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01/23/17 10:00am

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. (more…)

07/23/13 4:38pm

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Islander’s knowledge of boats has helped the fire department to advance in the eyes of other departments.

The Shelter Island Fire Department is drawing kudos from the Coast Guard, Suffolk County Police and other East End communities for the ability to respond with mutual aid to crises that arise in the waterways.

Because so many Shelter Islanders have grown up learning boating skills, it was a natural for the department to get nine members certified to help in such events, Chief D’Amato said. The same is true of Sag Harbor, which has joined Shelter Island in a pilot program to support Coast Guard and police efforts.

Because of the training, the men are able to “speak the same language” and respond with the same professionalism as the Coast Guard, Chief D’Amato said. The Suffolk County boat can not only fight fires on the water, but can be used to attack fires on the shore.
Certification took 40 hours for each man, Chief D’Amato said. Training took place at various Coast Guard facilities, but mostly on the open water.

“It’s just a win-win program,” the chief said, pointing out that he understands why without such training, the Coast Guard would be hesitant to call on local firefighters for support.

After 25 years as secretary for the fire commissioners, Jackie Tuttle gave a six-month notice Monday night that she is ready to retire from the post. She agreed to stay to help select and train a successor. There was much joking about not accepting her letter of resignation, but Ms. Tuttle insisted it’s time for her to move away from the job she has long loved.

In other fire district business, commissioners:

• Set August 19 at 6 p.m. for their initial meeting on a budget for 2014.

• Agreed to develop a formal policy regarding use and protection of antique fire trucks, including the recently restored MACK truck that debuted here last month after several years of work.

• Agreed to have Commissioner Andy Reeve investigate costs of a possible lease agreement that could see the Center Firehouse switch to solar power. Commissioner Reeve said he was confident the cost would be a lot less than the department pays for electricity.

• Requested that Second Assistant Chief Sulahian find out if the district paid for carpeting in the new chief’s vehicle since there is no such carpeting. Commissioner Lechmanski said he doesn’t want to rip apart the vehicle to install the carpeting, but if the district was charged for it, he would like dealer Buzz Chew to substitute side moldings and mud guards.

• Agreed with Chief D’Amato that contracts have to be signed stipulating start and completion dates on projects where bids have been awarded. He pointed out that the commissioners accepted a bid from Steve Hanson to assist the department in assuring it’s compliant with OSHA regulations, including training of personnel. But Mr. Hanson has not returned many phone calls from the chief and Ms. Tuttle, leaving the department in limbo about how to proceed.

• Agreed to get a second bid to test a site for installation of a well in the area of Midway and Sleepy Hollow roads where there is no easy access to water to fight fires. The testing is likely to cost about $3,600, according to First Assistant Chief Will Anderson. And there’s no guarantee that a test well will prove adequate.

“It’s a crap shoot,” commissioners agreed in unison. But they also agreed it’s necessary to try to identify a site in the area that would produce enough water flow to serve the area. Failing that, they would likely move to install a 12,000 water tank in Sachem Woods.

04/26/13 10:00am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Dr. Marci Bortman (left) with Jill Osarsky and Wayne Greoethe of the Nature Conservancy stood their ground 10 years ago, arguing that East End towns and villages needed to curb building of docks, bulkheads, jetties and other shore hardening structures in environmentally sensitive areas to protect Peconic Bay.

10 YEARS AGO
Islanders fight call for limit on docks

It was a hot and heavy time at Town Hall 10 years ago in a battle between boat owners and environmentalists over whether Shelter Island and other East End towns should limit dock construction to protect the health of Peconic Bay.

