08/19/14 10:00am
COURTESY PHOTO | Two volunteers working  to restore memorial tabletops at the rear of the Presbyterian Church.

COURTESY PHOTO | Two volunteers working to restore memorial tabletops at the rear of the Presbyterian Church.

The Shelter Island Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is midway through the preservation project of the Brinley and Mary Sylvester and Thomas and Mary Dering tabletops at the rear of the Presbyterian Church. (more…)

Featured Story
07/30/14 4:00pm
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Ticks were a major agenda item on Shelter Island back in 2004 and the problem continues to plague residents today as the Deer & Tick Committee explores ways to tackle tick-borne diseases.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Ticks were a major agenda item on Shelter Island back in 2004 and the problem continues to plague residents today as the Deer & Tick Committee explores ways to tackle tick-borne diseases.

This week in the wider world, 50 years ago:

Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States, having been sworn in on November 22, 1963, in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. (more…)

Featured Story
07/14/14 10:03am
CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO | Melissa Mundy splits her time these days between a shared house on Shelter Island and an apartment in New York City or, as she puts it, ‘on the other side of the ferry.’

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO |
Melissa Mundy splits her time these days between a shared house on Shelter Island and an apartment in New York City or, as she puts it, ‘on the other side of the ferry.’

In a family with a lot to be proud of, Melissa Mundy is holding up her end of things.

Just 26 years old, she’s already done more volunteer work, master-minded more charity events and raised more support for worthy causes than most of us will in a lifetime. (more…)

Featured Story
07/04/14 8:00am
REPORTER FILE PHOTO|

REPORTER FILE PHOTO|

What’s the rush?
To the Editor:
Last February the Fire Commissioners said they had to have a new cell tower on Cobbetts Lane because Southold was switching to a “high-band” emergency communications system and the Island had to follow suit.

Southold has since confirmed that isn’t true, and the commissioners have acknowledged they could put up a high-band antenna on the existing tower at the Recycling Center if they wanted to. When then asked why they still needed a new tower, the commissioners mentioned “dead spots” in the Hay Beach area. But dead spots can be addressed with other technologies that don’t require a 120-foot tower in the middle of a residential area. Cell nodes on utility poles, an upgrade of the existing tower and a new but much shorter tower are possibilities that should be considered. When asked whether they were going to look into alternative solutions, the commissioners simply said no.

You have to wonder what is really behind the tower proposal. If town officials are willing to sell off our precious natural assets, which is what this would involve, in order to raise some money‎, without giving serious consideration to whether this is really necessary, and without fully disclosing the financial motivation behind the project — what’s the money for, who’s going to decide and is this a sustainable fiscal strategy? — then they are setting a very bad precedent for the future.

We need thoughtful government focused on the long-term well-being of the Island, not short-term gain, that does its homework and is accountable for the reasons why and the manner in which it wants to fill its coffers. All who care about the future of this special Island should be concerned about this proposal and the way it is being handled. ‎There are plenty of other natural assets that can be sold off if this is the path to be taken.

Let us hope the Town Board takes a more thoughtful approach when it considers whether to grant a special permit for the tower. Knowing our alternatives is an essential first step and an independent engineer can tell us what they are. The board should use its authority under the Town Code to hire an independent expert, with costs paid by the developer, to figure out what the communications problems really are and whether a new tower is really necessary to solve them. Let’s not sell out if we don’t have to.
DAVID HARMS
Shelter Island

History calling
To the Editor:
In my travels “doing” history, I almost daily come upon stories that I could delve into and tell, if only I had more hours in the day. And, the more I “do,” the more stories there are that are brought to my attention. Some examples are: Shelter Island native and New York entrepreneur Renssaelaer Havens’ role in the life of Shelter Island’s youth in the early 19th century; Mr. Worthington, the birder, whose file sits on my desk; the DEC’s effort to deal with nuisance deer in 1916; and the financial plight of Mary Catherine Havens L’Hommedieu after her husband died in 1811.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of stories hidden in the archives of the Shelter Island Historical Society and also the Sylvester Manor Collection at the Fales Library at New York University, where unfortunately, much of Shelter Island’s history resides.

I have a 15-year-old working with me on the Dering letters transcriptions  this summer who has accepted the challenge to write a play based on some of the Dering letters at the Historical Society between a 12-year-old girl and her father. A professional playwright has agreed to consult with her. How exciting can that be?

I believe there must be other self-motivated teenagers on this Island this summer able to spend a good part of their time during the next six to eight weeks exploring a story, solving its mysteries and writing it up for publication.

And I have no doubt there are retired men and women with pied-a-terres in New York City who would welcome an excuse to explore the files at the New York Historical Society, the New York Public Library, Columbia University and the Fales. If only they just knew where to start.

Are there others who must explore locally who appreciate a good mystery and would feel challenged to solve it on their own? Folks like me can direct them in the right direction and consult along the way.
For your first assignment, call me at 749-3028 or Phyllis Wallace at the Historical Society, 749-0025.
PATRICIA SHILLINGBURG
Shelter Island

07/01/14 12:00pm
CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO |  Patricia Shillingburg works every day of the week with a rotating team of volunteers to document and transcribe 762 letters dating to the Colonial- and Revolutionary War-era letters.

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO |
Patricia Shillingburg works every day of the week with a rotating team of volunteers to document and transcribe 762 letters dating to the Colonial- and Revolutionary War-eras.

I’m holding a letter in my hands that is older than the Declaration of Independence. (more…)