Kilb Jr. and Art Williams appearing at the League of Women Voters-Shelter Island Association Candidates forum.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Ten years ago it was (from left) Hap Bowditch Jr., Al Kilb Jr. and Art Williams appearing at the League of Women Voters-Shelter Island Association Candidates forum.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

President Lyndon Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 establishing the Equal Employment Opportunities Act that prohibited discrimination in hiring. (more…)

10/15/12 12:00pm

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Relatively little runoff appeared to reach the Bay through dirt extension of Community Drive in Hilo, according to then Highway Superintendent Mark Ketcham.

10 YEARS AGO

Hilo drainage problems solved

An ongoing conundrum of how to tap into state funds to prevent stormwater runoff from going into West Neck Bay may finally have a solution, then highway chief Mark Ketcham told the Town Board back in 2002. The problem was that plans to put drains on private property meant the town couldn’t tap into state funding restricted from being used, except on public property. Mr. Ketcham suggested that the 10 drains instead be placed on public property in the area of Stearns Point Road and Behringer Lane, still accomplishing the effort to avoid rainwater runoff from Hilo from running into the Bay.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, government mandates require that all communities participate in an MS4 program to deal with ending pollution from stormwater runoff, and several efforts have been undertaken with others planned. But the costly problem of providing adequate drainage to protect the waterways remains a challenge with tight budgets in place at all levels of government.

20 YEARS AGO

Scallop season opens

Back in 1992, the scallop season opened in early October, but historic scalloping grounds — Coecles Harbor and West Neck Bay — were still feeling the effects of brown tide algae infestations and then supervisor Hoot Sherman was anticipating there would be no rush of scallopers expecting to reap a rich harvest. Since brown tides invaded many East End waters in 1985, efforts to replenish the supply by seeing areas hadn’t taken hold. But Mr. Sherman was promising that the effort would continue with the hope of restoring East End scallops.

POSTSCRIPT: The Cornell Cooperative Extension SPAT program to replenish oysters has been successful and, while the scallop season doesn’t begin now until the first week in November, there is optimism among scallopers. But the question for some is whether, as was the case last year, the prices will be so high that they might discourage some people from buying scallops, except for special occasions.

30 YEARS AGO

Town stalls budget plan

Town Board members in 1982 held off on voting on a $1.5 million budget proposal from then supervisor Mal Nevel who told board members he wanted taxpayers to weigh in on his plan. Councilman Ralph Gross said he was willing to go along with the request and let taxpayers suggest spending cuts, but then councilman Ken Lewis argued there was $140,000 in unexpended funds and he preferred that the board take some action to pare down the budget. But Mr. Nevel said the money was needed as a “buffer” in case an emergency expenditure was needed. The following week, the board approved by a 3-2 vote a preliminary budget calling for a 30 percent increase in spending, instead of the 48 percent spending hike that was contained in Mr. Nevel’s plan.

POSTSCRIPT: Town Board members have been engrossed in budget meetings this month, working to pare down Supervisor Jim Dougherty’s $10.4 million proposal that would increase spending by about 0.5 percent from the current year.

40 YEARS AGO

Gardiner entourage invades Hall of Justice

Shelter Island Police arrested Cyril Madison, campaign manager for Robert D.L. Gardiner, who was running for the First Congressional District seat on the Republican ticket opposing Congressman Otis Pike. Mr. Madison was charged with defacing traffic signs by affixing labels on them that supported Mr. Gardiner’s candidacy. Mr. Gardiner lost the race to Mr. Pike the following month.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s battle for that same seat is between incumbent Tim Bishop, running on the Democratic ticket, and Randy Altschuler, running on the Republican, Conservative and Independent lines. The campaign has had its share of differences between the two men. Mr. Bishop brought his campaign to Shelter Island School students this week and Mr. Altschuler is expected to do the same prior to the November 6 election.

11/11/11 3:00pm

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO | Young live scallops at low tide on the causeway to Taylor’s Island in Coecles Harbor.

After last year’s banner scallop season, which many believe was the best since the brown tide all but wiped out the scallop population in 1985, baymen and researchers are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for this season, which opened on Monday, November 7.

“Things look pretty good but I don’t know that we will quite get to the harvest of last year,” said Dr. Stephen Tettlebach, a professor at Long Island University and one of the lead researchers in Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Program.

He has a team of divers who monitor about 25 scallop hot spots throughout the Peconic bays.

On Shelter Island, Monday’s results did not give local baymen a lot of hope. Tyler Clark reported on Monday afternoon that the harvest this year “is not very promising … Not like last year,” he said.

Kolina Reiter of Bob’s Fish Market echoed Tyler’s somewhat pessimistic prediction. “It’s not going to be great,” she said on Monday.

Whatever scallops the local baymen do bring in are available for sale at Bob’s and Commander Cody’s and also from the local baymen directly.

Dr. Tettelbach said he believed baymen last year may have landed about 100,000 pounds of bay scallops — up from an official DEC tally of 19,000 pounds for 2010.

Last year, a large number of scallopers dredged the waters on the west side of Robins Island, just south of Cutchogue. Dr. Tettelbach said he doubted that area will be a hot spot this year.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be as good this year as the prior two years,” he said. “Last year on opening day, an estimated 50 to 70 boats were working the west side of Robins Island. I’m sure lots of people will be looking there but we just didn’t see that many bugs [baby scallops] there when we did our surveys. It’s typical that an area will be really good one year and the next year it won’t.”

Dr. Tettelbach said Flanders Bay, which was also a hot spot last year, doesn’t seem to have as many scallops as it did the past two years either. He said that might be in part because his group has not seeded scallops into Flanders Bay in the past two years.

Longtime scalloper Ed Densieski of Riverhead shared Dr. Tettelebach’s concerns. He said he’d spent eight to 10 hours on the water this fall throwing in his dredges and throwing back his catch in order to determine where he’d scallop when the season opened.

“I have found some pockets but I’m not sure it’s going to be as good as last year,” Mr. Densieski said. “I had high hopes it was going to be better but I’m not 100 percent convinced yet.”

Mr. Densieski said that, last year, he knew exactly where he wanted to pull his dredges on opening day but this year he was still not sure just before opening day.

“I work from Flanders Bay to Orient Harbor. I’m not sure where I’m going to be going,” he said. “They’re out there. The goal is to find them.”

Mary Bess Phillips, who owns Alice’s Fish Market in Greenport, said she’d heard a mixed bag of reports on the health of scallop beds. But she does know that a lot of people were planning to try their luck at scalloping.

“They’re seeing in the papers that there are all these bugs out there but we won’t know anything until Monday,” she said before the season opened.

Ms. Phillips said that there isn’t great retail demand for scallops beyond opening week because prices routinely soar to $20 a pound. She said that, at that price and in this economy, many consumers will buy scallops only once a season, early on, as a treat. Because of the low demand, she said many markets are limiting the amount of scallops they buy. And with more baymen chasing fewer scallops, they might not find enough to make a living by scalloping beyond the first few weeks of the season.

“The economy is going to play a big role,” she said.

JOANNE SHERMAN CONTRIBUTED TO THIS STORY