Marine scientist Marci Bortman of the Long Island Chapter of the Nature Conservancy argued limiting construction  was a necessary step.  Defending findings of the Peconic Bay Natural Shoreline Committee, a group of East End town and village officials assembled by the Conservancy to study the issue, Dr. Bortman said there was evidence that docks  could harm Peconic Bay, especially in “pristine” environmentally sensitive areas. The committee recommended barring the building of docks, bulkheads and jetties in such areas. The study revealed that docks could harm the estuarine environment by disrupting the bottom, shading eelgrass and attracting species that alter the ecosystem.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the Waterways Management Advisory Council oversees applications for construction of such structures as well as mooring fields. It was a fledgling organization 10 years ago, but had already adopted policies to manage the proliferation of docks around Shelter Island. The WMAC continues to recommend approval or denial of applications, with the Town Board making the final decision. In recent months, WMAC members have favored applications from neighborhood groups to establish docks that would be used by the entire membership rather than to have each homeowner request a private dock.

20 YEARS AGO
Caller claims bomb was placed on S.I. ferry

North and South ferry service was disrupted 20 years ago following a call to Suffolk County Police that a bomb had been placed on a Shelter Island ferry. The call came from either a cellphone or a location west of Riverhead, police said. South Ferry was up and running without incident about an hour and a half after the call and was honoring North Ferry tickets. Bomb squad officers and a canine unit officer and German Shepherd checked out all North Ferry boats before allowing passengers and vehicles onboard about an hour later.

POSTSCRIPT: Terrorism was a word Americans related to other countries until September 11, 2001. But bomb threats still had to be taken seriously even back in 1993.

30 YEARS AGO
10k race raises funds for Island organizations

Shelter Island 10k race organizers Cliff Clark and John Strode announced in 1983 that the 25 percent of money raised by the Special Olympics would be donated back to Island organizations. Special Olympics had been the sole beneficiary for the first Shelter Island Run back in 1980, but the group agreed to return a quarter of its profits back to the community that sponsored the race. In 1983, that meant $2,500 to support various local efforts. A five-member committee was organized to manage dispersal of the funds. Mr. Clark said the group would assess various requests for funds and make decisions about where the money could best be put to use.

POSTSCRIPT: This year’s 10k, as with many previous ones, now includes many groups raising money for causes deemed by race organizers to be worthy and the Community Fund was created by Jackie Tuttle and Diane Kilb to bring money back to the Island to benefit various local causes.

50 YEARS AGO
School budget up 9 percent and three seek board seats

That was the headline 50 years ago when the budget was only $274,000. The raise meant spending would go up to $298,410. Board members at the time attributed the increases mostly to salaries that were being raised to bring the district in line with what neighboring districts were paying. At the same time there were three candidates seeking two Board of Education seats. Two candidates — Mrs. Thomas Duffey and Mrs. Archie Gershon — were seeking to take over the seat of Mrs. Elliott Dickerson, who was resigning after serving for nine years, five as board president. Member Franklin Hallock was seeking re-election and faced opposition from Frank Wilcox.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the budget increases spending by 3.17 percent, still within the tax levy cap. But only one of two incumbents — Mark Kanarvogel — is seeking re-election while Thomas Graffagnino has chosen to step down after six years of service. No one has submitted a petition to run for the board except Mr. Kanarvogel. That could lead to a write-in candidate getting the seat in voting that takes place May 21.

03/31/13 2:20pm

Suffolk County residents should be on the lookout for telephone scams, the Suffolk County Police Department said after scammers targeted several Long Islanders this week.

The department has gotten more than a dozen reports of telephone scams where “potential victims are asked to wire money immediately for a family member in trouble,” police said.

Police say the caller will attempt to pressure the victim into sending money without verifying the family member’s whereabouts.

In one scenario, the caller tells the victim that they have just been in a car accident with a relative of the victim who refuses to pay for the damage and claims to have the family member at gunpoint until the victim pays thousands of dollars, according to a police press release.

Other scenarios may include tricking the victim into wiring money to bail out a family member from jail or pay off a faked debt, police said. In these scams, the victim is asked to withdraw money from an ATM and the caller will guide them to where they can wire the money.

The department has gotten reports of about 70 similar scams and believe that dozens more have gone unreported, police said. Police investigations have found that the victims are selected randomly.

The Suffolk County Police Department has advised residents to “independently verify the threatened relative’s whereabouts” and not share any personal information during a call. Those who believe they’re being targeted by a scammer should call the Suffolk County Police Department at (631) 852-2677.