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01/09/17 10:00am

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Dr. James Bedford, author and University of California psychology professor, became the first person to be cryogenically preserved following his death. His body is still at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona. (more…)

11/29/13 8:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Motor vehicle accidents involving deer are occuring since development has overtaken habitats and the deer population has increased.

Deer advice for drivers

Ten years ago, the New York Insurance Association was proactive in advising motorists to be cautious about a growing incidence of deer on roadways that was resulting in increased motor vehicle accidents. Claims resulting from encounters with deer were averaging about $2,000 each and the association warned then that as the deer population continued to grow and new developments encroached on their habitats, more accidents would result.
POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward to 2013 and Shelter Island continues to experience a concrn about accidents involving deer as town, county and state officials work to counter the problem.

Shared decision budget action committee created

The Shelter Island Board of Education, following the advice of then superintendent Dr. Lydia Axelrod, established a Shared Decision Budget Action Committee of board members, parents, other community members and teachers to provide input to the development of the district’s annual budget. The new committee was to replace the Budget Review Committee that similarly reviewed and offered input to budgeting in the past. That unit had eight community volunteers and a single board member while the newly constituted committee was to be balanced between school and community members.
POSTSCRIPT: Today’s Board of Education provides ample opportunities for teachers and staff and community members to weigh in on the budget process at a series of public meetings, but the initial draft budget created by the administration is shaped by elected school board members with what has been in recent years little community input. At the same time, discussions of choices to be made are well publicized, both through newspaper stories and the district’s website where budget presentations can be viewed.

LILCO resumes hookups after utility law snafu

The Long Island Lighting Company, predecessor to today’s Long Island Power Authority, was stopped in its tracks as it was installing lines to new houses on Shelter Island in late 1983 because of a local law that was at first interpreted to ban overhead wires, requiring that lines be buried. But Town Board members then rescinded the law, saying its intent wasn’t meant to stop house hookups, but to apply to high tension transmission lines.
POSTSCRIPT: With much of the South Fork having underground lines, there have been rumblings from time to time in other parts of the East End to get similar treatment from LIPA, but the company has maintained the expense would be prohibited and overhead lines are the norm on Shelter Island and the North Fork.

To aid Planning Board

John Sengstaken, a retired engineer living on Ram Island, accepted the unpaid post of consultant to the Shelter Island Planning Board 50 years ago.
POSTSCRIPT: Since October 2012, John Cronin has served as a part-time engineering consultant for Shelter Island. His maximum annual salary was set at $29,000.

10/16/13 8:00am

JULIE LANE PHOTO | This disputed road leading into the Clark Capital LLC property will have to be widened — something the town requires that neither the applicants nor the neighbors want.

Despite neighbors’ complaints, a new subdivision of land behind North Cartwright Road owned by Clark Capital LLC, will be allowed, providing the owners comply with a number of conditions contained in the approval.

That’s the word from Shelter Island Planning Board Chairman Paul Mobius, who said that among the restrictions attached to the subdivision approval is widening of a gravel road that leads to the property.

It’s that road, to be named Meadow Road, that has caused consternation among neighbors. Widening it to 16 feet with narrow gutters on either side to absorb stormwater runoff, will put it too close to bedroom windows of neighbors on either side, they said. But to grant the subdivision, the road must be widened to accommodate fire trucks, Mr. Mobius said.

While the Planning Board has approved the subdivision, compliance with several conditions including the road widening must be met before the approval takes effect, Mr. Mobius said.

Meanwhile, the son of a couple whose property is next to the subdivision, Frederick Thumhart Jr. of Delmar, New York, is protesting the Planning Board’s decision and the advice he believes was given to the board by its attorney, Anthony Pasca.

Mr. Thumhart said allowing the subdivision “threatened” the residential character of his parent’s house at 16 North Cartwright Road. His parents are Frederick and Linda Thumhart. In a letter to Mr. Pasca he said  the subdivision would “impose commercial uses and traffic on a southerly adjoining residential gore/strip of land” on Meadow Road.

“You threw the Shelter Island Town Planning Board, the neighbors and the Shelter Island Town citizens under the bus,” Mr. Thumhart wrote in an October 8 letter, arguing that Mr. Pasca was wrong in advising the Planning Board that it couldn’t restrict road use.

The information Mr. Thumhart used came from meeting minutes that offer an overview, not a thorough record of what was a lengthy discussion about the road, according to Mr. Pasca. Mr. Thumhart wasn’t at the public hearings, he said.

Mr. Thumhart said the road use should be restricted to residential and emergency traffic. But it’s just that emergency traffic that is responsible for the requirement to widen the roadway, Mr. Mobius said.

Other neighbors expressed similar concerns at public hearings.

Matt Sherman, who is representing Clark Capital, said he anticipates there will be “very little traffic” on the road “for the foreseeable future.”

Residential neighborhoods throughout the state have roads that lead to commercial developments, Mr. Pasca said, explaining that it would be impossible to block commercial traffic from riding through a residential area. Not one inch of the Clark Capital property is within a strictly residential area, he said.

Mr. Thumhart said he had a verbal agreement from the Clark family that the road adjoining his parents’ property would only be used for residential traffic. But Ms. Clark said she wasn’t aware of any such verbal agreement, although her husband’s father, now deceased, may have made such an agreement.

“If they want to change it, we’d be very happy,” she said about the town requirement to widen the road as a condition for granting the subdivision.